Sean's Blog

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Saturday, October 05, 2002

I am making my NFL picks later and later each week. Before long I will be making my picks on Sunday morning in a mad dash to beat the 12 PM deadline. Here are this weeks picks:



Sunday October 6, 01:00 PM EDT

Tampa Bay at Atlanta

Oakland at Buffalo

NY Giants at Dallas

Washington at Tennessee

Cincinnati at Indianapolis

New England at Miami

Pittsburgh at New Orleans

Arizona at Carolina

Sunday October 6, 04:05 PM EDT

Kansas City at NY Jets

San Diego at Denver

St. Louis at San Francisco

Philadelphia at Jacksonville

Sunday October 6, 08:30 PM EDT

Baltimore at Cleveland

Monday October 7, 09:00 PM EDT

Green Bay at Chicago

TIEBREAKER: total points scored in Monday Night game: 51

Nicholas Kristoff has written a piece arguing that the US is making a potentially fatal mistake if we believe that the people of Iraq will stand by while we roll over them. Kristoff quotes a couple of young women who he says have a twinkle in their eye when they speak of throwing knives and stones at Americans. Yes, Kristoff got a letter. Here it is:

Mr. Kristoff

No one, that is NO ONE but you, believes that Iraqi citizens are able to say what they really believe. People are laughing at you! You are a laughingstock when you write ridiculous pieces like "The Stones of Baghdad." If you continue writing things that are so completely and stupidly untrue people will stop reading you because you lack any credibility at all.

How much did Iraq pay you to write such a stupidly preposterous piece suggesting that citizens of Iraq are free to say what they really think? Is the New York Times so anti-Bush that they will stoop to this level to create an argument against war with Iraq? Good grief man, are you so gullible? Is it possible that you really believe that Iraqis can say that Saddam is finished or that the US will roll over Iraq like a tank would roll over a bug?

I'm sorry, but you have written one of the most unbelievably transparently untrue articles that I have ever read. The sad thing is that some people will believe you.

"People in Iraq won't talk freely, because they are terrified that their friends are working for one of Saddam's nine horrible security services. . . . When I was in southern Iraq in '91, we had a lot of conversations with a very nice, very sophisticated doctor. One day, he was watching television and the Iraqi army was being praised for having won the second part of the Gulf War [after the initial U.S. attack aimed at driving Iraq out of Kuwait]. The doctor just said, 'Well, it is a strange victory if daily children are dying of hunger.' That was enough. Someone heard him. He was taken, tortured for three weeks and brought back a broken person. Letting one sentence slip is cause enough for a person to vanish into an Iraqi prison or even to be killed."--German humanitarian worker Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, interviewed in Ha'aretz, Oct. 4."

What are you thinking? Are you really so stupid? I don't think so or else you wouldn't be working for the NY Times. Since it's clear you can't be stupid, then the only other reasonable explanation is that you have an agenda. I can only determine that your and the Times' agenda is to oppose war because you oppose President Bush on a partisan level. This is why people say the NY Times is a liberal paper. I think liberal is a compliment you don't deserve because that implies that the paper is open-minded and tolerant. The truth is that the Times is a leftwing newspaper with a deeply partisan perspective. Admit it and we can all move on.

Sean Roper

Friday, October 04, 2002

My letter to Spinsanity:

To: Ben Fritz
From: Sean Roper
Subject: The New Republic on Kofi Annan

This is a link to The New Republic piece on Kofi Annan. You know who he is. He's the secretary-general of the UN, that horrible and corrupt organization that Baghdad Democrats are counting on to eliminate the issue of war from the American election. The New Republic is able to show quite convincingly that Kofi Annan is an appeaser. Therefore, when the Democrats align themselves with such a man they are by extension supporting appeasement if for no other reason than to increase their prospects at the ballot box.

Spinsanity recently featured a segment that intended to show that Democrats were not appeasers and that the word was being used too loosely. I disagree with your position. I believe that support for appeasers makes one guilty of appeasement.

