Sean's Blog

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Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Damn, I still haven't made my football picks. I nearly forgot all about it. I was 8-6 last week. At one point I was 8-2 and thinking I was going to do really well for the week, then I lost the last 4 games of the week. Here are this weeks picks:

Inside the NFL: BEAT THE EXPERTS
YOUR SEASON RECORD 43-31

WEEK 6
Sunday October 13, 01:00 PM EDT

Carolina at Dallas

Jacksonville at Tennessee

Baltimore at Indianapolis

Detroit at Minnesota

Green Bay at New England

Atlanta at NY Giants

New Orleans at Washington

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

Buffalo at Houston

Sunday October 13, 04:05 PM EDT

Kansas City at San Diego

Cleveland at Tampa Bay

Oakland at St. Louis

Sunday October 13, 08:30 PM EDT

Miami at Denver

Monday October 14, 09:00 PM EDT

San Francisco at Seattle

TIEBREAKER: total points scored in Monday Night game: 61

I can't say I have ever read anything by Nat Hentoff, nor have I ever read anything out of The Village Voice so I was killing two birds with one stone when I read this piece (via Instapundit) by Hentoff in The Village Voice.

I have seen pictures of Hentoff before and he LOOKS like he is far left, politically speaking. Anyway, in his piece for The Village Voice, he complains that human rights violations are being ignored by responsible citizens in democratic nations.

I also wonder why about the silence. It took many years before leftists admitted that slavery was still being practiced in Africa and I suspect the same sort of thing is going on now. Many people are saying that it's simply a matter of who the oppressor is. Since the oppressors are black in this case, it's very uncomfortable and confusing for the politically correct set. If the problem was presumed racial profiling in New Jersey, the PC set would be howling and foaming at the mouth about evil white males. I think this is exactly what Ron Rosenbaum and other leftwing types such as Nat Hentoff have started complaining about. I am glad that the left is having this debate and it's way overdue.

Friday, October 11, 2002

I thought I was going to give myself a stroke laughing at this (via Jonah Goldberg at The Corner). I don't want to oversell it so you'll have to see for yourself.

Ok, this is the last time I mention this I promise, but This Just In . . . An update on the punk rock festival that spawned the story that spawned the denial that spawned the correction by Larry Miller. Miller has the story straight now. The band was Blink 182 and Rolling Stone magazine even does a story about it in there latest issue.

Got that? Good.

David Klug takes offense at being lumped in with "the lefty dictator kiss ass types," LOL. Sorry David. Here's his response to my post on the Cuban embargo:

Sean

Great blog! It's my second read every day. Right after James Taranto's "Best of the Web" on "OpinionJournal.

While I don't always agree with you, you certainly present fairly well thought out opinions. However, your latest rant on the Cuba embargo is way wide of the mark. First of all, their are plenty of conservative thinkers opposed to it. You are correct that those on the left tend to be the lefty dictator kiss ass types. But there is a good conservative/free market/libertarian argument for ending the embargo. I mean, think about it Sean. Lourdy, Lourdy, the embargo is forty. Forty years and does it look like it has Castro tottering on the brink?

There is every bit as intelligent a case to be made that the embargo has HELPED Castro maintain his power as that lifting it would provide "oxygen" to him.

Don't paint with such a broad brush. Conservatives have every bit as much right to a differing opinion on this issue as anyone. Don't call them house niggers just because they don't tow the Roper line. I won't call you a Cold War Neanderthal for you opinion, don't lump me in with Hanoi Jane for mine.

Liberty is inevitable. The embargo may only serve to insulate the Cuban people from it.

Sincerely

David C. Klug

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Well, well, well. Sir Charles Barkley has weighed in on the Harry Belafonte criticism of Colin Powell. I am grateful that a prominent black ex-athlete like Charles Barkley has voiced his opinion. I am encouraged now that Belafonte will not get away with what he was trying to do, which was to stop other black people from having thoughts contrary to the politically correct leftwing (Democrat) orthodoxy. I don't agree with many things that Barkley says, but I admire him for standing up and saying that all people, of whatever color, have the right to choose for themselves what they believe and that Belafonte was wrong for what he said about Colin Powell. Way to go Sir Charles!

I have to make a correction. I just found out that Larry Miller's piece for The Weekly Standard was a complete and utter fabrication. It never happened. I am particularly disgusted because Miller say's that his friend Jack was at the concert and wrote down verbatim what the lead singer was quoted as saying. I wonder who lied here. Did Miller add the "verbatim" bit on his own, or did his friend really say that? Miller will probably not write for The Weekly Standard for a long time, unless it's an apology.

