Friday, June 30, 2006

Check Out "Changing Times"

"Changing Times." Wow. Check this out over at HotAir.

Let me know what you think.

Protest at New York Times

Michelle Malkin has informed her readers of a protest at the New York Times building.
There are details posted now at Free Republic.
Protest the New York Times Revealing of U.S. Secrets, Monday, July 10, 5 p.m.
We have a sound permit, and we will be across the street from the New York
Times. They are at 229 West 43rd Street.

The groups on board so far are Free Republic, Caucus for America, the Congress for Racial Equality, and Protest Warrior, NYC Chapter. We have reached out to several other groups as well, and are waiting to hear back from them.

Some high-visibility media people are interested in speaking at the protest. More information will be coming on this as we gather groups and speakers.

So hold the date! If you have been as sick about the Times's unconscionable blabbing of our classified information as the rest of those who care about the nation, now is your chance to do something to make your outrage heard.

Background information: The New York Times has earned the ire of many Americans for publishing classified information which the government specifically requested it not print. Last Thursday, June 22, it plastered the story on its webpage that the Treasury Department was working with the CIA to examine money-transfers to track terrorists, followed by a front page story on Friday, June 23. The L.A. Times and the Wall Street Journal followed suit and published stories on Friday also, after the NYTimes broke the story. This alerted terrorists as to which accounts they should be particularly careful about, which means less opportunity for the U.S. government to find them before they hurt others. Therefore, some groups will be protesting the NY Times next week.

Deep-ocean oil exploration


Deep-ocean oil exploration
America has been blessed with vast oil and natural gas reserves, Heritage’s Ben Lieberman reports, many of them underwater, miles off America’s shores.
These deep-ocean reserves, studies show, could supply several years of energy consumption, but environmental restrictions imposed in the 1990s mean that 85
percent of these areas are off-limits to exploration or drilling.

In fact, Canada already allows offshore drilling, and even Cuba may get into the
game—just 45 miles from American shores, using technologies that are less
advanced than anything an American company would have access to.

As Lieberman reports in a separate paper, “America stands alone in the world as the only nation that has placed a substantial amount of it domestic oil and natural gas potential off-limits.” He concludes that one bill recently introduced in the House, the
Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act of 2006, “would allow increases in the supply of
domestic oil and gas and thereby improve the prospects for a more affordable
energy future.”

It's a shame that Canada and Cuba can take advantage of our natural resources, but we cannot. Technology exists now to extract oil and gas much more cleanly, thus better able to preserve the natural environment. With constant turmoil in the Middle East, perhaps it is time to make better use of our natural resources here, while planning for long-term energy alternatives.

H.R. 4761, a bill "to provide for exploration, development, and production activities for mineral resources on the outer Continental Shelf, and for other purposes" was on the floor of the House this evening (Wednesday, June 29). There may be status updates soon.

Here is the text of H.R. 4761.
Here is the status of H.R. 4761.
Here is information regarding H.R. 4761 from the Congressional Budget Office.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gaza and Chemical Weapons

A Reuter's report, "Gaza militants say fired chemical-tipped warhead" was posted last night.

Israeli representatives have stated that they have no evidence at this time that that has occurred.

Regardless, what can be going on in their heads? Do Palestinians really want to escalate tensions that much? What is Israel supposed to think or do when militants claim to have chemical/biological weapons and demonstrate a desire to use them?

Forget individual suicide missions. It seems militants in Gaza want the whole of their people to commit suicide.

Father Jonathan Visits with Prostitutes

As Father Jonathan Morris continued his visit in Germany, a waitress at the hotel at which he was staying questioned him regarding his business there. He explained that he and his team were in Germany to do a story on human trafficking and legal prostitution in relation to the World Cup. She forced a smile and walked away.

Later, she returned.
“Okay, I’ll talk with you." That’s all she said.

A half an hour later she was weeping. “I made a big mistake. I will be a shame for my children.”

She went on to tell me the harrowing story of her departure from Russia. She was poor, but her parents were good and ordinary folk. In a moment of youthful rebellion and a healthy desire for self-improvement, she agreed to go with a group of her friends to work in Germany. They were told they would be dancers. In the back of her mind, Shasha knew it might not be pretty.

It wasn’t. When she arrived in Munich she was placed in an apartment with seven other girls. Her passport was taken. She danced, but she was only paid for her extra work. It was prostitution. She recalled how she cried every day for two years, and still cries. “I wanted to go home, but I couldn’t. Or maybe I could, but I didn’t know how. I was afraid, above all, for my parents.” She wouldn’t say more. Shasha was eventually released to return to Russia, after pleading with her employers to allow her to visit her sick parents.

A month later she was back in Germany, but this time on her own and determined to make an honest living. “It’s very hard…very, very hard. Here I work too much, but I don’t cry." Shasha knows her past will never leave her mind. She has not decided if she will marry or have children.

Notice she was hired to be a dancer. But her passport was taken (doesn't that keep her there against her will?), and she was not paid for the dancing. (isn't that called slavery when someone doesn't get paid for their work?) She had to prostitute herself to obtain money for basic needs. But, of course, prostitution is legal in Germany and empowers women, so it must all be in her head, I guess.

Next, Father Jonathan visited a brothel to speak with one of the girls.
“Coco” was from the former Yugoslavia. My conversation with her was much different, and it wasn’t because the camera was on. Mr. Kruneich, the manager of the brothel and her boss, stood by her side. She answered my questions with one or two words and she knew precisely what to say — and what not to say. Here’s how we began:

“You work here. Do you like it?” “Yes, I do.”

“Are you forced to be here?” I continued. “No, I want to be here.”

I tried another angle. “Do you have sisters?” “Yes, I have two."

"And are they younger than you?” She looked down. “Yes, they are."

“Do you want them to work here with you when they get older?” “No, I don’t.”

She looked at her boss. He looked at me. End of interview. There was no reason to go on.

Now, I'm assuming that the reason Mr. Kruneich was standing beside Coco the whole time was because she is a shy girl and desired moral support when talking with a stranger. What other explanation could there be?

For Father Jonathan's whole post, "World Cup Sex Industry Uncovered — Part III" click here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Father Jonathan: Shedding Light on Darkness in Germany

Father Jonathan is in Germany. He went to visit brothels there with camera crew to interview brothel owners and hopefully some of the prostitutes.

Yesterday, he was able to enter one during off hours and speak with the general manager, Edberg Kruneich. Father Jonathan's entire post can be found here. Below are some of the more salient findings from his interview with Kruneich:

He swore none of the women in his brothel are forced to be there, but admitted
human trafficking of women into Germany was “probably real.”

He said pimps don't control any of his prostitutes, but admitted male “friends” drop off and pick up some of the women each day.

He promised me the women he employed like their job, but admitted they never stay long.

He claimed he was in no way promoting marriage infidelity, but admitted the vast majority of his clients were either married or engaged. “Single men don't come here,” were his words.

He insisted his brothel was not targeting soccer fans, but admitted they had been very “lucky” in these days. He added business is up more than 100% with an average of 500 men per evening.

He proposed that prostitution is a personal career choice, but when I asked whether he would encourage his two college-aged daughters (of which he had spoken to me proudly) to work at his brothel if they found themselves in a tight financial situation, he looked down. "No, no, no."

Edberg Kruneich seems fairly open, true. However, there are a lot of mixed responses, aren't there?

Previous post on related topics:
Hollywood Actress and Bush Administration against Human Trafficking
Slavery in the United States
Human Trafficking Continues

What a Sick-o!

Did you see this story? I've heard of some sick things, but this is seriously warped.

A Corpus Christi, TX woman received a package and letter from an ex-boyfriend. The package contained a severed human finger.

Police said a letter was enclosed, stating -- quote -- "This is the last chance to touch you."

The 32-year-old woman filed for an emergency protective order from the 34-year-old man last week before receiving the package.

And not a moment too soon! It looks like breaking up with this guy was the first smart thing this gal has done in a long time. However, I'm not sure the restraining order is going to work in a case with someone this demented. Statistically, a woman is in the most danger when she leaves an abusive or controlling relationship, and I have a friend whose sister was murdered by an ex-boyfriend who decided if he couldn't have her no one could. Still, it's a risk one has to take rather than live a lifetime of hell-on-earth.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

On Anonymity and Free Speech

In recent months, great differences of opinions in the Delaware blogosphere have resulted in threats being made toward two DCBA members of "outing" them. Sadly, information regarding Delathought's place of employment was posted, and this blogger has wiped his site. One more conservative voice has been silenced, and Delaware has lost a good blogger.

In response to these developments, some members of the DCBA have published two posts: "DCBA Statement on Blogosphere Anonymity" and "Free Speech for Me, but Not for Thee".

