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7.30.2007    |    Changing Venue
This blog is now published at Wordpress as Right Turns. You will be automatically directed there after a few seconds, or you may click http://jackrich.wordpress.com/.

Thanks for dropping by.

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7.29.2007    |    Feeling guilty, are we?
Nothing endures like white guilt. When the blacks living in poverty rioted back in the late 1960s, thence was reinforced the need for a war. We're always having wars; wars in name but not in effect. The so-called war on poverty is the classic example: we declare "war," we throw money at the problem, we feel guilty when that doesn't work.

The latest foray into white guilt is in today's WaPo Outlook section, one of the national headquarters for liberal white guilt. This time, it's the fortieth, yes, four-zero year anniversary of the 1967 Detroit riots. The article, by a member of the academy, has a classically guilt-inspiring title: The Fire Last Time.

The article's thesis? Nothing of any substance has changed. The solution? More money thrown down the well. More excuses made for people who won't help themselves. More white guilt. Here's a good sample:
Then, in the late 1970s and '80s, the national commitment to the urban poor unraveled, destroyed by a furious white backlash and a resurgent conservatism that vilified big government and sanctified the free market. With that shift in American politics, hope gave way to neglect. It has been 30 years since the federal government really invested in America's inner cities. The only time anyone talks about segregation is when the Supreme Court prohibits another school district from employing the mildest of racial remedies. The welfare state has been eviscerated, not expanded. Even progressives prefer to focus more on the needs of the middle class than on the burdens of the poor.

And on the streets of Detroit and in other urban cores, life grows inexorably grimmer.

This idiotarian from the academy is telling us that we need more government, more racial set-asides ("racial remedies" in liberal-speak), and, drum-roll if you please, maestro, an expanded welfare state. All of which haven't served to come close to solving the actual problem: individuals taking responsibility for their own education and securing their own future. Individuals not waiting for a handout -- that wait never ends.

Here's a better idea: remember how some of learned how to swim. We jumped off the deep end into a pond or a swimming pool, and swam. Or sank, in which case the clever among us would have checked just to ensure that there was somebody standing by to rescue us. But, for the most part, me and my buds didn't need rescuing. We just jumped in and did the dog paddle.

I have sympathy for the poor; having grown up in that condition. And, yes, we all need a helping hand now and again. But if our basic needs are provided, gratis, with nothing expected in return, we get fat and lazy. And never learn to fend for ourselves. This is the real lesson of the riots of 40 years ago: to end poverty, we have to do it ourselves. With help along the way, but that's the means -- not the ends.

A lesson which has yet to be learned by our liberalati.

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7.28.2007    |    Say Yes to a Full Pint
short pintSometimes you just gotta stand up and be counted. Seems like Nanny Britain has gone too far, by having a beer regulation but then not enforcing the requirement that when you buy a pint at your local pub, you'll actually get a bleedin' pint.

One may ask, what business is it of the government of a formerly powerful nation to worry about the measure of ale or bitters at a licensed establishment? Good question. Correct answer: it's exactly because Britain is toothless and has exchanged its manhood for dhimmitude that they get involved in nonsense like regulating, to a fare-thee-well, things like beer.

Evidence? You think the recent surrender to the Iranians was a fluke? Or the incessant worry that one of the poor royal princes might get shot at? Used to be, English monarchs were in front of the troops in the field, not whoring it up back home (can you tell I'm a republican Republican?). Good thing the Argentines don't ask for a rematch over the Falklands; they'd kick John Bull's ass all the way back to England.

Anyway, there's a group that isn't going to take this affront to British liberty (this is now a contradiction in terms, it seems...) lying down: "Say Yes to a Full Pint." There's also the related "Campaign for Real Ale." Oi, I'm in favor of real ale. But, how, exactly, has this become any kind of a problem?

As a side note, please understand two things: a) I love my British cousins, and, b) Brits generally drink much, much better beer than us Americans. I mean, Bud Lite? Natty Bo? Gah. But we don't need to have the insane regulations that permeate British life. If an establishment shorts me on a beer once, I'll mention it. If it happens the second time, there are lots of other places to get beer.

