Saturday, January 21, 2006
It is the story of Brian Copeland growing up black in what was then almost all white San Leandro, next to Oakland. Brian wrote and performs it. Soon it will be an HBO series, released in book form, and I hear that Brian is also taking it to Broadway. For more (information, tickets) go to www.briancopeland.com .
Among many things, Brian is special because he doesn’t believe in Reparations. But, “If they are crazy enough to send me a check, I’ll cash it. I’m not crazy.” Brian also apologizes for not being a genuine black, including apologies for not dealing crack, not running off and leaving his wife and children, not doing a lot of things that would make him a “genuine” black.
Of course, these are all of the things that endeared Brian to me. But Brian is far from being a right-wing propagandist and traitor to his race. His life experiences included a lot of blatant racial insults, perhaps more upsetting because they occurred in liberal northern California, right in the shadow of Berkeley. However, Brian overcame adversity and, in the process, has created a performance that is so memorable that I’m ashamed that I had prejudged it and wondered what in the heck Alice had dragged me off to this time.
Now I’m trying to do you a special favor. If you catch Brian’s performance, you will profusely thank me for the recommendation.
Of course, Alice hasn't seen the Great Expectations post yet - things could change, fast!
UPDATE: She's seen it! And I'm still alive - so far so good! Now to write the follow-up story while she's softened up.)
I, Michael Combs’ wife, am responding to Margot Bullock’s unsubstantiated, emotional, nonintellectual, hateful name calling letter referring to Michael’s words as “unconscious of thoughtful intent:”
Ms. Bullock, Michael is a powerhouse of knowledge. Not only is he amazingly versed on U.S. and world history, but he is always investigating the current politics by regularly reading Time, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek and several other periodicals. He keeps up with the internet news, including The Drudge Report.
You are probably painfully aware that Michael has documentation to back up every assertion he makes in the ICO. You are so upset that Michael’s assertions clash with your agenda, that since you cannot refute him with logic, you lash out like a naughty child, calling him a “fool.”
More about Michael: He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona with a double major in accounting and Russian, earned a Masters from Michigan State University and later passed his Certified Public Accounting test on the first try. He is also a qualified Mensan.
Michael is also a great community member: For over the last five years he has been in charge of the Lions’ quarterly group effort of cleaning over three miles along your Highway 1. For two years he was in charge of the Lions’ biannual community fund raising breakfasts. For the past seven years he has assisted me with tutoring several children. Last December he completed four years of serving on the local school board, and he was very instrumental in many of its achievements.
What, Ms. Bullock, do you think makes you so qualified to pass your acerbic judgment on Michael Combs? I suggest, Ms. Bullock, you look in the mirror and then tell me, “Who is the fool?”
This is the letter Alice was responding to:
Hey folks -- it's no use reacting to Michael Combs' diatribes to The Editor. It's like picking up litter on the beach; it comes back mindless and unconscious of thoughtful intent.
So let him litter
Don't be bitter
Let sanity rule
And don't play with this fool!
Saturday, January 14, 2006
When I read Margot's letter and poem, I thought it prophetic, since on January 11 I had posted "If I received a love poem" on my blog, "Strong as an ox and nearly as smart." http://strongasanoxandnearlyassmart.blogspot.com/
(Margot's letter and poem)
Hey folks -- it's no use reacting to Michael Combs' diatribes to The Editor. It's like picking up litter on the beach; it comes back mindless and unconscious of thoughtful intent.
So let him litter
Don't be bitter
Let sanity rule
And don't play with this fool!
Margot's poem stirred my long slumbering poetic muse, and I penned:
"Ignore the fool," said Margot,
These are words that I hold dear.
The louder that she says them,
The more me that they hear.
Another I thought of was:
"It takes one to know one"
Was our Point Arena schoolground rule.
Then what could be more foolish,
Than to call someone a fool.
