... at least in Indiana, now. Common sense wins for once.
Abigail Thernstrom has a terrific piece dissecting the latest SCOTUS decision. A key aspect of the decision is that Justice John Paul Stevens -- a stalwart of the high court's liberal bloc -- joined the conservative majority.
Some of the usual [lefty] suspects have their panties in a bunch over the decision (see the comment section), including one of these dimwits who screamed and hollered for everyone to "read the link" he left in said comments. Unfortunately for him his link went to the court's minority (i.e. losing) opinion.
Wonder how he didn't realize that? Oh, right -- he's a dimwit.
Via the Newsbusters tip line (which goes out to many contributors, not just me):
What you think of as a "liberally biased" media, the majaority [sic] of Americans think of as OBJECTIVE reporting. FoxNEWS is as far from "fair and balanced" as you can get. Most people want the truth, not the lies that your conservative president, and vice president used to involve this country in the invasion of Iraq. Check the latest approval ratings if you don't agree. Conservatives hate hearing the truth, so they resort to calling the truth "liberal bias." The true bias are groups like you, who are in denial of the facts...........
Presidential approval ratings do not equal public approval ratings of the media. Obviously this BDS-infected soul hasn't seen any one of the GAZILLION public opinion polls that say the media as a whole is indeed liberally biased. In addition, using this dolt's "logic," Fox News would be the "fairest" [cable] news network based on its winning ratings!
For the record, I totally agree that Fox is conservatively biased. OK, that's ONE news network ...
Al Franken to pay $70,000 in back taxes.
The comedian-turned-Democratic politician announced on Tuesday that he will be paying $70,000 in back taxes and penalties in 17 states after several weeks in which the campaign downplayed the amount of money that his company owed and changed the reasons for why the taxes (and workers' compensation insurance) had not been paid. During this period of time, Franken has also been avoiding publicly commenting about the controversy, instead relying on his surrogates to offer explanations.
Initially, it appeared that the back taxes were limited to one state (California) and as a result of a minor clerical error. Now, with Franken’s decision to pay back taxes in 17 states, it appears it is more widespread.
Franken's excuse? "His accountant’s error." Uh huh.
Is there a more UNfunny guy than Franken? I think the only time I actually laughed at him (it was more like laughing at the title of a skit featuring him) on "Saturday Night Live" was during the original cast's era. They were "advertising" for upcoming new NBC fall shows and the one featuring Al was called "Frankenberg and O'Davis," (co-starring longtime cohort Tom Davis) about an "Odd Couple"-like rabbi and priest.
It might give me some ideas ...! ;-)
A Dartmouth lecturer plans "to sue her students for workplace harassment based on 'intolerance of ideas.'" Check it:
Few of [Priya] Venkatesan's students deny disliking her; they just say it had nothing to do with race, gender, or any other federally-protected characteristic. Rather, the lecturer embodied that special brand of neurotic pedagogical tyranny that includes making rules against questions, refusing to interact with students, and, according to the D,cancellation of class for a week after the class applauded a student who contradicted Venkatesan’s opinions about post-modernism.
Spontaneous applause during a class on literary criticism? Obviously, there is something very wrong with this picture, so outrageously shocking as to shake Venkatesan to her very core: In a class at an Ivy League university, students were paying attention. Worse: They were engaged, and they cared."I was horrified," Venkatesan said. "My responsibility is not to stifle them, but when they clapped at his comment, I thought that crossed the line ... I was facing intolerance of ideas and intolerance of freedom of expression." ...She canceled class because the incident caused her "intellectual and emotional distress," she said.
Then again, being outsmarted by a room full of eighteen-year-olds must be pretty humiliating. A kinder choice would have been emitting a spontaneous snore or two, then preoccupying themselves with a more innocuous form of disrespect, like text messaging during class or ostentatious yawning.
But c'mon -- is it really any F'in wonder that this sort of crap is happening in higher academia today? College administrators virtually invite it with their inane speech codes, behavior codes, sensitivity seminars, and diversity training.
I believe the phrase is "hoisted on their own petard."
... demanding an audience with MSNBC's bigwigs to "voice" their concerns!
Yeah, imagine. Well, some members of the Legislative Branch -- namely, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus -- are miffed that CNN has apparently ignored their pleas for an audience. Their beef?
According to [Senator Robert] Menendez, many of CNN’s news programs have adopted “the language Lou Dobbs uses,” referring to the host of “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” who uses the platform to complain about illegal immigration.
“The news program has become the equivalent of opinion and not information,” Menendez said, asserting that news anchors opt for language describing “hordes” of immigrants crossing borders, and use phrases such as “illegal” rather than “undocumented” when describing such immigrants.
In other words, Menendez and the CHC are pissed that Dobbs isn't politically correct. Fortunately, your average joe doesn't much care what PC members of the CHC think about "proper" terminology, nor that Dobbs gives his opinions on his show.
So says a pundit law prof on MSNBC. Here's my latest Newsbusters post:
On last night's "Verdict" with Dan Abrams, Dan and guest [Constitutional Law Professor] Jonathan Turley dissected Sunday's "60 Minutes" interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. After dissenting with Scalia's claim that it was Al Gore "who brought it (election 2000) into the Florida courts," Turley then made the following claim:
Look, both sides were challenging this question. The funny thing of course is that Al Gore appears to have won Florida. And so, when Justice Scalia says he brought this trouble upon himself, that‘s not exactly fair since he apparently won the state, did not get credit for the state and ultimately lost the presidency over that failure.
Gore ... apparently "won Florida?"
Not according to a Miami Herald/USA Today study in early 2001. They say George Bush won Florida. The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago did a six month study and said the same thing. Ditto the Washington Post. And did I mention the New York Times?
Granted, some of the studies above do note that in a few certain defined circumstances, Gore could have eeked out the most slender of victories. But these are clearly in the minority. Perhaps most noteworthy is that a recount with the standard the Gore camp desired would have still made Bush the victor. So, on what basis does Turley make his claim? Was it that now-infamous [Democrat-designed] "butterfly ballot" in Palm Beach which [supposedly] caused thousands to mistakenly vote for Pat Buchanan? Who knows. Turley doesn't say.
Turley gets a bit more leeway later when he states the following:
Well, it is a serious business. And first of all, I don‘t know of any law professor, I certainly have never talked to one who thought that this decision was handled well. The court fractured, came up with a decision in which many of the justices took a position that seemed wholly at odds with their prior positions, then they insisted that no one should ever cite them for what they just said as precedent and then they prevented any other court from taking any other action.
While Turley is nebulous by saying "many of the justices," I think it's clear he means the conservative bloc on the court -- since he then notes that Bush v. Gore shouldn't be used as precedent (which was what the majority stated). But what Turley (and many others, for that matter) seem to forget is that the liberal bloc of the court also took a position that was " wholly at odds with their prior positions." In other words, while the conservatives sided with federal [court] intervention in the Florida matter (against their traditional positions), the liberals favored a states rights position -- against their traditional positions.
Video of Yurley's appearance on "Verdict."
Newsarama has an early review of this Friday's "Iron Man" flick. It doesn't reveal much, but gives the film a resounding thumbs up! Now I'm really really looking forward to it!
In addition, Newsarama has news that a new Iron Manual will be forthcoming next month, to compliment the classic 1993 version (at left). Anything and everything you wanted to know about Iron Man's many suits of armor (and trust me -- there are many) is there, courtesy of tech-guru Eliot R. Brown. It's a good thing, however, that Brown is involved in the technology and not the overall back-story of Iron Man. The first part of his interview features a few grievous errors on his part regarding IM's history:
For the latest Iron Manual, I was asked to do something for the very first suit. The one featured in Tales of Suspense #38—old steel-gray “Toaster Head!” This was a suit design that had all of the power and flexibility of all subsequent suits—but the technological base was not there yet and certainly not in the jungles of Viet-Nam where the laboratory-workshop of Ho Linshen was.
Ouch. Any true blue Iron Man fan knows that the hero's first-ever appearance was Tales of Suspense #39, not #38. In addition, Tony Stark's assistant in building his first suit of armor was named Ho Yinsen, not Linshen. I can give Brown a break with the issue number faux pas (maybe it was a typo), but he misnames Yinsen "Linshen" again later in the interview. Doh!
Yinsen was "Asia's greatest non-communist scientist" (country unknown, presumably China) and was a captive of the same tyrant as Stark. Debuting in 1963, Iron Man was a product of the Vietnam War. The movie, on the other hand, trades Vietnam for Afghanistan, and Yinsen is played by not-so Asian-looking Shaun Toub. (Although, of course, Afghanistan is in Asia.)
Part two of Brown's interview is here.
May 2nd can't get here fast enough, natch.
This guy -- the Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- sure ain't helping Obama's cause. He just won't shut the hell up. Here's yet another outrageous tidbit that Barack is going to have to say "I in no way agree with that" (my emphasis):
"Africans have a different meter, and Africans have a different tonality," [Wright] said. "Europeans have seven tones, Africans have five. White people clap differently than black people. Africans and African-Americans are right-brained, subject-oriented in their learning style," he said. "They have a different way of learning. And so on." (Link.)
This quasi-phrenological nonsense is more than prevalent in education today, as I've written about numerous times. (The Seattle School District, notably, featured this garbage prominently and had a rather unique definition of "racism" on their website. They espoused educational "theories" which hold, for example, that "African American students are frequently more out-front with their emotions," and "Blacks, as a people, are loud.")
Perhaps someone can explain to me how this is any different from "Blacks have better rhythm," or "Blacks are better athletes"? Anyone remember the classic M*A*S*H* episode featuring Harry Morgan as the nutty racist General Steele -- and his classic stereotypical line to [black] chopper pilot Marty Williams?
An astute comment made by a commenter at Michelle Malkin's (again, my emphasis):
A whole world of uncomfortable theories have been unleashed by Dr. Jeremiah Wright. Not only uncomfortable, but unsupportable as well. What are we to make of African-Americans who excel at left-brained thinking? What about the descendants of Europeans who are right-brained, at least based on their creativity? Did I just hear this man give support to racial stereotyping, with the argument that races (at least black and white) are "different," not "deficient"? And what happens when a white man says African-Americans are physically more likely to have certain athletic abilities because of their genetics. Oh, I remember, they're racists. Man, this is more than my left-brained head can keep up with early in the morning. I guess I'll go clap in 2-4 time. Have I got that right, or whould I say, Wright?
Heh. Remember the moonbats and how they went through the roof over that ABC Democrat debate last week? "How dare they ask questions that aren't important to the American people?" we heard. Or, "What about 'REAL' issues, like healthcare, Iraq and the economy?" Y'know, like somehow questions about character somehow mean squat to voters, right?
Well, after that screaming and hollering, Obama is now refusing to debate period!
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Sunday brushed aside a challenge from Hillary Rodham Clinton to debate before the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina.
"I'm not ducking. We've had 21" debates, Obama said on "Fox News Sunday."
"For two weeks, two big states, we want to make sure we're talking to as many voters on the ground, taking questions from voters," he said. "We're not going to have debates between now and Indiana."
Not ducking? But ... according to the hardcore moonbats, we need to hear debates about the "REAL" issues, Barack! How can you refuse to allow that? And how can you agree with conservatives that, since there had already been 20 debates prior [to the PA debate], that's why ABC's questions about personal associations and character were hardly out of bounds?
Let's see how much the moonbats scream and holler about Obama refusing to debate at all. My guess? 0.07% or that neighborhood. Natch.
