Saturday, April 23, 2005

Under Your Personal Belief System

I saw this item in a couple of spots today and thought it would be worth sharing for the sheer ludicrousness of it all, especially since it really got my ire up. The Washington Times Valerie Richardson reports(click link for full text):

"Altered Pledge of Allegiance stuns students"
DENVER -- The students in Vincent Pulciani's seventh-grade class were reciting the Pledge of Allegiance this week when they heard the voice over the intercom say something they'd never heard before, at least not during the Pledge.

Instead of "one nation, under God," the voice said, "one nation, under your belief system."

The bewildered students at Everitt Middle School in Wheat Ridge never even got to "indivisible," according to Vincent's mother, Christina Pulciani-Johnson.

"He came home and told me about it after school, and he said, 'I just stood there, Mom. I didn't even know what to do. We all just stood there and didn't even finish it,'" Mrs. Pulciani-Johnson said, quoting her son.

Margo Lucero, the eighth-grade guidance counselor at the school, substituted the phrase "under your belief system" as she led the recitation of the Pledge on Wednesday.

After irate phone calls poured in from parents, Principal Kathleen Norton, who normally leads the Pledge but was out of the building at the time, apologized to students Thursday and sent home letters of apology yesterday.

Meanwhile, Jefferson County School District spokesman Rick Kaufman was engaged in damage control, describing Miss Lucero's decision to rewrite the Pledge as "inappropriate" and stressing that she had acted independently, without consulting the district or other school officials.

Mr. Kaufman said Miss Lucero had been spurred by the date, April 20, the sixth anniversary of the Columbine High School slayings. Both Columbine and Everitt are within the Jefferson County school district.

Parents said Miss Lucero had been slated to leave Everitt at the end of the year, and Shelley Pierce, whose daughter is in seventh grade, said it appeared that the counselor was clearing out her office.

This reminds me somewhat of Morghanne Q.E. Wolfe-Slattery, Euphorian of Garage Logic fame, but it would probably be funnier if it weren't true. There is no "Right not to be Offended", but I'm not going to try to get an ultra-liberal judge to find that right in the Constitution so that I won't be offended by the sheer lunacy of all of this. I'm sure you could probably get "Right to Make an Ass Out of Yourself" out of the First Amendment, and I'm proud to be an American watching people exercise that right.

To remedy to possiblility of the Pledge of Allegiance being objectionable to some, Billy Jones has taken the liberty of revising it:
"I pledge some occasional recognition
to the symbols of oppression
of the diverse indigenous peoples of the landmass referred to by oppressive European conquistadors as "America"
and to the totalitarian theocracy for which it stands,
a Balkanized patchwork of cultures,
under each individuals' personal belief system
divided into innumerable unique communities of culture,
where some are more equal than others.

Who besides this soon-to-be jobless "guidance" counselor thinks this is a good idea? Even the most "I'm-retarded-for-Kerry" people I know wouldn't think this was remotely appropriate. Do I just do a good job avoiding raving, frothing-at-the-mouth lunatics?

Why the need to make the implicit explicit all the damn time? What is this desire to ensure that we are always obvious in our speech and manner about being all-inclusive? The supposed "tolerant" among us have no tolerance for discipline, common sense, strength or personal responsibility. If that's tolerance, then color me intolerant.

News flash, people are different. Thank you, drive through.


Friday, April 15, 2005

I love Pat Sajak

I knew there was a reason I remebered Pat Sajak's birthday (October 26th!)

Sajak says: Arguing with Liberals, and Why I've Stopped

Every time I argue with a Liberal, I’m reminded of quarrels I used to have with my parents. The battles never seemed fair because my folks decided what the rules were and what was out of bounds. In addition, because they were parents, they could threaten me in ways I couldn’t threaten them, and they could say things I could never say.

Recently, for example, I was discussing the United Sates Supreme Court with on of my many Liberal friends out in Los Angeles when she said, without any discernable embarrassment, that Justice Anton Scalia was “worse than Hitler”. Realizing she wasn’t alive during World War II and perhaps she may have been absent on those days when her schoolmates were studying Nazism, I reminded her of some of Hitler’s more egregious crimes against humanity, suggesting she may have overstated the case. She had not; Scalia was worse. As I often did when my parents threatened to send me to my room, I let the conversation die.

Aside from being rhetorically hysterical—and demeaning to the memory of those who suffered so terribly as a result of Hitler and the Nazis—it served to remind me of how difficult it is to have serious discussions about politics or social issues with committed members of the Left. They tend to do things like accusing members of the Right of sowing the seeds of hatred while, at the same time, comparing them to mass murderers. And they do this while completely missing the irony.

