It has always bugged the heck out of me the way advocate/activists will intentionally misrepresent or take out of context facts and figures and then have the MSM dutifully report the misleading information without question. Here's an interesting op-ed piece by the governor of Alaska explaining why drilling in the ANWR is a good idea. One of the canards of the left regarding ANWR is the oft-repeated "statistic" that the recoverable reserves would only provide enough oil to last us six months. Well, that is technically true if we had no other domestic or foreign sources of oil for that same period. No one has ever said that the ANWR reserves would replace all our other sources of oil. However, there is enough there to replace Saudi Arabian oil for a period of 20 years or so. There is also no doubt that the footprint for oil recovery operations would be approximately 2000 acres out of a total of 19 million acres... about the same size landmass as Colorado. Finally, there is no real threat to endangered species, if our experience with the Alaskan pipeline is any indication. If you recall, the fear was that the pipeline would interfere with the migration patterns of Alaskan caribou thereby reducing their numbers. The opposite in fact occurred with the number of caribou increasing from 5000 to over 30,000. You therefore have to ask yourself why there is such vehement opposition to trying to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.
Here is a marvelous piece about the suffering of Pope John Paul II. Although it makes no mention of the Terri Schiavo situation, it is morally and spiritually instructive and incisively relevant to her life and death. I quote in part: We need his example, which affirms the continuing value of every human person who feels isolated by illness and abandoned by a society. And we need to be reminded that we all have responsibilities to the weakest among us to help them live in dignity, and to value the gift of their presence, whatever their condition, at every stage of their lives. Please also read this opinion piece which says clearly what I have been trying to express, that we have spoken largely in euphemisms about Terri Schiavo in order to avoid dealing with hard truths.
I have just been informed that Terri Schiavo has passed away. I don't have a link but this is the most recent from less than an hour ago. I feel like a terrible injustice has taken place and we are a worse society for it.
I returned yesterday from business in San Francisco but obviously missed the Anarchist Book Fair that took place. Here are some photos that give a flavor of the festivities [Hat tip: LGF]: peace activists with saline-injected scrotums (OUCH!!!)...
Here is an example of why it will be extraordinarily difficult for any traditionally Muslim population to integrate and assimilate themselves into a traditionally western culture, not to mention a Judeo-Christian culture.
My general and still developing sense is that, generally speaking, those who are for having removed Terri Schiavo's feeding tube are analyzing the situation from a primarily legalistic standpoint, while those on the other side of the debate are arguing from a morality-based, sanctity of life position. And no, I'm not saying that those in favor of the actions taken are immoral so, as my mother would say, don't even start. It also appears to me that, again generally speaking, the talking heads who are in agreement with the actions taken are more from the liberal side of the aisle, while those who have advocated for allowing Terri Schiavo to continue to be fed and hydrated are from the conservative side. There are politics involved here and, as I said last week, I believe that the quick acceptance of an affirmative answer to the obviously murky question of whether Terri's wishes are being carried out has to do more with a desire to avoid the potential undermining of a political position than anything else. It saddens me but I truly am convinced that statements like those of Loretta Sanchez (Congresswoman from California) to the effect that conservatives are being hypocritical because they are not backing the "sanctity of marriage" are motivated by a desire to avoid any inroads into the sanctity of abortion. Anything that affirms a "culture of life" is seen as a threat. Anyway, I thought it a good idea to link back here, here and here to my posts on the Groningen Protocol and "mercy killings" as well as to a Nazi propaganda poster extolling the virtues of eugenics.
The Pope is being fed through a nasogastric tube. But here's the money quote in my book: Dr Barbara Paris, a New York geriatrics specialist, said the nasogastric tube may be just a temporary measure, but could also be the first step towards having a more permanent feeding tube inserted into his stomach. Now, I don't mean to sound sacrilegious but...it's a good thing the Pope's not married to Michael Schiavo. Speaking of...there is something frighteningly immoral with a situation where police are ordered to prevent anyone (by use of taser no less) from taking water to a dying woman. Just imagine yourself as Terri Schiavo's mother watching her daughter dehydrate to death and knowing that you will be forcibly prevented from placing a few ice chips between her parched lips. The letter of the law may have been followed, but it just doesn't seem right.
A high ranking official of the Boy Scouts of America has pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing kiddie porn. It will be interesting to see how this is handled in the debate over the Scout's ban on openly gay scoutmasters. Someone once explained this issue to me in what I thought was a very sensible fashion. He asked me if I would be comfortable with my daughter's girl scout troop being supervised during a weekend camping trip by adult males only. My answer was certainly not. He then pointed out that this presented the same dynamic as his son's boy scout troop being supervised by gay males. There is of course no intellectually justifiable distinction between the two. Although I would have no reason to believe that any of the hypothetical male girl scout troop leaders would be child molesters, I would still be uncomfortable with heterosexual males supervising my daughter on an overnight camping trip. It presents a situation that would not exist if she was supervised in the same situation by heterosexual women. It is no different than a parent being uncomfortable with their son being supervised by gay men. If someone doesn't see the equivalency here, I'd like it explained to me.
Adolph Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is enjoying renewed success in Turkey having climbed to the top-ten list over the last two months. Naturally, it has nothing to do with rising anti-Semitism in Muslim Turkey.
Here is something that troubles me deeply about the Terri Schiavo situation. I have heard more than once from the proponents of simply killing her...pardon, letting her die...that withholding food and water would not result in a painful death but rather would allow her to peacefully "slip away.' Why then is she being administered morphine when nurses noticed Terri Schiavo was "moaning and grimacing"?
Berkeley, CA in its usual infinite wisdom, is contemplating changing the name of "Thomas Jefferson Elementary School" to something more politically correct since, after all, the architect of the Declaration of Independance was a slave owner. As is aptly pointed out in the linked story, what's the concern? Most likely the kids don't have any idea who Jefferson was anyway?
Joe Lieberman was interviewed by Tim Russert about the Terry Schiavo situation. He often comes across as the only adult in the room when he says things like: ...if somebody doesn't have a living will and the next of kin disagree on whether the person should be kept alive or that is whether food and water should be taken away and her life ended - that really the benefit of the doubt ought to be given to life... Lieberman just makes sense.
I have tried to assiduously avoid paying any attention to the Jacko trial, but it so permeates the SoCal media that it sometimes slips past the gates. Read here and here for the latest. It's a hoot when you hear Jacko interviewed by the Rev. Jacko who, God forbid, follows up on an answer like the one about a "conspiracy" against "black luminaries." But it does create a pretty picture in the mind's eye to think of Liz Taylor "hand-feeding" Michael Jackson.
I periodically visit islamweb.net to remain informed on matters Muslim. Here are a few of the entries to "Fatwa of the Week": 1. Mom should not nurse her 17 year old son lest he become aroused... 2. Allah forbids the removal of cheek hair (face, not...well, you get the point)... 3. Do not breath into the container when drinking Zam-Zam water...(??) 4. Women may cut their hair so long as thereafter they do not resemble men or non-Muslim women...