Perhaps for England, its the proximity to Ireland, which, as we all know, taught the English everything they need to know about brewing good beer and drinking it. Too bad the English are slow learners, and don't establish a free republic like the Irish.

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   |    Obligatory Harry Potter Post
Book 7First, straight off, this: J.K. Rowling's latest book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is nothing short of brilliant. Yes, I suffer from having swallowed, practically whole, all six of its predecessors. In short, I've been suffering from Adult Onset Pottermania since the first book came out in June, 1997.

First, the obvious: this is a spoiler-free zone. Second, a complaint: why do some critics complain that the Potter series is suitable only for retarded children? Well, perhaps not quite so bad, but consider a sampling of what the uber-snob Harold Bloom had to say:
I have just concluded the 300 pages of the first book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," purportedly the best of the lot. Though the book is not well written, that is not in itself a crucial liability. It is much better to see the movie, "The Wizard of Oz," than to read the book upon which it was based, but even the book possessed an authentic imaginative vision. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" does not...How to read "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"? Why, very quickly, to begin with, perhaps also to make an end. Why read it? Presumably, if you cannot be persuaded to read anything better, Rowling will have to do.

I might have some choice words for Bloom; I knew snarky kids like him growing up in the Bronx. They mostly came from upwardly-mobile households and had been trained, early on, to look down on anyone who's father earned his living with his hands (as mine did).

Bloom, and perhaps most others who advise us from the academy, in stentorian tones, to not read children's books if we're able to read "literature," have, to be gentle, lost touch with the magic. Magic, not of the literal sort of the Wizards and Muggles world of Harry Potter, but of serving the very best purpose of a book: engaging the reader, getting him to enter a world beyond the limits of his daily grind.

J.K. Rowling has done that famously. My only request of her is that she continue to write. I. Want. More.

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7.27.2007    |    Confessions of a disloyal Republican
I used to consider myself a stalwart Republican. With rare exceptions over my voting life, I have voted the straight Republican ticket. My confession? I am disgusted with the performance of the Bush administration and with Republicans in Congress. Disgusted.

Not so disgusted that I could bring myself to vote for a Democrat last year. No, I held my nose and voted for George Allen against now-Senator Jim Webb. And I would never, under any circumstance, vote for Jim Moran. For anything. But he won handily without my vote, thank you very much. Idiots in Northern Virginia who think they're New Yorkers.

But my votes for Republicans, now, and in the foreseeable future will be solely because the other guys are worse. Along the lines of parting company with the Republicans, consider this list of points of disappointment if not disgust made recently by CrunchyCon Rod Dreher:
1. Having been absolutely certain that the war was the right thing to have done, and that we would prevail easily, I am no longer confident that I can discern when emotion is affecting my judgment unduly.

2. I no longer implicitly trust governmental institutions, including the military -- neither in their honesty nor their competence.

3. I no longer believe the Republican Party is superior in foreign policy judgment to the Democrats.

4. I no longer have confidence in the ability of our military, or any military, to solve deep cultural and civilizational problems through force alone. I mean, I thought nothing could stand in the way of the strongest military fielded since the days of ancient Rome. No more.

5. I have a far greater appreciation for how rare and fragile liberal democracy is, and a corresponding revulsion at the American assumption that it's the natural state of mankind. Which is to say, the war has made me rethink my ideas about human nature, and I'm far more pessimistic now than I ever was.
A lot of this litany translates into a simple statement: Woodrow Wilson was dangerously naive. George Bush is the new Woodrow Wilson, albeit with ugly ties to the Saudis. Of course, Wilson was a Confederate sympathizer and a stone racist, which Dubya is most certainly not. But in foreign affairs? Both have presided over disastrous presidencies.

There's only one point of Dreher's I would seriously dispute: that Republicans are not superior in judgment to the Democrats. Listening to the likes of Obama and the others, this is not supportable in logic.

The central problem? Neither party, under current leadership, can be trusted to do the right thing. I have high hopes that Rudy, or John McCain, or Fred Thompson would serve true American interests better than Bush.

