The New Black Panther Party, which just had the case against several of its members (for voter intimidation) dropped by the Justice Dept., was representing the Democratic Party as poll watchers. (Link.)
Check out the official form here.
But I am SURE politics played NO part in the DOJ's decision!
UPDATE: A flurry of press releases and opinions:
Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, led protests against George Tiller's late-term abortion clinic in Wichita in 1991.
Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue states, "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.
"Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches." (Source.)
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the nation's largest pro-life group, today condemned the killing of Dr. George Tiller. The following statement may be attributed to NRLC Executive Director, David N. O'Steen, Ph.D.:
National Right to Life extends its sympathies to Dr. Tiller's family over this loss of life.
Further, the National Right to Life Committee unequivocally condemns any such acts of violence regardless of motivation. The pro-life movement works to protect the right to life and increase respect for human life. The unlawful use of violence is directly contrary to that goal.
The National Right to Life Committee has always been involved in peaceful, legal activities to protect human lives threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. We always have and will continue to oppose any form of violence to fight the violence of abortion. NRLC has had a policy of forbidding violence or illegal activity by its staff, directors, officers, affiliated state organizations and chapters. NRLC's sole purpose is to protect innocent human life.
NRLC will continue to work through educational and legislative activities to ensure the right to life for unborn children, people with disabilities and older people. NRLC will continue to work for peaceful solutions to aid pregnant women and their unborn children. These solutions involve helping women and their children and do not involve violence against anyone. (Source.)
Whoever murdered George Tiller has done a gravely wicked thing. The evil of this action is in no way diminished by the blood George Tiller had on his own hands. No private individual had the right to execute judgment against him. We are a nation of laws. Lawless violence breeds only more lawless violence. Rightly or wrongly, George Tilller was acquitted by a jury of his peers. "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord." For the sake of justice and right, the perpetrator of this evil deed must be prosecuted, convicted, and punished. By word and deed, let us teach that violence against abortionists is not the answer to the violence of abortion. Every human life is precious. George Tiller's life was precious. We do not teach the wrongness of taking human life by wrongfully taking a human life. Let our "weapons" in the fight to defend the lives of abortion's tiny victims, be chaste weapons of the spirit. (Source.)
UPDATE 2: The inevitable hate fest/blame game begins locally.
... now hopes for a clean process.
President Obama's expressed hope today in his weekly address "that we can avoid the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this (Supreme Court nomination) process, and Congress, in the past" runs against another historical first for the 44th president: his unique role in history as the first US President to have ever voted to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee.
So while there is little indication Republicans intend to filibuster President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the GOP will likely invoke the President's unique history whenever he calls their tactics into question.
In January 2006, then-Sen. Obama joined 24 colleagues in a futile effort led by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of now-Justice Samuel Alito.
But don't you get it? Alito is BAAAAAD and Sotomayor is GOOOOOD. That's "progressive" orthodoxy in a nutshell. And, so sayeth The Messiah.
Check out this passage from a post on the White House blog by Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to the President on Ethics and Government Reform (emphasis added):
"First, we will expand the restriction on oral communications to cover all persons, not just federally registered lobbyists. For the first time, we will reach contacts not only by registered lobbyists but also by unregistered ones, as well as anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.
A northwestern Pennsylvania newspaper is apologizing for running a classified advertisement calling for the assassination of President Barack Obama.
UPDATE: Just in case ('cuz there are plenty 'o moonbats out there), it's "unbelievable" that there was such an ad in the paper, not that the paper apologized.
Christopher Caldwell on the Sotomayor nomination:
“Whether or not you like racial preferences, they involve a way of looking at the law that is sophisticated rather than commonsensical. If the New Haven opinion is fair, it is the kind of fairness you learn at Yale Law School, not the kind you learn in the South Bronx. Sotomayor may be a child of the barrio, culturally speaking, but the judicial philosophy she represents comes from the mandarin, not the proletarian, wing of the Democratic Party."
If Iron Man saves you, exactly how rude is it to stick refrigerator magnets to his back when he isn’t looking?
(h/t: IMAO and Paul Smith Jr.)
Just don't accuse Eric Holder of playing politics, though. I like the DOJ quote:
Claims were dismissed against the other defendants based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law. The department is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who intimidate, threaten or coerce anyone exercising his or her sacred right to vote.
Really? How "vigorous" is letting these guys go? You be the judge -- view the YouTube video.
Dave Burris has more.
The winner in the Council category this week was Bookworm Room with Does Brown v. Board of Education constitute the Supreme Court’s one free pass?
In the non-Council category, it was Melanie Phillips with A Wary Encounter.
Full results are here.
A politically correct edict for crime reports. Headlining the plight of illegal immigrants on Mother's Day. Just two examples of the myriad PC nonsense Delaware's biggest daily engages in regularly. Little wonder it had to resort to cutbacks and cost-saving measures. (Yes, I know this ain't the only reason, but really -- you can only go so far by alienating a large percentage of your readership.)
Another symptom of the NJ ridiculousness is regular contributor Rhonda Graham. Check out what she writes today:
Vice President Joe Biden has written the foreword to "Choosing Equality: Essays and Narratives of the Desegregation Experience," a new book edited by Widener professor Robert L. Hayman Jr. and University of Delaware professor Leland Ware.
The Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education is a landmark in the progress of U.S. civil rights. But in recent years forces opposing affirmative action and supporting resegregation have gained ground.
My emphasis. And for a good reason: Graham wants you to think that being against forced busing or strict numerical racial quotas means being FOR separation of the races. This is patently ridiculous and beyond specious. But is it any surprise that such racial bean counters have to resort to this ... tactic? It's tried and true! What better way to win an argument (avoid, actually) than by invoking the spectre of the "R" word (and I don't mean "resegregation")?
Let's get it straight: One can quite easily be opposed to forced busing and racial quotas and also be very much in favor of desegregation. The two are not mutually exclusive. Just ask those involved in the New Castle County desegregation case of the mid-late 1970s. One of the biggest sticking points of the case was the issue force. Should busing be forced or not? Plenty opposed the use of governmental force but were against discrimination -- and in support of desegregation.
And related to Graham's column here, Joe Biden wrote the foreword to the book in question? Mr. "You Can't Go Into A Dunkin' Donuts Without An Indian Accent?" And this bit of racial ... "sensitivity?"
The faux progressive hilarity rocks on ...
Workin' on it! Seems like a spam blacklist code hassle ...
... by Los Amigos Invisibles -- "Commercial" -- is out the end of this month.
... is how it shows "progressives" to be the most ridiculous moral hypocrites. These arbiters of all things racially and sexually "just" in society have no hassle with the judge's statements (like this, for instance), and now they're warning us to watch our language regarding her:
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs issued a pointed warning to opponents of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination Wednesday, urging critics to measure their words carefully during a politically charged confirmation debate. . . .
Indeed. But recall their outrage after 9/11?
In 2001, then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer drew criticism in the press for suggesting Americans “need to watch what they say” in the overheated aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
But of course! Just like how Judge Sotomayor's life story is "compelling," yet folks like Miguel Estrada and Clarence Thomas, two other minorities whose life stories are equally, if not more, compelling, were largely castigated by "progressives" -- and the MSM.
So, even though this is largely, well, silly, in my opinion, I definitely get a chuckle out of how it turns the tables on the faux progressives.
Via Bench Memos:
Sotomayor is often painted as a moderate by virtue of the fact that President George H.W. Bush formally appointed her to a district-court seat. But, as I’ve explained before, when President Bush nominated Sotomayor to the district court in 1991, the New York senators, Moynihan and D’Amato, had forced on the White House a deal that enabled the senator not of the president’s party to name one of every four district-court nominees in New York. Sotomayor was Moynihan’s pick. I am reliably informed that Bush 41’s White House nonetheless resisted nominating her because she was so liberal and did so in the end only as part of a package to move along other nominees whom Moynihan was holding up.
Just a rebuttal to what is sure to be a Democrat/liberal talking point. She'll still end up being confirmed and it won't really matter much.
... it is dangerous and at the least a royal PITA (that's "pain in the ass.")
