|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 10, 2003
Posted 2:33 PM by WiN
Fast Times at Nazareth High
Some stuff, there's just no way you could make up:
"If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil... and receiving this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians, then persecuting those who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ," Mr. Bennett concludes.Listen, I'm all for decriminalizing marijuana, but supporters are going to have to make some better arguments than this guy. [ via skippy the lefty]
Posted 12:50 PM by WiN
Yousa Stealing Me Precious
Ok, I'm a closet LOTR fan (I read the trilogy approximately half a dozen times between the ages of 13-15) and I think the first two movies are positively stunning (It's been so long that the plot variances don't bother me a bit).
Thursday, January 09, 2003
Posted 7:13 AM by WiN
Blizzard in Blighty
While checking out the column below, I noticed that they got some heavy snow in London yesterday, which reminded me of my first trip there. Like here in Oklahoma, what lots of folks would consider a minor nuisance (2-3 inches) obviously can literally shut them down. They did something that I don't think would ever happen here in the States, however - they shut down a shopping center! Schools, certainly. Government offices - that's automatic. Even airports, if conditions are unsafe. But to shutter a shrine of capitalism would be strictly verboten here.
Also, Londoners are as sensitive to cold weather as Floridians. While we were there, daytime temps were typically below freezing, and at night got into the low 20's. The locals acted like a tectonic shift had transported them to the North Pole, and were constantly apologizing for the miserable weather we as tourists had to endure. It wasn't pleasant, but no worse than what it was like at home in early January. And the sight of Brighton Beach covered in snow as huge, heavy flakes continued to drift down is one I won't ever forget.
Posted 6:51 AM by WiN
Anti-Americanism - The Socialism of Fools
It should not therefore be surprising that those on the populist Right who share the Left’s antipathy towards the US are those, like the Austrian Freedom Party or the French National Front, who are heirs of anti-Semitic traditions. Nor should it be remarkable that the other tie which binds these allies of new Left and old Right together, the thread linking those such as George Galloway and Jörg Haider, is their hostility to Israel.
Wednesday, January 08, 2003
Posted 2:48 PM by WiN
Good Idea or Scary Eugenics Project - You Decide
A very courageous woman, Barbara Harris of Orange County, California, has started a program that for very little money induces crack addicts not to reproduce. Liberals, naturally, are livid.
The National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPR), Mrs. Harris' chief antagonist, accused her of "racial targeting" and says that her group's activities are reminiscent of Nazi Germany's sterilization programs of the 1930s.(Some quotes from the NAPR website: "For women in the United States, achieving the status of full citizen is an unfinished project." and "... fetal rights advocates have convinced police, prosecutors, and judges to treat addiction as a form of abuse or neglect without regard for parenting ability. [emphasis mine]")
What is Mrs. Harris' crime? Her program, Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity (CRACK), pays substance-dependent women of child-bearing age $200 to be sterilized or submit to long-term birth control. Men are also paid to receive vasectomies. It may not be a perfect solution, but for anyone who has heard the pitiful wails of a crack baby in the throughs of withdrawal, or had to try fruitlessly to find a home for such a baby after it was abandoned by its' mother, it might sound like a small price to pay to prevent such suffering and years of institutionalized care. One more thing it might prevent, and therein perhaps lies the key to liberal consternation and name-calling. According to Mrs. Harris,
"Before contacting CRACK, the (838) women treated had had a total of 1,322 abortions, with some having had 15. They use abortion as birth control."And we can't let anything stand in the way of that, now can we?
Posted 1:35 PM by WiN
Bush says, "Cut taxes", Dems say, "Not with our money, you don't"
As expected, President Bush released the outline of his proposed economic stimulus plan last night in Chicago. One of the key components is a reduction in the "double taxation" of corporate profits in the form of dividends, a major source of income for retirees. Of course, the lefty Champions of the Poor don't see it that way. John Kerry, posturing for the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination, said of Bush, "He's speaking the rhetoric working Americans are so eager to hear but offering only words to distract from his big, new tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans".
Well, which is it? Are retirees among "the wealthiest Americans"? In many ways, yes. But then how do you explain the Democrats' hand wringing over how the "skyrocketing" costs of prescription drugs are putting them out of reach of senior citizens, so much so that they require an immediate, across-the-board entitlement plan costing hundreds of billions of dollars?
And do the Democrats really think that the average American is going to believe their howls of "tax cuts for the rich" when over 50% of Americans receive some sort of income from dividends? I mean, who's stopping everyone else from benefiting from this tax windfall? Could it be the same liberals who don't trust the American people enough to invest even a tiny fraction of their Federally-forced retirement contributions to go to real, private investments?
And what about the increase in the child tax credit from $600 to $1,000? How can Democrats spin that into "tax cuts for the rich"? when every middle-class working family with children would benefit immensely from this much-needed increase? And how will they spin the elimination of the income tax 'marriage penalty'? Unfair to singles, since married couples would be able to claim the same standard deduction as homosexual "partners" or shacking-up heteros? And how about this doozy from the recently-dethroned Senate Demo-gogue, Tom Daschle: "My key concern is twofold - there is no stimulus in the stimulus plan, and secondly it is grossly unfair. Clearly, what the president has laid out today is wrong," Wow! Giving tax breaks to senior citizens, married couples and parents of small children is wrong! This is going to be really interesting when it hits congress.