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus column is up and it contains the usual excellent material, but one piece in particular caught my eye. When I read this piece I am reminded how leftist US Senators and congressmen, and idiots like Jesse Ventura, that laughable joke of a governor of Minnesota, advocate an end to the Cuban embargo. The people who usually advocate an end to the embargo are the ones who speak most glowingly of Fidel Castro's personality and how delightful a host he is. How wonderful! Let's see what a blind human rights activist who was tortured in Castro's Cuba, let's see what he has to say about ending the embargo:

"You want heroes? I’ll give you another one: Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, a blind lawyer who has been beaten, tortured, and held prisoner in Castro’s Cuba since March 4. They even took away his Braille Bible, swell guys. Mr. Gonzalez is president of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, and also of the Fraternity for the Blind. He is incarcerated in the State Security Operations Unit at Holguin. Recently, a statement of his was smuggled out via his wife, Maritza Calderin Columbie.

I hesitate to stick a toe in embargo politics, but let me share with you the closing paragraphs of his statement:

“When my house was searched on March 8, four days after my detention, all documents of the [human-rights association] were taken, along with the resolutions adopted at the 2nd Congress, where I was democratically elected. Included in these resolutions was the agreement, arrived at by ten organizations representing nine provinces, that the U.S. must not lift the embargo against Cuba. LIFTING THE EMBARGO WOULD MEAN OXYGEN FOR THIS CRIMINAL TYRANNY AND THE CONTINUATION OF THE MISERY OF THE CUBAN PEOPLE. THIS WAS NOT MY OWN PERSONAL PETITION, BUT THE REQUEST OF ALL THOSE PRESENT AT THE CONGRESS. I REALIZE THIS STATEMENT WILL PLACE MY LIFE IN GREAT DANGER BUT I LOVE CUBA AND I WISH TO HELP SAVE HER.

“Thank you so very much. May God bless you all [the statement is addressed to “the international community,” Congress, President Bush, the EU, etc.], my Homeland, America and the World.”

Surely a blind human-rights activist getting the sh** kicked out of him in Castro’s dungeons should be heard just a wee bit, don’t you think?"

An English person probably wouldn't like John Derbyshire's latest column for National Review online, but for me it was something that I felt compelled to read.

Since I was a kid, I have had a fascination with England. It's probably because I loved World War ll history and that is when I first learned about Winston Churchill. Churchill had all the confidence that I lacked. We were total opposites. He believed anything could be done, and by God, it would be done. I loved his spirit and I could see how he could rally an entire nation to fight against impossible odds AND WIN. It was all very inspirational to me and I think I carry that same spirit with me even today.

Back to Derbyshire's piece. He seems to have a contempt for England which is why the average Englander probably wouldn't like the piece, but for me it offers a little of the almost secret things about England that I crave to know. Things like how the roads and cars are narrow and small, respectively, in comparison to ours. He also explains the broader details of British politics and makes clear that that nations conservatives, the Tories, are in sad shape.

Derbyshire isn't exactly optimistic about the chances for a Tory resurrection, but he does hold out a glimmer of hope that the historical ties between British and American politics will once again play itself out and that would mean that the British are due to realize a new conservative champion. A political cousin to George Bush who will return some balance to British politics. Right now, things don't look too good.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Wow. I know that seems like my favorite word, but wow is the only word that comes to my mind at moments like this. The famous leftwing writer for The New York Observer, Ron Rosenbaum, has written a scathing piece which I found via The Corner at National Review. The target of Rosenbaum's piece is "blind-spot leftists." This is a must read! Here are some quotes:

"It was a mixed gathering with a heavy representation of Left academics, and people were going around the room and speaking about the attacks and the response. Over and over, one heard variations on the theme of, "Gee, it’s terrible about all those people who died in the towers and all"—that had already become the pro forma disclaimer/preface for America-bashing—"but maybe it’s a wake-up call for us to recognize how bad we are, Why They Hate Us." The implication was evident: We deserved it. It would be a salutary lesson. It was the Pat Robertson wing of the Left in full flower: Sinful America deserved this Judgment from the sky. Crocodile tears could be shed for those people who died in the towers, but those buildings were so ugly, they were such eyesores, they were a symbol of globalist hubris—it was as if the terrorists who flew the planes into the towers were really architectural critics, flying Herbert Muschamps, not mass murderers."

And this:

"Instead, we get evasions and tortuous rationalizations like the Slavoj Ziz^ek zigzag: This extremely fashionable postmodern Marxist academic will concede the tens of millions murdered by Stalin, etc., but it’s "different" from the millions murdered by Hitler, because the Soviet project was built on good intentions, on utopian aspirations; the tens of millions dead were an unfortunate side effect, a kind of unfortunate, accidental departure from the noble Leninist path that still must be pursued."

