VDH writes another truly prescient piece about America's position in the world and the increasing irrelevance of the UN and the EU: In short, who exactly does not like the United States and why? First, almost all the 20 or so illiberal Arab governments that used to count on American realpolitik's giving them a pass on accounting for their crimes. They fear not the realist Europeans, nor the resource-mad Chinese, nor the old brutal Russians, but the Americans, who alone are prodding them to open their economies and democratize their corrupt political cultures. We must learn to expect, not lament, their hostility, and begin to worry that things would be indeed wrong if such unelected dictators praised the United States. The United Nations has sadly become a creepy organization. Its General Assembly is full of cutthroat regimes. The Human Rights Commission has had members like Vietnam and Sudan, regimes that at recess must fight over bragging rights to which of the two killed more of their own people. The U.N. has a singular propensity to find flawed men to be secretary-general — a Kurt Waldheim, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, or Kofi Annan. Blue-helmeted peace-keepers, we learn, are as likely to commit as prevent crimes; and the only thing constant about such troops is that they will never go first into harm's way in Serbia, Kosovo, the Congo, or Dafur to stop genocide. Even worse, the U.N. has proved to be a terrible bully, an unforgivable sin for a self-proclaimed protector of the weak and innocent — loud false charges against Israel for its presence in the West Bank, not a peep about China in Tibet; tough talk about Palestinian rights, far less about offending Arabs over Darfur. So U.N. anti-Americanism is a glowing radiation badge, proof of exposure to toxicity. The EU is well past being merely silly, as its vast complex of bureaucrats tries to control what 400 million speak, eat, and think. Its biggest concerns are three: figuring out how its nations are to keep paying billions of euros to retirees, unemployed, and assorted other entitlement recipients; how to continue to ankle-bite the United States without antagonizing it to the degree that these utopians might have to pay for their own security; and how not to depopulate itself out of existence. Europeans sold Saddam terrible arms for oil well after the first Gulf War. Democratic Israel or Taiwan means nothing to them; indeed, democracy is increasingly becoming the barometer by which to judge European hostility. Cuba, China, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah — not all that bad; the United States, Taiwan, and Israel, not all that good. Personally, I'd rather live in a country that goes into an anguished national debate over pulling the plug on a lone woman than one that blissfully vacations on the beach oblivious to 15,000 elderly cooked to well done back in Paris. Mexico, enjoying one of the richest landscapes in the world, can't feed its own people, so it exports its poorest to the United States. Its own borders with Central America are as brutal to cross as our own are porous. Illegal aliens send back almost $50 billion, which has the effect of propping up corrupt institutions that as a result will never change. Given its treatment of its own people, if the Mexican government praised the United States we should indeed be concerned. Take a moment to read it all.
In the topsy-turvy world that is traditional Islam, one should expect these black is white, night is day pronouncements: The Iranian supreme leader has announced that "human rights" are a weapon used against Islam.
With his support of the "Minuteman" project on the Mexican border, and his refusal to back down despite the kneejerk cries of racism and insensitivity, Arnold has hit one out of the park in my book. His ongoing positive commentary on the project, and clearly drawn distinction between legal and illegal immigration, brings into the light the intellectual bankruptcy of the immigration activists, but more importantly ratchets up the rhetorical pressure to do something about our porous borders.
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Laura Ingraham has announced she is fighting breast cancer and recently underwent surgery. Best wishes and prayers for her speedy recovery. Not surprising is the venom and bile being spewed by the left wing-nuts about her struggle. Go to Michelle Malkin's site and scroll down to her 4/27 entries to find her post and links on this. She relates such compassionate and sensitive comments as: She probably gave it to herself... I don't pray for Nazis or other Totalitarian Scum I hope she goes into remission and fucking chokes to death Nice.
So let me get this straight. According to Diane Feinstein, it is better to allow an enemy keep its biological and nuclear WMD to annihilate our citizens and soldiers at a later date than to risk killing their citizens with the use of a "bunker buster" weapon. I'm dead sure this is the conventional Dem-liberal wisdom.
The most troubling aspect to this story for me is the fact that a volunteer to the U.S. military so easily places his "allegiance" to fellow practitioners of his religion, although total strangers to him, over the lives of his "band of brothers." This is a very disturbing and common thread among devout Muslims.
