Thursday, June 29, 2006
Even more important, I want to again ask each and every one of you, man, woman and child, to send a postcard to President George Bush DEMANDING the world finally take action to stop the genocide. Iraq is a picnic compared to the horrors in Darfur.
Sending the postcard is quick, easy and free. Just click the image to the left or click this LINK. While you're there, read about the other things you can do to stop the genocide. And leaving a little contribution wouldn't hurt and it might save lives.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The constitutional amendment had already passed the House of Representatives, as it has every year for the last six years. And every year the Senate has rejected it. But this year was different, this year it only failed by ONE VOTE!
Sunday, June 25, 2006
First, here's a little background for my readers. John Seery is a Professor of Politics at Pomona College where, according to the one sentence bio on The Huffington Post, he teaches political theory. Pomona College is a private liberal-arts college located in Claremont, California.
John is a graduate of Amherst College, and then went on to get both his Masters degree and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He has published extensively and has been a professor at Pomona since 1990.
More to the point of the letter I'm posting to him, he is also an infrequent commentator/blogger over at The Huffington Post. I read Huffington's consortium of bloggers every day and enjoy them thoroughly. I subscribe to her daily email briefing. I consider Huffington to be an important source of both news and opinion.
Yesterday I read Professor Seery's very long and rather intellectual discussion of Ann Coulter's new book, Godless. His essay is entitled "Ann Coulter Has a Point, Kind Of (Hear Me Out...)" and if you click on the essay title, you'll be taken directly there. I encourage you to read it.
I read it and I thought it was one of the best discussions of her book that I've read. Now, gentle readers, please note he ripped her to shreds. He condemned her language and style as "indefensible, hideous, inflammatory, attention-getting (look at me, look at me!) 9-11 widow bashing." But then, much more importantly, he blasted her very premise as a retread of old and long discarded concepts.
Seery writes, "If Coulter had done her homework (or if her publisher had held her to customary research standards), she might have realized that others have made such a case against liberalism in much more elegant and compelling terms. In fact, such an argument against liberalism has been a commonplace in democratic theory for some time, and thoughtful folks (left and right) have already moved two or three steps beyond it."
Professor Seery is no Ann Coulter fan, which (finally) brings me to my letter.
Dear Professor Seery,
I read your essay in yesterday's Huffington Post entitled "Ann Coulter Has a Point, Kind Of (Hear Me Out...)" and thought it was intelligent and thought provoking. It is rare for a critic or any reviewer to move beyond the sound bites and actually take an honest look at her premise.
I found your essay to be enlightening.I'm writing you here on my website because my repeated efforts to reply to your post over at Huffington were never published. It's now been 24 hours and I'm guessing my letters to you there (which are nearly identical to my note above) will never appear. I wrote two, one at about 8 am and the second at about noon.
The real question is why? I have a Huffington account and password and I've replied to essays there in the past.
However, over here at the WIZARD website, I've occasionally been critical of the liberal bloggers over at The Huffington Post. If you were to read my earlier essays, you'd find I occasionally refer to them as the "Hollywood Glitterati" and have criticized some of their posts and their choices of topics.
So I'd like to think that Huffington's editors have tracked back my links and I've been "blacklisted." That would actually be an honor to have Huffington notice my little blog which only gets 50 or 60 hits a day.
Of course it's possible that BOTH my posts were somehow lost in the shuffle. That just seems so terribly unlikely.
No, I'm afraid the truth is that the editors are simply using the replies to shape the conversation and to further make their points. And that's why I'm writing to you here.
The seventy one (71) published replies as of this morning are mostly attacks on you, many of them mean spirited and personal. I know you've read them and I don't wish to offend you further, but I'm reprinting a few below for the benefit of my readers.
"Wow, what an incoherent mess of a post. Can you imagine listening to this guy lecture in a classroom?" writes DLSteinhardt.
"No, really, you reich wing apologist, she doesn't have a point," writes jmpurser.
"mr. sewery. You are the biggest asshole on the planet," opines rosie.
"No, I won't hear you out. No one should listen to what an uncivilized narcissist has to say," says raker.
