Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Supreme Court Rules RICO Can't Be Used to Stop Protesters

The Supreme Court ruled that "federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations." This more than just good legal reasoning. The origin of this suit began with The National Organization of Women filing a suit to ban protests outside abortion clinics.
The legal battle began in 1986, when the National Organization for Women filed a class-action suit challenging tactics used by the Pro-Life Action Network to block women from entering abortion clinics.

NOW's legal strategy was novel at the time, relying on civil provisions of the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was used predominantly in criminal cases against organized crime. The lawsuit also relied on the Hobbs Act, a 55-year-old law banning extortion.
Thus, most of the headlines regarding this story were along the lines of the story linked to above, "Supreme Court Backs Abortion Protesters."

It's unfortunate that the press barely seems to recognize the importance of this ruling. The Supreme Court limited the law to its actual intent. NOW and its supporters wanted to expand the law beyond its intentions to serve its own purposes. This action by NOW was dangerous in that, if NOW's position was supported, our rights would be further eroded and infringed upon.

RICO was poor legislation to begin with and allows seizure of property which one can only get back by proving it was not used for or meant to be used for criminal activity, a sort of guilty before innocent scenario, as I understand it.

Labor unions and social activists understood the importance of this ruling.
Social activists and the AFL-CIO had sided with abortion demonstrators in arguing that lawsuits and injunctions based on the federal extortion law could be used to thwart their efforts to change public policy or agitate for better wages and working conditions.
It's a dangerous thing when you're willing to destroy freedom in order to serve your own selfish purposes. What would have happened if NOW had wanted to stage protests outside a company that it viewed as sexist? NOW's own actions could have been very self defeating.

Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe thyself.
-William Shakespeare.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Chicago Moving Closer To Police State Also

Mayor Daly in Chicago wants to require certain private businesses to have surveillance cameras.
Mayor Richard Daley wants to require bars open until 4 a.m. to install security cameras that can identify people entering and leaving the building. Other businesses open longer than 12 hours a day, including convenience stores, eventually would have to do the same.
Of course they are stealing our rights for our own good.
"The safer we make the city, the better it is for everyone," says Chicago Alderman Ray Suarez, who first proposed mandatory cameras in some businesses. "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"
I literally hate that "logic." Mr. Suarez, I don't need you kind of "safety."

What do we have to worry about? Spamroll provides the answer to Mr. Suarez. "You"


Just Funny

I saw this at Brain Droppings. It's jut plain funny.


Congress Moves U.S. Closer to Police State

Found this via Instapundit:
Making a Meth of the PATRIOT Act
Legislative mission creep will turn runny noses and lobster fishing into terrorist acts
I may not reach anyone that Instapundit does not but this is important. I have opposed the Patriot Act although this is the first time I've blogged about it. I'm certain we can fight terrorism with the laws and tools we already had.

One of the primary motivations for people to run for public office is to be in a position of power. People are motivated by many things: love, money, recognition, sex, power, etc. I maintain that the most dangerous people are those motivated by power. There is only one way to demonstrate power and that is to control others. This is why the founders introduced so many checks and balances into our Constitution, to control the power mongers.

We have plenty of laws and legal tools to use in the fight against drugs also. The War on Drugs has been a fiasco. The only things to be accomplished by the amendments to the Patriot Act is to further rob of our rights and greater intrusion into our lives.


If You Get Too Close To the Fire...

A co-worker sent me this link to an article about The Secret Cause of Flame Wars. The article looks at how hard it is to pick up on the tone of an email.
According to recent research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, I've only a 50-50 chance of ascertaining the tone of any e-mail message. The study also shows that people think they've correctly interpreted the tone of e-mails they receive 90 percent of the time.


Those who sent the messages predicted that nearly 80 percent of the time their partners would correctly interpret the tone. In fact the recipients got it right just over 50 percent of the time.


The reason for this is egocentrism, or the difficulty some people have detaching themselves from their own perspective, says Epley. In other words, people aren't that good at imagining how a message might be understood from another person's perspective.
While the article and study focus on emails, I believe the same is true for blogs. Sometimes I have a hard time deciphering what the writer of a blog is really saying. Reading the comments to a post can be even more challenging. Often, when I read comments left by others, I see that they have interpreted the post very differently than I.

The primary reason I started blogging was that I read a post by a blogger who was someone I've known for nearly 40 years. He made a reference to people who opposed abortion and gay marriage as being "Nazis" and "fascists." I found this quite upsetting as, for the most part, I oppose abortion although I'm neutral on gay marriage. Maybe he was using hyperbole. I've seen many bloggers excuse their own comments as hyperbole, which I don't see as a good defense.

The lesson for me is to make effort to be as precise in my language as possible. I can be satirical, humorous, etc. still but be clear and precise in the process.

Monday, February 20, 2006


In Search of Freedom of Religion

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

The ruling in Massachusetts that all pharmacies must sell the morning after pill violates the First Amendment, "Congress should make no law...prohibiting the free exercise of religion." Virtually, all major religions forbid or strongly disapprove of abortion. There are some exceptions, especially in some Protestant sects. It is the nature of religion that in order to practice a religion on must be able to follow the tenets of their religion during everyday life, not just during the designated time of worship.

In the military people are allowed to be conscientious objectors when their religious beliefs include not killing others even during wartime. Seventh Day Adventists were well known for serving as Medics during the Vietnam War, roles where they served their country, saved lives and killed no one.

