Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The case FOR letting "hate speech" be free speech

Can't talk anymore in Canada about Muslims or other real members of "specially protected groups" in ways that may get you hauled before a poorly-named "Human Rights Commission," so this writer talks about Ferengis. And makes a practical, lucid, and well-reasoned argument for the upside of "hate speech."

Jonathan Swift, call your office. But stay the heck out of Canada, eh?

Via Little Green Footballs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Round-up of points against Obama

William Bennett (one of my favorite historian/talk show hosts) and Seth Leibsohn have written up a thoughtful list to keep: "Ten Concerns About Barack Obama." (Via Little Green Footballs)

This is the way conservative thinkers (and even some thoughtful Hillary supporters) argue politics. Note they didn't once mention that "he's black."


This guy doesn't mind mentioning it, though. (Via Instapundit)


UPDATE: More concrete, thoughtfully expressed worries about Obama from Victor Davis Hanson and also from Powerline and even from NPR.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"THE TALK" -- On Patriotism

[Since this is the last year my son will be at home with us before leaving us (we are assuming) for college somewhere in the fall of 2009, I have found myself ruminating over things I might feel a need and want to tell him before he goes away to live the rest of his life. He may currently find such little "talks" to be annoying lectures, and so they are--but I thought I'd start sharing them here for the rest of you. Since that's just what I do.]


Patriotism is the love of your country.

I know, having once been one, that as a teenager, an actual love of your country can only seem a very abstract subject and is probably a matter of very minor concern in your everyday life right now. Somehow it is tied to rambling off The Pledge before every school day, displaying our flag, and getting hold of some interesting firecrackers on the Fourth. Other loves loom larger, and will for a long time to come. In fact, it is a joyous thing to us, your parents, that you are young and free to choose to follow your own passions and make your own future however you wish, with patriotism being but a small footnote in your present outlook.*

In college, you may be persuaded to think that patriotism is even downright uncool, or in some way chauvinistic. Such views and much cynicism and anti-Americanism in general are often espoused by certain segments of students and faculty and have been an overt part of the American college campus experience since the 1960’s and the Vietnam War. So don’t be shocked when you encounter it. Study such people and their views, reasoning, methods, motivations, and their lives closely and learn all you can while you have the chance.

But as you grow older I hope you will also educate yourself to realize the full extent to which almost all of your personal freedoms—to choose, to try, to fail, succeed, to protest, or just survive comfortably or uncomfortably; to stand out or to just be left alone—are not the result of a natural state of things. No, life in the state of nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” as Thomas Hobbes said in Leviathan in 1651 (and as I read in The American Spectator in the late 1970’s). You can still see plenty of examples of this tragic reality playing out eternally around the world, where might equals right, conditions are harsh, there is little equality or justice, and life is definitely shown to be “not fair.” Your studies of the Bible and the ancient Greeks and Romans and other societies confirm the universality of raw human nature beneath the veils of various civilizations, and reveal the power and consequences of good and bad ideas. You can begin to appreciate how and why you have been spared from that destiny of the natural, tragic state of human existence.

Your personal freedoms and advantages, material and spiritual, result from the inspired, accumulative and dedicated work of people who loved this country as an ideal worth fighting for and went before you, sacrificing on your behalf for just these very things. That is the undeniable exceptionalism of the United States of America: it was created deliberately to protect your very freedoms and your own pursuit of happiness—recognized and canonized here for the first time on earth as God-given rights for all people. It has been fought and died for, over and over, to be maintained and improved.

I hope you will someday fully understand that America as a great, deliberate experiment in liberty and self-government (“of the people, by the people, for the people”) has succeeded as no other country has before or since—that it has bettered the lives or more people on earth than any other civilization on the planet—and that the ongoing price of this freedom, as Thomas Jefferson said, is eternal vigilance.

That is the burden that patriotism places on every adult American willing and able to accept the responsibility.

Love of our country is love for the stories of our history, ancestors, family, self, and the land. Like all love, it has parts that are ineffable, indefinable, personal, and instinctive, based largely on strong feelings. There is nothing wrong with that; it’s a necessary and good part of loving your country. I feel that when I look at the Grand Canyon, a Civil War battlefield, or other landmarks or national shrines, or when I visit the places of my childhood or other nostalgic emblems of Americana. I feel it when I get home and spot the Stars and Stripes again after traveling outside the U.S.

