Thursday, January 26, 2006

Must Be Love

Schiavo, Centonze Wed In Catholic Church

SAFETY HARBOR, FLA---She's divorced.

They are the parents of two illegitimate children.

They've lived together in an adulterous relationship for over 10 years.

Their friends say adultery was okay because he was looking for companionship but refusing to divorce his wife.

After he fought the Vatican, Congress, the President and the Governor, he was successful in obtaining a court order to kill his wife, fighting her parents in the courts, all the way to Washington. He just hadn't planned that it would take so long to kill her and he would have to spend nearly all of the $2 million realized from phony medical malpractice claims before he would be successful in ending the life of the person he claimed he would devote his life to take care of----Terri Schindler-Schiavo.

Terri became incapacitated on Feb. 25, 1990 at age 26 following suspicious circumstances at their home, sustaining brain damage. After he received nearly $2 million through bogus medical malpractice claims, claiming that she suffered from bulimia which an autopsy strongly dispelled, he began his quest to end her life, suddenly remembering that Terri had said at age 22 that she wouldn't want to be kept alive by artificial means. Although her parents argued that she never would have said that because it went against her religious beliefs, his self-serving hearsay won out, ruled as clear and convincing evidence that she had expressed her death wish.

Less than 10 months after her barbaric death by starvation and dehydration over 13 grueling days with the whole world watching although he claimed he was protecting his wife's privacy, Michael Schiavo wed his concubine, Jodi Centonze Saturday.

She wore white but she's not pure and chaste. They were wed in a Catholic church but Michael Schiavo defied virtually every church rule and policy concerning the religious beliefs and practice of his wife----even cremating her remains and denying her Communion.

A day after they obtained a marriage license from the clerk of the circuit court of Pinellas County, Michael Schiavo and Jodi Centonze were wed in the Espiritu Santo Catholic Church in Safety Harbor in a private ceremony apparently known only to family, friends and the St. Petersburg Times.

No homily was reportedly offered. The reception was held at the East Lake Country Club.

Although the St. Petersburg Times had Saturday morning quoted Schiavo family members saying they hoped to keep media attention to a minimum, they also quoted John Centonze as saying that the National Enquirer had contacted him, offering to pay him for wedding pictures, claiming that they had offered him $5,000 for a picture of Jodi Centonze no matter how old it was. Although it is now known that The St. Petersburg Times already knew when the wedding would be held, they coyly reported that Centonze's brother said the wedding would take place before Valentine's Day, his sister's birthday.

And it did.

The church is located about 15 miles northwest of Tampa.

The Rev. Robert J. Schneider is pastor of the church but it is unknown who officiated at the ceremony.

According to Michael Hirsch who's writing Schiavo's book for him about the case, about 80 people attended the wedding including the couple's two children, aged 2 and 3 ½.

The church is part of the Diocese of St. Petersburg of which the Most Robert N. Lynch is bishop. Although Lynch was Terri's bishop, he stood by silent while she was forcibly starved to death----after she struggled to declare that she wanted to live. Bishop Lynch issued a statement directly at odds with church teaching that food and water is basic sustenance and cannot be withheld by private choice.

Just days before Terri died last March 31, Lynch left the country. However, he left a statement posted on the Diocese website before Easter in which he didn't seem particularly concerned about the death decree issued and that it was against the official position of the Vatican and the Pope.

"At the end of the day the decision to remove Terri's artificial feeding tube will be that of her husband, Michael", Lynch said. "It is he who will give the order, not the courts of certainly the governor or legislature or the medical personnel surrounding and caring for Terri. In other words, as I have said from the beginning of this sad situation, the decision will be made within a family".

But not Terri's family. And Michael Schiavo was a husband in name only.

Bishop Lynch had called for "mediation" between Michael Schiavo and Terri's parents, saying that Terri's "plight is a complex and tragic situation".

Lynch's position was contrary to the official Vatican position. Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in Rome said in a March 7 statement, "Without the tube, which is providing life-giving hydration and nutrition, Terri Schiavo will die. But it is not that simple. She will die a horrible and cruel death. She will not simply die; she will have death inflicted upon her over a number of terrible days, even weeks. How can anyone who claims to speak of the promotion and protection of human rights - of human life - remain silent?"

Hours after Schiavo's death was announced , Cardinal Martino called it "murder."

"When you deprive somebody of food and water, what else is it? Nothing else but murder."

Bishop Lynch's position was also directly contrary to "the teaching of the Pope" who had written that food and water is not extraordinary support for life and that it cannot morally be withheld from a dying or incapacitated person.

In August, 2003, Lynch had issued a statement on the Schiavo case, saying that the Schindlers should be given more time to see if medical treatment could improve her condition. However, that statement was premised on the explicit belief that the withdrawal of food and water could be morally justified according to Catholic teaching in some circumstances. Bishop Lynch tried to justify his theologically unsound statement by referring to a 1989 pastoral letter of the Florida Bishops' Conference to justify his assertion that food and water could be withdrawn, especially in those cases where the medical experts had concluded that a patient's condition would not improve over time or if a patient's death was deemed to be imminent.

Jodi Centonze reportedly had her second child, born in October, 2003 at the time when the feeding tube had been removed from Terri the second time by order of Judge Greer in Michael Schiavo's efforts to kill her, baptized in Espiritu Santo church. According to knowledge sources, the priest who baptized the baby was aware that Jodi was not married to Michael Schiavo and that she had been involved in an adulterous affair with him for over 10 years.

And at the same time, Michael was telling the world that he still loved Terri.