Allow me to make a brief point about the debate over filibustering judicial nominees in light of Al Gore's recent demagoguery on the subject. The statistic that some large percentage of President Bush's judicial nominees have been confirmed is invariably trotted out to counter the argument that the Democrats are obstructionist with respect to allowing an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor (a vote they would certainly lose). Well, the argument is over the unprecedented use of the filibuster to, in essence, require a 60 vote super-majority to approve Federal Circuit Court of Appeals nominees. The large percentage of judicial nominees that sailed through the process was for lower, federal trial courts. The extraordinarily important distinction that the MSM does not point out, and the GOP has utterly failed to educate the public upon, is that the judges on the various circuit courts of appeal (e.g. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal...the infamous court that upheld the Constitutional challenge to the Pledge of Allegiance) are the one that make law for the rest of us when an issue is appealed and an opinion is subsequently issued from that court. The next step above a circuit court of appeal is the U.S. Supreme Court, so if the Supremes don't decide to review a decision by a circuit court of appeal judge, that decision becomes the law in the circuit and can be used as persuasive authority elsewhere. Also, most Supreme Court nominees come from the circuit courts of appeal. The filibuster was never used to block circuit court nominees from an up or down vote. The fact that there has been little or no opposition to lower court nominations is not an apples to apples comparison. It is the equivalent of not opposing a state municipal or superior court nominee who simply presides over a civil or criminal trial, but opposing the state appellate court nominees who do all the reviewing of the lower court decisions and then issue written opinions that have the force of law and precedent. Two completely different exercises.
It's good to know that we won't be subjecting some of the most hardened, sociopathic killers the modern world has ever seen to "dietary restrictions" or "sleep deprivation" or, God-forbid, the brutal and inhumane practice of "slapping." So I suppose the terrorists and enemy combatants we hold in custody can't be placed on the Atkins Diet, or kept to the sleep schedule of any new parent, for fear of violating their rights under the Geneva Conventions.
We are too dependent on foreign sources of crude oil...gasoline prices are too high...come winter on the East coast and we'll here about the devastating effects of the increased price for heating oil...the complaints go on and on. I agree however with many of these observations and applaud President Bush for offering suggestions and proposing legislation. What I don't understand is the fact that many of the same complainers are also dead-set against drilling for oil in the ANWR, building more refineries (none have been commissioned since, I believe, around 1973) or nuclear power plants. So how, pray tell, do we as a nation bring down the cost of crude oil products if we can't increase our domestic production and refinery capacity, or increase our ability to generate power through alternative means? In fact, I heard a radio talk show host yesterday rail against drilling in the ANWR on the basis that any oil obtained from there would be sold at "market prices" anyway thereby not reducing the cost at the pump. What stunning ignorance of basic economics. The total supply and availability of a product in large part dictates its price. The more oil on the market compared to demand, the greater downward force on the price. The harder it is to get your hands on a product in demand, the more you'll need to pay to get it. Just another example of thinly disguised agenda politics.
There are very few 27 year olds who have had enough of a background, education or life experience on almost anything of moment that one would care to hear what they have to say, much less give a rat's pituii what that opinion might be. Now combine that with a background of Hollywood privilege, with your first acting gig at 15 years of age, and that leads me to reasonably conclude that you, young starlet in waiting, probably know less about global geopolitics and history (including our own) than I do about Method acting. The difference is I know what I don't know, and if someone stuck a microphone in my face and asked me my opinion, I'd politely demure and change the subject. Why do I bring this up? Well, another Hollywood-type couldn't resist offering an uninformed, shallow-as-a-tea saucer evaluation of this country's role in the world and blame us for causing 9-11.
The ONLY reason I'm linking to this story is because of my inquiring mind and search for the quirky special interest story. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact of my Italian heritage.
Here's an example of what college does to the mush that is an 18-year old's mind. It turns them into unconditional supporters of the "Iraqi Resistance." Nevermind, that it is not even close to being an all-Iraqi, all-the-time endeavor, or that it is in fact devoted to bringing down a democratically elected government that would not be there but for our actions. All these newly-minted America haters see is the American military in a foreign nation...and that's enough to get the fires started. An interesting point I see is the misunderstanding on several levels of the concept of "sovereignty." First of all, this confused kid cannot see that the Iraqis exercised an aspect of their sovereignty several months ago when they went to the polls despite real fear of death. However, the larger point is that sovereignty in and of itself is not the holy grail. America is a sovereign nation as is England, France, Australia, Canada, Germany etc. However, both North Korea and Cuba are sovereign nations. As is China, Libya and Iran to name a few others. At the same time, Puerto Rico is not (but I would rather be on that island than Cuba). "Sovereign" does not necessarily mean good member of world community, or respecter of its citizens rights. You would think that concept would be taught in college.
