Saturday, June 9, 2007

Hiatus

I have for the moment put up all that I had ready for this blog but as articles that I like disappear, I will no doubt be posting more from time to time. I will always announce new postings on Wicked Thoughts.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Homophobe?

A Washington University physics professor who expressed the opinion that homosexuality is sinful on a personal website is under fire from students who say such opinions shouln't be allowed on university servers, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In one of several opinion pieces hosted on his faculty web page, professor Jonathan Katz writes that homophobia is a moral judgment on acts engaged in by choice. Like incest and bestiality, he says, homosexuality is condemned by the Bible as a sin. After stating that homophobic people don't encourage violence against gays but just choose to stay away from them, he concludes, "I am a homophobe, and proud."

The site features a disclaimer reading, "These represent my personal views alone. Washington University would never take an official position which might deviate from the 'politically correct' line. I don't know how they find out what the line is each day, but they sure keep up-to-date."

Gay students have said they may feel uncomfortable taking Katz's class now that they are aware of his opinions, but Katz says politics never enters his science class and that the situation is no different from Republican students who might be uncomfortable taking a class taught by a professor that they know to be a Democrat.

(October 5, 2005 post on the old Tongue Tied blog. The new "Tongue Tied" blog is here)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Rhyme-Master's On the Case

Jesse and the Race-baiters are now complaining that use of the term "refugee" to describe victims of the hurricane in Louisiana is racist and condescending, and papers like the Baltimore Sun are lapping it up.

The paper says use of the term is another example of the bias permeating coverage of the disaster in the national media.

"The use of the term refugee doesn't benefit anybody," said Richard E. Vatz, a professor of rhetoric and communication at Towson University. "It's another way of depicting African-Americans as hierarchically low, and I understand why they wouldn't want to be associated with that."

UPDATE: Even President Bush has bought into the claptrap.


(September 6, 2005 post on the old Tongue Tied blog. The new "Tongue Tied" blog is here)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

New Uses for the Race Card

A black elected official who demanded at the last minute to ride in a peach festival parade in Delaware is now calling her placement at the back of the parade racist, according to The News Journal.

Members of the Middleton Historical Society say they bent over backward to accommodate Diane Clark Streett, the Register of Wills, after she signed up late and didn't have her own car to ride in.

But Streett was not happy. In a letter to the society, she professed to be "extremely disappointed" at being placed at the end of the parade.

"I was not only segregated from the other elected officials but I was placed behind a dance school, tumblers and miniature ponies," she wrote. "I should have been positioned with other [Caucasian, male] county elected officers."

Organizers said Streett was near two of the biggest crowd favorites -- Little Miss Peach and the Middletown High School Marching Band -- and in the same spot that Republican state Rep. Richard C. Cathcart, R-Middletown was given last year.

(September 14, 2005 post on the old Tongue Tied blog. The new "Tongue Tied" blog is here)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Hatchet Man

So Reagan was the guy who saved conservatism? Actually, he buried it

By Matthew Yglesias

Born a few months after Reagan's inauguration, I have no personal recollection of the man, and this weekend's wall-to-wall coverage has been my first sustained exposure to his presidency. The tone of his rhetoric is striking. From his first inaugural address it seems that, initially at least, he took his role as Barry Goldwater's heir quite seriously. Government was not the solution; government was the problem. Reagan was going to get it off our backs.

Well, it didn't happen. Some budget cuts took place, to be sure, but the basic elements of the New Deal and the Great Society -- Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, Title I education funding, etc. -- all remained intact. Bush has, in many ways, simply repeated the farce of Reaganism, driving the country deep into debt by taking on the revenue side of the welfare state while leaving expenditures intact.

The mode of presentation, however, has shifted altogether. While Reagan talked the talk of small government, George W. Bush preaches the gospel of compassion. To be sure, this compassion is mostly fraud, but talk matters. It seemed for a while in the nineties, with Bill Clinton conceding that the era of big government was over, that Reagan had permanently shifted the terms of the American debate to the right. The contrast between Bush and Reagan, however, makes it clear that Clinton was more successful in shifting it back than many liberals have given him credit for.

No longer do we have a president who claims that "a big businessman is what a small businessman would be if only the government would get out of the way and leave him alone." Instead -- at the level of presentation, at least -- the Bush administration accepts the fundamental liberal premises that the federal government has a responsibility for the health, education, and retirement security of the American public. Ostensibly, today's GOP is merely offering an alternative vision of how best to achieve those goals. Reality matters, of course, and the fact that Bush doesn't sincerely share those premises does make a difference. But appearance matters, too, and the difference between Bushian and Reaganite discourse amounts to a major Republican surrender on crucial issues of principle.

