Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You Will Be Assimilated...And You'll Pay For It, Too

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has a press release stating that the University of Delaware isn't content with indoctrinating your children in the classroom--an indirect method, perhaps. The university takes re-education to a new level for its residents.

The University of Delaware subjects students in its residence halls to a shocking program of ideological reeducation that is referred to in the university’s own materials as a “treatment” for students’ incorrect attitudes and beliefs. The Orwellian program requires the approximately 7,000 students in Delaware’s residence halls to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism...

The university’s views are forced on students through a comprehensive manipulation of the residence hall environment, from mandatory training sessions to “sustainability” door decorations. Students living in the university’s eight housing complexes are required to attend training sessions, floor meetings, and one-on-one meetings with their Resident Assistants (RAs). The RAs who facilitate these meetings have received their own intensive training from the university, including a “diversity facilitation training” session at which RAs were taught, among other things, that “[a] racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.”

This comports with most leftist thinking exhibited in America these days. It also excuses racist behavior by members of other races since it assumes only white people can be racist.

Such thinking goes a long way to squelching examinations of the bases for such claims, much in the same way that accusing someone of homophobia for disagreeing with an author's statement is designed to halt all discussions.

It's amazing to me that liberals hate free speech so much, while arguing that anyone who questions the liberal memes must hate free expression.

Worst of all, in the University of Delaware situation, we are talking about adults who should be free to attend the university without threat of re-education. It's not like these "diversity" lectures aren't rampant on college campuses anyway. Now students can't escape them in the dorm?
The university suggests that at one-on-one sessions with students, RAs should ask intrusive personal questions such as “When did you discover your sexual identity?” Students who express discomfort with this type of questioning often meet with disapproval from their RAs, who write reports on these one-on-one sessions and deliver these reports to their superiors. One student identified in a write-up as an RA’s “worst” one-on-one session was a young woman who stated that she was tired of having “diversity shoved down her throat.”

According to the program’s materials, the goal of the residence life education program is for students in the university’s residence halls to achieve certain “competencies” that the university has decreed its students must develop in order to achieve the overall educational goal of “citizenship.” These competencies include: “Students will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society,” “Students will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of oppression,” and “Students will be able to utilize their knowledge of sustainability to change their daily habits and consumer mentality.”

At various points in the program, students are also pressured or even required to take actions that outwardly indicate their agreement with the university’s ideology, regardless of their personal beliefs. Such actions include displaying specific door decorations, committing to reduce their ecological footprint by at least 20%, taking action by advocating for an “oppressed” social group, and taking action by advocating for a “sustainable world.”

In the Office of Residence Life’s internal materials, these programs are described using the harrowing language of ideological reeducation. In documents relating to the assessment of student learning, for example, the residence hall lesson plans are referred to as “treatments.”

They're free to think as long as they think the right way.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why Can't They Let Kids Be Kids?

About a month ago, I took my kids to look for Halloween costumes.

My son found the costume he wanted right away. Being nine, he naturally went for something gross and ghoulish. The costume looks like this, except the mask is one of those black, faceless things. He thinks this is very funny, since he can pull faces at you from behind the cloth and you can't see him. Personally, I think the biggest attraction to this outfit was the sword that is as tall as he is. His father already had to confiscate it until tomorrow because my son tried to hack-and-slash his sister one too many times.

As easy as my son was to find a costume for, my daughter was difficult. This isn't just because finding a costume is difficult; it's because my daughter can't make a decision to save her life. Last year, she had to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast. But while this year there were lots of Belles, last year, there were none and I wound up having to improvise. I bought a yellow ballgown at a thrift store and cut the bottom off to make it her height. Then I bought a crown and some yellow toy shoes to complete the outfit. Such is the life of a mother!

I don't really mind having to come up with creative ways to satisfy my kids' costume desires. Over the last 15 years, I've made costumes, bought costumes, and rented costumes when I couldn't find something they wanted. They've gone as dalmatians, ballerinas, Lifesavers, M&Ms, Barney, mermaids, pirates, and spacemen (not all at the same time, mind you).

But while hunting all over town for something appropriate for my young daughter, I discovered a disturbing trend: sexy child costumes.

Joe Thaler, head of TransWorld Exhibits Inc., runs the annual Halloween Expo for big-box retailers. He said suggestive costumes for girls burst onto the scene about three years ago and the phenomenon is so big that he's had to create a separate fashion show. The costumes have since moved to the plus-size market for adult women and now come in teen and preteen versions. Even little girl costumes show more leg and tummy than they used to. "They're just good sellers," Thaler said.

There's something really disturbing about seeing 10-year-old girls in a french maid's outfit, for instance, or as something called "Devilicious."
I can't understand why any responsible parent would want his/her elementary school-age daughter to dress like a tramp, but evidently, there are parents willing to do this. And not only do they permit their pre-pubescent daughters to look slutty, they pay top bucks for it, too. All the costumes at one store were 20 bucks or more.

I guess nobody makes their own costumes the way we used to. When I was my daughter's age, I went trick-or-treating as Little Red Riding Hood. My costume was made from an old pair of red curtains that we didn't use anymore. My brother was a hobo (can we say that?), and my sister was a princess of some sort. All our outfits were homemade and required more imagination than sequins. But for all our imaginations, it wouldn't have occurred to us--or our parents--to let us dress in "adult" Halloween outfits. Why do parents do it now?
The Halloween costume trend is not only leading to tense mother-daughter standoffs, but it is also part of a far larger worry that young girls are becoming sexualized. Task forces of psychologists study the trend. Books and academic articles are being produced with such titles as the upcoming "So Sexy So Soon" and "From Barbie to Britney: The Sexualization of Childhood." And yet the costumes sell.

"Youth isn't being lived through anymore. It's being rushed through," Stephanie Terrazas, 20, said as she watched her 11-year-old sister pick out a "deluxe" sequined Dorothy dress that, unlike the chaste, high-necked one in the little girl size, was lower cut and had two strategically placed poofs of fabric.

Megan Smith, 16, perused the costumes at Party City with her father, Dan. She first tried on the Prisoner, a slinky spandex number with a little button at the throat and open chest like a '70s disco halter dress. She settled on Raggedy Ann, a blue mini dress so mini that the lacy underskirt barely dusts the bottom of the fanny.

No one does scary costumes anymore, Megan said. Blame that on the teen movie "Mean Girls," she said, quoting a line verbatim: "Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it."

Her father laughed nervously. "They're all a little risque, and I don't like that," he said. "She'll be wearing shorts underneath."

I've watched the slutification of little girls for a decade, going back to my oldest daughter's stint as a drill team member. When the routine required these seven- and eight-year-olds to shake their nonexistent boobies, that was when I decided dance wasn't for us.

I'm sure Amanda would say this is all much ado about nothing. After all, it's their choice, isn't it? Unless, of course, she were to go into some screed on Teh Patriarchy making them do it.

But I think the problem is more insidious than Teh Patriarchy or choices. The problem is that too many adults don't want to be the adults. They are still behaving like adolescents, so they can't impose parental control on the real children. It's sad, really.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More on that Wonderful Socialized Medicine

Dana beat me to the punch regarding Britain's latest tourism industry: health tourism.

According to the Daily Mail, up to 70,000 Brits will be going overseas this year for operations rather than wait in long queues for the same treatments at home.

Gosh, I know some people think socialized medicine is wonderful. But really. If the people who actually live under it don't want it, why should we?

The Real G.I. Joe

This column by Vin Suprynowicz should make everyone stop and think about what the left has done to distort American courage and bravery.

Hollywood now proposes that in a new live-action movie based on the G.I. Joe toy line, Joe's -- well, "G.I." -- identity needs to be replaced by membership in an "international force based in Brussels." The IGN Entertainment news site reports Paramount is considering replacing our "real American hero" with "Action Man," member of an "international operations team."

Paramount will simply turn Joe's name into an acronym.

The show biz newspaper Variety reports: "G.I. Joe is now a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-crossing Scottish arms dealer."

I remember when my brother got a G.I. Joe for Christmas one year. It was at the height of the Vietnam War, hardly a terrific time for the American soldier. But as the son of a patriot, my brother knew that his "toy" was more than just that. And he was right.

Suprynowicz tells us the story of the real G.I. Joe.
On Nov. 15, 2003, an 85-year-old retired Marine Corps colonel died of congestive heart failure at his home in La Quinta, Calif., southeast of Palm Springs. He was a combat veteran of World War II. His name was Mitchell Paige.