"You are just as dishonest as Coulter, and the politeness and literary citations do nothing to validate your rhetoric," writes twgbonehead.
"Just crucify Coulter an be done with all this bullshit she's allowed to generate. She'd be stunning up there on her cross," suggests pneumaticus.
"It takes a professional academic to examine a few trees so minutely as to miss, not only the forest, but the fact that it's on fire," writes MrWonderful.
And then I really loved these three nuggets of truth and civility from a poster called Lwayno, who posted multiple times:
"Annie Coulter Gives Up His/Her Virginity."
"Mary Carey, GOP Porn Queen,Replaces Karl "Turd-Master" Rove As White House Pimp-Madam."
"F-You Cheney Deeply Offended By Outing Of Valerie Plame."
While a very few replies were posted that defended your views or commented on them intellectually, the vast majority were critical and, I believe, written by people who never got past your headline.
I'm guessing if my replies were blocked, so were a number of others that either complimented your essay or applauded your intellectual honesty.
Huffington can publish or block anything they want. They certainly don't need to reprint my rare comments. It's their website and they do have full creative control.
But I think they set you up at a "straw man" so the villagers could burn you down. And they came with pitchforks and matches. Those with water and bandages were blocked at the gate.
the WIZARD, fkap
*** UPDATE: Monday, June 26, 2006 9:43 am ***
My missing replies over at The Huffington Post have shown up. Both replies were there this morning (along with 50 other previously unpublished replies, the total is now 121 replies). It might have been the personal intervention of Professor John Seery, who I contacted by email.
Or it might be the huge "reply controversy" over at Huffington that caused the 50 missing replies to appear. It seems that I'm not the only one who noticed the editorial bias in the posting of replies.
Huffington "fired" a blogger, Dr. Peter Rost, who complained mightily about comments and replies being manipulated, edited or removed entirely by the Huffington editorial staff.
Read more about the Huffington controversy, also posted today in The Huffington Post, by contributor John Peretti. It's titled Peter Rost's Accusations. Here is a brief excerpt.
|"Several readers have commented that they don't care about the Rost issue, but they would like to see improvements in the HuffPost commenting technology. I agree and will address this issue in another post in the near future. From a technical standpoint, it is challenging to process literally thousands of comments a day in a way that features the best comments and eliminates postings from spammers and trolls. More soon."|
Thursday, June 22, 2006
But I do know that if I mention Tamara Hoover (1st reference to Tamara) a number of times in this blog I'll quickly gain the largest readership the journal has had in it's 10 year history. In fact, if I mention Tamara Hoover (2nd reference) a large number of times I should be able to climb to the very PEAK of the technorati.com list of blogs.
And if I strategically say that I have the nude (1st reference to nude) pictures of Tamara Hoover (3rd reference) or even if I have links to the nude (2nd reference) pictures of Tamara Hoover (4th reference), I should shoot to the top of most visited site in the blogosphere.
I think it's possible to even increase my rankings by making sure I use all the possible variations of Tamara Hoover's (5th reference) name in conjunction with nude (3rd reference). Now I can't lose my credibility with my loyal readers, so here is a link to the one known remaining photo of the naked (4th reference) Tammy Hoover (6th reference).
Now, it's important I get all the mileage I can out of this link. So you need to CLICK HERE to see Tamara Hoover, (7th reference) naked (5th reference) from the waist up, covering her breast (adding to the naked appeal of the link, so I'll call this my 6th reference to nudity) This photo was in The Austin American Statesman, so you know that Tamara Hoover's (8th reference) photo is pretty tame.
Now if I question whether this nude (7th reference) photo of Tamara Hoover (9th reference) is pornography or art, it should even get this blog more hits.
In case you were somehow unaware, Tamara Hoover (10th reference) is the number one search term on technorati.com. Here's the story right from the Austin American Statesman LINK: CLICK HERE
An Austin High School art teacher who posed partially nude in photographs posted on the Web could soon be out of a job after the school board voted Monday to begin termination proceedings.
The teacher, Tamara Hoover, 29, has been on paid administrative leave since May 19 because "inappropriate material" was posted on a Web site, according to the district. A student notified school officials about the site's content, namely several portraits that show Hoover
nude from the waist up.
