|One Nation, Under God...||
"The real democratic American ideal is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but |
that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance." --Henry Ward Beecher
Check this cat out:
Friday, January 03, 2003
Posted 1:20 PM by WiN
The Decline and Fall of Racial Gerrymandering?
Why do blacks (or any other minority) have to be the majority of voters in a district in order for minorities to be elected? The answer is: they don't, as pointed out by John J. Miller on Blacks & Nevada Election on National Review Online. He makes the excellent point that "The next black candidate to win a statewide election is much more likely to hail from Nevada than from, say, one of the tangled congressional districts of North Carolina or Texas." Here in Oklahoma, a case in point would be retiring congressman J. C. Watts. Watts was first elected to statewide office (corporation commissioner), then to the U.S. congress from a mostly white district. The trouble (for liberals) is: he's a black Republican. And, as Miller points out, racially gerrymandered state congressional districts have inevitably resulted in Maxine Walters-style loose cannons that would stand little chance of being elected from a racially balanced district, and zero shot at statewide election.
The point is, one day Republicans will see the foolishness and futility of allowing gerrymandered 'majority-minority' districts to marginalize black voters. Make all candidates have to present their case to all voters, and you'll see how quickly voters both black, white and otherwise will decide to cast color-blind votes for the candidate that best represents their interests and point of view. I know I would.
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Posted 3:10 PM by WiN
Hey, I don't know how accurate this is, but it was fun :)
Posted 7:14 AM by WiN
Lott, Law Redeaux
A couple of weeks ago, Kathleen Parker wrote a column about the similarities between Boston's Cardinal Law (now ex-Cardinal) and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (now ex-Majority Leader). I liked it enough to blog for the first time in months (ok, so real life managed to overwhelm me for a while - sue me). Now, after Lott's subsequent (and inevitable) resignation, The Weekly Standard's Larry Miller has weighed in on the subject.
So. Here's the thing. Law knew. He always knew. He denied it for years, and he covered it up his whole career; and you know he did. Worse, he knows he did, and, worst of all (for him), God knows he did. Time after time, as a matter of official policy, he hip-checked the victims and their families (and their nightmares), and, in return for their written promises not to say anything, he threw a few bucks onto their floors.I mean, what else can you say? I cannot even fathom the depths of deception this supposed Emissary of God must have been in to not only casually dismiss the wanton destruction of young men's lives, but to allow those responsible to continue to prey on the innocent and trusting for years and years after he knew the depths of their depravity. And he could have stopped it, quickly. Yes, it would have been immensely painful and embarrassing to the church, and to Law personally. But if it had been done completely and swiftly after the first incident, perhaps others would have thought twice before abusing their authority and indulging their perverted lusts with the weak and defenseless. I bet by the second or third time one of these sick monsters in sheep's clothing was mercilessly hung out to dry, word would have gotten around not to diddle with the flock in Law's pasture. Forgiveness? A second chance? Sure, if they showed true remorse and a desire to atone for their malevolent behavior, send them somewhere to minister to the very old and infirm for the remainder of their earthly service. And make damned sure that they had proper supervision and were never left alone with or given any kind of authority over anyone under the age of majority, ever.
By comparison, Lott's sins seem much less damaging. The problem is, he hurt way more people. Everyone who lived under the dark hand of Jim Crow. Every conservative who has ever fought for true equality for blacks, especially black conservatives like Thomas Sowell and Ward Connerly. And all those who, like Thurmond, had renounced and repented of their sins of hate but who still live under the shadow of a dark past of casual racism and hurtful language. And the thing is, the guy really didn't realize the depths of his stupidity until it was repeatedly and pointedly held up for public ridicule. Here is a guy who is one of the main public faces of the conservative movement, a leader of his party, and he's rhapsodizing on camera about the good ol' days of presidential candidates running on a platform of racial segregation. Since he had made similar gaffes in the past and lived through them, I guess he figured it would all 'blow over' like it had before. But before, he was representing Mississippi. This time, he was representing half of the voting public of America, and the entire conservative movement. And they were pissed. Still, as Miller says:
... the only reason the guy hung on like a Gekko was that he really, really, really wanted to be Majority Leader. It was all about him, wasn't it? They needed the Jaws of Life to get the gavel out of this guy's hand. He was selfish, and he didn't give a fig about what the slow bleeding did to his honor, his party, his supposed philosophy, his country, or the still-immense issue of race.So he finally did the right thing, at least two weeks too late and, judging by his comments later, for the wrong reasons. He resigned, as did Law, simply because he realized that the end was coming one way or the other and it might as well look like he was bowing out gracefully, and on principle. But they weren't. They were all about power, and in the end it consumed them, just as it had so famously in the case of a very recent occupant of the Oval Office. All we can hope is that the tide is turning, and that some day our children will witness good men in powerful positions stepping down gracefully, and for the right reasons, instead of having to be hounded into releasing their white-knuckled grip on the levers of power. May those in high places take careful note, and conduct themselves accordingly.
My Bloginality is INFP
AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY
We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.
What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.
Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:
- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny
We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.
And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.
And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come
A personal note: I have only had one Iranian acquaintance in my life, but I definitely considered him a friend. While I was in college (second time round) I had a part-time job as a self-serve gas station attendant. The senior employee was an engineering student named Rahim. The school I attended had (and probably still has) a significant middle-eastern student population, a lot of them in engineering. This was also during a period (mid-eighties) when Iran was not a popular place to be from (Iatolla Khomeini era). Since he was obviously middle-eastern, people would sometimes ask him, "Where are you from?" to which he would reply, with a sly grin "Persia".
He was not very political, so the topic of Iranian politics rarely came up. Occasionally he would show me some propaganda sheet he had picked up on campus, written in Farsi, and translate some of it for me. He also delighted in the ridiculous political cartoons showing Uncle Sam in various uncomplimentary poses. He seemed to regard the whole thing as humorous, but he got very serious when he spoke on rare occasion about the danger his relations back home faced from the oppressive regime. He had married an American and intended to stay here, at least until things got better back home.
I can't count the number of times he helped me out with work-related situations like swapping shifts and taking over for me in emergency situations. I gladly did the same for him. He was especially enamored with a nice "fuzzbuster" I had that I used for my many trips to Dallas. He borrowed it for a couple of trips he had to make to El Paso, where a former professor was holding a term paper of his "hostage" and he was negotiating to have the paper approved in order to get credit for the course, which was holding up his degree. He returned from his trips singing the praises of the magical device.
I lost track of him, of course, after I quit the job but to this day he is the face of Iran to me - friendly, helpful and a little mischievous, with a heart of gold. I wish him and all the people of Iran good will and the blessings of freedom.