It's hard today to envision -- or, for the dwindling few, to remember -- what the world looked like on Oct. 25, 1942 -- 65 years ago.

The U.S. Navy was not the most powerful fighting force in the Pacific. Not by a long shot. So the Navy basically dumped a few thousand lonely American Marines on the beach at Guadalcanal and high-tailed it out of there...

On Guadalcanal, the Marines struggled to complete an airfield that could threaten the Japanese route to Australia. Admiral Yamamoto knew how dangerous that was. Before long, relentless Japanese counterattacks had driven the supporting U.S. Navy from inshore waters. The Marines were on their own.

As Platoon Sgt. Mitchell Paige and his 33 riflemen set about carefully emplacing their four water-cooled .30-caliber Brownings on that hillside, 65 years ago this week -- manning their section of the thin khaki line that was expected to defend Henderson Field against the assault of the night of Oct. 25, 1942 -- it's unlikely anyone thought they were about to provide the definitive answer to that most desperate of questions: How many able-bodied U.S. Marines does it take to hold a hill against 2,000 armed and motivated attackers?

But by the time the night was over, "The 29th (Japanese) Infantry Regiment has lost 553 killed or missing and 479 wounded among its 2,554 men," historian Lippman reports. "The 16th (Japanese) Regiment's losses are uncounted, but the 164th's burial parties handled 975 Japanese bodies. ... The American estimate of 2,200 Japanese dead is probably too low."

You've already figured out where the Japanese focused their attack, haven't you? Among the 90 American dead and seriously wounded that night were all the men in Mitchell Paige's platoon. Every one. As the night of endless attacks wore on, Paige moved up and down his line, pulling his dead and wounded comrades back into their foxholes and firing a few bursts from each of the four Brownings in turn, convincing the Japanese forces down the hill that the positions were still manned.

The citation for Paige's Medal of Honor picks up the tale: "When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, P/Sgt. Paige, commanding a machine gun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire."

In the end, Sgt. Paige picked up the last of the 40-pound, belt-fed Brownings and did something for which the weapon was never designed. Sgt. Paige walked down the hill toward the place where he could hear the last Japanese survivors rallying to move around his flank, the belt-fed gun cradled under his arm, firing as he went.

Coming up at dawn, battalion executive officer Major Odell M. Conoley was the first to discover how many able-bodied United States Marines it takes to hold a hill against two regiments of motivated, combat-hardened infantrymen who have never known defeat.

On a hill where the bodies were piled like cordwood, Mitchell Paige alone sat upright behind his 30-caliber Browning, waiting to see what the dawn would bring.

The hill had held, because on the hill remained the minimum number of able-bodied United States Marines necessary to hold the position.

And that's where the unstoppable wave of Japanese conquest finally crested, broke, and began to recede. On an unnamed jungle ridge on an insignificant island no one ever heard of, called Guadalcanal.

When the Hasbro Toy Co. called some years back, asking permission to put the retired colonel's face on some kid's doll, Mitchell Paige thought they must be joking.

But they weren't. That's his mug, on the little Marine they call "G.I. Joe." At least, it has been up till now.

Mitchell Paige's only condition? That G.I. Joe must always remain a United States Marine.

Judging from the spate of anti-American war movies coming out right now, I can imagine the way Paige's sacrifice, honor, bravery, and dedication would be played out. He would be a murderer, a torturer, or something else. There would be a focus on civilian casualties or the suffering of Japanese families when their men were killed by our ruthless, vicious fighters. Paige's heroics would become another Haditha or something else.

Fortunately, Paige's bravery was honored by making the G.I. Joe in his image. It's a pity that there are so many Americans who live so comfortably with their smug superiority to the fighting men and women who allow them to whine incessantly about wartime inconveniences. Those people forget that during wars, maybe you shouldn't be talking to a jihadi overseas or claiming your freedoms are being taken away. Maybe, instead of focusing on the dead, they could focus on the living. But then, they wouldn't be able to bash America so much, would they?

Extra! Extra! Sky Still Not Falling!

Back when the Supreme Court decided in favor of common sense in the Gonzales v. Carhart decision, liberals behaved hysterically, as usual. Why, if you don't allow women to have their babies' brains sucked out in the last trimester, you were punishing them (no, really!), is how the logic went.

Evidently, that isn't exactly the case.

When the Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on "partial-birth" abortions in April, critics sounded the alarm that women would be harmed, physicians would be jailed, and state legislators would be energized to pass similar laws.

Six months later, it appears that those fears have not come true, with no prosecutions on the federal or state level, little legislative action, and quiet adjustments in abortion procedures that have so far kept doctors on the safe side of the law. (Emphasis mine)

And here's the kicker: the Supreme Court's April decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, as dramatic as it was, may not even be able to revive some of the state partial-birth abortion laws that had been struck down based on earlier Supreme Court precedent, before the high court ruled in Gonzales.

The legal landscape changes slowly, it seems, even -- or especially -- on a hot-button issue like abortion.

OMG! You mean liberals deliberately misstated the effects of a Supreme Court ruling that didn't uphold killing babies?! Say it ain't so!

In law school, I reminded people that even if Roe v. Wade were overturned (a very unlikely possibility), it was still possible for states to keep abortion legal if the people chose for that to happen. Amazingly, if the people let their legislators know an issue is important enough to them, said legislators tend to produce legislation the people want. But as we know, liberals don't like the legislature; it's too hard to actually argue their ideas and persuade people (see Jeromy Brown's arguments in favor of gay marriage, for example). Better to misuse the Constitution and discover "rights" there.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Food for Thought

Heard today on the Dennis Prager Show:

"We are punished in this world for mistakes. We are punished in the next world for evil."

No More Family Friendly TV

Remember the familyhour?

Once upon a time, broadcasters felt an obligation (OK, there was some backstage arm-twisting) to designate the 8-9 p.m. EST time slot as "family viewing" time. Sure, some of the programming was pretty inane, but at least you could watch TV with your kids without worrying about references to sexual positions and condoms.

Linda Chavez has a column on the death of family friendly TV.

Am I imagining it or is television becoming even more family unfriendly? For years now, primetime television fare has offered a steady diet of comedies that depend on sexual innuendo and situations for laughs, crime dramas that make the world seem like it's filled with sadistic predators and perverts, often within our own homes, and cable "news" programs that spend as much time dissecting the bizarre antics of this week's celebrity bad girl (or boy) as they do covering real news.

But avoiding objectionable material has become more difficult, despite V-chips, which allow parents to control access to certain programs. And one of the more toxic areas is now the ads.

Not only do commercials try to use sex to sell everything from automobiles to soap, it seems half the ads on TV now are marketing sex itself in the form of sex-enhancing drugs. And there's no avoiding the ads, no matter how careful you are with selecting your programming.

I noticed this phenomenon a long time ago. Back when my oldest daughter was in elementary school, we used to watch 7th Heaven as a family. But during October one year, we didn't watch the show, even though it had been a staple for us. Why? Because every Monday night, 7th Heaven was followed by some slasher movie, from Halloween to Friday the 13th to A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the entire hour of 7th Heaven was punctuated by commercials for these movies. We decided that watching a wholesome show wasn't worth having our seven-year-old sitting through commercials for horror movies.

Now, watching a baseball game subjects children to ads for erectile dysfunction medication, as well as alcohol commercials which tout sex along with the buzz.

It begs the question, what can a parent watch with her kids?

Frequently, whenever I talk about networks voluntarily refraining from such advertising, at least before 9 p.m. Eastern, some liberal will say, "If you don't like it, just change the channel." But there is a problem when all the channels display the same thing. We're not talking about government regulation here, but is there no standard too low for television?

I suppose there's always Boomerang, but there's only so much Snagglepuss a mom can watch.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Banning and Ron Paul

A couple of days ago, RedState decided to ban Ron Paul supporters from commenting on its blog. The ban applies only to recent arrivals and not to longtime RedState commenters.

Captain Ed says such a ban is a mistake because it is better to engage and defeat stupidity than stop stupid from happening.

Having dealt with a certain brand of stupidity myself on multiple occasions (see also here, here and here for more examples), I can see the point of a blanket ban on dumbness, particularly with a big site like RedState.