Alice said don't send it, because it places both Margot and I in the category of "fool." I particularly wanted to send it, because it emphasizes my Point Arena roots (since 1949). But after reading the spirited response Alice sent, my status outside of that category is assured. Margot's may need some work.
(Note to readers: Alice says it should be "Margot and me," not "Margot and I." She's probably right. "Margot and I" just sounds right to me, but it probably is wrong. What do you think, dear readers?)
Friday, January 13, 2006
So while I'm gone, drop on in and set a spell. Look around. You will find many strange and eccentric things. Please don't tell Alice about the Great Expectations post. Or A Burning Desire. Some things should be hidden from wives. Please tell your Black and Native American friends about Cargos, Reparations, and Casinos, The Deadly Bigotry Of Low Expectations, and My Ancestors Owned Slaves. Some things should not be hidden from friends. Don't tell any of my old service buddies about the Pineapple Express post. I hope to live a long and peaceful life.
For Pop and me, please go to If I Received A Love Letter, just to make me feel good.
There are other posts I'd like you to look at too -- looking at all of them would be OK with me -- but I sure would like it if you read the ones I linked above. Each in their own way is a love letter, a celebration and a love of life.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
If I was sent a love poem, how would I respond? Since this is a rhetorical question, the answer is obvious: send a love poem in return. But just because an answer is obvious, doesn’t mean doing it is easy. To begin, you need to have a source of love poems from which to select the response. If your poetry reading has pretty much consisted of “guy” poets like Rudyard Kipling and Robert Service, your choices can appear rather limited.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;
Or how about:
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
and the women come out to cut up what remains,
jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
and go to your gawd like a soldier.
I love it, but where’s the love? How can Kipling compare to the wistful longing of John Balaban’s If Only
The dogs leapt up, loped out to greet him.
this is how it should have been.
Or how about: The House of Dust 3:11:Conversation-Undertones, by Aiken
The question falls: we walk in silence together,
Thinking of that deep vault and of its secret . . .
This lamp, these books, this fire
Are suddenly blown away in a whistling darkness.
Deep walls crash down in the whirlwind of desire.
Clearly, Kipling and Service don’t compete with the intensive, soul searching, poets of love.
I wonder how I ever got started reading poetry in the first place. Pop was an oil field roughneck, then a lumberjack. In the company of hard men and hard workers, Pop wasn’t the hardest man, but he was the hardest worker. He was one of the guys, but he seemed apart. The speech of the men Pop worked with was earthy and graphic; when no women were about, it was purely filthy. Almost every other word from their mouths was the universal Anglo Saxon modifier that begins with an “f”. Pop was unique in this company in many ways, but the fact he would not, could not, use filthy words when he swore impressed the heck out of me. Mind you, he could swear, he was just a lot more creative in his choice of words.
Pop loved to read the poetry of Robert Service and Rudyard Kipling. Poems of men fighting, men dying, working and lazing, loving and losing, pursuing the virtuous and whoring, the glory of the Empire, the gore of the field hospital. Pop loved these poems, and I love them too.
In the age of the internet, I can disturb a few million electrons at the soft stroke of a key, and be transported as instantaneously as my cable connection allows to the complete works of both poets. So it’s funny how I often go to Pop’s books of their collected works, which passed on to me after Pop died, and pick up the book instead of striking the key.
As I turn the pages of the book, my eyes see, my mind absorbs, maybe even my heart feels what Pop once saw, thought, and felt. I know then that Kipling and Service were poets of love too. All that’s required is an expanded view of love that includes the things that they, and Pop and I through their words, found dear to our hearts. The honor driven service of the soldier to God, King, and country. The friend so steadfast that fear of death does not drive him from his buddy’s side. The kind of love that knows no bounds.
Like my love for Pop.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
One of the inspectors was a black Major. I’ll call him Robert. That was his name, so why not. I can't remember his last name. If he ever reads this, he'll bless my poor memory for names. He and I were about the same age, size, temperament – I was smarter and better looking, of course. Although I was only a Captain, I was older because of my six years enlisted service before commissioning.
