Irony, anyone? - 11/29/2013 11:28 am
Polo (and for that matter dressage), anyone? - 11/18/2013 9:48 pm
A belated Happy Anniversary, Mr. Fortunate Eagle - 10/14/2013 9:57 pm
Arbitrarily-concocted groups don't kill people; people kill people. - 8/10/2013 1:36 pm
Time to get real about race - 7/31/2013 1:10 am
Standing my ground - 7/23/2013 9:29 pm
Today’s a good day to declare our independence. - 7/4/2013 12:03 pm
Minshall promises never to forget - 6/16/2013 11:57 pm
Posted: January 18, 2010 - 9:41 am
In response to my last blog, Mr. Kevin Clarkson claims to be disoriented and to need a GPS.
I explicitly explained what forgiveness is and is not. As an attorney, surely Kevin has the reading comprehension skills to understand plain English.
Al Qaida-type terrorists do not kill the perpetrators of injustices. Terrorists kill at random; that’s makes them terrorists. I never said 3000 people in Washington and New York treated bin Laden unjustly. I never said Osama is a “good terrorist as opposed to a bad terrorist.” Kevin should know better.
If Kevin really is confused, maybe a simple metaphor will work. Ed works at a 7-11. Al holds up the 7-11 and kills Ed so Ed can’t identify him. Ed’s sister, Jo, gets real mad at Al and tries to kill him. But Al has too many bodyguards. So Jo goes to plan B and murders Al’s five-year old daughter instead. Police investigate. They look for a motive because that will help them convict the murderer. They find out the motive. Does that make Jo a “good murderer as opposed to a bad murderer?” Do we argue that Al’s five-year-old daughter treated Jo unjustly? How do we play the blame game? Do we say Jo is entirely at fault and Al had nothing to do with Jo’s crime? Can we dare say Al had something to do with his daughter’s murder or is that “blame Al first?" Will we be accused of claiming Al caused every bad thing that ever happened in the world? And what of Al’s wife, Di? Should she devote the rest of her life to freeze-wrapping herself in perpetual anger at Jo? Or would Di wife be better off trying to make sure their children don’t hold up convenience stores? Which approach would be better for Di’s mental health?
Posted: January 15, 2010 - 12:34 pm
A responder, cat_train2, asks: just how do we forgive Osama bin Laden.
Good question. I’ll answer it shortly. But before I do, I will say why we should:
What I wrote Christmas Eve about my own feeble attempts at forgiveness apply to our country as well: We forgive, not for our trespassers, but for ourselves. Without forgiveness, we become stuck in anger and hatred towards our trespassers. That anger and that hatred don’t hurt them; anger and hatred hurts us. They tie us to the trespasser, and, in so doing continue our role as victim long after the act of victimization has ended. Forgiving our trespassers does not undo their trespasses, but it does undo the prolonging of those trespasses. To that extent, forgiving frees us from the past by enabling us to live in the present.
Posted: January 13, 2010 - 3:37 pm
I directly challenge this newspaper’s editorial staff to do something different this next Monday.
For years while this paper set aside a half page for the Voice of the Times, that outfit devoted its editorial space to the entire “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Daily News printed only the ending of that same speech.
What does that tell you about diversity of opinion? Why did the two editorial voices—one “liberal” and the other “conservative”-- year after year choose the same speech of all those delivered by King?
Both sides chose to consider King as nothing more than the stereotyped “slain civil rights leader,” the mainstream media’s chosen summation of the man’s life work.
Posted: January 9, 2010 - 7:49 pm
Thomas Friedman is at it again. In a January 6 New York Times column he complained “Arab and Muslim societies” aren’t “shaming suicide bombers and naming their actions ‘murder,’ not ‘martyrdom’” enough to suit him.
Friedman’s complaint follows a familiar pattern these days—paying more attention to the other guys' behavior than to our own. Talk show hosts in my experience continue to complain how hypocritical the other side is and how it’s always the other guys with a monopoly on double standards of behavior. We see it a lot of that on these cyberpages as well.
