Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sneak Preview of a New Low Budget Movie, Scripted by Wordsmith

*Bump* give it a longer shelf life. Recycling older posts happens sometimes when you have nothing else to post. Original air date: o5/27/06

Phew! Sorry I haven't blogged in.....less than 24 hours? But I just got back from a trip to Bombay, India. It was, like....about one click away from where I'm at. I oversaw the filming of a new movie there. It is based on "real life". When the right-wing of the blogosphere has been lamenting about the political in-fighting going on, they have been reporting only the half of it. But folks, it's getting down right nasty! Like I said, the new movie is based on real life. Here, just take a look at a film clip:

Monkeys in the back: LET'S ROLL the footage!

Skye directs the first sequel.

Production Credit: Annika's Journal

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Casey Sheehan Gets His Birthday Present (Belated by 2 Years)!

John over at Cindy Sheehan Watch let me know about this story: After 2 years, Casey Sheehan finally has his tombstone. I don't mean to be mean, and certainly not disrespectful to Casey's memory by trashing his mom on what would be Casey's 27th birthday (he was born May 29th and was killed April 4, 2004), but so long as his mom is out there doing this and this and this and this and this (what was she thinking here?)....I can't help myself. She may be a Gold Star Mom, but it doesn't make her worldview a correct one. Her opinions need to be countered.

And John is doing a good job of it. Please link to him if you haven't already.

A gravestone now marks Casey Sheehan's
resting place at Vaca-Elmira Cemetery in Vacaville. (Joel Rosenbaum/The Reporter)


Quite frankly, "The Best Military in the World"

Ok...this is long and rambling, but the fallen heroes of the United States military, as well as those who serve and sacrifice today, deserve more than just 2 minutes of my time...

I heard Professor Schweikart on the radio about a week ago, and had to pick up what I knew had to be an amazing book. I have "A Patriot's Guide to American History", so knew I couldn't go wrong with Schweikart's perspective. For all of you who grew up on the Howard Zinn interpretation of America, this is a perfect counterbalance, to even things out. I understand that Bill Bennett also has a new history book out, too.

In wake of the Haditha Marines story, I thought I'd talk about what the mainstream media doesn't talk about enough (if ever at all): the goodness and nobility of the U.S. military.

They push every negative story on our soldiers, with little or no thoughts to the consequences during a time of war, and often seem to have already condemned them before all the facts are even in. So that accusations are treated as "it must be true". I suppose it's the nature of journalism. But it doesn't make it right. Once someone has been accused of rape or child molestation, no matter if there's nothing to the story, the damage is already done once the story is blurted out by the media, with blaring headlines (many people only look at the blurbs). The stigma is attached and the person's reputation tarnished. Similarly, we have mischaracterizing and misleading headlines about the NSA Surveillance programs, leading people to believe President Bush is "wiretapping" and listening in on your personal phone calls...that he is "domestic spying" . And if one doesn't follow the truth of the story, one is led to believe that abuses have happened at Guantanamo. Well...yes they have- but abuses to our soldiers by the detainees. Even before this recent event, which did get some airplay, other abuses by the prisoners to their guards have not been as widely reported: feces, urine, and semen routinely being flung at the guards as they delivered food and water; of how guards found it necessary to blacken out their dog tags, because of threats from the inmates to contact al Qaeda operatives to look up their families on the internet. The real stories should have been on how guards would be assaulted, and given orders NOT TO RETALIATE. One soldier smacked a prisoner with a handheld radio to try and get him off of another MP. That soldier was dropped in rank. Another MP sprayed an inmate with a water hose, after the detainee doused the MP with water from his toilet. The MP was charged with assault. That is the kind of story that the media should be picking up on. In a backward kind of way, though, our military, in its public relations PC-driven policy-making, does ultimately help us look better in the eyes of the rest of the world. What any sane-thinking person will see, is how we are treating prisoners at "Club Gitmo" better than we treat our own people. 3 meals a day, including honey-glazed chicken and rice pilaf?! When the media complains about "torture" by reporting how some of the prisoners don't have working air conditioning- a luxury that our own soldiers aren't enjoying- who is made to look the more foolish?

While Representative Murtha is quick to condemn our soldiers publically and prematurely, while we are in the middle of a war, the history of our military's integrity and sense of justice and lawfulness, speaks otherwise. When 60 Minutes "broke" the Abu Ghraib story by airing the photos given to them, the military was already conducting its own investigations and had months earlier, given a press release about it. Our nation and our military most of all, does not deserve to have thirty consecutive frontpage stories printed on the Abu Ghraib "abuses" from April through May of 2004.

As Schweikart writes,
"When a Lieutenant Calley is discovered, he is prosecuted, as were four American soldiers in Sicily in July 1943 after they gang-raped an Italian woman. When those soldiers were arrested and their identities provbed beyond a reasonable doubt, all four were tried and hanged within two months. Two soldiers convicted of rape in France in 1944 were also hanged."
In comparison, Schweikart asks, "is there any evidence that the Japanese punished their own soldiers for these atrocities [referring to mass rapes and slaughter in Nanking, Java, Borneo, and elsewhere]?" Frankly speaking, military justice is dealt out to the aberrations within our own midst, and we don't need the NY Times or Newsweek or 60 Minutes to inflame our enemies and the rest of the world against us, in the process.

More common than atrocities committed by our soldiers, are the acts of compassion...of bravery...of selfless sacrifice.

The Howard Zinn historians will want you to believe that racist America demonized the Japanese and interned our own citizens....failing to mention that our soldiers also risked their lives rescuing the Burmese, Filipinos, and others from Imperialist Japan. "Where is the racism that produced volunteer American pilots who arrived in China in the summer of 1941 to defend the Chinese?", writes Schweikart. While demonizing the Japanese enemy, we celebrated our Chinese, Filipino, and Korean allies as being heroic.
"Americans win wars because we value the dignity and worth of the individual, because we leave no man behind, and because we find the loss or incarceration of a single POW unacceptable."
-Larry Schweikart

Show me any other military in its 200 year history other than the U.S. military that has ever been anything but "benign in victory". What military other than ours ever conducts POW rescue missions? Or risks a "company to save a private, a division to save a company"? I don't believe there are examples of any of America's opponents ever making attempts to free their own prisoners by force of arms. Only the American military, will "leave no soldier behind". Such is our value placement on the sanctity of life. "Americans win wars because we value the dignity and worth of the individual, because we leave no man behind, and because we find the loss or incarceration of a single POW unacceptable."

Even in the treatment of our prisoners, how can anyone not believe that ours is the most humane military in the world? Unless you honestly believe that playing Christina Aguilera music constitutes torture (all kidding aside); that giving government-paid-for Korans and prayer rugs to killers who use their religion to fortify and justify their will to fight us, doesn't go far enough in "humane treatment" to our enemies.

