A good portion of my Christmas vacation was spent with good books. In this case, I finished the "Giants" trilogy, written by prominent sci-fi scribe James P. Hogan. The trilogy is a remarkable past and future history of the human race which is shown to have extraterrestrial origins. The ending of the third novel postulates a "closed loop" timeline which I have found to be in the minority when it comes to instances time travel in entertainment. "Closed loop" essentially is designed to keep all events within a timeline internally consistent. Another recent novel I read which makes use of closed loop time geometry is Joe Haldeman's The Accidental Time Machine. A truly excellent "alternate history" novel which likewise uses closed loop time is Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus.
I've noticed there are essentially two ways to deal with closed loop time adventures: The need to keep events within the loop consistent; second, if there are major changes to events within the loop, events preceding the changes cease to exist in favor of the new events created. Pastwatch did the latter to a tee. The Accidental Time Machine demonstrates how to do the former, as anything from the future that ends up in the past is actually responsible for events that transpire in that timeline's future. Make sense?
Most sci-fi (at least that I've read/viewed) uses the "branching timestream" theory of time travel. This is where any change in a timeline creates a whole new reality. There are an infinite number of such realities in the "multi-verse" all based on the different decisions and actions that people make at different times. "Back to the Future 2" was an excellent example of a "branching" timeline based on changes made to the past. Many "Star Trek" stories have tried to have it both ways when it comes to explaining how time works. The classic "City on the Edge of Forever" showed how Kirk had to let a woman he had fallen in love with die to "preserve" the timeline. Last night, SciFi Channel replayed the eighth Trek film, "First Contact" where the new Enterprise-E had to travel back in time to the date of Earth's first warp flight to stop the dreaded Borg from changing history. "Deep Space Nine" had a superlative two-parter where Captain Sisko had to "preserve" the timeline by assuming the role of a pivotal revolutionary figure. Yet, we know that alternate timelines exist throughout the Trek universe. The "Mirror" Universe, for example (which has been utilized by three of the five Trek series), details how Earth became militaristic conquering empire. (Besides the original -- and great -- "Mirror, Mirror" I highly recommend "Enterprise's" last season "In a Mirror, Darkly" two-parter.) The necessity of excising a disastrous timeline occurred in "Next Generation's" "Yesterday's Enterprise." What was intriguing about this episode was that it appeared a change in the past (in this case, the Enterprise-C was catapulted into the future, the time of the Enterprise-D) completely changed the future as we see Capt. Picard and the bridge crew undergo a transformation right before our eyes as the Enterprise-D's predecessor appears through a time rift. This would indicate to me a closed loop time geometry; however, when character Tasha Yar from this new timeline elects to go back with the Enterprise-C's crew to their appropriate era, this in itself indicates a branching timeline theory since, notably, Tasha had been killed years before in the TNG timeline, yet now she existed -- and went on to affect events in later TNG episodes.
The list is endless, of course. I could write for hours about how various novels and movies have made use of both techniques. For me, this is great entertainment, but trying to make sense of it can sure cause some headaches. Perhaps this is why Einstein (among others) stated that travel into the past is impossible. Personally, I feel this a great conceit considering our pitiful level of knowledge in the whole scheme of things. If we can conceive of it -- and there are scientific models that do allow for journeying to the past -- then I believe ultimately we can make it a reality. I sure would like to be around when we finally solve the riddle of how precisely the time-stream functions.
Via the Media Blog: Andrew Sullivan's "Moore" Award -- "named after film-maker, Michael Moore - is for divisive, bitter and intemperate left-wing rhetoric" -- for the year goes to Keith Olbermann for the following comment:
"Al Qaeda really hurt us, but not as much as Rupert Murdoch has hurt us, particularly in the case of Fox News. Fox News is worse than Al Qaeda — worse for our society. It's as dangerous as the Ku Klux Klan ever was."
Now, where but in the right-wing blogosphere did you hear complaints about this utterly insane and asinine comment? That's right, nowhere. Yet, Olbermann's biggest competitor, Bill O'Reilly, got drawn and quartered by the MSM for totally out-of-context remarks about race in America, among many other comments that were nowhere near as nutty.
Just remember though, the MSM is not left-leaning. And a chicken has lips.
Newark's C. Alan Hogle demonstrates the effects of his BDS (that's "Bush Derangement Syndrome"):
As the ACLU constantly says, "the ACLU's only client is the Constitution of the United States." Without the ACLU, most of the writer's freedoms would have been taken away by George Bush.
We have lost some freedom of speech and assembly, we have lost the separation of church and state, we have lost habeas corpus, we have lost the privacy of our telephones which are regularly invaded by the the CIA and the National Security Agency. The list is endless.
The writer should be grateful that the ACLU will last longer than 2008 and George Bush won't.
Anyone else notice the irony of that last sentence? Yes, the ACLU will last longer than George Bush. That means ... *GASP!* ... the Constitution works!! Despite what George Bush "wants to do with it"!! It's way too easy, but let's point out the all-too obvious here:
Over and out.
... and standing about 5 feet, five inches. He had short black hair and a teardrop tattoo under his right eye. He was last seen wearing a sleeveless T-shirt and light-colored khaki pants.
Via the NAS e-mail bag:
At U Mass, the principal interface is a program called "Shaha." (Who knows what "Shaha" means? The web site does not say.) Shaha's program description is found in the Housing and Residence Life section of the university's web site. The site makes it very hard to discern exactly how the Shaha troupe is supported and organized. However, something like an organization chart can be constructed after considerable effort has been expended on mastering the Byzantine, and apparently unplanned, complexities of the heavily-interlinked pages that pop up from searching "Shaha" on the UMass site.
The Office of Housing and Residence Life (HRL) at the University supports something called the Residence Life Resource Center (RLRC). (This was formerly called the Center for Diversity and Development.) According to the Housing and Residence Life's "RA/ALA Online Manual," the RLRC is a "resource center for Residence Life staff and residential student leaders in their efforts to promote community, diversity, leadership and student development within the residence hall communities." It has "staff development tools (games, stress relief toys), bulletin board kits, an Ellison letter press, poster making supplies, computer and color printer, button maker, label maker and a black and white copier" that are among the "many resources available to staff and student leaders."
The Shaha Storyteller troupe is one of the principal programs offered by HRL at the university. The members of the troupe are undergraduate students who participate in it and qualify for it by taking two courses (for credit) at the university. The troupe's primary purpose is to provide didactic theater for the residence halls on campus. According to its mission statement, the Shaha Storytellers "support Residence Life's commitment to multiculturalism by providing learning opportunities to students around issues of inclusion, social justice, and multiculturalism through theatre-based peer education."
And it only gets "better." Read the whole thing.
Back in June I wrote about my literary sojourn through aged (and lesser known) "doomsday" novels such as Triumph and Red Alert. Today's New York Times has an article about the new book Doomsday Men: The Real Dr. Strangelove and the Dream of the Superweapon which chronicles the "dual march of science and science fiction" that took place in the early days of the nuclear age.
I'll have to pick this one up, natch.
After hitting the button several times, I particularly liked this one: "orchestrate mission-critical strategies."
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Judeo-Christian Doctrine and Moral Freedom by Bookworm Room, and Fear by Silver Bullets. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2 2/3||Judeo-Christian Doctrine and Moral Freedom|
|1 2/3||Ron Paul|
Done With Mirrors
|1 2/3||First Let the Lawyers Kill Us All|
|1 1/3||Lame Duck Crushes Christmas Turkeys|
|1||A Holiday Primer for Ron Paul Supporters|
Rhymes With Right
The Colossus of Rhodey
|1/3||A Tale of Two Iraqs & Two Wars|
|2||Laughter and Tears|
|1||Must Police Be Representative? Whom Do They Represent?|
|2/3||Arabs in Israel|
The Volokh Conspiracy
|2/3||Home For Christmas|
|2/3||Democrats' 2007 Report Card|
|1/3||Saudi Libel Terrorism Must Be Stopped|
The Terror Finance Blog
|1/3||"We Will Never Recognize... Reality"|
|1/3||Iraq Portrait: How the Press Has Covered Events on the Ground|
Pew Research Center
Victor J. Donnay of Bryn Mawr admits he joined in the booing and hissing of American delegates to the recent Bali conference on climate change:
I am not surprised that delegates at the U.N. climate change conference in Bali booed and hissed the American delegation. I had exactly the same reaction, with some screaming in anger and frustration thrown in, when I read of the EPA's decision to prevent California and other states from enacting stricter vehicle emission standards ("Pa., N.J. to join suit over EPA rule," Dec. 21).
The federal government's claim that such local initiatives are unnecessary and interfere with the federal government's national efforts is laughable. The Bush administration has done everything in its power over the last seven years to stall and prevent meaningful action to curb climate change. To paraphrase Kevin Conrad, a delegate from Papua New Guinea at the U.N. conference, "If you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get the hell out of the way."
Let's just see about that "stall and prevent meaningful action to curb climate change" statement, shall we?
International Energy Agency data show that over the past 7 years (2000-2006), the annual rate of increase for U.S. CO2 emissions is approximately one-third of the EU's rate of increase. Indeed, over the same period even the smaller EU-15 economy has increased its CO2 emissions in actual volume greater than the U.S. by more than 20%, even while the U.S. economy and population also grew more rapidly.
In fact, data show that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell by 1.3 percent in 2006 despite the fact that the U.S. economy grew by 3.3 percent that year. This is significant validation of the U.S. strategy of addressing global warming through technological innovation and market-friendly measures rather than costly, rigid emissions reduction targets. (Link.)
The truth is that those developed nations that actually ratified Kyoto - including those countries whose diplomats booed the United States - saw their greenhouse-gas emissions go up, not down, by 4 percent from 2000 to 2004. In Germany and Britain, the only two major economies to register reductions, emissions fell due to factors having nothing to do with Kyoto or global warming.
When you remove Germany and Britain from the calculation, European emissions rose 10 percent between 1990 and 2005. (Link.)
The Kyoto treaty was agreed upon in late 1997 and countries started signing and ratifying it in 1998. A list of countries and their carbon dioxide emissions due to consumption of fossil fuels is available from the U.S. government. If we look at that data and compare 2004 (latest year for which data is available) to 1997 (last year before the Kyoto treaty was signed), we find the following.
- Emissions worldwide increased 18.0%.
- Emissions from countries that signed the treaty increased 21.1%.
- Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%.
- Emissions from the U.S. increased 6.6%.
In fact, emissions from the U.S. grew slower than those of over 75% of the countries that signed Kyoto. (Link.)
I particularly like the title of the middle article linked above -- "What the U.N. can learn from Google." I could probably title this post "What dopey letter writers can learn from Google," eh? That, or "Remember that old saying: 'Actions always speak louder than words.'" (For a few more examples, click here and here.)
The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, notes that the paper shows that "the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals."
The next sentence delineates the particular goals that are realized in this manner: "In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done."
The paper further theorizes that Arab women in Judea and Samaria are not raped by IDF soldiers because the women are de-humanized in the soldiers' eyes.
I tell 'ya, you just gotta love that Ivory Tower sometimes. So, here's what we have: Whether IDF soldiers do rape or don't rape Arab women, either way the action (or lack thereof) "merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences." Uh huh. And then, I certainly would've figured that the brutal action of raping a woman would serve to "dehumanize" her instead of not raping her.
A local media outlet asks, "Can't it just be that Israeli soldiers come from a culture that very much condemns rape? And why not mention the much-touted 'purity of arms,' i.e., the high moral conduct, of the Israeli Army?"
Ah, but you see, that is much too simplistic an answer! You're dealing with the modern academy which touts, among other "enlightened" ideas, "postmodernism" which usually requires a cipher on par with that required for the famous Enigma machine. The difference is that Enigma actually carried information whereas postmodernist "thought" frequently only disseminates utter crap.
Edna Moore of Landenberg, PA has a beef with the Journal. She says it doesn't "treat African-Americans with dignity they deserve":
Just reading the headline of the survey article that appeared in The News Journal Dec. 13, "Poll: U.S. blacks, Hispanics, Asians wary of one another" by a writer for the Washington Post, served as another harsh reminder that African-Americans' struggle for respect is far from over.
It was unfair and bias [sic] to use a low-case noun "blacks" to refer to African-Americans and the proper nouns "Hispanics" and "Asian" to address other ethic groups.
The newspaper has a responsibility to support the rights and dignity of African-Americans. You must put an end to the daily doses of inequality and racism that lurk in many articles in The News Journal.
I'm curious as to how Edna "knows" that "African-American" is the preferred term to use when referring to bla, er, um, African-Americans. I've read myriad articles and journals that use "black" (lower case), "Black" (upper case) and "African-American," just as I've read myriad articles and journals that use "white" (lower case), "White" (upper case) and "Caucasian." Capitalizing "Hispanic" and "Asian" is merely making use of proper grammar while doing so with "black" and/or "white" is actually one of choice -- and of political correctness. (The publication that is most consistent with such capitalization is the NEA Today, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise.)