On our trips, my buddy always brought along a box of ripe Hawaiian pineapples. My curiosity soon got the better of me, and I asked why the pineapples? “Asian women love them,” he said, “They’ll do anything for one.”
“Anything. Just bring the book, point at the picture, and they’ll do it.”
Like I said, he and I were a lot alike, and my head was filled with a hot rush of images that could be blamed on the power of a ripe pineapple.
It dawned on me why some of the guys called the round-robin resupply flight from Hickam to Korea and Japan the Pineapple Express.
Pineapples were wasted on The Philippines. Kleenex and toilet paper from the Commissary were like gold. Most of the guys in The Philippines had a “ninety-pound rice cooker.”
I, of course, did not do these things, although, like Jimmy Carter and traditional Catholics, I committed most grievous sins against my marriage vows in my head.
10,000 dead -- more than the death toll from the hurricane that destroyed Galveston in 1900 -- still probably the greatest natural disaster in terms of life lost that has struck the United States. And all the French had to do was have someone check on Mum. To this day, the Europeans yawn when someone trys to say this was a clear example of a system where everyone expects the state to take care of everything.
Let me hear from all the socialist government supporters that think that this is the type of government and leadership we need.
Shortly after my wife Marilynn died, I received a Great Expectations bulk mailer. After 25 years as a married man, I realized I would need a lot of help getting back in the dating pool. So I paid my $2,000, filled out the forms, provided pictures, and they shot a video of me. The video probably repelled many potential dates – I was so earnest, so solemn, not at all the sort of happy fun-loving guy that San Francisco Bay Area babes would be attracted to. Also, my military and defense contractor background was bound to be a turn off
But I launched my campaign like a good soldier. I went in, looked at the stacks of books arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the young lady’s first name – no last names, addresses, or phone numbers given at this stage, of course – and adopted a course of action. I decided to start with the “A” book, and work my way all the way to “Z” no matter how long it took. I didn’t want to take a chance of overlooking a prize pick.
Not far into the A’s I came upon a picture of a leggy blonde beauty in white shorts sitting fetchingly on the lawn in front of the Great Expectations building. I didn’t have to see or read any more. One click, Alice became my first pick! I was limited to ten picks each day, so I soon filled my limit and went home to await developments. Nothing happened, so each day I dutifully returned and made my ten-pick limit.
After about a week of this, I was about halfway through the books, when I got a note from Alice delivered through the Great Expectations system. Alice thanked me for choosing her, but declined my offer, saying that she had a serious boyfriend, but maybe, if her situation with the boyfriend changed, who knows?
Shortly after her turndown, I finished “Z” without much reward for my efforts. I dated a lot, but the ladies who chose me did not interest me, and the ones I chose were similarly disinterested. What to do? I entered my “international” phase.
A gorgeous 21-year old swim suit model from Christ Church, New Zealand visited. She had a lot in common with my youngest son, Jeffrey, -- he really “digged the chick” -- nothing with me. Then I spent some time in Mexico City with a 29 year-old receptionist at Televisa, only 5’ 2” but also very pretty. Her family, including her invalid brother, liked me too. I think they saw in me their financial salvation. I decided to become active in Great Expectations again.
About six months after my initial unpromising contact with Alice, I got three Great Expectations notes from her on the same day, dated over a two-month period. First, she had dumped the boyfriend. He seemed more interested in her house than her, and was very upset to find she had refinanced her mortgage to pay for remodeling it, leaving not much equity. She had noticed I was back in the active group, and like she said in her first note, who knows how these things will work out? Then she was upset I hadn’t replied to any of her notes. Was I upset because of the initial turn down?
Actually, no. As a result of Great Expectations clerical incompetence, I hadn’t received the first two notes. Apparently when Alice sent the third note, someone noticed the first two in my folder and then sent them all together.