On the other hand, banning whole groups of morons takes the fun out of laughing at them, and gives them ammunition for their paranoid screeds. It's one thing to disallow a particular poster from repeatedly lying. It's another to ban everyone with a certain opinion.

Debunking the Fantasy of Conservative Judicial Activism

Via Patterico's Pontifications, Ed Whelan effortlessly skewers this Sunstein and Miles piece on judicial activism.

Whelan discusses the attempts of the Left to morph the term "judicial activism" from its original meaning--that liberals use the court system to enact ideas they cannot get through legislation--into a sort of funhouse mirror definition--any change or refutation of a liberal legal decision is "activism."

There are a host of legal areas where conservative ideas and principles could win, and this makes liberals by turns nervous or angry. Abortion, gay marriage, gun control, taxes, education and others are areas where the original intentions of the Constitution have been distorted beyond recognition to fit liberal goals. And liberals can't handle the idea that the Constitution doesn't provide for their cause du jour (we've seen this before).

For several decades now, the courts have overridden the efforts of American citizens to enact policies through their local, state and national legislators on a broad range of matters that the Constitution leaves, wholly or largely, to the democratic processes. The courts have instead entrenched the left's agenda on such issues as abortion, the death penalty, pornography, marriage, criminal rights and radical secularism. This spate of liberal judicial activism has, in turn, triggered a broad reaction in favor of principles of judicial restraint, a reaction that is both legally sound and politically potent.

Many people, myself included, firmly believe that many issues including abortion and gay marriage should be decided by the people of a given state. Admittedly, this will allow for a patchwork of laws across the country, but the Founding Fathers expected very little national control of issues and, instead, deferred to localities to determine their own laws. The blanket approach to law as advocated by liberal abuse of the court system means that majority rule is completely voided; voting becomes a meaningless act once a court determines one isn't allowed to make certain decisions.

Whelan's logic and prose is well-argued and worth the read.

Media Myths about the Jena 6

Having learned nothing from the Duke lacrosse mess, the MSM employed the same template for the residents of Jena, Louisiana. Now, one of those residents has written an article for the Christian Science Monitor explaining the media myths of the Jena 6.

I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.

I should know. I live in Jena. My wife has taught at Jena High School for many years. And most important, I am probably the only reporter who has covered these events from the very beginning.

The reason the Jena cases have been propelled into the world spotlight is two-fold: First, because local officials did not speak publicly early on about the true events of the past year, the media simply formed their stories based on one-side's statements – the Jena 6. Second, the media were downright lazy in their efforts to find the truth. Often, they simply reported what they'd read on blogs, which expressed only one side of the issue.

The real story of Jena and the Jena 6 is quite different from what the national media presented. It's time to set the record straight.

I commented a month or so ago on this story and stated my opposition to passing judgment until the legal system had had a chance to do its work. This was not because I'm so intelligent, but because stories have a tendency to blow up like a live hand grenade. Particularly stories which seem to be such egregious breeches of justice as this one did.

Craig Franklin detonates a dozen of the most popular Jena 6 myths, including the idea of a "whites only" tree (no such thing), that the hung nooses were racially motivated (they weren't), that the nooses were a hate crime (they weren't), that the D.A. made threats to black students (he didn't), and that a party was only for white people (it was a private party).

Perhaps the worst part of the story is the way the MSM and those with racially-motivated agendas have glossed over the criminal records and backgrounds of some of the Jena 6 (for some, this was a first offense). Mychal Bell had four prior convictions for violence as Patterico has pointed out. But in its zeal to brand another Southern town as complicit in the worst sort of racism, the MSM never bothered to dig into the facts of the situation.

Those with an ax to grind have gotten lots of airplay with this story. From blogs to cable shows to radio, supporters of the Jena 6 have had numerous opportunities to give their view of facts. The Jena 6 have gained something close to cult status in some corners of the country.

Such glorification of unwarranted violence is disgraceful and sick. Regardless of racial tensions--and Jena doesn't seem to have had more than any other place in America--deliberately kicking and hurting a comatose person isn't a display of power; it's a stunning display of immorality and barbarity.

Happy Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog. I have to say, when I started, I wasn't sure I would stay with it this long, but I've found blogging to be a terrific hobby.

Lots of blogs come and go, and I appreciate all the people who have read this one and continue to do so. I welcome any and all commenters, regardless of viewpoint, and enjoy a good debate when it presents itself. Please tell your friends and let's have even more conversations!

Recently, as many of you may have noticed, my postings have been sparser and shorter. This is because real life events have crowded out even my most cherished activities, including blogging. My father isn't in the best of health these days and I've had to deal with that. I've had to return to the world of work to supplement our household income, largely because of health care-related expenses.

Most recently, I've been locked in a legal battle with my ex-husband over my daughter. It has turned into a shockingly nightmarish situation; the sort no parent wants to find herself in.

I have always prided myself on the decisions I made on behalf of my daughter, particularly after the divorce. I tried to do all the things the court system, psychiatrists, therapists, child experts and others would tell you to do for your children after divorce. We even went so far as to move into the same subdivision as my ex-husband so that my daughter would have greater access to her father.

Unfortunately, for all my plans and work, life hasn't turned out the way I expected with regards to my daughter. Divorce is an ugly thing, and the worst part of it is what it does to children. Perhaps this is why I criticize divorce in our legal system and culture so much when I write. I've come to realize that no matter how much you try, children get broken during the divorce process and if your ex is determined to undermine you, he/she will.

I thought about all this yesterday while reading about the judge who castigated two parents for using the court system to attack each other.

A New York Family Court judge has issued an unusually blunt rebuke to two parents -- one a former doctor and the other a lawyer -- engaged in a "vitriolic and venomous" dispute over child custody and visitation.

"The parties fit the profile of that breed of litigant that the family court tends to encounter all too often; the career or habitual litigant," wrote Judge Conrad D. Singer of Nassau County. "The moving documents in this current proceeding alone dispense such vitriolic and venomous allegations as to make it clear that the parties, the parents, while each claiming to be the true protector of the children's best interests, simply appear to be using the Court as a vehicle to attack and demean one another."

Practitioners and observers say that Family Court proceedings often engender great emotion and sometimes no-holds-barred combat. Children are frequently caught in the middle.

"The adversary system doesn't fit well with the needs of children," said Andrew Schepard, who heads Hofstra Law School's child and family advocacy fellowship program and writes a column for the Law Journal. "Judges will ask each parent what role they see for the other parent in the kids' lives and often decide for the parent who is able to recognize that they can't shut the other person out."

For a legal practitioner, such cases can be extremely delicate to litigate, said Schepard.

"Lawyers are under pressure by their clients to say what their clients want them to say, when a lot of times they want to say, 'You are hurting your children, if you want me to take this position in court, I will, but the best thing to do would be to go to therapy or a parent education class,'" he said.

Sadly, I've come to believe that attacking one's ex early and often is the best course of action after divorce. I personally tried raising my daughter the way the system will tell you is best, but all it has brought is heartache and misery.

I've often told my lawyer friends that I'd like to offer a course for divorcing parents called "Don't Let This Happen to You." It would tell parents not to listen to the judge or any professionals about how to ease the pain of divorce for the children. Instead, custodial parents should do whatever they can to prevent the children from establishing great attachments to the other parent. Employ all means necessary: move to the other side of the country; don't allow calls but once a month; berate and downgrade the noncustodial parent, and so on.

Perhaps that is simply my bitterness talking. I know that, regardless of current events, I (and my husband) have always done the best we could for my daughter and this could just be one of those awkward phases teenagers go through. But regardless of the normalcy of some of what I am currently facing, it still makes it hard to accept.

Hopefully, after today, life will return to something closer resembling that normality and I can get back to skewering the stupidity and hypocrisy of liberals, both in life and politics. Again, thank you to everyone who reads my rantings. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dana May Want To Move...Philadelphia Has the Ugliest People

That's according to this story on Yahoo.

Unfortunately, Dallas/Fort Worth didn't fair much better. We came in No. 3 for ugly people!

Happily, I'm out of the market so it doesn't affect me. :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Because They Don't Recognize Sarcasm Unless It's Their Own: More Media Matters Blather

It gets tiresome watching Media Matters make mountains out of molehills. Take their latest shriek:

On the October 22 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, host Glenn Beck stated, "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today."

