Walking the walk...
The omnipresent Instapundit is listing a number of charities involved in helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina:
American Red Cross
Episcopal Relief and Development.
Mennonite Disaster Services.
The Mercy Corps
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.
United Jewish Charities.
Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Disaster Response.
UMC Disaster Relief.
Church World Service.
I believe these all just might be religious organizations. When it hits the fan, a good many people of faith who talk the talk, walk the walk.
Let me know when Secular Humanist International sends a disaster relief team...
(an ode to Cindy Sheehan sung to "Everyone Knows It's Windy" by The Association)
Who made a soapbox out of a coffin
Smilin' at every camera she sees
Who made her son a partisan gimmick
Everyone knows it's Cindy
Who's camping out demanding a meeting
Acting like she's not had one before
Who blames George Bush but not al-Zarqawi
Everyone knows it's Cindy
All 'cause of a Neo-Con
Or was it Halliburton?
She'll yell on the Crawford lawn
"No blood for oil!" (No blood for oil!)
Heard that before (move on dot org)
--- Break it down for me Zamfir ---
She reminds us she lost her son
As if she's the only one
Would he want us to cut and run?
That's what she's for (that's what she's for)
He'd say hell no (he'd say hell no)
Who wants to give a pass to Osama
Says the terrorist is really George Bush
Who blamed the Jews for much of her problems
Everyone knows it's Cindy
The attention is so much fun
But aint this about your son?
Would he be proud of what you've done
He'd hang his head (he'd hang his head)
At what you've said (at what you've said)
(repeat and fade - or is that lather, rinse, repeat and fade)
Watching the politically correct circus that has surrounded the "Live 8" concert is like watching a car wreck involving those little circus volkswagens that hold a dozen clowns in them...
The fact that most of the acts are white has been a constant source of bleating from many - and apparently not letting the Spice Girls in didn't quell the talk. Talk that perhaps Michael Jackson would perform also didn't help, and perhaps a black man who now looks white would only exacerbate the problem.
Let's examine some of the acts at Live 8 who happen to be white:
This apparently is too much for British singer Damon Albarn (Who???), who of course is apparently under the notion that those in dire straights in Africa really give a rats ass what color the hand reaching out to them is. Should we cut Madonna for this guy?
One of his brilliant bon mots is that not having more black acts on the show is "...insensitive and it also perpetuates this idea that Africa is separated in some way." Yeah, Africa is it's whole continent and everything, sport. Wait, he actually continues...
"In a way Live 8 does that: it doesn't make you feel closer to Africa, it treats it like it's a failing, ill, sick, tired place.
"My personal experience of Africa is that yes, I have witnessed all those things there, but it's incredibly sophisticated -- the society and the structure of people's lives is as sophisticated, if not more sophisticated in some ways, than in the West."
Well surely more sophisticated that British singers named Damon Albarn. Nothing personal, but there is only one continent that gets it's own charity concert series... I mean even Antarctica doesn't get one.
When those who have an overabundance of money and fame decide to do something to benefit someone besides themselves, why are we standing in the way of one of the few things most of these folks will ever do than means a damn thing? Is it Sting's fault he isn't black? Should he not give a damn about Africa? Because that's what the myopic notion of racial quotas at charity events is suggesting - concern for Black Africa is best expressed by black artists.
As Laura Ingraham is fond of saying, shut up and sing...
Coming up with words for the 9/11 anniversary is reaching for Tantalus' vine...
Reaching for the perfect words on the anniversary of 9/11 seems a futile task, at least for this wordsmith. It's hard to imagine truly capturing all that needs to be said in perfect pitch.
To recall that day, the fury felt against those who wreaked havoc, and the pain for those who lost the cherished, seems barely adequate to the day. Time has tempered the fury for many, dulled the pain for some, and the recollection to "never forget" seems steadily reduced to mere sloganeering.
Remembering the attacks on the WTC, Pentagon, and those in the four fated flights that day are not important today - they are important on every other day. Words and emotions and recollections come easily on anniversaries; it is the rest of the year that doubtless shows what we truly carry with us from that day.