Worldwide Concerns about Cannabis Usage

According to the 2006 United Nations World Drug Report, cannabis in the form of marijuana or hashish is the most commonly used drug in the world. Approximately four percent of the world's adult population used cannabis in 2004, and cannabis use is growing all around the globe. In the U.S., eleven percent of the adult population over twelve years of age uses cannabis regularly, with a high concentration of users falling in the under twenty-five crowd.

According to the U.N.:

Two types of cannabis are produced in the world drug market. Production of cannabis herb (marijuana) is widely dispersed. Cannabis resin (hashish) is produced in about 40 countries in the world...

The type of cannabis most popular in the world and in North America is herbal cannabis which comes from the leaves and flowers of the plant and is called marijuana. On the other hand, cannabis resin, which is most popular in Europe, is the pressed secretions of the plant and is called hashish.

Countries have difficulty estimating use accurately because cannabis can be grown easily in virtually any country, indoors or out. Even when grown out of doors, the plant can be interspersed with others, making detection by authorities difficult. "Unlike other illicit drugs, users can, and do, cultivate their own supply, and so production is diffuse." Estimates of cannabis use must therefore be extrapolated from seizures.

As it turns out, cannabis is not a relatively harmless drug, as it has often been portrayed. The plant itself has been altered over the last several decades, and much is still unknown about this drug. The United Nations report warns:

There are two sets of developments that should cause policymakers to re-think their positions on cannabis. One is a doubling of potency in sinsemilla cannabis (consisting of the unfertilised buds of the female plant) and a growing market share for this drug. The second is recent research indicating that the health risks associated with cannabis consumption may have been underestimated in the past. The two trends may be related: as high-potency cannabis grows in popularity, the risks of consumption may have been thrown into high relief.

Since the 1970s, cannabis breeders in North America and Europe have been working to create more potent cannabis, and the market for high-potency, indoor-produced sinsemilla appears to be growing in many key consumption countries. Sinsemilla potency has increased dramatically in the last decade in the United States, Canada, and Netherlands – the three countries at the vanguard of cannabis breeding and production technology – and there are indications that its market share is growing in many others.

While more research is required to determine the impact of this ‘new’ cannabis, there has been an increase of acute health episodes, with the number of people complaining of ‘unexpected effects’ of consuming cannabis in emergency rooms increasing in the United States. Similarly, in parallel, there has been a growth of rehabilitation demand by those seeking help with cannabis problems in the United States and Europe.

In addition, the most recent research indicates that the health risks of using cannabis have been underestimated in the past. About 9 per cent of those who try cannabis find themselves unable to stop using the drug. Cannabis has been linked to precipitating psychosis in vulnerable individuals, and aggravating its symptoms in diagnosed schizophrenics. Cannabis can also produce negative acute effects, including panic attacks, paranoia, and psychotic symptoms.

Despite the popular perception that the risks of cannabis are widely understood, new research indicates that there is still much to be learned about the drug. At the same time, cannabis itself is changing, and more potent forms of the drug are growing in popularity.
Note: All italics are mine.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has published its 2006 World Drug Report on the internet for easy access in pdf files. In Volume 1, not only do they mention cannabis in chapter one with other illicit drugs, but they feature cannabis in the whole second chapter. The executive summary also contains a section entitled, "Cannabis: Why We Should Care", which may be the best place to start for an overall view.

Useful links:

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
World Drug Report 2006: Executive Summary
World Drug Report 2006- Volume 1: Analysis
World Drug Report 2006- Volume 2: Statistics

Parents: The Anti-Drug section on marijuana
FoxNews story

Monday, June 26, 2006

Deluge in Sussex and Eastern Shore

Yesterday Sussex County, Delaware and parts of the Eastern Shore of Maryland were deluged. In Georgetown, DE over eight inches of rain fell. In Laurel, there were almost six inches and in Bridgeville, seven. Federalsburg, MD, west of Seaford, saw over eleven inches.

Many roads and bridges flooded out, and some people have been evacuated from their homes. Cars could be seen floating in some areas, at times with people trapped within. Firemen helped with rescue and evacuation efforts, while the American Red Cross established shelters.

Three stories from the News Journal can be accessed here, here, and here.

Please join with me in prayer, lifting up these people as they return to their homes and evaluate the damage.

In Their Own Words

It seems that many people were surprised by the discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I cannot for the life of me imagine why. This was something that was understood to be true before the War on Terror began. If for no other reason, we knew because our President, Bill Clinton, had told us so. As did his national security adviser, Sandy Berger. And Secretary of State, Madeline Albright. And several U.S. Senators and Representatives.

A list of quotes from those in the know before 9/11 appeared at in "What Did The Democrats Say About Iraq's WMD". Here is a partial sampling in case anyone has forgotten (there are many more from after 9/11 also):
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." - President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998 Source

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." - President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998 Source

"We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction." -Madeline Albright, Feb 1, 1998 Source

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." - Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998 Source

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."Letter to President Clinton. - (D) Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, others, Oct. 9, 1998 Source

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass
destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." - Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998 Source

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies." - Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999 Source

Also worth rereading is a transcript of Bill Clinton's explanation in December 1998 of our air strikes against Iraq. Here is a small part:

CLINTON: Good evening.
Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the
interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world. Saddam
Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear
arms, poison gas or biological weapons.

I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish.

Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM. They are highly professional experts from dozens of countries. Their job is to oversee the elimination of Iraq's capability to retain, create and use weapons of mass destruction, and to
verify that Iraq does not attempt to rebuild that capability.

The inspectors undertook this mission first 7.5 years ago at the end of the Gulf War when Iraq agreed to declare and destroy its arsenal as a condition of the ceasefire.
The international community had good reason to set this requirement. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly.
Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not
only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again...

It seems silly to me to have to put these quotes on my blog, but it seems that there is so much denial that we need to be reminded again and again. President Bush was utilizing the same intelligence reports as President Clinton and his administration had. President Bush.Didn't.Lie.

End of story.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

True Bias

For the past few weeks, Christopher Taylor (Word around the Net) has been examining bias in the media--what it isn't and what it is. This is his final installment.

Mr. Taylor has examined three types of bias:
  • Acceptable Bias
  • Unintended Bias
  • Deliberate Bias
There are times, he admits, when it is reasonable to be biased. For example, we are biased towards good and beauty and biased against evil and cruelty. Other times, the media, and all people for that matter, may be guilty of unintended bias which comes from our personal perspective and underlying beliefs of which we may not even be aware.

Last is deliberate bias. Sadly, Mr. Taylor was able to find links to far too many examples of pre-meditated bias in non-opinion articles. Fortunately, as he pointed out, most reporters have more professionalism than that, but there are true instances of manipulation of quotes, pictures, and the like, which show a complete lack of objectivity on the part of the "reporter".

But that's all you'll get from me. You'll have to check out the link and see what you think for yourself.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

New Disease: IEP

There's a new disease-- IED. No, it's not Improvised Explosive Device. It's Intermittent Explosive Disorder. If you have done any of the following at least three times in your life, you may suffer from IED:

* Exhibited angry outbursts disproportionate to the situation
* Damaged yours or someone else's property in a fit of rage
* Threatened anyone or acted aggressively in response to stress

And all this time I thought these people just needed to get a grip.

Well, apparently, Dr. William Campbell Douglass II, M.D. thinks so too. Read about it here.

So I ask you, do we really need to label every moral failing a disease and drug people accordingly or should we hold people accountable for their actions?

Lazy Ramadi Link

I hadn't seen this music video by a couple of U.S. soldiers in Iraq before now. John Hawkins at RightWingNews linked to it. It's called "Lazy Ramadi", and it's pretty entertaining.

Friday, June 23, 2006

An Interesting This Site

Recently my site was linked over at makotokan as one of the right-wing bloggers to misquote Al Gore and damage his credibility. While greatly appreciating that he remained civil, I have to say that I disagree with his assertions.

He says:

Note the question: “Do you scare people or give them hope?” Gore was responding to the question of how best to approach global warming, and he answered that it’s best, depending on your audience, to focus on the dangers first, before talking about solutions.

It’s an interesting case study in the exceptional aptitude of humans to deceive themselves. Right wing bloggers seized on this quote because it justified their beliefs. Those in the middle saw it and questioned Gore’s reliability as a source. The speed of the Information Autobahn just perpetuated this misinformation.

Now, the damage is done.

Where to start?

First, "it’s best, depending on your audience, to focus on the dangers first, before talking about solutions." Or, in other words, it's best to scare them by "an over-representation of factual presentations." Got it. So, I'm not seeing how this was taken out of context, and that was certainly not my intent anyway.

Next, "to focus on the dangers first, before talking about solutions". Does this mean if we listen to Gore, we'll get to talk seriously about nuclear energy? It has been primarily the liberal side that has shut down debate over nuclear energy, even though their beloved Europe, from whom they desire to take the lead on most social issues except a partial birth abortion ban, has nuclear energy.

