Sunday, May 29, 2005

Amoral Retard

Normally I don't even bother thinking about pseudo-intellectuals like Professor Timothy Shortell, but flipping channels the other day I happened to see this photo of him.

It reminded me that he had recently called religious people "moral retards." So I read up on him and found out that he was recently elected chairman of the sociology department at the Brooklyn College Midwood campus. Given statements that he made such as "Christians claim that theirs is faith based on love, but they'll just as soon kill you," one has to wonder just as much about the other professors that elected him chairman.

I decided to take a peek at his
website and found some gems. For example, he states that "I am proud to be among a group of intellectuals who have argued for a free, secular society, including Voltaire, Marx, Freud, Bertrand Russell, Mark Twain, Richard Dawkins, and many others." Really! This guy thinks he is like Voltaire or Mark Twain? Look at what he has published and it looks like he should be lucky to get a post at the crappiest community college in Mississippi (no disrespect intended to Mississippians).

He also shows how intellectually vacuous he is by offering up links to articles by Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, Bob Herbert and Paul Krugman. Now there is a group of diverse and intellectual heavy hitters! He reminds me of the Janeane Garafolo puppet in Team America that says something like "We will read newspaper editorials and repeat them as if they were our own opinions."

Shortell and his electors really make me wonder about the status of higher education these days.

Oh, yea ... I wonder what PETA thinks of that chair cover?

French Voters Say ‘Screw You’ To Chirac!

While French President Jacques Chirac was plotting to disregard the ‘non’ vote and even had support from jungle tribes, the French voters decided not to screw themselves and dealt a decisive defeat to the EU constitution and Chirac himself. If the proposed EU “constitution” was a bit less than 852 pages and the French voters could have actually read it, the margin for the ‘non’ vote might have been much greater.

You can keep up with the latest on the vote at
¡No Pasarán!.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Newsweek lied and people died?

I don’t think so. Sure, Newsweek and other members of the mainstream media demonstrate a liberal bias and even an ignoramus can see that they don’t like President Bush. In fact, they use every mistake made by the administration and the military to bash Bush. And it is obvious from the Newsweek report that they did not (or didn’t even know to) take into account the ramifications of what could happen in the Muslim world. But let’s get real here. Did Newsweek kill the at least 17 people that died? Of course not! If you want to know why those people died, Andrew C. McCarthy has a good take on it:
That's right. The reason for the carnage is said — again and again, by media critics and government officials — to be a false report of Koran desecration. The prime culprit here is irresponsible journalism.

Is that what we really think?

Here's an actual newsflash — and one, yet again, that should be news to no one: The reason for the carnage here was, and is, militant Islam. Nothing more.

Newsweek merely gave the crazies their excuse du jour. But they didn't need a report of Koran desecration to fly jumbo jets into skyscrapers, to blow up embassies, or to behead hostages taken for the great sin of being Americans or Jews. They didn't need a report of Koran desecration to take to the streets and blame the United States while enthusiastically taking innocent lives. This is what they do.
And Robert Spencer also talks about the gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about:
The bigger story here, and the gorilla in the living room that no one wants to notice, is that flushing a Qur'an down the toilet should not be grounds to commit murder. Note the total absence of moral judgment in Marshall's piece, except that which he directs toward Newsweek. His argument is this: Newsweek should have known that this story would lead to deaths. Therefore, they shouldn't have printed it. But he says nothing whatsoever about a culture that condones -- celebrates -- wanton murder of innocent people, mayhem, and destruction in response to the alleged and unproven destruction of a book.

The question here is one of proportionate response. If a Qur'an had indeed been flushed, Muslims would have justifiably been offended. They may justifiably have considered the perpetrators boors, or barbarians, or hell-bound unbelievers. They may justifiably have issued denunciations accordingly. But that is all. To kill people thousands of miles away who had nothing to do with the act, and the fulminate with threats and murder against the entire Western world, all because of this alleged act, is not just disproportionate. It is not just excessive. It is mad. And every decent person in the world ought to have the courage to stand up and say that it is mad.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Party Is Over ... And I Missed It!

Well, Cream successfully finished their fourth and final reunion concert last night at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

I've read every review of the concerts that I could find from magazines and newspapers around the world. Every single one of them said that they were good or even better. But considering the musical talent that these three musicians have, could one really expect anything else?

