November 30th 2004
Archive for November, 2004
November 30th 2004
As Tom Ridge joins John Ashcroft in departing the Bush administration (here) it seems appropriate to note that in all the hyperventilating over-hype about purported loss of freedom under the Patriot Act, few MSM or liberals bother to remember Elian Gonzales’ real loss of freedom under Janet Reno, or, for that matter, the ultimate loss of freedom experienced by 80 Branch Davidians.
November 30th 2004
In my post of Nov. 27 post, LA Times Squelches U.N. Congo Sex Story (scroll down), I speculated about why reference to the rape of 150 12-15 year old girls had been dropped so quickly from their coverage. Reporter Maggie Farley answered the question, e-mailing me:
Much more is coming on the Congo exploitation story. You are wrong to try to read anything into it not being mentioned in the story about attempts to maintain a Central African peace agreement. We kept the focus narrow because of space constraints.
I sometimes feel as cynical as the reporters and editors I used to work with … I can’t help but think that other stories on other subjects would have included a reference — you know, Abu Ghraib references in Guantanamo stories, that kind of thing.
But undeniably, Maggie is to be commended for breaking this story. It’s a shame so many other MSM have not yet given it the coverage it deserves.
November 30th 2004
The Dems who cling to the faith that conservative Christians are mental Neaderthals (it is a faith, not a fact; they support it only by their own will to believe it) haven’t bumped into many deep-thinking Christian intellectuals — until now, if they read David Brooks in the New York Times. (here)
Brooks starts his column by chiding MSM for continually mischaraterizing the religious: Tim Russert is a great journalist, but he made a mistake last weekend. He included Jerry Falwell and Al Sharpton in a discussion on religion and public life. Inviting these two bozos onto “Meet the Press” to discuss that issue is like inviting Britney Spears and Larry Flynt to discuss D. H. Lawrence.
He then introduces his readers to John Stott, presenting a profile of this author of 40 books that will challenge any basher of the “Christian right” to rethink some of their basic assumptions. Does the following sound like the mental processes of a dunderhead to you?
There’s been a lot of twaddle written recently about the supposed opposition between faith and reason. To read Stott is to see someone practicing “thoughtful allegiance” to scripture. For him, Christianity means probing the mysteries of Christ. He is always exploring paradoxes. Jesus teaches humility, so why does he talk about himself so much? What does it mean to gain power through weakness, or freedom through obedience? In many cases the truth is not found in the middle of apparent opposites, but on both extremes simultaneously.
November 30th 2004
Absent from a 30-signature rant by civil rights groups against attorney general nominee Alberto Gonzales (here) were two leading Hispanic civil rights groups, the National Council of La Raza, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Some apparently are noticing with approval the inclusionary quality of the Bush administration. The NAACP could take a lesson from La Raza and MALDEF.
November 30th 2004
Why should anyone who is not a California state employee care about its pension program, CalPERS, or the fate of its president, Sean Harrigan? Simple. With an investment pot of $177 billion and an activist attitude by its president, CalPERS likes to affect the way business does business.
This can be a good thing. For example, CalPERS has tried (not altogether successfully) to encourage more affordable housing in housing-starved California.
But it can also be a bad thing, as when its activist board tries to use CalPERS’ clout to force corporations to do things that just don’t make business sense. Worse, they continue to put activism above return, and whistle as their invest-if-you-reform policies fail to perform for the employees they are investing for. And worse, when confronted with investment failure, they blame corporate activism instead of their own union activism.
Harrigan is an exec with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and he’s pushed his pro-union, anti-management agenda agressively. One of his targets is Safeway. Imagine a union boss of a grocery union using his clout to bully one of the largest employers of his rank and file.
Perhaps he and the other activist board members could get away with it if CalPERS were doing well, but as the Wall Street Journal reported last May, CalPERS assets have dropped $27 billion from 1999 to mid-2003. Its investments have trailed its peers by a full percentage point on average in 2001 and 2002. The Journal concluded, “A cynic, or even a taxpayer, might wonder that the real motive behind the current CalPERS campaign against corporate America is to draw attention away from its own underperformance.”
It’s catching up with Harriman, as rumors are swirling that he will not retain his board position. His response? Blame Safeway and other corporate giants, a vast corporate conspiracy. The LA Times likes that angle enough to put it on the top of Page One — and its “coverage” of the story manages to completely ignore the poor performance of CalPERs investments. (here)
November 30th 2004
George Will’s great column on liberal bias in academia (here) drew this letter in today’s OC Register (not yet on-line):
Columnist George Will is not surprised that liberals dominate campuses and attributes it to some kind of “good old boy” network. The simple fact is that people who acquire a good education naturally learn critical thinking, and critical thinkers cannot be strong conservatives, since conservatism requires an unhealthy dose of “head in the sand” mentality.
