Saturday, July 23, 2005

Quite an honour, eh?

The winner of the Stupidest Government of the Year at the World Stupidity Awards?
Congratulations, eh?
Or should I say condolences?

Beyond ignorant

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette comes a story of a real jerk masquerading as Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor (shoutout to the Museum of Left Wing Lunacy):
The family of a Marine who was killed in Iraq is furious with Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll for showing up uninvited at his funeral this week, handing out her business card and then saying "our government" is against the war.
Rhonda Goodrich of Indiana, Pa., said yesterday that a funeral was held Tuesday at a church in Carnegie for her brother-in-law, Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, 32.
She said he "died bravely and courageously in Iraq on July 10, serving his country."
In a phone interview, Goodrich said the funeral service was packed with people "who wanted to tell his family how Joe had impacted their lives."
Then, suddenly, "one uninvited guest made an appearance, Catherine Baker Knoll."
She sat down next to a Goodrich family member and, during the distribution of communion, said, "Who are you?" Then she handed the family member one of her business cards, which Goodrich said she still has.
"Knoll felt this was an appropriate time to campaign and impose her will on us," Goodrich said. "I am amazed and disgusted Knoll finds a Marine funeral a prime place to campaign."
Goodrich said she is positive that Knoll was not invited to the funeral, which was jammed with Marines in dress uniform and police officers, because the fallen Marine had been a policeman in McKeesport and Indiana County.
"Our family deserves an apology," Rhonda Goodrich said. "Here you have a soldier who was killed -- dying for his country -- in a church full of grieving family members and she shows up uninvited. It made a mockery of Joey's death."
What really upset the family, Goodrich said, is that Knoll said, 'I want you to know our government is against this war,' " Goodrich said.
She said she is going to seek an answer from Gov. Ed Rendell's administration if it opposes the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Knoll was traveling yesterday, away from the Capitol, and couldn't be reached. But an aide said she "extends condolences to all families who have lost loved ones" serving in the military.
Without having talked to her, the aide, who asked not to be named, said, "The family members of fallen soldiers are in our hearts and prayers. Our prayers go out to their loved ones in their hour of grief."
Asked to comment on Goodrich's complaints about Knoll's conduct at the funeral, the aide said that "would be inappropriate."

Just like her behavior at the funeral, huh?
Fill in the blank with your favourite cuss word.
And, next week, she WILL be re-grooved.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Return for re-grooving