I don't know what is worse. That "honor killings" remain a staple in Islam, or the drunk driving type penalties.
Oddly enough (if you limit your news source to the MSM), it appears that American Catholics broadly support the selection of Benedict XVI by an almost 4 to 1 margin. Further, 50% believe the Church should adhere to tradition. From the editorials spewing forth, you would have thought just the opposite. As I read the other day, but unfortunately cannot attribute, the MSM's reaction to the selection of Cardinal Ratzinger was along the lines of "Cardinals elect Catholic as new Pope. World shocked."
I was reading that the FDA has approved the silicone breast implants of one manufacturer for return to the market, and there is of course the usual calls for an investigation into the investigation, etc. A thought crossed my mind as I listened to the debate about whether silicone implants should even be made available with full disclosure of the potential, however small, for medical side effects. Isn't it ironic that the decision to abort a fetus/baby (a procedure with documented medical and psychological occasional ill effects) is considered a personal choice not to be interfered with because... a woman has the right to self-determination over her own body. However, many of the same voices chanting "our bodies, our lives" want the FDA to prohibit the choice of another elective procedure because of potential health and/or emotional risk. Funny, no?
All those who said that Elian Gonzalez was better off growing up in Cuba should read this. The now eleven year old is being used at political rallies to make all the night is day, down is up points that are standard fare in any repressive system, such as talking about how his "dream of becoming a free child" is a reality in Castro's Cuba. Or that Cuba's socialist revolution "is as big as the sky." This is a disgusting but predictable use of a child for political ends and, in my mind, a form of child abuse.
Why, oh why do liberals believe that every little perceived woe can be socially engineered away? Submitted for your approval: childhood obesity is the new bogeyman to be combated...by what you may ask? Doing away with the raison d'etre of Sesame Street's "Cookie Monster." As if kids are becoming fat lugs because they strive to emulate a Sesame Street puppet. Perhaps a bit more P.E. class and a bit less staring at video game screens for hours on end might help.
Thankfully, our educational authorities remain ever vigilant in the battle to keep our children safe. In Maryland, insensitive and uncaring special interest groups (probably in the pocket of large pharmaceutical conglomerates) are trying to ram through the state legislature a bill that would, now get this...allow students to wear sunscreen without a note from a doctor or parent! Here are a few comments from protective school administrators: "We wouldn't want them to be sharing them with other kids who might have a hypersensitivity," said Donna Heller, health services manager for Howard County schools. "Even with hand and body lotions, we require a note from the parents." "If you had a very young kid, and they put it in their eyes, it could hurt them," said Judith Covich, Montgomery's director of health and student services. Let's wish them the best in their continuing efforts to eliminate even the most infinitesimal risks from a child's life.
I have been thinking about this for some time now and the GOP's abysmal performance with respect to the filibuster debate and the John Bolton confirmation battle leaves me no choice but to say it: I am completely and unequivocally disgusted with my political party. Last first: Bolton is being hung out to dry, not because of his lack of qualifications, but because of his "temperament." He gets angry at incompetent subordinates. He confronts on occasion. He actually has used HARSH LANGUAGE!! His "management style" is being called into question. The horror...the horror. Read Mona Charon's column. Of course, it is apparently of no moment that this respected career diplomat has never been accused of such "impropriety" while carrying out his official duties. The GOP is the majority party in large part because the issue of activist judges making law based upon personal opinion resonated with the electorate. To now see some Republicans getting wobbly on exercising the Byrd option to do away with the filibuster for judicial nominees is upsetting to say the least. The confirmation of conservative judges is one of the most significant battle grounds in the ongoing culture war and to see your soldiers backing down is dispiriting. Finally, and a bit off-topic but not by much. We have become a society of gooberish, effete, wimpy girlie-men, to borrow a term. The Bolton confirmation debate brings this into sharp focus when we actually get twisted into knots over a nominee's "confrontational" personality and actually spend time listening on the Senate floor to accounts of how a low-level go-fer felt intimidated by Bolton and treat this news as crucially relevant to the confirmation process. Back to the utterer of the "girlie-man" phrase. Gov. Arnold a few days ago said we should "close our borders." He was later clarified to mean "secure" our borders. OK...no big deal. But the outrage that followed his initial comment was laughable with one of our local doofus politicians stating that this sort of "hatred" was not becoming of the Governor. Since when did a desire to regulate just who is permitted to wander across into our country become a form of "hatred"? But that's the point to which we have descended, and it is a sad comment on almost half of our voting population that such hyperbole and melodrama is considered a reasoned position.
