Archive for the ‘Celebrating Diversity’ Category

I think we all agree that Nazis are bad. Evil. Their ideology and their “Third Reich” caused untold suffering and destruction, costing millions of lives. It should not be celebrated. It should not be defended. It should not be encouraged or promoted. It should always be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

All that said, I also think that Pres. Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville was right on target, and I’ll tell you why.

Close to 20 years ago now, I lived in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Twenty minutes to the north is a sleepy little town called, “Hayden Lake.” Hayden Lake had the unfortunate distinction of having a white supremacist “compound” a few miles outside of town. Richard Butler and his skinhead Aryan Nations “Church” (tax dodge) came to be synonymous with North Idaho, and Hayden Lake became guilty by association (I suspect Charlottesville is currently suffering from something similar).

Now, every year Coeur d’Alene hosts a big 4th of July parade, right down Main Street. It’s quite the big deal. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people come out from all around to watch the floats, the marchers, the bands, enjoy the music and food in the park, stake out a claim for your picnic blanket, and stay all day to watch the fireworks at night. It’s an annual tradition, and we never missed a year.

Except. One year, Mr. Butler and his “family” decided that they wanted to have a “parade” as well. They applied for, and were granted, a permit for the march. The town council and the citizenry were in an uproar! They didn’t want the Aryan Nation wackos in their town! Up went the hue and cry, but to no avail. The town could not legally deny them a permit, and so the march would move forward.

And you know what the town did?

Nothing.

On the day of the parade, just before the appointed hour, businesses all along main-street closed up shop. Locked their doors. “Closed” signs in the window. No one came to line the streets. No bands were playing. There were only a scattering of vocal protestors, and they were kept in check by the police (unlike in Charlottesville). I was very nearly a ghost town.

The Aryan’s wanted to make a splash, cause a ruckus, to assert their “rights.” And they tried.

And we ignored them. We belittled them with our silence. We spurned them and their ideology with our collective absence. We didn’t give them the satisfaction of a response. We turned our backs on their hate.

So they came with their four vehicles, packed with shaven-headed youths in their white t-shirts and suspenders. They “marched” down Main Street to the park, where they had their “rally.” They blathered on for half an hour, attended solely by a scant handful of protestors cordoned off some distance away. And then they left.

And the stores opened back up, the people came back out, and we went on with the day. There were no fights. No smashed windows. And only a few raised voices.

That is how you deal with that kind of hate. Don’t give it an audience. Deny it a forum by denying it a crowd. If you must oppose it, sing. Pray. Dance. Oppose their hate with joy. Not with black face masks and baseball bats. If you really want to “oppose” people like that…LAUGH AT THEM.

Would there have been violence, or death, in Charlottesville if “antifa” and their associates had all stayed home?

I think I can say with some confidence that few in Charlottesville wanted the Nazis there. But did they really want a “counter-protest” group who showed up spoiling for a fight, either?

So, when Pres. Trump suggests that both sides had some measure of blame for the violence that occurred, I think he is spot on. Nazis and Aryans and their ilk are belligerent and violent by nature. They expect hostility, and are prepared to respond in kind.

But these “antifa” are the same folks who show up to riot at UC-Berkeley, all too ready to bring violence to bear to oppose the terrible dangers of having a conservative commentator speak on campus. So, when they showed in Charlottesville, in full regalia, it made confrontation nearly inevitable.

Couple that with the bizarre incompetence or gross malfeasance on the part of local law enforcement in their complete failure to do anything to de-escalate or defuse the situation, and it was a recipe for disaster.

Highlighting the role or burden of liability this other group played in what happened does not mean you defend or diminish the evil that is Nazism, or the abhorrent nature of their professed ideology. It doesn’t mean you have to be sympathetic to either side. It simply means you assign blame where blame is due.

The last few days it’s become clear that there is acceptable violence, and unacceptable violence. The “antifa” marchers who showed up to counter-protest the Nazis and other white nationalists are being portrayed as freedom fighters, some even going so far as to compare them to the soldiers who fought the Nazis in WWII. Except….Easy Company didn’t wear masks.

If we are going to stand against hate and violence, let’s stand against in all its forms, regardless of the source, Left or Right.

It is sad and unfortunate that a group of white supremacists decided to descend on Charlottesville and spew their hate. But, instead of gearing up and heading in for a fight, a much better response would have been to ignore them. Let them have their say, and then watch in stony silence as they drive away.

And then move on with the day.