A letter in today's News Journal:
Thankfully someone realizes the danger of a cell phone while driving. We narrowly missed big accidents twice with people using cell phones. My husband was a truck driver for 30 years with a perfect driving record. If he wasn’t so cautious and attentive behind the wheel, we would have been in a terrible accident. Both times the drivers were on a cell phone. They have to ban cell phones while driving before something or someone gets killed. Drivers should pull to the curb or the side of the road to use a cell phone. Legislators stopped smoking in public places. In today’s world with so many careless drivers on the road, we really don’t need a cell phone mishap.
Seriously, there is nothing more irritating -- and possibly dangerous -- today than someone on a cell phone while driving. I know many folks can talk and drive competently at the same time; however, way too many cannot. It's gotten a helluva lot worse the last few years, too. (It's miffed me so much that I actually want to title my hypothetical first book about it.) Here's a few instances that have happened to me the last few months:
... comes courtesy of Right on the Left Coast:
Six-year-olds who don't pay attention well in class apparently struggle throughout their school years, and reach age 17 with lower math and reading scores than their peers, a new study shows.
The study, by researchers from UC Davis Medical School and Michigan State University, dovetails with earlier findings that show attention problems can hinder a child's performance throughout grade school.
Uh, 'YA THINK??
What's sadder -- the findings of this study, or that someone actually felt they needed to conduct such a study to come to its way-too-obvious conclusion??
Remember this one?
Workin' on it. Sorry for the hassle.
UPDATE: Comments back up as of 6pm EST.
Ilya Somin opines:
I am not yet sure what position to take on President Obama's selection of Sonia Sotomayor. My general sense is that she is very liberal, and thus likely to take what I consider to be mistaken positions on many major constitutional law issues. I am also not favorably impressed with her notorious statement that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Not only is it objectionable in and of itself, it also suggests that Sotomayor is a committed believer in the identity politics school of left-wing thought. Worse, it implies that she believes that it is legitimate for judges to base decisions in part on their ethnic or racial origins. Stuart Taylor's comments on Sotomayor's speech are telling:
Any prominent white male would be instantly and properly banished from polite society as a racist and a sexist for making an analogous claim of ethnic and gender superiority or inferiority.
Imagine the reaction if someone had unearthed in 2005 a speech in which then-Judge Samuel Alito had asserted, for example: "I would hope that a white male with the richness of his traditional American values would reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn't lived that life" — and had proceeded to speak of "inherent physiological or cultural differences."
Well of course any white male "would be instantly and properly banished from polite society as a racist and a sexist" had he said what Sotomayor did. That's the way political correctness -- and the inconsistency of the Left -- works.
Do I worry about a judge on the highest court ruling based on "empathy," "feelings" and "ethnic background?" Sure. But Sotomayor, if confirmed (which is highly likely), will replace another liberal. The scales remain untilted.
Related: In 2003, Miguel Estrada was dubbed Bush's "affirmative action" candidate by the MSM.
... but keep in mind that Iran just wants nukes for "peaceful" purposes.
Edu-fads appeal to the conceits of professionals. Since they’re inevitably free of any educational value there can’t be any other attraction. Edu-fads give the appearance of progress and of modernity without the reality, without the attendant improvements in productivity or quality.
This is so perfectly stated I just can't stop nodding my head!
It soon may be mandatory for companies to grant paid vacations to their employees if Alan Grayson gets his wish:
Rep. Alan Grayson was standing in the middle of Disney World when it hit him: What Americans really need is a week of paid vacation.
So on Thursday, the Florida Democrat will introduce the Paid Vacation Act — legislation that would be the first to make paid vacation time a requirement under federal law.
The bill would require companies with more than 100 employees to offer a week of paid vacation for both full-time and part-time employees after they’ve put in a year on the job. Three years after the effective date of the law, those same companies would be required to provide two weeks of paid vacation, and companies with 50 or more employees would have to provide one week.
In another federal power grab story, Dave Burris shows what Chuckie Schumer's new bill will do to Delaware if passed.
From CBS.com's "Court Watch" page:
How do we account for Cheney’s failure or refusal to acknowledge all that we have learned about the world since 2002? How do we explain the worldview he continues to share with his camp followers both in and out of power? Do we chalk it up to him being a stubborn, venal, self-righteous man incapable of admitting his own mistakes? Is he truly what Andrew Sullivan calls a “dead-ender?” Do we hang it on his ideology? On his Western individualism that eschews the need for consensus and compromise? Or is he, as many people say, just a dick.
What "biting" analysis! What rapier wit! What professionalism!
Rudy Peel of Wilmington thinks columnist Charles Krauthammer's views shouldn't be welcome in the News Journal ... because:
Krauthammer is as thoughtful to President Obama as Colonel Sanders is to the plights of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
His constant attacks on President Obama are about as unbiased as David Dukes’ assessment of the NAACP, or Osama bin Laden’s love for the pope.
I read the newspapers each day and weather the tirades of hate from “journalists” like Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Patty Buchanan and Bill O’Reilly. I see the airwaves polluted with unchecked venom from these bigots.
Now the new monger on the scene is Dick Cheney, who I consider a war criminal. I suggest Krauthammer go on a duck-hunting trip with the former vice president with John Boehner and Newt Gingrich as guides.
The shorter Peel: Anyone who disagrees with me is a bigot and a hater. I mean, c'mon -- David Duke and OBL?? (Funny then that Krauthammer is Peel's target -- maybe Peel can be brought up on "hate crimes" charges since Krauthammer is confined to a wheelchair. Oh wait, it IS politically correct to make inappropriate comments to such people ... if they're conservatives/Republicans.)
See DE Libertarian for another idiocy regarding Krauthammer.
Count on it.
First place in the Council category for the second week in a row was JoshuaPundit with Land For Peace, American Style.
First place in the non-Council category was Seraphic Secret with The New-Old War Against the Jews.
Full results are here.
Fox News or MSNBC?
I blog, you decide.
A new study says that exercise has virtually no role in the American obesity epidemic. That's right -- no role.
The amount of food Americans eat has been increasing since the 1970s, and that alone is the cause of the obesity epidemic in the US today. Physical activity—or the lack thereof—has played virtually no role in the rising number of expanding American waistlines, according to research presented at the 2009 European Congress on Obesity in Amsterdam last week.
The finding is contrary to the widely held assumption that decreased physical activity is an equally important driver of overweight and obesity in the US, said lead author Dr Boyd Swinburn (Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia).
"The food industry has done such a great job of marketing their products, making the food so tasty that it's almost irresistible, pricing their products just right, and placing them everywhere, that it is very hard for the average person to resist temptation. Food is virtually everywhere, probably even in churches and funeral parlors."
Well of course. Let's blame the food industry. Not individuals for making bad choices. Please.
That being said, anyone should be highly suspect of a study that says lack of physical activity "has nothing to do" with staying slim. That's just plain bullsh**.
That'd be the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Professor Bill Ayers meeting for a "just peace" in the Middle East. And what better folks to protest for peace, right? On the one hand we have the Rev., whose church had in its newsletter (under the "Pastor's Page") an article by the certifiable Ali Baghdadi. Baghdadi wrote
I must tell you that Israel was the closest ally to the White Supremacists of South Africa. In fact, South Africa allowed Israel to test its nuclear weapons in the ocean off South Africa. The Israelis were given a blank check: they could test whenever they desired and did not even have to ask permission. Both worked on an ethnic bomb that kills Blacks and Arabs.
Then there's 'ol Bill Ayers, the "peace lover" who still doesn't feel sorry for his past terrorist ways.
One can just imagine the sort of "peace" they'd like to see.
Now Congress is moving to limit the penalties on riskier borrowers, who have become a prime source of billions of dollars in fee revenue for the industry. And to make up for lost income, the card companies are going after those people with sterling credit.
Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups.
“It will be a different business,” said Edward L. Yingling, the chief executive of the American Bankers Association, which has been lobbying Congress for more lenient legislation on behalf of the nation’s biggest banks. “Those that manage their credit well will in some degree subsidize those that have credit problems.”
In plain English, that last quote means "Those that show responsibility by paying their bills and paying them on time will to some degree subsidize the ne'er-do-wells who could care less and who charge up a storm with little or no means to pay anything back."