Ron Reagan off the reservation...
With the passing of former President Reagan, his son Ron has been in the public eye along with the rest of the President's family. But Ron's been mugging for the camera. His remarks at the President's interment ceremony were a none-too-subtle jab at the current occupant of the White House:
"But he (President Reagan) never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians -- wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage."
One might ask - did he ever make the fatal mistake of using the funeral of his father to take a televised swipe at a sitting President? The answer is no - President Reagan possessed an acumen for propriety that apparently is neither genetic nor environmental. He also was unlikely to possess the hubris required to judge the personal religious beliefs of others, or to judge just who has a sincere faith, and who doesn't. There's no particular amount of profundity required to note the connection between faith - or the lack thereof - and political affiliation, as recently polled data shows some two-thirds correlation between faith and candidate preference. Could it not equally be argued that it's not Bush's faith that draws Ron's disdain, but Ron's own personal religious disconnect?
It gets uglier, and to borrow from Larry King, more vituperative. From his Salon interview last year, Ron Reagan remarked:
"My father was a man -- that's the difference between him and Bush."
We're always on the lookout for paragons of manly comportment, but we cannot help but chuckle when Ron Reagan, surely no countenance of manly vigor or appearance, decides to question the manhood of someone else. Such remarks are to be considered de rigueur for Salon, but not for the son of a former President by a son of a former President. Yes Ron, you share that in common with the current President...
It's strange to hear Ron acting as vanguard of his father's memory and stature, considering the profound lengths he went to in order to distance himself from everything his father stood for politically. It is Ron's brother Michael, a conservative radio host who was adopted by Reagan and his first wife Jane Wyman, who is more politically attuned to the former President's political principles and mores.
Ron Reagan is entitled to own the memory of his father as his father, but not own it as President - that is shared by every American, for good or ill. Those curious about Reagan as a father can go to Ron for direct revelation. Those curious about Reagan as political leader need to look elsewhere.
They won't let us forget them...
We first remarked about the Furies in this article during the contentious days of the grandstanding 9/11 testimonies of the Spring. But that season of discontent still holds, and there are those working from inside the grief cabal to restore some sanity.
I'm thrilled to know that Breitweiser thinks credentialiing herself as a Bush voter gives her special dispensation from claims that her actions are politically driven. However, it does not. The commission as a whole has gone woefully beyond dispassioned neutrality, and become a football to all who seek to advance it to their own ends.
There is a reason the Pearl Harbor inquiries happened after the war...
Sarasota principal defends Bush from "take charge" Moore...
When the attacks on September 11th were unfolding, many recall the pictures of the moments when President Bush was first hearing of the terrorist attacks. Bush was at a Florida school reading to kids as the information began to arrive detailing the scope of the days horror.
It's de rigueur among the tinfoil hat brigade, Michael Moore commanding, to charge the President with feeble disconnectedness from events that morning. Their phony consternation suggests they expected Bush to bolt into the street with a milspec field radio and Stinger shoulder-fired missile in order to personally bring down the offending aircraft. But the school principal has said the Bush response was pitch perfect.
Perhaps those who find Bush's immediate reaction the only thing that day worthy of their continued resolved outrage would have preferred the President run around flailing his arms in a panic...
We've only been saying this for months now...
This goes for the father of Nick Berg too...
John Lehman loses his mind...
9/11 Commission member John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy, unloaded during a hearing on representatives of the New York City fire and police services.
The commission didn't need further examples of how they've become a grandstanding group of hindsighted ne'er-do-wells. But Lehman did help balance the partisanship scales, with prior kookiness and political shiving confined mainly to Richard "Hit Man" Ben Veniste and former Senator Bob "Am I On TV?" Kerrey, with the occasional twitter from the unfortunately spelled Jamie "The Wall" Gorelick. But Lehman's crazy outburst helps even out the wacky hindsight vitriol meter...