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Okay, no, not really. Actually, MOST men are actually pretty decent individuals. They are honorable, and committed, and strong, and gentle, and ultimately, kind.

But…

…there are just enough assholes out there to skew the equation.

Men, guys, dudes….we have GOT to do better. To BE better.

This is not a feminist anti-man rant. This is not some gloating, self-righteous screed about male privilege or the patriarchy. This is not some self-abasing capitulation by a hemp-wearing beta proto-male seeking affirmation from the modernistic apologentsia.

It’s straight up, man-to-man talk.

I come to talk to you about women. Yes, those enigmatic creatures who populate our life from birth. Our mothers, our sisters, our co-workers, our lovers, our friends. They are different, (yes, shocking, I know); and yet…they’re not. Not really. Not where it counts.

I’ve had an awakening of sorts in recent weeks. I’ve discovered that I am a naïve waif, a veritable simpleton when it comes to the struggles women face, every day, in every walk of life, simply to be accepted as an equal. I have learned, I have come to understand, that women face struggles, often silent battles of which many men are simply unaware.

What I have learned, much to my dismay, is that…Every. Woman. Has. A. Story.

This should break your heart, and if it doesn’t, you might just be part of the problem.

Every woman has a story about that time. That boss. That supervisor. That co-worker. That colleague, that fellow student, that man in a position of authority who at some point decided in his mind that it was okay to grab her. To leer at her, to make a comment, to let his eyes wander. To assume that he had some right.

That maybe she’d be flattered if he pinned her up against the wall and stuck his tongue down her throat. In his office. At work.

The stories are all different, and yet, they are all the same. Maybe it doesn’t happen all the time, maybe it only happened that once.

But it happened.

And in case you were curious…she wasn’t flattered. She wasn’t pleased. She wasn’t aroused.

She felt trapped. And betrayed. And a little dirty. And helpless. And confused. And angry.

Angry that you abused her trust. Angry that she couldn’t feel safe, not even here. Angry that she couldn’t JUST BE A PERSON.

You took that away from her.

Not all men. But enough. Enough have done it. Enough have broken that trust and abused their position of authority and treated a women under their command as nothing more than an object to satisfy his lust.

You should be ashamed. But you probably aren’t. Maybe you thought it was your due. Maybe you thought, “that’s just the way things are done.” Maybe you thought it was, “no big deal.”

You were wrong.

In the story of The Garden, and Adam and Eve, God created the earth, and the Garden of Eden as a paradise, and He said,

“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Not over each other.

Every day women struggle to be accepted on an equal footing. They fight an often invisible battler for their opinions to be given the same credibility as a man with equal, or even lesser experience.

Every day, women struggle to not have to struggle. To not have to fight just that much harder for the same pay, the same consideration, the same respect as their male counterparts. In ways I simply could not comprehend.

Until they told me. Until they shared their stories of just how appallingly common this kind of utter bullshit really is. How often it happens, and how terribly hard it is to seek justice in an environment where the whistleblower gets fired and the offender goes free.

About how you learn to be silent if you want to keep your job. About how you learn to accept being victimized, rather than accept being unemployed and homeless.

Men…we have to do better. We have to step up and fight alongside these women. We must speak out when they cannot. We have to police ourselves, and punch these ignorant, mouth-breathing assholes in the throat when they take such liberties with the women we respect and hold dear.

We. Must. Not. Be. Silent. Not anymore.

If we have power, we must help the powerless. If we have strength, we must help the weak. If we have authority, we must use it to correct injustice.

We just, simply, have to do better. To BE better. To be the kind of men that God calls us to be.

Strong, yet gentle. Powerful, yet forgiving. Confident, yet compassionate.

Or…we, quite simply, are not men at all.

Well, it looks like the Royal Order of the Perpetually Aggrieved has gots itself all in a froth that Bill Maher, caustic TV blatherskite and cantankerous busybody, went and used the “N-Word” on his show recently. {{Cue gasping, frantic dismay and generalized vaporishness}}

He had the temerity to refer to himself as a “house nigga” in a self-deprecating manner. And heaven KNOWS that using such a term is deeply racist and offensive. Right?

Nigga, please.  (go ahead. click it. I dare you.)

Now, let me say right up front, I personally find the use of The N-Word and all its derivations deeply distasteful and offensive. Regardless of who says it.  It deeply saddens me that a term which should be met with universal loathing and avoided by anyone with half a clue, has instead been allowed to infuse our culture to the point where it is used openly by a cross-section of society. Well, a certain cross-section. Okay for me, but not for thee, and all that.

