MrSpkr's random thoughts . . .
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Dutch to expel thousands of asylum seekers - The Washington Times: World: "A parliamentary report last month concluded that the country's 30-year experiment in tolerant multiculturalism had been a failure, and has resulted in poor schools, violence, and ethnic ghettoes that shun intermarriage with the Dutch."
Ohmigoodness -- the Dutch have CAUGHT A CLUE!
Multiculturalism must eb a two-way street. You cannot expect one side to give if the others are only taking.
Sunday, February 22, 2004
Ralph Nader Announces 2004 Run for Presidency
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ralph Nader, whose third-party White House bid in 2000 was blamed by some Democrats for helping elect President Bush, said on Sunday he will try again this year as an independent.
Woohoo! Time for my Little Happy Dance! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go!
Ignoring pleas from Democrats to stay out of the race,
Please, Ralphie! We're gonna lose as it is -- don't make it worse!
the veteran consumer advocate said he wanted to challenge the two parties' stranglehold on the political process and their shared addiction to corporate interests.
Because, of course, although Ralphie would LOVE to get his hands on more money, no corporation worthy of the name would donate dime ONE to someone as far left as Ralphie. Thank GOD he has no chance of winning.
"Washington is corporate-occupied territory, and the two parties are ferociously competing to see who is going to go to the White House and take orders from their corporate paymasters," Nader said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
You know, nine or ten years ago, after Waco, if someone had told me that all the best conspiracy theories would one day be spouted by the Leftists, I would have busted a gut laughing. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, eh?
Nader said claims that his candidacy would spoil efforts to beat Bush in November were a "contemptuous" attempt to restrict democracy and maintain a "two-party duopoly."
You tell 'em, Ralphie! Don't let any of those naysayers of negativity tell you any different! Only YOU can break the two-party lock on the system!
"It is an offense to deny millions of people who might want to vote for our candidacy an opportunity to vote," he said
Once the roar of laughter from the audience died down, Ralphie continued,
, adding the "corporate government" practiced by both parties had led to rollbacks in labor, environmental, health care and economic standards.
Yes -- because, as we all know, industrial employees can't join unions any more, and don't receive higher pay than other, non-union employees. Of course, the Eee-vil Republicans have cut down all the trees, poisoned all the air, and turned every river in the United States into a landfill. We also know the Eee-vil Republicans have told old people and poor folks to go home and die if they couldn't pay their healthcare costs (knowing full well, of course, that there ARE no more jobs and EVERYONE in America is now poor (except, of course, for the Eee-vil Republicans and their ilk).
"It's time to change the equation and bring millions of American people into the political arena."
That's already happened in America. About the time of Andrew Jackson, actually.
Nader's Green Party bid won nearly 2.9 million votes in 2000 and was blamed for siphoning support from Democrat Al Gore -- particularly in Florida, where Nader won 97,488 votes and Gore's loss by a bitterly contested 537 votes cost him the presidency.
Given the intelligence of the average Florida Democrat voter in the 2000 election, those Nader Votes were probably intended for George Bush anyway.
Nader started an exploratory committee late last year to raise money for a presidential run. He had ruled out another bid for the Green Party, which was split on his candidacy and will not pick its nominee until this summer.
So at least half of the Green Party has wised up and realized Ralphie was NOT going to win them the prize? Stunning, absolutely stunning.
A public opinion poll in October found two-thirds of Americans did not want Nader to run again,
Those polled included every member of the Democratic party and a goodly collection of RINOs, to boot.
and Democrats from across the ideological spectrum have asked him to stay out of the race.
...because they can't stand the thought of having to throw money behind a Democrat liberal who hides his support for socialism and Ralphie, who doesn't.
A liberal Internet site, ralphdontrun.net, is devoted to urging Nader not to run again,
Check out the website. You can HEAR the desperation in their voices!
and Democratic Party chief Terry McAuliffe had met with Nader to try to convince him to stay out.
"It's very unfortunate that Ralph decided to run," McAuliffe said on CBS' "Face the Nation," adding: "There are people all over the country wishing he hadn't done it."