The day I received the notes, I had a dilemma. I had invited one of my brothers-in-law to go to a San Francisco Forty Niners football game with me the next day, and he had cancelled because his grossly overweight condition caused him to suffer the gout. In one hand I had Alice’s letters, in the other the soon to be wasted ticket. Did I just hear a blast of Heavenly trumpets? Was someone trying to tell me something? I picked up the phone and dialed Alice’s number. She accepted. I picked her up in the Jag XJ6, a memento of my long service in England that Alice would later dislike with a strong passion reserved for unreliable mechanical devices.
We went to the game. The Niners were behind late in the game, Joe Montana knocked out of the game by a hard hit. Steve Young came in, and immediately made the winning play, which is still shown on football highlight collections these many years later. Rolling left to pass at midfield, he tucked the ball in and began an Odyssey through the entire Minnesota Viking team, possibly beating some of the defenders twice along the way. At the end of his run, just a couple of yards from the goal line, he fell down untouched, probably exhausted, and crawled the last into the end zone. Everyone in Candlestick was in a state of high football-induced delirium, save one. While we were all watching the play on the field, Alice was more interested in watching us. She was delighted by our euphoria. She didn’t understand a thing about football.
I drove her home, walked her to her door, started to say good-night (I was too unsophisticated in dating to know that I had obligated myself to also take her out to dinner after the game), and she asked me if I wanted to have some left over spaghetti. To make a long story short, and set the stage for later story telling, I proposed five weeks later. She accepted.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Even supporters recognize that proposing paying reparations for slavery raises many questions. Why should American taxpayers who never owned slaves pay for the sins of ancestors they don't even know? And what about those whose ancestors arrived here long after slavery ended? And how would the economy be affected? How do you put a price tag on 2 1/2 centuries of legalized inhumanity? In what form would reparations be paid? How would you establish who's a descendant?
Anyway, as I said, leaving aside practical considerations, the main questions about paying reparations is: Why?
Reparation implies recompense given to one as compensation for loss, suffering, or damage at the hands of another. By paying reparations to present Blacks could we atone for the lasting effects of their ancestor's slavery? Some supporters of reparations suggest that what is really fair is we pay Blacks for the wages their ancestors did not receive.
This is not totally a theoretical exercise on my part. As best I can determine, my first ancestor in America was one John Combs, who arrived from England at Jamestown, Virginia on the Marigold, May 20, 1619, as an indentured servant. At about that same time, maybe on that same date, Dutch traders brought 20 captive Africans.
Quite a while later, in a copy of the last will and testament of my great-great-great-grandfather William Combs Jr., (please scroll down about halfway to read his will) I find myself a member of the extremely small group of Americans whose ancestors were slave owners. In his will, William bequeathed a total of eight slaves to his wife Anna and their children.
As a descendent of slave owners, I have asked myself what is my fault, what is my shame, what are my responsibilities? As to fault, I have had nothing to do with introducing or maintaining an institution of slavery anywhere at anytime. Considering shame, since nine of our first twelve presidents were slave owners, and seven of the nine were Virginians like my ancestors, it looks like being a descendent of slave owners has been for the most part an accident of birth. So finally, we get to something I have control over, my responsibilities concerning slavery. What are they?
Since slavery in the United States has been illegal for over one hundred years, I obviously feel one of my responsibilities is to obey the law. During my youth President Eisenhower and Republican leaders worked very hard to erase vestiges of slavery, unlike the Democrats, particularly the Dixie Democrats, who to a large extent opposed Civil Rights legislation. Democrats like Robert Byrd, Al Gore Sr., and Richard Russell. I was a staunch Republican, and supported expanding civil rights protections of Blacks.
I would hope that to this point a fair jury would find I have grounds for opposing the taking of any of my own money to pay anything to someone regardless of whatever fate befell them, even at the hands of my ancestors.
This is from the supporters of reparations:
Facts: Emancipation brought freedom, but not parity. The civil rights movement knocked down Jim Crow, but vestiges remained. Affirmative action created opportunities, but racism persists.
So why shouldn't the great-great grandchildren of those who worked for free and were deprived of education and were kept in bondage not be compensated?
