Friday, April 27, 2007
Got this story from left coast friend who, despite the insidious influence of living *out there*, has managed to stay conservative (so far) ;-)
The town north of Atlanta had little prominence until it passed a gun ordinance in 1982 that required all heads of a household to own a firearm and ammunition.
Kennesaw's law was a response to Morton Grove, Illinois, which had passed a gun ban earlier that year as a step to reduce crime.
But it also was an affirmation of what gun advocates say is a blanket U.S. constitutional right, under the Second Amendment, for citizens to keep and bear arms. Gun opponents challenge that right and say the language in the Constitution is open to interpretation.
The Kennesaw law has endured as the town's population has swelled to about 30,000 from 5,000 in 1982.
"When the law was passed in 1982 there was a substantial drop in crime ... and we have maintained a really low crime rate since then," said police Lt. Craig Graydon. "We are sure it is one of the lowest (crime) towns in the metro area.
Residents say they are comfortable with the image the gun law projects on the city as a bastion of gun freedom.
"There's been no move to get rid of the law . Why would you?" said Robert Jones, president of the Kennesaw Historical Society. "The law is a great tourist attraction. It's the town with the Gun Law .
"People in Europe feel they need to be protected by the government. People in the U.S. feel they need to be protected from the government," said Jones, the owner of a .357-caliber Magnum.
Many U.S. citizens see gun ownership as an essential freedom on a par with free speech and the view is particularly strong in rural areas and the South where sport hunting is often a family tradition.
In a bid to expand gun rights, a bill was introduced in Georgia's state legislature to allow individuals with no criminal record or history of mental illness to conceal a weapon in their car.
The state Senate adjourned debate on the bill on Tuesday, fearing it would send the wrong message in the wake of the Virginia rampage.
Dent "Wildman" Myers, 76, styles himself as a keeper of the flame when it comes to Kennesaw's gun ordinance. His downtown shop contains a cornucopia of artifacts, including old uniforms and dozens of flags of the Confederacy that fought the Union in part in defense of slavery in the Civil War. At the back is a Ku Klux Klan outfit with a noose and a hood.
There also are posters praising defenders of the white race, White Power CDs and a sign that reads: "No Dogs Allowed, No Negroes, No Mexicans." Someone had crossed out the first part of the sign and added "Dogs Allowed."
Myers said he wanted to protect the values that made the town and the South distinct from other parts of the United States.
GUNS AS TOOLS
"They destroyed anything historic and replaced it with the PC (politically correct) stuff. It's become a cookie cutter town," Myers said, his hands resting lightly on two .45-caliber guns at his hips. He said he considered his guns to be tools, much like a rake or a shovel.
Since the Virginia Tech shootings, some conservative U.S. talk radio hosts have rejected attempts to link the massacre to the availability of guns, arguing that had students been allowed to carry weapons on campus someone might have been able to shoot the killer.
Without guns the students of Virginia Tech were "26,000 sitting ducks," said Chris Krok of Atlanta 's WSB radio in a view echoed by many residents of Kennesaw.
When the town's gun law was passed, about 70 percent of households likely owned a gun , Graydon said. But Atlanta commuters have since swelled the town's population and gun ownership now is about 50 percent.
An amendment to the gun ownership law grants exceptions to convicted felons, conscientious objectors and those who cannot afford a gun . No one has ever been prosecuted for failure to own a firearm, Graydon said.
The law may deter criminals but proactive policing and close police liaison with community and business groups were the main reasons why crime has stayed low, he said.
Some residents said they found the law objectionable or silly and simply ignored it.
But Linda Warman, who works in a Kennesaw shop, said she lived alone and was taking no chances.
"I wouldn't hesitate to use it," she said of the gun she keeps loaded with hollow-point bullets. "My little .22. It'll do whatever I want it to."
Shutting Down OppositionThe Gay Agenda and Schoolkids
April 24, 2007
Once upon a time there was a handsome young prince. When he grew up, he began searching for a wife, but could not find a princess he wanted to marry. One day, he met another prince—and fell in love. The two men married and lived happily ever after.
They must have been the only ones who did. When the fairy tale—which ended with the newly married "couple" kissing—was read to Massachusetts first graders, Christian parents were outraged.
Two sets of parents sued the Lexington school district, claiming that district officials violated both state law and their civil rights by allowing a teacher to read to their 6-year-olds a book that normalizes homosexual love and marriage.
Not surprisingly—this is Massachusetts, after all—federal judge Mark Wolf dismissed the lawsuit. Public schools, he wrote, are "entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy."
I guess it is not possible to become a productive citizen without embracing the teachings of radical gays.
Incredibly, the judge said parents did not even have a right to pull their kids from classes that discuss and depict homosexual behavior. Allowing kids to leave, the judge said, "could send the message that gays, lesbians, and the children of same-sex parents are inferior and, therefore, have a damaging effect on those students."
This decision is so ghastly it is hard to know where to begin. Since when did parents not have the right to control what their children are exposed to when it comes to matters of sexuality? And what about the damaging effect on kids who are taught ideas that conflict with their parents' teachings?
If the school district is really committed to teaching about all kinds of families, then why not give children a story about a prince who longs for another prince, realizes his longings are disordered, undergoes reparative therapy, and lives happily ever after—with a princess?