Andy McCarthy's post today at The Corner is so spot-on I gotta reprint it here:
So what happens? Six years from now she (Nancy Pelosi) tells us, sure, she may have been in a meeting, and she may have heard, by and by, that they were considering a bombing raid or something like that against Iran's nukes, but she had absolutely no idea they were actually, like, gonna do it — in fact, they expressly told her they were not gonna to do it, only consider doing it. And look, we all know they always lie anyway. And let her assure you, she has always detested preemptive attacks — war crimes which have made us less safe and harmed our reputation in the international community. She would certainly have objected in the very strongest terms, and even moved to cut off the funding for the working group, but you see, she heard Jane Harman had written a very strong letter, and ...
... this inanity arises.
In short: the Arbitron ratings system = racism.
The end of another school year is upon us, and me. It's number eighteen for me, meaning I'm a few years past the "halfway point" to retirement (that is, if I can actually afford to when the time comes). The bunch I had this year were the most ... "trying" I've had in the many years of teaching my current subject, perhaps the most trying. By that I mean academically and behaviorally. I don't think I've ever seen the degree of utter apathy among my students that I witnessed this year.
What got me really thinking about this was when I caught a short segment on CNN's "Lou Dobbs" show a couple weeks back. A few graphics showed the [growing] percentage of drop-outs across the country, with Dobbs then asking "Are we failing our children?" Then I thought of the numerous foreign students I've had over the years -- and some of the observations made by their parents. Why? Well, to show how spoiled we've all become in our country.
I still recall an Indian (from India, not Native American) family from my very first year in the classroom (1991). They were astonished at all the "stuff" American students had at their disposal in their classrooms, and school in general. Really. Astonished. Hell, my wife (from Costa Rica) was equally astonished the day she first set foot in my class. And again, this was 1991. Drastic improvements in schools and classes have taken place since.
So, if we have top-of-line schools and classrooms across this country (and face it -- even our poorest districts are [much] better off than schools in the 3rd World), why do our kids still drop out? Why could they care less about their performance in class? They have the best facilities, as a whole, anywhere on the globe.
In short, I think we've become a victim of our own affluence -- and of our "no (or "lack of") responsibility" mindset. After all, why study when you know you're going to be "promoted" anyhow? (This is called "social promotion" -- granted to those who do absolute sh** in the classroom and eventually get moved on to the next grade because, well, they're too old.) Why study when you know that X-Box will be there for you when you get home, along with your cell phone and laptop? Why study when it's mostly the teachers' responsibility to "make" you learn? Why study when the government will take care of you if you just wanna be a bum?
Why behave in class when no matter what you do, mommy and daddy will believe you and not the teacher? Why behave in class when even the most egregious behavior will garner a mere slap on the wrist? Why behave in class when disruptions that require the teacher to physically restrain a student frequently result in the teacher getting into trouble?
Yet, society demands more and more that the classroom teacher rectify these academic and social shortcomings.
Hey look, trust me -- I'll be the last person to place all the blame on society and parents for the travails in our schools today. Hell, a good/great teacher is vital today more than ever, especially in classes where there are numerous academic and behavioral issues. But as the degree of social strife increases year after year in our schools, logic dictates that not only will the effects of these great teachers be less, but more and more great teachers will be less willing to stay in the profession, let alone enter it at all.
Is it any wonder that the most successful schools are those with the lowest BS tolerance? Seriously. Take a look around. Schools with strong administrations -- administrators that are a constant presence in the hallways and classrooms, and tolerate NO behavioral nonsense -- are the ones that end up with safe, successful schools. Just consider the Rudy Giuliani approach to crime and safety during his tenure as New York mayor: Deal with the little things and the big things will follow (being dealt with, that is). Administrators (and teachers) who don't deal with the "small" things (like school/class latenesses, minor class disruptions like repeated talking, constant unpreparedness) are just inviting bigger hassles to appear -- and they will. Why? Because students recognize that they can get away with it. It sure ain't rocket science. And anyone recall the name Joe Clark? (I previously discussed Joe here.) Immortalized in the film "Stand By Me," Joe was hired to turn around a perpetually dysfunctional high school, and he did just that -- by putting up with absolutely no bullsh**. (Granted, some of the instances depicted in the film I doubt could actually occur in real life -- unfortunately -- like gathering the numerous repeat troublemakers on the auditorium stage and informing them that they are "expurgated;" basic state laws would forbid such a casual dismissal.) If more school administrators -- and their higher-up central office administrators -- were willing to go to the mat to get rid of the worst of the worst elements in a school, problems would decrease markedly. However, these folks fear the costs of lawsuits brought by the "parents" (and their ambulance-chasing lawyers) of such troublemakers and [especially] central office personnel end up making the most cost-effective decision: Cede to the "parent's" demands. And so the cycle continues ...
And what of stigma? The very definition doesn't exist anymore in schools. Back when I was in school, those known to use drugs (usually marijuana in those days) were known as "druggies" or "burn-outs." Socially they were shunned, and with good reason. The majority of students were well-behaved, and most were decent-to-good students or at least worked to be. Now, truly good students are a minority. "Tracking," or its slightly less un-PC relative "ability level placement" has become anathema because those who aren't as intellectually rigorous or hard-working might be "hurt" by their placement in a "lower level" class. So, in the meantime, the hard-working and bright students sit aside those who could care less, the behavior and attitude of the latter diminishing the class atmosphere as a whole. But hey, at least their self-esteem is intact! Isn't that more important than the achievement of the kids who really care about school? Right? Getting suspended from school used to be considered a really big deal. Now, it is almost a status symbol. Where it was once rarely invoked, suspension is done on a daily basis now.
Do I sound like an embittered educator ... a surly grizzled veteran who should vacate for someone new and fresh? After reading this post I can see how you might get that impression. However, I am really not at that point yet. Really. Teaching keeps me young (in mind and spirit) and the joy of seeing that "light bulb" go on in a young student's head is still a joy for me to behold. My students seem to think so too as they've yet again -- twelve years in a row now -- chosen me as the school's "Favorite Male Teacher."
Perhaps part of the problem related to my beefs is that I hold what are considered to be largely "traditional" views. And as such, these beliefs go up against "the system." Traditional belief holds that misbehavior should have consequences, especially severe and/or chronic misbehavior. Modern "educationist" belief holds that we have "to understand" the student, counsel him/her, and rely more on "positive reinforcement." (Granted, I am not against this out of hand; however, note that I previously said "severe and/or chronic" behavior. It gets beyond ridiculous when a kid who's constantly a disruption gets only a talking to ... about the "good" things he/she has done. Meanwhile, the kid is laughing his/her ass off inside planning what he/she can get away with next.) Traditional belief holds that students actually have to earn something. Educationist belief holds that "all students are special" regardless, thus ability grouping (discussed above) is scorned, competition is frowned upon, and awards celebrations have to include everybody. (I've made a decision not to attend any more "awards nights." They've become a satire of their former selves as kids are now getting "awards" for being an office aide or for mere participation in, say, an afternoon "chat" session -- right alongside those who earned a perfect 4.0 GPA and/or earned academic honors in a specific discipline. Sheesh.)
I suppose I'll end where I began. Later in June I'll be traveling back to Costa Rica to, in part, celebrate my daughter's "quinceañera." While there, I am always incredibly touched by the hundreds of "Ticos" (what Costa Ricans call themselves) all dressed in the standard school uniform, walking several miles, if need be, to what in many cases is something akin to a traditional, old-style one-room schoolhouse. Often with only a few pencils and a notebook. Costa Rica is, after all, the country that abolished its armed forces over a half century ago ... to pour those monies into education. It is one of Latin America's most prosperous countries.
Let's hope that it's growing prosperity and affluence doesn't alter its attitudes on education.
A'ight, econ. wasn't my favorite subject by far, but I sure understand the basics. The Messiah has unveiled his spankin' new MPG requirements for the auto makers -- "new cars and trucks will have to get 30 percent better mileage starting in 2016" -- but at an extra cost of $1,300 per vehicle.
Um, it's incredibly difficult for dealers to make a sale now, let alone one with an extra $1,300 attached.
How's this help?
Once again, Los Amigos Invisibles (who'll be in Philly July 12, by the way) this time with the beautiful "Gerundio" -- "Gerund" in English. (So named because practically all the words in the song end in "-ando" or "-iendo," which in English is the ending "-ing.")