And Bill Maher should rightfully be chastised for it.

Using such racially charged words is clearly reprehensible and TOTALLY outrageous. Well, except when, you know, it isn’t. The outrage here does seem fairly selective.

If I recall, it wasn’t all that long ago that Ben Carson was called a “house negro” (see also, above) and an “Uncle Tom”, and before that it was Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice; and this was BY OTHER BLACK PEOPLE and many of their self-appointed surrogates on the Left. For which many on the Right were justifiably outraged. So, it would appear to me that what Mr. Maher is most guilty of is not racism, per se, but instead, that most fashionable of Social Justice jihads: “cultural appropriation.”

Or, as it’s also known: “It’s Only Wrong When White People Do It.” Maybe he should have said, “house cracka” instead?

To me, The N-Word is offensive, radioactive, and should rightly be shunned and purged from our collective national vocabulary; but the current outrage seems to be not that “someone” said The N-Word, but rather, that the wrong color someone said The N-Word.

Which is pretty sad.

I have to be honest, I’m having a real hard time sympathizing with any hurt feelings about this one. There is a definite double-standard at play here. Our country seems to have developed a strange schizophrenia when it comes to racial equality. The Un-Civil Rights movement has come full circle, and “separate but equal” is now all the rage again. Only this time it’s minority students who are clamoring FOR it, not fighting AGAINST it, demanding things like “Blacks Only” dorms on campus.  Yes, really.

For months and months and months now, I’ve watched as terms like “white supremacy” and “white privilege” and “patriarchy” have become household words. I’ve listened as these nefarious white folk are blamed for all manner of societal ills and moral failings.  We’ve been treated to such forward-thinking ideas as, “A Day Without Whites.” I’ve watched in dismay as crowds of pre-dominantly black minority students descend on classrooms and verbally berate and intimidate white students and professors for everything from rape culture to global warming. And MTV helpfully published a public service announcement entitled, “Dear White Guys: 2017  New Years Resolutions” to helpfully highlight some of the areas where white dudes really need to get it together. But that’s not racism. How dare you suggest it. It’s…uh…uhm, a…justified outpouring of collective social outrage over the continuing climate of oppression towards minorities and a seeking of redress for the legacy of slavery and, uh, other stuff.

Which is apparently supposed to justify all manner of thuggish, belligerent and violent actions which, if carried out by gangs of white students, would promptly be branded a hate crime and declared a national crisis.

So which is it? It seems to me like the average white guy must be hyper-vigilant about everything he says, constantly on guard against any accidental microaggressions or cultural appropriation, while the aggrieved minority activist has nearly carte blanche to say anything and everything and still get a pass.

So when a talk-show host lets slip an ill-considered and yet culturally ubiquitous term as a humorous quip, and suddenly everyone is aflame at the GALL of such a thing,!!!!!1!!!!11!11! {{choke, gasp, gurgle, swoon}}…

…while I find it obviously distasteful, I fear that I am also less than compelled to outrage.  Sorry, but I’ve watched too many black comedians on YouTube use that same word like punctuation.  Bill Maher is a profane, irreverent Lefty shock-jock who, to his limited credit, seems willing to take pot-shots across both sides of the aisle. But if he is to be censured and vilified for using “that word,” then there are a whole lot of other people out there who need to be in the unemployment line as well.

I am to believe that there are certain words what are only offensive if white people say them? Are there now multiple cultural vocabularies that only certain ethnicities are “allowed” to use? Is there a guidebook somewhere?

And why, oh WHY on EARTH did it EVER become okay for one black person to call another that word? I simply don’t understand.

There shouldn’t be “white” wrong vs. “black” wrong, or “liberal” wrong vs. “conservative” wrong. If something is wrong, it’s wrong for everybody. And if you’re going to get upset about it, get upset EVERY TIME. Regardless of who says it.

Equality should mean that everyone is treated with the same level of respect, compassion, courtesy, and opportunity.  But this growing schism between “white” culture and “black culture” is leading to an increasingly fractured society in which, I fear, true equality may not be achievable. This nation was once proudly proclaimed as a “melting pot” where people from a wide variety of cultures and background come come together, find common ground and be bound together by a common set of ideals which transcended race or color or creed. Any more, however, it seems we are breaking apart into increasingly divided camps, the us vs. them mindset is becoming uppermost, and it is getting harder and harder to see a bright future for this country if we can’t drop the barricades.