Indeed, why should we stop compensation with the distant descendents of slaves, when we have so many in the land of the free and the home of the brave who actually suffered atrocities first hand; atrocities which were not only immoral and against the laws of G-d and of man, but which we condoned and were even complicit.
What did we do to compensate Jews who escaped to America, only to watch us dither as their families were placed in bondage, stripped of their possessions, forced to labor under conditions unknown to slaves of the worst of all masters, and then slaughtered and disposed of in ways that must offend all mankind for all time.
In our lifetimes, with the nightmarish memories still fresh, the descendents of the Holocaust pursued education, found employment and started businesses in a strange land speaking a strange language, and by hard work and diligence rebuilt family fortunes. To a great extent, these were people who had been deprived of freedom and suffered many hardships for hundreds of years too. Yet look where most are now.
In an earlier post I presented the circumstances of Asian families arriving penniless and uneducated in an unfamiliar land, driven from their homeland by war and political/religious persecution. Since many found themselves in these circumstances because they had allied themselves with us, they should have a much more direct and immediate claim for compensation than someone only dimly aware of a slave ancestor, and unable to coherently explain why success or failure today is a result of that ancient history.
So what, according to the supporters of reparations, would be appropriate to repair the damage caused by the ancient wrong of slavery?
The thinkers are not talking about cutting government checks to individuals. Most have grander ideas--free college tuition to African Americans for generations and generations.
This is a grander idea? When you have a culture that can be characterized by ridicule of scholarship, why will its poor scholars suddenly blossom in college?
The details in this detailed plan make me wonder how such a stupid person could become a Times magazine columnist. Build it, and they will learn? It hasn't worked yet. That seems to be the liberal philosophy. When something doesn't work, do more of it. In areas where slave descendants are a majority? Where is that, and why would that be a good place to house and train people? To attract more people to areas that are already economically distressed? And how fair is that to the descendants who took initiative and sought a better life far from their slave ancestors' homes? Are they to be penalized for their industry, and slackers rewarded?
One idea, broached by Time magazine columnist Jack White, is to start a reparations fund--a kind of New Freedmen's Bureau--that would finance such things as school construction, housing and job training centers in areas where slave descendants are a majority. White figures blacks are owed $24 trillion, based on unpaid wages denied 10 million slaves, doubled for pain and suffering with interest added. Installments could be made to the fund over the next 2 1/2 centuries.
"My bottom line is the form of reparations that makes sense is an impassioned recommitment to closing the opportunity gap," says Christopher Edley Jr., a Harvard law professor and an adviser to President Clinton on race relations. "That's the reparations we are due. Not 40 acres and a mule, but world-class schools for our kids."
In the final analysis, all our kids are due world-class schools. But if they don't have them, they still have lives to lead, lives they and we don't want wasted. While waiting for their reparations ship to come in, they would be best served putting some world-class effort into the opportunities they already have. The reparations ship may be a long time coming, and if it ever arrives, not worth the wait.
(Speaking of the Good Ship Reparations reminds of another post about the Cargo Cult, Reparations, and Casinos, which I probably should have sub-titled, "waiting for ships that never come in.)
An excerpt of A Letter to the Europeans, Cry the Beloved Continent, by Victor David Hanson, National Review Online. Click here for the entire article.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Several years ago, I worked briefly in small business brokerage in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area, trying to get owners to sell their businesses at a reasonable price, and trying to find buyers who weren’t trying to steal a business. Human nature being what it is, I had a lean six months.
Anyway, I soon became aware of the phenomenon of the Asian restaurant. In the beginning, an Asian restaurant often starts when a large family, with members spanning the age groups of one month to 99 years, get off the plane from Vietnam, Thailand, China, etc. They don’t speak English, their education back home ended only slightly above some of our pre-schoolers, and they only had the clothes on their backs when they arrived. But hopefully they had a friend, a relative, or just knew someone who came from the old country in their same circumstances a year or two before. So they start a restaurant. The whole family works in the restaurant. When the kids come home from school, they do their homework at one of the tables. Then they work too. Grandfather or grandmother, if too old to work, supervise the children.