Get the F*** Off the Cell Phone and Drive.
The NY Times killed a story linking Obama to ACORN.
What a surprise. Too busy attempting to confirm a non-existent affair between John McCain and a lobbyist, I guess!
... is over 20 years old. "To boldly go where no MAN has gone before ..." was changed to "no ONE" when "The Next Generation" debuted in 1987.
Isn't the Catholic Church against capital punishment? I ask because of the "uproar" over President Obama speaking there -- Obama's abortion stance being the catalyst behind numerous protests. But ... there wasn't such an uproar over President Bush speaking there, and he signed off on numerous death warrants while leading Texas.
Granted, I happen to think aborting a live, innocent human is magnitudes more heinous than executing a brutal murderer -- and Obama's stance on abortion is to the left of left. But that's not the issue. The Church is against both.
So, isn't it being inconsistent here?
"Delaware: State of Waste. Overuse of checks, unwise use of credit squander millions. Markell pledges fixes."
Meanwhile, those employees who never used a state credit card or wrote a state check are getting the "See? So what if your salaries and bennies are being cut!" as a result of this ridiculous inefficiency.
... comes courtesy of that hard-hitting newspaper, the NY Times: Obama scales back from national security vows.
It only took 'em til May 16 to figure this one out. And people wonder why papers like the Times are withering away?
First place in the Council category was Joshua Pundit with The Two State Solution Fallacy. (Yours truly finished second.)
First place in the non-Council category was Infidel Bloggers Alliance with Obama’s “Blood Tax”.
Full results are here.
Like, when did it become acceptable for people to drive slow as sh** in the left lane -- and refuse to get over??
Massive spam attack on the server. (I spent a decent amount of time deleting spam at Colossus today. Ugh.)
UPDATE: Comments are back up as of 3:15pm.
Victor Davis Hanson must-read:
There is an odd sense among Democrats that nemesis simply does not exist.
A once-vein-bulging Al Gore who barnstormed the country slurring President Bush by calling him a liar now seems baffled about the precedent he set of a vice president (albeit now much more politely in the case of Cheney) questioning the policy of the current president.
A Nancy Pelosi, hellbent on releasing once-classified memos for partisan advantage, and eager to begin 'Truth" hearings, suddenly believes such an inquisition will not apply to herself, despite the fact that she, like so many Democrats from Senator Schumer to Senator Rockefeller, in that dark period in 2001, spoke of the need for, or was complicit in, approving enhanced interrogation techniques.
Then the president himself, who jump-started his campaign in Iraq's crisis year by slamming the commander-in-chief on renditions, military tribunals, email and phone intercepts, Predator drone attacks, and Iraq, now suddenly wishes to explain the nuances and complexities of these policies and why he will continue the Bush protocols — apparently oblivious to the hypocrisy involved with his own prior self-interested stridency. These examples could be easily augmented.
The problem is that between 2003-2008 there was such hysterical antagonism to Bush that the combatants never worried about the often vicious means they used to achieve their supposedly lofty ends, and so now, finding themselves in a position of responsibility, are infuriated that anyone, well, would even conceive of playing hardball as they once did.
The striking thing about the sudden wounded-fawn Democratic syndrome is that Cheney is far milder than Gore was, that the CIA is not the firebrand Pelosi has been, and Bush has been silent about Obama in a way that even Clinton was not about Bush. If this softball stuff excites such outrage, what will happen if politics really get rough, say, as it was around 2007?
Matthew Balan has more on Al Gore's idiocy.
Attorney General Eric Holder said that waterboarding those in the military during training isn't "torture" because the intent ... isn't to torture them. But then, wasn't the intent when waterboarding KSM et. al. not torture but ... information?
[Rep. Dan] Lungren [(R., CA) and the state's former attorney general] then switched gears to a line of questioning aimed at clarifying the Obama Justice Department’s definition of torture. In one of the rare times he gave a straight answer, Holder stated at the hearing that in his view waterboarding is torture. Lundgren asked if it was the Justice Department’s position that Navy SEALS subjected to waterboarding as part of their training were being tortured.
Holder: No, it’s not torture in the legal sense because you’re not doing it with the intention of harming these people physically or mentally, all we’re trying to do is train them —
Lungren: So it’s the question of intent?
Holder: Intent is a huge part.
Lungren: So if the intent was to solicit information but not do permanent harm, how is that torture?
Holder: Well, it… uh… it… one has to look at... ah… it comes out to question of fact as one is determining the intention of the person who is administering the waterboarding. When the Communist Chinese did it, when the Japanese did it, when they did it in the Spanish Inquisition we knew then that was not a training exercise they were engaging in. They were doing it in a way that was violative of all of the statutes recognizing what torture is. What we are doing to our own troops to equip them to deal with any illegal act — that is not torture.
Clear as mud. Then there was this exchange:
... Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a former judge, continued the “intent” line of questioning in an attempt to make some sense of the attorney general’s tortured logic.
Rep. Louie Gohmert: Whether waterboarding is torture you say is an issue of intent. If our officers when waterboarding have no intent and in fact knew absolutely they would do no permanent harm to the person being waterboarded, and the only intent was to get information to save people in this country then they would not have tortured under your definition, isn’t that correct?
Attorney General Eric Holder: No, not at all. Intent is a fact question, it’s a fact specific question.
Gohmert: So what kind of intent were you talking about?
Holder: Well, what is the intention of the person doing the act? Was it logical that the result of doing the act would have been to physically or mentally harm the person?
Gohmert: I said that in my question. The intent was not to physically harm them because they knew there would be no permanent harm — there would be discomfort but there would be no permanent harm — knew that for sure. So, is the intent, are you saying it’s in the mind of the one being water-boarded, whether they felt they had been tortured. Or is the intent in the mind of the actor who knows beyond any question that he is doing no permanent harm, that he is only making them think he’s doing harm.
Holder: The intent is in the person who would be charged with the offense, the actor, as determined by a trier of fact looking at all of the circumstances. That is ultimately how one decides whether or not that person has the requisite intent.
Uh-huh. Got that?
Why not just say, Mr. Holder, "We'll call it 'torture' when we wish -- like when Republican administrations utilize it to "supposedly" garner information from terrorists that may save American lives -- because it will help us politically. (Unless, that is, a high Democrat official like Ms. Pelosi botches the whole scheme with miserable news conferences.)
It is NOT torture when Democrat administrations may make use of, say, waterboarding, because 1) they believe that waterboarding IS torture (unlike Republicans) but recognize that there may be instances when its use may be needed, and 2) our intentions ultimately are GOOD, and, after all, isn't that what's important?"
CIA Director Leon Panetta challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accusations that the agency lied to her, writing a memo to his agents saying she received nothing but the truth.
Panetta said that "ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened."
Pelosi (D-Calif.) infuriated Republicans this week when she said in a news conference that she was "misled" by CIA officials during a briefing in 2002 about whether the U.S. was waterboarding alleged terrorist detainees.
Anyone who watched that disaster of a press conference yesterday could easily conclude that Pelosi was clearly hiding something, at the very least.
It's a fair statement that President Obama doesn't understand economics. His policies make that obvious. But it's rare that he openly admits it:
In proposing to overhaul college loans, Obama said, "We have a student loan system that's rigged to reward private lenders without any risk."
Pardon me, Mr. President, but the reason that we have a student loan system at all is because lenders get rewarded without any risk. That's what government guarantees are all about, and they were "necessary" (as in necessary if one wanted there to be student loans) because no one in their right mind would lend money to some random 18 year old who is as likely to be drunk as be studying on any given Thursday evening without such a guarantee.
But, unlike the former in the title, you sure won't hear the MSM busting on The Messiah about his nonsense:
The FDA warned General Mills that it was, in effect, marketing its Cheerios breakfast cereal as a drug, because the cereal’s familiar yellow boxes carry unapproved claims about lowering cholesterol and reducing the risks of heart disease.
In a warning letter, the FDA cited the claim that “you can lower your cholesterol by 4 per cent in six weeks” by eating Cheerios regularly.
It objected to Cheerios’ assertion that “eating two 1½ cup servings daily of Cheerios cereal reduced bad cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol”.
