Friday, September 16, 2005

Stifling of Free Speech at UNC...
I posted this on this morning, courtesy of the Raleigh News and Observer (suitable for wrapping fish).

Just a few observations.

To begin with, this is a university that did this to the young lady in question. Universities used to be places were opposing viewpoints, even if they seem horrid at first blush, are supposed to be aired and debated without fear of retaliation. However, we live in 21st century Amerika, where our professors and administrators are more concerned with appearances than they are the expansion of young minds. UNC, in recent years, has been one of the worst offenders when it comes to this kind of muzzling. But this is a phenomenon that occurs daily on college campuses.

People who express unpopular opinions on campus fall into two categories: they either express viewpoints that are popular (popularity being measured by the personal tastes and politics of the professoriate) and thus acceptible, or, they express opinions that run counter to the established (again, denoted by the professoriates personal views and politics) campus norm.

Thus, a Ward Churchill can safely hurl invective against the United States, praising Usama bin Hidin' from the Ivory Tower, and nothing gets done about it or no opposition will be allowed, while those who disagree with him are tarred with vile labels and denied the right to speak on campus. Or, in extreme cases, fired.

UNC seems to have a history of handing scholarships out to young Arab men who turn out to be involved in terrorist plots (as the news of a few months ago makes clear) and stomping on those who would point out that Arab men are typically terrorists and should be excluded, not only from campus but from American society as a whole. The university must, of course, cover their behinds because of appearances: how does it look to the taxpayer and potential students if all that wonderful knowledge doled out at UNC wound up being used to kill innocent people? Since they cannot take back the degrees, they instead turn on the people who point out the error of their ways and make it about THEM rather than the University and their lunatic policies.

The young lady in question here is merely yet another victim of academia's seriously fucked up priorities.
Of Rats and Sinking Ships...
Read this little blurb this morning, and it seems appropos:

One of two reasons behind this:

a) Ter-AY-Zuh finally got wise and is about to kick Lurch to the curb, or
b) Johnny finally figured out what a liability his sugar momma was int he last campaign and is already distancing himself. Should he run again, she'll be nowhere to be found.

Figure it out for yerself.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Katrina, Part VII...Intelligent Design vs. Evolution...
Amazing how this event can be so relevant to what, to me, is an irrelevant debate, but here we go:

Intelligent Design is a theory which intimates that the development of species cannot be held to be a random event. There must be some system or mystical plan by which an organism is formed and evolves because life is just too complex to be an accident. For example, a human being sees in color. In order for your eyes to be able to discern color there are multiple, minor details that must all be wrapped up in a tight little bundle and co-ordinated in order for you to display and utilize this talent. Eyeballs have to be specially crafted to interpret light in such a way, lenses and retinas must have certain properties, the brain must be able to process light information passed on as chemical or electrical stimuli. If any of the precursor traits are available without the others, then seeing in color is a non-starter. According to Darwin's theory, organisms keep and pass on useful systems and appendages and discard the non-useful. So, if you had a brain capable of translating color, but did not have the eyes for it, according to Darwin, that brain enhancement would either have to be chucked or the organism would have to evolve the other required equipment.

Either way, Darwin cannot be wrong, which is the wonderful thing about evolutionary theory. All you have to do is give an organism enough time and it will do everything, in both directions. How an organism first becomes aware of a useless feature is not described. How an organism then goes about rejecting or modifying the useless feature is also curiously absent. It is assumed that somehow the organism "just knows". In way of example, try to think of the precursor to the girrafe standing around one day thinking to itself "Gee, those leaves up on top of the tree look mighty tasty". Somehow it figures out that if it stretches it's neck to it's fullest extent, it can reach some of those leaves. Somehow the girraffe has made a conscious effort to solve a problem, managed to succeed, and then somehow made it possible for it's offspring to solve the same problem. We cannot guess at the mechanism except to say "the giraffe must have thought about it really hard".

Intelligent Design says, basically, that the giraffe was designed, from the start, to have a long neck, eat the leaves from the tops of trees and it doesn't have to give a second thought to such mundane matters as how and why. All previous models of giraffes before the long-necked variety were merely prototypes that having failed to eat the leaves from the tops of trees, were merely discontinued. As if there was a factory turning out giraffes somewhere.

Intelligent Design then, is merely a theory that attempts to introduce the concept of God, or at least of a superior intelligence, that has mapped and planned out the ways of life (at all levels) of all creatures on the planet. It's supposed benefits are that it closes the holes in the theoryof evolution and gets people thinking about the God of the Book of Genesis, even if He/She/It isn't exactly mentioned as such.

Now we apply both theories to Hurricane Katrina.

According to intelligent design afficianados, human beings were designed with perfectly functioning brains, the ability to adapt to and manipulate their enviornment and with certain instincts for survival, the prime one being the overwhelming instinct for self-preservation. One look at the events that played out in New Orleans puts that theory to bed, big time.