Let me put this differently: the only Democrat who seems to have a clue is Hillary. And I wouldn't trust her with busfare, let alone as commander-in-chief.

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   |    President Al Gore
Ah, a man can dream, can't he? "President Al Gore" has such a lovely sound to the ears of liberals living near that river in Egypt. As in, living in denial that George Bush was elected in 2000. Apparently, the NutRoots are still in denial.

Just imaging what a President Gore would have done: signed surrender papers with al qaeda; imposed a "carbon tax" that by now would have caused 50% unemployment, making the Great Depression look good; apologized, profusely, to Saddam Hussein for doubting his word on anything, and helping restore the lost Iraq province of Kuwait to his tender mercies. Oh, the list goes on and on of the liberal goodness that Tree Boy could have accomplished.

The Hillary bemoaned the absence of a President Gore during the recent Donk "debate." As cited by Cruella of the VRWC herself, Ann Coulter, Hill said, to applause, "I think it is a problem that Bush was elected in 2000. I actually thought somebody else was elected in that election, but ..."

Ha. Ha. Very funny, Hill. And they said you had no sense of humor. As I wrote, she is pandering to the NutRoots in the Donk primary crowd. But facts can be very pesky things. Consider these from Ms. Coulter:
On Nov. 12, 2001, The New York Times ran a front page article that began: "A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward."

Another Times article that day by Richard L. Berke said that the "comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots solidifies George W. Bush's legal claim on the White House because it concludes that he would have won under the ground rules prescribed by the Democrats."
To which Donk activists, very much in a post-modern mode, might say, "Facts? We don't need your stinkin' facts!" Facts, to quote a certain inventor of earth, air, water, fire, and the internet, can lead to an "inconvenient truth."

The more one hears about the leading Donks, the more it becomes evident that they lack what it takes to be president. Or dog catcher.

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7.26.2007    |    Nanny Strikes Again
evil McDonald'sIt's easy enough to find many pictures showing how evil McDonald's is. This theme was even turned, by a polemicist, into a feature-length movie in 2004 (Super Size Me). The common thread? Blame McDonald's for, among other things, weight gain if one eats nothing but Big Macs and fries and sugared soda for a month. Who knew that overeating could cause health problems?

Also, please don't spill any hot coffee on your lap; that could hurt. The point is that our culture has no shortage of nannies; well-meaning pedagogue who assume that we are all stupid lemmings, running as fast as we're able towards that cliff of early death from heart disease, stroke, cancer, or just general poor health. All not our fault, but because the major purveyors of heart disease, etc., especially McDonald's, has fooled us all into buying their junk food. Again. And again. And again, world with an abrupt end, amen.

The theme, or perhaps trope might be a better word, is explained in this matter-of-fact piece in the Gray Nanny, er, New York Times:
It wasn’t too long ago that the only thing McDonald’s seemed good at was making people fat. Staggered by overexpansion, listless sales and a barrage of negative publicity linking its food to obesity, the chain’s glory days appeared to be fading.

In 2003, company executives set about reinventing McDonald’s by focusing on getting better rather than bigger. In the last few years, McDonald’s has seemed to do just about everything right. The chain has spruced up its restaurants, improved its advertising and introduced menu items that have helped to reshape its image and reinvigorate sales. Premium salads and apple dippers brought moms back. Chicken wraps lured people during off-hours; higher-quality coffee turbocharged breakfast business.

McDonald’s stock price has quadrupled in the last four years, and the company has reported positive same-store sales, an important industry measure, every month since April 2003.

Given those results, a new McDonald’s menu item is a bit of a stunner. Remember Supersize sodas? They’re back, except this time the chain is trying a new name. Meet the “Hugo,” a 42-ounce drink now available for as little as 89 cents in some markets. A Hugo soda contains about 410 calories.

McDonald’s might as well have called it the Tubbo.
We consumers, of course, are too stupid to know that a 42-ounce soda might contain quite a few calories. And, natch, we'll get a super-size fried with that. It's hard to know what aggravates the Times more: the fact that McDonald's, a purveyor of death, is doing well as a corporation, or that they sell such a bountiful drink as the Hugo at such a low price.