With a hat tip to Hugh Hewitt and Scott S., here are suggestions for new state mottos: Alabama Hell Yes, We Have Electricity. Alaska 11,623 Eskimos Can't Be Wrong! Arizona But It's A Dry Heat. Arkansas Literacy Ain't Everything. California By 30, Our Women Have More Plastic Than Your Honda. Colorado If You Don't Ski, Don't Bother. Connecticut Like Massachusetts, Only The Kennedy's Don't Own It Yet. Delaware We Really Do Like The Chemicals In Our Water. Florida Ask Us About Our Grandkids And Our Voting Skills. Georgia We Put The Fun In Fundamentalist Extremism. Hawaii Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru (Death To Mainland Scum,Leave Your Money) Idaho More Than Just Potatoes... Well, Okay, We're Not, But The Potatoes Sure Are Real Good Illinois Please, Don't Pronounce the "S" Indiana 2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free Iowa We Do Amazing Things With Corn Kansas First Of The Rectangle States Kentucky Five Million People; Fifteen Last Names Louisiana We're Not ALL Drunk Cajun Wackos, But That's Our Tourism Campaign. Maine We're Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster Maryland If You Can Dream It, We Can Tax It Massachusetts Our Taxes Are Lower Than Sweden's And Our Senators Are More Corrupt! Michigan First Line Of Defense From The Canadians Minnesota 10,000 Lakes...And 10,000,000,000,000 Mosquitoes Mississippi Come And Feel Better About Your Own State Missouri Your Federal Flood Relief Tax Dollars At Work Montana Land Of The Big Sky, The Unabomber, Right-wing Crazies, and Honest Elections! Nebraska Ask About Our State Motto Contest Nevada Hookers and Poker! New Hampshire Go Away And Leave Us Alone New Jersey You Want A ##$%##! Motto? I Got Yer ##$%##! Motto Right here! New Mexico Lizards Make Excellent Pets New York You Have The Right To Remain Silent, You Have The Right To An Attorney...And No Right To Self Defense! North Carolina Tobacco Is A Vegetable North Dakota We Really Are One Of The 50 States! Ohio At Least We're Not Michigan Oklahoma Like The Play, But No Singing Oregon Spotted Owl...It's What's For Dinner Pennsylvania Cook With Coal Rhode Island We're Not REALLY An Island South Carolina Remember The Civil War? Well, We Didn't Actually Surrender Yet South Dakota Closer Than North Dakota Tennessee Home of the Al Gore Invention Museum. Texas Se Hablo Ingles Utah Our Jesus Is Better Than Your Jesus Vermont Ay, Yep Virginia Who Says Government Stiffs And Slackjaw Yokels Don't Mix? Washington Our Governor can out-fraud your Governor! West Virginia One Big Happy Family...Really! Wisconsin Come Cut Cheese! Wyoming Where Men Are Men... And The Sheep Are Scared & The District of Columbia The Work-Free Drug Place!
Here is a great letter from a Marine in Iraq ,who would have been a senior at Ohio State but for his military commitment, commenting upon the "die-in" protest against the war conducted by his fellow students. Great reading if you are into perspective and clarity... When penile enlargement surgery goes wrong... Be careful not to spill coffee on your Koran... Any analysis of the analysis of Pope Benedict XVI's "politics" that includes the following line deserves a read: Sure, he is doctrinally a traditionalist, but this is misunderstood too. If you, as the papacy does, claim direct authority, through your 264 predecessors from the ministry of St Peter, who, the Gospels tell us was inaugurated into that ministry by the Son of God while he was present on earth, is it really possible to take anything other than a bit of a traditionalist view when it comes to doctrinal matters? George Will comments upon our overly therapeutic culture...what a hoot!