When foreign armies are performing vivesections on their POWs, Bataan death marches, and other ghastly, inhuman deeds, American soldiers will risk their lives for even those trying to kill them.
"Historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote of innumerable incidents of treachery, such as a wounded Japanese soldier who stabbed to death a surgeon working to save his life; a drowning Japanese sailor who reached for a gun and shot his American rescuer as he turned to give him a cup of coffee....The Bushido-trained enemy, however, had no such conerns about prisoners. In the Gilberts, 22 Americans were beheaded by a single commander, and at Ballale, Japanese guards bayoneted 90. Even with those incidents clearly in mind, Americans remained willing to take prisoners, "

“Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?'- Samuel Adams

Today is the day we celebrate Memorial Day. No longer the 30th, but falling on the last Monday in May, so that we may have a 3 day (or if you wish to consider Friday, a 4 day) weekend, I suppose. I don't begrudge my fellow countrymen their family barbecues and Memorial Day Weekend Sales. But we should all take the time out to ponder how it is that we are able to enjoy such luxuries; such blessings. Do not take a single moment of the day for granted. Everthing we have in our society- everything that is made possible here- is only because we have the best military in the world protecting us.

Yesterday I went, by myself, to see United 93. I was at Century City Shopping Center, newly reconstructed in which they invested $150 million to upgrade the AMC theater movie experience and built a beautiful dining veranda.

It struck me, again, just how rich our country is. Not just in wealth, as a nation, but in the diversity of people. I watched one little girl led by the hand toward the restrooms, bawling with waterworks all over her cheeks, "I don't want to go potty!" A few teenage boys were acting like couple was holding hands, beaming. Everyone had their cell phones. How many of them thought about the meaning of Memorial Day? There have been times when I felt angry at my fellow citizens for not hanging flags from every neighborhood door, for seeming to pay more attention to their vanilla lattes and be immersed in their Gamecubes than to be paying attention to the battles in Iraq and the growing threat of a nuclear the fact that we are in the middle of a war. But that day, was not the day. No, what I felt was blessed. Blessed that I can live in a country where people have the freedom to live carefree or solemn lives; to carry on like idiots if they must; to enjoy an afternoon movie, or mull over too many choices in refreshment listen to rap and hip hop wherever and whenever on their ipods; to be cool, decent folk, or be a complete moron and A-hole. We each have the freedom to live our lives however we choose. And all of that freedom is made possible by our military.

I am deeply grateful for the country that I have. And I hope to do everything I can to live a life worthy of the sacrifices of so many heroes. And to do what I can to help those they left behind.

A few military support organizations:
Operation Homefront
Soldiers' Angels
Wounded Warrior Project

Today is Memorial Day. Let's make sure that every American citizen understands the full significance of that. Forget what I wrote earlier, about not caring about people's carefree ignorance. That was earlier.

Thanks to all the enlisted men and women, and the retired veterans, as well. You are my brothers and sisters; my fellow countrymen who I love for protecting everything and everyone that I love. May those who currently serve overseas in the war, arrive home safely to their loved ones. I know they mean the world to you; and you to them. God bless you all! And God bless this, the greatest nation on God's green earth!

If you have a moment, help out Kat with Operation: Thanks for Freedom. She's just asking for e-mails/cards.

Mon, May 29 "America's Victories" will be featured on "Special Report with Brit Hume." Don't know the exact time segment yet. Earlier that morning, I'll be on Wisconsin Public Radio, 9:00 a.m.

Some previous posts:
Photos of U.S. soldiers "terrorizing" Iraqi children.
Terrorism is not the answer.
Anti-war is not Pro-Peace.
Heartening News from Abroad

I thought about linking to others...but the thing is, everyone's doing Memorial Day tribute posts. My recommendation? Just click on any of the links to my sidebar. I haven't come across a single post I haven't thoroughly enjoyed ( least the ones coming from the right side of the blogosphere, at any rate).

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Conservative Battle Fatigue?! Now is not the Time!

Last Wednesday, Hugh Hewitt had with him as guest-co-host, John Podhoretz, author of "Bush Country" (which I have). Podhoretz brought up the concept of "conservative battle fatigue", a phrase which, I believe, was coined by Bruce Kesler. For 3 years, we've found ourselves at family barbecues and social events, on blogs and message boards, defending our President and this war against a constant barrage of attacks that never go away...."the President lied"...."there were no WsMD (why do we spell it "wmds"? "Weapon of Mass Destructions"?)"..."Abu Ghraib"...."Have you heard the latest poll numbers?"....and on and on it goes. There is no end in sight; no relief. For those battered conservatives who still carry on, here is verbal ammunition. Memorize it...engrave it...sear it into your soul...then slap the moonbats silly with it. And for those anti-war liberals and whatnots who insist "Saddam never posed an imminent threat" and "there were no connections between Saddam and al Qaeda", I insist you go here for starters. Curt has invested a lot of time in generating some noise on this, when the mainstream press has remained all but hushed.

Getting back to the "PTSD", Bruce Kesler writes:
there’s more at work here than these or other issues, whether Bush has been as stalwart as we like or deem wise.

I think all three [referring to Republican stalwarts, Mark Tapscott, Ed Morrisey, and Steve Bainbridge] may be suffering some variant of PTSD, worn down by defending difficult positions at the forefront of the battle against irredentist Democrats in Congress and their fifth-column in the media.

It’s easier to verbally support defense of the ramparts of Western civilization from thousands of miles away than to endure the daily tensions and split-decisions of the actual battlefield. The battles over federal spending and illegal immigration, however, are closer to home, and impose an unavoidable consideration of the tense nuances and compromises. No one can or should accuse these or other reasonable and intelligent men of shying from that. Indeed, they’ve ably and bravely led. However, I feel fatigue has set in, along with some degree of localitis, mistaking their angst for others’, and while recognizing a larger strategic setting overfocusing on their portion.

I’ve really no doubt that they will see the bigger picture, and stakes, and come down on the right side. I wish them a speedy recovery, before more adversaries are allowed to breach the walls because of their petulance.
I am a radical conservative moderate extremist. Just right of center, but militantly so. It has been painful to watch conservative irritability with one another the point where some even seem to have ended relationship/alliances with one another over a difference in opinions. Passions run deep.

The Anchoress also seemed to be submitting to the "battle-fatigue"; but then, recouped enough to post this beautiful reminder of just who it is we elected into office for 2-terms. It's an essential read for every conservative voter out there.