But in order to love best, you must know what you love very well, good and bad, warts and all. You must make your decisions and your actions toward and in your love as deliberate and as wise as those of our Founding Fathers (or at least as close as you can get, taking them as your models and yes, as the heroes they were). Educate yourself, open your eyes, seek and know the truth and learn about what you wish to love, and you will be most rewarded in return. You will be a necessary part in the chain of generations remembering and writing the ongoing American story.

Now, just for fun, here are a few basic suggestions I would make on how to be a good American:

1. Never miss an opportunity to vote.

My own Grandmas, both of whom I knew very well, were 14 and 30 years old before women were given the right to vote in the U.S. by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution signed on August 26, 1920. This realization brings close to me what a precious and novel right voting is. As a woman in particular, I do not take my right to vote lightly. I make it my goal to vote in every election I possibly can, no matter how local or minor. If I do not know much about what is being voted on, it is my responsibility to inform myself and make the decision on how to cast my vote. Elections are not trivial things; they are the bedrock of our democratic republic. Don’t shirk your duty as a citizen here. And don’t ever think we are supposed to be or should be a democracy, either.

2. Don’t duck jury duty.

Same deal here. Again: If not me, then who better? Do your part to keep the justice system functioning. It’s a small price to pay for all the benefits we enjoy.

3. Uphold and abide by the rule of law.

“Play by the rules.” In other countries, maybe it’s just good, practical sense not to get caught breaking the law. Here, the entire country and its government at all levels is based upon codifying our values in the form of laws promising justice for all. America lives or dies by the rule of law, and by how well it works, so do your part. The fact that, on the whole, fraud, bribery, corruption, and abuse are duly and more or less effectively prosecuted by our various levels of government is one of our most overlooked yet most vital national treasures. We enjoy here a common consensus of necessary civility and even morality (although “you can’t legislate morality,” as we are often told, the Founding Fathers knew well that “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time.”).

Meanwhile "we the people" have the right to express our viewpoints, no matter how contrarian, and to appeal for redress for laws we don’t agree with. Work within the system by exercising your freedoms to ensure that most of our governmental business involves maintaining our nation’s welfare and promise or moving ever closer (we hope) toward its improvement. In the meantime, even if you’re not a Christian or a Jew, cherish your American heritage of Judeo-Christian morality (as expressed in, for one example, the Ten Commandments) and uphold those who express and abide by the same.

In practical terms, and despite annoyances and temptations: Be honest. Don’t cheat on your taxes (“Render unto Caesar…”) or cheat your fellow citizens, don’t accept bribes, don’t do illegal drugs, don’t cut corners illegally, unethically, or immorally in business or in private, don’t take advantage of the weak, the young, or the poor, and don’t be an angry jerk—and you’ll sleep better at night, stay out of jail, and have a clear conscience later on when you’re trying to raise decent kids. Beyond those negatively framed prohibitions, if you really want to express your Judeo-Christian morality (as protected by our Constitution) positively, there are innumerable things you can do in America for your self and family, for your fellow man, your country, and the world. Feel free! Because you are.

4. Don’t dodge your country’s call when your country needs you.

Believe me, as the mother of a son, there are few things I am more grateful for right now than the fact that America has not had a conscription or military draft law since 1973. I have always thought that patriotism, charity, and volunteerism should not be coerced, and that in fact, a better military force can be created through patriotic and willing citizens volunteering to serve as high-quality, well-paid, professional and disciplined soldiers, and that has proven to be the case. But as a member of the generation standing between World War II and the Vietnam War, and now having lived through the succeeding wars in the Middle East, I know a military draft can return at any time if and when our country faces a grave crisis. If my son or if even my daughter—or my husband or I—were needed to fight for the survival of our country or our freedoms, so be it. Millions of ordinary people like us have given the last full measure of devotion for our country since 1776, and millions more have had their lives disrupted by having to wage war. Why should we be any different?

Like everybody else, I would hope me and mine would be able to offer our best (not necessarily military) talents and services to protect and defend our nation. Nobody wants to be hurled into the maw of war as warm bodies or cannon fodder. In times of war, a country needs warriors, and it also needs production workers, managers and support staff, doctors, artists and writers, diplomats and so much more. But we don’t always get to choose those things, especially when war comes. We nowadays have grown so accustomed in America to having so many choices that sometimes we forget what real life and death matters are really like. War cruelly brings that home to people. Only the bravest volunteer to go to war for the rest of us when it is a choice. War is waged without seat belts, without insurance, without justice, guarantees, or civility. (If you’re lucky, you get a little Providential grace.) May war never come to our doorsteps again, as it did in the 1770’s, in 1812, 1861, 1941, and on 9/11. But such a prayer is unrealistic and we know it. War will come again, and when it does, may we be ready to do whatever we can to defend ourselves and our beloved American nation: “the last, best hope of earth.”