I do find it fascinating, however, that the [ridiculously] PC News Journal didn't capitalize "black" or better yet, use "African-American" in the article that Ms. Moore references. After all, this is the paper that refuses to publish the race of police suspects due to the PC notion that "race is such an unreliable descriptor." When the Journal does print the race of a suspect, the article writer has to get "special dispensation." The whole ... "process" is so nutty that even lefties like Nancy Willing are fed up!
All of the above serves to undermine Ms. Moore's point about the News Journal being "racist" and "unequal." Couple that with the quantity of positive human interest stories about local African-Americans (see here for one of the latest), and I think Ms. Moore is raising a beef when there's really no reason to. Indeed, some past News Journal human interest stories have stretched the meaning of "interest" to almost glorify criminal behavior.
But Ms. Moore is not alone, at any rate. A letter writer from back in March feels similarly.
Quick -- call 911 for these schnooks!
Our clueless MSM:
That's the header from MSNBC's main page circa 11:30am on Christmas Day. Here's the headline of the actual article: Raul Castro says Fidel ready for new bid; Cuban ruler's brother says Communist Party supports re-relection [sic]. The article itself is via the AP (what a surprise there) and begins thusly:
HAVANA - Raul Castro said Monday that Communist Party leaders support his brother Fidel's re-election to parliament, saying he is exercising two hours daily and gaining weight while keeping his mind healthy with reading and writing.
A seat in parliament is the first step in a process that would allow Fidel to retain his post atop the Council of State, Cuba's supreme governing body.
Communist Party leaders "defend him running again" Raul Castro said of his brother's candidacy for re-election to the Cuba's National Assembly, or parliament, on Jan. 20.
'Ya gotta love it. When big news outlets use the terms "re-election," "Parliament" and "candidacy" in an article dealing with a Communist dictatorship, all one can do is shake your head and chuckle. Sad as it is.
OK, the daughter is having a field day with her gift (laptop), the wife is playing with hers (IPod), so what do I feel like doing? WRITING, natch! Here's one thing that caught my eye while checking some news today:
We've learned some spooky things about former FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover over the last few decades; now it comes to light that
... 12 days after the start of the Korean War, [Hoover] had a plan "to apprehend and detain persons who are potentially dangerous to the internal security of the country" -- thousands of them, almost all American citizens. (Link.)
From what we know of Hoover's deviousness this shouldn't really come as a shocker. In addition, 1950 is only eight years after FDR ordered the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II. But check out what CNN says in the article -- which is then directly refuted by an expert author on the FBI:
While parts of Hoover's approach are reminiscent of the way the Bush administration has tried to battle terrorism following September 11, 2001, author Ronald Kessler said he sees a big difference between that plan and the detention of suspected terrorists now. Kessler has penned several books about the FBI, including "The Bureau."
"The court has allowed all the measures that the Bush administration has used to find terrorists to continue," he said. "Congress has allowed all the measures to continue as well. So it's quite a contrast with the days of J. Edgar Hoover."
Gee, 'ya think? Moreover, CNN states that the Hoover plan called for the suspension of habeas corpus noting that "The U.S. Constitution allows suspension of habeus corpus only in the case of rebellion or invasion." But such a suspension is a congressional power, not an executive one (just don't tell that to Abraham Lincoln). As author Kessler says, the Bush administration has utilized the court system with its war on terror approach, and the courts have explicitly stated that US citizens cannot be denied habeas corpus and may yet decide that 300 non-citizens at Guantanamo also cannot be so denied.
So here we have the MSM -- again -- making use of scare tactics about the "big, bad" Bush administration all the while being contradicted right in their very own article. You might think there'd be a much better connection in the article to the aforementioned FDR tactics used in WWII which, incidentally, were upheld by the US Supreme Court in 1944's Korematsu v. United States. Can you imagine the outrage today if the Roberts' court affirmed a Bush executive order ordering the summary detention of thousands of Americans in the name of "protection from espionage"? Just take a peek at part of then-Justice Hugo Black's Korematsu decision (my emphasis):
Korematsu was not excluded from the Military Area because of hostility to him or his race. He was excluded because we are at war with the Japanese Empire, because the properly constituted military authorities feared an invasion of our West Coast and felt constrained to take proper security measures, because they decided that the military urgency of the situation demanded that all citizens of Japanese ancestry be segregated from the West Coast temporarily, and finally, because Congress, reposing its confidence in this time of war in our military leaders -- as inevitably it must -- determined that they should have the power to do just this. There was evidence of disloyalty on the part of some, the military authorities considered that the need for action was great, and time was short. We cannot -- by availing ourselves of the calm perspective of hindsight -- now say that at that time these actions were unjustified.
Kind of makes the BDS-induced fear of a 2007 fascist, theological police state seem silly now, doesn't it, especially considering that the current WOT is virtually all about clandestine activities.
To all my friends, co-bloggers, readers, fellow DE bloggers (with two exceptions), I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. (And I hope our atheist DE bloggers don't mind these wishes. If they do, they can go straight to hel, er, um, nowhere!)
A few special mentions:
To all fellow members of the DCBA, my warmest wishes and many thanks for your kind friendship.
To Delaware Libertarian's Steve Newton, thanks for being the latest local blog that really makes me think.
To Delaware Watch's Dana Garrett, thanks for still running a local blog that makes me think, even though I disagree most of the time. But you make me think.
To Down With Absolutes' Mike Matthews, thanks for never losing your sense of perspective or that great humor. (Now sit on Marshall a bit and remind him that he's still a friggin' bright-eyed and bushy-tailed teenager, huh?)
To First State Politics' Dave Burris for running the best damn right-leaning blog in the Diamond State.
To Pencader Days' Duffy who's almost like the Negative Zone Hube (or me like a Negative Zone Duff ... he'll know what I'm talking about) -- thanks for great reads.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about how Venezuelan "president" Hugo Chávez apparently was in a pickle when the true results of his country's referendum became known. Oliver Kamm brings to light further developments, including a violation of Venezuelan law by Chávez's own minions (my emphasis):
The most scandalous mix of censorship and outright lies came on election day. Even though filtering of any exit poll is strictly forbidden, Reuters received the results of three pro Chavez pollsters from governmental officials, and in a mad race for the scoop announced that the Sí (that's the "yes" vote -- Hube) had won by up to six points. The Reuters report, promptly picked up by many newspapers, created a crisis in Venezuela as the CNE unnecessarily delayed announcement of the results until eight hours after polls closed, an incredible situation for an automated voting system. Eventually Reuters has been placed in the embarrassing situation of recognising that it made a mistake.
What a surprise. Kamm says it best, perhaps, with this (again, my emphasis):
The British press is thus more a victim than a functionary of this authoritarian and deceitful regime (and I've noted before how some fairminded and informed writers have been perplexingly prone to give Chávez a benefit of doubt that is not really present).
I highly recommend Kamm's blog. He is extremely intelligent and an excellent writer.
Anyone else catch Ron Paul on "Meet the Press" yesterday morning? Wow, it wasn't very pretty for a portion of the interview as host Tim Russert made Paul look foolish. I admire a lot of Paul's platform (as I wrote here and here), but the more I've seen of him and his defense of positions, the less impressed I've become.
First, fellow DE blogger Dana Garrett makes an excellent point about Paul's rationale of a "ghost written" document attributed to his campaign. The newsletter in question contained some racially charged material and as noted Paul has stated that the newsletter article in question was done not by him, but by a ghost-writer. Then why, Garrett asks, doesn't Paul reveal the name of the ghost writer? I think it's an excellent question. I'm not accusing Paul of being a liar or racist, but if considering the newsletter bore his name, I'd think a presidential candidate would want to set the record straight at all costs.
But let's examine the interview (all emphases mine):
MR. RUSSERT: Under President Paul, if North Korea invaded South Korea, would we respond?
REP. PAUL: I don't--why should we unless the Congress declared war? I mean, why are we there? Could--South Korea, they're begging and pleading to unify their country, and we get in their way. They want to build bridges and go back and forth. Vietnam, we left under the worst of circumstances. The country is unified. They have become Westernized. We trade with them. Their president comes here. And Korea, we stayed there and look at the mess. I mean, the problem still exists, and it's drained trillion dollars over these last, you know, 50 years. So stop--we can't afford it anymore. We're going bankrupt. All empires end because the countries go bankrupt, and the, and the currency crashes. That's what happening. And we need to come out of this sensibly rather than waiting for a financial crisis.
But Vietnam isn't Korea. Their histories are different. Under Paul's thesis, we (meaning the U.S.) shouldn't make use of military action unless our own territory is attacked. We should not assist an ally, even one under attack by such a ruthless regime as North Korea. I guess my question would then be, if we just yawn as the North Koreas get their way at various locales all over the planet, what will be left to sustain our economy as our democratic trading partners fall? In addition, wouldn't this same thesis have applied to pre-December 7, 1941 regarding assistance to day-later allies Britain and Russia? In addition, there have been overtures about possible reunification of the Koreas; however, the South certainly doesn't want to be ruled by Kim Jong-il and his Stalinist system. Which then brings me to my highlighted text: What mess? That we've helped preserve a thriving democracy against the most oppressive regime on the globe?
MR. RUSSERT: So if Iran invaded Israel, what do we do?
REP. PAUL: Well, they're not going to. That is like saying "Iran is about to invade Mars." I mean, they have nothing. They don't have an army or navy or air force. And Israelis have 300 nuclear weapons. Nobody would touch them. But, no, if, if it were in our national security interests and Congress says, "You know, this is very, very important, we have to declare war." But presidents don't have the authority to go to war.
MR. RUSSERT: Would you cut off all foreign aid to Israel?
REP. PAUL: Absolutely. But remember, the Arabs would get cut off, too, and the Arabs get three times as much aid altogether than Israel. But why, why make Israel so dependent? Why do we--they give up their sovereignty. They can't defend their borders without coming to us. If they want a peace treaty, they have to ask us permission. They can't--we interfere when the Arab leagues make overtures to them. So I would say that we've made them second class citizens. I, I think they would take much better care of themselves. They would have their national sovereignty back, and I think they would be required then to have a stronger economy because they would have to pay their own bills.
This may sound logical on its face, but it ignores an obvious point: We may cease all aid to Israel and its Arab neighbors, but other countries will not, especially in regards to the latter. And Paul says that Iran won't invade Israel, but I think Russert would have phrased it better with the word "attack." If -- when -- Iran is nuclear capable, this threat becomes greater than ever. Keep in mind that Iran, as it's currently governed, is not a rational regime. They, like many of their Arab neighbors, want Israel eradicated. The price of mutual annihilation that would result from an Israeli counter-attack doesn't seem like madness to fanatics that dream of becoming suicide martyrs.
MR. RUSSERT: You talked about September 11th in one of the Republican debates back in May, and this is what you said.
REP. PAUL: They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and we're free. They come and they, and they attack us because we're over there.
MR. RUSSERT: "Because we're over there." And then you added this on Tuesday: "But" al-Qaeda has "determination. The determination comes from being provoked." How have we, the United States, provoked al-Qaeda?
REP. PAUL: Well, read what the lead--the ringleader says. Read what Osama bin Laden said. We had, we had a base, you know, in Saudi Arabia that was an affront to their religion, that was blasphemy as far as they were concerned. We were bombing Iraq for 10 years, we were--we've interfered in Iran since 1953. Our CIA's been involved in the overthrow of their governments. We're bought right now in the process of overthrowing that nation. We side more with Israel and Pakistan, and, and they get annoyed with this. How would we react if we were on their land--if they were on our land? We would be very annoyed, and we'd be fighting mad.
While Paul does make some legitimate points about our foreign policy and the CIA, his statement about us being in Saudi Arabia ignores the fact that we were invited to set up the base there. It's not as if we just packed up and moved in there. The implication of this is is that Paul says we ought to give more -- or at least as much -- consideration of what a terrorist mastermind like bin Laden desires than the legitimate government of a sovereign country.
I'm not certain what Paul means by "We side more with Israel and Pakistan"; perhaps he meant "than" in place of "and." Which would make sense, in terms of Paul's belief but also in terms of how it should be. Why should the U.S. be "even" in terms of how it deals with Israel and its Arab neighbors? I don't plan to lay out here just why that should be (since I've articulated it at Colossus numerous times already), but when you have numerous states (and their proxies) absolutely dedicated to the destruction of another state/people, that doesn't exactly warrant "even treatment" in my book.
UPDATE: Sheldon Richman at Liberty & Power was unimpressed with Paul's "MTP" effort.
MR. RUSSERT: And you actually go further. You said this. "Abolish the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency and dismantle every other agency except the Justice and Defense Departments." And then you went on. "If elected president, Paul says he would abolish public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies."
