“In the course of just over 200 years, we have provided the world with ideas, contributions and realities that are in the consciousness of every human being on the planet.”
November 30, 2006
A couple of hundred years ago- less than an instant on the cosmic clock- America took her first tentative steps towards freedom. Since those tumultuous days, this nation and the freedoms she represents, have grown, prospered and has served as a source of inspiration for billion of people in their own search for freedom.
When we see veterans marching in a Memorial Day or Veteran Day parade, or soldiers on their way to or from Iraq or Afghanistan, we are watching the men and women that are a living testimony to those who preceded them, that defended the principles and ideals of freedom. They who wear the uniform today, like those before them, fought for more than geography or even theses United States.
From the time of our inception as a nation, there have been forces determined to destroy what it is we stand for. There are entire political ideologies, that have been predicated on vilifying us and our belief that freedom serves all of mankind. There religious ideologies that, under the thumb of the oppression have become a tool of those who would sooner kill millions of others, if necessary, rather than see their people free.
Some people regard culture and society as an extension of Darwinian theory. Current versions and models are the ‘latest and the greatest.’ They see traditional religion, past cultures and societies as flawed and limited. The leaders and ideologues of these ‘new and improved‘ cultures and societies co opt the past to support their own new ideologies, reinterpreting the past to fit, support and endorse their particular vision.
Americans- and American values- are different. Although we are raised with the conscious understanding that those that came before us were giants, and that we are obligated to defend and build upon those principles and ideals of our Founding Fathers, we understand that we are not better than them. Their legacy serves as our guiding light- we do not need to reinterpret freedom with each new regime or to serve successive generations. We are beholden to them for having elevated successive generations and for having instilled in us the morals and obligations that come with freedom. Indeed, when we think about our freedoms, we go back in time and participate in the meetings in that room in Philadelphia. We share in the arguments, passions and dedication to an ideal that will shape the future.
Americans talk about freedom so passionately because we are passionate about it. Freedom is the foundation of our beliefs. Because of freedom we free to choose the things we believe in, without fear of violence or repercussion. Freedom, real freedom, is the only ideology in the historu of mankind, that wants to make the world a better place, a place where each and every one of us can author our own destiny- and do so without without stripping others of their rights. In a free society, we are free to exercise free will. We can choose to believe in God or we can exercise that free will and choose not to believe in God. In a free society, God takes care of His affairs. In a society that isn’t free, the tyranny du jour and their adherents and proponents take it upon themselves to handle God’s affairs for Him.
The fight for freedom has not been easy. It never is. There are those that see the cost of freedom, in political, monetary or ideological terms and want us to abandon the citizens of nations that so desperately need liberation from tyranny. It is tempting indeed to walk away, in the myopic- and absurd- belief that we would be forever extricating ourselves from a problem. Iraq and Afghanistan are prime examples. Does anyone really believe the consequences of an Iraq or Afghanistan led by tyrants will not negatively impact their respective regions or other nations?
There is an undeniable truth. Tyranny does not support morality or rightiousness. We have said many tines that
When nations that are that are led by or are under the influence of tyrants or dictators, attempt to justify those actions, we can rightly assume that justification is false. Tyrants and dictators do not make moral choices, because moral choices can only lead to the demise of the tyranny.
Anyone that comes to the defense of tyrannical regimes and their leaders, have themselves made a conscious choice to defend and stand by what is immoral. They themselves consciously adopt an immoral posture.
There is a opposite, of course. Freedom supports righteousness and make the world a more civilized and moral place. Notwithstanding the reality that much of the world doesn’t care about those ideals, that truth about freedom is unassailable. Those that resist and resent our involvement in helping to secure freedom for others, may at times, seem to prevail, but in the end, even that is illusory. Evolution, political and otherwise, has always meant that man was empowered and free to reach greater heights, unencumbered by the tyranny of other men asserting their dominion over his freedom, property, ideas or beliefs.
There are those that will go to great lengths to keep us from bringing freedom to others. They excoriate us, berate us, laugh at us and even support violence against us. They take great pleasure in our trials and tribulations. There are those who align themselves with evil so as to hurt us- and then rejoice in our pain. There are those that would support the propaganda and ideologies that would demoralize and weaken us. With all their might, deceit and hatred, they would relentlessly attack us- but in the end, it will all be for naught. Americans will defend freedom, from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
They may at times kill or harm the messenger, but they cannot kill the message. Freedom, in the end, will prevail.
There are really only two ways you can hurt someone. Take away their dignity or take away their hope. When a tyrannical regime oppresses a citizen, they take away dignity. When that oppressed citizen no longer believes that there are free and good people who care about him and others in his predicament, he is left without hope. To a victim of tyranny, hope takes the form of an average American, from an average place, that put on a uniform and fought to liberate oppressed people and then went home.
Of the almost 7 billion people on this planet, only 300 million are Americans. To put that in perspective, less than 5% of the population of this planet are Americans- and yet, the world is obsessed with our existence and what we represent. In the course of just over 200 years, we have provided the world with ideas, contributions and realities that are in the consciousness of every human being on the planet. Given our numbers and short history, we should not have had this profound influence on history and mankind- and yet, we have. The secret to our our successes and influence can be attributed to one powerful word: Freedom.
The notion that all men are created equal, is a biblical concept. It took America to make that a reality, in those ideas called freedom and democracy. “They will beat their swords into plowshares…nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore,” can only come about as the result of freedom and democracy for all mankind. It is folly to believe that anything less will bring about peace. The one thing we have learned is that democracies don’t wage war with each other. They do not take up arms to settle disputes. The same cannot be said of tyrannies, now or in the past.
We wrote, in Our Way, No Exceptions And Freedom Is Not Subject To Negotiations, that
To presume that we must somehow persuade populations that freedom is better than tyranny is absurd. It presumes that tyranny and freedom are of equal value and standing. In fact, we appear foolish- and weak- when are forced to plead our case. In reality, when we argue the case for freedom as equal to tyrannical regimes, we belittle freedom. A casual observer would ask why we would denigrate ourselves in such a manner…
Those under the boot of tyranny know full well that free societies are better than tyrannies. When Communism fell, the citizens that had been enslaved by tyranny voted- and wanted no part of the system that kept them in prison. The ‘utopia’ of leftism was discarded a the very first opportunity.
Citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan are no different than the citizens of former eastern bloc nations. They too, know what freedom means. The only difference is that the eastern bloc nations fell quickly, and they managed to rid themselves of their oppressors. Iraq and Afghanistan have replacement oppressors, waiting in the wings to seize power.
The people of Iraq do not want to return to tyrannical regimes any more than the people of Eastern Europe- and that is one truth the Left can’t hide.
November 30, 2006
The crisis began, perhaps, with Stalin. So many of the intellectuals of the Left found it necessary to take a side as Europe divided itself between east and west. Lukacs gambled on what he knew was an wretched regime if for no other reason than that it was the only regime with the possibility of resisting the hegemony of capitalism and its accompanying political liberalism. [emp-SC&A]
Notwithstanding this bit of historical revisionism (Lukacs rejected orthodox Marxism when the reality of the real world failures of Marxism became evident for all to see), the Lawrence of Arabia makes a clear point: The Marxists feared the inevitable changes that capitalism and political liberalism would bring. The Marxists could not and would not abide an empowered people demanding a voice in their own destiny. Lukacs made the conscious decision that a ‘wretched’ and oppressive regime was preferable to an empowered people.
Lawrence of Arabia then goes on to equate the failures of the Marxists to what he sees as the moral failures of free and democratic regimes. They are the real target of his piece. If those democracies are not neo-leftist democracies, they are equivalent to the failed Marxist regimes. He speaks of the great projects that liberalism might address and then, in apparent bitterness notes
…Thus as human beings seek a sense of common direction, a sense of community that transcends the social and economic realm of private relations, the only place they had left to turn was to religious conservatives. The effects have been ugly and brutal: from the emergence of the Evangelical Right in the United States to Extremism in the name of Islam throughout the Muslim world to militant Hinduism in India.
With a few words, Lawrence of Arabia manages to distort the reality and differences between competing ideas, philosophies and interests.
First of all, the great democracies (read: economically successful and home to great institutions of learning) did not thrive because religion was the overseer. While religious principles may have influenced democratic nations, those principles were not religious dictate. In fact, in virtually every democracy, there is a clear separation between church and state. Nations that claim theocratic influences as their dominant political foundation are failed nations.
The Evangelical Right is nothing like Islamic Extremists. To attempt to draw a connection is absurd, on many levels. The Christian evangelicals do not advocate the kind of enforced religion Islamic extremists do, not do they endorse the kind and magnitude of violence we see on our TV screens. In addition, the primary focus of the Christian evangelicals has been on good works. Whereas the liberals of days gone by focused on helping their fellow man (think Peace Corps,etc.), today’s leftists cannot be bothered.
The vast majority of aid in Africa and South America, for example, are spearheaded by Evangelical Christians. The Left cannot be bothered to help because there is no upside for them to do that- money ‘wasted’ on Africans is money that cannot be spent on Leftist political and ideological causes. There might those who jump up and say that evangelical Christians offer aid with ‘strings’- that has long not been the case.
In any event, where are the Muslim extremists, whom you compare to evangelical Christians, when it comes to helping in Darfur? Where were they in Algeria, as the GIA was on a decades long rampage and orgy of death and destruction? Where are the anti slavery activists in Mauritania?
