Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Stupid Stuff from my Local Newspaper

Yes, this post is a bit later than expected, and I do appreciate everyone who spent valuable time visiting this blog only to find nothing new, and I apologize for disappointing you. We pulled in late Sunday night after abandoning my son at the college of his choice. I start school tomorrow with meetings and getting my room back together. Then it's off, for me, the remainder of my family, and the other families who we participate with, for our annual Labor Day camping trip. Over the years, the number of children has dwindled as more go off to college every year. The rest of us have been bravely soldiering on. The biggest problem with the absence of my son is that I will probably have to help with the dishes.

In not having time to post, I've had to combine posts. The Detroit Free Press has been running stories and editorials that are so insane, it's been too easy to find things that anger or annoy me. For example, there is this demonstration that Muslims are not the only group who think that free speech and dissenting thought is too big a responsibility for the average human. The Detroit Free Press reports,
Sometimes a teenage girl's biggest problem isn't getting a guy to talk to her. It's getting a guy to stop.

Christia Brown, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, and Campbell Leaper, professor of psychology at the University of California Santa Cruz, asked 600 girls ages 12-18 about their experiences with sexism and sexual harassment.

What they found was nothing short of shocking.

For starters, nine out of 10 girls reported having been sexually harassed at least once. Those who were good at athletics were subject to sexist comments; so, too, those who were good at science and math. Girls' appearances are openly commented upon; they are being touched.
Notice if you will, that the bar has been lowered. "Sexism" has become the same as sexual harassment. Not only that, but if you read the article, you'll notice that anything a boy says to a girl can be interpreted as sexual harassment.

Yes, teenage boys can be stupid when it comes to approaching teenage girls, but not as stupid as psychology professors who are looking to create another social crisis, which the government will have to solve. How? There's only one solution; all teenage girls must wear burkhas to school. Yes, that solution would be as dumb as the phony crisis this article is trying to create. It's time for Christia Brown, author of this study, to find a real job and become a useful member of society.

They also want more government intervention to help the poor with their heating bills this winter.
This winter, even if it's fairly mild, looks to be a budget buster. Natural gas bills are expected to rise 20% or so over last winter, an increase that will fall hard on Michigan's already cash-strapped families. In other parts of the country, particularly the Northeast, that depend more on fuel oil, the higher cost of keeping the furnace going will loom at astronomical heights. Without more money, LIHEAP-funded programs will have to choose between helping fewer people and cutting back on how much it can help each family.
They conveniently forget that the high heating bills are due to - are you ready for this? - government intervention. Thanks to the Democratically controlled Congress, we have no domestic oil drilling, no nuclear energy, no new coal burning power plants. Only an idiot (or a Democrat) can fail to see that this means there will be less fuel. And as much as Pelosi, Reid, and the environmentalists try to deny it, there are economic laws that are every bit as dependable as laws of physics. One of these is supply and demand. If supply doesn't increase to meet increasing demand - surprise - the price goes up. It's been documented for centuries.

Finally, there is no longer any doubt in my mind the the Free Press has become another propaganda arm of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al-Jazeera. They ran this actual, for real, anti-Israel propaganda piece by Huwaida Arraf, local resident, and cofounder, with her (born Jewish but no longer considers himself Jewish) husband of the International Solidarity Movement. Keep in mind, if you read Arraf's piece at the Free Press, that the Free Press never reported on the 200 Fatah members from Gaza that were given refuge inside Israel before they could be slaughtered by their Hamas opponents. They've never made mention of the thousands of Gazans who are given free health care in Israeli hospitals. They have downplayed the constant rocket barrages from Gaza into Israel. They've forgotten about the thriving greenhouses that were donated to Gaza when it was ethnically cleansed of Jews, and which were promptly destroyed by the "grateful" Gazans. They gave no background on the ISM, the organization that killed Rachel Corrie by using her as a human shield. That death of course, as all deaths in this conflict are, was blamed on Israel.

I stayed up late last night writing an angry letter to the terror-enablers at the Free Press. I also encouraged others on my email list to respond. I'm still angry. Allowing a terror supporter who teaches young, impressionable Israel-haters to use themselves as human shields in a war zone in order to create negative press against Israel, to present her and her organization as heroic? The Free Press has crossed a line.

I do have to get ready for the school year, and for the next nine months or so, posting might be lighter than usual, but keep checking back. Between school, tutoring, Monday night school, and harassing newspapers with pro-Israel letters, I will find a few minutes to post here and there.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Not Really a Post

I was going to write about the Israel at 60 celebration. I also wanted to write about this article from the Detroit Free Press. But I won't be able to write about anything until Sunday night (which will probably end up being Monday). I've started getting my room together at school. That cuts into my blogging time. Tomorrow morning we're taking my son to college. That also cuts into my blogging time. We'll be back Sunday night.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Muslims vs Freedom of Speech - Again

I first wrote about Egyptian Coptic priest Zakaria Botros, when I discovered him through Victor Davis Hanson. The gist of Hanson's article was that Fr. Botros, through his radio show, was inspiring huge numbers of Muslims to convert to Christianity. Imagine my surprise, while thumbing through (sort of, since I read it on-line) The Arab American News, that Fr. Botros is carried on a local Detroit station, WNZK (690 AM). If I read the article correctly Botros' program airs every Wednesday from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. According to the whining from the local Muslim community,
Egyptian Coptic priest Zakaria Botros, known around the world for his controversial theological rants about Islam, had been featured regularly for weeks on a Chaldean Christian programming broadcast by WNZK (690 AM), enraging many with frequent assertions that Islam's Prophet Mohammed, was, among other things, a homosexual.

Muslim leaders feared the weekly programs could cause tension between local Christian and Muslim communities, and sought out talks between interfaith leaders and the station owner about pressuring producers and the host of the show to keep the more radical commentaries off the air, said Ghalib Begg, Chair of the Council Of Islamic Organizations Of Michigan.
Another local Arab Christian leader, Fr. George Shalhoub of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Livonia, said that Botros' outbursts may come from a bitterness felt by many Egyptian Christians, who he said have struggled to practice their faith in that country for years.

"Historically, Christians in Egypt have been persecuted," he said.

