2007-02-27

Clarance Thomas, Intellect

I always knew that Clarance Thomas was a shallow, intellectually light-weighted, unqualified rightwing tool... until I took the time to watch a speech by him on CSPAN. This book portrays CT as a heavy weight, and Sandra O'Conner as an airhead.

Racist America Hates Smokers, Grampas, & Mormons Worse!

Americans are less likely to vote for a candidate for President if the candidate is...

Mormon: 30%
Older than 72: 58%
A Smoker: 25%
Divorced Twice: 21%
A Woman: 13%
Black: 06%

The poll also found that the small negatives of being a woman or black are offset by an equal fraction respondents who said that they would prefer a woman or a black person, respectively.

Pundit: climate skeptics 'idiots'

Government's gotta be proactive on environment. Global warming is here. All these idiots that run around and say it isn't here. That's ridiculous.


Who said that? Al Gore? Paul Krugman? No, uh-uh. Try Bill O'Reilly.

2007-02-26

Inconvenient Truths

More Global Warming skepticism. I'm unconvinced by the alarmists, but uncertain about the skeptics.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Real Time w/Bill Maher

I guess when even that ***hole Bill Maher comes to the realization of Islam as not being a Religion Of Peace ™ there must really be something to it. On a serious note though, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has truly got to be the bravest woman on the face of the earth. What an incredibly impressive person.

2007-02-23

Dropping Out

It's February 2007, 17 months before the presidential election of 2008, and the race already has a casualty. The AP reports that Iowa's former governor, Democrat Tom Vilsack is calling it quits.

<<How did he expect to raise any money with those ugly campaign posters?

We Need a White History Month Too

Whatever happened to James Blake? He is probably the most famous bus driver ever.

Blake was the Montgomery driver who told a row of black passengers: "Y'all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats." Rosa Parks was one of those passengers. She made her stand and kept her seat. The rest, as they say, is history.

Well, black history anyway. We know how African-Americans boycotted city transit for thirteen months until the segregationists caved in. We know how the boycott launched the career of a previously unheard-of preacher called Martin Luther King Jr. and made Parks an icon. In schools, bookstores and on TV there is an awful lot of talk about them in February. But nary a word about Mr. Blake.

There is no month when we get to talk about Blake; no opportunity to learn the fates of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, who murdered Emmett Till; no time set aside to keep track of Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, whose false accusations of rape against the Scottsboro Boys sent five innocent young black men to jail.

Wouldn't everyone--particularly white people--benefit from becoming better acquainted with these histories? What we need, in short, is a White History Month.

Now, Paul will probably say that this is an example of Nadir focusing only on the evil that white folks do. That's not true at all. Gary Younge's article for The Nation advocates a more open and honest telling of history. We should stop teaching mythology and start teaching the truth.

White Americans must learn to reconcile that the United States was founded on genocide and slavery just as Paul insists Blacks must come to grips with our African ancestors selling us into bondage. To obtain any real benefit from the study of the past, we must study what really happened - not just the good. We must hold the truth up to the light, understanding that it isn't always pretty, but knowing that if we turn our faces from what really happened, we lose valuable insight into what made us who we are.

Climatologist Disputes Global Warming - Hurricane Link

Am I absolutely certain that (1) global warming is not occurring or that (2) humans are not primarily responsible? No. I am only absolutely certain that at least the same fraction of doubting scientists have honestly reached their conclusions as have the alarmists.

For those of you who are absolutely certain that global warming is occurring and that humans have caused it, is it possible that this scientist has reached his conclusion honestly?

Obama Isn't Black?? Part 3


Imani Perry raises some good points in a recent Afro-Netizen article:

I don’t believe the authenticity problem lies with African Americans. The authenticity problem lies with white Americans. The real question is: Why have White pundits, journalists and newscasters been so eager to comment on Obama’s being biracial and the son of an immigrant, rather than his history of civil rights activism or his long time involvement in African American social and political communities? Does it reveal a desire, among whites, that he not be authentically black (whatever that means), but somehow “different?”

The fixation on Obama as “different” appears to be an effort to exceptionalize him. He is seen as acceptable, in part, because he is considered to be unlike other African Americans, and in particular, African American men, who have been so widely commented upon as a “social problem” in the most prestigious news media in recent months. Joe Biden got in trouble for saying what many Americans are thinking, and that is a much bigger problem than a foot in the mouth.

While there is no particular tradition of African Americans being suspicious of immigrant political activists and leaders, there is a long tradition of African Americans being suspicious of Black leaders who seem to be eagerly touted by Whites as the “next best thing.” Why, we wonder, do people who seem to hold animosity for us as a group, make an exception for this individual?

Good question... Why is Obama being treated as if he is the second coming?

I'm still not drinking the Kool-Aid...

2007-02-22

Racism Against Lovie Smith?

Lovie was the lowest-paid coach last year, but had the second-highest accomplishment. The year before that he was also the lowest-paid, but out-performed most. What is going on here? The Bears won't renew his contract that ends next season, and won't agree to a new extended contract that meets his terms. I do not recall this ever before happening to a coach on such an upswing. Lots of spanking new first-time head coaches are getting much better offers for their first jobs than Lovie.

Did Thugs Ruin NBA All-Star Weekend?

From the op-ed: ====================
NBA All-Star Weekend in Vegas was an unmitigated failure...

"It was filled with an element of violence," Teresa Frey, general manager for Coco's restaurant, told klastv.com. "They don't want to pay their bills. They don't want to respect us or each other." Things got so bad that she closed the 24-hour restaurant from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. "I have been spit on. I have had food thrown at me," she said. "I have lost two servers out of fear. I have locked my door out of the fear of violence."

...There were so many fights and so many gangbangers and one parking-lot shootout at the MGM Grand that people literally fled the hotel in fear for their safety. I talked with a woman who moved from the MGM to the Luxor because "I couldn't take it. I'll never come back to another All-Star Game."

...I was there. Walking The Strip this weekend must be what it feels like to walk the yard at a maximum security prison. You couldn't relax. You avoided eye contact. The heavy police presence only reminded you of the danger.

...All-Star Weekend can no longer remain the Woodstock for parolees, wannabe rap artists and baby's mamas on tax-refund vacations. Every year the event becomes more and more a destination for troublemakers. If something isn't done, next year's All-Star Weekend will surpass the deceased Freaknik, a weekend-long party in Atlanta, in terms of lawlessness. Wide-spread looting and a rape killed the Freaknik in 1999.

Hollywood Discriminatation Against Blacks

I think Jesse Jackson has a good point here: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (the people who vote on the Oscars) has only 110 blacks in its 5,830 membership. This looks very low even if you account for the possibility that although blacks are just as likely as white to seek jobs as actors, this might not be the case for the various other roles that qualify for Acadamy membership.

But Jackson make a poor point when he hold up "a UCLA study by Russell Robinson, released in December 2006, that found 69 percent of Hollywood roles were reserved for white actors." The US is about 70% honkey, so that's a about right. That same study, discussed here earlier, showed that Hollywood reserved 8% of its roles for blacks, which is pretty on-the-mark given that blacks comprise about 12% of the US population.

I want to identify real instances of racism in Hollywood, and then nail any bastards or bitches who are propagating it.

