Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Waffling?

So, is the good Senator from Illinois taking the ranting Reverend from ill and annoy, out of context? Or is he merely speaking out now, as a politician?

This looks to be the beginning of the end of an ugly 20 year relationship:

Obama Attempts to Spin Away Wright Controversy
By Amanda Carpenter
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama sought to temper news headlines in the aftermath of his longtime friend and former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s controversial media tour by denouncing Wright’s recent remarks.

In a hastily-organized news conference in North Carolina Obama called Wright’s conspiracy theories about the U.S. government and praise of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan “ridiculous” and “offensive.”

"When he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS; when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century; when he equates the U.S. wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced, and that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally here today."

“They offend me,” Obama said.

In recent days Wright engaged in several high-profile media appearances to refute the negative news coverage of his church. Many political analysts agreed Wright only called more attention to himself and gave reporters more reason to question his relationship with Obama.

Wright had stayed relatively quiet until last week when he spoke to the New York Times, participated in a television interview on PBS and made speeches before the NAACP and the National Press Club that were carried by major television networks.

In those appearances Wright repeated many aspects of his most offensive remarks, including the U.S. government?s responsibility for creating and spreading the AIDS virus.

"Based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything," Wright said.

Wright was aggressive with reporters, refused to criticize Farrakhan, theorized black and white children have genetically different learning styles and said any attacks that have been made on him were also an attack on the black church.

The consequent media coverage was almost entirely harsh.

Obama’s history with Wright began when Obama started attending Wright’s church in Chicago’s more than 20 years ago. Wright married Obama and his wife and baptized his two children. Obama was so enamored with Wright he titled his autobiography “Audacity of Hope” after one of the pastor’s sermons. Wright was also once considered Obama’s “spiritual adviser.” But as reporters began to examine Wright’s church, which preaches “black liberation theology," boasts an “unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian” motto and encourages members to adopt their “Black Value System,” people began to question Obama’s worldview.

Attention increased on Obama’s roots to the church when ABC News obtained tapes of Wright giving anti-American and racist sermons. These clips dominated news coverage and ultimately led Obama to deliver a major speech on race relations in the United States.

Obama repeatedly defended Wright until today.

“Whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed as a consequence of this,” Obama said.
What took you so long, Senator Obama?

Maybe....just maybe, Senator Obama can finally go back to eating his waffle in peace.

Obama responsed with intensely visible irritation, declaring: "Why is it that like I can't just eat my waffle?" and then following up this witticism with an even more notable turn of phrase, "Can't I just eat my waffle?"

For his admirers, the Future President and Current Messiah has now authored a phrase for the ages, that will forever attach itself to his name.

For Abe Lincoln, it was: "Government of the People, by the People, for the People"

For Teddy Roosevelt, it was "Speak Softly, But Carry a Big Stick."

For FDR: "The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself"

For Truman: "The Buck Stops Here."

For JFK: "Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You....."

For Reagan: "Government Isn't the Solution; Government
is the Problem"

For Bill Clinton: "It Depends on What the Meaning of 'Is', is."

and now, for Barack Obama, the most inspiring and original words of them all: "Why Can't I Just Eat My Waffle?"

Waffles have been at the very heart of the Obama campaign

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It's a Vast Wright-Wing Conspiracy!

Who arranged Reverend Wright's speaking engagement at the National Press Club?

Our World As We See It:
Barbara Reynolds, a former USA Today editorial journalist who just happens to be
1. A Minister
2. A Hillary Clinton Supporter
3. A Woman who has her own Personal Blog

According to DD2, Reynold's blog was taken down at 9:30am this morning (link to her website; while checking for cached links to her blogposts, this appears to work). He copied down one paragraph from her blog, before it happened:
"Like many African American women, I have struggled with the dilemma of selecting a black man or a white woman to go against warmonger Sen. John McCain. My problem was that both Senators Obama and Clinton are darn good. Finally I voted for Senator Clinton. My first reason was that as seductive as Obama’s mantra of hope, the Clintons legacy of help is more substantive and stronger. Hope by definition is not based on facts. It is an emotional expectation. Things hoped for may or may not come. But help based on experience trumps hope every time. How do you abandon someone like Hillary Clinton, who at every opportunity worked for causes benefiting the poor, especially children? Her work began in her early days with her mentor Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’’s Defense Fund and at Yale Law School, where she pursued children’’s studies. Early on her stated life’s goal was to be a "voice for America’s children."