Thirdly, "Right wing bloggers seized on this quote because it justified their beliefs. Those in the middle saw it and questioned Gore’s reliability as a source." With all due respect, right wing bloggers seized on this quote because Al Gore was once again running off at the mouth and this time all but admitted that he was willing to fudge truth or exaggerate. As far as causing those in the middle to question Gore's reliability as a source, I think Al Gore has done that all by himself with no help from us at all. I searched for one of his funnier quotes and hit upon an author that had collected quite a number of them all in one place, making my life so much easier.

Bozell said*:

3. The Exaggeration. Now we’re getting serious. They come in two categories, political and personal....Gore’s propensity to exaggerate is personal (Tipper and I inspired "Love Story"; I swore on my sister’s death bed to fight tobacco forever; I was fired upon in Vietnam; I put city officials in jail as a newspaper reporter; I was sung to sleep with union commercial jingles.) And it is political (I "took the initiative to create the Internet"; I co-sponsored the McCain-Feingold bill; I was present at the creation of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).
There’s a smidgen of truth in all these statements, yes. But there’s also a disregard, a lack of interest, in accuracy. That clearly becomes a character issue. And when the quantity of exaggerations reaches epidemic proportions, as it has with Gore, it ought to be regarded by political observers in the press as serious stuff indeed.

4. The Bald-Faced Lie. It’s the whopper, the deliberate decision to deceive. Gore’s problem metastasized with his story placing himself at the fires in Parker County, Texas in 1996 with Federal Emergency Management Agency head James Lee Witt. Media buddies suggested it wasn’t wrong, since he’d traveled to Texas with a Witt deputy. Not so. Gore not only didn’t travel with Witt in 1996, he never went to the Parker County fires. He went to Houston, hundreds of miles away, two years later, for something else.

The Buddhist Temple story (I never knew it was a fundraiser) is another lie. And so is the Iced Tea Defense, that a White House bathroom break must have prevented him from learning what kind of fundraising calls he was making from his office.

So "Gore's reliability as a source" has been a matter of speculation for some time.

Lastly, "Now the damage is done." I assure you, Makotokan, that I am just a small fry and am, alas and alack, incapable as such of doing any real damage. However, I have enjoyed our little civil discourse and most assuredly appreciate the link. Thanks so much!

*Blogger intensely dislikes this address, I don't know why. When I provided it as a link, it refused to publish my post. When I put it here at the bottom, it published, but completely messed up the template, making it all but unreadable. So all I can say is that it is from media research and the author was Bozell back in 2000. I'm sorry. I know this is ridiculous, but this is the best I can do.

Comment Worth Repeating

In checking out the comments on Right Wing News, I saw a one that I thought worth repeating:

From the past few months, random thoughts on the attitude of the left vs.
the right:

  • Clinton told the truth about Hussein's WMD's, but Bush lied. From the very same intelligence, no less.
  • Clinton, Daschle, and Kerry all said that Hussein had WMD's back in 1998, yet that is a strawman argument as far as the left is concerned.
  • How come the left never considers John Kerry a traitor? During the campaign, Kerry said that he had a better way to fight the war, but never produced it. We must therefore conclude that Kerry actually wants us to lose and wants more soldiers to die since he is not interested in showing his superior plan.
  • If cutting-and-running is the better military option, how come Al-Qaeda never employs that technique?
  • If the left supports the military, but opposes every war we go into, then what does the left actually think is the role of the military?
  • How come Mogadishu, Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia were never quagmires?
  • Hussein profits immensly from the "Oil for Food" scandal and he gets a pass. However, if Hussein was a middle manager in Enron he would have been hung from the highest yardarm.
  • The left spends FAR more money to educate the country about innocent Iraqi civilians. Innocent Sudanese civilians, however, are never mentioned by the left.
  • Why does the left always protest against the U.S., but never against the U.N.? The left obviously wants a global government and it is obvious that they want an inefficient global government at that.
  • From Bosnia to Mogadishu, we helped more Muslims than bin Laden. Yet, we're the enemy.
  • In Bosnia, no innocent people died. In Desert Fox, no innocent people died. However under Iraqi Freedom, millions of innocent children died. I thought that we improved smart-weapon technology.
  • Al Zarqawi deserved a trial, but our military in Haditha is already guilty BEFORE a
  • Our prisoners are alive to tell the tale of their treatment. So far, we're waiting for reports of our soldiers' treatment as Al-Qaeda POW's.
  • The United States comes to the aid to Iran when an earthquake hits them in 2003.
    Odd, we're only "The Great Satan" unless the Iranians want something from
  • Under Clinton, our troops are liberators. Under Bush, our troops are murders and rapists.
  • Clinton's rape charge was unfounded, but Bush's AWOL story is true.
  • The Democrats keep screaming that we're spending too much money in Iraq, yet moving our troops to Okinawa is somehow more cost-effective than keeping them there.
  • Those who request "civilized and rational discussion of the facts," are extremely likely to provide anything BUT civilized and rational discussion of the facts. Truth is, these same people never provide any facts at all.
  • Lefties like Wino say that they come here to try to convince hearts and minds that the liberal way is the true way. Yet, to this date, they fail to realize that repeating the same phrase, ad nauseum, doesn't help their cause at all. And these people actually consider themselves "enlightened." O.....K.....
  • Watch what happens. The left will claim that Bush admitted that we had bad intelligence on WMD's. But, these are the very same people that says
    that Bush is a total liar, so why believe him now?
  • Human rights groups keep knocking themselves over to preach that the US is evil in the treatment of our prisoners. Name one human rights groups that have said the same about Al-Qaeda.
  • If Rove is SO smart regarding his secret operations, why does the left actually think it can win future elections? Wouldn't Rove simply employ his evil techniques to rig future elections?
  • The left always says to "question authority," yet trusts the media with impunity.
  • The left will also claim that the WMD's were planted by Rove. Well then, that should be easy to debunk because Rove could not have possible planted those weapons himself. He must have received help.
  • The city of Jacksonville, FL threw out more votes than Broward County. Question: How come Gore never worried about 'counting every vote' in that city? It could NEVER have anything to do with the fact that Jacksonville is primarily Republican, would it?
  • Has anyone every researched how many absentee ballots cast by Florida African-Americans in the military were thrown out in 2000? Why didn't Jesse Jackson care about those votes?
  • Clinton is an admitted draft dodger, yet he should run the military. Bush is NOT a draft dodger, yet he should be locked up.
  • Why was military service never an issue when Clinton ran?

by Kingfisher on 2006-06-22 14:16:38

Thursday, June 22, 2006

WMD in Iraq

No weapons of mass destruction? Think again. By now, I'm sure everyone has heard the reports, but here's a link in case you haven't been following the story.

Remember that there are other documents that are classified so there may be more that the public doesn't know yet. Time will tell. Additionally, we don't have enough translators to go through the piles and piles of documentation left behind. Again, time will tell. Then there are things we will never know as some documents were destroyed before the invasion, as I recall.

It's hard for us living in an instant gratification, microwave world to be patient, but it might be a virtue worth cultivating once again. The truth will come out, one way or another.

Chester Gala on FoxNews

Chester Gala and his father Eric Gala were interviewed on "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" of FoxNews. A transcript and a video can be found here.

Chester is a smart boy who has skipped two grades. That puts him in school and on the bus with kids two, three, and possibly four years older than himself. Two bullies beat him up on that school bus last month and were recently charged. The video on the bus caught the whole thing.

No wonder some parents of gifted children, like a friend of mine, choose to homeschool their kids.

TiVo KidZone

On June 20, Chuck Colson weighed in on the new TiVo release--KidZone.

Excerpts from "Giving Parents a Break: TiVo Helps Out":

Many of you are probably familiar with TiVo, the television recording system. TiVo has now unveiled a new product called KidZone, designed specifically to help parents find and record family-friendly programming and to block kids from finding not-so-friendly programming.

The way KidZone works is simple, which I think makes it especially appealing to busy parents who, if you're like me, don't have time to decipher pages of instructions. What you do is pre-approve the shows you want your kids to watch. The TiVo itself gives recommendations for family-friendly shows. Also, three other respected
organizations with which TiVo has partnered—the Parents' Choice Foundation,
Common Sense Media, and the Parents Television Council—provide their own lists
of recommendations.

If you want, you can use the TV ratings system by setting the program to record only shows with certain ratings, or you can find out which shows the FCC has designated "Educational and Informational" and set it to record those. And you can make certain exceptions to these pre-approved lists, if there are any shows among them that you would rather not record.

However you make your choices, the program will automatically record them. And when you put your TiVo in "safe mode," protected by a password, then only those shows that you pre-approved for your kids will appear.

As TiVo explains in a press release, and I concur, this program is a big improvement on the V-Chip...

