Monday, January 29, 2007
There was a great piece by Ed Sherman in today's Chicago Tribune on the 10 greatest moments in Chicago sports history. Here they are:
Sherman's top 10 Chicago sports moments
1. The 1985 Bears win the Super Bowl.
2. The White Sox win the 2005 World Series.
3. Michael Jordan's shot gives the Bulls the 1998 NBA title.
4. The Bears reach the 2007 Super Bowl.
5. The Cubs collapse in the 2003 playoffs.
6. The Bulls win their first title in 1991.
7. The Cubs lose Game 5 of the 1984 playoffs.
8. The Bulls cap their 72-win season with the '96 title.
9. The White Sox win the AL West in 1983.
10. The Blackhawks lose Game 7 to Montreal at Chicago Stadium in 1971.
Believe me folks -- I am not making this up. According to Sherman, a professional sports reporter, two of the greatest moments in Chicago sports history are the Cubs losing!!
I totally agree. If only the Cubs could make to the World Series and lose. Not just lose, but get swept -- totally blown out -- give up lots of runs and get shut out four straight games. That would get my vote for the best sports moments in history!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Scientist develops caffeinated donuts
DURHAM. N.C. (AP) — That cup of coffee just not getting it done anymore? How about a Buzz Donut or a Buzzed Bagel?
That's what Doctor Robert Bohannon, a Durham, North Carolina, molecular scientist, has come up with. Bohannon says he's developed a way to add caffeine to baked goods, without the bitter taste of caffeine.
Each piece of pastry is the equivalent of about two cups of coffee.While the product is not on the market yet, Bohannon has approached some heavyweight companies, including Krispy Kreme, Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks about carrying it.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The Fall 2006 issue of the Claremont Review of Books had a great piece, entitled 'Suicide of the West' reviewing three other books examining the death cult of multi-cultural political correctness. Theordore Darymple reviews "While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam in Destroying the West from Within" by Bruce Bawer, "Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Too" by Claire Berlinski, and "Londonistan" by Melanie Phillips.
Darymple makes some great points in his review of the three books:
That Western Europe suffers from a state of general paralysis is a truth too universally acknowledged to require much reiteration. Slow growth and high unemployment; an aging and shrinking population; scientific and cultural irrelevance to the rest of the world; a large, unassimilated alien population much of which is hostile to the very countries into which it has immigrated—these are just a few of the problems that Western Europe not only fails to solve, but even properly to recognize.All three, but especially Phillips' Londonistan look like "must read" books -- following, of course, Mark Steyn's "America Alone".
The publishing history of Londonistan is by itself diagnostic of the European disease. Phillips claims that the British government and intellectual elite has been complicit in allowing the dangerous ideology of Islamism—which threatens the security not only of the British state, but of Europe and North America—to take deep root in Britain. ... [A]n amalgam of cowardice, moral frivolity, lack of conviction, and political correctness (all of which are, of course, intimately interrelated) has ensured that almost every policy decision taken by the government has worsened the situation rather than ameliorated it. Phillips provides a lot of evidence for her claims, some of which (especially the words emanating from the mouths and pens of the hierarchs of the Church of England) would be funny if their pusillanimity were not so typical of the British establishment.
Berlinski ... digs deepest where the existential problems that underlie Western Europe's paralysis are concerned. There is a crisis of meaning and purpose in Western European societies that she spells out with admirable clarity. They are almost entirely post-religious, but they have found no form of transcendence to replace religion, and none is on the horizon. An awareness of belonging, or of contributing to, a collectivity or endeavor of world-importance is no longer possible for them ... . Modern Europeans believe in very little, except in as comfortable and safe a life as possible. Indeed, health and safety have altogether replaced faith, hope, and charity as the cardinal desiderata. It is scarcely any wonder that, when faced by people who, quite mistakenly and with a combination of staggering ignorance and arrogance, believe themselves to be in possession of a truth that justifies almost any atrocity committed, if not by them, exactly, then by those whom they have indoctrinated, modern Western Europeans do not know how to react. They have either forgotten what it is to believe in anything, to such an extent that they cannot really believe that anyone else believes in anything, either; or their memories of belief are of belief in something so horrible—Communism, for example, or Nazism—that they no longer believe that they have the right to pass judgment on anything. This is not a strong position from which to fight people who, by their own admission, hate you and are bent upon your destruction, brought about preferably at your own expense. First, you can't take them seriously; second, you suspect they might in any case be right. European multiculturalism is self-hatred writ large—and in the meantime is an employment opportunity for cultural bureaucrats.