REP. PAUL: OK, you may have picked that up 20 or 30 years ago, it's not part of my platform. As a matter of fact, I'm the only one that really has an interim program. Technically, a lot of those functions aren't constitutional. But the point is I'm not against the FBI investigation in doing a proper role, but I'm against the FBI spying on people like Martin Luther King. I'm against the CIA fighting secret wars and overthrowing government and interfering...
MR. RUSSERT: Would you abolish them?
REP. PAUL: I would, I would not abolish all their functions, but I--the, the, the...
MR. RUSSERT: What about public schools? Are you still...
REP. PAUL: OK, but let's go, let's go with the CIA. They're, they're involved in, in, in torture. I would abolish that, yes. But I wouldn't abolish their right and our, our requirement to accumulate intelligence for national defense purposes.
There's a significant difference between abolishing the agencies and reforming them. Why not just tell Russert that you would significantly reform the CIA and FBI? I mean, the FBI spying on MLK is an event from forty years ago! Paul definitely doesn't score any points here for his lack of clarity on just what he'd do with two vital American agencies.
MR. RUSSERT: You mentioned September 11th, a former aide of yours, Eric Dondero said this. "When September 11th happened, he just completely changed," talking about you. "One of the first things he said was not how awful the tragedy was, it was, `Now we're going to get big government.'" Was that your reaction?
REP. PAUL: Well, I'm, I'm surprised somebody like that who's a disgruntled former employee who literally was put out. But, yes, thought...
MR. RUSSERT: He said he quit because he disagreed with you.
MR. RUSSERT: What about public schools?
REP. PAUL: That's what I'm trying to...
MR. RUSSERT: Are you still for...
REP. PAUL: No, I'm not--I've never, I've never taken the position--is it in my platform? And...
MR. RUSSERT: It was--when you ran for president in 1988, you called for the abolition of public schools.
REP. PAUL: I, I bet that's a misquote. I, I do not recall that. I'd like to know where that came from, because I went...
What Paul rebuts here certainly may be the case; however, the "disgruntled employee" line sounds petty, especially if you watched the interview on TV. (I actually happen to think that Paul's supposed expressed thoughts are not out of line as "one of the first things he said." It's a legitimate concern as a libertarian.) Then, there's a "misquote" about abolishing public schools and a demand to know where it came from. The problem is that Tim Russert isn't in the habit of utilizing specious sources.
Perhaps where Dr. Paul was made to appear most foolish was when Russert asked him about earmarks and term limits:
MR. RUSSERT: When I looked at your record, you talked about big government and how opposed you are to it, but you seem to have a different attitude about your own congressional district. For example, "Congress decided to send billions of dollars to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Guess how Ron Paul voted. `Is bailing out people" that choose--"that chose to live on the coastline a proper function of the federal government?' he asks." And you said no. And yet, this: "Paul's current district, which includes Galveston and reaches into" the "Brazoria County, draws a substantial amount of federal flood insurance payments." For your own congressional district. This is the Houston Chronicle: "Representative Ron Paul has long crusaded against a big central government. But he also" "represented a congressional district that's consistently among the top in Texas in its reliance on dollars from Washington. In the first nine months of the federal government's" fiscal "2006 fiscal year," "it received more than $4 billion." And they report, The Wall Street Journal, 65 earmark-targeted projects, $400 million that you have put into congressional bills for your district, which leads us to the Congressional Quarterly. "The Earmark Dossier of `Dr. No.' There isn't much that" Ron--Dr. "Ron Paul thinks the federal government should do. Apparently, though, earmarks" for his district "are OK. Paul is the sponsor of no fewer than 10 earmarks in the water resources bill," all benefiting his district. The Gulf Intercoastal Waterway: $32 million. The sunken ship you want to be moved from Freeport Harbor. The Bayou Navigation Channel. They talk about $8 million for shrimp fishermen.
REP. PAUL: You, you know...
MR. RUSSERT: Why, why would you load up...
REP. PAUL: You got it completely wrong. I've never voted for an earmark in my life.
MR. RUSSERT: No, but you put them in the bill.
REP. PAUL: I put it in because I represent people who are asking for some of their money back. But it doesn't cut any spending to vote against an earmark. And the Congress has the responsibility to spend the money. Why leave the money in the executive branch and let them spend the money?
MR. RUSSERT: Well, that's like, that's like saying you voted for it before you voted against it.
REP. PAUL: Nah! Come on, Tim. That has nothing to do with that.
MR. RUSSERT: If, if, if you put it in the bill and get the headlight back home...
REP. PAUL: No, I, I make the request. They're not in the bills.
MR. RUSSERT: ...and then you, then you know it's going to pass Congress and so you, you don't refuse the money.
REP. PAUL: Well, no, of course not. It's like taking a tax credit. If you have a tax credit, I'm against the taxes but I take all my tax credits. I want to get...
MR. RUSSERT: But if you were true...
REP. PAUL: ...the money back for the people.
MR. RUSSERT: If you were true to your philosophy, you would say no pork spending in my district.
REP. PAUL: No, no, that's not it. They steal our money, that's like saying that people shouldn't take Social Security money.
MR. RUSSERT: For...
REP. PAUL: I don't advocate that.
MR. RUSSERT: All right, let me ask you this...
REP. PAUL: I'm trying to save the system, make the system work.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you this...
REP. PAUL: But no, I think you have it all mixed up. Now, you're confused.
MR. RUSSERT: All right. It's all facts.
REP. PAUL: You're confused.
MR. RUSSERT: This is The Wall Street Journal. You load up the bills with special projects...
REP. PAUL: I--no, no, no. No, you don't.
MR. RUSSERT: You do. You do. You deny that you have, you have...
REP. PAUL: How many of them ever got passed? But the whole point is, we have a right and an...
MR. RUSSERT: They pass. You vote against them, but you take the money.
REP. PAUL: You don't quite understand.
MR. RUSSERT: OK.
To me, there's nothing more damaging than a candidate that does precisely what their professed philosophy denounces. Here we have Paul inserting earmarks into bills, but then he votes against them all the while with the knowledge that the bills will pass. His reasoning, such that it is, is just a poor excuse which basically says "The money is going to get spent anyway, so I might as well get a portion for my district."
MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask this. Term limits. You ran on term limits. "I think we should have term limits for our elected leaders." You've been in Congress 18 years.
REP. PAUL: But I never ran on voluntary term limits. There's a big difference. I didn't sign a pledge for a voluntary term limit. Matter of fact, some of the best people that I worked with, who were the most principled, came in on voluntary term limits. Some of them broke their promises, and some didn't, and they were very good people. So some of the good people left. And it's true, I, I didn't run on that, Tim, you're wrong on that. I support term limits. You know, I, I, and I voted all--we had 16 votes one time on term limits, and I voted yes for them.
MR. RUSSERT: Yeah.
REP. PAUL: But voluntary term limits is a lot different than compulsory term limits. It's good to have a turnover, but that isn't the solution either. It's the philosophy of government that counts. It's only...
MR. RUSSERT: But if you believe in the philosophy of term limits, why wouldn't you voluntarily...
REP. PAUL: Well, it's, it's one of those, it's one of those things that's not on--I mean, you don't see that out I'm campaigning on that. I mean, I don't think it's--I don't think it's the solution. Philosophy is the solution. What the role of government ought to be, so if you have a turnover and the same people come in and they believe in big government, nothing good is going to come of it.
Ugh. Just reread that last "answer" above. I don't know which is worse, this excuse of an answer, or the one regarding earmarks.
To be sure, Dr. Paul, in my opinion, scored big points with his replies about immigration, interpretation of the 14th Amendment, the Drug War, bringing American troops home, and the purpose of the Civil War. I encourage everyone to read them or, better yet, watch the interview. Reasonable people can debate the policy differences I've questioned in this post, but the sad thing is that Paul let those explanations, and the ones noted in this paragraph, get overshadowed by Russert exposing his hypocrisy on earmarks and term limits. These were devastating, in my view. It might not appear so in print (the transcript); this is why I encourage you to watch the interview.
Jonah Goldberg only beat me by one credit.
|I received 85 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz
How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
|Take the Sci-Fi Movie Quiz canon s5 is|
What the graphic doesn't say is what I was informed of at quiz's end: "You're an extreme sci-fi geek! You're probably wearing your very own homemade TRON costume right now!" Sorry, I ain't that bad; just a sci-fi movie buff with a pretty good memory!
My first impression as an educator is to say "no." The school's assistant principal informed the student, Bethany Laccone, and her father that the shirt violated the school's dress code against "bawdy, salacious or sexually suggestive messages." (Link.) The ACLU is taking up the case, which is not a surprise, but I'm inclined to agree with them on this one. I do not see anything "bawdy, salacious or sexually suggestive" about the shirt. What I do see is a benign political message about tolerance of homosexuals. What would have been "bawdy" etc. is two females kissing (or more), say, in addition to the symbols.
I tend to come down on the side of educators in similar situations (due to the potential for disruptions of the educational environment), but become more ambivalent when the situation involves pretty much outright political expression. It should also be noted that the asst. principal stated to Laccone's father that the teacher of one her classes is "'very conservative' and claimed she was so upset by the t-shirt that it 'interfered with her ability to teach.'" This is not a sufficient reason to ban the shirt, sorry. I've been offended by student shirts over my years but big deal -- I actually admired the cojones it took for the students to express themselves politically more than I was offended. Indeed, with the degree of apathy among today's youth, this feeling shouldn't be uncommon!
But here's a question I'd pose to the ACLU: If Laccone has worn a shirt featuring the two Venus symbols overlapped by a null symbol, would they still have jumped to her defense?
Al Qaeda? The Taliban? Iran? Hugo Chavez?
Nope. Present-day Arizona! Why? The state's new employer-sanctions law which takes effect the first of the year.
The voter-approved legislation is an attempt to lessen the economic incentive for illegal immigrants in Arizona, the busiest crossing point along the U.S.-Mexico border.
And by all appearances, it's starting to work.
"People are calling me telling me about their friend, their cousin, their neighbors -- they're moving back to Mexico," said Magdalena Schwartz, an immigrant-rights activist and pastor at a Mesa church. "They don't want to live in fear, in terror."
Martin Herrera, a 40-year-old illegal immigrant and masonry worker who lives in Camp Verde, 70 miles north of Phoenix, said he is planning to return to Mexico as soon as he ties up loose ends after living here for four years.
"I don't want to live here because of the new law and the oppressive environment," he said. "I'll be better in my country."
Maybe you will, Mr. Herrera. You'll certainly be welcome here, however, if you come legally. At any rate, just be thankful that you're not a Central American living illegally in your home country. That's when "fear," "terror" and "oppression" might actually have meaning.
Professor Judith Blau, a sociology(!) professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, had "her students hold a mock constitutional convention based on her assumption that our constitution is an inferior document." You might be wondering what the heck sociology has to do with American political and legal history. And the answer in the whole scheme of things is ... nothing! Check out the report by the Pope Center's Jay Schalin:
This constitutional convention took place on December 1 in Manning Hall on the UNC campus. Approximately 50 or 60 students were involved; they were either enrolled in Sociology 131: Social Relations in the Workplace or Sociology 273: Social and Economic Justice. (What else really needs to be said, eh?) Both classes are taught by Blau. The students' constitution was written "based on their analysis of other countries' constitutions and close study of international human rights law and doctrine."
The constitution's preamble reveals the convention's collectivist agenda, with clauses stating "all humans are interconnected and have a responsibility to act for the common good of all people," and "working for collective rights will create a more harmonious society."
The main body of the constitution consisted of 46 articles or basic rights, many with more specific rights included. They were presented ceremoniously at the convention; a student would solemnly approach the stage and then read a single article from the podium. Ten or twelve articles were presented at a time, in between speakers.
These proclaimed rights formed a litany of liberal causes, including abolition of the death penalty and the promotion of multiculturalism, gay marriage, and environmentalism. Some were quite far out on the fringes of the political spectrum, such as a right to euthanasia: "[E]lderly will have the right to choose life/death." Others seemed frivolous, even silly, such as the "Right to Leisure" or the "Rights to Sports and Art."
But embedded throughout the constitution was the belief that the government should pay, and the government should decide. For instance, the students' constitution grants the right to "affordable housing," "affordable contraception and abortion," universal health care insurance, free health care for children, and so on.
There you have it. Sounds like this "constitution" could be named the "New Man" document, or, to put it another way, a socialist's dream. Of course, this sort of ... project could only come about in a modern college classroom. I mean, take the "right to leisure" and "right(s) to sports and art." What do these mean? Does this mean a person can do absolutely nothing and still have the government pay everything for him (housing, healthcare, etc.)? But basic economics and human nature always get in the way of this. If too many people exercise their "right to leisure," this means that others will have to pick up their slack. And who would want to do that when they can see people doing zilch and getting away with it?
The bottom line is that this sort of "constitution" guarantees nothing but a LACK of personal freedom. The government gets to determine practically everything, based on what the collective "good" is. Again, Prof. Blau could only get away with this sort of nonsense inside the safe, cuddly womb of higher academia. This nonsense is the continued attempts to make practice out of a historically proven failure of a system.