Lawrence of Arabia also notes that
European nations such as France and the Netherlands and even Britain, under the banner of liberalism, seem to be seeking a new form of fascism in the name of social “integration”: how far, really, is Franofication and Dutch assimilationism from the legacy of Germanism and its rigid insistence on its own self-identification? In a different form, a similiar transformation seems to plague the States. The emphasis on freedom and “Democracy”, on behalf of which the United States is willing to launch a violent Crusade for the salvation of humanity, has become mob rule. The rights tradition, the liberalism which once undergirded representative government, has become increasingly suspended, unimportant…
Those remarks are absurd, in their entirety. In Democracies Don’t Care, we wrote
We do not need to assure Muslims that we are caring. We do not need to bestow a status upon Islam that we not bestow upon other religions and other faiths. Muslims are not special and they are not deserving of special status.
Why? Because in a free society, we don’t care about your beliefs. We do care about your actions and behavior. You are free to integrate and to assimilate into our society in whole or in part. We really don’t care. Do not tell us we need to care about your beliefs and your concerns above all else and above our own beliefs. If you do try to make that assertion, you will soon be surprised at how easily you will be marginalized and resented- not for your beliefs, but rather, for your attempt to jump to the head of line. You are not more important than anyone else.
We don’t care if your are a Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu. You are free to worship as you believe. In fact, that is the last thing we worry about. America and free nations have long ago dispensed with the notion that what you believe how you believe, is relevant to peaceful existence. Notwithstanding the religious voices from the pulpits and the media, America has learned to live and let live.
We want to know if you are a good neighbor or an honest business person. We want to know that you’ll make sure to keep a watchful eye on your kids and ours, in the neighborhood we live in. We don’t really care how you dress (any more than they care how we dress) and we don’t care what language you speak in your home. We don’t care which newspapers you read or which TV news broadcast you watch. In fact, you are free to change the channel…
If you don’t like offensive cartoons (and we don’t blame you!), you are free not to buy that paper or cancel your subscription. You are free to boycott advertisers and write scathing letters to the editor.
You are not free to react violently or to threaten those you disagree with. Western democracies are just that- free societies and we do not operate under the ‘laws of the jungle.’ If we did, we would not take kindly to even the first display of barbaric behavior. Your dissent is a right. But it is also a privilege, contained in the same way a painting is contained in a frame. You are free to paint the canvas as you please- as long as you stay within the borders of what is deemed acceptable behavior- that is, behavior that is non violent or destructive.
Just as clearly, we are free to ignore your protests or disagree with your expressions. That is our right- to ignore you- and there is nothing you can do to change that. Your protests are not a mandate of recognition or credibility.
In fact, even integration is not a hammer democracies wield over anyone’s head. We also noted that
‘Melting’ into the melange that is America is optional and always has been. In fact, there are communities that integrate fully and others that choose to integrate partially. It is not a zero sum game. There are Hindus and Hasidic Jews that have been here for a few generations and they retain as much or as little ethnic identity as they desire. There are Muslims that came to these shores with nothing, and within a few years and with a lot of hard work, have found economic and personal success. Certainly, the Amish… keep themselves apart by choice as he says, but they too, are clearly part of the American landscape. They too, can be counted as a community that has enjoyed success in America.
American minorities are integrated into the social fabric of the country because there is an interdependence with society at large.
In A Beautifully Dark Place, Dr Sanity speaks of a real- and dangerous cognitive dissonance.
I am, of course, waiting to see the site champion Michael Richard’s racist rant, which Gloria Alred insists isn’t free speech, but is “hate speech”. I will be waiting until the cows come home, I fear, because the minions of the left are incapable of making such an abstract connection. To them, “hate speech” is any speech they happen to oppose [emp-SC&A], and it most certainly does not include speech by those poor, oppressed terrorists (terrorism doesn’t actually exist in their minds except as a natural response to the evil of American Imperialism, Bush, or Israeli oppression–take your pick). For them, it is only really truly “hate speech” if the hate is directed at one of their specially-designated victim groups who are deemed to require special laws to protect their civil rights. Did you know that the left is deeply concerned about religious intolerance….but only for Muslims (one of their newest addition to their special victims unit) and NOT, of course, for the pervasive and nitpicking intolerance they routinely exhibit toward any symbol, word, or expression of Christianity. Now, isn’t that shocking?
Dr Sanity has a point. Where are the voices from the lft denouncing all kinds of religious intolerance (and worse), regardless of it’s origin? What about cafeteria rights, freedoms selectively applied?
This sort of cognitive dissonance and intellectual insanity is not because they are particularly ignorant of the U.S. Constitution. Rather, it is because as Duke suggests, they have a very specific political agenda that has been slowly but surely changing American society into their utopia. This “social engineering” on their part doesn’t give a damn about free speech except insofar as it can be used to forward their socialist agenda. It doesn’t give a damn about freedom of religion, except insofar as it can be used to forward their socialist agenda.
In short, it doesn’t give a damn about the US Constitution, except insofar as it can be convoluted and manipulated to create their socialist paradise, where real freedom of speech—including the freedom to be offensive and (gasp) hurt other people’s feelings—is but a dream; and real freedom of religion wouldn’t exist anyway because they don’t believe in God in the first place.
To extend the cognitive dissonance even further, they will defend to the death the terrorist’s “rights” to kill us and plot against us; but poor Michael Richards (who probably is undoubtedly a racist) must be thrown to the PC wolves for daring to utter his brand of hate speech, while Danny DeVito remains a darling (isn’t he soooo cute?) because his hate is directed at an acceptable recipient.
Lawrence of Arabia sees American and western democracies as tainted- and that
…explains the seeming puzzlement of the Bush administration when democratic elections in the Middle East brought success for political parties of which the United States could never approve.
Lawrence of Arabia offers up a rather childish and superficial understanding of what constitutes a real democracy.
The last thing a real democracy is about are election results. Real democracies are about institutions that guarantee access and equal protection for all citizens and for the rights of all citizens.
Western democracies are under no obligation to recognize or endorse electoral results, simply because they came about as the result of fair and free elections.
Adolph Hitler was elected in the 1933 German elections, with an agenda that was clear and unequivocal. Had the western democracies dealt with Hitler appropriately and decisively, 50 million souls would have been saved.
That the racist, bigoted and hateful Hamas was elected in free and fair election, gives them no special status. Their agenda too, is well known and clear. The western democracies and the civilized world are under no obligation to consider ‘ITBACH AL YAHUD!’- SLAUGHTER THE JEW!- as an acceptable form of political, cultural, educational or religious expression equal to their own- and that too, is a part of the ‘communal pilgrimage of truth’ you speak of.
The Left Lawrence of Arabia pines for is the Left that looks backward in time- and that Left is as dangerous and destructive now as it was then.
November 29, 2006
Gagdad Bob has done what no other blogger has done- he has found the biggest idiot in the blogosphere. In Putting The “Psycho” In Psychoblogging, he identifies the world’s most inept psychoblogger (we would add, ‘and an intellectual impotent’)- and Gagdad Bob’s selection can in no way be contested.
…ever since I started blogging last year, I’ve been looking for a leftist psychoblogger to ridicule when I don’t have anything else to write about, but couldn’t find any.
This morning I found a leftist psychoblog linked to dailykos, Psyche, Science, and Society, run by psychoanalyst Steven Soldz. It is a goldmine of leftist foolishness, cant, and cliché, and you understand in a second why this man would be linked to the breathtakingly infantile dailykos. This blogger vividly demonstrates the axiom that education has nothing to do with wisdom. More often than not, the two are inversely related.
In his “about me” page, Soldz sets the tone, making reference to how the American public has “rallied around a mythic ‘war on terror’” which “is built on a simplistic duality of good versus evil.” In other words, the terrorists are not actually evil. Rather, it is just that we have projected all of our “undesirable characteristics” into the so-called “evil” other. Evidently, it is we who actually want to chop their heads off and murder their children just for the hell of it…
…Apparently, people who project evil are evil, but evil behavior isn’t. So Americans are evil projectors, but the terrorists who slashed the throats of stewardesses and flew airplanes into the Twin towers were not evil. No, it’s just our projection.
Amazingly, Dr. Soldz welcomes the launch of al Jazeera in America, stating that “I, for one, wish them well. I hope they will continue offending the powers-that-be by telling the truths that others suppress.” In other words, Dr. Soldz not only aligns himself with this invaluable propaganda tool of our terrorist enemies, but regards it as a courageous conveyer of suppressed truth. No, people aren’t offended by al Jazeera because — like virtually all of the Arab Muslim world — they are steeped in vile lies about America and Israel. Rather, they are offended because they do not want to hear the suppressed “truth” about Jewish conspiracies and genocidal Americans.
This man is beyond simplistic. He is beyond ignorant. He is even beyond stupid. I have no compunction whatsoever in saying that he is, at the very least, a moral imbecile.
There’s more. Read Gagdad Bob, the Magnificent Knight Templar of the Psychosphere who has uncovered the blogosphere’s Holy Grail.
November 29, 2006
Over the last few days, we have discussed the state of affairs that purports to be journalism today (see Media, Advertising And The Road To Hell and What’s Good For The Political Goose Has To Be Good For The MSM Gander) . We wanted to expand on the conversation because journalism is one of the few professions whose practitioners are regarded as saintly and above reproach by the public. The much maligned Catholic church has done more to rid itself of their ‘bad apples’ than the MSM have done at cleaning their own house.
To be considered a ‘professional journalist’ today, it is almost an imperative that a graduate of journalism school adopt a secular and particular kind of ideology. It isn’t as if you can’t have another point of view, of course, but if you do, you are suspect as a journalist, or are somehow less than ‘professional.’ In what is great irony, journalists who are identified as ‘different’ are immediately suspected of being less objective and less truthful. The message is clear: if a journalist doesn’t share certain secular or ideological viewpoints, it is assumed that journalist will knowingly deceive the public (in the UK, one editor said that Jewish reporters could not be trusted to report on the Israel-Palestine issue. Apparently, Arab Muslim graduates of the Arafat School Of Journalistic Integrity were models of veracity and decency).