So says Volokh's Ilya Somin.
The classic Philip K. Dick book didn't impress me when I finally read it a couple years ago. It was highly recommended by many reviewers prior to my purchase; however, I was left wondering why when I finished the book.
I should've known, though. Anything Dick writes is full of psychadelic symbolism, many times at the expense of the overall plot. I went into MITHC expecting a "standard" alternate history novel. It's far from it. The premise -- a world in which the US lost World War II and is divided among the Germans and Japanese -- is intriguing, but the sub-plots (with the attached symbolism) are what get it bogged down. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the basis for "Blade Runner," is a more ... "standard" read, but still has its share of out-there symbolism.
The best "straightforward" alternate history I've read lately is John Birmingham's "Axis of Time" trilogy. In the year 2021, a coalition naval battle group (fighting radical Islamic terror cells, by the way) is accidentally whisked back to the year 1942. (The scientific premise behind this accident is that scientists thought they had perfected the means by which to "teleport" micro-explosives directly into the brains of terrorist masterminds.) Seemingly like the cult classic flick "The Final Countdown," Birmingham takes the story all the way -- the entire course of WW II is irrevocably altered due to the unexpected influx of high technology (not to mention enlightened cultural and moral values).
And best of all? Birmingham leaves open the possibility of a sequel trilogy, possibly an altered "Cold War" series.
Friday's "20/20" aired a piece on liberal columnist Arianna Huffington in which ABC host John Stossel got to challenge Huffington's views on issues like welfare, OSHA regulations, and the "lunatic fringe" of the Republican party. When Stossel took her to task for living in a $7 million home that is "burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World" even while complaining about the carbon production of others contributing to global warming, Huffington responded: "There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight."
But, of course, she complains about the carbon production of others. But why is this a surprise? Huffington's only claim to "fame," such that it is, is that she married a super-rich dude. That's what super-rich liberals do -- tell everyone else how to live, yet they reserve the right to live as their financial status permits.
Then there's the godfather of global warming hysteria, Al Gore:
In an interview with London’s The Sun, Al Gore was invited to criticize the errant ways of Carbon Bigfoot couple David and Victoria Beckham, Gore responded, “I don’t think that’s my place. I don’t want to get into personally criticising anyone.”
As we know, Gore is notorious for smearing others, saying that scientists and others who disagree with him are “almost like the ones who still believe that the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the Earth is flat,” and that they do so, in the words of a reporter covering a recent speech, “because they are locked in a coalition with rich and powerful people who take advantage of the poor for economic profit.” Yeah, that’d be really venal.
It happened. I broke 90 for the first time ever in my premier round of the year (I shot an 87; six pars, most of the rest bogeys). It happened at the iconic Ed "Porky" Oliver Golf Club in Wilmington, a course I hadn't set foot on in six years. It was in surprisingly good shape, and the weather was fantastic. Perhaps the latter accounted, in part, for my good score -- negative ions make for a good personal disposition!
By the way, the spankin' new Rock Manor course is now open for business, despite their website saying they're open April 28. I drove by there on my way home from Porky's, and the place was packed!
Wilmington News Journal report about a Wilmington robbery suspect (last story).
The Wilmington Police Dept.'s very own report.
Via the AP: Former Texas congressman indicted.
HOUSTON – Former U.S. Rep. Craig Washington of Houston has been indicted on a charge of aggravated assault with a gun, a second-degree felony.
Harris County district attorney's officials declined to describe the alleged incident, which apparently happened on New Year's Day.
Mr. Washington, who is an attorney, was expected to turn himself in and post $30,000 bail, officials said. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
Mr. Washington served in Congress from 1989 to 1995.
I wonder which party he belonged to?
The Watcher had a tech glitch this week, so no winners and overall places as a result. Instead, catch all the great submissions, Council and non-Council, over at JoshuaPundit, Wolf Howling, and/or Soccer Dad.
A friend of mine e-mailed this:
We in Denmark cannot figure out why you are even bothering to hold an election.
On one side, you have a bitch who is a lawyer, married to a lawyer, and
a lawyer who is married to a bitch who is a lawyer.
On the other side, you have a true war hero married to a woman with a
huge chest who owns a beer distributorship.
Is there a contest here?
I like the Danes. ;-)
A school teacher and a beautician in China have filed a lawsuit against CNN for the great "offense" of .... well, giving offense!
A Chinese primary school teacher and a beautician have filed a suit against CNN in New York over remarks they say insulted the Chinese people and are seeking $1.3 billion in compensation -- $1 per person in China, a Hong Kong newspaper reported.
The case against the Atlanta-based cable channel, its parent company Turner Broadcasting and Jack Cafferty, the offending commentator, comes after 14 lawyers launched a similar suit in Beijing alleging that Cafferty's remarks earlier this month violated the dignity and reputation of the Chinese people.
Cafferty said the United States imported Chinese-made "junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food" and added: "They're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years."
Wonder when people like that teacher and beautician will file lawsuits against their own government for essentially treating them like slaves their whole lives? Oh, that's right -- if they do, they'll magically "disappear," never to be heard from again.
... they call it "BDS" (Bush Derangement Syndrome).
"The disclosure of the Navy benefit for injuries incurred as a Vietnam POW may raise fitness questions," says the sub-headline of the article.
Here's some common frickin' sense and empathy for the writer of the article, Ralph Vartabedian: John McCain was tortured as a POW for over half a decade. He could have gone home shortly after being captured, but chose not to -- out of a sense of honor and fairness to other POWs, especially those captured before him.
McCain cannot fully lift his arms as a result of those years of torture. This doesn't, as Vartabedian implies at his column's beginning, contradict McCain's claim that "he is in robust health and is strong enough to hike the Grand Canyon," not does it lessen any his claim to the disability pension. Again, the MAN WAS TORTURED FOR YEARS, for cripe's sake!
"It is a legitimate question to ask about the commander in chief: Is he fit to serve," said Robert Schriebman, a senior Pentagon tax advisor and tax attorney who recently retired as a judge advocate for a unit of the California National Guard.
If McCain can hike across the Grand Canyon, then why should he be getting disability payments from the government that are tax-exempt, Schriebman asked.
Oh no! A Pentagon "tax adviser" who was a member of the National Guard. Wonder if this guy saw any combat and/or spent time as a POW. Sorry, Mr. White Collar Military Guy. Your opinion is worth about as much as that of these nincompoops. I also wonder if Schriebman (and Vartabedian) would be so "concerned" about the health (or disability pension) of an amputee, say, who was a liberal Democrat. After all, the amputee could have been fitted with a modern prosthetic which functions pretty much as a regular leg would. Would Schriebman and Vartabedian be questioning this person's disability payments -- because he could walk as well as normal person? Hah!
Unbelievable. A man is tortured for YEARS in the service of his country, but his disability pension is "questionable."
If you want to be concerned about anything regarding McCain's health, it ought to be the melanoma he has twice suffered. That's some scary stuff.
Deborah Leavy in today's Philly Daily News is simply ... astonishing in her op-ed titled "White House, Meet Glass House." She thinks it laughable that President Bush would even consider boycotting the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympic Games in China because -- ready? -- the United States is a bad country too. (Oh, wait -- Deborah -- at the END of her article, "qualifies" her statement by saying "I don't equate China's violations of human rights with our own. Let me say that again before you start e-mailing me: I don't equate China's violations of human rights with our own." How convenient. And pathetic.)
... the Bush administration has itself engaged in so many violations of human rights that it would be hollow and hypocritical for President Bush to skip the opening ceremonies to protest human rights abuses in China.
It would? How, exactly? What are these "so many," pray tell? And, if you're "not equating" China's human rights violations with our own, why would it be "hollow" and "hypocritical" to bag the opening ceremonies? Do you even bother to read what you write, Leavy?
This president has done serious damage to America's reputation as a beacon of justice and freedom. The rest of the world now looks at us and sees a government policy that includes abuses at Abu Ghraib, waterboarding and who knows what other tortures, indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo and sending people to secret prisons in other countries or to countries where we know they'll be tortured.
Let's see, President Bush has had his policies challenged by both other branches of government, and has won some and lost some. This is called "checks and balances" for those with BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome, from which Leavy obviously suffers) and it actually prevents a president (or any of the other branches of government) from acting unilaterally and/or without constraint. Only BDSers claim that the United States is not a beacon of justice and freedom in the world. (Funny how so damn many seek to come to such an "abusive" country, ain't it?)
I'm sorry, but the "rest of the world" (which, let's face it, really only means Western Europe and a few other countries) can go pound sand in this regard. While their own governmental policies are allowing for virtual unfettered expansion of radical Islam, all the while punishing speech and expression as "hate" -- speech which is merely critical of such policies and of the radical Muslim agenda -- they have absolutely no high ground from which to criticize us. Their PC laws would make any American (except, perhaps, for Leavy and those like her) cringe in their blatant unconstitutionality.
I've said before and I'll say it again: The Bush Administration has affected our freedoms and liberties by far the least in time of war, compared to other similarly situated administrations. In addition, its policies have "infringed" on human rights the least, as well.
And let's not forget the many death warrants Bush signed as governor of Texas. The United States stands with China as one of the few countries to continue to use the death penalty, considered a violation of human rights by many.
What a laugh. Does China have the vast legal process by which defendants can avail themselves like in the US, Ms. Leavy? Are you really that STUPID, Ms. Leavy? And considering the myriad appellate processes, Ms. Leavy, which is a bigger "human rights violation" -- executing a convicted killer COMPLETELY PAINLESSLY who has gone through numerous appeals, or the very MURDER which this killer perpetrated?
I wonder if Ms. Leavy might bring up the fact that George Bush is against abortion, yet China mandates abortion. Is that a human rights violation, Ms. Leavy? Oh, that's right -- like a good liberal, you're probably pro-choice. And, as such, innocent life is somehow less deserving than a convicted murderer's life. What a go**amned hypocrite.
You make me sick to my stomach, Ms. Leavy.
TB tests planned after Galena Park student tests positive.
About 300 Galena Park High School students and staff members will be tested for tuberculosis as a precaution after a student tested positive for the disease earlier this month.
Workers with Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services will perform the skin tests on May 5 on those who have had the most contact with the infected student during the spring semester, said Craig Eichhorn, spokesman for the Galena Park school district. The results will be determined on May 7.
The test date was chosen because health officials didn't want to interfere with upcoming TAKS testing and wanted to give parents plenty of time to turn in consent forms, Eichhorn said. (Link.)
Gotta get those tests done, eh? No Child Left Behind and all, y'know! Hopefully, no one will get infected with TB during testing.
Heh. Maybe not. One of the sources of the recent Washington Post article on McCain's "legendary" temper is one AZ State Rep. Karen Johnson ... a 9/11 Truther and other conspiracy nut:
But legislators who voted against altering the memorial said they believe it needs to represent various viewpoints and feelings about the events leading up to and following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And that, according to Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, includes the still-open possibility that Americans have yet to learn the full story.
"There's many of us," she said, "that believe there's been a cover-up," ranging from who was really behind the attacks to questions about whether what flew into the World Trade Center towers were pilotless drones and the passengers had been taken off beforehand.
"And there's a lot of statements on that 9/11 memorial that reflect a lot of our views that we have about it," Johnson said. "And I think all of those need to be represented." (Link.)
She also believes that George Bush has a secret plot to merge the United States with Mexico by 2010.