Including me, because this makes it harder for me to help my party regain any meaningful political power in this country. Again.
Democrats expect Nader to have less of an impact this year than in 2000, saying party and left-wing activists have learned how wrong Nader was when he claimed in 2000 there was no difference between the two parties.
Unfortunately, Ralph doesn't see it that way.
"I don't think he'll have a sizable impact, but it's terrible if he goes ahead because it's about him, it's about his ego, it's about his vanity and not about a movement," New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said on "Fox News Sunday.".
Because, of course, if Ralph runs, then I won't be able to be Energy Secretary again. And let me be the first to tell you -- the Democratic Party needs a lot more in Chinese campaign contributions if they're gonna retake the White House in 2008.
Both Democratic presidential contenders, front-runner John Kerry and rival John Edwards, told reporters they were not worried that a Nader candidacy would hurt them if they face Bush in November.
Of course, they said this for different reasons. Kerry said it because he is convinced he is more liberal than Ralphie could ever dream of being.
Edwards said it because he plans on being back in North Carolina practicing law.
"I think my campaign is speaking to a lot of the issues Ralph Nader is concerned about," Kerry said.
See what I mean?
Edwards said "it will not impact my campaign" because he could attract many of the voters who might otherwise go to Nader.
At least two of the three voters in Georgia, for example.
Republicans tried not to celebrate the news. "Regardless of what Ralph Nader does, President Bush is going to be re-elected in November," Republican Party chief Ed Gillespie said.
However, early reports from Washington, D.C. area hospitals indicate a rash of wrist injuries attributed to something called "High Five Syndrome" was sweeping through Republican Party activists Sunday afternoon.
Nader admitted he would have difficulty meeting the requirements to qualify for all 50 state ballots in the November election,
No way, Ralphie. We'll help you. I'll call all of my friends in the VRWC. Between us, we'll get the job done!
describing the process as "like climbing a cliff with a slippery rope."
While that is a pleasing visual, please, Ralphie, either wait until AFTER the election, or take a LOT of your fellow travelers with you.
"This isn't just our fight," he said. "This is a fight for all third parties ... I don't think America belongs just to the Democratic and Republican parties."
You are as right as rain, Ralphie! Now, everyone, sing along with me: "Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go!"
Saturday, February 21, 2004
Slumping towards Gomorrah:
Condom ad airs on Nickelodeon: Comcast blames human error for spot running during 'Rugrats':
"Think of it as a car entering the wrong on-ramp to an interstate.
But in this case, the 'trafficking error' aired a condom commercial during an after-school Nickelodeon show in a small portion of Comcast cable's Dallas service area.
Because of human error, the condom ad appeared on the kids' network at 3:51 p.m. Tuesday instead of on another network, said Biff Niven, vice president and general manager of Comcast Spotlight.
The advertising and sales division of Comcast is 'taking additional measures to make sure it doesn't happen again,' with an extra person checking the ad schedule, he said.
The glitch, which affected programming for about 5 percent of Dallas-Fort Worth subscribers, comes on the heels of several weeks of controversy for Viacom, parent company of Nickelodeon, CBS and MTV, the cable network involved in Janet Jackson's infamous 'wardrobe malfunction' during the Super Bowl halftime show.
Nickelodeon's policies bar adult products from being advertised, said spokesman David Bittler.
Mr. Niven said he knows of no similar incident in his four years with the company.
The ad clearly caught Karen Caldwell's sixth-grade son by surprise. 'He came to me and said, 'Mom, there was a commercial for condoms during Rugrats All Grown Up,' ' the Dallas resident recalled.
He even repeated the commercial's tagline for his mother. At the end, viewers heard, the brand was 'her choice.' "
Why is this news that might offend some people, yet there is no general protest about gthe sex education programs in many middle schools that include talking about gay sex and demonstrations of how to put on a condom using a cucumber?
Friday, February 20, 2004
Well -- DUH!
More aliens try to enter for amnesty - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics
The number of illegal aliens caught crossing into the United States increased dramatically just days after President Bush proposed a guest-worker program that would give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants now in this country, according to the union that represents the Border Patrol's 9,000 field agents.