"Sex between inmates is a basic right!"...at least as far as some South African authorities are concerned...something like life, a weight room and the pursuit of sodomy? If you were considering sumo wrestling but had trouble with the oversized diapers, you remain out of luck... The first steps to opening up 2000 acres (out of what, a million or so?) of ANWR for oil drilling has been taken. Just remember what the environmentalists said about the Alaska oil pipeline's anticipated effect on the local caribou herds (i.e. devastation) and then remember what actually happened (i.e. numbers quintupled)... In a related story, international support for construction of new nuclear reactors is growing...I guess if the French and the IEAE (U.N. watchdog group) are OK with it, we should be seeing huge rallies of support by our liberal friends soon if they are to be intellectually consistent with their stand on Iraq and the need for U.N. "consensus"...
Wow! The Washington Post actually ran an editorial critical of Democrats. Many have said that all the Democrats are doing in the Social Security debate is nitpicking and criticizing any proposal by Republicans, or simply asserting there is no impending problem with the system. The Post's editorial admits just that noting: Over the next 75 years, as the Social Security trustees reported on Wednesday, the program has a projected deficit of $4 trillion; the longer the nation waits to address this problem, the nastier the tax hikes or benefit reductions that will result. But that's not the impression conveyed by some Democratic leaders.
I'd like to see how the MSM spins this story to avoid crediting President Bush. Iraq's Sunni Arab "insurgents'" are looking for an exit strategy and a way into the political system. Apparently, the success of the January elections "dealt the insurgents a demoralising blow, prompting them to consider the need to enter the political process." I know, it would have happened anyway.
These are the sorts of stories that get me all up and frazzled. Muslims in Spain are apparently speaking in terms such as, "In 1492, we lost everything". The reference is not to when Columbus sailed the blue but to the year that the Moors were finally driven out of Spain. My pique at the historical inaccuracies and/or omissions has motivated me to provide the following history lesson, which can fairly be included in the "History of the Crusades" series. The historical account in this piece mentions that Muslims controlled most of the Iberian peninsula ("al-Andalus") for about 800 years up to 1492. However, what is missing here, and in pretty much every other contemporary account of the history of that time and place is that, until about 711, the Iberian peninsula was populated mostly by Christians. It was ruled variously by the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians before being conquered by the Romans [Note: two Roman emperors, Hadrian and Traian, were born in what is now Spain], who ruled until about the early fifth century (ca. 410) and then fell to the onslaught of various Gothic tribes. The Goths ruled until 711 when Roderic, the last of the Visigoth kings, was defeated by Muslim armies crossing the straits of Gibralter. Over the next 20 or so years, the Muslims swept through and conquered most of the southern portions of the Iberian peninsula and established Cordoba as the cultural center of that part of the world. However, small Christian kingdoms remained in what is now northern Spain and southern France, and continued to offer resistance. In the 11th century, al-Andalus began splitting into smaller caliphates and these Christian kingdoms from the north began the process of the re-conquest of Spain. This was occurring during the time of the first crusade, 1095-1099. In 1469 Isabel and Ferdinand of Aragon married thereby joining the two largest of these Christian kingdoms. This was the turning point of what was termed the "Reconquista". In 1492, the remaining Muslim caliphate in Grenada was defeated. The reunification of Spain under Ferdinand and Isabel led to efforts to "re-Christianize" the country, including the Spanish Inquisition. Bottom line: All accounts of Muslim history in the region begin with the conquest of 711, but seems to always fail to mention what occurred in, and who controlled, those lands before that date. Any effort to provide this history should include this information, otherwise we get a skewed sense of what actually occurred, and they wouldn't want that to happen, would they?
It appears I may have inadvertently been party to a worldwide hoax of such epic proportions that it is making my head spin and forcing me to reevaluate my belief systems. It seems that the fake see-through skirts that I reported were the latest fashion craze in Japan may not be as they appear. ZuDfunck is leading the charge to blow the roof off this one.
A Scottish merchant was found subject to an "anti-social behaviour order" for using the word "porking" and displaying a pig picture or drawing on a sign because...i'll just let you read it for yourself: “The [order] was sought after we received a number of complaints from the wider community who found the sign to be racially and sexually offensive" "Somali-born Khalil Abdi, who is street warden in the area, said the sign was deliberately provoking the Muslim community." “Muslims do not eat pork but the sign has a picture of a pig and the words ‘porking yard’." Puhleeze!!!! I don't eat much fish but that doesn't mean the local restaurant ("The Fish Company") I drive by every day must change its name to suit my hyperactive sensibilities. But the truly troublesome aspect to this, and the many stories like it, is that we would never have such issues unless and until government gets involved.
Inasmuch as we are almost upon Easter Sunday, I though it would be appropriate to post about the Shroud of Turin. I've linked here to a rather interesting website regarding the Shroud and here to a very informative article that was first published in 1973 about the Shroud. I don't know what the latest scholarship says about the authenticity of this relic, but I do recall some recent reports that it had been established as a medieval hoax. There is an internal link at the website I've linked above to a January 2005 study that calls into question the earlier carbon dating of the Shroud. Happy Easter!
Found this incisive photo on Curmudgeonisms
Pardon my impolite language, but what the hell is going on just outside, and probably inside, our borders? Teachers in a Canadian school gave a student(s) high marks for an illustrated story about violence, killing of Israelis and martyrdom. Here's a sample of this exceptional work: "Without thinking, Ahmed took his M16 machine-gun and threw the bombs, and he showered the Jews; this resulted in the killing of the soldiers," the boy's text reads. "Salah said: 'You killed them all.' Ahmed answered: 'Praise be to God.'" The instructor saw fit to note on the title page: "God bless you, your efforts are good."
Here is an example of pending failure in Sweden as a major city decides to experiment with its form of "bi-lingual" education. It worked so well here in SoCal, I'm sure optimism is the order of the day.
Linked here is an affidavit by Dr. William Polk Cheshire, a neurologist. It was apparently prepared for consideration in the, now in limbo, de novo review of the Terry Schiavo case. It is rather lengthy but easy reading, and raises quite a number of troubling questions as to whether Terry Schiavo is aware of her surroundings and can feel pain. For example, he notes that there have not been any recent MRI or PET scans, and that Terry has in the past seemed to have been intentionally interactive. The more I learn about what has, and hasn't, taken place in her evaluations, the more I begin to believe that something quite terrible is going on here. [Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt]
Do you recognize this man? I'm in the midst of reading "Bobby Fischer Goes To War" (yes, that's him in the picture), a fascinating account of the 1972 Fischer-Spassky world championship chess match, when I came across this article about the former prodigy. Whoever said there is a thin line between genius and insanity was right on.
Here is another example of the moral bankruptcy of much of the education establishment in charge of our public schools and the knee-jerk anti-Americanism that prevails. Do the parents of the kids submerged in swamps of indoctrination such as the Seattle public school system know what is going on? Actually, maybe they do.
I continue to have problems with the Bloglet subscription link so have no idea whether it's a link worth having or not. I suppose if it doesn't work consistently then it's not worth having, but I'll stick with it a bit longer and try to work out the bugs. Any help would be appreciated.
I accidentally posted this at The Last Moderate.