Meanwhile, McCain aide Mark Salter writes that the WaPo article is 99% crap.
One word: Judges.
As National Review's Jonah Goldberg writes,
Consider the stunning decision handed down from the Supreme Court this week.
The court ruled that the state of Kentucky may continue to use lethal injections when administering the death penalty. But that’s not what’s shocking. Nor was it surprising that for the first time Justice John Paul Stevens admitted he thinks the death penalty is unconstitutional.
What is staggering, or at least should be, is that Stevens freely admits that he no longer considers “objective evidence” or even the plain text of the Constitution determinative of what is or isn’t constitutional: “I have relied on my own experience in reaching the conclusion that the imposition of the death penalty” is unconstitutional.
You can be sure Stevens is Obama's type of judge, for here what's important to Obama for potential Supreme Court judges: “One’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.”
Not historical precedent, not legal knowledge, not the text of the Constitutional and its actual meaning. But one's feelings.
Supreme Court justices must “solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God.”
Note the bit about doing right to poor and rich alike. Feeling sorry for the poor guy who violates the Constitution or the law has no role in how a Supreme Court justice is supposed to make a decision. Legislators can write laws based on empathy. They can invoke their pet theories about “how the world works.” They can even, as Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg are fond of doing, consult foreign laws and court decisions in their efforts to make a more perfect union. But Supreme Court justices are supposed to decide what the written law requires, not pick winners and losers based upon some sense of noblesse oblige. That’s why all of those statues of Lady Justice show her standing blindfolded, not bent over kissing the boo-boos of the unfortunate and the downtrodden.
Speaking of High Court judges, Cynthia Armour of Milton in today's News Journal believes that the SCOTUS Catholics are hypocrites for upholding the death penalty:
As a Catholic, I am appalled that the so-called "devout" Catholics on the Supreme Court all voted that execution by lethal injection is not cruel and unusual punishment.
Pope Benedict has stated that capital punishment is against Catholic belief, so how can these hypocrites vote that any kind of capital punishment can be acceptable?
The answer is, Cynthia, that these Catholic judges are going beyond their personal feelings and beliefs and doing their job as required. Oh yeah, and as far as I remember, there is a thing in our country called "separation of church and state." Would you want Supreme Court judges imposing a religious test on each case before them?
If anything, the bigger "hypocrites" are Catholic lawmakers like John Kerry and Ted Kennedy who are as pro-choice on abortion as they come. After all, it is they who MAKE the laws which the Supreme Court has to then interpret and rule on. In the almost 40 years since Roe v. Wade, it would take a constitutional amendment to totally outlaw abortion; as good Catholics I wonder if Kerry and Kennedy would support such an amendment and gather support for it to pass the senate.
At the Pennsylvania debate last week, Barack Obama refused to answer as to what his view was on the upcoming decision on the Washington DC handgun ban Supreme Court case. But back in November, he said he thought the DC gun ban was constitutional:
Obama "...believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional."
This past Saturday, Obama supporter PA Senator Bob Casey Jr. told CNN's Lou Dobbs
He (Obama) would probably be a supporter (of the DC gun ban) , as he has been in the U.S. Senate and the Illinois legislature, for various restrictions on gun ownership. I happen to disagree with him on that, we have our disagreements.
One telling thing about Obama's PA debate "answer" last week was this: He said "I have never favored an all-out ban on handguns." But ... that's precisely what the Washington DC ban is -- an all-out ban.
So ... which is it? It's one thing to agree that different localities can enact various restrictions on guns, but an all-out prohibition? And remember -- there was this little tidbit about that questionnaire Obama claims he never saw in which he supported "state legislation to 'ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.'”
If you're a believer in the 2nd Amendment, I wouldn't trust Obama any further than I could throw him.
Via the Newsbusters tip line (which goes out to many contributors, not just me):
It is clear that everything that is creative and has meaning for the majority of the people. you conservlesatives find something wrong with it unless it is a tax break for 1% of the population, or a useless war that 80% of the people in this country are opposed to you want to continue. It will be so refreshing to get back to our socialistic lifestyle. The two things that have put this country in the mess it is in was electing ronald the fascist reagan capitalistic ideas it does not work we LIBERALS have proved itk over and over again. Socialism does. Look at the countries that socialist and how successful they are, germany, england, japan, etc,etc.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
Hmm. "Get back ..."??
Who knew that the Tucson (Arizona) Unified School District had a "Raza" Studies program? "Raza" means "race" literally, but its meaning in English sounds harsher than the Spanish equivalent. It probably best translates to "the people," obviously meaning Latinos/Hispanics. At any rate, this program has miffed one Rep. Russell Pearce (R) who has intro'd a bill in the AZ House that would ban the program, and essentially "would keep Arizona public schools from teaching anything that is anti-Democratic or counter to Western civilization."
Say whaaaa ...?? OK, tell me how one is going to determine that.
I don't know which is dumber -- Pearce's bill, or the silly program which spawned it.
Let's see what Augustine Romero, senior academic director for Ethnic Studies at TUSD, has to say about the Raza Studies program:
In reality we expose students to these materials so they understand where things have been and where we're trying to move away from. We want to become more inclusive and at the same time want students to be fully aware of barriers that can be out there and know how to remove these barriers.
Translation: America is a racist nation. It was founded thusly, and continues to be so today. The gringos not only stole land from the Native American, but they stole yours, too. The gringo doesn't want to give you a fair shot. You'll never make it in America. The only way to be successful in this country is to put into practice what brother Che created, the glorious revolution. Only then will the Greater Aztlán come into being.
We honestly believe we are doing the right thing for our children. First we want better academic success, and how to accomplish that is through the development of a cultural identity and an intensified and elevated sense of purpose, which creates a stronger sense of hope in these students. That, at the essence, is what we're about and I don't see how people can question it.
Translation: Only Hispanics can properly teach Hispanics. It is the only way they can succeed. Just please don't ask how it is that Asians, Jews and other minorities manage to be so successful without "role model" teachers. There's no answer for that. At any rate, the whole "cultural identity thing" means that kids will learn about things that really don't pertain to making them successful in the mainstream American culture and economy, but they'll certainly feel good about themselves.
Any program in schools that fosters separatism from the American cultural and economic mainstream is ultimately a failure. Kids may have their self-esteem boosted and take pride in their ethnic and cultural heritage, but if they have difficulty with English and don't have the basic education to get a college degree and hence a good-paying job, alas ...?
Place your vote in the comments -- which is dumber, the Raza Studies program, or a state rep. wasting time on passing a bill which would withhold state cash to districts/schools that teach anything which deemed [the ever-nebulous] "anti-Western" or "anti-democratic"?
Over at Newsbusters, Warner Todd Huston has a post up demonstrating the historical knowledge of your typical "activist":
Courtesy of fellow Watcher's Council member Wolf Howling:
This is Victor Davis Hanson at his finest:
If one were to transpose Barack Obama’s recent remarks about Middle America and working-class, white Pennsylvania into a Clintonian context, mutatis mutandis, it would come out something like the following:
Hillary attends a fund-raiser of conservative bible-belters in the Midwest. Once among supposed supporters she reviews her problems of wooing inner-city African-American voters in Chicago that are for Obama by wide margins.
So she starts to explain, in sociological fashion, a little about these distant embittered folks, or whom she calls “they”:
"It's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Then when the furor erupted, an anti-Nafta Hillary would contextualize all that by saying she had mangled and conflated what she meant, but that in general her message was nevertheless accurate. After all, she only meant that there is a tradition of gun ownership and use in the African-American inner-city, that the black church (like Trinity) is a platform for the airing of economic grievances, that on occasion some bitter blacks resent wealthier whites and Jews, or Mexican nationals who take their jobs, and that those in the inner -city who are bitter, confused, and frustrated understandably in angry fashion lash out against unfair trade agreements. And that it is "natural" that “they” do all these things.
And after that bigoted performance, her campaign would be summarily finished—whether or not a Charlie Gibson or George Stephanopolis pressed her over the remarks during a subsequent debate.
(h/t: Soccer Dad)
... but John McCain must denounce remarks of any fellow Republicans. So notes DNC Chair Howard Dean:
Sen. John McCain must denounce Rep. Tom Tancredo's exhortation to the pope to stay out of the illegal immigration debate in the U.S., says Howard Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman.
"If John McCain is serious in his pledge to run a respectful campaign, he should immediately denounce Tom Tancredo's insulting remarks about Pope Benedict XVI," Dean said.
Maybe McCain can respond thusly: "I can no more disown Tom Tancredo than I can my own grandmother." Or perhaps "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor ... who I know and ... he's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis." And, if someone asks McCain about it at a debate, the righty blogosphere can call for boycotts of the media in question and rant and rave about the question being "unfair" and "insulting."
... but of course, it's only because George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson had the GALL to ask Barack Obama tough questions on a national stage.
Hey kavips -- where was this call when, of all people, Keith Olbermann hosted a debate among the GOP candidates? (Who, along with former Democrat staffer Chris Matthews, asked some of the most ridiculous questions ever witnessed on a political stage?) Where was this call when all the Democrat candidates boycotted Fox News? (The GOP sure had little hassle appearing on MSNBC or any other network.)
kavips masks his call for a boycott of ABC in that he is tired of "all" the media treating people as if they're stupid. (And, at least his reaction wasn't as totally pathetic as that of these cretins.) How convenient the timing, though. Just look at the lefty blogosphere's reaction to the recent Dem debate to the frenzied nuttery over Fox News. Notice any similarities? It's easy -- Fox was (is) a threat to the long-enjoyed liberal media monopoly, and Stephanopoulis's and Gibson's questions to Barack Obama were a stunning reversal from the usual softballs such major media figures throw Dems' way.
My advice: Grow some stones. Stop your crying. It's only going to get rougher. You should actually thank Charles and George for asking those questions now rather than later so Obama won't get tripped up closer to the actual election. As Hillary Clinton recently stated, if Obama can't handle the piddly questions given to him the other day by "friendly" media, how's he gonna handle the pressure of the White House?
I suppose we should be understanding. IT'S SCARY for them, folks. When you've had things go your way for SO LONG, such a turn of events can be frightening.
But for some reason, I don't feel the slightest bit sorry for you ...
UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg nails it:
The essence of the complaint against Gibson and Stephanopoulos is that they asked wedge issue questions partially intended to trip up Obama and put him on the wrong side of various culture issues in ways that conform to Republican tactics or politics. Or something like that.
Okay, complain away, I did. But I think a lot of folks fail to understand that the first 45 minutes of the debate were aimed at superdelegates, not PA voters.
But where were these people during all of those Republican debates when Chris Matthews, Anderson Cooper, various Youtubers and the like were constantly trying to trip Republicans in very similar ways?
The key distinction is that when Gibson & Stephanopoulos asked their questions they could rationalize their actions by saying "this is what Republicans will ask." But when the press asks these sorts of questions of Republican candidates we're told it's simply "good journalism."