For the conservatives out there who have not yet abandoned This President, or the only party of choice- the Republican Party (for the answer to our problems is NOT putting in more Demcrats to high office)-, I beg you to heed the words of Michael Novak:
Now when he is at his lowest point yet in the polls is the time for those who love and admire President Bush to say so.
Go read the rest of the article on the great man who Novak calls, "The Bravest President".

To the conservatives out there who feel betrayed by This President, I ask you: If you knew then, what you know now, would you have voted differently? Would you have sat on the fence and allowed a John Kerry Presidency? An Al Gore-run planet? If you didn't know who you were getting then, that's not President Bush's problem. He's the same man now as he was then. He hasn't changed. He has always been friendly with a soft spot for Mexican migrants. But he hasn't "sold us out". What he is proposing is not "amnesty", in the manner in which the "angry-as-hell-conservatives" are spinning it out to be.

This is what President Bush said in his Speech on Immigration Reform:

  • I support a temporary worker program that would create a legal path for foreign workers to enter our country in an orderly way, for a limited period of time. This program would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing. Every worker who applies for the program would be required to pass criminal background checks. And temporary workers must return to their home country at the conclusion of their stay.
  • I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the pay their learn English...and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship; but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law.
How is this unreasonable? Does it all make me happy and satisfied? No. I'm just as frustrated, just as angry as the rest of the conservative blowhards; but unlike them, I'm not going to throw everything away, simply because I don't get everything my way on a very important issue that's long been neglected, by Administrations that came before This President ever arrived in Washington. In politics, there is give and take. There is compromise. It's the way things work.
My biggest concern right now, is that we turn off the faucet first...then after that, we can bitch and scream about how best to properly mop up. If we just stand around arguing about whether to use paper towels or trusty mops to soak up the mess, and NOTHING gets accomplished....then we deserve to drown in our own idiocy. Let's seal the borders, punish those who provide the incentives for illegals to cross the border, and let's find a realistic, compassionate solution for those who have, in many cases, lived in the U.S. illegally for years and even generations. If illegal immigrants are made to go to the back of the line in applying for citizenship anyway, what's the difference? Whether they apply from outside the borders or from inside? I agree, they should never have been here in the first place. But if we allowed them to plant roots in this country, raise children over a period of decades, then we share half the blame and should suffer some of the responsibility in dealing with it, compassionately and fairly.

The problem with some of these all-or-nothing-conservatives is, there's no compromise. With 11-12 million illegals in this country, to get anything done, you have to just cut your losses and move on with it, rather than obsess over having to give up some ground. No one wants to give up his right arm; but in order to save the body, when the arm is sick and beyond recovery, it must be done. What the angry conservatives want is to deny that the arm must go...and in the process, they will wind up destroying the body. This is the way I perceive the lack on their part, of giving ground; of accepting loss, and coming to compromise in order to move forward.

For those conservatives who have disowned him, as somehow not being a "real conservative", I ask you, "When will anyone ever be good enough for you purists?" Purists and "but-he's-not-a-conservative-like-me" voters ruin political parties and movements. Ronald Reagan is regarded by many conservatives today as a "super-president". Yet, what did he do for the illegal immigration problem? If voters can forgive Reagan for this one issue, why can't they do it for Bush? What President in history, has ever managed to shrink the government? Yet, big government we have...and apparently it's all Bush's fault, all along. Actually, I believe President Bush's problem hasn't been the growth of more beauracracy, but in not getting rid of useless, existing ones. The biggest deficits? How were they under Reagan? How were they under Bush #41? As a percentage of GDP, which is the fairest way to measure deficits over time, President Bush is not running the largest deficit in the nation's history. And with revenues going up, that deficit has begun to go down. After the economic blow that was 9/11, let alone the human cost, under This President, we have a thriving economy 2nd to none, along with a sixth straight year of tax cuts passed by Congress. We have President Bush to thank for that.

The worst U.S. President in history? No. President Bush will be remembered in the history books- unless it's written by Howard Zinn- as one of the greatest Presidents this nation has ever produced (the Dixie Chicks can proudly brag about how he came out of Texas).

USA Today article:
Bush seems to be thinking about the history books, too. When conservative commentator Fred Barnes interviewed the president last summer for his book Rebel-in-Chief, Bush noted he had read three new books analyzing the first president's place in history. "He said, 'Even after 200 years, they're still reassessing George Washington,' " Barnes recalls. " 'What will they say about me?' "

The more he is hated by the Left, the greater the anti-Americanism in the world, the more I think he must be doing something right. The more adversity he faces, the greater his glory when his time in office is done. I don't know if any other U.S. President has ever generated so much hostile feelings and negativity than President #43. I don't recall the anti-Reagan bumperstickers....but with Bush, I've seen it all. I don't think I've seen so many colorful bumperstickers and clever slogans as I do when I see all the anti-Bush bumperstickers while driving through the streets of Los Angeles. I mean, "Surfers against Bush"? You have got to be seriously unhinged to litter your car with so much garbage sloganeering. It's crazy! I mean....they even criticized him for exercising too much, for goodness sake!

President Bush has accomplished a lot during his
first term! 50 million people liberated in two countries. Planting the seeds of democracy in the heart of the Middle East is a long-term plan; an investment for the future and the safety not only of America and our children, but of the world, and for all the world's children. President Bush is effective because he is a risk-taker; he thinks big, and he gambles big...rather than kick the can down the road for the next Administration to deal with. (I can hear the shrill screams from the liberals: "What about Iraq? Isn't he kicking that can down to a future President to deal with?" Fellow moonbat patriots: if he could be re-elected for a 3rd and 4th term, he'd see the tree of democracy planted in the Middle East bear more fruit, while in office; and if he could have two more terms, you can be sure he'd come back to social security and tax reform.).

Like the great leadership of Winston Churchill, he understands that you don't run a country based upon the latest, fickle gallup polls. Polls go up. Polls go down. No, effective leadership means you make decisions because it is the right thing to do, even when it is not the popular thing to do. Harry Truman is another American President who, in his day, suffered poll numbers dipping all the way into the 20 percentile rankings; unpopular during much of his tenure, he is now looked back upon favorably. History is on the side of those who are pro-Bush and pro-victory in setting up a democratically free Iraq and Afghanistan. If you are conservative, it may make you remember why you supported This President. If you are a liberal moonbat, it may just kill ya. His accomplishments last year. President Bush doesn't deserve bashing; he deserves a place on Mt. Rushmore!