I've never really gotten into Tony Blankley's columns, but his piece today on Hillary was great:
[L]ast weekend, Hillary Rodham Clinton presented herself for election to the presidency of the United States with the timeless, clarion call:
"So let's talk. Let's chat, let's start a dialogue about your ideas and mine, because the conversation in Washington has been just a little one-sided lately, don't you think?"
The junior senator from the Empire State may not be leading with her strength with the theme of "a time for chatting." Of all the politicians who have strode, minced, ambled or marched across the stage of American politics over the years, Hillary may be the one least likely to induce the desire to be chatted up by.
Did you see the video of Hillary sitting on a couch, inviting herself into our living rooms to "chat"? What a fraud. This is the kind of thing that's going to kill her candidacy. She can try and pull off this homey stuff in the antiseptic environment of a tv studio. But, Hillary's "just us folks" schtick won't last long in the real world. As Blankley says:
Can you imagine Hillary having a sincere, two-sided conversation with you -- a total stranger? She would have that huge painted-on smile aimed at your eyes, while her eyes would be looking over your shoulder to her handler with the exasperated "get me out of here" look. ...
One can picture her having to listen to some simple-minded suggestion about health care while thinking to herself (once again with that painful to look at smile she forces on to her cold lips) "unless this clown can deliver a seven-figure campaign contribution, why is he wasting his breath?"
Another notable story on Drudge today:
A married woman who was having an affair with a fellow skydiver plunged 13,000ft (4,000m) to her death after her love rival and best friend tampered with her parachute, police say.
Saw this story on Drudge:
John Kerry, the losing 2004 presidential candidate, on Wednesday said he would not seek the Democratic nomination in 2008 but would instead remain in the Senate to fight George W. Bush's "misguided" war in Iraq.It's really a shame he isn't running. It was so easy -- almost effortless -- to skewer such a bloviating self-absorbed blow hard like Kerry. Who's going to take his place?
New Ferrari for Dad -- $1,000,000.00
Junior takes Dad's new Ferrari out for a spin.
Junior hits utility pole at 200 mph.
Waiting list for new Ferrari -- 2 years.
Waiting list for Junior to take next Ferrari out for a spin -- not in this lifetime.
By the way, the car had 9 miles on the odometer -- 8 while on the road; 1 while disintegrating along the highway. :-)
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Super Bowl Bound
Wow, another Super Bowl for the Bears. It seems just yesterday that the Monsters of the Midway were dominating the league on their way to winning Super Bowl XX.
Well, not really -- but 21 years isn't that long a time! (not when you're in your 40's) :-)
Chicago is a great sports town with winning traditions and lots of championships. It was just 2 years ago that the mighty White Sox swept through the playoffs and brought home the World Series trophy. Boy, that was a lot of fun that fall. First the Sox went through the Red Sox like a knife through warm butter. Then, they man-handled the Angels in the ALCS, losing only one game. Then they swept the Astros in the World Series. Wow!
But as far as domination, who could forget Michael Jordan and the Bulls -- 6 world championships. Three in a row two different times. That's two three-peats.
The Bulls were so good and Michael Jordan so dominated the NBA that you could take it for granted that the Bulls were going to win it all year in and year out. Well, not really. But it made for some pretty exciting times.
But don't forget, in Chicago we have two baseball teams -- the White Sox and the Cubs. The Cubs have a long tradition too. Except, well, it's not a tradition of winning.
It's been a few years since the Cubs have won a championship. Uh, in fact it's been more than a few years. The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908; they haven't even been to the World Series in more than half a century!
To give you some perspective, I came across this blog post from The Sporting News listing some significant events which have occurred since the last time the Cubs won the World Series:
Twenty major events that have occurred since the Chicago Cubs last laid claim to a World Series championship:
1. Radio was invented; Cubs fans got to hear their team lose.
2. TV was invented; Cubs fans got to see their team lose.
3. Baseball added 14 teams; Cubs fans get to see and hear their team lose to more
4. George Burns celebrated his 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th
and 100th birthdays.