Imagine that. Those illegal immigrant types might, oh, I don't know, DO THE SAME THING THEIR FOREBEARERS DID IN ANTICIPATION OF THE 1986 AMNESTY!
The National Border Patrol Council said apprehension totals increased threefold in the San Diego area alone, adding that the vast majority of aliens detained along the border told arresting agents that they had come to the United States seeking amnesty.
I think conservatives have been predicting this reaction all along.
Most of those arrested and, eventually, deported had no history of immigration violations, the council said.
But they considered the circumstances and figured it was safer to go ahead and make their move NOW rather than miss the opportunity to gain amnesty and legal residency.
Law-enforcement authorities, immigration specialists and others — including the council — had predicted that the Bush proposal, outlined Jan. 7, would lead to increased illegal immigration by those seeking to take advantage of what many perceived to be an offer of limited amnesty.
But what do they know? I mean, it's not like they deal with immigrants every day, or anything.
The White House painstakingly has denied that the president's guest-worker proposal offers amnesty, saying instead that illegal aliens who hold jobs in the United States would be given only temporary work permits, not placed on the path to citizenship, and that they eventually would have to go home.
In other news, Bush insists Islam is a religion of Peace! Sigh -- I like GWB, but sometimes I think his advisors need to bop him about with a Cluebat.
Outlined as a set of principles and not as specific legislation, the Bush proposal does not prescribe any penalties for those who entered the country illegally and would allow them to remain in the United States for renewable three-year periods.
So, it's a rotating, three year amnesty -- with the possibility of renewal, right?
Meanwhile, the Border Patrol has canceled a survey of illegal aliens detained at the U.S.-Mexico border that had sought to establish whether "rumors of amnesty" after Mr. Bush proposed his guest-worker program influenced their decision to cross into the United States.
Because, after all, we can't have actual FACTS informing the debate in washington, right?
Described as routine information gathering "critical to the better enforcement of immigration laws," the confidential survey — developed by Border Patrol officials in Washington — was scrubbed Jan. 27 after its public disclosure. Agency executives determined that the survey, which had begun two weeks earlier, had become compromised.
In other words, "we had to cancel it because those idiots in Washington found out about it and didn't want to deal with the embarassment of not having the common sense God gave a dead stoat."
"The questions are no longer being asked, but the Border Patrol will continue to gather and analyze operational intelligence as necessary," said Mario Villarreal, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Border Patrol's parent agency.
"So our agents are still asking the questions, and we really do know what the score is, but we aren't going to acknowledge it until we all have nice fallback jobs lined up."
The Border Patrol survey has not been made public nor have any preliminary results, but agents said it contained 13 questions, including one specifically concerning the guest-worker proposal. The agents referred to the survey as the "amnesty questionnaire," although the Border Patrol denied that it was politically motivated
Of COURSE it wasn't politically motivated -- there's a lack of common sense from BOTH parties on immigration.
or that it was intended to imply that Mr. Bush was calling for a general amnesty.
"We didn't IMPLY that Mr. Bush was calling for a general amnesty because the implication is unnecessary -- anyone can read his proposal and figure out that he IS calling for a general amnesty."
The government has estimated that 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens, mostly Mexican nationals, are in the United States.
Nice of us to take these folks and remove some of the pressure for Mexico to make some basic reforms, eh?
Since the Bush proposal was announced, the administration has rolled out its top immigration officials and several senior Republican senators to endorse it, saying it would fix a broken immigration system, allow U.S. businesses to hire needed workers, bring illegal aliens into the mainstream economy and assure greater homeland security.
In other news, the administration promised a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot, and an end to deficit spending in our time.
Several leading Republicans have questioned the proposal and others have suggested that Mr. Bush needs to do a better job of explaining the proposal to a public overwhelmingly opposed to the legalization of millions of illegal aliens.
Translation: "George, you really need to get out there and lie about your proposals a LOT more as it seems some people have actually *gasp* read your proposal.
Sen. Jon Kyl — Arizona Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on terrorism, technology and homeland security, and a member of the subcommittee on immigration, border security and citizenship — said the Bush plan was "subject to misinterpretation" and, as a result, "needed further clarification."