And maybe one way to start moving in the right direction is by getting rid of “that” word altogether.

WHAT!?!  HOW CAN YOU SAY SUCH A THING!???!  RACIST!!  HATER!!!1!1!

Wait.  It get’s better.  DON’T ELECT A WHITE MAN EITHER!  Don’t elect a woman.  Don’t elect a hispanic, or a lesbian, or Jew.  Don’t elect a Mormon or a Christian or a Buddhist.

Next time…Elect. A. PRESIDENT.

The criteria used to select the qualifications of those who serve in the highest offices of our lands, of those who will help frame and craft our laws, who we elect to guide the country forward and make the difficult decisions required of leaders in this day and age should have NOTHING to do with their skin color, their gender, their religion or their “cultural heritage.”

ObamaHalo2I propose that we are in the mess we are in right now because we elected a black man. Not because Barack Obama is black, but because we as a voting populace became so enamored of the idea of electing an African-American as President, became soooo fixated on the sense of accomplishment we could collectively feel at breaking through this cultural barrier into a new, undiscovered “enlightenment” that we allowed ourselves to be swayed.  We turned a blind eye to what should have been some very real concerns about this individual’s (lack of) qualifications, experiences, questionable associations and storied background, and allowed ourselves to be swept along on a carefully manipulated wave of euphoric idealism.

And so we elected a black man.  Because it made us feel good to do it.  Not because he was in any way the most qualified, not because he had any demonstrated talent or ability for the position, not because he would best be able to represent the interests of the United States on the global stage…but because he was an icon we wanted.  More than anything, I think voting for Barack Obama became a sort of social statement about our ability to somehow atone for a shameful past. {Cue Music: “We are marching to Pre-torrrria….}

There aren’t enough of any one particular minority demographic in the United States to elect a President.  Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Amerian Indians, Asians, young, old, rich, poor…we aaaalll had to play a part.  It became part of a collective social consciousness.  For some it was a chance to speak out, to elect someone they hoped would “represent their interests” better than an establishment white guy might.  For some it was, I think, a chance to show how enlightened, how tolerant, how progressive they were in bucking the existing paradigm.  Many perhaps voted for Barack Obama out of some vague sense of racial or social guilt which they felt might be assuaged or expunged if they participated in this great social awakening.  Of course, many just bought into the class warfare schtick he was selling and wanted the free stuff he was offering.

NONE of which is a very solid foundation for picking a candidate for the office of the President of the United States.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve got absolutely no problem with either the idea or the practical reality of someone who is black becoming president.  You put a Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas or an Alan West or maybe even a a Condolleza Rice in there and hey, they’ve got my vote.  Why?  Because I like their politics.  Their personal philosophy resonates with me. I can look at a record of accomplishments which suggest to me a level of overall professional competence which grants me a sense of confidence in their ability to handle the demands of the position.

Not because of, or in spite of their skin color.  Or their gender.  Or their religious beliefs.  Because I think they are the most qualified, and so that other stuff SHOULDN’T MATTER. Right?  Isn’t that what true equality is really all about?  Shouldn’t THAT be considered the truly “enlightened” approach?

So, I hope we’ve learned our lesson.  As we sit mired in double digit unemployment, as our national debt continues to skyrocket, after six years with no signed federal budget and a sequestration which imposes daily pain on the infrastructure of this nation while the President golfs and vacations, I hope our euphoria has faded.  I hope our guilt-motivated idealism has moderated a bit.  I hope that when the times comes again, whether on the local or national stage, we don’t elect a black man, or a white man, or a woman, or a {fill in the blank}.

I hope we wise up and elect the people MOST QUALIFIED to lead this country, regardless of how their chormosomes are configured.

…I want to see Nature’s Engineering Degree!

Yet another installment of, “How an Incredible Design TOTALLY Supports the Theory of Evolution!”  Courtesy of Wired Magazine.

High-Speed Video of Locusts Could Help Make Better Flying Robots

Oh how I long for the day when the evolutionist crowd can manage to kick out some puff piece without anthropomorphizing inanimate objects or non-sentient critters.  But that day is not today.

Even though researchers have been studying how insects and other creatures fly for a long time, “we still don’t completely understand the aerodynamics and architectures of wings,” comments Tom Daniel of the University of Washington in Seattle

Because, you know, the best minds in modern science and engineering still struggle to understand just HOW all these things work, given that they all came about through random chance.  Design? We understand. Blueprints?  No problem.  Complex computer algorithms and microchips? Got it handled.  How a hummingbird really works?  Not a clue.