5. Haley's comet passed Earth twice.
6. Harry Caray was born .... and died. Incredible, but true.
7. The NBA, NHL and NFL were formed, and ALL Chicago teams won championships in
8. Man landed on the moon, as have several home runs given up by Cubs pitchers.
9. Sixteen U.S. Presidents were elected.
10. There were 11 amendments added to the Constitution.
11. Prohibition was created and repealed.
12. The Titanic was built, set sail , sank, was discovered and became the subject of
major motion pictures, the latest giving Cubs fans hope that something that
finishes on the bottom can come out on top.
13. Wrigley Field was built and becomes the oldest park in the National League.
14. Flag poles were erected on Wrigley Field roof to hold all of the team's future World
Series pennants. Those flag poles have since rusted and been taken down.
15. A combination of 40 Summer and Winter Olympics have been held.
16. Thirteen baseball players have won the Triple Crown; several thanked Cubs
17. Bell-bottoms came in style, went out of style and came back in.
18. The Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and the Florida Marlins have all won the World Series.
19. The Cubs played 14,153 regular-season games; they lost the majority of them.
20. Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oklahoma and New Mexico were added to the Union.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Well, Hillary finally threw her hat into the ring and is running for president. I know, I know -- what a surprise, no one suspected she was interested in being prez!
Get ready for some good times though. It's one thing for her to scrip photo ops, drop sound bites for the evening news, and post well-rehearsed videos on her web site (as Michelle Malkin says: "She’s surprisingly non-robotic, although I guess if you can train animals to perform on sitcoms, you can train Hillary to feign warmth for 30 seconds").
However, once she gets out on the campaign trail and has to be spontaneous, unscripted, and, well, "human", I predict it won't take long for the real Hillary to come through. Look for her, not realizing a camera is on, to blast some reporter or rip some aide. It will be another Howard Dean moment and "bye-bye Hillary"!
defend their faith with firmness
Washington DC, Jan 17, 2007 / 11:12 am (CNA).- A prominent Catholic convert from Islam told a group this week not to shy away from sharing Jesus with their Muslim neighbors, assuring them that most Muslims respect a clear and well-argued defense of faith and despise weakness and a lack of firmness in apologetics.
During a speech for a seminar called, "What Every Catholic Should Know About Islam," in Virginia, Daniel Ali, an Iraqi who converted from Islam in 1998, told the more than 400 people in attendance, "The first line of defense is to know your faith." The baptized should be willing to stand up when their beliefs are being attacked, he said.
When Christians encounter Muslims, "They cannot be silent about Jesus in order to get along with those who profess the Islamic faith. They do not like people who are weak. They have more respect for those who defend their convictions," Ali said.
He noted that it is very common for Americans "to defend what they believe, but when it's the Christian faith, people are afraid to speak of it."
Ali also underscored that there are two kinds of jihad. The "great jihad" is the daily struggle of individuals to live their faith, and the "minor jihad" is the struggle against the enemies of Allah.
Christians and other non-Muslims should be more concerned about the second jihad, Ali added. "It is very sad that tragedy makes us pay attention to the most challenging moment of our time," he stated, in reference to the 9-11 attacks. "When the Muslims talk about taking over the West, they are not kidding. I know their minds, I think that they really believe what they are saying," he asserted.
Ali is co-author with Robert Spencer of the book "Inside Islam: A Guide For Catholics," which describes how Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet but they deny his death on the cross and condemn belief in his divine nature.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I love satellite navigation systems. Santa brought me a Garmin Nuvi 350. However, after seeing articles like this, I wonder whether they should require an intelligence test before allowing people to have one in their car.
Obedient motorist crashes on satnav command
Tue Jan 16, 9:02 AM ET
A 46-year-old German motorist driving along a busy road suddenly veered to the left and ended up stuck on a railway track -- because his satellite navigation system told him to, police said Sunday.
The motorist was heading into the north German city of Bremen "when the friendly voice from his satnav told him to turn left," a spokesman said.
"He did what he was ordered to do and turned his Audi left up over the curb and onto the track of a local streetcar line. He tried to back up off the track but got completely stuck."
The police spokesman said about a dozen trams were held up until a tow truck arrived to clear the car off the track.