Parents need all the help they can get. Thank goodness it's finally out there.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bloggers Enter Mommy Wars

Blogger wars have re-erupted over Linda Hirshman's statements about stay-at-home moms. Hirshman wrote about the trials she has faced since last December's article in The American Prospect. Her opinion piece entitled "Unleashing the Wrath of Stay-at-Home Moms" appeared Sunday in the Washington Post.

Eerily, she begins her story referring to herself in the third person:
Everybody started hating Linda, apparently, when I published an article in the progressive magazine the American Prospect last December, saying that women who quit their jobs to stay home with their children were making a mistake. Worse, I said that the tasks of housekeeping and child rearing were not worthy of the full time and talents of intelligent and educated human beings. They do not require a great intellect, they are not honored and they do not involve risks and the rewards that risk brings. Oh, and by the way, where were the dads when all this household labor was being distributed? Maybe the thickest glass ceiling, I wrote, is at home.

Okay, I'm judgmental. That's what CBS's Lesley Stahl called me on "60 Minutes." But I'm a philosopher, and it's a philosopher's job to tell people how they should lead their lives. We've been doing so since Socrates. And yet, even though I knew the Greeks made Socrates drink poison, the reaction to my judgment took me by surprise. It turns out that was what people really hated: the judgment. That working women have the better life.
Kirsten Powers over at Huffington Post responded:

It's incredible that the drudgery of working full time at a law firm is deemed worthy of women's "full time talents" but a woman dedicating herself to raising a family isn't. Hirshman then bizarrely asks: "Oh, and by the way, where were the dads when all this household labor was being distributed?" Umm, if they have a stay at home wife, they are probably working all day. And for most people, it's actually called being a mother and a wife, not "household labor". Hirshman later endorses the viewpoint that women should refuse to do 70% of the housework, ignoring the fact that if women are only doing 70% of the cleaning that's pretty revolutionary considering how much cleaning most men do on a regular basis before they cohabitate with women.

I saw Hirshman on 60 minutes and was shocked when she announced that women graduates of Ivy League schools who had left their careers to raise families were making the "wrong choice". There it was laid bare: feminism really isn't about women having the freedom to make choices. It's about women making the "right choice" as determined by people like Linda Hirshman.

I am constantly amazed at the hostility the word feminism seems to unleash in so many people, since I've always associated it with the belief that women should be given equal opportunity, fair pay, redress for sexual harassment etc. which seems fairly non-controversial. Unfortunately, too many of the voices for feminism seem disconnected form the reality that most women inhabit. They are focused on "problems" that hardly exist - like women wishing they were working more - while spending precious little energy on issues that indisputably have a negative impact on women: pornography, sex trafficking, or lack of adequate child care for the vast majority of mothers who are working because they have no choice. If they spent a fraction of the time on these issues that they spend trying to get women to get their men to vacuum the living room, the world would be a better place.

(You'll have to check out her blog post for yourself to see the whole thing and Hirshman's response.)

One angry comment in Powers' post came from SBJack:

Ms. Hirshman is right...quitting "life" to be a "mommy" and "hausfrau" IS a waste of a talented mind. Let me make this real clear:


Within the context of that belief, I think you can see why this is such a waste. The world has too many mouths to feed already. The youth of this country get shipped off to die in Corporate Wars fought for the profit of others. Our resources are dwindling, please explain why its a good idea to procreate? Is it your vanity at wanting a "little YOU"? Do you think your "precious" is going to save the world? Is "sweetums" going to change your Depends™ when you get old and gray?

Just why in the h**l do you or anyone need to procreate?

To "cement" your loving life commitment with your partner? Someone who, by making this choice, you are going to send off to his own hamster wheel while you grow fat and resentful at home? What a great plan.


Being a mommy WAS a career choice when bearing offspring was about populating the farm with helping hands. Mommy was the shop boss. Now, she's wasting petroleum and incresing pollution driving all over town to take the little ankle-bitiers off to soccer in SUV.

Get an education and then go do something with it other than wipe the snotty noses of your sniveling over-privileged children. There are plenty of uneducated idiots who believe Jay-Sus will provide who keep their legs apart for the ingress and egress of their dip-witted spawn. Witness Britney "Trailertrash" Spears. Now THAT was some career move.

It has nothing to do with "feminism" and everything to do with making smart choices in a f***ed up world. Motherhood is not a career choice.

(Disclosure/Hat tip: I saw this response from SBJack reposted over at RightWingNews and didn't realize it was from the Powers' post until I started scrolling through the comments. A debate ensued over there at rwn as well yesterday. Everyone seemed to agree that SBJack was way wrong.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Fathers Linked to Healthy Families

For all you guys out there who are doing your best to be good dads or who hope to be dads one day, don't let women like Maureen Dowd with her "Are Men Necessary?" bologna get you down. Mark Alexander has written an essay entitled, "Fathers Linked to Healthy Families" that should be encouraging to you. You are not superfluous; you are desperately needed.

Read it here.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Intolerance for the "Intolerant"

In what can only be described as and act of politically correct intolerance, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. of Maryland fired Robert J. Smith, one of his appointees to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, last week. Mr. Smith had appeared on a local cable talk show "21 This Week", which is a political roundtable discussion program on cable Channel 21 in Montgomery County.

The Baltimore Sun states:
Smith's remarks came during a show taped June 9 that has aired at least three times since. The discussion included a proposed federal gay marriage ban.
Hmmm, was it a discussion about a federal gay marriage ban or was it a discussion about the Marriage Protection Amendment which was discussed in Congress and would declare that marriage in the U.S. would be between one man and one woman, if passed?

What exactly were the offending remarks? American Family Association gives the full quote:
Smith responded to a speaker who said homosexuals do not want the government interfering in their sex life. "That's fine, that's fine," Smith said. "But that doesn't mean that government should proffer a special place of entitlement within the laws of the United States for persons of sexual deviancy."

Robert J. Smith is a Roman Catholic and was merely expressing his personal views against "gay marriage" during his personal time. Many people believe that giving homosexuals the right to marry is inconsistent with the inherent definition of marriage. However, regardless of what one thinks about that specific issue, do we want to become a nation where the thought police control our words and views both on and off our jobs?

Mr. Smith's feelings about this matter follow:
"The comments I make in public outside of my [Metro board job] I'm entitled to make." His personal beliefs, he said, have "absolutely nothing to do with running trains and buses and have not affected my actions or decisions on this board."

According to the Baltimore Sun:
The termination came a few hours after Metro board member Robert J. Smith...was publicly confronted by a transit board colleague. Board member Jim Graham, a District of Columbia councilman who is openly gay, called on Smith to disavow his remarks or resign during yesterday's regular meeting of the panel, which oversees Metro business.

Graham said he was gratified that Ehrlich decided to replace Smith..."Governor Ehrlich got it; Mr. Smith was clueless until the end," Graham said. "This is serious. To defend this point of view is beyond the pale. And so I think Governor Ehrlich got that very clearly, very quickly. So I appreciate his action."

"Robert Smith's comments were highly inappropriate, insensitive and unacceptable," the governor said. "They are in direct conflict to my administration's commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance and opportunity."
So Jim Graham throws a hissy fit and Smith gets fired. Nice.

Yo, Gov., just how tolerant are you? Now you are intolerant of Christians who believe in marriage between one man and one woman. What would you do with a Muslim in your employ? While they, according to their faith, may take up to four wives, their religion also doesn't support same sex marriage. Can't people in your employment utilize their First Amendment right to free speech even off the job?

This isn't the first time that Ehrlich has fired people because of their off the job comments.
The Baltimore Sun said:
In May of last year, the governor fired the head of an Eastern Shore judicial nominating committee after the official used a derogatory term for Mexicans in his personal Web log.

Now, I don't know what term this former committee member used. I probably wouldn't like it, but to fire people for personal views expressed off hours? Whoa. Bloggers, beware!

In my opinion, we have here yet another example of political correctness run amok. For the PC crowd, protecting the feeeeeelings of everyone on the Left takes on a religious quality. Even the Baltimore Sun used a religious term to describe Mr. Smith's position, "Smith was unrepentant in a discussion with reporters". "Unrepentant", huh? Maybe he hasn't sinned in expressing his opinions and has nothing to repent of.

I thought the First Amendment was supposed to protect our right to free speech. Apparently not.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

Many thanks to all the Dads out there. Most of you work hard every day, sometimes at jobs you don't even like, just to provide for your kids, and you hardly ever complain. Thanks for helping your kids with projects and taking them places. Most of all, thanks for loving them and teaching them so much about being a decent person, often with no words at all. Take a moment to pat yourselves on the back, and have a Happy Father's Day.

Incompetence and Credulity in Media

Why does the news industry mess up so much? Christopher Taylor looks at two more reasons this week: incompetence and credulity.

