Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Another riot

Something about this story doesn't sound right: a KFC in Pakistan was torched (killing six employees) by a Shiite mob protesting an al-Qaeda-linked suicide bomb blast at a Shiite mosque. What, no Newsweek office was available to burn? And why exactly would KFC be allied with al-Qaeda?


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

And the reason this superintendent still has a job is?

EAST LYNNE, Mo. (AP) - Seven of 10 classroom teachers in a tiny school district resigned after a colleague was fired for helping an 11-year-old girl who was left alone in a playground to pick up rocks as punishment.

When I saw this story today, I had to read further. Imagine my surprise when the 4th grader was left unsupervised near a road where she could easily be abducted. Don't we have enough problems in this country with kids being kidnapped, buried in trash, raped and killed? And I thought picking up rocks was something prison chain gangs did back in the day. I wouldn't exactly call this "no child left behind."

Friday, May 20, 2005

Janice Rogers Brown

President Bush's nominee for the DC District Court of Appeals, Janice Rogers Brown, is a GOP wet dream: black, daughter of a sharecropper, as conservative as Clarence Thomas and the "right" kind of activist. I mean strict constructionist. Whatever. The important thing imagewise is that Bill Frist can stand on Capitol Hill with a large group of blacks behind him and claim Democrats are racist because they won't allow a vote on Judge Brown.

Her critics here, here, and here, depict a far-right, pro-corporation, anti-government activist.

Her supporters here, here, and surprisingly, here, depict a far different portait - that of a popular (over 70% of Californians who voted favored her return to the bench in her last election) judge who stands up to big government in areas of illegal searches and prosecutorial abuse of powers.

While you chew on that, here's a nice quote from Judge Brown taken out of context to support the Democrats' fight to keep the filibuster:
"Individual liberty cannot be preserved if the majority's will must always triumph."

But this is just a little skirmish compared to what will happen when Rehnquist, O'Connor and Stevens step down from the Supreme Court...

Friday, May 13, 2005

A Day Without an Illegal Mexican?

Mexican President Vicente Fox said he would file a diplomatic complaint regarding the recent law passed by (our) Congress to build a big 'ol wall on our Southern border (this one, not that one), and to no longer allow states to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Naturally this 'lil tidbit was tacked on to an Iraq War additional funding bill of $80 Billion, so no one in their right political mind would be caught dead voting against "our troops." (Like a certain Senator from Massachusetts I could name, but won't.) In the wake of the controversy of the Minuteman Project in Arizona, this is just more gasoline on the fire.

Also, since "leaders of the Mexican community" threatened to strike here, let's ponder what that would mean. One version might be what happened in the movie similar to the name of this post. Another version might be only legal Mexican immigrants would work, while illegals went underground. I suspect Bush would find some way to grandfather in people who are already here, which neatly skirts the issue of dealing with the scope of the current problem, while earning Bush points to try to increase Hispanic Republican voters.

I just find it funny that Mexico is shocked (shocked, I say!) that the US is taking steps to control ILLEGAL immigration. Maybe if Mexico would stop printing booklets advising its citizens how to illegally enter/safely sneak into a neighboring country, I could take them seriously when they make objections to our policies.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Do you see the Asian house? Or an act banned by Alabama state law?

Had to post this today:

...from the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Courtesy MSNBC's Clicked column today, which pointed me to BoingBoing.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Talk about junkers

As the news spread that Standard & Poor's downgraded Ford and GM debt to junk status, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is considering a 2% tax on fast food. Gee, maybe they should have that in Philadelphia. I don't think the city wage tax hurts residents and city workers enough...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Guest Post - on Pat Tillman

Let’s talk about Pat Tillman. If you don’t yet know who this man is, he was an NFL star with the Phoenix Cardinals and left that to be an Army Ranger. His sacrifice, in my opinion, is nothing less then heroic and something that should be idolized by all people. He essentially put his gifts, talents and fortune aside for the benefit of the country that allowed him the freedom to prosper. It is this sense of sacrifice that has escaped many people that often benefit the most from what the United States has to give.

Of course, this is besides the point of my column. Getting back on cue, Tillman died just over a year ago, during what was first called a skirmish of some kind. The story spread that the NFL star made the ultimate sacrifice and died valiantly for his country. After the investigation was done to determine the death of the NFL star, it was first reported on NBC’s Today Show that it wasn’t enemy fire that killed Tillman, but friendly fire from a different unit. Now, my question here is, what was the point of that story? I remember watching one of the NBC correspondents report on the death of Tillman and just thinking to myself, “What exactly is the goal of this reporter?” In one instant we had the story of a man being killed defending his country and in the next instant we had the story of a man being killed by members of a different unit when they were both on patrol in Afghanistan. Some people might try to point out here that we all have a right to know what really killed the man. But I guess my argument would be, yes, of course you do, but there is a larger force and a larger meaning behind the death of that man and the history of the military besides what people have the right to know. For example, there were numerous men during WWII that won the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously. I would be willing to also argue that a number of those men also either had affairs or children while they were overseas fighting the war. Would it be appropriate to mention to their loved ones at home, while presenting the spouses with the Medal of Honor, that they also had mistresses overseas? Of course not. What difference does it make? Why diminish the memory of a spouse? What exactly is the point? What kind of sick satisfaction does one achieve by telling the spouse of a military member that died, that they cheated on them while in theater? The military, in all its wisdom and it all its stupidity
agrees with this. If a soldier, sailor or airman dies in battle, their personal effects will be sorted through and any items that might shine a negative light on the deceased will be removed. The records of the military member will not be revealed either. I mean, you have never heard a soldier dying and the military saying, finally, he was such a sub-par man, it is about time he died. It is in the soldiers, military’s, and any related persons best interest to keep the memory of a soldier as honorable as possible. Entire new units are named after previous units and the good that they did is honored and retold to new solders. It is history and camaraderie that makes the military so special. This is also why I believe the military is so secretive. There are many people in the world that would like to tear down the code, ethics and values that the military relies on. Why reveal the cause of the death of Tillman, if not for the sole purpose of demoralizing the military, then what for? What did the public really need to know? Did the reporter achieve his goal in the story? Did he get some listener to say, “Gee, that sucks, such a talented player, it is a shame that he volunteered for the service just for his life to be ended by friendly fire.” Is this statement supposed to help or hurt the military? Is this story supposed to help or hurt the family?