The average income per family member working at the restaurant is under $10,000 per year, about the minimum wage or less. The total family income is about $70,000 per year, roughly the median household income in the Bay Area. A few years passes, and the family has opened a few more restaurants, upgraded their starter restaurant, and their children are honor graduates in high school, college, and are well on their way to successful careers in engineering, medicine, and in the other “hard” fields of study.
How can a family that begins broke, is obviously not white, cannot speak English, and can barely write in any language, come to America hardly knowing anything or anybody, and be a success story in a generation?
Two words. High expectations. They weren’t born with high expectations. Their families, their culture, set high expectations for them. They saw others succeeding, and said to themselves, “If they can do it, I can too if I work hard.”
Contrast this with Blacks and Native Americans, who speak the language, sort of, can write English, kind of, and live in a culture where many of their customs and traditions are a part of their and our everyday lives. The slavery Blacks say still holds them back has not been experienced by any one of them, and by none of their ancestors, for over a hundred years. The Native Americans could leave the socialist paradises they live on, the reservations, and put behind them the soul-destroying heartbreak of waking up each day with nothing to look forward to, and nothing worthwhile to do. No job challenges, no new adventures and experiences, just the burden of passing time with others who are waiting for the casino ship to come in. “Then we will all be doctors and lawyers,” said one of my Reservation friends. Sure they will, after living from birth in a culture that ridicules education.
The many notable exceptions to the bleak lives I’m describing only prove that the mold can be broken, that Blacks and Native Americans are not born into failure, only into the deadly bigotry of low expectations.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
That's what Republicans stand for. Keep it simple.
A short while ago Michael Moore asked an audience of Democrats, something like the following:
"We all know what the Republicans stand for." (I think he said Republicans stand for greed, mostly. Probably something to do with us wanting to decide how to spend our own money, instead of letting the government take it and give it to whoever they think are "more deserving.")
"What do Democrats stand for?"
"Health care," someone said.
"All Americans deserve health care!" responded Moore.
Why stop at health care? All Americans deserve a lot of things.
Freedom from terrorists. (See "Win the war")
A judicial system that supports the Constitution (see "Confirm the judges")
Financial stability and independence (see "Cut the taxes")
A fiscally responsible government (see "Control the spending")
The Declaration of Independence says we all have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Sounds pretty good to me, almost 230 years later.
In Europe, the "nanny" states, with their massive and expensive social safety nets, are destroying their own economies - while the United States has sustained a growth rate of 3 to 4 percent of gross domestic product for several years, the largest Eurpopean states (excluding the UK) are barely acheiving one percent.
Those same states have only had a net increase of four million new jobs since the 1970's.
The United States has a net increase of over 55 million new jobs in the same period.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
What strong women are we afraid of? We loved Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, the good friend and confidante of our most highly esteemed leader, President Reagan. Condoleezza Rice? She already has the complete trust of President Bush, and will easily go down in history as the strongest and most influential Secretary of State of all time. She is already the favorite for President in 2008 in conservative website polls. While Bill Clinton talked diversity for the sake of diversity, President Bush practices diversity for the sake of excellence.
I think liberals confuse our antipathy to Hillary as fear of a strong woman. Actually, we hold Hillary in contempt, and even pity her. I felt very sorry for her as the sordid details of Bill's escapades were made public, and she tried to blame the vast right-wing conspiracy. (G-d I wish we had one of those! But first, to get one we would have to find a way to get rid of Senators Chaffee, Snowe, Specter, and some other RINO's [Republicans In Name Only], our 5th Column. We're working on it.)
Many other strong women come to mind that we conservatives admire - I especially appreciate that we are blessed with beauty and brains in the persons of Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and Pamela of Atlas Shrugs. Add Katherine Harris to this list, who still scares the Democrats so spitless that they lose control of themselves about her makeup.