To be sure, not all Democrats are advocating appeasement, but I do believe it is clear that the ones who are accused of appeasement are actually guilty of the act.

Sean Roper

The New Republic features a story about Kofi Annan. This is not some admiring puff piece. It's clear that Annan is an appeaser of the worst sort. This is the man that the Baghdad Democrats look to to bring peace to the Middle East, but the only thing this man knows is how to appease evil. The New Republic features examples from the Rwandan slaughter of Tutsi by the Hutus and the Bosnian Serb ethnic cleansing of muslims in Srebrenica. Here's an excerpt from The New Republic piece that is most telling:

"But it's Rwanda that provides the clearest window into Annan's mind. Four months before the Hutus embarked on their 1994 genocidal rampage--800,000 Tutsis killed in 100 days--Annan's office in New York received a fax from Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian head of the U.N. contingent in Rwanda. The memo, labeled "most immediate," quoted from a well-placed informant who described in eerily precise terms the planning of the Hutu "anti-Tutsi extermination." Dallaire asked for permission to evacuate the source. He also announced that in the next 36 hours he would raid a "major weapons cache" that had been stockpiled in preparation for the genocide. Annan denied both requests. His office cabled Dallaire, "[T]he overriding consideration is the need to avoid entering into a course of action that might lead to the use of force and unanticipated repercussions." What's worse, he ordered Dallaire to inform Rwanda's Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana of the informant, even though the informant had explicitly named the president's cronies as the planners of the genocide."

pre·pran·di·al Pronunciation Key (pr-prnd-l) adj. Before a meal, especially dinner: took a preprandial walk in the woods

That word stopped me cold. I couldn't go on until I knew wtf it meant. Ok, back to my reading.

Larry Elder discusses the commercialization of Snoop Dog.

I believe that Elder is able to speak to this issue simply because he is black. If Elder were a white person it would be said that he "doesn't understand what it is to be black," but since he is a black man, the accusation of racism is mostly muted except by people who would say that Elder is an "Uncle Tom" or that he "isn't black enough."

I think that Larry Elder is a brilliant man and I am glad that he addresses the issues he does because only a black man is considered a credible critic of black culture. A person of another race would be simply dismissed as a racist.

Ann Coulter reveals a side to the Torricelli controversy that I hadn't even considered. The whole article is awesome, as usual, but Coulter reveals yet another argument about why it's terribly unfair for the Democrats to be allowed to exchange candidates so late in the contest. Here it is:

"The Democrats' 11th-hour switch is in violation of state election law, which puts a 51-day limit on withdrawing from an election. This is not a random filing requirement. Torricelli's Republican opponent, Douglas R. Forrester, has designed an entire campaign – polls, advertisements, issues – on the assumption that he was running against a specific candidate. As soon as his campaign against that candidate began to work and he pulled ahead, Democrats switched the candidate."

The reasons why this is wrong keep piling up and my disgust of Democrats grows day by day.

I think it's more than a little interesting that President Bush has scheduled an address to the nation on Monday night. Fox News is saying that he will use the opportunity to educate the public about the growing threat posed by Iraq.

It's called getting your ducks in a row. I believe this is significant. Very significant. Stay tuned.

I found out yesterday the reason it seems like my Internet connection is so slow. Apparently Worldcom is a significant part of the Internet infrastructure and there network is experiencing some technical problems. They don't know what the problem is, but all I know is that it's taking me more than a minute to open pages that normally take seconds. It might not seem like such a big deal, but when you are used to moving around quickly, extra seconds seem like an eternity. I hope they get the problem fixed soon.