Religious life for Copts in Egypt, said Shalhoub, whose congregation is made up primarily of Palestinian, Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese Americans, is much harder than in other Arab countries with large Christian populations, where, he said, there is mutual respect and tolerance between Muslim and Christian groups.
Mutual what? Between Muslim and infidel dhimmi? Huh? But wait. No defense of Islamic terrorism or the Islamic assault on free speech is complete without the moral equivalence argument.
"Father Zakaria is fueled by desperation, but no one should be condemned by other people's faith," he said. "Just leave him alone and he'll go away… There are fanatics among Christians. There are fanatics among Muslims. There are fanatics among Jews. If we pay attention to fanatics, we become fanatic… Don't forget we have freedom of speech here. No one can silence another by force."
Our intellectual elites have become so weak and degraded that Muslims no longer need force to shut down debate. All they have to do is claim humiliation and hurt feelings. Their prophet has been insulted - oh dear.

It's obvious that local Muslims are up in arms over Fr. Botros. That makes him A-OK in my book. As AM stations sometimes have weak signals, I hope I can still hear the show. As I have to report back to school next Wednesday, this will be an even bigger problem, but I will at least be able to hear part of the show. I have to assume too, that he's syndicated in other markets, possibly on a station near you.

And another thing. The Arab American News has a lot of nerve complaining about so-called hate speech after publishing their assault on the Israel at 60 Celebration. They can dish it out, but when it comes to taking it . . .

As soon as I'm done with this post, I'll be sending a short email to WNZK in support of Fr. Botros. If anyone else is interested, you can contact Operations Manager:
Mr. Sima Birach at Sima@BIRACH.com.

UPDATE: Fr. George Shalhoub, a local "Palestinian" Orthodox Christian priest who is quoted in the article speaking against Fr. Botros. Shalhoub, demonstrates in this article, that he is a well trained, well behaved, dhimmi.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Corresponding with my Congressional Representative

My congressdope sends out a weekly email newsletter. It touts all of the accomplishments of our duly elected Democrat-controlled Congress for the week. So there are articles that demonize the oil companies for making a profit. There are self pats on the back for bailing out irresponsible, short-sighted home mortgage borrowers at the expense of the majority of home owners who have not foolishly over-extended themselves. The Congress is busy solving various crises, some that I bet you didn't even know existed, but that need more tax dollars thrown at them in order to be solved.

I shouldn't call him a dope. It's not nice, and it really does bother me when people use the anonymity of the Internet to insult people they don't know. I know that most of our differences are political. At one time I was on his side. I voted for him, and I thought he was a swell guy.

But lately I've been responding to his newsletters urging him to vote to allow drilling in ANWR and on the continental shelf, you know, the places where we know that there's oil, but the Democratic Congress won't allow drilling because - we can't drill our way out of this problem (but somehow we can release oil out of the Strategic Reserve to get us out of this problem) - it will take years for the oil to hit the market (and yet, all of the alternative "green" solutions will also take years and billions of dollars in government subsidies) - the oil companies already hold leases to billions of acres of public land (but that's not where the oil is) - we're addicted to oil - environmental concerns (we're all going to die from climate change) - speculators have driven up the price of oil, so we have to put a stop to speculators (they've since shut up about that since oil prices began dropping once Bush ended the presidential moratorium on drilling).

In his last newsletter, Congressman (not dope, that's not polite) Sander Levin once again railed against the huge profits the oil companies are raking in. So I sent him two links. This one is about how oil companies pay out three times as much in taxes as they take in as profit. There's more information here and here. This second link shows a simple graph comparing oil company's profits to taxes in 2006, and how they paid more in taxes than the bottom 75 percent of individual tax payers. There is also the national security issue. Not only are we sending billions of dollars to Middle Eastern oil ticks, but now that Russia has pretty much been allowed to reswallow Georgia, they control more of the world's oil supply. And much like the jihadists, they're not very nice to work with.

I thought the pictorial representation of all those tax dollars just begging to be wasted on pork, pet projects, and pandering would warm the heart of any congressperson. I haven't heard back from him yet. And I'm sure I will, because even though I never like his responses, he (or someone in his office most likely) always responds to my testy emails. I have to give him credit for that . . . even though I will be voting against him next time.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child

There is an interesting report here on the beauty of children learning the Qu'ran in Senegal.
KAOLACK, Senegal — It hurts too much to lie on his back, so the 7-year-old has spent the past month stretched out on his stomach. His two grandmothers sit on the hospital bed beside him, fanning the pink flesh left exposed by his teacher's whip.

It's progress that Momodou Biteye is in the hospital at all. It's also encouraging that the Quranic teacher who did this to him is behind bars.

But what is most significant is that the boy's father — a poor farmer who sold part of his harvest to pay for the bus fare to the hospital — filed the charges against the teacher himself. In doing so, this man with cracked lips and bloodshot eyes braved the wrath of his entire village, including his own father, who considers all teachers in Senegal's Islamic schools to be holy.

In hundreds of these schools in the mostly Muslim West African country, children are made to beg in the streets and are beaten if they don't bring back enough money. One 10-year-old was beaten to death with his hands tied behind his back and his mouth stuffed with rocks. Despite laws passed to protect children, the courts have convicted only a handful of Quranic teachers and quickly cave in the face of powerful clerics.
Did I say "interesting?" I meant disturbing. Oh, and as for the part about "beauty", sometimes I get too sarcastic for my own good. While I do think that discipline is important in school, and that we need more in American public schools, I have to admit that this goes way beyond what I think of as discipline. Jihadists get vacations and good food at Gitmo. These poor kids get the stuffings beaten out of them for not getting enough money for their abusive teachers.
No one in this poor village is surprised that the boy was beaten. A child needs to suffer, the grandfather says, to master the difficult text. It's a sentiment that is echoed in the village chief's hut, under the grass roofs of neighbors' homes and on the lips of other families whose own sons are still in the jailed teacher's boarding school.

Hitting and education are so intertwined in Senegal that the word for "to educate" — "yaar" is the same as the word for the stick to discipline students.

"See this?" says Omar Drame, a middle-aged villager, as he bends his head forward and points to an indentation on the top of his skull. "It's my marabout that did this to me. It forged me. It allowed me to learn that I can overcome difficulty."

At first, even the father thought his son was lying about why he was beaten. The marabout told investigators that he hit the boy for mispronouncing a verse from the Quran.
Oh, a beating for mispronouncing a verse from the Quran? Why didn't you say so? That is perfectly understandable. What was I complaining about?

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Hatred Exposed

Many of the current crop of Jew haters use the excuse that they're not anti-Jewish, only anti-Zionist. In fact, in some cases, some of their best friends are Jews. How about that? Well, this coming Thursday, there is a Celebration of Israel at 60 at the Michigan State Fair Grounds in Detroit. To the Jew haters - excuse me - I mean anti-Zionists, we Detroit area Jews are a bunch of racists who should be ashamed of ourselves for daring to celebrate the success of Israel as a thriving multi-ethnic democracy, as the only country in the Middle East that allows freedom of religion, as a technologically advanced nation that has given the world advances in science, agriculture, medicine, etc.