Similarly, Hitler's invasion of Poland was "subject to misinterpretaion" and, as a result, "needed further clarification."
Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican and a member of the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, border security and claims, said that the proposal, by definition, is an amnesty program and that past amnesty programs "have not reduced illegal immigration; rather, they have increased illegal immigration."
Representative Smith has been cautioned against further outbursts of clarity and reasoning in the Logic-Free Zone.
"Amnesty rewards those who broke our laws, and thus encourages others to do the same," Mr. Smith said. "Our immigration policies should do the opposite — discourage lawbreakers by sending the message that illegal entry into the United States will not be rewarded."
Unless a majority of the President's sycophants pass it into law.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has asked Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to explain whether "rumors of amnesty" concerning the Bush proposal had played any role in attempts by illegal aliens to cross the border.
Later, Senator Grassley asked EPA officials if recent rainfalls played any role in the development of puddles in the Senate parking lot.
Mr. Grassley told Mr. Ridge in a letter this week he is concerned that illegal aliens are risking their lives and putting their futures in the hands of corrupt alien smugglers in an attempt to gain entry to the United States to cash in on pending immigration reform that could offer them limited amnesty.
Oh -- I get it. Grassley isn't worried about the flow of aliens and the economic and cultural problems posed by unfettered immigration -- he's just worried that lawbreakers might get hurt while, well, breaking the law.
Isn't that special?
He said the "notion of legalization has been erroneously conveyed around the country and even abroad," adding that the Border Patrol questionnaire "raises some questions as to the consequence of the president's reform initiative."
In his letter, Mr. Grassley asked Mr. Ridge to determine who authorized the questionnaire, who tallied the responses, what the preliminary report suggested, how aliens were hearing about "amnesty proposals" and whether those "rumors" were influencing their decision to enter the United States.
Why? Does he expect to just shut down those folks' freedom of speech? If they vote democratic, that is . . .
The National Border Patrol Council has told its members to challenge the guest-worker proposal, calling it a "slap in the face to anyone who has ever tried to enforce the immigration laws of the United States."
It is - and we'll be watching this very closely. Support for this will cost Congressionmen my vote this fall, and would cost Bush my vote were we not in the middle of a war on terror that Kerry would just as soon surrender.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Nader candidacy expected
WASHINGTON — Former Green Party candidate Ralph Nader is poised to declare that he will seek the presidency again this year, this time as an independent and despite a vigorous effort by the left to dissuade him, according to friends and associates.
Everyone, sing along with me: "Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go!"
"I think there's very little doubt," said Micah Sifry, author of a book on third-party politics and a longtime Nader watcher. "I think he's going to run."
"Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go!"
Nader, blamed for tilting the 2000 election to President Bush by siphoning off votes from Al Gore, twice has delayed saying whether he would be a candidate, but insiders expect the declaration next week.
Sifry is part of the campaign to stop Nader from running, including an open letter to him last month in The Nation, a liberal magazine that has been associated with Nader for 30 years. Nader contributors from 2000, such as Ben Cohen, a co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, also are organizing "No, Ralph, No" efforts.
No, guys -- the phrase is Everyone, sing along with me: "Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go!"
Get it right.
Geez, you'd think these folks were trying to suppress Mr. Nader's right to run for office or something. I don't remember the Democrats being this upset about Ross Perot running back in 1992.
Funny thing is, Bush II got a higher percentage of the vote in his first national election than did the First Black President (tm) , but we won't discuss that.
Some Nader advocates had an epiphany after the 2000 election. Bush beat Gore by 537 votes in Florida, where Nader received 97,488 votes. Nader also arguably cost Gore New Hampshire.
Wait -- I thought Gore lost Florida because the Eeee-vil Republicans (a) bought off the voters; (b) secretly supported Pat Buchanan's candidacy in the hopes that somewhere, in a key state, elderly Democratic voters would accidentally vote for Buchanan instead of Gore; (c) were handed the election by the evil and nefarious United States Supreme Court, who wrongfully overturned the sainted Florida courts; (d) all of the above.
Nader always has rejected the spoiler label. "It is not my job to elect my opponents," he has said.