2007-02-21

Budget Defict Shrinking Fast; Surplus Looms

Bush's tax rate cuts have stimulated so much tax revenue that the input stream has overtaken the embarrassing increases in Bush-supported federal expenses. Why do leftists still want tax rate increases?

John Stossel: No Drug Price Controls

Medicare participants probably won't even have access to some drugs that are already developed. To see this we need only look at the Department of Veterans Affairs. I happened to have lunch with Sen. Hillary Clinton recently. When I went into one of my usual libertarian rants about free markets, Ms. Clinton cited the VA as an example of government success. Indeed, under her husband's administration, the Veterans Health Administration came to provide the "best care anywhere," according to The Washington Monthly. Great.

But government monopolies like the VA never embrace innovation in the same way the private market does. And sure enough, the VA now rations drugs. If you are a VA patient and you need a new and expensive drug, you can't get it. Writes Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute and author of "Miracle Cure: How to Solve America's Health-Care Crisis and Why Canada Isn't the Answer", "Only 19 percent of drugs approved by the FDA since 2000 are listed on the VA formulary, and only 38 percent of drugs approved in the 1990s are listed. ... ".

In other words, the department keeps a rein on costs by withholding drugs from veterans. The giant Medicare drug program, which created the cost problem the Democrats say they will solve, shouldn't have been created. We ought to get our drugs through the private marketplace or from private charities. If government must be involved, at least let it be through the states so they can compete against each other.

The last thing we should do is give federal officials more power. When government controls prices, it must eventually ration supplies. Consumers suffer. When the product is medicine, the results could be catastrophic.

Martial Law: Coming to America

I was minding my own business, just driving to a meeting when I heard a brief headline on Democracy Now:
In news from Capitol Hill, Congress is coming under criticism for approving a little noticed provision last year that makes it easier for President Bush to declare martial law and to send US troops into American cities. At the administration's request, Congress approved the changes to a law known as the Insurrection Act without ever holding a public hearing.

Under the new law, the president now has the authority to use both active-duty armed forces and the National Guard on American soil -- not just during a rebellion -- but also a natural disaster, terrorist attack, pandemic or other chaotic situation.

All 50 of the nation's governors have opposed the rule changes. Earlier this month Senators Patrick Leahy, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Republican Christopher Bond introduced legislation to repeal the changes Congress approved last year.
WHAT??? Wait, how did I miss this?

Oh, yeah. This bill was signed into law on the same day as the infamous Military Commissions Act of 2006. I was so outraged that my Democratic Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow had voted "Yes" on that measure that I didn't notice this other law. While I was writing Stabenow a heated letter telling her that she had lost my vote forever, the Bush regime was getting away with murder... again!!

Steve Jobs Has Guts

This makes me even happier to be a Mac owner/user.

In a speech on Friday, the chief executive officer of Apple and Disney honcho declared: "I believe that what's wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way."

The problem with unionization, Mr. Jobs argued, is that it has constrained schools from attracting and retaining the best teachers and from dismissing the less effective ones. This, in turn, deters quality people from seeking to become principals and superintendents. "What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good? Not really great ones because if you're really smart you go, ‘I can't win,'" Mr. Jobs said. He concluded by saying, "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

2007-02-20

Police Brutality in Black And White

Do black cops or white white cops, facing the same circumstances, have higher or lower rates with respect to each other of brutalizing members of the public? Do black or white members of the public, facing the same circumstances, have higher or lower rates of receiving police brutality from white cops? What about from black cops?

These questions fascinate me, but I have been unable to find clear data that addresses them. The referenced article, by BlackNews.com writer Earl Ofari Hutchenson, indicates that black officers appear just as likely to as white officers to employ excessive force. Another article by him echoes this theme. In both articles recognizes that because blacks disproportionately commit more "street crimes" than white, you would expect non-racist officers to have a higher rate of violent confrontations with black members of the public. However, Hutcheson also describes cognition of this fact as an example of "prejudice", though he supposes that it equally affects both white and black officers.

But even Hutchenson's essay lacks statistical weight, and does not address the questions about white members of the public experiencing brutality, and the rates of brutality they experience from black vs. white officers.

WHERE IS THE DATA?

This hefty .pdf document from the US Dept of Justice provides many data, and some touch on these questions, though none fully or satisfyingly address them head on or completely. We learn here that black and white motorists get pulled over about equally, though men much more often than women. We learn that black and white cops are equally likely to pull over black and white motorists, but that black cops are harsher than white cops on both black and white motorists! Black cops are more likely than white cops to issue tickets to black and white motorists. Where black officers are a little less likely to arrest black motorists than are white cops, white cops are twice as likely to arrest white motorists as are black cops! Where white cops are twice as likely to arrest a black motorist as they are to arrest a white motorist, black cops are THREE TIMES as likely to arrest a black motorist as they are to arrest a white motorist! And black and white motorists are about as likely to believe that white cops and black cops have pulled them over for legitimate reasons.

We learn that white motorists are more likely to consent to a search, and that searches of black motorists are twice as likely to "produce evidence" as searches of white motorists. The stats also show that whites report forceful police interactions 0.7% of the time that they interact with cops, where blacks report this at a rate about three times greater. Unfortunately we don't have these stats broken down by "race" of the cop. And men even more so report forceful interactions than women. Are cops gender-discriminating against men? Are men more violently resistant than women? Or both?

Killer Detroit Cop, Minus Jesse & Al

Just 75 people protest the cop-killing of a black guy shot twice in the back, resulting in a tiny news story. Why no media splash? Where's Jesse and Al? Maybe the news media will follow this small, buried story long enough for us do evaluate my bet: no white cops involved. In a related tiny, buried story of community complaints against Detroit cops, we see allegations of " harassment at bus stops, aggressive traffic stops and home searches they claimed were unwarranted." But no charges of "racism." Are these black cops behaving this way?

And another tiny, buried story of police "racial discrimination" in the Detroit area. Wonder why this one warranted nearly zero press. Perhaps because it involved a nearly all-black force accused by a Hispanic cop of "discrimination against non-blacks."

My suspicion: Cops today of all "races" behave approximately the same to citizens of all "races", but only when mistreatment involves white cops and black citizens does anybody seem to care. The cries of "racism" carry-over from the generations of time when white cops were especially nasty to black folks.

Black Students, Poor Choices

From the article:
=============
Twelve-year-old Alex Carter is an A student who loves science and reads a book a week. So it surprised his father when he announced last year that he didn't want to enroll in an honors class that his teacher recommended for the following term."That class is for the smart people, the nerds," Alex told him.
===============

In affluent Loudoun, known for its strong schools, black students consistently lag behind their white classmates on standardized tests. Last year, 63 percent of black eighth-graders in the county passed the state math test; 62 percent passed in English. White students' pass rate for both subjects was 89 percent. At Eagle Ridge, where 8 percent of students are black, the gaps were similar. Many parents in the group have college degrees and can afford such activities as summer camp and tutoring, two indicators that researchers have linked to higher achievement.
====

"We know there is an achievement gap in the county, in the state, in the country," said Gabrielle Carpenter. Her goal is to make sure their sons aren't part of it.

===================

But even with their advantages, these parents say they worry about the images of African American men that their sons absorb from popular media. Carter said he started noticing his son and his friends strutting, letting their pants sag and picking up slang. He became troubled when they started doubting their abilities in advanced math and science. Carpenter said she understands that her son now cares most about his friends and being cool.