We are racists because we celebrate success and achievement in the face of constant hatred and terrorism instead of mourning the "plight of the Palestinians." We refuse to acknowledge the creation myth of the Palestinians known as the Nakba. We've all heard about the Nakba. To the Israel hating community, it's the catastrophe of five Arab/Muslim armies failing in their mission of genocide against the incipient State of Israel. Millions of hate monkeys across the globe are still frustrated that Israelis refuse to be pushed into the sea, the stated Islamic goal in 1948 and still the stated goal today.

There will be a lot of security at the Israel at 60 celebration. There will also be protesters. God forbid that Jews should be allowed to celebrate freely and openly. It's not allowed in the Muslim world so it shouldn't be allowed anywhere. One Michelle J. Kinnucan, in an article at the Arab American News (and other places) has let the veil slip and has revealed straight up anti-Semitism at its most vile. It's not "just" anti-Zionism and anyone who can comprehend what they read can recognize that. Besides the usual canards about Israel, she also talks about the Jews of the Detroit area.
Just how wealthy the expected Nakba celebrants (She means Jews - Harry) are can be seen by contrasting them with the general U.S. population and the State Fair neighborhood, one of Detroit's more diverse, but still majority Black, neighborhoods. According to the "Detroit Area Jewish Population Study, 2005," sponsored by the JFMD, the median income of Detroit area Jewish households was $85,000 and median housing value was $300,000. The national figures for the general U.S. population are: Median Household Income - $45,000, Median Housing Value - $156,000. The comparable figures for the people living in the State Fair neighborhood are even more striking: Median Household Income - $24,016, Median Home Sale Value - $73,000.

These wide economic gaps are undoubtedly, in no small part, a result of past and ongoing anti-Black racism in America. For instance, the fairgrounds are not far from Detroit's own apartheid wall, also known as the Wailing Wall. Detroit's wall was built circa 1940 and not unlike the apartheid wall that snakes through the West Bank, it was constructed with federal backing over the objections of the Black community in order to separate an existing Black neighborhood from a new White and, according to two local informants, Jewish subdivision.
So in addition to the usual distortion of facts designed to push the "Palestinian narrative" into people's heads, we have the return of the condemnation of that evil, demonic creature known as The Rich Jew. And how does The Rich Jew become rich? Racism, of course. It's as obvious as the hook nose on a Jew's face. Yes, it seems that we Jews in Detroit, not Israel - excuse me - the Zionist Entity, are Shylock and Fagin once again. So what shall it be this time Michelle, inquisition or pogrom? How about plain old fashioned anti-Jewish riots and massacres like you had back in the old days before the existence of Israel? The old days when these stereotypes caused the destruction of entire Jewish communities.

My grandparents came to this country from Russia and Poland. They came to escape persecution and to build a better life for their children. My father's father was fired from Ford because he was Jewish. Since there was no ACLU or any other "civil rights" group to whine to, my grandfather and grandmother opened a poultry store. In other words, they used the skills they had to continue to make a living, to raise their family, and to contribute to the fabric of American society. There were no complaints about what Ford or the government owed them, there were no demands about what they were entitled to. Had they demanded that they or their Judaism had to be "accommodated" they would have been laughed at by everyone, including the Jewish community.

No, they never became rich, but other Jews did. They didn't demand accommodations either. When they were excluded from the local country club, they built their own. Since this is the land of opportunity - for those who are willing to grasp that opportunity - some Jews, just like some non-Jews have been able to accumulate vast quantities of wealth. If Michelle J. Kinnucan finds that offensive, tough. She is free to whine about it all she wants. The fact remains that instead of trying to reignite medieval Jew-hatred, she and the other whiners about the "Palestinian's" self-inflicted plight, would do well to work within the community to try and help these sad sacks and ne'er-do-wells become self-sufficient both here and in the Middle East.

Until then, Michelle J. Kinnucan and all those who hold the same beliefs, no matter how they try to spin them, no matter if their best friends are Jewish, no matter if they claim to believe in peace and justice, are simple garden variety hate monkeys and anti-semites.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fun Facts from Tacitus

Reading the ancient historians, you really have to pay attention. While at times, they tell fascinating stories that resonate throughout the ages, there are times, I must admit, that things can get dull, kind of that "one thing after another" syndrome. Sometimes things are happening so quickly that you get lost in the names and events that may only get a page or perhaps even a sentence of description. As an example, I found Livy's history of early Rome dull in parts, but later, when he stretches out in his retelling of the Second Punic War, he creates quite the page-turner.

Tacitus (in a well annotated edition) is really interesting. The man could tell a good story. Sometimes too, you just come across unexpected tidbits. I recently read the W. H. Fyfe translation of The Histories by Tacitus. I found it well done. It was readable, and made sense. It was modern enough to flow easily through my mind. That doesn't always mean better, but compared to this translation on the web, I prefer Fyfe. Due to the fact that I'm lazy and don't feel like typing passages from the book though, I'm quoting from the web.

Our first selection is from book 1:
22. The soul of Otho was not effeminate like his person. His confidential freedmen and slaves, who enjoyed a license unknown in private families, brought the debaucheries of Nero's court, its intrigues, its easy marriages, and the other indulgences of despotic power, before a mind passionately fond of such things, dwelt upon them as his if he dared to seize them, and reproached the inaction that would leave them to others. The astrologers also urged him to action, predicting from their observation of the heavens revolutions, and a year of glory for Otho. This is a class of men, whom the powerful cannot trust, and who deceive the aspiring, a class which will always be proscribed in this country, and yet always retained. Many of these men were attached to the secret councils of Poppaea and were the vilest tools in the employ of the imperial household. One of them, Ptolemaeus, had attended Otho in Spain, and had there foretold that his patron would survive Nero. Gaining credit by the result, and arguing from his own conjectures and from the common talk of those who compared Galba's age with Otho's youth, he had persuaded the latter that he would be called to the throne. Otho however received the prediction as the words of wisdom and the intimation of destiny, with that inclination so natural to the human mind readily to believe in the mysterious.

At this point in our story, Galba is emperor, having taken over upon the death of Nero. An astrologer predicts to Otho that he will be replacing Galba on the throne. Otho accepts that prediction and goes on to overthrow Galba. He is then overthrown by Vitellus, who is in turn, overthrown by Vespasian, who serves for nine years. All of this overthrowing stuff takes place in the space of a year - a year of civil war.