"Chris Matthews tries to explain that of course he would torture under extreme circumstances." Funny he says that ... now that we have a liberal Democrat in the White House who's essentially followed or continued every Bush administration policy with regards to the War on Terror!
Matthews now contends that the REAL crime was attempting to "legitimize" torture via changing the legal definition. Uh-huh. And if the Bush admin. didn't do that and merely claimed that the treatment of KSM et. al. was an "emergency," that'd be perfectly fine for Matthews.
* Soccer Dad - The purple prose of cairo
* Right Truth - Barack Stewie Obama
* The Provocateur - The Nightmare of Dr. Shirley Pigott
* Bookworm Room - The inevitable result of identity politics
* The Colossus of Rhodey - Star Trek as Socialist Utopia
* Rhymes With Right - Left-Wing Sluttification Of Conservative Women
* The Glittering Eye - Joe Schuler: The Boy Who Made Good
* The Razor - Cheney Gets It - But the GOP Doesn’t
* JoshuaPundit - The Two State Solution Fallacy
* Wolf Howling - Casual Marxism & Supreme Court Nominees
Finally got a chance to see "Trek" yesterday after work. As the post title says, it was indeed awesome.
Spoilers below the fold, so enter at your own risk ...
As you may have heard, the "new" Trek is indeed an alternate reality, precipitated by a stellar disaster in the "standard" Trek timeline: A supernova has "threatened the galaxy" (how that happens remains a real mystery and is actually insulting to those with even a rudimentary knowledge of astronomy -- a supernova is an exploded star; it cannot "threaten" an entire freakin' galaxy that's composed of hundreds of billions of stars ... see Jonah Goldberg's quite critical review here), and the planet Romulus will be one of the first planets in danger. Vulcan has a solution to the disaster, but is too late to prevent Romulus from being annihilated. Indeed, it is Mr. Spock himself (yep, Leonard Nimoy) who was jetting to Romulan space to save the planet. But though Romulus is gone, Spock still manages to "save" the galaxy by firing a quantity of "red matter" (no idea WTF that is) into the nova. This act, however, creates a black hole, which whisks Spock and a nearby Romulan ship (captained by Nero, played by Eric Bana) back in time some 100 years.
Nero witnessed the annihilation of his planet and holds the Vulcans -- Spock -- responsible. Once arriving a century back, Nero's ship encounters the USS Kelvin, whose first officer is Jim Kirk's father. Nero demands to know if the Kelvin has seen Spock's ship (it hadn't) and then proceeds to destroy the Federation vessel. But Kirk's pregnant wife escapes -- just as she's giving birth to James Tiberius!
As you may guess, it is the appearance of Nero's ship in the past that alters the timeline and creates an "alternate branch." Spock's ship appears in this new era some 25 years after Nero's (that black hole's time dilation effect caused such a discrepancy: even though Nero's and Spock's ships entered the black hole virtually simultaneously in the future, the fact that time is slowed down to such a degree near a black hole caused a quarter century delay in the "past" appearance of Spock compared to Nero), but Nero is waiting for him. Nero takes him and his ship prisoner -- his main goal the quantity of "red matter" on Spock's vessel. Nero then banishes Spock to an ice world adjacent to Vulcan so he can witness Nero's ultimate plan: The destruction of Vulcan -- followed by every world of the Federation!!
All of the above is basically told by Spock to the young James T. Kirk of this new timeline. What is refreshing is that, aside from the silly "supernova will destroy the galaxy" schtick, the whole thing is straightforward, clear, and makes sense. And most importantly, it preserves "standard" Trek canon while allowing a "relaunch," so to speak -- much like Marvel Comics' "Ultimate" line.
I'd cover both the highlights and lowlights of the film, but the lowlights were, in my opinion, only about two in number. The first, as mentioned above, was the silly "supernova" threat. The second was the various vessels' "warp effect." Frankly, it sucked! "Next Generation's" stretched-light Doppler Effect is actually way better than the shimmering light show that was used in the new film.
Now, the good stuff:
Repercussions for the Trek multiverse and some questions:
I give "Star Trek" a solid grade "A." This new Trek universe is wide open for further adventures with younger incarnations of the characters we all know and love. And I look forward to 'em!
Check this: Rotten office fridge cleanup sends 7 to hospital.
I hit the Chili's on 202 after seeing "Trek" yesterday, and its men's room had probably the single most foul stench I've ever encountered. And it wasn't just the result of someone with gastrointestinal difficulties. It was as if a sewer pipe had cracked, or something. I might not have been able to finish my dinner had I not copped a big inhalation of [semi-] fresh air before hitting the stall.
How does a restaurant not take care of something like that??
Jack Dalton of Bridgeville shows how he is yet another who "knows" everything about what it means to be a teacher:
I read with interest about the teacher complaining about how the governor’s cost-cutting is going to hurt her. She worked for so long to get National Board Certification because the state promised her a 12 percent pay raise. Wait a minute. She is going to retire in two years and she is just now getting her certification?
Bring the dunce cap! Hey Jack: National Board Certification is a rather laborious process by which teachers study for, and prepare, the latest and most effective classroom lessons and methods. It's akin to getting a masters degree, essentially. Overall, there aren't all that many teachers in DE that have achieved NBC.
I don’t know the details but I would assume the state would incentivize her to get certification to improve the level of education she provides for her students, which is a benefit for all.
A mouthful. 'Cuz that's precisely what NBC is.
What this sounds like to me is the same as the “overtime hogs” we heard about last year who only work hard in the last two years to build up their retirement.
Your letter sounds to me like you haven't a damn clue as to what you're talking about. You even admitted it in the previous quote. So why did you bother to continue if you "don't know all the details?" Idiot.
I’m sorry, I have no sympathy for this teacher with her defined benefits pension and lifelong health coverage.
Oh, sure. Aside from the fact that teacher salaries are hardly anything to write home about, the bennies should suck, too!
Robin Alexander of Magnolia writes:
Why do you print Charles Krauthammer’s columns? Now he’s for torture! I don’t care to read or understand his twisted thinking!
There are so many other thought-provoking writers who have credible views. Please consider sharing someone else?
Here's a simple solution for your simple mind, Robin: Don't read his columns, then! It's like turning the dial if you don't like the radio station. Or changing the channel when you don't like the TV show. Krauthammer is one of the more intellectual conservative writers out there today, and it's actually RARE for the News Journal to feature such a voice.
Good for them.
Good news for Delawareans: Castle leads Biden's son in matchup.
Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) would start off as the front-runner in a 2010 Senate race against state Attorney General Beau Biden, the vice president’s son, according to a new poll.
The automated survey, conducted by the GOP firm Susquehanna Polling and Research, shows Castle leading Biden by 21 points, 55 percent to 34 percent. Neither has announced plans to run for the seat now held by Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), who is not running for reelection, though both appear to be leaning in that direction.
Hopefully, our electorate has learned its lesson when it elected Biden as Attorney General over the vastly superior Ferris Wharton a few years ago. Rarely has there been such a lopsided contest in terms of pure experience, yet our esteemed voters just went with "the name."
Bet you never knew these factoids!
That would be Esteban Parra's article about illegal immigrants facing deportation. Yep, Esteban oozes with the viscous craving for sympathy for Carmen Irineo, whose hubby(?) was deported back in February. Here's the title, for starters: For many, deportation forces agonizing decision. Now check it:
"Diana and Ana Ramírez don't know how much time they have with their mother."
"This leaves Irineo with a heartbreaking decision if she loses her deportation fight: Leave her daughters here with friends ..."
"'I don't have any family here I can leave them with,' Irineo said."
"'It's extremely disruptive,' said Rick Hogan, a Wilmington immigration attorney."
"This Mother's Day, 'the share of adult women living with their children (64 percent) is substantially higher than the share of men (38 percent) among unauthorized immigrants.'"
"President Barack Obama is expected to address immigration reform later this year, including a proposal to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Any solution may not come soon enough for Irineo, who has an immigration hearing in July to decide her fate."
Sub-headline: A family torn apart.
"'Often the children of immigrants, living in a country other than the father or mother, they go through all this stress and pain and depression,' [Brother Chris Posch, director of Hispanic ministries for the Diocese of Wilmington] said. 'Then when they become adolescents, they become high-risk youth. If this isn't terrorism, I don't know what is.'"
