Friday, February 29, 2008


Senator Obama has made it know that he does not care to be called "liberal," and it's likely that the legacy media will go along with that request. There has been a lot of discussion on blogs and among folks about this request, but in the end, I have to agree with him.

He's not a liberal.

A liberal is someone who loves freedom from government tyranny, someone like Thomas Jefferson, George Orwell, John F Kennedy, and Christopher Hitchens. Someone who rejects the idea that government should be bigger and be the one you turn to in need. Liberalism, the real thing, the original meaning is a very good thing. Senator Obama is no liberal, don't call him that.

He's an unreconstructed McGovernite leftist. He's in the heritage of Carter, Dukakis, and Mondale. He's a tax-and-spend leftist who wants to raise welfare spending and expand the government while hacking the military to shreds. Senator Obama wants to meet with brutal tyrants who hate the US, pull out of Iraq before there's stability in a way that would ruin the efforts of the men and women who fought and died there. He's a classic leftist, but no liberal at all.

Leftist? Sure. But not Liberal.


"Human suffering should preempt commercial interest."
-President Bush on Africa

"he’s curious and quick."
-Bob Geldof on President Bush

One of the more frustrating things about being a supporter of President Bush (and, despite my disagreements with him over the years, I still am) is that he's so terrible at the public aspects of his job. The bulk of the President's job is reaching out to the people to represent and define the policies and intents of the United States, and while a decent man who apparently is very capable in one-on-one conversations, President Bush is the worst public speaker I've ever seen in a politician.

Bob "Live Aid" Geldof agrees, and is trying to break through that frustration to help the President reach people with his African policies and efforts. On Air Force One, he said this to the president in response to a question:
"That's right. It's called marketing. Something you obviously have no clue about or else I wouldn't have to be here telling people your Africa story."
I suspect that like me, President Bush just doesn't care for the selling part of his work, he just has a job to do and wants to do it. Like me, he wants to be known and successful (if that comes) on his own merits and efforts, on the quality of his work, not on the effort of his publicity machine and marketing. There's a lot of awful stuff out there with great marketing campaigns, things that succeed far beyond their quality or significance. Yet the job requires that effort, and this is President Bush's biggest failure: selling his points to the public.

Sure, he's up against a hostile press, they don't just view him with suspicion like they do all politicians (even their own guys), the press is actively hostile toward President Bush and even works to undermine him at times. Bob Geldof goes on with his concerns about this particular aspect of the President's work:
So why doesn't America know about this? "I tried to tell them. But the press weren't much interested," says Bush. It's half true. There are always a couple of lines in the State of the Union, but not enough so that anyone noticed, and the press really isn't interested. For them, like America itself, Africa is a continent of which little is known save the odd horror.
It is true that most Americans don't care that much about other nations and it is true that Africa seems to be almost deliberately self destructive and filled with ghastly events, but there's more to it than the press not wanting to talk about the dark continent. They don't like President Bush, they don't like Republicans, and they're disinclined to report anything positive about either one. So even when President Bush has a speech and a press conference specificially about the African efforts, nothing much comes of it.

Mr Geldof is no fan of President Bush, but he's singularly concerned about Africa's suffering and sees an ally in the man. As Ed Morrissey at the Captain's Quarters points out:
Geldof doesn't pull punches where he disagrees with Bush. In fact, he spends most of the article outlining his disagreements. However, he also paints a picture of a man of intellect and deep belief, and one who has been shortchanged by the media, at least on Africa. He also understands that while he disagrees with Bush on many policies, Bush is motivated by his own sense of what is right.
Commenters at the Captain's Quarters discussed this story:
Bush has been the most radical president of my lifetime; for better and for worse.

Obama's cries for "change" are anti-climatic after this presidency.
-by mylegsareswollen

The Bush White House Press operation was uneven at best, lurching from a reasonably competent Ari Fleischer to the stuttering, bumbling Scott McClellan. I've always believed that the President and his Administration had a compelling story to tell, but that it was never told.

This President has disappointed me many times, but I've never doubted his personal integrity, his courage, his good intentions, and his great heart.
-by Quickjustice

Quite frankly, I think George Bush has the same problem his father did. He thinks because he does the right thing and gets a good result, that's enough. Unfortunately, in this day and age, and given a media reflexively hostile to Republicans, a Republican president has to take the time to get his message out. That's part of the governing process today. Now what Bush should have done was to hire Clintoon to do his marketing. That man was on the air, morning, noon, and night, trumpeting, both real and imaginary accomplishments.
-by TJM

Clearly Geldof has been bought off by the Bushitler machine.
-by hunter_123

Or maybe just an intelligent liberal that has the courage to put forth their true feelings.

Exactly right-an "intelligent liberal" is one who is not afraid of other peoples' ideas, no matter how radical they may seem. In past decades, like in the 1960s, there were a lot of these people. Sadly, they now seem to be in the minority. If you go to some of the more radical leftist sites like Democrat Underground, only one point of view is allowed, or you get tombstoned. I'm convinced that a lot of that is a function of the relatively youthful age of many of that site's posters.
-by Del_Delmonte

I remember reading once that Herbert Hoover put together a huge humanitarian aid effort to feed Europeans during WW1. He was not a politician at the time and for many people in Europe it was their first dealings with the US. On one Polish man was said to say years later that the US had saved him three times. The first time was then when he was a very small child and was starving. He said he was given food, among the foodstuff was a can of meat with the inscription, A gift from the American people. He said he knew then and there that was something exceptional about America.
-by terrye
In Africa, as I've noted before, the perspective on President Bush is a bit different than in, say, Western Europe or the US press. Here's just one more anecdote from Bob Geldof:
At our hotel in Ghana, the porter carrying my bag said they had thrown out all the other guests because "the President of the World was coming."
I highly recommend reading the Time Magazine article to everyone, everywhere because not only does it highlight critical aspects of what the US is trying to do to help Africa, it gives a view and perspective on President Bush that only people who speak to him personally see. He's the same person, but more comfortable, at ease, and even charming than his public persona. Geldof's interview goes all over the place, including how the presidential laundry is handled on the road (they do it at hotels) and what presidential M&Ms are like.

In the end, President Bush will be viewed far more positively and with far more honor and respect than he is today, a trait President Truman was characterized by. They share a lot of traits: southern men of no-nonsense who stick to their principles and do what they believe is right and just in the face of all criticism. After eight years of President Clinton, that's still refreshing to me, and in today's culture, that's pretty radical, all right.
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"There is a hushed worry on the minds of many supporters of Senator Barack Obama, echoing in conversations from state to state, rally to rally: Will he be safe?"
-New York Times story

One of the more frustrating things about being an American is how successful some in the media and on the left have been at convincing the world about how awful it is here. It's so awful you notice they don't care to leave and so many people want to be Americans they ignore the immigration laws by the million, but the perception is still out there.

America is wracked with bigotry and racism, it's filled with violence in the cities and noose-hanging toothless inbred rednecks in the country, it's governed by a president who cheated in 2000 to win the election, on and on. This perception is based on popular media that makes it to other nations combined with a lack of any effort to set the story straight or give the slightest voice to counter information. People see CNN reports and don't see the heavy bias they show (other than to complain it's too American centered) and hear nothing to the contrary.

I think that's what brings about the kind of reports from different countries about how Obama probably will be shot if he wins the presidency. It's from all over, including inside the US. Black man, certain to die, America is wall-to-wall bigots just one bedsheet from burning a cross.

In Australia, Phillip Adams predicted:
If Obama wins the nomination, he’ll be targeted, full stop. Because in the US the politics of personal destruction frequently leads to being shot. I raised the possibility - the probability - of attempts on Obama’s life in this column a month ago ...
Because being critical of and attacking the policies of a political candidate is so unique to the United States, you see. Frequently, you say, Mr Adams? Who was the last political person to be shot in America? The answer is later, below.

Boxer Bernard "the Executioner" Hawkins in the US joined the chorus:
"If he gets the nomination they won't let him become president, but if they do, it will be for a short time, maybe less than a month or two," he said. "His life would be in jeopardy."
The infamous 'they' are everywhere. Francisco Martín Moreno in Mexico adds his voice:
A violent dispatching of Obama would leave the road to the White House paved for McCain, with Mexico and the rest of the world having to deal with four more years of Republican nightmare ...
Because, naturally, the only reason to oppose a man being shot to death is a the horrifying specter of a Republican becoming President.

To the north, Canadian Earl MacRae imagines a horrible fantasy:
Barack Obama is waving his arms. The crowd is cheering. I see the image I don’t want to see. I see the image that is the terrible sickness in the great republic. I see Barack Obama one minute smiling, the people crying his name. I see Barack Obama grab his chest and his eyes widen and his mouth opens and the crowd screams as Barack Obama, black candidate for the presidency of the United States of America, falls to the ground dead, an assassin’s bullet inside him.
Mark Steyn calls it "assassination porn" and it started with President Bush, with films, plays, books, and hushed hopes by small groups of radical leftists in the US a few years back. Australian blogger Tim Blair has a reader in Sweden who writes about American politics (how's that for international).
Isn’t it weird that the left’s favourite democratic nation ... the home of peace, love and understanding, the home of non-violence and a nation of less than 10 million people has had two of its most popular politicians (Olof Palme and Anna Lindh) assassinated since 1985.