Bookworm Room
Our World as We See It
The Anchoress
The Strata-Sphere

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

White House Correspondents' Dinner Highlights

President Bush as Conductor-in-Chief:


Dick Cheney from about a week ago:

Also blogging:
Conservatism with Heart
Mike's America

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The Pro-Americanism of a French Intellectual

"Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."
- Jean-Francois Revel

When I began immersing myself into politics and shedding the liberal indoctrination of my college years, one of the books I read that shaped some of my current perception, early on, was Anti-Americanism by Jean-Francois Revel. I first heard about him on the Dennis Prager Show, as he gave an interview, from France.

While researching for a post to cover this and this, I discovered that I had completely missed the news that the French intellectual had passed away almost 2 years to the date, on April 30, 2006:
[He] was almost unique among French philosophers in being a champion of economic liberalism and an outspoken critic of the anti-Americanism of European intellectuals - particularly French ones.


On his visit to the States, Revel had been "astonished by evidence that everything Europeans were saying about the US was false"; and most of his book consisted of a heavily sarcastic point-by-point rebuttal of the knee-jerk, anti-American prejudices of the day. Europe's loss of leadership during the post-war era, in his opinion, had led to an irrational envy and resentment.

A definitive proof of the irrational origins of anti-American sentiment, he suggested, was to be found in the way in which critics often reproached the United States for some shortcoming, and then for its opposite.

During the Vietnam conflict of the 1960s, for example, French commentators developed a sudden amnesia about their country's involvement in Indo-China, and the fact that France, while embroiled in its ugly colonial war with the Viet Minh, "frequently pleaded for and sometimes obtained American help".

Without Marx or Jesus became a best-seller in France and in the United States, but won almost universally hostile reviews from European critics. Revel's Swedish publisher was unable to get a single television interview for him, despite impressive sales; in Finland he was confronted on television by two "intellectuals" - one from Romania, the other from Poland; his Greek publisher composed a preface in which he begged his compatriots' pardon for having published the book.

Refusing to be daunted, Revel returned to the charge in L'Obsession anti-americaine. Son fonctionnement, ses causes, ses inconsequences (2003), in which he directed his heavy sarcasm at European intellectuals who claimed that America had brought the 9/11 terrorist attacks on itself and blamed her for impoverishing the developing world through globalisation. Slogans such as "No to terrorism. No to war", Revel wrote, were "about as intelligent as 'No to illness. No to medicine'."

Rather than point fingers at America, he suggested, European politicians should look in the mirror and acknowledge their own shortcomings. America, he argued, had been forced to act almost alone to combat global terrorism because Europe had failed to act in the cause of collective security. As for "globalisation", developing countries wanted more, not less, access to rich markets.

Revel also detected a tendency of other countries to ascribe their own worst faults to the Americans in a curious "reversal of culpability". Thus, the Japanese and Germans excoriate America for "militarism"; the Mexicans attack it for "electoral corruption"; the British accuse it of "imperialism"; the Chinese accuse it of "hegemonism"; and Arab writers, post 9/11, for "abridging press freedom".

But much of Revel's anger was directed at his fellow countrymen: "We French have had little to say against Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, Robert Mugabe, the imams of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or the bosses of China and Vietnam. We reserve our admonitions and our contempt and our attacks for Ronald Reagan and George W Bush."

Revel argued that the same French intellectuals who found great difficulties in criticizing Stalin appear to be the same brain-dead intellectual elitists who fail to perceive the dangers of radical Islamic terror.

from the Brussels Journal:
Early on Sunday morning, the French intellectual Jean-François Revel died aged 82. He was a member of the French Academy and, with philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, economist Guy Sorman, and writer Pascal Bruckner, one of the few truly pro-American French writers.

In his 2002 book "L'obsession anti-américaine" (English version: Anti-Americanism) he analyses anti-Americanism throughout the world. Exposing its paradoxes, its contradictions and its lies, he shows that it is instigated by cultural and political elites, rather than supported by the population at large. Already in 1970, Revel was "astonished by the evidence that almost everything Europeans are saying about the US is false". Since then, nothing has changed. From the book, an example of French anti-American bias in the press and by politicians:

According to our commentators the fact that the US unemployment rate had dropped below 5 percent since 1984 whereas our own had skyrocketed to around 12 percent, meant nothing good for the US, given that these jobs were mostly "menial jobs." Ah! Here we have the myth of the menial jobs. How it has comforted us! During the economic slowdown of the first half of 2001 the American unemployment rate rose from 4.4 percent of the working population to 5.5 percent. On 7 May 2001 the French economic daily La Tribune immediately printed a full first page headline "Full Employment Ends in the United States." This is but one example.