Oh, you see, they only took their case to the [Canadian] Human Rights Commission after Macleans magazine refused to agree to these folks' demands that they get a cover story rebuttal to Mark Steyn's article, as well as full editorial control. (Link.) I like how National Review's Stanley Kurtz puts it:
Imagine NR, after publishing, say, a cover story critical of Al Gore's movie, being forced by a government body to allow Gore to write a cover story in rebuttal, with full editorial control. Imagine Gore running his legal case against NR for free, while NR is forced to shoulder court costs. And don't forget that Canada's Human Rights Commissions have the ability to compel apologies. Imagine NR's editors being forced by a government body to apologize to Al Gore for refusing to give him control over their own magazine, or even for the content of one of their critical articles.
This is truly beyond pathetic. Much of Europe has similar "human rights" commissions that exercise chilling prohibitions on speech deemed "offensive." So the next time you're being lectured on the "superiority" of our Western allies' cultures and political systems, just bring up a little thing called the First Amendment and ask that person why these "superior" societies don't have anything like it.
UPDATE: Catholics are now becoming a target of Canadian "human rights" commissions too because of their religious views of homosexuality.
Dave Burris of First State Politics offers the following:
Today is the day.
For the last seven months, I have been working diligently behind-the-scenes with a few magnificent Delawareans to create paradigm-shifting open-government legislation that we feel will change the landscape of Delaware's government forever.
The open government fight to this point has been waged on the "front end," with its focus on open meetings and open processes. While we support those efforts, what we want to do is put checks and balances on the back end, and empower the average citizen to be a watchdog of their government. It is a basic right-to-know issue.
Today, I am proud to announce that Sen. Charles Copeland and Rep. Greg Lavelle introduced the Delaware Taxpayer Coalition's "2008 Fiscal Transparency Package."
The leadership team of outstanding Delawareans who carved the path in creating this package:
Every bill will be filed in the Senate, because there's no use passing them in the House only to see them tossed in a drawer in the Senate. So at this point the onus is on the Senate.
Thanks go out to many others who participated, especially Sandra Fabry and Patrick Gleason from Americans for Tax Reform, for their guidance and for informing us about transparency reform in other states.
Here is a .pdf covering some of those state efforts.
Here is a comprehensive memo about similar efforts in other states, like Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Minnesota and Michigan.
Here is a .pdf of a letter to all 50 governors from Grover Norquist and Ralph Nader urging legislation like ours.
There will be much, much more to come as we work with Delawareans from all corners to push these bills through.
If the state does nothing else but pass these 5 bills, House Bill 4 and Steve Amick's resolution to end the desk-drawer veto, it will be the most successful legislative year for the people of the state of Delaware in a long time.
Check out the Missouri Accountability Portal for an example of a contract and vendor database.
Keep up the great work, Dave!
Kudos to Nancy Willing for picking this one up. Here we have some scumbag who terrorized an eleven year old girl, but that's still not enough for the idiotic News Journal to notify the public about the race of the suspect:
The man was described as between 40-50 years old with a mustache. He was dressed in black clothing, Navarro said.
This is NOT the complete description given by the girl. The News Journal selectively omitted the race of the man, which happens to be black. Here is the full description:
The subject is described as a black male between the ages of 40-50, wearing all black clothing and a mustache.
Thanks, News Journal, for not doing your job as a disseminator of information. You're more concerned about politically correct multiculti theory than the public's well-being. What does it take for you to provide a full description? A child actually being abducted? Would you give your writers "special dispensation" then??
When leftists like Nance are getting fed up with this garbage, you know it's beyond ridiculous. Keep at it, Nance.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are "The Courage to Do Nothing" by Big Lizards, and A Stand-up President by The Ornery American. There was actually a tie in the non-council category this week... the Watcher enjoyed both posts, but Orson Scott Card's defense of George W. Bush ultimately won him over. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|3||"The Courage to Do Nothing"|
|2 1/3||Separation of Church and State, Secularist Style|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|1 2/3||More on the Teacher Accused of Insulting Religion in His Class|
|1 1/3||Whatever Happened To Separation of Mosque and State?|
Rhymes With Right
|1||The Very Deep Thoughts of Mike Huckabee|
Right Wing Nut House
|2/3||Chávez Suspected of Foul Play|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|2/3||Fish Tales at the PA Aid Conference|
|1/3||I Bet Not|
Done With Mirrors
|3||A Stand-up President|
The Ornery American
|2||A Muslim American|
National Review Online
|1 1/3||Mearsheimer, Walt, and "Cold Feet"|
|1 1/3||Only a Few Months and Hours Together But Memories for a Lifetime.|
|1||The Pulpit and the Potemkin Village|
|2/3||In the End, There Can Only Be One|
The American Scene
|2/3||Manic Misinterpretations of Climate Change Capitulation by US in Bali|
|2/3||One on One: Debunking Dastardly Debate|
The Jerusalem Post
|2/3||Handle Huckabee with Care|
|1/3||What Does It Mean To Be a Responsible Adult: Quotes Worth Considering|
|1/3||A Blueprint for the Suppression of Dissent in Europe|
Gates of Vienna
And why not? He's the only one to actually fight the nightmare-inducing creature from the classic 1979 "Alien."
Kotto's just the guy we need to fight Islamic terrorists! Just ask the android Ash below:
Irene McNabb of Wilmington writes in today's News Journal:
Gov. Minner should get behind the wheel of an automobile. Maybe she would finally find out how terrible the roads are in this state.
I moved back to Delaware after being away for a while. I couldn't figure out why so many cars had only three hubcaps. Then I started driving around. Delaware has got to have some of the worst roads in the country. How bad do they have to become before something is done?
Anyone else drive down the "newly paved" Naamans Road recently? Inexplicably, over the last few weeks, DelDot crews were repaving an already nicely paved Naamans Rd. Not only did this inexplicable December pave-job tie up Christmas shopping traffic, but the results are absolutely pathetic. Last week, while traveling down this road I asked my daughter "Is that our tires?" She replied, "No, dad, check out the road!" It was early evening, and via the lights of oncoming traffic you could see the wavy grooves all throughout the "newly paved" Naamans Rd. Not only that, but all the work cones still remain on the roadside, and all the traffic lights along certain stretches are on "automatic." This means that the lights will "cycle" through in their entirety -- they'll turn red even if there's not a single vehicle exiting from a neighborhood adjacent to this major thoroughfare, and before turning green again, the lights will cycle through all turn arrows even if there's not a single car in those lanes.
This is the Minner-overseen DelDot at its "finest," people. Doing work that doesn't need to be done, ignoring work that needs to be done, doing a lousy job on unneeded work, and leaving their garbage all over the place after said lousy job.
Howard Berlin's "Delaware Voice" column today left me chuckling. I actually am varied in my opinions about the Joe Vento-Geno's Steaks controversy where owner Vento had a sign up that notified customers to "only speak English" when ordering. First, as a private business owner Vento should be able to essentially do as he wishes; however, the sign does come across as crass, harsh and perhaps even xenophobic, especially if tourists from other countries want to try a quite-famous Geno's steak. But what cracked me up was Berlin's own butchering of a Spanish phrase he recommends that Vento learn:
How hard would it be for him and his staff to learn a few Spanish words or phrases like: bisteak con queso un cebolla, per favor. Philly translation: cheesesteak with onions, please.
The actual grammatically correct phrase would be "Bistec con queso y cebollas, por favor." Berlin's spelling and gender agreement are both wrong in his "translation." (Compare the two translations to see the spelling boo-boos.) Literally, my [translated] phrase says "Steak with cheese and onions, please." (But as I always tell my students, you don't always literally translate. Of course, the common translation would be "Cheesesteak with onions, please.") Berlin's literally translated means "Steak with cheese an onion, please." Keep in mind that this isn't merely an omission of one letter like it would be in English ("an" leaving off the needed "d"). The Spanish word for "and" and "an" are nowhere near alike. That, and why would you want AN onion -- a whole onion -- sitting on your cheesesteak? Second, "cebolla" -- onion -- is a feminine noun in Spanish. This means the Spanish indefinite article "un" is incorrect. It should be "una."
Certainly, of course, if Vento and his staff knew Spanish, they'd be able to figure out Berlin's butchered phrase. But it's just a bit comical that Berlin, who wants Vento and co. to learn a bit of Spanish, wants 'em to learn incorrect Spanish!
Courtesy Mark at Comic Coverage -- THE best comics blog out there. And be sure to check out his utterly hilarious "Dr. Doom's Scary Santa Gallery"! Mark's a whiz at making knee-slapping graphics, and here's a taste:
This Ezra Levant article in the [Canadian] National Post is a must read for those who believe in a thing called "freedom."
Richard Greeley thinks he's giving Inquirer readers a history lesson in his letter criticizing Mitt Romney's speech on religion. He writes:
Your editorial "Church and state: Enlightening views" (Inquirer, Dec. 11) badly skewed Mitt Romney's speech on religion. What he did say is that he believes the Bible is the Word of God (he did not specify which bible). You also left out the major distinction between his speech and John F. Kennedy's. JFK said he believed unequivocally in the separation of church and state. Romney, on the other hand, said he believes religion should be a part of the "public square." Is that a new code phrase for putting the Ten Commandments in courthouses or does he envision every religious group placing its own maxims in public places? What a jumble of views.
In 1787, the founding fathers realized that each of the 13 colonies had, in effect, a different religious tradition. Thus the Constitution would never have been ratified if it had not specified the separation of church and state.
Let's leave religion in church, where it belongs.
Greeley is correct in that the 13 colonies had different religious traditions. But what he doesn't mention (maybe because he doesn't know) is that for years after the Constitution was ratified, many individual states still maintained their own state churches. That's right. For instance, Massachusetts didn't dismantle its state church until 1833, several decades after the Constitution was ratified. And it didn't do away with it due to some early 19th century ACLU; it was because of plain disinterest in the church. What was that about separation of church and state again, Rich?
In other words, Romney wasn't making an appeal to intertwine the [federal] state and religion at all. What he was saying is that the establishment clause doesn't disallow public displays of religion, at least as it's been determined in the last 50 years or so. Putting a Christmas tree up in front of a courthouse, or singing Christmas carols at a public school performance, for example, should not be "violations" of separation of church and state. A phrase by the way, you won't find in the Constitution.
Bold the ones you've done:
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
h03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason (as in given, yes)
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life
... that the Right has begun imitating them.
Via the Newsbusters tip line (which goes out to many contributors, not just me):
This web site is like your slut of a mother. Why not have a report on the animals that screwed the slut you call your mother.
Can you imagine the reaction -- from the press in particular, but also from the education establishment -- if the target here was any other religion?
A history teacher has been sued for making what one student calls anti-Christian comments in the classroom. The case has sparked a debate about the role a teacher's convictions should play in their lessons.
Capistrano Valley High School sophomore Chad Farnan and his parents filed the lawsuit against James Corbett last week.
They allege that Corbett's remarks during an advanced European history class violated a clause in the First Amendment that prohibits the government from promoting religious intolerance.
Court papers cited tape-recorded classroom comments that allegedly included Corbett saying, "When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth" and other remarks that troubled Farnan.
My emphasis. First off, the answer to the part about a teacher's convictions is a teacher should never part with his/her [political, religious] convictions in front of a class, especially a history class. Second, the plaintiffs don't know -- especially a student in an advanced European History class -- that the 1st Amendment doesn't have a clause "that prohibits the government from promoting religious intolerance"? Yikes.
But what gets me is the arrogance of the teacher in question and his supporters. One student said that Corbett "was being sarcastic 'to help prove a point.'" Right. By denigrating students' religion ("Jesus glasses"), and the majority one at that. Would that have been an acceptable response if the "point" included a jibe at, say, Islam?
Fellow history teacher Tom Airey supported Corbett too. "Corbett has been a powerful reminder to me that we 'Christians' do not have the monopoly on truth," he said. Why is "Christians" in quotes, I wonder? Is that another attempt at sarcasm? But the point is, who the hell cares that Corbett is a "powerful reminder" to you, Tom? The issue is why does he feel the need to make such "reminders" in class? Has any of his students expressed your very point Tom -- that Christians have a monopoly on truth? Even so, how is that unique to Christianity? Don't other religions also feel that their "word" is just and right?
Leftist academics seem to have this problem a lot. They feel that, since their beliefs are "right," "just" and "correct," they are free to express them at will. Who can object after all, right? IT'S THE TRUTH! But then, in the instances when they are called out for their silly utterances, they explain it's for "critical thinking" purposes, or just plain "truth." If you've read this blog for any length of time you know that I am very much for free speech including the academic arena. Ironically, it is the Left that gets its panties in a bunch over supposedly offensive speech (especially on campuses), but which also cries loudest about censorship and freedom of expression when a complaint from the Right appears. After all, if Corbett used "Mohammed" in his "sarcasm," CAIR would be on his ass so fast, and the MSM would be all over it almost as fast, as an example of religious intolerance. And I'd actually agree with offended Muslims in this [hypothetical] case, as a high school teacher doesn't -- and shouldn't -- have the same degree of freedom as a college professor. (It would still be an inappropriate thing to say in a college classroom too, but probably less actionable.) The comment was clearly offensive and if this teacher has a track record of such comments then the plaintiffs may have a case. There are easily other ways to make a point than by outright insulting students' religion(s). I couldn't even conceive of making such a comment in my classroom.