The Fence

The border fence? No that's a it! How can anyone whine about it being "unwelcoming", when we use fences to protect the White House, gated communities, our private homes, etc..?...No...I'm talking about those conservatives who threaten the rest of us about how they want to sit on their asses this November because they are so fed up with President Bush, they want to "get back at him". One problem with this infantile tantrum-thinking: President Bush is not running for re-election. And for those conservatives who have been frustrated with the "Republican majority", and want to "teach them a lesson", by sitting on the fence this November, remember this: "Democrats are the anti-(border)fence Party". "No matter what the problem is, the answer can't be more Democrats."

Realize that we have a handful of RINOs in Congress. One reason why the party hasn't behaved much like a majority. If we lose House and Senate seats this year, you can kiss goodbye any chance of having any more conservative, originalist justices getting confirmed to the Supreme Court...and I doubt President Bush will be able to get anything accomplished from that point on.
I am not ready to hand over the security of my country over to the Democrats, when they have shown poor understanding of the war on terror, quagmired in the "blame America first"-mentality of self-loathing and hand-wringing"....from Guantanamo , to the Patriot Act, to the "not so-secret-anymore" NSA Surveillance Programs, to border control and immigration reform....the Democratic Party is not the answer.

Thanks to Curt for blogging this great line from Soxblog:

To paraphrase a great man, you go to war with the Party you have, not the Party you wish you had.

Others in the Victory-Wing of the Republican Party:
Assorted Babble
Blue Star Chronicles
Chatterbox Chronicles
Chickenhawk Express
Flopping Aces
Mike's America
The Anchoress
The City Troll

(to be updated)

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

A mad in a whack job letter

from Radioblogger:
You've heard reporting about the letter, you may have even heard snippets read from it. But 99.9% of you haven't or won't take the time to actually read it.
And since most of us don't speak farsi, Hugh Hewitt does a reading of the infamous Ahmadinejead letter to President Bush, translated into English. Get thee gone from here, and have a listen.

The Morning After....

"There's really not a debate. The debate's over. The scientific community has reached as strong a consensus as you will ever find in science. There are a few oil companies and coal companies that spend millions of dollars a year to put these pseudo-scientists out there pretending there is a debate. It's exactly the same thing that the tobacco companies did after the Surgeon General warned us about the linkage between smoking and lung cancer."
- Al Gore on The Today Show

I'd love to see someone just come up and poke him with a pin to let out all that global hot air.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Convenient Fact: Al Gore is full of Global Hot Air!

Today is "the Day".

The day that Al Gore's new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth", opens. It's already been seen at Sundance, and I believe, Canne's. For those of you who saw the post below, and failed to find the Easter egg message.....tsk, tsk. I encourage you to go back and look the post over carefully. It wasn't really about the old movie, of course.

We tend to put our faith in scientists not to spin facts. But scientists are human with their own biases, sometimes influenced by the funding they receive, and are not always the dispassionate observers we wish them to be. Most submissions to scientific journals get rejected. They are subjected to intense scrutiny by their peers; and it is not so uncommon that the works that do pass the screening process, a few years later, turn out to be wrong or irrelevant. How often have we seen this happen in other fields? Where certain food is bad for you...then good for you..then bad for you in this,'s good for you in moderation like so....

Ever since James E. Hansen, the top NASA climate scientist, spoke out in the NY Times and on 60 Minutes about how the Bush Administration was preventing him from speaking out, I've been wanting to do a post on global warming. It's a convenient truth, that scientists like Hansen are pushed by environmentally liberal journalists as the authoratitive voice on the matter; and a convenient lie for them to be dismissive of opposing expert views, like that of Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at MIT. He had this to say:
"Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science."
You might hear from news headlines about how 1,600 scientists signed a letter warning about the dangers of global warming....yet have to dig around to find out how 17,000 other scientists signed a petition saying there is no convincing evidence that greenhouse gases will plunge us into the next climactic climate disaster. [edit]: Better information has since been brought to my attention; so although it's a source with a liberal agenda, I offer the following and concede that this trumps my earlier belief:

Stossel presents some deceptive evidence: "You may have heard that 1,600 scientists signed a letter warning of 'devastating consequences.' But I bet you hadn't heard that 17,000 scientists signed a petition saying there's 'no convincing evidence' that greenhouse gases will disrupt the Earth's climate."

The implication is that 10 times as many scientists question global warming. What Stossel doesn't note is that while the first petition was circulated by a group well-respected in the scientific community, the second petition has been famously discredited.

The first, smaller petition came from the Union of Concerned Scientists and its signatories included 110 Nobel laureates, including 104 of the 178 living Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, along with 60 U.S. National Medal of Science winners. The latter petition was a project of the George C. Marshall Institute, whose chair, Frederick Seitz, is also affiliated with the Global Climate Coalition (an industry group calling itself the "voice for business in the global warming debate"), in conjunction with the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine, a lesser-known group whose leader, wrote columnist Molly Ivins, is a biochemist who "specializes in home schooling and building nuclear shelters" (Los Angeles Times, 8/17/98).

Though OISM's signatories did include reputable scientists, it also included dentists, nutritionists and others with no expertise in climatalogy; the only requirement for signing on was a bachelors degree in science. In fact, OISM's screening process was so lax that for a time the list also included a number of gag names added by environmentalists, including Ginger Spice and Michael J. Fox. The OISM petition also came under fire for being deceptively packaged: The petition was accompanied by an article purporting to debunk global warming that was formatted to look as though it had been published in the journal of the respected National Academy of Sciences. The resemblance was so close that the NAS issued a public statement that the OISM petition "does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy."

None of this controversy was mentioned in Stossel's report.

Vanity Fair on its cover says "global warming is a threat graver than terrorism".

Time Magazine says "Be Worried. Be Very Worried" on the cover of an issue dated March 26, 2006. The article opens with these lines:

No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth.
What utter bunk....It is eco-imperialism. It is based on junk science. Earth Day is over, and the latest word out is that The World is Getting Cleaner, Al Gore Notwithstanding.

Since 1970, carbon monoxide emissions in the U.S. are down 55%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Particulate emissions are down nearly 80%, and sulfur dioxide emissions have been reduced by half. Lead emissions have declined more than 98%. All of this has been accomplished despite a doubling of the number of cars on the road and a near-tripling of the number of miles driven, according to Steven Hayward of the Pacific Research Institute.

Mr. Hayward compiles the "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators" published around Earth Day each year by PRI and the American Enterprise Institute. It serves as an instructive antidote for the doom and gloom that normally pervades environmental coverage, especially of late.

This year, for example, Vanity Fair has inaugurated an "Earth Issue," comprising 246 glossy, non-recycled pages of fashion ads, celebrity worship and environmental apocalypse. Highlights include computer-generated images of New York City underwater and the Washington mall as one big reflecting pool. The magazine also includes a breathless essay by U.S. environmental conscience-in-chief Al Gore. The message is that we are headed for an environmental catastrophe of the first order, and only drastic changes to the way we live can possibly prevent it.