Both of them were on the left, so they must have been killed by right-wing lunatics, right? Well, no.
They were lunatics, but one was a Serbian radical and the other a violent alcoholic. Readers at Tim Blair's site responded to the assassination porn:
Odd bit of trivia: on the morning of his assassination, Palme is alleged to have had a meeting with none other than Baghdad Bob, Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, who was then Iraq’s ambassador to Sweden.

Small world.
-by Spiny Norman

I dunno… my first thought of the “home of non-violence” was India, and they’ve never had a politician assassinated.

Wait… what?

Oh, my bad.
-by Rob Crawford

Other news of death threats and such…
NIS News.
AMSTERDAM, 28/02/08 - The terrorist network Al-Qaeda has given orders for the assassination of MP Geert Wilders, newspaper De Telegraaf reports. The Party for Freedom (PVV) leader must be ‘slaughtered’, the orders say, because he has insulted Islam and the prophet Mohammed.

The newspaper based its report on a recent message on a protected web forum of internet site, which De Telegraaf claims is affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The internet threat, which was posted on 28 January, was intercepted by the American research institute SITE Intelligence Group, the newspaper reports.

“In the name of Allah, we ask you to bring us the neck of this unbeliever who insults Islam and the Muslims and ridicules the prophet Mohammed,” the site says about Wilders, according to the newspaper.

The message honours Mohammed Bouyeri as a hero. This Amsterdam-born Moroccan Muslim cut Islam-critic Theo van Gogh’s throat on 2 November 2004. The message also appeals for readers to “terrorise” the Netherlands to prevent Wilders’ controversial film on the Koran from being broadcast.

To get the rest of the article you need to go to the link, scroll down to the International section and click on the headline. It’s in a popup.
-by Grimmy

As commenters have pointed out in other threads, people who try to assassinate U.S. presidents are usually either nuts or egomaniacs or both. Phil Adams seems to think that vast numbers of caucasian Americans sleep on tinted sheets because the white ones are used exclusively as KKK uniforms. If this were true, how is it that certain high-profile African-Americans, whose racial huckstering can be said to be genuinely offensive - people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan - avoid the necessity of sleeping in safe houses, employing body doubles and keeping food-tasters on hand?

There is a certain type of liberal who is more interested in seeing every wicked thing he believes about America proved to be true, than in witnessing even his own utopian dreams come to fruition.
-by Paco

Let us hope that maniacal racists in the US do not exact a terrible vengeance.
What a f***ing race monger. I suppose the attempted assassination on then Governor of Alabama was racist, correct?

Was it a racist that did the rest of our dead Presidents in, you stupid bastard.

Was it a racist that attempted assassinations on other Presidents?

How about Robert Kennedy..Sirhan Sirhan, a racist?

I think you will find Adams the Fruitcake, that the commonality of the above killers and near killers IS a deranged mind. So deranged that none of the above could even spell, racist.

Take your own racism and anti-Semitism and see a head shrink, immediately. You seem to be well along with your own, derangement, Adams.
-by El Cid

Somebody needs to inform “journalists” like Mr. Adams that we Americans stopped burning witches and having gun duels on the street (well, except occasionally between drug dealers in the slums) a long time ago. We even wear shoes and wash our hands before we eat. Adams might be surprised if he could ever see past that bigoted nose of his.
-by RebeccaH

Non-American journalists seem to derive their expertise about America from watching bad TV shows. But TV is mostly written by lefties who project their own politically correct bogeymen onto the screen.

Marxist and Muslim terrorists, of whom we have decades of real-life examples, don’t exist in Hollywood’s fantasy factory. Instead we get kill-crazed Nazis and Klansmen, right-wing generals who want to take over the country, and politicians who plot the assassinations of their rivals.

These stock villains don’t exist, which is why it’s safe to make movies and TV shows about them.
-by lyle

"Has anyone asked Mr. Adams how many Aboriginal Australians have run for Prime Minister? And have they been shot at?”
Info on aborigines in Australian politics…

“Under Section 41 of the Australian Constitution Aboriginals always had the legal right to vote in Australian Commonwealth elections if their State granted them that right. This meant that all Aborigines outside Queensland and Western Australia had a legal right to vote. Indigenous Australians gained the unqualified right to vote in Federal elections in 1962. It was not until 1967 that they were counted in the population for the purpose of distribution of electoral seats. Only two Indigenous Australians have been elected to the Australian Parliament, Neville Bonner (1971-1983) and Aden Ridgeway (1999-2005). There are currently no Indigenous Australians in the Australian Parliament."--wiki

Looks like shooting black politicians isn’t much of an issue in Australia.

Maybe someone should ask Phat Phil why there aren’t too many blacks in Aussie politics. Maniacal racists at work?

Unlike Australia, the United States has lots of black members of Congress. I think 43 were elected in the 2006 elections. So far, none of them have been shot by maniacal racists, despite our blood-soaked history.
-by Dave Surls

Perhaps an American reader can help.

Do the US Secret Service need to protect the life of all US Presidents?

Or just the Democrats.
-by Dan Lewis
The thing is, the last time a racist shot a US president was ... Republican Abraham Lincoln. So how violent does politics get in the US? Does, as Phillip Adams states, the political discussion "often" turn violent? The last time a US political figure was in 1981: Ronald Reagan.

True, Saddam Hussein tried to use a car bomb to kill President George Bush the elder in 1993, in 1994 a man fired at least 29 shots at the white house with an SKS rifle, and in 2005 in Tbilisi, Georgia a man threw a grenade at President Bush the elder. None of these attempts actually hit a political figure, and only one was actually inside the US. Of the four presidents that were killed by assassin's bullets, three were Republicans (Lincoln, Mckinley, and Garfield), one a Democrat (Kennedy), all but one almost 100 years ago. Every sitting US president has had at least assassination threats, if not attempts even as feeble as "Squeaky" Fromme's empty gun pointed at President Ford.

Is there a better chance that Senator Obama face assassination than, say, Senator McCain? It's hard to say, one of the few things that western society really views as a sin these days is racism, but hatred of Republicans is not just tolerated, but encouraged. There are still some who hate blacks so much they'll kill, but it's impossible to know if there are more than those who hate Republicans so much they'll kill and further impossible to know which has the greater capacity and drive to carry this out against a major figure.

I would be horrified for any of the candidates to be shot, particularly Senator Obama because of how it would confirm all the weird fantasies and evil thoughts people have against the US. It's already going to be bad enough this political season with the slightest criticism of Senator Obama being labeled racist. I want him to live a long and happy life, just like I do any other person (except maybe the guys who came up with Reality TV).
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Quote of the Day

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present - and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”
-President Eisenhower
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Thursday, February 28, 2008


I have been working too hard on my other writing work, and as a result am feeling a bit under the weather. I'm sorry I don't feel up to putting anything impressive up today - that's why yesterday's content was a bit light. Please be patient, I'll be back up to usual content again soon as I can. In lieu of anything intelligent I offer up humorous pictures, mostly kitties:

At least you can smile a little, if not think much.


Quote of the Day

"Why was Sen. Trent Lott's kindness to former segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond a scandal but Obama's acquaintance with an unrepentant terrorist a triviality?"
-Jonah Goldberg
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008


When I was young, I used to draw comics. I'd do the whole thing, full length jobs that had a cover and all. They were pretty amateur stuff and they were done with pencil, I had no inker or colorist. 81/2 by 11 sheets of paper with panel after panel. Over the years I polished my art style and got better and better at it, I even had an online web comic for a while until I realized I had no readers, so why keep up the effort? For a long time I wanted to be a comic book writer and artist as a career, I knew it didn't pay particularly well and involved a lot of work but I loved it and had thousands upon thousands of ideas.

As I ran and played Champions (a super hero role playing game by Hero Games) campaigns, I developed a universe all my own, with a history, international details, superhero groups, settings, villains, and so on. The Kestrel Universe, it was called (if you're curious I have some details on my work website) and it even had a logo. I had big plans, but over time I came to realize three things:

First, my health wouldn't allow that kind of ambition, I simply can't do the work it takes to get a single comic done each month, let alone set up and run a business.
Second, the comic book business is not exactly booming, this is a bad time to get into comics and it would be a lousy business decision.
Third, writing, drawing, and working on comics is actually really really hard work. If you have a copy of Daredevil on DVD, ignore the lame movie and watch the special features, particularly the interviews with comic book artists of Daredevil over the years. They say it better than I can, because they have years of experience. Putting out one comic book a month takes 11-hour days just for the penciling.

Yet I had a business plan and a concept for how to run the business. First, I wanted to focus on the world, not the individual characters. This seems counterintuitive but let me explain.

The biggest flaw of superhero comics is that if you make any changes to the character, you've damaged the audience. Spiderman graduated from school, dropped out of college, got married, even had a kid. These changes changed the character and the stories that could be told to such a degree that the writers were in a bind to come up with content that matched the character's concept. Yet if a character is 400+issues of absolutely static, unchanging sameness, the comic becomes bland and repetitive. That's why Superman dies... but doesn't really and nothing changes. Batman has his back broken... but then is back fighting crime as if nothing happened a few years later.