Speaking of Muslim students, a bunch of them are upset -- not about remarks made in a classroom setting, but by comments in a book (and reprinted in a magazine) and one they aren't even required to read.
Mark Steyn (at left) has been ordered to appear before Canadian judicial tribunal panels on charges tied to his book, America Alone, which argues that Western countries are losing out to Islamist imperialism.
Five Muslim law-school students have demanded that a magazine the reprinted part of the book be punished for spreading "hatred and contempt" for Muslims and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication.
A "guilty" verdict against the magazine would likely, as the editors of the New York Post write, "have a devastating impact on opinion journalism in Canada generally" — akin to the devastating impact the speech police have had on U.S. campuses.
Hopefully, you understand the difference between the two situations, right? Can you imagine if a cadre of American Pentecoastalists brought a lawsuit against Mr. Corbett? The MSM, leftist pundits and academia all over would howl about academic freedom, censorship, and "Look what George W. Bush has wrought."
The bad news is, things aren't looking good for Steyn. Steyn, who has pointed out in his writings the ridiculous cultural double standards in Canada and elsewhere, is seen as more the enemy than sharia law in the West. For example, bringing up the murder of Aqsa Parvez by her father for not wearing a hijab is only done by "high profile conservative columnists" who have been "particularly vigorous about highlighting these pathologies." The more-than-obvious utter brutality of the father's actions has been softened because, after all, we can't take a chance on upsetting a minority group.
This is what radical multiculturalism has brought us to, people. Horrible actions like "honor killings" and female genital mutilation are downgraded (again, see the immediate link above, and recall Whoopi Goldberg's rationalization of the Sudanese Muslims' anger at that British teacher who agreed to name a teddy bear "Mohammed") all the while the criticism of such actions are deemed so "offensive" that people must be prosecuted for that criticism.
The ultimate warning label: "Danger: Avoid Death." It was found on a small tractor. Unbelievable.
If you can actually come up with that label, here are a couple more that make a bit more sense:
1. When you click here, a window should appear that says "Warning: Don't Think."
2. When you click this link, you should get a brief, temporary redirect to the WebMD site with the notice "Warning: Have Prozac Handy."
OK, here's the deal: A guy is doing contracting work in a woman's home. Upon gutting some walls he discovers a total of $182,000 in cash stashed away inside. Now, he's suing to keep the money. But ... it was inside the woman's house, not his. He was just doing a job.
Greedy bastich. If he wasn't such a d***, he'd have probably gotten a decent reward.
I'm sorry, but this Dave Chappelle skit just kills me. Really. I laughed so hard the first few times I saw it I really thought I would die. I must've seen it about 50 times now and I still laugh like a nut. Caution: If you're ... sensitive to [racial] epithets, you might not wanna watch.
I got a kick out of the following, forwarded to me by blog-buddy Greg:
To All My Democrat Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
To My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
In the meantime, enjoy this article from the Tennessean.com about the "murky waters" of the 1st Amendment and public schools. This should come as no surprise:
"People tend to carry around two failed models in their head," Haynes said. "Either we keep religion entirely out of public schools or we keep on doing what we used to do in the good old days and promote religion in school."
Because of those failed models, schools end up making poor decisions when it comes to religion.
The school allowed other groups on campus, so the Millers thought the Praying Parents meetings were perfectly legal. However, the group became the focus of a federal lawsuit.
In September, the ACLU claimed that by allowing the Praying Parents on campus, Wilson County school officials had violated the constitutional separation of church and state.
Hopefully, the ACLU will lose. It's my understanding that religious groups have the same rights to use public facilities as any other group. Ever watch cable access channel 28 (fellow northern Delawareans, that is)? A ministry and its congregation are televised from Mt. Pleasant High School, a public school in Wilmington.
Yes, being the sci-fi fanatic that I am, I hit the opening day offering of the Will Smith-as-protagonist remake of the Richard Matheson novel. As a young boy, I recall being royally freaked out by the first remake of the movie based on Matheson's work, "The Omega Man" starring Chuck Heston. (The original film was 1964's "The Last Man On Earth" starring Vincent Price ... I haven't seen it but will certainly check it out shortly.) I think I first caught the Heston flick on a Saturday night on old UHF channel 17 (pre-cable days, natch) and alone downstairs in the semi-dark I got the willies as Chuck drove through a deserted Los Angeles working his way around rotted corpses whilst searching for supplies, etc. Germ warfare between the [old] USSR and Red China resulted in a mass plague, and those that weren't killed outright are either naturally immune or turned into light-hating albinos. These albinos are also somehow "transformed" into Luddites who blame Heston for everything wrong with civilization, and hence are always attempting to kill him.
"Legend" takes place in New York City where a scientist touts the cure for cancer has arrived. It is based on a genetically-engineered virus that -- initially -- has a 100% cure rate. Unfortunately, the virus then mutates, and eventually kills 90% of the world's population. Like "Omega Man," the survivors are either immune or transformed into light-averse recluses. But "Legend's" light-haters are also incapable of handling UV rays, are unusually strong and fast, and have a taste for flesh. In other words, vampires. Smith is Robert Neville, who has been working on a cure for some three years. He has remained in the Big Apple since day zero with his trusty German Shepherd, Sam.
I was actually disappointed with some of the CGI in the flick. The head vampire's (in particular) effects were easily distinguishable as computer-generated, and the vampires' movements were way too fast for beings infected with a plague (or anything for that matter). However, the scenes of a deserted NYC were extraordinary. I think one review I read said that the vampires were too much like the infected in "28 Days Later"; I agree. In addition, there was a neat nod to "Blade" whereby Smith (and later, Alice Braga) use gerry-rigged UV light emitters to fry any vampires when they're attacked during night time hours.
Speaking of Braga, when she and a child appear (to save Smith's life after an apparent suicide-by-vampire attack), there is a way-too curious lack of interaction between the two (adults, that is). After all, Smith has been alone for three years and has been broadcasting a message daily to anyone who might be alive elsewhere on the planet. (Braga had heard the message and made the trip to find Smith.) When the two (three, if you include the young boy) are together in Smith's home, there is no sense of need ... no hugging, touching, and for Smith and Braga no lovemaking. Even in "Omega Man," Heston didn't hesitate to hit the sack with Rosalind Cash once they found one another. (And in this case it was pretty groundbreaking -- it was 1971 and Heston and Cash, a white man and black woman ... naked together in bed ... and doing it??)
The ending was pretty much what I was expecting, which is to say I was a little disappointed. The second half of the film seemed a bit incoherent and rushed, which by contrast made the first half seem too long with numerous drawn-out and unnecessary scenes.
Out of four stars I give "I Am Legend" two.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Pearl Harbor... And 9/11 by Joshuapundit, and Men of Valor: Part IV by Michael Yon. There was actually a tie in the council category this week... the Watcher enjoyed both posts, but Freedom Fighter's comparison between Pearl Harbor and 9/11 ultimately won him over. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|3||Pearl Harbor... And 9/11|
|2||A Deeply Flawed NIE Changes Nothing & Everything|
|1 2/3||What the NIE on Iran's Nuclear Weapons Development Doesn't Say|
The Glittering Eye
|1 1/3||Release of Iran NIE a Remarkable Testament to American Exceptionalism|
Right Wing Nut House
|1 1/3||Explaining American Jews' Love for Israel and America|
|1||Hoodwinkers and Their Codependents: In Search of Intelligent Intelligence on Iran|
|2/3||U.S. "Stingy" on Foreign Aid|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|1/3||Another Sign: Islam Is a Human Rights Violation|
Rhymes With Right
|3||Men of Valor: Part IV|
|2||What Happens After the Surge|
|1 1/3||What Iran's "Victory" Means|
|1||Iran NIE and a Prediction|
Middle East Strategy at Harvard
|1||In Politics Values Matter, Not Theology|
|1||William Katz: New National Intelligence Estimate|
|2/3||Exclusive IPT Investigation Uncovers HLF Jury Room Bullying|
The Investigative Project on Terrorism
|2/3||2007: Now, With Fewer Menorah Vandalizations, But More Anti-Semitism|
|1/3||Ineffective and Pointless -- But Very Costly|
Thanks to Paul Smith Jr. for pointing to this site. Here you'll find Marvel's Chuck Norris and his Karate Kommandos! Yeesh, can you think of anything lamer than this?? (Yeah, maybe that pathetic "CN" logo on Chuck's chest!)
The sad thing is that this tripe was penciled by the legendary Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man. I don't believe he did that cover above, but here's some of his inside work:
How far the mighty can fall, eh? Ouch.
Conservative columnist Mark Steyn is in legal trouble in Canada because he has been critical of [radical] Muslims, and Canada's "human rights" commission has deemed his language somehow intolerably bigoted. Canada doesn't have a 1st Amendment, and somehow (I know it seems way wacky to us Yanks) a Steyn-scribed column in MacCleans brought a complaint to the British Columbia Human Rights Commission (a misnomer if there ever was one). In other words, Steyn is in hot water because he's not a Lawrence O'Donnell.
The media (ours and elsewhere) and Canada itself suffer from O'Donnell-ing. As Steyn points out in The Corner today, check out how various outlets have "reported" on an "honor killing" of a [Muslim] daughter by her father (in Toronto). The daughter refused to wear a hijab.
The Washington Post headline: Canadian Teen Dies; Father Charged Oh, she just "died." Got it.
Mohamed Elmasry, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress: "I don't want the public to think that this is really an Islamic issue or an immigrant issue... It is a teenager issue." Elmasry, by the way, is the one who filed the complaint against Steyn. Gotta love it.
Canada's Number One news anchor Lloyd Robertson: "Her neck was compressed, to the point she couldn't breathe." This takes semantics to a whole new level.
The Montreal Gazette: Muhammed Parvez might have been fighting a losing battle trying to make Aqsa wear a hijab, but that hardly sets him apart. Few are the fathers, of any faith or none, who have not clashed with their adolescent daughters over something...
Indeed. I've clashed with my teenage daughter quite often over just the last few months, mind you. But y'know what? The thought of strangling her -- oh, excuse me, "compressing her neck" -- NEVER F***ING ENTERED MY MIND!!!!
Probably the best example of the hypocrisy I've seen recently regarding waterboarding came Tuesday night on "The O'Reilly Factor." Bill had a two pundits on, one against the procedure and one for it (when necessary, to be precise), and to the former Bill asked point blank: Would you waterboard someone to save the life of your child? The response? I'd do ANYTHING to save the life of my child, but ...
"But what?" O'Reilly asked.
The [Democrat] pundit went on to explain how President Bush shouldn't be allowed to use the procedure against terrorists in order to save American lives. But, she'd use it to save her child's life.
Let that sink in a moment.
There are a lot of people who feel as this woman. They'd rather let hundreds, even thousands of people perish in a terrorist attack rather than "torture" a terrorist for information that can prevent the attack. They insist that waterboarding doesn't work even though it's been proven it already has, that no matter what the procedure should never be used, and to claim the procedure might be necessary (to save lives) is merely engaging in "scare tactics" and "paranoia."
Fortunately, it seems those who read CNN.com have quite a bit more common sense than these wine spritzer-sipping peons:
As of 9am yesterday morning their online poll shows that the public believes waterboarding is acceptable in certain circumstances. Exactly. Like if there is reliable intel of an imminent terrorist attack, maybe.
He's afraid to criticize Islam. That's BDS-infected Lawrence O'Donnell, that is, who had the following convo with radio host Hugh Hewitt (my emphasis):
HH: Would you say the same things about Mohammed as you just said about Joseph Smith?
LO'D: Oh, well, I'm afraid of what the…that's where I'm really afraid. I would like to criticize Islam much more than I do publicly, but I'm afraid for my life if I do.
HH: Well, that's candid.
LO'D: Mormons are the nicest people in the world. They're not going to ever…
HH: So you can be bigoted towards Mormons, because they'll just send you a strudel.
LO'D: They'll never take a shot at me. Those other people, I'm not going to say a word about them.
HH: They'll send you a strudel. The Mormons will bake you a cake and be nice to you.
LO'D: I agree.
HH: Lawrence O'Donnell, I appreciate your candor.
Despite the asininity of it all, it is refreshing to see a pundit admit he's actually afraid to [rightly] bash [radical] Islam. So, we'll never see O'Donnell go off on Muslims like he did Mormons. In other words, we should take what a moron like O'Donnell says with less than a grain of salt.