If arguments were won through the use of italics, Mr. Gore would prevail in a knockout. But as Mr. Hayward notes in his "Index," the environmental movement as a whole has developed a credibility problem since the first Earth Day 36 years ago. In the 1970s, prominent greens were issuing dire predictions about mass starvation, overpopulation and--of all things--global cooling. Since then, population-growth estimates have come way down, biotechnology advances have found ways to feed more people than the doomsayers believed possible, and the global-cooling crisis has become the global-warming crisis without missing a beat.

There's no doubt the greens have succeeded in promoting higher environmental standards, which in turn have contributed to cleaner air, water and land almost everywhere you look. Today, game fish have returned to countless American streams and lakes, the Northeast has more forestland that at any time since the 19th century and smog is down dramatically in places like Los Angeles. But environmental activists don't want to believe their own success, much less advertise it. They need another looming catastrophe to stay relevant, not to mention to keep raising money.

Three decades ago, the latest "fad" was for apocalyptic environmental scientists to warn us of the dangers of global cooling and the coming ice age:

  • Science magazine (March 1, 1975) is led by a National Academy of Sciences report to conclude that a long "ice age is a real possibility."
  • Science magazine (December 10, 1976) warned of "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation."
  • The Christian Science Monitor ("Warning: Earth's Climate is Changing Faster than Even Experts Expect,'' Aug. 27, 1974) reported that glaciers "have begun to advance,'' "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter'' and "the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool.''
  • Newsweek ("The Cooling World,'' April 28, 1975): "the earth's climate seems to be cooling down." There is also a sense of urgency in doing something as meteorologists "are almost unanimous'' that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that The New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said "may mark the return to another ice age.''
  • The Times (May 21, 1975) also said "a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable'' now that it is "well established'' that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950.''
  • International Wildlife (July 1975,'In the Grip of a New Ice Age,', Nigel Calder writes, "The facts have emerged, in recent years and months, from research into past ice ages. They imply that the threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind." (Hat tip: Anna Puna).
  • And according to the February 1973 issue of Science Digest, "Once the freeze starts, it will be too late."

Global warming happens; it is happening. But how much of it is directly related to human causes? There's discrepancy on that, even among those who acknowledge human activity does contribute, yet scoff at the wild claims that burning coal and greenhouse emissions from our automobiles is a big factor. What are the big factors for climate changes? How about the fluctuation of heat generated by the sun during different eras? The climate has been going through changes since the beginning, regardless of human activity, and before modern man's presence on the planet. The first half of the 20th century had more than the 2nd half did in temperature changes.

Paul Driessen, author of "Eco-Imperialism", writes this:
However, it’s a fact of life here on Planet Earth that our climate can be as unpredictable and cyclical as the solar and orbital variations that play prominent roles in determining that climate. Thus we get mild temperature shifts every 40 years or so, and much more significant changes every few hundred years – amid interglacial periods that are marked at either end by massive walls of ice flowing down from this same Arctic, obliterating everything in their path: forests the last time, maybe entire cities the next.

The global environmental movement, however, has long portrayed our planet as a stable, idyllic utopia – until evil people, corporations and technologies ruined everything. It has a nice, neat Garden of Eden ring to it. But it ignores the Ice Ages, Medieval Warm Period, Viking colonization of Greenland back in the days (900-1300) when people could actually grow crops there, and Little Ice Age (1300-1650 and beyond) when northern seas were often choked with ice and Europe was plunged into an era of cold, wet, stormy weather that destroyed crops, caused famines, and hammered populations, communities and cultures.

The ample historical record of these events underscores how turbulent and uncertain Earth’s climate has always been. (It’s doubtful that cavemen, Vikings, Medieval alchemists or a lost race of aliens from another galaxy caused those past climate mood swings.) To suggest that we have suddenly arrived at an immutable ideal state may serve the pressure groups’ political ends, but it is not reality.
The best thing we can do is continue to adjust to changing climates, just as our ancestors did. After all, the Inuit people survived the Medieval Warming and 1930s, when Arctic temperatures were even warmer than today. The worst thing we could do is follow the alarmists’ prescriptions, and agree to hobble our institutions, forego future health and prosperity, and impose permanent poverty on our Earth’s least fortunate citizens – in the name of preventing a purely conjectural problem.
Vanity Fair weaves its scare-piece to show how British leadership have had grave concerns while President Bush held everyone back from signing onto Kyoto.

But it wouldn't matter how much Britain cut its greenhouse-gas emissions if other nations didn't do the same. The U.S. was key, not only because it was the world's largest emitter but because its refusal to reduce emissions led China, India, Brazil, and other large developing countries to ask why they should do so.
I believe the U.S. is blamed for 25% of the world's emissions; but 20 years from now, India and China will be the worst polluters. 80% of the rest of the world is exempt under Kyoto from following similar sacrifice. Not only this, but it has yet to be scientifically proven, that human activity contributes significantly to affecting global temperatures; or that even if all the nations who signed on (including the U.S.) faithfully executed their reduction goals, that it would put a dent in reducing global warming.

President Bush's budget for the last 5 years has already spent 20 billion; and we're on track for the next 5 years to spend another 20 billion. That's more for global climate science and technology development than the rest of the world combined; and 55% more than what was spent under President Clinton.

As Richard Lindzen points out:

Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policy makers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes. After all, who puts money into science--whether for AIDS, or space, or climate--where there is nothing really alarming? Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the increased federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today. It can also be seen in heightened spending on solar, wind, hydrogen, ethanol and clean coal technologies, as well as on other energy-investment decisions.

But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.

President Bush's punishment by Mother Nature? Hurricane Katrina. It's funny how the bottom excerpt wants to connect Katrina to global warming (in terms of preventability if only we act now!) and global warming to President Bush as responsible, in not signing the Kyoto Treaty (what happened to former President Clinton?):
No one can say for sure whether global warming caused Hurricane Katrina [but lets lead go ahead and lead you down that rabbit hole, anyway, shall we?], which slammed into the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. But it certainly fit the pattern. The scientific rule of thumb is that one can never blame any one weather event on any single cause. The earth's weather system is too complex for that. Most scientists agree, however, that global warming makes extra-strong hurricanes such as Katrina more likely because it encourages hot oceans, a precondition of hurricane formation.

"It's a bit like saying, 'My grandmother died of lung cancer, and she smoked for the last 20 years of her life—smoking killed her,'" explains Kerry Emanuel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has studied hurricanes for 20 years. "Well, the problem is, there are an awful lot of people who die of lung cancer who never smoked. There are a lot of people who smoked all their lives and die of something else. So all you can say, even [though] the evidence statistically is clear connecting lung cancer to smoking, is that [the grandmother] upped her probability."