5. Pay due honor to those who serve.

I like the quote: “You sleep safe in your beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do you harm.” Thank God for them and for all the generations of these past heroes. Don’t miss an opportunity to offer honor, thanks, and comfort and aid to them and their families.

6. Don't accept government funds unless your kids are starving and your legs are broken, you've been evicted, and....

I know this one's hard to stick to, but it's a rule that's good for your own character as well as good for the nation. This rule really means: Never apply for food stamps, welfare payments, agricultural subsidies, unemployment compensation, artist's grants, ad infinitum. Think of where this "government money" comes from: it comes from poor working slobs like you, only with even less education and advantages, working two jobs, raising five kids (or grandkids)-- they're driving a jalopy, working outdoors with dirty hands, eating beans, and paying too many taxes so that you can rationalize to yourself that you deserve government help while you sit on your butt and take it easier than they've got it.

You've got skills, brains, and advantages--get out and get a job, any job; reduce your expenses, reduce your entitlement attitude, and just get to work to achieve the honorable goal of being self-supporting. Resolve to eat ramen noodles and ride a bike, anything but just stay off the government teat. If you are so far down and out that you need charity, come to your parents, family, friends, or your local church--at least those subsidies are volunteered by the people offering them. Don't take tax monies robbed from other citizens. Of course, you deserve all the tax reductions, deductions, refunds, and rebates you can get; that's your own earned money being returned to you.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I know this is a hard rule to follow. I accepted a full merit-based scholarship ride to the University of California from the State of California back in the 1970's, thereby violating my own principle. I expect you may end up attending college under a similar program. Some folks claim that it is well-nigh impossible these days to live the Ayn Randian ideal and be free of all governmental support in American society as it stands now. So take this rule with a grain of salt, but know that baldly seeking tax-supported government welfare for yourself is not an optimal lifestyle and would probably in fact be unseemly. There is no honor in it. And is it certainly unfair to someone who needs the money more than you ever will--lucky you.)

6. You are an incredibly lucky person just to be an American. Stay grateful, stay classy, and do you best.

Nowhere on earth does the average mere individual wield as much potential power to “make a difference in the world” as in the United States of America. Nowhere in the world does the individual have access to as many rights, opportunities, and choices as in the United States of America.

It’s awesome! Patriotism means celebrating, cherishing, and nurturing that. Being a good American means taking advantage of it wisely in living life, exercising liberties, and pursuing happiness.

So go get smart and be happy.





*John Adams said: “I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.” This progression toward the freedom to immerse oneself in a life of art or a life of the mind or even just more trivial pursuits instead of being forced to devote oneself to the means and methods of sheer survival was seen to have been a good thing by Adams and the other Founding Fathers. I agree, and I am grateful they studied Politicks and War so well for our benefit.


READING: America: The Last Best Hope by William J. Bennett

Friday, June 20, 2008

Economic illiteracy on the campaign trail

This guy points out the obvious:

Messrs. Obama and McCain both reveal a disturbing animus toward free markets and success. It is uncalled for and self-defeating for presidential candidates to demonize American companies. It is understandable that Mr. Obama, the most liberal member of the Senate, would endorse reckless policies that are the DNA of the party he leads. But Mr. McCain, a self-described Reagan Republican, should know better.


That's right--and do read the whole succinct, true thing. This editorial accurately describes one of the factors of the current Presidential election campaign that probably bugs me the most. Seems there's no real choice between Obama's economic vision and McCain's economic vision, for a voter who believes in free markets and limited government. They both miss the point of capitalism and they both see nothing wrong with top-down Soviet-style central government intrusion and the confiscation of legally-earned profits.

Maybe that's why my mother has decided not to vote at all next November.

Nice going, McCain. Get a clue already.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Call me Joe--American."

"Forward this to all the regular folks you know."



A call for real leadership on energy policy, via American Digest. Pass it on! Joe is speaking for a lot of us Americans, and he's not saying anything I haven't already heard--including pointing out the pathetic lack of leadership, obstructionism, and unserious thinking wasting our time and resources in Washington, D.C.