In October, 2003, while Jodi was having their second illegitimate child baptized in the Catholic Church, Michael barred Monsignor Thaddeus Malinowksi from administering the Catholic rite of Viaticum, the last communion for a Catholic before death.

On Easter Sunday, March 25, 2005, the ninth day that Terri had been without nutrition and hydration and the holiest day of the Catholic year, Schiavo refused to allow his wife the sacrament of communion. She received last rites on March 18, the day the feeding tube was pulled.

Terri was raised Roman Catholic and throughout the prolonged battle by her parents to keep her alive, Schiavo and his attorney, George Felos, financed by Terri's rehabilitation money, steadfastly opposed all arguments by the Schindlers based on Terri's right to practice her religion and exercise her First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

According to published reports, John Centonze, brother of the bride, said that Schiavo and his sister were married in a private ceremony at noon Saturday. Family members said that they kept the location of the ceremony secret. The St. Petersburg Times, long known to be biased in favor of Michael Schiavo in the right-to-life case, said that three of their reporters arrived at the church but were asked not to go in , indicating that the Schiavos and Centonzes had informed the newspaper of the ceremony.

They had obtained a marriage license Friday at the Clerk of the Circuit Court's office. In Florida, marriage licenses can be issued by a county court judge or the clerk of a circuit court. To obtain a marriage license, both parties have to appear, bring their valid photo identification, provide their Social Security numbers or valid passport and pay the marriage license fee. In addition, if either party has previously been married, they must apply the date and reason that marriage ended. Each person applying for a marriage license must also read the Family Law Handbook. This is required by law.

Blood tests for marriages in Florida are not required. Licenses are issued immediately. The process normally takes no more than 30 minutes. However, unless the couple has attended an approved premarital preparation class, there is a three day waiting period before the license is effective and the marriage can take place. Florida marriage licenses are valid for 60 days from their date of issue. They must be returned to the clerk's office for recording within 10 days after the marriage is performed.

It's unknown if Jodi Centonze Schiavo has executed a living will.

June Maxam
North Country Gazette

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

La Shawn Barber at the March for Life

By now you know how indispensible La Shawn Barber is. Well, here's some more:

Marching for life and against the "Negro Project"

By La Shawn Barber

Jan 23, 2006

On January 8, 2006, I attended the Justice Sunday III conference at Greater Exodus Baptist Church, a predominantly black church in Philadelphia. Reverend Herbert Lusk preached passionately against abortion and called it murder. Today, I will attend the Blogs4Life Conference, then head to the National Mall for the March for Life rally. I hope to see a large number of the kind of people who nodded in agreement with Rev. Lusk’s sermon.

Black women are three times as likely to have abortions as their white counterparts. Blacks and Hispanics are about 25 percent of the population, yet they account for 57 percent of all abortions. Aside from the fact that abortion is murder, there are two very important reasons why black people should be represented in great numbers at the March for Life rally:

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was the ultimate white supremacist

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America makes a futile effort to deny that its founder Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist. Eugenics is a pseudo-science that claims some races are genetically superior and more fit to survive than others. As a eugenicist, Sanger’s goals were to discourage the “unfit” and “inferior” from reproducing. In her 1922 book Pivot of Civilization, she called for segregation of “morons, misfits, and the maladjusted” and sterilization of “genetically inferior races.”

Can you guess which race in particular she considered genetically inferior?

Sanger even suggested that the federal government pay “obviously unfit parents” not to have children and advocated limiting and discouraging “overfertility of the mentally and physically defective.”

In 1916, Sanger founded the Birth Control League, the forerunner of Planned Parenthood. She appointed a man named Lothrop Stoddard, a Nazi sympathizer, fellow eugenicist and author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy to the Board of Directors. At some point, after Adolph Hitler’s atrocities against the Jews became known, Sanger changed the league’s name to Planned Parenthood, because “birth control” was too closely associated with eugenics.

More controversial is Sanger’s “Negro Project,” devised in 1939. The eugenicist set out to implicate black ministers and doctors in her efforts to spread her message of contraception, sterilization, and abortion in the black community. “The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We do not want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it occurs to any of their more rebellious members,” she wrote.

People in poorer areas, particularly the South, were producing “alarmingly more than their share” of babies. Sanger was able to enlist black men such as W.E.B. Dubois and Dr. Adam Clayton Powell (a minister) to her cause. Even Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., had a part to play. In 1966, he received an award from Planned Parenthood, writing, “There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts.”

Margaret Sanger’s project worked better than she could have hoped. Not only do black women have abortions at higher rates, a solid 90 percent of black voters shamelessly cast ballots for the Democratic Party, an unabashed supporter of Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood targets minority women

Sanger would be very proud of what her modest Birth Control League has become.

The Cybercast News Service compared the location of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics with population figures from the 2000 Census:

“In nearly two-thirds (62.5 percent) of the comparisons, the communities with a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic had a higher percentage of blacks than the state did as a whole.

In Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts and Ohio, the communities containing all of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinics had much higher black populations than their respective states, while Idaho, Kentucky, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming -- all of which have low black populations -- have none of the organization’s abortion facilities.

Two states with high black populations -- Louisiana (32.5 percent) and Mississippi (36.3 percent) -- also have no Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, due in large part to the strength of pro-life forces in that part of the nation and state laws that restrict access to abortion, according to Jim Sedlak, executive director of STOPP International.”

Even after her death, Sanger’s Negro Project lives on. Black ministers and so-called civil rights organizations that support Planned Parenthood ensure that minority women remain targets. Carlton W. Veazey is a minister, supporter of Planned Parenthood, and president and CEO of an organization once called the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, now disguised as the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).