Also mugging for the cameras were some widows of 9/11, including one who basically stated that Mayor Giuliani was complicit in her husbands murder. They've helped burn alot of the goodwill bridge that was built to them by their fellow citizens. Applauding at Lehman's nutty charge that the fire and police response on 9/11 was "not worthy of the Boy Scouts", these maudlin vultures desecrated the service and sacrifice of hundreds who tried to save their loved ones - who only died because they tried to help. These increasingly annoying and acerbic relatives do not honor the memory of the loved and lost, their complaints and recriminations against the people who died alongside them abrades like nails on a chalkboard.
Lehman may have finally closed the door on any hope of a serious 9/11 commission conclusion...
The loss of a son won't come between a man and his politics...
Thankfully few know what it's like to have a child taken in a senseless manner. The father of Nick Berg knows. One can only imagine life coming to a complete halt.
Unless you have the opportunity for a sound bite.
Michael Berg took to the airwaves for a little political tragedy play, cashing in on his personal loss to take his shots in the political arena. Regarding the death of his son, Mr. Berg apparently felt compelled to give his remarks on of all things the Patriot Act. This apparently was after he blamed Donald Rumsfeld and the President for his sons death, claiming he died for their "sins" and that "they did this".
A member of A.N.S.W.E.R., the neo-communist anti-war group, Berg was certainly expected to be opposed to the Iraq War. But he wasn't killed by the Iraq War, was he? Surely Saddam Hussein would have welcome the young Nick Berg to Baghdad, being an American jew with Israeli stamps in his passport, right?
Mr. Berg, do you have any bile to spare for the guy holding the knife?
Two instances show the disposability of life and the animals who dispose of it...
A series of car bombs went off in Basra, Iraq killing nearly 70 people, including some 18 children who reportedly were burned alive in their schoolbus when the bombs went off.
In Massachussetts, a young college student who denied being pregnant and threw her child in the dumpster to die was given just one year in jail.
As the outrage over the attacks in Basra spreads, and demands for reprisal grow, it's important to remember it's not just Al Qaeda that devalues human life.
What defense can be given for an upstart 19 year old college student who carried her child to term and then wrapped it in towels and a trashbag, throwing it out like last nights takeout dinner? Does someone dare say between she and those responsible in Basra who the more callous soul is? Are any of these children less dead, all taken by the knowing, purposeful acts of a bottomless, selfish evil?
What complicity do we all have when we treat the cruel, purposeful destruction of posterity as less than insider trading? Who will be out first, the girl who destroyed a human life or Martha Stewart?
One year is an outrage. If the father had killed the child, he'd be gone for 20 years to life - this is indisputable. When did this nation become an apologist for infanticide? Is it due to the numbing effect of a nation's sacramental view of abortion rights? Have we devalued infants so much as disposable choices that we no longer clearly see the horrific nature of infanticide when practiced by the mother, because we are conditioned to accept it in the womb? We are outraged at Scott Peterson and the death of his wife and unborn son, going so far as to enact legislation to create an unborn victim's bill.
But again, that was the father...
Had this under wraps for a week, time to let it see the light of day...
9/11 and the Rise of The Erinyes
Grave cares of public trust claim we
With sudden, swift appearing;
Let hell's contention set heaven free,
Discharged without a hearing.
---- The Chorus of Furies, from Aeschylus' Eumenides
The increasingly partisan non-partisan 9/11 commission's public testimony and the emergence of the election season have refocused public attention on the September 11th attacks and surrounding public policies. Increasingly before us during this time on news broadcasts and in various roles of commentary have been a vocal group of the widows of 9/11 who lost their husbands during the 9/11 attacks.
The righteous indignation of public opinion following the attacks has among several widows synthesized into a particularly public anti-Bush Administration invective worthy of the Erinyes, "the angry ones", mythological women sent to avenge the dead and deliver justice. Chasing the matricidal Orestes at the beckoning of the ghost of his mother Clytemnestra, they hear her call for vengeance and retribution and seek to avenge her death. Like the Erinyes, their modern incarnation seek justice but without objectivity.
The President's campaign commercials, some of which used evocative but not provocative imagery and references to 9/11, brought near-immediate indignation that was seemingly canned, pre-packaged in a container labeled "break in case of political opportunity". It was several days before other 9/11 families were heard from, some in a letter to the New York Post, declaring the images appropriate and honorable to the memory of those lost. But the Erinyes, yearning to make sense of senselessness, found an immediate outlet for their indignation with a media attuned to fomenting and reporting conflict and controversy.