I think the second paragraph shoots the first paragraph right in the foot. Association is not causation. What a crap for an analogy. The next few paragraphs, then concludes that New Orleans may have been the first "major casualty of global warming, yet most Americans still don't know what hit us". The whole entire article uses scare tactics, using words like "might", "no one knows for sure, but...", and showing what New York City would look like if it went under water.

I'm concerned about the environment. I love this planet. I love the trees and the animals.

I'm sure Al Gore is a swell guy who's heart is in the right place. He loves his planet too. He battles for us...and for our children and our children's children. And he was a former Vice President. Who invented the internet. He is the man who came close to beating my President. I respect him for all of these accomplishments and for the desire to do good in the world, for the world. That being said, I only wish to add one final thought on him.

Recommended further reading:
Al Gore Playing on Our Fears
The Real 'Inconvenient Truth'
Vanity Fair Goes Green Over Warming
There is a problem with global stopped in 1998
Bjorn Lomborg The Skeptical Environmentalist Rebuttal more
Roger A. Pielke's Climate Science
FOX News Special
Media Matters counter to FOX News Special
Review of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science"
The South Park episode

Mike's America
Ex-Donkey Blog
Provided to me from skye: Kyoto, No Go exposes Al Gore's own energy consumption
Hugh Hewitt links to a couple of YouTube videos and others
(to be updated later today)

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Day After Tomorrow......






The Ditzy Chicks: They Ain't the Only Ones not Ready to Make Nice

Natalie Maines is one of those people born middle finger first.

That is how the Time Magazine cover story opens. Lovely.

As you recall, The Dixie Chicks took a lot of heat 3 years ago when Maines remarked onstage during a London performance, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." (Since they were in a foreign country, why not just say "ashamed the President is from...well, the United States? But...whatever).

The album could have been "way safe and scared," Ms. Maines said. "We could have pandered." They didn't. The new songs are filled with reactions, direct and oblique, to the Incident. There are no apologies. is retracting a half-hearted apology and coming out with a defiant, anti-Bush promotional message during a time when his poll numbers have been in the tanker all year long, not pandering?

As 60 Minutes pointed out in their recent interview,

About the only thing that has changed is that nearly 70 percent of the American public now agrees with her, at least to some extent. The question is whether that will be enough for the Dixie Chicks to resurrect their career.

and from the NYTimes (love the title of the piece, btw [/sarcasm]),

Meanwhile the core country audience may not be so hostile anymore. The album arrives at a time when approval for President Bush has dropped to as low as 29 percent, in a recent Harris Interactive poll.

When it appears that 70 percent of Americans don't approve of President Bush's performance, is it really that brave to come out with their "defiant" message? They're basically now reaping press benefits from the bad press they got in 2003. But in my opinion, even what she said back then, wasn't "brave". I think she said it, completely oblivious to the backlash it would cause the Dixie Chicks; and she said it, before a foreign audience, when the perception is that President Bush's drumbeat to war was the direct cause of rising anti-American sentiments. From the NY Times,
At that stage too everyone in Europe, or everyone outside of the U.S., talked about the U.S. like we all thought one way. So it was important for me to let them know that you can't group us all into one."
It is dishonest to characterize what Maines said 10 days before the eve of the war in a country where public sentiment was not reflective of Prime Minister Blair's support, as "brave". Please...don't make her out to be more than she deserves.
Instead of mending fences, they seem to be burning bridges, saying that too much of the country music audience fits a stereotype — a stereotype they say doesn’t apply to their fans.

"When I looked out in the audience, I didn't see rednecks," Maquire says with a chuckle. "I saw a more progressive crowd."

Maquire says she is not trying to say the country music audience is mostly rednecks.
No comments for the just made me "lol".

Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I believe that it is a clever marketing ploy at work, here. More power to them. The only thing they need to understand, which they didn't understand in 2003, is that freedom of expression is a two-way street. They were too naive and immature to handle the backlash 3 years ago. They whined and sniveled about people's "over-reaction" to Maines' "innocuous" statement of how the Dixie Chicks felt about the President. That's fine. They have the freedom to do that. And their fans and non-fans have the freedom to not buy their albums, and to disagree with their politics.

Again from the NY Times:
On March 12 a Web site statement from Ms. Maines said: "I feel the president is ignoring the opinion of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world.
I've said it before: world leaders sometimes need to just lead; not because it is the popular thing to do, but because it is the right thing to do. You don't run a country based upon the latest gallup polls (unless you're name is Bill Clinton, and need to feel loved). Winston Churchill knew this....Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood this....and George Dubbya Bush realizes this.

And as far as "alienating" the rest of the world....anti-Americanism was on the rise long before President Bush came into office.

My comments were made in frustration, and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."
Yes, President Bush said as much, when asked by Tom Brokaw what he thought of your remark:
"[T]he Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say...[T]hey shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out...[F]reedom is a two-way street...I...don't really care what the Dixie Chicks said. I want to do what I think is right for the American people, and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out, that's fine. That's the great thing about America. It stands in stark contrast to Iraq..."
That's exactly right.
What your crybaby understanding seems to suggest, Maines, is that when you speak out, it's your privilege to do so as an American in a free country; when I express myself, and you end up suffering what you sowed, it's now somehow unfair.

I have the privilege to voice my approval by not supporting your music. Personally, if I like your music, I like your music; but I have the freedom of choice to not support your music, regardless of what the reasons are- whether it be a distaste of your politics, the clothes you wear, or any number of reasons you give me, not to like you.

In a way, I agree with Maines regarding some of the extremes that people went to, to express their disapproval (death threats are to be condemned and not tolerated, pure and simple); reminds me of the angry protestors on the Left when they are unhinged. But she just fails to accept that this is the risk you take; it is their perrogative, and it is her perrogative to express her personal views. Now deal with it.

On March 14, 2003, Maines offered this apology:
"As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect. We are currently in Europe and witnessing a huge anti-American sentiment as a result of the perceived rush to war. While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers' lives are lost. I love my country. I am a proud American."

The problem wasn't a "rush" to war; if anything, I think 12 years of cease-fire agreements being defied was long enough. 12 years of Iraqi sufferance under sanctions, with the UN Food for Oil program doing nothing more than fill the coffers of Saddam's regime, as well as France and Germany profiteering.
Ms. Maines added: "It will mean a lot to me if people buy the album just sort of out of protest. The naysayers and the people who were so organized to take us down did a really good job. And they succeeded. So it feels good to let the music win out in the end and say, 'Even your hatred can't stop what people want to listen to.' "
See there? What did I tell ya? Clever marketing ploy at a time when they know President Bush's disapproval rating is low and support for the war here at home is low. Capitalizing on "the Incident" of 2003.....Good girls.