Media Matters isn't known for its subtlety. Nor is it known for truthfulness. Take this latest "scandal." I was listening to Glenn Beck this morning and actually heard this portion of his show. The fact is, Beck was being snarky.

Oh, I know the left would never engage in snark. No, they never wish ill on people. Nope!

I guess George Soros is getting his money's worth out of the Media Matters hacks.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Why It's Always Acceptable to Mock Christianity

I haven't talked about the excellent posts at GetReligion for a while, but this post by Mollie was excellenter (yes, I know that's not a real word) than usual.

The post mainly concerns the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an activist group with the "hilarious" motto "Go and sin some more." Two of the group's members dressed in nuns' habits and white face and received communion from San Francisco's top Catholic official. But the post also brings up the chocolate Jesus controversy.

What journalists' handling of anti-Christian displays tells us is that, while most journalists will tell you they are objective and just "playing it straight," they really are not. If a religious group has to be offended, let it be the Christians. Mollie provides us with the justifications given for the disparate treatment of Christians with Jesus and Muslims with Mohamed.

Frequently when this topic comes up, a few readers argue that the disparity between the way the mainstream media treat blasphemy of Jesus and blasphemy of Mohamed is okay because Jesus “can take it.” Some argue that the disparity is okay because Christians don’t kill people who blaspheme Jesus. I can’t really imagine two worse justifications for a supposedly objective media.

She's right, but this really is the way the MSM thinks about religious issues. And what's worse is that they will equate Muslims who blow up marketplaces for Allah with Ann Coulter snarking about blowing up the New York Times building.

The fact is, much of the MSM (and virtually all the moonbatosphere) really thinks Christianity is more dangerous than other religions. In What's So Great About Christianity?, Dinesh D'Souza rebuts the argument that Christianity is somehow more dangerous than other religions or that it has killed more people than non-religious groups. Moreover, he points out the various contributions of Christianity to Western life and philosophy, including the many freedoms Christian-bashers take for granted.

But regardless of facts, reporters (and activists) still feel more comfortable mocking Christianity than other world religions. For a religion that is supposedly so intolerant, Christians put up with a lot.

Support the Boy Scouts

According to this article, the city of Philadelphia is considering increasing the rent the Boy Scouts of America pay for their headquarters from $1 to $200,000 because of the Boy Scouts' stance on homosexual troop leaders.

Officials say that the city cannot subsidize rent for groups that engage in discrimination, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. That would force the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America to pay market-rate rent for the space it occupies in a historic city-owned building.

Robert Nix, chairman of the Fairmount Park Commission, said that the Boy Scouts were told Thursday, after five months of negotiations, that the rent would go up.

"Once we know what the Cradle of Liberty Boy Scouts want to do, we'll probably want to weigh in with the city about how to proceed," Nix said at a commission meeting.

Robert Jubelirer, a spokesman for the Cradle of Liberty Council, said that if the rent goes up the Boy Scouts will have to take the money from programs, with $200,000 the equivalent of "30 new Cub Scout packs, or 800 needy kids going to our summer camp." He said the Boy Scouts will ask for information on how the city arrived at $200,000 as the fair-market rent.

Give generously to the Boy Scouts.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Spoiling Harry Potter

Author J.K. Rowling has outed Headmaster Albus Dumbledore as gay.

J.K. Rowling, author of the mega-selling fantasy series that ended last summer, outed the beloved character Friday night while appearing before a full house at Carnegie Hall.

After reading briefly from the final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," she took questions from audience members.

She was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds "true love."

"Dumbledore is gay," the author responded to gasps and applause.

She then explained that Dumbledore was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle between good and bad wizards. "Falling in love can blind us to an extent," Rowling said of Dumbledore's feelings, adding that Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down."

Dumbledore's love, she observed, was his "great tragedy."

But of course! I mean, in this age of PCism, it just wouldn't have been juvenile fiction if somebody wasn't gay.

It was difficult not to roll my eyes after reading Rowling's statement, but my second reaction was why? Why does Dumbledore have to be gay? And why, since it wasn't obvious from the books, did Rowling feel compelled to out the beloved Hogwarts headmaster now? Are sales waning?

UPDATE: Oh goody! Amanda has one of her usual screeds, which just shows, yet again, why she doesn't "get" the whole having kids thing.

Friday, October 19, 2007

That Wonderful Socialized Medicine

I frequently see arguments both here and at Dana's terrific site about how wonderful socialized medicine is.

Of course, I always feel obligated to point out horror stories from Britain's NHS, and Dana normally quotes stats from Canada about the long waiting periods for relatively simple operations.

Now comes the story of a man who had to deliver his own child because the NHS-run hospital was full.

During a difficult pregnancy, Elizabeth Jones was monitored every day because doctors were worried about the health of her baby.

But on the day of the birth, she was twice turned away from the hospital because it was full - forcing her partner to deliver the baby himself at their home.

Miss Jones, 24, and her partner Anthony Jones - who coincidentally share the same surname - dashed to their local maternity unit when she started to have strong contractions.

However, their excitement at the prospect of the birth soon turned to horror when staff on the ward told them: "Sorry we are full. Come back later."

Medics at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, near Cardiff, insisted the baby would not arrive for hours and suggested the couple go and have a cup of coffee while they tried to free up a bed.

Three hours later, they returned to the hospital when Miss Jones's contractions became more frequent.

This time she was given a thorough examination by a midwife who confidently sent them away for the second time, telling them the baby was still "hours away".

Once again, the frustrated couple headed back to their home in Bridgend. But within minutes Miss Jones felt the baby arriving.

Her partner's 17-year-old daughter Kirsty called 999 and relayed instructions, as he delivered the baby himself on October 12 at 11am.

"It was a great experience - but at the time I wished we were in hospital in a controlled environment," Mr Jones, 39, said. "What if something had gone wrong?

"It's worrying that the only maternity hospital for miles around had to turn us away twice just while Elizabeth was in the last stages of labour.

"You hear so much about the NHS being under pressure but you would think that maternity would be a priority. Many things can wait for a later appointment - but never a baby.

"It's very worrying that they haven't got the facilities to do the job properly when you want it.

He added: "They need more beds and at least another ward at the hospital. We've been told that it's always getting full there. We turned out to be fine - the next family may not be so lucky."

Yes, indeed. What if there had been certain complications during birth? Or after the birth?

This situation is yet another highlight of the failed socialized medicine of Britain where NHS is pushing for women not to use epidurals because they cost too much.

Hmm. Longer labors. No pain meds. No hospital beds. Boy, socialized medicine sounds like something we need here, right?

"There is no gospel. There are simply opinions."

That's according to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, speaking in Atlanta Thursday to promote his book, My Grandfather's Son.

According to Thomas, the justices on the Court know that they don't have the "gospel," just their opinions. "That's why it's called an opinion," he said.

"Unfortunately, particularly the case for those of us who happen to be considered minorities ... others seem to know what the gospel is for us, to know how we should come out in particular cases because of the pigment of our skin. That harkens back so often to the way things were done back in Savannah," he continued. "I think that is unfortunate, but there is no gospel. There are simply opinions."

He said that when he first joined the Court, "those who were insistent on discrediting" him suggested erroneously that he was following Justice Antonin Scalia in his decision making ("There was no one more horrified than Justice Scalia").

"Obviously what it's based on is that I'm black and that I'm supposed to think a certain way," said Thomas. "and ... there's no way, since I'm not supposed to think that way, that I could up with that myself, so I must be following somebody."

From personal observation, this is still a problem for minorities in law school. One of my best friends was the only black person in my section, and she would sit in stony silence whenever a racial discussion took place in class. At times, I was aghast at her refusal to express an opinion or give testimony to what she had seen and heard as an African-American, when some of the arguments seemed either so warped or so naive.

"I'm not going to be the voice of black America," was her answer to my inquiries.

I can understand that to a degree. We are each shaped by our individual experiences and it's silly to project them onto whole groups or classifications of people. This seems to me to be one of Justice Thomas' points: it is insulting to assume that you have to hold certain opinions simply because of your skin color.

As a white person, I'm allowed to hold a variety of opinions on certain subjects, although our liberal friends will call me "racist" if I express some of them. But as a woman, particularly when I was in college, there were certain opinions I was essentially required to hold or else be discredited. Those opinions included most of the blather you see Amanda Marcotte write at Pandagon about Teh Patriarchy, abortion, and societal oppression of women.

