Edward Williams' op-ed today at Philly.com makes a good historical parallel regarding the struggle of gay Americans and that of blacks -- except that his very first sentence totally glosses over a very uncomfortable fact: that a majority of African-Americans do not support gay marriage. Williams writes "ALTHOUGH some African-Americans remain vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage ..."
"Some?" Sixty percent is "some?" This is in contrast to the fact that, for the first time, a majority of the general public supports gay marriage. But it is a consistent trend: Blacks voted for California's Proposition 8 (which would ban gay marriage in the state) in the 70% range, whereas whites and Asians voted 51% against the measure.
I am not casting aspersions on the black community's motives or beliefs on this issue; I am, however, pointing out that Mr. Williams is being quite misleading with his terminology in painting a picture that doesn't exactly exist like he tries to make it sound.
His blog is called, remarkably, "Bridging the Gap." Why? Because, apparently, he wants both sides to "come together" to solve our nation's problems. We're talking about our old pal Perry. However, much like the LGOMB, he doesn't really mean it. They are just words.
Take a look at Perry today in a thread over at Common Sense Political Thought:
Now I am no history buff, but I do know this: Many of the Founders were slave owners, women were not permitted to vote, and the Founders conceived of an electoral college to protect the powerful from the will of the people should the people get too much out of line with their voting. (Link.)
This premise was then challenged by me, among others. Perry refused to back back up his claim about the Electoral College.
I then wrote this about the Founding Fathers and slavery:
It is quite obvious you’re not a history buff, Herr Fossil, for you, like way too many faux “progressives,” seek to impose 21st century values upon what were indeed very forward-thinking people. Though many owned slaves (an accepted practice back then, BTW), many spoke out against it and began efforts to cease the practice.
GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann recently got heat from the MSM (surprise, that) for a remark she made about the Founders working to end slavery. The fact is, she is correct. Even Abraham Lincoln backs this up, as well as the words of many of the Founders themselves.
But this doesn't matter to Perry. He responds:
Making a law which made a black man 3/5 of a white man is hardly “working hard to end slavery”, in my view. That slavery persisted for another 70 plus years, with the vestiges of slavery evident to this very day, can hardly be construed as working hard enough to end slavery for once and for all. Moreover, it appears to me that racism remains alive today – ask most any black person about that. Better is not good enough!!!
When I asked Perry just why the 3/5 Compromise was constructed, here is what we get in reply:
The very existence of a 3/5 compromise apparently is fine with you, Hube, regardless of when it was instituted. I note that Repubs like yourself are more than happy to strive to restore that 3/5 fraction again, by your actions against ACORN and your current efforts to suppress the vote. Racism is not dead yet in the Republican Party.
That sure is some "gap bridging" there, is it not??
For those who may not know much about the 3/5 Compromise (and are modest enough not to make fools of themselves, like Perry did), take a look. And if Perry is reading, you especially need to look here:
The following false statements are just three examples of inaccurate interpretations that persist regarding the three/fifths compromise :
- the 3/5s compromise of 1788 . . . enshrined slavery in the United States Constitution
- African Americans in this country were considered only 3/5s human at one point in history.
- We tried "compromise" and declared blacks to be 3/5s human.
The gap that Perry really needs to bridge is the one that exists in his head.
(Cross-posted at TBD.)
Chris Hansen, "To Catch a Predator" host, caught cheating on his wife ... by hidden cameras.
This just about made my day.
I've always hated that stupid "Imagine" song for it's preening and gross oversimplification of everything. As an 80's kid I had a natural aversion to hippies. I used to see footage of him in his stupid "bed ins" and thought him immature and annoying even as a teenager.
I remember seeing him on some talk show (Mike Douglas?) talking about how "the system has to fall" and it was unsustainable and blah blah blah.
My suspicions about him were increased when I read the quote from Paul McCartney:
Read the whole (brief) article.
Yet another saint of liberals has been shown to be an apostate.
Senate approval was the final hurdle for the same-sex marriage legislation, which was approved last week by the Assembly. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the measure at 11:55 p.m., and the law will go into effect in 30 days, meaning that same-sex couples could begin marrying in New York by late July.
Funny how the people who are always getting the vapors about "midnight legislation" are quiet about the timing on this one.
The AP has a story in today's News Journal about how some gay couples are suing the state of New Jersey to get gay "marriage" ... "passed" in the state. Via judicial fiat. But, NJ already has a civil union law on the books. That is insufficient for the plaintiffs, because, they claim, various actors around the state don't understand the law well enough:
The families say in their legal complaint that the state's civil union law designed to give gay couples the same legal protections as married couples has not fulfilled that promise.
One man says he was denied being able to make urgent medical decisions for his partner. Another saw his partner and children's health insurance canceled by a skeptical auditor. One woman had to jump through legal hoops to adopt the baby of her civil union.
So, naturally, instead of suing the entities which supposedly "don't understand" the civil union law, the entire state has to be sued to allow gay "marriage."
Here we go again. New York State recently went about granting gay "marriage" via the proper venue -- the state legislature, which actually, y'know, makes the laws. Some conservatives have queried whether gay "marriage" could survive a referendum in NY State; I say, why should it? Doesn't the legislature represent the people? Don't we want this branch of government making the laws and not the judiciary? But now that this actually happens, we're not satisfied.
But back to New Jersey. It already has a civil union law on the books. My personal view on the matter, stated here various times, is that based on the 14th Amendment, at the very least states need to allow civil unions. But there is no mandate to use the term "marriage." I continually put "marriage" in quotes when it pertains to homosexuals because the term has a definite concrete historical basis for a heterosexual couple. "Separate but equal" claims by gay rights groups (used in the AP article, too, by the way) don't wash here because, unlike the "rationale" of skin color back in the day, there actually is a defining biological difference between gay and straight people. Equal protection under the 14th Amendment would have to apply to all states; however, if individual states (like New York) wanted to allow the term "marriage" to be used in a gay union, then that's their business.
As I've also said before, I think gays would do well to focus their struggle in that realm: Equal protection under the 14th Amendment, instead of demanding the use of the term "marriage." Seriously, what is ... wrong with letting the term mean what it has meant for millennia? As noted above, there is a defining biological difference between gays and straights. This is not unlike the defining biological difference between males and females. Why do we have separate men's and women's sporting events? That's right -- because men and women are not the same thing. And polls seem to back up my POV -- civil unions are generally widely accepted by the American public, but gay "marriage" is not.
Maybe Tom Petty will let Obama use a song to celebrate his polls: "Free Fallin'."
And the non-Council nominations are here!
Gee -- what political party is he a member of? I dunno ... the AP doesn't deem it worthy of mention.
Rep. Gilligan should read Article 2, Section 1 and the 12th Amendment of the Constitution.
He will find the procedure for the “electoral votes,” and to change that would require an amendment to the Constitution.
Murphy is correct -- Gilligan should check out those passages ... since they actually support HB 55!! Again, Article II, Section 1 states that [state] legislatures decide the manner by which Electors are appointed. That's precisely what HB 55 does! And there's nothing in Amendment 12 which contradicts this. Indeed, check out the note attached to Amendment 12:
These electors meet in their state capitals after the general election and cast votes for President and votes for Vice-President. Though electors are pledged to the candidates of their party, there is nothing in the Constitution requiring them to so vote — and, in fact, every so often an elector defects from his party's candidates, though the effect on the election is usually nil. Some states have laws against electors casting such "faithless" votes, but it is unclear if anyone could actually be prosecuted under such laws, since the electors are protected by the Constitution (though not in so many words).
What this means is that, even if HB 55 passes -- which would direct Electors to vote for the national [presidential] popular vote winner -- these Electors probably would not even have to abide by this [state] law ... based on the wording (or lack thereof) in the federal Constitution.
So, once and for all: HB 55 would NOT be unconstitutional the way it is worded. I still think the bill is a bad idea, but it would not be a "law-breaker."
... for once. He writes today regarding the Gold Cup (soccer) final from this past Saturday:
“I love this country, it has given me everything that I have, and I’m proud to be part of it,” said Victor Sanchez, a 37-year-old Monrovia resident wearing a Mexico jersey. “But yet, I didn’t have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be.”
That’s a quote from an LA Times story on the booing of the U.S. soccer team by an overwhelmingly Latino audience during a U.S.–Mexico match at the Rose Bowl. Examine the odd logic: Mr. Sanchez is booing the country that gave him “everything” while cheering the country that apparently gave him very little. “I didn’t have a choice to come here,” he says; one immediately thinks, “But you most certainly do have a choice to return to the nation where your ‘heart will always be.’” Can Mr. Sanchez not even offer symbolic thanks to the country that blessed him, perhaps a clap or two at the Rose Bowl when the United States is mentioned? And if the immigration service arrived at the Rose Bowl to bus spectators without legality back to Mexico, where his “heart will always be,” would he boo or cheer?
I don't see in the first quote where Mr. Sanchez "booed" the United States team. I see where he was merely cheering on the country of his birth and culture. Is this really unusual? As some in the comments point out in his article, how would Hanson feel about, say, a Philadelphia transplant to Los Angeles (for employment purposes) who continued to cheer for the Eagles, Phillies, and 76ers? Isn't that essentially the same premise? Hanson would have a much better point if he found a quote of Mr. Sanchez where he explicitly said "F*** the United States -- I hate them!" and actually did boo the US team.
My personal experience is much like Mr. Sanchez's. I was married for 20 years to a woman from Costa Rica. Since Costa Rica and the US soccer teams are both in CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football), they frequently play(ed) each other in tournaments like the just-finished Gold Cup (the CONCACAF championship) and World Cup qualifying matches. My ex, who again, has been in the US since 1989, always roots (rooted) for Costa Rica. According to Hanson, she should be "ashamed" of this. Again, I think this is nonsense. Although she cheers for her home country team, she is never belligerent towards her adoptive country's team; indeed, she's not even unhappy (much) if CR falls to the US, and actively cheers the US when they play other teams. Now, I'm not sure if Mr. Sanchez (and other Mexicans) do this. I'd hope they would.
I will say that my one experience at attending a US-Mexico "friendly" soccer match wasn't exactly "friendly." It took place at the Meadowlands and the Mexican fans that were seated around us were openly hostile towards the US team and its fans. They threw drinks and other objects at US fans and several scuffles broke out. It was, ironically, a 180 of the "Ugly American" scenario where it was, in this case, Mexicans who were behaving execrably -- and the saddest aspect of that was it's a good bet most of them live and work right here.
Hanson would do better to criticize what US goalie Tim Howard was so miffed about after the Saturday game: The post-game ceremonies were performed in Spanish. Howard was dead-on when he said "You can bet your ass if we were in Mexico City, it wouldn't be all in English."
Even though I agree with the sentiment behind James Glenn's letter, he's unfortunately quite incorrect about the specific details:
The Delaware House Representative recently passed House Bill 55 (again). This bill could in some cases make null and void the will of the voters in Delaware. This bill is admittedly an attempt to bypass the Electoral College as provided in the Constitution.
The last sentence in the Delaware Oath of Office states: "In doing so I will always uphold and defend the Constitutions of my country and my state, so help me God."
Members who voted in favor of H.B. 55 have violated their oath, by attempting to bypass rather than amend the Constitution.