Many of the great liberal minds at Knoxviews.com believe that the government of Massachusetts should be able to force someone to, against their religious beliefs, dispense the morning after pill. Andy Axel doesn't seem to understand the difference between Walmart and the government.
What do you think WalMart would tell a cashier who said that s/he didn't want to work Sundays because of religious values?
The Constitution prohibits the government making laws establishing religion and the free exercise there of. Walmart is a private employer. Of course all this is driven by their hatred of Walmart and religion, so who cares if we trample all over their rights.

Mr. Axel seems to believe one's religion can be judged by whether or not they work in Sunday. "Y'know, if Wal-Mart is such a staunch Christian outfit, why are they open on Sundays? " Of course, you don't have to be Christian to be religious or to be a member of a religion. According to a Thomas R. O'Connor, Associate Professor of Justice Studies' website this is the commonly used legal definition of religion the United States:
the Ballard approach - from U.S. v. Ballard (1944) which said that it doesn't matter how preposterous, true or false, the doctrine is, the true test of what constitutes a religion is the sincerity of its members in miracles or other claims which cannot be proven.
There is no restriction to Christianity.

There is no shortage of instances where expression of religious beliefs has been outlawed, prayer in school, before school ballgames, references to religion in court houses, forbidden Christmas Trees, etc. But now the government of Massachusetts has seen fit to go further by requiring a pharmacy owner to go against their religious belief by requiring them to dispense medication that's sole purpose is to induce a spontaneous abortion. To many religions, this is the moral equivalent of forcing someone to execute someone. Liberals were all over themselves protesting the Tookie Williams execution.

If you cared to notice, I have said nothing about whether a woman has a Constitutional right to abortion. I am simply discussing one's right to refuse to participate in the act. What all this really is about is the radical lefts continued assault on religion, especially Christianity. Without regard to the overall harm to our rights and liberties, the liberal lefts attacks religion at every opportunity and belittles it without rational motives.

In grade school the nuns used to teach us that some day you might be threatened and coerced to abandon your religious beliefs. I always thought I would never see that day in this country. I was wrong.

I do wonder how abortion got to be such an overwhelming issue for feminists and liberals. Just how important is it for a woman to be able to kill her unborn child? Can't she just keep it in her pants like they always tell men in regards to child support, etc.? Are women that poor at controlling their sexual urges? It's sure not the lofty ideals I learned in school.

Friday, February 17, 2006


More Walmart and Small Town Business

The last day I've had an ongoing conversation with a fellow (I assume) over at Knoxview.com regarding Walmart. I reacted to comments there that strongly suggested that Walmart was putting mom and pop pharmacies out of business in small rural communities.

For the past 16 years, I've live in a small rural community of slightly under 17,000 people for the entire county with no significant population growth for the entire 16 years. There are about 300 more people here now than 16 years ago. Walmart came to town about a year after I moved here.

There are more pharmacies here now than 16 years ago. I know of three privately owned pharmacies which is either equal to or one more than the total of private pharmacies 16 years ago. Walmart has no price advantage in prescription medication as prices are determined by insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, etc.

I don't know about Walmart nationwide but here it is not driving small pharmacies out of business. In my research for this I found a privately owned pharmacy in the yellow pages that I had forgotten about and drove to make sure it was still in business. It was.

An interesting side item I discovered, or actually more completely realized, was that there had been a tremendous growth in business in this small town, many more restaurants, motels, retailers, etc. I wondered how this community that has not grown support what has been at least a doubling, maybe a tripling in retail businesses.

My only answer far is that it pulls more people from surrounding areas than before. It seems the process has been something like this: Walmart comes to town. More people from surrounding counties and towns come to this town to shop at Walmart. In the process they may eat at a restaurant, visit a few other stores, etc., Smart retailers recognize the growing market and open more stores that fill niches that Walmart doesn't. With more businesses to attract shoppers even more people from surrounding areas come here to shop. This town of less than 9,000, in a county of less than 17,000 has become the commercial center for the equivalent of 100,000 people. Pretty amazing.

Contributing factors to this: highway patterns put this town at a logical crossroads for the 5-6 county region, Walmart opened a store here, the county/city governments work well with businesses to insure there success. Maybe Walmart doesn't hurt the community it's in, maybe it hurts the communities where it isn't.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Everybody Hates Walmart

Today I saw this post regarding Massachusetts forcing Walmart pharmacies to carry the morning after pill. FoxNews carried the story.
The unanimous decision by the pharmacy board comes two weeks after three women, backed by abortion rights groups, sued Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart for failing to carry the drug in its 44 Wal-Marts and four Sam's Club stores in Massachusetts.
Further down the article you'll find this.
CVS, the state's largest pharmacy chain, stocks the pill at all of its pharmacy locations, as do the state's other major pharmacy chains.
Massachusetts has a large population. It's hard to believe that 48 of the not carrying the morning after pill was a hardship on anyone. What is easy to believe is that the radical feminists and their supporters wish to impose their values on everyone and refuse to recognize the right of anyone to disagree.

Walmart has a long history of conservative values as this article by an outraged liberal points out. Apparently this particular liberal doesn't approve of the right of private businesses to decide what merchandise to carry either.