The real goal, of course, is normalizing homosexuality. The judge tipped his hand on this when he said that children should be taught to "respect" differences in sexual orientation.
The two families are appealing Judge Wolf's decision, and we ought to be praying for their ultimate success. But we must also realize what is really going on here.
When it comes to sin, humans have been playing the denial game ever since the Fall. In Romans, Paul says that even pagans know God's moral law because it is "written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness."
That's why it is not enough for homosexuals to be tolerated; in order to live with their own consciences, homosexuals demand unanimous assent that homosexuality is a moral good. And that means silencing those who believe that homosexuality is a disorder, and that homosexual behavior is a moral sin.
You and I must fight back when homosexuals attempt to promote gay "marriage" in public schools. But we must also reach out with compassion to those ensnared by disordered sexual desires.
The Bible teaches that sin—and a guilty conscience—can be erased only by the grace of God through faith in Christ.
I am kicking myself for my selfishness. I have been hooked on a "new"* blog for several weeks now and have neglected to share it. The blog is Debbie Schlussel. She is a full-bore, unapologetic, no holds barred conservative. If you like your political discourse *polite*, Debbie is not for you. But, if you appreciate someone telling it like it is, pulling no punches and speaking out regardless of whose ox is being gored, you will love Debbie.
For example, this week she pummels faux conservative Sean Hannity. What? Sean Hannity? Isn't he a conservative icon? Well, he might be an icon, but if you watch or listen to him, he's no conservative -- and Debbie takes him to task for it -- in fact, she blisters him. :-)
Check her blog out here, you won't regret it.
* new for me -- I have no idea how long she's been running her blog.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Ever Wonder Why Predators Support Gun Control?
Saw this column via Xavier Thoughts.
"Arthur Buford is dead, and that's a sad thing.
Arthur had his whole life ahead of him. He was just a kid, after all - a 15-year-old freshman at John F. Kennedy High School.
What he didn't know, as he approached Damon Wells' house in southeast Cleveland on Saturday night, was that his whole life consisted of just a few more seconds. Arthur had a gun, which he and another youngster apparently thought would give them the power to take something from Wells, who was standing on the front porch.
Whatever Arthur's plan was, it unraveled. It didn't account for the possibility that the guy who looked like an easy mark would have permission from the state of Ohio to carry a concealed weapon, or that he would bother to arm himself just to walk to the neighborhood store and back.
Arthur's plan depended on catching Wells off-guard. But Wells wasn't off-guard. He had a plan of his own, against the day when someone like Arthur might come along.
Wells' plan was to avoid becoming a crime victim, and that's how Arthur ended up dying of several gunshot wounds to the chest. Wells hasn't given The Plain Dealer much more than monosyllables, and I don't blame him. What would he say? That he's sorry he was prepared? That he's sorry he defended himself?
Unless he's a man without a conscience, he probably finds it regrettable that it came down to a him-or-me situation. But it's clear that he's not a man devoid of the desire to go on living, so he's got to be glad that it turned out to be "him, not me." But you can't just come out and say that sort of thing without the sensitivity police coming after you, so the less said the better.
The real police, however, aren't planning to charge Wells with anything. They say the shooting was justified. It's just about impossible to argue that, but here come the arguments.
Arthur's relatives and friends are upset that the law isn't going after Wells.
They want someone to blame - other than Arthur. But they shouldn't be allowed to bully the police or the city administration into taking action against a guy who was minding his own business on his own porch when suddenly confronted by an armed teenager.
Then there's the conceptual side of the argument - the big-picture side that says citizens shouldn't be allowed to have guns and certainly shouldn't be allowed to walk around with them.
This kind of incident proves knee-jerk gun foes wrong, and they know it. "This is one of the few where they actually used it [a legally carried concealed weapon] to stop a crime," Toby Hoover of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence grudgingly told a Plain Dealer reporter.
But there are more than a few such cases. There are thousands every year, all over the country. And where are the statistics on gun crimes committed by holders of concealed-carry permits? Something tells me that if they happened at anything approaching the rate of the hundreds of thousands of crimes perpetrated against unarmed Americans every year, we'd be hearing more about them.
The fact is, the concealed-carry "threat" has turned out to be malarkey, just as it was in the many states that debated such laws long before Ohio.
Three of my last four columns have had to do with young people getting killed, and that's a sad thing. In two of those cases, a teenage boy was in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing wrong when someone shot him.
In the third, 32 college students were doing what they were supposed to do.
After I wrote about last week's outrage at Virginia Tech University, I got a series of sneering e-mails from a reader, along the lines of, "Next, you'll be suggesting that teachers should be armed."
I think I'll take him up on that.
Damon Wells is about the same age as the students killed at Virginia Tech. He's got his whole life still ahead of him, and because he was prepared, he'll actually get to live it - presuming he escapes thug-enforced street justice.
How different things might have been at Virginia Tech if Seung-Hui Cho hadn't had the only gun on campus."
Plain Dealer Columnist
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I think Calvin Coolidge is one of our most underrated presidents. This quote shows why.