Article II Section 1 of the Constitution states:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress ...
Delaware's HB 55 does not violate the Constitution of the United States. It merely is exercising the clause in bold above. There's ample reason not to back this bill; however, unconstitutionality is not one of them.
Check it out:
The first one can be seen here.
I like the "documentary" feel that it seems to have; however, especially based on the first trailer, the plot seems all too predictable: nasty "Alien"-like creatures infect the crew and, well, you can figure out what happens after that.
The town that Hawkeye Pierce just had to get spare ribs from has a new police chief, and he has ... some interesting views on guns and race. He said that "the accessibility to firearms in America is an extension 'of government-sponsored racism' that goes back to the days of slavery and Jim Crow."
That's pretty interesting, considering that lack of access to firearms in large measure prevented blacks from protecting themselves in the face of government-sponsored racism:
The need for blacks to carry arms for self-defense included not only the problem of Indian attack, and the normal criminal attacks that anyone might worry about, but he additional hazard that free blacks were in danger of being kidnapped and sold into slavery.  A number of states, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, passed laws specifically to prohibit kidnapping of free blacks, out of concern that the federal Fugitive Slave Laws would be used as cover for re-enslavement. 
The end of slavery in 1865 did not eliminate the problems of racist gun control laws; the various Black Codes adopted after the Civil War required blacks to obtain a license before carrying or possessing firearms or Bowie knives; these are sufficiently well-known that any reasonably complete history of the Reconstruction period mentions them. These restrictive gun laws played a part in the efforts of the Republicans to get the Fourteenth Amendment ratified, because it was difficult for night riders to generate the correct level of terror in a victim who was returning fire.  It does appear, however, that the requirement to treat blacks and whites equally before the law led to the adoption of restrictive firearms laws in the South that were equal in the letter of the law, but unequally enforced. It is clear that the vagrancy statutes adopted at roughly the same time, in 1866, were intended to be used against blacks, even though the language was race-neutral. 
In 1920, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a Mexican for concealed carry of a handgun--while asleep in his own bed. Justice Wanamaker's scathing dissent criticized the precedents cited by the majority in defense of this absurdity:
I desire to give some special attention to some of the authorities cited, supreme court decisions from Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, and one or two inferior court decisions from New York, which are given in support of the doctrines upheld by this court. The southern states have very largely furnished the precedents. It is only necessary to observe that the race issue there has extremely intensified a decisive purpose to entirely disarm the negro, and this policy is evident upon reading the opinions. 
Yep, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy believes that the federal government is "facilitating" the flow of [illegal] firearms into black communities and as such is "killing our black and brown children." Indeed, the firearms are doing that themselves. And then, McCarthy inexplicably ties Sarah Palin into the whole mix:
McCarthy illustrated his point by recalling a crime scene investigation while he was a police official in Newark, New Jersey where five children were shot, two of whom were killed. McCarthy said when he got home, he turned on his television to unwind and found an episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" showing.
"She was caribou hunting and talking about the right to bear arms. Why wasn't she at the crime scene with me?"
Here's the video:
The No. 3 Republican leader in the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.): "He's (Obama) got to get off the golf course and he's got to get engaged."
Ah yes, more cultural and political enlightenment from our musical community:
It's fun being in Islamic countries, to know there's only one religion. There's order. You wear a burqa. There's no choice. People are happy with that. -- Prince
I wonder if Prince'd be "happy with that" if he had to live in an Islamic country. He'd have been in jail for blasphemy 20 years ago.
UPDATE: In a related matter, Tom Hanks says he'll be voting again for President Obama:
If you would have told me a few years ago that ‘don't ask, don't tell’ would be repealed and about a billion jobs at General Motors and Chrysler would have been saved because the president was smart enough and strong enough and bold enough to do so, I would have said, 'Wow. That's a good president, I think I'll vote for him again.'
He's probably exaggerating (like that scene in "Used Cars" where bad guy Jack Warden wants to sue good guy Kurt Russell for saying his car lot has "a jillion" cars), but then again, given the state of today's "progressives" ...
Some atheists in New York City are miffed that a street has been dedicated to seven firefighters who were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Why? The name of the street is "Seven In Heaven Way":
... they say the sign violates the separation of church and state.
“There should be no signage or displays of religious nature in the public domain,” said Ken Bronstein, president of New York City Atheists. “It’s really insulting to us.” Bronstein told Fox News Radio that his organization was especially concerned with the use of the word “heaven.” “We’ve concluded as atheists there is no heaven and there’s no hell,” he said.
“And it’s a totally religious statement. It’s a question of separation of church and state.” He was nonplussed over how his opposition to the street sign might be perceived – especially since the sign is honoring fallen heroes. “It’s irrelevant who it’s for,” Bronstein said. “We think this is a very bad thing.”
Oh yeah, it's SUUUUUCH a "bad thing!" Can't have anyone thinking seven heroes are enjoying a pleasurable afterlife now, can we? We all know how detrimental that would be to our society!
I was also struck by this statement by David Silverman, president of American Atheists:
“It implies that heaven actually exists,” Silverman told Fox News Radio.
“People died in 9/11, but they were all people who died, not just Christians. Heaven is a specifically Christian place. For the city to come up and say all those heroes are in heaven now, it’s not appropriate.”
“All memorials for fallen heroes should celebrate the diversity of our country and should be secular in nature. These heroes might have been Jews, they might have been atheists, I don’t know, but either way it’s wrong for the city to say they’re in heaven. It’s preachy.”
Heaven is a specifically Christian place? Since when?? In addition, why aren't these too-much-time-on-their-hands nuts taking their "campaign" to cities across the nation -- those with names like San Francisco (Saint Francis), San Diego (Saint James), Los Angeles (The Angels), and especially Corpus Christi (The Body of Christ)??
Ken Bronstein, president of New York City Atheists, said that if the city doesn't remove the sign, he may consider a lawsuit. Hey Ken, let me post this segment of the First Amendment for you:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...
Please demonstrate for us how a street sign is an "establishment" of a [national] religion, Mr. Bronstein. Especially since, contrary to your cohort Mr. Silverman's claims, Heaven is a place considered by many faiths.
... for his role in exposing (no pun intended) the Anthony Weiner (and associated) tweets.
UPDATE: Ace got a death threat too.
Dude, of all things to screw up:
President Obama got his Medal of Honor recipients mixed up today, accidentally referring to a posthumous recipient as alive.
Speaking in upstate New York to troops at Fort Drum Thursday, the president was remembering the times he spent with the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division.
“Throughout my service, first as a senator and then as a presidential candidate and then as a president, I’ve always run into you guys,” Obama said. “And for some reason it’s always in some rough spots.”
“First time I saw the 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq. When I went back to visit Afghanistan, you guys were the first ones there. I had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously.”
Jared Monti was killed in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, September 17, 2009. (Link.)
Now, just imagine the field day the MSM would have if this was George W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Ronald Reagan, or just about any other Republican who was a favorite target and widely regarded as a "dunce."
One of the true greats of comicdom has passed, Gene Colan, probably best known for his stints on Daredevil and Tomb of Dracula. He also did a fairly long run on Tales of Suspense, the precursor title to Iron Man. In fact, Gene drew the cover of 1968's Iron Man #1.
And check out the non-Council winners here!
Time magazine's Richard Stengel writes: “If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so.”
To which John J. Pitney, Jr. merely points out what any media intern should know:
Yes, it does. The Tenth Amendment says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Even before the adoption of the Bill of Rights, James Madison explained the original understanding of the document in Federalist 45: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”
But, unfortunately, let's face it -- we haven't held to those standards since at least FDR's time, and even before.
I saw a link to this yesterday at some UK paper; now, Patterico has mentioned it, so I guess I'll bring it up too. It seems Oprah Winfrey is trying to set up a "confess all" interview with the former NFL great in prison where he'll confess to killing his wife and Ron Goldman:
According to the National Enquirer, the interview is set to be filmed after Simpson confessed he killed the pair in self-defense to a producer from inside prison.
‘Oprah has been in touch with O.J. for the past year,’ a source told the magazine. She contacted him in prison to explore the possibility that he might give her an interview.
‘He has always been a big fan of hers, but for a long time he was reluctant to say he did the crime or give the details of how it happened.’
According to the insider, Simpson recently decided to go through with the confession after he was contacted again by one of Oprah’s producers.
‘He told the producer: “Tell Oprah that yes, I did it. I killed Nicole, but it was in self-defence. She pulled a knife on me and I had to defend myself”,’ the insider was quoted as saying.
He reportedly then went on to give a full account of what happened on the night of the murders on June 12 1994.
Confess to what we all knew anyway? Gee, wow. But 'ya gotta love this moron: Self defense!! The guy is a former NFL player and not just an average one. He's one of the greatest ever to play the game. And he expects us to believe he had to kill two people in order to defend himself?? And he doesn't even say that Goldman pulled a knife, only Nicole. Anyone who thinks OJ couldn't have disarmed her very easily are just as gullible as those who believed he didn't kill the pair in the first place.
Be sure to check out Chris Slavens' excellent post on Delaware's HB 55, the National Popular Vote Bill, over at Delaware Politics. Chris does an excellent job demonstrating why this doesn't benefit our state whatsoever, much like we did at Colossus here.
And don't forget the non-Council nominations here!
Recently Herman Cain was laughed at for saying that as President, he wouldn't sign any bill over 3 pages long. Jon Stewart lead the charge on this one. I have yet to hear a reason why this is such a stupid idea. One tactic that is particularly galling is the omnibus bills. Packaging all different sorts of legislation to force a vote for something unpopular with something that is necessary. The sponsors of the unpopular legislation know they'll get their bill passed because it's too politically risky to vote against the necessary measure.
I'd much prefer an end to omnibus bills, riders and such. I'd rather see Congress have to grind it out to pass bill after bill of necessary stuff which would prevent them from meddling about in all the things they do with their spare time.
What happens when we have a bill so massive that it is passed without reading it?
First, remember this?
Well, now that we've passed it we find out;
"President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed."
The administration is going to "look for a fix". Now? Now is the time to "look for a fix"? Isn't the precisely the point of, oh I don't know, reading the bill?
I believe no bill should be even put to a vote unless it is read by the sponsor, in its entirety before a quorum of the chamber that is going to vote on it. What say you?
Newt. It's over. Seriously. The man in Iowa was prescient when he told Newt to "get out before he embarrasses himself." If only he had listened.
I know a year is an eternity in politics but I can't see how he could possibly recover from this.
Our pal dimwitty comments over at his former site, the LGOMB:
I’d like to blame Vance Jones too and that broad Shirley that tried to take all those poor white farmers land grants
Gotta love it ...
... Frank Miller's long-awaited Holy Terror hits the shelves this September.
At least this will be a good counter to the conspiratorial The Big Lie by Image, also due out in Spetember, the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
... still defies us. (Apologies to the Kree Accuser Ronan for the title paraphrase.) Armed with Green Lantern oath, Democrat takes aim at ‘right-wing loons.’ And who is this Democrat? None other than Alan Grayson:
In an email sent today to supporters, the former Congressman attempts to draw a connection between the lukewarm reviews for Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern movie, the famous exchange between Hal Jordan and an African-American man from Green Lantern #76 and … the erosion of middle-class America.