How far do we blame entire societies for the crimes of some of their members? Are Arabs and Muslims justified in complaining that Americans haven’t publicly opposed the actions by terrorists like Timothy McVeigh and abortion clinic bombers enough? Even though I oppose abortion and many actions by big government, I don’t hold myself responsible for their actions.
Posted: January 6, 2010 - 2:39 pm
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s recent dabbling in political spin, claiming our homeland security system worked in foiling the attempted Christmas jetliner bombing, reminded me of the spin I experienced back in 1978.
One bright February morning, I got a call from a National Public Radio producer asking me to report on a shooting of the Trans Alaska Oil Pipeline near Fairbanks.
I don’t remember the motivation at the time, but some guy fired a high-powered rifle at the pipeline and set off a geyser of crude oil high into the sky.
A couple of hours later, a Fairbanksan named Gil Glover took advantage of the clear and sunny weather to show a lower 48 buddy an aerial view of the pipeline system around Fairbanks. Glover noticed what appeared to him to be steam emitting from the pipeline at one point and so he called the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company to suggest it look into the apparent steam.
Posted: January 4, 2010 - 10:56 am
Time to catch up on the long holiday weekend news.
What’s wrong with this picture? Couple of quotes from Jonah Goldberg’s Jan. 2 column in the local paper:
“The problems with capitalism—greed, theft, etc.—aren’t capitalism’s fault: They’re humanity’s.”
“Capitalism doesn’t just create generous wealthy people, but generous poor people, too.”
Let’s see. Capitalism doesn’t create evil; people do. But people don’t create good; capitalism does. Looks to me like some phony double talk. The old double standard trick.
Posted: January 1, 2010 - 1:03 pm
For a while now the political correctness police have been trying to convince us that anyone who supports basic human rights for Palestinian people is an anti-Semitic Nazi who hates Israel and denies the holocaust ever existed.
Maybe you PCP aficionados and aficionadas out there can explain
how can you call Palestinians Nazis when they volunteered to fight the Nazis to protect the British during World War II.
Maybe you can explain why a guy named Bubba with a swastika on his bicep and a reported link to a white supremacist group allegedly chose Christmas of all days to kill a guy working in his store in Liberty, Texas, to give his workers the day off to spend time with their families. Could it be that white supremacists with swastikas hate all Semites, not just Jewish ones? Could there possibly exist Christofascists or is that too politically incorrect to imagine? When did Jesus tell his followers to celebrate his birthday by murdering their neighbors? Did the founding fathers and mothers of Liberty, Texas name it to enable people with swastikas to enjoy the liberty to take away people’s religious liberty and their lives as well? Since when did giving Christians the day off on Christmas Day become a capital offense?
Posted: December 30, 2009 - 7:50 am
How do you interpret the popular bumper sticker, "Alaska girls kick ass?"
Does it mean young females in the 49th state are guilty of acts of physical violence inflicted to degrade others? I don’t think so. I think it’s meant as a compliment; “kicking ass” has become a colloquial expression meaning excelling.
Now, I certainly agree that the expression reflects our society’s tolerance for violence. I’m reminded of former coach and pro football commentator, John Madden’s comment several years ago. It went something like this: “People keep saying, ‘It’s a war out there.’ No, it’s not; it’s a football game. I applaud Madden for making an important point. War is a deadly serious business. Football is a game. Big difference.
Posted: December 28, 2009 - 10:17 am
Q) Why do you support World War II?
A) I don’t “support” the war as such. I do not believe Germany and Japan were justified in their attacks on other countries. I therefore oppose their starting the wars they did.
That’s the thing about wars. You have to look at them from two perspectives—starting one and defending against the aggressor. That’s what so many of today’s war supporters overlook. We did not start a war against Germany. The war with Japan did not start with a US attack on Japanese ships. It was the other way around.
From what I can see, under the circumstances, the US and its allies were justified in defending themselves from attackers. I question the morality of bombing cities with no military targets.