Another week, another set of people who need to be Returned for Re-Grooving...
Travis Biehn. This is by request. The Canadian teen who threatened to blow up the high school he attends in southeastern Pennsylvania is headed to boot camp (see the post "Canadians in trouble, updated" below... just scroll down a touch). But young Master Biehn is fortunate that he's only 17. If he were 18, he might have been banged with some serious time, the way a Michigan teen was for threatening to blow up his high school. Boot camp, re-groove him.
Michelle Birch-Conery. From Parksville, B.C., this woman claims to have been ordained a Roman Catholic priest in ceremonies in the St. Laurence River this past weekend. Duh, Ms. Birch-Conery... women can't be ordained as priests in the Roman Catholic church. Maybe someday, but not now. And when you talk about civil rights, you forget one thing -- civil rights are granted by Caesar, not by the church. Gotta play by the rules, luv. Re-groove.
Bob Ferguson. This is a retired professor from Canada who thinks that the government should license all ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, etc. (see the post "Found: One true looney" below). To preserve the separation of church and state, he would destroy it. Sick. Sick. Sick. Re-groove. Re-groove. Re-groove.
Prentice Howarth. She's 68, a deputy mayor of Bolton, England (a town made famous in the Dead Parrot sketch), and now out of a job because a closed-circuit TV camera caught her using her ring to scratch a neighbor's car. "I have been under a great deal of personal strain recently," she moaned. Right. Let's de-stress her and re-groove her.
Pat Martin. This Canadian MP from Manitoba -- a member of Canada's national socialist party, the NDP -- has earned mention on this blog for his Carolyn Parrish moment over the Devils Lake dispute. Now, he's having a cow over being red-flagged for scrutiny at airports twice in four months. Hey, Mr. Martin, when you have Carolyn Parrish moments, this could happen. Take this bad boy out to the woodshed for a serious re-grooving.
Geoffrey Moore. This Englishman (must be something in the air over there this round) was fired from his job at a Catholic publishing house after being convicted of sexually abusing a 4-year-old girl. He's suing for unfair dismissal. Come on. Re-groove this idiot forthwith.
Willie Nelson. This is painful. I enjoy Willie Nelson's music. A lot. But to do a video with O.Jessica Simpson? That's not good. Maybe it's aftershocks from all the IRS stuff Willie went through. Maybe he just got a bad batch of mind-altering materials. Who knows? But this will, sadly, require some re-grooving. Sorry, Willie, but it's gotta be done.
Francis Raj, Timothy Woo and Johnathan Valenzuela. Quite a terrible trio, this. These clever entrepreneurs dug a tunnel from a Quonset hut in Surrey, B.C., Canada, to a house in Lynden, Wash., USA. Their product? Marijuana. Naughty, naughty boys. Get re-grooved.
Marguerite Reid. This is the Toronto bureaucrat who wouldn't let Miss Universe appear in tiara and full attire at the city's Nathan Phillips Square (which, I surmise, is a very big deal) because of some politically correct bylaw. Meanwhile, as Kate notes, some very vulgar stuff was allowed to go down during a recent Gay Pride parade. Ms. Reid, you are the north end of a southbound horse. Get re-grooved. You need it.
Jessica Simpson. Yes, O.Jessica Simpson. The same pop tart who put her marriage on reality TV. She's got a new video out of Nancy Sinatra's classic '60s hit "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'." Put it this way -- if Nancy were dead, she'd be rolling over in her grave. I think I felt a rumble from her daddy Frank's tomb, too. Worse yet, she hijacked the great Willie Nelson (see above) to appear in it. What we have here is a major re-grooving project. Start now, please.
If you have a request for regrooving, please send it to me and it may well appear on a future edition of Return for re-grooving.
Have a good weekend, everyone.

The Left: In a box of its own conception

First in an occasional series...