Way to tell 'em, Ralph! Okay everybody -- one more time: "Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go! Go Ralph Go!"
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Thursday was not too bad – I had good energy levels most of the day, stayed at work until after 5:30 to catch up.
Today sucked. Got up at 0600, went to prayer breakfast, by 0800 I was wiped out. Came home and slept for three hours, got to the office at 1300, was exhausted and left at 1500 (stopping to buy a v-day gift on the way home), got home at 1630 and slept until 2030. Now (2330) I’m tired again and going back to sleep (probably until 0900 or so). That makes, what, 15 ½ hours of sleep in a 24 hour period? This sucks.
On the upside (?) the blood tests came back normal. So what the heck is going on?
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Sorry I've been off-line for a few days. I've had a bad week. Let me explain.
For the past several weeks, I have been feeling particularly fatigued. My day would go something like this:
0600 - 0830 = Get up. Help get one or two of the youngest kids ready. Drop youngest daughter off at school, and go to work.
0830 - 1430 = Work. Between 1400 and 1530, start feeling rather drowsy. Finally head home, arriving around 1600.
1600 - 1730 = Sleep (on and off) nestled under the electric blanket.
1730 - 1900 = Help with dinner. Play with kids.
1900 - 2000 = Fall asleep in front of television/fall asleep reading/fall asleep at dinner table (seeing a pattern yet?)
2000 - 2100 = Help get kids in bed.
2100 - 0600 = Sleep.
In other words, my body was so tired that I needed a lot more sleep than normal (between eleven and fourteen hours). I thought it might be anemia, mono, something like that.
But no, it couldn't be that simple. When I talked to the doctor, he asked if I had been experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath, that sort of thing. I mentioned one particular episode during which I could feel my heart racing and felt a little short of breath. He also mentioned that my heart was running at about 120 bpm. That's way too high, particularly given the fact that I had gotten out of bed twenty minutes earlier and driven in to see him -- no real physical activity involved. My blood pressure was around 144 over 88 -- again, too high. For safety's sake, he ordered an EKG.
When he got the results, he made a copy of the read, copied part of my chart, and sent me to the cardiologist at our local hospital.
Immediately. As in, it was 1100 hours, and he wanted her to see me before lunch.
Sigh. On my way to the hospital, I called Amy at work to let her know what was going on.
Understand that my wife is not big on doctors, does not like the fact I take several medications daily for ADHD, and frankly is annoyed that I tend to get allergy-related colds quite often. In her eyes, I "think" myself into being sick.
Shortly after I got to the hospital, she called. She was on the way over from Midlothian and wanted to know in what part of the hospital she could find me. That's when it really started to sink in that this could be very serious.
The cardiologist ran a new EKG. I was quite relieved when she told me that the bad stuff on the first EKG read did not appear on the new one. She ordered an echocardiograph "just to be safe". Then, she gave me some samples of a blood pressure medication and sent me on my way for the echocardiograph.
The echocardiograph was very interesting. Essentially, it is the same technology used to provide an ultrasound examination of a baby, only it also uses a version of Doppler radar to view the direction of blood flow through the heart. You can also listen to the heart, see the heart beating, and watch the valves in action. Very cool and interesting stuff.
In my test, I could hear a little "whoosh" on the back side of my beats. I asked what that was, and the technician told me it was probably a little backflow from a leaky valve.
The tech did a couple of measurements to determine blood volume (by measuring the size of various chambers at the top of the systolic and diastolic portions of my heart beat -- i.e., the size of the chambers at their largest compared to the size at their smallest, and the size of each valve). Again, kind of cool to watch.
She then ran a test that looked a lot like my EKG, only this measured blood flow. As she got ready to run it, she told me the white areas under the baseline showed the normal flow through whichever valve she was examining, while markings above the baseline represented leakage.
Okay so far.
She then began examining various valves. Most had good flow, with a little leakage. She explained that the leakage looked "normal" and is the result of the fact the valves are "floppy" rather than "rigid".
Then she examined the valve to my aorta.