The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. The wise and correct course to follow in taxation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to be successful.Calvin Coolidge
There's a really, really good editorial in today's Wall Street Journal on the Democrats and their pursuit of defeat in Iraq at all costs. The editorial closes with a great summation on why we're in Iraq to begin with:
The stakes in Iraq are about the future of the entire Middle East -- and of our inevitable involvement in it. In calling for withdrawal, Mr. Reid and his allies, just as with Vietnam, may think they are merely following polls that show the public is unhappy with the war. Yet Americans will come to dislike a humiliation and its aftermath even more, especially as they realize that a withdrawal from Iraq now will only make it harder to stabilize the region and defeat Islamist radicals. And they will like it even less should we be required to re-enter the country someday under far worse circumstances.Defeatists like Sen. Reid are not only cowards, they are also cravenly hypocritical. They want defeat in Iraq because it will politically damage the President and the Republicans. So, they are willing to let Iraq fall into anarchy and are willing that American lives be lost in vain in order to gain the advantage in the next election. What gutless immorality.
This is the outcome toward which the "lost" Democrats and Harry Reid are heading, and for which they will be responsible if it occurs. The alternative is to fight for a stable Iraqi government that can control the country and keep it together in a federal, democratic system. As long as such an outcome is within reach, it is our responsibility to achieve it.
On a lighter note, I predict Rush Limbaugh will love this editorial and not only for its substance. One of Rush's recent themes is that the Dems "own defeat". The editorial (probably not unintentionally) uses the phrase as the subheading in both the WSJ Online and Opinion Journal versions of this editorial. The editorial itself says: "[P]erhaps we ought to be grateful for [Mr. Reid's] earlier candor in laying out the strategic judgment -- and nakedly political rationale -- that underlies the latest Congressional bid to force a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq starting this fall. By doing so, he and the Democrats are taking ownership of whatever ugly outcome follows a U.S. defeat in Iraq. I think Rush will be flattered that the Journal's editorial staff are reinforcing his view that the Dems are the party of defeat.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
(Yet another) great Mark Steyn column.
Let's be realistic about reality
April 22, 2007BY MARK STEYN Sun-Times Columnist
Within hours of the Virginia Tech massacre, the New York Times had identified the problem: ''What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss.''
According to the Canadian blogger Kate MacMillan, a caller to her local radio station went further and said she was teaching her children to ''fear guns.''
Overseas, meanwhile, the German network NTV was first to identify the perpetrator: To accompany their report on the shootings, they flashed up a picture of Charlton Heston touting his rifle at an NRA confab.
And at Yale, the dean of student affairs, Betty Trachtenberg, reacted to the Virginia Tech murders by taking decisive action: She banned all stage weapons from plays performed on campus. After protests from the drama department, she modified her decisive action to "permit the use of obviously fake weapons" such as plastic swords.
But it's not just the danger of overly realistic plastic swords in college plays that we face today. In yet another of his not-ready-for-prime-time speeches, Barack Obama started out deploring the violence of Virginia Tech as yet another example of the pervasive violence of our society: the violence of Iraq, the violence of Darfur, the violence of . . . er, hang on, give him a minute. Ah, yes, outsourcing: ''the violence of men and women who . . . suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job has moved to another country." And let's not forget the violence of radio hosts: ''There's also another kind of violence, though, that we're going to have to think about. It's not necessarily physical violence, but violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways. Last week the big news, obviously, had to do with Imus and the verbal violence that was directed at young women who were role models for all of us, role models for my daughters.''
I've had some mail in recent days from people who claimed I'd insulted the dead of Virginia Tech. Obviously, I regret I didn't show the exquisite taste and sensitivity of Sen. Obama and compare getting shot in the head to an Imus one-liner. Does he mean it? I doubt whether even he knows. When something savage and unexpected happens, it's easiest to retreat to our tropes and bugbears or, in the senator's case, a speech on the previous week's "big news." Perhaps I'm guilty of the same. But then Yale University, one of the most prestigious institutes of learning on the planet, announces that it's no longer safe to expose twentysomething men and women to ''Henry V'' unless you cry God for Harry, England and St. George while brandishing a bright pink and purple plastic sword from the local kindergarten. Except, of course, that the local kindergarten long since banned plastic swords under its own "zero tolerance" policy.
I think we have a problem in our culture not with "realistic weapons" but with being realistic about reality. After all, we already "fear guns," at least in the hands of NRA members. Otherwise, why would we ban them from so many areas of life? Virginia Tech, remember, was a "gun-free zone," formally and proudly designated as such by the college administration. Yet the killer kept his guns and ammo on the campus. It was a "gun-free zone" except for those belonging to the guy who wanted to kill everybody. Had the Second Amendment not been in effect repealed by VT, someone might have been able to do as two students did five years ago at the Appalachian Law School: When a would-be mass murderer showed up, they rushed for their vehicles, grabbed their guns and pinned him down until the cops arrived.
But you can't do that at Virginia Tech. Instead, the administration has created a "Gun-Free School Zone." Or, to be more accurate, they've created a sign that says "Gun-Free School Zone." And, like a loopy medieval sultan, they thought that simply declaring it to be so would make it so. The "gun-free zone" turned out to be a fraud -- not just because there were at least two guns on the campus last Monday, but in the more important sense that the college was promoting to its students a profoundly deluded view of the world.