Incompetence in media is evident in areas in which most reporters lack proper background. For example, religion, science and the military all can stymie the average journalist. Reporters tend to be less religious than the public in general. Therefore, they frequently misinterpret the beliefs and actions of various religious groups. Also, while most reporters have probably had at least a few science courses, with the technicality of science, they can often be in over their heads and misrepresent the facts in a science news piece. Additionally, for many, the military is a very different way of life which they cannot comprehend and often feel contempt for. As a result, news stories about the military often lack depth of understanding.

Credulity is evidenced in the dominant worldview or perspective brought to stories so that questions are not asked about certain issues because the answers are assumed.

Of course, Mr. Taylor's essay is much more thorough and well-thought out. Please read it if time permits.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Geno's: The Main Attraction

Apparently Geno's is quite the "in" place now, all the rage. Some friends of mine traveled up to Philly just to get one of theircheese steaks yesterday. They said that Pat's on the one side of the street is Democrat owned while Geno's on the other side is Republican owned. Normally, Pat's has quite a crowd, but Geno's has attracted strong support for its recent stand on English-only.

Crowds were lining up around the block to support Geno's which has Teddy Roosevelt quotes on immigration on its walls along with accolades for the police. A group of some of the best looking men to congregate in one restaurant were seated in Geno's, according to my friend whose daughter was also obviously impressed.

"Gay?" I asked.

"No. Navy Seals," she replied.

Adding to the festivities, Geno's played patriotic music of various styles including Kate Smith and Toby Keith. And just to stick it to the French, they sold Freedom Fries instead of French ones.

Some of the people in line claimed, jokingly, they were going to attempt to order in Spanish, but there were no reports of individuals following through with their brave talk.

Normally, I am not a fan of cheese steaks. I was meant to be rich and eat at only the finest restaurants but something went horribly, cosmically wrong, and I don't get to do that very often. Since Philly cheese steaks are more in my price range at this point and since it's the patriotic place to be, I'll probably trek up to Philly with my friend sometime soon before the furor dies down. Unfortunately, she was unable to promise me that the Navy Seals would be there again. Dang.

You know what, A.O., I don't recall ever having an authentic Philly cheese steak either. Hmmm.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Hollywood Actress, Bush Administration, Lawmakers, Victims, Join Forces to Eradicate Human Trafficking

In case you missed it...

This story came out yesterday about the meeting in Washington, D.C. regarding human trafficking, one of the most heinous crimes in the world today.

As I've seen the same exact article in several places, I believe I am being fair in posting the whole story. Nevertheless a link from Congressman Chris Smith is here.

Hollywood Actress, Bush Administration, Lawmakers, Victims, Join Forces to
Eradicate Human Trafficking

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a standing room only hearing on Capitol Hill today, expert witnesses and lawmakers promised to "turn up the heat" on the thugs and pimps that profit off the horrific $9 billion international trafficking in persons industry.

"The traffickers who use and abuse human beings as commodities to be bought and sold must be tracked down, their nefarious operations crushed, and the individuals who commit these heinous crimes sent to jail for a long, long time," said Chairman Chris Smith (R-NJ) who is the author of America’s landmark anti-trafficking laws that have created new penalties for traffickers and new protections for the victims, mostly women and children. "An estimated 17,000 foreign citizens are trafficked into the US each year with more than 600,000 bought, sold or smuggled across other international borders—all to be exploited through forced labor or commercial sex exploitation.

"With our new laws, tough criminal enforcement penalties, and victim counseling and shelter programs, our anti-trafficking efforts are working but we need to do more," said Smith, chairman of the Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations Subcommittee which convened the hearing.

Julia Ormond, Hollywood screen star and UN Goodwill Ambassador to combat human trafficking and slavery, provided added impetus for Congress and world governments to do more to help the victims of trafficking.

"Trafficking is one of the most fantastically difficult problems that we face today," said Ms. Ormond who has traveled to several countries meeting with trafficking victims and enforcement officials. "In my short time (as UN Goodwill Ambassador) I have been horrified by the extent of the problem, the searing depth of the experience of the victims, and the extraordinary level of profit to the traffickers."

Ms. Ormond summarized the multifaceted approach to fighting trafficking known as the -the 3 "P"s,--prevention, protection and prosecution--and added one of her own: "prioritize." "Governments and member states need to rise to the challenge of making this issue a priority and work together, without shaming and blaming, to create the structure that recognizes the extremity of this issue," Ormond said.

US Ambassador John Miller, Director of the State Department’s Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons, testified that 41 countries have added new anti-trafficking laws to their books and more than 4,700 traffickers were convicted in just 2005. Ambassador Miller added, that "the movement to end modern slavery is gaining momentum" but said there was specific work to do to increase the effort "by some of the world’s largest countries."

"On every continent, countries are failing to live up to their obligation to protect the weak, and bring criminals to justice," Miller said.

Part of the hearing focused on the concerns connected with Germany hosting the World Cup this month. Prostitution, which is legal in Germany, has often been used as a shield by traffickers and pimps who abuse women and force them into commercial sex.

Masha Gnezdilova, a Russian citizen defrauded and held captive in a German prostitution ring in the late 1990’s told of her horrific story and related her story to Germany today.

"It seems like we Russian women are place in impossible economic conditions and are not needed by our own country. In other countries, we are spit on as prostitutes when we are really victims. Ten years have passed since I was trafficked but the situation has still not changed," "Is the German government really not aware of what is happening in their country? Or are they happy to profit from our suffering?" she asked.

Irina Veselykh, also trafficked in Germany in the 1990’s said, "The people who involved me in that situation are still free and continue to traffic women under government cover. In those countries, the rights of immigrants in difficult situations are violated and their governments do not want to take responsibility for what is happening on their territory."
###For Immediate Release: June 14, 2006Contact: Ryan Goodwin (202) 225-3765

So there we have it. Germany, which has legalized prostitution, is acting as a pimp and an enslaver. Not only were enslaved women brought in for the World Cup, but there have been Eastern European women trapped in brothels in Germany for years. Germany is getting rich off the suffering of women who are forced into the sex trade to be raped again and again day after day.

Mark my words. There is no way to keep women safe and to eliminate abuse of women in the sex trades. Even in countries in which prostitution is legalized and regulated, women will be enslaved in one way or another. We have proof of it in Germany, a supposedly civilized nation. Prostitution is not a victimless crime or a harmless activity. It never can be.

Previous post:
Slavery in the United States
Human Trafficking Continues

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Worth Living For

Nothing is worth living for if it's not worth dying for.
- Anna Venger
I've been listening to "Ethics: A History of Moral Thought" by Peter Kreeft of Boston College. It's one of "The Modern Scholar" selections. I listened to it before, but when driving around, I miss bits and pieces, so now I'm listening again and taking notes--a much more time consuming process.

During one of the lectures, some issues were brought up that transported me back to my teenage years, a place I don't often like to revisit as being a teenager could really suck, but these were positive memories. I had made a decision to follow Christ. In actuality, He had made a decision to make me His sister, His disciple, but from my perspective, I was doing the choosing. Honestly, it was under duress. Being a Christian, as far as I could see, meant I was choosing a boring life. In fact, I was choosing Life, boring or otherwise, and in the years to come that would be borne out, but I digress...

I had taken stock of Life, what was important, what wasn't, what would last and what was merely temporal. Concluding that all the flashy stuff that looked like the most fun, really would lead to emptiness or worse, destruction, I chose the boring and staid. What was it that people were living for? Wealth? Popularity? Fashion? Drugs? Thrills? Entertainment? You get the idea. Looking at examples of unhappiness in the lives of people who had followed any of these gods, I figured there must be a better way. These things didn't seem to give lasting joy. If we knew that our lives were ending in a day or a week, would any of these things that capture our attention be all that important any more?

So, to keep myself balanced, to keep my eyes on the goal, I made a poster with those words, "Nothing is worth living for if it's not worth dying for." And die we all must one day. Steven Covey puts it a little nicer, I suppose, with his "Begin with the end in mind". I like that too. When we're on our deathbeds one day, when we look back on our lives, what will have mattered most? What will we hope to have accomplished? Start with that picture and order your life accordingly.

For me, my faith is worth it. While I gravitate toward apologetics (reasons for Faith), all the theology and logic in the world can't match the fact that I know Jesus Christ as my personal hero. Therefore, Faith is worth living and dying for.

Family is worth it. My family would be worth dying for, and my people are therefore worth living for. Even though being a mom was exhausting and there were many things I wanted to do for me that weren't getting done, collapsing into bed at night, I could thank God that He had allowed me to serve them one more day. "Thank You for my health, for my mobility as it helped me meet their needs once more. Thank You for the intelligence to meet the unique challenges my family faces. I can't imagine going back to a life without my people."

My most beloved friends are worth dying for. There are a few people whom I love so much that I can be pretty sure I would lay down my life for them (and they for me). Everyone should have a friend or two like that. My heart breaks for the people I meet who have no one with whom they are that close.