The way to avoid this is to tell the stories of characters as stories rather than needing to come up with something to fit in the 22 pages every month no matter what. My concept was to have the universe the main character (something like what the comic Astro City eventually began to do - and I cannot recommend it highly enough). The characters would be in stories, and when the story ended, you went on to another character. Thus, instead of an ongoing comic, you'd have a series of short series such as 4 issue arcs, 12 issue main stories, and so on. One of the only ongoing series would be the story of the universe, with events that cross over "between titles" going on and weaving in and out, while the character-driven stories are temporary.

Another concept I had was a difference in annuals. Instead of having some special big story once a year in an Annual - a concept that did well in the past, but is so weak now most titles don't even have an annual every year - instead reprint that last year's issues in a paperback form, without ads. The paper could be cheap, you can skip the covers, and you just have the compilation each year. Here's what happened in 2003 in The Guardians. That way the comics themselves are collectible and can be stored, and the annuals read with an ongoing story that flows from issue to issue without a month's wait between.

I also planned to release the comics cheaper, by making them slightly smaller, using less high end coloring, and finding hungry, young artists looking for a break and giving them work. Since the concept allowed for breaks between titles, having the art and story team change regularly wouldn't be as disruptive as it is in ongoing titles. You don't have to pay some kid desperate to get into the business as much as you do a working professional. The one title that would differ would be the ongoing universe title, that would have top end talent whenever possible - including fiction writers.

Just some ideas I had. We all have dreams, I suppose, and for most of us the bulk of them simply don't pan out. But it was a nice dream.
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"I hate when otherwise meaningful words get transported into contexts where they are obscure and meaningless."

James Bond 22
Sometimes movies are harmed by their titles. They're hard to remember, or pronounce (Se7en? although that didn't seem to hurt the movie any) or are so long that they are just awkward, such as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Great talent in the movie, but did anyone go see it? The latest Indiana Jones movie suffers from it's title as well: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It's like they had a template they had to use Indy and the [insert word] of the [insert words] and felt compelled to follow it. People still talk about how lame The Phantom Menace was as a title, but ultimately it fit the plot (and the quality of the film).

The next James Bond movie in the franchise is going to be called Quantum of Solace. Why this name? The writer of the script was asked and he responded:
“I have no idea,” Paul Haggis admitted when I asked him for the meaning on the Oscar red carpet Sunday. “It’s not my title.”
At The Movie Blog, Rodney linked the origin of the phrase from Ask Yahoo (its from a short story by Ian Fleming) and gave his guess at why the title fits the story:
“Quantum of Solace” is a small degree of comfort that can exist between two people emotionally in a relationship. The Governor character in the Ian Fleming short story of the same name defines it as “… a precise figure defining the comfort, humanity and fellow feeling required between two people for love to survive. If the quantum of solace is nil, then love is dead.”

I am still at a loss as to what this will mean. Bond is dealing with his feelings over Vesper Lynd’s death in the previous film and perhaps this alludes to the shaping of the cold womanizer that Bond becomes later in his career. Keeping that “quantum” at nil, he can avoid falling in love.

Or maybe I am just grasping.
Actually from what I understand it's about the requirement in every relationship to have some time or area independent or solo to breathe and stabilize yourself in. That measurement is a quantum of solace - it doesn't have to be much, but it has to be there for the relationship to succeed. Rodney solicited explanations for the title from the readers, and among the suggestions were these:
“Quantum of Solace” is one of the last titles of Ian Fleming’s original Bond novels and short stories that haven’t yet been used by the movies. They’re just trying to create the impression that they’re “going back to the original stories”, but like the screenwriter says, the title doesn’t have anything to do with this movie’s story. There’s one more good title left, as far as I know, so I would bet the next one will be called “Risico.”
-by John

Holy crap, you know what that poster reminds me of? Scarface. Weird…maybe I’m just remembering the Vice City trailer as well, where he has the katana held in the same manner…

Anyway, you’re probably right. My guess is that Bond will meet a girl in this movie who will be wanting a deep relationship with him but he won’t allow it. In fact, to sleep with him, she’ll probably have to seduce him. Then in the end he’ll leave her heartbroken and continue on in his cold fashion of treating women.

Another route they could take is he starts a non-sexual but deeply emotionally intimate relationship with another man who has had HIS heart broken as well. That could be interesting as well - just THIS side of gay. Then in the end that guy breaks Bond’s heart as well.
-by nbakid2000

I have to say, the name “Quantum of Solace” isn’t as “cool” sounding as “Casino Royale” or “From Russia With Love” or the many others.

Over the years I have developed respect for the 007 franchise more than any other. So, if “they” say that the title will define itself in the movie, I believe them. For all we know, it may end up being another beautiful creative idea captured on film.
-by TM
My best guess is that Rodney is pretty close to the money. James Bond, bitter and hurt from losing Vesper Lynd will come to terms with not letting anyone close to him ever again and form the ice cold woman-using misogynist personality so well known in the books and movies. He'll enjoy women like he enjoys fine food and gambling but won't care about them as a person any more than that. He's already displayed a certain heartless, empty part in the first movie with the brief, dispassionate liason with Solange who ends up dead and he doesn't even care enough to shrug. That has to be seared into his character for all the women in his life, so this movie might do that particular bit justice.

Then again, who knows, based on the writer's comments.

This is one of the few Ian Fleming James Bond stories I've not read, there are plenty of good ones out there. The most entertaining are the ones that someone took a title from but little to nothing of the actual plot. The Fleming books are better than almost every single one of the movies, particularly the ghastly ones with Roger Moore (a very capable actor, put in sad, cheesy movies). If you've not read any James Bond books, I recommend them. The John Gardener books aren't as good but they are still entertaining and I have not read any of the books by Raymond Benson.
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Judge declares aerobics instructor too fit to stand trial
-The Onion

fit Muslim woman
Harvard, that bastion of political correctness so sensitive to women's issues and feminist demands it fired a president for suggesting maybe girls aren't as interested in math and science as boys, has shown even greater depth of sensitivity toward other cultures, recently:
Harvard University has moved to make Muslim women more comfortable in the gym by instituting women-only access times six hours a week to accommodate religious customs that make it difficult for some students to work out in the presence of men.

Men have not been allowed to enter the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center during certain times since Jan. 28, after members of the Harvard Islamic Society and the Harvard Women's Center petitioned the university for a more comfortable environment for women.

Harvard Islamic Society's Islamic Knowledge Committee officer Ola Aljawhary, a junior, said the women-only hours are being tested on a trial basis. The special gym hours will be analyzed over Spring Break to determine if they will continue, she said.
Truly, we could all learn from this level of multiculturalism and tolerance that leads the university to violate Massachusetts state discrimination laws. Ola Aljawhary was quoted as saying ""We live together in one community, it only makes sense for everyone to compromise slightly in order for everyone to live happily. This matter is simple: Can't we just display basic decency and show tolerance and inclusion for people not a part of the mainstream majority?" The story did not detail the things Islamic students gave up as part of this compromise.

Commenters at the Daily Free Press discussed the story by Abbie Ruzicka:
There's nothing quite like conforming to the least common denominator to really torpedo the entire concept of Western civilization. If Muslim women are worried about their "modesty" then maybe they should step out of the 7th century.
-by Greg

This is completely ridiculous. I am glad my campus has not implemented such a policy. The entire population of a school should not be forced to follow the rules set out by a minority RELIGIOUS group. As an atheist I would be offended and mystified as to why this policy went into effect. Harvard students should organize a protest and take their gym back. We in this country give way to much to Islam, when it never does the same for us in the west.
-by Ryan

Good progressive move, Harvard. Leading the way back to those good old days of "separate but equal" public facilities.

Why stop with re-segregating the gym? Go all out and emulate everything they do in the apartheid Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I read they arrested a woman because she illegally "mixed" with men other than her relatives at a Starbucks in Riyadh. So let's have special hours for women to go to Starbucks by themselves in Boston.

Whatever it takes to make Muslims feel comfortable. That's all that matters.
-by Paco

What if I belong to Aryan Nations and 'working out' with black people makes me 'uncomfortable'. That doesn't discriminate does it?

I thought "separate but equal" was unconstitutional.
-by Jen06

I see. So the way to get to a secular society is to bow down to intolerant religious demands. That's not hypocrisy. That's insanity.
-by Chuck

This is what's going to happen next...
Australian Muslim Students Want to Rearrange Classes Muslim university students want lectures to be rescheduled to fit in with prayer timetables and separate male and female eating and recreational areas established on Australian campuses.

-by Sick and Tired of Rats
I don't blame women for wanting to work out without guys in the room ogling them, or at least seeing how unfit they are. I don't blame them for wanting time to work out alone - that's why gyms like Curves exist, to accommodate this desire by women. I just can imagine exactly what would happen if the gym set aside male-only hours, and I'm a bit puzzled by why the university is doing so specifically to please Muslim students. As a society we're doing the opposite of what was done in past wars: instead of demonizing the opponent, we're embracing and accommodating their ostensible representatives among us. It was rough being an American German in WW1, or especially oriental in WW2.

Personally I'm amused by the double standard knots that PC relativism will tie people into. Anything overtly Christian is considered an improper imposition of religion on a secular institution - consider William and Mary's decision to remove the cross from their chapel because it's too overtly religious - but Muslims need to have special cultural consideration to keep their religious sensibilities intact?