Of course, the vast majority of MSM journalists do not see their own bias for what it really is- a bias. They consider themselves decent and they see themselves as examples of the best of the human condition. The also believe that anyone who disagrees with their worldview is imperfect- and imperfections are bad. Whatever biases they might have can be set aside because they are ‘fair minded’ and compassionate- ideals never to be found in anyone with differing beliefs.
That is no small matter, that worldview, because ‘professional’ journalists believe they are ever out in front of the evolution of human progress. Professional journalists believe it was they who helped shape the education of the masses, liberating those enslaved by religion and liberating morality and ethics from the clutches of restrictive religion or ‘establishment’ ideologies. In ‘libertaing’ the people, journalists bestowed upon themselves the highest of ethics and morals, never to be questioned. The Middle Ages College of Cardinals was replaced by the New Age Editorial Boards. Journalism was to be the newest faith, perfect in every way and ennobled by their pursuit of justice.
Woodward and Berstein became the newest prophets, to be revered and emulated (Woodward (apprantly the ‘Fourth Christ of Ypsilanti) took that a bit too seriously. In his books, he purports to know what politicians are thinking in meetings that never occurred. In the cathedrals of journalism, that of course doesn’t matter, because he ‘meant well’). An entire generation of journalism school graduates would ride off every dawn in the pursuit of the ultimate investigative journalist story that would expose the evil (as they see it), right all wrongs in the world and bring justice to all. ‘Professional’ journalism deliberately adopted a pseudo-religious posture and coupled it with their version of the PC American cowboy spirit (a lot like Marty McFly’s pink western shirt and hightops in Back to the Future III).
So what if a few lives were wrecked? So what if innocents, knowingly hung out to dry, were to spend years in prison- after all the prophets of journalism meant well- and all prophets need sacrificial lambs, willing or otherwise. So what if the truth also becomes a sacrificial lamb?
Professional journalism, in the pursuit of only the truths they see as relevant, have carefully crafted cathedrals and ivory towers for themselves. It is only their version of religion or their version of secularism that matters. The MSM does not tolerate ‘freedom of religion.’ Giving others an equal voice in matters of ethics and morality scares the MSM, because if differing voices were to be regarded as credible and substantive, the stranglehold the media have on our culture would come into question- and that idea is unacceptable to the MSM.
November 28, 2006
In our previous post, What’s Good For The Political Goose Has To Be Good For The MSM Gander, we asked a simple question:
Consider this: If public officials are subject to scrutiny because they are in a position to influence public policy, then why aren’t journalists subject to the same scrutiny? They too, are in a powerful position to influence the public and public opinion. Should not they too, be subject to the same scrutiny as others that have so much influence?
Those with influence on public opinion ought to be subject to the same scrutiny as those they report on.
Media can and does influence opinion and ideas. Al Qaeda understands that, the dysfunctional Arab world, Iran and the regime of Kim Il Jung in North Korea understands that truth. The Voice of America exists for no other reason than to influence opinion and ideas (Of course, the kinds of ideas clearly differentiate the VOA from the lunatic rantings on display at MEMRI or MEMRI TV).
If media did not clearly and measurably influence opinion and ideas, advertisers would not find media outlets to be of any value. Advertisers utilize media with a single goal in mind. To be succesful, advertisers have to change the way people think or what they believe in. Advertisers spend billions and billions of dollars in the hope that their advertising will change ideas and behavior. Simply stated, if you are loyal to idea or product A, the hope is that enough people will be influenced by media to change their loyalties or beliefs or to buy product B.
As advertising budgets increase with each year, it is clear that advertisers find media a good investment and reliable way to get you to change your beliefs and perceptions.
The same principles applies to news. CNN is successful because it appeals to a certain kind of viewer. CNN is not pleased that Fox News appeals to a different kind of viewer- and is even less pleased that Fox News scores so well in the ratings, by attracting even more viewers (adding insult to injury, CNN has to come to terms with Fox being able to generate even greater advertiser income and revenue).
CNN complains about Fox News and Fox News complains about CNN. Why? In a single word- influence.
If CNN or Fox News were simply news outlets, there would be no discernible difference between them- and yet, clearly, there is.
Bill O’Reilly presents his view, clearly conservative. Anderson Cooper presents his view, clearly liberal. Each of them attempt to influence the meaning of the news or the implications and inferences of the stories they choose to cover. Sometime, they cover the same news and offer up very different spins (while it is true they each are, in reality, infotainers, the line has become blurred, by design, by the MSM- in response to how well they can change opinion and ideas).
We are not advocating journalists not do their job. In fact, we are all for a vibrant and vigorous press, doing what they claim they do. However, as we have noted, we have a right to know exactly who is doing the reporting and what their credibility issues are, if any. This is especially important because most people rely on the media to help form their political identity- and as The Anchoress notes in Iraq: Bloggers “Premature,” Press “Focused” they are perfectly aware of the influence they wield:
I suspect the press relies quite a lot on the fact that most Americans no longer have the attention span of a single news cycle. I find it a little terrifying, frankly.
So, who are the rubes here, the folks in the press who use questionable information and pictures to tell their stories, or the bloggers who check this stuff out at the risk of being called “partisans” (snort! Hello, Kettle? Black!) and being lectured to about making “premature” assertions.
The Anchoress isn’t happy and she spells it out. She takes the MSM out to the woodshed for for blaming bloggers and anyone else in sight for the current state of political affairs. The MSM don’t even have the capacity to look inward. They have created a lot more than a tainted media. They have in fact, created and allowed for a culture and society that has no compunction in calling for theg blood of whomever they disagree with and whio can’t even be bothered to even attempt to hide fraud and deceit, as in the case of the Kerry ‘joke’ as covered by the NYT (H/T The Anchoress). The Anchoress goes on to say
I want our press to be healthy and honest and accountable. [emp-SC&A] Our country will not survive with sick, BDS-infected media that only tells what it wants to tell, instead of what it damn well should. Is it really asking too much?
That plea isn’t as high minded, noble or academic. The McMartin pre school case in California and more recently, the Richard Jewell case in Georgia, are good examples of how media influenced local communities and ruined lives, in the process- and those are only two of the cases we know about.
Shrinkwrapped, too, has an excellent post, What is Reality And Why Does It Matter, in which he examines the role- and influence of media in society.
No one is any longer surprised to find that our MSM, in their heedless pursuit of a “higher truth” have become willing to sacrifice all notions of fairness and objectivity in their reporting. Unfortunately, their “created truth” has real world effects. Opinions based on faulty reporting create facts that have real repercussions.
Clearly, writers and editors can influence opinion. As with advertisers, they would not utilize the media influence if it did not deliver.
It is true that many people can easily discern a writers politics, simply by reading that writer. There are however, bigger issues. The NYT, for example, is selective in correcting errors. Some writers seem to be more ‘error prone.’ Editors choose cropped photos so as to convey a certain idea- when a publishing the entire photo would convey an entirely different impression.
It is common editorial policy to mistranslate certain foreign language words and phrases. Why is that? Who makes that decision?
No doubt many journalists believe their ideas and ideologies are in the best interst of the American people. As true as that is, that is irrelevant to their function as journalists. They are charged with informing the public and no more. If journalists want to editorialize, they need to label their efforts as editorials and not news. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Media influences our understanding of local and national events, every day.
We have the right to know who exactly is influencing our perceptions- just as we have the right to know who it is we select to represent us.
November 28, 2006
Recent firestorms over MSM accuracy and credibility are intensifying. No longer centered around doctored documents, photographs and ‘misinformed’ editors, MSM practices and agendas are coming to light. The mighty efforts being expended by the MSM in their own defense and to muffle the questions, are all for naught. They now find themselves defying momentum and other laws of physics. In an ultimate irony, they appear to praying for a miracle.
Journalism and the MSM have long touted themselves as the ‘first line of defense’ of our great democracy, standing up to the deliberate deceit, lies and fraud that might be foisted against us by politicians and others with an agenda of evil. It is another great irony that the MSM have proved to be so adept and comfortable employing those very same tactics of deceit, lies and fraud designed to promulgate an agenda. As we noted yesterday, today’s MSM
…highlights the difference between themselves and Nazi era media outlets. Those German media outlets were forced to report the lies and deceit and of the Third Reich… most of the mainstream media are perfectly happy to report the ‘party line’ and agenda as real news, willingly and without coercion.
Of course, the MSM want to blur the distinction between their actual mission and what they have become. They want to wrap themselves in the noble morals and ethical mantle of a higher calling, all the while engaging in the most base and promiscuous of behaviors. The MSM have become surgeons that happily murder the patient on the operating table, even as they loudly proclaim the Hippocratic Oath, piously repeating the mantra of ‘do no harm,’ in the hope that no one will see their hypocrisy.
As trust in the MSM reaches an all time low, rather than ‘clean their own house,’ the MSM is ever frantically attempting to ‘murder as many patients’ as they can in pursuit of their agenda. There isn’t even a pretense anymore at presenting news as it occurs or fair reporting. The documented decline of prestigious media organizations such as the once great BBC does not go unnoticed or unmourned. A recent BBC investigation into their own reporting highlighted the bias and bigotry that permeates that organization. More importantly, that investigation revealed an ugly truth. BBC reporters and editors did not even have to bother to hide their bigotry or bias.
The MSM have come a long way from their calling and obligations.
