Friday, February 27, 2004

Pour Encouragement les Autres...
Lifted from

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Sen. Edward M. Kennedy yesterday that he was "all wet" when the Senator alleged that the Bush administration lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to justify going to war.

The verbal clash came during Mr. Rumsfeld's testimony at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing probing the state of pre-war intelligence.

Sen. Kennedy began his questioning of the Defense Secretary by saying, "Don't you think some members of the Bush administration should be held legally accountable for the lies they told about Iraqi weapons, and the subsequent cover-up?"

"First, with all due respect Senator Kennedy, you're all wet," said Mr. Rumsfeld. "The administration has not lied or covered up. However, in general, I do believe that when a man commits a crime he should face the bar of justice. He should not be allowed to serve in positions of power in our government, and be hailed as a leader, when the question of his guilt remains unresolved, if you know what I mean."

"I'm sure I do not know what you mean," Mr. Kennedy said. "But the American people deserve to know why you can't find Saddam's weapons of mass destruction."

"Sometimes things are hard to find, even when you know where they are," said Mr. Rumsfeld. "For example, I've heard of a man who missed a bridge and drove his car into the water, even though he knew where the bridge was. And then sometimes you just keep diving into a problem and despite repeated efforts, you come up empty handed. That doesn't mean that nothing's there. As you know, eventually, the truth comes to light."

Having no further questions, Mr. Kennedy yielded the remainder of his time.

It didn't happen, but it would have great if it did. If the Administration were to strike back at it's detractors by hoisting them upon their own petards, perhaps some of this lunacy we call "the political process" would come to an end.

We no longer have a political process in this country, if by that you believe that serious men and women should seriously go about administering to the needs of a serious populace in a serious fashion. Instead what we get is combination Jay Leno monologue/ Ms. America pageant/Amateur Night at the Apollo/Bullwinkle and Rocky show.

Debate is reduced to a series of quips. Dissent is stifled by dubious appeal to "sensibilities" on race, gender, class and religion. Nothing can get done without a press conference and endless hours of face time on the talk shows.

Maybe Rusmfeld, or someone else, should do something like this. Maybe then the public will have a good, honest and completely new take on some of the people that they continue to vote for and a lightbulb will come on over their heads: This is why we live in such a f***ed up place.

Please Rummy, or Condi or Colin, shoot Senator Kennedy with something like this (oops! Shoot and Kennedy shouldn't be in the same sentence!), to encourage the others. If people where made aware that their own foibles were about to be aired, perhaps they would be a little more retrospect in airing someone elses.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Diversity is where ya find it...Unless you're hit over the head with it...
From a recent article in Men's News Daily, it is apparent that one Andrea Lewis has a bone to pick with J.R.R. Tolien and his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. According to Mizz Lewis, the books are racist and sexist because:

a) The main characters seem to represent Euro-centric figures (i.e. are white), or reinforce the notion that only white people are good or can fight evil
b) The few female characters, according to her, are usually secondary, subservient and chained to a patriarchy.
c) Any mention of "people of color" is typically in the negative, although I hardly recall Tolkien ascribing racial features to any of them
d) One would get the idea that Middle Earth was a bastion of white (human) male patriarchy run rampant.

Well, apparently Mizz Lewis has not read Tolkien, whose books are certainly more "diverse" than anything that purports to be so today. This got me to thinking about what I read as a child (unbidden and without the constant reminders about diversity, thank you) in the late 70's and early 80's.

When I was growing up, I read comic books, as I'm sure most young boys do (or did). Within those pages, one could find superheroes that were: Immoratals (Thor, Hercules), Mutants (the X-Men), blind (Daredevil), Androids (the Vision), accidentally-enhanced (The Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Spider Man), on life support (Iron Man), older than dirt (Captain America). You could also find superheroes from other worlds (the Green Lanterns, for example), black (the Black Panther, Giant Man), female (Batgirl, the Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Hellcat, The Invisible Woman, and Wonder Woman --- an amazon, no less). You could also be introduced to aquatic beings like the Submariner and Aquaman, who quite frankly was probably the lamest, most useless superhero of all time.

Sounds like a pretty diverse group to me.

If one looks at, say, the X-Men, we see a group that "evolves" from being a bunch of middle-to-upper class, white, American teenagers, who are eventually joined by: a Canadian (Wolverine), a Russian (Collosus, and at the height of the Cold War, no less), a Scotsman (Banshee), an African Woman (Storm, and african-african, not Halle Berry, BTW), a Japanese (Sunfire), a devout-Christian, demonic circus freak, who's darker than Jesse Jackson (Nightcrawler). They are led by Professor X, who himself, is confined to a wheelchair. Their arch-enemy, Magneto, is a survivor of the Nazi death camps. They are further strengthed at times by a disco diva (the Dazzler), and a naif, pre-teen (Sprite).