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are The Next Moves In An Existential Chess Match by Wolf Howling, and It's the "White" Church that Obama's Talking About (UPDATED) by Baldilocks. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|5||The Next Moves In An Existential Chess Match|
|1 2/3||Does America Need a New Enemy? One Brit Thinks So...|
Hillbilly White Trash
|1 1/3||Elitism and the Elitist Elites Who Think They're the Elite|
Right Wing Nut House
Done With Mirrors
|2/3||Bedtime For Bonzo? The Clinton Eclipse|
|2/3||The Candidates on the Economy: Taxes|
The Glittering Eye
|1/3||Further Proof That the Western P.C. Left Is Akin to the Societies They Admire|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|1/3||Warmie Psychic: Global Headache Coming!|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|3 1/3||It's the "White" Church that Obama's Talking About (UPDATED)|
|2 1/3||Zombie Chronicles the Olympic Torch Relay in SF|
|1 2/3||'This Is How We Lost to the White Man'|
|1 2/3||Hope for Iraq’s Meanest City|
|1 1/3||The War of Ideas|
Family Security Matters
|2/3||McCain's Electoral College Math|
|1/3||If You Disagree With Me, You've Either Been Hoodwinked, Or Else You're a Hoodwinker!|
|1/3||The Rich and Their Taxes|
Real Clear Markets
|1/3||"Universal Health Care"|
... I thought "words matter!"
"I think what’s important is to make sure that we don’t get so obsessed with gaffes that we lose sight of the fact that this is a defining moment in our history." -- Barack Obama, April 16.
You said it, Barack. So don't get upset when people actually listen to your advice and ... listen to your words!
And many people wonder why so many don't trust Barack Obama and his genuine political nature? Check out this answer to George Stephanapoulis's question last evening, about Obama's relationship with former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers:
George, but this is an example of what I'm talking about. This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.
And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George. (Link.)
So, he "doesn't exchange ideas" with Ayers on a regular basis, but he does .... what -- on a semi-regular basis? Every once in a while? Once in a blue moon?
Obvious follow-up: Why would you "exchange ideas" AT ALL with an UNREPENTANT DOMESTIC TERRORIST, Barack? (Notice, too, the attempt at lessening the question's impact: Ayers lives in Obama's neighborhood and he's an English professor. Oh, MY!)
And it most certainly does reflect on you and your values, Senator, for having any sort of relationship with -- once again -- an unrepentant domestic terrorist! The whole point about you being eight years old, and Ayers' terrorism being 40 years ago is irrelevant to your actions in the present day.
Much like Obama's relationship with Jeremiah Wright, the same with Ayers leaves many questions about the young senator's true beliefs.
If you haven't already figured it out, any criticism of Barack Obama that has even the slightest avenue of racial attack will be seized upon by the "progressive" media. That's a guarantee.
Case in point: Obama's recent comments about rural Pennsylvanians "clinging" to religion, guns, etc. led many to refer to him as an "elitist." Uh oh:
[W]hen his opponents branded him an elitist and an outsider, his race made it easier to drive a wedge between him and the white, rural voters he has courted. As an African American, he was supposedly looking down from a place he didn’t belong and looking in from a distance he could not cross.
This could not happen as dramatically were it not for embedded racial attitudes. “Elitist” is another word for “arrogant,” which is another word for “uppity,” that old calumny applied to blacks who stood up for themselves…
Furthermore, casting Obama as “out of touch” plays harmoniously with the traditional notion of blacks as “others” at the edge of the mainstream, separate from the whole.
If Jeremiah Wright is any indication of Obama's true beliefs, they are at the edge of the mainstream, unfortunately.
But that aside, let's just call this asininity for what it is: Crap. Even liberal Democrats are getting fed up with this silliness (see: Geraldine Ferraro). The liberal anointed in the MSM will have their moment -- helping the first African-American to become president -- and they'll deem anything and everything "racist" to help make their moment a reality!
The lefty blogosphere is all nuts that ABC's Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulis actually asked tough questions of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama last night. I caught parts of the debate, and a couple Obama answers made me realize that this was indeed Obama's weakest effort in the campaign thus far.
First, take the issue of payroll tax increases:
SENATOR OBAMA: Well, I not only have pledged not to raise their taxes, I've been the first candidate in this race to specifically say I would cut their taxes.
And one of the centerpieces of my economic plan would be to say that we are going to offset the payroll tax, the most regressive of our taxes, so that families who are earning -- who are middle-income individuals making $75,000 a year or less, that they would get a tax break so that families would see up to a thousand dollars worth of relief.
MR. GIBSON: Senator Obama, you both have now just taken this pledge on people under $250,000 and 200-and-what, 250,000.
SENATOR OBAMA: Well, it depends on how you calculate it. But it would be between 200 and 250,000.
As you may note, Gibson asked this Obama question to Hillary first, hence his "you both have now just taken this pledge..." Yet, how does Obama reconcile his comment about those making less than $75K with the stated $200-250K? That, and Obama wasn't clear on whether he meant individuals or families. He clearly said that those making less than $75K (individuals or families?) would get a tax break. So... do those making more get a tax ....increase? Or ... just nothing?
Secondly, check out this bit of cognitive dissonance on capital gains:
GIBSON: You (Obama) have however said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, "I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28 percent."
It's now 15 percent. That's almost a doubling if you went to 28 percent. But actually Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.
SENATOR OBAMA: Right.
MR. GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.
SENATOR OBAMA: Right.
MR. GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?
SENATOR OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year -- $29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That's not fair.
And what I want is not oppressive taxation. I want businesses to thrive and I want people to be rewarded for their success. But what I also want to make sure is that our tax system is fair and that we are able to finance health care for Americans who currently don't have it and that we're able to invest in our infrastructure and invest in our schools.
Get it? Obama -- at the same time! -- wants to ensure "fairness" all the while making sure we have enough cash to finance healthcare and education ... but that "fairness" he desires will result in a DECREASE in the needed revenue by which to FUND his healthcare and education proposals!
UPDATE: Larry Kudlow adds:
Here's the deal: During the debate, Obama bungled his answers on tax policy, big time. Period. End of sentence. End of story. To my liberal friends in the media, all I can say is: Get over it. Your guy has a very poor grasp of basic economic principles.
First off, you don't raise taxes during a recession. That's a no-brainer. Second, doubling the capital-gains tax rate will affect Americans up and down the income ladder, not just rich hedge-fund managers. In addition, capital-gains tax cuts are self-financing, and they stimulate jobs and the economy. You want to raise budget revenues and spark economic growth? Cut the cap-gains tax rate. That's what history shows.
Obama's real agenda is far-liberal left. It's an ideology that places income redistribution above economic growth. That's his real message. And it's the same one that sunk Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry. Bill Clinton? He was a growth Democrat. So he won twice. But Obama is aligning himself with the Democratic losers. And that will make him a loser as well.
That would be one Jimmy Carter and [the late] Yasser Arafat respectively:
Call this man a shrink. Fast.
In an article about how China "has no plans to abolish the death penalty," Reuters of course cannot help but throw the United States in at the end the story because, well, it also has the death penalty:
It (Amnesty Int'l) said Iran executed 317 people, Saudi Arabia 143, Pakistan 135 and the United States 42. Between them, these four countries plus China (470) accounted for 88 percent of all known executions.
Of course, this makes the US a mere 3+% of that total, and doesn't mention the lengthy and elaborate appeals process death row inmates have here -- a process which, I'd wager damn good money, barely exists (if at all) in those other four countries.
In a semi-related local story, today's Wilmington News Journal features a "panel" that agrees -- the death penalty is biased by race:
A New York professor who has litigated capital murder cases for 15 years said Tuesday that race plays a significant role when a defendant is a person of color.
While it plays some part in all criminal cases, Cornell University Law School professor Sheri Lynn Johnson said it uniquely is present when deciding if a person will die for his or her crimes. This plays off, among other things, the race of the victim, the race of the defendant and jury make-up.
Of Delaware's 19 listed death row inmates, nine are black (47 percent), seven are white (37 percent) and three are Hispanic (16 percent).
That's quite a different racial and ethnic makeup when compared to the rest of the state. According to the U.S. Census, whites make up 75 percent of the state's population, while blacks make up 21 percent and Hispanics 6 percent.
While I've personally changed my view on capital punishment over the last decade (I used to be for it; now, I would favor it only in cases of extreme malice and heinous crime, and if there was absolutely no doubt as to the perpetrator), I believe class to be a much larger factor than race -- mainly because the less well-off do not have the same access to quality legal representation as those more well-to-do. It stands to reason, then, that since black Americans overall are less well-off than whites, they would suffer a disproportionality in capital cases.
But examine that ridiculous statement by article author Esteban Parra above. He's essentially arguing that the ethnicities of those on death row should mirror that of the general population. Why? It's well known that African-Americans commit a disproportionate amount of crime compared to their general population numbers, so ... why doesn't Parra mention that fact? The answer should be obvious to anyone who's interested in media bias. Proportionate representation is usually always invoked by the MSM when it goes to make a favorable point about minorities -- stories about [low] employment numbers, numbers of minorities in colleges, and in advocacy cases like this story. Reporters want the public at large to believe that any sizable discrepancy in comparing [fill in the blank] figures to the general population numbers means there must be some sort of "devious" bias/discrimination/prejudice afoot. There certainly may be some of that involved (as I'm certain there is as argued in the News Journal story); however, they want you to believe that it is the overriding or main reason there's a racial chasm in the "figures."
I've written more than enough about the absurd notion of proportionate representation than I'd like. But I always find I come back to it because dopes like Parra insist on making pathetically simplistic "points" to make their "case." If proportionate representation was expected in every facet of life, whites would make up 70% of the NBA, Jews would only be 3% of any profession, and blacks and Hispanics would comprise 12-13% of all college professors. Etc. However, these figures are clearly not the case. The reasons for racial/ethnic and cultural population disparities are complex and myriad. Always keep that in mind when you read an MSM article about "underrepresentation."
No wonder American "progressives" love Europe so much. Europeans have this nagging tendency to criminalize speech merely because it may be "offensive":
French former film star Brigitte Bardot went on trial on Tuesday for insulting Muslims, the fifth time she has faced the charge of "inciting racial hatred" over her controversial remarks about Islam and its followers.
Prosecutors asked that the Paris court hand the 73-year-old former sex symbol a two-month suspended prison sentence and fine her 15,000 euros ($23,760) for saying the Muslim community was "destroying our country and imposing its acts". (Link.)
The nerve of that woman! Actually speaking her mind, and in general terms at that!!
I wonder what would happen to American comedian Bill Maher if he were in Europe for his recent comments about the Pope and Catholicism:
"I'd like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult," Maher told his audience. "Its leader also has a compound, and this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. That's right, the Pope is coming to America this week and, ladies, he's single."
"If you have a few hundred followers, and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you 'Pope.' It's like, if you can't pay your mortgage, you're a deadbeat. But if you can't pay a million mortgages, you're Bear Stearns and we bail you out. And that is who the Catholic Church is: the Bear Stearns of organized pedophilia -- too big, too fat."
'Ya think Maher would face fines and possible jail time? My guess: Nope. Because he's mocking Christians, who're [still] in the majority in Europe. Not only that, Catholics aren't exactly prone to rioting in the streets over insensitive comments, or prone to issuing death threats. They're more prone to writing letters to the editor, complaining to advertisers, and voicing their objections on talk shows. That's another reason not to make a "big deal" out of Maher, right? Just ask Lawrence O'Donnell!
American "progressives" would just love to have laws on the books like those Euros do; in fact, they argue that "insensitive" speech should not "be free" at all, and that minorities don't actually have the same "free speech" rights as those in the majority due to the "inherent power imbalance in the legal system and in [white] racial hegemony."
Thankfully, it would essentially take a constitutional amendment to make this insanity possible, and that sure ain't an easy task. (Of course, if we elect someone like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, they could appoint Supreme Court justices who could "interpret" that our First Amendment "doesn't permit hate speech" despite all kinds of precedent ... I wouldn't put it past judges that those two candidates would prefer ...)