Of course, it is understood that elected officials are subject to media scrutiny because they are in a position to influence public policy. It is imperative that as much relevant information as possible be made available to the public so that informed decisions by voters can be made. We put our trust in the Fifth Estate, so much so that journalists are even provided certain constitutional protections. In fact, those constitutional protections afforded journalists are one sided, because we believed that journalists would defend the principles of journalism as an extension of the principles of a healthy democracy. There is no oversight or accountability.
This process can only work effectively if we can trust journalists and the MSM.
Consider this: If public officials are subject to scrutiny because they are in a position to influence public policy, then why aren’t journalists subject to the same scrutiny? They too, are in a powerful position to influence the public and public opinion. Should not they too, be subject to the same scrutiny as others that have so much influence?
Both the print and broadcast MSM regard themselves among the final arbiters on the meaning and motives behind government decisions and policies. Their reporting and editorials are meant to influence readers. Shouldn’t we be aware of who those editors are and what their politics are? If reporters and editors come to certain conclusions, isn’t it appropriate for us to know upon what facts, agendas and ideologies they base those conclusions? Shouldn’t we be aware of their affiliations?
Facing an ever critical population of news consumers, many in the media now concede they are indeed biased- but ever the noble victims they claim that is irrelevant because they are ‘fair.’ If that argument works for reporters, why can’t that be said for politicians? Irrespective of the party of their affiliation, why can’t media agree that politicians too, put the interst of the country ahead of party politics?
What makes reporters and editors so special that only they can have political affiliations or political ideologies and be considered ‘fair’ and ‘honest brokers’?
Clearly, the media will not ascribe to that idea (assigning morality to those they disagree with is something they cannot bring themselves to do). That being the case, why should we believe that the media- whose clear objective is to influence public policy- are somehow able or are even willing to put aside partisan ideologies?
If you are in a position to influence public opinion and public policy, we have the right to know who you are and what influences your beliefs and ideologies. We also reserve the right to judge you by the same standards as you judge others.
November 27, 2006
Have you ever made your favorite and famous pasta sauce, only to realize that there was no spaghetti in the pantry? Did you ever have to break open that months-old box of angel hair pasta- and then realize that your favorite and famous pasta sauce was even better with the more delicate angel hair pasta?
The author’s writing isn’t riveting- it is enveloping, like the melody that you close your eyes to and allow to wash over you.
I have decided that capitalism is the way to alleviate the lack of tenderness in my life. I’m going to buy tenderness. I know that love is not supposed to be for sale. But no one ever said anything about tenderness being off the market.
I would like this wonderful guy that I know to sell me a couple of hours of tenderness. My plan is this. I’ll rent a movie, preferably a comedy. And we’ll flop down on the sofa and watch it together. Curled up like spoons. He doesn’t have to love me. Or say anything mushy. Just watch the movie. And laugh. I want to feel him laugh. I want to feel his body shake against mine.
Nothing funny. No liquor. No professions of romance. Just two hours of snuggly comfort on a couch. Horizontal human contact – without nudity, repercussions, embarrassment, expectations or weight. Just tenderness.
Try this prologue to what is a very funny post:
I took an older friend to a McDonald’s one evening as we were headed home from the movies. We just wanted a quick sit-down over something warm and Mickey D’s was right on the way. Maybe a nice cup of tea and a rectangular apple pie cushion. So far, so good.
We walk into the glossy typical local McDonald’s. Nothing unfamiliar here, I thought. The bland utilitarian faux-homey decor is obviously mandated by the home office. I know that McDonald’s shift styles across the nation and around the world, but who are they kidding? One whiff of the fast food aroma inside and you know exactly where you stand. We drift up to the registers…
Moving right along…
I know women talk too much about men. I know one fantastic gal who has too many men to talk about! The lucky little coot. She is delightful – and unusually enough – men have actually figured this out. But my man drought continues. Fear not. I am not about to rant with regard to my general undesirability.
The other day, I was telling her about a lovely lunch that I had with the most wonderful guy. We were supposed to eat with his girlfriend, who was a no-call-no-show. He wanted to know if I was still interested. Yesforcryingoutloud. Because I am not dead, I thought. Any woman with the ability to chew solid food would be interested in a whole lot more than lunch with you…
My oversubscribed gal pal asked what Mr. Lunch was like. When tempted to gush, I try to restrict myself to my three favorite adjectives. I had been pondering these in the shower that very morning…
My friendly neighborhood femme fatale is currently seeing three men. (No, no. She is not a ‘ho. She actually dates the old-fashioned way. Dinner. Dancing. Movies.) Count ‘em, three guys. Just so she can experience sweet, honest and funny. Yet I have found all of these sought after traits in one great masculine value package. His Girlfriend doesn’t realize how lucky she is. I would be happy to tell her. Perhaps a PowerPoint presentation detailing how Mr. Lunch differs from the male herd in so many positive ways? Maybe an intervention by single women who wish they weren’t? Or a short documentary film wherein other gals talk about all of the lunkheaded gits they have dated? That’s it! Fostering the appreciation of sweet, honest and funny – all while earning an Oscar nomination. Roll ‘em.
There are many more examples of great writing, great story telling and great insights (we especially liked Unwilling To Clean, I Redecorate).
La Vida Vica isn’t a great blog because the author is a great writer. La Vida Vica is a great blog because the author doesn’t keep her writing detached from her life, as many authors do. When that happens, the writing becomes a separate and distinct creation, no longer a part of the same organism. The melody might be pretty, but it is also artificial and formulaic.
The author of La Vida Vica writes of her life, as it is. It is a melody you won’t soon forget.
November 27, 2006
What are the implications 0f media deceit? A lot more than the endorsement of tired and failed political agendas and ideologies.In fact, media deceit has lead to an environment where the deaths and killings of innocents, so that some agendas are presented in a more favorable light than others.
It was the media that ignored the genocide that resulted in the death of over a million Africans in Rwanda, even as the UN military commander pleaded with UN higher ups for orders to defend the helpless victims that never came.
The deliberate lack of press coverage could not hide other truths. While Rwanda is correctly portrayed as yet another failure of the UN, they weren’t alone in their culpability. Even as the UN maintained it’s customary inertia , the American administration under Bill Clinton was asked to help. They refused. After the humiliating defeat in Somalia, Washington was delighted to wash it’s hands of Africa and Africans.
A month after the documented mass murders, David Rawson, Mr Clinton’s US ambassador to Rwanda, stated that the killings were a ‘disaster’ and then categorized the orchestrated genocide as ‘tribal killings’ and no more. This kind of cavalier attitude was reinforced by the state department. One US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State was told by her higher ups that “…these people do this from time to time.” [emp-SC&A]
To be sure, none of these truths will be displayed at the presidential library of the nation’s ‘first black president,’ Bill Clinton.
The Canadian general in charge of the UN forces, Romeo Dallaire, minces no words. Despite deliberate lack of press coverage (by the same people covering the war in Iraq today- SC&A), he clearly says that
They knew how many people were dying…the world is racist, Africans don’t count; Yugoslavians do. More people were killed injured, internally displaced and refugeed in 100 days in Rwanda than in the whole eight to nine years of the Yugoslavia campaign…
The failure of the media to report on the events in Rwanda has had a lasting impact to this very day. Dallaire went on to ask
Why didn’t the world react to the scenes where women were held as human shields so nobody could shoot back while the militia shot into the crowd?
Sound familiar? The Palestinians learned that would not be held accountable by the media. As long as they present themselves as ‘non white,’ there would be no standards of civilized behavior expected of them.
Why is that very same media not demanding that heaven and earth be moved to end the slaughter in Darfur? The NYT was more animated in it’s demand that Augusta change it’s rules and admit women as members.
Dallaire went on to ask why the world and media were silent when
…boys were drugged up and turned into child soldiers, slaughtering families?..Where girls and women were systematically raped before they were killed? Babies ripped out of their stomachs…Why didn’t the world come?
The world didn’t come because the media didn’t believe that what was happening in Rwanda was important enough. The media chose to cover the President’s sexual antics because in the end, they could make it appear as if the Mr Clinton were a victim. The media did not want to report on a president of the United States that watched and did nothing as over a million Africans were butchered. The media did not want to report on a President of the United States as morally bankrupt as they were.
The old saying that a leopard cannot change it’s spots is proving to be true.
Reuters published a story released by the United Nations News Agency (IRIN), which states definitively that
Israel began building an eight-metre high, 703km-long concrete barrier through the West Bank in the occupied Palestinian territories in 2002.
Israel says the wall is a security measure to protect Israeli citizens from terrorist attacks by Palestinian militants. When the barrier is completed, about 10 per cent of the West Bank will be inside Israel.
With that deceit, the legacy of the UN and the media is once more being cemented.
It is a fact that less than 3% of Israels’ security barrier is concrete. 97% is a chain link fence.
It is also a fact that the route of the security fence has less to do with politics and land than it does with security. Palestinian farmers will continue to have access to their lands. See this for Q’s and A’s regarding the security fence. This information is readily available and known to the media- information they deliberately choose to ignore, instead repeating the deceit and distortion they have come to represent because of an agenda that coincides with their own.
That the UN is a source of deceit is no surprise. In a organization where the majority of member states are led by dysfunctional and tyrannical states, it was inevitable that toxicity from those states and their ideologies would poison a world body originally conceived to liberate and free mankind. Like tyrannies everywhere, the UN attempts to control information and the release of information. As in all dysfunctional regimes, control of media outlets is a necessary componant in maintaining the status quo and in perpetuating an agenda.
In publishing the IRIN fantasy as ‘news,’ Reuters highlights the difference between themselves and Nazi era media outlets. Those German media outlets were forced to report the lies and deceit and of the Third Reich.
Reuters and most of the mainstream media are perfectly happy to report the ‘party line’ and agenda as real news, willingly and without coercion. They cannot be expected to be taken seriously.