Is wealth worth it? On our deathbeds will we care that we have accumulated lots of treasures or would we give them all up for just one more day with our loved ones? Is great success in a career worth it or would we chuck our jobs for more time with our people? Wealth and career and not bad things, but to me they are tools to meet the needs of self and others, not ends in themselves. There are so many things that draw away our attention from eternal values. I, for one, need to reground myself regularly as I get drawn off course by flashy distractions embarrassingly easily.

If you've come this far with me this morning, I thank you. Generally, I don't "preach" on my blog although my worldview invariably will seep through. Anyway, my goal this morning hasn't been to force a philosophy on anyone. I just had some thoughts in my heart that made their way onto my computer screen, and you all just got a little glimpse into my soul, whether you wanted it or not.

I wish you an uplifting day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Environmental Fraud and Fanaticism

Environmentalism on its face seems a worthy cause. Who doesn't like animals? Who doesn't want to preserve the beauty of the world around us?

As practiced, however, environmentalism has become a religion. Despite the fact that humans evolved from goo just like every other species of creature, plant, and microorganism (I say this for argument's sake, not from a closely held belief, mind you), we alone seem to attract the environmentalists' ire. All plants, animals, and microorganisms affect their environments, some with disastrous results for other species and their habitats. Yet environmentalists condemn only humans for "destructive" habits.

Environmentalists routinely value animals and even plants above the lives of mere humans. One example is the discouragement of use of DDT to end malaria in Africa because it might harm birds' eggs. While the harm to birds' eggs is debatable (junkscience, for example, says there is no connection between DDT and harmful thinning of birds' eggs), the number of dead and sickly Africans due to malaria is not. Yet they insist on continuing ineffective means for combating malaria, rather than condoning the use of the one thing that can save people from this wretched disease. Perhaps there is a reason that most environmentalists come from Europe and the U.S. where living conditions are so good that they need not fear this deadly and debilitating disease.

These fanatics will not only fudge data to get their way, but they will even create it if that's what it takes. John Stossel reported that in Washington State, government biologists, determined to prove that lynx lived in Washington, "nailed pieces of carpet soaked with catnip onto trees, hoping a lynx would rub up against them and leave some fur -- evidence of the lynx's existence in this particular area." Of course they found hairs on the carpet, and they sent samples to the lab which showed that they were in fact lynx hairs. This would be bad news indeed for ranchers and farmers in the area who could lose their land rights in favor of an threatened species. As it turns out, the biologists, those impartial proponents for Truth, had rigged the tests. "[T]he regulators went to a zoo, got hair samples from captive lynx, and sent those hairs to the lab to be tested. "

From "Religious Fanatics Terrorize American Farmers" by John Stossel:
Science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein once wrote, "In declaring his love for a beaver dam (erected by beavers for beavers' purposes) and his hatred for dams erected by men (for the purposes of men) the 'Naturist' reveals his hatred for his own race -- i.e., his own self-hatred." The "Naturist" religion, which today we call "environmentalism," elevates every other form of life above human life.
This is madness.

Surely, we can and should take steps toward preserving the environment. In truth, we have been, and the environment is much cleaner than it was thirty years ago. That's a good thing. But when radicals for whom environmentalism is a religion attempt to destroy the Constitutional rights of American citizens and trample the inalienable rights to life of dying and sickly Africans, they've gone too far. The fraud and the fanaticism have to stop.

Related posts:
Some Good News on Earth Day
A Green in Support of Nuclear Energy?
Gore on the Importance of Over-representation of "Fact"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Berg: Too Soft on Terrorism

Michael Berg has entered into the public arena now that he is running for the U.S. House of Representatives on the Green party ticket from our state of Delaware. Unfortunately, that means that he must endure public scrutiny. This is unfortunate because no doubt he still grieves deeply over the murder of his son Nicholas Berg at the hands of al-Zarqawi and company.

Berg has made some statements which reveal how he would act as a representative in government. On May 21, 2004, Michael Berg wrote an opinion piece for Guardian Unlimited, an online paper out of the United Kingdom. Some excerpts follow:

"Don't you blame the five men who killed him?" I have answered that I blame them no more or less than the Bush administration, but I am wrong: I am sure, knowing my son, that somewhere during their association with him these men became aware of what an extraordinary man my son was. I take comfort that when they did the awful thing they did, they weren't quite as in to it as they might have been. I am sure that they came to admire him.

I am sure that the one who wielded the knife felt Nick's breath on his hand and knew that he had a real human being there. I am sure that the others looked into my son's eyes and got at least a glimmer of what the rest of the world sees. And I am sure that these murderers, for just a brief moment, did not like what they were doing.

George Bush...cannot feel my pain...because he is a policymaker...

Even more than those murderers who took my son's life, I can't stand those who sit and make policies to end lives and break the lives of the still living.

So what were we to do when we in America were attacked on September 11, that infamous day? I say we should have done then what we never did before: stop speaking to the people we labelled our enemies and start listening to them. Stop giving preconditions to our peaceful coexistence on this small planet, and start honouring and respecting every human's need to live free and autonomously...

We need to let the evildoers on both sides of the Atlantic know that we are fed up with war. We are fed up with the killing and bombing and maiming of innocent people...We want world peace now.
(Please click on the link to read his full commentary.)

Nicholas Berg probably was a son of whom any parent would be proud. However, while it probably gives Mr. Berg some measure of comfort to believe "that when they did the awful thing they did, they weren't quite as in to it as they might have been" and "that they came to admire [his son]," he is, in fact, displaying incredible naivete. Sickeningly, human beings do exist for whom murder is a thrill. He has no basis, no evidence that "the one who wielded the knife felt Nick's breath on his hand and knew that he had a real human being there." Murderers, especially torturers, first must dehumanize their victims in order to do their heinous crimes. Al-Zarqawi and company came to Iraq solely to kill innocent Iraqis and U.S. soldiers for the purpose of keeping Iraq from gaining liberty. His whole career there was killing innocent people. Nick Berg was no one to him but one more person to kill. They video-taped themselves sawing off his head. How much respect can someone have for another to do something so disgusting?

Then Mr. Berg makes a horrible assumption. While the terrorists "weren't quite as in to it", President George Bush, he assures us, cannot feel his pain or feel sympathy for him like others do because he is a "policymaker" and an "evildoer". In fact, "even more than those murderers who took [Berg's] son's life, he can't stand those who sit and make policies..." Doesn't his anger seem a little misplaced? His son chose to go to Iraq; he was not sent. Surely Nicholas took into consideration that he was going into a war zone and that he was risking his life. Yet when his life was callously extinguished, Berg blamed the President of the United States and Rumsfeld more than the terrorists who had crossed into Iraq for the sole purpose of harming the innocent and thwarting the attempts of the U.S. to establish democracy. From quotes last week, it is clear that he has not changed his mind.

Furthermore, if Mr. Berg were representing us, he would have had us sit down and listen to terrorists after they murdered 3000 of us on 9/11 and not give them preconditions for coexistence on Earth. However, the U.S. did listen. We heard what the terrorists had to say. They want us dead. They want us humilitated. They want our civilians to live in fear. It is a reasonable precondition that no one comes onto our soil and attacks our people. They violated it. And it is a reasonable to let the world know we will stand up for ourselves and for the liberty of others. Even Neville Chamberlain realized he'd been duped once Hitler started invading more countries. Appeasement didn't work to stave off World War II and it won't work with people whose goal is our destruction and subjection to their laws. There is no basis for discussion with the unreasonable.

As far as wanting world peace now, well, who doesn't? But pacifism doesn't buy peace. It buys oppression. Does the "rape of Belgium" ring any bells? Neville Chamberlain did Europe no good back in the 1930s and channeling him now won't help us today.

Michael Berg may mean well, but this kind of muddled thinking is not what we need from our leaders. Not only does he lack the experience needed for office, but he lacks the worldly wisdom a leader should possess. The U.S. would be less safe with Berg in Congress. We can't afford yet another "leader" who is soft on terrorism.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Slavery in the United States

Everyone knows that slavery ended in the U.S. with the conclusion of the Civil War and passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, right? Think again. There is a thriving black market here even now in a most horrific form of slavery---sexual slavery.

Women, lured to the U.S. with the promise of jobs, have been met by enslavers who steal their passports and force them to work as strippers or prostitutes. If they resist, they are beaten or perhaps even killed. Often these women speak little or no English. They have no support, no way out. Holding the title for "second highest destination in the world for trafficked women" is no honor to our nation. (Please read Lis Wiehl's FoxNews story on "Sex Trafficking".)

There are people who argue for legalized prostitution and that strip clubs are merely entertainment. But sex trafficking is a $8,000,000 industry in the U.S. How could one ever be sure he was not ogling or raping a woman who had no freedom to choose? Just something for anyone with a conscience to consider.