Two good pieces about Pope Benedict XVI. The first is from Daniel Johnson of the Times UK who discusses further the obvious chord struck by the use of the phrase "dictatorship of relativism." I urge everyone to get their arms (and brains) around what the new Pope is saying in this regard because it is, and will continue to be, the center of the great cultural battle of our time. I'm no papal scholar but I believe a by-product, if not an intent, for selecting a non-Italian European was for the purpose of combating the rampant secularism that has turned most of western Europe into a nominally Christian land. Jonah Goldberg writes about the response of the American political left to the selection of Cardinal Ratzinger, but I link to it primarily for his great line: "Many older liberals had minds so open, their brains fell out."
Gov. Arnold has made some pointed remarks about protecting our borders, which was met with the usual girlie-man squeals of the special interests. I hope he continues to push on this all-important issue but only time will tell.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Indeed, as I was once told, opinions are like a--holes, everyone has one. Why, however, colleges continue to invite those with the most extreme and ridiculous to drone on about theirs is beyond me. Submitted for your consideration: Students are still being treated to the theory that the U.S. government (read: Bush Administration) had advance warning of the 9/11 attacks and, in fact, was complicit in them. Columbia University is honoring Amiri Baraka, poet laureate of N.J. and virulent racist and anti-Semite. [Aside: you would think that the home state of Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, Marilyn McCoo, Lauryn Hill and Paul Simon, among others, could have come up with a better choice]
I've have been following the College of Cardinals' election of the new Pope with great interest. This is the fourth time in my lifetime that this has occurred, but the first where I sensed the importance of the decision. Pope Benedict XVI's comments about the "dictatorship of relativism" are extraordinarily sage. Michael Novak has a great column on this issue.
More mass graves continue to be uncovered in Iraq, with one estimated to hold over 5000 bodies. The total number of bodies found in mass graves since the U.S. led invasion is just south of 300,000.
Here's a good piece contrasting Jimmy Carter, with a Nobel Peace Prize, and Pope John Paul II, who dies without one... The point that I have made in the past, and recently, that affirmative action is only for some "minorities" but not all, is well stated by Jonah Goldberg... Wendy Long very clearly debunks the myths being advanced by those who defend the current Democratic filibusters of Circuit Court nominees... Finally, Michael Costello at "The Australian" explains how liberals have drifted 180 degrees away from JFK's world view. He quotes President Bush during his inaugural: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." ...and compares it to the words of JFK from his 1961 inaugural: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." This shows in stark comparison what was once considered traditional liberalism with what it has mutated into today.
David Horowitz, the child of two American Communists and former left wing radical turned gadfly of the left, was recently speaking at Butler University in Indiana when he was struck in the face with a cream pie (that's what passes for impassioned opposition from the left these days). This is not an isolated phenomena, with William Kristol of the Weekly Standard, Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan suffering similar fates while speaking at college campuses. Sure, no one was physically hurt but how long before the weapon of choice is no longer a pie but something a bit more substantial? For whatever reason, I remembered a column Horowitz had written a few years ago that engendered much acrimony from the left when he blamed the high rate of black-on-black crime not on gun manufacturers but on...surprise, the African-American perpetrators of those crimes. Repeating the obvious, the left is all about free speech unless of course they don't agree with its content. Then it becomes "hate speech." I continue to be amazed how intellectually bankrupt many left-wingers can be.
Now here's an interesting example of the manner in which the change in the common vernacular results in a phenomena that can beat be described as Orwellian. In Virginia, as well as quite a few other states including California, local law enforcement does not have the authority to detain and arrest illegal aliens solely on the basis of their immigration status because that is a federal offense rather than a violation of state law. That means that, even if the local cop has good reason to believe that the 15 people jammed into the pickup are here illegally, no action can be taken unless they violate a local law. In this story, the most fascinating quote comes from the Virginia county spokesman explaining why there were no arrests made: "If we had suspected the passengers in the van were involved in illegal activity, it would be different." So it seems that merely violating our immigration laws, thereby becoming an "illegal alien" does not constitute "illegal activity."
Following up on my recent post re the "Kill Bush" T-shirts, it seems that the advertisement has been pulled. Read Michelle Malkin and Powerline concerning the disturbing trend of assassination rhetoric coming from the left...all said to be in good fun of course. These are the same people who will blame movie and television violence for school shootings...go figure. Finally, I dug back into my archives for the handwritten note left on my SUV...it was sporting a "Bush Won...Get Over It" bumper sticker at the time.