There is something I can't quite put my finger on regarding the Terry Schiavo debate. Michelle Malkin outlines one indication of the effect...but I'm wondering about the cause. I paid little attention to the details of the incredibly long and somewhat sordid history since she slipped into her "coma" but as I get up to speed I've realized two things. The reporting of the facts has been atrocious, and the reporting of the facts has been atrociously one-sided. Terry Schiavo, as Malkin writes, is not on "life-support" as we lay persons understand that term, and is not "comatose" as we lay persons understand that term. But my struggle is not over the mis-reporting of the facts. I am truly perplexed as to why there seems to be this very strong undercurrent of opinion that the sooner she is allowed to die (actually, the sooner she is killed by being starved to death), the better. Why is there such powerful sentiment in some quarters to avoid any in depth review of this situation even in light of information coming from former care givers impugning the husband's motives, but more importantly, asserting that Terry Schiavo is not a "vegetable" as we use that term in the vernacular? Why is there such vociferous and unqualified support for a right to die? Could it be that the alternative, which is to support a right to life...has far-reaching and undesired implications to some?
The most interesting aspect of today's story regarding the 85 "insurgents" that were killed by U.S. and Iraqi forces is the fact that : "Among the dead are Arab and foreign fighters, including Sudanese, Algerians and Moroccans, as well as other nationalities" I looked up the definition of "insurgents" and "insurgency" and it was as I thought. It involves the act of revolting against the civil authority or the established government. One "revolts" by renouncing your allegiance to, or the agreement to be subject to, the prevailing authority. I can revolt against the American government because it expects my allegiance and I am subject to it. I can't revolt against the French government (although I can assist those who are) because I am not subject to it. I have always thought the use of the term "insurgents" was imprecise at best, and intentionally misleading at worst. I suspect the latter is the case with the MSM.
The Columbine-like shooting in a Minnesota school is one of those tragedies that is fraught with many issues. Pundits will undoubtedly be discussing gun control, bullying and the general status of youth culture in the days ahead. It is interesting that the AP story mentions (as opposed to the MSNBC version that I've linked to) that the shooter had posted on a website his criticisms of interracial mixing on the Indian reservation where he lived and where the school was located. I will be very curious to see if this story gets the sort of 24/7 coverage that Columbine did six or seven years ago, or whether Michael Moore will weigh in (no pun intended). If this story fades away relatively quickly, I have my theories as to why. For now, however, I will reserve judgment.
Take a minute and visit TenNapel when you have a chance. Really great art work and better commentary.
France is about to do away with its government mandated 35-hour workweek, over protests calling for an increase in wages not hours. The original purpose of the law, passed by France's socialists when last in power, was to compel employers to hire more workers, thereby reducing unemployment. The theory was that if an employer was utilizing 200 hours of labor per week, at 40 hours per week per worker that employer would need five employees. However, if the work week was shortened to 35 hours per employee, the employer would necessarily require an additional worker to meet that demand. Well, unemployment in France has risen to 10% and employers have frozen salaries in order to make up for the need to hire. Here's a quick lesson in Economics 101. The erroneous concept always assumed by the social engineers is that of the supposedly static nature of economic decision making. A real life example was the disastrous "luxury tax" and its effect on the American boat building industry. The assumption was that a 20% surtax would generate a given amount of additional revenue based upon the number of expensive vessels historically sold. However, the brains behind the tax did not consider that, rather than pay an extra 20%, the potential buyers would simply forego the purchase, or buy offshore to avoid the tax. Same concept here. Rather than hire an extra employee, the small business owner will simply make-do with fewer employees rather than either raise prices to cover the added expense or make less profit. The underpinning of both the failed effort to reduce unemployment by reducing the length of the work week, and the protests calling for the government to increase private sector wages by fiat is a total lack of understanding of the free market.
In the bizarre world of middle eastern political rhetoric, the latest is that Arafat was killed by Israeli agents employing a high tech laser device of some sort. Sadly, some moron will strap on a vest full of C4 and walk into a crowded restaurant because of such idiocy. Do you get the feeling some days that we are trapped in a series of Saturday Night Live skits?
Why these stories attract my eye I do not know other than to say that there are seemingly insurmountable problems in assimilating many Muslims in western societies. This may not be what the PC crowd wants to hear but they have created a conundrum for themselves when two sacred cows run headlong into each other, namely multiculturalism and feminism.
What more can we conservative Republicans ask for than Howard Dean as head of the DNC. His latest was to call Republicans "brain dead." One day I will understand why even grown-up liberals cannot avoid using ad hominem attacks and personal insults in place of reason. Are they playing to their audience... which is bad enough. Or, are they themselves that bereft of logic and sense...probably worse...for them.
This kind of stuff just makes me plain sick. They have arrested the killer (sorry..."alleged" killer) of that poor little girl nine year old girl in Florida; a convicted sex offender out on parole. Hopefully to the astonishment of no one, it has been determined that the child had been sexually abused before death. The first set of idiots in this sad saga are those who believe for even a nanosecond that a sex offender/child molester/rapist is in any sense no longer a danger after serving his (or her) time. Let's be frank. Any adult male who desires violent sex with a child suffers from very severe psychological problems, and anyone who thinks that he is any less likely to have the same desires after spending some time in prison is nuts. Face it, a sex offender like this scum didn't just make "a mistake". He wasn't 17 years old, drunk and decided to take on the bouncer at the pool hall. He is mentally ill and, unless and until those sick desires are eliminated from him, why would anyone think he would not again be driven to the same acts. The other idiot is the Rev. William LaVerle Coats who spoke to the grieving family and friends and asked that they "forgive" the monster that abused and then killed this innocent little girl. What in God's name is wrong with him and the many like him? It is not for him or anyone else to forgive, or not forgive. It is for the parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, not some two-bit preacher. Why not ask me to forgive him for chrissakes! It make as much moral sense.
We were having problems with our Bloglet service which allows you to subscribe to RTH! and get automatic email notification of updates, a brief description and a direct link. It is supposedly now up and running properly again. We shall see.