I live in northern New England, which has a very low crime rate, in part because it has a high rate of gun ownership. We do have the occasional murder, however. A few years back, a couple of alienated loser teens from a small Vermont town decided they were going to kill somebody, steal his ATM cards, and go to Australia. So they went to a remote house in the woods a couple of towns away, knocked on the door, and said their car had broken down. The guy thought their story smelled funny so he picked up his Glock and told 'em to get lost. So they concocted a better story, and pretended to be students doing an environmental survey. Unfortunately, the next old coot in the woods was sick of environmentalists and chased 'em away. Eventually they figured they could spend months knocking on doors in rural Vermont and New Hampshire and seeing nothing for their pains but cranky guys in plaid leveling both barrels through the screen door. So even these idiots worked it out: Where's the nearest place around here where you're most likely to encounter gullible defenseless types who have foresworn all means of resistance? Answer: Dartmouth College. So they drove over the Connecticut River, rang the doorbell, and brutally murdered a couple of well-meaning liberal professors. Two depraved misfits of crushing stupidity (to judge from their diaries) had nevertheless identified precisely the easiest murder victims in the twin-state area. To promote vulnerability as a moral virtue is not merely foolish. Like the new Yale props department policy, it signals to everyone that you're not in the real world.
The "gun-free zone" fraud isn't just about banning firearms or even a symptom of academia's distaste for an entire sensibility of which the Second Amendment is part and parcel but part of a deeper reluctance of critical segments of our culture to engage with reality. Michelle Malkin wrote a column a few days ago connecting the prohibition against physical self-defense with "the erosion of intellectual self-defense," and the retreat of college campuses into a smothering security blanket of speech codes and "safe spaces" that's the very opposite of the principles of honest enquiry and vigorous debate on which university life was founded. And so we "fear guns," and "verbal violence," and excessively realistic swashbuckling in the varsity production of ''The Three Musketeers.'' What kind of functioning society can emerge from such a cocoon?
©Mark Steyn, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
It used to be said that politics ends at the water's edge--that is, that both parties stood in solidarity against foreign foes. Many of today's Democrats have precisely inverted the meaning of that adage. They stand against Republicans, even if that means standing in solidarity with America's enemies.James Taranto
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I came across this post from the LawDog Files blog, via the Xavier Thoughts blog, and had to post it. It's obvious the author is writing in the heat of passion, i.e., he is in a blistering rage that a massacre like this could happen. And, not only because the students were prohibited from being able to carry firearms for self-defense, but even more so because our p.c. culture has so successfully indoctrinated us to cower in fear rather than fight back against evil.
Virginia Tech Shooting
Michelle Malkin makes the same point in her column here.Oh, C***t, here we go again. [my edit]posted by LawDog | 2:22 PM
Some maladjusted little bugsnipe gets his mental panties into a bunch and goes flat boiling nutters with a gun in one of the few places where he knows someone isn't going to put him down like a rabid dog during his first magazine.
And -- as usual -- the Mainstream Media is bleating about needing more Gun Control.
Gun Control is a failure. You simply can not expect those who would do murder -- those who would violate the highest law -- you can not expect them to obey a lesser law.
And you can not turn a failure into a success by doubling the failure.
None-the-less, I will be greatly surprised if the Mainstream Media and the political lapdogs don't try to use this tragedy to further their gun control agenda.
You want to be really disgusted? I mean, the down deep nausea kind of disgusted?
The State Government of Virginia had a bill before it which would have allowed college students to exercise their Second Amendment rights on campus earlier this year.
The bill didn't even make it out of committee.
When the bill died, the spokesman for Virginia Tech -- where some college kids really needed to be able to shoot back this morning -- Virgina Tech spokescritter Larry Hincker stated:
"I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."
He was happy to hear of the defeat of the bill which would have allowed college kids to carry weapons for self-defence on his college campus.
Happy now, you sodding dacoit? Go tell the dead that they're really safe because the Virginia State Government refuses to allow them to carry for self-defence on campus, you ate-up catamite with delusions of adequacy.
And despite all of that -- despite the senseless death and the smug arrogance that allowed the death to happen -- there is news that sickens me to the very core.
There are reports -- granted unconfirmed at this time -- that several students were forced to line up, kneeling, and executed from behind.
I pray to the old gods -- the gods of war and blood and thunder -- that this is not the case.
I pray that some students went down fighting.
Because as bad as this is -- and this is a horror -- as bad as this is, if fifty some-odd people were injured and killed by one person whilst on their knees begging like so many Eloi, like a herd of sheep -- if no one stood up and fought back, then this is becomes an example of evil.
Not the evil that allows a man to kill other men -- although that is here in abundance. No, I am speaking of the putrescent evil which convinces good men not to fight back; the sordid filth of the soul which allows one bad man to prevail against fifty -- or 25,000 -- good men because good men have been systematically denied the mindset required to meet with, engage and defeat evil -- even if all you have is fingernails and rage.
One man. On a campus of 25,000 people. 25,000 people surrounded by fire extinguishers, book bags, pencils, pens, drafting compasses, chairs, broom handles, power strips, ceramics, chains and everything heavy and/or sharp.