This of course is part of the idiot philosophy that the minority is the oppressed and noble and the majority is the oppressor and the tyrant, so anything done to make the minority feel less oppressed and more comfortable is good, while anything that removes power and comfort from the majority is also good even if it contradicts the stated principles that each decision is ostensibly based upon.

I just have one final thought: Ms Aljawhary's question "Can't we just display basic decency and show tolerance and inclusion for people not a part of the mainstream majority" is a fair one, and if individual students decide to do this, I have no complaint. But the question can be asked in reverse as well: "Can't we just display basic decency and show tolerance and inclusion for people who are part of the mainstream majority" and be just as valid.
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Quote of the Day

"Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain."
-John F. Kennedy
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


"Whenever a female friend of mine says that all men are jerks, I usually ask her what the one constant was in all of her relationships."

Shoulder Cry
It's long been a running joke - but barely a joke - among my friends and I that we should all be bigger jerks because plainly women like them better. It's all too often you'll see a girl with a guy who treats her like trash, the common refrain is "why can't I meet a guy like you" followed up by finding yet another jerk. Why women do this varies from person to person, but Rachel Lucas took a stab at explaining it to her male readers:
There are three possible scenarios at play here:

Scenario 1: She just isn’t attracted to Nice-Guy Friend. Nothing wrong with that; we’re all entitled to avoid dating people we don’t find sexually appealing.

Scenario 2: She is attracted to Nice-Guy Friend, and that’s why she tells him these things. Many women are afraid to end one relationship without at least the potential of another one right in the wings, ready to manifest as soon as she wants it to.

Scenario 3: She is neutral about Nice-Guy Friend and doesn’t even really think about who she’s talking to when she drones on and on about Jerk Boyfriend, because her entire focus is actually on Jerk Boyfriend and she is self-absorbed, as most people are.
Now, I think she left off scenario 4: she's a dumb twit who doesn't know what she wants or likes - more common than the others, I suspect - but that covers it pretty well from what I've seen. Rachel suggests in unsubtle terms that women who date jerks all the time and complain to their more pleasent male friends probably ought to be avoided in romantic entanglements. That's advice I would endorse, but more on that in a minute. First, readers at Rachel Lucas' blog responded with these thoughts:
Yup. The accountability thing. Jerk Boyfriend is a jerk because nothing is ever HER fault…
-by stylinjulie

She will prove her womanly superiority by breaking that man if it’s the last thing she ever does.
Don’t forget, if she ever does get him to act the way she wants, she’ll lose all respect for him because now he’s a wimp.

I’ve run across this kind of woman before. There are forever going to guy-friend for advice and sympathy. Not that they EVER take his advice. In a way they are very cruel, because guy-friend winds up falling for them at least half the time. And then when he gets up his nerve to make a move it’s “How could you feel that way? You know we’re JUST FRIENDS” and he winds up shattered.
-by Drew458

Run away! Run away! Don’t look back.
Failing this, marry her.
Never mind. Just buy her a house and then move on with your life. You save money on lawyers that way.
-by Steve

While I generally agree with you - guys are always waiting on the sidelines waiting for an opening. Always. And, while its stupid for women to talk to guy friends about their jerk boyfriends….. “nice friend” is just waiting for the chance to pry her legs open. “Nice friend” is being “nice” because he thinks that will get him laid. He’ll sit there and listen to her confess about killing her dog - if he thought it would get him laid. “Nice friend” isn’t blameless. But - he can complain about being the victim of a crazy bitch. Circle of life… circle of life.
-by Snarkolepsy

This is either a 4th theory, or a variation on the others. I’ve known some women like this. They were lying when they said they wanted a nice guy and not a jerk. They are drama queens and attention whores. If you live with a nice, stable guy who treats people well (and of course it’s understood you think she herself is stable and reasonable - you are NOT hearing the jerk’s side of what a nightmare she is) well then, there’s no drama in life. No sympathy, no righteous indignation, no center of attention. They can’t stand peace and quiet, and even when things are good, they will create situations to change that, but still come out looking like a victim. They are goooood at that. Best thing to do is run for the hills. Even if all you will ever be is friends, once the pattern is established and you know what you’ve got on your hands, what’s the point of a sympathy/attention sucking vampire woman for a friend?
-by Marla

“I wish Jerk Boyfriend was more like you” and “why can’t I find a nice guy like you”? What most guys don’t realize is that the female who says that is not completing the rest of the thought. It goes something like…”I wish Jerk boyfriend was more like you but with a killer bod with a pretty boy face. Pretty much agrees with Rachel’s scenario #1.
-by DL from Heidelberg

I’ve actually been the “jerk boyfriend.” After the relationship ended, she was all on about all these problems she had with me (that led to her cheating and the relationship ending), none of these things seemed even remotely realistic from my point of view. She never talked to me about any problems, but apparently I was the devil while we were dating.

What I couldn’t figure out was why she kept dating me if I was the return of Hitler. I’ve since found out that, to put it bluntly, bitch crazy. Her religion and political beliefs are determined by those of whoever she’s dating; if he’s a Republican, she’s a Republican. If he’s a Christian, she’s a Christian. If he’s agnostic, so is she. While she’s dating him, he’s a saint. The second she stops, he sacrifices babies to Yeenoghu. I don’t actively associate with her any longer, but every few months I hear from her or about her.

I’m so glad I was a Jerk-Boyfriend and avoided seeing where that crazy train was heading.
-by Adam Lawson

This scenario leads me to speak of The Rule of B., where once long ago B. recognized that Jerk Boyfriends always had Good Looking Girlfriends. He said to us in perhaps the greatest moment of adolescent wisdom ever recorded, he said, “Get ‘em young, treat ‘em like s**t, take ‘em nowhere… and they’ll love you forever.”

Once we realized that what he said was Truth, we had a sandwich and moved along. There was nowhere else to go from there.
-by ookina tsubasa

I’ve been the girl with the friend who was always complaining about her “jerk”. It didn’t take me long to realize that she was just using the complaining as a way of bragging about the fact that 1) she HAD a boyfriend —and figured I never would, so needed to be told how to handle guys just in case and 2) how well she could “train” a guy to do what she wanted him to.

I learned from her. I never dated jerks. I figured if he someone I wanted to spend time with, then he must not be a jerk at all. And training? Ugh. Training is what you do to DOGS (and what cats do to their staff). Not what you do to the person with whom you think has the potential to be the one with whom you spend even part of your life.
-by Nancy

I was married to a psycho-princass for the ten longest months of my life. She wanted to tell me who my friends were, what I could do and where I could go. Failure to comply was asking for it.

Having survived that ordeal I then got a job that required lots of international travel. Since I make friends easily I was invited to dinner in average people’s homes all around the world - Germany, Switzerland, England, Mexico, Israel, to name a few. Anyway, the difference between American women and others could not have been more profound.

Every place I went invariably we would be sitting around after dinner having a few beers and the beers would run dry. Husband would then ask, ” Wife, please fetch us a couple of beers.” At which point I ‘d duck behind a chair or some other barrier that might block the projectile I was sure would be heading our way. Never happened. The wife would simply appear in a few moments with a couple of beers and a smile and would usually ask if we were having a good time - actually hoping that we were (or appeared to, what’s the difference?).

Anyway, I think there is something wrong with the way we raise our women. I don’t pretend to be smart enough to know what it is - but something is wrong.

Remember, anytime you see an attractive woman walking down the street - she is making some poor bastard’s life a living hell.
-by OhioGuy

Whoa. Did any of you work a rape or domestic abuse hotline? Obviously not. I have.

The overwhelming majority of abuse cases are women, getting battered around by their Jerk Boyfriends/Husbands. Sadly, a lot of them date men who are just like Daddy, who taught them all about getting beat up when they were little girls.

I worked a Hot Line for several years and I can tell you that abusive men love to entangle a vulnerable girl in a possessive relationship that seems great for a while, until the poor thing finds out she’s trapped, sometimes with kids and no money and no self esteem. And in need of makeup to hide the bruises.

If you have a nice girlfriend who complains about her jerk boyfriend, ask her to set up a talk with a counselor at her school or job. If she’s complaining to you and she hasn’t left the relationship, why not? Is her self esteem so low she feels this is what she deserves? Does she really need help?

Or you could assume she’s a “Princass” and abandon her because you can’t get into her pants. That’s friendship, I’m telling you. I’m glad my friends listened to my whining about my jerk boyfriend, and got me help before I ended up a statistic on the evening news.
-by Bonnie

Another angle to the nice guy/put-upon gal relationship.

She wants to gripe and moan about the jerk du jour.

He, being a typical he, wants to fix it. Guys are most often, by nature, handymen. We like to “make things right.”

She on the other hand just wants a pair of ears to hear her - not to “fix” anything.

It took me about 20 years of marriage to differenciate between an addition to my honey-do-list and a time of spouting off about something.

Most importantly, I have learned to ASK. “Is there something I need to do, or do just need me to know this?” This has been surprisingly simple. It has also shortened my honey-do-list considerably. Whew… now I don’t have to go out and shorten the lifespan of people my wife considers a PITA. I just have to know (not even neccessaryily agree - though I keep those thoughts to myself).