Several German motorists have crashed their cars in recent months, later telling police they were only obeying orders from their satnavs.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Here is an amazing story of a woman who was lost in the New Mexico wilderness for 5 weeks and was found by two hikers.
In reading the story, however, something bothered me and still does. The two hikers who found the woman gave her some food, some water, gathered some firewood -- and then left.
They didn't leave for good; they knew she was too weak to hike the 20 miles out of the wilderness, and they went to get her help. But I can't understand why one of them couldn't stay with this woman while the other went for help. There may be a good explanation -- and I hope there is -- because after being lost in the wilderness for 5 weeks, this woman was hungry, thirsty, cold; but she was probably also desperate for some human contact. Instead these two gave her a book and left.
With the likes of Jessee Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other racial grievance mongers being all we see today, it's unfortunately too easy to forget that the civil rights movement did begin with serious and noble motives. (It's also unfortunate that, while we have a national holiday for Martin Luther King (which is a good thing), but have downgraded recognition of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to the generic "President's Day")
Notwithstanding the above, Dr. King was a great leader. While it's too bad that his successors haven't followed his example, today is a good day to read and reflect on his words.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Some great points in Chuck Colson's recent Breakpoint column:
America's Secular Jihadists
Atheists on the Offensive
January 12, 2007
Just a few months ago, I thought it was insulting to be called a "theocrat." I was wrong. "Theocrat" is almost a compliment compared to what the Left is calling Christians now.
According to a Times review, we Christians are fascists—that's what the Nazis were. And if we're not stopped, we'll try to take over America. It's an illustration of how vicious the invective has become against faithful Christians.
"Of course there are Christian fascists in America," writes Rick Perlstein in the Times Sunday Book Review. How else, for example, to explain the cadres who took former Chief Justice Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument on tour?
Perlstein was reviewing the latest in the recent crop of hate books about the Christian faith, this one titled, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, written by Chris Hedges. He details all the wacky killings, like the Aryan brotherhood over the last twenty-five years, and then concludes by saying that Christians are about to do the same thing. Talk about guilt by association.
The really dangerous thing here is that, by writing this kind of stuff, they are likely to embolden some nut to start shooting pastors and Christian leaders.
Perlstein was honest enough to admit that there has been no violence from Christians lately—but he reminds us that there used to be, and may be again, driven by all those violent Left Behind books.
Gee, what a backhanded compliment! We're not as bad as we used to be—or will be in the future.
American Fascists is just the latest book in a long line of anti-Christian literature to hit the best-seller lists—all reviewed and promoted by the Times. Richard Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, suggests that the government may have to stop parents from sharing their religious beliefs with their kids, calling it a form of child abuse.
What's behind this witch hunt? Two things.
First, it's an effort to drive Christians out of public debates, like abortion and same-sex "marriage," and sadly, there are signs it might be working.
Second, as Sam Schulman noted last week in the Journal, atheists are trying to move heaven and earth (so to speak) to destroy belief in God.
In the Victorian age, it was atheists who were gentlemen, rather civilized, though held in low public regard. Today, atheists are trying to turn the tables: turning religious faith into "a cause for personal embarrassment."
To the new atheists, religious belief is both misguided and contemptible, "the mark of people who need to be told how to think and how to vote," Schulman writes. Belief in God is "a form of stupidity"—or so they say.
But the faith these atheists present is a parody of the faith that thousands have given their lives for, and for causes like ending the slave trade and human rights causes today. Look over the history of Western civilization, as Rodney Stark, the great sociologist, writes, and you'll see that Christianity has been the source of all the great reforms and advances of Western civilization.
The best response to these attacks, of course, is just a loving assertion of the truth and a renewed effort to silence the critics by doing good.
And in the midst of these best-selling books that try to embarrass us out of our faith, we ought to remember the words of the Apostle Paul: "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for all those who believe."
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Here is a great article by John Fund of the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal on how Ronald Reagan became a conservative. Check it out:
What GE Brought to His Life
The education of Ronald Reagan.