Regardless, the Times represents the very best of the Nanny State: always looking out for what they consider to be our best interests. Always assuming that we are simply too stupid to figure it out for ourselves. And, just as in affirmative action devotees, patronizing, to the max, the intended recipients.

It's the new version of the White Man's Burden. But this time, the natives are restless...

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7.25.2007    |    So that's what a president does
Seems as though Obama doesn't quite have a grasp on what the president's duties might be. That's president of the United States, not president of the local meatpacker's union, or whatever.

According to Nothingburger Obama, the duties for the Leader of the Free World, and Commander in Chief of the mightiest armed forces in the world, would feature walking a picket line with some union workers.

From a TownHall story we learn from NBO (NothingBurgerObama):
"I stood on the picket line and marched with workers at the Congress Hotel in Chicago last week," Obama said. "I had marched with them four years earlier and I told them when I left that if they were still fighting four years from now, I'd be back on that picket line as president of the United States and we'll get the Congress Hotel organized."

"I won't just vote the right way with you, I will stand with you," he said.
That's really special, BarackBaby. The more this guy speaks, the less he looks like a credible presidential candidate. Keep talking, 'cause that's all you seem to know how to do.

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7.24.2007    |    Outrage of the day
When can a man rape a seven-year old and walk away? Why, when he can claim to not understand English. Of course, that should be the politically correct "alleged" rapist. Yes, we are all innocent until proven guilty, blah blah blah.

This particular defense hinges on another allegation: that the court system could not find an interpreter who could translate from English into an obscure language called Vai. The accused is originally from Liberia, where at least three people speak this dialect. Perhaps more than three, but, hey, who's counting?

The outrage? The judge, in Montgomery County, Maryland (which runs a violent shade of blue on the political spectrum), dismissed the charges. Something about a speedy trial, and other alleged constitutional requirements.

From a WaPo story, the basics:
Prosecutors in Montgomery County said yesterday that they intend to ask an appellate court to overturn a judge's dismissal of a case against a Liberian immigrant charged with raping a young girl. The judge had ruled that repeated delays caused by the court's failure to find an interpreter fluent in the accused man's native dialect had violated his right to a speedy trial.
Now, what's missing from this little story about a politically correct judge is this little fact, not reported in the WaPo story but heard on Fox News: the perpetrator is a graduate from a high school in...drum roll please...Montgomery County, Maryland. Which prides itself on having really, really good schools.

Assuming that this is true, on what planet was this judge living? And what is the obligation of a court to provide translation assistance when the accused has graduated from one of the best school systems in the country? One must also assume that the perp was not taught in his allegedly native language of Vai, although, given that it's MoCoMd, he could have been taught in Spanish or in ASL.

I'd say that political correctness has become more important than justice, at least in Montgomery County, Maryland. Perhaps I'll rob a bank, and, when caught, claim that I can only understand Martian.

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about this blog

I was born, grew up, and went to school in the Bronx, New York -- on the wrong side of the tracks. Got the chance to go to college, so instead of joining the NYPD (the obvious career choice at that time and place), I became an engineer. Spent some years designing things that go boom (or things that take things that go boom to their destinations...), principally for our military. Also took an interesting career turn and for some years was in charge of counter-terrorism for my agency...so I learned something about guns. And when to use them.

I am a believer, in God. Christian. My opinion of most denominations is that they seem to be more concerned with the collection plate and devising intricate rules as to who is in and who is out.

My politics are a mix of conservative and libertarian, as in live and let live. With one exception, I favor small government, maximum personal freedom, coupled with personal responsibility and accountability for one's actions. I also know that there are, and have always been, things that are true, and things that are not. Two problems: Being smart enough to know which is which, and having the guts to act on it. I make no claims...

The exception to small government? I favor a robust national defense, against enemies foreign, and domestic. Or, as Teddy Roosevelt should have said, "speak softly and carry a whole bunch of armored divisions."

This blog will focus on politics, culture, religion, national security. That's pretty much the same territory as the New York Times. Just that I will never label my opinions as "news."



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