Axiom: A woman always has the last words in an argument. If the man thinks he has, he has just spoken the first words of the next arguement.
-by Rob

I think that scenario 1 is the most common (at least during high school/college) reason we date the so called jerks….if we are popular enough to get dates, and often we really do wish we could be attracted to someone like “guy friend” it is only as we grow up and realise that a guys popularity/status isnt the best reason for dating that we can see how truly attractive guy friend really is.
I am now married to Alex(who started all this it seems) and I am so glad that all those girls just wept on his shoulder then went on back to the boyfriend. I have a husband who really understands women (or at least knows when to nod and say “Yes dear” so it sounds like he understands them)
It drives me crazy that a great deal of women my age bitch and complain about the guys they are married to, I am sure some of them have very good reason to, but it seems that most often they are just in some sort of strange competition to see who is married to the worst guy.
-by Jen

When I was younger my uncle once told me “Treat whores like queens and queens like whores. That’s how you get a woman!”. I didn’t believe him then; he always smelled like Irish Whiskey.

So I started out my dating career as the Nice Guy, the one who would treat a girl like royalty and kiss her princass if it would make her happy. It took me a few years to learn this didn’t work, as the girl would invariably leave because, as one girl put it, I let her walk all over me. At first I thought “What kind of girl would want to walk all over someone they cared about?”. Then the lights came on and I realized that girls don’t care for or respect someone that wishy-washy. They don’t necesarily want a jerk (at least the ones with their heads on straight). They want a Man.

Lesson learned.

Since then I have changed my tactics. i wouldn’t say I have become the Jerk Boyfriend, but I have become a good hybrid. I allow my inner Jerkwad to shine on occasion, especially when a girl is showing signs of Queenish behavior, and as a result girls don’t walk out on me anymore (well, hardly ever). I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but it just is. There are times when it pays to be Mr. Romantic and there are times when it pays to be Johnny Jackass. The trick is knowing when to reign each one in.
-by Paul T
The age old battle between men and women will never end, because while similar in so many ways (identical in most, biologically speaking), the two different genders are quite distinct. It's not really a battle in the sense of conflict so much as a struggle to comprehend and relate to each other. Women and men often are bizarre and incomprehensible to each other, largely due to personality differences.

As pointed out by commenter Rob above, men are primarily oriented toward taking action, while women are primarily oriented toward relationships. When a woman cries on your shoulder about how her boyfriend is such a jerk, she's often, perhaps usually just looking for a sympathetic ear. When the guy hears this, he's looking for a way to fix the problem. When he has a crush on the girl or is after her sexually, it becomes even more frustrating. She won't listen to suggestions, won't change, won't do what it takes to end the problem, and he won't just listen or be a sympathetic ear.

Of course, most of these "nice guys" are not so much nice as doormats, so they will put up with any amount of misery and abuse to be that sympathetic ear, hoping that maybe the door will open for them to be the sweetheart she's always dreamed of. The fantasy involves her suddenly realizing after all this time that you really are the nice guy she's always wanted, she texts her boyfriend and dumps him and you run off into the sunset holding hands.

The problem is, if you're just a girlfriend with a penis, she will never see you as that guy, and why should she? She wants a man, not a woman with hair on her chest. She wants a man who will be strong, protective, a distinct human being, not a needy sponge for her whims and emotions. She doesn't want an absorbent rag for her tears - not as a sweetheart. She wants a man. If you're the kind that always gives in, always does what she wants, always gives up what he wants for her, always says things her way, always tries to love rather than lead, you're not a nice guy. You're a feeb. You're the kind of guy no woman really is all that attracted to because you've no strength or character, you're limp as overcooked spaghetti, you're not just boring, you're without distinction or attraction.

Most women (and men) have no clue what real masculinity is about, but they yearn for it and often find themselves in an endless string of lousy relationships because the guys are faux masculine and false manly. They substitute being mean for being tough, they offer being thoughtless and selfish for being independent and strong. They replace insensitivity and even physical violence for protection and construction. And since women are just as clueless about what a man is as most men in western culture, that seems sort of like what they always wanted. He's a tough guy, see, he hit me! He's strong, see, he mocks my friends. He's independent, see, he blew off a date and went out with another girl.

There's also a serious flaw in many women that they want someone to fix. Avoid this kind of girl at all costs, even if you must gnaw off a limb. She's not interested in you, she's interested in what you will be when she's done smoothing off the rough edges. A nice guy is already what she's after, you're boring and she has no purchase to manipulate you with. A jerk has lots of rough edges and plenty of challenge, and besides he's interesting.

A real jerk is useful to a certain kind of woman too. This is the princass that Rachel Lucas mentions, the kind of girl for whom the whole world is about them and the kind that needs someone to blame. She's the girl that never was wrong, it was always that guy she was with. She didn't do anything wrong, he always did. The jerk provides plausible deniablity, if it doesn't work out obviously, he was a jerk, she doesn't have to feel guilty about it. If she's upset with life, he's to blame, not her. The jerk provides a princass with the perfect excuse. The nice guy she bawls on the shoulder of gives her the outlet to justify her overeating, her sleeping around, her treating the guy like trash, her string of lousy boyfriends to.

And despite all lies and press to the contrary, women want a hot guy with a tight bod and a cute face. They put up great PR about being more interested in what he's like inside and how caring he is and how sensitive and nurturing and blah blah blah. It's lies, they want a good looking sweety just like guys do. If you're not that good looking and don't have a hot body, you're just a male she can be friends with but never that way (usually they conceal the "eewww" pretty well). Chances are, if you're the guy that the girls always want as a friend, you're the guy that doesn't measure up to their shallow and immature desires for a guy. They want the hunk, the hot guy that makes them dizzy. You're probably not that guy, but you're more the personality they like, so you're attractive to them in another sense, and they replace that with friendship.

Make no mistake, there are genuinely good men who are real nice guys, not the faux doormat type who have friends like this. These real good men aren't just trying to find a way to pry her legs apart while she cries on their shoulder, although sex is not unthinkable to them. They're guys who have a friend and want to help. They are guys who are good men who can't figure out why this girl they know keeps getting involved with scum.

And make no mistake, as Bonnie points out in a comment above, there are women in genuine need who are with real bad guys. Not just jerks who treat them with insufficient respect, but brutes who hurt them, deliberately and physically. Men who are sadistic, filled with hate for women, or rages that cause them to do serious harm. These women need someone to help them away from this kind of relationship.

The thing is, there's a good reason that jokes like this exist about women:

Pretty, sane, smart.
-Pick 2

And these about men:

Handsome, Rich, Polite
-Pick 2

We're messed up, and the first place we need to start is a rock bottom comprehension of virtues and why we believe what we do about life. Upon that foundation, we can move on to what a real man and a real woman is, and strive for that ideal. From that we can build a real relationship with each other. There will always be struggles and difficulty, at least in this world. But we can do a lot better than we have been, and it all begins with rejecting the notions that this life is all there is and that being happy, comfortable, and entertained are the highest goals a human can achieve.
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"You're going to eat that??"

It is a common and well known phenomenon that many pregnant women begin to get very strange and unpredictable food cravings - pickles, ice cream, what have you - without pattern or precedent. Even foods they didn't care for all the sudden sound wonderful. Tastes vary even without the chaotic soup of hormones pregnancy causes, and sometimes those tastes can be pretty bizarre, at least to most people.

MSNBC's online site recently had an article on bizarre foods (not Andrew Zimmer this time), pointing out that scientists really can't figure out why some people like some foods and others don't. Jane Weaver brought up the idea of odd foods this way:
The most common cravings are for sweet or creamy foods and salty snacks, experts say. Many of you get an urgent need for combinations of salty and sweet together — like Doritos and vanilla ice cream — or salty and sour, like the pickles and potato chips that give C. Sartor of Los Angeles that feel-good feeling.

Stress, boredom and smell are often the biggest triggers for food cravings, although they can also be associated with hormonal fluctuations, as any mother-to-be or woman in the throes of premenstrual syndrome can confirm.
They asked readers for their odd taste, and here's a sample of the responses:
Sometimes I put creamy peanut butter on top of a hot hamburger and then top it off with slices of white onion. The peanut butter melts into the meat.....mmmmmm
—by Bonnie Scott

M&Ms dumped into a bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles is what does it for me. That salty and sweet taste combined is a must have at least once a month.
—by Tina Wyre

My husband craves often a peanut butter and mustard sandwich on cheap white bread. YUCK.
—by Toni

During one pregnancy I craved bacon fat. I would fry up the bacon and then just dip bread in the bacon fat and eat it. During another pregnancy I would dip sour cream potato chips into vanilla ice cream and eat it.
—by Kasi

I take a pretty healthy snack — cottage cheese — then proceed to totally cancel out any nutritional value by scooping some onto plain potato chips. I know, it's weird ... but strangely satisfying. After I eat it I generally feel disgusted with what I've done, but my tastebuds are completely thrilled.
—by Krista

I have been craving olives and jalapenos placed on top of carmel swirl ice cream. Noo, I am not pregnant. (Hysterectomy in 1995) No clue why. I just have to have it.
—by Thea Yonge

I have in the past craved "Argo" laundry starch. My mother used to also eat it, as well as other female relatives. I especially craved it once when I was pregnant, but found out the company no longer made the starch, at least not in the desired form that I wanted, which was solid chucks, not the loose powder. I searched every mom & pop store I could find and even called a cousin in California who told me she had to stop eating it because it was no longer sold. I tried to wet the powder form and let it dry to see if I could get it to come out the same, but it didn't. I started eating chipped ice instead.
-by anonymous

I Love Cheese Curls and Del Monte pears in the can. Salty and sweet. I feel like a dying cockroach, feet and hands in the air, like going to heaven.
—by Fred Dennis

When I was younger I always had a craving for chocolate chip cookies...on a sandwich....with mayonnaise. Despite what others might was tasty.
—by Tila Wymonds

Oreos & salsa
—by Gary

Ice cream sandwich & Cheetos, grapes & Lay's potato chips. I love both of these combos. I wouldn't think I would hurt anyone to get these foods, but then again, I really do like them. After indulging my craving, I feel great.
—by Brenda Hollingsworth
Whether the responses being predominantly women says something about female tastes or just the readership of MSN is not clear. What is clear is that these are some pretty odd snacks. Some of them (salsa and raw ramen noodles, or chunks of cheddar cheese and dill pickles) sounded pretty ordinary and tasty to me, but then I like eating raw noodles, macaroni, and ramen for a snack.