"The community is living in fear ..."
It's almost as if the News Journal really does have a circulation death wish by using Mother's Day to run a story like this -- which is virtually guaranteed to be savaged by the online version's commenters. And while I don't agree with the tone of many (most?) of said commenters, the overall point of many is well-taken: Mrs. Irineo knew the chance(s) she was taking and knowingly broke the law. And now the state's largest newspaper is taking up her cause -- on Mother's Day -- as if there weren't any other human interest stories out there for this holiday.
I also found this quote quite interesting, since it totally goes against the politically correct grain of what bilingual "advocates" say, as well as those concerned with minority "cultural destruction":
This leaves Irineo with a heartbreaking decision if she loses her deportation fight: Leave her daughters here with friends, in a culture they know, in a place where they can get a good education; or, take them with her to her small town in Mexico, where they don't speak the language fluently and where there are limited educational opportunities beyond sixth grade.
Whaaaat? Irineo's daughters aren't familiar with Mexican culture? They don't speak Spanish?? How can this be?? Doesn't Irineo know what she's "doing" to her own children? Once again, Mrs. Irineo's example directly contradicts what elitist "experts" say about the "melting pot" concept. Which, in my opinion, is a good thing despite Parra's ridiculously sympathetic portrayal. Unfortunately, I'd bet good money that Irineo is in the minority on this front.
And did Parra slip here?
Carmen Irineo, 38, is fighting deportation. Her husband, Herón Ramírez, was deported in February.
Then there's this:
At 24, she left Mexico and crossed illegally into the United States.
She arrived in Delaware 14 years ago after hearing of work in the poultry industry, where she met Heron.
The two dated and, within a matter of months, were living together. A year later, Ana was born. Her sister, Diana, arrived two years after that.
Nowhere is "marriage" or "got married" mentioned in that second quote.
I know, I know ... I'm just being so "cold-hearted" for making this post. I forgot how I'm supposed to get all weepy for someone who knowingly broke the rules -- law -- and now is reaping the consequences. It's fascinating that Esteban Parra could not discover someone in the area who was, say, an Army widow and mother, or a widow of a policeman with children. Y'know, how are they doing, dealing with someone apart from them who did the "little thing" of, y'know, dedicating their very lives to protecting others from harm?
Comments are now working again. Sorry for the downtime! :-)
Ilya Somin asks some interesting questions over at Volokh about Star Trek's political system. He says that
Star Trek's Federation (or at least Earth) is definitely socialist by the time of the New (Next, actually -- Hube) Generation series, and probably the time of the original series that focused on the Enterprise commanded by Captain Kirk. By "socialist," I mean an economy where all large enterprises are controlled by the government, not merely a market economy where there is regulation or a welfare state.
It well worth reading the many reader comments under the article because Somin ignores (not deliberately, IMO; just that he has limited space to cover so much material) just how the world had changed by the time of the Federation's founding. In other words, can we really apply terms like "capitalism" and "socialism" when, by the time of Capt. Kirk, humanity has solved one of -- if not THE -- major problem(s) it has ever faced: the need for unlimited, cheap energy. Earth of the 23nd century not only has cheap fusion power, but power generated by matter-anti-matter reactions (this powers Federation starships' warp drive). When power is unlimited, it's inherently cheap. Once this problem is solved, I believe it's only a matter of time for the economic system to change.
There's enough references in Trek to note the evolution of the Federation economic system despite the various series ignoring the topic outright. We know that some sort of currency was used in the era of "Enterprise" as well as the TOS. However, Kirk makes several references to "not using money anymore" by his time (see "The Voyage Home" for one notable instance). Personally, since replicator technology wasn't widespread until the Picard era (some 80 years after Kirk), I find it more difficult to grasp a "no currency" economy in Kirk's time. Although power is unlimited (and thus, cheap) in the 23rd century -- as is transportation, since the transporter is widely in use by this time -- myriad goods and services would still need to be produced ... and sold. The replicator, by the 24th century, would revolutionize this need. Food and innumerable goods could be produced with the mere push of a button.
Just try to imagine how replicator tech would transform society. Who would even need to work? Power is free, and with that, virtually all needs like food, clothing and shelter are thus, too. Automation would likely serve to maintain needed infrastructure (like fusion or matter-anti-matter power plants, water treatment systems, etc.). Which then would beg the question who would then have any motivation to better human society even further? Capitalism's profit motive is, well, a powerful motivator. It serves to drive the average person but more importantly the [way-]above average person -- the doctor, the scientist. But what would motivate these folks if all their personal needs are met (and then some)?
Somin (or one of the commenters) posits that perhaps the inherent motivation of [very smart] people would be enough in the Trek future. All their needs met, people with an inherent motivation and curiosity would more easily be willing to study advanced physics or medicine. I suppose one can argue that, with regard to scientists today at least, they already make peanuts in comparison to what they provide society. It's difficult to see the motivation that drives them being altered much by 24th century technology. But would this inherent motivation be enough to maintain the whole of the world government of Earth -- let alone that of the Federation? In other words, why would someone even want to join Starfleet -- knowing of the dangers out there in the galaxy? (Y'know, the Romulans, Cardassians, the Dominion, the Borg ...) Why would someone want to alter their very comfortable existence by zipping off to the unknown ... to possibly be killed?
You may recall the interesting conversation Capt. Picard has with 20th century cryogenic refugee Ralph Oppenhouse in TNG's first season "The Neutral Zone." Ralph is naturally quite skeptical about the Federation's economic and political system while listening to Picard lecture him that humanity is "no longer obsessed with the accumulation of wealth" and that people now concentrate on "improving themselves." Since practically everyone is "wealthy" by the 24th century, perhaps Picard's point should be well-taken: Maybe outright boredom would drive people to travel the stars in Starfleet, or take up the study of physics or medicine.
Somin mentions another aspect of Trek's socialism in that there has never been
... a society that combined full-blown socialism with prosperity or extensive "noneconomic" liberties for the population. And there has never been a transition to socialism without large-scale repression and mass murder. If Star Trek's writers want to posit a new form of socialism that somehow avoids the shortcomings of all previous ones, they should at least give us some sense of how this new and improved socialism escaped the usual pitfalls.
This is a great point; however, in past attempts at "full-blown" socialism there was never incredibly cheap power sources available with all the subsequent benefits. In addition, as noted extensively throughout Trek, Earth suffered its Third World War in the mid-21st century. Hundreds of millions were killed in this nuclear, third, global conflict. The very need to establish some sort of unified world government so that humanity didn't completely wipe itself out would be paramount. (But this, of course, doesn't mean that this unified government had to be completely "socialist" -- and indeed it probably wasn't anyway. Remember Zephram Cochran's words to Will Riker inside the cabin of the Phoenix, Earth's first warp-capable vessel: He developed warp drive not out of any sense of "altruism," but to make a lot of money.) And shortly after WW III, Earth learned that it was not alone in the universe -- "First Contact" shows the Vulcans landing in Montana to make ... well, first contact with humanity. This is a huge "x-factor" that cannot be ignored when hypothesizing about Trek's future economy and politics. After all, the Vulcans subsequently guided humanity in its new post-warp society development right up to the premiere episode of "Enterprise" -- approximately 90 years. It is highly unlikely these most logical beings would be willing to do this if our government was an oppressive, authoritarian regime.
Somin further notes,
Had a similarly prominent pop culture icon been equally obtuse in its portrayal of fascism or even milder forms of right-wing oppression (e.g. - by portraying a rightist military dictatorship that seems to work well and benefits the people greatly without any noticeable loss of personal freedom), it would have been universally pilloried.
Well, this was exactly the case with "Starship Troopers," whose novel is vastly superior to its movie. In the Earth of an unspecified future date, the military indeed runs the world government. But author Robert Heinlein's explanation for how it came about makes a hell of a lot of sense (barely touched on in the film): Military veterans across the planet had become fed up with how the civilian governments treated them after innumerable wars. It started small, but the movement spread. After many years (hundreds?), Earth society had all of the freedoms we enjoyed today in the United States, but only those who had served in the military were able to vote. The reason for this was simple: Only they had the "moral judgment" to better serve society over the individual. The novel neatly interweaves all-out action with complex political pontificating; however, director Paul Verhoeven did just what Somin said above -- he disregarded Heinlein's vision of the "Troopers" society and substituted his own, which was basically a denunciation of such a society as "fascistic." Complete with Federation ("Troopers'" multi-world system was also called this, like "Trek") officers wearing Nazi-like uniforms.