What locusts lack in agility, they make up for in distance: the four-winged insects are built to fly hundreds of miles at a time.

D’oh!  We should make this into a drinking game.  Any time an article nominally in support of evolution uses the words, “built” or  “designed” you have to take a swig.

Most earlier models of insect flight relied on stiff, straight wings, overlooking the important effects of flexibility and shape, says Thomas. “Engineers like these things simple,” he says. But this new study shows that wings with a little flop can actually get more air-pushing lift from each flap.

Hmmm.  Engineers learning from nature.  Amazing what that random optimization thing can do for you, eh?

Figuring out the details of how locusts and other insects fly may help researchers design tiny robotic fliers. “There is a growing interest in the exploration of micro air vehicles,” says Daniel. “Nature’s designs may be useful in creating synthetic ones.”

DRINK!

It is amazing to me that engineers can’t seem to recognize the work of a fellow designer.  It’s like someone who want’s to design a better timepiece looking at a fine Swiss watch for ideas, without ever acknowledging or addressing the question of the origin of the original design.

Whatever lets you sleep at night, I guess.

Listening to the radio on the way to work this morning, I heard something that chilled me to my very core.  I literally got a chill down my spine.  I quite literally spoke out loud, “Oh, shit.”

It was a “top of the hour” news blurb about how the push for Hate Crimes legislation is gaining steam, being pushed through Congress to bring harsher penalties to those who commit crimes motivated by hate.  You know, rather than the much nobler greed, anger, disinterest, or predatory exploitation.  It’s HATE that we have to watch out for, right?  I mean, in addition to all those “love crimes” we’ve got on the books.  But I digress.

What really rocked me back on my heels was one sentence that came across towards the end of the sound bite.  Some mouthpiece promoting the legislation spoke of trying to keep better track of “bias motivated events.”

Bias. Motivated. Events.  Think about that fer just a sec.

In one swift and subtle movement, we knocked the edges off the definition of “hate crime” and squishy-coated it down into “bias motivated events.”

Can you see the inherent, insidious danger here?

If someone mugs a pedestrian, say, man dressed up in women’s clothes, does this constitute a hate crime?  What is the burden of proof to say that the alleged criminal  didn’t target this person because of their “lifestyle”.  What if the crook took the dude’s predilections for frills and lace to suggest he might be an easy target.  Not because the crook hated the tranny, but because he figured he/she might be an easy mark.  Too effeminate to fight back, who knows?

Instead of 6 months, suspended, for attempted robbery, our felon gets 5 years because it’s a “hate crime.”

But wait.  This goes back to prosecuting intent, rather than actions.  If I further dumb this down to say that any “bias-motivated event” can be prosecuted, ANYTHING I DO that is motivated by my personal bias or worldview, can now become prosecutable.

Anything.

Say a church decides that since Sally has decided to become Sam, that maybe we don’t want him/her teaching Sunday School anymore.  Is that my right as a private institution, or is it now a hate crime, because it was motivated by a religious bias against Transgendereds?  Not that we hate them, but just that we don’t want them teaching our sunday school class.  That’s not hate, it’s bias.  Instead of just being unfaaaaaaaair, is it now also a hate crime?

If I choose not to rent to a couple of guys because they look, act, and sound like belligerent gang bangers, can I be prosecuted for my “bias” against thugs who will likely wreck my rental?

If a pastor speaks out against men preying on boys for sexual exploitation, can I be prosecuted for a hate crime because of my BIAS?

This is an incredibly dangerous area, a slippery slope that, in the name of protecting rights, will end up destroying them.  I mean, short of a diary, a blog post, or a text message, etc., how can you prove INTENT behind an individual’s action?  Do gays, or blacks, or hispanics have special protections against crimes that others don’t?  Shouldn’t all be equal under the law?

Robbery, murder, rape, arson.  They are crimes.  They are illegal.  They shouldn’t be MORE illegal because of who the victim is.  WHY I committed the crime might make me an asshole, a reporbate, a truly descpicable human being.  Sadly, or thankfully, there’s no law (yet) against being an asshole.  It is only the CRIME I commit which makes me a criminal, regardless of my motivations for it.

Isn’t that what this trend in hate crimes suggests?  That eventually, what you THINK about a situation will have as much legal weight as what you actually DID about it?

Scary stuff.  Beyond even 1984.  Madness.