And the liberals always have the obligatory deprecating remarks concerning Walmart.
"But what if I lived in some rural town, where Wal*Mart or somebody came in and opened a pharmacy and ran all the independents out of business leaving only Wal*Mart or whoever. Then what am I supposed to do?"
I live in a rural town of slightly less than 10,000, there are at least five other pharmacies, two of which are privately owned. The number of pharmacies has actually increased since Walmart first came to town about 15 years ago. But Walmart is big, bad and makes lots of money so we hate it.

The moral/political argument is that Wal*Mart and others may be trying to adopt a policy of "not stocking" something "controversial" to appease a certain customer/market segment/demographic/advocacy group, and/or to avoid putting their pharmacists in a position of refusing to provide it on "moral grounds".
Conservative values, as lamented by the columnist linked to above, have been a part of Walmart's values since Sam Walton started Walmart. To call it appeasement is to ignore history.

This comment doesn't really make sense to me but does pull in virtually the Walmart insults.
is that why is a company that has questionable hiring practices, has a proven history of low wages and questionable health care options for it's employees, has forced American jobs oversees to China and elsewhere because manufacturers couldn't meet their demands for low pricing and overall has shown little morale or care for Americans and only seems to worry about their bottom line profits would take a moral stand to not sell something like the morning after pill.
Do businesses have to provide health care programs that you approve of, pay wages you approve of, etc. before their rights are recognized? I should hope not.

People like to paint Walmart as holding people in small rural town captive. Where I live, very rural, you have to drive 60 miles minimum in any direction to find an indoor shopping mall. Since Walmart came to this small town other businesses have followed giving the residents a greater range of options for shopping. New businesses include: Goody's, Applebee's, Bob Evans, Burger King, Taco Bell, GameStop, Dawhares (a very nice regional clothing store), Big Lots, Gold Star Chili, AutoZone, Advance Auto, Best Western, Super 8, Hampton Inn, Tractor Supply, a new locally owned hardware store, new locally owned lumber yard, several new locally owned restuarants, new tire store, several other locally owned businesses.

You may think all of this growth is due to a booming population or such, but it's not. The county as a whole only grew from 16,666 in 1990 to 16,937 in 2004 according to the U.S. Census. With the only SuperWalmart within 50 miles or more, this small rural town attracts shoppers from neighboring counties that used to travel to large metropolitan areas to do their shopping for clothes, eat at nice restaurants, buy hard goods, etc.

I'm not a big Walmart fan myself. I limit my shopping there as I don't like their service. I switched pharmacies about a year ago when the pharmacist at Walmart failed to fill a prescription on time and then was rude about it. I've convinced several others to do likewise. But sometimes Walmart is my only logical choice. And, given the economic boom this community has seen, it would be hard to show that Walmart has harmed the community.

Despite the fact that whenever you take rights away from others you take them away from yourself, we like to defeat Walmart whenever we can. Self destruction be damned. Liberal totalitarianism continues to creep in. Left wing socialism actually has a lot in common with this sort of belief.

The three women didn't care that 48 pharmacies didn't carry the morning after pill. They care about forcing their agenda down the throats of anyone and everyone they can. Walmart makes an inviting target because ....

we all hate Walmart because it is big, mean and makes lots of money.

P.S. To be fair, most of the commenters at the post originally linked to supported Walmart's position.


Daycare and Disease

Yesterday DrHelen posted concerning Daycare, Social Skills and Cognitive Development. From the post itself and the comments, it is clear that daycare can be better, worse or equal to home care with a parent depending on the parent and daycare staff and setting.

One aspect of daycare that didn't get touched upon is spread of disease. Generally, children in daycare are exposed to illnesses more often than those who stay at home. This article at personalMD points out some significant increases in illness in daycare children.
The investigators found that children in day care had an 89% higher rate of "nightly cough" and a 55% higher rate of nasal congestion compared with children cared for at home. Children in day care were also 21% more likely to catch a cold, and 48% more likely to contract an ear infection than were toddlers cared for in the home.

Risks for upper respiratory tract infections rose with earlier age of first enrollment in day care. The authors found that "the lifetime risk of doctor-diagnosed asthma was higher in children who started day care center attendance during the first 2 years of life" compared with children who started later in their development.
This report shows not only the spread of disease in daycare centers but also that the disease is spread to the child's family.
Day care centers bring together large groups of pre-school children in a setting that provides a fertile environment for the spread of communicable diseases and especially enterically transmitted infections. Outbreaks of hepatitis A, shigellosis, salmonellosis, giardiasis, and viral gastroenteritis have been increasingly reported to have occurred in day care centers in recent years. In addition to the morbidity to the children affected in these outbreaks, infection has often spread to the adults who take care of these children both within the center and at home.
Remember that the nurseries in health clubs, churches may be even more dangerous that a licensed daycare center. Staff is generally minimally trained or completely untrained and precautions may or may not be followed.

When my youngest daughter was 10 days old she contracted bacterial meningitis. She required 8 days of hospitalization. Twenty-one times they attempted a spinal tap in order to reach a definitive diagnosis via culture. Because she was so small they could not collect enough spinal fluid for culturing but the official diagnosis was bacterial meningitis. Spinal taps are performed without the benefit of any aneshtesia and are quite painful for the baby. The doctors also inserted a shunt in her chest so that the home health nurse could come by our house three times a day to administer antibiotics for 21 days after our daughter was discharged from the hospital.

The doctors' opinion was that our daughter probably contracted the bacteria from the changing table at the nursery of a health club that we went to. Our daughter had been cared for at home, no daycare. Needless to say our daughter never went to the health club nursery again until she was over 2 years old.

