Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
By Amanda Kijera, civic journalist and activist in Haiti
Two weeks ago, on a Monday morning, I started to write what I thought was a very clever editorial about violence against women in Haiti. The case, I believed, was being overstated by women’s organizations in need of additional resources. Ever committed to preserving the dignity of Black men in a world which constantly stereotypes them as violent savages, I viewed this writing as yet one more opportunity to fight “the man” on behalf of my brothers. That night, before I could finish the piece, I was held on a rooftop in Haiti and raped repeatedly by one of the very men who I had spent the bulk of my life advocating for.
It hurt. The experience was almost more than I could bear. I begged him to stop. Afraid he would kill me, I pleaded with him to honor my commitment to Haiti, to him as a brother in the mutual struggle for an end to our common oppression, but to no avail. He didn’t care that I was a Malcolm X scholar. He told me to shut up, and then slapped me in the face. Overpowered, I gave up fighting halfway through the night.
Accepting the helplessness of my situation, I chucked aside the Haiti bracelet I had worn so proudly for over a year, along with it, my dreams of human liberation. Someone, I told myself, would always be bigger and stronger than me. As a woman, my place in life had been ascribed from birth. A Chinese proverb says that “women are like the grass, meant to be stepped on.” The thought comforted me at the same time that it made me cringe.
I went to Haiti after the earthquake to empower Haitians to self-sufficiency. I went to remind them of the many great contributions that Afro-descendants have made to this world, and of their amazing resilience and strength as a people. Not once did I envision myself becoming a receptacle for a Black man’s rage at the white world, but that is what I became. While I take issue with my brother’s behavior, I’m grateful for the experience. It woke me up, made me understand on a deeper level the terror that my sisters deal with daily. This in hand, I feel comfortable in speaking for Haitian women, and for myself, in saying that we will not be your pawns, racially, politically, economically or otherwise.
Definition of a 'barking moonbat'? Someone who sacrifices sanity for the sake of consistency.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
A Boston sports-radio host yesterday likened former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow’s NFL draft party to a “Nazi rally,” a remark one media observer called an “amazing double standard.”
Fred “Toucher” Toettcher said yesterday on 98.5 The Sports Hub, “It looked like some kind of Nazi rally. . . . So lily-white is what I’m trying to say. Yeah, Stepford Wives.”
Station spokesman Cha-Chi Loprete said the station “received no inquiries regarding” the morning drive-time show and declined further comment. Efforts to reach Toettcher for comment were unsuccessful.
Dan Gainor, vice president for business and culture for the Media Reseach Center, a Washington, D.C.-based media watchdog group, said it’s “stunning” that Toettcher didn’t lose his job.
“It’s an amazing double standard,” Gainor said. “The left has decided to hate Tim Tebow for nothing more than the fact that he’s a good guy who tries to live an ethical and religious life.”
Conservatives have been repeatedly accused of racism for opposing President Obama’s initiatives, while conservative talk show hosts often face demands that they apologize or be fired for tasteless remarks.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
"Hello, fellow racists."
That's how I greeted the gathering at the Tax Day Tea Party rally in Sacramento, Calif. Several people dropped their hoods and sheets in laughter. After a thorough search, I can report that I detected no secret handshake, security guards or minority-sniffing German shepherds to alert blacks that our presence was unwanted.
An MSNBC reporter at another Tea Party rally actually asked a black man whether he "felt uncomfortable." "No," he laughed. "No, these are my people -- Americans." The man appeared far too polite to ask, "You ever felt uncomfortable working for MSNBC?" I once appeared on a television show where a black pundit accused former President Ronald Reagan of racism. When I asked for proof, he said that Reagan "was uncomfortable around black people." I replied, "I'm uncomfortable around you. What does that make me?" So in the black tea partier's case, his presumed discomfort around whites made them racist. In Reagan's case, his presumed discomfort around blacks made him one. It does get confusing.
A more serious criticism of the Tea Party movement goes like this: When George W. Bush and the Republicans controlled the House, Senate and Oval Office, where were the complaints about spending?
One TP critic put it this way: "During these Tea Party protests conservatives are showing why the word 'hypocrite' should be part of the dictionary definition of conservative. They said nothing and did nothing while Bush and the Republican Congress were getting the country into deeper and deeper trouble. The conservatives who organize the Tea Party protests sat on their hands and did nothing. They did nothing when the balanced budget was destroyed, nothing when Bush exploded the deficit, nothing when Bush cut taxes instead of raising them to pay for the war he started."