But the biggest losers in the long run from Singleton’s approach will be minority students, not the white teachers that Singleton scapegoats for poor performance by minority students ... Singleton doesn’t just humiliate white teachers. He also promotes stereotypes about minority children that could aggravate the minority achievement gap.
Singleton claims that “white talk” is “verbal,” “intellectual” and “task-oriented,” while “color commentary” is “emotional” and “personal.” That’s exactly the sort of racist stereotype that contributes to the poor performance of some minority students, who believe that studying is “acting white.”
The fact that Singleton puts a superficially positive spin on this negative stereotype (by claiming that whites’ focus on achievement is coldly “impersonal” and “task-oriented”) makes it all the more seductive to those minority students who already perceive studying as “acting white” and being a “grind” (and who taunt studious classmates of their own race by referring to them as “schoolboy,” “schoolgirl” and “little miss perfect”).
Bader further compares Singleton's "theories" to those of Leonard Jeffries, former head of the Black Studies Department at the City University of New York.
Via the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) we are to be informed that parents aren't doing enough to ensure that their children get into college.
In Middle School.
Far too few parents of middle-school students are doing what they need to do to ensure their children can go on to college, with the parents of minority and disadvantaged students being especially likely to lag in such preparation, according to a report being released here today by the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
The report, based on a national survey of 1,800 parents of children in sixth through eighth grade, says that 87 percent of such parents fully expect their children to go on to college, and that fewer than 1 percent are certain that college is not in the cards for their young ones. Although the researchers found that some subsets of the population—such as Hispanic Americans and parents without a high-school diploma—were less likely than others to be confident their children would go on to college, overwhelming majorities of all of the groups studied had college expectations, reflecting a widespread belief that a college education is necessary to get ahead in today's world.
When, however, it comes to taking the steps necessary to plan to finance a college education and make sure their children will be academically prepared for college, many parents admit to dropping the ball, the survey found.
The report says 45 percent of such parents had not taken any of the college-planning actions the survey asked about, such as looking into the college-admissions process, doing research on specific colleges, or meeting with a teacher or counselor to make sure their child was adequately preparing for college in the years ahead.
"More than a third of parents reported having no sources of information on college preparation or admission," the report says, and those with lower levels of education were much less likely than the better educated to have such information access.
The most common step for parents to have taken was saving for their child's college education, but just 34 percent of all parents had started putting money aside. The likelihood of parents saving for their child's college education varied drastically by education level; 55 percent of parents with a graduate degree, but just 22 percent of those without a high-school diploma, had done so.
And while 94 percent of all parents believed their children would get financial aid for college, only 11 percent had done any research into what types of financial aid might be available.
And so on and so forth.
Now, don't get me wrong. "Getting into college" (read broadly -- as the people who wrote this article are doing -- as making something of your life) requires that you start early. Taking the SAT's, for example, is something that you need to start prepping for in 2nd grade. Not by taking test prep courses, but by studying and reading. The education of a child is an ongoing, long-term project that requires effort early, effort in the middle, and effort at the end.
But that's not what these fools are talking about. They aren't saying that parents are dropping the ball on making sure that their kids have studied, that their kids know how to read, write, multiply, etc. They aren't saying that parents aren't stressing the importance of memorization and synthesis.
They're saying that parents are dropping the ball by not looking into financial aid, looking into admissions, etc.
This is material that is entirely inappropriate for parents to be considering when their children are in middle school. It's not necessary for Johnny to get into the right pre-school so he can get into the right kindergarten so he can get into the right elementary school so he can get into the right junior high school so he can get into the right high school so he can go to Harvard (and such a course is beyond the means of most of the parents with which the article is concerned, anyway). That sort of hyper-anxiety is bad for the family, bad for the kid, and generally bad.
But it's also not appropriate to start worrying about admissions processes (something that takes a few days research AT MOST) when the kid is in eighth grade. Stress academics, sure. Make sure the kid stays out of trouble.
But don't listen to the alarmist views in this article.
Welcome to the first (and hopefully not last!) Colossus-hosted edition of the Carnival of Education. Muchas gracias to the Education Wonks, fellow members of the illustrious Watcher's Council, who asked us if we'd be willing to host one!
Inside the School & Classroom:
Principled Discovery notes that school is safer than home, and has Bureau of Justice stats to prove it.
Music teacher Nancy at Teacher in a Strange Land details how she's dealing (and has dealt) with religiously-themed songs during the holiday season.
The Young Writers' Blog has a couple entries this time out. Rebecca contemplates her visit to a Brooklyn school to teach a writing workshop to "level 1" writers. Dan reflects on procrastination and deadlines regarding his playwriting.
Ms. Mize of Random Thoughts of a Teacher describes her experience in a French language immersion classroom. Yeah, why were the kids speaking English??
The Baglady recounts a sixth grade lesson from her days in Hawaii -- the "Cost of Living in Paradise." Reminds me a lot of a unit I had back in 'ol Metro Studies class.
Pat over at Successful Teaching hears that employers want her "to teach the students how to work as a team." Hence, we read how she introduces cooperative learning to her students.
Ah -- school newspaper and yearbook deadlines. I know 'em well 'cause I ran my school's yearbook for eight years. January and February are trying times! "Richie" over at Bellringers shares her anecdotes regarding such.
Mamacita at Sheiss Weekly reminisces about the days she baked cookies for the kids her hubby has now in HS calculus. ¡Qué sabroso que suena!
Bill over at The Tempered Radical discusses the use of wikis by students.
Ever hear of "Show Beyond"? Me neither. It's a "free web application that allows you to create slideshows with audio." Larry Ferlazzo highly recommends it.
The illustrious Education Wonks write that US students aren't comparing well with others. It ain't pretty.
Judy at Consent of the Goverened dissects the state of Connecticut's proposed requirements for high school graduation.
Shiloh Musings cogitates on how Israelis must take four separate exams in order to pass English. They say the testing system there "resembles Frankenstein's monster on steroids, but [it's] a lot more expensive." Ouch.
EduWonkette muses on the NYC Comissioner of Schools' rationale for closing some schools. (There's a "High School for Social Justice"? Whoa.)
Higher Ed. Tidbits:
David Ng confabulates college study habits during exam time. As a comicbook aficionado, I liked the dude who wore a bedsheet as a cape and shouted "I AM CAPTAIN PROCRASTINATOR!"
The Campus Grotto is offering tips on how to up that college admissions essay. A key line: "The admissions essay is even more important if your grades aren't top notch." Indeed!
Scenes from a Battleground pontificates about days off teachers get in Britain to celebrate the "Cult of INSET."
Hey teachers -- in that emotional/philosophical "rut" that usually pops up at least once per year? Check out Wakish Wonderz's post about what a "true" teacher is!
Sharp Brains muses over Memory, Cognitive Abilities and Executive Functions.
EdWiz wonders if the charter school movement is returning to its progressive roots. The big issues: capacity and professionalism.
Going to the Mat says "Public Education Is A Business Deal -- Parents Are Becoming Better Consumers." He writes "The problem of course is that in a public school setting, the marketplace does not exist to move your child to a different service provided, except for the demand to have the child moved to another class." If I may add, this situation varies from state to state. Here in Delaware we have [public] school choice (statewide) and a bevy of charters. You can choice your child into any [public] school in any district, provided there's room (which there usually is).
One of my favorite all-around (but especially education) bloggers -- that's Darren at Right on the Left Coast -- asks "What Does CTA Do For Its Teachers?" I totally dig where you're coming from, D; I've written a few posts in the past asking similar questions about the national NEA.
Uber ed-blogger Joanne Jacobs offers up "All Brains are Gray and Wrinkly" which cites Richard E. Nisbett's research that race is pretty much irrelevant when its comes to IQ.
Don't smile before Christmas?? Say what? That's what Joel at So You Want to Teach? was offered as advice for this time of the year. I liked Joel's entry in particular 'cause it seems he and I are a lot alike. I joke around all the time and it's served me quite well in my 17 years in terms of class management and academic achievement. He writes,
Laughter makes learning more memorable. If you have a natural sense of humor, then you can really increase learning by throwing in a few laughs here and there. It works!
Perfectly stated! Elsewhere on his blog, Joel serves up "50 Reasons to Love Your Job as a Teacher." Great list! A few stuck out for me: #13 (My coworkers are great); #15 (When I am finally able to actually teach, I feel very rewarded when that little light bulb goes off); #22 (I love getting to know the kids and I especially love having siblings come up and watching the family grow; it is a real privilege to be part of people’s lives like that); #30 (I seem to be good at it ); and #49 (It’s something like a mix of game show host, stand up comedian, dad, vaudeville juggler, and sports play-by-play commentator).
RAD or "Reactive Attachment Disorder" is a relatively new diagnosis particularly found in foster children. Mrs. T examines the disorder and what can be done about it.
Arts for all!! Gary Stager makes the case for the maintaining of the arts in school. Count me in your corner, Gar. I'm a right-brained fella myself.
Kindergarten math success the greatest predictor of future academic success? So says a new study by the Journal of Development Psychology. Creating Lifelong Learners delves into this study.
The Science Goddess over at What It's Like On The Inside digs an article in Edutopia about "Building a Better Teacher." I agree with her -- too many teacher prep programs are woefully inadequate. Mine wasn't all it could have been, that's for sure.
Dave Saba fills you in on how more $$ can get flowing into education over at American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence.
Dawn over at Day by Day Homeschooling has been perusing the teacher blogs lately. She came across a post that got her to think about the differences of experiences between students at traditional schools, and those who are homeschooled.
Linsey at the Parenting Squad gets asked if "school has let out early" when she's out during the day with her daughter. Nope -- she homeschools! Here's a bit of why she decided to go the homeschool route.
Labels. Schools use 'em (tracking, heterogeneous grouping, etc.), but what's it mean for homeschoolers? Stephanie at Life Without School takes a look.
Henry at Why Homeschool gives ... well, one reason why: simple politics. He discusses an interesting new book by Gil Sewall, head of the American Textbook Council. I met Gil once back in 2000 when he came to speak to the Delaware Textbook Assessment Committee, of which I was a member. He's quite knowledgable.
That's it! Thanks for stopping by! Next week's Carnival will be back at the Education Wonks. Submissions can be sent to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net. You can also use the ever-handy submission form The deadline is Tuesday, (December 18th) no later than 9:00 PM (Eastern) 6:00 PM (Pacific).
Jorge Castañeda, Mexico's former foreign minister and now a Global Distinguished Professor at New York University, writes in Newsweek that Venezuelan proto-dictator Hugo Chávez hardly wanted to abide by the results of the recent nationwide referendum. Indeed, he wanted to overturn the actual results and only backed down because the military threatened to toss him out in a coup if he persisted in "winning" the vote:
But by midweek enough information had emerged to conclude that Chávez did, in fact, try to overturn the results. As reported in El Nacional, and confirmed to me by an intelligence source, the Venezuelan military high command virtually threatened him with a coup d'état if he insisted on doing so. Finally, after a late-night phone call from Raúl Isaías Baduel, a budding opposition leader and former Chávez comrade in arms, the president conceded—but with one condition: he demanded his margin of defeat be reduced to a bare minimum in official tallies, so he could save face and appear as a magnanimous democrat in the eyes of the world.
Now, I don't know if Castañeda is telling the truth and/or from where he gets his info. What I do know is that many of those on the Left are quite quick to jump on the bandwagon that Chávez is somehow a "model democrat" for, first, offering that ridiculous quantity of items for voters to vote on (which would have dramatically increased and consolidated his political powers), and second, for believing without reservation that Chávez wouldn't even attempt to influence the vote by whatever means available to him.
Some even claim that Chávez's model for democracy is superior to that of the US's. I can only imagine these same folk invoking the title "model democrat" for George Bush if he held a national referendum which contained the items found on the recent Venezuelan ballot. Can you hear the screams from Kos and the crowd if Bush put to a vote (I guess I should say "attempted to put to a vote" because in actuality there's no way he could actually do so) things like the following:
And, interestingly, if the above (among many others) were approved, there was another section in the same "block" that would have made it significantly more difficult to initiate a grassroots popular referendum! So, you see, if you had second thoughts about granting Hugo all those new powers, it'd a be a lot tougher than ever before to get a popular referendum to change it at a later time!
To begin with, George Bush couldn't even legitimately contemplate such a referendum because there is simply no way to do so within the means of our 218 year old Constitution. To make any changes in the how many times a president can run for office, or what/how a chief executive can do in terms of "nationalization" clearly requires a constitutional amendment. This is a laborious process, and for good reason: It had better be a damn good idea to necessitate a major governmental change. Such a proposal must pass both houses of Congress by a 2/3 vote (or 2/3 of all state legislatures), and then 3/5 of all the states must approve of the idea. If George Bush got ultra-tricky and thought he could pull something off like what Chávez did, he'd be shot down in the court system faster than Mike Matthews tosses off the "F" word. The ruling would be simple, and in essence would say that "Bush has to utilize the amendment process." To compare a purely democratic system (Venezuela's) to that of the US's (representative republic) means that one does not offer ample protections for minorities (political, especially, but not limited to racial, ethnic, etc.). In other words, we're talking about the proverbial mob/dictatorial rule.