Veazey founded a program called the Black Church Initiative, purportedly in response to the high pregnancy rate among black teens. According to RCRC’s web site, the initiative “encourages and assists African American clergy and laity in addressing teen childbearing, sexuality education, unintended pregnancies, and other reproductive health issues within the context of African American culture and religion.”

For the first time in its 95-year history, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which once fought to protect black lives, took an official position in favor of abortion in 2004.

While black liberals and so-called men of God continue to align themselves with Margaret Sanger’s “offspring,” I intend to campaign for the protection of all unborn babies, no matter what race or genetic inheritance.

La Shawn Barber is a freelance writer and book reviewer who blogs at

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Just So There's No Misunderstandings Though ...

... here is, by far, the best looking conservative I know.

But Let's Be Fair

Just because you're a liberal doesn't necessarily mean you're ugly ...

... but if history is any indication, it sure doesn't help!

I Don't Know About You ...

but if I was a single young man, I'd say there were more than ideological and philosophical reasons for being a conservative. Know what I mean? :-)
Steyn Redux

Here is a great Mark Steyn column from a few weeks back:

from the Chicago Sun-Times, November 7th 2004

Mustn’t gloat, mustn’t gloat. Instead, we must try and look sober and reflective and then step smartly to the side and let the Democrats tear themselves apart.

I’m reluctant to intrude on family grief, especially as the Dems are doing such a sterling job all by themselves. But, when big shot Democrats look at Tuesday’s results and instantly announce the reason they flopped out was because…

Whoa, hang on a minute, my apologies. There’s been a clerical error here: That was my post-election column from 2002. My post-election column from 2004 goes like …well, actually, it goes pretty much the same. It’d be easier just to take the second week in November off every two years and let my editors run the timeless classic whither-the-Democrats? column. All that changes is the local color. In 2002, I was very taken by the band at Missouri Democratic headquarters attempting to rouse the despondent faithful with Steve Allen’s peppy anthem, “This Could Be The Start Of Something Big”, and noted that the party faced the opposite problem: This could be the end of something small.

As they’ve done for a decade now, the Democrat bigwigs worried about it for a couple of weeks and then rationalized it away: In 2000, they lost because Bush stole the “election”; in 2002, they lost because of that “vicious” attack ad on Max Cleland. The official consolation for this year’s biennial bust hasn’t yet been decided on, but Tom Daschle’s election-eve lawsuit alone offers several attractive runners, including the complaint that Democrats were intimidated by Republicans “rolling their eyes”. Could be a lot more of that if this keeps up.

So it seems likely – just to get my 2006 post-election column out of the way here – that in a couple years’ time the Democrats will have run on the same thin gruel as usual and be mourning the loss of another two or three Senate seats. You want names and states? Well, how about West Virginia? Will the 88-year old Robert C Byrd be on the ballot in 2006? And, if he’s not, what are the Dems’ chances of stopping West Virginia’s transformation to permanent “red state” status?

It also seems likely – just to get my 2012 post-election column out of the way here – that in eight years’ time the Dems will have run on the same thin gruel as usual and, thanks to the 2010 census and the ongoing shift of population to the south and west, lost another five House seats and discovered that the “blue states” are worth even less in the electoral college – though in fairness their only available Presidential candidate, the young dynamic southerner 94-year old Robert C Byrd, managed to hold all but three of Kerry’s states.

I had a bet with myself this week: How soon after election night would it be before the Bush-the-chimp-faced-moron stuff started up again? 48 hours? A week? I was wrong. Bush Derangement Syndrome is moving to a whole new level. On the morning of November 2nd, the condescending left were convinced that Bush was an idiot. By the evening of November 2nd, they were convinced that the electorate was. Or as London’s Daily Mirror put it in its front page: “How Can 59,054,087 People Be So DUMB?”

Well, they’re British lefties: they can do without Americans. Whether an American political party can do without Americans is more doubtful. Nonetheless,’s Eric Alterman was mirroring the Mirror’s sentiments: “Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the ‘reality-based community’ say or believe about anything.” Over at Slate, Jane Smiley’s analysis was headlined, “The Unteachable Ignorance Of The Red States”. If you don’t want to bother plowing your way through Alterman and Smiley, a placard prominently displayed by a fetching young lad at the post-election anti-Bush rally in San Francisco cut to the chase: “F--- MIDDLE AMERICA.”

Almost right, man. It would be more accurate to say that “MIDDLE AMERICA” has “F---ed” you, and it will continue to do so every two years as long as Democrats insist that anyone who disagrees with them is, ipso facto, a simpleton – or “Neanderthal”, as Teresa Heinz Kerry described those unimpressed by her husband’s foreign policy. In my time, I’ve known dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and other members of Britain’s House of Lords and none of them had the contempt for the masses one routinely hears from America’s coastal elites. And, in fairness to those ermined aristocrats, they could afford Dem-style contempt: a seat in the House of Lords is for life; a Senate seat in South Dakota isn’t.

More to the point, nobody who campaigns with Ben Affleck at his side has the right to call anybody an idiot. H L Mencken said that no-one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Well, George Soros, Barbra Streisand and a lot of their friends just did: the Kerry campaign and its supporters –, Rock The Vote, etc – were awash in bazillions of dollars, and what have they got to show for it? In this election, the plebs were more mature than the elites: They understood that war is never cost free and that you don’t run away because of a couple of setbacks; they did not accept that one jailhouse scandal should determine America’s national security interest; they rejected the childish caricature of their President and paranoid ravings about Halliburton; they declined to have their vote rocked by Bruce Springsteen or any other pop culture poser.