Do you really believe you are getting the news out of Iraq?
For an even more explicit look at the MSM’s failings and agenda of deliberate deceit, see Dr Sanity’s Undoing. It’s an eye opener as to just how blatant media manipulation can be as they participate in an particular agenda. Even more importantly, her post highlights the utter disregard the media has for the truth and consumers of news, who expect fair, if not always unbiased news.
As long as media remain unaccountable, expect more of the same.
Larwynn brought Getting The News From The Enemy, Update, by Ace (Be sure to read his original post) to our attention. He notes how sources no longer need be credible to be considered acceptable by the media. He describes how MSNBC (among others) and
The MSM has been using bogus officials to supply chaos to their stories and based on those same stories has decided Iraq is now a official civil war.
There is a pattern, of course. The Anchoress has some terrific links, that serve to highlight the deliberate way in which the media distance themselves from reality- and the truth.
It is a powerful piece that will make you very angry. The fakery is breathtaking. And sadly, Patterico’s example is not the only one…read on…
Finally, the ever concise and clear Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom adds a few thoughts of his own. In Willful Suspension Of Disbelief, he notes
For those who continue to suggest that the mainstream press has a negligible impact on elections, consider that the majority of Americans who bothered to pay any attention whatsoever to this story will be left with an account of horrific sectarian violence against women and children—and the belief that sectarian strife in Iraq is not only inexorable and savage, but pandemic…
Whether this narrative is the product of willful distortion or merely the laziness that comes with being fed stories that match your preconceptions is almost beside the point when it comes to effect—though the former is clearly more despicable, and, should it prove to be the case, has the practical effect of undermining a representative democracy that can only work properly if citizens are being given accurate accountings of events by those purporting to do so…
Of course, this kind of “journalism” has its parallels aimed at understanding our own benighted western savages—from Thomas Franks’ What’s the Matter with Kansas? to the huge overseas headline after the Bush reelection that posed the question (paraphrased from memory), ”how could 58 million people be so stupid?” So is it really any surprise that sanctimonious liberal progressives would find the Other that they champion in theory so perfectly distasteful in fact?—at least, before the savages have been assimilated and incorporated into the landscape of the soft-socialist’s utopian plantation like so many little brown lawn jockeys…?
Not much to argue with, is there?
Again, the question must be asked: Do you really believe that the MSM coverage of the war in Iraq and events in the middle east are accurate?
November 26, 2006
Had your fill of turkey, cranberries and relatives?
Do your spouses family members go a long way in dispelling Darwin’s theories of evolution and natural selection? Do they become more stupid with each holiday season despite another year education or life experience? Do they all seem to have banjo plucking, overall wearing and fear dental hygiene in common, in spirit, if not in practice? Do you find yourself repulsed but strangely drawn to the cousin who likes to set kittens on fire? Did you get up at 3:00 AM to stand in line at Walmart with that cousin, so he might get a great deal on cutlery?
Well, take heart, there is help. You can find your way back to level ground, despite being related to or marrying into one of the first families depicted in the film ‘Deliverance.’
Dr Sanity’s Carnival Of The Insanities will guide you back to civilized intellectual dining.
Unlike meals at your relatives, Carnival Of The Insanities serves up no roadkill, mystery meat or any form of rodent. Instead, Dr Sanity provides the latest and most up to the minute fine intellectual dining experience. She serves up a healthy dose of reality, insight and common sense.
Dr Sanity helps makes the banjo playing fade away. Pay attention, eat everything Dr Sanity serves up and maybe, just maybe, you can save your children from a future fate of collecting cutlery and FBI interviews.
November 23, 2006
A few days ago, The Anchoress wrote Searching For Authenticity In A Baloney-ish World. In her post, The Anchoress looks at an article and the implied messages of CBS journalist Dick Meyer. The article, she says,
…touches on some themes that have been rolling about in Meyer’s head for a while – the dissolution of real “community” and the fakery of invented community (the “plus-sized community,” the “survivor community” the “world community”), the transient lifestyle that replaces nuclear family with bare acquaintances and forces us to find other means of personal interconnection; how those other means (political identity, food fanaticism) become not just social connections but replacements for the sort of stable and reassuring role religion used to play in most lives.
The Anchoress goes on to make some remarkable- and poignant observations.
Why are we so willing to endure fakery that has become so commonplace it is predictable? Why do we reward politicians for it?…Why do we embrace it within ourselves, body and soul? What is the root cause of our willingness to surround ourselves with it? Some will say “it began with the first cult which became the first religion – that fakery doomed us to this day.” Others might suggest that the “damn the truth, print this headline” Pravda mindset that has impacted the whole world in one way or another has set the stage for our current acquiescence into the land of make-believe and spin. Some, of course, will blame the Clinton’s. Everyone else will blame Bush…
All of the observations made by The Anchoress are true, of course. On their own and individually, each observation is clearly and easily discernible as contrived. Taken together, however, the various managed, contrived and manipulated events and phenomena, come together as recipe for a cultural veneer, a puddle masquerading as a deep ocean. After generations of such pseudo-cultural manipulation, many Americans have no idea what ‘authentic’ really means.
Of course, we have a kind of collective ‘values memory.’ We understand that values are not and cannot be derived from the momentary breezes of pop culture or pop politics, no matter how hard those with the agendas try- and no matter how badly the mindless drones want their beliefs to be real (there are still those that insist George Bush has set up ‘concentration camps’).
That said, it is clear that even these mindless cultural ‘agendistas’ are tapping into that collective memory and are searching for meaning. Having grown up in an environment devoid of meaning (and respect for those who do have meaning) in their lives, it is no surprise that there are hordes of blind mice looking for cheese. Ill equipped, it is also no surprise that they are left to founder against the rocks, incapable of finding what ot is they so desperately seek- a real home and real meaning.
Shrinkwrapped, in Despair Of Abundance, notes that
The course focuses on the psychological aspects of a fulfilling and flourishing life. Topics include happiness, self-esteem, empathy, friendship, love, achievement, creativity, music, spirituality, and humor.
According to the account of the course in the Boston Globe on-line, Harvard’s crowded course to happiness, the course seems to attempt to combine some scholarly research (although there are no links to any peer reviewed research articles and a cursory search did not bring any such articles through Google) and personal exploration by the students. One student is quoted as saying:
”Positive Psych may be the one class at Harvard that every student needs to take,” said Nancy Cheng, a junior majoring in biology. ”In this fast-paced, competitive environment, it is especially crucial that people take time to stop and breathe. A self-help class? Maybe. . . . But from what I’ve seen and experienced at Harvard, I think we could all use a little self-help like this.”
In the same article, a Professor at the University of Kansas adds:
In the last several years, positive psychology classes have cropped up on more than 100 campuses around the country, said Shane Lopez, an associate professor at the University of Kansas, who recently co-wrote a positive psychology textbook. But with such an enormous course enrollment, Tal D. Ben-Shahar, the lecturer who teaches Harvard’s course, ”is the leader of the pack right now,” Lopez said.
The courses can change how you see yourself and your life, Lopez says. ”A lot of people are just not accustomed to asking, ‘What do I have going for me?’ and ‘What did I do right today?’ “
Courses on finding happiness and meaning are the symptoms of a rudderless society and the desperate desire to find happiness- and authenticity. As Shrinkwrapped points out,
…the suggestion that our luxurious abundance will allow us the time and space for happiness is implicitly accepted and misses the point in the most fundamental of ways. So many Harvard students, children of abundance, wealth and leisure, are flocking to a course on happiness precisely because they do not know what they are missing and how to obtain it… simply curing poverty and disease and injustice will never stop people from being disaffected, unless there is a commensurate internal change in the people who are angry and disaffected.
Finding happiness and meaning cannot be acquired from without- voting and supporting the ‘right’ candidate or the ‘right’ party, or supporting the ‘right’ causes or ideologies du jour, will not bring about inner peace. Inner peace is derived from within, from the values and meaning that we are willing to defend- and fight for. The willingness to fight for those values that we hold dear are the true measure of our character.
There are the character and values of those who fight for instability and religious strife in Iraq and there are the character and values of those who fight to bring freedom and democracy to that nation.
Authentic values do not negate authentic disagreement. It is only when fake values are presented as authentic and meaningful, that we see the failures, hollowness and meaninglessness The Anchoress and others speak about.
The Anchoress, in speaking of values vs political ideology, makes a point:
…Why are some so certain that giving amnesty to illegals who have lived here productively for many years, is a greater travesty than a man telling his wife he is leaving her while she lies in bed fighting cancer?
Maybe there are no right answers. Maybe all of those theories are right to varying degrees. But the need for authenticity in our lives is basic and real, and urgent, and increasingly we look outside of ourselves and our families and our “nuclear” worlds to find it. And we seem to be coming up empty.
May this Thanksgiving Day be full of meaning and authenticity for all.
November 22, 2006
What could possibly be better than turkey, football and the Walmart Midnight Madness sales? The Sanity Squad Thanksgiving Special podcast, that’s what.
Four of the best Thanksgving turkeys ever brought together discuss the meaning of the holiday, American values and what we have to be grateful for, in addition to that 39 cent a pound, hormone and steroid injected bird you willingly force feed down the throats of blameless, unsuspecting innocent children.
For the best in organic and free range thinking (by brilliant minds who under no circumstances would ever poison or use cattle prods to discipline children), listen to Dr Sanity, Shrinkwrapped, Neo-neocon and the channeled and thickly accented voice of three dead pyschiatrists on the Sanity Squad podcast.
In honor of the holiday, we are pleased to present a video of a past Sanity Squad Thanksgiving special.