The baseline looked like it had snowdrifts on top of it. "Uh oh," I thought. My sense of foreboding was reinforced by the fact the technician (who, until then, had been happily chatting with me) suddenly got much quieter.
I then went home and slept a troubled sleep. That was Tuesday.
I stayed home Wednesday, and went back to my family doctor to complete some blood tests he had wanted to run Tuesday. Afterwards, I saw him briefly at the receptionist's window. He told me I had a moderate leak at my aortic valve. He also said that while that would cause some of the fatigue, he wanted to rule a few other things out.
The upside is that, at this time, it would not require surgery. Blood pressure medicine might help stabilize or even improve the valve's ability to restrict the leakage.
The downside is that if it gets a lot worse, the valve will have to be replaced. That is major surgery (open-heart surgery, essentially). The replacement valve will be one of two things: a 'biological' valve, or a mechanical valve. They have their own advantages and disadvantages.
A 'biological' valve is either a valve from a cadaver or from a pig. The advantage is that once it is installed, I don't have to take medication to prevent blood from clotting on the valve, and it is natural tissue. The disadvantage is that biological valves will wear down over time, so I could be looking at surgery to replace the thing every ten to fifteen years.
Mechanical valves last much longer -- probably for the rest of my life. That's the upside. The downside is that (1) they can set off metal detectors -- a pain in the rear given that I like to fly; and (2) they tend to have problems with blood clotting on the valve, so I would have to be on anti-coagulant medication for life.
Not fun. My father has had open heart surgery three times. I always told him I had no desire to break his record. I hope I can stick to that.
I don't know why this has developed. Apparently, my paternal great-grandfather had a leaky valve, and my father recently developed one, so it is possible that it is a congenital condition. I hope not, because I don't want to worry about my kids getting this.
In any event, the blood pressure medication seems to be helping (though it gives me a headache). I have a lot more energy today (Thursday) than I have had in a while. We'll see how long that lasts.
Finally, I told the two oldest kids about it last night. That was not fun (it sucked, actually), but they took it rather well.
So, we'll see what happens. Forgive me if I am a bit more erratic than usual about blogging in the weeks to come. My energy must be spent on work and family, so blogging may suffer.
Saturday, February 07, 2004
Added Wisconsin to the ancient post.
U.S. soccer team hears Osama chants in Mexico
Sigh. Even money that most of these soccer "fans" were Castillian in ethnicity.
Castillians are the rich white guys running Mexico (look at Vicente Fox -- he looks nothing like what we normally picture when you say "Mexican").
Bastards. Close the gates and let them deal with their poor people, imploding economy, and social unrest if they have these attitudes.
Friday, February 06, 2004
John O'Sullivan has written an interesting article on the German Cannibal. He discusses the tendency of modern liberalism to ignore ancient societal mores in favor of strictly rational basis analysis of various issues before society.
Moral intuition has had bad press in recent years. It is felt to be an unsure and variable guide. But is total reliance on rational criticism any safer? A society that seeks to root all its laws in consciously derived rational-critical principles, and to ignore the promptings of moral intuition, will soon find itself wandering down the blind alley of nihilism. Ten years ago the English social critic, Digby Anderson, imagined in NR how a case of necrophilia would be handled by our self-consciously critical age:
You might call a philosopher. He would explain that absolute moral standards were not the issue in this multicultural society... He could easily show that necrophilia harms no one in the usual and mortal use of that term. Not a single complaint has been made by the object of a necrophiliac's attentions.... A classical liberal economist could easily be found to talk impressively about costs imposed on others, externalities, private and public good, and Pareto optimality. He would reach a similar conclusion: it hurts no one. A psychoanalyst would go further and point out that necrophiliacs were more likely to hurt others if their desires were repressed.... Necrophiliacs should be not only allowed to practice but encouraged to talk about their practices. Assorted necrophiliacs would then sift through history to find all sorts of generals, kings, bishops, and scientists who were necrophiliacs or who would have been if they had not lived in societies irrationally prejudiced against necrophilia.