All the above is unworthy of a serious political party. As for this exit-poll data that everyone’s all excited about, what does it mean when 22% of the electorate say their main concern was “moral issues”? Gay marriage? Abortion? Or is it something broader? For many of us, the war is also a moral issue, and the Democrats are on the wrong side of it, standing not with the women voting proudly in Afghanistan’s first election but with the amoral and corrupt UN, the amoral and cynical Jacques Chirac, the amoral and revolting head-hackers whom Democratic Convention guest of honor Michael Moore described as Iraq’s “minutemen”.

At some point in both the 2000 and 2004 campaigns, your typical media liberal would feign evenhandedness and bemoan the way the choice has come down to “two weak candidates”. But, in that case, how come the right’s weak candidates are the ones that win? Because a weak candidate pushing strong ideas is better than a weak candidate who’s had no ideas since Roe vs Wade.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Being "Poor" in America

Reading La Shawn Barber reminded me of a great Wall Street Journal article from a few years back. Thanks to the wonders of Google and the internet, a quick search produced the article.

America Has the World’s Richest Poor People
By Robert Rector
Wall Street
September 24, 1998

Today the Census Bureau releases its annual report on income and poverty in the U.S. As it has for many years, the report will show more than 30 million Americans “living in poverty.” But a close look at the actual living standards of people defined as “poor” shows that the Census Bureau’s report is misleading.

For most of us, the word poverty suggests destitution: the inability to provide a family with adequate food, clothing and shelter. But only a small number of the 30 million plus people classified as “poor” by the Census Bureau fit this description. Although real material hardship does occur in America, it is rare. The bulk of the “poor” live in material conditions considered comfortable or even well-off just a few generations ago. Indeed, total spending per person among the lowest-income one-fifth of households actually equals those of the average American household in the early 1970s--after adjusting for inflation.

How poor are the “poor”? Consider the following statistics, all drawn from federal government reports:

  • In 1995, 41% of all poor households owned their own homes. The average home owned by a poor person has three bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, a garage and a porch or patio.
  • More than 750,000 poor people own homes worth more than $150,000; nearly 200,000 own homes worth more than $300,000.
  • Only 7.5% of poor households are overcrowded; nearly 60% have two or more rooms per person.
  • The average poor American has a third more living space than the average Japanese and four times as much living space as the average Russian--that’s the average citizen in Japan or Rusisa, not the average poor person.
  • Seventy percent of poor households own a car; 27% own two or more cars.
  • Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; nearly half own two or more color televisions. Nearly three-quarters have a videocassette recorder; one in five has two VCRs. Sixty-four percent own a microwave oven; half have a stereo system; more than 25% have an automatic dishwasher.
  • Two-thirds of poor households have air-conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago only 36% of the entire U.S. population had air-conditioning.
  • As a group, the poor are far from being chronically hungry and malnourished. In fact, poor Americans are more likely to be overweight than middle-class ones. Nearly half of poor adult women are overweight. And 84% of the poor say their families have “enough” food to eat; 13% say they “sometimes” do not have enough to eat. Only 3% say they “often” do not have enough to eat.
  • The average consumption of protein, vitamins and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and in most cases is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100% above recommended levels. Indeed, most poor children today are supernourished, growing up, on average, to be one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier that the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944.

The Census Bureau’s poverty report is simply inaccurate: It overstates the extent of poverty in the U.S. and understates the real income of most Americans. While a number of errors contribute to the report’s inaccuracy, the most critical is that the census dramatically undercounts the true economic resources or annual income received by the American public.

The magnitude of the Census Bureau’s economic undercount can be revealed by comparing census figures with the Commerce Department’s National Income and Product Accounts, which measure the gross domestic product. In 1996, Commerce Department figures showed that the aggregate “personal income” of Americans (including personal payments of Social Security taxes) was $6.8 trillion. By contrast, aggregate personal income, according to the Census Bureau’s official income definition, was only $4.8 trillion.

Thus the Census Bureau missed $2 trillion in annual income, or roughly $20,000 for each U.S. household. The unreported $2 trillion exceeds the entire economies of all but a handful of nations in the world. It is true that much of this missing income belongs to the middle class and the rich, but a large slice is received by low income families as well. Most notably, official Census income figures fail to report more than a half trillion dollars in government assistance to low income and elderly households.

For decades, both conventional wisdom and the Census Bureau have told us that “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” This is untrue. The material conditions of lower-income Americans have improved dramatically over time. Most “poor” Americans today are better housed and better fed and own more personal property than average Americans throughout much of this century. In fact, living conditions in our nation as a whole have improved so much that our society can no longer clearly remember what it meant to be poor or even middle class in earlier generations.

But higher material living standards should not be regarded as a victory for the War on Poverty. Living conditions were improving dramatically, and poverty was dropping sharply, long before that war was declared. The principal effect of the War on Poverty has been not to raise incomes but to displace work and earnings with dependence on government. By rewarding dysfunctional and self-destructive behavior, the modern welfare state has contributed to the growth of a new “behavioral poverty” exemplified by illegitimacy, crime, school failure and drug abuse.

By exaggerating the extent of material deprivation and by distracting attention from the more important behavioral problems afflicting low-income communities, the census poverty report does society and the poor a disservice.

Mr. Rector is senior policy analyst for welfare and poverty issues at the Heritage Foundation.
More La Shawn Barber

You may recall my recommendation of La Shawn Barber's blog. I checked it today to see what, if anything, she had to say on the Alito hearings. I didn't get far. I stopped to read this post and just had to put it up here:

How much does racial discrimination explain? So far as black poverty is concerned, I’d say little or nothing, which is not to say that every vestige of racial discrimination has been eliminated. But let’s pose a few questions. Is it racial discrimination that stops black students from studying and completing high school? Is it racial discrimination that’s responsible for the 68 percent illegitimacy rate among blacks?