Posted: December 26, 2009 - 10:34 am
Am I the only one to notice the war on St. Stephen’s Day, the Dec. 26 commemoration of the first Christian martyr? Ever ask yourself why there are no statues of St. Stephen in state court buildings, no hymns to St. Stephen in public schools, no national holidays to honor St. Stephen? And, for that matter, why do so few calendars list Jan. 1 as Mary, the Mother of God Day and Feb. 2 as Presentation of the Lord Day?
As a fellow blogger might say, “Just exactly who is the scrooge that wants to sweep the Christian aspects of all these holidays under the rug, into the closet and slam the door? Probably the same guy who wastes our time trying to take “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance and off every public statue.”
Posted: December 24, 2009 - 12:10 am
Several years ago when the war was still politically correct, I joined fellow peaceniks carrying signs along a roadway. At the end of the line stood a silent man holding a sign reading, ‘I LOVE BUSH.”
Some fellow peaceniks suggested the sign referred more to the man’s sexual preference than to his political one. I took another approach. I shook his hand and said I also agree on the importance of loving one’s enemies. The man, who looked somewhat down and out, said nothing. I suspect some war-niks, who had decided there were more important things for them to do than to stand in the cold in support of the war, chose instead to hire someone who needed money to do it for them.
Posted: December 21, 2009 - 1:13 am
I wonder sometimes whether people who judge actions according to double standards know what they’re doing or whether they whether they really believe the nonsense they churn out.
Thomas Friedman’s essay in the Dec. 19 paper argues, “Only Arabs and Muslims can fight the war of ideas within Islam….(They) must be challenged to take responsibility for their world.”
Friedman engages in the politically correct practice of holding Muslims responsible for not singling out fellow Muslims who commit terrorism and other forms of murder. But has Friedman ever held Christians responsible for not singling out fellow Christians for their crimes? Has he ever held Jews responsible for not singling out fellow Jews for their crimes? When American Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of terrorism, did Friedman challenge Americans “to take responsibility for their world?”
Posted: December 19, 2009 - 12:16 am
Fans of irony may enjoy President Obama’s recent Nobel Peace Prize speech defending his wars.
If I read his speech correctly, he appeared to argue that Hitler and al Qaida are bad guys; therefore, we need to drop bombs on people in Afghanistan. Hitler invaded other countries; Afghanistan invaded none. We had to fight Hitler in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Belgium, France and Holland while the Soviet Union fought him in the USSR and Eastern Europe. We’re fighting Afghanistan in Afghanistan. So how does Hitler’s existence entitle us to invade Afghanistan?
Fifteen of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. There were none from either Iraq or Afghanistan. If we should bomb countries suspected of harboring terrorists, shouldn't we bomb the US?
Posted: December 16, 2009 - 11:51 pm
Those of who bored by sports, read no further. That’s what this essay is about. Those of you looking for political overtones will have to work overtime to find any here.
Sunday, I read a whimsical piece on CBSSports.com about a major college football championship tournament.
As college football fans know, each year we hear someone advocate a championship tournament like those in other college sports and other college football divisions. At the same time, we hear complaints about all the ridiculous bowl games featuring mediocre teams.
Such complaints go back at least to the 1960s, when there were a lot fewer bowls and there were no teams playing in the post-season with six losses. Yet even satirist Art Buchwald got into the act by suggesting a bowl game in Nome. Last week an ESPN commentator echoed the same quip I’ve heard for more than a third of the century: Why not have a Toilet Bowl? Actually, we’re coming pretty close to that. Next year there’s a bowl planned for Yankee Stadium. Why not hold it at the old Shea Stadium site. What venue could be more appropriate for the Toilet Bowl than the section of Queens known as Flushing Meadows?
Posted: December 14, 2009 - 11:40 am
This is an add-on to my three-part series. It’s different from the other three; this time I am not responding to another blogger, but instead saying something that needs to be said about taxes.