The possible effects of bacterial meningitis:
What are the effects of bacterial meningitis?
With early antibiotic treatment, the risk of bacterial meningitis being fatal is less than 15 percent, however, there is still a 10 to 15 percent chance of permanent brain damage. The level of damage depends on how much swelling and inflammation occurs near the brain. The stroke-like effects caused by the swelling can include:
  • Hearing loss
  • Mental retardation
  • Organ damage
  • Paralysis

Fortunately, the only remaining signs of our daughter's ordeal are two small pin head size scars from the shunt on her chest.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Valentine's Day Humbug

Not long ago, I voiced my reluctance towards dating. Practically everyday, I consider when I should give dating a try again. Except for today.

Listening to the radio while showering, shaving, dressing and during my hour long commute to work, I heard a barrage of Valentine's Day commercials. Not one was geared towards a woman buying something for a man. Rather lopsided.

Several times I heard a radio show host make a comment along the lines of "Guys, get her something good and you might get lucky tonight." Fellows, if you're married or in a deeply committed relationship but still need to "get lucky," I feel for you. Luck or buying favors shouldn't have any thing to do with it. Reminds me of this old George Bernard Shaw story, which may or may not be true.
According to legend, Shaw once asked a socialite, "My Dear, would you go to bed with me for a million pounds?" The woman thought for a moment and responded, "Well, yes, I guess I would." Shaw then countered, "How about ten pounds?" "Certainly not!" the woman replied indignantly. "What kind of person do you think I am?"

Shaw coolly responded, "My Dear, we have already established that. We are merely haggling over the price."
I hope the woman or man in your life doesn't have to be bought.

JWWells pointed out an article about how V-Day has taken over Valentine's Day. The article contrasts V-Day against a satirical P-Day at Roger Williams University.
College administrators have been enthusiastic supporters Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues and schools across the nation celebrate “V-Day” (short for Vagina Day) every year. But when the College Republicans at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island rained on the celebrations of V-Day by inaugurating Penis Day and staging a satire called The Penis Monologues, the official reaction was horror. Two participating students, Monique Stuart and Andy Mainiero, have just received sharp letters of reprimand and have been placed on probation by the Office of Judicial Affairs. The costume of the P-Day “mascot” — a friendly looking “penis” named Testaclese, has been confiscated and is under lock and key in the office of the assistant dean of student affairs, John King.
Apparently having a sense of humor is a sexist offense. While I'm no big fan of Valentine's Day and agree with this assertation, I don't feel the need to steal Valentine's Day from those who want to celebrate it and then turn it in to my own political statement while robbing the world of a little beauty, love and tenderness. Usurping others' holidays shows a lack of creativity and a lack of empathy. Reminds me of The Black Nosed Buddha.

But, of course, if you have V-Day you can do things like this:
The week before V-Day, the Roger Williams campus was plastered with flyers emblazoned with slogans such as “My Vagina is Flirty” and “My Vagina is Huggable.” There was a widely publicized “orgasm workshop.” On the day of the play, the V-warriors sold lollipops in the in the shape of–-guess what? Last year, the student union was flooded with questionnaires asking unsuspecting students questions like “What does your Vagina smell like?” None of this offended the administration or elicited any reprimands, probations, or confiscations.


In fact, P-Day at Roger Williams was mild by comparison. Wesleyan College hosted a “C***” workshop; Penn State held a “C***”-fest. At Arizona State, students displayed a 40-foot inflatable plastic vagina. It was not confiscated and no one was ever threatened with probation.
So much for higher education. Where is the beauty in these crude feminist displays? Is there some benefit to behaving like the crass construction workers they deplore? Guess maybe I'm outmoded, when I do have romance, I like it to be romantic.


Complete, Total, Utter Barbarity

For anyone who doubts the barbaric nature of the radical Islamists protesting the Danish cartoons, I present the picture below. Ronald McDonald in flames. How could they? And they beat him while he burns.

Is this stuff real? To be joyously beating a burning Ronald McDonald seems to be near the height of idiocy.


UT Football Coach Fights Youth Suicide

While checking UTSports for basketball information concerning Chris Lofton, our hometown hero, I came across the piece linked above about football coach Phil Fulmer becoming involved in the fight against youth suicide.

"Clark Flatt started a youth suicide awareness organization in 1997 after his 16-year-old son Jason shot and killed himself." The organization is called the Jason Foundation. Flatt approached Fulmer about being a spokesman after the urging of some of his teenage advisors. Fulmer jumped at the chance.
After the teenagers wrote Fulmer a letter, he invited Flatt for a visit.

"He let me get into about two minutes of my prepared speech about why he should do this, and he stopped me," Flatt said. "He said, 'Clark, I didn't invite you up here to sell me on this. I invited you up here to say if you think I can help save one young person's life, tell me how I can do it and I want to work with you.'"

Fulmer has been the national spokesman since 1998.
Fulmer has also recruited others.
He has convinced the other 11 coaches in the Southeastern Conference and 25 others around the country, including Notre Dame's Charlie Weis and Southern California's Pete Carroll, to be foundation ambassadors in their states. The Titan's Jeff Fisher and Dolphins' Nick Saban also are ambassadors.
It's great to significant people becoming involved in this fight.

Here are some statistics on youth suicide.
suicides account for 1.3% of all deaths in the U.S. annually, they comprise 12.3% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds.

In the past 60 years, the suicide rate has quadrupled for males 15 to 24 years old, and has doubled for females of the same age (CDC, 2002).