The left in North America has really boxed itself in, in a variety of ways.
Take a look at the universities, for example.
Back in the 60s, far-left students stormed the administration buildings. Now, they are the administration buildings.
And, according to a young pundit, Daniel Koffler by name, has noted that shift as a reason for the decline in left-wing thought on campus.
Koffler's essay originally appeared in the lefty magazine Dissent. It was excerpted this past weekend in the Filthydelphia Stinquirer.
The hinge point in the evolution of the campus left to its risible status today is the tight embrace of identity politics and political correctness in the mid-80s. The transformation of the left into a mouthpiece for every sort of cultural grievance, whether legitimate or not, had two major consequences: It wedded the left to university administrations, rendering hollow its claims to be an antiauthority movement, and it precipitated the establishment of "speech codes" and similar abominations that constricted free expression. Could the original advocates of speech codes have foreseen the right's embrace and utilization of the principle of limited speech that they legitimated?
The young man may be of the left, but he's got a clue so far. Let's go on.
From that point on, it was only a matter of time before the left lost the imaginative empathy of the largest number of students. To call this a tactical error would be to miss the point. It was a severe moral error, a betrayal of the free-speech movement and the related causes that motivated the radicalization of students in the first place... The student right has positioned itself as a representative of insurgency and rebellion. Its alchemy of substatively reactionary politics and an outwardly counter-institutional mode of expression might seem hard to pull off, but keep in mind that the left's more-or-less conscious abandonment of the mantle of antiauthoritarianism coincided neatly and unfortunately with the reframing of the right as a populist movement. The populist repackaging of the Republican Party was the work of a small, exceedingly well-organized conservative bloc that seized the argumentative ground that the left had conceded by virtue of its Pyrrhic victories in the fights over political correctness...
He still has a clue, but not all of them. The left eagerly seized the mantle of authoritarianism as soon as it could. That's the way the left always operates. And he very much underestimates the size and overestimates the organization of the conservative bloc. There's more yet, though...
For all the structural and tactical advantages it enjoys - and I have mentioned nothing yet about the right's virtual monopoly on humor in political street theater (which is not to say that right-wing demonstrations succeed at being funny, but rather that it is almost exclusively the right that attempts humor at all) - the project of the campus right is trapped in a fatal contradiction. No amount of sly framing, pretensions to rebelliousness, or slick presentation can paper over the fact that its ideology is anathema to the vast majority of students, and not merely to the vocal left. Furthermore, the very popular-frontism that is one reason for the right's current success is a strong indicator of a coming decline. The bonds between the student right and the national Republican Party are far tighter than any comparable relationship between a leftist student organization and the Democrats, and the terms of this bargain were clear during the presidential campaign. If the student left's embrace of political correctness marked the end of its dominance in student politics (though no one noticed it at the time), it is likely that the student right's apologetics for George W. Bush - and most important, for the President's endorsement of the Federal Marriage Amendment - will turn out to have been the decisive factor in precluding a reorientation of student political culture toward the right.
Here's where young Mr Koffler goes off the deep end in his analysis. He sees the conservative trend, a trend I surmise he would love to roll back, as being shallow, "sly," pretentious, slick. He assumes that conservative views are "anathema" to a vast majority of students, when in fact they are far more common than he and those of his ideological church believe.
And he's dead wrong in his prediction of a coming decline, and the rationale therefor.
He is projecting the left's usurpation of the Dumbocratic Party -- and the very tight coordination that hallmarked the 2004 campaign -- onto the Republicans, which just ain't so, Charlie Brown. He is assuming as a matter of course that most students are in his corner.
There's the box. He cannot think in any other way. If he did, he wouldn't be a certifiable lefty.
Though they may attend lesser-known institutions, there are a lot -- a lot -- of students who are stone opposed to his ideological benchmarks. There are a lot -- a lot -- of students who are quite willing to support and work for the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Actually, I'd give this essay, as excerpted, a pretty good grade for diagnosis, but a stone F for conclusions.
Let's put this one in the box. The left designed it... trash collection is tomorrow.

More on this theme in future posts -- I don't want to burden you, the visitor/reader -- with 90-inch essays.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Canadians in trouble, updated

Remember that Canadian teenager who allegedly threatened to blow up his Pennsylvania high school?
Well, he was back in court on Wednesday.
This from KYW Newsradio:
The sentence is boot camp, probation, and counseling for a 17-year-old from Bucks County who threatened to blow up Central Bucks East High School a couple months ago and was found in possession of materials to make a bomb.
Travis Biehn is not a terrorist with anti-American sentiment, says Judge Kenneth Biehn (no relation).
And defense lawyer William Goldman would concur:
"Since September of ‘04, over three thousand e-mails were searched. There was not one recipe or bomb-making discussion of blowing up. Not one pipe. Nothing."
But the boy had been in trouble with the law before, and neither he, his parents nor the school district took things seriously -- not until after the boy made his threat.
Psychiatrists found -- and the judge agreed -- that the boy thinks himself superior to others and doesn’t take responsibility for his actions.
The plan is now to put him in a month-long wilderness camp. That satisfies Bucks County DA Diane Gibbons:
"What this program will make him do is work with other kids who have also gotten in trouble and learn to work with them, respect them, and treat them with the decency and humanity he should."
If that works, and if he apologizes, he'll be freed to do community service while attending counseling sessions with his parents.
If not, it’s back to youth jail for more evaluation.
The parents must also pay for half the cost of searching and securing Central Bucks East after the threat was made.