Heck, even Wolverine's old Canadian superhero outfit (Alpha Flight) counted a pair of French-Canadian twins (Aurora and Polaris) and an American Indian (Shaman) amongst their number.

When I graduated from comics to Tolkien, the diversity was even more ridiculously obvious. Tolkien wrote about elves (five different varieties, no less), Hobbits (two varieties), Men (eight different varieties, at least), Dwarves (two kinds), Orcs (tortured and seduced elves, categorized by utility). There are Ents and Huorons, tree-like beings. There are angelic-like beings, such as Saruman, Gandalf and Tom Bombadil. The undead and demons abound. Dragons, with cruel intelligence and cunning, abound in the tales of the First Age.

And the women of Middle Earth are NOT the powerless slaves of the patriarchal order Mizz Lewis believes them to be. The wisest and most powerful of the elves was Galadriel,a woman. It is Eowyn who finally defeats the Nazgul in the battle before the gates of Gondor, defending her fallen king --- a foe that no man could stand against. The tales of the First Age (the Silmarillion) abound with brave, resourceful and strong women. All you have to do to find them is to look for them (i.e. read the damn books and screw the movies).

Eventually, I moved into the realm of mythology, which is chock-full of powerful female gods, amazons, Valkyries, Furies, and witches, who operate outside the gender-norms we're all supposed to disdain.

I read encycolpedias, cover-to-cover, in my spare time and so I learned about other parts of the world, the people that lived there and the notable non-white, non-Euro, non-American notables listed therein. It was not perfect knowledge, granted, by it was an awareness.

The point is this: I did not need the PC police to tell me to read these things, I gravitated to them naturally because I was left alone to find my own interests and raised to use my own brain.
I did not analyze and categroize according the gender or race because there was no need to. In my opinion, people are people, and are identified as individuals, not as groups. I still hold to that opinion, although Mizz Lewis and others of her ilk do not, presumably because they could not earn something like an honest living if they did.

But then again, her agenda has nothing to do with "education" or "enlightenment" or even improvement of the self. It has to do with indoctrination and the belief that only she and her buddies know how to think.

I think Mizz Lewis has an abundance of free time and nothing better to do with it.

Reverend Al: Messenger of Peace...

From today's New York Post:
February 25, 2004 -- Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton said yesterday that both Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and opposition leaders have accepted his offer to travel to Haiti to help broker a peace agreement after a U.S.-backed proposal was rejected.

"I'm going to prepare a humanitarian trip because all sides appear to be willing at least to talk," Sharpton said yesterday after meeting Haitian diplomats.

Reverend Al has never been a great humanitarian, so don't be fooled. Jesse Jackson can just about be heard in the backgroud, "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Reverend? This am my turf, suckah!" As for what "both sides are willing to talk" about, maybe a good first step would be to stop hanging gasoline-filled tires around each other's necks. Cynical ploy by Al, who apparently can't even get black folks to vote for him, and an even more dubious one by Aristede, who's probably THAT desperate.

He said he would travel to Haiti, possibly in the next few days.

Earlier, Haitian officials who joined Sharpton at a news conference at Haiti's New York consulate said they welcomed his offer.

"We are certainly pleased with the humanitarian mission that the reverend is embarking upon today, and certainly we need that," said Consul General Harry Fouche. "We need more involvement."

Giving the diplomat the benefit of the doubt, they're trained and expected to speak in diplo-crap, what exactly is "involvement"? If I recall, it was American "involvement" that put Aristede where he is. So, are you telling me that Haitians (and I know a few of them) are incapable of solving their own problems and need the intervention of either the U.S. Military or a corpulent race-baiter to solve them? Or better yet, to ensure this guy Fouche (should be Douche) gets to keep his position as Ambassador with plush living arrangements safely away from Haiti?

Sharpton, a minister who has advocated Haitian-American rights in the United States, said he has met President Jean-Bertrand Aristide several times. He said he spoke to both Aristide and opposition spokesman Paul Denis by phone yesterday.

Denis told him that his group, which is threatening to attack the capital of Port-au-Prince, planned to turn down the last-minute U.S. plan, which does not require Aristide to resign.

It was unlikely the Bush administration would approve of Sharpton's private diplomacy.

That first sentence is arguable. If Al's a Reverend, then how come he isn't in church every week giving fire and brimstone speeches about the evil of "Whitey", instead of in the streets rousing folks to burn down their own neighborhoods?

This Denis guy, of course, would reject any plan that doesn't call for Aristede to take the gaspipe because he stands to benefit from toppling Aristede himself. Why do you think he became a "rebel leader" or something? And certainly it's "unlikely" that the Bush Administration would approve Sharpton's private diplomacy because that's the job of the State Department. Sharpton is not empowered (pardon the use of the word) to speak for the U.S. government, he's a busy-body and firestarter. My opinion, if Al cares so much for the people of Haiti, let him run for President there. Otherwise, he's just causing more trouble than he's worth.