Wait, there’s more: Grayson, who lost his 8th District seat last year to Republican Daniel Webster, recasts the classic scene so that he’s the African-American man, and “right-wing loons” are Hal Jordan.
Click the link above to see the classic panels in question (slam-bang awesome art by Neal Adams). Now, if Grayson isn't loony enough making such a comparison (let alone his lack of "the new civility"), he ends his e-mail by ... quoting the Green Lantern oath:
In brightest day, In blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
If anything, his real connection to comic lore may rest with the fact that he looks a lot like a generic Batman villain:
The Boston Bruins bar tab:
Peter Parker has spun his last web.
In the storyline that has garnered the attention of fans and media worldwide, Peter Parker meets his tragic end in ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #160, hitting stores tomorrow -- Wednesday, June 22. Concluding the critically-acclaimed, sold-out “Death of Spider-Man” story arc, the death of Peter Parker signals a major change for the Ultimate Comics Universe and sets the stage for the upcoming debut of an all-new Spider-Man.
“10 years ago, Brian Bendis and Mark Millar changed the way people saw super heroes with the birth of the Ultimate Universe. With ‘Death of Spider-Man’ the two have done it again, creating a story just as big, and something that would really resonate with fans.” said Mark Paniccia, Marvel Senior Editor. “But Peter’s death doesn’t signal the end of their larger plan—it’s the start of one of the most ambitious stories you’ve ever read in comics.”
And you can bet that Peter's death doesn't signal the end of ... Peter Parker, either. Remember, here's why.
Color me bored.
From the News Journal: Wilmington man shot dead.
In The Big Lie, the heroine is a woman named Sandra, who lost her husband, Carl, during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. A particle physicist working at the Large Hadron Collider, she figures out a practical way to travel back in time, so she ventures from present day to Manhattan an hour before the first plane hits the towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
She rushes to his office at a risk-management consulting agency, but since she has aged 10 years, Carl can't quite accept that it's her. And even though she brings evidence on her iPad, neither her spouse nor his co-workers believe her warnings.
"The meat of the story is her trying to convince these 'experts' that the terrorist attack is about to happen," Veitch says. "So it's essentially a taut emotional drama with the facts and questions surrounding 9/11 sewed into it."
Note the "experts" in quotes, there. Now, imagine Veitch saying that and then the following about Barack Obama's birth certificate:
Going into this project, he didn't consider himself a "Truther," yet living during the eras of the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Iran/Contra and the invasion of Iraq, Veitch admits that he's skeptical about any "official" story provided by the government.
"Reading the 9/11 Commission Report, it's pretty clear that a lot of important evidence about the lead-up to the attacks and the collapse of the towers was ignored or glossed over," he explains. "And I'm pretty angry about the aftermath: how Iraq was invaded based on false intelligence and the occupation mismanaged resulting in over 100,000 civilian deaths."
Remarkably, Veitch says that "he has aimed the book itself straight at the middle." Don't be fooled. Because he then also says this:
"...to those folks who might not have thought about these things much in the last 10 years or who participate in the ideological back and forth," says Veitch, who wants to tackle other historical "big lies" with the series."
First, since when has it been "down the middle" to wonder about the "true" cause of the 9/11 attacks? Would anyone credibly state that "wondering" about our current president's place of birth is "down the middle?" Hell, no. That's the exclusive realm of the extreme right. Second, after a whole article of basically stating "Well, I'm just asking questions," the truth (no pun intended) comes out here by Veitch saying that he wants "to tackle other historical "big lies" with the series." Other??
And if that doesn't convince you, check this out:
Well, I was waiting to break the news, but I think my wait is over. USA Today has done a fantastic job reporting on "The Big Lie." I have been intimately involved in this project, and if anyone has questions I would love to answer them. A temporary website has been set up for our project:
Everyone can be a part of this project really. I am still in need of $$ to finish paying the artists and pay for distribution. We have raised $13,000 of an estimated $25,000 neccessity. This has been an incredible project of artists and activists thus far! We are excited to bring "The Big Lie" forward, and thanks to Brian Truitt of USA Today for excellent coverage.
That was posted by "Nor Cal Truth" who runs this Truther site.
So there you have it, folks. Yet another example of the far-left turn modern comics have taken over the last decade. It's bad enough the over-hyped creators that founded Image in the early 90s helped to ruin comics by emphasizing ridiculously glitzy artwork in lieu of an actual story, but to provide an outlet for this nonsense takes them [way] over the edge.
(Cross-posted at Newsbusters.)
Two Supreme Court decisions today have sternly rebuked "progressives." In the first, in an 8-0 decision, the justices overturned the Ninth Circuit (surprise!) in the class action suit against Wal-Mart. Elsewhere, the SCOTUS also unanimously ruled that environmental groups and individual states cannot sue power companies over greenhouse gas emissions because the federal Clean Air Act "displaces" such suits.
In a nutshell, "don't bother."
"Falling Skies" is about a band of human survivors after an alien invasion. Now, considering we've had "Independence Day," "Battlestar Galactica," "V," "Skyline," and "Battle: Los Angeles" among others, you'd think we'd get something a bit different. We didn't.
Noah Wylie is a history professor that is one of the human resistance leaders. Will Patton is in a semi-familiar role as another resistance leader, sort of like his portrayal in "The Postman." The two-hour pilot opens up with several resistance fighters who've nabbed some food and are fleeing the aliens. There's no initial invasion scenes; that description is done via a child's drawings and monologue which, among other tidbits, states that the aliens had quickly dispatched of the world's nations' militaries, and then the planet's major cities. The aliens are insectoid, and they have a distinct interest in humanity's children, who, when captured, have a "harness" attached to them -- an larvae-like object which is fixed to the back and base of the skull. This apparently [mentally] controls them.
The pilot was a slowly plodding affair, filled with incredibly beautiful human resistance fighters who spew overly cliched lines and display remarkable courage for average people. What worried me most was the insertion of utterly ridiculous "Battlestar Galactica"-like insanity like the "rights of civilians" in what is a human extinction scenario! Fortunately, at least in this opener, Will Patton puts the kibosh on that by stating that the rights and needs of civilians will be dealt with once the aliens are defeated. And in further BSG analogies, in the upcoming scenes segment at the end of the show, we hear the aliens "are more human than we thought" (or something similar), which sounds conspicuously like what the humanoid Cylons kept talking about. Perhaps this similarity isn't a coincidence -- writer Mark Verheiden did a lot of BSG; he was listed as co-executive producer of "Skies."
At any rate, I do not hold out much hope for a long series. There's nothing new to see here. Move along.
How pathetic is this? In its lead-in coverage of the US Open, we get the following version of the United States Pledge of Allegiance:
In three letters, WTF??
UPDATE: NBC apologizes. They say:
Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone, and we'd like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.
Why was it done at all? Is it really that long that it had to be edited?
“Everybody’s so busy wanting to be down with the gang. “I’m conservative”, “I’m liberal”, “I’m conservative”. Bullshit! Be a fucking person! Lis-ten! Let it swirl around your head. Then form your opinion. No normal, decent person is one thing, okay? I’ve got some shit I’m conservative about, I’ve got some shit I’m liberal about. Crime, I’m conservative. Prostitution, I’m liberal!" - Chris Rock
The resigning Congressman from NY-9 could run for prez in 2016 with the current U.S. AG as his running mate. Yes, the Weiner-Holder ticket. (Link.)
The New York Times notes about Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin:
Neither Ms. Abedin nor Mr. Weiner earn lucrative salaries, and Ms. Abedin is worried about her husband, who has been in politics much of his adult life, finding work. Mr. Weiner would still be eligible to collect his pension after his resignation.
Interesting choice of terminology by the Times -- not "lucrative." The couple's combined salary (as of last year) is $310,000. But ... according to President Obama and the Democrat Party, people making over $250,000 ... are "rich!"
But no one ever said the Times was consistent ... or fair, for that matter.
Take that "everyone" as you will, of course!
An electric car owner would have to drive at least 129,000km before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 145km on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 160,000km would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.
The British study, which is the first analysis of the full lifetime emissions of electric cars covering manufacturing, driving and disposal, undermines the case for tackling climate change by the rapid introduction of electric cars.
The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed. (Link.)
Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, no, this doesn't mean we shouldn't stop looking into clean, and hopefully cheaper, power sources. But we definitely shouldn't make any ridiculous mandates about switching to this or that NOW in order to "save" the planet from "imminent Armageddon." After all, the effects of what we've done already (in terms of CO2 emissions) supposedly will remain in effect for 1,000 years. So ... what's the hurry?
[P]undits cling to the myth that lower tax rates mean lower revenues. "... Yet the chart nearby clearly shows that reductions in U.S. marginal tax rates did not cause "falling tax revenue." ... Since the era of 70% tax rates, the U.S. income tax system has become far more "progressive." ... Despite these massive tax cuts for the bottom 80%, overall federal revenues were the same 18.5% share of GDP in 2007 as they were in 1979 and individual tax revenues were nearly the same—8.7% of GDP in 1979 versus 8.4% in 2007.
In short, reductions in top tax rates under Presidents Kennedy and Reagan, and reductions in capital gains tax rates under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, not only "paid for themselves" but also provided enough extra revenue to finance negative income taxes for the bottom 40% and record-low income taxes at middle incomes.
Of course, I doubt any of this will dissuade true believers, like our old pal Perry "The Hypocrite" Hood and others who frequently infest one of my fave sites. They often extol the virtue of the former 90% rate.
Maryland government shuts down kid lemonade stands near US Open:
And the non-Council winners are here!
Looks like some "Howard Stern Show" guy infiltrated Weiner's resignation presser. What a damn shame, eh?
Proving once again that without a teleprompter the guy is not a good speaker. I have to give him half credit here. His point is not about ATMs per se but rather about technology creating dramatic increases in worker productivity. That frequently leads to lower employment. One reason workers have been resisting technological change since the invention of the loom.
In the past, when we were a manufacturing economy rather than a service one, recoveries were simpler. Demand for durable goods increased so did the economy. Now we're a service economy and we're globalized. Being so tightly integrated into a global market things are much more complicated.
That said, the President has thrown billions at the economy in an effort to prime the pump. It hasn't worked because it never works. Since it didn't work he's out of ideas. I honestly believe he was certain that throwing a trillion dollars into the economy would create a roaring boom. It also explains the continual flow of "top economic advisers" who flee back to academia where the Keynesians models work perfectly.
If you wonder why I think government can't do anything right, I present this:
Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.
What happened to all this money?
But despite years of audits and investigations, U.S. Defense officials still cannot say what happened to $6.6 billion in cash
So they essentially lost 50% of the haul. Fifty. Percent.
Now we're talking about the Pentagon which is, as far as government goes, a pretty organized group. Seriously. I'm currently a contractor for the DoD and it confounds my brain that they're better organized than a great many of the private organizations I've worked for.
Now Obamacare would be a mix of new organizations and the fusion of others. That, my friend, is a recipe for waste, fraud and abuse. Unsurprisingly, the company I work for launched a dedicated arm of the business targeting contracts in, what else? Healthcare. They saw Obamacare on the horizon and started spooling up that market segment. They know there's going to be wads of cash pouring into DC and they mean to get a bite.