Could we please bring back the Macho in men? I have a"woman pet peave"...maybe I am alone maybe I am not...but here goes... Now I know how the men felt years ago when women started getting admitted into their "clubs" and women sportcasters were allowed into the locker rooms with the men in towels. Well women are getting a taste of the frustration men must have felt when this started happening. What I am talking about is women and the new Metrosexuals meeting at all the same places where us women never had to worry about finding a man. I hope this doesn't mean unisex bathrooms are next? Please no!?! I am having regularly occurring experiences with this issue. I live in West Hollywood, once a middle-middle class Jewish neighborhood is now an upper-middle class gay neighborhood. I absolutely love it here. Anyway, one of my neighborhood rituals, aside from walking the dogs, and going to the neighborhood flea market, is to frequent the neighoborhood nail salon walking distance from my house. I go once a month usually, and I do the usual roll out of bed...find the t-shirt and sweats that have one less hole than the ones I just slept in...put them on...and walk to the salon with my favorite magazine in toe and a cup of coffee from the Pete's coffee next door to the salon. I love this part. I then sit with a bunch of women and think nothing of how I look...what I say or what I do... Well I used to go there and run into the occasional gay male getting the same manicure and pedicure as me, and sometimes even choosing the same color nail polish as HE did. I never thought much of it...one or two guys in the salon no biggee...Well in the past year with this whole new marketing to hetersexual men to be metrosexual men [men without the macho] a new phenomenon is going on...men-- not gay men...straight men are flocking to this place [my place] and using it as a place to meet women, converse, etc...UGH...I do not like conversing there I want to veg and look terrible and try not to talk...now I go and feel very uncomfortable. Because of this I am now interested in seeing how far we can go to make segregation laws for nail salons legal...having those men in there with me like this is just not natural... My suggestion is for every one law made to keep men out of the woman's areas I will agree to one law keeping the women out of one of the men's places. I now know why the men don't want us in certan places...it just isn't right. I hope this metreosexual thing is a passing phase but somehow I doubt it..the marketing ploy seems to be working...just a few weeks ago I saw Bernie Mac on "Oprah" proudly stating he loved manicures and was always a closet metrosexual. If Bernie Mac is one, I guess the idea isn't going anywhere. Now I pick out nail colors with a guy, and last month this same guy suggested a better color for me and then asked to buy me coffee after...then just yesterday he asked me what color might look good BUT not a color he thinks might look good on me...but a color that would look on good on HIS OWN TOES!!! I am so confused by all of this? What is this world coming too...forget the war in Iraq...I want the men out of my nail salon first, not the Middle East. The gays ones can stay...the metrosexuals have got to go. Please bring back the "Macho" man. Besides, I thought men just liked to rip their toenails off anyway not have them filed and painted....good grief...
As I paged through the morning paper, I came across two seemingly disparate pieces. One about a local protest against the "Minuteman Project" and the other a commentary by Nicholas Kristoff of the NY Times. For those of you unaware, the Minuteman Project is a civilian effort to search for "undocumented immigrants" as they cross the border into Arizona and notify the Border Patrol. Now say what you will about this effort, and I don't find it particularly odious but instead just another attempt to draw attention to a legitimate problem, but just listen to the mad sputterings of its opponents. This poor guy is being labeled a "racist" and a member of the KKK, as if anyone who believes we should do a better job of securing our borders must have some nefarious, unspoken agenda. The point here is that the only responses are these emotional diatribes, with absolutely no effort to address the facts or the problem. Which of course is a clear indication of lack of the ability to respond substantively. Kristoff writes of the environmentalism movement and, without using the term, points to the "sky is falling" rhetoric which, in hindsight, has often been determined totally unfounded. Remember when the Alaskan oil pipeline was going to decimate the caribou. In fact the population quintupled. Remember when , back in the mid-70s the fear was the supposedly substantiated trend of global cooling, not global warming? When not flat out wrong, they were wildly off with their predictions. Remember Ehrlich's "The Population Bomb" and its prediction of mass starvation, or the health fears over the use of DDT which has now resulted in a spiking upward of malaria deaths in the Third World? The point is that these gloom and doom scenarios from the past which did not materialize should not be forgotten when the same folks are making their current predictions. That's not to say we should ignore any talk of environmental concern, but it should be placed in perspective. The same people that want us to lessen our dependence on foreign oil don't want us to drill in ANWR, or off the coasts of California, Texas or Florida. The argument, of course, is fear of environmental degradation. In light of the track record, why should we accept their predictions without some degree of skepticism?
The moral and intellectual vacuity of the left is so clearly evident in stories such as this. West Hollywood sought to ban the de-clawing of cats by labeling the procedure a "crime." The municipal ordinance was deemed unconstitutional by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The proponents of the ban sought to protect our feline friends from what they perceived as a cruel and barbaric procedure. Of course, if the ban were enforced it would lead to many more instances of the "cruel and barbaric" practice of euthanizing unwanted pets. Think about it. Many cat owners keep their pets indoors but don't want to deal with the usual destruction of furniture caused by a cat's natural desire to scratch and pull to exercise its claws. Hence the invention of scratching posts. If they can't declaw Morris, they can't keep him inside. If they can't keep him inside...they won't take him. This law would most likely result in a greater number of unwanted cats in West Hollywood and be a perfect anecdotal example of the law of unintended consequences. More important to me however is the complete lack of a functioning moral compass of the people behind this attempted ban. I will bet a paycheck that the majority of them have absolutely no problem supporting abortion rights, including late-term and partial birth abortions while at the same time anguishing over the cruelty and barbarism of declawing cats or ear-cropping dogs.
I haven't posted on this issue primarily because I had not followed it closely enough until recently. But now that her feeding tube has been removed (not the first time) unless there is some intervention she will starve to death in approximately two weeks. Here is a good recap of the history of this case and an opinion piece by a bioethicist in favor of the action just taken. I am truly torn over this issue for a number of reasons. First, I am a proponent of "living wills" which allow us to make our desires known in the event we can no longer speak for ourselves. If Terry Schiavo had prepared a living will indicating that no "heroic measures" be taken to keep her alive we might still be in this position since I'm uncertain whether the denial of food and water is considered the same as, for example, unplugging a respirator. However, a well crafted living will could have taken care of those ambiguities. The problem here is that there is a dispute over what Terry's desires were. She can breathe on her own but apparently the hope for any cognitive function is lost (despite what the parents may believe). The sad thing is, those closest to you are in some ways in the worst position to make such a monumental decision inasmuch as I'm sure the parents don't want to believe that all hope is lost. It could also be that keeping her alive provides them with some sort of psychological balm. But that's all speculation on my part. The husband has the legal right to make that decision and trump the parents' wishes so the issue becomes is there any reason to deny him that right? The husband has apparently "moved on" with his life in large degree, having a girlfriend and children by her, and perhaps that raises questions of his motives. But again, those issues have been reviewed by various courts which have nevertheless concluded in his favor so who are we to second-guess other than within our own hearts and minds. But this is my quandary. Terry Schiavo's life is being taken by action of the state, and it is being done in what is a slow and very well unpleasant process...i.e. starvation and dehydration. We would not execute a murderer that way. The cries of "cruel and unusual punishment" would be deafening. If this is what we as a society want to countenance, than why not just put a pillow over her face and smother her? That would be much quicker and in many ways more humane. Why not lethal injection so she suffers very little or, most likely, not at all? That's my issue. It has to do with our humanity which is in many ways defined by how we treat and deal with those of us who are unable to speak and decide for themselves. Those of us who are weaker and have no voice of their own. It seems no one wants to take technical responsibility for "killing" Terry Schiavo so a fiction is created. Namely, we aren't killing her, we're just removing life support. She will die, but she wasn't killed. If we were comfortable with this decision we would simply inject her and put her out of the misery many believe she is in. But we are not.
Clint Eastwood was interviewed by Chris Matthews and made the following comment: MATTHEWS: People accept your sort of libertarianism, don't they? EASTWOOD: I think so, I've just never been on the left side. Most self-made people aren't. But then sometimes people are— you get people who are idealistic, everybody's idealistic when you're a kid. In other words, mature-thinking people with full doses of realism in their systems are not liberal. Makes sense inasmuch most of Hollywood is populated by immature persons living fantasy lives.