I love reporter David Madden's line:
Psychiatrists found -- and the judge agreed -- that the boy thinks himself superior to others and doesn’t take responsibility for his actions.
A classic North American leftist in bloom, huh?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hey, Teddy Kennedy...

As regular readers of this site may be aware, I'm a coalcracker from northeastern Pennsylvania. Even though I don't live there any more, I'm still a coalcracker at heart.
That means I have an especial contempt for Sen. Teddy Kennedy, the no-good drunk who killed fellow coalcracker Mary Jo Kopechne on Martha's Vineyard back in 1969.
This no-good is going to have his mouth open wide during the upcoming confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.
Today, at the Museum of Left Wing Lunacy, I saw this comment by IraqVet, reminding us of Mary Jo.
With IraqVet's permission, I present another side of the Teddy Kennedy story...
From Mary Jo Kopechne
I would have been 65 years of age this year.
Read about me and my killer below:
When Sen. Ted Kennedy was merely just another Democrat bloating on Capitol Hill on behalf of liberal causes, it was perhaps excusable to ignore his deplorable past.
But now that he's become a leading Republican attack dog, positioning himself as Washington's leading arbiter of truth and integrity, the days for such indulgence are now over.
It's time for the GOP to stand up and remind America why this chief spokesman had to abandon his own presidential bid in 1980 - time to say the words Mary Jo Kopechne out loud.
As is often the case, Republicans have deluded themselves into thinking that most Americans already know the story of how this "Conscience of the Democratic Party" left Miss Kopechne behind to die in the waters underneath the Edgartown Bridge in July 1969, after a night of drinking and partying with the young blonde campaign worker. But most Americans under 40 have never heard that story, or details of how Kennedy swam to safety, then tried to get his cousin Joe Garghan to say he was behind the wheel.
Those young voters don't know how Miss Kopechne, trapped inside Kennedy's Oldsmobile, gasped for air until she finally died, while the Democrats' leading Iraq war critic rushed back to his compound to formulate the best alibi he could think of.
Neither does Generation X know how Kennedy was thrown out of Harvard on his ear 15 years earlier -- for paying a fellow student to take his Spanish final.
Or, why the US Army denied him a commission because he cheated on tests.
As they listen to the Democrats' "Liberal Lion" accuse President Bush of "telling lie after lie after lie" to get America to go to war in Iraq, young voters don't know about that notorious 1991 Easter weekend in Palm Beach, when Uncle Teddy rounded up his nephews for a night on the town, an evening that ended with one of them credibly accused of rape.
It's time for Republicans to state unabashedly that they will no longer "go along with the gag" when it comes to Uncle Ted's rants about deception and moral turpitude inside the Bush White House.
And if the Republicans don't, let's do it ourselves by passing this forgotten disgrace around the Internet to wake up memories of what a fraud and fake Teddy really is.
The Democratic Party should be ashamed to have the national disgrace from Massachusetts as their spokesman.
And the GOP needs to say so out loud.

I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you, IraqVet!
Let's not let Killer Kennedy off the hook here, friends.

We can only hope...

The Red Star reports that by a vote of 87 percent, members of the Canadian Media Guild have given their negotiators a strike mandate to take back to their ongoing talks with the CBC.
Well, well, well... the very government that the CBC so vehemently supports is giving the poor little media-ocrities some trouble.
Justice, eh?

Islamic justice (?)