Recently, I read a couple of books by investigative reporter, David Cay Johnston, “Free Lunch” and “Perfectly Legal.” One book details who and what are the biggest moochers and the amount they mooch from you and me. Johnston points out that the amount of your taxes that go to welfare mamas is insignificant compared to the rich guys that gobble up the free lunches. Free to them, but not free to us. As I remember, Johnston finished his book before the Bushobama bailouts resulting from the subprime scandals.
Posted: December 11, 2009 - 11:37 am
In this third response to the recent “Tax, Tax, Tax” essay by Brian Sweeney, Jr., I will save the best for last.
Brian really gets upset that his taxes might be spent on single moms or Native Alaskans and thereby encourage and finance some dysfunctional behaviors. He gets particularly bent about taxes being spent on health insurance for some people who eat too much and exercise too little. At the same time, he actually supports handouts to foreign countries that are even more dysfunctional than fat single moms. You don’t have to be a Dartmouth grad with a degree in medicine to figure out the connection between Israel’s treatment of its Arab neighbors and Arab citizens and the attacks on Israel. Is there a connection between the shooting down of the four Washington State cops and the shooting of the alleged murderer? Or do we must be an Ivy Leaguer M.D. to figure that one out?
Posted: December 10, 2009 - 12:22 pm
This is the second of a three-part response to the essay Brian Sweeney, Jr. wrote to complain about howthe government spends his taxes. It’s somewhat ironic that he has so much objection to his taxes being spent on Americans and their health care and so little objection to his taxes being spent on wars.
Does Brian really believe Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan were necessary to protect those countries’ freedom? From what I’ve seen he has no made no distinction between fighting a war when attacked and starting a war. Does Brian have any empirical evidence that Afghanistan threatened our freedom more than, say, Australia or Iraq threatened our freedom more than say, Ireland? Or should the United States have attacked Australia and Ireland as well? Or have the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan so terrified the Australians and Irish that they had to scrap their plans to invade our country? He doesn’t say.
Posted: December 9, 2009 - 2:59 pm
First, some response to responses to my previous essay. Aside from someone who accused me of hating Jews, a response apparently excised for the personal attack that it was, some other responders were downright interesting and somewhat thoughtful.
One was “miffed” about my apparent double standard in “attacking” the church. I long have criticized public officials and US policy and thought it was about time I went after the officials in my own church to avoid a double standard. One person responded the principle I advocated should be applied to other bureaucrats as well. I definitely agree. A third detected a very pessimistic strain in my blogs. There’s some truth to that. Maybe I ought to articulate this more often: Most of the people, including most priests and bishops, I have known are decent people who simply want to pay their own way without stealing from others. But the people in power often don’t represent the decent people they’re supposed to. Instead, they represent the crooks and the murderers. I’m pessimistic, not about the behavior of my fellow Americans, fellow Alaskans and fellow humans, but about our tolerance for the bad guys who bend the politicians to their will. Too often we demonize each other and not the bad guys. Now onto to the main essay:
Posted: December 7, 2009 - 12:47 am
In the 1960s movie, “Hud,” the title character played by Paul Newman, resorts to lying to ward off the man whose wife Hud has been bedding.
Hud halts the jealous husband by raising his right hand like a traffic cop halting traffic and telling the man he’s aware of the problem and knows his 17-year-old nephew is the guilty party and he will severely discipline the boy and ensure the boy will never see the woman again.
The reaction of Catholic Church bureaucrats to the widespread reports of sex scandals involving priests and bishops reminds me of Hud’s approach—Don’t worry; we have the situation under control and the best way to handle it is through internal sanctions. Sorta like the internal investigation the Iran government initiated to determine whether the presidential election there was fair.
Posted: December 4, 2009 - 2:40 pm
Brian Sweeney, Jr. caught me in a meltdown yesterday.
I confused disaster anniversaries when I wrote about the Bhopal disaster. The Three Mile Island nuclear disaster occurred 30 years ago and the Bhopal disaster that happened 25 years ago resulted from leaking chemical from a pesticide plant.
I stand corrected.
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