I did not do well at all on my football picks this past week. I was 6-8, and now I am 35-25 overall for the year. That's not bad. I am doing nearly as well as the Inside The NFL hosts are. In fact, Bob Costas and I are tied. I didn't do my homework last week, but that's really no excuse. It was a week of stunning upsets where teams that seemed hopeless suddenly came to life and beat teams that are actually better than them. But that, as the saying goes, is why they play the games. I am still not ready to make my picks for the week. I will make them tomorrow after I get a chance to look at the injury reports, weather conditions, and other relevant information.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus column is excellent and I recommend reading the whole thing, but two items in particular caught my attention. The first item is the sort of story that you will most likely not read in the newspaper. It's about Grace Mugabe. She's the wife of the President of Zimbabwe. The same man who has been ethnically cleansing his nation of white owned farms. Well, here's the excerpt from Nordlinger's column:

"The New York Post’s saucy, delicious “gossipeuse,” as they call her — Cindy Adams — had a curious item yesterday. Listen: Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, “must harbor a fondness for Britain, seeing as how she behaves like a queen. A recent shopping day the whole Harrod’s store closed for Grace. [That’s how Cindy talks — and writes. Can you imagine writing like you talk?] Doesn’t even do that for Elizabeth [meaning, the Queen].”

Now, I have no idea whether this item is true (sorry, Cindy), but if so, it’s breathtaking. You know that the Mugabe regime is engaged in a kind of “ethnic cleansing,” terrorizing white farmers and throwing them out of their houses and off their land. This same Mrs. Mugabe actually went and picked out one of the choicer farms for herself — she went to visit, to inspect, while the couple who own and built the place — elderly, traumatized — were still there."

The next piece is a quip that Nordlinger doesn't attribute to anyone in particular, I just thought it was funny:

"Finally, I spotted this, and thought it cute: “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away and have their shoes.”

I have been struck by the dishonest arguments people have made to oppose war against Iraq. Arguments such as, "Bush and the Republicans are only doing this because of the polls/election!" and, "War with Iraq will distract from the war against terror!" or, "There is no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda!" and "Why Iraq?! What about other nations?!" To the people who raise these questions, I say, "Read Jonah Goldberg. He explains it much better than I can and he makes you look stupid too."

Ward Connerly writes about a potentially landmark case in the fight over affirmative action within federal agencies. Dennis Worth has filed a class action lawsuit against the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because he has been passed over for promotion even though his evaluations rated him as "outstanding" and "highly successful."

Here's an excerpt that explains what has been happening:

"What's even more incredible about the quotas at HUD is that women and minorities are already substantially over-represented as a percentage of the Department's current employees. Although the percentage of minority employees in HUD's workforce is more than twice their proportion in the comparative civilian labor pool, preferential minority hiring goals are the rule rather than the exception at HUD. According to the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), the public interest law firm representing Mr. Worth, in 2001, HUD officials calculated that Asian males represent only 3.4% of the Department's workforce in the professional job category, whereas the figure for the comparative civilian labor force was 3.5%. This tiny difference - a tenth of a percent - was deemed by HUD to be a "manifest imbalance." So the solution for HUD is to set up preferential hiring and promotion goals for Asian males."

This will probably be a long and drawn out court battle. The proponents of affirmative action necessarily have to fight this one tooth and nail because the result could be an end to affirmative action in federal agencies.

Big surprise. The Democrats have won the right to put Frank Lautenberg on the ballot to replace Senator Robert Torricelli. Never mind that Lautenberg may still lose, this reeks. The Democrats knew what Torricelli was before the primary, but they selected him to be their candidate anyway. The only thing that happened is that the polls showed that "The Torch" was going to lose. This is just another indication that the Democrats are unprincipled, unethical, and opportunistic. I hope the voters of New Jersey don't let those sleazy bastards get away with this.

Mark Steyn (via Andrew Sullivan) has an excellent article in the Canadian online paper National Post about the difficulty the Democrats have had developing a coherent position on the war. Steyn shows the positions being held by the various elements of the Democratic party.