Imagine if you will, those planeloads of cash flying around DC and Northern Virginia and just throwing bundles of it out the window. That's pretty much how DC works. Those planes, unlike the ones going to Iraq, simply do not end.
That is not to say that my company or those like it, do not provide value for their work. Many of them do. It's just a question of whether that spending is necessary. Why are there so many government contractors? Much of it is simply because in order to get anything done you have to look outside government.
Wow, isn't it the Hollywood Left who perpetually reminds us that movies and songs aren't to blame for societal ills? So then ... ?
From today's News Journal:
In Wilmington, black leaders have complained the Senate district boundaries have drawn potential Democratic candidates into the 2nd District, which is currently represented by the Senate's only black member, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry.
[Jea] Street, a New Castle County councilman, said the Senate plan would "force unnecessary primaries" and keep the upper chamber constrained to having one black senator, as has been the case the past four decades.
To which Delaware's own racial huckster (Street) replies:
"From this, one could conclude that racial gerrymandering has occurred, whether intentional or unintentional."
Street complains about this while his "solution" to the "dilemma" is ... racial gerrymandering. Who'da thought, right?
Street is nothing but predictable, that's for sure.
And don't forget the non-Council nominations here!
Joseph Bianchini of Dover thinks the effort by several states, including Delaware, to grant their states' electoral votes to the national popular vote winner of the presidency ... benefits smaller states:
I hope that our state Senate recognizes that this bipartisan supported common-sense legislation will level the playing field for small states like ours to have a greater role in choosing our country's future presidents.
Despite potential questionable constitutionality (although, based on my non-lawyerly reading of Article II Section 1, I don't see much of a hassle), how precisely do these state measures "benefit" small states? On the contrary, that's what the [traditional] Electoral College does -- it makes candidates have to pay attention to states like Delaware, especially in potentially close elections. Under the plan Bianchini likes, exactly what incentive would candidates have to even visit Delaware?
Understand: the plan Bianchini advocates means Delaware would automatically give its three electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, not the winner of Delaware's popular vote. Thus, candidates could concentrate on large metropolitan areas during a campaign even more than they do now. Delaware's entire state population doesn't even get close to that of many large cities across the US. It's one thing to advocate moving to a more popular vote-oriented scheme, but don't blow smoke up our butts saying this will "level the playing field for small states."
Jim Vandehei of Politico: 'Not Any Single Reporter At Any Media Organization Thinks Palin Should Be President.'
UPDATE: Related: In the course of mocking Sarah Palin's "flub" about Paul Revere, idiot Thomas Roberts of MSNBC (who else?) really screws up recent history (certainly when compared to Paul Revere's time) by saying that Lyndon Johnson was never elected as president:
President Lyndon Johnson was from Texas and he was never actually elected Commander in Chief. As we all know, he was JFK's Vice President, sworn-in as President aboard Air Force One after Kennedy was shot in Dallas. Johnson decided not to run for re-election in '68 as the Vietnam War brought his popularity to an all time low.
Of course -- as any reporter should know -- LBJ was elected in 1964 over Barry Goldwater. And besides, how could LBJ have decided "not to run for re-election in '68" ... if he was never elected in the first place, hmm?
(Got the following from my girlfriend, also a veteran teacher.)
You know you're a veteran teacher when...
*sleeping until 7 am is a treat.
*your response to the students' comment, "You're mean!" is "Thank you."
*you think 30 is a SMALL class.
*you find yourself teaching the child of one of your former students.
*you finally realize that a professional development day means administrators go to their comfortable offices and actually work while the teachers sit in hard chairs listening to boring speakers.
*you get excited about a 2% pay raise.
*you have a permanent horizontal white line across your fanny from the chalkboard.
*you no longer show up at school bright-eyed, but need a caffeine injection just to stay upright.
*you find yourself sitting on a stool more and more to get through the day.
*you remember the good old days when the teachers had rights, too.
*you aren't surprised a bit when asked to teach ESL students, even without the language skills or a text.
*you've learned the fine art of scarfing down lunch in 20 minutes.
*you no longer dream of passionate love scenes with Kevin Costner (Angelina Jolie for me!), but how to keep your ADD student in his seat.
*you remember when the boys' pants were tight enough that they didn't fall down when they stood up in class.
*the responsibility for getting a good education was placed on the shoulders of the students and parents.
*you've found 789 ways to say "Your child is really dumb" on a report card so that it sounds positive.
*you think fondly of the days when cursing was not commonplace.
*you start seeing your ex-students names in the newspapers - the listing of dean's lists, wedding announcements, the police blotter
*you've trained your bathroom breaks to work around your planning time.
*the "old math" was good enough.
*a "great" day at work means every student had a pen, paper, and books when they crossed your threshold.
*cell phones and pagers didn't go off during class.
*nothing shocks you anymore -- even when you walk into the girl's bathroom and find three students in one stall, and two of them are boys!
*your car is not as nice as your students'.
*you've learned not to ask questions in the faculty meeting.
*you realize that when the principal asks for your "input," he doesn't really want it.
*you've come to the conclusion that you obtained an advanced degree so you could serve as a hall and cafeteria monitor.
Check out the guffaws:
The News Journal goes out on a limb today with "End lax oversight of charter schools."
A tribute to those morons in infomercials who demonstrate perfectly why we need to buy the advertised product:
“I wasn’t happy to discover that my congressman is a 14-year-old boy,” said Julie Kirshner, president of the NOW chapter.
“But he happens to be one of the best politicians out there, so we’re in a bad position. We’re trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.”
Trying? TRYING?? Exactly what "benefit" remains, you idiot?
Delaware schools: Checkered past goes unchecked -- Multiple bankruptcies, child abuse conviction all part of charter school founder's record.
And the Delaware State Department of Education never ran a background check on this dude -- the guy who runs a damn building. Yet, teacher substitutes here (at least in the northern part of the state) are required to get a background check for the temp agency they work for ... and then get another background check if a school decides to permanently hire them. Said checks could occur within months or even weeks of one another, but that doesn't matter. The sub/teacher must get them, even though the same law enforcement folks do the checks... and it costs [another] hefty coin.
But the guy who runs a charter school doesn't get any sort of invvestigation. Absolutely remarkable.
UPDATE: Don't miss Kilroy's inimitable take.
I was under the impression that Marvel was supposed to build a unified film universe? Are the X-Men supposed to be part of that? Sure doesn't seem like it, and even if that was never supposed to be the case, shouldn't the five films try to be more consistent with what are actually very easy to eliminate continuity snafus? So here we go -- because absolutely nobody demanded it, here are some of the major continuity gaps/head scratchers of the five X-Men films in no particular order.
Warning! Some spoilers below the fold (due to the inclusion of "X-Men: First Class" material)!
BLATANT DISREGARD FOR THE COMICS UNRELATED TO MOVIE CONTINUITY:
For the uninitiated, the X-Men films threw out a lot of comicbook foundation. This is completely understandable, of course, but you may not know just what. Here's a basic primer for you:
The original team. It wasn't what we saw in "First Class." The original X-Men were Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl (Jean Grey).
Wolverine wasn't an aimless drifter. On the contrary, when Professor X wanted a new team of mutants in Giant-Size X-Men #1, he had to go through the Canadian government to get Logan. That's right, Wolverine was a Canadian government agent, and he actually made his comics debut in the pages of The Incredible Hulk, not X-Men. When the Canucks object to Wolvie leaving, well, see the pic at left!
Phoenix committed suicide; Wolverine didn't kill her. In "Last Stand," the threat from Phoenix (Jean Grey) was ended when Wolverine impaled her on his claws. But in fact, Wolvie was unable to do just this in the comics -- because of his feelings for her. In the epic X-Men #137, a depowered Phoenix and the X-Men were abducted by the alien Shi'ar, and fought a duel-like battle for Phoenix's fate. The X-Men lost, but Phoenix regained her power. In order to save Earth (and perhaps the universe itself), Jean decides to kill herself.
Rogue was actually one of the most powerful of the X-Men. In the films, Rogue played a very minor role. However, in the comics she was once a member of Mystique's (yep, not Magneto's) Brotherhood of [Evil] Mutants, and she once attacked Ms. Marvel, a highly powered superhero. Rogue held onto Marvel for too long, and as such permanently absorbed her powers. As a result, she became super-strong and could fly.
Professor X actually lost the use of his legs due to a falling rock. In 1966's X-Men #20, we see how Xavier once fought the alien Lucifer. In the course of their scuffle, the alien dislodges a huge piece of rock which falls on the prof's legs, rendering them useless. In "First Class," Moira MacTaggert fires a pistol at Magneto to distract him, but in the course of diverting the bullets, Maggy accidentally deflects one into Xavier's back, paralyzing him.
Mystique, Pyro and the Blob once worked for the US government. Believe it or not, in the 1980s Mystique, Pyro (John Allerdyce in the films), and the Blob (Fred Dukes from "Wolverine") were once members of Freedom Force, a US government mutant action-team.
Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Banshee and Nightcrawler all joined the X-Men at the same time. This occurred in the previously mentioned Giant-Size X-Men #1 from 1975. After the original team (also previously noted) was captured by an evil mutant, Prof X goes about recruiting a new team. As noted, Wolverine was then working for the Canadian government; Storm was revered as a goddess in Africa; Banshee was a part-time criminal; Colossus was working on a collective farm in the USSR; and Nightcrawler was being pursued by a hateful, frenzied mob determined to kill "the demon."
... in how the mainstream media covered them, that is. Courtesy of Stanley Kurtz.
NEW CASTLE, Del. -- Police on Friday afternoon came to the home of a 17-year-old high school junior to ask her about direct online communications she has had with Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Two officers from the New Castle County Police Department arrived at the girl's home around 4:30 p.m. and asked to speak with the girl's mother about the daughter's contact with Weiner. Another officer appeared at the home a short time later.
Sources close the student said the girl followed Weiner on Twitter after seeing him speak during a school trip to Washington on April 1. Weiner, after signing on to follow the girl's Twitter feed, direct-messaged the girl on April 13, the sources said, though it is not clear what other communication the two may have had between or after those dates.
At a news conference on Monday, Weiner finally admitted that he sent lewd photos and sexually suggestive messages to six women through social networking sites over a three-year period. When asked whether all the women he exchanged messages with were adults, Weiner said, "to the best of my knowledge."
This sick loser needs to resign -- NOW.
UPDATE: Weiner claims his communications with the girl "were neither explicit nor indecent." Remember though -- he says that. And we know how truthful Anthony Weiner is.
UPDATE 2: New Castle County cops say “The teen has been interviewed and disclosed no information regarding any criminal activity.”
UPDATE 3: Interesting twist: "shirtless man wielding an ax began pacing up and down the street outside the girl's (who tweeted with Weiner) home; claimed to be a teacher!
UPDATE 4: The AP inserts gratuitous quote in defense of Weiner:
Neighbor Ben Melvin said the media was paying way too much attention to the Weiner episode.
"I don't think it's good for her and I don't think it's good for the nation," Melvin said. "It's a sideshow. It has nothing to do with his abilities as a representative. On the other hand it obviously shows some lack of judgment or something."
Uh huh. And Melvin is an idiot. Or something. A sitting congressman possibly sending indecent messages to an underage girl is a "sideshow." Cripes.