This time it's part of their ridiculous "speech code." Brace yourselves:
The University of Delaware has revised a speech code that used to classify "[a]ny instance that is perceived by those involved as being racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, or otherwise oppressive" as an emergency equal to fire, suicide attempts, and alcohol overdose. This code was blatantly unconstitutional and about as absurd as you can get in 20 words or less, for these reasons:
- This language is overbroad because "oppressive" is not a clear term on which to base judgments of one's language or actions.
- "Perceived by those involved" is an improper, unconstitutional standard for determining whether a statement or action truly is a violation.
- Racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic language, however offensive it may seem to many persons, in itself is protected by the First Amendment.
- Classifying "sexist" occurrences on the same level as rape, requiring immediate notification on the level of fires, suicide attempts, alcohol overdose, drug busts, and so on, is ludicrous.
- Classifying so-called oppressive speech as more serious than actual fights and minor thefts is also ludicrous.
Here's the "revision" -- it now refers to "[s]ignificant bias related acts that have the potential to create a significant disturbance to the community." But the bit about who "perceives" the supposed homophobia etc. remains. Resident Assistants and students themselves are the primary "judges." This sounds eerily like some claptrap I've heard at educational "seminars" regarding similar topics. We're told that students' "perception is their reality;" in other words, what they want to be true ... is.
Who can fight that? And as FIRE notes, UD students could still be expelled for "bias-motivated" behavior:
The university still maintains a zero-tolerance policy against "hate." In the words of former president David P. Roselle: "Those who engage in acts of hatred and bias-motivated threats and behavior will be confronted, prosecuted and expelled from our community."
And when RAs and students themselves define "reality," you can bet that "hate" is all too "common." Especially when they want it to be.
Y'know another that bugs me about the original "Star Wars"? The rebels had obviously stolen the WRONG Death Star technical plans! Check it out -- here's what Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and all the rebel pilots saw before their attack on the giant space station in the movie's climactic battle:
Notice that the huge super-laser shooting "eye" is located right on the Death Star's "equator," right?
But here's what Luke and all the rebels actually attacked:
The "eye" is located totally within the station's "northern hemisphere"!
Conclusion: The rebels had bad plans and should never have been able to destroy the battle station! (Actually, here's the real reason why the two are different.)
And there are good reasons for it.
The first is the Millenium Falcon from "Star Wars" fame. I watched (for like the 2,000th time) the original "Star Wars" last evening on Spike, and for me there is nothing cooler than the sound of Han Solo's ship blasting through space:
Then there's Speed Racer's brother -- Racer X -- and his car, the Shooting Star:
After searching a good deal of the morning for Racer X's car's sound effects, the only thing I could find was this YouTube episode of an original "Speed Racer" cartoon. The unique sound of X's car can be heard at approx. 6:51 into the clip (followed right after by the explosions of some pursuing cars he had out-maneuvered).
Christine Flowers has a nigh-perfect article in the Philly Daily News.
(h/t to Gooch.)
John Rosenberg has the [ridiculous] story.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie"... Accommodating Islam by Joshuapundit, and Creating a European Indigenous People's Movement by The Brussels Journal. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2 1/3||"If You Give A Mouse A Cookie"... Accommodating Islam|
|2||The Wizard of Ooze|
|1 1/3||Assumptions & Conclusions About Sadr, Maliki and the Basra Offensive|
|1||The Judgment Thing|
The Glittering Eye
|2/3||Starts Well, Ends Badly|
Hillbilly White Trash
|2/3||In Honor of the Final Season of "Battlestar Galactica" ...|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|2/3||Air Hypocrisy Radio Suspends Randi Rhodes|
Rhymes With Right
|2/3||Black, White, Grey|
|1/3||Progress In Iraq a Tough Sell for Petreaus|
Right Wing Nut House
|3 2/3||Creating a European Indigenous People's Movement|
The Brussels Journal
|1 2/3||Your federal Government At Work... For Palestinians|
Boker tov, Boulder!
|1||Put On Your Helmets, We're Talking About Abortion.|
|1||Is Wright Wrong? Part 2|
Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels
|2/3||Rev. Wright Former Muslim, Apparently Quit that Religion as Not Being Hardcore Enough|
Ace of Spades HQ
|2/3||A Look At Operation Knights' Assault|
The Long War Journal
|2/3||Complaint Against Fero A Wake Up Call For Blogger Rights And Protections|
|1/3||Peace Piece by Piece Now's 30th anniversary|
|1/3||Iraq: Persian Proxie|
|1/3||Another Day, Another Obama Lie|
The Nation of Islam is NOT a hate group. Well, so says ... a member of the group, published today in the Philly Daily News:
Recently, the Philadelphia Inquirer carried a story classifying the Nation of Islam as a "hate group" based on a new study released by the watchdog group Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization formed in 1971 and based in Montgomery, Ala.
I spoke with the law center to strive to understand the formula and rationale for their ranking of the Nation of Islam as a hate group. Their response was that any group that has an ideology of hate against another group or people is considered a hate group. They said that according to the Nation of Islam's teachings, the scientist Yacub made white people, and that we believe that whites are devils.
When the Hon. Elijah Muhammad was asked by the press if he believed whites were devils, his reply was, "Allah revealed it to me." He subsequently went on to offer scriptural interpretation to support what we believe.
Rodney Muhammad, the op-ed author, wonders why church groups like those headed by Rod Parsley and John Hagee aren't considered "hate groups" by the SPLC because they preach that Islam is "satanic" and that the Catholic Church is "the whore of Babylon and anti-Christ," respectively.
He's right, there. But all that really means is that Muhammad is saying "Hey! They're haters too -- just like us!" Why can't church groups just preach why they believe their religion is "the way" without ripping those of others? (This is one reason I detest organized religion.) However, Muhammad then does what too many other haters out there do: He justifies his ridiculous hatred on the basis of the NOI "doing good" in the community.
Spare me. Having tutors in schools and clothing the homeless may indeed be good gestures and make you feel better, but that in no way cancels out the preposterous belief that the white race is a lab-created entity, and as such is "the devil."
Eugenia Nichols of Newark makes "the case" for throwing in the towel and living on the dole:
I agree with Dwayne Wickham’s column about the dire consequences of a developing underclass. I grew up in a shoe factory town where people without an education and recent immigrants could make a decent living and support their families. The factory has been closed for many years and there are no comparable jobs for uneducated workers. This has happened throughout America.
A growing underclass makes a mockery of the American belief that this is the land of opportunity.
Or, perhaps, a growing underclass might mean that a growing sense of entitlement among Americans means people feel they deserve something for little -- or no -- effort. In addition, if the US is not the land of opportunity, why do immigrants continue to flock here as if there's no tomorrow? I have a hunch -- it's because Ms. Nichols has no idea what she's talking about!
(And may I ask: What excuse is there today in 2008 for one not getting an education?)
Charter schools are public schools. As such, they have to abide by church-state separation edicts. Well, maybe not:
Evidence suggests ... that TIZA is an Islamic school, funded by Minnesota taxpayers.
TIZA has many characteristics that suggest a religious school. It shares the headquarters building of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is "establishing Islam in Minnesota." The building also houses a mosque. TIZA's executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief.
Students pray daily, the cafeteria serves halal food - permissible under Islamic law -- and "Islamic Studies" is offered at the end of the school day.
Let's see ... a charter school that shared a building with a "Christian American Society of Minnesota," had a chapel in it, whose executive director was a priest, was sponsored by a group called "Christian Relief," and had "Christian Studies" at the end of the school day. The ACLU would have filed suit in a pico-second after this information was revealed.
Writer Katherine Kersten was stonewalled when she tried to visit the school to see for herself what was happening at the school; however, Amanda Getz, a substitute teacher at the school, filled her in:
Arriving on a Friday, the Muslim holy day, she says she was told that the day's schedule included a "school assembly" in the gym after lunch.
Before the assembly, she says she was told, her duties would include taking her fifth-grade students to the bathroom, four at a time, to perform "their ritual washing."
Afterward, Getz said, "teachers led the kids into the gym, where a man dressed in white with a white cap, who had been at the school all day," was preparing to lead prayer. Beside him, another man "was prostrating himself in prayer on a carpet as the students entered."
"The prayer I saw was not voluntary," Getz said. "The kids were corralled by adults and required to go to the assembly where prayer occurred."
Islamic Studies was also incorporated into the school day. "When I arrived, I was told 'after school we have Islamic Studies,' and I might have to stay for hall duty," Getz said. "The teachers had written assignments on the blackboard for classes like math and social studies. Islamic Studies was the last one -- the board said the kids were studying the Qu'ran. The students were told to copy it into their planner, along with everything else. That gave me the impression that Islamic Studies was a subject like any other."
After school, Getz's fifth-graders stayed in their classroom and the man in white who had led prayer in the gym came in to teach Islamic Studies.
Imagine if a GOP strategist had said this:
On Fox & Friends’ America’s Election HQ segment, Bob Beckel denigrated Special Olympic athletes. As the “debate” with conservative Rich Galen (and moderated by Steve Doocy) over Hillary Clinton’s suggestion to Bush to boycott the Olympics opening ceremony in China ended, Doocy joked that Galen was a bronze medalist in the low hurdles and that Beckel was a former javelin catcher. In return Beckel asked what event Doocy participated in: Doocy replied that it was the biathlon. Beckel jibed, “At the Special Olympics.” (Link.)
But this is hardly a rare occurrence. Just check out Kos, the DU, and locally, these idiots. Somehow, when you scream loudest about "tolerance," "diversity" and "sensitivity," this somehow makes you more "immune" to it.
Eye-opening report in today's Philly Daily News about how bad discipline is in the Philadelphia schools.
After running the Philadelphia School District for more than five academic years, the School Reform Commission is flunking when it comes to properly disciplining the majority of violent students and thoroughly reporting serious crimes.
That's according to a memorandum sent to the commission from the state's school-safety watchdog. The Daily News this week obtained a copy of the at-times scathing four-page confidential memorandum.
The crime-and-punishment problems have been allowed to fester even though they are known by the five-member reform commission and the top school officials who work for it, according to Safe Schools Advocate Jack Stollsteimer, author of the Jan. 15 memo.
"I have concluded that the district's disciplinary and school safety systems are illegal, unjust and in complete need of reform, the same structural and procedural reform called for in several recent studies of the district," Stollsteimer wrote.
And folks wonder why there always seems to be a teacher shortage in the district (among other major city school districts)? Check it out:
Among Stollsteimer's findings:
Scary stuff, folks.
Just remember: "It's not Obama speaking." Yeah, but when enough of his closest allies mutter idiocies, it's more than quite logical to wonder.
"The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more."
The "New Man" philosophy is alive and well, it seems.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-WV:
"McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues." (Link.)
Aside from the obvious more-than-asininity of the statement (he has since apologized), it seems silver-spoon Rockefeller is factually off his rocker as well:
Laser-guided weapons were first developed in the United States in the early 1960s. The USAF issued the first development contracts in 1964, leading to the development of the Paveway series, which was used operationally in Vietnam starting in 1968. (Link.)
McCain was shot down and imprisoned in Vietnam in October of 1967.
Concerns about promoting homosexuality are actually taken to heart and acted upon! Wonder why? Oh, it's easy. The concerns come from non-Christians:
Two primary schools have withdrawn storybooks about same-sex relationships after objections from Muslim parents.