In addition, this same Left, who clamored for weeks after the 2000 [and especially] 2004 elections about electronic voter fraud (perpetrated by the GOP, of course), immediately vouches for the legitimacy of Venezuelan elections/votes. The recent (and past, 2004) Venezuelan vote certainly may be legitimate. I am not making a case that it definitely is (and was) not. Some on the Left have noted that the Venezuelan electronic voting system gives a verifiable paper receipt, unlike the United States (with the exception of one state, Nevada) in 2004. (Of course, Venezuela didn't begin using these machines until Aug. of 2004 anyway.) But if you read carefully, it's only certain machines (in Venezuela) that utilize these paper receipts. In the United States, not only may different states use different voting methods, different voting methods may be used within states. Nevertheless, paper receipts with electronic machines are hardly a guarantee of fraud-free voting. Venezuela has a long history of vote fraud, and 2004's recall election experienced quite a bit of it as well. Venezuela's [current] electoral authority is dominated by Chavistas (electronic voting expert Rebecca Mercuri, regarding the 2004 recall vote, "commended Smartmatic's -- the co. that makes the voting machines -- ability to print hardcopy ballots, but criticized the Venezuelan election committee for only taking random samples of the actual ballots rather than a complete manual audit") and Smartmatic's president himself states forthrightly how problems (fraud) can occur with his machine.
Further, does anyone else recall the Left's claims about the exit poll results (in favor of John Kerry) in the 2004 election and how they ended up being incorrect? It meant there had to be a GOP plot to "steal" the election. Amazingly, exit polls in Venezuela's 2004 recall election had Chávez losing the vote by a whopping percentage -- 59%. But the actual vote was only 42% favoring Chávez's recall, a huge 17% difference (much larger than the difference between the polls-results in the US 2004 vote). What did the Left say about this Venezuela poll-results issue? Either they point out that international observers stated the vote was fair, or the exit polls were done by opposition operatives. Oh.
Again, keep in mind that I bring these facts up NOT as an accusation of definitive Chávez vote fraud. I am on record as supporting a return to paper ballots in the US or a mode of voting that leaves virtually NO question as to what the voters' intent was. What I do question is the rapidity of the Left to jump to the defense of people like Chávez -- whose quest for power consolidation is beyond blatantly obvious -- all the while castigating the GOP and George Bush for their "fraud"-like actions (like in Ohio in 2004, for instance). It transcends amazement that a political and governmental system laced with myriad checks and balances like which the United States possesses is given less credence than one that can be changed at a whim -- Venezuela's.
It's just plain farcical.
On Wednesday we here at Colossus will be hosting the weekly Carnival of Education! If you have a blog story relevant to the topic at hand, send it our way by 6:00pm EST tomorrow (Tuesday).
Yeah, right. But consider the actual reaction:
A posh food store in New York's Greenwich Village has found itself red faced after offering hams for sale with the slogan "Delicious for Hanukkah," the current Jewish religious holiday.
The non-kosher labelling was spotted at the weekend by Manhattan novelist Nancy Kay Shapiro, 46, who decided instead of alerting management to take a picture of the unorthodox sign and post it on the Internet.
"I just thought it was funny," Shapiro, who described herself as an unobservant Jew, told the New York Post. "I wasn't offended in any way. I just thought, here's somebody who knows nothing about what Jews eat."
By the time Shapiro returned to the store on Tuesday, the first night of Hanukkah, the signs had vanished, the newspaper reported.
A manager at the Balducci's gourmet grocery store told the newspaper that the sign was a mistake and blamed it on a stock clerk. (Link.)
Now, isn't this how people are supposed to react to an innocent mistake?
Including overseas detention sites and the use of waterboarding. (Link.) Among the Democrats being so informed: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Let's see Nance, what precisely has happened since 2002 that you and your nutty co-horts have raised all sort of hell about this?
It's spelled "B.D.S."
In today's News Journal we read the following the sentence about the Sparrow Run community in Bear:
Today, the historically black community finds itself struggling to cope with yet another concern: a rapid influx of Latino immigrants that has provoked racial and cultural tensions.
My emphasis, of course. I can just imagine the PC officer at the News Journal agonizing over how to phrase not only the above, but practically the whole article. Summer Harlow probably had to rewrite her column at least 20 times and gotten several "special dispensations" for various paragraphs and sentences.
But consider: Can you imagine the News Journal writing a story where the terms "black" and "Latino" were switched to "white" and "black" respectively?
If you said "yes," you probably also think the Pope is a Muslim.
You know, you really have to wonder about the mental health of some people. Steve Ward of Bear demonstrates his BDS (that's "Bush Derangement Syndrome") in today's WNJ (my emphasis):
It was a breach in national security and unconstitutional behavior from day one that put him [George Bush] in office in the first place. The spread of democracy internationally in Russia, Pakistan, Venezuela, and ours included has led to a list of leaders who do not want to relinquish their hold on power. Isn't this a contradiction of democracy, and if so what kind of an example do we set.
*Sigh* I'd love to ask Steve exactly what "breach of security" and "unconstitutional behavior" "put" Bush into office, but I just know I'd probably end up pounding my head into a brick wall over the extreme inanity of the answer. And sheesh, even if Bush didn't want to "relinquish" the presidency, what could he really do? Further, isn't it the public's fault for re-electing him, after all? Not so, says Steve:
The American people are no longer in control of their own destiny. Our inability to contain our leaders politically, on an economic level, and even spiritually becomes more evident daily as our culture continues to decline. It has only taken less than eight years to realign the lives of millions for an excuse which there is no excuse for, greed. Our president has put a new face on democracy at our expense. Not only is he giving us no hope to reverse a global warming trend due to non-compliance but also no hope to reverse the damage done to our country.
Hey Steve -- how does the public have an "inability" to contain our political leaders? We have the ability every four years (president), two years (representative) and six years (senator) at the friggin' ballot box, you lunkhead. To blame President Bush (or any political leader) for the public supposedly "not being in control of their destiny" is only BDS (and derangement in general) at its pinnacle. Blame the public for their virtually complete apathy and their refusal to do anything about it, not the leaders THEY freely choose.
Oh, and lastly, the tired old canard about global warming and "non-compliance" is pure fantasy when it comes to blaming George Bush. The Senate passed a resolution (by a vote of 95-0) informing then-President Clinton that the Kyoto Treaty would not be passed if he signed it. This resolution included the votes of noted liberals Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barbara Boxer.
(I know, I know ... but it's still Bush's fault!)
That left me scratching my head over this sentence a bit further down in the article: Penn "has donated $4,600 to John Edwards' campaign and $2,300 to Kucinich."
Back in August we were given proof that the Wilmington News Journal is a whopper when it comes to political correctness. Here is but a glimpse of what this policy says:
Our policy is not about being politically correct, it's about being accurate. Race is such an unreliable descriptor. What race is Halle Berry or Tiger Woods or Jennifer Lopez? They are extreme examples, but project them onto everyday people and you see the problem.
This doesn't seem to apply, though, when the suspect is Caucasian. Case in point: Terri Sanginiti's article on a carjacking in Hockessin yesterday:
The witness described the suspect as a middle-age white man, slender built, about 6-feet-3 inches tall, with a light-colored goatee and square framed glasses. He was wearing blue jeans, a navy-colored jacket, knit hat, gloves and a scarf partially covering his face.
Say what? But I thought that "race is such an unreliable descriptor"!! Naturally, as BadIdeaGuy over at Target Rich Environment said (and to whom the hat tip for this story goes), I applaud Ms. Sanginiti for finally giving the public a full description of a criminal suspect. But I e-mailed her to ask her why the apparent change in policy. Her reply? She got "special dispensation" from her editors. When I asked her just why she got this "special dispensation," she said that each case "is different and has to be discussed with an editor." She also said that it is "primarily dependent on the amount of details in the description provided that is considered."
Is it me or does "has to be discussed with an editor" sound more like "has to be discussed with our PC officer"? And as we all know, PC doesn't apply to people of a particular hue, now, does it?
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Of Islamist Foxes and British Chickens by Wolf Howling, and Teddy Muhammad by Pierre Tristam's Middle East Issues Blog. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2 1/3||Of Islamist Foxes and British Chickens|
|2||FBI Rebuts CAIR Scare Tactics|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|1 2/3||Two Different Worlds|
|1 2/3||Greatest Generation|
Done With Mirrors
|1 1/3||The Politics of Immigration|
The Glittering Eye
|1||If the Huck Wins, the Right Loses|
Right Wing Nut House
|1||Bush Signals Iran: US Military Option Off The Table|
|2/3||Bored Now; Turn the Page|
|1/3||The Teddy Bear That Blasphemed|
The Education Wonks
|2 1/3||Teddy Muhammad|
Pierre Tristam's Middle East Issues Blog
|2||The 2nd Annual Worst Quotes From The Daily Kos (2007 Edition)|
Right Wing News
|1 2/3||UNRWA and Palestinian Suffering|
The Volokh Conspiracy
|1 2/3||Synthetic Biology -- The Next Proliferation|
Winds of Change.NET
|1 1/3||Do or Die|
|2/3||Insurance Haters, Let's Get the Job Done!|
|2/3||An Edgy Calm in Fallujah|
Michael J. Totten
|1/3||The New Republic Tries to Come Clean on Beauchamp Scandal|
|1/3||Democrats: The Party of Truman Is No More|
The QandO Blog
|1/3||Arlington Schools Hire Race-Baiting Diversity Consultant|
Sunspots disappearing from the sun. The last time this happened it coincided with "The Little Ice Age." For a good part of the 20th century, "solar influence was significant. Studies show that by the end of the 20th century the Sun's activity may have been at its highest for more than 8,000 years." Further,
Other solar parameters have been changing as well, such as the magnetic field the Sun sheds, which has almost doubled in the past century. But then things turned. In only the past decade or so the Sun has started a decline in activity, and the lateness of cycle 24 is an indicator.
The past decade has been warmer than previous ones. It is the result of a rapid increase in global temperature between 1978 and 1998. Since then average temperatures have held at a high, though steady, level. Many computer climate projections suggest that the global temperatures will start to rise again in a few years. But those projections do not take into account the change in the Sun's behaviour. The tardiness of cycle 24 indicates that we might be entering a period of low solar activity that may counteract man-made greenhouse temperature increases. Some members of the Russian Academy of Sciences say we may be at the start of a period like that seen between 1790 and 1820, a minor decline in solar activity called the Dalton Minimum. They estimate that the Sun's reduced activity may cause a global temperature drop of 1.5C by 2020. This is larger than most sensible predictions of man-made global warming over this period.
It's something we must take seriously because what happened in the 17th century is bound to happen again some time. Recent work studying the periods when our Sun loses its sunspots, along with data on other Sun-like stars that may be behaving in the same way, suggests that our Sun may spend between 10 and 25 per cent of the time in this state. Perhaps the lateness of cycle 24 might even be the start of another Little Ice Age. If so, then our Sun might come to our rescue over climate change, mitigating mankind's influence and allowing us more time to act. It might even be the case that the Earth's response to low solar activity will overturn many of our assumptions about man's influence on climate change. We don't know. We must keep watching the sun.
Just don't tell Gore, though. Remember, to him -- the "debate [about climate change] is ended." And he's the Nobel to "prove" it.
Alternate headline: "Who the F*** Gives a Hairy Bongo?"
Gotta love this story:
Never before have so many people converged to try to save the planet from global warming, with more than 10,000 jetting into this Indonesian resort island, from government ministers to Nobel laureates to drought-stricken farmers.
But critics say they are contributing to the very problem they aim to solve.
It's bad enough those that supposedly care so much for the environment burn countless tons of carbon into the atmosphere, but then it's "critics" who point out this most salient fact. Be sure to read the whole thing; in the meantime, you can be sure boneheads like Perry and the microcephalics over at Delaware Numbskull will be making excuses for these folks, along the lines of "Oh, but it's their message that really matters."
Elsewhere, even the celebration of Hanukkah isn't safe from enviro-nuts:
In a campaign that has spread like wildfire across the Internet, a group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment.
The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.
Oooooh! A whole 15 grams! This is small potatoes, even considering the total number of Jews around the world who will celebrate Hanukkah and let all the candles burn completely ... and especially when compared to the total carbon emitted by the myriad enviro-hypocrites jet-setting around the globe to environment "conferences."
That, and at least Jews -- one of the world's oldest religions -- are celebrating a time-honored holiday. They're not like that new religion composed of granola-eating, totally hypocritical hippies that worship "Gaia."
Why? Because the senator is Democrat Maria Cantwell of Washington, that's why!
James Michael McHaney was fired Friday from his job as a scheduler for Cantwell, hours after he was arrested by FBI agents. The FBI said in court papers that McHaney is accused of trying to set up a meeting with a witness posing online as a teenage boy.