So, I have determined that it is only appropriate to focus on a person’s race or gender if you are “heralding” it.  Judge Sonomayor is being “heralded” as the first hispanic Supreme Court Justice.  Barack Obama is “heralded” as the first black president.  Every month is some sort of minority appreciation month where we “herald” the contributions of blacks, pacific islanders, native americans, women, children, those with a cleft palate, the tone deaf and wiccan transgendered performance artists.  Okay, I might have made up those last few.

So, lemme get this straight.  Basing your decision on whether or not to pull someone over for a traffic stop or to give them “extra screening” at the airport based on their race or gender is BAD, profiling, ptooie, but basing your decision on whether or not someone should sit on the Supreme Court of the United States in large measure because of their race and gender is GOOD?  Hoookayyyy….

If you believe that, by nature  of her gender or her ethnicity, Judge Sonia Sonomayor has some unique and/or unmatchable ability to perform her job as Supreme court justice, you are a racialist.  She certainly seems to think so, as per her much quoted sentiment:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Did she mean in general, or merely with respect to women’s issues, or Latino issues?  Which, of course, then begs the question, why do we need a special set of rules or a unique viewpoint to properly and impartially apply the law to women and/or Latinos?  How is suggesting that a latino woman is somehow inherently more capable of making the correct decision than a white man at its core any different from barring blacks from military service because they aren’t “smart enough?”

Answer:  No difference whatsoever.

There is of course that touchy-feely, squishy-guishy idea that a minority woman should be cherished and protected because of her unique perspective based on her upbringing and challenges.  Bollocks.  That’s called “coddling,” and it promotes all sorts of enabling behaviors that cause us to overlook clear and present concerns with the performance and methods of an individual or group out of some misguided sense that we should not “quell their voice.”  

Sure, let ’em talk.  Just don’t let them make “policy” from the bench!

So, lemme ask.  Whyizzit that a white South African man who emigrated to the US last week is on his own, has to compete in the marketplace just like everybody else, and is lucky if he can avoid paying out-of-state tuition at a college, but a black man whose ancestors came to this country 185 years ago is an “African-American minority” who deserves special consideration in hiring, academic scholarships, and other  quota-based entitlements?   How long until “minorities” are required to just be “Americans,” and compete on an equal and impartial basis with the rest of us genetic misfits, especially when a lot of them would be hard-pressed to find Africa on a map?!

There is NO EQUALITY where there is PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT.

If all men (and women) are created equal with respect to the law, then they MUST be treated equally.   NOT given undue priviledge based on a real or perceived injustice now divorced from their present situation by several generations.

One would hope that the selection for a Supreme Court justice would be completely blind to race, skin color, gender or taste in music.  One would HOPE that we would simply chose the most qualified individual for the job, REGARDLESS of the nature of the adjectives one might ascribe to their appearance!

But no, it would appear that we still have a LONG way to go in the area of equal rights in this country. 

If Sonia Sonomayor is qualified for that seat on the Supreme Court, good on ‘er.   BUT.  She must be qualified because of her experience as a judge, her demonstrated performance as a jurist, and her proven and demonstrable committment to upholding the principles of established Constitutional law.

Not because she’s a latina chic.

Whoa, I got a somebody-a-lanche on my Media coverage post.  Don’t know who linked me, but thanks!

Other Opinings:

~  I’ve never understood people who can’t bring themselves to believe in God, but will readily profess that they think The Universe has a plan for them, or that the Universe is trying to tell them something.  I’m sorry, but if thinking that God talks to you means you are a loony, what does thinking that the Universe is talking to you say about your mental stability?

~ This is perhaps the best, most succinct summation of my problems with much of traditional thoughts on evolution in a comment to a post by Professor Bob over at Mitchieville:

Never understood this kind of anthropomorphizing when it comes to evolution:

Evolution is nature’s mechanism for modifying a species over time to suit the local environment.

You should be capitalizing Nature in this sentence, as your are treating is as a proper noun. Nature, in “her” wisdom, “uses” evolution to “modify” species based on her perception of their needs relative to their environment?

Nature is truly a maginifcent engineer, designer and programmer! Wait…I thought this stuff was all random and unguided by anything but happenstance? Selection by reduction and elimination, not by optimized adaptation.

Also, sentient trees?

to whom it provides, deliberately,

How does a tree “deliberately” provide food and shelter to ants? Are you suggesting that it is “aware” of its ant protectors, and conciously makes “efforts” to ensure that they are well-provided for? Where does TreeBeard fall in all this? Or the Forestalls?