Up to 90 gathered at the schools to complain about the books which are aimed at pupils as young as five.
Bristol City Council said the two schools had been using the books to ensure they complied with gay rights laws which came into force last April.
They were intended to help prevent homophobic bullying, it said.
Members of the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society said parents were upset at the lack of consultation over the use of the materials.
Farooq Siddique, community development officer for the society and a governor at Bannerman Road, said there were also concerns about whether the stories were appropriate for young children.
He added: "In Islam homosexual relationships are not acceptable, as they are not in Christianity and many other religions but the main issue is that they didn't bother to consult with parents."
I bet I know what would happen if a [primarily white] Christian group of parents had put forth the same complaints: The schools would have kept the books to comply with that UK law, and the parents would be derisively labeled as "homophobic."
The deaths of the six infants "were not a case of bad luck, but the consequence of an accumulation of circumstances that have created this alarming situation," Mendez said.
He and others say the problems at Concepcion Palacios are symptoms of a variety of ills that have beset the public healthcare system under leftist firebrand President Hugo Chavez. Cases of malaria nearly doubled between 1998, the year before Chavez took office, and 2007. Incidents of dengue fever more than doubled over the same period.
Poorly paid doctors regularly demonstrate at hospitals from Puerto La Cruz in the northeast to Maracay in the industrial heartland, demanding back pay and protesting the lack of equipment and supplies. Others are leaving in droves for Spain, Australia or the Middle East, where they make 10 times the $600 monthly average salary they earn in public hospitals.
Venezuela's healthcare system was facing problems even before Chavez took office. The system has been riven with corruption, mismanagement and disorganization for decades. In addition, tropical conditions have made the country ripe for epidemics difficult for any government to control. An encephalitis outbreak in 1996 sickened 20,000 people.
But the system's current crisis comes as the country is awash in oil wealth, a windfall that critics say could be used to ease the problem. Instead, Chavez is building a parallel health program called Barrio Adentro, which features 11,000 neighborhood clinics staffed mainly by Cuban doctors.
I just can't believe this. I thought Venezuela was becoming the next Cuban-style socialist paradise!
My issue arrived in the mail yesterday and it made for good-before-my-Saturday-afternoon nap reading. (That doesn't mean it put me to sleep; on the contrary, I enjoy a good read before a siesta.) The comic is in black and white (which might turn some folks off; it doesn't me, especially after reading Marvel's "Essential" books and Dark Horse's remarkable Aliens volume one series) and is illustrated by John Cox, artist at the Cox & Forkum editorial cartoon site. The script is by Sleet and Darius LaMonica (pseudonyms, by the way). I first discussed Matamoros here.
Chuck Sobietti is a sergeant who has been severely injured by an IED in Iraq. He's lost his right arm, and needs a new lung and liver. But he's not the least bit bitter -- he wants to know when he can get back into the field! The military offers Sobietti a recuperative alternative: He is a candidate for an experimental procedure that'll eliminate the need for the transplants, and might also regrow his arm. The middle of the book details the procedure, complete with the requisite "techno-babble," and soon Sobietti realizes that his operation has proved even more successful than his superiors had imagined. He heals incredibly quickly, and his physical prowess is better than ever, pre-injury even.
Shortly after this discovery came my first head-scratcher: Sobietti's colonel tells him that "the top brass has decided that it's time for your discharge." Two reasons why this doesn't make sense: 1) Sobietti's term isn't up yet (he has three more years of service), and 2) why wouldn't the military want to take advantage of Sobietti's miraculous recovery, either as a PR tool (if they don't know about his new abilities), or as a "special agent" (if they do know). In addition, since the Iraq conflict has been criticized for mandating multiple tours of duty and for over-reliance on National Guardsmen, why not take advantage of a guy who wants to get back into the game? Perhaps this all is a military ruse (it is only the first issue) and they'll call Sobietti back later. Maybe they want to see what he does "on his own."
The latter half of the issue details what Sobietti does with his post-service life. At first, he works for a contractor building homes. While at lunch at a local café (run by some Arabs), Chuck inadvertently overhears a conversation (he realizes his operation has also drastically improved his hearing) between two of the café's workers -- they're plotting a terrorist attack! Chuck takes it upon himself to follow the two dudes, using the "night-vision goggles and the infrared headlight from [his] stint" to assist him. Wow -- does the military actually let servicemen keep such equipment? Hell, even Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway (at left) excoriated Corporal "Stitch" Jones for apparently selling his Kevlar helmet to a local pawn shop for some quick cash!
Nevertheless, Sleet and LaMonica next offer excellent counters to the mainstream hard-left political pontificating that has become all-too common in the "funny books" lately. We see Sobietti making a phone call to the local police to report the terrorist plot he has uncovered. The cop's reply:
Disgusted by the labyrinthine procedures by which he'd have to even report the terrorist activities, Sobietti takes it upon himself to bust in on the terrorists' safe house. He discovers that the radical Islamists were in the final stages of putting together a plot to blow up buses in the middle of rush hour. Guess it's a good thing Chuck put a bullet into each of the baddies! This leads to a rush of media pondering this new "vigilante's" actions. Lawyer "Bill Ruby" (clearly patterned after lefty attorney Ron Kuby) invokes "Islamophobia" and rips the "vigilante" claiming that he could have planted the chemicals and other bomb-making materials, etc. The public reaction to Sobietti's actions is overwhelmingly positive; however, the ACLU intends to file murder charges against Chuck (should he be ID'd and subsequently caught, that is).
It would be easy to criticize Matamoros as taking an "easy" vigilante justice approach to terrorism. Like, why did Sobietti have to kill the terrorists? Wouldn't it be easier to injure them -- or just subdue them? But then ... they'd get a "show trial" where guys like the Kuby-analogue would paint everything the terrorists did as "innocent" and a mere "misunderstanding." Of course, the American system of justice is supposed to guarantee even the most heinous individuals their day in court, but Matamoros plays on how PC American justice has become in the post-9/11 world, as shown by the policeman's response to Sobietti's terror tip. It is Chuck who becomes the criminal for tracking and acquiring proof of an imminent terror attack.
It will indeed be interesting to see what happens in subsequent issues.
As for the overall comicbook experience, Sleet and LaMonica do a very good job at the scripting helm, especially considering they've before never written a comic. Cox's art is neither too cartoony nor realistic, which gives it an unusual visual appeal. The black and white gives the story the proper atmosphere.
Wonder how long it'll be for the moonbats to start celebrating. After all, he was the president of the NRA: Charlton Heston dead at age 84.
"Planet of the Apes" is a classic. I watch it every time it's rerun. This was one of the scifi flicks that, as a kid, helped make me such a huge fan of the genre. And not only that, the sequels get you thinking about the geometry of time!
UPDATE: That didn't take very long.
This is pretty funny, especially the first one.
(h/t to The Corner.)
You know, like Cuba, the old Soviet Union, Mao's China ...
The Corner's Mark Steyn writes:
One of the striking features of my current troubles with Canada's "Human Rights" Commissions is the way, in the name of ersatz "human rights", these pseudo-courts trample on one of the bedrock human rights: the presumption of innocence. Instead, you're presumed guilty unless you can prove that you're not. That's why Section 13 in federal "human rights" cases up north has a 100% conviction rate that even Kim Jong-Il might blanch at. So I'm sorry to see the Aussies going down the same grim path:Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma wants the burden of proof in cases of racial discrimination to fall on the alleged offender, instead of the person making the complaint.
Mr Calma said Australia's laws made it difficult to prove there had been discrimination.
A Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission analysis of other countries, including the US, Britain and Canada, shows that in those countries the onus of proof shifts to the person who has been accused of discrimination once the complainant has established an initial case.
In Australia, the burden of proof rests on the person making the complaint...
Mr Calma said if people were forced to defend themselves, it might make them think twice before offending.
But, wouldn't they have to defend themselves anyway if someone brought a complaint/suit against them? Sure they would, but it would -- should -- be incumbent upon the complainant to prove his/her case, not the other way around. This is a fundamental facet of Western law tradition.
And isn't it great that the US is cited as one of the countries where the accused has to prove his/her innocence, and not the other way around? I've read myriad cases where the EEOC has essentially demanded that, for example, employers "prove" they haven't engaged in discrimination because their employees don't "reflect" the general population in which the employer operates.
At any rate, I especially dig what Andrew Bolt says in response to Aussie Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma:
OK, Calma - I’ll start your ball rolling to hell. I accuse you of being a damn racist. Which, under your new regime, means a racist you are until you can prove you are not. In the meantime you should stand down, because a racist can’t hold your job, surely?
... I present to you a project for which I was asked to contribute.
Last summer, I was contacted by two gentlemen who publish a "Popular Culture and Philosophy" series of journals. They were in the midst of putting together the next series, "Battlestar Galactica & Popular Culture," and asked me, if I was interested, to submit a chapter for the journal. Well, of course I was interested! What follows is my first -- and only draft. The two gents had requested I do some substantial rewriting and editing to suit the needs of the series. Normally, I'd have no problem with that request. However, the request came when the school year was just getting underway, and there was, frankly, no way I could meet the request given the time parameters. So, unfortunately, I had to back out.
Here it is: Why Does “Battlestar Galactica” Possess Thirteenth Tribe Culture? (I've added some bold and italics for this blog post that were not in the original paper, just for emphasis and effect.)
The denizens of the Battlestar Galactica and accompanying fleet are currently scouring the galaxy for their hopeful salvation, that missing “Thirteenth Tribe” also known as Earth. What is curious is that the citizens of the now-obliterated Twelve Colonies seem to possess, despite their incredible high technology, a level of civilizational and moral growth that is no more advanced than our very own. This is either the result of keeping “Battlestar Galactica” (henceforth “BSG”) viewers’ attention by making more-than-obvious analogies to current events (the likely, but less interesting, explanation), or the series writers’ “guilty conscience” (to quote Carl Sagan) where unconsciously they assume that space-faring civilizations (even advanced human ones) will have essentially the same level of social, cultural and political development as present-day humans on Earth. This is extremely unlikely. The only way in which BSG humans could possess such technology without accompanying societal and cultural growth is if they acquired advanced tech from some other means instead of developing it themselves.
The most technologically advanced societies historically have also had the most developed social and political systems. The Egyptians. The Greeks. The Romans. The contemporary West. The current era’s “first world” countries clearly possess the most rational cultures, as well as the most advanced political and social systems. Western values have codified basic human rights including rights for women, ethnic and racial minorities, homosexuals, and even have penalties for the abuse of animals. Western values, for example, led to the abolition of chattel slavery on moral grounds. Indeed, presently, advanced nations ponder more their historic misgivings than their accomplishments. A typical United States history textbook will devote more pages to the mistreatment of the American Indian than to the development of the Constitution, and to the internment of Japanese-Americans than to the New Deal. It is true that the most technologically advanced nations do not always demonstrate similarly advanced morality (Nazi Germany anyone?), but aberrations are the exception, not the rule. It is almost a symbiotic relationship in that the advanced social aspects of a culture enable advanced technology.
Back to the Future
The citizens of BSG are humans, first and foremost. They are related to you and me, based on series lore. Therefore, it is logical to assume that inhabitants of the Twelve Colonies would follow a line of similar overall development to us “Earth humans,” since, after all, they have the same capacity for love, hate, compassion and the other emotions. Now, consider the state of human development today: How long would it take for Earth humans to develop faster-than-light (FTL) travel, explore neighboring star systems, and then develop said star systems with an elaborate political and economic system? What sort of cooperation would be necessary among the many nations of the Earth, and/or would a united Earth government be a necessary prerequisite?