Yet, at precisely the same time the French government applauded itself frenetically for having reduced our own unemployment rate to 8.7 percent, i.e. almost twice the American rate (without taking into account the tens of thousands of actual unemployed that France artificially excludes from its statistics).

By September 2001 the unemployment rate in France already exceeded 9 percent. On 15 February 2001 Le Monde published an article entitled "The End of the American Economic Dream." In other words, a practically uninterrupted growth of 17 years (1983-2000), an unprecedented technological revolution since the 19th century, the creation of tens of millions of new jobs, an unemployment rate of only 4 percent as well as an enormous and unexpected demographic increase from 248 million to 281 million between 1990 and 2000-all this was but a "dream." What a pity that France did not realize this dream!

Granted, the author of the article readily straddles the hobbyhorse of the "menial jobs" and deplores that France Americanized itself to the point of "copying the sad example of the working poor." As if this were the only example given by the American economy from which no lesson can be learned. Undoubtedly, France was better off remaining faithful to its own model of the not working poor.

I do not know if his writings had any influence on them, but with the rise into office by pro-Bush, pro-American Europeans like Sarkozy and Berlusconi, I hold out hope that they are part of the legacy that Jean-Francois Revel leaves behind in this world.

Someone send Reverend Wright and Senator Obama a copy of Revel's Anti-Americanism.

From Winds of Change:

Liberty. Humanity. Clarity. And an intelligence that enlightened, revealed, and challenged you every step of the way. Others will step up, and join the love story that he was a part of, and aim at the same things. They will take their place in our civilization's long chain - but those who rise to Revel's level are never really replaced. Was de Tocqueville ever replaced? Baron Montesquieu? It is enough that we had them for a short while, borrowed treasures that left something of themselves behind.

He has fought the good fight, and laid down a pen mightier than a brigade of swords. If there is a Heaven, he goes now to its Elysian Fields.

Au revoir notre pere, notre ami (1924-2006). May we prove worthy of your legacy.

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

War and Decision

I wrote about Douglas Feith's 60 Minutes interview when it aired.

Wednesday, Feith enjoyed a 3 hour interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show (Pt1, 2, 3. Transcript here).

Friday, I bought the book from Borders bookstore in Westwood. Check out the website for the book. There are important documents to peruse through, there.

Douglas Feith's website (check out the documents and myths vs. facts pages).

Also blogging:
American Power
Hugh Hewitt

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Who is "G"?

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Our Gang- Two Too Young

Friday, April 25, 2008

The End of Wordsmith?!

I've been banned!!!

Repsac3 brings the following to my attention:
Banished Words List for 2008
  1. perfect storm
  2. webinar
  3. waterboarding
  4. organic
  5. wordsmith / wordsmithing
  6. author / authored
  7. post 9/11
  8. surge
  9. give back
  10. 'BLANK' is the new "BLANK' or 'X' is the new 'Y'
  11. Black Friday
  12. back in the day
  13. random
  14. sweet
  15. decimate
  16. emotional
  17. pop ('makes it POP')
  18. It is what it is.
  19. under the bus
So......should I change/update my username? Reveal my "secret" identity?

I've long been a fan of kennings in Icelandic Sagas, and "wordsmith" has long been known to me; it's not my fault that the phrase got popularized and overused by society at large.

By the way....I'm awesome.

And no....I've never been to Nantucket.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Aesop's Foibles

The Violence of Peace Protesters

Last month, skye was assaulted while counterprotesting the Chester County "Peace" Movement.

Now, CJ brings attention to an ugly incident that happened to a family in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Not only were Jason and Carrie Swartout assaulted, but so was their 14 year old son. And what is perhaps just as outrageous, perhaps more so, is the behavior of one of the officers involved:

On April 22nd several members of the Northwest Pa. Gathering of Eagles gathered in Edinboro, Pa to counter-protest an anti-war demonstration staged by some students from Edinboro University, their professors and a few unidentified and hygienically challenged others. Initially the operation was quite innocuous with a few spirited verbal exchanges between the two sides. We were positioned across the street receiving many honks and thumbs up from passersby.