Past Colossus ruminations on Starship Troopers here.
Past Colossus thoughts on Trek government systems here.
... teen drivers?
Or senior citizen drivers?
My vote: Senior citizen drivers by a long shot. They infest northern Delaware and they're as dangerous as these folks are stupid.
Our illustrious DHS chief (via The Corner):
"One of the things that we need to be sensitive to is the very real feeling among southern border states and in Mexico that if things are being done on the Mexican border, they should also be done on the Canadian border," Napolitano told a conference in Washington.
"In other words, we shouldn't go light on one and heavy on the other." (Source.)
Why is it not surprising that this administration is more worried about being politically correct than being ... sensible?
Coming soon: New US trade policy: We can't treat one country different from any other. North Korea treated more harshly than the UK? Can't have that! Iran treated worse than Japan? Why?? THAT'S NOT FAIR!!
Someone tell me again why I -- and many others -- continue to play by the rules?
Victory Davis Hanson's latest superb post in its entirety:
The Obama outreach to Syria, the video sent to Iran, the failed Freeman appointment, the $1 billion to Hamas, the anti-Israeli figures in Obama's past (cf. the Wright outbursts, Khalidi, etc.), and the Al Arabiya interview all point to an "adjustment" in U.S. policy toward Israel — made easier by the victory of the rightist Netanyahu.
We are entering a new phase in which, for the first time since Jimmy Carter, an American administration really believes that land concessions back to 1967 will ipso facto ensure new mentalities that are not like those in 1967, when the Arab world on three occasions had gone to war to destroy the Jewish state within its 1947 borders.
If the Obama plan is successful, we would see Israel back to about the 1947-sized state, public professions of eternal peace — and then triumphalism from non-democratic players in the radical Islamic world to the effect that first Sinai, then Lebanon, then Gaza, then the West Bank, capped off with Jerusalem — and, for the next generation, the final task of the end of Israel itself.
Once U.S. foreign policy is based on moral equivalence — that a Western democratic state is about the same as an undemocratic, radical authoritarian entity that embraces terrorism as a tool of state policy — then anything is possible, from calling for Israeli nuclear disarmament as part of an Iranian deal, to pretending that a Hamas ten-year truce is something other than a decade of chest-thumping before the final assault.
Given the fact that the vast majority of American Jews voted for Obama — despite clear indications that he would embrace radical changes in U.S. policy toward Israel — the politics of what is to come will be as fascinating as they will be tragic.
And given the Obama method of grandly professing the opposite of the reality that will soon follow (most ethical administration nominees in history lead to Geithner, Richardson, Daschle, Solis, etc.; no desire to interfere in the private sector means near nationalization of the banking, car, and soon health-care industries; commitment to public campaign financing equals first candidate to reject it in the general election; strong desire for fiscal sobriety translates into a $1.7 trillion annual deficit; Bush shredding the Constitution means adoption of Bush's wiretaps, email intercepts, Predator attacks, Patriot Act, Iraq plan, renditions, etc., and on and on), the tell-tale sign of the final U.S. break with Israel will be a dramatic Obama hope-and-change declaration that "our historic commitment to Israel will remain unchanged."
When we hear that, we know exactly what follows . . .
It's bad enough that comics themselves are profuse with Obama-love; now the noted comics news journal Wizard is getting into the act. Details at The Comics of Rhodey.
First place in the Council category was Wolf Howling with Waiting For The Iranian Shoe To Drop.
First place in the non-Council category was The Augean Stables with What Do I Think of the Arab-Israeli Conflict? Answers to a Questionnaire.
Full results are here.
Well of course it is!
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah in September 2002, according to a report prepared by the Director of National Intelligence’s office and obtained by ABC News. The report, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Capitol Hill officials Wednesday, appears to contradict Pelosi’s statement last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special interrogation tactics. (Source.)
Why there'll never be a "truth commission" about the US's [supposed] torture.
Meanwhile, could Star Trek's warp drive become reality someday? Well, of course could! (I love articles that say such stuff. I'm sure similar articles appeared in 17th, 18th and early 20th century papers and magazines asking such things as "Could we travel to space someday?" I'm of the mind that if we can conceive it, we can do it.)
Some physicists say the faster-than-light travel technology may one day enable humans to jet between stars for weekend getaways (no, 'ya think?). Clearly it won't be an easy task. The science is complex, but not strictly impossible, according to some researchers studying how to make it happen.
The trick seems to be to find some other means of propulsion besides rockets, which would never be able to accelerate a ship to velocities faster than that of light, the fundamental speed limit set by Einstein's General Relativity.
Luckily for us, this speed limit only applies within space-time (the continuum of three dimensions of space plus one of time that we live in). While any given object can't travel faster than light speed within space-time, theory holds, perhaps space-time itself could travel.
"The idea is that you take a chunk of space-time and move it," said Marc Millis, former head of NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project. "The vehicle inside that bubble thinks that it's not moving at all. It's the space-time that's moving."
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the other spin-offs frequently have referred to "warp bubbles" (or "warp fields") around starships, which presumably is the same to which is referred above. In one (silly) TNG episode, though, warp drive was shown to "disrupt" space -- causing "fractures" into sub-space. (It was a rather lame tie-in to environmentalist causes like global warming.) All Federation ships were subsequently only allowed to travel at speeds no higher than warp 5, unless given special permission. Of course, soon after, the Federation was already experimenting with alternative -- and much faster -- methods of space travel, like the Borg-used "transwarp" conduits.
Looks like we need some federal investigation into the Tennessee State Senate. They've passed a resolution declaring their 10th Amendment rights -- oh no! You know what that means -- our local gaggle of moonbat bloggers sure won't happy ... and'll sure want some feds looking into this!
I'm sure they'd want Randy Barnett investigated, too.
Obama's new motto: "It's All About Me!"
What was that The Messiah said back during the campaign that Americans need to learn another language? He said,
“I don't speak a foreign language. It's embarrassing!”
“It’s embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe and all we can say is merci beaucoup, right?”
So there was yesterday at the White House:
"Welcome to Cinco de Cuatro — Cinco de Mayo at the White House," said Obama, in what appeared to be an attempt to note they were celebrating on the fourth of May instead of the fifth.
Cinco de cuatro means "five of four" in Spanish.
Bien hecho, Señor Presidente.
James Corbett has lost the suit brought against him by student Chad Farnan. This case first came to light two and a half years ago when Corbett referred to Creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense,” and said "When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth," among other things. Corbett lost on First Amendment grounds:
The decision is the culmination of a 16-month legal battle between Corbett and Farnan – a conflict the judge said should remind teachers of their legal “boundaries” as public school employees.
"Corbett states an unequivocal belief that Creationism is 'superstitious nonsense,'" U.S. District Court Judge James Selna said in a 37-page ruling released from his Santa Ana courtroom. "The court cannot discern a legitimate secular purpose in this statement, even when considered in context."
The establishment clause prohibits the government from making any law "respecting an establishment of religion" and has been interpreted by U.S. courts to also prohibit government employees from displaying religious hostility.
In nothing I've read (at least that I recall) have I seen where Farnan had simply asked Corbett for an apology, nor if Corbett was willing to offer one. Wouldn't that have solved the problem? Especially so for Corbett -- the dude has been teaching for 20 years so you'd think he would have a clue as to being cognizant of respecting his students' various beliefs.
What a chump.