Will our elected officials hear this now? It's the kind of vision Reagan could deliver from the top down. Maybe it's time for us average Americans like Joe to deliver it from the bottom up.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm not dead, I'm resting

Seems like I've been having too much of a life lately to blog.

Of course, my children are home with me now that school's out for the summer. We find a lot of things to do together (or do separately in the same room together on our various computers). We read, we cook, bake, and eat, we shop or go swimming, we go to the local waterpark, to the movies, and to the dinosaur museum. We have friends over and have slumber parties; we get our teeth X-rayed and cleaned. We go visit Grandma. We go outside and walk or bike for exercise, we do housework or yard chores, we draw, play paper dolls, play video games, and watch movies, YouTube, and TV.

Meanwhile, my son is converting 17 years of home movies shot on videotape to DVDs, and I am indexing and organizing those. In between all of this, my son and I are making campus visits to help him decide to which colleges and universities he will apply in the fall.

When I'm not doing that, I'm answering email and working on my other hobbies and writing projects.

There really doesn't seem much need for me to blog in light of all that. Especially since others are holding the fort quite well.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dealing with race in college admissions

More institutionalized discrimination on campus (moving on from sexism to racism): today Asian Americans students are held to a higher standard when applying to colleges, in a bigoted reprise of the anti-Jewish discrimination perpetrated by U.S. colleges and universities back in the early 1900s (via Instapundit). Affirmative action quota systems based on race provide exactly the wrong kind of incentives our nation should be providing, to benefit itself and its students, as Thomas Sowell has pointed out many times.

I heard one college recruiter touting how all their efforts to achieve a carefully balanced "diversity" of race, nationality, and ethnicity on their college campus provided a "unique opportunity" for incoming freshmen to encounter a refreshingly new-to-them slice of "the real world" (as if all young people couldn't possibly have encountered "The Real World" without the expert design and assistance of a college admissions' office). I could hardly keep from horselaughing. Who among us does not know that there is no environment as artificial, isolated, and bubble-like as a college campus, and no life so removed from real-life factors as that of an undergraduate? Long may it wave--but let's cut the baloney about it emanating from the self-serving recruiters. They may actually mislead a few ignorant high schoolers, and that would be contrary to their sacred obligation to teach the truth.

More students are refusing to check the "Race" box. If you ask me, it's nobody's business and yes, it is racist for a school or a census-taker to ask!

"Students of higher education (and applicants to schools of postsecondary education) are treated as adults, and are explicitly permitted to decline to identify their ethnic or racial category."


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John McCain's backstory

I didn't know the details of McCain's first marriage and how it ended. Since everyone in Britain who reads the Daily Mail now knows all about it, I figure so should we U.S. citizens and voters. (Via the Canadian blogger and free speech advocate, Five Feet of Fury)

Looks like Obama has the slight advantage in the family values department, so far. ("Even if you don't like them, you've got to admit. They pimp photos like none other." And I agree, the Romney family would be a political asset to McCain's campaign.)

Looks like a tie between Obama and McCain in the blind ambition department, though. The Daily Mail article quotes no less than Ross Perot, saying "McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory."

I don't mean to be cynical, but can you imagine anyone since Calvin Coolidge successfully running for President who isn't always reaching for attention and glory?

I mean, isn't that why The Fred bowed out?


And so far Obama wins as most cash-profligate (via Small Dead Animals).

I'll keep you informed on the tally.

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Widespread fear of free speech prompts Canadian human rights commissions to criminalize it

It kinda makes this American queasy to see our once-great neighbor and sister nation founded in Magna Carta-generated liberties now lurching toward a Soviet-style society of freespeechophobia.


"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear"

George Orwell.


Is there any liberty left in Canada?

Here's an update and summary by Kathy Shaidle (at Pajamas Media) of what's been going on at the Mark Steyn/Maclean's magazine anti-free speech tribunal in British Columbia (via Instapundit). As Mark sez:

[Inside the windowless courtroom] there’s no link with the outside world except a clock, which is stuck at 8:00. And that’s government bureaucracy for you. You know, in British Columbia, it claims to be able to eradicate hate, but it can’t get someone in to restart the clock.”