From the Washington Times comes this tale of Islamic "justice" (shoutout to Regular Ron):
BOMBAY, India -- Hard-line Islamic clerics in a northern Indian village have declared that a woman's 10-year-old marriage was nullified when her father-in-law raped her -- and ordered the mother of five to marry the rapist.
The fatwa, or religious edict, was issued by Darool Uloom Deoband, South Asia's most powerful Islamic theological school known for promoting a radical brand of Islam that is said to have inspired the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The decision has outraged both Muslim and Hindu leaders and prompted a fierce debate that has dominated the front pages of national newspapers across India.
The fatwa ordered Imrana Ilahi, 28, to separate from her husband and treat him as her son because she had sex with his father.
"She had a physical relationship with her father-in-law, and it nullifies her marriage," said Mohammad Masood Madani, a cleric at the theological school. He said it made no difference whether the sex was consensual or forced. The village council then decreed that Mrs. Ilahi would have to marry her father-in-law.
Feminists and liberal Muslims reacted with fury, staging nationwide street protests.
But Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh on June 29 supported the fatwa, saying: "The decision of the Muslim religious leaders in the Imrana case must have been taken after a lot of thought. ... The religious leaders are all very learned and they understand the Muslim community and its sentiments." The rape took place June 4 in the village of Charthawal in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, when Mrs. Ilahi's husband, Noor Ilahi, was away.
When Mr. Ilahi, a brick kiln laborer, learned of the attack, the village court instructed him to divorce his wife.
But Mr. Ilahi, 32, told his wife: "My father is dirty and you are clean. I still love you and I cannot desert you." Mrs. Ilahi, with her husband and five children, sneaked out of Charthawal and took shelter in Kukra, the village of her parents.
Mrs. Ilahi received another rude shock when the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the country's most influential Muslim umbrella organization, endorsed the punishment meted out by Darool Uloom Deoband.
"The fact that the woman was 'used' by her husband's blood relative makes her [unclean] for her husband and there is no way she can be allowed to live with him," the law board said.
Under Shariah law, the rape has made her the mother of her husband, said Naseem Iqtedar, the law board's only female member.
Outraged leaders of Muslim social organizations met with Mrs. Ilahi's family and took them to police. Police immediately took Mohammad Ali, Mrs. Ilahi's 65-year-old father-in-law, into custody and ordered a medical test of Mrs. Ilahi for the rape.
Although the All India Muslim Personal Law Board supported the fatwa, the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board decried it and asked Mrs. Ilahi and her husband not to separate.
"The fatwa goes against the light of Koran. No tenet of Koran can justify the injustice done to an innocent victim. Imrana should never be punished for no fault of hers. The victim has every right to continue with her marriage and live with her husband," said Shaista Amber, president of women's law board. "The Islamic clerics have failed to differentiate between sex by consent and rape by force. The ruling was against the spirit and essence of Islam, which gives equal rights to women."
Javed Akhtar, a noted Muslim poet, said: "Islam teaches compassion, justice, equality and a fair deal for women. The fatwa, on the other hand, appears to treat women as mere commodities."
Although police have filed a case against her father-in-law, legal analysts say, Mrs. Ilahi might not be able to prove the crime because she underwent the medical examination almost two weeks after the attack and "doctors could not find any definite sign of the rape."
So, Islam rewards rapists. Hmmmm.....

Found: One true looney

I have to give Kathy a royal shoutout for discovering this piece of sheer lunacy that aired on CBC. You really have to read the whole thing to appreciate the illogic that permeates this gentleman's thoughts:
INTRODUCTION: Bob Ferguson is a retired professor from the Royal Military College. He believes that Catholics are unlikely ever to see changes in policy on birth control or on the question of married or female priests. In fact, he says change won't come until the churches are forced to comply with the same human rights legislation that affects the rest of society.
MR. FERGUSON: Given the inertia of the Catholic Church, perhaps we could encourage reform by changing the environment in which all religions operate. Couldn't we insist that human rights, employment and consumer legislation apply to them as it does other organizations? Then it would be illegal to require a particular marital status as a condition of employment or to exclude women from the priesthood.