For those who are interested, I am including the links to several of the concert reviews (unfortunately, some of the younger reviewers spent more time writing about the age of the performers and the audience -- but what else could be expected from music critics):

Modern Guitars Magazine (Night 1, Night 2, Night 3, Night 4)

Update: I talked to my brother today, who just returned from Europe yesterday (May 13th). He said the concert (May 3rd) far exceeded his expectations! The band was tight, the sound excellent and the musicianship exceptional considering that the "lads" were playing the kind of music in their 60's that they had been playing in their 20's. With the help from his connections at a famous London insurance company, he sat in the stalls 15 yards from Jack Bruce and right at eye level. Apparently, everyone in that section had connections since Bryan Adams sat right behind him and Pete Townsend sat a couple of rows back! I just hope that the DVD comes out soon so I can see and listen for myself what I missed!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Godspeed David Hackworth

Yesterday Col. David "Hack" Hackworth, age 74, died from cancer in Mexico where he was being treated. Col. Hackworth will be remembered as a legendary figure in the United States Army and, until he died, as the most highly-decorated living soldier. But he will mostly be remembered as a lifelong champion of the average soldier, an endeavor he pursued with vigor until the end.

I first became aware of Col. Hackworth years in the early 90's when he was Newsweek magazine's Contributing Editor for defense issues. Since then I have read several of his books, all of his
Defending America columns, and finally became a supporter of Soldiers for the Truth, an organization he founded to give a voice to our military personnel and veterans.

To get a measure of what he stood for, I suggest that you read some of his past columns here and here . Other people that knew Col. Hackworth well will write much more about him than I ever could. But I will say that I thought so highly of him that when my son was shipping out for Iraq, I insisted that he take this one important item with him: The Vietnam Primer by Col. David Hackworth. He agreed and he did.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Why America needs to be Defeated in Iraq

Yes, that's what I wrote: Why America needs to be Defeated in Iraq. That is the title of an article written by someone that has no clue, to say the least. Here's a person that cares more about his own life than the life of his son (if he really has one). You can read the whole thing at the Axis of Logic, although it is a little short on valid logic and very short on factual premises. Here are some of the highlights lowlights (be prepared to be sick):

For myself, I can say without hesitation that I support the insurgency, and would do so even if my only 21 year old son was serving in Iraq. There’s simply no other morally acceptable option.

We should remember that the war (which was entirely based on false or misleading information) was both illegal and immoral.

The character of the future Iraqi government will evolve from the groups who successfully expel the US forces from their country, not the American-approved stooges who rose to power through Washington’s “demonstration elections”.

The Bush administration hasn’t shown any willingness to loosen its grip on power either by internationalizing the occupation or by handing over real control to the newly elected Iraqi government. This suggests that the only hope for an acceptable solution to the suffering of the Iraqi people is a US defeat and the subsequent withdrawal of troops.

At this point, we should be able to agree that the people of Iraq were better off under Saddam Hussein in every quantifiable way than they are today.

Support for the Bush policy is, by necessity, support for the instruments of coercion that are used to perpetuate that occupation. In other words, one must be willing to support the torture at Abu Ghraib, (which continues to this day, according to Amnesty
International) the neoliberal policies (which have privatized all of Iraq’s publicly owned industries, banks and resources), an American-friendly regime that excludes 20% (Sunnis) of the population and, worst of all, “the return-in full force-of Saddam’s Mukhabarat agents, now posing as agents of the new Iraqi security and intelligence services.”

The Bush administration is fully prepared to carry on its campaign of global domination by force unless an unmovable object like the Iraqi insurgency blocks its way. Many suspect, that if it wasn’t for the resistance, the US would be in Tehran and Damascus right now. This, I think, is a rational assumption.

We should be clear about our feelings about the war and the occupation. The disparate Iraqi resistance is the legitimate manifestation of a national liberation movement. Its success is imperative to the principles of national sovereignty and self-determination; ideals that are revered in the Declaration of Independence.

The peace and security of the world’s people depends on the compliance of states with the clearly articulated standards of international law and the UN Charter. Both were deliberately violated by the invasion of Iraq. Crushing the insurgency will not absolve that illicit action; it will only increase the magnitude of the crime.

Therefore we look for an American defeat in Iraq. Such a defeat would serve as a powerful deterrent to future unprovoked conflicts and would deliver a serious blow to the belief that aggression is a viable expression of foreign policy.

Proof that ideology and reality don't mix. Excuse me while I go throw up.