November 22, 2006
|“When my daughter, Madison, was about 2 years old, I invited my entire extended family to my home for my first real Thanksgiving dinner. The thing was, I also work full-time as a lawyer, and was pregnant with my second baby on top of it all. I was pretty stressed out. So I woke up at the crack of dawn and was slaving away — making stuffing, basting, mashing potatoes — when Madison started vomiting. She started in the kitchen (nowhere near the stuffing), then proceeded to the dining room, then in her bed a few times. This was not helping my morning sickness. My mom, sister, neighbor, and husband pitched in on vomit-cleaning and sheet-changing, so everything was ready on schedule…but frankly, by then, we’d all lost our appetites. The only one who enjoyed that Thanksgiving was my dad, who just sat and watched the game the whole time!” — Ellen, 37, Philadelphia
Back by popular request…one of our Thanksgiving post from last year.
“We asked readers if their Turkey Day celebrations would put Martha Stewart to shame.
And we’re oh so thankful they said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” Seems their Thanksgiving turkeys are sometimes perfectly brown, but disgustingly raw, and from time to time their beautifully-cooked dishes make big-time messes (Can you say exploding turkey?).
One reader responded with a turkey tale involving a cat’s tail, and others told of dogs who helped themselves to turkeys. Another reader told of a flaming appliance, one told of unexpected guests and still another relayed a horror story involving a turkey’s claw.
So check out these holiday mishaps, and you’re sure to feel better about your own straight-out-of-a-sitcom feasts:
Dottie King of Southside was surprised to find a moving part inside her turkey one year.
“We were clearing the table after a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner,” says King, who lives in Highland Park. “As I entered the kitchen, I saw a tail sticking out of the turkey carcass. A closer look revealed Katy the cat crouched inside the bird eating bits of turkey and dressing. She emerged very pleased with herself and shimmering with turkey grease and with dressing clinging to her whiskers.”
Debbie Patterson of McCalla tells about the year her parents rescued their turkey from a four-legged thief.
“The bird was thawing on the back porch when the neighbor’s bird dog rustled it,” she says. “My parents liberated the turkey from the dog, and it was served. Everyone was told that it was the `other turkey’ that was cooked… They concocted the `other turkey’ idea to prevent a boycott of the meal.”
Mary Estock of Birmingham remembers a similar experience. Her sister, Gena Shimon of Petersburg, Tenn., and her late brother-in-law, Dale, were bringing the star entree. When they arrived, her sister showed her the “mangled smoked turkey, missing a drumstick and a wing.” Seems they’d left the boxed turkey in their open-bed truck while she dashed to the store. Upon return, she discovered a “bouquet of waving tails” in the back of the truck. The couple wrestled the turkey from the dogs, then headed to Estock’s house.
Shimon and her hosts agreed there was no time to replace the bird, so they rinsed it, cut away the gnawed parts and sliced the remains. After dinner, they ‘fessed up, and everyone laughed about the “best doggoned turkey they’d ever eaten.”
Jennifer Brunner of Hoover enlisted a friend’s help with her first turkey.
“She told me she used a whole stick of butter to coat the turkey so it would be nice and brown,” Brunner says. “This sounded logical to me, so I put the turkey in a pan and used a stick-and-a-half, because it was a big turkey.” When her guests arrived, Brunner opened the oven door.
“The butter from the turkey had dripped down onto the heating element and flames were shooting out,” she says. “The entire oven is on fire.”
The guests converged in the kitchen, where someone grabbed a fire extinguisher and took aim at the turkey. “Fortunately, my husband kept his head and yelled, `Not on the turkey!’ He grabbed a box of baking soda and threw it on the fire… Believe it or not, the turkey wasn’t burned at all.”
You can’t say she didn’t try
During the first years of her marriage, Phyllis Barrett of Cropwell managed to avoid preparing the Thanksgiving Day feast by dining with relatives. Her luck ran out, though, when her family was transferred across the country.
“The first encounter with the big bird was traumatic,” she says. “I put it in the bathtub to thaw, and my 2-year-old son climbed in with it and lathered it with Camay.”
Her troubles didn’t end there.
“I got up at dawn and wrestled with it for three hours before I managed to get it stuffed, trussed and in the oven. Hours later, I pulled it out, roasted to perfection – or so I thought, until my husband said the blessing and carved a bleeding bird! I will always remember how my sympathetic 4-year-old daughter patted me softly and said, ‘Don’t cry, Mama.’”
Ginger Talbert of north Shelby County didn’t know until after the fact, that turkeys include plastic-wrapped extras inside.
“I noticed when I took it out of the oven and there was a strange-looking piece of `stuff’ coming from the turkey’s bottom,” she says.
Teresa Evans of Smoke Rise also relayed an incident involving an extra ingredient.
“Several years ago, when companies started putting pop-up indicators in turkeys to show they were done, I walked into the kitchen to find my mother and daddy tightly huddled around the sink,” Evans says. “As I got closer I realized they were frantically trying to dig the temperature indicator out of the turkey. My parents thought the turkey had been shot with ‘that thing’ to kill it.”
And you are …
A couple of years ago, Lauren and Joel Brooks, a director of a college ministry, extended a potluck Thanksgiving dinner invitation to students with no place to celebrate. A couple of hours after the meal, two girls showed up on their doorstep, “a gallon of tea in hand.”
“Joel welcomed them and assured them there were plenty of leftovers,” she says. “They sat and talked with Joel for a few minutes and then it became quite obvious they were not part of the ministry… They kept asking, `Now, who else is here?’
Turns out they’d been invited to “a friend of a friend’s” house, also in Crestwood, also yellow and also on top of a hill.
“They ran out quickly and told Joel to keep the tea,” she says.
“In 1992, we were an abbreviated family living in Texas – my husband, his brother, Stan, our sister-in-law, Darleen and their children, Kelly and Kyle,” says Deborah Limerick of Hoover. She was determined to mimic the large family gatherings they used to enjoy in Mississippi, so she set a beautifully-decorated table and included all the quintessential recipes, including “cornbread dressing per Ma Nell’s directions.”
“After everyone was inside the door that I sensed something wasn’t quite right,” Limerick says. “Then I saw the box… It was a McDonald’s Happy Meal.”
The next Thanksgiving, the “Aunt Deb Thanksgiving Rules” went into effect, including “No Happy Meals at Thanksgiving,” she says.
Lexi Ambrose of Bessemer offers a messy tale that ends with a hairy situation.
“One Thanksgiving my mom and dad came to celebrate the holiday with us and to meet their granddaughter’s fiance,” she says. Her mother, who headed the cafeteria-style line, was scooping green bean casserole onto her plate when her father tried to slip into place behind her.
“He accidentally pushed her off-balance, and the green-bean casserole went flying across the room along with her,” Ambrose says. “As she fell, her wig came off and landed in the green beans. My daughter’s fiance picked up the green-bean laced hair, and with a suppressed grin handed it back to my mom and said, `Madam, I think you dropped something.’”
About 10 years ago, Mike McDavid of Mountain Brook broke out his new charcoal smoker for the Thanksgiving turkey.
“It was the most beautiful turkey I’ve ever cooked,” he says. Trouble is, it was cooked outside in 10-degree weather. “I sliced into it, and it was raw.”
He didn’t give up, though.
“I got my wife to turn the microwave on its back, and I crammed this 25-pound turkey into the microwave and set it for 45 minutes,” McDavid says. “When I opened the door, about two gallons of turkey juice blew out of that microwave, all over the kitchen floor. We had to literally skate on turkey gravy to finish getting everything ready.”
Case of the missing plate
As a child, Mary Lou Davis of Vestavia Hills spent Thanksgivings with her cousins at her grandparents’ house at Conecuh National Forest. The year she was 13, she filled her plate and joined the older teens.
“I perched daintily on a chair, then realized I had forgotten utensils,” she says. “I set my plate down and went to retrieve a fork. When I returned and sat in my chair, I found my loaded plate had disappeared.
“OK, y’all,” I said, “What did you do with it?”
After a few rounds of “We didn’t take it,” and “Yes, you did,” Davis felt something warm and wet seeping into the seat of her pants. Then one of her cousins pointed out what was now obvious – “You’re sitting on your plate!”
Judy White’s then-boyfriend, now-husband, Gary, wanted to try out his new smoker on one of his freshly-slain birds. She squeamishly retrieved a turkey from the refrigerator, rinsed it, and delivered it to him on a plate.
“Soon afterward, he indicated that he thought the bird was done, and I delivered a platter so we could remove it from the grill,” the Birmingham woman says. “As he lifted the bird from the grill, I stared, frozen in horror. As the bird cooked, its claw contracted around one of the bars on the grill. Along with the bird, the whole grill surface was being lifted. `It’s… holding… on!’ I choked out, when I could speak. `Yes,’ he said, as he took a knife an chopped off its leg. I turned and fled into the kitchen, feeling quite ill, and when he asked me later why I wouldn’t try it, I confessed as I munched on my salad that I felt too emotionally involved with the bird.”
“I believe that some Western antipathy towards Islam is due to decency. It is quite plausible that a generation that faced off against two totalitarianisms might be right about a third.”
November 22, 2006
Those words are from the opening paragraph of the thoughts of a western Muslim, Ali Eteraz.
His post is not profound, in an intellectual way, nor does he make any such pretense. In fact, it is more important than an exercise in intellectual curiosity. Eteraz expresses more thoughtful reflections. He refuses to respond to and contribute to the knee jerk reactions of what has become a carefully nurtured adversarial and confrontational relationship of cultures/religions/societies.
His perceptions are far from perfect- he seems to lay the bulk of the blame for continued Muslim world failure on the record of western Colonialism- but they are a starting point. The importance of that cannot be understated. He challenges both Muslims and non Muslims to ‘lay down their arms’ and take a deep breath and take a step back.