The moral superiority they bring to the table allows them to alter the playing field and the rules in their favor. They can say and do things the other side can’t because, after all, they have the greater good on their side. If a Conservative—one of the bad guys—complains about the content of music, films or television shows aimed at children, he is being a prude who wants to tell other people what to read or listen to or watch; he is a censor determined to legislate morality. If, however, a Liberal complains about speech and, in fact, supports laws against certain kinds of speech, it is right and good because we must be protected from this “hate speech” or “politically incorrect” speech. (Of course, they—being the good guys—will decide exactly what that is.)

Protests about Ward Churchill, the University of Colorado professor and self-proclaimed Native American, who, among other things, likened some Sept. 11 victims to Adolf Eichmann (there go those pesky Nazis again), were characterized by much of the Left as an effort to stifle academic freedom. But, when Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers’ job is put in jeopardy over a caveat-filled musing about science and gender, it’s okay, because what he said was sooo wrong (even if it has to be mis-characterized to make the point).

When Liberals want to legislate what you’re allowed to drive or what you should eat or how much support you can give to a political candidate or what you can or can’t say, they are doing it for altruistic reasons. The excesses of the Left are to be excused because these folks operate from the higher moral ground and the benefit of the greater wisdom and intelligence gained from that perspective.

In a different West Coast conversation, I complained to another Liberal friend about some of the Left’s tone concerning the 2004 elections. I thought it insulting to hear those “red state” voters caricatured as red-necked rubes. My friend asked, “Well, don’t you think that people who live in large urban areas, who travel and read and speak other languages are better able to make informed choices?” It turns out it is superiority, not familiarity, which breeds contempt.

The rhetoric has become so super-heated that, sadly, I find myself having fewer and fewer political discussions these days. And while I miss the spirited give-and-take, when Supreme Court Justices become worse than Hitler and when those who vote a certain way do so because they’re idiots, it’s time to talk about the weather.


Thursday, April 07, 2005

You keep using that word...

So I'm scanning Drudge and come across this little gem: Bloggorhea "SOURCES: Warren Beatty to Blog!"
Consider, if you will, the following:

But to some, the rest of the press has been playing into Mr. Drudge’s hands. His former political friend David Brock, who runs the Web site Media Matters for America, compiled a 33-page dossier on Mr. Drudge, bullet-pointing his many alleged distortions and misreports.

"We try to function not as a Drudge, but as an anti-Drudge," he said via e-mail, "which leaves plenty of room for a progressive knock-off of Drudge."

Mr. Brock said he saw a place for Ms. Huffington’s project.

"I think it’s long overdue," he said. "I’ve always felt that progressives have information and another entity could be fed. I think it could be very successful."

This is not the point of the article, of course. Please read the whole thing if you are interested in "The Huffington Report", an attempt to make a liberal version of the Drudge Report. (I liked that idea last time when it was called "Air America")

I'm sure people have noticed this, but I haven't heard anyone talk about it. Democrats are trying to market liberalism as "progressivism". Certainly there was some of this before the election last year, but I've been noticing it more and more. They try to sneak it in there as if a perceived negative connotation is their only problem. After all, who could argue against progress?

The progressive movement has surfaced in America before:

Progressive reformers sought to remedy the problems created by industrialization and urbanization. To progressives, economic privilege and corrupt politics threatened democracy. Never a cohesive movement, progressivism embraced many types of reform. Progressives strove, variously, to curb corporate power, to end business monopolies, and to wipe out political corruption. They also wanted to democratize electoral procedures, protect working people, and bridge the gap between social classes. Progressives turned to government to achieve their goals. National in scope, progressivism included both Democrats and Republicans. From the 1890s to the 1910s, progressive efforts affected local, state, and national politics. They also left a mark on journalism, academic life, cultural life, and social justice movements.
-"United States (History)," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2005 © 1997-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved

That sounds great! After all, Progressives supported labor and election reform, which were real problems around the turn of century. Unions did indeed have their place and purpose at one time in American history. Bridging the gap between social classes reads as "redistribution of wealth" to me, but certainly the destitutely poor were much worse off in the early 20th century, right? Like modern liberals they used government to achieve their goals. However, I like the way progressives supported a strong military, power projection and dollar diplomacy. They were not afraid of capitalism.

In order to get anything done, especially with business regulation, they needed to have support on the national level. Theodore Roosevelt and Howard Taft helped with that, although Taft was more conservative. Progressivism reached its peak during Woodrow Wilson’s first term as president. In 1913 Wilson signed the Underwood Tariff, which reduced taxes on imported goods. The bill also included an income tax, permitted by the new 16th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Income tax, brought to you by progressivism!