I'd like to think that I scored the bullseye.

Freedom Eden feathers them as wel, and has more from Time Magazinel.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Just a little note...

You folks all missed it by thaaaaat....much. What am I talking about? Haloscan.

Just can't do it. I was even going to use the cool black template with platinum-yellow lettering. Certain features I like about Haloscan; others I have a problem with.

Perhaps I'll rethink it when they have an installation feature that works with blogger to transfer comments over at the snap of the fingers, and a click of the mouse key.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Congratulations Mayor Bystander!

I didn't see this coming; but then, I haven't been following New Orleans politics.

Nagin reminded voters that "he had manned his post throughout the ordeal,"

So Nagin gives himself high marks for his leadership during Katrina, huh? Interesting.

From his victory speech:

"It's time for us to stop the bickering. It's time for us to stop measuring things in black and white; yellow and Asian; it's time for us to be one New Orleans."

Gee...then why campaign on racial divisiveness?:

A "raft of well-financed funded white candidates lining up to challenge Nagin, fueled anxiety among black voters that the city's white power structure was aiming to reclaim City Hall, which since 1978 has been occupied by a black mayor."

Nagin at times tapped in to such fears, noting during a meeting with evacuees in Houston that "very few" of his opponents "look like us."

And let's not so quickly forget Nagin's "chocolate city" comment, for which he apologized, in this fashion:

"I'm really sorry that some people took that the way they did, and that was not my intention," the mayor said. "I say everybody's welcome."

So...he's not sorry for saying it; just sorry for the way people "took it the way they did".

As long as we are fixated on "race", like this, we will never "get over it"; we will never arrive at a point where we can behave in a manner that is consistent with the notion that "skin color doesn't matter"; not until we stop obsessing over it and keeping it alive.

I wish him and the people of New Orleans the best of luck and a bright future. Hopefully, one day, that brighter future will include conservative Republican mayoral leadership and voters whose wisdom looks beyond the content of a man's skin complexion.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Helen Thomas vs. Tony Snow: Round Two!

Apparently, Helen Thomas still thinks herself worthy enough to joust with Tony Snow despite the brow-beating she received 2 days earlier:

Helen Thomas: He finds that as a justification to invade a country where we had choke-hold sanctions, satellite surveillance –

MR. SNOW: Helen, I’m not going to get in another argument about the — this is a three-year-old argument and you’re trying to re-argue the case. The President made his case back then. The United States Senate voted overwhelmingly.

Is it just me, or did anyone else snicker as you read the "3 year old" part, interpreting it to mean what it should? The other meaning, of course, is that Helen Thomas seems perpetually stuck on asking "run-up to war" type questions, over and over again.

Read more over at Flopping Aces.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Laying Down Gravel and the Foundations for Peace

Apologies for my absence....

After reading Curt's post on Murtha's latest, I thought I'd spread some of the good news coming out of Iraq.
U.S. Army Maj. Jeff Pugh helps Iraqi children put gravel on the new playground at the Al Shrooq Primary and Secondary School in Taji, Iraq, April 19, 2006. Pugh serves as a civil affairs officer with Company A, 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Hunt

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Ronnie Reece (left), Iraqi school children, the school’s headmaster, and U.S. Army Sgt. Lucas Murray pose for a photo after completing work on the playground at the Al Shrooq Primary and Secondary School in Taji, Iraq, April 19, 2006. Reece serves as civil affairs noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Company A, 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division; Murray is assigned as an infantryman with Company D, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment, Rhode Island National Guard. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Hunt

Skye brought this news to my attention. Troll left a comment regarding the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, mentioning that those re-enlisting are on a 3-6 month waiting to list to return to Iraq. That doesn't exactly sound like a demoralized military to me. According to Michael Fumento, in his experience, morale appears to be highest amongst the combat soldiers. Skye links to Those Whacky Iraqis, who has this to say:

While I was in Dubai the USS Ronald Reagan was in town. I went into a bar full of sailors and they saw the 1st CAV patch on my 3-Day bag. We got into discussions about the war and I was not surprised to hear from them that they only hear the worst of what happens here. Just like everyone at home, they don't read anymore, they just get all their news from electronic sources like CNN, and CBS, et al.

These MSM entities don't publish good news because "If it bleeds, it leads". Bad news is page one, good news is page three filler. As a result most people don't know about the good that has been done here or how the Army goes about it's day to day business.

I have posted the first in a series of photos showing some of our Civil Affairs group putting gravel down at an Iraqi school. That may not seem like a big deal to you but to a child who has nothing but a dirty, dusty place to play, it is wonderful. I know these soldiers and I know the photographer. These are not staged photos. This is the real Army and these are real smiles.

I also know EXACTLY where that gravel came from. For the rest of the story check out this link.

In the comments section, flythemig29 makes the point that even if the current generation of Iraqi adults are not all friendly toward Americans, and are suspicious of our motives, Iraqi children will remember the kindness and goodness of our soldiers whether it be passing out candy, school supplies, soccer balls, building playgrounds, or doing the seemingly innocuous act of laying down gravel for the purpose of rebuilding a brighter future for them. And "if the children see us in a different light and do not want to fight us then our children will not have to fight either."

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

All Things are Not Created Equal- Nor Should They Be!

State Senate Endorses Teaching of Gays' Historical Achievements

By Jordan Rau, Times Staff Writer May 12, 2006 SACRAMENTO — Saying more role models could help reduce the social estrangement and high suicide rates of gay and lesbian students, the state Senate voted Thursday to require that the historical contributions of homosexuals in the United States be taught in California schools.

Apparently the first of its kind nationwide, the measure passed with no Republican support. It must also be approved by the Assembly and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has taken no position on it. California's Legislature last year became the first to authorize gay marriage, but Schwarzenegger vetoed the measure.

If passed, the textbook bill could have national implications. California is a huge portion of the textbook market, where it often sets trends, and many publishers put out a specific edition for the state that others can also use.

Textbooks meeting the bill's requirements would not be incorporated into California classrooms until 2012. Social science courses would then include "an age-appropriate study" of the "role and contributions" that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have made to the "economic political and social development" of California and the United States.