Iraqi terrorists are targeting barbers and hair stylists. Clearly, the "radicals" are dead set against westernization and modernity whether its coming from the Great Satan or elsewhere. This conflict is in fact the west versus Islam, which includes (by the terrorists' own choice) Christianity and Judaism versus Islam. It is not America versus Islam other than to the extent that the U.S. represents all that is Western.
As I posted about some time ago (and have not yet updated as promised), the world-wide ignorance over the history of the Crusades is startling. Egypt's highest religious authority is demanding an apology from the Pope for the christian crusades against Muslims over 700 years ago. As I wrote: The first point that is seldom mentioned, perhaps out of ignorance or perhaps out of political correctness, is that the Crusades were defensive wars in large measure the response to Muslim aggression. At the time of Mohammed, Christianity was the faith of the Roman Empire and, as such, extended throughout the Mediterranean which included the Middle East. Indeed, the Middle East was the birth place of Christianity. After Mohammed's death his followers advanced by military might into Palestine, Syria and Egypt, all of which at the time were heavily Christian. By the next century, Muslim armies had conquered most of North Africa and Spain...again, heavily Christian areas. By the 11th century what is now modern Turkey, which had been Christian since Biblical times, fell to the Muslim armies as did most of the Byzantine empire. Who should be apologizing to whom?
I had been following this story for some time and am not particularly surprised that Dell caved in (my words) and granted "religious accommodation." Here's the deal. I suspect the issue Dell was faced with was allowing time for the five-times-daily (?) prayer ritual. There is no legal basis for granting "accommodation" to someone's religious beliefs. You can, however, as an employer, discriminate against someone because of their religion. That requires that you treat them differently because they are, say, Muslim or Jewish. Dell was treating its Muslim employees quite the same as its other employees...that is, until now. Just wait for the industrious lawyer to claim that Dell is now discriminating against it non-Muslim (or atheist) employees by not allowing them time to...fill in the blank. I just advised a client on something like this where an employee was taking more than the allowed for breaks in order to call like-minded friends and pray together over the phone. As an employer in a secular industry, you are not obligated to accommodate every employee's specific religious practice so I advised that this devout front desk worker cannot be allowed special privileges in order to engage in religious practices. And that's exactly what Dell is now apparently doing...giving special privileges to its Muslim employees.
I'm not sure how to preface this story other than to reference its headline, which is noted above.
I'm still on the lecture circuit but trying my best to "aggregate" for you some interesting reading... Michelle Malkin discusses the always-off timing of of the anti-war left... Are you ready for a tax on toilet paper? or is it a crappy idea? (couldn't resist)... There are actually a few liberals who are willing to admit that maybe...just maybe, President Bush was right...
Now that the brackets have been set, the following thoughts come to mind (Hat tip: Mallard Fillmore): Aren't these poor young men now going to be subjected to very stressful competition after which all but one of the 60-plus teams and their respective players will be stigmatized as "losers"? Moreover, throughout the course of the tournament won't you find referees continually making very hurtful value judgments? How can the contemporary education establishment allow this to go on?
Now this is too funny. It appears that Rosie O'Donnell has her own blog called, oddly enough, "formerlyRosie". Check out the URL: "onceadored" !!??!! Here are a few of the deeply reflective philosophical gems one can find scattered about: we live in dangerous times when our childrens childrens will ask us "what was it like then - when democracy almost died" and i will tell them of the heros who were smart and brave enough how they worked together how they saved our country from itself ******* fragments if i write for you i start to think edit distort destroy it comes in pieces like lyrics a secret code since leaving been painting loud crazy insane this is freedom pick your poisin free of pain ok so now sunny in miami i grab kanye west a few kids and boat float How sad...how very sad. UPDATE: had to add her to the Triptych.
Great column by Dennis Prager about Judeo-Christian values... Interesting polling data re Social Security in this piece by Byron York: 56% would support "a plan in which people who chose to could invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market"...this number climbs to over 60% with folks under 50 years of age... Here are a few quotes from Democratic lawmakers solidly against filibustering to prevent an up or down vote on judicial nominees...of course, that was then and this is now.
I'm not into blog-cheesecake but this photo of Lebanese protestors operates on many levels. First, the words on the placard were uttered by William Wallace in one of my favorite movies. Second, it's good to see women in the middle east not shrouded in black from head to toe. Third, this scene must be driving the mullahs, jihadists and Islamists absolutely bonkers for the first two reasons. [Hat tip: LGF]
I'm off on the lecture circuit today and tomorrow explaining to organizational supervisors how to investigate and deal with claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, but did find time to come across this interesting tidbit: three U.S. Navy carrier groups are converging in the Mediterranean...not all that far from Syria and Iran. Must be an already scheduled exercise...no?
A San Francisco Superior Court judge (from now on, our code word for "surprise, surprise" will be "Pyle" for the Gomer who brought notoriety to that phrase) struck down California's ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional. There are reasoned arguments on both sides of this issue, but for a judge to find that there is "no rational purpose" to deny gay marriage is intellectually dishonest at best. Just as there are rationale reasons to support gay marriage, there are equally rational and compelling reasons to oppose it (which I consider to be the more convincing). The slap in the face of the electorate of California is clear when one considers the 1977 state law and successful 2000 ballot measure that both defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The argument that laws banning gay marriage are the equivalent to the anti-miscegenation laws of the past (i.e. no inter-racial marriage) is specious. There have always been distinctions drawn between prohibitions based upon immutable physical characteristics versus behavior. More importantly, there are no legitimate societal interests in prohibiting inter-racial, heterosexual marriage while there are with respect to homosexual marriage. [What are they you may ask? More about that later, so be patient].
The UAW told Marine Corps reservists that they were no longer welcome to park their cars in its lot if they displayed a pro-George Bush bumper sticker (or drove foreign mark vehicles...I say "mark" since many, if not most, Beemers, etc sold in the U.S. are actually manufactured and/or assembled here). A day later the UAW reversed its decision.
This story just got me thinking. The NJ Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals prevailed upon Kraft to pull its "Road Kill" gummi candies from the shelves because it sends the wrong message to kids that its OK to harm animals. I'd be very curious to know what percentage of those Society members behind this effort are pro-life?
Iran is targeting bloggers for arrest and incarceration. Some poor guy was sentenced to 14 years for doing what we do every day and in every way. My rule of thumb for evaluating political systems is pretty simple. If the government doesn't allow its citizens to freely use the internet, own fax machines or satellite dishes, or publish their own newspaper under pain of torture, imprisonment or death, I don't care a whit how good its health care system supposedly may be or how equitably income is distributed.
Here in microcosm is the problem with liberals. Human Rights Watch recognizes that the situation in Iran is "less than ideal" and that: Security forces harass, imprison and even torture human rights defenders and civil society activists. The authorities attack journalists and writers for expressing their opinions and regularly shut down newspapers. Political prisoners languish in jails. Superfluous judicial summonses are routinely used to intimidate critics, and arbitrary detentions are common. However, the most effective way to promote human rights in Iran (according to HRW) is in no circumstance through threats of military action but rather by providing "moral support" and to "insist" that Iran adhere to human rights laws and conventions. And if that is ineffective, perhaps a strongly worded letter followed by some well-chosen harsh language.