Austin High School art teacher Tamara Hoover says the photos of her posted online are 'artistic photography,' not pornography. This photo was among those on a Flickr Web site, a site some students looked at during class last month.
The district's attorney, Mel Waxler, said he could not comment, citing
personnel and legal concerns.
Hoover defended her actions in a blog by saying that the pictures are
not pornography but "artistic photography" and that she neither knew nor had any control over which photographs were posted by the photographer.
The school district's policies regarding employee behavior include a
moral turpitude clause that prohibits "base, vile, or depraved acts that are intended to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor."
I get my 11th and 12th references to Tamara Hoover (13th reference) for the above quoted article. And I get two more nude references, too, bringing my new total up to (10 references)!!
Of course this isn't what I really wanted to address in today's essay. I really wanted to discuss the different way's conservative and liberal blogs interpret the war in Iraq and, especially their reaction to the recent torture, mutation and murder of the two American soldiers at the hands of al Qaeda.
In a nutshell, conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin LINK: CLICK HERE have written extensively about the tragic deaths of Privates First Class Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker. We know about them, their families and their lives. And conservatives roundly condemn their horrific deaths.
Conversely, liberal blogs like The Huffington Post LINK: CLICK HERE are virtually silent on the subject. Over the last few days Huffington has had multiple blogs about prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay.
I could only find one that even mentioned the murder and torture of Privates First Class Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker and the point of that article by Norman Soloman LINK: CLICK HERE was to condemn the press for its failing to use the same graphic language when writing about the "cruelties inflicted by the U.S. military."Of course bloggers are free to chose the subjects they address. But, in choosing our subjects, we do reveal our priorities. So, in order to gain readership and fame, I have chosen to address the nudity (12 reference) of Tamara Hoover (14th reference).
Now, in reality I don't have a lot to actually say about poor Tamara (15th reference) beyond the tragic double standards in our society. Tamara Hoover (16th reference) will likely lose her job as a highly honored art teacher in a public high school for some very tame, classy art house style photos.
Paris Hilton has sex on videotape that is all over the Internet and she is rewarded with television series, movie deals and a record contract.
Clearly I don't know where to draw the line. What is acceptable on the Internet and what is not. But I do know how to mention Tamara Hoover (17th reference).
Monday, June 19, 2006
I'm a long time supporter and some of the great fights taken on by the ACLU in defending America are legendary.
And I'm not burning my ACLU card.
But, I certainly feel betrayed not only by the ACLU's failure to defend High School Valedictorian Brittany McComb but by their actual attack on her free speech rights!
Damn! If I can't depend on the ACLU, who can I depend on?
Here's an excerpt from the story as written by Antonio Planas in the Las Vegas Review Journal. LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL LINK: CLICK HERE
She knew her speech as valedictorian of Foothill High School would be cut short, but Brittany McComb was determined to tell her fellow graduates what was on her mind and in her heart. But before she could get to the word in her speech that meant the most to her -- Christ -- her microphone went dead.File this one under "Speaking Truth to Power" but don't expect any support from the glitterari over at The Huffington Post. They used up their entire quota of commencement speaker defense on Jean Sara Rohe. LINK: CLICK HERE
The decision to cut short McComb's commencement speech Thursday at The Orleans drew jeers from the nearly 400 graduates and their families that went on for several minutes.
However, Clark County School District officials and an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that cutting McComb's mic was the right call. Graduation ceremonies are school-sponsored events, a stance supported by federal court rulings, and as such may include religious references but not proselytizing, they said.
They said McComb's speech amounted to proselytizing and that her commentary could have been perceived as school-sponsored.
Before she delivered her commencement speech, McComb met with Foothill administrators, who edited her remarks. It's standard district practice to have graduation speeches vetted before they are read publicly.
School officials removed from McComb's speech some biblical references and the only reference to Christ. But even though administrators warned McComb that her speech would get cut short if she deviated from the language approved by the school, she said it all boiled down to her fundamental right to free speech.
That's why, for what she said was the first time in her life, the valedictorian who graduated with a 4.7 GPA rebelled against authority.