I saw the new mutant film this past Tuesday, and I was highly impressed. First of all, don't expect a lot of consistency when it comes to X-Men film continuity; Hugh Jackman has a Wolverine cameo that will leave you asking questions, not to mention the obvious timeline of the schism between Magneto and Professor X (if they separated in the early 60s, how does that explain "The Last Stand's" scene with a much older Magneto and Xavier visiting young Jean Grey?). But don't let this detract from a superb story. And just what makes it superb?
The fact that I couldn't decide who had the better argument -- Magneto or Xavier.
Spoilers ahead! Continue at your own risk!
The film rehashes the first X-Men film's opening sequence where a young Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) is forcibly separated from his parents in a Nazi death camp. We see a distraught Erik first manifesting his powers, whereupon he is then sent to Nazi doctor "Mr. Schmidt" -- Kevin Bacon -- who is at this time unrevealed to be a mutant himself. Schmidt demands the young Erik use his powers to move a coin ... or he will shoot his mother right in front of him. When Erik fails to move the coin, Schmidt does just as he promised. A livid Erik then uses his powers to wreck the entire room, but Schmidt is not affected (we don't know if this was on purpose or due to Schmidt's as-yet unrevealed powers). He laughs the whole time, basking in the wonderment of the young mutant's powers. He then gives Erik the coin that he could not move as a token of his ... well, whatever it is.
Years later, in 1962, Lehnsherr is now a Nazi hunter, determined to track down and kill Schmidt. Michael Fassbender is simply outstanding as the young adult Lehnsherr. The way he projects the torment of his youth and the absolute hatred of the Nazis is spellbinding. And, of course, it is this very torment that shapes his attitudes towards homo sapiens in the "battle" between humans and mutants. And y'know what? It's very hard to disagree with him. Lehnsherr is maniacally devoted to offing any Nazi he comes across, leading up to Schmidt. He at one point heads to Argentina on a lead, and deliciously dispatches of a trio of former Nazis with barely contained satisfaction. The only problem is that Schmidt is not there!
It's later revealed that Schmidt is Sebastian Shaw, who, in the comics, is a wealthy industrialist and secret inner circle member of the famed Hellfire Club. Shaw's mutant power is that he's able to absorb massive quantities of energy and use it against others (or things) -- which makes him one very tough person to kill. And this Lehnsherr learns to his regret: The first time he encounters Shaw, Shaw easily disposes of him -- flicking him into the sea just as he needs to make a hasty retreat from the Coast Guard.
Eventually Charles Xavier meets up with Erik and the duo begin to track down other mutants via the fledgling Cerebro -- which was created by Hank McCoy aka the Beast. (This makes perfect sense as McCoy in the comics was a genius.) Among those who join the pair are Banshee and Havok. Xavier begins a rigid training regimen for his new team, for it's discovered that Shaw has been working with the Russians in order to start a third -- nuclear -- world war so that mutants can prosper and become the dominant race on the planet. During this training, it is Xavier who shows Lehnsherr -- now "officially" Magneto -- how to maximize his powers by "finding the place between serenity and anger." This is an example of why Magneto, despite his big philosophical differences, feels much affection for Xavier in the first three films.
This is as far as I'll go in describing much else in the film except for the moment you knew would eventually happen: Magneto finally executing Shaw. Shaw has donned a helmet which prevents any mental tampering (hence, Xavier cannot affect him), and Magneto's powers are insufficient to stop Shaw as he's just absorbed the power of a submarine's nuclear reactor. But as Shaw is crushing the life out of Lehnsherr, Erik manages to use his power to bring forth a metal cable to remove Shaw's helmet! This immediately allows Xavier to enter Shaw's mind to paralyze him. And, Magneto takes advantage: He takes out the coin that Shaw/Schmidt gave him right after the Nazi killed his mother ... and slowly, and inexorably, drives it through Shaw's skull.
Personally, I was virtually yelling "YES!" out loud in the theatre. After all, Nazis do make the ultimate bad guys, so killing them rarely invokes feelings of sympathy. Which brings us to the discussion I believe director Bryan Singer wants people to have after seeing the film: Who was right -- Magneto or Xavier? (Singer himself is a Jew and is openly gay, both of which are quite relevant backgrounds for anything to do with the X-Men.) In a post-film discussion with my fellow comics-loving pal Brent, I said that ultimately I would side with Xavier because I could not bring myself to kill innocent people on the premise that they might hate and/or kill me. Magneto's anger with humanity at the end of "First Class" is at least justified because they flat-out betray the mutants after the team had just prevented World War III. Diverting all of the flotilla's missiles was a legitimate response, in my view, although personally I would have settled on just a demonstration. Nevertheless, I'd warn humanity to leave me alone with the caveat that if you f*** with me, I'll f*** with you.
I am sure that there were many Jews like Lehnsherr, who faced similar circumstances and would go through hell and high water to seek revenge on Nazi death camp butchers. Many of these folks ended up in Israel. Yet, Israel, for the most part, has adopted my view of the film's argument. Officially, it tracked down Nazis who had fled justice, captured them, but gave them a full and fair trial for their crimes. But the country soon faced a Nazi-like menace -- way too soon after the horror of the Holocaust: Islamist fundamentalism, utilized by the Palestinian Arabs and the adjacent countries of nascent Israel, all seeking to annihilate the Jews. Then, in 1948, and again in 1967 (the Six Day War) and 1973 (the Yom Kippur War), not to mention myriad smaller "skirmishes" in between and after, the Jewish state responded with the aforementioned "You f*** with me, I'll f*** with you" attitude. The killers of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics felt the wrath of this attitude, and very rightly so.
If the Jewish state had 100% adopted Professor Xavier's philosophy, it is arguable that Israel might not exist today. If it had 100% adopted Lehnsherr's (Magneto's) philosophy, Israel's territory might be 100 times what it is now, but it would be a pariah state for its actions in so doing. I suppose my point is, Israel, having been founded largely as a result of the butchery of the Holocaust (and with it obviously still fresh in its collective mind), has shown utterly remarkable restraint since its genesis against those who would continue where the Nazis left off. For all the times they've been attacked, for how they're portrayed in the Islamic world, what exactly have they done that even today generates so much outright hatred towards them? Kept some of the land that used to belong to some of its attackers? That's it!! From where I sit, I wouldn't fault Israel if it had adopted a much more Lehnsherr-ian line against those who would see her destroyed. Yet, that is the very essence of humanity -- of compassion -- we see each and every day exhibited by Jewish state: After what they endured as a people throughout the 30s and early 40s, and continued to endure after they established their homeland, they, again, demonstrate the very definition of "humanity." They could have, many times, utterly vanquished their would-be killers. They did not. They have vigorous debates each and every day about the rightness of their actions with regards to the Palestinians and other Arabs, trying to track down that virtually impossible-to-find balance between freedom and security in such a situation. How many other nations must so endure?
Would that we all could match the humanity of Israel and the Jewish people.
UPDATE: Be sure to check out Omer Rosen's take over at the
And check out the non-Council winners here!
Y'know, there is a time and place for this sort of stuff -- but the Special Olympics AIN'T IT, you a-holes.
A school in Indiana has become a target of public outrage over its decision to ban the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at sporting events, arguing the anthem's words conflict with the college's core values, FOXNews.com reported Tuesday.
"We recognize that some people may not be satisfied with this decision, but we believe it is the right one for Goshen College," Ricky Stiffney, chairman of the Mennonite school's board of directors, said in a written statement.
"The board has a diversity of views on this issue as reflected through the process of considering the anthem."
According to an online fact sheet on the issue, the college noted, "Historically, playing the national anthem has not been among Goshen College's practices because of our Christ-centered core value of compassionate peacemaking seeming to be in conflict with the anthem's militaristic language."
The Mennonite Church is peace-oriented but it does not have an official position on playing the national anthem.
Of course, as a private university, Goshen can do as it pleases in this regard. But, note the following: Mr. Stiffney didn't say the school polled the student body about this. Only its board decided. Also, the college says that the anthem seems to be in conflict with the its values, and the Mennonite Church itself does not have an official position on the whole matter. Therefore, what is one to conclude?
My [educated] guess: Typical "progressive" educrats took it upon themselves to act "in the best interests" of everyone. Because, you know, America is such an awful place.
And the non-Council nominations are here!
By now you've all read this story about the Department of Education and SWAT teams. It turns out the story isn't precisely as it was first pitched.
Yesterday, the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General executed a search warrant at a Stockton, Calif., residence with the presence of local law enforcement authorities.
WTF is the Department of Education doing executing search warrants. That is a law enforcement activity. It has ZERO to do with education. Apparently the Office of Inspector General at the Dept. of Education is "is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of Education and is responsible for the detection of waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Federal education funds, programs, and operations. As such, OIG operates with full statutory law enforcement authority, which includes conducting search warrants, making arrests, and carrying firearms."
Just to be clear; the Department of Education has its own armed, federal law enforcement office.
We can say that the OIG’s office conducts about 30-35 search warrants a year on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.
Under no circumstances should a SWAT team be called out for bribery, fraud or embezzlement. None. SWAT teams are for violent armed felons. Did it occur to anyone that maybe local law enforcement could send somebody around early in the morning to, oh I don't know, knock on the door? Search the premises to look for the woman? Sure. This response is totally out of control.
I ask our liberal reader, is this not part of the Federal budget that should be cut? Does anyone think the Department of Education should have armed law enforcement officers of it's own?
I am in utter disbelief. How are there not lawmakers from both sides of the aisle demanding this office be stripped of its ability to have armed personnel?
Waste, fraud and abuse are the provenance of accountants and lawyers. If you have to arrest somebody, get a warrant and have either the local cops or the FBI pick these people up.
How many other federal agencies have armed law enforcement offices? Department of Labor? Commerce? Veterans Affairs?
Last question: How do you tell people with a straight face that you're a member of a SWAT team with the Department of Education? Any real cop would laugh their ass off at the idea of someone getting their SWAT gear on to look for an embezzler. I'm old enough to remember when cops considered themselves tough when they didn't need all the toys. Now it seems they all want MP5's and body armor for the most absurd reasons.
Indeed Don Viti has a post showing video of a police shooting. How many cops fired at that guy? Do you think that maybe that was a bit too much? Then the cop points a gun at someone with a camera. Combine all these stories with the Iraq war veteran who was shot 60 times and the countless other cases and you have overly militarized police forces.
This is yet another issue that should be uniting left and right and for reasons that escape me, it isn't.
Several local bloggers have been wailing and gnashing their teeth because their favorite boondoggle has not been sufficiently funded by the State of Delaware. I've long been skeptical of "green" or "renewable" sources. Most of them are net energy losers, are too expensive, do not scale or a combination of those. I believe the way to a cleaner energy source is to use much more nuclear energy. Thorium is plentiful, cheap and safe. It has its own drawbacks but they are far better than the alternatives. I also believe that we can use the resources we have more wisely and continually work on polluting less and less. I don't like the idea that we are so firmly wedded to a hydrocarbon economy from a risk standpoint more than anything else. In terms of resources usage we've been rather foolish and wasteful. There are many ways we could substantially improve our energy efficiency that we're not doing for various reasons. Some are political, some aesthetic and some are practical.