Males between the ages of 20 and 24 were 6.6 times more likely than females to complete suicide 2001. Males between 15 and 19 were 4.8 times more likely than females to complete suicide (2001 data).
DrHelen has a on Coach Fulmer's efforts also. I had seen the article at UTSports today while at work. Since I never post to my blog at work I didn't have a chance to write until now. In the mean time, DrHelen wrote her post and talks of a segment she helped with on Volunteer TV. Scooped again, but great minds think alike. This is a subject that can bear all the coverage it can get.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Cheney Shoots Fellow Hunter

Hey, Get away from my game or I'll....

A couple of things I gleaned from the White House Press Briefing on Cheney's hunting escapades.
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Connie.

Q Is it proper for the Vice President to offer his resignation or has he offered his resignation --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's an absurd question. Go ahead, Ken.
Connie needs a lesson in common sense, but she's a slow learner.
Q Scott, would this be much more serious if the man had died? Would that change the --

MR. McCLELLAN: Of course it would, Connie. It would have been terrible. Personally, I don't know him very well, but I know Mr. Whittington and I have great respect for him from knowing who he is and what he's done. And it would be horrible news.
"would this be much more serious if the man had died?" Duh. This will have to be entered in the White House Pressing Question of the Year contest.

Scott McClellan should have answered, "Well, actually no, Connie. You see if Mr. Whittington had actually died, Mr. Cheney and the others could have continued to hunt the rest of the day and picked his body up later instead of rushing Mr. Whittington to the hospital. It's not often that Mr. Cheney has time to enjoy a good day of quail hunting and this incident ruined this opportunity."

I wonder what news organization Connie represents, maybe a children's magazine or such.

A sad but comical story. The press, overall, obsessed over why it took so long for everybody to be notified, the timeline, etc. Not to worry, Leno and Letterman have plenty of time to work it into their routines.


With Enemies Like These....

Al Gore continues to help whomever the next Republican presidential might be. In his recent speech at the Jiddah Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia, Gore grabbed his shovel and began digging deeper holes for the Democratic Party to pull itself out of.

Tidbits from Yahoo News:
Gore said Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and held in "unforgivable" conditions.

...the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks...

Arabs in the United States had been "indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa or not having a green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable."
Some seem to think that Mr. Gore is considering another run for the White House. With statements like the ones above he'll end up in another house.
"The worst thing we can possibly do is to cut off the channels of friendship and mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States."
I remember a liberal blogger, who posted this picture and criticized Bush for his close relationship with the Saudis. One must wonder what the interpretation of Gore's comments and Gore's relationship with the Saudi's would be.

With enemies like these, the Republicans don't need friends.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Girls and Sports

I spent much of the weekend watching my 9 year old daughter play basketball in a area tournament. Although they twice had to face a team that had beat them earlier in the season, my daughter's team triumphed and won the tournament.

My daughter used to claim she never wanted to play basketball but wanted to be a cheerleader. I just smiled and said, "That's fine." Inside, I wanted her to play a sport whether it be basketball or something else. Under the right circumstances, sports teaches lessons that help one throughout life. For me, that lesson was to persevere, always hustle, play (work) as hard as you can and value teamwork.

One of her best friends talked my daughter into trying basketball. When I picked her up after her first practice, she looked up at me and said, "Daddy, I love basketball!" Nothings changed since. And she plays with the heart of someone who loves the game.

I love watching these girls play basketball. The intensity with which they play amazes me. They fight for rebounds, block shots, dive on the floor for loose balls and never quit. They play hard! And, they love it.

The girls on the team have developed strong friendships. They encourage each other and celebrate each others' accomplishments. They are learning the meaning of teamwork, effort and perseverance. And they are reaping the rewards. So far this year, champions in 2 of 3 tournaments and undefeated in their league.

I've seen studies that tell of the benefits of sports for girls. But, if you watch one game that these girls play, the benefits show clearly.

Oh, and they have great coaches. Thanks, guys.

Go Lady Royals (4th grade)!


Ann Coulter Talks Too Much

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), February 10, Ann Coulter said this, "I think our motto should be post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'" Personally, I find this more offensive than the Danish editorial cartoons because the comment is blatantly racist. I support a talk softly and carry a big stick approach not racial name calling.

I realize this is part of my nature. When playing basketball in high school, I would play as hard and tough as I could get away with. I never tried to intentionally hurt someone but I wanted my opponent to think I might. I did all sorts of little things to irritate and distract my opponent. However, I rarely if ever engaged in trash talk and when my opponent made a shot or other good play, I told him so, "Good shot." or "Good play." I simply dislike name calling, especially when whomever we're calling names is not present.

Maybe with all the recent attention Ann's ego is over-inflated. Ann likes to get a reaction. This may do more harm than good. But, then, she's getting a lot more exposure than George Will who always conducts himself with dignity. Ann, if you want to improve the world, the best place to start is with yourself. It is also the one place where you can guarantee success.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


The Lunacy Continues in England

Hot Cross buns have outlawed in schools in Britain for Easter. Although I was raised Catholic, I never realized Hot Cross buns had a religious connotation.
Some councils are refusing to hand out the traditional treats because they fear that the symbol of the cross will spark complaints from Jewish, Hindu and Muslim pupils or their families.
I willing to be the real reason was the last group. One of the affects of such actions is that it may well actually increase the friction between religious groups. Tolerance is a two-way street.