GWB: Enviornmental Disaster...
WJLA-TV (Wash. DC) just announced that the Washington DC government will announce later on today (25 Feb 2004) that pregnant women and children under 6 ((especially if they are in houses known to have high levels of lead in the water due to lead service lines) should not drink unfiltered water.

Shows how much the Dimocraps, who have run D.C. for decades, actually care about "safe, clean, drinking water for our children".

Funny how demonwimps can hit GHW Bush over the head about his lack of concern for our water supplies, and ignore the polluted mess of Boston Harbor (remember that?).

Even funnier that Billery was concerned about trace elements of arsenic (less than what's in the average potato, or is it potatoe?) in drinking water, but it's okay that "the children", mostly black, of DC can have all the lead they can stand.

Hillarious when GW Bush is considered an "enviornmental disaster" for America and a socialist utopia run by the very people who criticize him allow this kind of danger in their own backyards.

I expect the usual Demidiot response to this tragedy: the rest of the country will have to cough up some more tax money to clean it up (conveniently hidden in your phone bill or something like that so that you won't notice), and the good people of DC will continue to vote Communist. Probably all that lead has addled their minds and they don't know any better.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Rethinking Gay Marriage...
You know, up until last week I had no problem with the idea of gay mariage, unions, whatever you want to call 'em. Now, I have some serious issues with it.

First of all, what is a marriage? The traditional view of marriage (and I defy you to find a culture that practices marriage rights to the contrary) is simply this: it is the union of two people for the purposes of creating a new family unit and then propigating the species, with the inherent belief that both people in the union will cleve to one another, exclusive of others. Naturally, you cannot propigate the species unless you have a complete set of sexual organs, meaning his and hers, despite the advances of medical science (we're talking tradition, here). Mother Nature, God or the Gonad Fairy designed it this way, and it works. It has for a few million years.

Civilization has erected (no pun intended) many institutions that protect this union and the various threads that eminate from it (children, inheritance, parental rights/responsibilities, etc.), and these institutions have also, mostly, served civilization well. Among these are religious/legal codes stressing monogamy, the sanctity of the union, legal and religious prohibitions about simply up and leaving your mate when it becomes inconvenient for you to stick around. These institutions have worked, for thousands of years.

It has also been discovered, and the research is litterlly everywhere, that the issue of a such a union (i.e. children) grow up to be much better adjusted and happier when they have a complete set of parents (his and her) who take their legal, moral and religious responsibilites mentioned above seriously.

There is also a school of thought that finds homosexuality a disgusting practice, morally and physically repugnant, and in conjunction with the religious, legal and moral codes mentioned above, would fight a hungry tiger handcuffed in order to see that their children, their communities and, finally, themselves, do not have to witness or take part in homosexual activity. This school of thought also believes that homosexual activity constitutes an aberration of the natural order fo things.

However, we live in a tolerant society, unlike Afghanistan, for instance. We live in a nation of laws, one of which states that an individual can be or do whatever he or she wants to, so long as they are not harming others or breaking any laws which the people have decided are worth having. We're also willing to bend the legal, the moral and the ethical from time to time to suit people's whims or fancies, provided of course, they do not lead to things like mass orgies of bloody axe murdering in the streets. So far, so good.

The central tenet of argument surrounding homosexual marriage is simply this: there are those that thumb their nose at conventional morality, others that wish to stretch the bounds of acceptable behavior, and still others that are selfish to the point of not caring what happens to the society around them, provided they get what they want, any way they can get it.

Up until people started openly flouting the law in San Francisco this week, and consequently, no one in a position of authority deemed it necessary to stop them, I was all in favor of letting gays marry. I don't care what people do to each other behind closed (closet) doors, provided I do not have to see it, hear about or have it pushed in my face. I have now changed my mind.

This is not a matter of civil rights. It is not a matter of affording rights to an "oppressed" minority, nor is it just an extention of a traditional value to a different set of circumstances. Now, it's whining.

I have been acquainted with quite a few gay people in my life and they allpretty much have the same traits in common --- they love attention, anyway they can get it. They're overly defensive and quick to take offense, and nasty about it, too. Their very (non-sexual) behavior is often consciously designed to shock, outrage and get attention. They tend to be quite emotional people as well. I guess if I was a memeber of a group that was ostracized for it's sexual preferences, I guess I would be all those things too. I generalize, but you get the idea.

Putting just as important issues aside (inheritance, spousal support, patrimony, etc), that is what this all boils down to; an attempt to get attention. A temper tantrum run rampant. An attempt to acquire not, as the defenders say, equal rights, but to get rights the rest of us would never be entitled to and to deconstruct society as we know it.