Andrew, our 14-year-old son, crossed the street to videotape the “toy-soldier” displays setup by the peace crowd. These displays consisted of many small plastic soldiers glued to a child’s sled, can’t explain that one, and a footlocker with toy soldiers, middle finger pictures and a map of Iraq. Two females began harassing Andrew as they shoved signs in his face and threatened to sue him for videotaping. Carrie and I (Jason) crossed the street to ensure Andrew wasn’t hurt and to explain to the “students” that his videotaping was well within the law. The professors standing with the students goaded the entire thing on failing to explain to the students that they were wrong and out of line. It wasn’t long before one of the peace protesters grabbed the sign out of my hand and threw it into the street. As I attempted to retrieve it she got up into my face. Carrie stepped between us so that I would not have to defend myself to a female. The girl and her sister then stepped into Carrie’s face and swung at her. I subdued one of the girls as the other girl beat Carrie down in the middle of the street, pulled her to the ground by her hair and kicked her in the head…it should be noted the aggressor was wearing boots. Carrie is still wearing her inflatable cast which makes it easy for her to lose her balance. Andrew pulled the girl off of Carrie and she was able to get up. I was on the ground holding onto the other girl until several men attacked me, holding me while one of them hit me in the head from behind. I was telling them I was only holding her so that she wouldn’t attack my wife again. I let go of her due to the punches and was eventually able to get up. During this exchange, my glasses were knocked to the ground and smashed in the street. At this time, Andrew was just videotaping when one of the two girls attacked him unprovoked landing a hard right on the side of his face. I was able to pull her back preventing any further attacks. I had to keep the two girls from attacking Carrie again as they we trying to.

We are so very proud of Andrew. He maintained a very mature and level-head throughout the entire event. He told us he had wanted to “do” more but due to his Tae Kwon Do training, he knows to do the least amount possible to defuse the situation and thus chose only to pull the girl off of his mom. Andrew is learning a lot from these people and understands what is at stake.

The Edinboro Police were called, two officers responded. One of the officers spoke with Carrie and me first, noting our side of things. The other officer was quite agitated and was very aggressive toward us. He said nothing to the members of the peace crowd as they shouted at me but when I said something back the officer bowed up on me, got in my face and threatened to arrest me. I sat down on the curb with Carrie until the questioning process was through. As I was there the one girl came back across the street as she had been directed by the police and spit directly at me, some hitting my leg. The officer ignored it and actually was angry with us for letting it bother us. He made the girl go back across the street with no threat of arrest!!! Andrew played the videotape for the officer and he made the decision that no one should be arrested. We pointed out that it was clearly visible we had not thrown the first blows and that we were clearly antagonized to do so. Also, we asked why, when it was clear a minor was blatantly assaulted, the girl who punched Andrew was not arrested. He really did not explain that one.

Jeff Kays, a fellow member of GOE who was present, went to the police station with me so that I could inquire about the assault on Andrew. The aggressive officer who had threatened to arrest me was the only one there. He was very agitated that I came there and told me that I should be arrested for hitting a girl, which I clearly did not do. After asking why the girl wasn’t arrested he busted out of the door, got into my face and said that I was pushing it and that I had better stop or he was cuffing me. I asked the officer if I could leave, so as not to disrespect him, and he said yes. I left the station. Jeff stayed behind and spoke with the officer. Jeff said that he sat down in a chair so as to demonstrate compliance and asked the officer a few questions. The officer then relaxed a little and told Jeff that the video will have to be reviewed and the DA consulted before a decision would be made how to proceed. Now, wasn’t that easy?

While we are all a little sore, we are in pretty good spirits. We are seeking legal representation and will report back soon as to the progress of the case. Carrie has retrieved the video from the police station and is working on getting it posted. The police told her today that this is “simple assault” which does not warrant anyone being arrested. He explained a weapon would have had to been present to warrant aggravated assault or the intent to seriously harm or kill…even on a minor. He explained that they could have crossed the street, punched my 7-year-old and not have been arrested! Carrie then asked, “isn’t a kick to the head an attempt to seriously harm”, he replied that he did not see that so it doesn’t matter. Carrie told him that our daughter Anna saw the kick but he said that was not admissible evidence. Our video clearly depicts the kick. You can see the girls boot fly up into the screen over where Carrie was lying. It should be noted there was an individual on their side that was videotaping. The police did not confiscate her video, which is somewhat curious. She did tell the police that she had videotaped the entire event. I wonder if she will come forward with her video due to the fact that it clearly will not make things any better for them.