Over thirty years ago Carl Sagan and colleague William Newman calculated that it would take one million years for a low population growth space-faring civilization to expand outward “only” 200 light-years colonizing suitable planets as they went. One million years. The total duration of Earth-based human civilization isn’t even close to that temporal ballpark, yet it is logical to assume that BSG humans would have to be considerably closer to that time-frame given that they colonized twelve worlds and maintained an intricate interstellar commerce and culture. Then again, it seems Sagan’s and Newman’s calculations are based on slower-than-light (STL) travel, not faster-than-light. (Sagan never was a believer in FTL propulsion.) Since it is established in BSG that the Colonies do utilize FTL travel, let’s assume that the Colonials began their initial space exploration with FTL-propelled vessels in lieu of STL ships. Instead of one million years, what would be a reasonable amount of time for the Colonies to have been established? One hundred thousand? Ten thousand? One thousand?
I posit that even with FTL travel, the amount of time needed to construct the society we see in the BSG series would, in my opinion, take a bare minimum of one thousand years. Ignore other science fiction that has humans developing interstellar travel by ourselves within the next one hundred years like “Star Trek.” (And “Trek” did it in the direct aftermath of the Third World War! Say what??) We’re still decades, possibly more than a century away from viable fusion power, let alone the process by which to power an FTL drive. Again, consider where we stand on Earth today. Our space vessels still use chemical fuels. A millennium to reach the technological sophistication of BSG humans actually seems generous. Now consider: How far has humanity on Earth progressed morally and socially over the last one thousand years? It has advanced immensely, obviously. Take a moment to consider what was “moral” and “acceptable” in the year 1007. It is logical to assume that in one thousand years from now Earth humans will look back at the year 2007 and turn our noses up at how “barbarous” that era was. And this [at least] one thousand-years-in-the-future mentality is what the denizens of BSG should possess! A society that has been able to expand into interstellar space and establish a twelve-solar system unified political system simply could not have done so if it faced the same problems we do on present-day Earth.
We’ve Come So Far, Yet …
We’ve witnessed scenarios which demonstrate that BSG Colonial civilization isn’t really all that advanced, at least as much as we have a right to expect. We’ve seen that at least one of the Twelve Colonies (Sagitaron) was quite destitute and considered sort of a “backwater” world where many of its citizens were almost at a level of slave labor. We’ve seen, in the person of Tom Zarek, that Colonial politics and government were hardly unified nor egalitarian. Indeed, they were as corrupt and as full of intrigue as our own. And most importantly, we’ve seen how the Colonies treated their very own intelligent creations, the Cylons. If the human society of BSG developed its own high technology, all of the above are highly improbable. These are facets of a civilization that has not yet managed to achieve a one-world government let alone a multi-world interstellar society. Carl Sagan, in his magnum opus, Cosmos, noted that a civilization will not even undertake space exploration if a society has a large degree of population growth; very little exploration if it has a low population growth. It would take a zero population growth for an intensive interstellar exploration effort otherwise all resources on a planet go into maintaining the population. Given much of what we’ve seen in [current] BSG, it is difficult to imagine a society that had reached such a necessary step quite a while ago in its past. Since the society of BSG exhibits this and other myriad aspects of present-day Earth, it is unlikely that it would have achieved the interstellar society that it has. It would be perhaps possible for a planet’s most advanced nation (or nations) to undertake the difficult process of interstellar exploration whilst ignoring the plights of the planet’s developing countries. Possible, but unlikely, mainly due to greatly enhanced chances of conflict and war. But in such a case, perhaps, one may presume that the “backwater” Sagitarons and the literally religious Geminese in BSG originally came from underdeveloped nations back on the Colonials’ original homeworld.
But back to the Cylons. Modern Earth has already begun to develop a code of ethics and morals for humans working with robots. An advanced human civilization like BSG’s (or, at least what it should be) would hardly seek to arbitrarily annihilate its very own intelligent creation merely for demonstrating sentience. It is understandable that BSG humans would not have compunctions about using machines as “slave” labor in the first place since they [logically] would assume that a machine wouldn’t care what or how much work it does, as long as it didn’t endanger its own existence. But once these machines exhibited actual self awareness, why would advanced humans seek to just snuff it out instead of understanding it? Why wouldn’t humans realize that they had actually given the universe an entirely new race of beings? That’s just the point: A culture supposedly as advanced as BSG’s would. The Cylons became a “danger” only because humans were afraid of what they had created and tried to obliterate them. Here, as opposed to the previous mention, “Star Trek” lore is applicable in the form of Data. In one episode, while a few Federation robotics experts wanted to consider the android property (in a clear reference to the infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court case), Captain Jean-Luc Picard argued vociferously in court to have Data accorded the very same rights as all other Federation citizens. Picard won. Why couldn’t the humans of BSG do no less?
“But We ARE Moral!”
The most aggravating facet of BSG is that every now and then, its citizens actually do demonstrate a glimmer of the morality and culture that their civilization should have long possessed. They years ago had tried to destroy their own creations, yet when the Galactica – long after the Cylons had wiped out the Twelve Colonies -- discovered a virus that had the potential to virtually completely wipe out the Cylons, some BSG humans ultimately decided not to take advantage of it because then humans “would be no better than the Cylons.” This is a noble sentiment except for the fact that it comes way too late; human civilization has been trimmed from billions to a mere forty-five thousand. Why would BSG humans, on the brink of extinction, now worry about committing tit-for-tat genocide when they clearly didn’t before, and especially now that they’ve been the victims of it?
In another instance, when the Galactica encountered its sister Battlestar, Pegasus, the crew aboard the former vessel was appalled at how the latter treated its Cylon captives. Again, why? Where was this dismay when the Cylons manifested sentience and were treated horribly as a consequence? Indeed, if the Twelve Colonies had exhibited such empathy for the Cylons decades prior, the dozen-star system civilization would still be thriving; empathy like falling in love with a Cylon and having a child with one, as Helo and Sharon demonstrate.
Others Made Us Do It
This entire chapter’s premise falls apart if BSG humans were the beneficiaries of advanced alien technology, either by being given it or by reverse engineering. The only problem with this is that there has been absolutely no basis for this theory in any BSG episode. Still, this is fairly common tactic used by many science fiction writers. Larry Niven’s felinoid Kzin race overcame their Jotoki masters and made use of their advanced tech. [Earth] Humans themselves amassed amazing technology from the ancient Heechee race in Frederik Pohl’s award-winning Gateway (and subsequent sequels). Marvel Comics’ well known Kree race stole their super-science from the equally well known Skrulls. The whole premise of Marvel’s Watcher race is that they are forbidden to interfere in other races’ development because once in their distant past such interference resulted in two planets’ destruction. In each of these cases, the race doing the “stealing” or “acquisition” either went to war, or something close to it. The Kzin conquered their immediate stellar neighbors (and almost defeated Earth); despite the Heechee technology which enabled human faster-than-light travel in Gateway, planet-wide conflict nearly destroyed the Earth ; the Kree began to attack Skrull planets, and the Watchers’ situation speaks for itself.
Such an acquisition would make BSG human civilization much more believable in that their culture wouldn’t be ready for it. Once again, imagine if 2007 Earth was suddenly able to travel to other planets faster than light, and able to create sentient robots. How would we Earth humans react? Most likely our petty national, political, cultural and ethnic differences would create severe difficulties in establishing an interstellar civilization, if indeed such a creation was able to occur at all without constant warfare. And Earth humans still possess too great a degree of irrational fear and superstition that the genesis of a sentient race like the Cylons would most likely plunge the planet into chaos.
“Battlestar Galactica,” of course, would be a much less interesting show if it did not dwell on some of the themes that it has in its past three seasons. Viewing an extra-solar human civilization that one can hardly comprehend makes for bad television, just as “Star Trek” would if all the Federation’s enemies didn’t have the same level of technology (which is extremely implausible). But BSG’s creators could have made the show’s premise more scientifically believable if they added a small component about Colonial humans’ technology being based on some alien advanced technology. Without such -- if BSG humans developed their advanced technology on their own -- our interstellar species counterparts that we view on the SciFi Channel each week would virtually be incomprehensible to us.
Via the Newsbusters tip line (which goes out to many contributors, not just me):
AMERICA IS READY FOR CHANGE BUT OUR LEADERS ARE NOT READY FOR CHANGE. IT'S TOO MUCH AT STAKE WITH THE GOOD OLD BOY NETWORK. HOW CAN WE FORGET ABOUT THE OLD DAYS OF SLAVERY AND DISCRIMINATION? WHEN ALL WE HAVE DONE IS DEVELOPED GOOD POLICIES AND HAVE FAILED TO IMPLEMENT AND CARRY OUT ANY. THE CONSTITUTION AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACT ARE NOT NEW, BUT THEY ARE COLLECTING DIRT WHEN IT COMES TO MINORITIES IN FACT THE CONSTITUTION AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTS HAVE BEEN PLACED ON TOP OF SAND MOUNTAIN.
It's bad enough that the 7:00pm-9:00pm lineup is so pathetically partisan and childish. And it's ridiculous when Keith Olbermann and Dan Abrams blast Fox News, in particular, for various misstatements and bloopers -- especially when these two bozos regularly commit such themselves.
Boston public TV grande dame Emily Rooney is taking on the cable news giants - again - over the name of her popular program, "Beat the Press."
Rooney coined the title, owns it and isn't happy that the cable talking heads have made a habit of swiping her show's name.
"I flat out own it," Rooney told MediaBiz yesterday.
Ah, but Dan Abrams -- who has illegally been using Rooney's trademarked phrase for weeks now -- had the audacity to rip CNN for using "his show's" title!
"Beat the Press. What a great idea for a regular segment where they go after the media," Abrams lamented. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but this is pure, intellectual thievery."
Yeah, and you committed it, dunce!
I hope Rooney sues Abrams' (and MSNBC's) ass(es). Olbermann, and now Abrams, are utterly unwatchable as they're like two playground children whining to their mothers about "what all the other children are doing." I'll still tune in to Chris Matthews' "Hardball" at 7pm because he still, many times, has a balanced program and Matthews himself isn't completely off his rocker.
Furor brewing out in Arizona: A elementary teacher in the Tuscon Unified School District has had her students say the Pledge of Allegiance in English, then Spanish, then in American Sign Language. Uh oh:
When Lance Altherr learned last week that his son was reciting the pledge in Spanish, he was outraged. He spoke with [teacher Anne] Lee and then Principal Paula Godfrey, demanding they stop the practice. They wouldn't, and Altherr moved his son to a different class. In the days before the Internet, that's where the drama would have stopped. But Altherr, who is a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, took his case to the Internet, sending out mass e-mails and posting on message boards. The result has been a swirling Internet controversy marked by crushing e-mails sent from across the country to Godfrey and the district. "You are pledging your allegiance, and your honor and loyalty to your country," Altherr said in a phone interview Thursday. "And I find it ironic that anybody would want to do that in a foreign language."The thing is, the United States doesn't even have an official language like most other countries do. We have a predominate language, which is, of course, English. I fail to see the "controversy" since the Pledge is FIRST recited in the country's main language, then its second most common language, then in one which hardly anyone uses (if you look at the raw figures). So why isn't Altherr upset about the Pledge being hand-signed?