Oh. That explains why college campuses are the only places where there are still socialists and communists, since they can critically think up ways to ignore nearly 100 years of proof of the failure of that system. And certainly there is no sand anywhere near the heads of race-baiting African studies and family-hating women’s studies profs, who force-feed students radical ideologies while ignoring political, sociological and economic realities.
Colleges are havens for leftist ideologues because the only proof required for their ideas is the collective opinion of similarly inclined peers in a highly controlled marketplace of ideas, i.e., “some kind of old boy network.” People who want to put their ideas and beliefs to the test of a free marketplace will go elsewhere, as George Will did. And most people who want to rise or fall by what a free marketplace allows, rather than live a subsidized life in a controlled marketplace, will do, not teach.
God bless and protect the few, brave college profs who dare to espouse conservative ideas in that very hostile environment.
November 29th 2004
They still just don’t get it:
Derrick Johnson, Boston Globe columnist (here), parallels morality voters with road-rage murderers and NBA thugs. Why is America so boorish? he asks, then he answers: You cannot expect much else in a nation where we claim to vote on moral values but reelected a trash-talking president.
Also in the Boston Globe (not linkable, except to subscribers) in the Nov. 7 Ideas Section, Rick Perlstein wrote, “We’ve already heard a lot about the rise of the evangelical vote in this presidential election. Well, God-fearing middle Americans who also fear for their families’ economic security would be far more likely to vote their economic interests – rather than on matters like gay marriage and abortion – if the Democratic Party beat a public retreat from a politics that condones or even celebrates the Wal-Martization of America and the world. This is the way forward for the Democrats.” Sorry, but that’s just wrong. People of faith care more about stopping abortion and getting God back into schools than they do about their paychecks. It’s ironic that Liberals find that incomprehensible, since they supposedly always put humanity above economy.
Ken Fireman and Thomas Frank, writing the the November 7 issue of Newsday quoted a couple in-the-dark Dem commentators:
“Voters don’t know what we stand for,” [Dem strategist Donna] Brazile said. “They view Democrats as godless and gutless. We cannot concede the moral ground to Republicans because it impedes our ability to talk to voters on what they do agree with us on, which is jobs and health care.” [Which aren't moral issues; they're economic]
Many Democrats suggested their problem was not their stand on issues but their articulation. “If you can say anything about this campaign, people did not know at the end of it so much what the Democrats were for as much as what we were against,” said former Bill Clinton speechwriter Bob Boorstin, a national security analyst at the liberal Center for American Progress. “It’s really not so much of an ideological thing as it is a clarity thing.” [How exactly do you position partial birth abortion as moral?]
Boorstin and Brazile both said Democrats have to learn to frame their issues as values questions, just as Republicans have. “Why should poverty be any less of a faith issue than gay marriage?” Boorstin said. [So clueless ... poverty is an economic issue, as evidenced by the fact that poor people and wealthy people often share the same morals.]
They get it:
John Leo in U.S. News & World Report (here) who articulates the cunundrum: Why is the imposition of a Christian’s beliefs represhensible, but a secularist’s beliefs can be applied at will without a peep of outrage? Excerpt:
The “don’t impose” people make little effort to be consistent, deploring, for example, Roman Catholics who act on their church’s beliefs on abortion and stem cells but not those who follow the pope’s insistence that the rich nations share their wealth with poor nations or his opposition to the death penalty and the invasion of Iraq. If the “don’t impose” people wish to mount a serious argument, they will have to attack “imposers” on both sides of the issues they discuss–not just their opponents. They will also have to explain why arguments that come from religious beliefs are less worthy than similar arguments that come from secular principles or simply from hunches or personal feelings. Nat Hentoff, a passionate opponent of abortion, isn’t accused of imposing his opinions, because he is an atheist. The same arguments and activity by a Christian activist would most likely be seen as a violation of some sort.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reader Gery Steighner submitted an excellent essay on the subject (here), which summarizes well, by pointing out that we’re expected to understand them, no reciprocation is needed: Yet the secular elites who profess faith in tolerance won’t do the work to achieve a compassionate understanding of moral traditionalists who have deep faith in the law of God as they see it. Thus is explained, in part, the left’s angry befuddlement at the results of this election.