Check it out and you'll see that, by the way, bloggers in Canada should take assiduous and obedient note that the tribunal has now declared that "live blogging counts as broadcasting" and it has banned it from the proceedings. But that's just small potatoes. As Mark Steyn writes,

By the way, I see I’ve been nominated for a National Magazine Award, to be handed out later this month. By then, Mr. Joseph [the complainants’ lawyer] will have succeeded in getting the B.C. troika effectively to ban me from Maclean’s and from all Canadian journalism. An impressive achievement. My book was a No. 1 bestseller in Canada, and the new paperback edition was at No. 4 the other day, and President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Governor Mitt Romney, Senator Joe Lieberman, Senator Jon Kyl, and (at last count) six European prime ministers have either recommended the book or called me in to discuss its themes.

But in Canada it’s a hate crime.

It took fatwas, death threats, and terrorism to put novelist Salman Rushdie on the lam for critical writing about religious ideas, but Canada is accomplishing the same result for writer Mark Steyn with legally ordained human rights commissions. Sweet! We here in the U.S. will happily accept all such fugitive writers from our northern neighbor who just can't seem to tolerate or assimilate them.

Your loss, folks.

Actually, it is difficult and disappointing to accept that this is CANADA where this is happening, and not some fictional land dreamed up by George Orwell. As Shaidle points out,

Not a few bloggers noted ruefully that the last day of Steyn’s trial coincided with the anniversary of D-Day, and wondered what the Canadian men who’d died on Juno Beach would make of their nation today.

O, Canada!

Also via Instapundit, we learn that Ezra Levant, another victim of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions kangaroo courts, is the second generation in his family to still be fighting the good fight, for according to his father:

Almost three decades ago, the AHRC came down heavily on my group radiology practice, demanding that we place a male X-ray technician at female fertility tests, as we had exercised "gender discrimination" by hiring a female technician.


Read about the story and about how the current Canadian Human Rights Commission lawyer is still harrassing Ezra's elderly parents.

Come on, Canucks! Get yourselves straightened out up there, eh? Take a deep breath and regain that common sense that built your country.

Don't make us send Jimmy Carter up there to ensure that human rights are being preserved.



Background: Rich Lowry writes it up in "Mark Steyn: Enemy of the State?"

Unbelieveable: Via Five Feet of Fury: Canada is also enacting lifetime free speech bans on its citizens: "Government to Pastor: Renounce Your Faith!"

Unbelievable 2: "Other than tribunals in Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China, where is this Orwellian 'order' considered to be justice?"


UPDATE: "Trading away civilization in the name of civility"

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Goose v. gander on the college campus

Now that school is out, my son and I have been visiting college campuses to familiarize ourselves with what sorts of things a high school senior should look for and think about when choosing which colleges and universities to send applications to in the fall. The process is both a chore and an adventure.

I have discovered that more than one college in our area (both private and public) require that all incoming freshmen live on campus their first year. These colleges provide a range of housing that includes one all-female dorm, but they do not include the choice of an all-male dorm. While incoming freshmen girls who choose so may retreat to the privacy of an exclusively female enclave after hours (very late hours, given the absurdly lenient curfews these days), incoming freshmen boys must live among freshmen girls, on adjacent floors, adjacent corridors, or even in adjacent rooms. What's up with that?

When I questioned the student guide about that on our most recent campus tour, the answer she gave was that "oh, some people think the girls want to have, you know, a place where they can go and be, oh you know, but guys don't seem to care, I guess, they're more, you know, it doesn't bother them."

Really? Seems like pernicious gender stereotyping to me. Who says freshmen males don't value their modesty and their privacy, their solidarity and their right to band together and exclude the opposite sex after hours in their most private living arrangements as much as freshmen women do? What statistical evidence is that assertion based on? In fact, exactly what underlying philosophy is this distinction and discrimination based on? What assumptions are the colleges really making about women versus men? Do they dare come out and state them?

I am happy to see that women have a full range of choices in housing. I would (and did, when I went to college) choose to live in an all-female dorm, where at some set hour you can relax, let down your hair, and know that the doors are locked and you won't have to run into some guy on your way from your bedroom to the bathroom in what is your enforced home and your only personal retreat space for the next nine months.

But why aren't the freshmen boys given the same range of choice--offered the same opportunity of retreat, relaxation, and privacy?

On the same tour we were taken past the location of the Women's Center and informed that during finals week the Women's Center offers free massages to all women students to relieve the stress of taking finals. "Sorry, guys," the tour guide joked to the group of prospective freshmen and their parents.