This is an excellent article that had me laughing out loud. Here's a couple of excerpts:

"I may have missed a couple of dozen other factions. But, taken as a whole, the Democrats' current positions on Iraq form the all-time record multiple-contortionist pretzel display. A week ago they showed signs of finally remembering the First Rule of Holes: when you're in one, stop digging."

And this excerpt is priceless:

"That's why a couple of days later the normally sober, soft-spoken, funereal Tom Daschle, the Democrats' leader in the Senate, had a meltdown on the floor of the chamber. For months now, the calmly evasive Daschle has stuck to an unvarying routine on Iraq. He has "concerns." He has "grave concerns." His concerns have concerns. He's gravely concerned the President isn't concerned about some of his concerns and that concerns him all the more. Plus he's concerned that the Republicans may be politicizing the political process. Also, he has "questions." Thousands of questions: Has the President weighed all the options? Is the President aware of the risks? Could the President weigh all the options a couple more times? Is the President aware there may be some risks he's not aware of? When the President says he's weighing all the options, is that in pounds or bushels? Does the President know who put the bomp in the bomp-sh-bomp-sh-bomp, who put the ram in the ram-a-lama-ding-dong? Where have all the flowers gone? What kind of fool am I? If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why can't I? In the immortal words of David Cassidy, how can I be sure in a world that's constantly changing?"

Anyone who knows Tom Daschle knows that he is always "concerned" and that he "has questions" so Steyn's representation is not far off the mark. I suggest reading the whole piece. It is excellent.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Tammy Bruce rips Barbra Streisand a new one in her latest piece featured at Frontpage magazine.

This is just what the doctor ordered to restore my confidence. The ebb of the debate had taken a toll, but Bruce was able to lift me up. I feel much better.

Andrew Sullivan also features a story on self-esteem (scroll down) with a link to a New York Times story by Erica Goode. Here's an excerpt from Sullivan's site:

"Friends who teach undergraduates these days are constantly complaining that the problems of their students come not from low self-esteem, but from the reverse. The students object to any grades that seem beneath them; they fail to see why they need to work harder; when they don't do well, their first recourse is to blame the teacher, not seek the reasons in their own work."

I read something similar to this years ago. I can't remember where I read it, but the gist of the piece was that children who bullied others or misbehaved in class were not suffering from the diagnosed lack of self-esteem. In fact, they had very high levels of self-esteem that could properly be considered arrogance.

Once again Andrew Sullivan is able to crystallize my own fears about the Democrats. Andrew argues that the Democrats are positioning themselves to blame everything on President Bush and the Republicans if we get attacked again or if the war on terror goes badly. No matter what happens the Democrats are prepared to blame it on Republicans. I grow increasingly repulsed by the Democratic party. They have ceased to represent anything that resembles principles or ethics, not to mention morals.

The attempt by the Democrats to field another candidate to replace Bob Torricelli is a prime example of what I am talking about. There are issues of democratic fairness at issue there. The most prominent issue is that the leaders of the Democratic party are going to subvert the process by handpicking the candidate. Wasn't that what the primary was for? Didn't the Democrats pick their pony? Yes, but that was before they thought he was going to lose. Secondly, absentee ballots have already been sent out to military personnel. What happens if those ballots can't be changed, sent to those servicemen, and returned in time to be counted? Those votes will not be counted and voters will be cheated, but I don't think that particularly concerns Democrats. There are other issues, but none of those seem to matter to the Democrats who are infected with a win-at-all-costs mentality. New Jersey is no different than Florida. The Democrats want to change the rules after the fact. It's sickening.

Thomas Bray has a growing confidence in the Republican chances in the coming midterm election. Bray cites several instances of Democrats aligning themselves with the right on the issue of the war on terror.

Personally, I feel the opposite of Bray. I feel that Democrats are growing increasingly strong in their opposition to the war against Iraq and this appears to be a result of their constituents support for this posture. The Democrats have every right to oppose the war. In fact, that is one of the things that marks a Democrat. The language the Democrats are using has grown increasingly vitriolic and divisive, but I see this as a sign of confidence in opposition to the war and that it is not the positive omen that Brays believes that it is. I am more concerned than I have been in quite sometime that the Democrats with their allies, the bureaucratic leftists, are going to thwart the US's chance to effect regime change in Iraq. I hope this is just the flow and ebb of the debate.