There has been a hesitancy to engage the post 9/11 Erinyes - an understandable one. But stepping forward from behind the veil of tragic loss to act as advocate means there cannot be a double standard in discourse - sensitivity must give way to sensibility. There has been an unwillingness to engage the Erinyes on any level other than reticent sympathy - which is a grave disservice to the issues of the day.
Perhaps the penultimate occurrence was viewable in immediate commentary reaction to Condoleeza Rice's public testimony before the 9/11 commission on MSNBC. Among the plaintives of if and maybe, and with a clear precognition of blame toward the government and especially the Bush Administration, were undisputed and uncountered innuendo. Understandable immersion in the 9/11 tragedy has unfortunately given rise to the notion among the Erinyes that the plot against the nation was blindingly obvious - the Erinyes decry the Rice claim that she couldn't imagine the use of hijacked planes as cruise missiles, when they state US personnel knew of concern in 1996 of such a use of an aircraft at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. But there is no balanced examination of the four previous intervening years since 1996 - when cockpit doors could be strengthened, air marshals hired, screening procedures enhanced - only whether that one day could have progressed differently, if foresight had revealed what perfect hindsight envisions.
The Erinyes perspective is shaped by a sense of grief. Just as we cannot directly empathize with the pain of their loss, the pain of their loss certainly informs their belief that surely someone must have seen what they so clearly see and feel now. They evoke that it should be obvious that Al Qaeda was going to use hijacked aircraft to attack the WTC, now that retrospection let's us find the right needles in a stack of needles.
The ready willingness to impart partisan blame on the current administration, and to ignore the potential partisan nature of this willingness, gives the Erinyes an unopposed voice on serious issues that affect the entire nation. While 9/11 was a grievous day for the families, it is an event that belongs to us all. The September 11th attacks weren't an attack on specific people, but on the entirety of the United States itself. Time heals all wounds, and with it's passage perhaps a greater willingness to see past grief toward more measured objectivity.
And of the original Erinyes? Orestes, hounded by the Erinyes, is brought before a tribunal, and on a split vote - Athena casts the deciding vote for acquittal. The Erinyes are reborn as the Eumenides, "the kindly ones". Let us hope such a peaceful guise awaits souls whose loss deserves such a contentment.
An even more detailed article appeared today, a great read by Dorothy Rabinowitz, indicating the ripeness of the topic... I'd held it for publication, but the iron will get no hotter, so let the hammer fall...
Someone file under "No Kidding"...
The declassified Presidential Daily Brief released by the White House on Saturday is remarkably unremarkable.
Why the discussion of this document? Because the words "New York", "Washington", and "Hijackings" appear along with "Al Qaeda" - but the context is completely disconnected. Unnoticed will be the casual dismissal of "sensational" threat reporting, such as the hijacking of an aircraft by Al Qaeda to gain the release of imprisoned Al Qaeda extremists.
The real bombshell is unlikely to be picked up by most, who are more interested in shiving the political opposition than in constructive analysis of how to improve national security.
The bombshell is the line "Al-Qa'ida members ? including some who are US citizens ? have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks."
The bombshell isn't the 47th variant in spelling Al Qaeda, but that it's apparently been known for years that members travelled to and from the United States and maintained a domestic support structure here. An open society allows cover to those aiming to destroy it. We can only allow the wolves to walk among us so long and act suprised that they've attacked the innocent.
All the domestic surveillance, the Patriot Act, all the actions being undertaken now - the same ones currently under fire by Sen. Kerry and many others of the left and libertarian right - are the ones that should have kept Al Qaeda from using the United States like a Red Roof Inn.
NOTE: As the CIA prepares the PDB, there is no information on what level of input the NSC or Richard Clarke had on it's content - therefore, no assignment of knowledge can initially be made to who assigned or shared the assumption of the hijacking plot as "sensational" - and we will not either, and have redacted this message accordingly.