The problem with these opinions is that, like the humans who hold them, they are flawed and time can change them. What was gospel in one era (Plessy v. Ferguson) is vile and wrong in another (Brown v. Board of Education).

Unfortunately, liberals do not allow for minorities to hold differing opinions on legal issues or anything else, really. And so, if Justice Thomas--who was the supposed beneficiary of affirmative action--speaks out on the stigma and wrongheadedness of affirmative action, he is called a vulgar assortment of names based on the idea that he's not appreciative of what he has received. It is, perhaps, the dark underbelly of liberalism: you must want to be treated as inferior so we can feel better about lifting you up.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Return of the Chocolate Jesus

It appears the chocolate Jesus is making a reappearance.

The life-sized sculpture will be included as part of the "Chocolate Saints…Sweet Jesus" show at the Proposition Gallery in Chelsea timed to coincide with All Saints Day on Nov. 1. The show also will feature eight chocolate sculptures of Catholic saints.

The art space is expected to mail invitations next week featuring a "scratch n' sniff" on the breasts of a likeness of the Virgin Mary.

Hmmm. Yeah, that sounds very reverential, right? I mean, if you are sending out invitations with scratch & sniff breasts on the Virgin Mary, it couldn't possibly be considered sacrilegious, right?

I wrote about the chocolate cross phenomenon--something that seemed very strange to me--here. Just after being told that someone could understand why a chocolate Jesus might be offensive, I wrote about this chocolate Jesus display and how the exhibit, coinciding with Holy Week, had been cancelled.

Over at Common Sense Political Thought, I wound up writing a series of posts on the chocolate Jesus controversy (see here, here, here and here), basically pointing out that free speech allows for disagreement and protest, even of art exhibits. Jesurgislac, in its typically disingenuous way, latched on to the fact that some people issued death threats and that, therefore, if you supported the right of some people to protest an art exhibit, you must be supporting death threats (you just can't make up the lunacy).

This time around, the chocolate Jesus is going into an exhibit at an art gallery and isn't expected to draw protests like putting it in a more public forum did. I'm not sure that I personally see the difference between a hotel lobby (the original setting) and an art gallery, but a spokesman from the Catholic League obviously does.

IMO, if the art offends you and you wish to protest, then protest. If you think it's a waste of taxpayer money, then protest. After all, that's what free speech is about, right?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Air America Host Wasn't Mugged...But That Doesn't Stop Liberals From Blaming Conservatives

Air America host Randi Rhodes wasn't mugged today, even though hysterical liberals at first proclaimed Rhodes' injuries to be the work of evil conservatives.

Michelle Malkin rounds up all the usual moonbattery.

You learn a lot about people by their reactions to adversity. And what do we learn about liberals?

That just as I said yesterday, liberals have to blame somebody else (preferably conservatives) for every bad thing that happens...and even those that don't.

It's sad that Rhodes had an accident that banged her up badly. Here's hoping she recovers quickly. But having said that, you have to wonder about the paranoia of people who immediately blame, not your average mugger for crime, but their political enemies.

These are the same people who were sorry Dick Cheney didn't die. They constantly wish for the death or imprisonment of one conservative or another. And if they can't win the war of ideas, they want to silence their opponents.

Liberals like to proclaim how open and optimistic they are, how much they love people and how mean-spirited conservatives are. But every chance they have to prove how "nice" they are, liberals instead prove their own mental and emotional smallness.

Captain Ed gives us the three-point lesson on what the Randi Rhodes incident teaches us about liberals.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gore Derangement Syndrome?

It's never surprising when liberals try to equate unequal things. So, for example, liberals supporting the Frosts equate their having four children with pro-lifers who disagree with abortion. Of course, these things are completely unequal: supporting the right of children to be born doesn't mean pro-lifers should support people mooching off the system. Yet to liberals, the Frosts are a terrific argument this way.

Hence we see this Paul Krugman column comparing what he calls "Gore Derangement Syndrome" with Bush Derangement Syndrome. And yet again, the comparison falls flat.

Charles Krauthammer coined the term Bush Derangement Syndrome to describe the unhinged Left who blamed President Bush for every ill in the world, from natural disasters to any person killed in Iraq...whether killed by American soldiers or terrorists. You can find BDS on any moonbat site from Echidne to Pandagon to smaller blogs. It's not hard because virtually any thread on any subject will turn up some comment or other on how it's all Bush's fault your bread fell butter-side-down on the floor and he should be impeached for it.

Krugman tries to compare BDS, well-documented for several years, with conservatives questioning Al Gore getting the Nobel Peace Prize. It's amazing watching someone so delusional arguing that questioning what Gore did for world peace equates with accusing the President of causing tsunamis and global warming. Is he serious?

Just One Minute has a nice rebuttal explaining why he agreed with Krugman when Krugman, too, thought Al Gore was an intellectual lightweight.

Jules Crittenden answers Krugman's question.

UPDATE: Maybe Krugman would understand why conservatives think the Nobel Peace Prize has become a political tool if he read about this nominee.

When They Can't Win an Argument, They Just Start Making Stuff Up

Running from discussion yet again, Jeromy Brown is still clinging to discredited hack Jesurgislac as a character reference. You really have to be morally and intellectually bankrupt to write stuff like this. But let's be charitable. After all, the man did lose 3 of his 5 pints of blood.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Selective Coverage

When a soldier receives the Medal of Honor, it is a really big deal. I mean, a really big deal. Only two have been given during the war in Iraq, both posthumously, and there are only 109 living recipients.

You'd think such an award would be worthy of coverage by the "nation's newspaper", the New York Times, wouldn't you?

You'd be wrong.

The New York Times carried not a whisper of news yesterday about the bestowal of the Medal of Honor to Navy Lt. Michael Murphy of Patchogue - the first time the honor has been given for action in Afghanistan...

A Times spokeswoman said yesterday afternoon that the paper does plan to run something about the award - though she didn't say exactly what.

President Bush will present the medal to Murphy's parents at a White House ceremony Oct. 22.

This is the same newspaper which ran the General "Betray Us" ad and has no problem finding space for Frank Rich's ridiculous columns. But coverage of honors bestowed on our soldiers? I guess there's just no room for that.
It wasn't the first time the Times gave short shrift to such a story. The paper ran just one paragraph about the posthumous awarding of the Medal of Honor to Cpl. Jason Dunham, a U.S. Marine from upstate killed in Iraq in 2004. That paragraph ran in January in the middle of a story about congressional opposition to Bush's Iraq war plans.

But remember: don't question their patriotism. Well, I won't. I do question their priorities, though.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Coward Jeromy Brown Can't Discuss My Blog Posts Where I Will Defend Them

Instead, he blathers on as usual on his own site, complete with the lying chorus of Jesurgislac. Thanks to Dana for drawing my attention to this mendacity. Dana also has an excellent post eviscerating Brown's arguments for universal health care.

In response, let me say first that the Frosts (the parents) chose not to insure their children but then decided it was ok to expect the taxpayers to pick up the tab for their decision. This is a typically liberal position. After all, isn't this the same reason they believe in taxpayer-supported abortions, free condoms, needle exchanges, etc.? We can't expect people to be responsible for themselves or their own decisions! That, according to the sycophants at Iowa Liberal is just mean-spirited.

It's not like I'm not a critic of the scam known as health insurance. The fact is that it's a giant ponzi scheme designed to take in the most money possible without paying out any more than necessary. It's also heavily tilted to low-cost fixes like prenatal care and against new or innovative treatments. And let's not even get into the prescription drug racket where the best drugs for one's treatment are often uncovered or horribly overpriced.

No, what Brown and the dodo birds blathering at Iowa Liberal fail to grasp (aside from the ability to accurately quote people) is that, while the Frosts didn't choose to have a car accident which injured their children, they chose not to get health insurance before then in preparation for the possibility.

And the Frosts made a variety of life decisions based on dependence on taxpayer funded health care. They chose professions which didn't have (or require) health care. They work part-time. They own considerable property, which they could use to help pay their own expenses, but keep their income relatively low.

The problem with the Frosts as poster children for SCHIP is that once you start examining their lives, you realize that they aren't the best example for the program. They are neither poor nor uneducated nor unemployable. The parents simply made life choices that precluded taking care of their offspring. So, why should everyone else pay for them?

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Nobel Peace Prize Politicized

So, Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for making a propaganda film filled with factual errors. Isn't that special?