As a child my parents exposed myself and my siblings to various cultures. We went to Expo 67 in Montreal. Visiting the pavilions and exhibits from all over the world was a tremendous thrill.

I have Jewish and Hindu friends. None have ever complained of Christian symbols being present in everyday life. Maybe they're much more sensitive in Britain. I've gone to Jewish houses for Passover Dinner. I've read the Bhagavad Gita. I value these experiences as they give me a glimpse into other worlds and enrich my life.

A couple I know are Hindu husband/Catholic wife with four children. They practice vegetarianism at home but the kids attend a Catholic school and church. They are one of the happiest, nicest couples I know. It can be done.

The definition of tolerance that Britain is practicing isn't tolerance at all. It is intolerance of one side against the other. Eventually this leads to intolerance of all sides in order to be "fair."

To truly avoid offence all religious structures need to be hidden from the public eye, high walls, tall trees, smoke screens, whatever it takes. All churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, etc. must be hidden from sight or have no religious inscriptions, emblems, etc. on the outside. Architecture must not connote religion or spirituality. Can you imagine the world without the Taj Mahal or the Cathedral of Notre Dame? At the current pace you won't have to use your imagination.

UPDATE: On a lighter note, what do you get when you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole? Hot, cross bunnies.

JWWells pointed out this excellent analysis of guilt (Western) vs. shame (Islamic) cultures and the disconnect that allows many Muslims to be outrages by cartoons while seeing no problem with their own actions.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I'm a " joyless motherf*$%@#r"

Every few days I search Technorati for "DADvocate". Usually I don't find much. But today I found a blog with this post: Hey buddy, can't you keep your bitch in line?

If that doesn't show a respectful attitude towards women, I don't know what does. This guy is a LIBERAL. His blog is named "The Great Leap Forward." I'll be taking a leap back.

His post starts: "I kinda knew that most conservative men are joyless motherf....rs"

Read the whole thing and find out what a joyful fellow he is.

P.S. He did have some kind words in response to the comments I made at his post.


Some Democrats Show Signs of Intelligence, Some Don't

Instapundit pointed out this article in the "New York Times." It's entitled "Some Democrats Are Sensing Missed Opportunities." Duh. For some Democrats to finally be sensing missed opportunities shows just how out of touch they are.

In this post last October, I said,
I would LOVE for the Democratic Party to become stronger and less radical with a greater focus on the plight of everyday people and their everyday life. BUT to become stronger, the Democrats are going to have to learn how to LEAD.

Leading (from Merriam-Webster) 1 a : to guide on a way especially by going in advance b : to direct on a course or in a direction
Finally a glimmer of awakening seems to be coming to the Democrats.
Asked to describe the health of the Democratic Party, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said: "A lot worse than it should be. This has not been a very good two months."

"We seem to be losing our voice when it comes to the basic things people worry about," Mr. Dodd said.
That's right the "basic things people worry about." Guess what? The issues that are big to the Democrats, gay marriage, abortion, Bush bashing, are not the everyday things people worry about. Of course, many Democrats and other liberals that don't support these things are fascists and/or Nazis. You don't convert people by calling them fascists and Nazis. To get more votes you have to convert people to your side.
"I think that two-thirds of the American people think the country is going in the wrong direction," " said Senator Barack Obama, the first-term Illinois Democrat who is widely viewed as one of the party's promising stars. "They're not sure yet whether Democrats can move it in the right direction."
Two-thirds of the American people think the country is going in the wrong direction and the Democrats still have trouble mustering public support. Getting a clue means more than going to Toys R Us and buying a board game. The governor of Tennessee has awakened also.
"We're selling our party short; you've got to stand for a lot more than just blasting the other side," said Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee. "The country is wide open to hear some alternatives, but I don't think it's wide open to all these criticisms. I am sitting here and getting all my e-mail about the things we are supposed to say about the president's speech, but it's extremely light on ideas. It's like, 'We're for jobs and we're for America.' "
The Democrats need to read this:
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt
Learn to be a doer of deeds, strive but come up short again and again (sounds familiar). The truth in this quote is intrinsically understood by most people which is why the constantly critical but non-doing Democrats are hurting. Bush's presidency has given them plenty of legitimate opportunities but, so far, the Democrats have blown every one.

Missing Intelligence

To look for an example only look as far as the funeral ceremony of Coretta Scott King. Instead of giving the praise and admiration that Mrs. King deserves, some Democrats chose to play politics.

Joseph Lowery:
"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there," he said in a boisterous, rhyming oration. "But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here -- millions without health insurance, poverty abounds. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor."

Lowery's remarks and other barbs were met with bursts of applause. President Bush stood and embraced Lowery with a smile at the end of his comments.
Who's the only person showing class in this scene? If you don't answer "Bush" then you need to read a few Miss Manners books.
Carter said the support of King and other civil rights figures in 1976 "legitimized a Southern governor as an acceptable candidate for president."

"The efforts of Martin and Coretta have changed America," he said, noting "they were not appreciated even at the highest level of government."

"It was difficult for them personally, with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government wiretapping," he said.
References to wiretapping. Jimmy conveniently the people wiretapping Martin L. King, Jr. were Democrats John and Robert Kennedy whose brother Teddy was present at the funeral. (Teddy only worries about taking long drives off short piers.)