Progressives were full of good ideas for reforming the US, but that darn Constitution kept getting in the way. Their earliest idea (although last enacted) was what really did them in though: the temperance movement. There was an overwhelming outcry against the dangers of intoxicating liquors from the early 19th century on to the ratification of 18th Amendment in 1919:

Some progressive reformers supported causes that had a coercive or repressive dimension, such as Prohibition, a movement to prevent the manufacture, sale, or use of alcohol. The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), founded in 1874, had long campaigned against alcohol. In 1895 the Anti-Saloon League of America joined the crusade. Together they worked to gain support for the 18th Amendment, which provided for Prohibition. The amendment was ratified in 1919 and remained law until 1933, when the 21st Amendment repealed it. Progressive moral fervor also emerged in campaigns to combat prostitution and to censor films. Finally, some progressives endorsed other restrictive causes, now seen as ungenerous or inhumane, such as a campaign against immigration or support for eugenics, a movement to control reproduction in order to improve the human race.

Organized crime and Planned Parenthood, brought to you by progressivism!

The progressive movement has done some things I like, to be sure, and has had it's place in history. The Great White Fleet? The Panama Canal? The National Park Service? The Suffrage movement? Sure, those are all great. And there have been some less than desirable things that have come out of it, too. But to tie it all together, modern liberals are not progressives. They chose the euphemism because it sounds like they are for progress when in fact they have their priotrities very screwed up. They say they are progressives because they are afraid of being called liberals. I say, who gives a shit what people think? Be a liberal and be proud of it; stop trying to hide what you are, just come up with some better ideas! One day someone is going to look up progressivism and find out you aren't it.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Debunked Junk Mail of the Day

Just signed up for this account, so this is like when I open up Microsoft Word and have that huge white space staring at me on the computer screen waiting to be filled.

Something I've been doing to entertain myself lately is to debunk junk mail I get from my parents and bored secretaries. Luckily, no thought has to go into it at all. I can just look it up on Snopes, then cut and paste. And they always say, "Thank you!"

The latest wasn't near as interesting as the last couple I looked up so I'l skip it. Here's the one my mom sent me last week: Fw:Envelope Glue. Follow the link at the end for the Snopes article.

If you lick your envelopes . . . You won't anymore!

This lady was working in a post office in California, one day she licked the envelopes and postage stamps instead of using a sponge.

That very day the lady cut her tongue on the envelope. A week later, she noticed an abnormal swelling of her tongue. She went to the doctor, and they found nothing wrong. Her tongue was not sore or anything. A couple of days later, her tongue started to swell more, and it began to get really sore, so sore, that she could not eat. She went back to the hospital, and demanded something be done. The doctor, took an x-ray of her tongue, and noticed a lump. He prepared her for minor surgery.

When the doctor cut her tongue open, a live roach crawled out. There were roach eggs on the seal of the envelope. The egg was able to hatch inside of her tongue, because of her saliva. It was warm and moist...

This is a true story reported on CNN.

Andy Hume wrote: Hey, I used to work in an envelope factory. You wouldn't believe the things that float around in those gum applicator trays. I haven't licked an envelope for years.

This is a true story . . . Pass it on

Claim: The cause of swelling in a girl's jaw is determined to be cockroach eggs she got from eating a Taco Bell taco or licking envelopes.

Friday, April 01, 2005

What's All This?

It's been brought to my attention that it may not be clear what this blog is about. Well, I don't know if a blog actually has to be about anything, but I did start this one with a theme in mind.

People Covered In Fish is generally my blog about things that vex me. I swear I am not constantly vexed, but I have my days. The title is a reference to the book "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, where there are four Horsemen (in a manner of speaking) of the apocalypse named after things that really bother them. Or something like that; it's been a while since I've read it, since I keep lending out my copy and never seeing it again (I believe I lent my fourth copy to my sister, hopefully she'll return it). I highly recommend it. As you can see, I can be a bit of geek. There's more where that came from at my LiveJournal, but I digress.

I have a tendency to be mainly bothered by current events and political things these days, so that is my main focus. However, I've got a backlog of about seven different topics I want to post on that I haven't had time to put together for various reasons. One is the constant stream of annoying news items, and another is real life, because unlike good folkls like Charles, Michelle and many others to numerous to name, I can't pundit (can I use that as a verb?) for a living. As the info says, I'm a an officer in the United States Navy, so that is first and foremost. Remember that ALL opinions expressed on this blog are those of myself in my private capacity and not as a representative of the DoD, DON, or any particular element of the Navy. By viewing this site you accept and agree to this disclaimer in the use of any information accessed in this website. I'm on shore duty right now, which give me time to do this, but once I'm back at sea next summer, I expect posting will become significantly less frequent. I also have a pregnant wife who doesn't like me spending too much time on the computer and come May, I'll be busy parenting as well.

So feel free to peruse and critique. Comments are welcome as long as you are considerate. Name-calling will be deleted without warning, because I don't have time for that kind of immaturity. I don't mind disagreement as long as people are willing to engage in well thought out debate and to try not to be shrill. Critiques and tips on site design are welcome, too. I'm trying new things and still getting used to CSS.

So, share and enjoy!