See previous post, Human Trafficking Continues.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sloth in Media

Sloth in the media is responsible for some of what appears to be media bias, according to Christopher Taylor. Sloth can take different forms. A reporter can be lazy about checking facts. Perhaps a reporter returns again and again to the same source for quotes as though he were a random interviewee but in fact is just easy to reach. In extreme cases, a reporter might simply make up facts and sources rather than pound the pavement to discover them himself. Editors also might display laziness by not being diligent about changing slanted speech to a more neutral tone.

As you know, I enjoy Christopher Taylor's essays. This second in a series of essays on media bias can be accessed here.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

You're So Mean

"You're so mean!"

What parent hasn't heard these words? If I had a dollar for everytime that my children responded to one of my parental diktats with that phrase I could put them through college without having to work.

But I found a cure. Everytime my kids told me, "You're so mean!" I responded with a hearty, "And proud of it, baby!"

After hearing that retort one too many times, they've stop accusing me of being mean.

I kind of miss it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Berg on Zarqawi's Death

The News Journal has a piece on Michael Berg, now a Wilmington, Delaware resident, whose son, Nicholas Berg, was beheaded by al-Zarqawi and his goons on May 7, 2004. Berg moved to Wilmington, Delaware last spring from Pennsylvania and is now running on the Green Party ticket against Republican Representative Mike Castle and Democrat Dennis Spivack, another challenger.

Before Berg came out on Atkeison's front porch to speak with reporters, Atkeison, who is Berg's campaign manager, taped one of their campaign signs "on the pillar behind the spot where Berg" was to stand.

Atkeison informed the camera crews, "This has to be in every shot or you're going to be cut off. Everybody clear? And I'm going to be checking."

Berg announced to the reporters, "Any loss of human life is a loss for all of us. In Zarqawi's case, it's a double loss. Not only was he a human being who has parents who are suffering in the same way that my family and I have suffered, he's also a political figure, and his death is going to reignite the next wave of revenge--revenge that Zarqawi participated in, revenge that George Bush participates in, revenge that goes back to prehistoric times. It never solves anything."

He continued, explaining, "It doesn't bring me relief because it doesn't bring my son back. We could prevent the suffering of far more families if we would impeach George Bush today and end this war today... There is no closure for any parent who has lost a child. On my dying day, I'll be thinking of my son...George Bush is more of a terrorist than Zarqawi is."

Personally, I am horrified that Berg and his campaign manager are politicizing the death of Nicholas Berg. Reporters want to speak with Michael Berg about the death of Zarqawi because Zarqawi and his terrorist buddies sawed off Nicholas's head and videotaped themselves murdering him. Reporters think people will be interested in Berg's views because of this connection. They have not come to cover his campaign for U.S. House of Representatives. Purposely putting up his campaign sign and forcing the camera crews to photograph it seems a cheap and shoddy opportunistic trick.

Furthermore, to put President Bush in the same category as Zarqawi, calling him a terrorist, slanders the President. Not only that, but he says Bush is even more of a terrorist than al-Zarqawi. Our military is there in Iraq trying to stabilize the country so we can turn over a free nation to the Iraqi people. Zarqawi, on the other hand, is trying to stop that process and has been involved in the deaths of not only U.S. soldiers, but innocent Iraqis as well, attempting to prevent them from obtaining the freedom they desire and deserve.

Berg is, by the nature of his loss, a man who deserves some measure of sympathy. Who could doubt him when he says he will think of his son on his dying day? What parent wouldn't? He is correct when he says there can be no closure for a parent who has lost a child. However, to not feel any sense of relief that the man who brutally sawed off his son's head will never be able to kill again is odd. While this certainly won't bring his son back, couldn't he be mildly pleased that Zarqawi will not be responsible for the deaths of any other Americans or Iraqis? When Berg said, "We could prevent the suffering of far more families if we would impeach George Bush today and end this war today," whose families was he referring to?---certainly not the Iraqis who already suffered horribly under Saddam Hussein and who are being harassed daily by al-Quaida which wants to prevent Iraqis from voting and establishing their own government.

Michael Berg and his wife have my empathy for the loss of their son. What a horrible experience they have been through! However, I cannot sympathize with the use of his son's death as a personal claim to fame on which to run for office, as evidenced by the positioning of campaign signs. That is unbelievable.

Source of all quotes- The News Journal as linked above.

PolitaKid, I've noticed, posted faster than I on this story. Always a good read, see his thoughts here.

Time to Hit Hard

With Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death Wednesday comes cries from Murtha and the left to pull out of Iraq, soon. Congressman Jack Murtha said, "we should be able to substantially reduce our presence in Iraq and redeploy our military outside of Iraq."

Admittedly, I am no military strategist, but it seems to me that a major victory should be followed up with more pounding on the enemy, until they unconditionally surrender. Imagine if WW2 had been fought that way. "Gee, we've had some success, now let's go home." No. A war is not over until it's over, win, lose, or draw. The impatience with some during this procedure is maddening. Do they really want us to win quickly? Do they understand what that would entail? If we wanted to level Iraq, we could. That's not the goal. The goal is to give back to the Iraqi people their country and to enable them to establish a government they can live with, one that will not subject them to chemical weapons, torture, rape and murder.

The Iraqis have suffered long, first under Saddam Hussein, and now through the pangs of the birth of a free nation. They deserve better than having the U.S. cut tail and run, leaving them at the mercy of terrorists. The leaders of the new Iraqi government want us there. They need us there. The U.S. has abandoned friends before. I say, "Never again."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Can We Dance in the Streets Too?

Remember the videos of crowds in the Middle East dancing and celebrating in the streets over the 9/11 attacks and the deaths of innocent Americans? Would it be unseemly for us to respond in kind and dance over the deaths of the guilty?

My Way News has the story: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi Killed in Air Raid.

John Hawkins over at Right Wing News has a pic and a cute little dancing Snoopy which actually is starting to annoy a little because it is right in my line of vision when I have the comment section up and I just can't ignore it, but it is cute nonetheless.

Apparently some of the more liberal sites have commenters worried that this is unjust of the U.S. to take out terrorists, complaining that they will hate us more. Hullo? How can they hate us more than they already did? How much further down could they spiral than their already foaming-at-the-mouth, kill- passengers-and-fly-planes-into-buildings-killing-innocent-women-and-children hatred? What do we have to lose? When an enemy hates you and wants you to suffer and die, can it get worse?

Update: Hawkins has another post up with a collection of liberal laments over Zarqawi's death.

More still: There's lots of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth over in the comment section of The Daily Kos. Some are upset that President Bush's ratings might go up. Others decry the injustice of taking Zarqawi out. Still others say we should have focused on taking out bin Laden (which would have been accomplished years ago had Clinton only stopped playing golf long enough to take the phone call and give his approval--so you had your chance, guys.) It's quite an education over there. Wow.

Sex-Selective Abortions in Canada Skew Sex-Ratios

Hate to tell you I told you so, but "Ha. I told you so." Remember my comment on June 1 under the Frivolous Late-Term Abortion piece?
"Oh, I'm sure it happens already in the U.S. It surely does in other countries eg India and China where there is incredible pressure to give birth to boys, not girls."
Here we go:

Internal Hospital Memo Provides Evidence of Sex-Selective Abortion in Canada
Male Female Ratio Skewed In Predominantly Chinese and Indian Communities
By John-Henry Westen
VANCOUVER, May 24, 2006

Western Standard magazine, one of the few conservative publications in Canada, has acquired an internal document from Women's Hospital in Vancouver which shows that abortions are carried out at taxpayer expense when the reason is merely that the parents are not satisfied with the sex of the child. The cover story of the June issue of the magazine, which is arriving in mailboxes this week and is set to hit newsstands next week, reports moreover that similar to countries where sex-elective abortions are rampant, the birth ratio in certain communities in Canada with large Indian and Chinese populations is becoming increasingly skewed against girls.
(Read the whole article---it's short---attached by hyperlink above.)

Granted, this article pre-dates my comment, but I just found it now and wanted to share it. I have, in fact, been railing against the forced abortions in China and the sex-selection abortions in China and India for years to anyone who would listen, which arguably isn't very many people. I've even had liberals tell me that China is perfectly within its rights to force women to have abortions--even after I've explained that there are places in China where a woman's menstrual cycles were tracked and that she would be physically removed from her home, taken to a "hospital", strapped down, and have her baby murdered and removed from her body. Aside: if you want to see me have a melt-down, and you are very brave (or foolish), that's a good thing to say to my face--that that kind of oppression is okay.