“How not to be poor” is classic Walter Williams. When I first started writing my little column, I wrote about the same things and got plenty of hate mail for the trouble. What should be common sense is often viewed as “self-hatred” by black liberals. I argued that blacks’ biggest problem was their own behavior, which is true for any other human being.

I’d get e-mails with questions like this one, usually from black women who called themselves taking me to task: “You mean to tell me you don’t think racism still exists?”

I’ve never said nor even implied such a thing, but “racism” is so inconsequential to black people’s lives in 2005 as to be laughably negligible. Given the extent of social pathology in certain “black communities,” I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to hear black men in expensive suits blaming immoral behavior on “racism.” It’s archaic, tired, shameful and unimaginative. It bores me to tears as they prattle on about “racism,” as if white people have that kind of power over blacks. We’re teaching our children that if they fail, blame the white man.

So how can one avoid poverty? You’ve heard them before, but here’s a rundown of a few general factors in case you’ve forgotten:

  • Graduate from high school.
  • Get married before you have children, and stay married.
  • Work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage.
  • Avoid engaging in criminal behavior.

The second and fourth are especially problematic in urban areas. Incidentally, removing the stigma against out-of-wedlock pregnancies was probably the worse thing to happen to black people. Whenever I meet a black child with a residential biological father, I’m in awe. Expectations are quite low.

Black liberals often claim that government schools stink because of racism, although some of those same schools have outrageously high per pupil expenditures. You’ve been sold a bill of putrid goods if you believe bad urban government schools are a “civil rights” problem (It is NOT), and Williams agrees with my assessment. He writes:

Washington, D.C. public schools, as well as many other big city schools, are little more than educational cesspools. Per student spending in Washington, D.C., is just about the highest in the nation. D.C.’s mayors have been black, and so have a large percentage of the city council, school principals, teachers and superintendents. Suggesting that racial discrimination plays any part in Washington, D.C.’s educational calamity is near madness and diverts attention away from possible solutions.
Come to think of it, the District of Columbia is a black-run city with a black mayor. Blacks are everywhere in the D.C. government, and high up, too. They’re also scandal-prone, the latest being City Administrator Robert Bobb, who’s apparently done some unscrupulous hiring. Well, how much can you expect from a city that re-elected crack smoker Marion “*itch set me up!” Barry as mayor and recently re-elected him to the D.C. Council? Stupidity, not racism, has everything to do with the subpar performance of this black-run city.

It’s pitiful, really, that the blacks tasked to run things often turn out to be crooks, and not very smart ones at that.

I must say that government services have improved under Anthony Williams. One thing I’d suggest is training employees to be polite. (There was a time when such training wasn’t necessary.) For instance, the Department of Motor Vehicles is full of sour-faced black women who either hate their jobs specifically or working in general. At this point black liberal readers are usually up in arms when I write such things about other blacks, especially with white people reading. Dirty laundry, and all that. But it’s true, and more importantly, they know it’s true. One or two polite black women don’t make up for the majority who aren’t. Nice try, though.

Back to Williams. He writes:

Bill Cosby had the courage to speak out against individual irresponsibility. Surely those who profess to have the best interests of blacks at heart should be able to summon the courage to do so as well.
I’ve got the courage, Mr. Williams. People can balk all they want, but it is right conduct, pride, and decency that will improve conditions of “poor” blacks, not loose living, grievance-shopping and welfare checks.

Related posts:

Posted by La Shawn @ 7:45 am
Here is the Walter Williams column La Shawn Barber refers to above.

How not to be poor

May 11, 2005
by Walter E. Williams

Ministers Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Washington, D.C.'s Mayor Anthony Williams and others recently met to discuss plans to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the October 1995 Million Man March. Whilst reading about the plans, I thought of an excellent topic for the event: how not to be poor.

Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And, finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. If you graduate from high school today with a B or C average, in most places in our country there's a low-cost or financially assisted post-high-school education program available to increase your skills.

Most jobs start with wages higher than the minimum wage, which is currently $5.15. A man and his wife, even earning the minimum wage, would earn $21,000 annually. According to the Bureau of Census, in 2003, the poverty threshold for one person was $9,393, for a two-person household it was $12,015, and for a family of four it was $18,810. Taking a minimum-wage job is no great shakes, but it produces an income higher than the Bureau of Census' poverty threshold. Plus, having a job in the first place increases one's prospects for a better job.

The Children's Defense Fund and civil rights organizations frequently whine about the number of black children living in poverty. In 1999, the Bureau of the Census reported that 33.1 percent of black children lived in poverty compared with 13.5 percent of white children. It turns out that race per se has little to do with the difference. Instead, it's welfare and single parenthood. When black children are compared to white children living in identical circumstances, mainly in a two-parent household, both children will have the same probability of being poor.

How much does racial discrimination explain? So far as black poverty is concerned, I'd say little or nothing, which is not to say that every vestige of racial discrimination has been eliminated. But let's pose a few questions. Is it racial discrimination that stops black students from studying and completing high school? Is it racial discrimination that's responsible for the 68 percent illegitimacy rate among blacks?

The 1999 Bureau of Census report might raise another racial discrimination question. Among black households that included a married couple, over 50 percent were middle class earning above $50,000, and 26 percent earned more than $75,000. How in the world did these black families manage not to be poor? Did America's racists cut them some slack?

The civil rights struggle is over, and it has been won. At one time, black Americans did not have the same constitutional protections as whites. Now, we do, because the civil rights struggle is over and won is not the same as saying that there are not major problems for a large segment of the black community. What it does say is that they're not civil rights problems, and to act as if they are leads to a serious misallocation of resources.

