[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: June 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I've stopped reading Leonard Pitts' columns. Frankly, I don't have the time, energy and will to sit through another one of that man's articles and read another lie about how racist and nasty Republicans (read: conservatives) are.

Fortunately, there are still activists out there who can stomach Pitts and give him a little dose of his own medicine.

In his June 21 Issues & Ideas column, GOP blind to its race problem Leonard Pitts Jr. unfairly condemns the entire Republican Party as racist based on the actions of a few. In reality, the Republican Party, since its inception in 1854 as the antislavery party until today, has been the party of freedom and equality for blacks. A better case can be made that the Democratic Party is a racist party.

As author Michael Scheuer stated, the Democratic Party is the party of the four S's: slavery, secession, segregation and now socialism. Democrats have been running black communities for the past 40 years, and their policies have turned those communities into economic and social wastelands.

Democrats fought to expand slavery, while Republicans fought to ban it. After the Civil War, Republicans amended the Constitution to grant blacks freedom, citizenship and the right to vote. Republicans then passed the civil-rights laws of the 1860s that, sadly, were over turned by the Democrats with the Repeal Act of 1894 after they took over Congress in 1892.

Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen was instrumental to the passage of civil-rights legislation in 1957, 1960, 1964, 1965 and 1968. He wrote the language for the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibited discrimination in housing. President Lyndon Johnson could not have achieved passage of the civil-rights legislation without the support of Republicans. Johnson's statement about losing the South was not made out of a concern that racist Democrats would suddenly join the Republican Party. Instead, Johnson feared that the racist Democrats would again form a third party, such as the short-lived States Rights Democratic Party.

Democrats readily demean black professionals who do not toe the Democratic Party's liberal line, denigrating them as ''sellouts'' and ''Uncle Toms.'' A Democrat blogger depicted RNC Chairman Michael Steele as a ''Simple Sambo'' with a blackened minstrel-style face, nappy hair and big, thick red lips.

Condoleezza Rice was demeaned by a Democratic cartoonist as an ignorant, barefoot ''mammy.'' Democrats Al Sharpton and Harry Belafonte denigrated Gen. Colin Powell and Rice as ``house Negroes.''

Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy called some black judicial nominees, including Judge Janice Rogers Brown, ''Neanderthals.'' Democratic Senator Harry Reid slurred Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as an ''embarrassment'' who could not write properly.

Has Pitts condemned racism in the Democratic Party?

FRANCES RICE, chairman, National Black Republican Association, Sarasota

I don't believe the Democratic Party itself is racist. Nor do I believe most Democrats and liberals are racist, either. But Frances Rice puts the finger on something many Democrats don't want to admit to: their party's own dark history as well as their largely failed policies towards minorities.

Another Celebrity Death - Billy Mays RIP

Whoever came up with the theory that celebrity deaths come in threes is unfortunately correct these days.

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died on Thursday. Today we have reports that pitchman Billy Mays has died at the age of 50. On my flight to Texas this past Monday I read an article in American Way magazine on Billy Mays and how he got his start in the TV salesman/pitchman business. Seemed like a nice guy who truly earned his path to success; too bad to hear about his death at a much-too-young age.

The recent celebrity deaths just serves as a sobering reminder of how short and fickle life can be, no matter how famous or ordinary you are. Enjoy it to your fullest, folks.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Odds and Ends

I'm back from a combination of work travel and just plain work, and I apologize for the lack of blogging (of course, our dedicated readers are used to this by now). We appreciate your patience.

Here's some of what's been on my mind lately:

- Cap and Trade makes no sense to me. It's based on, at best, highly disputable science; it's undoubtedly going to raise energy costs across the board and more jobs will be lost than created. Look at the Kyoto Protocol for a hint of what this would be like if passed. Let's hope the Senate kills this awful bill.

- Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett: R.I.P.

- Don't let anyone tell you that "dry heat" is more comfortable than humidity. An oven is dry heat, too.

- I'm glad President Obama finally said something in support of Cuban dissidents. Now all he has to do is to stop trying to be nice to the castros, who despise him.

- I'm glad President Obama is finally standing up to the thugs in Iran. Too bad it took 2 weeks for him to do so. So much for a kinder and gentler relationship with our enemies.

- Seeing how Iranians are bravely expressing their outrage at their dictatorship makes me sad that Cubans can't seem to muster up enough courage to do the same. Yes, there are differences between Iran and Cuba, but lots of similarities, too.