The lovely Mrs RTH! and I will be traveling to Madrid and Barcelona next month for about two weeks. This will be our first time in Spain and if anyone has suggestions as to "must see/visit" restaurants, museums or sites of interest, please feel free to let me know.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone decided to "analyze" why it is that most of the "top" bloggers are white males (I didn't know that was true) and conclude that there is some sort of nefarious selection process afoot (I know that's not true). Read Newsweek's Steven Levy and his ridiculous hand-wringing, there's a white bogeyman around every corner piece. Then read NRO's Heather MacDonald and tell me who makes more sense.
Here's an interesting story about a married woman who had her lover living in a closet in her home for about one month. His snoring tipped off the husband, with unfortunate results.
I had been saving this article about a controversy at a local high school district that arose when a columnist for the school newspaper wrote that Hispanics at the school lag behind Asians academically because Hispanics get less parental support. The statistics, which are apparently not in dispute, are that 44% of Asian students take the courses necessary to get them into the University of California system while only 9% of Hispanic students do the same. The school is 54% Asian and 38% Hispanic. Naturally, this caused the usual PC backlash even though the writer of the column, demonstrating wisdom far beyond his years stated "Is this suggesting that brown people cannot think on the level of white and yellow people? Absolutely not. But the difference is real, and it needs to be acknowledged and explained before it can be erased." William Raspberry has a column today makes a very similar point when talking about the persistent economic achievement gap between some blacks and whites, while noting that the black middle class has grown at an astounding rate. He writes: "Instead of spending the bulk of our attention on what white people have done (or failed to do), wouldn't it be interesting to examine what the members of that growing black middle class have done and are doing?" I have always wondered why it is that no one has taken the time to analyze and answer what I consider to be the most instructive and interesting question in these debates. That is, what is it that successful (fill in the blank here...African-Americans, Hispanics, women etc) have done that has allowed them to overcome whatever barriers exist for them but not for others? Or, why is it that Asian kids do demonstrably better academically than even white kids? [Anecdote: when my daughter was in fifth grade she won her school's spelling bee giving her the right to compete against the winners from the other nine elementary schools in that district. Of the ten spelling bee champion representatives, seven were Asian kids, and three of the seven had recently come to this country not knowing English. Asians made up about 28% of the student body district wide] If the "activists" on behalf of minorities really want to close whatever achievement gap exists, they should spend time trying to understand what it is that has made some of their constituency successful despite the barriers allegedly holding the entire group back, and less time complaining about lack of opportunities.
They're back - Yes, it's that magical time of theyear again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us. Here then, are the glorious winners for 2004. And the winner is: 1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a holdup in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked...... And now, the honorable mentions: 2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and, after a little hopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company, suspecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved. 3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space with her vehicle. Understandably, he shot her. 4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days. 5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit. 6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for or all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer...$15. 7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape. 8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from." 9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a manwalked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 a.m., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away. AND NOW A REAL STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER! 10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked in a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to try to steal gasoline but had plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges. Said it was the best laugh he'd ever had.
Here is a short, feel good story about the successful school rebuilding effort in Iraq.
The always cutting edge Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that an inmate's letter calling for the death of President Bush, coming on the heels of that same inmate having made threats to assassinate the President is...protected speech under the First Amendment.
Apparently 4/13/05 will be an "International Day of Action Against Caterpillar" (taking place from what I can tell only in Chicago, Illinois) protesting its sale of bulldozers to the Israeli military. These are the Rachel Corrie wingnuts who have elevated her death-by-stupidity to martyr status.
Read here at SanchezDaniel for an interesting exchange with Robert Reich at Berkeley...where resentment over "inequality" is worse than starving...
Since I can't think of a way to intro this story, just read it...
Here's an example of some of the anti-Israel propaganda that passes for U.N. "findings" these days. According to the U.N. the creation of the Jewish state is one of the roots of authoritarianism in the Middle East. Let's see...Israel was created in 1948...so there must have been all sorts of democratic elections and equal rights in the Arab world before that time...NOT!
Here's a nifty little read by Jay Bryant not just about Pope John Paul II but also about the origin of the names of our days of the week and the use of the abbreviation "C.E." Recently I have had a number of "C.E." sitings appearing after the identification of a year (1917, C.E.) but had no idea what it meant. Well, you're never to old to learn and it seems it is an abbreviation for "common era," now used in some circles in place of "A.D." (Anno Domini, i.e. After Christ). I suppose it was only a matter of time.