Thanks to all for the emails and phone calls of support. We love you guys and hope no one has to ever again endure the ABUSE of the “peace” protesters! Please keep in mind the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall will be in this same city, Edinboro Pa, from May 1st-5th! The opening ceremony for this event is May 1st on the Edinboro University Campus at 12 P.M.
( http://cms.edinboro.edu/promotions/vietnam_wall.dot)

May be a good time for a “gathering”!

CJ's original blogpost about the incident is here.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Indiana Predictions?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pennsylvania Predictions?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Riding on the Iconoclastic Coattail Image of Heroes

I heard on the news the other day, that some Marines are pissed and that the Time Magazine editor sees nothing wrong on the evocative Joe Rosenthal image hijacking.

I think a photo-shopping contest is in order...

Can anyone think of any other iconoclastic images?

*UPDATE* Contest at Flopping Aces.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday Morning Cartoon Classic: Tarzan and the Vikings

Just something I grew up on:
Part One:

Part Two:

In some ways, even though aimed at kids, I felt it had captured some of the spirit of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan stories that were lacking in any Hollywood incarnation.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Real Issues & Legitimate Questions

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pope says, "God bless America!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Don't Know Much About History....

Hah! Check this out:
History News Network’s poll of 109 historians found that 61 percent of them rank Bush as “worst ever” among U.S. presidents. Bush’s key competition comes from Buchanan, apparently, and a further 2 percent of the sample puts Bush right behind Buchanan as runner-up for “worst ever.” 96 percent of the respondents place the Bush presidency in the bottom tier of American presidencies. And was his presidency (it’s a bit wishful to speak of his presidency in the past tense–after all there are several more months left to go) a success or failure? On that score the numbers are still more resounding: 98 percent label it a “failure.”
More here.

Hat tip the following Investor's Business Daily to Michael Medved:
So 98% of history professors adjudge George Bush's presidency a failure and 61% say he's the worst president ever. And we thought historians studied history, not events too recent to be properly assessed.

It should be no surprise that the 109 history professors surveyed by the History News Network would be critical of Bush. History professors tend to be a Democratic lot. A study conducted by Daniel Klein and Charlotta Stern in 2003 found that the Democrat-to-Republican ratio among them is roughly 9.5-1.

The professors' political bias has blinded them to reality. They formed their opinions around an axis of nonsense: Bush's invasion of Iraq, his "tax breaks for the rich," and the alienation of many nations around the world. Let's take their arguments one at a time.

• It's far too early to deem the Iraq invasion a failure. In terms of military achievement, it ranks as one of the greatest in modern history. In a matter of weeks a dangerous dictator was toppled, his regime ousted, his military routed and an oppressed people freed.

Since then, thousands of terrorists have been denied their chance to strike America because the U.S. military has eliminated them.

The cleanup has been messy. But unless the U.S. loses its resolve, a stable, U.S.-friendly representative government is likely to emerge in a strongly anti-American region dominated by despotic regimes.

• "Tax breaks for the rich" is the big lie come alive. Under the Bush tax cuts, 25 million Americans at the bottom half of the income scale have been wiped off the federal income tax rolls.

And the rich? The federal tax burden of the top 1% of earners has gone from 19% under Jimmy Carter (in 1980) to 39.4%. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% paid 3.1% of taxes in 2005. In 1995, they paid 4.6%.

• Since Bush has been in office, pro-Americans have been elected to lead Germany (Angela Merkel), France (Nicolas Sarkozy), Italy (Silvio Berlusconi) and Canada (Stephen Harper). Both Britain and Australia remain close to the U.S. though both are under governments less pro-American than their predecessors. Who's been alienated? Iran, which has been at war with the U.S. for nearly 20 years?

History professors need to stick to teaching history. They seem to be seeing the unfolding of events through a cloudy lens

George W. Bush will go down as one of our best presidents in U.S. history.

Meanwhile....the worst former president and one of the worst presidents wants some attention:

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What a Tool....

Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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