Yes, I know that there was a time when the West went to ‘civilize’ and ended up conquering; when it went to ‘keep the dominoes upright’ and ended up slaughtering; when it went to ‘trade’ and ended up colonizing; when it went to ‘liberate’ and left civil war behind.
Although he goes on to speak of Vietnam, implying a particular American legacy, the fact remains that the colonial powers of Continental powers of France and Belgium, for example, left a legacy of countries laid to waste and in ruin to this very day. We discuss and take issue with some of the ideas discussed by Ali Eteraz in Guns Germs And Allah.
Eteraz goes on to make pointed references:
If, then, there are those in the West who challenge what passes for Islam today, on the basis of their humanity with the Muslim, then we Muslims must embrace them as our brothers. It is conceiveable, yes, that there are those in the West with as much sadomasochim (or courage, if you will), as the reformists of Islam; with as great a penchant for human rights as the reformists of Islam; with as great a willingness to face off against the edifice of a corrupt theology as the reformists of Islam. We must embrace them as our brothers, be they Latino, Black, or dare I say, white; be they Hindu, Jew, Christian, or dare I say, secular-humanist. We — this is the ‘we’ that refers to all those who fight injustice — did not exclude such helpers when the evil was Soviet Union. We — this is the ‘we that refers to all those who fight injustice — did not exclude the helpers when the evil was Jim Crow. Nor when the evil was the patriarchy which denied female equality. In fact, if reformist Islam is to stand a chance, it has to be open to those who want to help. There has never been a case in history where change has occurred without participation by some members of the dominant discourse joining in the efforts of those who agitate for change [emp-SC&A].
Eteraz speaks a universal truth. If we in the west want to see a different Islam than the version espoused and preached by dangerous radicals, then we will have to participate in the liberation of Islam by offering ideas, values and principles that elevate Muslims. These ideas are not new to Islam.
If freedom is indeed a gift from God, then it is a gift for all mankind, regradless of color, creed or culture.
November 21, 2006
November 21, 2006
There are real problems in British jails with large Muslim populations. It is clear that prisoners are a pawn to be exploited by certain agendized ideologues:
Rival groups of Muslim inmates have created a potentially explosive situation over the interpretation of the Koran in Britain’s biggest jail, prison watchdogs said yesterday.
Deep divisions among Muslims in Wandsworth jail developed after the appointment of an imam with particular views of the Koran’s teachings.
Some Muslim inmates at the jail in southwest London are also pressurising fellow Muslim prisoners to adopt more militant beliefs and lifestyle.
The disclosures will fuel fears that attempts are being made to radicalise young Muslims held in jails in England and Wales.
A “potentially explosive” stand-off between two rival groups of Muslims has developed in Britain’s largest jail, independent watchdogs warned today.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at Wandsworth jail in south London said there was a “schism” among Muslim prisoners over the prison’s newly-appointed imam.
…”There is a difference of views between the Asian Muslims and the North African and Afro-Caribbean Muslims.”
The document also reflected recent Press reports that attendance at religious services had increased because inmates were using them as venues for drug dealing and trading in illegal mobile phones.
The last thing the Brits, or for that matter, anyone else needs, are for prisons to become breeding grounds for more crime, masquerading as religion inspired violence. The Muslim community has enough to deal with as it is.
November 21, 2006
Courtesy of Larwyn, come this beauy at News Busters: Olbermann Attacks Bush Lies On Iraq, Claims Vietnam Prosperous Because US Left.
In what is Glenn Greenwald type behavior and detachment from reality, Olbermann proves his lack of bona fides when discussing anything relevant.
The origins of whatever success Vietnam has achieved- and that nation is still one of the most oppressive countries in the world- can directly be traced to John Kerry.
A classic case of ‘follow the money,’ starts with New York Times journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Sydney Schanberg. In a November 1993 column he wrote that
“Highly credible information has been surfacing in recent days which indicates that the headlines you have been reading about a ‘breakthrough’ in Hanoi’s cooperation on the POW/MIA issue are part of a carefully scripted performance. The apparent purpose is to move toward normalization of relations with Hanoi.
“Sen. John F. Kerry, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, is one of the key figures pushing for normalization. Kerry is currently on a visit to Vietnam where he has been doing two things:
(1) praising the Vietnamese effusively for granting access to their war archives and
(2) telling the press that there’s no believable evidence to back up the stories of live POWs still being held.
“Ironically, that very kind of live-POW evidence has been brought to Kerry’s own committee on a regular basis over the past year, and he has repeatedly sought to impeach its value.
Moreover, Kerry and his allies on the committee – such as Sens. John McCain, Nancy Kassebaum and Tom Daschle – have worked to block much of this evidence from being made public.”
In fact, John Kerry was pushing for ‘normalization’ with Vietnam for a reason that was soon to be become evident- big money. Follow along.
As the credible evidence of Vietnam MIA’s mounted, Kerry fought tooth and nail against any kind of investigation and accounting. In fact, he began a well publicized investigation of of POW/MIA families. Kerry publicly humiliated them and referred to them as “professional malcontents, conspiracy mongers, con artists, and dime-store Rambos” who were only involved in the POW/MIA issue for money (talk about projection!).
The Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs published Final Report in 1993 that stated with certainty that American servicemen were left behind alive and in captivity in Vietnam.
So as to achieve the goal of shutting down the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, Kerry’s staff noted that “We acknowledge that there is no proof that U.S. POWs survived.” Kerry’s “no proof” assertions, were in direct contradiction to the findings of the Senate Select Committee.
As Kerry frantically maintained there was “no proof U.S. POWs survived,” they were unable to produced evidence or witnesses proving the POW’s and MIA’s were dead. Nor did Kerry make any effort made to determine who was responsible for their deaths or where their remains were located. He wanted the committee shut down- and for good reason. Kerry’s pro-Hanoi efforts to make the POW/MIA matter go away was an effort to open and secure preferential trade deals with Vietnam.
After Kerry managed to successfully lobby that the Senate Select Committee be shut down, the first commercial real estate deal worth nearly a billion dollars, went to Colliers Jardine, a subsidiary of Colliers International (that company was to become the exclusive real estate developer for the nation of Vietnam). The CEO of Colliers International was C. Stewart Forbes, John Kerry’s cousin. John Kerry’s own Senatorial Disclosure Statements reveal that Mr Kerry’s ‘blind trust’ has long had substantial assets in companies with subsidiaries in Vietnam.
John Kerry has a long and documented history of aligning himself with dubious characters or anyone else for that matter, when it comes to money.
In fact, Heinz was one of the first companies to set up shop in Vietnam. Apparently, the 60 cent a week wages were only a secondary consideration. Their primary concern was that the ketchup (an unknown condiment in Vietnam) they manufactured in that nation needed to be ‘fresh.’
The best thing that ever happened to Vietnam was John Kerry- and the POW’s and MIA’s are dead proof. It also goes without saying that John Kerry never demanded or supported the idea that the Red Cross investigate the issue of those Vietnam POW’s and MIA’s. That idea was worthy of support when it came to the inmates at Guantanamo Bay.
“The lesson here is that nothing succeeds like success. The converse is almost certainly true as well: nothing fails like failure..”
November 20, 2006
Eteraz is new and improved- and that has turned out to be a good thing.
In addition to the interactive nature of the new website, Ali Eteraz has managed to corral some excellent writers and thinkers to contribute to his efforts. As always, Eteraz and his contributors will excite, infuriate and always challenge his readers to think.
Mohammed Fadel’s (see bio here) article, The Progress Of Science is important, if for no other reason than Professor Fadel manages to articulate the ethereal question that often eludes Muslims themselves and critics of the Muslim world.
Why does it take so long for discredited ideas to disappear? One colleague suggested that it is because “science progresses one retirement at a time.” If that is the case, why do Muslim religious leaders seem stuck arguing the same issues, again and again, without any resolution?
On the surface, Professor Fadel challenges the status quo of how Islam defines itself religiously and politically. Less evident is an equally important truth- Fadel also challenges the status quo of how western cultures and societies view Islam.
Fadel is no slave to political correctness- just the opposite, really. His vision is not obscured.
The lesson here is that nothing succeeds like success. The converse is almost certainly true as well: nothing fails like failure, and that may be the best explanation for the failure of Islamic reform movements. Despite their promising beginning in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Islamic modernists movements placed their bets on modernizing the Ottoman Empire as the only effective strategy in warding off aggressive European powers. It may have been the rational strategy at the time, but it failed when the Ottoman state collapsed. As a result of the political failures of Muslim modernist movements, their intellectual underpinnings have been subject to savage attack, much of it unfair.
Clearly, if we are to understand the Islamic world today, we have to understand the how the Islamic world interacted with western culture and society, in both dominant and subservient roles. The Islam we see today is not an extension of the Islamic invasion of southern Europe that ended at the Gates of Vienna, but rather, much of what Islam has become is the result of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. That reality has influenced Islamic western relations more than the calls for establishing a new Caliphate (an idea in fact rejected by most Muslims).
(To that end, understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict comes into sharper focus. Both sides are exhausted and want an end to the state of hostilities- but neither sides wants to do so from a point of perceived ‘capitulation.’ The greater tragedy is that the Palestinians have been forever led by corrupt despots who only benefit from conflict. They could declare ‘victory’ with statehood, but they have allowed the voices of dysfunction to define what actual success and victory are. That is akin to allowing individuals with various personality disorders to form a governing council to define mental health.)