There were also some tasteless conservative protesters.
Funeral-goers were met outside the church by a protest by members of the Westboro Baptist Church. The Topeka, Kansas-based congregation is known for its anti-gay stands and frequently pickets the funerals of people supportive of gay rights, as Mrs. King was.
I'm saddened that Mrs. King's husband was murdered in my home state in the city of my birth. Her death signaled the end of a generation of the King family. It also highlighted the great contribution the Martin and Coretta made to America. Too bad some Democrats had to use it to play cheap shot politics.

Do you still wonder why you can't garner any more support?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Sexual Harassment in the First Grade

I saw this link at in the comments to this post at DrHelen. Seems a first grade boy's hormone's got the best of him and he couldn't resist the lure of the young lasses.
sexually harassed a girl in his class by allegedly putting two fingers inside the girl's waistband while she sat on the floor in front of him.
Of all the nerve, can't someone teach those over-sexed boys to keep their hands to themselves. Perverts.

I've heard of a couple of other cases like this. It's always when the boy touches the girl. I have a 9 year old daughter. It goes the other way also. At least the teachers in my daughter's backwoods Kentucky school have more sense than those in the heart of liberalism, Massachusetts. The liberal teachers probably believe the boy is always at fault. It's the mantra of feminists.

I can only imagine the teachers and school officials with their somber faces trying to act like this was a grievous offence. Clowns. And we wonder why our educational system is in such shambles when we have idiots like this teaching our kids.

Oh, and DrHelen's post was about the plight of "lost boys" in our society. DrHelen points out an article by Cathy Young. Yesterday, she discussed the fact that 86% of adolescent suicides are boys. This poor kid in Brockton will may well want to kill himself after the school system is finished with him.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Muslim Anger Over Cartoons

I just listened to this interview with religious scholar Reza Aslan at NPR. Basically, it is the "compassionate, understanding" piece of fluff you would expect. Aslan states the cartoons made his "blood boil" because he knew the cartoons were published to "provoke" Muslims.

Aslan doesn't seem to understand that editorial content is meant to be thought provoking. In the case of these cartoons, it is meant to point out the acts of violence and terrorism done in the name of Muhammad and Allah. Aslan suggests an approach of appeasement towards the Muslims. He suggests that we limit our freedoms of speech and the press in order that we don't offend Muslims.

Appeasement has always worked so well in the past. Just ask any European old enough to remember WWII.

A Child's Tale Started the Current Problems

I found this at Guardian Unlimited (UK).
It began innocuously enough. Last year the Danish writer Kare Bluitgen had been searching for someone who could illustrate his children's book about the life of the prophet Muhammad. It soon became clear, however, that nobody wanted the job, through fear of antagonizing Muslim feelings about images of Muhammad.
One artist turned down the commission on the grounds that he didn't want to suffer the same grisly fate as Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker stabbed to death by an Islamist fanatic. Two others also declined. "They were worried," Mr Bluitgen said, adding: "Eventually someone agreed to do it anonymously."
(My emphasis)
Yes, we should all walk in constant fear of Muslim fanatics. Expecting fanatical Muslims to conform to the behavioral norms of the Western societies they have voluntarily entered is unreasonable. We should appease the Muslims (or someone might get hurt).

More Here

(Hat tip to Instapundit
Please note that if you read this acticle you will find that there are some moderate Muslims speaking out against the fanatics.
The Danish press has also paid very little attention to the representatives of a group of 80 immigrants who have expressed their support of Jyllands-Posten. A statement by the group placed on the internet carries the caption "We must condemn Islamist threats against free speech." It goes on to accuse the Islamists of "viewing any criticism or any making fun of the Islamic religion as an affront and an insult to Muslims. In this way they want to prevent any human being from questioning the Islamic religion and its holy book and the prophet Muhammad. ... With the same argument Islamic regimes and other forces in the Middle Eastern and Arabic countries have killed thousands of people and issued fatwas against authors, journalists and artists."
But you will also find this:
Berner Moe claims that the death threats were only mentioned in a note in a Pakistani newspaper - which is untrue. The death threat and the price on the heads of the Danish cartoonists were reported over three columns on the front page of the Pakistani Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami's official newspaper, the Daily Jasarat, on 15 October. On the same day the information was disseminated by the paper's internet edition.
And we thought Pat Robertson was bad.

Instapundit also points out the courage of a Jordanian newspaper:
Meanwhile, a Jordanian gossip tabloid on defiantly published three of the cartoons that have triggered outrage in the Arab and Muslim world.

"Muslims of the world, be reasonable," said the editor-in-chief of the weekly independent newspaper Al-Shihan in an editorial alongside the cartoons, including the one showing the Muslim religion's founder wearing a bomb-shaped turban.

"What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?" wrote Jihad Momani.

Summarizes the point of the cartoons quite well.

Instapundit reports that the editor that reproduced the cartoons has been fired and arrested. It is a different world.

Ref: muhammad cartoon

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Islam = Totalitarianism?? Maybe So.

Scroll down for update.

From the Merriam-Webster online, pay special to "b":
1 a : of or relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy : AUTHORITARIAN, DICTATORIAL; especially : DESPOTIC b : of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life and productive capacity of the nation especially by coercive measures (as censorship and terrorism)
Over the past few days, I've followed the furor over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad. Certainly few people like seeing the founder of their religion ridiculed. But the reaction of the Islamic community, as portrayed in the press, is way beyond reasonable.