As to Bush's non-defense, non-homeland security domestic spending, people did complain -- lots of them and frequently. Why isn't this more widely recognized? When a conservative criticizes Rush Limbaugh, that's news. The left hates Limbaugh. When a conservative criticizes Bush's spending, that's not news. The left loves domestic spending. For liberals, Bush's No Child Left Behind program "wasn't fully funded." The prescription bill for seniors contained a "doughnut hole," which made it insufficiently generous.
Conservatives, pundits and talk show hosts routinely blasted Bush for domestic spending. In 2003, after the passage of the Medicare prescription bill, a member of The Heritage Foundation said, "The president isn't showing leadership, and conservatives are angry." Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said, "The conservative, free-market base in America is rightly in revolt over this bill."
In 2003, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., made a bizarre accusation, condemning Bush for "undoing the New Deal." That December, I wrote: "Does she not see the steam blasting from the ears of principled conservatives flatly astonished by President George W. Bush's and his Republican colleagues' willingness to spend, spend and spend? During Bush's term in office, excluding defense and homeland security, non-war government expenditures increased at a rate faster than under former President Bill Clinton. By this time in his term, Reagan vetoed over 20 bills, Bush none."
So if people were unhappy with Bush's spending, then why are folks only now assembling, carrying signs and holding rallies in opposition to bigger government?
Fair question. Better late than never. More importantly, things are much, much worse. Government bailouts, "stimulus," ObamaCare, etc., now push the nation's deficit to record non-World War II levels and debt to an all-time high.
Bush-bashing left-wing New York Times columnist Paul Krugman inadvertently explained why today things are different. In March 2006, he wrote about Bush's (nonexistent?) conservative critics who were "rushing to distance themselves from Mr. Bush." But he pointed out that a lot of Bush's increased domestic spending came from entitlements on automatic pilot. He accused Bush's critics of creating a "false impression" that Bush was a "big spender": "The great bulk of this increase was accounted for by increased spending on defense and homeland security, including the costs of the Iraq war, and by rising health care costs." In other words, as to increased domestic spending, Krugman argued that Bush wasn't as bad as his conservative critics claimed.
Bush, the so-called fiscal conservative, irresponsibly increased domestic spending, including the decidedly non-fiscally conservative prescription benefits bill. But under Obama, the Democrats and some unprincipled Republicans, Americans now bear dramatically increased, brand-new domestic spending. With ObamaCare, taxpayers now support 30 million people who are guaranteed health insurance. Taxes must go up, and the middle class is not spared. Economics adviser Paul Volcker, along with others, even floats the idea of a European-style value-added consumption tax -- on top of the current taxes.
Tea Party supporters, at least many of them, did complain about the size of government pre-Obama. Now things have changed -- for the worse. Government is larger than ever -- with no sign of abating unless and until this administration is stopped.
As Vice President Joe Biden so eloquently put it, "This is a big f---ing deal."
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
This impressive picture was taken with a special camera on board the Icelandic coastguard’s TF-SIF research plane. The picture shows three craters in the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. The craters are each 200 to 300 metres wide.The picture undeniably looks like a face: some sort of monster which has broken its way out of the earth and is now spewing fire and sulphur into the atmosphere.
Plus+ Iceland no more, border madness, and a little more SUCMU, just for good measure.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010
WASHINGTON -- After hounding Major League Baseball and its players union over steroids, Congress now wants the sport to ban smokeless tobacco.
Corporate Takeover of Food Production Continues::: Small meat plants feel threatened by USDA's new regs
EAGLE GROVE - Across the U.S. small meat processing plant owners are hoping for an 11th hour development that will prevent the U.S. Department of agriculture from implementing a new set of regulations that will force them out of business.
The new regulations, proposed by the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service will require an extensive battery of testing for meat processing products, intended for commercial retail, to validate each plant's effectiveness in assuring food safety.
On the surface, it sounds like a good thing. But for plant owners like Paul Bubeck, of Lewright Meats in Eagle Grove, and thousands more like him, the new layer of testing will be cost prohibitive.
Bubeck and wife, Barbara, took over operation of Lewright Meats in 1981. Barbara Bubeck's family started the plant in 1936. In 2009, Ethan Bubeck, the couple's son and his wife, Shanae, joined the company.