2007-02-18

Why Arrest Only Scooter Libby

Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald obtained a dozen or so testimonies that contradicted each other and other facts. But he only arrested Scooter Libby. Why? And what crime was he investigating? Prior to his investigation, did any crime get committed?

2007-02-17

Venezuala Shows: Price Controls Cause Shortages

Hugo Chavez has threatened merchants and suppliers with jail for violating Venezuela's new price controls. Will this:
1) Cause people (known as "merchants" and "suppliers) to provide goods and services to Venezuelans, in accordance with what the Venezuelans want, and within the limits on prices set by the government?
OR...
2) Cause people (known as "merchants" and "suppliers) to find something else to do, such as immigrate to the US, where they can freely negotiate with customers, or merely to supply and merchandise products not subject to price controls?

Nadir may applaud that some citizens in this article see Chavez transforming Venezuela into Cuba or Zimbabwe; but those citizens aren't applauding.

From the article: ===================
"Food producers and economists say the measures announced late Thursday night, which include removing three zeroes from the denomination of Venezuela’s currency, are likely to backfire and generate even more acute shortages and higher prices for consumers." Chavez called for the creation of “committees of social control,” essentially groups of his political supporters whose purpose would be to report on [those] who circumvent the state’s effort to control food prices.

“We are in danger of squandering a major oil boom,” said a former chief of economic research at Venezuela’s central bank. “If the government insists on sticking to policies that are clearly failing, we may be headed down the road of Zimbabwe.”

...Shelves are fully stocked with Scotch whiskey, Argentine wines and imported cheeses like brie and Camembert [assumption: no price controls on those!], but basic staples like black beans and desirable cuts of beef like sirloin are often absent [empty shelves listing govt-approved prices!]. [Leading to] a panicked reaction by federal authorities as they try to understand how such shortages could develop in a seemingly flourishing economy [from oil revenues; good thing the UN doesn't put a "price control" on petro!]. With shoppers limited to just two large packages of sugar, a black market in sugar has developed [no price controls in black markets!]s. “This country is going to turn into Cuba, or Ch├ívez will have to give in,” said a shopper.

...a raid this month on a warehouse here where officials seized about 165 tons of sugar, [which] exposed hoarding by vendors who were unwilling to sell the sugar at official prices. [Who now will produce the next 165 tons of sugar?]

Fears that more private companies could be nationalized have put further pressure on the currency as rich Venezuelans try to take money out of the country [those evil rich people! Take their money from them!].

Venezuela, despite boasting some of South America’s most fertile farmland, still imports more than half its food, largely from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and the United States [all with free markets!].

2007-02-16

Bush, Iran, and the house of Saud

From my post over on gristmill.org:

Sounds like the administration is cooking up a scheme to engage the Iranian military in hostilities. That makes zero sense. The country is riven by at least two more or less distinct conflicts: the Shiia-Sunni civil war, and the anti-U.S. insurgency.

The latter is a largely Sunni phenomenon. With the 2003 invasion, the U.S. pushed the Sunnis out of power and "liberated" the Shiite majority, who now control the central government. The anti-U.S. resistance has been largely Sunni-led.

The question becomes, who is funding the Sunni insurgency? Probably not U.S. arch-enemy Iran; that nation is populated, and controlled, mainly by Shiites.

More likely, the money that's bolstering the resistance is coming from staunch U.S. ally Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government is Sunni-dominated and has already publicly announced its intention to fund Sunni militias if Bush can't bring the Shiite government to heel.

It will be remembered, I hope, that Bush marketed the Iraq war as a response to the Sept. 11 attacks. He never explained why invading Iraq made sense as a response to a crime committed largely by a bunch of Saudis.

Now, he seems to be gearing up for a move to attack Iran, even though, again, the real problem seems to lie in Saudi Arabia. It's hard to figure out what he hopes to achieve from such a move, beyond yet more chaos and killing. Enough. It's time for Congress to defund the war, and demand a regional summit aimed at ending the Shiite-Sunni conflict that Bush seems bent on escalating.

Scientist Undaunted by Data Against Global Warming

Here's a pattern I used to see back when I researched the infectious AIDS model: a scientist undertakes a study already "knowing" what the results ought to be. When he doesn't find them, he invents an excuse for it. "Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet." But when his data show no increase of temperature or snow, of course this can't contradict the human-caused global warming model: "We're looking for a small signal that represents the impact of human activity and it is hard to find it at the moment," he said. In other words, he already knows that such a trend exists (but how would he know if it's human-caused?), even if he can't find it in his data.

2007-02-15

Airlines Trap Customers On Stranded Planes

Again we have airlines unnecessarily trapping their passengers on planes. Officials provide all manner of excuses for why they do this. It's so stupid that I suspect government regulations. At the very least buses could get these customers away from the planes and back into the terminals.

Funding Cuts Don't Pay for Tax Cuts!

"The Bush administration and Congress have scaled back programs that aid the poor to help pay for $600 billion in tax breaks that went primarily to those who earn more than $288,800 a year."

Hogwash! Clearly those tax cuts have resulted not in a loss of federal tax revenue, but rather in an INCREASE in tax revenue. The budget cuts lamented here pay not for cuts in tax rates, but rather for other government expenditures, such as "bridges to nowhere", a cowboy hall of fame, big ag subsidies, unnecessary airport travel security, refusal to lease out AMWR and the coasts of FL and CA to petro companies, hookers for Katrina victims, the silly "war on drugs", all the unnecessary imperial trappings of presidential travel, and yes, Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Spending for these programs has increased even faster than the increase in tax rev caused by the cut in tax rates.

If you want more money for "programs that aid the poor", you have two choices: more cuts in tax rates to generate more tax rev, or cut some of these other programs.

Against Socialized Medicine

Free health care for all! Indeed. Get in line. And hope that you live near a nation that has a free market healtcare system.

Increase Tax Rates Cause Lower Tax Rev

People in the Irish government figured they could increase tax revenue by increasing the rate at which Ireland taxes music royalty income. What do you suppose happened: Artists who had happily housed their companies in Ireland -- paying *some* taxes -- simply fled for more tax-friendly lands. In one famous example, the Rolling Stones pay 1.6% taxes on their royalty income in the Netherlands. That's a low tax rate, but provides the Netherlands more money from the Rolling Stones than what Ireland gets: nothing.

Yet this somehow doesn't keep Mick Jagger from hating the low-tax advocate George Bush.

Jesus Wasn't White, But Cleopatra Was

Nothing annoys me more than Hollywood insisting on maintaining "historical accuracy" when casting whites-only to depict historical honkies, but when depicting historical figures who were non-white, well, they make exceptions. All the major Hollywood films cast Jesus as a honkey, when the bible describes him as having "hair like lamb's wool and skin like polished brass."

When Hollywood famously cast Elizabeth Taylor to play Cleopatra, what they got wrong wasn't her so-called "race" but rather her physical appeal: Cleo was a honkey chick, but her beauty was all in her remarkable personality.

What I would like to see: black folks playing all manner of historical characters, including Napoleon. And of course: where's the movies about the slave rebellions? Amistad doesn't count, of course; they need to refilm it and this time focus on the rebels.

2007-02-14

Why the trade deficit matters

More than once, this blog has raised the question: do trade deficits matter? The implied answer has been no, because the economy has been racking up trade deficits for years, and has nevertheless been outperforming those of its Western European and Asian peers.