Here's a great, common-sense exposition on the Sandy Berger affair by Dick Morris. How one can assert with a straight face that he "inadvertently" pilfered and then destroyed copies of top secret documents is beyond my ability to understand.
Here is an interesting link to the testimony of Darrell Scott, whose daughter Rachel was one of the victims at Columbine. He spoke to a sub-committee of the House Judiciary Committee in May of 1999 and said, in part, the following: "Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers." The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart." In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don't believe that they are responsible for my daughter's death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's murder I would be their strongest opponent.
An absolutely brilliant piece by...who else...Mark Steyn, about the Papacy, eternal truths and our "consensus" society. I reproduce large segments of it here, but please take the time to read it all: The root of the Pope's thinking - that there are eternal truths no one can change even if one wanted to - is completely incomprehensible to the progressivist mindset. There are no absolute truths, everything's in play, and by "consensus" all we're really arguing is the rate of concession to the inevitable: abortion's here to stay, gay marriage will be here any day now, in a year or two it'll be something else - it's all gonna happen anyway, man, so why be the last squaresville daddy-o on the block? The question now is whether His Holiness was as right about us as he was about the Communists. The secularists, for example, can't forgive him for his opposition to condoms in the context of Aids in Africa. The Dark Continent gets darker every year: millions are dying, male life expectancy is collapsing and such civil infrastructure as there is seems likely to follow. But the most effective weapon against the disease has not been the Aids lobby's 20-year promotion of condom culture in Africa, but Uganda's campaign to change behaviour and to emphasise abstinence and fidelity - i.e., the Pope's position. You don't have to be a Catholic or a "homophobe" to think that the spread of Aids is telling us something basic - that nature is not sympathetic to sexual promiscuity. If it weren't Aids, it would be something else, as it has been for most of human history. ...that "nature is not sympathetic to sexual promiscuity" !!! For a lesser mind like mine, this brief but profound statement finally clears the fog surrounding my thinking on this issue. For those of us who believe that many, if not most, things happen for a reason, purpose or to instruct, or that there is a plan within a plan within a plan even it it does not become evident for some time, it is very difficult to not stop and consider that perhaps Pope John Paul II was on to something. But I digress...Steyn continues: Had the Pope signed on to condom distribution in Africa, he would have done nothing to reduce the spread of Aids, but he would have done a lot to advance the further artificial separation of sex, in Africa and beyond. Indeed, if you look at the New York Times's list of complaints against the Pope - "Among liberal Catholics, he was criticised for his strong opposition to abortion, homosexuality and contraception" - they all boil down to what he called sex as self-assertion. Thoughtful atheists ought to be able to recognise that, whatever one's tastes in these areas, the Pope was on to something - that abortion et al, in separating the "two meanings" of sex and leaving us free to indulge in one while ignoring the other, have severed us almost entirely and possibly irreparably from traditional impulses, such as societal survival. John Paul II championed the "splendour of truth" not because he was rigid and inflexible, but because he understood the alternative was a dead end in every sense.
Here is a particularly good example of an "agenda headline" (as I like to call them) announcing what, after a bit of considered analysis, is a very odd sounding study. The title of the story is "Half of kids live with parent substance abuse" and warns that: Half of all U.S. children live in a house where a parent or other adult uses tobacco, drinks heavily or uses illegal drugs, according to a report released on Tuesday. These adults are three times more likely to abuse their children and four times more likely to neglect them than parents who do not abuse alcohol or drugs or use tobacco... Note the equivalency made between "drinking heavily" and the use of "illegal drugs" on the one hand, and smoking tobacco (which I assume means cigarettes, cigars and maybe chew) on the other. Now call me naive but I don't believe anyone ever overreacted to their child's crying and threw the baby against a wall because their judgment was affected by puffing on a Marlboro. However, when mom or dad are blitzed after a fifth of Jack or a couple of hits of crack, now that's when bad things happen to those around them. If you read the article closely you'll see that the only danger specifically mentioned regarding tobacco was that of second hand smoke. My guess is that the study found that most of the subjects who abused alcohol or drugs also smoked cigarettes, but there was no correlation between a cigarette smoking parent who did not drink heavily or use illegal drugs and abused or neglected children. This appears to be another example of an attempt to demonize tobacco users.