Rotten education is a severe handicap to upward mobility, but is it a civil rights problem? Let's look at it. Washington, D.C. public schools, as well as many other big city schools, are little more than educational cesspools. Per student spending in Washington, D.C., is just about the highest in the nation. D.C.'s mayors have been black, and so have a large percentage of the city council, school principals, teachers and superintendents. Suggesting that racial discrimination plays any part in Washington, D.C.'s educational calamity is near madness and diverts attention away from possible solutions.

Bill Cosby had the courage to speak out against individual irresponsibility. Surely those who profess to have the best interests of blacks at heart should be able to summon the courage to do so as well.

Dr. Williams has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, since 1980.

Copyright © 2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Got these pictures in an e-mail today. I'm at a loss for words -- but please join me in offering a prayer:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
And may perpetual light shine upon them.

May the souls of the faithfully departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace.


The bravery of our fellow US Marines

During hostile action in Iraq, a Marine is hit and wounded and this brave Marine comes to his aid while taking hostile fire.

A second Marine comes to the rescue and is struck by an enemy round.

In the attempt to evacuate the wounded Marine, the Marine to the left is fatally struck again by enemy fire and falls to the ground.

This sad photo shows two of our brave brothers lying motionless on the ground. The Marine on the right will survive, but sadly the Marine on the left who came to rescue his fellow Marine would not survive.

These are the images you will not see on CNN, but as hard as they may be to look at, it is important to see them as Marines to honor them, and to be filled with a sense of honor and respect for those brave men who have fallen and for those who would unselfishly risk their own lives for their fellow Marines. Please say a prayer for all of our troops, and pass this on so that others may see the honor and bravery of our brothers in action.

La Shawn Barber and the Must Read Blog

Notwithstanding the Christmas Moratorium, I've been cutting back on my blog time. Why? Easy answer -- there's just not enogh time in the day, the week -- in a life -- to keep up with them. There are just so many out there that it becomes overwhelming.

It can also be distracting, frustrating, etc. when you read a good blog and they refer you to another blog and say it's a "must read" blog. Argh! you say. I can't keep up with the few I do read and you're telling me I *must* add another link and regularly check another blog. (And that is the other time-consuming aspect of blogs -- their frequent updates. Once you start, you have to regularly check them. Unlike newspapers or magazines which come at specified intervals, blogs are virtually "real time" and you can find yourself checking them several times a day or "run the risk" of missing an update (gasp!).)

OK. Does all this bloviating ... er, pontificating (that's better :-) have a point? Of course it does! The point is I am calling La Shawn Barber's blog a must read blog. I came across a post from her blog recently and it was awesome (see below). I recently checked back and there were some more great posts.

My recommendation: Bookmark La Shawn Barber's Corner and visit, if not regularly, at least occasionally. You won't be disappointed. See below for a sample of her wisdom and common sense.

I get e-mail from black people (and a few whites) asking me if I hate black people. I usually don’t dignify the question with an answer, but I get the point.

I am more critical of blacks than I am of whites because, no offense, I care more about what happens to blacks. That is, I care whether they’re valuing education as highly as they should, whether they’re pushing themselves and their children to be the best and not wallowing in excuses or hurling unfounded charges of racism.

Having grown up black among black family and friends, I noticed a certain undercurrent that didn’t have a name. Whether a person actually suffered from racial discrimination or not, there was an urge to “keep whitey on the hook,” a term I picked up from John McWhorter. He articulated it so well in Authentically Black. We are never to allow whites to forget our historical grievances, whether an individual white person was guilty of discrimination or not. Most whites seem intimidated by blacks who do this. I dare say some of my white commenters are probably intimidated as well, despite their boldness on this blog.

I vowed to take the opposite approach. Rather than using this blog to bit** and moan session about slavery, institutional racism and such, I’d use it to “keep blacks on the hook.” It’s a fresh approach and much more interesting than telling whites how racist they are. Blacks need to be reminded, constantly, of our responsibility in this mess.

For example, as we all know, black crime statistics are outrageous, especially considering our proportion of the population. Rarely, if ever, do you hear black people expressing disgust for out-of-control crime rates or lecturing other blacks about their responsibility to stay out of the criminal justice system.

At least I haven’t. I perceived the void and decided to fill it. That makes a lot of blacks angry, and a few whites, too. But that can’t be helped. Here’s the beauty of living in a free country: if you don’t like what I say or write, you can counter it with your own op-ed or blog or other form of communication. Free expression.

When I offer this advice to disgruntled blacks who e-mail me, they have an excuse at the ready. Big surprise, right? (Making excuses must be a reflex.) They’re “nobody,” they say, and I have this huge forum, so who is going to listen to them? Or (this is my favorite) my powerful white benefactors have propped me up so as to drown out the dissenters.


I’ve worked hard on this blog for two years. I didn’t sit around making excuses for what I can’t do, and I’m not here to clear up misconceptions about myself. It would be a waste of time because people who hate me will hate me. All I ask if that you examine yourselves before you start handing out excuses and pointing fingers at white folks. If you want a place to bit** and moan about whites, this is not it.

One of the government policies I hate is skin color preferences, which I’ve written about ad nauseum and will continue to do so as long as it exists. So-called affirmative action was intended to include more blacks in the candidate pool, but it has become the biggest entitlement program ever conceived. It has nothing to do with so-called racial discrimination and everything to do with lowered standards.