I haven't had the time lately to get the details on the shooting in the Atlanta courthouse, so I'm a bit behind the curve. I believe the perpetrator has been captured as of this writing and that's of course good. This situation raises a whole host of questions in my mind. As I read the details of the circumstances leading up to the shootings a number of things jump out. First, security had been increased in that courtroom because they had earlier found "sharp objects" in the bad guy's shoes. Since no one thought these objects were for picking his teeth during lunch, it seems logical to conclude that this guy was intending to do something violent if given the opportunity. This conclusion is further buttressed by the fact that he was being retried for rape, sodomy, burglary and false imprisonment...violent crimes with the prospect of lengthy prison terms. Second, this guy wasn't handcuffed in order to avoid the jury being "unfairly influenced." Third, despite no cuffs and the finding of the sharp objects the day or so before, he is escorted to the courtroom by only one female deputy who he overpowers while they are alone in the enclosed space of a corridor. Now, I don't know the relative sizes of the perpetrator and the deputy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the guy was considerably larger and more powerful than the female deputy. Knowing a little about prisoner transport to and from courtrooms and the staffing of the same, there was likely not very much of a struggle before the deputy was overpowered and her sidearm taken, otherwise there would have been time for backup to have arrived. Question: why was this obviously violent man intent on some sort of mayhem being escorted only by a most likely smaller and physically weaker female deputy? It was probably her duty assignment that day and, at least theoretically, one deputy is interchangeable with the next. However, in today's politically correct world, it was probably not possible without blowback to take the logical step and find the biggest male deputy around and have him walk this guy into the courtroom. Tell me where I'm wrong. I'm willing to listen.
Jada Pinkett Smith (lovely wife of MIB and Hitch star) gave a speech at Harvard and...surprise, surprise...offended someone. Seems that her talk about how today's woman can "have it all" was a bit to "heteronormative" for certain folks' tastes. [My fear level for my daughter attending college someday soon rises.] Ralph Reilend explains the "The Problem with France"... ...which dovetails nicely with Michael Barone's piece about the Dems running out of petrol. [Hint: the historical desire for liberal Democrats to see America become more like those socialist paradises in western Europe]
"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff." --Mariah Carey "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country," --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC. "The word 'genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." --Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback &sports analyst. "Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances." --Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina
Just to prove that we can poke fun at ourselves (i.e. we males), here's a "Blonde Guy" joke that came my way recently: An Irishman, a Mexican and a Blonde Guy were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building. They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, "Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for lunch, I'm going to jump off this building." The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, "Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I'm going to jump off too." The blonde opened his lunch and said, "Bologna again! If I get a bologna sandwich one more time, I'm jumping too." The next day, the Irishman opened his lunch box, saw corned beef and cabbage and jumped to his death. The Mexican opened his lunch, saw a burrito and jumped too. The blonde guy opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well. At the funeral, the Irishman's wife was weeping. She said, "If I'd known how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage I never would have given it to him again!" The Mexican's wife also wept and said, "I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn't realize he hated burritos so much." Everyone turned and stared at the blonde guy's wife..... The blonde guy's wife said, "Don't look at me. He makes his own lunch."
A burglar broke into a house one night. He shined his flashlight around, looking for valuables, and when he picked up a CD player to place in his sack, a strange, disembodied voice echoed from the dark saying, "Jesus is watching you." He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight out, and froze. When he heard nothing more after a bit, he shook his head, promised himself a vacation after the next big score, then clicked the light on and began searching for more valuables. Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard, "Jesus is watching you." Freaked out, he shone his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot. "Did you say that?" He hissed at the parrot. "Yep," the parrot confessed, then squawked, "I'm just trying to warn you. "The burglar relaxed. "Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?" "Moses", replied the bird. "Moses?" the burglar laughed. "What kind of people would name a bird Moses." "The kind of people that would name a Rottweiler "Jesus."
Recently, I have been involved in some good give-and-take with a few new visitors to RTH! including Jim at Pourquoi Pas?. By the way, that is one good looking blog. I got to thinking about what most of us bloggers who deal with current events, politics and related issues try to do when we sit down at the keyboard, and I decided to explain my perspective and goals if for no other reason than to unburden myself on a slow news day. My ultimate objective is not to change anyone's mind. If that happens, so much the better, but I'm not naive enough to think that I can accomplish that with any regularity. However, preaching to the choir twenty-four seven can become a bit stultifying as well. I'm also not pretentious enough (yet!) to believe I'm always right. So, where does that leave me? Well, my first objective is to obtain some degree of clarity with respect to opposing points of view. I want to understand why, for example, someone vehemently believes we should never have gone into Iraq, or why the tiny Latin cross must be removed from the seal of the County of Los Angeles. This way, by peeling the onion back to its essential core, I not only may get a handle on the motives and logic of those who believe quite differently than I do but...and this is the truth...I can reassess my position to either strengthen it, or back away if that's what the facts compel. Clarity requires perspective in many instances. Once I can understand the one or two "essential truths" that gird an opinion or belief (including my own), I can then endeavor to place it in a larger perspective. For example, why do those who object to the cross on the county seal, do not have a similar objection to the much larger depiction on that same seal of Pomona, the goddess of the harvest, who emblemizes a non-Christian religion? Or, to those who object to the war in Iraq, I wonder if there has been any war in which this country was involved that they whole-heartedly endorsed? Answers to those questions bring greater clarity by creating perspective. OK. I feel much better now.
What do you think would happen if Sears decided to remove all photos of African-Americans from its catalogs in order to avoid "offending" racists? Well, IKEA has eliminated photos of women assembling furniture from its catalogs in order to avoid offending Muslims. Great article about a DePaul prof who loses his job when he "dishonored" the "perspective" of certain Muslim students by challenging them and their assertions (which is what I thought college professors were supposed to do). Of course, there was no internal backlash to Ward Churchill's comments about the 'little Eichmanns" until the real world got wind of it. Speaking of the moral wasteland that is current academia, I've linked to a LGF post regarding a talk at Boise State by one of its most esteemed graduate student philosophers regarding when it is appropriate for terrorists to target children. Very sweet.
I marvel at the collective silence over stories such as this. IKEA refuses to place photos of women in its catalogs for fear of offending [read: losing business from] Muslims. Would the the same folks yawning over this become a bit more energized if, for example, Sears decided to eliminate all pictures of African-Americans from its catalogs for fear of offending racists?
I ususally don't go for bodily injury humor, but this one was too good to pass up: A stock broker, on his way home from work in New York City, came to a dead halt in traffic and thought to himself, "Wow, this seems worse than usual." He notices a police officer walking between the lines of stopped cars, so he rolls down his window and asks, "Officer, what's the hold up?" The officer replies, "Hillary Clinton is depressed, so she stopped her motorcade and is threatening to douse herself in gasoline and set herself on fire. She says her husband is running around on her more than ever and the Democrats told her to forget about running for president in 2008. So we're taking up a collection for her." The stockbroker asks, "How much have you got so far?" The officer replies "About 4 1/2 gallons, but a lot of folks are still siphoning."