There is definitely too much free time in Trumbull, Connecticut if parents there are complaining that the use of red pens to correct and grade schoolwork is unduly "stressful" to their poor, abused kiddies. Of course, the so-called educators leap to the rescue and ban the use of red pens. [Hat tip: Eric's Random Musings] I guess it could be worse...this at least means that the teachers are still grading students work.
Here's a great opinion piece by Dennis Prager explaining the problems that arise when standards are based upon the secular notion of avoiding the unpleasantness of judgment. Larry Kudlow writes about Pope John Paul II and his reminder to us all to "Be Not Afraid." I heard this morning that the Pope's last words were "Amen. Let it be so." Finally, here is a good account of the Pope's battle against communism and the "Evil Empire."
Hold on to your hats as we get closer to the release date of Ridley Scott's new movie "Kingdom of Heaven." Why? Because it's about the Crusades and depicts, among others, the revered Muslim warrior, Saladin. It will take a beating from all the politically correct scrutiny to which it will be subjected, so prepare to hear about an increase in hate crimes, Islamophobia and general uncivil behavior all because of a movie...that may actually be largely historically accurate.
I posted yesterday about the Farleigh Dickinson University professor, and apparently avowed Nazi, who was terminated for too many absences, but not for being a nutcase (academic freedom, you understand). Well, check out this website that belongs to one Jane T. Christensen, Associate Professor of Political Science at North Carolina Wesleyan College. [Hat tip: Townhall.com] I may have to home school my daughter when she reaches college age.
Here is a provocative piece having to do with gay adoption and, primarily, with what is indicated as being an overrepresentation of homosexuals in cases of child molestation. I had heard of the latter statistic in the past and had seen a few written references to the same. As was once said, "There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics." I have no reason to doubt these statistics, although I'm not naive enough to think that they cannot be manipulated by those with an agenda. However, to me the interesting phenomenon whenever such damaging-to-a-cause information is made known is the reaction, because that allows me to gauge whether the opponent/proponent is operating from a position of legitimacy rather than being agenda driven. A perfect example is the shifting basis for opposition to drilling for oil in the ANWR. As it becomes more and more difficult to argue against it on the basis of potential environmental impact, the argument is now becoming one based upon economic impact, i.e. there isn't enough recoverable oil to make much of a difference. As if the environmentalists who were initially opposed are now looking out for the bottom line for "big oil." So my point is that much can be learned about true, and often hidden, agendas by listening out for the details of the case made against drilling in the ANWR, or for gay adoption, or against the ban on homosexual scout leaders. If the argument against the logical conclusions to be drawn from the statistics in the linked piece are not directed to the efficacy of the numbers but rather the "homophobia" of the statistician...that will tell us much of what we need to know.
Farleigh Dickinson University fires Nazi professor...for too many absences, not because he spews hate-filled venom. You can always count on the university to see things clearly.
How can anyone take the United Nations seriously when six of the 18 world's most repressive regimes are on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights?
I stumbled across a transcript of the sentencing hearing of "shoe bomber" Richard Reid from January of 2003. Although I had read this before, it took place at a time pre-blogosphere for me. Take a moment and read Judge Young's powerful comments to this creep now serving a life sentence.
Colorado governor steps in it with "insensitive" comment... Oh, yeah...remember when Clinton aide Sandy Berger "inadvertently" walked off with classified documents. Well, he's pleading guilty to intentionally removing and destroying classified documents. Oops, his bad. I'd like to hear from just one of the many pundits who insisted no way, now how would an esteemed gentleman such as Berger do something like that step up and eat some crow. I'm not holding my breath. Here are two points that crossed my mind re Terri Schiavo: 1. If she was "brain dead" as had been reported by some, why would there be any discussion of removal of feeding tubes? She had already met the clinical standard for "death" so all that would have been relevant could have been, for example, a discussion of organ harvesting. 2. If denying her food and water would cause her no physical distress, then what "misery" was she being saved from by keeping her alive? Here's a good article by Kathleen Parker dealing in part with this.
I am feeling rather forlorn this morning, a combination of having spent the last few days focused on Terri Schiavo news and the Pope's ill health. And that often leads me to being short-tempered and less accepting of our incredibly misguided efforts to bend over backwards for the oppressed minority-du-jour. Read here about special treatment for Muslim hospital patients.