I have to admit that having had my 'consciousness raised' by just such Women's Centers and the militant modern-day feminism I encountered when I myself entered college in 1972 (the year of Roe v. Wade), I am now probably as sensitive as the next guy to annoying and subversive gender role stereotyping in modern American society. So, as the mother of a son, how come I'm not chuckling along with these kinds of institutionalized prejudices and ha-ha bigoted slights against the incoming male freshmen and the men on campus in general?

Where's the campus Men's Center?

And just how insensitive can a college be and still get away with it?

Is my son's college experience going to consist of four years of being discriminated against and publicly, jokingly slighted in this fashion? Do these colleges actually want to stand up and take full public responsibility for perpetuating these sexist stereotypes?

Given that women now outnumber men enrolled at U.S. campuses, including the ones I know that have the discriminatory dormitory policies, it seems to me that the (politically) correct and consistent stance for campuses to take would be to bend over backwards to consider the sensitivities and needs of this dwindling, victimized minority in their midst: males. Certainly males should have the same access to housing choices as the women do, especially when residence on campus is compelled. How any public institution can claim to be fair, diverse (the big buzzword in freshman recruitment), and sensitive to the sensibilities of minorities while overlooking such discriminatory policies escapes me.

But then, who ever said college campuses are bastions of logical consistency, or even of fairness--other than the institutions themselves?

College and university campuses are actually more like the army, with a lot of snafus and red tape, bureaucracy and hypocrisy, unacknowledged craziness, coverups, political infighting, and attempted social-engineering and indoctrination of the troops, none of which is ever hinted at in the glossy recruitment brochures. You sign up and take your chances, hoping the good you'll get out of it will outweigh the bad. That's probably the first lesson my son and I must accept along the road of sending him off to achieve a degree of "higher education."

He's pretty casual about the whole thing. After all, he's already been through public elementary, middle, and high schools in the late 20th and early 21st century. So such two-faced nonsense perpetuated by adults on young people is nothing new to him. He knows how to ace The Education Machine and he'll do just fine. But being the onlooking mother, this kind of nonsense sticks in my craw.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Schadenfruede TV

My husband and my son, working in tandem with measuring tape and the internet, recently bought a new high-definition, widescreen, digital television for our family room, the first such new-fangled TV we've owned.

Over the last couple of days they've been hooking it up and taming it (it pulls in all kinds of high-numbered channels we never realized were there). They've been winnowing through the channels and the features (it has more menus and the remote has more buttons than I even want to think about), and putting it through its paces.

Watching "Monsters, Inc." was amazing--all that glistening and sparkling and flowing and shining! You can see every gently-waving turquoise and purple hair on "Kitty" (I guess that's worth something--at least worth a rewatch of a pretty charming and funny Pixar film). Personally, what I'm most excited by is that the new TV pulls in C-SPAN 2 (and its "Book TV"), one of my favorite channels, lately dropped by our capricious local cable provider to non-HD TV's.

Anyway, on Saturday afternoon our son was out driving on the interstate in a dual-control car with the driving school instructor, my daughter was over at Grandma's, and my husband and I, alone at last, spent a torrid few minutes together...watching the Democratic Party honchos in Washington, D.C. deal with their Michigan and Florida primary delegates problems.

Talk about entertainment! Talk about rhetoric!

Seeing some Democrats argue in favor of following "the rules" (do Democrats still care about rules?) while others argued in favor of expediency, all shrouded in the sacred mantle of pretending to be "inclusive," "democratic," and honoring "diversity" (no Republicans, conservatives, or individualists need apply) and the sacred nature of "counting every vote" (no matter how illegitimate, and no matter what the Superdelegates may subsequently do) was quite funny--especially since the pro forma voting followed an unexpectedly long "lunch break" where the real deals were struck behind closed doors.

I especially enjoyed the mob of hecklers in the peanut gallery, Hillary supporters venting their feelings of victimization and entitlement, and Harold Ickes' fervent speech insisting on Hillary's rights to the spoils after having barged her way onto the primary ballots while the other candidates complied with their party's rulings and did not campaign ("Clinton took 50 percent of the vote in Florida, where all the Democratic candidates agreed not to campaign. In Michigan, where Obama took his name off the ballot, she took 55 percent to 40 percent for "uncommitted.")

Great TV, rivaling the old soap opera "Dallas" for struggles of "wealth, sex, intrigue, and power."