If the people of New Orleans had perfectly functioning brains and an overwhelming desire to save their own skins, they would not have stayed in New Orleans. They would have heeded to two requests by the mayor to evacuate the city. They would have watched the storm inch closer to the Gulf Coast on the television (processing information is what a perfectly functioning brain is supposed to do). They would have made efforts, either individually or collectively, to ensure survival (arranged car pools, pooled food and water resources, collaborated on escape routes and means, etc.). Instead, they made a conscious effort to stay, and in the aftermath, engaged in activities that very little to do with survival. If you believe in Intelligent Design, you would be sorely disappointed by what the actions of New Orleaninans said about your theory.

On the other hand, if you believe in Darwin full-throttle, you would have been somewhat vindicated, but still somewhat surprised. To begin with, the activities of some residents of the flooded city made it clear that they have not evolved past the semi-ape-like state. Panic took hold when logic and reason were needed, baser instincts overrode the need to ensure the survival of the species. Looting, rape gangs, shooting at rescuers, are not the activities an evolved organism engages in when fighting for survival in the face of a natural disaster. According to Darwin, organisms only make positive change or undertake positive activities to ensure their survival. Therefore, Darwin must be wrong.

Therefore, both theories must have serious flaws, if they're not ourtright hogwash.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Katrina, Part VI...Setting Priorities...
As I write this, approximately 20% of what used to pass for a police department in the City of New Orleans, is taking a "well-deserved" sabbatical in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Mayor of New Orleans, afraid that his cops (the ones that catually have shown up for work in this fiasco) might "be worn out and in need of relaxation". I guess looting really takes it out of ya.

So, in the interests of a well-rested, mentally-clear police force, the City is offering their officers an all-expenses paid hotel room in Las Vegas, a per diem (rumored to be $200 a day), and six days of revelry in America's second Sewer City, so that they can come back refreshed to do the job they didn't do in the first place.

Only a democrat could come up with this idea, and only a particulary dim democrat would put it into operation WHILE PEOPLE STILL NEED TO BE RESCUED!

According to initial reports, the City of New Orleans employed approximately 1,500 police officers prior to Katrina. On the day when the storm hit and the following day when the levees broke, upwards of 300 of these officers were nowhere to be found. They failed to show up for work. A portion of the remaining cops on duty took to looting when all hell broke loose instead of doing their jobs: restoring order.

And they're being rewarded for this heroic behavior? Is it just me or is there something seriously wrong here?
Katrina, Part V...Saving the Helpless...
Lot's of advertisements going around now on the 'net, television and radio, to save the "most helpless victims of Hurricane Katrina". You'd be surprised to know that despite what the Roaring Reverends (Jesse and Al) have to say about the poor blacks left to die in a flooded city, there are quite a number of people, apparently, who don't consider these people the most helpless victims.

So, who are these "most helpless victims?"

The elderly? Nope. Sick children? Try again. People in comas? Not even close.

The "most helpless victims" are (hold on to your hats): animals.

You read that right. Animals. Right now I'm sitting in front of my computer and I'm being bombarded with images and e-mails asking me to contribute to animal rescue charities and such. Each entreaty usually includes a picture of a kitten or a dog swimming through the muck that covers the streets of New Orleans. As if that would sway me.

Quite frankly, some people just don't have the same sense God gave to a chihuahua. There's actual human beings, you know, of the same species as you are, who lack food, clothing and shelter (although they have all the pillaged Wal-Mart jewelry they can carry), and you're worried about a lost parakeet or a ferret?

I have three things to say to the "animals first" crowd:

1. Get serious psychiatric help. Your priorities are severely screwed up.
2. Grow the fuck up.
3. When poodles start paying taxes and voting, then they have the right to be rescued in lieu of human beings.

I'm glad to know we have a National Guard and FEMA to go around disaster areas plucking cats and parrots out of flood-devestated areas --- it's such an efficient utilization of resources. Please note the sarcasm.

I'm a dog lover myself, but if faced with the choice of saving my life and getting the aid I need to rebuild that life, and chucking Fido overboard (assuming there was no other way to save him), I guess the dog is shit out of luck.
September 11th Revisited...
Four years ago an event that transformed my life took place. I'm not alone in having my life shattered, my expectations from life altered, my outlook on the world forever radically changed.
On this day, 19 middle eastern men hijacked four airliners and rammed them into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and due to the bravery of ordinary Americans who re-commandeered their plane, a field in Pennsylvania.

We still live with the pain of 3,000 dead Americans. Americans from all walks of life from food service personnel and janitors to airline pilots, stockbrokers, policemen and firemen. Four years is far too short a time for the shock of such an event to wear off. I still think about it all the time, although it does not consume my waking thoughts as it once did. You cannot help BUT think about such things. The horrors that were witnessed on that day are things that no rational, thinking, feeling human being can merely shrug off as "one of those things".

But there are people who do feel this way. They were not present during the event. They do not recall the impassioned pleas of frantic relatives crowding outside hospitals seeking word of missing loved ones. They do not track the newspaper articles reporting the identification and burial of victims who only now have a name to match a body part, four years after the fact.

People like this need to be reminded on a daily basis, with a sledgehammer, if necessary.

I certainly will never forget!