Karen Hughes worked with President Bush since around 1990, and has been called the most powerful woman to ever work in the White House (before Condi became Secretary of State). That was not said of any of Bill Clinton's hires or appointees, although Monica Lewinsky got very close to the seat of power.
We get all the spunky, assertive ones, and the liberals get all the whiners and victims of male oppression.
My favorite in the whiners category was Joycelyn Elders, who wore out her welcome with Bill Clinton in only fifteen months of stumbling and bumbling. Madeleine Albright was another, who always seemed to be photographed fawning over a Chinese, North Korean, or whatever other despot was available. Among the victims, Hillary leads the pack. The problems she and Bill had - the Hillary-care fiasco that gave us Republican majorities in both houses in 1994 comes to mind - she blamed on opposition to her being a woman rather than her dumb health care reform plan.
I am not just stuck on admiring Republicans. Golda Meir was a socialist, and though I can't find a good thing to say about socialism, I have to admire her as a leader. She helped defend and move Israel forward, while all the time having to deal with the fractious factions in the Labor party. It was like having the Republicans and Democrats in the same party, so they could fight more amongst themselves than outsiders. A tough job at any time, but try to do it when you are surrounded by hostile neighbors, each several times your size, that desire nothing less than your annihilation.
This post was inspired by watching "Pride and Prejudice" last night. I saw what I consider one of the best movies of all time, and there were no warships or violence, and no unbelievable special effects. A young woman masterfully carried the story about her sisters, parents, and suitors. It was a guilty pleasure to be totally engrossed in a "girl" movie. No looming physical danger or threats, and no violence, although some characters got skewered and carved up verbally - but very genteelly, without profanity or crudeness.
The young leading lady, Elizabeth, reminded me of the young ladies I am so fortunate to have in my life, my wife and her two daughters. They are intelligent, energetic, athletic, and of course, pretty. I salute them for what they have already accomplished, and frequently have a sense of awe at their energy and bright futures.
Rep. Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Dec. 21: As the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, I havebeen briefed since 2003 on a highly classified NSA foreign collection program that targeted Al Qaeda. I believe the program is essential to US national security and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.I love it when I'm right, as I was here two weeks ago.
For the best and most passionate coverage of Israel and the Middle East, including the insane leadership of Iran and the dithering appeasement of European leaders doing their best to channel Neville Chamberlain, by all means go to Atlas Shrugs. Pamela is easy on the eyes as she whacks you on the head to get your attention, then pummels you with hard-hitting news and analyses of the hypocritical moral equivocating that equates Jews fighting terrorists with the terrorists blowing up civilians, even women and children. She is madder than Hell, she won't take any more, and you better check in on Atlas Shrugs everyday to find out the really important things that your TV and newspaper will not tell you. Trust me, you will get all you can handle from Pamela.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
In the first instance, it is laughable that oil-rich Iran needs nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes.
Next, it is ludicrous that Iran must have the capability to process nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes when Russia and other states have that capability and will sell Iran "safe" nuclear fuel (not weapons grade) and the power plants for electrical production - all at a cost far below Iran's total costs of developing and producing the same product.
Finally, Iran's clandestine program to develop a nuclear missile should be all the proof needed of Iran's hostile intentions.
Since the last point is the clincher, let's look at it first. And since there will always be those who doubt anything a Republican President says, let's see what British, French, German, and Belgian security agencies are saying about Iran's nuclear missile program:
The Iranian government has been successfully scouring Europe for the sophisticated equipment needed to develop a nuclear bomb, according to the latest western intelligence assessment of the country's weapons programmes.
Scientists in Tehran are also shopping for parts for a ballistic missile capable of reaching Europe, with "import requests and acquisitions ... registered almost daily", the report seen by the Guardian concludes.
The warning came as Iran raised the stakes in its dispute with the United States and the European Union yesterday by notifying the International Atomic Energy Authority that it intended to resume nuclear fuel research next week. Tehran has refused to rule out a return to attempts at uranium enrichment, the key to the development of a nuclear weapon.