Tuesday, January 07, 2003
Posted 1:40 PM by WiN
No Dad, Too Bad
What do you call a country or community where all forms of authority have broken down? Most would call it 'anarchy'. Now, what do you call it when applied to the smallest sub-set of society, the family? 'Single parent home'? 'Alternate family situation'? 'Alternative lifestyle'? Or just 'fatherless home'?
Whatever you name it, it is a proven recipe for societal decline. As James Q. Wilson writes in today's OpinionJournal:
Families were created to make up for what evolution did not provide, namely a way by which men could be induced to support the children they beget and care for the women they impregnate. But since marriage is a social invention, we have learned how it can be undercut by people who think that their lives will be fuller, their opportunities greater, and their burdens fewer if they are allowed to treat sex as recreation, children as toys, and income as an obligation of government rather than a result of work.Lots of folks think this is a Good Thing. But look at the facts:
Family disorganization is more important than either race or income in explaining violent crime. While it is true that both poor people and African-Americans commit more crime than do wealthier and white ones, the sociologist Robert Sampson has shown that in poor neighborhoods the rate of violent crime is much more strongly correlated with family disorganization than it is with race.Should that tell us something? Wilson makes what I think is a poor assumption, that "Enslaved blacks were never allowed to form families at all so that, when emancipation finally came, there was no lasting tradition of family life that could support newly freed people who were cast out into a still-segregated society." I believe that black families worked at pretty nearly the same level of functionality as those of other races in America up until the 60's, when the message came out from the Federal Government, via the 'War on Poverty', that hey, your puny efforts will never be enough for you to make your own way, you're being discriminated against at every turn, and even if you do have a job they probably aren't paying you enough. AFDC and other such efforts only switched the responsibility for caring for the truly needy from local charities who had first-hand knowledge of their community's unique problems to a heartless, mindless central government 'nanny state' that would take care of you no matter what stupid and/or immoral things you did. Accountability became a antiquated concept. Young men impregnated women with abandon, with no thought whatsoever given to responsibilities such as marriage or childrearing. The end result, forty years later, is tragic.
William Galston, once an assistant to President Clinton, put the matter simply. To avoid poverty, do three things: finish high school, marry before having a child, and produce the child after you are 20 years old. Only 8% of people who do all three will be poor; of those who fail to do them, 79% will be poor.Does this sound like the message the American Welfare State has been putting out? Let no one doubt why we are in the mess we are today in terms of poverty, the disintegration of the family structure and rampant black-on-black violence in our inner cities. It has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with fatherhood, marriage commitment and 'family values'. Too bad it has taken this long to face facts - it will be a long road back, if we can get there at all.
Posted 9:52 AM by WiN
By now, everyone who even casually follows college football knows that THE Ohio State University is the undisputed champion of the 2002 college football season, right? Not so fast, my friend!
Yes, the Buckeyes ended the longest college football season in history as the only undefeated team. But they didn't even play the second-highest-ranked team in their conference, which doesn't seem quite right. If they had played in the 'old format' and met Pac-10 champ USC, there are some who think they would have lost. This consensus computer ranking page has the two extremely close. Miami? Don't get me started. Who did they play? The worst combined Florida & Florida State teams in over a decade? A mediocre Tennessee team? Please. They would have lost at least 5 games in the past three years had they played in the Big 12 or SEC, and probably 2 or 3 in the Big 10 or Pac 10. The strongest teams at the end of the year (and that's what the polls reflect, don't kid yourself), were obviously USC, Kansas St. and yes, my Sooners.
But fans can rejoice that there were a ton of good games this season, topped by one of the best championship bouts in years. Me, I can't wait till August 30th.
Posted 8:42 AM by WiN
Can You Say "No Mercy"?
So, the bellicose buffoons of the DPRK (North Korea) have declared that 'Sanctions mean a war' and that 'war knows no mercy'. Perhaps they ought to talk over that strategy with some survivors of the pre-1945 Japanese Imperialist Army.
Monday, January 06, 2003
Posted 7:47 AM by WiN
Homey don't play that
Want to read about a solution to state budget crises that you can be absolutely sure won't be implemented? Check out this by Oklahoma's own Brandon Dutcher on How School Choice Can Ease the State Budget Crunch[via Education Weak].
I must admit that I had never considered this particular argument before, but after reading it I can tell right away that it makes way too much sense for our Democratically-controlled legislature to give it any serious consideration. Those wimps would not stand up for one second to the inevitable howls of protest from the OEA (a wholly owned subsidiary of the NEA), much less take the issue to an open vote. Any chance this plan might have would come via initiative petition, which is a fairly popular option around these parts due to the fact that our spineless legislators refuse to even vote on anything remotely controversial.
The benefits of allowing tax credits (directly or indirectly) for those wanting to improve their children's education are many: reduced pressure on public school systems' limited resources, allowing parents to remove their children from 'dead end street' public districts, increasing competitive pressure on all education establishments and improving the market for qualified (but not necessarily certified) teachers, thereby raising their standard of living.
So, like I said, it will never fly in the sclerotic Oklahoma legislature. So, OCPA, how about a petition drive to put it on the ballot? You can count on my support.
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.