It's been known for some time now that it is common for people with an iron deficiency to hunger for ice, just frozen water. Some people, particularly pregnant women, seem to get a yen for dirt. That's right, dig it up from the ground earth, the stuff in your yard. These both seem related to nutritional lacking (the medical term is pica), but according to scientists that's not the usual reason. Most cravings are simply without discernible cause.

Certain people seem to crave certain kinds of food, not a conscious yearning, but rather a feeling of satisfaction and fullness that results from eating the food. This can vary from person to person, but some find fatty foods more "filling" and others sweet foods, or salty foods. For such a person, eating the foods that lack enough of this kind of component leaves them feeling unsatisfied, unfilled, so they eat more until they get that part. At least, that appears to be the way it works in my observation.

Lamb CrispsIn England, they sell the strangest chip flavors (particularly the company Walkers, they call them 'crisps' in England, since 'chip' is their word for french fries). For example:
  • Steak and Onion
  • Prawn Cocktail
  • Marmite Yeast Extract
  • Tomato Ketchup
  • Worcester Sauce
To each his or her own, as long as you're not unhealthy about it and thus personally destructive. Wisdom and temperance are both virtues that apply to food and appetite of whatever kind. So do you have any odd food likes, or cravings?
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"History will teach us nothing"

The saying goes "Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it" which is George Santayana's way of noting that people who don't learn from history tend to make the same mistakes. It is the mistakes and events of the past that teach the wise how to react to the present and prepare for the future. For instance, the failure to respond adequately to terrorist activities and check for their deeds led congress to beef up the FISA act and protect phone companies from legal action, a mistake that the Democratic Congress seems intent upon repeating.

One of the valid complaints about presidents past, and indeed President Bush up to the point of 9/11, was that none of them paid sufficient attention to terrorism, relying on the ocean to protect the US from terrorist attack. Yet the timeline of terrorist assaults goes back further than most people think. Was it the first World Trade Center bombing that began Islamic jihad on American soil? The Khobar Towers bombing of a US embassy? When did it all start?

At the Captain's Quarters, one of Captain Ed's final posts before he moves to Hot Air was a timeline of terrorist attacks that have been largely ignored, to our peril, starting with a story by Andrew McCarthy (not the one from Pretty in Pink) at National Review online:
During October and November 1990, Kahane embarked on a speaking tour of the United States. On the evening of November 5, he appeared in a ballroom at the Marriott Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Fifty or sixty people were in attendance for the two-hour lecture, including [Sayyid] Nosair and two associates: Mohammed Salameh and Bilal Alkasi.

At the conclusion of his speech, Kahane mingled with audience members near the podium. Nosair approached, concealing a .357 magnum Sturm Ruger revolver, fully loaded with hollow-point rounds, its barrel shortened, the sight filed down (to avoid inadvertent hooking on clothing at the moment of truth), and the serial number obliterated—the trademarks of an assassin. Worming his way into a small knot of people, Nosair suddenly drew from a distance of about seven feet, pumping two shots into Kahane and killing him instantly.
Yet we must go further back before we see the first jihadi acting on American soil, courtesy a commenter at the Captain's Quarters:
Salahuddin drove the jeep by himself to Bethesda, Maryland. He stopped at a pay phone outside a diner to call the home of Ali Akbar Tabatabai, a former press attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Washington, who had become an outspoken opponent of Ayatollah Khomeini. When Tabatabai answered, Salahuddin hung up. Minutes later, at around eleven-forty, he parked the jeep in front of Tabatabai's house, on a quiet cul-de-sac, and walked to the door carrying what looked like two special-delivery packages. He held one package, a decoy crammed with newspapers, in front; it obscured the second package, inside which Salahuddin held the pistol in his right hand, his finger on the trigger. The house was used as a meeting place for the Iran Freedom Foundation, a counter-revolutionary group, and one of Tabatabai's associates answered the door. Salahuddin asked for Tabatabai—saying that the delivery required his signature—and when he appeared Salahuddin shot him three times in the abdomen and fled. Forty-five minutes later, at 12:34 P.M., Tabatabai was pronounced dead at Suburban Hospital.
Captain Ed sounds a note of concern about the response to these events and where we've begun to go in the years since 9/11:
After [Kahane's] assassination, one might have expected all of this evidence and surveillance to arouse deep suspicions of conspiracies and future terrorist attacks. However, authorities went out of their way to assure everyone that Nosair was just a "lone deranged gunman", in the words of the NYPD. The FBI, which had plenty of evidence pointing in the opposite direction, ignored it completely. The Bush 41 administration did nothing to pursue a trove of evidence from Nosair that something larger could be afoot in Abdel Rahman's cell, and surveillance apparently remained off-limits.
Be sure to read the entire essay from McCarthy. After doing so, ask yourself how much we have learned since Kahane's assassination -- and how much we have forgotten since 9/11. This wasn't a Democratic or Republican problem in the past, it was a problem of arrogance combined with ignorance and a desire to avoid the appearance of racism by the media and government. Its a problem we're returning to by people who want so badly to ignore the threat and hide under the covers again. Readers at the Captain's Quarters responded:
The toxic cloud of political correctness and identity politics prevented the FBI from protecting the American people during Bush 41. Clinton's Justice Department convicted the blind sheik and his associates, but tipped off Bin Laden of our surveillance during the trial. As a consequence, we lost Bin Laden's trail.

Clinton's Justice Department indicted Bin Laden in 1998. Does anyone believe that the indictment protected America?
-by quickjustice

Most leftists refuse to believe that the 1998 Clinton Justice Department indictment even happened.

Why is that?

Because it also tied bin Laden to Iraq-3 years before 9/11.
-by Del_Delmonte

Back in the day, it was the Royal Navy that (more or less) kept the peace, and we prospered through the 19th century because of it (excepting the unfortunate period we refer to as the War of Northern Aggression). Because Britain was more or less friendly to us and more because the Royal Navy kept the rest of the rapacious, avaricious, militarist Euros the hell away from British possessions in the Western Hemisphere, we didn't have to spend money on a modern army or navy. (For those who, like me, believe in a strong American military as the best guarantee for peace, the shabby state into which successive administrations and Congresses allowed our military to fall by the 1880s makes you weep... or snarl with rage).

Now, the situation is somewhat reversed. The US military is keeping the peace in Europe. This may well change because (1) there are plenty of politicians who will reduce the military either in the interests of having more money available for social programs or because they think the the US military is the prime threat to world peace; and (2) I think a lot of Americans are getting rather sick and tired of bailing the Euros out and getting nothing but sneers and lectures in return.

The Euros may well pay for their laziness. I hope not, however: the last two times they've screwed the pooch, we've had to step in to keep things from going totally to hell at cost of considerable American blood and treasure. I also don't want to see the Euros suffer, though they seem bent on repeating the mistakes of 1938. The enemy is at the gates, and they want to pretend that talk will keep him out.
-by docjim505

It seems the Euros are incapable of keeping the peace with or without arms.

If the United States is not the arbiter there will be no peace; no balance to the endless ethnic squabbles of Europe and potnetial threats from the East.

If the left pushes the US to reduce our military presence and power, utltimately we will be dragged in.

It truly is a pay now or pay later situation.
-by mylegsareswollen

After doing so, ask yourself how much we have learned since Kahane's assassination -- and how much we have forgotten since 9/11.
...and how many new cells have developed, most likely inside 'sanctuary' cities, or Dearborn, or Hamtramsk, or maybe even Southern St. Louis, among other places.
-by Otter

In my mind, I trace it back even futher. To 1968 and the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Sirhan Sirhan, though not technically muslim, was an Arab Palestinian who came to America at the age of 12. He long held great anger over the creation of Israel and felt betrayed by Kennedy's support for Israel in the Six-Day War, which began exactly one year before the assassination

Though I, or we, had no real ability, at that time, to fathom what Arab/Muslim extremists were capable of - It was the first exposure personally to me and many others.
-by jmcomb
I wouldn't call Sirhan Sirhan an Islamic jihadi, but his sympathies certainly lay with such folks. So what are the lessons of the past we must not forget?