McHaney, who appeared in federal court on Saturday, was being held without bond pending a court hearing on Wednesday, said Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia.
According to court papers, McHaney, known as Mike, tried to arrange a lunchtime meeting with an unidentified person posing as a 13-year-old boy. When the witness, working under the supervision of the FBI, asked whether McHaney was interested in sex with a 13-year-old, McHaney allegedly replied, "I'll be there," the court papers said. He later asked for a photo of the child, the FBI alleged. (Link.)
Like, where's NBC's Chris Hansen, eh?
An MSM Internet perusal shows the following:
Of the three above, if you take the time to search the accused's name, only ABC yields a result. The Times and CBS unbelievably have nothing in their archive!
Also telling is that this story broke on Friday, yet the first news organization to report on it (AP) didn't do so until Monday. Nice.
'Ol Glenn Singleton is sure movin' around a lot lately. As Hans Bader reports over at OpenMarket.org, not only did the Arlington, VA schools recently get suckered into his racially divisive "seminars," not to mention the whole friggin' state of California, but now the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board in Nova Scotia has likewise been hoodwinked. Bader writes:
This is deeply ironic. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn’t have strong protection for free speech akin to the First Amendment, so racist speech in public is banned in Canada under its so-called “human-rights” codes. Any white school teacher who said the offensive things that Singleton says about minorities — that their speech is not “intellectual,” “verbal,” or “task-oriented” — would be subject to prosecution by a human-rights tribunal. The same might even be true for a minority teacher. Yet Singleton gets paid big money — “a six figure fee” — to promote these offensive, racist stereotypes.
Gee, if this guy can get into hot water for what he said in Canada, it seems a cinch that Singleton's racist demogoguery could be prosecuted under our northern neighbor's "human rights" codes.
Now can we stop hinting about an attack on Iran?? All sixteen US intelligence agencies say Iran shelved nuclear arms work in 2003.
Unbelievable that Delaware Moonbat hasn't blogged about this yet. Guess they just don't care.
Bruce Dudley of Camden just doesn't get it. The issue isn't his mild BDS; it's his lack of basic historical knowledge:
In an almost farcical attempt to salvage something of his presidential legacy, our lame-duck president convened the Annapolis Middle East Conference to restart negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
With Israel's continued occupation of territory that rightfully belongs to Palestine, a long-overdue implementation of the 2002 U.S.-initiated "Roadmap Strategy" for an enduring peace between these two nations remains nothing more than an illusionary hope.
There is no independent "Palestine," Bruce. There are "Palestinians," and there could have been a independent Palestine state back in 1948. But something happened when the United Nations -- you know, that international entity that all good liberals feel we should consult and whose advice we should heed -- partitioned the land of the former League of Nation's mandate that was overseen by Britain: The Palestinians in that region as well as the Arabs from surrounding states attacked the newly created Israel, which was also created by the UN plan.
It's all quite easy to understand. There could have been a Palestine if the Arab states (and Palestinians) had agreed to the UN plan. They did not. But the important thing is that Israel is under no obligation to give back any land that it won in a defensive war. They are not occupying the land they won out of some "conquering" drive. The surrounding Arab states have demonstrated time and time and time again why Israel has refused to vacate the gained 1967 territories. It's called "terrorism." And the solution is simple: Commit to and demonstrate a willingness to leave in peace with the Israeli state.
Once again, it's funny that the brain-strainers over at Delaware Neanderthal haven't commented on this important topic.
Two months. That's how long it's been since a black professor reported a noose hung on her office door at Columbia University. The last we heard was that cops were reviewing [ten hours] of videotape to see what it would yield. The result? Nada. Amazing -- ten hours of videotape yet nothing is seen of anyone hanging the noose.
Elsewhere, the Baltimore Sun reports on another noose incident -- a fake noose incident -- at an East Baltimore fire station:
A firefighter who reported finding a knotted rope and a threatening note with a drawing of a noose in an East Baltimore station house last month had placed the items there himself, city officials said yesterday.
The man was suspended last week for performance-related issues and will likely face additional punishment, fire officials said. Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the Police Department and for Mayor Sheila Dixon, said the man admitted to the hoax and will not face criminal charges.
The rope incident sparked outrage two weeks ago and prompted a federal investigation into possible civil rights violations.
Now we can wait with baited breath for the outcome of U.D.'s own investigation into that "noose" hung around a water bottle!
Funny how the numbnuts over at Delaware Mental Defective haven't said nothing about these incidents.
So reports the lovable BBC. Meanwhile, while the United States is evil incarnate when it comes to women's rights and immigrants (legal but especially illegal), a country like Sudan is beyond reproach. A National Organization for Women spokeswoman said they were "not putting out a statement or taking a position" on the teacher's (Gillian Gibbons) situation.
Not taking a position????
Then there's that bastion of cultural and political knowledge at "The View." Here's what Rosie O'Donnell's replacement, Whoopi Goldberg, had to say about Ms. Gibbons:
You’d think if you’re going overseas, I mean, we had this discussion yesterday about people coming to America and learning the customs and knowing what is cool, and what isn’t cool. But I find that maybe we are not- and I say we just as European and American, we’re not as anxious to learn the customs before we go places. It’s just one of the reasons we’re called the ugly Americans.
Yeah, y'know, poor Ms. Gibbons -- a teacher of young children -- who wanted to bond with them by asking their ideas for a teddy bear's name ... should've learned the damn customs of Sudan and known that naming a teddy bear "Mohammed" could get you a death sentence. Even though the boy who suggested the name did so because he named it after himself.
This makes her "ugly" in Whoopi's eyes.
Let's see ... we have a teacher from Britain who's basically risking her life by teaching in a country like war-torn Sudan, and she asks kids in her class to name a teddy bear as part of a lesson on animals and habitat. The children chose the name "Mohammed." Uh-oh.
Hundreds of protesters brandishing swords and sticks gathered outside Khartoum's presidential palace Friday to vent their anger against a British teacher jailed for allowing children to name a teddy bear "Mohammed." An undated amateur photo of Gillian Gibbons, who has been found guilty of insulting religion.
About 600 Islamic demonstrators piled out of mosques, chanting: "By soul, by blood, I will fight for the Prophet Mohammed." Some of the protesters demanded the teacher's execution, according to The Associated Press.
The agency reports that some chanted: "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."
She'd probably be a national (and Islamic) hero, however, if she had hung this up in her classroom though, right?
Brother Christopher Posch in the local Catholic Diocese Dialog (Nov. 29, 2007 edition) makes a big mistake in utilizing his [Catholic] faith as a substitute for American law:
Is the United States, a country rooted in liberty and freedom, becoming a big bully, beating up the most vulnerable? Is history repeating itself with modern day Rosa Parks and Anne Frank figures being forced out of a bus and hiding in basements and closets?
This is the brother's response to the United States taking action on illegal immigration. From a religious standpoint, I can sympathize with the brother. Christian charity would indeed beg of us to assist those in need. However, the United States is not a church, and cannot be overseen as such. If the brother feels like the United States is really a "big bully," maybe he could ask himself how in the world twelve million illegal immigrants have managed to enter the country in the first place over the last couple decades? Wouldn't a "bully" do a heck of a lot more to clamp down on that? Secondly, I find the comparison to Rosa Parks and Anne Frank absolutely repugnant. Rosa Parks, and all African-Americans of her era and before (since 1865), were American citizens. Notice that "C" word -- "citizens." And despite their being citizens, black Americans were not even close to being treated as such, having to forgo true equality until relatively recently in the whole of the country's history. Ms. Parks and other African-Americans WERE (and ARE) Americans. They were born here and their history is as much America's as anyone else's, as they have been here as long. How can Brother Posch equate Ms. Parks' struggle to those who have a clear choice as to whether to come here; to those who knowingly choose to enter a country against its laws; to those who, once here, are rarely prosecuted for their blatant violation of federal law(s); to those who, once here, are free to protest against the country whose laws they broke; to those who, once here, have myriad legal assistance looking out for their every interest? That have essentially the same legal rights (according to the 14th Amendment) that citizens have? And more?
The Anne Frank analogy is even more loathsome. Anne and her family were hiding from genocidal maniacs bent on wiping out them and folks that shared their religion -- only because of that religion. To state somehow with a straight face that the United States' treatment of illegal immigrants is anyway at all akin to how the Nazis treated Jews is beyond reason.
I wonder what activism Brother Posch has undertaken on behalf of illegal immigrants from Central America in Mexico -- especially since those immigrants are treated much more harshly by the Mexican government than illegal [Mexican] immigrants are treated by our own. Much more harshly.
The overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants are not here for political asylum-type reasons. They are here for simple economics. Jobs are plentiful and the pay is better -- much better than where they come from. What Brother Posch fails to realize is that if the US acted as he wishes, the result would be utter chaos. If we allowed any person who wanted to come here to merely cross the border and find a job, the result would be mayhem. We are beginning to witness the seeds of such mayhem now that, in some areas, the numbers of illegal immigrants are becoming straining. That's why now, after many years, there are calls for something to be done about abating the flow of those who come here illegally.
The sensible thing to do is to construct a reasonable [legislative] means for those already here to become legal residents and/or proceed on the path to US citizenship, all the while reinforcing border to a degree much higher than it is presently. Outlandish hyperbole like that of Brother Posch will not sway very many Americans to what his [commendable] cause ultimately is -- helping people in need.
Time magazine offers up a not-very-surprising -- and misleading -- headline with "U.S. ranked low in humanitarian aid." OK, what's your first impression? (Well, mine was "This is yet another example of a biased report and it'll take some digging to reveal the true facts," but perhaps the question should be "What would the average joe's impression of this headline be?") Of course -- the United States is a foreign aid tightwad.
A new tool to evaluate governments' humanitarian spending can help countries get aid out more efficiently to those who need it, say former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Spain-based non-profit DARA. Their Humanitarian Response Index (HRI), launched Thursday in London, ranks Sweden as the world leader in humanitarian aid. Norway comes second, followed by Denmark, the Netherlands and the European Commission. The U.S. scores a lowly 16th out of 23.
Surprised at the findings? The index is less about total funding (although, per capita, the U.S. is no world leader by that measure either), and more about how well aid dollars reach their beneficiaries. The index ranks 22 developed countries and the European Commission on how consistently each adheres to guidelines they all approved in 2003, the Principles and Good Practice of Humanitarian Donorship.
"Total funding" is the key here. And the ranking, not to mention the per capita figure, are grossly misleading. More on that in a second. Here's more from the article:
For the U.S., a mediocre ranking reflects mixed performance. While funding is allocated relatively well along international guidelines, much of the country's aid is tightly earmarked for specific projects or comes as physical goods instead of cash - fine for those projects, but a big constraint on how recipients can respond to emergencies and unplanned events. The U.S. scores high grades collaborating with non-profit organizations, and excellent grades promoting accountability - second only to the E.U. But it's bottom of the pack in implementing international humanitarian and human rights laws, having refused to ratify key international treaties. Survey responses - though generally more favorable to the U.S. than the hard-data indicators - also rank U.S. aid lowest in perceptions of "neutrality" and "independence" from political and strategic considerations.
One at a time, now:
1) Isn't NOT earmarking aid for specific projects a blatant invitation for fraud and corruption? And who cares if some aid comes in the form of "physical goods" instead of cash? Again, it encourages specific use. It's akin to giving a [supposedly] hungry homeless guy $10 as opposed to some actual food. With the $10, he can buy some liquor or drugs (a good possibility) instead of needed sustenance.
2) How does lagging in "implementing international humanitarian and human rights laws" and not "ratify[ing] key international treaties" affect the US's giving of foreign aid score? These are two different things!
3) "Perceptions of 'neutrality' and 'independence.'" Right -- the US (and other nations) should just dole out the cash to governments regardless of their track records on various matters, like human rights, democracy and the like. In other words, the Palestinians should receive aid equal to that of Israel, even though the former wishes to eradicate the latter (literally) and whose government is as corrupt as the UN and its oil-for-food scandal. Or, the US should dole out the aid to countries like North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, et. al. as if these countries' brutal authoritarian policies are completely irrelevant.
The most egregiously overlooked aspect of this article is that of private aid that comes from the US. According to Washington Times, in 2005, Americans donated more than $95 billion to the developing world. That is almost four times what the U.S. government gives in foreign aid and many times more than what Europeans give in public and private donations, according to a study by the Hudson Institute. Further, in terms of total amounts of aid to other countries, the US "spent nearly $123 billion in overseas assistance ... nearly six times more than any other nation."
In other figures, the US is the top importer of goods from developing countries ($661 billion worth). That sorta helps the economies of those countries just a little, huh? Check out these figures for more specifics on US foreign aid contributions.
I mentioned the UN oil-for-food scandal previously; wouldn't you just know that 'ol Kofi Annan himself is one of those behind this study of US "stinginess"? What a surprise.