Nuclear energy is politically unpopular. Some blame the echoes of Three Mile Island, Silkwood and Chernobyl. I think the latter looms larger than the other two. Unfortunately, Chernobyl is a case study in what not to do if you're running a nuclear reactor. (Wikipedia has a longer explanation)
From an aesthetic point of view, we have houses that are largely (or wholly) subterranean. Underground structures have much lower heat variances. If more houses in the US were built this way we would only need to use heating and cooling a fraction of what we use now as you would only be heating or cooling the space by a few degrees. It's almost 100 degrees today. That means your A/C is going to have to do some serious work to get it down to whatever you have it set for. Conversely, how does your basement feel? We don't live this way because people want natural light and windows and it would probably be claustrophobic for some and just plain ugly as viewed from the curb.
On the practical front, solar cells are very expensive, uneven providers in most markets and do not scale enough to lower ROI to a point that makes them competitive. I suppose they have more value in places like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas where they get much more sunshine than say, Seattle. Still they're not able to compete without significant subsidies.
But solar is both clean and renewable, right? Not so much:
A recent Washington Post article, however, has revealed that China’s booming solar industry is not as green as one might expect. Many of the solar panels that now adorn European and American rooftops have left behind a legacy of toxic pollution in Chinese villages and farmlands. The Post article describes how Luoyang Zhonggui, a major Chinese polysilicon manufacturer, is dumping toxic factory waste directly on to the lands of neighboring villages, killing crops and poisoning residents.
So it's clean for us but very much not clean for Chinese people. This problem also extends to electric vehicles. Electricity isn't a power source. It's generated by power plants. So while electric vehicles don't emit pollution where they travel, they merely transport it to the plant where the power is generated. Prius owners (now with 22% more Smug!) either don't know or don't care about the environmental damage the creation of their batteries has wrought on China.
As for wind, which we've heard endless droning on about here in Delaware; it's not all it's cracked up to be.
In California, the wind turbines have turned into bird chopping machines:
California's attempts to switch to green energy have inadvertently put the survival of the state’s golden eagles at risk. Scores of the protected birds have been dying each year after colliding with the blades of about 5,000 wind turbines.
So we have a trade off. "Clean" energy or rare birds. Enough to tie an environmentalist in knots (pardon the pun).
But wind is good because it's reliable and free. Right? Not so much: Britain is running out of wind
According to government figures, 13 of the past 16 months have been calmer than normal - while 2010 was the “stillest” year of the past decade. Meteorologists believe that changes to the Atlantic jet stream could alter the pattern of winds over the next 40 years and leave much of the nation’s growing army of power-generating turbines becalmed.
Great. Now you're stuck with some very expensive pinwheels.
Sadly, in other news biodegradables are worse for the environment than regular trash:
There is increasing interest in the use of biodegradable materials because they are believed to be “greener”. In a landfill, these materials degrade anaerobically to form methane and carbon dioxide.
Additional simulations showed that for a hypothetical material, a slower biodegradation rate and a lower extent of biodegradation improve the environmental performance of a material in a landfill representative of national average conditions.
Environmentalists don't like these types of facts because it conflicts with their vision for the future. A future where we all live in splendid harmony with nature, all our trash is recycled, all our power is renewable and pollution free and we all have cool jobs and everything is designed by Apple. If only reality would stop getting in the way.
Lastly, we have an article that should have received much more attention than it did. It passed without a blip on the national radar because it points us in a direction that they don't want to go:
If gas hydrates as well as shale gas, tight oil, oil sands and other unconventional sources can be tapped at reasonable cost, then the global energy picture looks radically different than it did only a few years ago. Suddenly it appears that there may be enough accessible hydrocarbons to power industrial civilization for centuries, if not millennia, to come.
So much for the specter of depletion, as a reason to adopt renewable energy technologies like solar power and wind power. Whatever may be the case with Peak Oil in particular, the date of Peak Fossil Fuels has been pushed indefinitely into the future.
Without massive, permanent government subsidies or equally massive penalty taxes imposed on inexpensive fossil fuels like shale gas, wind power and solar power may never be able to compete. For that reason, some Greens hope to shut down shale gas and gas hydrate production in advance. In their haste, however, many Greens have hyped studies that turned out to be erroneous.
In 2010 a Cornell University ecology professor and anti-fracking activist named Robert Howarth published a paper making the sensational claim that natural gas is a greater threat to the climate than coal. Howarth admitted, "A lot of the data we use are really low quality..."
Howarth’s error-ridden study was debunked by Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations and criticized even by the Worldwatch Institute, a leading environmentalist organization, which wrote: "While we share Dr. Howarth’s urgency about the need to transition to a renewable-based economy, we believe based on our research that natural gas, not coal, affords the cleanest pathway to such a future."
There are a few caveats here. We don't know enough about some of the economies of scale for these technologies so the author rightly makes note of them. Oil sands are already online and pouring cash into Canada. I for one, am glad our neighbors to the north are pumping as much oil as possible. I'd like to see our country buy from friendly nations like Canada, Brazil and (nominally friendly) Mexico. That wouldn't prevent oil from funding horrible regimes or terrorism, but it would help break OPEC and their ability to fix artificially high prices for oil.
Would I rather live in a world of clean, green energy? Of course but right now we cannot possibly switch from one to the other. I would like to see us transition there as quickly as possible. We can mitigate risk by having multiple concurrent energy sources competing for market share. Let them compete fairly. No cash subsidies and let the states decide if they want to give tax incentives to lure the businesses. I don't think there's going to be a one size fits all solution for a nation as large and varied as this one. Let the market decide. Let the States experiment.
I keep harping on this one because it cuts to the core of the division between left and right in this country. On the left I truly believe they do not understand economics and more specifically, incentives. The refrain of "just increase taxes on the top 1%" and all will be well. We have to make corporations "pay their fair share". The word "fair" is never defined.
My response to all of this is that people and corporations respond to incentives. Capital flight is a reality. Rich people and corporations, more than you and me can up and leave. Make the climate onerous enough and they do exactly that. Try to tax a corporation and all they do is increase their costs. They do not have piles of cash laying around to pay taxes. They must build the cost of taxes into their products and services. Increasing taxes on them does not cause them to invest to avoid taxation. They have a thousand ways to avoid taxation and investing in capital equipment, labor expansion and other long term considerations are not tax avoidance strategies. They are strategic business decisions.
Today we have a perfect example of this:
Microsoft’s foreign tax planning under scrutiny: "The regulatory questioning prompted Microsoft to reveal for the fist time recently the extent of its overseas holdings, the letters reveal. The company said in its recent quarterly report that $42bn of its $50.2bn in liquid reserves was held outside the US.
US companies face a tax bill on cash they bring back to the US and use for regular corporate purposes such as paying dividends and mounting share buy-backs. That has prompted a growing number to leave cash overseas and instead borrow to meet domestic needs, as Google did last month."
Did you get that? They've restructured their entire business model to avoid taxes. They did not expand operations to defer taxation. They moved all their money out of the country to avoid paying taxes.
Well, let's take one recent homebuyer as example. We'll call him Von Diti. He was considering two houses of similar cost and presumably similar sized etc.
He is reluctant to buy over the line in PA. I wonder why? So I asked him. He said: "The wife does want to move to Landsdale, but taxes are a killer"
How can that be? In my snark, I asked "isn't paying taxes patriotic?"
Which he responded with "it is, but paying $10k for a 400k house in Pa and paying $3k for the same house in De is smart."
Now let's assume these are not property taxes but income taxes. Would it not make sense to flee the higher tax jurisdiction for a lower one? Why just this week, Hube had a link to a story about Bono fleeing Ireland for tax reasons. Why would he not just make some sort of investment to avoid those taxes?
Simple. It did not make economic sense to do so.
So what's the answer?
Make the US a competitive place to do business from a tax perspective. We have an excellent judicial system, unparalleled workforce, stable government etc. All things that make the US a great place to invest and grow. If we lowered the corporate tax rate those billions and many many more like them would find their way to our shores.
Should we get 10% of that $40 billion or none? Right now we're seeing none. If we make it less expensive to distribute dividends here they'll do so. Shareholders will then take those dividends and either save, invest or spend that money. Any of these three activities helps our economy.
Similarly, if we lowered personal income taxes we'd see the repatriation of hundreds of millions from tax havens like Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, etc. People would rather have their money here but we're making it foolish to do so.
End capital gains taxes. They are fundamentally immoral. If I have earned money and paid taxes on that money, by rights, I'm entitled to the remainder. If I have re-invested that income which then grows from savings or investment, the government should not be allowed to tax the same dollars twice. Elimination of capital gains taxes would be a boon to the middle class and would create an enormous pool of investment dollars for the US market.
Lastly, we need to scrap the US tax code and start over. Either making a flat tax rate, using the fair tax or killing income tax in favor of national retail sales tax. There are merits for each system. Any of them is more fair than what we have now. (NB: for all you lefties who insist on progressive taxation, each of these is progressive)
I expect none of these things to happen any time soon. The only candidate I know of who endorses all of these positions is Ron Paul. As much as I love the guy he's totally unelectable. Instead we'll keep going down the road of confiscatory taxation, abusive spending and endless boondoggles coupled with cronyism. Nothing to see here folks, move along.
Update: From today's WSJ;
The Minnesotan is on firmer ground with his corporate tax overhaul, which would reduce the rate to 15% from the current 35% in return for cleaning out the warren of loopholes and special favors. Businesses will expand, enlarge their payrolls and
See? The WSJ is so smart they actually agree with me.
You knew this would be coming from the usual suspects: "At least Weiner is not a hypocrite." Right. Aside from the fact that he's an immense hypocrite to his still-newlywed wife, Zombie dissects this whole "not a hypocrite" nonsense:
it hasn’t just emerged in regards to Weinergate: It’s actually one of the bedrocks of the liberal worldview: Conservatives are hypocrites concerning moral issues, whereas liberals are not.
Which got me to thinking: This has to be the weakest philosophical argument I’ve ever encountered. Not just weak: self-extirpating.
Essentially, this "progressive" argument works like this:
Which do you think the general public prefers: An ideology that at least tries to champion a moral code, but whose adherents sometimes fail to live up to it; or an ideology that by its own definition is inherently immoral and whose adherents don’t even have a moral code to violate?
Meanwhile, the Weiner may be in trouble more than he'd like to think. It seems he instructed the [former] porn star he followed (on Twitter) to lie, and even made available his PR team if she so wanted:
On June 2, Weiner emailed Lee, "Do you need to talk to a professional PR type person to give u advice? I can have someone on my team call. [Yeah, my team is doing great. Ugh]."
On June 2, Weiner sent Lee a proposed statement she could give to the press: "I have nothing to do with the situation involving Rep Weiner. I follow his twitter feed. And for a brief time he followed me. Much has been made of the fact that I have posted about my admiration for Rep Weiner and his politics. All I can say about that is that I'm a fan of his. Rep. Weiner sent me one short direct message thanking me for following him. I have never met Rep. Weiner and he has never sent me anything innappopriate (sic) ..."
Weiner then asked Lee directly, "How's it [the proposed statement] feel?"
But he won't resign. Heh.
Lastly, here's the best headline of the last week or so regarding the Weiner: Erections have consequences.
Gee, what a surprise. Link courtesy of Ace, who really stayed with this story 100%.