BY JOHN H. FUND
Tuesday, January 9, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST
Almost everyone now agrees Ronald Reagan's nationally televised speech in 1964 on behalf of Barry Goldwater did a great deal not only for Goldwater's candidacy but for Reagan himself. Columnist David Broder has called it "the most successful political debut" of the century. No less a conservative eminence than William F. Buckley flatly says that what became known as The Speech--a rousing call for freedom and free markets--"catapulted Reagan from Hollywood to the White House."
But what forces shaped such a seminal address? For decades, historians have debated exactly how Reagan went from a self-described "hemophiliac liberal" to America's leading small-government conservative in little more than a decade. The answer has a lot to do with the years 1954 to 1962, when Reagan worked as the host of CBS's top-rated "General Electric Theater" and served as GE's spokesman.
For weeks at a time he would tour GE's 139 plants, eventually meeting most of the 250,000 employees in them. Reagan himself estimated that he spent 4,000 hours before GE microphones giving talks that started out with Hollywood patter but ended up as full-throated warnings about Big Government. "GE tours became almost a post-graduate course in political science for me . . .," he later wrote. "By 1960 I had completed the process of self-conversion."
Thomas W. Evans, a lawyer who served in the Reagan administration, has composed an elegant history of Reagan's "studies" with General Electric. Much of "The Education of Ronald Reagan" is devoted to rediscovering Lemuel Boulware, Reagan's mentor at GE and the dynamo behind both the company's PR efforts and its labor-negotiation policy. Boulware believed that at the start of contract talks, GE should make an offer it viewed as fair to stockholders, workers and customers and then stick with it, allowing for almost no changes. This "take it or leave it" approach was so successful (strikes became almost unknown at GE) that it entered the lexicon of labor relations as "Boulwarism."
But Boulware, who had served his labor-relations apprenticeship as deputy director of the War Production Board in World War II, also believed that the policy would work only if executives went over the heads of union officials and educated the workers directly about why they had a stake in GE's prosperity. Mr. Evans notes that "a worker who learned that GE's profit margin was much smaller than he had been led to believe or that union officials had not been truthful with him" was unlikely to join a picket line or insist on over-the-top demands. Thanks to his outreach to workers, and his workers' surveys, Boulware was "reputed to understand blue collar workers better than anyone in the country."
Boulware's efforts included an elaborate campaign to educate both GE's workers and the public on the moral and economic benefits of free enterprise. "Our free markets and our free persons are at stake," he told the graduating class of the Harvard Business School in 1949. To combat what he saw as creeping collectivism, he encouraged workers to form book clubs and to read free-market texts from the Foundation for Economic Education--e.g., Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson" and Wilhelm Ropke's "Economics of the Free Society." He also encouraged his managers to read The Wall Street Journal's editorial page and Mr. Buckley's brand-new National Review.
Mr. Boulware's free-market message so penetrated GE's work force that Reagan, his traveling ambassador, quickly saw how important it was for him to become familiar with what the workers were reading. Over time, his own reading and his conversations with GE workers had an effect. By the late 1950s Reagan was lambasting those "who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without automatically concluding the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one." Historian Rick Perlstein has concluded that "Reagan was an integral component in the Boulwarite system."
The alliance lasted until 1961, when Boulware was eased into retirement after his methods came under growing legal attack from unions backed by the new Kennedy administration appointees on the National Labor Relations Board. The next year, when Reagan's contract came up, he received a call from a GE executive who told him that the company wanted him to pitch GE products, not economic policy.
"You can get somebody else," Reagan recalled saying. "There's no way that I could go out now to an audience that is expecting the type of thing I've been doing for the last eight years and suddenly stand up and start selling them electric toasters." Within two days, GE canceled the CBS show that Reagan had hosted.
But the lessons Reagan had learned during his GE barnstorming stuck with him. Several passages in The Speech of 1964 came directly from his GE talks. ("There is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down: up to man's age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order; or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.")
The influence of those years lasted well into Reagan's presidency. The Time magazine journalist Hugh Sidey recalled admiring some of Reagan's White House speeches so much that he asked a speechwriter who had written them. "Reagan," he was told. "They were actually pretty much the speeches he had given when he worked for General Electric." And for the GE talks, Reagan was his own speechwriter.
It was in these forgotten GE years, brought to life so vividly by Mr. Evans, that Reagan developed into "The Great Communicator"--someone not only with an engaging speaking style but with something principled to say. A gifted popularizer of liberty had thus found the perfect partner in a business leader who believed in aggressively defending the free-market system. Would that more such business leaders existed today.