In a game of keep-up-with-the-Joneses, a person can win by working harder and winning more rewards in the free market than his peers; but he can also win by simply whipping out the credit card and consuming beyond what the frugal Joneses find prudent. In that game, the big spender eventually loses when he can no longer keep up with his credit card bills. That's when the repo man comes to pay a visit. What would the Joneses think then?

The above-linked WSJ article reports that:

In recent months, as home-price appreciation fell and borrowers faced rising interest rates, more people defaulted on their mortgages....Yesterday Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co., a subprime mortgage lender based in San Diego, reported a loss of $37.8 million for the fourth quarter, partly due to heavy repurchases of dud loans from large loan buyers, compared with a year-earlier net income of $43.3 million.


Subprime, did you day? The people who take out subprime loans tend to be poor or low-income, and reformed leftists are in the business of chastising the poor for their profligacy. The poor consumed too much? Off with their heads! Excessive consumption is the sole right of the well-off!

Hold on. These same overspenders, when they bought their homes, overfilled their carts at Home Depot and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, filling up their new digs with goodies. In the process, they maxed out credit cards the big banks were only too happy to give them. And their expenditures rippled through the economy. In short, they leveraged low interest rates for the benefit of large shareholders in companies like Home Depot, etc. Those shareholders, flush with rising portfolios, in turn bought luxury goods and second homes. Greenspan used to call it the "wealth effect."

What's this got to do with the trade deficit? Our trade deficit has been financed -- no free lunch, etc. -- by big foreign creditors like China and Japan, which have recycled our export dollars by buying U.S. treasury notes. This, in turn, has led to low interest rates -- which gives the profligate poor the chance to spend, and in turn makes billions for the likes of Home Depot as well as the big banks.

But just as easy credit has a ripple effect on the way up, it also ripples on the way down. Just as reformed leftists have to cross their fingers and hope that humans don't cause global warming, they had better pray that our creditors don't hit a bump in their business cycles and stop financing our trade deficits. If they do stop, expect a run on the dollar, a spike in interest rates, and real pain -- not Champaign -- to ripple throughout the economy.

Media Portrayal of Blacks: Myth vs. Reality

It certainly used to be true that news and entertainment media in the US portrayed blacks either not at all, or only as criminals, servants, or bafoons. Now it seems that the national cable news and print news media focus on crimes committed by whites: wealthy white kids shooting up schools, honkey deviants (including priests) kidnapping or raping children, corporate misconduct, runaway brides, parents killing their kids, cops beatings, celebrity misbehaviors, etc. Perhaps local news in black-majority cities such as Detroit contain lots of black-on-black crime... but such cities are, well, black majority.

Considering that black men comprose just 6% of the US population but commit about half the murders and a quarter or so of the burgleries and rapes, you would think that you would see even *more* of these "negative images." Even TV shows and films no longer exclude blacks, and nor do they depict them exclusively in negative terms -- except for black music videos and youth-oriented films, which earn hearty black viewerships.

Notes righty commentar Larry Elder: "
Researchers Linda and S. Robert Lichter watched hundreds of hours of television. They found that networks portrayed blacks as doctors, lawyers or other professionals far more often than occurs in real life. The networks also showed blacks as criminals far less frequently than occurs in real life."

In another article, he cites a study claiming that "roughly 12 percent of film and movie jobs go to blacks. Black directors get about five percent of the jobs, up dramatically from ten years ago. And blacks account for nearly 12 percent of all roles in commercials."

A third Elder essay claims that:
"According to the Screen Actors Guild, blacks, who comprise 12 percent of the population, are cast in 14.8 percent of all roles on television and in movies. ABC says that 33.6 percent of new network hires went to minorities. Forty-one percent of Fox's prime-time series actors are minorities. CBS says that 29 percent of its actors are black." In this article he notes that despite these claims of both discrimination and negative portrayal, blacks watch 50% more TV on average than honkies, which is more consistent with an inclusive, positive media portrayal than with an exclusive, negative one.

I remember watching TV and the movies in the '70s. No films other than "blaxploiotation" or the occasional "Sounder" contained any black folks in meaningful roles; TV presenting nothing except a few shows like Good Times and Sandford & Son, which presented blacks in projects or a junkyard, respectively; and news media had only the rare anchor or correspondant. Times have changed indeed as I flip the channels now, or survey the movies.


2007-02-13

Gotcha! You Offended Me!

Pres. candidate Edwards has a campaign blogger who wrote something to which some people chose to "take offense." Then pres. candidate Obama said that US troops killed in Iraq had "wasted" their lives, to which of course many of my fellow Bush war cheerleaders decided to swell with offense, interpretting in the most negative possible way. One "offensive" act elicited demands for a forced firing, the other for a forced aplogy, and both succeeded. Would it be enough if Obama and Edwards disembowled themselves? Would that then make life possible for those agreived by these words? How about just behaving like serious, intelligent adults: permit other adults to express themselves as they like, and stick to debating issues, rather than acting like school children reporting to teachers that some playmate called you a dukey face.

This behavior ensures:
1. Somebody will act this way to something said by you or one of your favored candidates.
2. Public officials will express themselves blandly... and you will criticize them for their phoney, inoffensive expressions.

These examples show that righties have their own vacuous PC police.

Petro Companies Pay Record Tax Bill!

The evil oil companies that just posted "record profits":
- Also paid a record tax bill. Exxon-Mobil paid $100 billion to the US fedl govt in taxes.
- Only made a 10% profit, lower than many companies and industries that do not offend Hillar Clinton.

Clinton's Iraq "Regime Change" policy & Qaida - WMD link

In 1998, the United States also changed its underlying policy toward Iraq from containment to regime change and began to examine options to effect such a change. -- Hillary Rodam Clinton

Indeed, it was on the initiative of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, both of whom delivered extremely tough speeches warning of another round of confrontation with Saddam Hussein, that the Senate passed the Iraq Liberation Act that year, making it U.S. policy to remove the Baathists from power. It was the Clinton administration that bombed Sudan, claiming that a factory outside Khartoum represented a chemical-weapons link between Saddam and Osama Bin Laden. And, as Sen. Clinton reminded us in the very same speech, it was "President Clinton, with the British and others, [who] ordered an intensive four-day air assault, Operation Desert Fox, on known and suspected weapons of mass destruction sites and other military targets" in Iraq. On its own, this is enough to make childish nonsense of her insinuation that an "obsession" with Saddam took root only after the Bush-Cheney victory in 2000.

After speaking to the U.N. General Assembly meeting of 2006, President Jalal Talabani of Iraq found himself in a room with President Bush and former President Clinton. He embraced them both. "Thank you," he said to Clinton, "for signing the law that called for the liberation of Iraq. And thank you, Mr. Bush, for being the one to implement it."

2007-02-12

Keep that oil flowing, boys!

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists:
=====
ExxonMobil has adopted the tobacco industry's disinformation tactics, as well as some of the same organizations and personnel, to cloud the scientific understanding of climate change and delay action on the issue. According to the report, ExxonMobil has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science.

"ExxonMobil has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer," said Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists' Director of Strategy & Policy. "A modest but effective investment has allowed the oil giant to fuel doubt about global warming to delay government action just as Big Tobacco did for over 40 years."