It is funny how reporters can hide politics behind the guise of journalism. It is even obvious to me now as the story is continuing on. Some of the major news organizations are reporting on the fact that military leaders hid the evidence and causes behind Tillman’s death. Of course they did – and for obvious reasons. He was a hero before – now he is a victim.


Guest Post - on Revisionist History

Let me say first off that I enjoy “revisionist” history. I am so pretentious and all knowing that my version of history must be correct. Never mind that it doesn’t fit into the rest of history or that it really doesn’t make any sense in the timeline, it must be right because it fits into my ideals of what the world is really like. Don’t like something about history? Doesn’t fit into your philosophical system or completely destroys what you believe to be correct? Change it. No one cares. Most people don’t know that much about history to debate you anyway. Just about anything can be changed too – yeah, nothing is really off limits.

What I take enjoyment in doing is switching focus. Switching focus is kind of like taking your eye off the ball. For example, it is a proven fact that Europeans, starting in Europe, and then among immigrants of the United States, accomplished much in the way of invention and innovation. (Refer to Charles Murray’s book, “Human Accomplishments”). But you may not like this idea. So an effective way around it would be to dismiss their accomplishments and focus on things like the treatment of their slaves, any type of chemical or alcohol abuse, and if there was adultery – and hey, even if there wasn’t, throw it in! The more negative news the better and it really doesn’t have to be true. The goal here is to dismiss the greater good they did for the world and civilization for their vices.

Another example would be Thomas Jefferson. Yeah, sure he wrote the Declaration of Independence, but who cares? He had slaves; he was a gambler and a womanizer. It was also rumored that he took out an entire tribe of Indians by getting them all addicted to alcohol for which they have never recovered: and single-handedly started the slaved trade. (Improvisation is a perfect way to blur facts from generalizations) You could just turn it into a bit of a game. Madlib it! The world leader or event is chosen for you – and you randomly just throw out negative “facts” and behaviors. At the end the person will tell you the random person chosen for you, and with the information provided by you, you get to hear the history and life of said awful person.

Lets do an event - the sinking of the Lusitania. Of course it was the Germans that sunk the ship, but I bet you didn’t know that the Americans were the cause. There were three explosions on the ship after the German sub sent its torpedo. Where did the remaining explosions come from when there was only one torpedo? The fact is, is that there was ammunition on the ship. When I heard about this, I asked myself, how the United States government could act so irresponsibly as to put ammunition on a ship with civilian passengers? It is incomprehensible for me to understand how a government could act so evil as to load ammunition for a war on a passenger liner – so that it could be blown up even more by the Germans when they shot to sink it. The only thing that makes sense to me here is that Roosevelt must have done this on purpose to deliberately bring the US into WWI. Evil takes many forms my friends – this one takes the form of a crippled man with Polio. (What, what war was Roosevelt in? Oh, be quiet. This is revisionist history!!!)


Monday, May 02, 2005

Very, very cold feet

Jennifer Wilbanks turned up in New Mexico, of all places - not in Georgia, in a shallow grave or in little pieces at the hands of her fiancee. I feel for her parents and for her fiancee, John Mason, who was immediately considered a person of interest (even if that's not the folksy term police used). Police seized three computers from their home and Mason took (and passed) a polygraph test.

And just before a nice-sized (well, gigantic) wedding with over 500 guests. And 28 brides-people.

I suppose her family and friends have conflicting emotions right now - "Thank God you're safe!" mixed with "How stupid could you be? You idiot!"

MSNBC Senior Producer Nina Bradley, another bride-to-be, commented here:
Call me crazy, but if I were to get cold feet, I would tell someone. I would talk to my fianceeé, my parents, my sibling, my friends, or even my minister. Where were her 14 bridesmaids when she needed a shoulder to cry on?

On the other hand, some people were bound to blame the couple as goof balls, provoking such comments as:
Elope to Mexico. Marry there, honeymoon there, and stay there. And as a previous poster said, no offspring.

Ah, the joys of marriage.

"I mean, just because it's raining."

Haven't posted for a while since I have Comcast cable internet, and it rained this weekend. Reminds me of the anti-Satellite dish ads that Comcast ran about 10 years ago, where it's windy, or raining, or whatever, and the dish doesn't work. A whiny, sneering woman complains about the malfunctioning dish saying "I mean, just because it's raining." Gee, with Comcast, it's either the TV or the internet that gets fouled up "just because it's raining." Argh. Posts to follow.