Once you begin to revise the idea of marriage, the rest is just a matter of time. In a custody case, for example, who is the father and who is the mother? Are those roles interchangable to suit someone's needs? Now we have to expand the definition of father and mother and apply a traditional, natural, set of ideals to fit a different circumstance. Once you revise the definition of marriage to allow a union in which propigation of the species is never likely to occur, you can now make the case that a man could marry a dachshund, and that would be allright because there would be no puppies. Same thing, just a different species. Once you revise the idea of law, that it can be whatever you want it to be if you hold your breath long enough, and begin to tear it away from its moral and (yes) religious foundations, then you can finally make the case that it would be okay for you to shoot the daschsund because you caught it humping the Irish Setter down the street, after all, it was your husband/wife and had violated the "sanctity of marriage".

The more ridiculous the argument, the more ridiculous the behavior to justify it.

I have a message for gay folks: be happy that you don't live in a society which will not tolerate your behavior, cater to your whims, or kill you for indulging them. Be extra happy that you live in a society which is willing to turn the other cheek (no pun intended) in the name of tolerance, despite their own morality. Tolerance only goes so far, however, and you're pushing the envelope.

Water, water everywhere! Why can't we find it, though?
Another bit of extraordinary news was belched forth at NASA this week, claiming that one of them fancy little golf carts they shot up to Mars has found "the best evidence yet for a wet Mars" or words to that effect. Of course, no actual WATER was found, but more evidence that there used to be some was.

In the last three weeks, all I've been hearing about in regards to the little golf carts is that they keep finding evidence of water activity. Considering that the water activity is (possibly) several billion years old, and not one drop of actual aqua has been found, I wonder why this is important. What is the obsession with water on another planet?

I asked around. Apparently, water is important for three reasons --- you need it to produce fuel which any future manned mission might need. Anything we shot up there cannot carry enough fuel for both legs of the trip, and so fuel will have to be produced on Mars. Secondly, if you send people there, they will need water to drink, naturally. Tang tastes terrible without water. Finally, if there is water, there might be life. Whether it would be life as we understand it is another matter altogether. We may be looking at Martian life every day and not realizing it, because we're looking through the lenses of what we know and understand.

However, all this mention of water leads me to a cynical conclusion: we're being led down a primrose path. It stands to follow that if NASA can prove there is water, anywhere, that makes future missions all the more viable, and when it comes to scientists, all you need to do is show something is viable and suddenly, the sky (litterally) becomes the limit. NASA will continue to suck up taxpayer money, and a lot of geeks that haven't kissed a woman, ever, will be gainfully employed. All that's needed, atthis moment, is continued evidence, apparently, and not the real thing.

Naturally, NASA is not looking at the places where they believe there is ice, like say the polar ice caps, which would indicate the actual presance of said water, but of course, if we did that it would defeat the purpose of the entire project, i.e. employ geeks. Of course, man could probably not survive on the Martian ice caps, and so I can also see the argument for looking someplace else, but this is getting ridiculous.

While space exploration has been a boon to mankind, what with new materials being developed, new engineering methods and techniques, faster, better communications and computers (and did I mention Tang?), given the limits of technology at the present, why are we making the leap from theory to actual practice so quickly? Isn't this sort of putting the (golf)cart before the horse?

By all means, continue to fund the exploration of Mars, but do not use the "there is evidence" argument to start planning future missions that will immediately be over budget and balloon way past their original intent in the here and now. We're a long way from sending people anywhere near Mars and let's not get too excited until we're somewhat more capable.
John Kerry, War Criminal
In his testimony before congress in 1971, now-Senator John Kerry (Communist-Mass.) testified that he knew of or took part in, during combat, activities that were illegal under the various Geneva Conventions on Warfare, illegal under the various Hague Rules of Land Warfare, and proscribed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

These included: the deliberate targeting of civilians, their homes and property, rape, plunder, murder, free-fire zones, search-and-destroy missions.

The question, in my mind, is this:

Mr. kerry was a Naval Officer, and as such, was supposed to be aware of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Since these things are constantly drilled into an officer's head, and he has a responsibility to make himself knowledgable and conversant with such things, then we may assume the folowing:

a) by not invoking his right under the UCMJ to question or refuse to obey a clearly illegal order, Mr. Kerry is, therefore, a war criminal, or accessory to war crimes by his own admission.
b) Mr. Kerry was, at the least, an irresponsible officer, and at the other end of the spectrum, a criminally neglegent one.
c) Mr. Kerry was required to report such violation(s) of the Geneva and Hague Conventions or the UCMJ to higher authority that he was aware of.
d) Mr. Kerry is quite possibly a liar.

Makes him look all the more attractive as a President every day, doesn't it? If I were John Kerry, I'd keep my mouth shut. And hire a good lawyer. But because he practices the "right" kind of politics, don't get your hopes up that he will be dragged in front of a court at the Hague any time soon.