- Far-left and even some mainstream-left reaction to Mark Sanford's dalliances in Tangoland reminds me of this paradox: if some Republicans and conservatives caught literally with their pants down are accused (justly) by lefties of being hypocrites, while the same lefties mostly shrug when a Spitzer or an Edwards gets caught, does this mean that the finger-pointing lefties don't hold their own up to a higher standard?

- Very quietly, the Florida Marlins are in the hunt for the division lead midway through the season.

- Speaking of the Marlins, everything's still on track for the new ballpark's groundbreaking in July.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bush Bashing "Comical"

Perhaps the neatest thing about the Herald's new BlogNet is that you can peruse all sorts of local blogs without having to go into the sites themselves. That way, if you see a post that looks to be a stinker right off the bat, especially at some of our "favorite" blogs, all you have to do is keep scrolling down and it's gone, c ya.

It's through the Herald's BlogNet that I discovered this post by Reid Blog on the difference between Obama Derangement Syndrome (how original) and Bush Derangement Syndrome. It's not necessarily the fact that there are a few deranged and sick individuals out there who want to do real harm to Obama, but Reid's assertion that personal criticism of Bush "tended to lean more toward the comical" was the real eye-popper. You see, the harshest criticism of Bush was actualy targeted at his policies.

Brace yourselves:
In other words: "Bush Derangement" if you want to call it that, was based on a loathing of Bush administration policies. Attitudes toward Bush himself, if you have to characterize them broadly, tend to lean more toward the comical. And while derision of Bush as a dunce bugs those on the right, it's hardly the same chilling talk that derides our current president as tantamount to a Marxist, Socialist, anti-American Muslim terrorist. [Left: a leaflet distributed in Dallas on the day of JFK's assassination. Courtesy of Prose]
Ahhhh, so that's what it was all along. Too bad this dunce of a conservative missed it. After all, calling Bush a Nazi, a murderer and a war criminal was indeed funny to many liberals, especially when it was comedians and skilled entertainers delivering the punch lines. The fact that many average folks I know freely participated in this type of ridiculous defamation makes it even more legitimate, Reid would probably make you believe. It's all about the policies, not the person, remember?

This is truly a bizarre era we're living in, folks.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Liberal MSM Does It Again

Liberal columnist Eugene Robinson of the liberal Washington Post could have saved all of us a lot of time by condensing his latest column into these few words:

Right-wingers really ARE responsible, whether directly or indirectly, for the killing of the guard at the Holocaust Museum.

So then, Mr. Robinson, who's to blame for the shooting of Private William Long 2 weeks ago? Keith Olbermann? Rick Sanchez? Chris Matthews? Mike Wallace?

Give me a break. And to think this guy writes for our nation's capital's largest newspaper.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Joecito's Moral Relativism (And One Other Topic)

Just got back from a business trip to St. Maarten (yes, it is possible to go to a Caribbean island just for business - ask me how it's done). Stayed mostly on the Dutch side and got to see jumbo jets coming in for landing no more than 50 feet over the beach at the Juliana Airport (check out this YouTube video for an idea of how incredibly low these planes get to the beach).

At the hotel there was none other than the Miami Herald's International Edition available for reading. BTW, the Herald is cutting back the International Edition from two sections to 16 pages and eliminating Sundays. One of the articles I read which almost made me shoot blood out of my eyes was this one, which was already covered by Babalu. To think that Joe Garcia equates American operatives with the "Cuban Five". I'm just glad Joe Garcia got beat last fall, and with comments like that, I don't see him winning any time soon. I'd love to see his supporters try to defend his totally ridiculous assertion that we can draw an equal comparison between the two.

Also on my mind is the reaction to the tragedy at the Holocaust Museum. An extremist nutcase killing a guard is most certainly worthy of top news of the day and should be thoroughly and properly analyzed. We had another tragedy not too long ago involving the killing of an U.S. Army soldier at a Little Rock recruiting center by another extremist nutcase. Too bad the latter got nowhere near the amount of press and immediate attention drawn to the killer and his probable motives as the guard killing did.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

School Accountability and Civic Pride

I'll be out of town and with no internet access for much of the upcoming week, so this is it until Thursday or Friday at the earliest.