Fadel also notes that
The clergy of the Arab world are too cowed and too insular to be able to make a decisive break with the past. This does not mean that they are stupid, only that decisive breaks with traditions akin to what occurred in the United States in the 1930s are only partially a result of new ideas: while new ideas are important, a friendly “political economy” for change is the critical factor for whether the new ideas will be able to replace the old orthodoxy, or whether the “new idea” will die a premature death.
We agree somewhat with Professor Fadel on the issue of Muslim clergy. In the Arab world, Islamic clergy are no more than another dysfunctional arm of very dysfunctional leadership. No clerics can operate without the blessing of the regime. Clerics who agree with the regime ae rewarded. The clerics that disagree with the regime are soon out of a paycheck and out of a job.
The clerics have become an arm and tool of the dysfunctional regimes. As we have noted many times, ‘When nations that are that are led by or are under the influence of tyrants or dictators, attempt to justify those actions, we can rightly assume that justification is false. Tyrants and dictators do not make moral choices, because moral choices can only lead to the demise of the tyranny.’
Professor Fadel is clear:
Muslims in North America seem happy enough to practice Islam, often times in a fashion more rigorous than Muslims in Muslim countries, without much concern for whether the government is “Islamic.” That ought certainly be a lesson for policymakers. Concentrate on fixing the profound failures in secular governance of Muslim (and especially Arab) countries, and it is likely you will be rewarded with a profound reduction in political violence and instability.
In the end, it is voices such as Mohammad Fadel that put to rest the notion of monolithic Islamic voices and sympathies.
Read The Progress Of Science. The voices of Islamic reform are familiar voices, indeed.
November 20, 2006
There is an old saying, ‘If you want to be loved, love somebody.’
All over the world, a common criticism of America is that we export- and force- our culture on others. The list of nations and societies that make these charges, range from Canada (where the government insists on a prescribed amount of ‘Canadian content,’ enforced by TV stations being precluded from broadcasting some non Canadian produced cooking shows. In another example of national chest beating and ‘we’ll shop them!’ while Al Jazeera is approved for distribution and broadcast in Canada, Fox News is not) to the most conservative of countries, see American movies and fast food as the frontal assault on religious and cultural values that are centuries, if not millennia, old.
The exporting of values, like charity, begins at home.
It is imperative that we define the distinctions between what is the prevalent American culture, and what are American values.
Hollywood and hamburgers are culture. Home and family are values.
Freedom is a value, refined as the freedom to choose from the infinite menu of human dreams.
If there is one great failing of our ever expanding ideal of bringing freedom to those who have been deprived of that gift, it is the American predilection for efficiency.
We go around the world touting democracy- and we display the fruits of our freedoms as shiny trinkets, as if somehow, democracy can be reduced to an ideology of materialism and consumption. Fast food, movies, and other ostentatious displays of consumerism are used to bedazzle and impress those to whom such luxuries are unknown.
We live in a society where all hungry people have to do relieve hunger is pick up the phone and say, “I’m hungry.” Not only is food available, but you can have it delivered- any kind of food you like. It is no wonder that it is the materialism and consumption mesmerizes people. They do not see or understand the freedom that made that possible. On a darker note, they do not see the work and effort, the blood sweat and tears, that went into creating that society. Too many believe the riches come easily. Culture is ubiquitous and visible- values very much less so.
If we are to properly expound on the values of our nation and not just it’s culture, we need to start at home. That is incumbent upon each of us, to instill beliefs and values that reflect our values. That is true even if we come from dysfunctional families. That is true even if we have never really known or experienced ‘home.’ Why? Because if we don’t make ‘home’ that place of refuge, calm and comfort for ourselves, we will forever remain in ‘survival mode’- reacting to the high adrenalin mode of dealing with only immediate needs. Do our kids have to have the latest tech toy to be happy? Do we have to put everything down so we can watch the latest episode of this season’s ‘must watch TV‘? Has being enslaved by up to the minute pop cultural dictates or fashion come to dictate our definition of values and ‘home’? Of course not.
What then, is a healthy home? How can those that have never experienced the comforts of home, feel comfortable building a real home, ‘in the dark,’ so to speak? On a more subtle note, what are the American values that define our home? Can they be described? Can those values be described and easily understood by others?
It is clear that the foundation of healthy home is the spiritual connections that are found there. Not necessarily the religious and stereotypical context of the word, but rather, spiritual in the sense of people who embrace life and celebrate life. Home is where meaningful exchanges and conversations take place, where ideas are shared in a honest and encouraging way, discussed without fear of ridicule. Home is place where words do not have to be measured and there are no eggshells to be found. At home, egos are not wielded like swords. Instead, they are replaced with common goals and ideals and larger visions. Even disagreement is welcome. The idea that one is free to disagree in safety and sureness of place, is particularly important. Arguments are made with logic and dialogue, not with emotion and insecurity, swung about to inflict pain.
Home is a safe place.
Still, the one common ingredient homes of all kinds require is commitment. Home requires the willingness to establish roots. It is true we all need and crave extraneous stimulation, but in the end, we also need a home to come back to. If we cannot commit to ourselves, our beliefs and our values, we cannot commit to others. If the center of the circle of life that surrounds us is ever moving, the circle is uneven- and therefore out of balance. As a result, our lives will remain unbalanced. No matter the possessions or riches, no matter the external acclaim or temporal approval- with no center, we remain undefined. We become hostages to a culture that has no deep roots. That is who we become- an extension of our culture, not our values.
The Romans exported roads and public works. The Greeks exported academies and philosophy. America exports jeans, fried chicken and Paris Hilton. Not exactly the best way to define what are American values.
We have brought freedom to hundreds of millions. We have inspired freedom in hundreds of millions more. We need to remember that what has inspired the world are American values. We also need to remember that American culture does not represent American values.
In America, we understand that the Judeo-Christian ethic liberates man’s soul. We also understand that freedom and the willingness to fight for freedom, liberates man’s spirit. These are not necessarily religious concepts, though these ideas are derived from an evolution of religious thought, nurtured in an environment where religious expression was allowed to flourish, unimpeded by religious or political dictate.
There is a great lesson to be learned. Real religious tolerance came about as the result of real political freedom. Real cultural and ethnic tolerance came about as the result of the free marketplace of thoughts and ideas. All the so called ‘people’s movements,’ in the past, were nothing but a sham that left nations in cold darkness for decades. Tyrants and despots today, the world over, offer nothing but darkness and oppression. There are no long lines of free people seeking immigration to those places.
There is no other nation in the world that has done so much to free the soul and spirit and of man. There is no other nation that has done so much to nurture and support those who yearn to be free. America, and Americans, tell the story of dignity. There are no kings and queens and there is no real aristocracy. American dignity is defined by those who fought and died for freedom and those who came to these shores to succeed and to be an equal among equals at the same time.
The barrier to becoming an American is easy to overcome. All this nation asks of it’s newcomers is that they treat those around them with respect and dignity.
Some nations take pride in their immaculate national costumes and music. Americans take pride in their diversity and freedom to choose. Each day, new ‘wretched refuse’ come to these shores to make their dreams come true. Each day, the descendants of the ‘wretched refuse’ that came before them, welcome them into the melting pot, because deep down, we speak their language. We value and reward the efforts they put into their labor, as others did for earlier immigrants. We don’t care where you came from, what language you speak or how you pray. We care that you contribute to the society around you and treat all with respect and dignity.
The real mark of an American, regardless of origin is not only the desire, but the demand that all who reside in this great nation be treated equally. Americans demand equal opportunity and equal justice. Americans demand that the law be applicable to all, equally. Americans demand that we all wait in line, no matter our origins, beliefs or station on life. Exclude a single ethnic group from America and this country would be a different- and poorer place.
Freedom is a value system, not a culture.
Europeans were only too happy to rid themselves of the ‘wretched refuse.’ Later, immigrants to Europe became a burden to that continent, demanding not equality but superiority. In America, immigrants are absorbed as a treasure, contributing mightily to the riches of this country. We are equally grateful that those who did come to these shores, seeking opportunities that can be found nowhere else, came with the fire of freedom burning in the very essence of their being, and an even greater burning desire to be a part of this ‘great experiment.’
Thanksgiving is the perfect day to remember the singular truth that in America we are grateful for the blessings and riches that came about only because of our diversity and the freedoms this nation bestowed upon all who came to these shores.
Europeans were only too happy to rid themselves of the ‘wretched refuse.’ Later, immigrants to Europe became a burden to that continent. In America, immigrants are absorbed as a treasure, contributing mightily to the riches of this country. We are equally grateful that those who did come to these shores, seeking opportunities that can be found nowhere else, came with the fire of freedom burning in the very essence of their being, and an even greater burning desire to be a part of this ‘great experiment.
- Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
- With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
- Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
- A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
- Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
- Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
- Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
- The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
- “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
- With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
- Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
- The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
- Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
- I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
November 19, 2006
Do you have an active imagination that transports you from reality to a secret place? Do you find it easy to identify with certain TV characters on Wisteria Lane? Do you have a favorite selection from the Starbuck’s encycpedic menu? Are you loyal to a particular brand of laundry soap?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are an idiot.
Wake up and smell the real coffee, not the double double light light latte whatever, favored by intellectual floral arrangers and those of you who wish to inhabit the Cafe Nervosa in the world of Frazier and Niles Crane.
Take a deeper breath and inhale more reality. You are never going to live on Wisteria Lane and you will never be adored by men who look like soap opera stars (we’ll start working out at the gym and take care of ourselves when women start dressing and looking like soap opera stars). Your husbands are in shape. Round is a shape.
Dr Sanity’s Carnival Of The Insanities is up and that means that your opportunity for acquiring real substance is in the here and now.
Carnival Of The Insanities- fully caffeinated and buffed wit, wisdom, insight and reality.
You can handle it.