My Internet connection is agonizingly slow today and it's causing me more than the normal amount of frustration that I don't have DSL. That is absolutely at the top of my wish list. It's taking me minutes instead of seconds to download websites and almost as long to open specific articles that I want to read. I don't know what's going on, but the net has slowed to a crawl today.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Senator Torricelli has indeed quit his reelection campaign. I don't know if it will work, but I like the argument Torricelli's challenger is making to prevent the democrats from fielding another candidate. Doug Forrester, the virtually unknown challenger to Torricelli's seat, said that, "The laws of the state of New Jersey do not contain a 'we think we're going to lose so we get to pick someone new' clause." I agree, but New Jersey is a heavily Democratic state and If I had to bet I would say that the rules will be changed to accomodate the Democrats. It's not fair, but it's going to happen.

Monday, September 30, 2002

According to this report via The Drudge Report Senator Robert Torricelli is considering dropping out of the race for senator from New Jersey if the Democratic party can find a suitable replacement. The only problem is that New Jersey law allows this if the candidate drops out 48 days before the election. There are now only 36 days until the election. As the vote in Florida can attest though, rules and laws have no meaning to Democrats. In Florida, the plain truth is that George W. Bush won the election according to the rules that were in place before the election. The Democrats wanted to change the rules AFTER the election and that was the reason for all that mess in 2000. Now, the Democrats are going to try to change the rules, again, when it suits them and I just wonder how they will try to spin it. This could get very interesting.

Michael Barone says that the basis for much of the current anti-Americanism in Europe is because "members of the European legal apparat and chattering classes are unhappy that the United States will not agree to be subject to the International Criminal Court...." Barone goes on to say of the International Criminal Court that:

"It seems likely to act much like the much-praised Spanish judge who indicted former President Augusto Pinochet of Chile and demanded his extradition from Britain because of alleged violations of human rights against Spaniards in Chile many years before. It is inconceivable that such a judge would bring similar charges against Fidel Castro or Yasser Arafat or former Eastern European Communists, whose crimes have been far worse than Pinochet's: The impulse to prosecute is directed entirely at the right, and there are no enemies to the left."

I think Barone is absolutely right. Leftwing Europe would never indict other leftists because they understand and, in many cases, condone leftwing crimes against humanity. Leftists have been slaughtering people for many years in the name of social progress and, in fact, many prominent leftwing intellectuals have argued in the past that such atrocities might be necessary. Believe it or not, the people who have made such outrageous statements are studied and admired in Europe.

I thought that someday I might like to build a house that would be partially wind and solar powered. That was until I read this story at Tech Central Station that says that solar power still isn't a financially sound investment. According to the story, the return on investment is about what you could expect from a passbook savings at your local bank. Last November US News and World Report featured a story (now it's an archive piece that you have to pay for) about a windmill technology revolution that was making wind generated electricity as viable as nuclear power. The article said that technology was finally making wind power a very real alternative source of energy and that windmill farms are popping up everywhere. Too bad the same can't be said for solar power because it would be great to cut dependence on fossil fuels if only because solar power would be free. Maybe someday it will be worth the cost of installation and maintenance.

Peter Boettke in an article for Tech Central Station says that Russia has turned an economic corner and "is now slouching toward a future of increased freedom, enhanced social cooperation and generalized economic prosperity." If a market economy can work in Russia it can work anywhere. Russia, if fully successful, will become a model for economically and politically backward nations to follow.