UPDATE: Let the MSM excuse-making begin: Chris Matthews posits that Weiner's wife may be partly responsible.
UPDATE 2: Just remember this the next time Jason "Trust Fund" Scott lectures us on "civility," "ethics," etc.: "All he has to do is not resign. He’ll win re-election."
In addition to those mentioned in this post from Friday, the Associated Press (picked up here by ABC News) yesterday also jumped on the "Sarah Palin doesn't know history" bandwagon by quoting experts that refuted the possible GOP presidential candidate's remarks about Paul Revere's ride.
Even her otherwise successful media events can leave lingering questions about Palin's grasp of — and interest in — history, public policy and other subjects of substance.
On Sunday, Palin insisted she was right about the purpose of Revere's famous "midnight ride." "I know my American history," she told [Fox News's Chris] Wallace.
Revere was probably bluffing the soldiers about the size of any advancing militia, since he had no way of knowing, according to Joel J. Miller, author of "The Revolutionary Paul Revere." And while he made bells, Revere would never have rung any on that famous night because the Redcoats were under orders to round up people just like him.
"He was riding off as quickly and as quietly as possible," Miller said. "Paul Revere did not want the Redcoats to know of his mission at all."
The problem is that -- surprise! -- the AP doesn't bother to include what other experts have said about Palin's remarks. For instance, check out today's Boston Herald:
Sarah Palin yesterday insisted her claim at the Old North Church last week that Paul Revere “warned the British” during his famed 1775 ride — remarks that Democrats and the media roundly ridiculed — is actually historically accurate. And local historians are backing her up.
In fact, Revere’s own account of the ride in a 1798 letter seems to back up Palin’s claim. Revere describes how after his capture by British officers, he warned them “there would be five hundred Americans there in a short time for I had alarmed the Country all the way up.”
Boston University history professor Brendan McConville said, “Basically when Paul Revere was stopped by the British, he did say to them, ‘Look, there is a mobilization going on that you’ll be confronting,’ and the British are aware as they’re marching down the countryside, they hear church bells ringing — she was right about that — and warning shots being fired. That’s accurate.”
Patrick Leehey of the Paul Revere House said Revere was probably bluffing his British captors, but reluctantly conceded that it could be construed as Revere warning the British.
Well, waddya know. How 'bout that.
Elsewhere, as an example of some of the ridiculing media that the Herald noted, Green Celebrity News condescendingly refers to Palin's "scary revisionist history" in their title ... and then hilariously screws up recent history in their first paragraph:
Alaska native and former VP Republican presidential candidate, Sarah Palin thinks Paul Revere warned the British and told them that Americans were pro gun rights? Seriously, Sarah?
Hmm, I seem to recall that Mrs. Palin was a vice presidential candidate, not a presidential candidate. (Check out the screen cap of the page at left just in case G.S.N. attempts a scrub job.)
The NY Times reports today on how a three judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has essentially ignored a 2001 US Supreme Court decision (among others) that ruled public schools must give the same sort of access to religious groups to use their facilities as other (sectarian) groups.
Deciding 2 to 1, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said the city had “a strong basis to believe” that allowing the religious services to be conducted in schools could be seen as the kind of endorsement of religion that violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause.
“When worship services are performed in a place,” Judge Pierre N. Leval wrote for the majority, “the nature of the site changes. The site is no longer simply a room in a school being used temporarily for some activity.”
“The place has, at least for a time, become the church,” he wrote, adding that the city’s policy imposed “no restraint on the free expression of any point of view.” Rather, it applied only to “a certain type of activity — the conduct of worship services — and not to the free expression of religious views associated with it.”
This seems to outright contradict the fairly recent Good News Club v. Milford Central School SCOTUS case, however. The 6-3 majority ruled here that
when a government operates a "limited public forum," it may not discriminate against speech that takes place within that forum on the basis of the viewpoint it expresses.
the Court's Establishment Clause jurisprudence never "extended... to foreclose private religious conduct during nonschool hours merely because it takes place on school premises where elementary school children may be present." In Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992), the religious speech involved was a prayer at a mandatory high school graduation function. In Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000), the religious speech involved was a student-led prayer before a high school football game which, of course, is a school-sponsored event. In Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987), the religious speech involved was a prohibition on teaching evolution in public school science classes. Unlike these three cases, the religious speech at issue in this case took place after school and not during a school-sponsored event.
I know at my school there is a Bible Club (which meets after school) and on weekends my school has been utilized (as have several other adjacent schools) for religious purposes. I've heard the stated rationale is basically what was decided in Good News Club. To me, it seems the two judges who ruled against the Bronx Household of Faith will most certainly be overturned.
A commenter has summed up my feelings on the whole Anthony Weiner thing:
"I don't get how people can say this doesn't matter. Anthony Weiner has made one real pledge to one person in the world: his wife. If he doesn't care enough not to publicly humiliate a beautiful and talented woman, why would he give a genuine damn about anybody else in New York?
Since when in America is divorcing someone not an option? If he wants to fulfill his inward 10th grade sexting fantasies, do it the American way: get a divorce first."
Exactly so. If you cannot abide your oath to the one person you are supposed to be devoted to, forsaking all others, why should we think you'd not break every other oath or law you've sworn?
Irish super-group U2 faces protest -- for moving business to a more tax friendly country.
Members of activist group Art Uncut will hoist a massive inflatable sign with the message 'Bono Pay Up' spelt out in lights during the Irish band's headline performance. They will also parade bundles of oversized fake cash in front of the singer.
The protest has been provoked by U2's decision to move their multi-million-pound music and publishing business away from Ireland – thus allegedly avoiding taxes on record sales.
Just yet another example of "progressive" hypocrisy. It never ends.
- Kavips posting from Bizarro world
... but as a sixteen year-old?
I think I'd be walking to school, even if it was ten miles away ... !!
Melissa Harris Perry perfectly demonstrates the "progressive"-elite-MSM "conventional wisdom" that is frequently deficient in actual facts: "I’ll put my Obama deficit next to your Reagan deficit any day of the week."
First, notice the word "my" in there. Second, the actual facts:
If you add up all of Reagan's deficits throughout his two terms, it's a combined $1.5 trillion. Adjusted for inflation, that's $2.72 trillion.
In Obama's first three years in office, his combined deficits will total $4.23 trillion. In just three years.
Check out the vid:
It's a tragedy that shouldn't have happened, yes, but it shouldn't tarnish the country's rep as a whole: US teenager mistakenly killed by Costa Rica hotel guard.
A U.S. high school student was shot dead by a hotel security guard in Costa Rica on Thursday after being mistaken for a thief, police said.
Sixteen-year-old Justin Johnston was shot in the chest in the early hours of Thursday as he tried to sneak back into his room, breaking a night curfew on a school trip.
"It appears the hotel guard thought the guest was a thief," police said in a statement.
The Kansas teenager was on the trip with 40 other students in the Central American nation, which is famed for its wildlife, rain forests and lava-spewing volcanoes.
Police said the guard, who has been detained, shouted at Johnston and another schoolmate as they tried to enter their hotel room, prompting them to run and for the guard to fire.
I've lived and traveled to Costa Rica many times since 1986, and the most important thing to keep in mind is that, even though it is very developed by Latin American standards, by US standards it is still quite poor. Thus, a lot of the crime consists of theft, robbery, and burglary. Violent crime has risen over the last couple decades, but it still isn't as prevalent as it is here. A lot of the reason for the violent crime is drug activity, with a great deal of Colombian involvement. And the country is battling illegal immigration just as the US is, although there it comes from [significantly poorer] Nicaragua to the north.
Which is all a big shame. Costa Rica, or "Ticos" as they call themselves, are some of the friendliest (and pro-US) people around. As a college student living and studying there in 1986, I was able to stay out late and walk across San José to my home on the city outskirts always without incident. Quite a few told me that I was lucky, though; however, if I attempted that today, I'd virtually be guaranteed of being robbed, beaten ... or worse. Still, keep in mind that this really no different from any large American city.
That being said, what this guard did was plain stupid. Shooting a fleeing suspect? Clearly, though, the trip advisor and chaperones should have made it plainly clear why there were armed guards around, as well as the dangers of sneaking around on one's own late at night in a [poor] foreign country.
And be sure to check out the non-Council winners here!
Such is the case in Seattle where a gay men's softball league has won part of lawsuit that allows them to limit the number of straight players on teams:
A gay softball organization can keep its rule limiting the number of heterosexual players on each team, but allegations by three players who say they were disqualified from a tournament because they weren't gay enough can proceed to trial, a federal judge said.
The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance oversees gay softball leagues in dozens of U.S. cities and runs an annual tournament called the Gay Softball World Series. Three men claim in a lawsuit filed last year that their team's second-place finish in the 2008 tournament in Washington state was nullified because they are bisexual, not gay, and thus their team exceeded the limit of two non-gay players.
U.S. District Judge John Coughenour ruled Tuesday that the organization has a First Amendment right to limit the number of heterosexual players, much as the Boy Scouts have a constitutional right to exclude gays.
I totally agree with the judge that, like the Scouts, this organization has the right to determine its own membership and rules. (Although judges sure can't claim any consistency in this area; consider Casey Martin's case against the PGA.) But you just gotta snicker at the whole "not gay enough" rules that can still be litigated. This league argues that "bisexual" is not gay "enough," yet gays demand to be allowed to "marry" and not just have a "civil union." Barring blacks from restaurants is forbidden because restaurants are a "public accommodation," yet I'd be willing to wager good money that these softball teams play on park land (and highly likely government park land). Doesn't that thus make them "public accommodations?" Let alone, would it acceptable to have a "straight-only" softball league that limits the number of homosexual players -- and/or questions the "straightness" of players if there's any doubt?
A planned gay pride picnic in the heart of Harlem has put local church leaders in a tizzy, with one pastor vowing his family won't leave the house on that day.
"If children start to believe it is okay to be gay, they will think it's okay to be a pedophile or have sex with animals," said Dr. Ronald Ferguson, the senior pastor at Antioch Church of God on W. 124th St. "It's a slippery slope."
"This gay pride nonsense is an abomination," Ferguson told the Daily News. "God does not want to see homosexuals in our parks."
"The park is a family area, and the homosexual agenda will do nothing but harm the community," said Pastor Charles Curtis of Mount Olivet Baptist Church.
The church critics complain the event is an attack on family values and a bad example for black youth.
How dare these bigoted homophobes ... oh, wait, I can't say that! They're a minority too!
Middle school yearbook lumps George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in with Adolph Hitler and Osama Bin Laden:
Open up the Russellville Middle School yearbook. You'll see the students' pictures, the administration, and a pretty controversial list that's supposed to be covered with a piece of black tape.
"My problem is the tape can be removed easily," said School Board Member Chris Cloud. Cloud has two kids in the Russellville School District and one brought home the yearbook.
"I'm furious as a parent and as a board member and as a tax payer and as a resident of Russellville," he said. "It's wrong."
The list is titled "Top 5 worst people of all time." The top three, in order, are Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and Charles Manson. Numbers four and five are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Superintendent Randall Williams calls the list "an oversight." Parents caught it after the yearbooks were printed. The district's solution was to cover the list with tape. It didn't work.
"Really?" said Williams when told the tape could be pulled off. "Well that's disappointing because the yearbook supplier told us this was a definite fix." (Link.)