If we replace the name Otho with the name Macbeth, substitute three witches for the astrologer, and change the author's name to Shakespeare, . . .

At the beginning of book five:
1. EARLY in this year Titus Caesar, who had been selected by his father to complete the subjugation of Judaea, and who had gained distinction as a soldier while both were still subjects, began to rise in power and reputation, as armies and provinces emulated each other in their attachment to him. The young man himself, anxious to be thought superior to his station, was ever displaying his gracefulness and his energy in war. By his courtesy and affability he called forth a willing obedience, and he often mixed with the common soldiers, while working or marching, without impairing his dignity as general. He found in Judaea three legions, the 5th, the 10th, and the 15th, all old troops of Vespasian's. To these he added the 12th from Syria, and some men belonging to the 18th and 3rd, whom he had withdrawn from Alexandria. This force was accompanied by twenty cohorts of allied troops and eight squadrons of cavalry, by the two kings Agrippa and Sohemus, by the auxiliary forces of king Antiochus, by a strong contingent of Arabs, who hated the Jews with the usual hatred of neighbours, and, lastly, by many persons brought from the capital and from Italy by private hopes of securing the yet unengaged affections of the Prince. With this force Titus entered the enemy's territory, preserving strict order on his march, reconnoitring every spot, and always ready to give battle. At last he encamped near Jerusalem.
What can we say about that? It began, so the story goes, with Jacob and Esau. It continues to this day. To Tacitus, who was unclear on that history, it was glossed over as just the usual hatred between neighbors.

And time still marches on.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

T. Boone Pickens - Two Views

Newsweek sees his skulduggery as something to admire, almost to be chuckled at, or along with. T. Boone Pickens is an "evil" capitalist (or perhaps he's been downgraded to a rascally capitalist) they can admire because he's investing in water and wind instead of oil.
It's not as though Pickens doesn't have a few crafty deals on his own ledger. Five years ago he launched a controversial scheme to buy water rights around Roberts County, Texas, the same region of the panhandle where he plans to build his wind farm—and where he owns a 68,000-acre ranch. The idea was to pump water from the Ogallala aquifer to cities downstate. Though he never found a buyer for the water, Pickens did win the right of eminent domain for his pipeline. His attorneys applied to create an entity known as a groundwater-supply district, which was gerrymandered to include only two voters: his two ranch hands. The measure passed, to no one's surprise. Though Pickens says he has abandoned the water project, his lawyers want to use the water corridor to site a private transmission line from his panhandle wind farm to power-hungry cities. "You have to admire his guts and his gall," says Thomas (Smitty) Smith, director of Public Citizen, an advocacy group that opposed Pickens's water business.
Since he's been rehabilitated and now wants to bring Al Gore's vision to fruition, he can apparently do no wrong, even though he took land from other land owners for his own use by way of eminent domain, even though he used some shady (at least to me) gerrymandering to get his way and so that he can make a the huge profit that he claims he doesn't care about, and even though in order to make that profit that he really doesn't care about, he's demanding huge government subsidies. Nope, he's not evil anymore, not like those evil oil executives who dare to make "obscene" (as opposed to merely erotic) profits from the U.S. Government keeping a lid on our oil supplies.

For the rest of the story, let's visit Michelle Malkin and see what kind of shenanigans, Pickens, and one of his investment partners, Nancy Pelosi are up to.
Naturally, the Pickens Big Wind plan is proudly endorsed by Do-Nothing Pelosi’s friends at the obstructionist Sierra Club. Through another company, Mesa Power, Pickens has committed upwards of $12 billion in wind farms on the Texas panhandle. CEFC and Mesa Power are separate entities. But what benefits one piece of the Pickens puzzle benefits them all. The wind venture, as Pickens himself acknowledges, depends on permanent federal subsidies.

Pickens is banking on ‘em. And Pelosi’s banking on him.

As reported on #dontgomovement.com, Speaker Pelosi bought between $50,000 and $100,000 of stock in Pickens’ CLNE Corp. in May 2007 on the day of the initial public offering:

“She, and other investors, stand to gain a substantial return on their investment if gasoline prices stay high and municipal, state and even the Federal governments start using natural gas as their primary fuel source. If gasoline prices fall? Alternative fuels and the cost to convert fleets over to them becomes less and less attractive.
Things are different when the Speaker of the House, the one who promised the most ethical Congress ever, is an investor in your scheme. And when you have Newsweek Magazine covering for you because you've become politically correct, the rules no longer apply to you. Then you can be as shady and dishonest as you want, because for some, the ends justify the means. And watch out for those ends. They will get us in the end.

So from Newsweek we have another solid example of opinion disguised as news. From Michelle Malkin, we have another shining example of why the brain-dead weasels on the Left hate her. The nerve of that woman, exposing the facts that Newsweek didn't want us to know!

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Memorial Project Superintendent lies about receiving threats

Blogburst logo, petition

Joanne Hanley, superintendent of the Flight 93 Memorial Project, cannot answer the damning facts about the crescent design (now called a broken circle), so she has decided to slander the people who are pointing them out. In a speech at the Memorial Project's August 2nd meeting, she cited a list of "threats" she had received from critics, saying for instance that her "career would be destroyed."

In defense of Superintendent Hanley, Flight 93 family member Calvin Wilson expressed his disgust at the violent threats and charged that critics were acting like the terrorists themselves. Three Pennsylvania newspapers covered Hanley's claims to have been threatened, one editorialized against the uncivilized critics, and a Memorial Project press release highlighted Wilson's outraged response to the supposed threats.

It is all a lie. Here is the Letter to the Editor that Alec Rawls just sent to the duped Pennsylvania newspapers, exposing Superintendent Hanley's deception:

A warning is not a threat. A warning is to protect against a threat.

As the lead organizer of the movement to stop the crescent design, I can tell you who made the statements that Superintendent Hanley was complaining about. I recognized every one of the phrases she cited as coming from myself. It is ME who Joanne Hanley is accusing of making threats, an accusation that is not just false, but grotesquely dishonest.

What Joanne Hanley is casting as threats were WARNINGS, trying to alert her to the threat posed by architect Paul Murdoch and his scheme to plant a giant Mecca-oriented crescent on the Flight 93 crash site. This is one of Superintendent Hanley’s excuses for refusing to heed warnings about the crescent design. She pretends that warnings are threats and hence SHOULD NOT be listened to.