After that, I turned to Fox New's coverage of Barack Obama's press conference concerning his resignation from Trinity United Church of Christ. Evidently a private resignation letter he had sent to his church had just been leaked and he was forced to meet with the press and give a statement; he also chose to take questions from the reporters. Having heard that he is a much less-glib and intelligent-seeming speaker when he is not reading from a teleprompter, I was curioius both to hear what he had to say, and to see for myself how he would say it.

He does come across as a pretty normal, basically likeable, and I am sure, a kindhearted, guy, less inarticulate in answering questions that I expected, given the buzz around about it. But he certainly is a man either flummoxed by, or evading, the philosophical and political ramifications of his actions. He does seem to want to spit out his rather ineffectual-sounding reasons and let it drop at that, and seems woefully inadequate to dealing with reasonable, probing questions prompted by what he's done, beyond whatever public face he wants to put on things.

When one reporter asked what his response was to the fact that resigning from Trinity now seems to be politically expedient, and that perhaps his joining Trinity in the first place was a political move to enhance his standing in his Southside Chicago community, he shot back that he thought that question was offensive, and that that is not the reason why he chose his church. Maybe so, but since hundreds of people are thinking, wondering, and saying that very thing themselves, why doesn't Barack Obama have a better way of answering that question than to attack the person who posed it?

He also said he hopes a discussion on faith will be brought more into the forefront of American politics and the Presidential campaign. I wished then that, since he had just described Trinity Church as "not a church worthy of denouncing,” someone would ask him if "black liberation theology" will be on his list of required doctrines in the next church he is looking to join. But nobody at the press conference kicked that question forward. I doubt anyone with access to Senator Obama ever will. But if Obama turns out to be the Democratic Presidential candidate, I hope John McCain will put such unanswered questions to good use in the upcoming Presidential debates.

What does Senator Obama think about "black liberation theology" anyway? Is he able to tell us in plain words or will he use vague platitudes in another lame (or calculated?) attempt to soothe all parties with generalities that do not answer the question honestly?

Roger L. Simon says it well:

Black Liberation Theology is reactionary and racist. Anyone who wants to see progress between the races should stay as far away from it as possible. It was fake at the beginning and it is fake now. That Obama ever had anything to do with it is repellent. He was not of the generation of Stokeley Carmichael and H. Rap Brown. He should have known better. Now he is riding the whirlwind.

I agree. Senator Obama did the best he could to spin both the harmlessness of Trinity Church, the harmlessness of his 20-year affiliation with it, and the beneficence (to the church and its other members) of his choosing to resign from Trinity Church at this juncture. But it was pretty obvious the harmlessness and the beneficence is all an illusion he wishes to maintain. The mask has slipped.

Roger Simon also says this:

Pfleger proclaims to the adoring crowd that blacks have the right to be angry forever about slavery. They should not forgive. Think how racist and condescending that statement is toward African Americans if you examine it. It is like saying that Jews should never forgive the current generation of Germans for the Holocaust. How cruel and self-defeating would that be? Yet Pfleger and, by extension the monumentally naive Axelrod, wish to continue racism "by any means necessary" (subconsciously or consciously for their own profit). Pfleger even resurrects the hoary "white skin privilege" from my days on the left. What self-defeating junk. And this is the cesspool from which Barack Obama has sprung. No wonder he doesn't know what to say other than platitudes.

I agree, and I'll say it again: since the Rev. Wright YouTube videos surfaced, none of these revelations about the Obamas' background necessarily had to be fatal to Senator Obama's Presidential chances, IF he had simply come clean with the American public in a sincere, timely fashion, and recognized and acknowledged honestly that he had made a mistake in affiliating himself with such a church, such pastors, such people, such philosophy.

But he either has a problem in fully recognizing it (bad judgment? bad thinking? it's really what he believes?) or in acknowledging it (bad ambition?). So he's either a dupe, a liar, or buys the whole bag and is trying to soft-peddle and spoon-feed it to the American people as desirable, "non-controversial," and mainstream-acceptable.

Anyway, that's the way it looks on High-Def widescreen digital TV.


UPDATE: Powerline's P.S. to the whole long Obama-Trinity crack-up-- "it should begin to dawn on attentive observers that Barack Obama represents a type that flourishes on many college campuses. The technical term that applies to Obama is b.s. artist."

It has dawned on many observers, whether the media gets it or not.

UPDATE: Via Instapundit: The Democrats have "a totally irrational system of nominating our President."

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