Apparently, it’s difficult to find black job candidates and potential university students with credentials comparable to whites. On the one hand, some blacks claim that credentials are comparable, but whites need a “push” to hire or admit. On the other hand, some blacks claim that “comparable” is relative. Just because a black person has a lower score, it doesn’t mean he’s not qualified for a job or admission. It is reasonable, however, to set hiring and admissions criteria, and if your score is below the threshold, you are, by those standards, not qualified. Unfortunately, some blacks — not all, thank goodness — see racial motives behind everything.

I hate “affirmative action” because it’s immoral, unconstitutional, embarrassingly unfair, and undignified.

If blacks with comparable credentials are being passed over, blanket skin color preference policies are not the remedy. Courts are where such disputes should be heard. If blacks are passed over because they don’t have comparable scores, we need to address the problem at a much earlier stage. We all know how dumbed down government schools have become. Get the socialist bureaucrats out of the front offices and demand better for your kids. Fight for school choice, support rigorous standards, and advocate excellence, not mediocrity. And for the love of God, stop making excuses. Discipline your children to turn off that idiot box and study. Embrace and reward studious behavior and penalize laziness.

Despite government policies designed to force equal outcomes, thanks to human nature, it ain’t going to happen. We each have different or varying degrees of talent, drive, and motivation. This is where “diversity” bites liberals on the rear end. In a society as diverse as America, individuals will never have equal stuff. You won’t find equal outcomes within the same biological family, for crying out loud, so how can you expect to find it within a diverse country???

Equal opportunity is the best we humans can hope for and what the Constitution guarantees. That document does not have the power to ensure equal distribution of material wealth, nor should it.
Don't Be Fooled by all the Fawning Reviews of Brokeback Mountain

You can say one thing about homosexual activists, they're persistent. They are bound and determined to reshape our culture in their own image. Years ago, when homosexuality was still *in the closet*, their "sole objective" was not be persecuted. However, once they achieved that goal, they quickly moved on to acceptance of their lifestyle. It's not enough not to be persecuted, society must acceptance the homosexual lifestyle -- and even affirm it as normal. (That's why they hate the Catholic Church so much, they see it as the primary obstacle to accepting the homosexual lifestyle.)

So far, however, homosexual activists have not been successful in their attempts to persuade us that their lifestyle is normal and acceptable. But, they aren't about to give up. And Brokeback Mountain is the latest initiative in the assault on our values -- and, from what I hear, it's a good one. Don't just read reviews of the movie from the professional reviewers -- you know they'll all love it and rave about it (in fact, look for it to win numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture).

Instead, read "User Reviews" on sites like Yahoo (user reviews for the movie are here). I don't know how many of these User Reviews are "plants", but there are a lot of them which tell how the movie changed their mind about homosexual *love*. (Oh, be careful in case you decide to post your own comments -- I posted that I considered it to be homosexual propoganda. My comment was deleted and I got a warning from Yahoo that I had violated their Terms of Service.)

Movies and television are change agents for our culture. These mediums go to great lengths to positively and favorably portray homosexuality. This movie uses this medium to furhter promote this agenda. Before getting overwhelmed by the movie and all the positive reviews, check out this review.

Brokeback Mountain

Jan. 4, 2006
Review by David Lazar

Love story or tragedy, heart-rending or stomach-turning, Ang Lee’s gay cowboy epic Brokeback Mountain could do for Prozac prescriptions what Titanic did for life preservers.

As cinema, it showcases Lee’s trademark gusto for fine performances, dazzling cinematography, and intriguing, often weighty storylines.

As social commentary, however, it does less to advance the ball in the alternative lifestyle debate than advocates and media elites would like to believe.

Because at its root, Brokeback Mountain is a film less about the courage acolytes ascribe to it than about choices. And those choices are almost uniformly squandered throughout by central figures Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger).

The resulting melancholy with which many moviegoers will exit may have less to do with the plight of those chief characters than with the scrap heap of broken lives each leaves behind.

Beautifully shot, with the same eye for setting and mood as the clinically cold 1970s New England he depicted in Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm, Lee’s take on Anne Proulx’s short story captures both the breathtaking majesty and desolate loneliness of Wyoming’s Tetons.

And like the swinging, me-generation postmodernism of The Ice Storm, Brokeback takes on moral ambiguity, selfishness and infidelity in matter-of-fact, you-be-the-judge fashion. This is reality. It is what it is. And it’s up to the audience to decide whether it’s right or wrong.

Brokeback tells the story of Jack and Ennis, two presumably straight Marlboro Man types who fall in love during the summer of 1963 while tending sheep on the movie’s eponymous mass of rock – a love quickly consummated in a holster-your-popcorn, Rolaids-inducing sequence played out one cold night in a pup tent.

When the summer ends, and the job is over, the two must make a choice: try to make a go of it together and continue their relationship (which Jack wants), or bow to the inhospitable climate of that era and try to lead straight lives. They choose the latter, and to paraphrase Robert Frost, that makes all the difference.

Each marries and starts a family – Jack in Texas, Ennis in Wyoming. But their longing for one another can’t be abated and so begins a 20-plus-year affair, punctuated by long “fishing trips” on Brokeback during which (amazingly) no fish are actually caught. There’s little doubt these two men love each other. The way the pair ravenously attack one another in the parking lot of Ennis’s apartment complex after a four-year cool-down – while long-suffering wife Alma (Michelle Williams) helplessly watches through a window – conveys nothing less.

The fallout, of course, is calamitous. Ennis’s marriage ends in divorce, his kids are left fatherless, and he becomes an alcoholic, hopping from job to job and passing his days in a dilapidated single-wide trailer. Jack, meanwhile, takes on his demons by hiring male prostitutes and carrying on affairs with other men when he can’t see Ennis. His marriage somehow stays intact, but his life takes a similarly southbound spiral.