Bubeck said all meat processors, regardless of size, already follow an exacting array of procedures and monitoring protocols to assure food safety, and cannot understand the need for the expanded tests.
According to Dr. Gary Johnson, bureau chief for the state's meat and inspection department, a division of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the new regulations are designed to validate if the existing protocols are working.
The problem is that a large amount of meat products must be shipped to inspection labs for a battery of expensive tests for which the plants themselves must cover the cost.
In Bubeck's case, the initial tally for the extensive tests will cost $455,592. That would be followed by an annual ongoing series of tests tallying $140,182.
He said there's no way he could afford those tests.
"I won't do it," he said. "I'll close the place down first."
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Photo: JOHN LAWRENCE
Flew always described himself as a "negative atheist", asserting that "theological propositions can neither be verified nor falsified by experience", a position he expounded in his classic paper Theology and Falsification (1950), reputedly the most frequently-quoted philosophical publication of the second half of the 20th century.
He argued that any philosophical debate about the Almighty must begin by presuming atheism, placing the burden of proof on those who believe that God exists. "We reject all transcendent supernatural systems, not because we've examined or could have examined each in turn, but because it does not seem to us that there is any good evidence in reason to postulate anything behind or beyond this natural universe," he proclaimed. A key principle of his philosophy was the Socratean concept of "follow the evidence, wherever it leads".
When Flew revealed that he had come to the conclusion that there might be a God after all, it came as a shock to his fellow atheists, who had long regarded him as one of their foremost champions. Worse, he seemed to have deserted Plato for Aristotle, since it was two of Aquinas's famous five proofs for the existence of God – the arguments from design and for a prime mover – that had apparently clinched the matter.
After months of soul-searching, Flew concluded that research into DNA had "shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved". Moreover, though he accepted Darwinian evolution, he felt that it could not explain the beginnings of life. "I have been persuaded that it is simply out of the question that the first living matter evolved out of dead matter and then developed into an extraordinarily complicated creature," he said.
Flew went on to make a video of his conversion entitled Has Science Discovered God? and seemed to want to atone for past errors: "As people have certainly been influenced by me, I want to try and correct the enormous damage I may have done," he said.
But believers waiting to welcome this most prodigal of sons back into the fold were to be disappointed. Flew's conversion did not embrace such concepts as Heaven, good and evil or the afterlife – let alone divine intervention in human affairs. His God was strictly minimalist – very different from "the monstrous oriental despots of the religions of Christianity and Islam", as he liked to call them. God may have called his creation into existence, then, but why did he bother? To that question, it seemed, Flew had no answer.
Source: Professor Antony Flew - Telegraph
Monday, April 12, 2010
Friday, April 09, 2010
Did you miss Professor Walter E. Williams's article in IBD this week? Titled Does U.S. Need To Split Along Political Lines? he revisits an old question of his, one which is a recurrent Unspun theme... how do liberty lovers and statist nannies live the lives they desire and remain united? (Article posted on FR here.)
Plus+ IRS rules go global, iPods get naked, Maoists run rampant, and TSUCMU.
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The answer is easy if you take it logically
I'd like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover
She said it grieves me so to see you in such pain
I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again
I said I appreciate that and would you please explain
About the fifty ways
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Walter E. Williams (This Week's Guest!): Does U.S. Need To Split Along Political Lines? - IBD/ Investors.com
Ten years ago I asked the following question in a column titled "It's Time To Part Company":
"If one group of people prefers government control and management of people's lives and another prefers liberty and a desire to be left alone, should they be required to fight, antagonize one another, risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences or should they be able to peaceably part company and go their separate ways?"
The problem that our nation faces is very much like a marriage where one partner has broken, and has no intention of keeping, the marital vows. Of course, the marriage can remain intact and one party tries to impose his will on the other and engage in the deviousness of one-upmanship. Rather than submission by one party or domestic violence, a more peaceable alternative is separation.
I believe we are nearing a point where there are enough irreconcilable differences between those Americans who want to control other Americans and those Americans who want to be left alone that separation is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Can we just bypass the “is it art?” debate? It’s a giant, misshapen rollercoaster- type thingy, with a sort of sub-Eiffel Towery feel. It may or may not symbolise the twisted dreams of our country’s financial capital or Man’s doomed striving for the sky on his meandering path towards the grave. Or something. But let’s just call it art and be done.