Reagan was supposed to be the man who saved conservatism, but instead he seems to have buried it. His tough talk against bureaucrats and welfare mothers served as group therapy for a nation burdened with resentment over the troubled '70s and the excesses of the New Left. With that angst wrung out of the body politic, we're left with the fact that Americans really do want the government to solve their problems, clean their air and water, educate their children, cure their sick, and keep them safe from terrorists and defective products alike. Unlike Reagan or Goldwater, Bush doesn't care to challenge this paradigm; instead, he works against it by stealth. Such tactics can do real harm, but liberal anger at the present administration shouldn't obscure the fact that we faced the real battle in the eighties -- and despite Walter Mondale's dismal performance, we won.

(From 06.09.04)

Monday, June 4, 2007

South Koreans Warned Anti-U.S. Tide Could Hurt Economy

BY PAUL ECKERT

Leading voices in South Korea called Tuesday for a cooling of the anti-U.S. sentiment that has overshadowed this week's presidential election, warning of a backlash that could hurt Seoul's security and economy. Websites, the media and the street are rife with resentment at South Korea's security ally of 50 years and top trade partner, influencing candidates' stances in Thursday's poll -- a close race which may hinge on how the country's volatile youth vote.

What sparked the upsurge in anti-Americanism was the accidental deaths in June of two girls crushed by a U.S. Army vehicle on a road near the border with North Korea, and a U.S. court martial acquittal of two soldiers involved in the accident. But the anger -- vented in some 50 street rallies that recently have drawn thousands more people than the presidential candidates -- is deep and broad. A recent Pew poll showed South Koreans hold the strongest anti-American views in Asia. Some South Koreans say President Bush's pressure on North Korea over its nuclear arms schemes is more dangerous than the failing communist state itself.

Many resent the high-profile U.S. Army presence, symbolized by a huge base in the heart of Seoul which broadcasts U.S. television on local airwaves and have called for a withdrawal of U.S. troops.

A campaign that has featured flag-burning, profane anti-U.S. rock songs and a threatened boycott of the new James Bond film deemed insulting to Korea took an ugly turn last weekend when knife-wielding local men attacked a U.S. Army officer in Seoul. Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, jumped from behind by three men who had taunted him as he walked home from work, deflected the knife thrust away from his stomach and suffered only a slight cut and bruises. The army imposed a 9.00 p.m. to 5.00 am on troops after the attack.

Sunday's attack on the U.S. Army press officer showed that a "poisonous atmosphere has been spreading like a fad throughout the base of the country's society," South Korea's largest daily newspaper, the conservative Chosun Ilbo, said on Tuesday. The daily sounded a warning that unchecked anti-Americanism would cause the United States to rethink its military ties with South Korea and remove the 37,000 U.S. troops in the country -- a worry voiced by President Kim Dae-jung and business groups. "U.S. troops should continue to remain in Korea. Their necessity is being acutely felt by our armed forces," Kim told South Korean soldiers Monday. South Korea's armed forces number 690,000, the world's sixth largest standing army backed by the world's 12th largest economy.

In addition to intelligence and security provided by the U.S. forces, their removal would force South Korea to hike defense spending, Kim said, adding that: "If the U.S. troops left, foreign investments are feared to follow."

The Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Federation of Korean Industries and three other groups said the anti-U.S. campaign could prompt a boycott of Korean products and endanger the country's $8.9 billion trade surplus with the United States. "Moreover, the escalation of anti-American movements on Korean streets will scare away potential foreign investors from the United States and other Western countries," the lobby groups said in a statement.

Key media and web-based outlets back the anti-U.S campaign. Last week, 100 South Korean photojournalists downed their cameras in a sit-in near the U.S. embassy. A cartoon in the Hankyoreh daily likened the road accident that killed the two girls to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

With street protests swelling, presidential hopefuls have embraced one of the key demands of protests. They have urged revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to give South Korean courts more jurisdiction in cases involving U.S. troops. Conservative opposition candidate Lee Hoi-chang, vulnerable because of his long support of close U.S. ties and of Bush's hawkish stance on North Korea, joined one of the candlelit vigils for the girls and signed a petition for SOFA change.

Ruling party candidate Roh Moo-hyun, however, stayed away from the rallies -- reflecting a different perceived liability stemming from his 1980s association with anti-U.S. movements. Roh said his decision showed "prudence and balance." "People's rightful demands must be respected but a leader must control emotions, step back a little and find a realistic and rational way to make changes," Roh said in an interview published in the Korea Times Tuesday.