Africa's Fools Head to Racist US

Don't these people know that the US is a land of rampant anti-black racism?

"African immigration to Metro Detroit is at a historically high level, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, having grown by about 400 percent since 1990."

"More Africans have immigrated to the United States since 1975 than the total of number of slaves who were forced into bondage here over parts of three centuries, according to The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in New York City."

Black Astronomer Sees Progress Against Racism

From the article, which includes zero claims of any acts of racism against him worse than the following:
========================
I see that a security guard follows me as I go through the department store, and I’m reminded that, oh, I’m also a black scientist — because that’s how society sees me... Now, all these things I’m describing to you were common 10 years ago or earlier, and decidedly less common today. So while many will complain about the status of race relations, I have direct, empirical evidence that it is vastly better today than it was 10 years ago — and my worst stories don’t compare to those which my parents could tell when they were growing up.

Also, 10 years ago, there would be taxis that wouldn’t pick me up in the street. But that’s basically not true anymore. Back then, it was one in five taxis that would pass me by – empty taxis that were ready for a fare. Nowadays that number might be one in 50. It still happens, but it’s rare. It’s rare enough to chalk it up as “maybe they just missed me.”

Penn & Teller Dismantle The Recycling Myth

I've heard for years now claims that the whole recycling thing is a waste, that it requires more resources, energy and money to recycle our recyclables than it's worth. That we'd be better off just throwing the stuff out in the regular trash. Leave it to Penn & Teller to expose the proverbial "man behind the curtain".

After watching this it makes me want to not even bother recycling anymore, but I probably will continue to do so for various reasons; a) I'm already paying for the service with my taxes anyway, b) everyone else is doing it (I know, that's not a good reason) and c) I'm afraid I might get busted by the Ferndale Enviro-Police.

Whew, thank God for me that at least beer cans are worth recycling!

Warning: Penn uses a lot of rather foul language!

The KKK is on the Rise

In a recent email exchange, I saw Paul Hue's response to news that the KKK is making another comeback. (They seem to do so every 40 years or so.) His statement was, "A tiny group has become slightly less tiny."

I have to say, I'm a member of some "tiny" groups. Growing chapters in 20 states does not fit the definition of "tiny".

From the story linked above:

Today's KKK doesn't have to rally in public places. Instead, they can hide on the Internet and secretly spreading their hate message to a whole new generation and a bigger audience.

They are doing that by getting to a larger audience using streaming video, advertising white power rallies and concerts, even broadcasting a new Klan newscast.

The anti racist group's research found states with growing Klan chapters not just in the south but in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Click HERE to read the Anti-Defamation League's full report.

But regardless, the real message is that Klan members, sympathizers and like-minded organizations and individuals could be anywhere. You don't know what the guy in the cubicle down the hall is doing on his off hours...

2007-02-11

Presidential Pardons

In the waning days of Clinton's presidency, his Republican critics abhored his many presidential pardons, as did some lefties. Pardonees included many political contributors who seemed to lack any justifyable reason for a pardon. Let's keep an eye on Bush II, and on those who criticized Clinton for unjustifyable presidential pardons. So far:

President - # Pardons:

Bush II - 58
Clinton - 396
Bush I - 74
Reagan - 393
Carter - 534
Ford - 382
Nixon - 863

I think that many people warrent pardons, including those two Mexican - American border agents who shot the drug dealer (and then covered it up), and that black high school guy who got put in prison for having consensual sex with a white classmate.

Detroit's Missed Musical Opportunty

When people around the world think of Detroit, one of the things that come to their mind is: Music. And when they think of music, one of the things that comes to their mind is: Detroit. Yet it appears here in my home central city, live music doesn't even exist... except for people really, really in the know, who really, really want to know. The casual night-lifer and the out-of-town visitor will never find it.

Seems to me that somebody could make a bundle creating a Motown musical destination review, sort of like that supid country music city where Dolly Parton and those folks each have their own theater. This sort of thinking seems to me without bounds; perhaps combining it with area black gospel music, which also has an international following. A jazz venue or tow might even work. I suppose for some, Detroit also has a rock heritage, and that could figure in.

Global Warming Caused by Cosmic Rays

Here's an article from London's Sunday Times, by a former editor of New Scientist. He reviews and embraces the findings of a Danish climatology research team, as does a similar article in London's Daily Telegraph. Who has bought off these writers in London and these researchers in Holland? Al Gore and the US National Institutes of health, as well as uncountable picket-line chanters, are 100% convinced that global warming has arrived, it is rushing ahead towards global calamity, thoughtless human activity causes it, and only drastic changes to human activity can avert it. There; issue settled. Anybody, including scientists, stating contrary views has surely had his or her opinion pruchased by evil corporations attempting to squeeze profits from the world via activities that will destroy the world, in an attempt to get rich at the expense of millions of suffering people. Meanwhile, those who hold the Al Gore view, including a majority of scientists, are providing only their honest assessments, with no regard for pleasing funding sources and university hiring and tenure committees. One thing's for sure: what ever George Bush believes is wrong.

Minimum Wage Causes Job Losses in AZ

If only we could combine Minimum Wage laws with laws that force employers to maintain their pre-MW workforce. And why stop at just a few bucks an hour? Why not mandate a big minimum wage? Afterall, people who support Minumum Wage laws believe that governments can mandate wages. Why not just mandate huge wages? Just mandate $100,000/year for every employee, including members of Nadir's band and Tom's organic hippie farm!

Michigan Gov Plans Tax Rate Increase

Michigan voters re-elected a Democratic governer, and provided her with enough Democratic legislators to enable her to deal with the state's shrinking tax base by... raising tax rates. This op-ed writer correctly observes: when this scheme results in the predictable *REDUCTION* in tax revenues, by chasing away businesses and penalizing profis, voters should not blame the Democrats for doing what it is that they do. Instead, voters who want a better Michigan economy should think of this at the next election, and get mad only at Republicans who support this sure-to-fail action.

Cat Stevens Won't Denounce Hamas

Would you say you have contempt for a terrorist group like Hamas?

I wouldn’t put those words in my mouth. I wouldn’t say anything on that issue. I’m here to talk about peace. I’m a man who does want peace for this world, and I don’t think you will achieve that by putting people into corners and asking them very, very difficult questions about very contentious issues.

2007-02-10

Under the Radar

The best time to pay attention to the news out of Washington is on Fridays. That's when government agencies issue reports or statements that they don't want American citizens to know about.

Yesterday's release of a Pentagon internal investigation found that the Pentagon acted "inappropriately" when it sexed up the evidence in advance of the Iraq War. But the mainstream media has largely ignored the story, instead choosing to display Anna Nicole Smith's clevage.

O’Reilly: “Feel Sorry for us White Folks”

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly is basically saying he doesn’t have Black friends because he is afraid that he will offend. As if he (and white America) is constantly wrestling with some internal demon force–keeping all of those racist, mean-spiritied beliefs suppressed.

So that is why white people and Black people live in seperate communities?

2007-02-09

US refuses to sign UN ban on renditions and secret detention

Fifty-seven countries signed a UN treaty on Tuesday that bans governments from carrying out forced disappearances and holding individuals in secret detention. Washington, as well as a number of European governments, including Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy, refused to sign.

At the treaty signing in Paris, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy commented, “Our American friends were naturally invited to this ceremony; unfortunately, they weren’t able to join us.”