When I couldn’t get Hanley to look to the facts for the country’s sake, I tried to appeal to her instinct for self-preservation, warning her of the personal consequences of Murdoch’s attempt to stab a terrorist memorial mosque into the heartland of America. (That is the meaning of a crescent that Muslims face into to face Mecca: it is the central feature of a mosque.)

As I put it in a March 2006 email to both Superintendent Hanley and Project Manager Jeff Reinbold:
I have been trying to save your lives and your careers for six months. It is not too late for you. You can still do your jobs and investigate the basic facts I have warned you about, like the Mecca-orientation of Murdoch's original Crescent of embrace, and the continued presence of Murdoch's original crescent in the redesign.
Shortly after this email, Joanne Hanley told me why she was not concerned about the almost-exact Mecca orientation of the giant crescent. In a conference call with Jeff Reinbold, she told me that: “It isn’t exact. That’s one we talked about. It has to be exact.” (The giant crescent points 1.8° north of Mecca, ± .1°.)

If she had admitted to the public what she was admitting in private—that the giant crescent does indeed point almost exactly to Mecca—it would have been okay. The people of Pennsylvania would be able to decide for themselves whether a giant Mecca-oriented crescent makes an acceptable memorial to the victims of Islamic terrorism, so long as it does not point EXACTLY at Mecca. Instead, the Memorial Project decided instead to deceive the public, sending an academic fraud from the University of Texas to assure the press that there is no such thing as the direction to Mecca:
Daniel Griffith, a geospatial information sciences professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, said anything can point toward Mecca, because the earth is round. [Post Gazette, “Flight 93 memorial draws a new round of criticism,” August 18, 2007.]
Just as I warned Superintendent Hanley that her career was in jeopardy, I also warned Dr. Griffith that his career would be destroyed if he did not correct this blatant disinformation. Like Hanley, Griffith too interpreted my warning as a threat, as if it would be ME who was responsible for the harm to his reputation, when he was covering up evidence of an enemy plot by lying about basic geometry, pretending that there is no direction between two points on planet earth.

In spite of the Memorial Project’s active cover-up of Murdoch’s plot, I continued to treat Superintendent Hanley as what she is: a fellow countryman aboard a hijacked airplane who is in need of rescue. As I put it in another email to Superintendent Hanley last November:
I don’t want you to be hurt here. There is only one bad guy in this story: Paul Murdoch. I want to help everyone else get off of this hijacked airplane. … I am not your enemy. I am your friend. I am the one who has been trying to save you, for two damned years, and I still am, despite your persistent public slanders against me.
Is it even POSSIBLE to be clearer? A warning is not a threat. A warning is to protect someone from a threat, as my communications spelled out over and over. For Joanne Hanley to pretend that these warnings about the threat she is facing were threats in themselves is deliberate dishonesty. For her to tell Calvin Wilson that these attempts to protect her from Murdoch’s plot were violent threats against her, prompting Wilson to use his status as a family member to attack critics on this dishonest basis, is even worse.

Joanne Hanley is not the only person I am warning. Every Pennsylvanian is aboard this hijacked airplane. How can the newspapers of Pennsylvania let stand a fraudulent claim that there is no such thing as the direction to Mecca? How can the educated people of Pennsylvania, the math teachers, the college students, the politicians, let such a fraud stand, when every one of you knows that Muslims face Mecca for prayer?

If Pennsylvanians continue to be willfully blind to easily verifiable evidence of an enemy plot in your own back yard, history will not be kind to you.

Alec Rawls

Palo Alto CA

August 12, 2008

Morality requires trust in truth

Imagine if one of the passengers on Flight 93 was told that if they did not retake the airplane, they would be killed when the terrorists flew the airplane into a building. If the passenger was Joanne Hanley, she would say: "Stop threatening me!"

Any excuse to avoid the truth, no matter how nonsensical or even suicidal. A photo-negative of the fighting spirit of Flight 93.

Asked by Pilate to account for himself, Jesus answered: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” (Jn. 18:37.) Jesus wasn’t a witness for the truth only sometimes, or only about matters of salvation. He proceeded from the factual truth of every situation that crossed his path, and called upon the rest of us to similarly trust in truth.

Secular moral reason demands the same thing. Anyone who thinks that it can somehow be right or in their interest to avoid or suppress the truth will through that avoidance of the truth become divorced from reality, with the inevitable effect that their ideas about what is right or in their interest can only be wrong. This is the irrationality of the Memorial Project. They proceed on the assumption that the crescent design is innocent, while self-consciously covering up evidence that it is not.

This malfeasance puts the rest of our society to the test. All of the people who we pay to check and report the facts: government, academia and the media, are all desperately trying to suppress the truth. That leaves it up to the rest of us to witness and communicate the truth about Murdoch's plot. (Some basic facts, and how to verify them for yourself, posted here.)

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Monday, August 11, 2008


If the victims in Zimbabwe, Tibet, Darfur, Myanmar, or any other country where innocent citizens are now facing rape, death, starvation, slavery, or any combination of those undesirable conditions want the world to care about them and offer any help at all, here is what they must do. They must declare themselves Palestinians. They must also claim they are being targeted for extermination by an oppressive Zionist regime. It worked for Middle East Arabs, there's no reason why it can't work for others. There is a difference however. People in Zimbabwe, Tibet, Darfur, and Myanmar really have been oppressed. They are suffering at the hands of tyrants, thugs, and murderers. The Arabs in the Middle East who have conned the world into calling them Palestinians and who have had money showered upon them for the past 60 years are oppressors in victim's clothing. They are oppressors of Israel and of their own people.

If Israel was truly the neighborhood bully that its enemies claim it is, nobody would be condemning the Israelis. I just figured that out today by reading this post at The BIDINOTTO BLOG (linked to by way of American Digest).
Why won't the West help Georgia -- say, by immediately admitting the nation to NATO?

How to explain the West's impotent tsk-tsking in the face of this latest Russian aggression?

The answer lies in what I call the "anticipatory capitulation" factor.

The greatest terror of postmodern Westerners is "confrontation": to be compelled into situations in which they must actually face down a bully. And, of course, taking a moral stand may sometimes lead to such "confrontations."

So, in anticipation of any course of action that could possibly lead to a "confrontation," postmoderns never take a moral stand. They look into the future, at where such a stand might lead them -- and, terrified by the prospect, they back down pre-emptively. Often, they seek some sort of "compromise" with thugs that takes the "confrontation" option off the table. "Compromise" here means: anticipatory capitulation.