One man managed to gun down fifty people -- or more -- without being stabbed and bludgeoned to death where he stood by the other 24,950 people.
I weep for the dead. I weep for the families who lost their treasured children today.
I weep even more for a land which not only denies the tools required for self-defence, but also denies the very mindset required for self-defence.
Some high-handed commentators insist it's premature or unseemly to examine the impact of school rules discouraging students from carrying arms on campus. Pundit Andrew Sullivan complained that it was "creepy" to highlight reader e-mails calling attention to Virginia Tech's restrictions on student self-defense -- even as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rushed to capitalize on the massacre to sign up new members and gather e-mail addresses for Million Mom March chapters. "We are outraged by the increase in gun violence in America, especially the recent shooting at Virginia Tech," reads the online petition. "Add your name to the growing list of people who are saying: 'Enough Is Enough!'"
Enough is enough, indeed. Enough of intellectual disarmament. Enough of physical disarmament. You want a safer campus? It begins with renewing a culture of self-defense -- mind, spirit and body. It begins with two words: Fight back.
I've heard a couple of commentators make the point that what happened at Virginia Tech was a massacre and that people shouldn't call it a tragedy. Their point is that tragedies happen when people are killed in earthquakes, floods, etc. and to call the slaughter at Virginia Tech a tragedy avoids acknowledging the underlying evil.
I can appreciate their point, but I think "tragic" is the right word when I hear about people like Ryan Clark. As you probably know by this point, Clark was one of the first victims. Here is a bio on him from the Washington Post:
Ryan C. Clark
Hometown: Martinez, Ga.
Major: English and Biology
Location: West Ambler Johnston Hall dormitory
Related Links: Family, friends remember Ryan Clark (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 17, 2007)
Family 'devastated' (CNN.com, April 17, 2007)
Profile: Ryan C. Clark's favorite place in the world was Camp Big Heart, a summer spot in Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Ga. Every summer for the past eight years, he spent two weeks at the camp for mentally impaired children, first as a volunteer counselor and, later, as music director.
"He was one of the kindest, most compassionate people I have ever known," said Mary Ellen Ipser, the camp's administrator. "He was also one of the funniest. He knew how to play, and the staff, parents, campers -- everybody -- adored him. He was the kind of the person who always kept you up. He'd put his arm around you and say, 'Come on, girl, I love you.' I am 71 years old, the administrator of the camp, and he didn't treat me any differently than the 18-year-olds."
Clark, 22, grew up in Martinez, Ga., and became interested in music when he was in sixth grade, his twin, Bryan, said yesterday. Bryan also worked at the camp each year as athletic director. The two weeks they spent sleeping in a cabin was when they reconnected as they got older and their lives diverged.
"He had degrees in psychology, biology and English," his brother said. "A brainiac. He planned to pursue a PhD in neuroscience. He wanted to work with the mentally impaired."
Ryan Clark was a resident adviser in the West Ambler Johnston dormitory, where he was killed Monday when he left his fourth-floor room to investigate a report of a dispute, friends said.
"I can tell you that he was the type of person that if there was a problem, and he was aware of it, he would always do his job," said Will Petersen, the assistant director of the Marching Virginians, the Tech band that Clark played with for four years. "And he was always willing to be the first person to put in a hand and help out."
He played the baritone in the band, a brass instrument that matched his brassy personality.
Bryan Clark said his family would try visit Virginia Tech two or three times a year, almost always on band family day.
Ipser said Ryan had told her recently that he was afraid that he was not going to be able to make it to Camp Big Heart this summer.
"He said he was getting a job and he might not be able to come," she said. "I think the job was pretty important to him, or he wouldn't have missed camp. All of the staff knew he might not come, and we've been sending him messages telling him what we were going to do with him if he didn't come, which seems kind of sad now."
On the band's Web site yesterday, there was a picture of Ryan Clark flashing a big smile and both hands forming a "V."
A message from his band mates said: "The Marching Virginians are deeply sorrowed by the loss of fellow MV and friend, Ryan "Stack" Clark. He was a loved friend, mentor, and role model who will always hold a special place in the hearts of all the MVs as a true example of The Spirit Of Tech. Stack, we thank you for all the memories, and for sharing with us your true love of life. We will love and miss you always." -- Timothy Dwyer, The Washington Post
Ryan Clark sounds like he was a terrific young man, with a bright and promising future. Who knows what he could he accomplished? There's no other word for his loss than what it is -- a great tragedy.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I see that the New York Times is already politicizing the massacre at Virginia Tech by calling for more gun control. I have to admit I'm tempted to weigh in, but won't do so. The victims haven't even been identified. I guess that's not going to stop the Times, but respect for the dead requires that their families be allowed to bury them before they're exploited by political opportunists.
Here, however, is a story of heroism at Virginia Tech that deserves to be read. I picked this up off the Claremont Institute's blog via Powerline:
And Yet There Are Heroes
It's important to see heroism in tragedy, too. A 77-year old Aeronautical Engineering professor who survived the Holocaust in Romania moves to Israel and comes to America on sabbatical. He decides to stay here. He adopts this country as his own, and helps save America by saving Americans--by putting himself between the gunman and his students. He survived Hitler and died in Blacksburg, but he died a hero.