Depending on one’s outlook going in, Brokeback Mountain viewers are likely to leave with different impressions.

Those who laud it, like the Human Rights Campaign, which will give Lee its annual Equality Award next February, are calling it an eye-opener, with the power to change hearts and minds about the tenderness, and often pain, of the gay experience.

“Through his moving directorial work, Ang Lee proves the old adage, ‘Love is love is love,’” the gay rights group’s president Joe Solmonese said recently.

But is this the kind of love that should be celebrated? The kind of love that spawns infidelity, breaks up families, and creates almost suicidal depression?

Three years ago, gay filmmaker Todd Haynes took on a similar theme in his 1950s era Douglas Sirk send-up, Far From Heaven. In that film, long-closeted Dennis Quaid succumbs to his urges and leaves long-suffering wife Julianne Moore for another man. Advocates were almost nowhere to be found when that film was released, perhaps because Quaid’s character was implicitly shamed as a louse. Not for being gay, but for being dishonest from the outset and for ruining lives, for starting a family and ultimately sacrificing it for physical desire.

Man is inherently flawed. All of us have yearnings, demons, and temptations we struggle with each day. But our choices have consequences. It’s one’s ability to be honest with himself and others, how he chooses to act on those weaknesses and his ability to reason and control impulses, that helps define his character.

The challenges homosexuals face each day about coming out, creating lives for themselves, coming to terms, and fighting intolerance and escalating suicide rates are too important to be ignored or swept under a rug.

But Jack and Ennis are not heroes, nor are they courageous. They’re selfish. And at a time when Americans remain uneasy about issues of acceptance and gay marriage, Brokeback Mountain does not advance discussion the way films like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and Gentleman’s Agreement did two and three generations ago, when it came to the shame of racism and anti-Semitism.

Instead, it risks trivializing and leaves questions. Questions about whether these two men would have led the kind of lives they did had they never met; about whether much of the hurt they caused could have been avoided had they chosen the other path.

And about whether viewers will be moved to sympathize, or to hit their nearest pharmacy.

David Lazar, a former newspaper reporter, is a speechwriter for a federal agency. He lives in suburban Washington, and can be reached via email.

Copyright © 2006

Williams vs. Sowell?

No, not really. I did recently read this great article by Walter Williams on some basic economics related to the recent gasoline "crisis". However, the only crisis we face, as Dr. Williams so clearly shows, is in common sense and clear thinking. I'm used to seeing such plain speaking from Thomas Sowell -- but I don't think he'll mind *competing* with Walter Williams here.

Basic Economics
Dec. 7, 2005
by Walter E. Williams

With all the recent hype and demagoguery about gasoline price-gouging, maybe it's time to talk about the basics of exchange. First, what is exchange? Exchange occurs when an owner transfers property rights or title to that which is his.

Here's the essence of what transpires when I purchase a gallon of gasoline. In effect, I tell the retailer that I hold title to $3. He tells me that he holds title to a gallon of gas. I offer to transfer my title to $3 to him if he'll transfer his title to a gallon of gas to me. If this exchange occurs voluntarily, what can be said about the transaction?

One thing we know for sure is that the retailer was free to retain his ownership of the gallon of gas and I my ownership of $3. That being the case, why would we exchange? The only answer is that I perceived myself as better off giving up my $3 for the gallon of gas and likewise the retailer perceived himself as better off giving up his gas for the $3. Otherwise, why would we have exchanged?

Exchanges of this sort are called good-good exchanges, namely "I'll do something good for you if you do something good for me." Game theorists recognize this as a positive-sum game -- a transaction where both parties are better off as a result. Of course there's another type of exchange not typically sought, namely good-bad exchange. An example of that kind of exchange would be where I approached the retailer with a pistol telling him that if he didn't do something good for me, give me that gallon of gas, I'd do something bad to him, blow his brains out. Clearly, I'd be better off, but he would be worse off. Game theorists call that a zero-sum game -- a transaction where in order for one person to be better off, the other must be worse off. Zero-sum games are transactions mostly initiated by thieves and governments.

Some might argue that there's unequal bargaining power between me and the gas retailer. That's nonsense! The retailer has the power to charge any price he wishes, but I have the power to decide how much I'll buy, including none, at that price. You say, "Gas is a necessity, and we're forced to buy it." That too is nonsense. If I voluntarily purchase the gas, I do so because I deem it better than my next best alternative. Of course, at a high enough price, I wouldn't deem it as such.

In the wake of the spike in fuel prices, many Americans demand that politicians do something. You can bet the rent money that whatever politicians do will end up harming consumers. Despite a long history of their economic calamity, some Americans and politicians are calling for price controls or, what amounts to the same thing, anti price-gouging legislation. As Professor Thomas DiLorenzo points out in "Four Thousand Years of Price Control," price controls have produced calamities wherever and whenever they've been tried.

Economic ignorance, misconceptions and superstition drive us toward totalitarianism because they make us more willing to hand over greater control of our lives to politicians. That results in a diminution of our liberties. Think back to the gasoline price controls during the 1970s. The price controls caused shortages. To deal with the shortages, restrictions were imposed on purchases. Then national highway speed limits were enacted. Then there were more calls for smaller and less crashworthy cars. With the recent gasoline supply shocks, we didn't experience the shortages, long lines and closed gas stations seen during the 1970s. Why? Prices were allowed to perform their allocative function -- get people to use less gas and get suppliers to supply more.

Economic ignorance is to politicians what idle hands are to the devil. Both provide the workshop for the creation of evil.

Dr. Williams has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, since 1980.

Copyright © 2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


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