"I went through four years of school at Foothill and they taught me logic and they taught me freedom of speech," McComb said. "God's the biggest part of my life. Just like other valedictorian's thank their parents, I wanted to thank my lord and savior."
In the 750-word unedited version of McComb's speech, she made two references to the lord, nine mentions of God and one mention of Christ.
Besides how could Huffington ever side with anyone named Brittany?
But I digress (again). The key here is that Brittany didn't cross any line. She didn't even come close to any line. She gave a heart felt 750 word commencement speech. If we really wanted to know what made this valedictorian tick, we were denied the chance.
My god!! Oh, wait that is the problem.....
Even though 99% of her high school football team gave credit to God after each football game, that was for sports. God forbid God should get credit for academic success. We're just too smart for that.
But the real tragedy is that the ACLU is so very wrong on this one. They are normally strong defenders of Student free speech. Check out the ACLU FREE STUDENT SPEECH LINK: CLICK HERE
Just this month the ACLU has won a major victory in West Palm Beach, Florida. The successfully struck down a law requiring students to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
In Holland, Ohio they defended the free speech rights of a student to publish a parody of a school administrator on MySpace.com.
And let's not overlook their much heralded fight to allow 5 to 8 year olds were message t-shirts to school that say "Latinos Forever." All of Richmond, Virginia feels safer because of the ACLU intervention.
So why did the ACLU fail to defend and actually attack Brittany McComb?
If only she had refused to recite the Pledge and attacked the school administrators (and John McCain) while wearing her "Latino's Forever" t-shirt, I'll bet the ACLU would have been there for her.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Sadly Huffington's powerful who's who of Hollywood glitterati and liberal media pundants lack any perspective of right and wrong. And they seem to lack any agenda beyond using their celebrity to attack any available member of the Republican Party or any nearby quasi-conservative.
Once upon a time being a liberal activist actually meant have strong, heartfelt convictions you would defend at any and all cost. I always counted on liberals to defend the weak, the oppressed and the downtrodden. We (and I still consider myself a liberal) fought for racial equality and marched for the right to vote. We demanded that everyone be represented regardless of race, color or creed.
Our causes could not be corrupted. We demanded women's rights, equal pay for equal work and, more recently, for women's reproductive rights.
We fought along side atheists, Muslims, Jews and wiccans for freedom of religion and freedom from state sponsored religion.
And freedom of speech was one of our most sacred causes.
If there is any of this old style liberalism left, it's damned hard to find. And there's not an ounce of it left over at Huffington.
Today we need an army of good, old fashioned liberals to take up the cause of Oriana Fallaci, a seventy seven year old woman being attacked for "Speaking Truth to Power." As a feminist pioneer and journalist, Oriana Fallaci has earned and deserves our support.
Oriana Fallaci has been indicted by a judge and faces what, at her age and health, would likely be a death sentence in her native Italy for her published writings about the current culture clash in western Europe fueled by the immigration of adherents to the Muslim religion. A centerpiece of here writings is the Muslim religion's treatment of women.
Foolish me, I thought that "Speaking Truth to Power" was what Arianna Huffington was all about. After all, Arianna heaped praise all over Jean Sara Rohe for her brave assault on John McCain at a college commencement.
Arianna and dozens more of her bloggers praised Stephen Colbert for his incredible bravery in being a paid keynote speaker at black tie dinner.
And Arianna and her many bloggers have absolutely worshiped Cindy Sheehan for taking a six week vacation outside the President's ranch on Texas. "Speaking Truth to Power" is what it's all about.
Unless you're Oriana Fallaci and the "power" you speak to is the established Islamic religion. If you dare to speak truth to a religious power in Italy, you face a greater risk than the risk of bad chicken dinner faced by the brave Stephen Colbert.
Oriana Fallaci faces a trial and jail time for a book, "The Strength of Reason," that she wrote over a year ago about the challenges facing Europe as more and more Muslims move into Italy and western Europe. Several of her comments were interpreted by Muslim leaders as insulting to Islam. And insulting Islam is illegal in Italy.