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance calls for nations to adopt an “absolute ban” on secret detentions and provides for the tracing of the whereabouts of the “disappeared.” It also obliges each state party to ensure that victims of renditions and secret detention have the right to reparations.

It requires each nation signing on to submit for prosecution by competent authorities any person suspected of carrying out forced disappearances anywhere in the world. The convention also establishes a committee charged with monitoring the implementation of the treaty and to take action in individual cases.

The Bush administration has been "disappearing" people since 2001...

Do you "reformed leftists" agree with the creation of secret prisons and extraordinary rendition? Don't you agree that Bush and company should be indicted and jailed for these criminal and fascist acts?

What Scooter Libby Knew and When

The on-going trial of Scooter Libby provides the following single motive for Bush/Cheney publicizing Wilson's wife Valarie Plame's CIA job: to discredit Wilson, to portray his role as the result not of his expertise, but of nepotism. Even the liberal cable news talkers speak only of this motive, though they continue using the word "outing", which indicates the previously declared motive of "exposing" the wife's job status as a way of ruining her career as a punishment to Wilson.

Libby got arrested not for revealing Plame's job status, but for lying about how and when he came to know of it. Does this mean that Plame didn't at the time have covert status? Or that Libby had legal authority to reveal her occupation? Or that the special prosecuter could find no evidence that any adminstration official revealed this information to anybody, or if so, that Plame had covert status? I don't know, but I would like to.

Anyway, Libby claimed to investigators that he learned of Plame's role in the Wilson from a discussion with MSNBC reporter Tim Russert; Russert told investigators, and repeated at trial, that this did not occur, and could not occur because Russert did not at the time know of Plame or her occupation. And Libby's hand-written notes from a meeting with Cheney from a month earlier describes Plame as Wilson's wife, a CIA employee, and the CIA official who got Wilson the Niger assignment.

Questions: Why would Libby claim that he learned this from Russert one month after writing that note? Did Libby know about his own hand-written note, its contents, and possession by investigators prior to claiming that he learned this info from Russert?

What Joe Wilson Knew & When

1. Ann Coulter asserts that Joe Wilson's oral report from his brief Niger trip amounts to two claims by Wilson:

A. "That in 1999 Saddam had sent a delegation to discuss 'expanding commercial relations' with Niger. Rather than falsify the possibility that Hussein wanted yellow cake, this confirmed it: "The only thing Niger has to trade is yellowcake." In another poster here regarding a C. Hitchens essay, an Iraqi government nuclear expert led that delegation.

B. Wilson talked to Niger's former PM, who assured Wilson that the 1999 visit from Iraq involved no discussion of yellow cake sales.

Wilson thus confirmed that Iraqi officials visited in 1999 to discuss trade with the government of a state that exports only one thing: yellow cake. But because a former PM chum of Wilson's denied the implication, Wilson reported back that Iraq's and Niger's govt never had any yellow cake sales activities.

Is this rendition true? I await an explanation for how Wilson's brief trip conclusively falsified the yellowcake assertion, and what other than yellow cake explains the 1999 Iraqi govt visit.

2. Coulter further asserts that after the Novak article, which Wilson used to launch the media careers of himself and Plame, Wilson started telling audiences that "he knew Saddam was not seeking yellowcake from Niger because the documents allegedly proving a deal were obvious forgeries. Again, thanks to endless investigations, we now know that Wilson was lying: He never saw the forged documents."
=============
The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report notes that Wilson was asked how he "could have come to the conclusion that the 'dates were wrong and the names were wrong' when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports." Indeed, the United States didn't even receive the "obviously forged" documents until eight months after Wilson's trip to Niger! Wilson admitted to the committee that he had "misspoken" to reporters about having seen the forged documents.
=============

4. Furthermore, Coulter says that "Bush's statement was not based on the forged documents because no one ever believed them. What Bush said was: 'The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.' Even if the British had been wrong, what Bush said was factually correct: In 2003, the British government believed that Saddam sought yellowcake from Niger. By now, everyone believes Saddam was seeking yellowcake from Niger — the CIA, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, Lord Butler's report in Britain, even the French believe it."

Meanwhile, the liberal cable news chatters presume that Hussein never attempted to purchase yellow cake from Niger, and that Bush's statement was incorrect. I am a witness to how Chris Mathews and his guests are speaking of this matter, and Coulter's charactorization is accurate.

Poles Love Reagan as Liberator

Poles in two towns, including the capitol of Warsaw, seek to erect statues of Ronald Reagan for his efforts to spread freedom. In one town they hope to use the statue to replace a tribute to the Soviet troops who came and replaced the Nazis with something just as bad.

Freedom Up > Wealth Up, Poverty Down

International Economic and Political Freedom coincide with each other and with low rates of poverty and high rates of wealth.

International Rankings: Economic Freedom (Heritage Foundation Index of Ecoomic Freedom)
International Rankings: Poverty Rates Poverty Rankings
International Rankings: Gross Domestic Product per Capita
International Rankings: Democracy (Economist Democracy Index)

The author of this aritcle, my economist hero Walter Williams, however, concludes that political freedom lacks a clear coincidence with both economic freedom and with prosperity: "Don't make the mistake of equating economic freedom with democracy. After all, India, politically, is a democracy, but economically it is mostly unfree and [thus] poor, ranking 104th in economic freedom. There are countries on the economic freedom index that do not have much of a history of democracy, such as Chile, ranking 11th, and Taiwan, 26th, and yet these countries are far wealthier than some of their more democratic counterparts. Why? It's because their economic systems are free or mostly free, which is not guaranteed by a democratic political system."

In other words, even free people can vote-away their economic freedoms, and dictatorships can confer economic freedom even while withholding the franchise. And sure, India does rank pretty high democratically, and low for economic freedom and measures of per capita prosperity. But this may be an exception. Venezuela has high rate of poverty, low per capita wealth, and low economic and political freedom rankings (despite those who cheer it as a democracy).

The same appears true for China: It's great national wealth plummets when calculated per capita, coinciding with its high poverty rate. Although it ranks low as a democracy, it also ranks low in economic freedom. Where Williams declares that Economic Freedom is the single great predictor of incresed prosperity and reduced poverty, I claim that just as Economic Freedom and Political Freedom are mutually dependant, and they very tightly (but not perfectly) coincide.

From Walther Williams' article: =========================
Some people claim that some countries are rich because of abundant natural resources. That's nonsense! Africa and South America are probably the richest continents in natural resources, but are home to some of the world's poorest people. By contrast, countries like England, Japan and Hong Kong are poor in natural resources, but their people are among the world's wealthiest.

...The 13th edition of the "Index of Economic Freedom" examines 10 economic characteristics of 157 countries. Among those characteristics are property rights, monetary stability, and freedom from government, trade restrictions, business regulations and government corruption. Using these measures of economic freedom, countries are ranked.

Hong Kong and Singapore, as they have for 13 years, rank as the world's two economically freest countries, with freedom scores of 89 and 86 percent free. Rounding out the top 10 most free economies are Australia (83), United States (82), New Zealand (82), United Kingdom (82), Ireland (81), Luxembourg (79), Switzerland (79) and Canada (79). At the other end of the list are the least free countries. Ranking 157th, North Korea, with a freedom score of 3 percent, is the world's least free country. Ranking 156th is Cuba, 30 percent free, and in ascending order are: Libya (34) Zimbabwe (36), Burma (40), Turkmenistan (42), Congo (43), Iran (43), Angola (43), and Guinea-Bassau (45).