One obviously I mentioned before: our intelligence network has to try to catch bad guys, and to do so we have to make sure that the telecommunications companies that pass on the raw data to sift through are not sued for their assistance, something the Democratic congress refused to extend or even make permanent. This has already been detrimental to our intelligence efforts, according to a report by the Washington Post (no friend of President Bush).
"We have lost intelligence information this past week as a direct result of the uncertainty created by Congress' failure to act," [Director of National Intelligence] McConnell and [Attorney General] Mukasey wrote to Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), chairman of the House intelligence committee. "Because of this uncertainty, some partners have reduced cooperation."

The two officials noted that some companies have "delayed or refused compliance" with requests to add surveillance targets to general orders that were approved before the law expired.
Another lesson that should have been learned is that jury trials in the civilian legal system are damaging to intelligence. The trial of Omar Abdel-Rahman (lawyer Lynn Stewart's sweetheart) was successful in convicting and jailing the terrorist leader for his work in the first World Trade Center bombing, but in the process, Osama Bin Laden and al`Qaeda learned much of the surveillance techniques and information gathering efforts the US was involved in. Public trials = intel bonanza for the bad guys. That's absolutely the wrong way to go about it. We either must do military tribunals or find a new way to try these men in which the trial and the efforts to capture and convict are not declassified and blared to the world.

The third lesson that should have been learned is that PC attitudes and attempts to avoid seeming racist are suicidal. The approach toward any terrorist attack needs to be ruthlessly real and truthful. It doesn't matter if they are Arabic or Muslim, or Pakistani and Hindu or Japanese and Shinto or any other various blend of peoples. The category that they should be viewed under is "terrorist" and the approach should be blind to all other categories. That's why Justice is portrayed as blind: it doesn't matter what you look like or what your background is, the facts are the only important part.

The random checks in airports trying to avoid conspicuously checking obviously Muslim or plainly young male middle eastern people is ridiculous, you target the people most likely to commit the crime, not just whoever at random. Every single attack by a terrorist in the US has been done by people who look like terrorists or are Muslims with Isalmic names.

The DC Sniper terrorist case is one of the worst examples of this, the man responsible was pulled over and questioned half a dozen times, but let go because the presumption was it had to be an angry white man even if the evidence all pointed to this one guy. The public statements refused to even consider the possibility of the perpetrator being Muslim. When CNN reported on the arrest, they used his old name, not used for years, the name before he changed it legally to a Muslim name. They didn't bother mentioning his Islamic religion, deliberately avoiding the obvious.

Around the world, when Islamic men rise up in riots and "protests" burning cars, killing police and terrorizing the neighborhood, newspapers routinely refer to them as "youths" and avoid any description that would make it clear these are Islamic Asians and Middle Easterners. This is absurd, they're reversing the process of racism, negatively calling attention to their religion by distinctly and intentionally avoiding it. As a culture we cannot continue this, we have to face what we're against and call it what it is: radical Islam, when it's radical Islam. Arabs when they're Arabs.

Holding HandsFourth, our Saudi friends have been given the royal treatment for a long time now. This is the last tattered remnant of realpolitik in place, the assumption being that Saudi Arabia is a human rights violating despotic regime that breeds and harbors terrorists, but they're our despotic regime and they are a stabilizing force in the middle east. That may well be, but it doesn't mean that we have to bend over backward to protect, accommodate, and befriend the Saudi powers in legal activity, reporting, intelligence, and foreign policy. The state department cordially assisted Bin Laden's family out of the country, following Richard Clarke's directives because they're a powerful and wealthy Saudi family. There's some evidence that the failure to follow up on the Kahane assassination was because of Saudi influence in the Bush white house. That kind of self-destructive approach to politics and policy must end. If our friendship with the Saudis prevents us from taking wise and proper action, we have to hurt that friendship.

Pretending the danger's not real is a game that the left and anti-war types want to play and have for almost 7 years now. It's the 9/10 attitude that helped the terrorist strike in September take place: ignoring the signs, shrugging at the evidence, avoiding the intelligence gathering, assisting trial lawyers at the expense of fighting terrorism. Yes, we live in a dangerous world and we have to face scary things. Adults understand that and deal with it. Intellectually and morally immature people try to hide from it and wrap themselves in entertainment and pleasures.

In the end, America has been fighting this evil since its earliest days with the Barbary Pirates and the battle has been going on for centuries, before that millennia with other nations. This battle is not a quick one, it's something we'll face and have to deal with again and again periodically over the centuries as time goes on. Right now we're in the middle of one of those hot periods and the worst thing we can do is slouch back to 9/10.
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Quote of the Day

"There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president."
-Kurt Vonnegut
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Monday, February 25, 2008


"Michelle Obama's thesis in a condensed form: most blacks don't like or feel comfortable around whitey."

One of the more obnoxious arguments sometimes made goes something like this: "you aren't a woman so you can't understand." This is a variation on the ad hominem argument from authority, a basic logical fallacy. The presumption being that whatever the topic is, you simply have to accept anything the person says because they are part of an identity group, and you are not.

The truth is, there are some aspects to life and experience that cannot be fully understood until you experience them. However, that does not somehow translate into the experience being completely alien and incomprehensible. I'll never know exactly what it feels like to give birth, but I do know what pain, fear, anxiety, and exhaustion are like, so I have some concept of the experience. A woman will never know exactly what it's like for a man to be kicked in the crotch, but she does understand pain. It's the same kind of argument the relativist makes, where they argue since you cannot know anything completely, perfectly, and exhaustively, then you can't really know anything for certain. It's nonsense. We don't need to know anything that well, all we need to know is enough to act wisely and responsibly.

Yet this kind of argument is used routinely by various identity groups, carefully nurtured and encouraged by the left in western culture. One such example is the senior thesis of Michelle Obama, wife of presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama. The thesis starts out with these lines in the introduction (courtesy the Politico where you can see the entire thesis):
"My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my 'blackness' than ever before, I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second."
She then goes on to assert that she will always be black first, and ended up at a black-first church. The paper was based on a survey that the woman sent out to 400 different students, from which she got 90 responses. It's all about how blacks don't feel like part of the crowd in Princeton.

Mrs Obama's thesis runs along the same kind of lines many have in the past: I'm [insert group here] and everyone treats me different, I feel left out, people think of meas [insert group here] first and I am not part of the in crowd, they won't let me play in their reindeer games, and so on. Perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh, but this kind of thing always makes me sigh for reasons I'll go into below.

At Ace of Spades HQ, Ace mocked Mrs Obama's "first time I've felt proud of my nation" line and linked the National Review link to Politico (for some reason). Commenters responded:
What she wrote then is relevant if it's consistent with what she says and what she does now. From what I've heard from her so far (which isn't much), and what was reported at the link, she hasn't changed much.
-by Cranky-d

"Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second."
Yeah yeah, those ivy league schools are just awash in vicious racism. How painful it must have been for her, how did she manage to survive, knowing when a white student talked to her, he might be thinking of her as a black student attending Princeton, rather than a student who is black and attending Princeton.

Is this the kind of crap you can get away with as a thesis at Princeton?
-by wahhaw

Holy crap!

Page 63
"In essence, in order to advance in their careers or post-graduate studies, respondents realize they must be able to get along with their co-workers or classmates who are likely to be White, thereby identifying more with Whites.

I began this study questioning my own attitudes as a future alumnus. I wondered whether or not my education at Princeton would affect my identification with the Black community. I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with Whites as a result of the educational and occupational path that Black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the Black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility."
Speaking as a scientist myself, Michelle Obama committed the cardinal sin of conducting a study by putting forth a conclusion first and then trying to find facts that back it up. That's not the way it's done. She admitted her bias before collecting her data, possibly skewing it. Do all liberals work this way? It would explain a lot.

Reading a bit further into her conclusions, I find them to be incredibly slanderous to blacks in general. She is making the black students attending Princeton seem like emotionally fragile whiners who see nothing but white people oppressing them at every turn. Did other non-white students feel like this or just blacks? She doesn't even go there. To her, only the responses from black students mattered. It would have been quite illuminating had she bothered to collect responses from other non-white students and compared the results. I can only wonder.
-by EC

To research her thesis, the future Mrs. Obama sent an 18-question survey to a sampling of 400 black Princeton graduates, requesting the respondents define the amount of time and "comfort" level spent interacting with blacks and whites before they attended the school, as well as during and after their University years. Other questions dealt with their individual religious beliefs, living arrangements, careers, role models, economic status, and thoughts about lower class blacks. In addition, those surveyed were asked to choose whether they were more in line with a "separationist and/or pluralist" viewpoint or an "integrationist and/or assimilationist" ideology.

Just under 90 alums responded to the questionnaires (for a response rate of approximately 22 percent) and the conclusions were not what she expected. "I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with whites as a result of the educational and occupational path that black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility."
Actually, because Michelle's survey of 400 was only responded to by 90 of the black alumni, 22% findings, she can not claim that those do or do not support anything beyond themselves. That the 22% responding black alumni did not identify with the black community applies to themselves, not necessarily to the 78% who did not respond. Those 78% who refused to respond tell their own tale. That silent majority sang a song without words that Michelle chose to ignore and omit from her findings.
-by Maverick Muse

I don't care about the topic. You should have seen the dreck that my fellows were doing for their thesis topics. What offends me is the language. Didn't she have someone to edit this thing?
-by Gabriel

Speaking as a scientist myself, Michelle Obama committed the cardinal sin of conducting a study by putting forth a conclusion first and then trying to find facts that back it up. That's not the way it's done.