"Age appropriate"? I wonder what that will be. In college, we called it an upper division elective social studies course- like gay issues 101.
Schools are already required to teach the historical and social roles of blacks, women, Native Americans, Latinos, Asians and other ethnic groups.
I think if someone contributes to American society, then in proportion to the actual significance of the contribution, that person should be mentioned and talked about; but not because he is black...a "she" American Indian...Latino...Asian....or because of his sexual orientation. Just celebrate the accomplishment; and only celebrate his ethnicity (or sexual orientation) as relevant, if it played a vital role in his accomplishment, such as the person overcoming prejudice in order to achieve it . Other than that, quit fixating on race and sexual preference. Those distract, and do nothing except draw attention to superficial matters. Do I go around celebrating my hero, Theodore Roosevelt, because of his heterosexuality? Or because he was larger-than-life, accomplishing great things?

Don't those on the liberal side of this issue always preach about wanting a "colorblind world"? Then stop making race an issue!

"Even though we passed an anti-harassment bill seven years ago, it's still pretty obvious that there's a hostile environment for kids who are gay or lesbian — or even thought to be gay or lesbian," said Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), the bill's author and one of six openly gay legislators. "Part of that stems from the fact that nobody reads about any positive examples."

Social conservatives responded harshly to the Senate's action.

"Happy Mothers Day, California," said a statement issued by Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, a Sacramento group. "By passing SB 1437, Democrat politicians have declared war on mothers and fathers and their children."

The bill passed the Senate 22 to 15, with all 14 Republicans opposed. Democrat Dean Florez of Shafter voted against the bill, and two of his colleagues, Michael Machado of Linden and Denise Ducheny of San Diego, abstained, which effectively count as "no" votes.

Sen. Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside) called the bill "dangerous" and "insidious" because it lumps sexual orientation — something he said was a "cultural or behavioral lifestyle" — together with race and sex, which are biological.He also said there was no reason for a textbook to point out historical figures' sexual orientation when "their contribution to history has nothing to do with their sexual proclivities."

Kuehl's bill would make the state Board of Education responsible for integrating the subject into curricula. The legislation does not specify what should be included or at what grade level the new material should be taught. Advocates said subjects might include the 1978 assassination of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. Geoffrey Kors, executive director of the gay-rights group Equality California, said textbooks might also specify the sexual orientation of well-known Americans such as writer Langston Hughes. Kors said that when the state Board of Education approved the latest social science curriculum in 2003, his group asked unsuccessfully for gay issues to be included. "If you're teaching social movements in schools, and you talk about the United Farm Workers and Cesar Chavez, and you talk about the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, and you talk about the women's suffrage movement, to leave out the gay rights movement seems glaring," Kors said.
What is it with this form of narcissism? That everyone needs to feel special? It's the concept of "equality", run amuck! Certainly the history of blacks in America is an important one; and Cesar Chavez should have a mention in American studies. But the amount of time devoted to them should be in proportion to the actual overall contribution to American history, in general. Not a handout, to make people feel better about themselves. As Morgan Freeman said on 60 Minutes, "black history is American history" when he was prodded by Morley Shafer on why he was not in support of Black History Month. "You're going to relegate my history to a month?!"By this route of thinking, if we're going to indulge it, every single "group" in society- whether based on "race", class, sexual orientation, zodiac affiliation (I'm a Pisces-American....all persecuted Pisces unite! Pisces rights now!), and whatnots, would deserve equal representation in the history books so that no single "group" has a bigger share of the history book pie than the other. Utter stuff and nonsense, wouldn't you say?If George Washington gets immediate name recognition and a bigger share of the history books than say, a Langston Hughes, then it's because of the enormity of his role in our history- not because of his "whiteness" or his "heterosexual" marriage.It's amazing that this yearning for validation extends all the way into stretching history to fit a political agenda, such as trying to claim that Abraham Lincoln was gay. Apparently, legislation will also do away with sex-specific terms in the schoolbooks as well. How stupid is this?!So, tomorrow, can I still say "Happy Mother's Day", or must it be "Happy Parent Day?" How gay is that?


Friday, May 12, 2006

Giving to the Rich....and the Poor!

From the NY Times:
The Senate voted 54 to 44 on Thursday to pass almost $70 billion in tax cuts, mostly for the nation's wealthiest taxpayers. The action ensures that virtually all of President Bush's tax cuts will be locked in place until after the next presidential election.
Charles Schumer had this to say:
"The Bush administration and the Republican leadership are far more interested in helping their wealthiest friends than hardworking, middle-class Americans. The GOP made its choice, and they chose millionaire investors and oil companies over middle class families."

And how does creating policy to "punish" the rich, benefit the poor? The "wealthy" already shoulder the majority of the tax burden of this nation. The tax cuts benefit everyone. If the wealthy see a larger tax return, that's because they pay more taxes than the bottom bracket income earners. The poor might not get a huge tax return, but that's because those on the bottom end don't even pay income tax. As President Kennedy said: "A rising tide lifts all boats." Everyone benefits or suffers together. Not just one class. In the 80's, tax revenue rose by 99.4%, outpacing inflation. This is what is happening now.

Stephen Moore, member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal explains it very well in this Marketplace interview, from April 26th:
The Bush tax cuts have been routinely assailed as multimillion dollar giveaways to the Rolls Royce owners of America at the expense of the middle class.

But new IRS statistics on the taxes Americans pay show that George Bush's tax policies actually soak the rich.

It turns out that the income tax burden has substantially shifted onto the wealthy. The percentage of federal income taxes paid by those who make more than $200,000 a year has actually risen from 41% to 47% in recent years.

In other words, the richest 3 out of 100 Americans are now paying close to the same amount in income taxes as the other 97% of workers combined.

It's also a common myth that the rich are hording all the wealth, while the middle class stays stuck in economic quicksand.

The IRS data show that the share of all income earned by the wealthiest 10% of Americans has actually fallen since 2001. The rich are earning less of the total income but paying more of the total taxes.

During this economic expansion, the middle class is growing and becoming more prosperous. About 4 out of 10 Americans now make more than $50,000 a year -- that's up from 3 out of 10 in 1990.

There's more good news. Tax revenues over the past two years are up more than half a trillion dollars — the largest two-year increase in tax collections in history.

Bush cut the capital gains and dividend taxes, but guess what? Now those tax receipts are through the roof in the last two years.

It's called the Laffer Curve: a lower tax rate has increased economic growth and investment and thus the government gets more tax revenues.

The Bush tax cuts have pumped steroids into the US economy and created 5 million new jobs, a surge in new business investment and record worker productivity.

Those are the reasons to make the tax cuts permanent. But for those who really want to sock it to the rich, the Bush tax cuts have done that too.

President Bush's tax cuts work: Everyone benefits. The kind of economic policies- of raising taxes- that Democrats favor, punishes all classes. We should be creating more wealth for everyone to enjoy by allowing more people to keep more of their own earnings; not stifling growth.

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