The comment comes about 2:00 into the vid.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talks about the new plan to go after tax cheats:
Mr. President, when you took office, you promised to reform our tax code so that it would be more simple and more fair for hard-working Americans. And you promised to ensure that our tax dollars would be used to strengthen the American economy, and American competitiveness. Today, we are taking another important step towards those goals by ending indefensible tax-breaks and loopholes which allow some companies and some well-off citizens to evade the rules that the rest of America lives by. We believe in a level playing field. Unfortunately, we have a tax code which gives businesses that invest and create jobs overseas a competitive advantage over those who invest and create jobs at home. In a global economy, we need American companies to compete in overseas markets. But we will no longer provide tax incentives that disadvantage American innovation and American workers. Today, the President will announce a series of measures to reform deferral rules that encourage overseas investment, to eliminate loopholes that allow companies to legally avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes, and to crack down on the abuse of tax havens by individuals. These are critical steps in reforming our tax laws, and improving enforcement. And along side these measures, the Internal Revenue Service, under the strong and able leadership of Commissioner Doug Schulman, are making an unprecedented effort to upgrade and strengthen enforcement capacity. The President's budget will add up to 800 full-time IRS employees devoted to detecting and bringing to justice those who unlawfully hide assets and income.
How could he stand there with a straight face and deliver that speech? It's like one of these dolts discussing honesty and civility in political discourse!
Check out what this section of a bill proposed by Rep. Linda T. Sanchez (D) and 14 others says:
Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both....
["Communication"] means the electronic transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received; ...
["Electronic means"] means any equipment dependent on electrical power to access an information service, including email, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones, and text messages. (Source.)
Based on this very general wording, how many of us DE bloggers could be prosecuted under this statute? I know I probably could. Many of the local gaggle of moonbat bloggers definitely could.
Check out the [further] examples provided by Eugene Volokh at the link in the blockquote above. He also asks at his post's end:
What are Rep. Linda Sanchez and the others thinking here? Are they just taking the view that "criminalize it all, let the prosecutors sort it out"? Even if that's so, won't their work amount to nothing, if the law is struck down as facially overbroad -- as I'm pretty certain it would be? Or are they just trying to score political points here with their constituents, with little regard to whether the law will actually do any good? I try to focus my posts mostly on what people do, not on their motives, but here the drafting is so shoddy that I just wonder why this happened.
Flu, Mostly Mild, Has Spread Across U.S. is a headline at the NY Times.
That's good to know. My daughter has something, and it looks like the flu (hence I'm home w/her today). She refused to allow me to mention the "S" word that's synonymous with "pig" yesterday, but we'll see what's up later today, hopefully ...
GOP Turncoat Arlen Specter on "Meet the Press" yesterday:
He (Obama) should be looking for someone with a strong academic and professional background. It would be my hope that he would choose someone with diversity. Women are underrepresented on the court. We don't have an Hispanic. African-Americans are underrepresented. I would hope that he would look beyond the circuit courts of appeals which now populate the Supreme Court and pick someone with greater world experience and diversity.
Of course, Clarence Thomas is on the high court, and one person out of nine is 11.1%, just a tad less than the percentage of African-Americans in the US general population. Is that what Specter meant by "underrepresented?"
Or, did he mean that Thomas isn't authentically black? If so, he is violating certain diversity stipulations, like those used by our own DelDOT -- that one's "focus should be on the individual, not the race or culture."
Hey all -- just a quick note to let y'all know we're aware of the comment hassles here at CoR.
We're workin' on 'em.
Hopefully we'll have an all-new comments system in place very soon.
UPDATE: You should be able to comment again now, although the "Internal Server Error" message may still appear. Your comment will then appear in a moment or two.
Still working on a whole new commenting system ...
Indeed it is, Jon.
Back on April 30 I noted how "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart said that "yes" -- Harry Truman was a war criminal for ordering the a-bomb dropped on Hiroshima. He's since backed off that stance and apologized:
The other night we had on Cliff May. He was on, we were discussing torture, back and forth, very spirited discussion, very enjoyable. And I may have mentioned during the discussion we were having that Harry Truman was a war criminal. And right after saying it, I thought to myself that was dumb. And it was dumb. Stupid in fact. So I shouldn't have said that, and I did. So I say right now, no, I don't believe that to be the case. The atomic bomb, a very complicated decision in the context of a horrific war, and I walk that back because it was in my estimation a stupid thing to say.
Of course it was a complicated decision. War makes that the case. Too bad guys like Stewart can't see that the Bush administration made many complicated decisions -- like roughing up guys like KSM -- in order to save lives in the War on Terror.
Keith Olbermann and Michael Musto on Carrie Prejean, Miss California, whose "crime" was that of just stating that she believes "marriage" should be between a man and woman. Y'know, Barack Obama's stated position.
What "tolerance!" What "empathy!" What "caring!"
First place in the Council category was Wolf Howling with Words Have Meaning Rick.
First place in the non-Council category was Legal Insurrection with Which city would you sacrifice?
Full results are here.
... is up at The Comics of Rhodey.
Ultimately it's damned if you, damned if you don't:
The Delaware Department of Transportation designed its recent "Diversity Spotlight" newsletter to be an "in-your-face" effort to fight workplace discrimination.
But some DelDOT workers, minority-rights advocates and a diversity expert said the newsletter itself was offensive because it spelled out the slurs, insults and stereotypes that co-workers should never say to each other.
The newsletter, which Secretary Carolann Wicks distributed two weeks ago to most of the agency's 2,600 workers, covered "workplace faux pas" involving homosexual, black, Asian, white, Hispanic and elderly workers.
The section titled "The N word," for example, actually spells out the word, then says, "It is never, ever acceptable to use this word in any context."
The newsletter also says it's wrong to ask a black co-worker, "Should we order fried chicken or watermelon for you?"
The section on Hispanic co-workers lists several ethnic slurs and says workers should not ask, "Can you help me out with my landscaping?" It tells workers to avoid specific slang terms for homosexuals and not tell older co-workers, "You know Wal-Mart is hiring."
I always wonder just WTF a "diversity expert" is, and what one needs to do to become one. At any rate, this whole imbroglio is ultimately what transpires when you fall prey to the multi-culti movement. The whole concept becomes self-contradictory -- and laughable. For instance, check out this part of DelDOT's memo (available online at the News Journal article):
"I don’t trust white people; they are all racists." This is stereotyping and totally insensitive.
But many so-called "diversity/multiculti" seminars state precisely that! The University of Delaware's former "Residence Life" program did. I've attended workshops that stated same.
Then there's this under the section about African-Americans:
"You people." Let’s just say you are asking for trouble when you make this reference. Your focus should be on the individual, not the race or culture.
I wholeheartedly concur with the underlined portion; however, do [many] African-Americans? Especially among the so-called "pundit" class? After all, how many times have people like Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice and Michael Steele been denigrated (by other African-Americans) as "not authentically black?"
This is why I feel sort of sorry for Ms. Wicks. She was caught between a rock and hard place. After all, if the so-called "diversity experts" can't even decide on what is "proper" (as exemplified above), then just what would you expect someone in Ms. Wicks' position to do?
You go to a "Feed America" food bank event in your ... $540 French-made sneakers!!
Michelle Obama has taken casual to a haute new level.
While volunteering Wednesday at a D.C. food bank, the First Lady sported her usual J.Crew cardigan, a pair of utilitarian capri pants and, on her feet, a sneaky splurge: trainers that go for $540.
That's right: These sneakers - suede, with grosgrain ribbon laces and metallic pink toe caps - are made by French design house Lanvin, one of fashion's hottest labels. They come in denim and satin versions, and have been a brisk seller all spring.
Isn't that special. But just remember -- she and Barack "know" what the average joe is going through in this recession!
I was taken aback during Wednesday press conference when I noted the difference in Obama's answers to the questions on waterboarding and abortion. I haven't seen anyone note the inconsistency of his reasoning. When it came to torture/ waterboarding/ enhanced interrogation techniques, Obama said we shouldn't take shortcuts. Even when it's hard, we should take the high road. It's in our nation's character to take the more noble option, though it will require a lot more work and effort to get the same information. But when it came to the issue of abortion, while he readily acknowledged it was a morally and ethically weighty issue, he said it should be an available option. Why? Because he trusted that women, along with their doctors and their families, appreciate the ethical weightiness of their decision and will make the best decision for their circumstances. Oh, how I wish we could swap those answers! How is it that he cannot trust the educated opinion of government lawyers as they balance ethics (of inducing discomfort and pain) with practicalities (of stopping mass murder) and advise as to where enhanced techniques cross the line to become illegal torture? But a woman, by virtue of having two x chromosomes, can be trusted to weigh ethics (of live and death) and practicalities (of inconvenience and economic difficulties) while having a personal vested interest in those practicalities.