You Just Didn't Know It
Here's an interesting entry from a recent James Taranto's 'Best of the Web' column:
Amish Welfare Queens
We're not sure whether to laugh or cry at this story from Cleveland's WEWS-TV:
Two northeast Ohio counties are being ordered by the state to try to boost the number of Amish receiving food stamps.
Geauga and Holmes counties plan to start advertising campaigns to encourage Amish to enroll in the subsidy program. Holmes may use a billboard to get the message out.
State officials saidt's [sic] important that the Amish know the benefit is available.
But county officials question whether the effort is a waste of time and money. Amish oppose accepting government assistance.
The head of the Geauga Department of Job and Family Services says no matter how much they do, the Amish won't sign up.
Though it goes against the conventional wisdom of anti-illegal immigration supporters, those who enroll the poor in the federal food stamp program say they've struggled for years to get immigrant Latino families signed up.
Now a Spanish-language news report and television ad campaign have spurred thousands of immigrants in Orange County over the last several weeks to contact a nonprofit organization that offers a Spanish-language class called "Food Stamps in Four Hours."
The stream of immigrants contrasts sharply with what was going on just a few months ago when only a handful of immigrants would attend the free course. . . .
"The Mexican man is macho. He doesn't want to come to this country and beg," said Alfonso Chavez, the Community Action Partnership's outreach coordinator. "I tell them this is a program that will help the children. The kids are American-born, and they have a right to this program."
So here we have two strikingly difficult communities, Amish and Latino, that stubbornly cling to self-reliance--which is a profoundly American virtue; and a government and a nonprofit organization are struggling to turn them into wards of the state. Something is wrong with this picture.
You would think the role of government is to help people out of poverty and dependence. And, if you do think that way, you're totally wrong.
The problem with government today is that it sees its primary mission as extending, expanding and perpetuating itself. The stories above are examples of how they do it. If the Amish don't sign up for welfare, there's no need in that area for government bureaucrats to administer the welfare program. Smaller government? -- we can't have that now can we? In the government mindset, self-sufficiency is bad; dependence is good.
CORPORAL JASON L. DUNHAM
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifle Squad Leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines (Reinforced), Regimental Combat Team 7, First Marine Division (Reinforced), on 14 April 2004. Corporal Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west. Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander's convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah. As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal Dunham ordered his squad to dismount their vehicles and led one of his fire teams on foot several blocks south of the ambushed convoy. Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal Dunham gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Couple of articles on the new season of '24' posted on Rush's site.
One, from the Boston Herald, says:
How to top last season’s nail-biter of a season? Judging from the first four episodes, the creative team has plucked our subconscious national insecurities for an arc that goes where no “24” has gone before.
You can skip the other article. It's of those smug, smarmy articles written by some liberal journalist (sorry for the redundancy) trying to sound funny but really just being sanctimonious as he curiously looks down from his lofty perch on the neanderthals who are caught up in the '24' frenzy.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Man Is Rescued by Stranger on Subway Tracks
It was every subway rider’s nightmare, times two.
Who has ridden along New York’s 656 miles of subway lines and not wondered: “What if I fell to the tracks as a train came in? What would I do?”
And who has not thought: “What if someone else fell? Would I jump to the rescue?”
Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran, faced both those questions in a flashing instant yesterday, and got his answers almost as quickly.
Mr. Autrey was waiting for the downtown local at 137th Street and Broadway in Manhattan around 12:45 p.m. He was taking his two daughters, Syshe, 4, and Shuqui, 6, home before work.
Nearby, a man collapsed, his body convulsing. Mr. Autrey and two women rushed to help, he said. The man, Cameron Hollopeter, 20, managed to get up, but then stumbled to the platform edge and fell to the tracks, between the two rails.
The headlights of the No. 1 train appeared. “I had to make a split decision,” Mr. Autrey said.
So he made one, and leapt.
Mr. Autrey lay on Mr. Hollopeter, his heart pounding, pressing him down in a space roughly a foot deep. The train’s brakes screeched, but it could not stop in time.