This is the policy that Border's Books, Comedy Central, and the entire MSM adopted when contemplating even a hypothetical "confrontation" with Islamists who might become angry about their circulation of those Muhammad cartoons: They capitulated and refused to publish the cartoons, in mere anticipation of a possible showdown.
and more importantly,
Bullies, of course, can always smell fear: It's their special talent. They accurately perceive the cowardice that underlies responses of whining, pleading, dithering, and mollycoddling, and know that they will confront no barriers on the paths of aggression.
Besides Russia, Islamists have also been getting away with murder. Besides the acts of preemptive surrender already mentioned, what have we done about Iran over the past 29 or so years since the Iranians declared war on us by taking over our embassy? How many Americans have they killed since? What about facing down Hezbollah? It hasn't happened, has it? They've created themselves a comfortable terrorist state within a state in Lebanon. The world watched and continued to condemn Israel.

Now that we know that bullies, even little bullies, will be allowed to push the rest of the world around, I wonder what would have happened had Israel not sued for peace following their victory in the 1967 six-day war. Let's imagine instead, that they did all of the horrible things that they've been accused of, like removing all of the Arabs from Gaza and the West Bank (and just to be safe, from Israel), and the Sinai, and just kept it all and developed it all. Let's say they flipped the rest of the world the bird and told the UN and anyone else who tried to stick their nose in, that it was none of anyone's business.

Then what if they'd hunted down Arafat and all PLO members wherever they could be found, again daring the world to do anything about it? What if they'd threatened their neighbors with anihilation if they made a wrong move? They'd be a real bully, like the Islamic and Russian ones we're facing today. They could face down their enemies and even be aggressive without worrying about consequences. But they'd be bigger and more ruthless, less trying to appeal to morality and more trying to create fear.

We have to face the fact that the world is an immoral place. There are only a few islands of attempted morality on this Earth and Israel is one of them. That's why the scenario I suggested had no chance of happening. That's also why Israel is always facing an existential threat.

Being Jewish and being chained to their particular moral stance, Israel will always be the scapegoat. It's one of the ways the world can avoid facing the real bullies and still hold its collective head up.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Freedom of Speech?

Random House has declined to publish a novel by writer, Sherry Jones. It was called The Jewel of Medina. It was about Mohammed's child bride, Aisha. In a cowardly act of self-censorship, Random House dumped the novel after word got around to Muslim websites.
Random House said yesterday that it had been advised by a number of Islamic scholars and security experts that the novel was offensive to Muslims and that "it could incide acts of violence by a small radical segment".
There they area again, that "small radical segment", making all of those fabled moderate Muslims seem like they're nothing but a bunch of demented barbaric savages. I'm not sure it was something I would have read, well actually, I'm sure I would have ignored it.
The novel is a luridly written amalgam of bodice-ripper and historical fiction centred on Aisha, the favourite wife of the prophet Muhammad. "Married at nine to the much-older Muhammad, Aisha uses her wits, her courage, and her sword to defend her first-wife status even as Muhammad marries again and again, taking 12 wives and concubines in all," the summary reads.

At one point the novel imagines the consummation of the marriage between Muhammad and Aisha: "The pain of consummation soon melted away. Muhammad was so gentle. I hardly felt the scorpion's sting. To be in his arms, skin to skin, was the bliss I had longed for all my life."
"It was my hope that my book would develop empathy for this other culture," she said. "It has always rankled me the way history focuses on men and wars and men's politics and leaves women out. I wanted to honour the women in Muhammad's life by giving them a voice."
That was her first mistake, trying to give Muslim women a voice. Muslim men have have kept that impulse under control for 1300 years. Women are not to be honored, they're to be used . . . by men. That doesn't mean the book should be censored. Unfortunately, having given up all of our beliefs, we become slaves to anyone who does have strong beliefs and is willing to impose them on us. Who's going to battle the "small radical segment" on this one? Not Random House.

But Muslims aren't the only wants out to stifle freedom of speech. There is also a group calling themselves Accountable Americans. Michelle Malkin has the skinny on these thugs. They call Republicans fascists, but they use strong arm, Mafia tactics to shut down contrasting political views.

I'd like to say that attacks on free speech are coming from all sides, but they're only coming from one, just different heads of the same tyrannical monster. If they ever do win against us, the leftist tools will be quickly dealt with by their Islamic masters.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

I can't add much to what's already been written upon the death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I remember the hoopla surrounding his exile to the United States back in the 70's. I remember people writing about his books. I even read one, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I'm sure that's the one that most other people read who only read one of Solzhenitzyn's books. It's short. But it's a great book. I reread it about a year ago. I got the greater appreciation of it that comes with age, experience, and the knowledge that, although it is a work of fiction, it's based on facts that he and millions of Russians had lived through, and that others still live through today, whether in Russia, or one of the other tyrannies on this planet. I also remember reading an interview with him. He said the book was based on a good day in the gulag. We wouldn't be able to stand reading about a bad day.

Over at American Digest, there's a link to Solzhenitsyn's 1978 Harvard commencement speech. It packs quite a punch. He didn't think the American mall culture was all that great. Living only to hoard vast quantities of merchandise was not his idea of a life well spent. He also condemned the lack of courage in our elites.
A Decline in Courage [. . .]

may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party and of course in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course there are many courageous individuals but they have no determining influence on public life. Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity and perplexity in their actions and in their statements and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. And decline in courage is ironically emphasized by occasional explosions of anger and inflexibility on the part of the same bureaucrats when dealing with weak governments and weak countries, not supported by anyone, or with currents which cannot offer any resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.

Should one point out that from ancient times decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end?
no weapons, no matter how powerful, can help the West until it overcomes its loss of willpower. In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal.
From 1978 until today I think things have only gotten worse. Facing the Islamofacists, many of our leaders, our MSM, and our intellectual elites have gone even further into their default mode of preemtive surrender. Those of us who refuse to submit are marginalized. We're called racists, Islamophobes and worse. Much like the image of the terrorist is softened by referring to Hamas and Hezbollah as "militants" and "extremists", we who try to get our leaders to fight against them (or at least call them by their proper title) get also get labeled as extremists. Somehow, sitting at a computer writing about the dehumanizing aspects of Sharia law and questioning why so many in the West are submitting to the demands of a theocratic, totalitarian movement firmly lodged in a seventh century desert culture, makes us the equivalent of Islamic murderers of infidel women and children.