To me this is where the abortion-as-woman's-right theology and true women's rights collide. The "feminists" in the U.S. who push abortion in any locale, at any time, for any reason (and at taxpayer expense if at all possible!) just don't get that they are in fact working against women. Countries exist in which girls are not valued for various reasons--one being that a daughter usually will become part of someone else's family while a son will always be family and support his parents in old age--and societal pressures push women into aborting girl babies. About seven years ago or so there was an article in a major weekly magazine about wife-slaves in Chinese villages because there was such a dearth of young women in some areas due to the forced and sex-selection abortions that men hired shysters to trick and kidnap young women so they could "marry" them. What could be more basic to liberty and women's rights than the right to life (as in, let's not abort a baby because she's a girl)?

So now we have these same groups bringing their cultural practices to the Western hemisphere, and Canadian "feminists" support their choices to abort baby girls. Among Westerners, abortion for sex-selection might be equally performed on male or female babies as Westerners tend to prefer a boy and a girl in their small families. However, this is not true of some Eastern societies and apparently a few minority groups in the West.

Are we really okay with this? Now tell me who the true feminists are--women who insist on unlimited abortion-on-demand even if it means killing unwanted girls, or women like me who believe in the right first and foremost to life, then liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I dare say I am much closer to the stance of our Founding Mothers and our early feminist agitators than they are. I know you're with me Abby and Susan B!

Related posts: Frivolous Late-Term Abortions
Abortion: No Panacea
New Zealand Study on the Effects of Abortion on Women

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Review: What Would the Founders Do?

In What Would the Founders Do? (Our Questions Their Answers), Richard Brookhiser resurrects our revolutionary generation to investigate their views on modern-day issues. He first examines an important question: Why do Americans care so much about the Founding Fathers' thoughts while the French do not agonize over what Charlemagne would do? As Mr. Brookhiser explains it, our founding generation is not that far removed from us. Brookhiser himself had attended a lecture by Alger Hiss who had clerked for Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. who had "scolded" President Lincoln for being imprudent on a Civil War battlefield. Lincoln had served with John Quincy Adams in Congress, and Adams had seen the smoke of the canons of the Battle of Bunker Hill when he was a boy. Only five steps removed from us, our Fathers remain touchable and accessible.

Brookhiser maintains his readers' interest throughout the book with quotes from the Founders on a host of issues and sprinkles his own witty comments here and there for the readers' amusement. Topics tackled include the death penalty, gun control, gay rights, censorship, natural disaster response, religion, taxes, welfare, social security, terrorism, foreign affairs, the U.S.A. as empire, education, media, women, slavery, immigration, and, of course, politics. Finding quotes from the Founders on all these issues and more is not as difficult as it seems, though sifting through them may have been. Prolific writers, the Founders left behind reams of their thoughts in letters, essays and diaries.

A caveat: if one is seeking definitive answers and consensus from the Founders, he is likely to be disappointed. On some issues the Founders speak with one voice, but in most cases they quarreled amongst themselves and these differences of opinion trickle--no, flood over-- into this book just as they had in their lives. Most likely, if there is only one opinion, only one of them raised a pen on the issue. Mr. Brookhiser explains this phenomenon near the end of his work:
They have passed these disagreements, and the disposition to disagree, on to us. Contention is as much a part of their legacy as their principles. It fills our public space, and our minds. Mere ambition generates conflict in times of peace and prosperity, and the world provides enough real problems to give us serious things to quarrel about. (p. 218)

All in all, What Would the Founders Do? is a worthwhile read.*

Other Delawareans on this book: Paul Smith Jr., here and here, and Anonymous Opinion.

*Honestly, there are times when I disagreed with Richard Brookhiser's conclusions or I wished he had found quotes from different authors to show a different side to the controversy. One example---Jefferson is the only quote on assisted suicide. Granted, that issue probably didn't cross the Founders' minds much and Jefferson would be the one to consider it and to express the most liberal opinion on this issue. Though I could be wrong, I just couldn't picture John Adams concurring. On a couple other topics, I think I may have chosen different quotes and, using them, have come to different conclusions about the Founders' opinions. However, anytime we examine the Founders' views and become more familiar with them, we better ourselves, and to have their quotes on so many issues gathered together in one place benefits us. Thanks, Mr. Brookhiser.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Measuring a Life

A favorite quote:

"Measure thy life by loss and not by gain,
not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth.
For loves strength standeth in loves sacrifice
and he that suffereth most hath most to give."

Ugo Bassi, young priest in Italy in 1848


An Interesting Little Post

Here is a link to a little post in Right Wing News about wife beating and our favorite peaceful religion. It's worth checking out. Unfortunately, I will unable to access my computer for most of today (and probably tomorrow, too), so I won't be following any ensuing debate, but that doesn't mean you guys can't. I'll be with you in spirit.

Monday, June 05, 2006

ACLU Defends Pedophiles

Well, isn't this dandy?

ACLU represents abusers who argue law forcing them to stay away from places where kids congregate could limit their access to churches.

Six sex offenders, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are suing the city of Indianapolis, saying an ordinance that keeps them 1,000 feet from parks, pools and playgrounds is unconstitutional.

They say the law is too vague and could be used to keep them from — among other places — churches. Rich Ackerman, president of the Pro-Family Law Center, said the rationale for the lawsuit is suspicious at best.

"The ACLU suddenly screaming about people's ability to get to church," he said, "sounds a little suspect, to say the least."

"For those who do not think that there is not a war going on to gain access to our children for purposes of sexual gratification, they need to wake up," [Phil Burress] explained. "This is real."

Many social scientists say child molesters cannot be cured of the desire. Some studies, in fact, indicate that most predators abuse hundreds of kids before they are caught.
Selected quotes from Citizenlink's June 2 post, "Sex Offenders Sue Indianapolis"

What the heck is the ACLU doing backing a case like this? Of course, they've backed NAMBLA also, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Pedophiles love places that could give them access to children, e.g. churches. There were some pedophiles in the community in which I lived before moving here. One man called himself a musician and tried to get singing jobs in churches and to work with the youth. Currently, he was out on bail and awaiting trial for a previous incident.

I was at church one morning when a new man and woman and two teenagers walked in. I didn't think anything about it until another man with whom I was friends who worked in corrections got my attention from across the church to mouth to me who exactly that new man was. AAAAAAAAAH! And to think that I had finally become brave enough to allow my little girl to go to the bathroom alone in the middle of service because "what could happen at church?"!

We descended upon the pastor and told him who that man was and that we were not going to tolerate his presence. We had kids, for crying out loud. My buddy was rather strong and assured me privately that when he shook the pedophile's hand, he squeezed hard, just shy of doing injury, to let him know how he felt about his presence. That was nice, but I still wanted the pastor to know if he stayed, we went.

The pastor checked into the legal ramifications and decided to talk with the man. He explained that if he chose to come to our church, he should know that he would never under any circumstances be allowed to work with kids or be alone with them due to his previous conviction. He chose not to come back, so that was that. Still, a church really should have the right to tell a suspicious or troublesome person that he is not welcome without fearing a lawsuit.

Let's see---the rights of children or perverts, children or perverts...I choose the rights of children! Don't you think the ACLU should be interested in supporting the civil liberties of children over those of perverts too?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Summer Reading Ideas

Summer is upon us. For some of us this means weekends on the beach with book in hand.

A few months ago, I came across a list by Marvin Olasky of good history reads. He was recommending them for advanced high schoolers (since so few of them learn history in school), but none of them are kiddie books, so I thought my grown-up readers might be interested too. These are listed in (historical) chronological order:

David McCullough's 1776
Burke Davis's The Campaign That Won America
Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage
Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America (portions)
Shelby Foote's three-volume The Civil War
Booker T. Washington's autobiography, Up from Slavery
Paul Johnson's Modern Times
J. Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism
first 85 pages of Whittaker Chambers's Witness (1952)
Peggy Noonan's When Character Was King
William F. Buckley's The Fall of the Berlin Wall
Noonan's A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag
Karl Zinsmeister Boots on the Ground
Karl Zinsmeister Dawn Over Baghdad
Robert Shogan's War Without End

If you check out the link, you'll see that he does speak briefly about each book.

My thoughts:
1776 is a fantastic book. It is completely factual, yet it reads like a novel. I bought it for my son and his two best friends for Christmas. (Yes, they like books; it wasn't a dorky gift.)

I read Witness last summer. It is very long, around 1000 pages of very small print. The first 85 pages were indeed meaningful. Then there was a long and somewhat dull section about his early life and experiences with the communist party. The last third or so was very worthwhile also. His conversion, his attempts to protect his family from reprisals after he defected from the communist party, his love of his farm, and his suffering as he testified against Alger Hiss were very special. Most shocking was the persecution aimed at Chambers for daring to tell the truth. So much of what Chambers said resonated with my soul. Even though his Quaker denomination differs from my experience, I felt I knew his heart. I also learned more about communist infiltration in the U.S, something downplayed by history texts.

Peggy Noonan is usually a safe bet.

For the rest, you'll have to visit Marvin Olasky's article for details. We have some of these on our shelves from Christmas, but I haven't gotten to them yet so I can't speak for them personally.