In the same Boston Globe “Idea” piece Rick Perlstein is quoted from above, Elaine Kamarck writes, “The fact that Clinton never paid a price within his party for his own mistakes continues to give many Americans the impression that we are a party that is as out of the mainstream on traditional moral questions as the Hollywood celebrities who endorse us. The first step to reclaiming the moral mantle is to stop adoring Bill Clinton the rock star and go back to some of the bedrock, forward-looking middle-class policies that made Clinton’s presidency successful in spite of his behavior.” How true. One of my incredible daughters was a presidential scholar in junior high. When she saw the certificate was signed by Clinton, she tossed it aside and said, “I don’t want this!” Now 18, she voted proudly for Bush.
Ending with a threat:
This from the Nov. 7 New York Times:
Yet gay rights’ advocates will need to grapple with the surge in voting by evangelical Christians and those who ranked ”moral values” first among their concerns. ”When the right wing attacks us it hurts, but it can help,” Ms. Bonauto said. ”This is going to be an enormous unifying force for us. They had a good day, so to speak. But not as good a day as they think they had.”
November 29th 2004
For the last two years, my wife Beth has dedicated her life to building awareness about the dangers of trendy drugs like ecstasy, ketamine, GHB and DXM. Her web site is full of info, her blog is full of news, and her DVDs are designed to help parents talk to their kids about drugs. The perception that these drugs are safe is furthered by MSM coverage, especially Peter Jennings’ hour-long documentary on the subject last summer, which Howard Stern called, “An hour-long advertisement for Ecstasy.”
Beth is trying hard to let people know the perception ain’t the reality, and is particularly focused on getting parents to have a serious talk with their youngsters about drugs, whether they think their kids are at risk or not. Most parents have a false sense of security, and most kids think the drugs are relativesly safe. Today’s LA Times ran a story (here) that shows just how dangerous the designer drug culture has become. Excerpts:
In the latest in a string of violent outbreaks at illegal rave-style parties, a teenager opened fire on a crowd of partygoers late Saturday night, wounding three revelers and a police officer before the officer shot him to death, Los Angeles Police Department officials said Sunday. Jeremy Andre Cervantes, 19, of Los Angeles shot and injured the three people before he was confronted by the policeman, Mario Cardona, 30, one of about a dozen officers trying to shut down the party, police said. …
Saturday’s fatal shooting was the fifth connected with the illegal parties this year in the 77th Street Division and the second at the same building. But the bashes — and the violence — are common throughout the city. For example, in May, two young men were shot and killed at a flier party in Sylmar. On Sept. 25, two teenagers were shot and killed at a flier party in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse. On Nov. 13, two teenage boys were shot and one stabbed at a similar party in the fashion district. …
Police said partygoers were buying hits of nitrous oxide, which is inhaled through balloons and produces a narcotic effect. Word of the parties usually starts on campus, where the glossy fliers, sometimes adorned with pictures of half-naked women, DJs and dancers, spread from hand to hand. One flier promoting a Nov. 19 party showed images of condom wrappers and women in provocative poses.
Beth’s films tell the story of four family tragedies caused by these drugs. If you know anyone who needs to hear this message, PLEASE forward this post to them. Thank you!
November 29th 2004
Joe Blundo, humor columnist at The Columbus Dispatch, hit the nail on the head in his 11/16 column. (No link; subscription required)
Canada sending back Bush-dodgers
by JOE BLUNDO
The Columbus Dispatch
The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration.
The re-election of President Bush is prompting the exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they’ll soon be required to hunt, pray and agree with Bill O’Reilly.
Canadian border farmers say it’s not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.
”I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn,” said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota.
The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. ”He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn’t have any, he left. Didn’t even get a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?”
In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers that blare Rush Limbaugh across the fields.
”Not real effective,” he said. ”The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn’t give milk.”
Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station-wagons, drive them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves.
”A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions,” an Ontario border patrolman said. ”I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though.”
When liberals are caught, they’re sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about the Bush administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR.
In the days since the election, liberals have turned to sometimes ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs.
After catching a half-dozen young vegans disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers. ”If they can’t identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we get suspicious about their age,” an official said.
Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies.
”I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can’t support them,” an Ottawa resident said. ”How many art-history majors does one country need?”
In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada, Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals, a source close to Cheney said.
”We’re going to have some Peter, Paul & Mary concerts. And we might put some endangered species on postage stamps. The president is determined to reach out.”