The Anish Kapoor-designed, ArcelorMittal Orbital will soar above the London Olympic Park, dividing opinions, enraging taxi drivers and garnering nicknames. Personally, I love 84 per cent of it — the bit that was paid for by ArcelorMittal, the company owned by the steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, which is spending up to £16 million on it. I am substantially less enamoured of the £3.1 million bit that we are paying for. Could it just be a few feet shorter with the company picking up all the bill?
We are deep in an era of big public works of art and expensive subsidies. The four arts councils for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland receive £521 million of taxpayers’ cash and £168 million from the lottery.
Total spending on culture in the UK amounts to 1 per cent of the NHS budget. But taxpayer-funded art, unlike brain surgery, is a luxury. Art is a glorious and welcome by-product of a healthy, capital-creating economy. Our economy is as crooked and twisted as Kapoor’s tower, in no shape to fund anything except recovery.
Those in favour of taxpayer-funded art base their argument on two pillars — the notion that a life without art is a dull, spiritually undernourished one, and the more topical argument that the creative economy is a thriving one that will help to pull the country out of its fiscal doldrums.
The problem with arts subsidies, however, is that it’s difficult to escape the notion that the poor are subsidising the leisure pursuits of the rich. At the Royal Opera House this week for Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, it seemed utterly absurd that the well-heeled audience was subsidised in any way by the taxpayer. Spiritually nourished this crowd may have been; poor it was not.
Harsanyi: Waxman: No speech for you - The Denver Post
So Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is demanding that citizens justify their political speech under oath. Nervous Nellies will doubtlessly characterize this as an "overreach." Crybabies will grouse about the "chilling" effect or the "muzzling" of dissent.
Yet, in these heady days of change, it's all about context. In this case, you'll be relieved to know, we're talking about CEOs. These people take home considerably more pay than I do. Accordingly, they deserve to sit through hours of absurd inquires from sanctimonious politicians as a matter of karmic justice.
What they don't deserve is free speech. The president ably expounded on the matter in the State of the Union address: Corporations should not be entitled to the same constitutional protections as the rest of us.
With this in mind, it should surprise no one that Waxman has requested the "personal testimony" of a few CEOs who have reported billions of dollars in negative impact to their businesses — per Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure requirements — due to the passage of health care reform.
In the letter, Waxman asserts, "The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern." And everyone knows that it is impossible for legislation to have unintended consequences.
Who are you going to believe: numbers or Joe Biden?
This cabal of profiteering is headed up by AT&T ($1 billion first-quarter charge), Boeing ($150 million), John Deere ($150 million), Caterpillar ($100 million), 3M, AK Steel, Verizon, Prudential, the lodging industry . . . and so forth and so on, until we hit on every single company affected by the elimination of a tax break on retiree drug benefits. It will likely cost employers and thus consumers an estimated $14 billion — not counting the new Medicare costs.
Boy, if only these corporations had something akin to a Congressional Budget Office. Bean counters could conceal costly programs on separate balance sheets and add bogus cost-saving measures to the ones they present to shareholders.
Then again, what works for Congress amounts to a prison term out in the corporate world. So for now, businesses rely on Arabic numerals (lest we need another reason to question their patriotism) and arithmetic (in this case, lots of subtraction).
Some may wonder if Waxman has any lawful grounds to bully anyone into accepting his view of Obamacare. Even if corporations, typically snuggling up to Washington for crony capitalistic favors, had joined in a twisted political conspiracy to make Barack Obama's legislative masterpiece look as terrible as it is . . . so what? Since when is making a law look bad a criminal act?
The ironic part of Waxman's abuse of power is that he also demands that CEOs show up with "any documents including e-mail messages, sent to or prepared or reviewed by senior company officials related to the projected impact of health care reform."
Would it not be helpful for Congress to first provide taxpayers with any documents — including e-mail messages, sent to or prepared or reviewed by elected officials — regarding this historic health care reform bill?
Maybe if Congress applied a fraction of the transparency it demands from corporate America to its own dealings, it wouldn't have to rely on pompous bullies like Waxman to stifle free speech.
E-mail David Harsanyi firstname.lastname@example.org follow him on Twitter at @davidharsanyi.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Seven Stanzas at Easter :: John Updike
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
Seven Stanzas at Easter :: John Updike � a few words