Back when I was young, and manufacturing jobs were being lost to automation, many writers,(including Eric Hoffer, which proves that nobody is 100% right) predicted that people would now have more time to devote to study and would be able to make time for science, history, philosophy, and the general improvement of the intellect and the soul. Who could have predicted that with so many "great shows" to watch on TV, that there wouldn't be as much time for self-improvement as we thought?

Right now, I'm near the end of Tacitus' Histories. In it, he relates the period of civil wars between the death of Nero and the ascension of Vespasian to the post of Emperor. In between those two, there were three other very short-term emperors who ruled for as long as their loyalists could keep them in power. The whole period was about a year long. One of Tacitus' themes in this work, and apparently it's echoed by other ancient historians, is that extended periods of peace make us weak and lazy. He gives examples of Roman legions being given too much freedom or too much laxity, and then being useless in battle, or worse, becoming whiners, not willing to do their jobs, attacking their commanders, and degenerating into mobs. According to Gibbon, if I remember correctly, this period of history is shortly after the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire.

So we don't want to fight for our own freedom. We want to shop for goofy stuff, as shown in this post at Pen of Jen, and hope that all of the bad things go away by themselves (or maybe if we are really good, and we vote correctly in November, the Obamessiah will create a progressive utopia for all of us).

Personally, I prefer peace. I've changed though. I understand now, as I didn't understand very well as a young punk, that there are times when you do have to stand up and fight for what you believe in, because if you don't, someone will take valuable things away from you, you know, things like liberty, freedom, and perhaps your life. I understand that we in the United States do have enemies that want to destroy us in the worst way and that we have to defend ourselves against them. I understand that we, like other western nations have lost some of the moral clarity that allows us to do what we need to do. Look what's happening in Canada. They are slowly, in the name of multiculturalism and freedom from insult, knuckling under to the demands of the Islamists in their midst.

Has peace and the greatest prosperity in the history of mankind caused us to lose our spiritual way? The following quote is another piece of Solzhenitsyn's speech, but Tacitus might agree with it.
If humanism were right in declaring that man is born to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most out of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one's life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it. It is imperative to review the table of widespread human values. Its present incorrectness is astounding. It is not possible that assessment of the President's performance be reduced to the question of how much money one makes or of unlimited availability of gasoline. Only voluntary, inspired self-restraint can raise man above the world stream of materialism.
I admit, I want stuff. I want specific stuff, but it's still stuff. I want books. I could spend a huge amount of money on the books I want. I could spend another huge amount on the CD's that I want. I don't need them, but I want them. It's an aspect of my life I have to examine.

Solzhenitsyn has given me a lot to think about. At some point, when I have a few extra dollars in my pocket, I'm going to pick up a used copy of The Gulag Archipelago. They're all over the place in every used book store I visit. I've seen them all the time for years, but like everyone else, I paid no attention to the book until the death of the author put it back in the public eye. I imagine it was due to the size of the book, but a lot of people who bought it, dumped it without reading it. That's good for me because I'll be able to get a nice used copy cheap and have many hours of reading pleasure. And I think it's a book worth owning so I can justify buying it. It's not just stuff. It's a twentieth century classic by a Nobel prize winning author and man who demonstrated more bravery and fortitude than I hope I ever have to demonstrate.

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Flight 93 Families Divided

Blogburst logo, petition Tom Burnett Sr. entered the lion's den on Saturday to oppose the crescent memorial to Flight 93 (now called a broken circle). An excerpt from the beginning of the Somerset Daily American's banner headline story about division amongst the families:
"Tom Burnett Jr. led the effort to take the plane back," his father said. "When I was on the design jury, I saw the red crescent of embrace and realized it was an obvious and blatant symbol of Islam. It does not properly honor our people — those Flight 93 heroes. I think it's a travesty that it's moved along so fast." He called for an investigation into the design. When he has brought up his concerns, some of the task force and advisory commission members have dismissed him, he said. "This is a cataclysmic mistake," he said. "I'm going to save you from yourselves. I'd like to ask for an unbiased, transparent, honest investigation. This is just a terrible, terrible mistake. I'm asking every American — we must stop this mistake. This panel doesn't own the design, I don't own it, Pennsylvania doesn't own it, all of America and all of the world own it." He said he is also tired of the controversy, but that they must honor the heroes properly. It will reverberate in history. "I'm not going to stop fighting this thing, it is very, very bad," Burnett said. "Wake up. Get your heads out of the sand."
Other Flight 93 family members roared back. What is usually a three hour quarterly meeting of the Memorial Project stretched to five hours as over twenty people signed up to speak on both sides. One side wants scrutiny. The other is desperate to avoid it. The pattern at the meeting was simple and consistent. Critics of the crescent design pointed out damning facts and called for independent investigation. Defenders of the broken circle insisted that there is nothing to investigate, and cried out for critics of the design to stop putting them through this agony. If the claims of the critics are not accurate, independent investigation would end the agony. If the crescent/broken-circle does not actually point within two degrees of Mecca, then put this explosive claim to rest by showing where the crescent does point. If there are not actually to be 44 inscribed translucent blocks emplaced along the flight path (matching the number of passengers, crew, and terrorists), it is a simple matter of opening up the design drawings and counting. If the defenders of the crescent had truth on their side, they would be eager to have it exposed. Unfortunately for them, the giant crescent does point to Mecca, and somehow they don't want the public to know it. Todd Beamer's father is on the side of the crescent? The highest profile defender of the crescent design was Mr. David Beamer, whose son Todd issued the "Let's roll" signal to re-take Flight 93. Mr. Beamer, beloved by conservatives for his opposition to Congressman Murtha, had not previously taken a public position on the crescent design. He has apparently gotten involved in fundraising for the memorial, and announced at the meeting that he has undertaken two months of due diligence, looking into criticisms of the design. Listeners expected Mr. Beamer to continue with a report on his fact-checking efforts, but he did not have a single word to say about any of the claims that Mr. Rawls and Mr. Burnett have put forward, launching instead into an extended condemnation of Alec Rawls for his "obsessive" persistence. If he found that the giant crescent does not point to Mecca, surely he would have said so. Similarly for the terrorist memorializing block count, or the placement of the 9/11 date in the exact position of the star on an Islamic crescent and star flag. What better way to be rid of this dastardly Rawls fellow than to expose his claims as a fraud? Mr. Beamer's silence about what he found speaks volumes, and not just about the crescent design. Who could fact check these claims and then be silent about his findings? Don't look at the design drawings! Every defender of the crescent had his own scheme of evasion and obfuscation. Patrick White, Vice President of Families of Flight 93, took Alec Rawls to task for holding up a 2005 graphic of the top of the Tower of Voices, where an Islamic shaped crescent soars in the sky above the symbolic lives of the 40 heroes. This old graphic should not be taken as indicative of the current design Mr. White suggested, as the design has evolving for three years now. Yet the exact same graphic was brought to the meeting by the Memorial Project itself, and was on display right outside the courtroom where the meeting was held. That's going to make some great video, as will one particularly scurrilous attack on Mr. Burnett, and the victim card played by Project Superintendent Joanne Hanley. Several videographers will be sending raw footage, which Alec will start putting together when he returns to California next week. Big enough to check the facts yet? How big does the conflict have to get before some major media outlet is willing to do their jobs and actually check the facts for themselves? David Dunbar and Brad Reagan of Popular Mechanics were willing to fact-check the "9/11 truth" morons, finding that most of their evidence is deliberately taken out of context, and that none of their claims stand up to the least bit of scrutiny. Come on PM. If we are a bunch of frauds then we are just as much in need of debunking. We've even got Flight 93 family members at loggerheads and crying out for relief. What are you waiting for? (A handy dandy list of damning facts to check here.) To join our blogbursts, just send your blog's url.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Do We Really Want Canadian Style Health Care?