The "2007 Index of Economic Freedom" displays a color-coded map showing countries that are free, mostly free, moderately free, mostly unfree and repressed. Guess where one finds the world's most miserably poor people? If you guessed the mostly unfree and repressed countries, you guessed correctly.

2007-02-08

Hugo's Socialist State Is Working Really Well, Eh?

Meat, sugar scarce in Venezuela stores:

"President Hugo Chavez's administration blames the food supply problems on unscrupulous speculators (well of course he does), but industry officials say government price controls that strangle profits are responsible (sounds just a little more likely to me). Authorities on Wednesday raided a warehouse in Caracas and seized seven tons of sugar hoarded by vendors unwilling to market the inventory at the official price. (that's nice)"

But Wait! There's More!: No Free Speech At SFSU

This story starts with an “anti-terrorism rally” held last October on campus by the College Republicans. To emphasize their point, students stomped on Hezbollah and Hamas flags. According to the college paper, the Golden Gate (X)Press, members of Students Against War and the International Socialist Organization showed up to call the Republicans “racists,” (I love it! The tried and true way to end debate! Just call them racists, or homophobes, or Islamophobes! Debate over!) while the president of the General Union of Palestinian Students accused the Repubs of spreading false information about Muslims.

In November, the Associated Students board passed a unanimous resolution, which the (X)Press reported, denounced the California Republicans for “hateful religious intolerance” and criticized those who “pre-meditated the stomping of the flags knowing it would offend some people and possibly incite violence.”

Now you know that there are students who are opposed to desecrating flags on campus — that is, if the flags represent terrorist organizations.

But wait — there’s more. A student filed a complaint with the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development. OSPLD Director Joey Greenwell wrote to the College Republicans informing them that his office had completed an investigation of the complaint and forwarded the report to the Student Organization Hearing Panel, which will adjudicate the charge. At issue is the charge that College Republicans had walked on “a banner with the world ‘Allah’ written in Arabic script” — it turns out Allah’s name is incorporated into Hamas and Hezbollah flags — and “allegations of attempts to incite violence and create a hostile environment,” as well as “actions of incivility.”

At an unnamed date, the student panel could decide to issue a warning to, suspend or expel the GOP club from campus. ...

The university’s response? Spokesperson Ellen Griffin told me, “The university stands behind this process.”

And: “I don’t believe the complaint is about the desecration of the flag. I believe that the complaint is the desecration of Allah.”

No Free Speech In East Lansing: MSU pursues Orwellian thought reform

Here's one for all you concerned citizens for free speech. Another glaring example of our educational system teaching (idoctrinating) kids "what" to think rather than "how" to think.

No proper anger allowed

The SAC sessions continue, with the student repeatedly being told the "right" way to feel and talk. There appear to be no appropriate situations for anger; indeed, in the seminar on the SAC program, participants were told that even religious beliefs may be "a form of obfuscation." Adding insult to injury, students are required to pay for this service (You've got to be f*cking kidding me?!).

The SAC program is a legal minefield. Possible constitutional claims against it include enforcing an unconstitutional speech code, compelling students to speak against their will and the basic denial of due process, as well as contractual claims stemming from MSU's promises of free speech and due process.

Yes, state colleges may punish students for inappropriate or abusive behavior, but this program goes well beyond these bounds into pseudo-psychological re-education. Free societies do not tell people what they must say or feel under threat of punishment, and our universities should respect the fundamental right to private conscience.

Michigan State claims to be reviewing the program. I can think of no means of rectifying its many faults short of abolishing it.

GOP Senators Flip-Flop on Iraq War Debate

From the Washington Post:

Senate Republicans who earlier this week helped block deliberations on a resolution opposing President Bush's new troop deployments in Iraq changed course yesterday and vowed to use every tactic at their disposal to ensure a full and open debate.

In a letter distributed yesterday evening to Senate leaders, John W. Warner (Va.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and five other GOP supporters of the resolution threatened to attach their measure to any bill sent to the floor in the coming weeks. Noting that the war is the "most pressing issue of our time," the senators declared: "We will explore all of our options under the Senate procedures and practices to ensure a full and open debate."

The fact that over 70% of the American people want change in Iraq seems to be less important than political posturing. Unfortunately, this is a debate that should have happened in February 2003 BEFORE THE INVASION!!!

2007-02-07

Ore. Gov to Fire Dissident "State Climatologist"

Tom: Is it possible that this science prof genuinely believes that global climate changes today result mainly from non-human sources? Do you support firing this guy for reaching impolitic scientific conclusions? Any evidence that the Bushies are firing or suppressing scientists who blame human activities, I will join you in opposition. And I won't declare that such scientists reach these conclusions only because they want to please peers, department heads, and political sponsors.

French Prez Candidate: More Mohammad Cartoons!

Amen, brother. Caving to tyrants only makes them bolder, and enables them to continue with retarded behavior. Presidential "frontrunner" Nicolas Sarkozy currently heads a government body that involves religious matters. "Sarkozy brought competing Muslim groups together in 2003 to form the Muslim Council to represent Islam in France." In response, members of this group are considering resignations in protest. What babies.

Demonstrating that all muslims indeed do not suffer from severe retardation:
=========================
Paris University philosopher Abdel Wahhab Meddeb said he laughed when he saw the cartoons. "I urge Muslims to adapt to Europe and not the other way around. That would be catastrophic."
========================

You see, the Islamic world once led civilization, during the European "Dark Age". Europe advanced out of that Dark Age by embracing and building upon the advancements of Islamic civilization, not rejecting it. Prior to Islam, that part of the world had previously not only led civilization, but invented it, in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, India, China, and Sudan. When Europeans finally developed civilization, they did so not by rejecting but by adopting and building upon those original civilizations. As Europe emerged in the form of Greeks, the lands where civilization fell back for a while, culminating in a shift from Greek domination to Roman, and the Roman victory of Lebonon's empire, seated in Libya's Carthage.

When Europe retrograded, thanks to the misleadership of increasingly idiotic Romans, Islam arose, and eventually transformed into a coherent civilization, one that adopted and built upon the very Greek works that the Romans had begun burning. That Greek work of course contained in it work of the Iraqis, Syrians, Egyptians, etc. When Europeans again created civilizations of worth, their reclamation of Greek learning was possible only because the muslims had preserved it; that Greek work contained the ancient Asian and African contributions, and had added to it the Islamic contributions.

Thus as the East once vouchsafed the advancements of western civilization, today the West now vouchsafes the advancements of eastern civilizations. When muslim nations now "adapt to Europe", they will be re-adopting the best of what their ancestors created. This is how civilization advances. One advancement: tolerating ridicule of religious figures and practices.

Religious westerners such as US jesus freaks would do well to heed this from the article: "In a secular state, no religion and no ideology is above the law. Where religion makes the law, one is close to totalitarianism." Today US jesus freaks are not nearly as bad as the muslim freaks, but they could one day become so. Afterall, a thousand years ago or so, the mohammad freaks were much less retarded than the jesus freaks!

Bush's Surge Policy Won't Work

From the Associated Press:
More American troops were killed in combat in Iraq over the past four months — at least 334 through Jan. 31 — than in any comparable stretch since the war began, according to an Associated Press analysis of casualty records.