It is in sociology. This is Ph.D.-level stuff for the wussmanities and socialist "sciences." Absolute total dreck. There is no hope for academia as long as they indulge in this twaddle.

While I'm at it, I am really tired of people ooohing and aaahing over a Harvard law degree. You go into law school for one of two reasons: To make a lot of money or because math is too tough. There's virtually no international competition in law schools, unlike grad schools in the sciences, where American kids have to compete against much better educated students from every corner of the world.

If I had a lobotomy, the piece they would take out would be able to graduate Harvard law.
-by Mathguy

Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments.
To illustrate the latter statement, she pointed out that Princeton (at the time) had only five black tenured professors on its faculty, and its "Afro-American studies" program "is one of the smallest and most understaffed departments in the university."

In addition, she said only one major university-recognized group on campus was "designed specifically for the intellectual and social interests of blacks and other third world students."

Speller* Yes, this is what I expected her to think.

This is what Canadian Blacks think, that they should have special "Black Studies" and "Black Targeted Goodies" because the are, for want of a better description, Black.

*Back to the article at Politico

She quotes the work of sociologists James Conyers and Walter Wallace, who discussed "integration of black official(s) into various aspects of politics" and notes "problems which face these black officials who must persuade the white community that they are above issues of race and that they are representing all people and not just black people," as opposed to creating "two separate social structures."

Speller* Well I'll be dipped in Dog@#%$!

She complains there isn't enough separate "Black" specific social structure at Princeton while noting it could be a problem facing black officials to "persuade" the white community that they are above caring about creating two separate social structures.

Is she schizoid or really what is the word for someone like this, without using the word Liberal or a variation thereof?
-by Speller

Sociology can be real science
I suppose. Under strict laboratory conditions, under which the sociologists are reared in isolation from one another that it could hope to become a shadow of what might resemble a science.

In practice, however, this does not happen. Moreover, sociology and all of the humanities and social sciences are diseased beyond repair. There's no bringing them back. It's like de Tocqueville and robbing from the treasury. Once the H&SSers discovered their methods could be used to influence public policy, there is no going back to what could be actual science, in theory.

Biology is going down the same road with medicine-show-like promises of cures and climatology has finally gone over the edge with their non-falsifiable hypothesis. With mathematics, you have one standard: proof.

Metaphysical certainty, every single time.

Only two generations ago, mathematics was dominated by dangerous leftist loners who eventually got together to found the modern "peace" movement.

(a) It was hardly a movement created by mathematicians. (b) They didn't use mathematical proofs to buttress their arguments. And I don't care if a bunch of mathematicians are leftists. They'll be doing math. The Unabomber was a mathematician and he had endless tracts on...environmentalism. Nobody knew what he had done for a living because it wasn't relevant.

Plus, any idiot can do sociology. You don't see kids saying, "Dude, I'm gonna flunk out. I just can't handle that soc. class, man. I mean, the prof showed this movie in class and I just can't understand all of the hard concepts, ya know? Maybe I'll just wimp out and change my major to physics."
-by Mathguy

I read it...all it is is this little poem. Go figure.

Dark and lonely on the summer night.
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
Watchdog barking - Do he bite?
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
Slip in his window,
Break his neck!
Then his house
I start to wreck!
Got no reason --
What the heck!
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
C-I-L-L ...
My land - lord ...
-by E Buzz Miller-Booth
OK that last one was just silly. But the general thrust is pretty good analysis: sociology is a joke, she presumed her conclusions and took only the data that supported it, and is demanding special treatment that must take the form of being treated the same.

The puzzling thing to me about the whole thesis and it's many adherents and arguers in other forms is the contradiction. Identity groups (this isn't just about blacks) demand to be treated special or different based on their group: I want a role playing gamers' student union, we must have a left handed redheads studies department, why doesn't this university have more short albino epileptics teaching medieval literature?

Then, when they are treated differently, they become upset because they aren't part of the crowd, that they feel left out, isolated, unique, uncomfortable. Not only is feeling uncomfortable an inevitable, and perhaps proper way to feel depending on your particular group (wearing dresses as a man, lovers of goats, RPG players, etc) but the truth is feeling uncomfortable, unwelcome, or like an outsider is not anybody's problem but your own. What was it your mom said? If you feel like a loner, it's up to you to make friends? It is quite simply not the job of everyone else on earth to make you feel comfortable or to avoid making you feel offended, particularly if you get that way at the drop of a hat.

The truth is, everyone, everywhere feels alone and outside the crowd, everyone feels like they are an outsider at least some times. It's not exactly unusual for people to feel this way around the age of high schoolers and even in college. There's a reason this age group is so targeted by advertising and fads: most people want badly to fit in and be accepted, to not stand out as being unusual or weird. You can sell to this group by making your latest gadget seem cool or your clothes seem like everyone who is anyone wears them. You can shame people into buying your product by claiming those who don't are losers. You can lie to people by saying women will rip their clothes off and leap on you if you use this metrosexual body spray. And it works with this age group. Some people never grow out of it.

The thing is, feeling that way doesn't mean there's necessarily anything wrong with the culture around you. It may just mean you are a normal young person who needs to learn to reach out better. Certainly reaching out better is true for all sides of any equation,

And reaching out is where much of the identity group problem is. Michelle Obama is black, she feels like the white Princeton people are alien to her and her thought processes, that they are different and thus she needs to have her concerns addressed. Princeton, obviously, must make an effort to be more black and thus make blacks more comfortable.

The problems with this are manifold, but the two that stand out the most are troubling to me. First, I cannot imagine Martin Luther King jr who made the magnificent dream speech wanting blacks to believe they are so alien to whites that they think differently, that they need to be separated into different dorms, study groups, student unions. That the way for America to help blacks is to be more black. I see serious problems with the idea that blacks are such a different people that they cannot even be comprehended by whites, that blackness is not just culturally distinct, but alien to whites. This pushes up against the old, old evils of racism that declared blacks and whites separate people, like elves and humans rather than humans and humans. That blacks are actually a distinct race rather than a variation of shared humanity.

Surely this isn't what Mrs Obama believes or wants, is it? Yet this is the path that the identity group politics leads to: you cannot understand, we are unique, you must accommodate us, we are incomprehensible to you, you have to simply believe what we say and agree.

The second problem is the assumption that there's White America and Black America. It's true that there is a distinction in culture between different groups: blacks in Los Angeles, Hispanics in Houston, Asians in Seattle, whites in Topeka. The thing is, blacks in Detroit are distinct from that LA group as well, and they're different yet from New Orleans blacks who are different from ones in Queens. The difference isn't based on some ethnic hard wired part of black genetics, it's cultural and shifts from place to place. There's not one black America and one White America. Put a white guy from Laguna with a white guy from Boston and see how well they interact. The language is practically different.

The cultural differences are in fact self-imposed. You don't have to talk with the local slang, dress in the local fashions, listen to the local top hits, and so on. The presumption that because you were raised in Watts then you're genetically coded to be this way and further not only cannot but must not change is utterly absurd. You want to fit in? Stop being so much of the sore thumb, or get used to being considered different. A british man in Princeton would feel sort of out of place too, the accent, the differences in language, the clothing, the pop culture references all would be unique to him. Yet somehow he can learn to fit in. When people move to different parts of the country, they learn to be a part of that cultural group, usually. Sure, the Texas accent is unusual to you at first, but you can learn it and in a few years talk like a native. That's how it works.

Yet Michelle Obama seems to demand that Princeton be the unique setting, or that the whole world be different and blacks be exempt. If you grew up a certain way and have dusky skin, then you're imprinted for eternity in this pattern and must not change. It's the same goofy concept as the Star Trek Prime Directive: never interfere with a culture, let them be who they are and only change at their own rate! Unless you're Captain Kirk them bomb, interfere, and breed with every lovely alien lass.

This goofy version of sociology is what leads to the conclusions Mrs Obama apparently still runs her life by, with statements about never feeling proud of America before. This idea that America really isn't your country because you are black and "white" culture rules the national society is just wrong. It's not white culture if it's the dominant culture. It's American culture, and if you choose not to be a part of that, that's up to you, but don't demand everyone adapt to you or get upset that you don't fit in.

The concept of America that for centuries was the foundation: blending many cultures into one - E Pluribus Unum - has been so successfully challenged and demonized by the left that today it's considered insulting and offensive to say "hey, why do you have to act so different" or even "you know, if you learned to speak normally you might get a job easier." No nation can stand so divided for long, no country can be so balkanized that everyone grabs their identity group and demands everyone accept them without change and offense and continue as a unified nation for long.

Ideally, whites will adapt good aspects and ideas, music, food, and fashion from blacks, and vice versa, and between the two (and all the other identity groups), one culture can result, with regional distinctions into a single united blend. And despite these efforts, the US really does have a single culture that shifts and moves with the times. Let's hope it continues, and the deliberate efforts to fracture the culture for political gain never succeeds.
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