Israeli professor of Romanian origin Liviu Librescu numbers among those killed in the Virginia Tech University massacre on Monday. According to the International Herald Tribune, Librescu sacrificed his life to save his students. He had blocked the access to the his class so that students can run from the attacker.
Librescu, 77, was teaching at the Virginia Tech University for 20 years.
Israeli media also announce the death of Liviu Librescu. The online edition of the Jerusalem Post reports that he was shot to death, while ynetnews.com writes that he was killed during his attempt to block the access to the class.
Alec Calhoun, a student who witnessed his death, told the Associated Press that he saw his teacher blocking the door to the class while some of her colleagues were hiding, while others were jumping out of the window.
The professor had been driven to school by his wife less than an hour before he was shot.
AP writes that his wife Marlina and sons Arieh and Joe have already started to prepare for his burial in Israel.His daughter-in-law Ayala has said the professor was very passionate of his work and a dedicated family man, while University colleagues described him as a "real gentleman".
Liviu Librescu graduated the Politechnical University in Bucharest in 1952 with a specialization in aeronautical engineering. In 1972, he received the Traian Vuia Award of the Romanian Academy of Sciences.
In 1979-1886 he served as mechanical engineering professor at the Tel Aviv University.
According to ynetnews.com, he and his wife were survivors of the Holocaust who immigrated to Israel from Romania in 1978.
The-then communist regime in Bucharest did not allow him to leave the country, but that became possible after Israeli PM of the time, Menachem Begin, pressed Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu to let him go.
Several years later he left for the US. He has teached mechanical engineering at the Virginia university since 1986.
He was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa of the Politechnical University in Bucharest In 2000.
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Monday, April 16, 2007
I came across this excellent article from Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star via Debbie Schlussel's (equally excellent) blog. Check it out (I love it when people agree with me. :-)
Imus isn’t the real bad guy
Instead of wasting time on irrelevant shock jock, black leaders need to be fighting a growing gangster culture.By JASON WHITLOCK
Thank you, Don Imus. You’ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem.
You’ve given Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson another opportunity to pretend that the old fight, which is now the safe and lucrative fight, is still the most important fight in our push for true economic and social equality.
You’ve given Vivian Stringer and Rutgers the chance to hold a nationally televised recruiting celebration expertly disguised as a news conference to respond to your poor attempt at humor.
Thank you, Don Imus. You extended Black History Month to April, and we can once again wallow in victimhood, protest like it’s 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.
The bigots win again.
While we’re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I’m sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dogg’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.
I ain’t saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don’t have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas.
It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.
Rather than confront this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say about ourselves.
It’s embarrassing. Dave Chappelle was offered $50 million to make racially insensitive jokes about black and white people on TV. He was hailed as a genius. Black comedians routinely crack jokes about white and black people, and we all laugh out loud.
I’m no Don Imus apologist. He and his tiny companion Mike Lupica blasted me after I fell out with ESPN. Imus is a hack.
But, in my view, he didn’t do anything outside the norm for shock jocks and comedians. He also offered an apology. That should’ve been the end of this whole affair. Instead, it’s only the beginning. It’s an opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$.
I watched the Rutgers news conference and was ashamed.
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for eight minutes in 1963 at the March on Washington. At the time, black people could be lynched and denied fundamental rights with little thought. With the comments of a talk-show host most of her players had never heard of before last week serving as her excuse, Vivian Stringer rambled on for 30 minutes about the amazing season her team had.
Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that the comments of a man with virtually no connection to the sports world ruined Rutgers’ wonderful season. Had a broadcaster with credibility and a platform in the sports world uttered the words Imus did, I could understand a level of outrage.
But an hourlong press conference over a man who has already apologized, already been suspended and is already insignificant is just plain intellectually dishonest. This is opportunism. This is a distraction.
In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?
I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?
When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim.
No. We all know where the real battleground is. We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.
To reach Jason Whitlock, call (816) 234-4869 or send e-mail to email@example.com. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Die große Stille
Believe me -- you have never seen a movie like this before. It's close to 3 hours long and it is almost entirely silent. If you're idea of a good movie is lots of action and adventure DO NOT go see this movie -- you will hate it.
On the other hand, if you can compose yourself for a while, you can -- to the extent possible -- take a peek inside another world where men have pushed back "civilization" with its sights, sounds, distractions and dedicated their lives to listening to God.
And he said, "Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
1 Kings 19:11-12
This is one of the Scripture verses that is periodically shown on the screen between shots throughout the movie and it fits so well. God doesn't try to compete with all the noise and distractions of the world. He doesn't try to outshout the blaring TVs, radios, video games, etc. To the contrary, His is a "still small voice". To hear it, we need to shut up and listen.
It's really hard to describe this movie. My wife and father-in-law liked it right away. To be honest, I was kind of bored during the first part of the movie; but, afterwards, snippets and images from the film regularly come back to me and I like the movie tremendously in retrospect (if that makes any sense at all).Since I'm doing such a poor job of explaining the movie, let me see what the creator of the movie has to say:
Silence. Repitition. Rhythm. The film is an austere, next to silent meditation on monastic life in a very pure form. No music except the chants in the monastery, no interviews, no commentaries, no extra material.My favorite part of the movie is towards the end and contains a few moments of dialogue as the filmaker speaks to one of the monks who is elderly and blind.