Overwhelmed by this torrent of detached analysis, we soon forget the basic truth that necrophilia (and cannibalism) are vile, horrible, and wrong. We ought to be able to take this truth for granted and to meet these vices with disgust, contempt, and, at times, ridicule. Unless we recover this ability, we will find ourselves terribly satisfied at our own clever debating as we walk into a trackless swamp, starting nervously at the cackling sounds of the night.
This analysis seems spot on. The problem with modern liberalism and rationalism is that it tends to ignore thousands of years of societal customs and mores regarding certain issues. If one looks at things in the wholly abstract, rational principle of "It's okay if it does not cause other harm", then ancient taboos such as consensual adult incest, necrophilia, polygamy, even, quite possibly, pedophelia, suddenly become much more acceptable.
It frightens me that we are moving in that direction.
Thursday, February 05, 2004
I'm sitting here in my wife's school, waiting for her school program to start.
Amy teaches second grade at a small school in suburban Texas. She loves her job, and tries to teach kids values and ideas that were important when she and I were that age.
In other words, she rejects a lot of the liberal claptrap about feeling good as opposed to learning.
But that's not what I am writing about this morning.
As I sit here in the cafeteria waiting for the program to start, I look down the row of tables at the ESL (English as a second language class). The teacher is addressing them all in Spanish, which is not surprising since all but two are Mexican immigrants.
It is bothersome. ON the one hand, I see a group of first, second and third graders eating breakfast at 8:10 (nearly half-an-hour after school started -- my guess is that it is part of the federal program providing meals to children from poor families), and they are doing all of their interactions in Spanish.
At home, Spanish is probably the only language used.
Here in the Dallas area, there are Spanish language television stations, Spanish language radio stations, Spanish newspapers, Spanish churches -- you get the drift. Voter cards are even in Spanish (as are all city regulations, utility statements, etc., etc.)
So, my real question is -- at what point are these kids going to be assimilated into the American culture? At what point will they learn the universal language of the United States (and indeed, many parts of the world) -- English?
When will we stop culturally and linguistically isolating these kids for the sake of "self-esteem" and "multiculturalism"?
When will we force their parents to contribute to and become part of this society, rather than just getting a job, taking the money, and remaining isolated?
I fear that we are losing this battle of the cultural war.
Wouldn't it be ironic if we were able to bring Western values to the Middle East and yet lose our identities at home?
Yes, I'm aware similar fears have been voiced in the past, most notably with the waves of Irish immigration and Italian immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
I also remember that Congress acted to curb the levels of immigration from those countries. I remember that even after immigration was dramatically lowered, both groups were culturally isolated for decades in the United States. I've seen the old signs -- "dogs and Irish not allowed".
It took nearly a century before these groups really assimilated and bought into the American dream.
The problem with today's level of immigration that makes it so different from previous waves is twofold. First, the Irish and Italians who immigrated came here in hopes of settling down permanently. They still viewed themselves as Irish or Italians, but they were not interested in trying to go back and forth between their old countries and the United States. They sometimes sent money back home, but this became increasingly rare.
Second, the Irish and Italians were forced to learn the language and customs of the United States, that is, the English language (yes, yes, I know the Irish spoke the English language, but in many cases their brogue was so thick they were not comprehensible to non-Irishmen) and Anglo/American government and societal mores. This was important because, while first generation immigrants might retain some affection for their homeland for their entire lives, their children were much more likely to think of themselves as "Americans" (and their grandchildren, even more so). This process of assimilation helped to preserve the central core of government, societal mores, values, and interaction that made America, well, "America".
Today's Mexican immigrants, however, do not seem as interested in this process. They are much more interested in simply gaining employment, and often travel back to Mexico when seasonal work is over. Much of the time, their children are so insulated from the Anglos that they adapt few of the positive aspects of Anglo culture.
And that is a shame because it robs America and the immigrants of the positive things each has to offer.
Sunday, February 01, 2004
It's about time the Isrealis started fighting back in the realm of world opinion.
Israel Puts Graphic Suicide Bombing Video on Web.
Here is a link to the video itself. Be warned -- it is 57MB in size and contains extremely graphic images.
And some people in this country actually support the murderous thugs responsible for these images?
It really is beyond my ability to understand how those folks can sleep at night.