Take a look at this Department of Defense assessment of what is going on in Iraq. Have you heard anything like this at all from the MSM? Of the roughly 300 attacks that took place on election day, “maybe 70 percent were ineffective,” Casey said. He added that the level of violence has also dropped significantly in the post-election period, with last week marking the lowest level of attacks since April 2004 Today there are more than 140,000 trained and equipped Iraqi troops and more than 90 operational combat battalions engaged across Iraq, both with coalition forces and, in some cases, independently. In June, there were just under 200 building projects under way. They were valued at about $1 billion in total. Today, he said, there are more than 2,000 projects under way, valued at about $5 billion.
I have said before that the looming problem for abortion/women's rights activists is one of unintended consequences. If abortion is at all justified on the basis that the fetus is not yet tantamount to a "human" and, consequently, abortion is not the taking of a human life, then one could not it seems support laws such as the one in play during the Scott Peterson trial that charged him with murdering not only his wife but their unborn...what? "Child"? "Fetus"? The observation I have repeatedly made is that the answer to this moral question seems to be governed to some extent by the whim of the mother. If she wants an abortion, then we are dealing with a "fetus" and not a human being. If she decides to carry her "baby" to term, and some monster takes her life as well as that of the fetus, then we will treat that unborn child as a person. [Note: there is a way to deal with the legal (not the moral) questions surrounding abortion and avoid what is being discussed in this post, but the abortion rights advocates don't have the guts to confront it. Namely, admit that, yes, abortion is the taking of a human life but that we, as a society will consider it justified under the circumstances. There is obvious precedent for that with self-defense and euthanasia where there is no question that a life is being ended but we nevertheless don't consider it "murder."] Well, hold on to your hats because this is some funny stuff here. Seems as though a young, pregnant idiot decided she didn't want to have the twins she was carrying so she enlisted the aid of her moronic boyfriend to step on her abdomen in order to terminate her pregnancy. Which they accomplished successfully. Here's the rub. The authorities are charging the guy with double murder but are not charging the girl with anything because she "had a legal right to end pregnancies." Please read the entire story because it raises a whole bushel basket full of legal and moral quandaries.
I had sometime ago posted about the City of Redlands decision to knuckle under to pressure from the ACLU and remove a Latin cross which had been on the seal of that city for over 40 years. Well, the good news is that the locals there were able to get an initiative on the November 2005 ballot to have the original seal restored. The initiative will undoubtedly pass. Then expect the ACLU to challenge that initiative in court arguing that it violates the Establishment Clause. Stay tuned. Unfortunately, the proponents of a similar measure for LA County failed in their efforts to get the requisite number of signatures to place their initiative on the November ballot. As I have said before, the silver lining is that we must be in pretty good shape if these are the fights that the ACLU is picking these days. The flip side is that if we allow these efforts to obliterate our Judeo-Christian heritage from the public discourse and consciousness, the America we will hand over to our grandchildren will be a vastly different, and worse, place.
This is truly offensive to me, and I'm not an overtly religious man. Bill Maher, one of the great thinkers of our time, has pronounced that we are an "unenlightened" nation (compared to Europe and Canada) because of our relative religiosity. How on earth did people like Bill Maher, Al Franken, the truly ignorant Janine Garofolo and Jon Stewart come to be considered as fonts of knowledge and respectable opinion? They are comics, and occasionally get off a decent political joke. However, why any news organization would waste time and money to interview one of these uneducated poseurs to solicit their puddle-deep opinions on anything of import is beyond me. And to be fair, the same could be said for Dennis Miller if he was prone to pontificating. Bill Maher discussing world religion is as enlightening on that topic as me discussing the nuances of breeding Arabian stallions. [Note: I've never even ridden a horse.] Question: Do people truly rely on, and listen to, people like him to help form their opinions?
OK, music fans, here's a quick music trivia quiz to test your supposed knowledge of the biz. Scroll down for answers and try not to cheat. If anyone gets them all correct, they will be eligible for the RTH! grand prize drawing!! 1. In what 1990 movie did ZZ Top appear? 2. Which act was sued by Rosa Parks? 3. What California city hosted the state's largest rock festival in the 1970s? 4. Who is the biggest selling artist of THIS century? 5. In Elton John's "Rocket Man," what time is "zero hour"? 6. Who co-wrote Patti Smith's "Because the Night"? 7. Who is the only artist to win Album of the Year for three consecutive albums? 8. Before they were the Eurythmics, what did Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox call themselves? 9. Who is the only performer to refuse the Grammy award? 10. Which of the following did NOT appear at Woodstock? Mountain, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Melanie, Iron Butterfly or Blood, Sweat and Tears? ///// ///// ///// ///// ///// ///// ///// ///// ///// ///// 1. "Back to the Future III" 2. OutKast 3. Ontario (California Jam in 1974) 4. Eminem (sales of more than 20 million) 5. 9:00 a.m. 6. Bruce Springsteen 7. Stevie Wonder ("Innervisions", "Fullfillingness' First Finale", "Songs in the Key of Life") 8. The Tourists 9. Sinead O'Connor (1990) 10. Iron Butterfly
If you're a glass half-empty kinda guy or gal, or if you're looking for something that can't possibly be blamed on BushHitler, here's some news that may brighten up your morning. Asteroid 2002 NT7 is headed on a collision course with Earth.
Go to your local Hallmark store, or anywhere else you can purchase St. Patrick's Day cards. It has been reported to me that many of the emerald green displays are entitled "Happy Shamrock Day"!!! If this is true, it is the sort of self-censorship that is engendered by our PC-gone-mad culture, and which will only serve to undermine and eventually obliterate all of our traditions.
Here's an interesting juxtaposition of education related stories. At one of my local school districts, the ACLU has threatened to institute legal action if the administration does not reinstate the 18 year old editor of the high school newspaper. She had apparently obtained and published information from fellow students about "sexuality" and published that information in the school paper without obtaining parental permission. The school district said this conduct violated a particular rule or regulation. [Note: I believe, but am not certain, that the "rule" is part of the California Education Code that prohibits disclosure of personal information of minor students without prior parental approval]. Hat tip: OC Register At the same time, it appears that Dems in the California state legislature are looking to soften the requirements of the high school "exit exam." The concerns are the usual PC crap (pardon my language, I'm a bit grumpy this morning): Lawmakers have introduced several bills to either water down the requirement or repeal it altogether. The general thrust of their argument is that it's just not fair to hold students accountable, to make their diploma mean something more than just a certificate proving that they attended school for 12 years. Especially if the schools they attended were not perfect, or were not funded as well as some would like. ...and, of course, the attack of the dreaded STIGMA: The exam's opponents fear the stigma that will be attached to any student who, failing the test, leaves school without a diploma. As Daniel Weintraub points out, perhaps they ought to worry about the fact that these kids are graduating without basic educational skills.
Don't have much time to post this weekend with State Cup Soccer tournaments filling the schedule [Aside: my daughter's team is ranked 84th out of about 350 teams in the state], but take a moment to read former Prez Clinton's remarks about the "beacon" that is Iran.
John Cleese's "Reg" makes a great point...and my point from yesterday... President Bush "may have had it right"... Charles Krauthammer agrees... Hugh Hewitt has been leading the charge against the LA Times and its front page puff piece extolling the virtues and "ordinariness" of North Korea under its nutbag dictator. If you're not familiar with this story, read the Times article and Hewitt's commentary. He's absolutely correct. The LA Times is now in the propaganda business... Sharia law at its most misogynist best... Mona Charen points out what has been discussed here before, namely, if the Democrats begin to lose their monopoly on the African-American vote, they may never win another national election.