I guess the Nobel Peace Prize isn't really about peace anymore. That's the only explanation I--and people more blunt can come up with. After all, it can't be based on performance. I mean, wouldn't those monks in Burma be better recipients?

But cheer up. We always have TBogg around to explain why the peace prize isn't about peace.

Shaddap You Face - Joe Dolce

My favorite bad song.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What Is Wrong With Them?

The nutroots are out in full force defending Democrats using a child to do a liberal's work. To listen to them, questioning the sob story of 12-year-old Graeme Frost, who was shilling for the Dems latest project: ballooning the SCHIP program to include upper middle class families.

Why would conservatives be so skeptical of Dems' newest poster child? Gee, I dunno. Maybe it's because liberals love using their kids to promote their causes, even if the kid would be against the parent's political position.

What is bizarre to me about this whole brouhaha is the faux outrage of the left that their tactics are being attacked. Let's make this clear: it's not really whether or not Frost's family could afford insurance. It's that Democrats can't make the case for raising the costs to cover families making $83,000 per year. They know that, which is why they bring in Frost to tell why SCHIP helped his family.

For the record, President Bush wanted to extend SCHIP, but didn't want the $35 billion price tag Democrats have attached to it. Democrats want universal health care, and insuring children is a backdoor approach to it. Besides, who can oppose insuring children?

Amusingly, moonbats are defending the life choices of the Frosts by saying they're "doing what Republicans espouse." Well, excuse me, but as Dan Riehl points out, that's a load of hooey.

Yes, the Frost children are victims, but not of conservatives. They look more like victims of a couple of mostly spoiled brats who became parents and never felt compelled to take responsibility for themselves when it came to the bottom line on that. There are poor people in America who need help, particularly as regards Health care. The point is, the family above shouldn't be and simply aren't among them. Call Dad next time you want some bucks FH. And kindly leave the rest of America's collective wallet the hell alone.

Or, hey, get a second job with benefits. I've done that more than once in my life when I needed the cash. And do it before you let Graeme tell the media how much you struggle to take care of him, because there are enough people in America who really do struggle with these issues. And when they take a look at your lot in life they are left far from impressed and unmoved to cough up one thin dime so you can enjoy afternoons playing with your lathe, or whatever the hell else it is you do in your factory.

I don't see someone who needs my help in F Halsey Frost. I see a simpleton and a loser who had more kids than he could afford and doesn't appear to have given up very much in life to deal with that situation. Who knows, maybe Dad figured it out, too and cut him off. What the hell, there's always welfare, right?

The problem with the liberal world view is that none of us should be required to live with the decisions we make. As Dan says, responsible parents figure out how to pay for their own children, and only after they've exhausted their own resources do they consider government assistance. Though my husband is uninsurable, my children and I do have insurance and it costs about $300 per month.

What's terrible is that the Frosts really do symbolize the Democrats' idea of the poor: people who volunteer to make less money than it takes to support their family, then expect the taxpayers to make up the difference. That's an insult to the families who really are poor. But I guess a really poor child wouldn't look as sympathetic to Dems as this family did.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has a great post that gives more details about what is wrong with the "they're attacking children" harangue from the left.

To start with, the Maryland program does not assets-test, meaning that people who own property but don't necessarily make a great deal are eligible for the taxpayer-supported program. That's how the Frosts managed not to provide for their children. The plan the Democrats in Congress are proposing is designed to expand what should be a program to help those who cannot afford health insurance to include those who don't want to afford their own insurance.

And more on Frost.
The Frosts own a home in Baltimore purchased for $55,000 sixteen years ago–and now worth an estimated $300,000. That’s a lot of equity. In addition, the children’s father, Halsey Frost, owns commercial real estate and his own small business, but chose not to buy health insurance for himself and his wife, whom he hired as an employee. She now apparently works freelance at a medical publishing firm, which also reportedly doesn’t offer insurance. Gemma and Graeme both attend expensive private schools; the Frosts have two other school-age children. Reid’s staff says Gemma and Graeme receive tuition breaks. But it’s not clear when those scholarships were instituted and/or whether the other two receive tuition aid as well. Moreover, Frost’s family comes from considerable means. The children’s maternal grandfather was an engineering executive. Their paternal grandparents hail from affluent Bronxville, New York, where the grandfather is a prominent facilities management consultant and chairman of the municipal planning board.

In other words: The public trough is not Halsey Frost’s last and only resort.

Having your children hurt in an accident is a tragedy. Exploiting that tragedy for political gain is despicable.

Monday, October 08, 2007

It's 1984 for Liberals When It Comes to Free Speech

Apparently, Democrats want to continue proving my point about liberals' hatred of free speech. According to The American Spectator,

Rep. Henry Waxman has asked his investigative staff to begin compiling reports on Limbaugh, and fellow radio hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin based on transcripts from their shows, and to call in Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin to discuss the so-called "Fairness Doctrine."

"Limbaugh isn't the only one who needs to be made uncomfortable about what he says on the radio," says a House leadership source. "We don't have as big a megaphone as these guys, but this all political, and we'll do what we can to gain the advantage. If we can take them off their game for a while, it will help our folks out there on the campaign trail."

Democrats don't have as big a megaphone? Running the legislative branch of government isn't a big enough megaphone? I can't decide if these guys are just stupid or really don't understand that Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives are equal time (as Rush says).

It would be laughable that Democrats, who control both the House and Senate, feel they aren't as powerful as talk radio if it weren't so sinister. But the fact is, these guys control the legislative branch of government and now want to stifle free speech by legislating it out of existence. We're not talking about protests or advertiser boycotts. If the government decides to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine that really is censorship.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Frank Rich's Comments about Clarence Thomas Are Clearly Out of Line

That's the gist of Orin Kerr's dissection of this nasty column by Frank Rich.

But it is Frank Rich, after all. Should one be surprised?

Rich has made a career out of spinning for the Democratic Party, so much so that I wouldn't be surprised if he's a paid consultant. But he does work for the New York Times, so I suppose it is the same thing.

In his memoir, My Grandfather's Son, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas relates one example of affirmative action's devastating unintended effects on minorities. After graduating in the middle of his class from Yale Law School, Thomas could not find a job and finally accepted one in the Missouri government because of the state's attorney general, John Danforth.

According to Rich, who knows nothing about law school or legal careers, assistant attorney general (the job Thomas accepted) for $10,000 a year was a "plum job." Further, Rich says Thomas got the job because he "worked the Yalie network," the informal way in which graduates of a university hire new grads from the same school. And, of course, we all know how an Ivy League degree is a guarantee of life on the fast track.

Unfortunately for Rich, but fortunately for Americans, Kerr smacks down this lie.

As I understand it, in Missouri the title "Assistant Attorney General" is the standard job title given to an entry-level attorney hired in the state Attorney General's Office. It's not exactly a common destination for those "work[ing] the Yalie network"; my googling around suggests that most Assistant Attorneys General in Missouri are hired straight from Missouri law schools.

Perhaps Rich was misled by the fact that in the federal government, the job of Assistant Attorney General is indeed quite a job. It's a Senate-confirmed position, often heading hundreds of attorneys.

But state governments are different. In many states, that lofty title is given to entry-level lawyers. My sense is that this is the case in Missouri. If you look at the listings of job openings in that office, they are all for the position of Assistant Attorney General.

I did a little googling around to see what kind of resumes and experience lawyers typically have before being appointed Assistant Attorney General in Missouri. Here are a few bios of attorneys who once held the job, with their law school attended and how long after graduation they were hired: Brundage (Missouri-Columbia, year after graduation), Rebman (Missouri - Kansas City, right after graduation), Ottenad (Wash. U., right after passing bar), Miller (Wash. U., after law school graduation), Glaser (Drake, after 2 years at small firm), Franke (Missouri-KC, right after graduation), Cosgrove (Notre Dame, apparently after short stint at KC firm), Richardson (Missouri, right after graduation), Zito (Missouri-KC, apparently right after law school), Siegel (Wash. U., right after graduation), Spinden (Missouri-KC, apparently right after law school).

As best I can tell, these individuals who were hired as Assistant AG in Missouri did not have "the opportunity to work the Yalie network to jump-start [their] career[s]." I can find no other Yale graduates who had this job, and for that matter I haven't been able to find anyone who attended an "elite" school either at the undergraduate or graduate level who had it.