Five cars rolled overhead before the train stopped, the cars passing inches from his head, smudging his blue knit cap with grease. Mr. Autrey heard onlookers’ screams. “We’re O.K. down here,” he yelled, “but I’ve got two daughters up there. Let them know their father’s O.K.” He heard cries of wonder, and applause.
Power was cut, and workers got them out. Mr. Hollopeter, a student at the New York Film Academy, was taken to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. He had only bumps and bruises, said his grandfather, Jeff Friedman. The police said it appeared that Mr. Hollopeter had suffered a seizure.
Mr. Autrey refused medical help, because, he said, nothing was wrong. He did visit Mr. Hollopeter in the hospital before heading to his night shift. “I don’t feel like I did something spectacular; I just saw someone who needed help,” Mr. Autrey said. “I did what I felt was right.”
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Someone hacked my blog!! I am SO offended by this stereotypical caricature that blondes are somehow intellectually-challenged. I would NEVER post something like this on my blog. However, some miscreant hacked my blog and uploaded this video. I tried to delete it but can only add this comment. I hope that no one thinks I could have done this -- I am innocent!
Monday, January 08, 2007
Came across this interesting article from the Minneapolis St. Tribune via Powerline.
Limp language leaves kids with an awesome paucity of speech
By Katherine Kersten, Star Tribune
Eavesdrop on any group of teens hanging around outside your local high school. Their emotions may run the gamut, but their ability to express themselves generally does not. They've got one all-purpose word -- "awesome" -- to cover everything from mild approval to exhilaration. When they're indignant or angry, they have to fall back on clichés -- including a few tired four-letter words.
What accounts for this? Some would say that our kids have grown up on a diet of linguistic Wonder Bread.
If the kids asked us to name a verbal model -- a master of words who could craft a truly stinging insult -- whom would we suggest? Donald Trump?
For my money, nobody dissed 'em better than William Shakespeare. The unparalleled master of the English tongue may have lived 400 years ago, but he made name-calling an art. Take the words he put in Prince Henry's mouth in "Henry IV, Part 1": "Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson, obscene, greasy tallow-catch!"
Today, teens aren't the only ones who have lost the ability to speak and write with vigor and eloquence. Folks of all ages are reading less -- especially the classics, whose authors wielded our language most powerfully. As a result, our ability to express ourselves is diminishing, because we can't draw on their example for inspiration.
Last month, Diane Ravitch, an eminent historian of education, provided the perfect antidote: "The English Reader: What Every Literate Person Needs to Know." In this anthology, she and her son Michael Ravitch have gathered what they regard as the most memorable speeches, poems, essays and songs in the English language.
"Today, our common cultural reference points come from the visual culture: Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez," Ravitch told me last week. Our schools could help remedy the problem, but often don't, she says. That's because "'relevance" is now the watchword in education.
In textbooks, teens tend to find countless stories about young people much like themselves, according to Ravitch.
"How much richer it is to be able to use your imagination -- to communicate with people who lived 200 years ago and come away with something that remains in your head and your heart," she adds.
Norman Fruman, an emeritus English professor at the University of Minnesota, agrees. "Good literature deals with ideas, as well as emotions and the psychology of human behavior," he says. "It records our greatest tragedies and our highest aspirations." During 40 years as a teacher, he saw a steep decline in students' knowledge of their literary heritage.
Students' ignorance impoverishes them in several ways, he says.
Fruman illustrates with an anecdote: Years ago, a quiet young woman who always sat in the back row approached him after a class discussion of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. "She told me that Coleridge powerfully expressed her own terrifying experiences of depression. 'The words just jumped off the page,' she confided. 'They were speaking to me and recording my experience.' "
Robert Kennedy also drew solace from the classics. After his brother John's assassination, he memorized lines from the Greek playwright Aeschylus about the wisdom that comes through suffering. Ravitch herself lost a child to leukemia in 1966. She has included the poem that sustained her -- "Oak and Lily," by 17th-century writer Ben Jonson -- in "The English Reader."I still can't read it out loud, it moves me too much," she says.
Language has the power to capture intimate emotions, but it can also move entire nations. "The English Reader" includes "words that changed the world, words that inspired revolutions," Ravitch says.