Kim Hyung-joon, a politics professor at Seoul's Kook-min University, said the biggest policy difference for Washington will be how the next president deals with North Korea. "If Lee gets elected, South Korea and the U.S. will go in the same direction on North Korea, which will make U.S-South Korea relations stronger," Kim said. "If Roh is elected, some officials are concerned that ties between South Korea and the U.S. will sour, reflecting different policies on North Korea."

(From Tue, Dec. 17, 2002)

Saturday, June 2, 2007

20th Century U.S. History: Civil Rights Knowledge Test

There have been various versions of this quiz but the one below seems to have most points

1) The Dixiecrat party was made up of Southern
a) Democrats
b) Republicans

2) Jim Crow laws were passed by legislatures controlled by:
a) Democrats
b) Republicans

3) When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights efforts in the South, the governing powers that opposed him were of which party?
a) Democrat
b) Republican

4) In Arkansas, the governor who stood in the door of a schoolhouse to block integration was a:
a) Democrat
b) Republican

5) The president who ordered in the National Guard to dislodge the above-mentioned governor from the above-mentioned door was a:
a) Democrat
b) Republican

6) George Wallace was a:
a) Democrat
b) Republican

7) Lester Maddox was a:
a) Democrat
b) Republican

8) Although Republican Bo Callaway won a plurality of the vote, the Georgia Legislature installed Lester Maddox as governor. The Legislature was ruled by an overwhelming majority of:
a) Democrats
b) Republicans

9) As a bonus worth 50 points, which is the only one of questions above answered correctly with "b"?

10a) The attorney general who signed off on the wire taps that J. Edgar Hoover put on Martin Luther King, Jr. was a:
a) Democrat
b) Republican

10b) The President who was responsible for the attorney general who signed off on the wire taps that J. Edgar Hoover put on Martin Luther King, Jr. was a:
a) Democrat
b) Republican

11) The Governor of Arkansas during the 80's who participated in the official state designation of "confederate day" was a (hint: his name rhymes with "Will Linton"):
a) Democrat
b) Republican

(From December 20, 2002)

Friday, June 1, 2007

PRAYING FOR SADDAM

At a time when war against Iraq looms ever closer, Britain's Church Leaders are uniting to show solidarity….with Saddam. Recent weeks have brought shrill statements from the religious establishment warning against any US/UK led attempt to use force to remove Hussein's malignant dictatorship.

The leader of British Roman Catholics, Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, said "The need to avoid war is a cornerstone of Christian teaching." He said military action was only acceptable in the face of a grave and imminent threat and when "there is no other means to achieve the just end of disarming Iraq". Cardinal Murphy O'Connor called for an end to sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime and for Iraq to be offered a "positive incentive" to comply with United Nations Security Council demands. He stopped short of suggesting Iraq be given a seat on the Security Council, but it is clear where he is coming from.

The leader of the 70 million world wide Anglican community, Archbishop of Canterbury designate Rowan Williams, has given an early sign of robust political involvement by signing a statement against war on Iraq. The Christian Declaration, with nearly 3,000 names including those of other Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops, was handed to the British government on Hiroshima Day, Aug. 6, -- the 57th anniversary of the world's first use of a nuclear weapon in an act of war.

Coinciding with reports that the United States, with possible British support, is preparing detailed war plans to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the declaration described an attack on Iraq as "immoral and illegal." It said: "It is deplorable that the world's most powerful nations continue to regard war as an acceptable instrument of foreign policy, in violation of both the United Nations and Christian teaching."

The declaration was organised by Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace and was published in the weekly Roman Catholic journal, The Tablet.

Meanwhile, Scotland's senior Protestant cleric, Dr. Finlay Macdonald, moderator of the Church of Scotland, said Parliament should be recalled if there was any prospect of committing British troops to a war in Iraq. In a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Macdonald said there should be "no question of the United Kingdom becoming involved in military action against Iraq that does not have the support of the United Nations."

The unspeakable moral equivocation behind these statements issued by the British religious elite helps explain why Christianity in the United Kingdom has dwindled to the point of virtual extinction. The only higher authority that this ragbag band of apostates appears to recognise is the United Nations.

They delight in a disgraceful moral equivocation which in turn is seized upon by the leftist British media as the "moral" argument against removing the beast of Baghdad. The truth is that there is little that is recognisably "moral" left in the British established Churches.

(The post above appeared on the British blog "A Tangled web" on 17TH November 2002 but is unknown to Google. The blog concerned has moved sites a couple of times so the post may be really lost. The present site for the blog is here)