None of this is to say that being an assistant attorney general is a bad job. They are respectable and good ways to gain experience needed for better positions. But the fact is that Yale Law graduates don't become assistant attorney generals in Flyover Country because the job was just too good to pass up. Indeed, Yale Law graduates go to law firms where they determine to make partner or become law professors with aspirations to become president.

In short, Frank Rich, as usual, has a distorted, myopic view of what affirmative action does for the people it purports to help. Indeed,the original goals--that minority candidates would be considered alongside white candidates--was admirable. But in practice, what happens is that candidates hired through affirmative action live with the stigma that they were hired "only" because they fit the right category. I've known numerous people who had this sort of humiliation foisted upon them by companies more interested in looking good rather than being good. But Frank Rich, like so many white male liberals, wouldn't know what it's like to have people "know" why you were hired and that it wasn't because of your qualifications. Clarence Thomas, on the other hand, had first-hand experience with the affirmative action stigma.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Adverse Effects from the HPV Vaccine

Back in February, I wrote this post on Texas governor Rick Perry ordering all girls to be vaccinated with the human papillomavirus vaccine. HPV causes, among other things, genital warts and cervical cancer.

At the time, I questioned whether the government should be mandating teenage girls to get this vaccine when (a) it hadn't been tested long enough on teenagers and (b) the assumption that all teenage girls were having sex and needed the protection was both paternalistic and hysterical. The vaccine hasn't been on the market long enough to know how long it works (current recommendations are for girls as young as nine to receive the vaccine). I was also concerned about the rights of parents to refuse injecting more bugs into their children for dubious purposes. If a girl turns 18 and wants the vaccine, that's her right. But I also think parents have the right to object to vaccines like this being mandated for their children.

Of course, Amanda Marcotte jumped to the perfectly logical conclusion that parents who objected to the vaccine just wanted their daughters to die of cervical cancer. I mean, it couldn't be that the vaccine might be unsafe, right?

Well, sorry to break the news to the Pandagonistas, but Judicial Watch has released new documents from the Food and Drug Administration which show Gardasil might not be as safe as claimed before.

Judicial released new documents obtained from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, detailing 1,824 reports of adverse reactions to the vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV), Gardasil, including as many as eight deaths related to the vaccine. Judicial Watch had previously obtained 1,637 reports relating to Gardasil on May 15, 2007, bringing the known total to 3,461 adverse reactions including eleven deaths since FDA approval...

From May 10 to September 7, 2007, the 1,824 adverse vaccination reactions reported to the FDA via the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) included 347 serious reactions. Of the 77 women who received the vaccine while pregnant, 33 experienced side effects ranging from spontaneous abortion to fetal abnormalities. Other serious side effects continue to be reported including, paralysis, Bells Palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and seizures.

It sounds to me like this vaccine needs more study before being mandated, even if protective parents are accused of wanting their kids to get cancer.

Stupid School Policies

Via ifeminists comes this great post on students protesting school policy stupidity.

According to the local chain paper, the school started out by banning all school bags. This decision, they said, was supposedly partly to protect students from the burden of carrying heavy bags (because, I guess, carrying stacks of books bound with twine is ergonomically better for them). And it was to prevent the possibility of students carrying concealed weapons. The paper doesn't mention what seem to be the obvious additional reasons for this decision: the school administrators aren't too bright, they can't be trusted with authority and they don't like students.

The principal's name, by the way, is "Worden." He seems to be mistaking this for his job description.

School officials quickly realized that banning backpacks and purses left female students with no way to carry pads or tampons, so Worden and his clown show amended the policy (or at least that's the rumor -- these folks aren't very good at communicating clearly). Female students would be allowed to carry bags, but only during their periods -- meaning that every female student carrying a bag would be subject to questioning about whether or not that was the case. And, of course, school officials would need to keep track of who was carrying a purse and when, just to make sure that no one was trying to exploit this "privilege."

Students protested by wearing feminine hygiene products on their clothes, a novel idea if ever I heard one. But the whole thing reminds me of another stupid school board policy I witnessed firsthand about four years ago.

I was having lunch at my oldest daughter's middle school when I noticed students picking up chicken fried steak patties with forks then gnawing around the edges like so many rodents.

"Why aren't they using knives to cut the steaks?" I asked my daughter.

"We aren't allowed to have knives," she replied. "The school thinks they're weapons."

I looked at the plastiware we were using for our lunches. "A plastic knife is a weapon?" I asked incredulously. "But a plastic fork could do more damage, it seems to me."

My daughter shrugged and continued gnawing around the edges of her lunch.

Later, I found out that seventh and eighth graders were trusted with plastic knives; I guess sixth graders weren't mature enough to be trusted with the plastiware.

Such overreaching school policies baffle me. When I was in school back in the Dark Ages, we had metal utensils and girls (all girls) carried purses from the time they were in about fourth grade. It wasn't that we needed them. It was that having a purse was a sign of our femaleness (Amanda would gag at that statement). We also used satchels or bookbags in elementary school, but by middle school we carried our books in our hands. No backpacks. No bags. And, amazingly, we managed not to strain our backs.

My guess is that these overprotective rules are made to stave off any possible litigation involved in plastiware knife fights or tampon stabbings, but it seems to me that, as we try to protect children more, we throw common sense out the window.

The Decline of the GOP

There are times when watching the GOP eat its young gets to be too much. Take this ridiculous "analysis" of why the GOP is seemingly in decline.

Seriously- what does the current Republican party stand for? Permanent war, fear, the nanny state, big spending, torture, execution on demand, complete paranoia regarding the media, control over your body, denial of evolution and outright rejection of science, AND ZOMG THEY ARE GONNA MAKE US WEAR BURKHAS, all the while demanding that in order to be a good American I have to spend most of every damned day condemning half my fellow Americans as terrorist appeasers.

Who does he think he is? Amanda Marcotte? That's what this drivel sounds like.

If John Cole was actually interested in why many Americans have rejected the Republicans, he might look at what Americans say about issues like torture. And, frankly, more people disgusted with Republicans are concerned that the GOP has become just like the Democrats: big government solutions and overspending rather than fiscal restraint. And executions on demand? Where does that take place? Sounds to me like Cole needs to stop getting all his information about Republicans from moonbat websites.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What the Armed Forces Radio Network Schedules

Certain moonbats are apoplectic that Rush Limbaugh is on the Armed Forces Radio Network. But it doesn't take a genius to Google for the schedule and discover--holy cow!--AFRN schedules liberals as well! Including Ed Schultz, who wouldn't have a show if he didn't hate Rush Limbaugh.

In point of fact, there are more liberals on AFRN than conservatives. AFRN plays Ed Schultz, Alan Colmes, and Jim Hightower (I thought he was dead). The only political conservative shows on AFRN are Rush and Sean Hannity. And if you add in news broadcasts (AFRN broadcasts NPR 24/7 it seems like), the left-leaning viewpoints get more than enough airplay.

Or maybe what the nutroots are saying is that 54 minutes of Rush equals 3 hours of liberal shows.

Don't Mistake the Liberal Agenda: Silencing Conservatives

If it wasn't obvious before, liberals hate free speech. Why do I say that? It's the only explanation for why liberals are hellbent on getting Rush Limbaugh off the Armed Forces Radio Network. One of the chief unhinged nuts explains the importance of silencing Rush Limbaugh:

It’s my belief that the conservative movement of the past decade or so was a three headed hydra: Newt, Delay and Rush. Sure, there are others, including Bush’s brain, and Grover Norquist (whom I have sometimes included as the fourth head of the hydra) but those three stood for different things that were hugely important to the success of the movement. Newt was the visionary. Delay was the congressional enforcer. And Rush was the voice, screaming out violent hatred for liberals and Democrats day after day, decade after decade. It took its toll, to the point where we can hardly even stand ourselves.

Newtie’s now irrelevant. Delay is gone. Only Rush remains and he is probably the biggest prize. On a purely practical, hardball political basis, the Democrats should have been working to take him out for years. Now is their chance to turn the Republicans’ patented hissy kabuki back on them and hoist an avowed political enemy with his own poisonous petard at the same time. There are many others who will happily take his place, no doubt about it. But his voice is uniquely associated with the radical wingnuts, and it is an important symbolic message to the country if they can finally make an example of him. (Emphasis mine)

What sort of example? Why, an example of what happens when you cross the liberal cabal. The nutroots accuse a four-star general of betraying our country and these jerks back up a full-page, discounted ad. And when that backfires, they have to raise a stink about a phony flap like the Rush Limbaugh quote to try to take the heat off themselves.