Changing of time, seasons, and the ever repeated elements of the day, of the prayer. A film to become a monastery, rather than depict one. A film about awareness, absolute presence, and the life of men who devoted their lifetimes to God in the purest form.
The monk talks of death and dying and describes how he looks forward to it so that he can finally meet God. He says that if we live our lives serving God, we'll have nothing to fear when we die -- we're just going to meet the person we've spent our lives getting to know.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I'm sure you've heard about the outrage over radio host Don Imus' stupid comments about some girl's college basketball team. But, although he is an idiot for making those comments, that's not why I think he's an idiot.
I think he's an idiot because he's legitimized the cries of racism by grievance mongers like Al Sharpton, Jessee Jackson, and their ilk.
I saw this article in the NYTimes today and the author said:
LET’S say a word about the girls. The young women with the musical names. Kia and Epiphanny and Matee and Essence. Katie and Dee Dee and Rashidat and Myia and Brittany and Heather. [Epiphanny? Rashidat? Matee? Essence?? -- I must have missed those selections in the baby names book.]Here's the "cash" paragraph. Now, the liberal race baiters can jump up and down, point to this incident and shriek "See, see! Here's evidence of the institutional racism in white society!"
The Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University had an improbable season, dropping four of their first seven games, yet ending up in the N.C.A.A. women’s basketball championship game. None of them were seniors. Five were freshmen.
In the end, they were stopped only by Tennessee’s Lady Vols, who clinched their seventh national championship by ending Rutgers’ Cinderella run last week, 59-46. That’s the kind of story we love, right? A bunch of teenagers from Newark, Cincinnati, Brooklyn and, yes, Ogden, Utah, defying expectations. It’s what explodes so many March Madness office pools. [Um, March Madness pools are for the Men's NCAA Div 1 teams]
... For all their grit, hard work and courage, the Rutgers girls got branded “nappy-headed ho’s” — a shockingly concise sexual and racial insult, tossed out in a volley of male camaraderie by a group of amused, middle-aged white men. ...
At a recent debate over global warming sponsored by National Public Radio, the audience was polled beforehand and was solidly on the side of the hysterical predictions. Afterwards, they switched to a slight plurality against those predictions. Don't look for the global warming crusaders to risk doing any more debates.
Why should they, when they have virtually a monopoly in the media, in schools and colleges, and among politicians?
Monday, April 09, 2007
These things are everywhere!
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apple Inc. has sold its 100 millionth iPod in just over five years, boasting on Monday that the digital device was "the fastest selling music player in history" that appeals to both young and old.
Since its November 2001 launch, the portable music player has become the must-have gadget worldwide, with Apple introducing more than 10 new models to incorporate changing technology such as the ability to record and play videos, hold photos, and with more varied, fashionable colors.
"iPod has helped millions of people around the world rekindle their passion for music, and we're thrilled to be a part of that," Apple's COE Steve Jobs said in a statement.Apple said its iTunes online music store has sold more than 2.5 billion songs, 50 million television shows and more than 1.3 million movies.
The market-leading iPod has taken over from the original portable audio player with headphones, or the Walkman, that was launched by Sony Corp in 1979.
Grammy Award-winning singer Mary I. Blige said it was hard to remember life before the pocket-sized iPod.
"iPod is more than just a music player, it's an extension of your personality and a great way to take your favorite music with you everywhere you go," she said in a statement.
Current versions of the iPod are priced at about $249 and are no longer just ubiquitous among urban teenagers.
A survey of 100 people aged 99 years and older released earlier this month by U.S. health care co-ordinator Evercare found four percent of respondents had listened to music on an iPod.
The iPod has also sparked a vast range of over 4,000 accessories varying from cases to speaker systems and more than 70 percent of 2007-model U.S. cars offer iPod connectivity.
The iPod has become so commonplace that one of Australia's biggest banks, the Commonwealth Bank, has used a recent version -- the slimline Nano -- to compare global currencies and purchasing power in 26 countries, similar to the Big Mac index launched 20 years ago by The Economist magazine.Don't wait until you're an old geezer -- get your iPod today!
Friday, April 06, 2007
I came across an interesting blog tonight called 'Godzdogz'. I was looking around on it and found this cool puzzle.