Oriana Fallaci has spoken truth to power all her life. In the 1970's and 1980's she was one of the most famed and feared journalists on the planet. No one ever dared turn her down for an interview. Yasir Arafat, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Haile Selassie, Deng Xiaoping, Henry Kissinger, Qaddafi, the Shah of Iran and even Ayatollah Khomeini all granted interviews to the powerful Fallaci.
According to Margaret Talbot, writing in The New Yorker LINK: CLICK HERE Henry Kissinger has said that he had been flattered into granting it by the company he'd be keeping as part of Fallaci's "journalistic pantheon." But later Kissinger wrote that his 1972 interview with her was "the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press."
Indeed, Fallaci should be a hero to all women who fought for equality in the 1970's and 80's. But regardless of that, she certainly deserves our support in her exercising her journalist rights. No one, certainly not a fellow journalist or blogger, should be unwilling to stand in support of her rights against this tyranny.
Oriana Fallaci. A woman. A pioneer. For thirty years a "speaker of truth to power." Surely the calvary will come to this poor woman's aid.
But the hundreds of fine liberal glitterati at Huffington are much to busy assaulting Ann Coulter to even notice the trial that began today, June 12, 2006. While there are literally dozens upon dozens of columns in Huffington that condemn, assault and even threaten Coulter for Coulter's remarks about four New Jersey 9/11 widows, only one lone blogger has been able to muster one short sentence about Oriana Fallaci.
Eugene Volokh LINK: CLICK HERE wrote in Huffington, "It's a Crime to Harshly Criticize Islam in Italy: Leading Italian journalist and author Oriana Fallaci has discovered this -- she's being prosecuted for allegdedly libeling Islam."
That's it. One sentence. One of the world's leading journalists faces jail and jihad for speaking truth to real power and no one at Huffington can even be bothered to pay attention.
Isn't it a damn shame that Oriana Fallaci hasn't been insulted by Ann Coulter. Then poor Oriana could have 200 Huffington defenders riding to her aid.
Friday, June 09, 2006
"Success of this country has depended and will depend upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and help folks embrace our common identity as Americans."
"Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language. As business owners and community leaders, you know that English is the key to unlocking the opportunity of America."
"English allows a newcomer to go from picking crops to opening a grocery store. English allows a newcomer from sweeping an office floor to running that office. English allows someone to go from a low- paying job to a diploma, a career, and home ownership."
"When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they realize their dreams. And as they do, they renew our spirit and they add to the unity of our country."
President George W. Bush
June 1, 2006 LINK: CLICK HERE
Well, this speech by President Bush to the United States Chamber of Commerce really set off the left wing bloggers, commentators and press over the edge. Heck, they don't even want to share President Bush's values, let along force new immigrants to share those values.
Liberals have spent years adding bilingual education to our school curriculum, adding bilingual forms and instructions to all government regulations, and adding bilingual ballots to each election.
Now President Bush, in an effort to appeal to his right wing supporters, makes a speech getting tough on immigrants. Learn English. Share our values.
The Liberals cry out, "Share Our Values? Why, that's almost un-American!
And Liberals do have a point. America is the great melting pot. Many of our values actually come from the past waves of immigrants.
However.... it's really easy for Liberals to protest imposing values when the immigrants in question are Catholic Christian Hispanics. These folks already share 90% of our values and heritage. Their brothers and sisters already represent a substantial minority of U.S. citizens.
Let's compare our situation with the one being faced in Europe and Canada. There, the massive wave of immigrants are Muslim Arabs. And they are pretty much refusing to share the values of their host countries.
Consider this report from National Public Radio this morning. Do yourself a giant favor and listen to this report by Brian Mann. LINK: CLICK HERE
In Canada language is not an issue. In many parts of Canada, English is aready a second language.
However... among the issues raised by the above linked report is equality of women and women's rights. The Muslim immigrants refuse to change their views on the status and position and rights of women. In fact they see the freedoms Canadians offer to women as barbaric and sinful.
As one Imam quoted in the NPR report said, "Many basic Canadian values are sinful, including the notion that women should be free to make choices independent of their fathers and husbands."
Are there, in fact, values that must be shared? Are their values that must be respected? What about individual human rights?
We need to be very careful in thinking these issues through. President Bush may be a lot more right than he is wrong.