Not since the bloody battle for Fallujah in 2004 has the death toll spiked so high.

The reason is that U.S. soldiers and Marines are fighting more battles in the streets of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and other cities. And while hostile forces are using a variety of weaponry, the top killer is the roadside bomb.

Roadside bombs are killing our soldiers. Not snipers. Not insurgent fire. Improvised explosive devices.

So now Bush wants to drop more soldiers into Baghdad. What will happen? More deaths. Why? Because more firepower isn't going to stop a bomb from going off.

Escalation of this stupid war, and ultimately the war itself, must be stopped.

2007-02-06

Raising A Generation Of Wimps

Can someone please explain to me what's going on with these ridiculous cold weather school closings? What kind of a precedent is this to set? Where's the bar set now? When do they cancel school? 10 degrees above? 5? Zero? 2 below?

What a joke.

So what is it? Is it that the schools don't trust parents enough to make sure their kids are bundled up properly for a bit of slightly sub-zero weather? Are they afraid of being sued by parents whose kids got frostbite because their parents didn't dress them properly? Are the teachers just looking for an excuse for a day off? How long is this going to go on? It's supposed to be cold the rest of the week. What about working parents?

I went to Catholic school for 9 years. Our school had (don't know if they still do or not) it's own bus fleet at the time. We were lucky if we got an occasional snow day. I recall many times where my public school friends would have a day off because of snow, but our buses would still be running. A "cold weather" day would've been unheard of. I can remember many times standing, waiting for the bus in weather much colder than this.

This has got to be the most asinine thing I've ever heard of. We really are raising a generation of wimps.

Funny isn't it? One day you've got people telling you the world is ending and we'll be dead soon from global warming and the next day many of those same people are telling you you can't send your kids to school because it's too damn cold!

Trade Deficits Are Good?

Very interested to know how you Pat Buchanan-ites will take this. US Agriculture has had nothing but trade surpluses, yet has not increased US jobs during this time. Also, the loss of per capita US manufacturing has been declining since the 1940s, with US trade deficits beginning only in the 1970s. Meanwhile, as US manufacturing has declined, US employment has increased as has worker productivity.

2007-02-05

Another Global Warming Skeptic

Here's another university scientist who refutes the hypothesis of human-caused global warming. I don't know for certain which side is correct, but I certainly propose an end to name-calling, which includes declaring that any scientist with a particular view is a "petro company lacky" or "enviornmental wacko".
=============================
"I was accused by Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki of being paid by oil companies. That is a lie. Apparently he thinks if the fossil fuel companies pay you have an agenda. So if Greenpeace, Sierra Club or governments pay there is no agenda and only truth and enlightenment?"

2007-02-03

White People Rioting Over Sports

I imagine nothing stupider or more uncivilized than randomly destroying property and harming other humans over a sports match. OK, beating and executing people for violating your religious superstitions, including cartoonists. But this is also extremely stupid. Do only honkies do this? Ignorant crackers in the US stage nihilistic riots when their collegiate sports teams win or lose big games, and sometimes do this for pro sports games. In Europe this honkey misbehavior seems to be even worse and more frequent. Here we have Italians killing a police officer and severely wounding another with an explosive. Perhaps an indication of why honkies are getting outperformed by Asians on standardized tests and other measures of academic success?

Starbucks Coffee Beaten by McDonnalds

People who think that Starbucks has "good coffee" just don't know good coffee. Nothing could possibly be easier than brewing excellent coffee. Starbucks does everything correct, except the crucial first step: selecting excellent "single malt" coffee. Instead, they gather various beans into "blends", and then over-cook them. In the same way that different forms of mediocre, light-weight bread taste the same if you over-toast them, this burnt Starbucks coffee tastes the same at every outlet around the world every hour of the day all year round, regardless of what crop of beans they scrape off the bottom of the price list and combine together.

Long live real coffee! It will help you live long!

2007-02-02

Paris Hilton Blurts "Nigger"

Now comes Paris Hilton making racist comments. Is she, and people like her, a "racist"? Does she believe that black people have genetic factors that limit their abilities in comparison to others? Does she seek to deny any rights to black people?

Or, in some cases, does she merely employ this sort of language simply to say whatever will most offend the targets of her derision? "[She] vents about a run-in with a woman at the party, whom she describes as a “f*ckin’ hoodlum, broke, poor bitch from like, Compton – public school bitch.” And: "A male friend who dances in between them was referred to as a 'faggot' by both Hilton sisters."

And in other circumstances does she merely emulate the cartoon antics of hyper-popular R&B/Rap video morons? "Paris approaches the camera and laughs, 'We’re like two niggers.'”

In other words, how much should we be concerned by this? I have not witnessed this sort of conduct by honkies in the past 20 years. Had I witnessed this I would have been shocked and very upset, and would probably have made sure to say something that I thought would have equally shocked and upset the person making these comments. In the grand scheme of things, though, I think the best response in today's USA is to not get too worked up about an idiot like this.

I think that Paris Hilton is a detestable, talentless idiot who would be nothing without an inherited fortune (though without that fortune, maybe she would have developed into a decent person), and I hope that this development ruins her. Perhaps these comments indicate prevailing views of super-rich vacuous sluts; how much do they indicate the views of decent, respectable Americans who are honkies?

U-Penn Enviornmental Prof Debunks Global Warming Hysteria

This prof is a liberal democrat who voted for Gore. The article doesn't mention his funding sources, but all working scientists get funded by somebody, and all funders tend to favor certain theories. With funders on both sides of this issue, one side has to be right, and the other wrong. Naturally the petro companies don't want the burning of fossil fuels to be ruining the world; but that doesn't automatically mean that the desires of the petro companies don't coincide with scientific realities. Maybe the people who hate corporate profits and any development of natural areas are correct; maybe so are their allies in university faculties and federal research grant-conferring outfits like the NIH who seek to reserve funding for scientists confirming global warming.

Let's please limit our debate to facts and logic, not to tracing funding sources, since each side gets funding from vested interests.

From the article: ===============================================

“The glossy production is replete with inaccuracies and misrepresentations, and appeals to public fear as shamelessly as any other political statement that hopes to unite the public behind a particular ideology.” This from a guy who voted for Gore in 2000 and says he’d probably vote for him again. "If you suggest that we’re not going to hell in a handbasket because the rate of global warming is low compared to so many other environmental issues that we’re enduring, then you’re accused of being in the employ of the oil companies and you’re labeled a Republican.”

...Oprah says she had no idea all these terrible things were happening until she interviewed the noted authority Leonardo DiCaprio. "There are 2.4 billion people in India and China who have launched a campaign that will increase their energy consumption by a factor of 10. No matter what we do. If we somehow cut our CO2 emissions in half, you wouldn’t be able to measure the difference because of the role played by India and China. It’s over. If CO2 is the problem, we’ve already lost.”

"First of all, the science isn’t good. Second, there are all these other interpretations for what we see. Third, it doesn’t make any difference, and fourth, it’s distracting us from environmental problems that really matter.” Among those, Gieg says, are the millions of people a year who die from smoking and two million people a year who die because they don’t have access to clean water. He likes to point out that there was a time when people like him were called natural philosophers, and he wouldn’t mind a return to the days when scientists spent more time asking questions and less time testifying before committees.