The yearbook sponsor, a teacher at the school, "is very very very upset about it." Williams claims she did not "pay any attention to that particular part of that particular page." Sorry, Mr. Super, but that's what the yearbook sponsor is supposed to do. Otherwise, who would know what's being printed if there's no editorial oversight, hmm?
This isn't surprising, though. Way too many teachers are left-of-center (the NEA is a Democrat Party shill), and too many of 'em think everyone else thinks like them. And, unfortunately, some of them pass this conceit off on to their students.
But look at this way, too: Your average middle schooler ain't gonna be all that up to snuff on who's really one of the worst people of all-time. (Hell, your average adult ain't, either.) So, how exactly do 'ya think GW Bush and Cheney would have gotten on the list (assuming, that is, that the school got to vote on this for publication in the yearbook)? That's easy -- the mainstream media. For the [very] casual amount of news that your average middle schooler will watch/read, the biased MSM can certainly shape opinion. I know it did for me back when I was that age. Hell, I even took Jimmy Carter's side in a classroom debate for the election of 1980! (It was actually in 10th grade, but that's only two years after middle school ...!)
The conventional liberal wisdom is that George Bush and Dick Cheney are "evil" much like they're stupid (like all Republicans are). Just imagine if this school had included Barack Obama's name on that list. It'd make national headlines. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the NAACP would be screaming for "sensitivity training" for the school's teachers. Every pundit on MSNBC would be ferreting out "racism" within the school and the district. The network morning shows would feature sociologists and psychologists explaining how children can still be "prejudiced." Etc.
You can bet your bottom dollar on that.
So there's a new study out about the "War on Drugs" and how it is an abject failure and unwinnable. Some suspect names are attached to the report (Kofi Annan) and some respectable ones (Paul Vockler). If you read the study itself there were some surprising items in there (to me anyway). Like War On Drugs started with Nixon. I did not know that.
The study also cites the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands as places that have shifted from a punitive model to a therapeutic one. We have people serving life sentences under three strikes rules for non-violent drug offenses like possession. Does this make any sense? I believe the majority of politicians agree the current model isn't working and can't work. They all believe, however, it is political suicide to say otherwise.
California has been bucking the Feds by all but legalizing cannabis. The Feds have made half hearted attempts to keep California from subverting Federal law. I believe that has more to do with keeping California under the Federal thumb than their belief that the drug war can be won. If California were to decide to flout Federal law on this issue, where would it end? What other states would decide that they need not follow this Federal law or regulation?
The Federal government realizes this is a very slippery slope and it has no real way of keeping states like California in line. What could they do? Arrest everyone in California? Their lawmakers, judges and state officials? They do not have the manpower to enforce laws and regulations that California does not wish to enforce. Their only choice would be to punish them in some other way to "encourage" them to get back in line. This same rationale was used by Elizabeth Dole to force a 21 year age limit on the states. They were not required to change the drinking age but to do otherwise would mean an end to Federal Highway funds. (Thanks a lot lady.) The most perfidious part of the Dole strategy is that it has been replicated to keep States in line and eroded what little Federalism remained.
If Republicans and/or Democrats were serious they'd address this problem head on. Democrats would be wise to push the cost reduction angle from a public health perspective and changing the way we police our citizens. This would get support from the base as well as the independents. Republicans could push this from the liberty side and talk about personal responsibility and letting people be free to do as they will so long as they don't harm others.
If drugs were legal tomorrow, would you do them? I suspect those that do them now would say yes and those that do not wouldn't. The problem we have it not the recreational user who smokes weed after work while watching TV. I am in much greater fear of a drunk leaving a bar and slamming into my car than I am about some stoner doing the same.
I have no dog in this fight. I never smoked weed or even tried any other drugs. Frankly, I don't have an interest in them. I'm strictly a beer and wine guy. The irony was that when I was in high school it was easier to get crack than alcohol. I don't know how it is today but it wouldn't surprise me if that was still true.
Decriminalize it. Move from punishment to treatment and get all these non-violent offenders out of jail.
If we had any real courage we'd legalize it, tax it and regulate it.
(As an aside there is something very strange about making nature illegal. The idea that a plant that grows in the wild is somehow illegal is odd. )
Related: Attorney General Holder is arguing that the statues leveling the sentencing between crack and powdered cocaine should be applied retroactively. That would free thousands of people convicted under the harsher sentences for crack. It appears from my reading this would be applied to people convicted of possession not distribution. In my opinion, Holder is on the right side for once. The counterargument is that these offenders may well be violent felons. Perhaps so. But if they have been violent in prison, they would not be eligible for release. Assaults in prison are still assaults and carry their own penalties. We have entirely too many people in prison in this country for things that do not warrant prison time. Further, putting a non-violent person in prison for possession and that person is going to have to learn to be violent rather quickly to survive in prison.
What it sounds like is a stupid, hypocritical network with an idiot Brit commentator:
Rep. Weiner now says he "cannot say with certitude" the picture is or is not of him. After the stalling and the backpedaling and after he lawyered up, the only thing this sounds like to me is "yeah it's me, can we drop this now?"
Here's the thing:
1. I know there are no pictures of me in my underwear anywhere.
2. I am acutely aware of being even semi-undressed in the presence of people I am not married to.
3. I can doubly assure you that if I was in such a state of undress and there was a camera within 100 yards of me it would be in my possession pretty damn quick.
4. If anyone "pranked" me by posting this to any twitter blog, facebook account, hotmail, myspace, friendster, geocities, wax cylinder, crayon drawing, or any other media form I would be using any legal means at my disposal to prosecute them.
His supporters expect us to believe:
1. He was hacked which was then changed to pranked after he lawyered up
2. He has no explanation for following a 21 years old student who lives 3000 miles away
3. He if following a number of young women with some sort of plausible explanation which he simply has yet to offer
4. This issue is a "distraction"
5. This issue would be handled exactly the same if he were from any other political party
I'm counting the hours until the new talking points are:
"So what, he sent a picture, big deal."
"He never lied about anything"
"This is a plot to destroy him because he's a rising star"
"Republicans do it too/are worse"
"He never had sex with these women"
Reader(s) are invited to submit others.
That was Rep. Anthony Weiner's response to the question of whether that c**k photo sent to that 21 year old college student was of him.
My system was hacked. Pictures can be manipulated. Pictures can be dropped in and inserted.
Well, yeah. But how can a pic of your package be "manipulated" if there isn't such a pic extant in the first place, huh?
Former Newsweek columnist Ellis Cose, who has a new book out on race relations titled The End of Anger, evokes the 'ol "no sh**, Sherlock" with this incredibly "insightful" comment made on NPR:
What I argue and what I maintain is true is that the sort of societal, official condonement of explicit racism has disappeared, which is to say that even the Tea Party - which, again, appeals to an older, conservative, in many cases racially prejudiced group of people - and then again, let me be very clear. I'm not saying everybody, as far is - who's a Tea Party supporter is a bigot. I think there are not people who are not. But I think they do appeal very fundamentally, as well, to a lot of people who are.
Now, let's be adult here. We know that race plays a role in at least some of the attitudes that some people bring to the Tea Party. That's not going to disappear.
Well gosh, how 'bout that -- groups that oppose the Obama agenda may contain some racists! Who'da thought? Of course, the real problem is that way too many in the mainstream media attempt[ed] to portray groups like the Tea Party as predominately racist. Some may say that even one racist is one too many for a group like the Tea Party; however, how often has the MSM (or anyone else, for that matter) ever criticized a left-wing group for the very shady groups that may like what it does? Like, for instance, communists, Maoists, and anarchists that always show up at anti-war demonstrations? Would you ever see Chris Matthews grill a MoveOn.org spokesperson about these folks affiliated with their group? Yeah, right.
This then moves to the ridiculous "kindred spirit" argument that "progressives" like to trot out whenever a popular (and even not-so popular) conservative movement is afoot. In other words, because some shady sub-groups or people may take part in a more mainstream organization, that somehow means the latter "shares" the formers' values. Again, though, just don't try to make that same argument about "progressives" and communists/Maoists/anarchists, etc.!
And what do you know -- our old friend Perry, who now has his very own blogging home thanks to the generosity of conservative Dana Pico of Common Sense Political Thought, picks up on Cose's too-easy thought processes:
Hatred of Obama: Is Race a Factor?
I definitely think it is, otherwise how does one explain the outright unabashed hatred of President Obama coming from regions and from those who have a history of racial prejudices, and coming from a popular right wing radio host who makes no bones about his hatred for Obama, and his racist outlook, both in general and specifically.
Hey, how 'bout that, everybody? Perry definitely thinks that President Obama's race plays a factor in some people hating him! I wonder how long it took 'ol Per to come up with that thought??
Ironically, the name of Perry's blog is "Bridging the Gap" because he supposedly wants to, well, "bridge a gap" between competing political ideologies. But when you paint the most popular talk show host in the country as a racist based on the "information" from a long-discredited smear site, not to mention resort to revisionist history of busing in Delaware to somehow make your "point" (check here for proof of Per's lame grasp of history), you sure ain't gonna "bridge" too many "gaps."
And the non-Council nominations are here!
What is it with these supposed "peace-loving" people and their predilection towards utter buffoonery? This time it's the Rev. Robert D. Stoddard Jr., chairman, Delaware Churches for Middle East Peace who writes,
How disheartening that in addressing a “cheering Congress,” Prime Minister Netanyahu failed to offer meaningful steps toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His willingness to “cede land for peace” amounted to token relinquishment of only a few outlying settlements. Otherwise, he refused to even consider stopping new settlements and ending the occupation, which has left the Palestinians in control of less than 13 percent of their original land, determining Jerusalem's final status and justice for Palestinian refugees, and agreeing on land swaps based on the 1967 armistice line.
It is simply mind-blowing how people who talk of "one-sidedness" absolutely cannot grasp the position that Israel is -- and was -- in. They are surrounded by people that want to destroy them. Utterly and totally. If you want a good glimpse of how people like Stoddard think, just check out this -- the Presbyterian Church USA's "Israel/Palestine Mission Network's" statement on their so-called Middle East Study Committee. I won't dissect the inanity of much of it; check it out for yourself. But here are some highlights:
Yeah, gee, it's hard to see why the US has consistently favored Israeli governments against its enemies which wish to see it obliterated! How "unfair!" And once again, land acquired via a defensive war is perfectly legitimate from a security standpoint. Maybe the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors should have pondered that in 1948, 1967 and again in 1973. Lastly, there is no "virtual end" to a two-state solution. US and Israeli governments favor it ... based on one prominent contingent: That the Palestinians rescind their call for the destruction of the Jewish state, and renounce (and cease) all terrorist activities against Israel.
Ah yes, the 'ol "comparatively speaking" argument. Using this "logic," the United States should have only retaliated for Pearl Harbor by killing approximately 2,000 Japanese. Or, the US should have "measured" its response to the 9/11 attacks by making sure no more than 3,000 al Qaeda/Taliban were killed.
Just imagine what the US response would be to Mexico constantly lobbing rockets into, say, Arizona or Texas. This section also mentions the infamous "Goldstone Report," since discredited.
It's a very good thing that views towards Israel like Stoddard's are in the minority here in the US. For if they weren't, Israel might not be around today.