Isn't the sentiment behind the Pledge much more important than the lingo in which it's recited? I might understand Altherr a bit more if the class only said the Pledge in Spanish. But they're not.
"It's really not a story," said Chyrl Hill Lander, the district's spokeswoman. "They recite the pledge in English every morning, and they recite the pledge in Spanish. After they recite it in Spanish, then they sign the Pledge of Allegiance."
After Altherr raised his concerns about multilingual pledges of patriotism, Godfrey checked around on the practice. She checked with the district's legal department, and the state's Department of Education; both said it was fine. She even checked with the national office of the Veterans of Foreign Wars to ensure it wouldn't offend. The VFW gave her mixed signals on the matter.
A VFW official first said in an e-mail that it was "not disrespectful to say the Pledge of Allegiance in either" language "as long as it was stated as written."
But when the heat turned up, the VFW's national director sent the TUSD Governing Board an e-mail Thursday demanding a stop to the practice of Spanish-language pledges.
"To allow Spanish speaking adults the freedom to pledge their allegiance to our nation in their native language is completely respectful. However, to require English-speaking second-grade students to recite the Pledge in Spanish is another matter entirely," wrote Stephen Van Buskirk. "To the Veterans of Foreign Wars, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a sacred and meaningful exercise."
Ah, but you see no one is REQUIRED to say the Pledge of Allegiance in ENGLISH either, if he/she does not want to. This has been the case for over sixty years.
As a language teacher, I think what Ms. Lee has her class do is a great idea, especially considering the ethnic make-up of the school. Predominately English speakers learn Spanish, and vice versa. Then there's American Sign Language thrown in for good measure. Again, who cares what language the Pledge is said in! Isn't it more important that our nation's many races and ethnicities actually say it at all -- and [hopefully] believe in it?
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Black Liberation Theology by Joshuapundit, and 5 Years, 1 year by Acute Politics. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2 1/3||Black Liberation Theology|
|2||Another UN Obscenity (Updated)|
|1 1/3||The Messiah-Shtick|
|1 1/3||Can We Just Walk Away From Iraq?|
Right Wing Nut House
|1 1/3||Sticks and Stones|
|2/3||CD22 Runoff -- Shelly Sekula Gibbs Vs. Pete Olson|
Rhymes With Right
|2/3||The Moral Blindness of the Left|
Hillbilly White Trash
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|1/3||Interpreting the Events In Basra|
The Glittering Eye
Done With Mirrors
|2||5 Years, 1 year|
|1 2/3||NY Times Reporters Try To Defend Grave Mistake -- Of Course Fail|
|1 1/3||Preventing Nuclear Terrorism|
|1 1/3||Safe at Home Interviews Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser|
Family Security Matters
|1 1/3||Disgrace: UN Human Rights Council Endorses Ban On Religious Defamation|
The Paragraph Farmer
|2/3||Marash Quits English al Jazeera Over the (British) Anti-Americanism|
|2/3||Thoughts About This Article From The Observer|
|1/3||If You Can't Beat Them, Threaten to Behead Them...|
Can you just imagine if this showed the reverse -- where Mexico was, say, noted on the map as the "51st state"? La Raza et. al. would be picketing Absolut and demanding sensitivity training, diversity seminars, and more Hispanics employed by the company.
A student and his family have filed a federal lawsuit demanding that a popular European history teacher at California's Capistrano Valley High School be fired for what they say were anti-Christian remarks he made in the classroom.
Chad Farnan, a 16-year-old sophomore, says the teacher, James Corbett, told his students that “Jesus glasses” obscure the truth and suggested that Christians are more likely than other people to commit rape and murder.
Farnan recorded his teacher telling students in class: “What country has the highest murder rate? The South! What part of the country has the highest rape rate? The South! What part of the country has the highest rate of church attendance? The South!” Farnan said he took the tape recorder to class to supplement his class notes.
I knew that sounded familiar, so I utilized the handy Colossus search function and found this from back in December. I think a lawsuit is going quite a bit too far, even if the offended student actually has what this teacher said on tape.
Speaking of lawsuits: The ten-year old girl in the downstate Delaware Indian River School District who supposedly overheard a teacher telling other students that she would not vote for Barack Obama because "he is a Muslim" (and whose sisters wrote a letter to the editor of a downstate paper about it, and whose mother, Dina Odetalla, subsequently filed a complaint with the district) didn't have any such proof other than her word. (By the way, The Wave newspaper refused to run the sisters' letter because they could not confirm its accuracy. The Cape Gazette didn't have the same scruples, apparently.) In addition, this mother had previously complained to the district because a geography teacher -- who had planned a unit on the 9/11 attacks -- wanted to include the "hatreds that go back to Biblical times." She accused this teacher of (in a meeting, not in class) insulting "our religious beliefs in front of my daughter and called our prophet a "killer and a marauder."
When these predictable cretins jumped all over this story, I did just a tad bit of checking and found out that there is a bit more to this woman's story than is being told (via the Wilmington News Journal and other media outlets, that is). Also, is it just a wild coincidence that Mrs. Odetalla has three daughters -- just like the Muslim family that sued the nearby Cape Henlopen District almost two years ago?
Consider -- from the Cape lawsuit:
The lawsuit, made public Friday in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, accuses a teacher at Shields Elementary School in Lewes of equating Muslims to terrorists while instructing a fourth-grade class last school year.
"During the course of that lesson, students were told 'Muslims believe the Koran teaches war and hatred'; 'Muslims believe that people who do not practice Islam are evil,' " the lawsuit said.
From the Indian River complaint:
... [the teacher] "attacked our religious beliefs in front of my daughter and called our prophet a "killer and a marauder."
In the Cape suit, the family
"suggested ... that her daughter ... would make a balanced presentation explaining the Muslim religion to the classroom, to boost her self-esteem, [but] it was expressed that such an action would be inappropriate, in that it would 'open a can of worms.' "
In the Indian River complaint,
Odetalla wrote that she repeatedly tried to address concerns about a planned weeklong unit on the Sept. 11 attacks that was planned for a geography class at Selbyville Middle School. One of Odetalla's daughters was in the class. Odetalla wrote that the teacher told her "if I didn't like the teaching I should remove my daughter from the classroom."
If I were a betting man, I'd wager that this family is one and the same. My posts about the Cape Henlopen situation indicated that the plaintiff family had some merit to their case, based on what I was able to find out. But if this family is the same as the one in Indian River, then my BS detector is beginning to buzz. These situations seem a bit too convenient; or to put it another way, some might be engaging is what is known as "hypersensitivity."
Ah, that nutty United Nations. Its "Human Rights Council" recently put forth the following resolution (my emphasis):
8. Urges States to take actions to prohibit the dissemination, including through political institutions and organizations, of racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constitute incitement to racial and religious hatred, hostility or violence;
9. Also urges States to provide, within their respective legal and constitutional systems, adequate protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from the defamation of any religion, to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and their value systems and to complement legal systems with intellectual and moral strategies to combat religious hatred and intolerance;
10. Emphasizes that respect of religions and their protection from contempt is an essential element conducive for the exercise by all of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; ...
13. Reaffirms that general comment No. 15 of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in which the Committee stipulates that the prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based upon racial superiority or hatred is compatible with the freedom of opinion and expression, is equally applicable to the question of incitement to religious hatred ...
I especially like those last two items. Exactly how "protection from contempt" is an "essential element" for the freedom of thought and conscience, is beyond me. Like, if I thought (as Eugene Volokh posits) that Scientology is "utterly nutty" and I wanted to say so on this blog, how am I able if Scientologists are supposedly "protected from [my] contempt"?
And if I thought that Catholicism was the best religion on the planet and wanted to say why that was so, how could I possibly do that if there's a "prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based upon racial superiority" that's also "applicable to the question of incitement to religious hatred"? How is that even remotely "compatible with the freedom of opinion and expression"? Sheesh!
Here's the enlightened countries that voted for the resolution: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Bastions of democracy and free expression, eh?
Then there's those who voted "no": Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom.
Notice anything? It's that gosh-danged Western tradition, dammit!! How long will it remain an obstacle to "real" freedom, huh?
This week's offering comes courtesy of University of Delaware associate professor Alan Fox, who defends the university's "revamping" of its Residence Life program:
As president of the University of Delaware Faculty Senate, I was extremely disappointed in the editorial that rushed to judgment regarding the University of Delaware's Residence Life program, while remaining ignorant of the issues involved ("UD should outright repudiate student indoctrination efforts," March 23).
The fact that the program was pulled and changes are being made is evidence that we repudiate the past program. The University of Delaware is definitely not going to be telling freshmen what they should think or say about gender and race.
One student was quoted as saying, "It's basically going to be the same crap, different people" – as though an embittered student is now the expert.
You just gotta love the elitist attitude of Fox. He totally dismisses a student's viewpoint of the program because he's not an "expert." In other words, the student is somehow incapable of recognizing that the crap spewed in the "new" Residence Life program is merely a regurgitation of the same previous refuse. And Fox's attitude has already been on display. Keep in mind that the university isn't "revamping" this program out of some sudden altruism; they're doing it because they got caught and called out on it, notably by the libertarian-leaning free speech group FIRE.
One telling item on Fox's "new and improved" list is the note that Shakti Butler's materials -- on whose program the UD one was modeled -- shouldn't even have been mentioned on the UD website. In other words, Fox and UD are saying "We're fearful that parents of UD students are not enlightened enough to fully grasp Butler's source material." Or, to put it another way, "We're worried that people will think that Butler's program is total crap, and thus allowing the public to view it may result in parents saying 'No way my kid is going to UD!'" Just take a quick gander at Butler's background: she has a PhD from the School of Transformative Learning and Change at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Riiiiiiight.
Fox notes that the revamped program "also are emphasizing citizenship and strategies for living together, rather than focusing narrowly on diversity and gender." Oh. Or, more likely, "We've merely switched the vocabulary to make it all 'more palatable.'"
I really do hope Fox is sincere. But the dogma and philosophy of those in [university] academia is what got UD into hot water in the first place (not to mention too many other universities across the country). The "improvement" about not including Shakti Butler's program on the university website, and merely changing program vocabulary to me indicates a less than forthright effort. Sunshine, as they say, is the best disinfectant, and it still doesn't seem UD likes a lot of sunshine.
According to MSNBC.com circa 7:30pm, that is:
Man, this is just brutal. While campaigning in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Barack Obama decided to swing by a bowling alley.
Bad idea. His score? An incredibly pathetic 37.
I think I got higher than a 37 when I was five years old -- my first time ever in a bowling alley. Check out how lame Obama's form is. Yikes.
Maybe Obama can take the advice of MSNBC talking head Chris Matthews and stick with basketball:
"[I]f you can't do something like that (bowling), you shouldn't do it. He should have stuck to shooting hoops — which he's very, very good at, by the way, and which translates racially, too, especially during the NCAA basketball tournament. Don't do something you've never tried before in front of a national television audience, OK?
"You know, Michelle — and this gets very ethnic, but the fact that he's good at basketball doesn't surprise anybody, but the fact that he's that terrible at bowling does make you wonder."
A couple things are certain here. One, if Matthews was a part of the Clinton campaign, he'd be savaged for his "racist" and "stereotypical" statement(s). Two, since he's not a member of the Clinton campaign, and he's part of liberal cable punditry, he'll get a total pass on his remarks.
On the other hand, if he worked for Fox and/or leaned right, his comments would make headlines the world over.