In the U.S., we've grown somewhat used to denigrating depictions of Christianity, such as the

Piss Christ
. The primary outrage of the Piss Christ was that the work was underwritten by the taxpayer-financed National Endowment for the Arts.
Except for the rare whackos, like Eric Rudolph, Western Christianity resolves or tolerates differences rather peacefully. Violent actions, such as Rudolph's, are roundly condemned by mainstream Christians and their leaders. The government pursues, arrests and prosecutes violent persons, no matter their motivation.

Did you hear more than a peep when Kanye West recently portrayed Christ on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine? I didn't. In fact, I only heard of it because Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit mentioned that if Kanye West had any balls he would have portrayed Muhammad. When Kanye does that then I'll begin to think he might be tough and not just a nut case.

Such can not be said of much of Islam. Cox and Forkum has an excellent post on the violence and terrorism problems related to Islam. The post starts with a cartoon showing a list containing terrorism, theocratic tyranny, subjugation of women, intolerance of criticism and more. A lady states to Muhammad, "Frankly, Mr. Mohammed, a few Danish cartoons are the least of your image problems." Michelle Malkin also makes some excellent points regarding the problem.

You can see the cartoons here. These cartoons are very mild by American standards. But members of Islam seem to expect deference from everyone. Many talk radio show hosts insult Christianity, humorously or not, on a daily basis but very few, if any, go ballistic about it.

The Danish newspaper published and apology that contained the multi-cultural double talk so common today.
Maybe because of culturally based misunderstandings,...
But the Islamist still aren't happy.
"We lack a clear statement where the newspaper apologizes for the offense and stand[s] by it," said Ahmed Akkari, a spokesman for the groups.
The newspaper owes no apology. But, perhaps they apologized because they are afraid that an airplane will crash into their building if they did not.

While Islamic fundamentalist are responsible for more violence committed across the world than any other religion, little is heard from the "peaceful, tolerant" Islamic leaders and groups. CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), one of the primary groups protesting "offensive" actions has strongly suspected links to terrorism.
Two Democratic Senators had this to say about CAIR during the Sept. 2003 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security.
U.S. Senator Richard Durbin: "[CAIR is] unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect"

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer: "we know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism"
More at Anti-CAIR.

Appeasement will no more work with Islamic despots any more than it did with despots in the past. Neither will being "sensitive" and "understanding." We must stand firm, protect our essential freedoms, including the right to be offensive, and never give an inch. (Came close to invoking Godwin's Law here.)

Also, check out Michelle Malkin's blog for some excellent analysis and comparison/contrast. You will see how the TV networks are not showing the cartoons out of absolute terror respect of Islam although they glibly show images insulting to Christianity.


Anonymous raised this question in the comments:
What I am wondering about cartoons and freedom of speech is this: would any of these european newspapers publish cartoons of jews that depicts them with big noses and money hungry? Would they publish cartoons that deny holocaust? It's crime in these countries. The editor or cartoonist would go to jail. Hypocrisy? Apparently freedom of speech has limits to them.

I want to see this question raised and explained

My response (edited and more research than my response in the comments.):

In our country (U.S.A.) denigrating, insulting depictions of Chrisians are common. Remember Sinead O'Connor ripping the picture of the Pope in half on Saturday Night Live. Left wingers refer to Christian fundamentalists as "fundies." Greg Handel, the radio talk show host who gave the "Stampede Report" referring to the tramplings in Mecca, also said that Jews have a similar ritual. Every Jew is required, sometime during their life, to go to Washington, D.C. and prostrate themselves in front of the Federal Reserve Building. (But he is Jewish.)

There are people denying the Holocaust including some of the same people upset about these cartoons. The Arab newspaper "Al-Watan" regularly publishes offensive cartoons about Jews such as you describe. So does the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority.

Anti-Semitic ads have appeared in England.
EARLIER this year, as England marked Holocaust Memorial Day on Jan. 27, an advertisement appeared on the Labour Party Web site likening Michael Howard, the Jewish leader of the opposition Conservative Party, to Fagin, the iconic stereotype of the miserly, conniving Jew in Charles Dickens's "Oliver Twist."

For the Anglo-Jewish community, it was a familiar coincidence. Two years before, the Jan. 27th issue of The Independent, the left-of-center British newspaper, carried a cartoon of a disrobed Ariel Sharon devouring a blood-soaked Palestinian child under the words: "What's wrong . . . you never seen a politician kissing babies before?"
Here's a cartoon of Arial Sharon that appeared in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 22, 2004.

Not the least bit offensive.

Here is a PDF file of Anti-Semitic cartoons that were published in Western media including the U.S., Germany, England, France, Italy, and more.

Anyone with enough intellectual curiosity could easily find this info with a few searches on the Web. I have to wonder if Anonymous 1:17 is anti-Semitic. I frequently listen to 700 WLW AM radio. A frequent caller is a guy named Ken. He sounds intelligent and always makes a superficially logical argument. But he is so anti-Semitic and racist that the radio station made up a little jingle they play whenever he calls.
He hates Blacks, He hates Jews,
Here some more of his racist views.
Here's Ken!
(My apologies to WLW if I got the words wrong.)

I do not endorse publishing overly offensive pictures, drawings, commentary, etc. I attempt on my own writing, and other communications, to maintain a positive enough atmosphere that I just might persuade someone over to my point of view. However, the current situation is a classic case of those offended needing to clean up their own backyard first. The Islamic fundamentalists are the only ones wanting to kill people over pictures.

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