|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:
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Posted 12:34 PM by WiN
Steyn strikes again
Ya gotta love Mark Steyn. The crusty, conservative Canadian expatriate/New Hampshirite commentator is by far and away the favorite of right-wing bloggers, and lately he's been on a small Wes Clark kick. But he never lets the Bill 'n' Hill gang off the hook. Here's an excellent example from his column today in The Spectator:
One can never predict the future with complete confidence, and these are uncertain times. Bush could well be beaten by a combination of events and the right opponent. Even so, whatever happens, the 44th President will not be Wesley Clark.As always, I highly recommend you go read the whole thing, it's another Steyn masterpiece. It's worth it for no other reason but his account of a local John Kerry meet 'n' greet that ends with this Steynism:
Kerry’s entrance that day is the perfect précis of his campaign, and those of the other senators. They got into the race, they shook a few hands, and now they’re trying to persuade the media that that giant flushing sound isn’t what it sounds like.As for how to keep track of Steyn's columns, you can go to his website, or make a regular visit to The Chicago Sun-Times (Sundays), The Daily Telegraph's Opinion Page (you may have to do a search on 'Mark Steyn') and the same for The Spectator. No matter how hard it's been to track his stuff down lately, it's always worth it.
Posted 9:47 AM by WiN
Bloggers and Iraq - Two Worthwhile Initiatives
My belated and brief return to the blogosphere has turned up two excellent examples of how blogging and the war in Iraq continue their fascinating, weirdly symbiotic relationship.
The first example is the heartwarming Chief Wiggles' Toys for Iraqi Children initiative. Up until today, I had never heard of this blogger but apparently he is in the military and either currently is in or recently returned from a post in Iraq. His initiative involves giving Iraqi children, most of whom have spent their entire lives in untold hardship and turmoil, a new or nearly new toy courtesy of the good old U. S. of A. Other suggested items are arts and crafts supplies and personal hygiene items i.e. toothbrushes. A simple stroke of brilliance, in my opinion, and one that will spread joy and goodwill in a simple yet meaningful way.
The other project could be branded as a political effort of sorts, but one that I think is sorely needed and will bear good fruit. Frank J., the wit and wisdom(?) behind IMAO, has brainstormed a blogging counteroffensive to the incessant negative media coverage of Coalition efforts in post-hostilities Iraq. If his idea comes to fruition - and from the massive support he seems to be garnering I have no reason to believe it won't - a blog-like site will be set up with the sole purpose of telling the whole truth about the situation on the ground in Iraq, as told in the words of those who are there i.e. American military personnel, contractors, native Iraqis, etc. He believes, as do most of his warblogger supporters, that the vast majority of the news being told by Big Media consists of the isolated tales of negative incidents whereas the thousands of positive stories that could be told concerning free Iraq are being ignored or even suppressed. So, in the sort of 'end run' around Big Media that the blogosphere is so good at, he wants to publish unedited letters from U.S. military personnel and others who have first-hand knowledge of post-war Iraq so that the truth will have an unbiased, worldwide venue. I wish him and his collaborators good luck and God speed, and I look forward to reading the real "News from Iraq".
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Posted 7:44 AM by WiN
Homeless in Palm Springs
I know this must have been a real tear-jerker for the editors of USA Today, but this guy's story (How a regular guy gets homeless) [link via James Taranto] didn't exactly arouse any pangs of sympathy from me. The gist of his story: The terrible economy put me out of work, and the Nanny State didn't take good enough care of me.
The first problem I have is that this guy is a self-described "free lance" writer/promoter. By definition, if you are a "free lance" anything, you don't have the right to any expectations of regular work. You take what you can get - that's part of the risk you take when you are "self employed". Millions of people in America are "self employed" or "free lance" workers, and I'm sure the vast majority of them have taken this into consideration. When work is slow, or your business isn't cutting it, do you have something to fall back on? That's something that should be in the back of anyone's mind that chooses this way of earning a living. If you're "out of work", you're not going to be drawing any unemployment. Keep your options open.
Which leads me to the second problem I have with this guy's little tale of woe: he seemed stuck on hanging around the California job market. Now, if you're fishing, you like to be where the fish are. When you're looking for work, it's good to be where the jobs are. Due to wildly profligate spending of the quasi-socialists in the California legislature, a mild recession has plunged the California economy straight into the crapper. Jobs are hard to come by because the government is actively and persistently running off business. Colorado, on the other hand, a state with sound fiscal policies, enjoyed rates hovering just above 5.5% (which is considered by economists to be close to "full employment" given normal job change patterns in the working population) throughout the recession. Unemployment here in Oklahoma ranged from 3% to 4.5% in 2001 and hovered around that mark all through last year. The rate in Nebraska and the Dakotas was even lower. Does this mean that Mr. Gapay would have found employment in these states? Maybe, maybe not, but the odds would have been more in his favor.
A third reason I fail to have much sympathy for this "unemployed" vagabond is that he "continued to press for jobs in (his) field" and would not consider entering another field. It seems to me as though the kind of work he does, he could have done both. There is a big difference between being forced out onto the street and choosing to be unemployed, in my mind. There are many, many retirees his age or slightly older who have taken jobs in retailing to supplement their income, and they are considered valuable employees. Maybe trying to compete in a market where youth and enthusiasm are valued more than experience is a losing game.
Mr. Gapay also takes a swipe at religion, making this vaguely accusatory statement:
Even priests I know at churches I attended weren't sympathetic or helpful, with one refusing to meet with me, saying he was too busy.I know nothing about his spiritual life, of course, but the phrase "churches I attended" tells me a lot. One, that he doesn't seem to be the kind of church-goer who joined a church and attended on a regular basis, perhaps volunteering and participating above and beyond "attending", forming relationships and a support network. Perhaps the priest who was "too busy" to meet with him had other work to attend to that he deemed more important, like serving and giving time to members of his church who had been faithful and even contributed to the church in the past. I know who would get my time and priority. The church, especially the Catholic Church, has historically been very supportive of those who are temporarily "down on their luck", providing temporary food and shelter to help them get "back on their feet", but Mr. Gapay says he "never went to a shelter". I don't know exactly what he expected these "churches he attended" to do for him - give him money perhaps - but I know that at least in my experience you get out of anything about what you put into it. Sitting in a pew on occasional Sundays doesn't, in my mind, qualify you for any special treatment or meetings with priests on your personal schedule.
Lastly, I wonder if we'd have ever seen an article about "regular guys" being "homeless" if Albert Gore had been elected just as the economy was sliding into recession. Anyone think that the recession would have been any shorter or less severe under Democratic economic guidance? I'm betting no, heavily, in both cases.
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.