Of course the Vatican wouldn't like the changes, but they would come to accept them in time as a fact of life in Canada. Indeed I suspect many clergy would welcome the external pressure.
We could also help the general cause of religious freedom by introducing a code of moral practice for religions. They will never achieve unity so why not try for compatibility? Can't religious leaders agree to adjust doctrine so all religions can operate within the code?
I am an engineer so the model I am thinking about is rather like the provincial acts regulating the practice of engineering. For example, engineers must have an engineering degree from a recognized university or pass qualification exams. They must have a number of years of practical experience and pass an ethics exam. The different branches: mechanical, electrical, civil and the like have a code of practice that applies to everyone.
Why can't religious groups do the same? I envisage a congress meeting to hammer out a code that would form the basis of legislation to regulate the practice of religion. Like the professional engineers' P.Eng designation, there would then be RRPs (or registered religious practitioners).
To carry the analogy to its conclusion, no one could be a religious practitioner without this qualification. I won't try to propose what might be in the new code except for a few obvious things: A key item would have to be a ban on claims of exclusivity. It should be unethical for any RRP to claim that theirs was the one true religion and believers in anything else or nothing were doomed to fire and brimstone. One might also expect prohibition of ritual circumcisions, bans on preaching hate or violence, the regulation of faith healers, protocols for missionary work, etc.
Now what is the point of proposing this? I do it because I am worried that the separation between church and state is under threat. Religion is important in our lives, but it can become a danger to society when people claim that the unalterable will of God is the basis for their opinions and actions.
Yes religion can be a comfort and a guide, but we cannot take rules from our holy books and apply them to the modern world without democratic debate and due regard for the law. For Commentary, I'm Bob Ferguson in Marysville, Ontario.
Whoa. He's worried that the separation of church and state is under threat. So he's going to put the state full-bore into running the affairs of the church by a licensing of ministers/rabbis/priests/imams/etc. And he's going to require that they all hold compatible values.
So we preserve the separation of church and state by placing the operation of the churches under the control of the state, thereby destroying any separation at all.
Mr. Ferguson, wherever you are, you are a looney.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

These gentlemen have got to go

I have to admit that I agree with something that was written in the Chained and Nailed to the Left.
Of course, it was written by hockey writer extraordinaire Eric Duhatschek.
Since his work is behind a firewall, I'll give you the first three paragraphs of his piece on the upcoming end of the NHL labor dispute...
Every war has its casualties and the longest labor struggle in the history of professional sport better produce two more -- National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow.
For the NHL, to begin the long, challenging, thankless task of winning back its disenchanted fans, Bettman and Goodenow need to do the right thing for the game by falling on their swords and gently exiting the arena. And if they don't, then it's up to the people who sign their paychecks to show them the door.
More than anything else, the game and industry desperately need to heal right now and the continued presence of Bettman and Goodenow at the controls will needlessly slow that process.

Strong medicine?

Maurice Strong, the ringleader of the OneWorld brigade, just lost his United Nations gig. The Red Star reports...
UNITED NATIONS—Canadian businessman Maurice Strong lost his job as the top U.N. envoy to North Korea amid questions about his connection to a suspect in the U.N. oil-for-food scandal, the world body said yesterday.
The decision not to renew Strong's contract follows criticism that he gave his stepdaughter a job at the United Nations and concerns over his ties to a South Korean businessman accused of accepting kickbacks from Saddam Hussein's government.
Strong, of course, denied that he was fired.
"I'm at an age and stage where I can't go on forever."
For that, all freedom-loving people must be thankful.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Random thought #646

(First in an occasional series)

Margaret Sanger, the Godmother of Planned Parenthood, was big into eugenics, though you won't find that on PP's Web site. (You will, however, locate more info at Hurricane Emily's place. Check the archives.)
She decried poor, ignorant, inferior folks were having babies, implying that if she ruled the world, they wouldn't reproduce. Only the best and brightest would.
Isn't it ironic, then, that birth rates today are significantly higher amongst the poorer population and that the "civilized world" is barely reproducing enough to sustain itself -- and in some nations, not even that?