Requiesat in Pacem!
Katrina, Part IV...The Disaster Visits the Disaster...
Word has reached me that John Kerry (Asshole-Mass.) is on his way to Louisiana to distribute food aid to the starving masses of deluded democratic voters there. Make no mistake about the blatant political opportunism.

The last thing anyone needs is politicians running around the disaster area setting up photo ops and attempting to score political points by handing out a few band aids and a box of saltines. John Kerry should stay away from Louisiana unless he has something useful to offer --- like letting some of those displaced by the storm and flood to take refuge in one of his five or so mansions.

But that would actually be expecting Kerry to have one or more of the following things:

a. Compassion
b. Common Sense
c. Taste
d. Intelligence
e. All of the Above

John Kerry, in case you didn't notice after his three day hissy fit after the election, his grandstanding in front of Congress in the anti-Vietnam war days, the doublespeak of voting for things before you vote against them, cares only for John Kerry. He neither belongs nor has anything to add by making a "listening tour" of the disaster area. In fact, if Kerry stayed home it would be addition by subtraction. The whole purpose of the exercise is to be able to say in the next round of democratic primaries "When I was in New Orleans after the flood..."

I wonder, though, if Kerry did manage to get his pasty ass into New Orleans, would he put in for another Purple Heart?
Katrina, Part III...Bush Hates Blacks...
This has been a recurring theme throughout the unfolding drama and quite a bit of news coverage as of late. The simple fact of the matter is that the faces we all saw fleeing New Orleans way too late happened to be dark. Then again, many of the same faces were caught on tape looting the local businesses of guns, drugs, jewelry and items that had nothing to do with simple survival, but of course, this is overlooked by the media and the racial megaphones (Jesse, Al, et. al.) because to admit it would be inconvenient.

One gets the impression from watching the news coverage that only blacks live in New Orleans. While there is a case to be made that N'awlins is a black town (the population is 70% black), this is patently untrue. Many of the survivors are white and hispanic and there was a sizeable asian population in the city. However, whites and asians do not have the ready-built grievance machine to pump out propaganda 24/7, and many of the hispanics in the city can be safely assumed to be of the illegal variety, and thus, will remain mostly silent.

Because aid did not reach the city within a reasonable amount of time, the racial grievance crowd automatically assumes it must be because the government, and G.W. Bush is the (white) face of the government, just could care less about drowing, starving blacks in their hour of need. The possibility (reality) of incompetence on the part of city and state officials is overlooked and forgotten in an attempt to guilt the rest of the country (and especially Bush) into giving and doing until we literally bleed from our wallets. This has been the standard tactic of the racial grievance industry since the 1960's, and we shouldn't expect anything to change now. Especially not now, when there are people who certainly need help and when the spectre of billions of federal dollars looms right over the horizon. Bush would have been tarred with the racist epithet in any case, but now that the reconstruction money is about to be shelled out, the brush is broader.

We can argue all day about who did or didn't do what when it needed to be done. The fact remains that those who have a vested interest in flinging mud at George Bush specifically and republicans in general, really do not want to have an honest argument in this regard. What they want is money. Lots of it. And it was convenient that tens of thousands of the expected recipients just happened to be of a certain race and economic class. Had Boise, Idaho been similarly devestated none of this stuff would be said. At last count, I believe 11 black folks live in Boise (sarcasm, but you get the point).

Throw enough guilt around, make enough embarrassing and outrageous statements, and watch how fast the republican party opens the cash spigots. Once those funds reach Louisiana and what constitutes rebuilding is begun, the volume will be turned up. We'll hear than "not enough" of the money and contracts are being steered to "minority" companies without the accompanying explanation that had there actually been "minority" companies capable of doing something about rebuilding the city, they would have gotten a piece of the pie. Instead, money that would have gone to reconstruction will now go to "community groups" and "community activists" who claim to "speak for minorities" but who do nothing but line thier own pockets.

The next argument will be that N'awlins will be gentrified. Public housing will not be rebuilt or rebuilt very slowly. The reason, of course, is economics. There's not a whole lot of money in slums, and to build a new slum in place of the old is ridiculous. However, the hue and cry will go out for "affordable housing", and money that could have been used constructively will go to rebuilding the very cesspools that produced looters and alleged armed rape gangs. If such construction does not go forward, we'll hear all about how Bush wants to ethnically cleanse New Orleans.

Of course, past history means nothing to the racial grievance crowd. It's always about "what have done for me lately?". So everyone involved will conveniently forget all the federal aid that went to minorities in Florida last year when it was hit by four successive hurricanes. Not a word will be said to remind people about government aid to minorities in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. I can continue this list forever, but we have limited bandwith here.

The Jacksons, Sharptons and Kanye West's of this world are not interested in facts, history or logic, only money. I'm still waiting to hear how all this federal largesse affects the "reparations now" crowd, only I have a good idea of what their reaction would be in any case.

But to make the argument that a President of the United States would sit back and deliberately let an American city be wiped out is patently ridiculous. To insist, as some have, that the same President somehow controls the weather, personally directed the hurricane or had the levees dynamited in order to create an American holocaust is bordering on insanity. Suggesting that the same man deliberately sat on his hands so as to make sure "we lose as many as possible" is sick.