According to this article by David Gratzer, Canadian health care does not sound like something I want.
Back in the 1960s, Castonguay chaired a Canadian government committee studying health reform and recommended that his home province of Quebec — then the largest and most affluent in the country — adopt government-administered health care, covering all citizens through tax levies.

The government followed his advice, leading to his modern-day moniker: "the father of Quebec medicare." Even this title seems modest; Castonguay's work triggered a domino effect across the country, until eventually his ideas were implemented from coast to coast.

Four decades later, as the chairman of a government committee reviewing Quebec health care this year, Castonguay concluded that the system is in "crisis."

"We thought we could resolve the system's problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money into it," says Castonguay. But now he prescribes a radical overhaul: "We are proposing to give a greater role to the private sector so that people can exercise freedom of choice."
Wasn't health care easier and cheaper back when there was less government interference? Isn't part of the reason health care is getting so expensive and cumbersome is greater "help" from the government? How is it that so many people have become convinced that only government health care can solve the mess that more government interference has created? And who decided that health care is a right?

If health care is indeed a right, then Mosaic box sets are also a right. I am entitled to them!


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Rosie O'Donnell, Enemy of Literacy

I don't know much about Rosie O'Donnell except that she gets into arguments with other famous people like Donald Trump. From what I've read about these arguments, she seems to be thin skinned and a backstabber. I could be wrong. It's just my impression. Today, it was reported that she is ending her blog. Normally, I wouldn't care. I didn't even know she had a blog. But some if it was reprinted. This is how she writes.

earthquake in la
i flew in the night b4 the big one
january 94

b4 parker was born
i was in rehearsals for GREASE
we were opening in boston
i was needed in hollywood

as betty rubble
was shooting a macdonalds commercial
mc rib
if my mc memory is right

i was at the 4 seasons
bumped out of bed
it sounded like a runaway train
in the next room

robert klein was in the lobby
talking to the shaken concierge
"so- the mnm's rolled out of my mini bar -
will i b charged for them?"

cracking us all up at once
tension breaker
lil comedy never hurts
when u r scared
She claims to love children and pretends to be an advocate for children. But if she really wants to help, she will stop writing like an illiterate teenager, and start writing like an adult. Maybe it's because I'm a teacher, and work hard to get children to write in English, using the mechanics of English so that they can be understood, but I cringe just looking at it. I wouldn't accept her blog writing from a second grader. It's obscene for an adult who claims to want the best for children to write like that. Would she accept that from her own children? I was once even accused by a student of teaching the way I do so that my students can sound intelligent.

I didn't link to it because I find it offensive. So if you're interested, you will have to google it on your own.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

A Couple of Interesting Links

As people living at a certain time in history, we look around at all that is wrong with the world and think to ourselves that it was so much better way-back-when. The problem is that there was no way-back-when. All of the problems we face today have been faced in the past by other societies. The thing to remember is that we must keep our sense of humor. As bad as things may seem at times, you can always find laughter somewhere. The newest source is the website created by those faux commies at The People's Cube. This one is: Best Obama Facts. According to the description at the top of the page,
The living heroic legend that is Barack Obama has already broken the pop-culture record of Baghdad Bob and is now approaching that of Chuck Norris and Vladimir Putin. When even Obama's official campaign is forced to launch a fact-checking website to keep his runaway aura under control, you just know that Obama's public persona has developed a life of its own and is resisting efforts to catch it and put it on Ritalin. We thought that the best way to take control of the situation would be by using Obama's own patented method of hopeful approach to reality. So we built a radically different website: it looks like Obama's fact-checking site, only instead of chasing cowardly facts and arguing old truths that are tarnished and tedious, we invent new,sparkling-clean truths that are exciting and heroic. The beauty of this approach is that when new truths become old and tarnished, they can be easily thrown under the bus and replaced with newer and better heroic truths, ensuring Obama's glorious march towards a higher metaphysical plane of unstoppable service to humankind.
There is much more, some of it first seen at The People's Cube, and some brand new; at least I'd never seen it before.

While not nearly as humorous as the previous link (although he can provoke chuckles when he wants to), Jonah Goldberg's column on capitalism is still worth reading.
We've all witnessed the tendency to take a boon for granted. Being accustomed to a provision naturally leads the human heart to consider that provision an entitlement. Hence the not-infrequent lawsuits from prison inmates cruelly denied their rights to cable TV or apple brown betty for desert.

And so it goes, I think, with capitalism generally.

Capitalism is the greatest system ever created for alleviating general human misery, and yet it breeds ingratitude.

People ask, "Why is there poverty in the world?" It's a silly question. Poverty is the default human condition. It is the factory preset of this mortal coil. As individuals and as a species, we are born naked and penniless, bereft of skills or possessions. Likewise, in his civilizational infancy man was poor, in every sense. He lived in ignorance, filth, hunger and pain, and he died very young, either by violence or disease.

The interesting question isn't "Why is there poverty?" It's "Why is there wealth?" Or: "Why is there prosperity here but not there?"

At the end of the day, the first answer is capitalism, rightly understood. That is to say: free markets, private property, the spirit of entrepreneurialism and the conviction that the fruits of your labors are your own.

So go get some laughs and go be better informed. The world's troubles will remain, or they will be traded for new ones. We can still care about them, but if you don't laugh sometimes you will go nuts.

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