Read this post at The Discerning Texan which reveals, in a conversation between Jon Stewart and a guest, the utter moral bankruptcy and lack of intellectual courage of the left. It is truly remarkable.
I'm not prepared to comment on this yet, but I have always said that I believe we should give priority, all else equal, to heterosexual couples when it comes to adoption. My perspective has always been that a child needs both male and female role modeling on a consistent basis, whether the couple is married or not. I had no inkling of any study such as this suggesting that 34% of molestations of foster children is same sex...i.e. homosexual. The study has been peer-reviewed so should be scientifically and statistically sound. What do we make of it?
The Voice of Palestine, the official radio station of the Palestinian Authority, has set the record straight regarding the most recent suicide bombing. The nightclub that was bombed was actually a "high-level Israeli military target." Glad that has been straightened out.
Star Parker makes a number of great observations in her most recent column. I don't understand why the concept of privatization of a portion of social security is considered a political wedge issue. As I posted yesterday, historically this has not been a Democrat/Republican or conservative/liberal issue. It either is a good idea from a fiscal standpoint or it isn't. Why privatization would be "bad" for, as an example, African-Americans as a group but good for Asian-Americans is beyond my ability to understand. However, I am not wedded to the idea of privatization if someone can explain why it won't work and offer a better alternative, since something will inevitably need to be done.
Afghanistan has had elections. In Iraq, over 8 million people literally risked their lives to go to the polling places. Hosni Mubarak has stated there will be free elections in Egypt. The Syrians are poised to leave Lebanon (once the most democratic and cosmopolitan of Middle Eastern countries). There are local elections in Saudi Arabia and, of course, the mullahs in Iran are continually having to beat back the student-driven movement to secularize and democratize that country. And these are only the most direct examples. Don't forget the Ukraine and the Palestinian elections. Coincidence? Not likely. Even those who were opposed to the war in Iraq recognize that the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the subsequent elections have created a critical mass that is having its intended (but now, of course minimized) results: Even Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader whose fiefdom was once pounded by a US Navy battleship, has conceded that his criticism of US policy was misplaced. “It is strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq,” the man leading Lebanon’s uprising against Syria said. “I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world,” he told The Washington Post. The anticipation was that the freeing of the Iraqis would be a catalyst for reform. No one said that there were not other forces at work, but simply that successful elections in Iraq could jump start processes of democratization elsewhere in the middle east. That is what is happening before our eyes and, although there is a long road ahead before success can be declared, there is no other intellectually honest way of viewing these events other than as a vindication of the vision of this Administration.
1935: FDR sends proposal for retirement security for Americans. He includes in his proposal mandatory accounts and "voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received..." 1939: Arthur Altmeyer, who helped design and run the early social security program, suggested investing the system's reserve in the private sector. 1981: Chile replaces its pay-as-you-go system with private accounts into which workers contribute 10% of their wages. Three Texas counties opt out of Social Security system and have payroll taxes go into private accounts [Note: the reason we don't hear much a bout these situations is probably because they are successful] 1983: Alan Greenspan recommends (and has adopted) increased payroll taxes and raised retirement age to keep the system solvent. 1998: President Clinton suggests setting up individual accounts as part of plan to "save" Social Security. [Hat tip: OC Register]
As you may have heard by now, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, held that the execution of those under the age of 18 is unconstitutional. I have not had the time to read the entire decision, but this opinion ought to be troubling to you for a number of reasons. Let me preface my comments by advising that I have come almost full-circle on the death penalty debate. Not too long ago I was very stridently pro-death penalty. I was thereafter rather agnostic on the issue. I am now almost as stridently against it as I was supportive of it years ago. The reason for my turnaround has nothing to do with issues of morality, inasmuch as I do not find anything immoral in taking the life of someone who has intentionally done the same to innocents. My qualms lie with the concern that an innocent person may be put to death, and I have come to believe over the years that it is not an impossible occurrence. I am not able to adopt the notion that it is appropriate for us as a society to accept the statistical fact that, for example, for every innocent person unjustly executed, 100 (or 1000, for that matter) of the truly guilty properly have their lives taken by the state in retribution for their crimes. Whatever the ratio, it is too high for a truly civilized society to countenance. Having said that, if there were some way to eliminate any real statistical probability that an innocent person would walk the green mile, I'd be all for firing up "Old Sparky" as frequently as necessary. So I believe I am clear on this point. The problem with the Supreme Court's decision is that it is based solely upon the personal "morality" of the five justices who formed the majority. It is not based upon anything to be found within our Constitution and is therefore tantamount to legislating from the bench. I don't necessarily disagree with the personal morality of these five Justices (with the majority opinion having been written by Anthony Kennedy, a former professor of mine), but it is not the role of the Supreme Court to substitute its morality for those of the citizens of this country. Its role is to interpret the Constitution and apply it to the issue brought before the Court. And that is where the problem lies. As is being reported repeatedly, the decision is hailed as a blow against the death penalty (perhaps), but also as a decision that the execution of "children" is cruel and unusual punishment. Well, if that is so, and putting aside arguments regarding arbitrariness of 18 years of age as the bright line (think Malvo and Klebold), cannot a persuasive case be made that sentencing a 17 year old to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is also somewhat "cruel and unusual"?
Look for a point/counterpoint online debate coming soon between yours truly and "Don" Georgina on the subject of affirmative action. I will be taking the side of "discrimination is discrimination" while the Don will be advocating on behalf of the social good that supposedly has resulted. It will not deteriorate into a "Jane, you ignorant slut" exchange (for those of you who don't get the reference, ask your parents or look for reruns of "Saturday Night Live" on TVLand) but it should be interesting.
Mrs RTH! forwarded to me a compilation of precious quotes from children when posed the question: "What does love mean?" Out of the mouths of babes... "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."Rebecca- age 8 "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."Billy - age 4 "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."Karl - age 5 "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."Chrissy - age 6 "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."Terri - age 4"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7 "Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss"Emily - age 8 "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." Bobby - age 7 (my favorite) "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,"Nikka - age 6 Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." Noelle - age 7 "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."Tommy - age 6 "During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."Cindy - age 8 "My mommy loves me more than anybody .You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."Clare - age 6 "Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."Elaine-age 5 "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."Chris - age 7 "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."Mary Ann - age 4 "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 4 "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." Karen - age 7 "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."Mark - age 6 "You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age 8
Can anyone tell me how to link to a PowerPoint slide show? I've got some great pix from my Marine buddy that I'd like to share, but this is over my paygrade right now.
Thanks to Kender, I have been introduced to what appears to be a fascinatingly shallow group of thinkers at a (French?) blog called Pourquoi pas? (French for "why not?"). I don't mean to be rude, but it's necessary to have more than a passing understanding of anything before you can debate its finer points. It's the typical liberal rant that passes in that group for intelligent debate: I feel, therefore I am. There are some interesting threads there...go give them an education on how to think clearly if you please.