Fruman uses King Henry's great speech at Agincourt in Shakespeare's "Henry V" as an example. "When I hear it, I want to jump up and follow him into battle," he says. Fruman also recalls hearing Winston Churchill's thrilling words on the radio in 1940: "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." It's no accident that the other great Allied leaders of World War II -- Franklin D. Roosevelt and Charles de Gaulle -- were also great orators, he adds.
The 2002 New York City ceremony marking the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks suggested that contemporary leaders know they can't match that standard. Speakers read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, recited Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms, and quoted from the Declaration of Independence. Not one used his own words.
These speakers were important public figures -- two governors and the mayor of New York City. Apparently, however, they didn't trust themselves to say anything worth remembering.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Here is Michelle Malkin's great article on the incredible bias and hypocrisy at the New York Times on one of the primary dogmas of liberalism: abortion.
All the abortion lies fit to print
By Michelle Malkin
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's official: The editors of The New York Times have no shame. Don't take my word for it. Listen to the Times' own ombudsman, Byron Calame.
On Sunday, Calame wrote a stunning column debunking an April 9 New York Times Magazine cover story on abortion in
. The sensational piece by freelance writer Jack Hitt alleged that women there had been thrown in prison for 30-year terms for having had abortions. Hitt described his visit to one of them, inmate Carmen Climaco. "She is now 26 years old, four years into her 30-year sentence" for aborting an 18-week-old fetus, Hitt reported. El Salvador
The magazine featured heart-rending photos of Climaco's 11-year-old daughter, eyes filled with tears as she clutched a photo of her jailed mom. Cruel. Horrible. Outrageous. And utterly, demonstrably, false.
Climaco had actually been convicted of murder for strangling her newborn baby. This information was uncovered by pro-life groups. Lifesite.net obtained the court documents in Climaco's case and published them on their website in late November. Calame followed up and also independently obtained the documents easily — records which Hitt didn't bother to try and get for himself to verify the propaganda being fed to him. Reported Calame:"The care taken in the reporting and editing of this example didn't meet the magazine's normal standards. Although Sarah H. Smith, the magazine's editorial manager, told me that relevant court documents are 'normally' reviewed, Mr. Hitt never checked the 7,600-word ruling in the Climaco case while preparing his story. And Mr. Hitt told me that no editor or fact checker ever asked him if he had checked the court document containing the panel's decision."Obtaining the public document was as easy as requesting that a stringer for the Times in
walk into the court building without making any prior arrangements. Which is exactly what Calame did. It took the stringer mere minutes to get the court ruling. El Salvador
The facts did not fit with Hitt's pro-abortion narrative. Authorities found Climaco's dead baby hidden in a box wrapped in bags under the bed of Mrs. Climaco. Moreover, Lifesite reported, forensic examination showed that it was a full-term normal delivery. The child was breathing at the time of birth. The official cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation.
Hitt's main sources of info came from a pro-abortion group called Ipas. The group would profit from legalized abortion in
since it peddles abortion vacuum aspirators. Hitt's translator consulted for Ipas, which launched a fund-raising campaign to free Carmen Climaco and bring her to El Salvador . Pro-abortion groups recycled Climaco's story, citing the Times' bogus propaganda to scare up opposition to any abortion restrictions here. America
The Times' pro-abortion poster child is a woman convicted of infanticide. But the Times, questioned by its own public editor, refuses to acknowledge Jack Hitt's false reporting.
There is "no reason to doubt the accuracy of the facts as reported," the editors imperiously told Calame. They refuse to issue a correction, publish an Editors' Note or inform their readers of the ready availability of the court decision that exposes Jack Hitt's deception about the Climaco case.
Calame concluded that "Accuracy and fairness were not pursued with the vigor Times readers have a right to expect." That's too polite. The Times slung bull and they refuse to clean it up. The Times' Climaco-gate, like the Associated Press' Jamil Hussein-gate and Reuters' fauxtography scandal and CBS's Rathergate, will go down in mainstream history as yet another case of textbook media malpractice.
The next time you hear a New York Times columnist defend the paper's commitment to accuracy, fairness and ethical standards, give them two words: Carmen Climaco. The next time journalism elites wonder why newspaper circulation is plunging, remember: Carmen Climaco. The next time MSM apologists deny liberal bias, ask them rhetorically — "Atlas Shrugged"-style — "Who is Carmen Climaco?"
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