If I didn't know how those supposedly open-minded moonbats think, it might sound a bit hypocritical. But knowing how little respect liberals have for free speech, it's no surprise at all. That's why they constantly cry for banning people they disagree with. Instead of finding a formula that attracts viewers, they call for greater restrictions on speech.

And who can blame them? It's no mystery that conservatives thrive when free ideas are expressed. Liberals, on the other hand, constantly and persistently side with silencing speech they dislike.

Liberalism once had a reputation of supporting the free and open exchange of ideas. But for the last 40 years, liberals have constantly complained that all conflicting ideas must be suppressed, whether those ideas concern religion, speech, protest, education or virtually any other issue.

Rush Limbaugh's success and his huge audience is more than a thorn in the side of the liberal elites. They have to discredit Rush any way they can because their own ideas have been rejected by huge segments of America. It's the same reason the moonbatosphere is hysterical over Fox News when the network audience share dwarfs the only conservative network on the air. They can't win with their ideas, so they must try to silence all opponents.

Rush compares the Wesley Clarks, the nutroots, the Media Matters of the left to Stalinists, and the comparison is apt.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Did Anyone Notice the Dems Passed the Defense Spending Bill?

Under cover of faux outrage, the Democrats passed the defense spending bill overwhelmingly 92-3. As Captain Ed notes, presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden were conspicuously unable to vote today.

Democrats had threatened to hold up the Defense appropriation until George Bush bent to their will on Iraq. Harry Reid had petulantly taken the bill off the table in July, attempting to hold it to the last minute in order to pressure Republicans to change course in Iraq. Instead, as the success of the surge became more and more apparent, Reid found the ground falling out from beneath him.

It's no wonder the nutroots are wasting their time calling for silencing Rush Limbaugh. If they actually had to cover the cutting-and-running (not the kind they wanted) that Harry Reid's done, they might be really outraged.

Given the inability of the moonbats to get any of their agenda through Congress, I guess it's no wonder they focus on a phony flap about Rush Limbaugh. Why is it, I wonder, liberals always want to silence conservatives? Is it because their hypocrisy is so blatant? Surely, this isn't partisan politics at work, is it?

Fewer Women Seek Law Degrees

Broader opportunities and a strong economy are causing fewer women to seek law degrees.

From 1963 to 1990, the enrollment of women in law schools rose each consecutive year, according to the ABA. In 1963, just 3.7 percent of law school students were women, compared with 42.5 percent in 1990. In 1992, for the only time, women outnumbered men at 50.4 percent. And from 1994 to 2001, female enrollment again began to climb steadily.

One reason for the reversal now may be the media attention that law firms have received about the scant number of women partners and the problems firms have in retaining women, said Elizabeth Pederson, a graduate of Stanford Law School last May and president of Ms. JD, an online community for women attorneys.

Many legal trade and general print publications recently have reported that few women become partners in the nation's law firms. In 2006, just 17.9 percent of partners in law firms were women, according to NALP, a nonprofit organization that tracks legal careers. Meanwhile, 44.3 percent of associates were women.

Law firms are trying to become more friendly to women, providing flex-time schedules, on-site daycare, better maternity leave, and breastfeeding rooms. But you can't get around the grueling schedule young lawyers are expected to keep at a time that many women are wanting to get married, start families and have careers.

After I had my son at the end of my first year of law school, I knew the lawyer's life was not for me. I had no intention of paying someone else to raise my children for me while I worked massive hours. I finished my degree more so I could have the sense of accomplishment than because I intended to become an attorney. It sounds to me like more women are opting for other career paths because of the workload.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Boy Survives Plane Ride on Airplane Wing

Via Brothers Judd, a 15-year-old boy survived a two-hour flight from Perm to Moscow on the wing of an airplane.

After clinging on for the entire 1300-kilometer (808-mile) flight to Vnukovo Airport, the boy, named Andrei, collapsed onto the tarmac. His arms and legs were so severely frozen that rescuers were at first unable to remove his coat and shoes, the radio station said.

The airport did not confirm the report. "We have no information on this," the Vnukovo press service told RIA Novosti.

However, Moscow's air and water transport control department said the radio's claim was true. A department spokesman said the incident occurred on Friday, and that the boy's parents were immediately informed, and flew to the capital the same day.

Doctors said it was nothing short of a miracle that Andrei survived the flight, with temperatures hitting minus 50 degrees Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit), the radio station said. The Boeing-737 has a cruising speed of 900 kmh (560 mph).

The boy reportedly made the journey after a commonplace domestic dispute. Angry with his father, who reportedly has a drinking problem, and with his mother for siding with her husband in family rows, Andrei ran away to the neighboring village, where his grandmother lives. On reaching the village, he decided to go on, and hitched a 220-km (137-mile) ride to the regional center, Perm, where he was dropped off at the airport.

It remains unclear how Andrei was able to climb on a plane wing un-noticed, and the Perm Airport security service is being asked some serious questions, the radio station said.

One of the stories I plan never to tell my children (at least until they are 30) is about the time I hot-footed it to London after a big argument with my mother while on a family vacation in England. Left to my own devices and unwilling to go back to my family to face the silent treatment for the rest of the day, I decided instead to take the train to London and explore the city alone. I would have made it back without anyone the wiser had a tree not fallen across the tracks, delaying my return by nearly five hours. But at least I wasn't riding the wing of an airplane!

Why Planned Parenthood Has to Lie to Open Clinics

One of the arguments against free speech for abortion clinic protesters is that clinic protesters are violent. Of course, this is a lie, since the vast majority of abortion clinic protesters neither threaten violence nor actually participate in violence. But that's never stopped the pro-abortion crowd from repeating this canard.

Now comes new evidence that--gasp!--pro-abortion supporters have to lie. Via ifeminists comes a pair of articles (actually, an article and a column) on Planned Parenthood's lies regarding its new abortion facility near Chicago.

Planned Parenthood built a huge facility in the Chicago suburb using the name Gemini Office Development. The irregularity resulted in an investigation, and the clinic remains shuttered.

So, why lie about what Planned Parenthood wanted to build?

According to the group, which made $55.8 million during fiscal year 2005-2006--much of that from performing abortions--the reason they lied about what they were doing is because those awful pro-lifers are violent (via Jill Stanek's blog). In a letter to the Aurora aldermen, Planned Parenthood president Steve Trombley lied--er, said,

The activists of the Pro-Life Action League who have been opposing our new facility are headquartered in Aurora and have a well-documented history of advocating violence against both persons and property as well as other related criminal activity.
We think you will understand the urgency of our concerns when you consider the following facts about the Pro-Life Action League and its leader, Joe Scheidler.

Scheidler (along with a handful of other anti-abortion leaders) formed PLAN - the Pro Life Action Network. Scheidler called PLAN the "pro-life mafia" and proclaimed "a year of pain and fear" for anyone seeking or providing abortion.

After a six-week trial in 1998, a jury in Chicago unanimously found that the Pro-Life Action League Network orchestrated 121 crimes involving acts of threats of force or violence against women's health facilities that offered abortion. These crimes proven at trial included beating a post-operative ovarian surgery patient over the head with a sign, knocking her unconscious and causing her to bleed from the sutures in her abdomen; seizing a clinic administrator by the throat, choking and bruising her; and slamming a clinic staff member and volunteer against the stairs (sending them to a hospital and causing permanent injuries) and destroying medications and equipment. Joe Scheidler personally praised the individuals who carried out some of these misdeeds, even taking credit for them....

I guess Trombley was truthful to a point. Because, yes, a jury did rule the way he stated, only to see its ruling overturned not once but twice by the U.S. Supreme Court. That makes any finding by the jury to null and void.

Fortunately, the pro-lifers aren't taking the lies lying down, so to speak. According to World Net Daily, the Pro-Life Action League is suing Planned Parenthood for libel.

Planned Parenthood lied about what it was going to do with its new facility because it didn't want Americans to exercise their right to protest. Funny, if abortion is such a universal good and only a 20-minute procedure, you'd think they wouldn't mind being more open about it. But as Dennis Byrne says, Planned Parenthood has good reasons to lie about its facilities, as well as a history of doing so.