Two stories of local interest I'd like to share:

- I realize the FCAT is far from perfect, but this is what can happen when schools are held accountable for the performance of their students, and a principal who works extra hard and cares takes over an inner-city public high school on the brink of complete failure. It's no coincidence the turnaround at Miami Central came in the FCAT era and not in the 1990s when kids were able to pass from grade to grade without learning anything.

- Miami needs more people like Rosa Sugranes.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Obama Zigs and Zags in Cairo

Obama's speech in Cairo today was OK...that's about the best grade I can give it. I admire his attempt to reach out to Muslims and try to reach common ground, even if it can seem like an odd marriage of arrogance and naivete to try to do such a thing. Reminding the Muslim world of America's values was a good move, but do enough of the right people care to do anything about it?

Where I found Obama's speech somewhat maddening was when he got to some of his "issues". For example, the second one on Israeli-Palestinian relations. It was tilted too much to the sympathetic side toward the Palestinians - regardless of Obama's audience. While Obama's sympathy toward Jews is largely based on history (Holocaust), his sympathy for Palestinians is exclusively based on the "occupation" of a land that has never truly belonged solely to Palestinians to begin with. Obama points out Gaza as an example. Does anyone remember what happened when Israel abandoned Gaza? That's right...bombs started heading north. A two-state solution is fine, but who's doing more to prevent this from happening, and what are the Palestinian people doing to change it? Those are fair questions to ask.

From the speech:
America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and we will say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. (Applause.) We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.
Darn it, that Israel won't go away. Amazing. BTW, what's wrong with imposing peace? Just asking.

The next issue -nuclear weapons:
I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that's why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. (Applause.) And any nation — including Iran — should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I'm hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.
No further comment required.

Next issue - Democracy:

I know — I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere. (Applause.)

Mr. President, you began by stating that no nation should impose a system of government on another. Then you go on to state that people yearn for freedom and democracy and that America should support these rights everywhere. Did I miss something? You can't have it both ways. Either you support human rights (Obama was good in stating that) or you don't. It's that simple.

Next issue - Religion

Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That's why I'm committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit — for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We can't disguise hostility toward any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.

What exactly is he talking about here? If anything, it's the opposite that's occurring. When threatened with something so hideous and oppressive as Sharia law, for example, the logical and right thing to do is to impede it. Faith should serve as a unifying force when it serves the common good, not because it sounds politically correct and "noble".

In the end, it was Obama trying to please both sides. Problem is, you can't speak out of both sides of your mouth, ignore certain inconvenient facts about Muslims and Muslim culture and expect problems to go away. Right-minded people know the underpinning issue here: the West versus a significant minority of Muslims that not only do not believe in unity and freedom, but are hell-bent on fighting it to the death, literally. The sooner we realize who we're really fighting here (as opposed to a religion), the sooner we can end this mess. All the best outreach in the world won't accomplish much if people aren't told the truth.

One last thing, Mr. President: it's perfectly OK to refer to "extremists" by their real description: terrorists. Even in Cairo.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ethnicity Colors Law

Due to lack of time to do much of anything except catch a column or blog post here and there, I haven't had a chance to comment on the selection of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. However, the Herald's right-wing of Jackie Bueno Sousa and Glenn Garvin have.

Sousa hits a double:

What worries me is when that pride turns into feelings of superiority, which is the insinuation in Sotomayor's now famous counter to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's well-known assertion that wise old men and wise old women ultimately reach the same conclusions when deciding cases.

In disagreeing with O'Connor, the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, Sotomayor said: ``I would hope a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.''

The statement implies that the lives of one group of people are richer than those of another group, when in reality we're all limited by the bounds of our existence. We can certainly enrich our lives by being exposed to different cultures, listening to diverse ways of thinking and learning from the experiences of others.

But, in the end, we each have our own unique experiences; one as real as the other. A Latina's life, in general, is no richer than the life of a white male, or a black woman, or an Asian man; it's just different.

Garvin hits it out of the park:
Sotomayor's claim that ''a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life'' wasn't some blundering parenthetical reference. It was part of a full-scale repudiation of the idea that the law, or the judges who interpret it, should be color-blind. It even questions whether judicial objectivity is a desirable goal.
Sotomayor may very well be qualified enough. But her not-so-disguised feelings about her ethnicity (one that I broadly share with her, by the way) making her superior to a member of a "less ethnically-rich" group really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It shouldn't sit well with any good-intentioned American, either.