I often challenge evolutionists to defend their viewpoints without resulting to anthropomorphic language. Species cannot “adapt themselves” to the environment, unless they can somehow perceive changes in their environment and then encode changes into their DNA based on this input. To date, no mechanism for such a step has been identified.

If an environmental variable changes enough to result in attrition of a species, only those members who, by whatever random mutation have those traits necessary to survive already resident in their DNA will prevail.

For pure evolution to work, Nature cannot “adapt” a species to survive…it will survive merely by the luck of the draw.

Or it isn’t evolution.

I can adapt to my surroundings. If it is cold, I put on a coat. If it is hot, I drink extra water and change to flip flops and hawaiian shirts.   If an animal’s primary food supply suddenly becomes available, it must find something else to eat.  Only those within the species that can already metabolize the new food source will survive.  The others will die off.  Thus, no NEW information is introduced into the DNA, but rather, merely utilization of that which was already there, if dormant.  This is optimization, not evolution.  Survival of the fittest merely optimizes an existing genus, it cannot account for the introduction of a NEW species.

It’s not like the hapless lizard or ocelot, when suddenly faced with a new environmental variable, goes: 

“Hmm, no more catus pears.  Only pomegranates.  Noted.  Got it.  Stand-by.

{{nnnuuugghhhhh…hhhrrrmmmmm…eeeerrrrrrrgggghhh..{{whirl, clank, beep, KA-CHING!}}}}

There!  I am now able to eat pomegranates where before I could only eat cactus pears.  SOUPS ON, HOGS!”

~ Lastly, and completely unrelated to anything previous in this post, I continue to be amazed at the alacrity with which broad swaths of the Prog culture have managed to forget the last eight years of insanely partisan protests charged with high dudgeon and frothingly caustic rhetoric condeming the Bush administration for all manner of crimes against humanity, to include planning and conducting the attacks of 9/11, replete with inflammatory and violent images calling for Bush and Cheney’s respective heads.

Such that now, somehow markedly less strident if not less fervent protests against economic policies which most sane minds would agree will prove our nation’s undoing are greeted with fear, condemnation and clucking reproof by the media and prog commentators.  When the progs do it, no matter how hyperbolic or bellicose, it’s speaking the truth to power, free speech, and standing up for what you believe in!  When anybody else does it….it’s DANGEROUS insurrection which needs to be watched with the utmost suspicion and prudence.

Remember, the only acceptable form of revolution is a Marxist revolution.

Well, on CNN, the Tea Party protests got only one link, but amazingly enough, the article was balanced, fair, and by no means a hit piece.  I encourage you to read it.  It lays out the basics of what the protests are about, and even seems to paint them in if not a positive light, then at least in neutral terms.

Nationwide ‘tea party’ protests blast spending

However.

Let us compare that article to this one from that bastion of journalistic objectivity, MSNBC.

 Anti-tax ‘tea parties’ being held across U.S.
Obama aims to ease dread of deadline day, vowing ‘simpler tax code’

Notice how they manage to toss a puff for Obama into the Headline?

Also notice that the Page Title in the HTML actually says, “Anti-tax ‘tea parties’ vent anger across U.S.”  The anger part becomes important pretty quickly. I’ll just highlight in bold all the fun, inflammatory terms and polarizing language:

Whipped up by conservative commentators and bloggers, tens of thousands of protesters staged “tea parties” across the nation

Whipped up. As in, into a frenzy.  At least they didn’t downplay the numbers, got to give them that.

Protesters even threw what appeared to be a box of tea bags over the fence onto the White House grounds, causing a brief lockdown at the compound before the package was declared not dangerous.

The assumption being, of course, that something the protestors threw over the fence would be dangerous.  Which, if it “appeared to be tea bags”  would, I propose, be a bit of stretch, wouldn’t you think?  Unless of course it fits your narrative.

Shouts rang out from Kentucky,

Looks a bit like “shots rang out,” doesn’t it?

“Frankly, I’m mad as hell,” said businessman Doug Burnett at a rally at the Iowa Capitol, where many of the about 1,000 people wore red shirts declaring “revolution is brewing.”

That’s right.  Angry, red-shirted Iowans warning of revolution.  Hey, maybe that DHS report was right!?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up a tea party at Austin City Hall with his stance against the federal government, as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, “Secede!”

Not just revolutionists, but successionist as well!  The way this is worded, does it not give the impression that Texas Gov. Rick Perry might tacitly approve this sentiment, as it is “HIS” flag-waving audience?  Not THE audience, but HIS audience.  A subtle but grammatically significant difference.