A Christmas Puzzle
There are thirty books of the Bible in this paragraph. Can you find them? This is a most remarkable puzzle. It was found by a gentleman in an airplane seat pocket, on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, keeping him occupied for hours. He enjoyed it so much, that he passed it on to some friends. One friend from Illinois worked on this while fishing from his john-boat. Another friend studied it while playing his banjo. Elaine Taylor, a columnist friend, was so intrigued by it she mentioned it in her weekly newspaper column. Another friend judges the job of solving this puzzle so involving, that she brews a cup of tea to help her nerves. There will be some names that are really easy to spot. That's a fact. Some people, however, will soon find themselves in a jam, especially since the books are not necessarily capitalized. Truthfully, from answers we get, we are forced to admit it usually takes a priest or scholar to see some of them at the worst. Research has shown that something in our genes is responsible for the difficulty we have in seeing the books in this paragraph. During a recent fund-raising event, which featured this puzzle, the Alpha Delta Phi-Lemonade booth set a new sales record. The local paper, The Chronicle, surveyed over 200 patrons who reported that this puzzle was one of the most difficult they had ever seen. As Daniel Humana humbly puts it, 'the books are all right here in plain view hidden from sight'. Those able to find all of them will hear great lamentations from those who have to be shown. One revelation that may help is that books called Timothy and Samuel may occur without their numbers. Also, keep in mind, that punctuation and spaces in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude will help you compete really well against those who claim to know the answers. Remember, there is no need for a mad exodus, there really are 30 books of the Bible lurking somewhere in this paragraph waiting to be found.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Here's an excerpt from a column by Stephen Chapman on the obstacles Hillary faces in her presidential campaign. He makes a point that I seldom see mentioned -- Hillary's high negatives.
“Everyone knows Hillary Rodham Clinton, and everyone has a different reaction to her. Some find her as irritating as fingernails on a chalkboard. Some find that she makes their skin crawl. Some run screaming from the room. And some want to drink a gallon of rat poison while lying across a railroad track. The conventional wisdom is that the former first lady will be a formidable presidential candidate because she has lots of money, veteran campaign aides, a shrewd political sense and a close connection to a president beloved by Democrats. But those may be nothing next to a couple of fairly major factors operating against her. The first is that many people in both parties see her as ideologically repellent. Conservatives think she’s an arrogant busybody with an addiction to big government. The Left regards her as a cynical trimmer who can’t admit when she’s wrong. The second is that many people, again in both parties, just can’t stand her. You want a uniter, not a divider? Hillary has a way of uniting people who ordinarily would be pelting each other with eggs. That explains the appeal of the new YouTube ad, modeled on Apple’s famous ‘1984’ Super Bowl commercial, which portrays her as a blandly sinister Big Sister on a giant screen, uttering phony platitudes to an army of robotic slaves. It ends happily when a blonde female athlete sprints in and hurls a sledgehammer at the screen, obliterating the image... As the campaign proceeds, some people will be hoping for her to succeed. But I’m betting a lot more will be rooting for the blonde with the sledgehammer.” —Steve ChapmanHillary Clinton is a very polarizing figure. In poll after poll, she scores high on both ends and low in the middle -- i.e., there aren't many people who don't have a strong opinion of her. So, on the plus side, there are a lot of liberals who give her high marks and say they would vote for her regardless of who else is running (high positives). But, on the other hand, there are a lot of others who say they wouldn't vote for her regardless of who else is running (high negatives).
Traditionally, it's hard for people with high negatives to get elected. The way it usually works is that a candidate has smaller numbers of high positives and high negatives -- there is a high percentage of folks who don't feel strongly about them one way or another (the folks in the middle). They get elected when they're able to convince sufficient numbers of these "undecideds" in the middle to make up their minds to vote for them.
That's unlikely to happen to Hillary. In fact, the more people get to know her, the less they like her.
“[I]t doesn’t require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? Such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.”
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
John Paul II's Sanctity Began Early, Cardinal Says
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 2, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Pope John Paul II's intense relationship with God was already profound in his youth, said Cardinal Camillo Ruini at the close of the diocesan phase of the Pontiff's beatification process.
Cardinal Ruini presided over the closing session of the diocesan investigation today at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on the second anniversary of the death of John Paul II. ...
In his homily during the closing ceremony, Cardinal Ruini, the vicar of Benedict XVI for Rome, commented on John Paul II's intense spiritual life.
The cardinal said that Karol Wojtyla's spiritual life was "already strong, intimate and profound in his boyhood, and that [it] never ceased to develop and grow stronger, producing fruits in all dimensions of his life."
Cardinal Ruini added that God never sheltered Wojtyla from the trials of life, but rather was constantly "associating him ever and anew to the cross of his Son ... giving him the courage to love the cross, and the spiritual intelligence to see, through the cross, the face of the Father."
The cardinal continued: "In the certainty of being loved by God and in the joy of returning this love, Karol Wojtyla found the meaning, unity and aim of his own life.
"All those who knew him, from near or only from afar, were struck by the richness of his humanity, by his complete fulfillment as a man.
"But even more illuminating and important is the fact that such fullness of humanity coincided, in the end, with his relationship with God, in other words with his sanctity."
Cardinal Ruini said that the faith of John Paul II was that "of a man who, in a certain sense, had already seen the Lord, and who had made the direct experience of the mysterious and salvific presence of God in his spirit and in his life."
It is because of this faith, continued the cardinal, that Wojtyla had felt "the necessity and the duty to offer and transmit to all the truth that saves."
Cardinal Ruini also recalled the last moments of John Paul II.
With the help of those present in his apartment, John Paul II prayed "all the daily prayers: adoration, meditation and he even anticipated the office of the readings for Sunday," said the cardinal.
The cardinal continued: "Then, he said with an exceedingly weak voice to Sister Tobiana Sobotka, his authentic guardian angel: 'Let the Lord come.'
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