We are truly at a turning point in history. If a democratic government can be created in the Middle East we might be able to finally see the possibility of a world peace. One would think that the left would see this possibility and would support a regime change in Iraq, but the left has become perverted and blinded by multiculturalism. All that most leftists see is a racist attack by the US on a brown people in the Middle East. The idea is that brown people all over the world are victims of white male oppressors. This is as far as the multicultural left can see. They have lost the vision of a peaceful and prosperous world because all they believe in is tied to hatred of western culture and this includes western economic culture. Hatred dominates leftist group think and they are blinded by that hatred. Their vision only goes as far as opposing anything that western culture believes in.

The Carolina Panthers lost a heartbreaking game yesterday to the Green Bay Packers, 17-14, for their first defeat of the season.

I could go on a rant about how the Panther's kicker missed a 24 yard field goal in the final seconds to cost the Panthers the game, but that kick should have been for the outright victory and not for a tie to send the game into overtime. The Panthers had three turnovers and that had more to do with the loss than the missed field goal although the game could still have been won despite the three turnovers if Shayne Graham had made the kick.

The Panthers defense played very well again. I am surprised at how well the defensive backs are playing in particular, but that is probably due to the outstanding play of the front four. When a team is able to put pressure on the quarterback, the defensive backs' job is much easier and that is likely the case now.

The Panthers next play the Arizona Cardinals and that should be an excellent chance to get back in the win column.

Representatives Jim McDermott (D-Washington) and David Bonior (D-Michigan) are in Baghdad to offer moral support to Saddam Hussein.

I just wonder what the average democratic voter thinks about this, especially the older democrats; the people who grew up as Roosevelt and Truman democrats. Do they really support the things these men have said? According to this New York Times, these men said they tend to believe Saddam Hussein while accusing President Bush of "misleading the American people." How can anyone take Saddam's word?

I would like to believe that there will be a political price for the Democratic party to pay for having members like this, but then I remember that most Democrats harbor anti-American beliefs. These men would not do this if there was any chance that the national Democratic party would have to pay a deep political price. The leadership would not allow it. They could speak like this from Washington D.C., but to go to Baghdad would be out of the question if this meant a seismic political shift. If there was going to be a price to pay you can bet that Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt would be the first to condemn these men for their treasonous behaviour. The fact that Daschle and Gephardt are not on the frontpage of the NY Times expressing outrage for the comments these two men have made tells me all that I need to know. The core of the Democratic party will not be outraged by this contemptible behaviour. And this is yet another reason why I could never be a democrat. To say these things from here in America is one thing, but to go to Baghdad a la Jane Fonda is simply unacceptable to me.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

I have never watched NBC's show, The West Wing because of a gut instinct. Curiously, many conservatives watch the show and say that they like it. John Leo is one such conservative who says that he watches the show and that he enjoys it. I have read Leo for many years now and he is one of my favorite writers, so maybe I should watch the show. Except that soon after Leo says he enjoys the show he lists the various gut confirming reasons that I can't bring myself to watch the show. Leo explains that Aaron Sorkin portrays conservatives unfairly and that "the problem with the show, not a new one, is that your enjoyment is likely to be enhanced if you happen to view politics through the eyes of Barbra Streisand."

See, that confirms for me exactly why I could not watch the show. It would make me crazy to see Sorkin twist reality and to get away with it. Many people will watch his show and become convinced that the portrayals are accurate. I cannot support the show with ratings when Sorkin is practicing such open, deliberate, and hostile warfare against conservatism. Frankly, I can't see how Leo can recommend the show on the one hand by saying it's "a terrific show, with unusually strong dialogue, humor, and dramatic impact" and then condemn the show as being so "unfair, week after week." I am not going to support Sorkin as he lies and twists the truth to get rich, and to shape political opinion so that conservatives are seen as evil and stupid. I'm not going to do it.

Larry Elder wonders if the time will ever come when Matt Lauer will ask a leftist if they have ever thought they might be wrong on an issue. Only in Bizzaro World Larry.

Apparently it is only conservatives who should rethink their positions, at least according to Matt Lauer.