Other protesters also took direct aim at Obama. One sign in the crowd in Madison, Wis., compared him to the anti-Christ.

Don’t forget rabid, fundie Christians.   “Taking direct aim” at Obama.  I believe they use to call this sort of thing “yellow journalism.”  Now they just call it, well, MSNBC.

Jim Adams of Selma carried a sign that showed the president with Hitler-style hair and mustache and said, “Sieg Heil Herr Obama.”

Must have changed the name on one of the Code Pink signs, I guess.

To be honest, I can’t tell if the penner of this AP piece was simply trying to present a sense of the moral outrage of the participants, but I doubt it.    The use of such charged terms as “whipped up” and “shouts rang out” do more than convey intensity…the suggest a frenzy, the possibility of violence.  Which is at odds with the vast majority of other reporting on the events out there.

The movement attracted some Republicans considering 2012 presidential bids.

Really?  Like who?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich planned to address a tea party in a New York City park Wednesday night. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sent an e-mail to his supporters, letting them know about tea parties throughout the state. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford attended two tea parties.

These three have all expressed interest in running in 2012?  Who knew?

To me, giving cherry-picked statements from isolated firebrands equal time with the more common tone of frustrated but motivated political activism in the name of “balance” really isn’t.  It makes it appear that this undercurrent of revolutionary fervor was a common theme, which it is not.

The TEA Parties are really just about getting the government back on track, under control, and accountable to the people again.  Rather than the other way around.

Folks, all you have to do is look at the pictures from the various Tea Party rallies, and then compare and contrast the pictures over at ZombieTime from a series of Lefty proteests, to see what a fallacy it is to be so cautionary against “conservative” activism.  The Radical Left long ago cornered the market on crazy.

In keeping with my overall mood of late, I’ve decided to spontaneously create a meme called “Things I Hate,” the first in what it likely to become a regular series of installments, unless I by some amazing miracle get run over by the Perkiness and Happiness Steamroller.  So, without further ado, Things I Hate Hate With The Intensity of 70 Burning Suns Going SuperNova:

– People that call an office phone and let it ring 13 effin’ times.  Folks, most offices these days are pretty small, and if they don’t pick up by the fourth ring, guess what?  THEY AREN’T FUCKING THERE!  Staying on the line for the next ‘leventy rings accomplishes nothing but sending his poor hapless office-mates into a fit of blind seething rage such that if they were ever able to find out who you are, and where you live, they would immediately jump into their car, run on over, and stuff that phone up your ass.  And by “they” I’m sure you realize, I mean ME!

– Also phone related, people who 1) insist on using the speaker phone, and 2) use the speaker phone like it is a window across a busy street, and you are on the other side.  Thus, they have to YELL TO BE HEARD OVER ALL THE TRAFFIC, RIGHT?  BECAUSE IT’S NOT TECHNOLOGY, IT’S A CAN AND A PIECE OF STRING, AND SO I HAVE TO YELL LIKE THIS SO YOU’LL BE ABLE TO HEAR ME CLEAR ACROSS THE EVER-LOVING UNITED STATES.  Folks, technology is real. It works. Most speaker phones are TOO sensitive, such that you can hear some guy fart three cubicles over whenever you’re having that conference call.  So please, speak in a conversational tone, such that I don’t have to come over and pull a Terry Tate on yo ass.

– The word “Di’nt.” You know, as in, “Oh no you DI’NT!?”.  Folks, there are two, count ’em, TWO “D’s” in that word.  Use them.  They were put there for a reason.  Saying “di’nt” doesn’t make you sound hip, it makes you sound like you have a speech impediment.  Or are perhaps ever-so-slightly retarded.

– White people who use phrases like “I’m down wit it.”  Guys, gals, come on.  If you’re melanin challenged, then leave it alone. It’s not for you.

– And lastly – Dudes.  Pull. Up. Your. PANTS!  As mentioned above, it does not make you look hip, or cool, or “down”, or street.  It makes you look developmentally disabled.  Or worse – just plain stupid.  It doesn’t proclaim your individuality, it proclaims that you are unable to perform such basic functions as dressing yourself in the morning.   Walking around with your boxers bunched up  in your crotch, with a belt riding mid-thigh as you constantly hitch your pants up an walk with that lurching, shuffling gate doesn’t say “cool,” it says “I’m a walk-away from some institution.  Please call the number on my red aluminum bracelet.”