So Iran wants a long-range missile to go with their "peaceful" nuclear fuel research program. Interesting, no?
I anticipate the Left will next ask, "What's the big deal? We have nukes. If we got rid or ours, don't you think they wouldn't need any?"
When I hear that, I know I am talking to an Ivory Tower liberal who doesn't think there are evil leaders who want to destroy Israel as the first step in establishing the Muslim caliphate in the Middle East. These liberals pay no attention to the malevolent rantings of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
From Little Green Footballs: Hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said the Nazi attempt to eradicate Jews in the Holocaust was a “Myth,” has now charged that European countries sought to complete the genocide by establishing Israel, a Jewish state in the midst of Muslim countries
From Pamela at Atlas Shrugs , who has daily assembled probably the most complete indictment of Iran and its leaders available anywhere: "Two weeks ago the Iranian president shocked Western leaders when he claimed that the Holocaust was "a myth" created by Jews and "Zionist historians." This followed a previous slander against Israel as "a tumor" to be "wiped off the map"--or, at best, relocated to Europe."
Why isn't everyone as alarmed as Pamela and I when: "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury," Ahmadinejad told the Organization of the Islamic Conference. "Tolerant" Muslim leaders of 56 member nations did not distance themselves from Ahmadinejad's hate filled rhetoric. On the contrary, while condemning terrorism, the Islamic leaders in their Final Summit Declaration were careful to note "the need to differentiate between terrorism and the legitimate resistance to foreign occupation." In other words, it's still OK to blow up women and children.
Stay tuned to this space. More is coming.
Update: Iran continues its rope-a-dope strategy of agreeing with France, Germany, and the UK to stop their nuclear weapon development - they call it energy development - and then finding loopholes to continue their weapons program. The latest reported in The New York Times is that:
Iran vowed Wednesday to proceed with a plan to restart nuclear research next week, though the government has yet to explain to the United Nations' nuclear monitoring agency what activities it intends to carry out. Ali Larijani, the senior official in charge of nuclear issues, was quoted on Iranian state television on Wednesday as saying the decision to resume nuclear research was "nonnegotiable." Responding to criticism that the decision would violate Iran's formal agreement with Europe to suspend all uranium conversion and enrichment activities, he said: "Research has its own definition. It is not related to industrial production. Hence, it was never part of the negotiations."
"(Have an unnatural intimate association with) Wal- Mart. Really, (He then repeats himself)! They contribute to the failed states that foster terrorism by exploiting child labor (internationally illegal, morons), and taking advantage of third world working conditions. They bully their workers and run the mom and pop small businesses (remember, Bush said small businesses are the backbone of the economy) out of town, and weaken the very economy of that town by not paying their fair share of taxes. Wow, that's real American! Why do you CON-servatives hate America by endlessly defending the rights of the shamelessly rich of the middle class?"
I naturally responded:
There you go again. Whenever you liberals protect the "little guy," the little guy gets screwed.
You are one of the ignorant who does not realize that corporations do not, repeat, do not pay taxes. They merely act as a tax collection agency - their customers pay the corporations' property taxes, the income taxes, payroll taxes, just as they pay the sales taxes on what they buy. The taxes that corporations supposedly pay are included in the corporations' operating costs, and are passed on to the consumer.
We in the middle class who are shamelessly rich (where did you come up with that line? I know, you snatched it from the same place you got the rest of yourscreed), owe a lot to the economic freedom that you liberals so want to kill through high taxes and crushing regulation. The power to tax, and the power to regulate, is the power to destroy, and can do great harm in ignorant hands, like in the hands of liberal ideologues. Thank G-d the only place you win meaningful elections is on TV fantasy shows like West Wing and Commander in Chief.
(In conclusion), the act you suggest performing on Wal-Mart is one I associate with a loving relationship. Maybe you really are on the side of freedom after all.