Wow! I'll read this again.

I recently wrote a letter to Glenn Reynolds to respond to a letter from Claire Berlinski. Here's my letter and her response can be found below.

Dear Sean,

No, no, I was not suggesting that the French are more sophisticated and enlightened than Americans, nor do I believe this to be true.

The event was "good-natured" and "civilized" by US standards because no one really thought much about the prospect of violence, nor did they prepare for it. They should have, but they didn't.

I'm sure you'd agree that since September 11, almost every American has been uneasily aware that crowded public gatherings are tempting terrorist targets. It is impossible to imagine a responsible American politician hosting an event like this and taking no security measures whatsoever. This has nothing to do with sophistication and everything to do with necessity. But do you not agree that an evening seems better-natured and more civilized if it's not prefaced by a detour through metal detectors and a pat-down by security guards? If so, I'm sure we're in fact in agreement.

I certainly don't believe that Americans are security-conscious because we're unenlightened or unsophisticated. That would be absurd. We're security-conscious because we've learned the hard way that we have to be. As has Bertrand Delanoe.

All the best,

Claire

Amen brother! Joseph Farah says that Democrats are "– far too many of them – are evil, pure and simple. They have no redeeming social value. They are outright traitors themselves or apologists for treasonous behavior. They are enemies of the American people and the American way of life." Evil, pure and simple. My feelings exactly.

I have talked to people who say that not all Democrats are like Bonior or McDermott (or Belafonte and Streisand for that matter) and that's true. But the problem is that those Democrats who are responsible and reasonable people elevate people like Bonior to high positions within our government. It wasn't too long ago that Bonior was the number two Democrat in the House of Representatives and he was voted to that position by those decent Democrats. Therefore, I could never support a Democrat, no matter what level of government that person is running for and no matter what that person believes. As long as they are a Democrat I cannot support them. I will vote against a person simply because they are a Democrat and for no other reason because who they might vote to support and elevate to a position of power. The decent and centrist Democrats are just as offensive to me because they are caucused with the likes of McDermott, Bonior, and Clinton. Yes, Republicans have had ties to the religious right, but they are not dominated by that faction of the party the way the Democrats are thoroughly dominated by the politically correct, multicultural, UN loving, race baiting, socialist, and anti-American factions that the Democrats are.

Democrats are clearly unprincipled, unethical, and immoral. They will do anything to win elections. They pit group against group in a grab for power. Their divisive and cynical tactics are designed to win power for their members and that's all. I don't believe that most Democrats share a love for this country, they have a love for a philosophy. A philosophy that defines them and makes them feel good about themselves. As we all know, emotions are THE most important part of Democratic positions. Never mind logic and reality, their positions are defined by emotions.

It will be many years, if ever, before I will vote for a Democrat. I will always vote for the Republican or Independent candidate over the Democrat simply because of who the Democrats are aligned with.

According to The Drudge Report, Harry Belafonte went on a radio station in California and railed against Colin Powell for being a race sellout. Read the whole thing. It's disgusting, but it shows the primary tactics of black liberals and how they work to squelch opposition and to keep other blacks from considering other political points of view. Drudge provides a link to the radio station where Belafonte appeared and I sent the station this letter:

Mr. Leitner

I hope and pray you will find a way to forward this to Harry Belafonte. Please.

So, if a black man dares to think for himself and he opposes the things that Harry Belafonte believes in, then he is a sellout? A house nigger? An Uncle Tom? This is what black liberals do to other black to keep them in line. They label them as wannabees, house niggers, sellouts, oreos and call them the white man's boy all because he doesn't tow the liberal line. Who's the McCarthyite? Belafonte has labeled Colin Powell with the worst label a black man can have attached to him. This is Belafonte's warning to other black men:

"If you DARE to go against liberals, then we will label you as a sellout or worse. You will be hated by your own people. You will be excommunicated from black society. You will be hated and vilified by your own people. You will rue the day you DARED to have a thought contrary to what we tell you to have. How dare you THINK for yourself. We will tell you what to believe!"

Other black people will see this and they will think twice before they DARE to question black liberals or liberalism in general. The bottom line is that Belafonte is attempting to guarantee a black monolith on politics. Belafonte has done a horrible thing. He has labeled himself with every accusation he threw at Powell and he should be deeply ashamed of himself.

I might not agree with everything that Colin Powell has to say, but DAMN IT, he has the right to think for himself and to choose which political viewpoint he supports. Harry Belafonte has no business calling Powell the names he called him. He should beg Colin Powell's forgiveness. Not for disagreeing with him, but for all the horrible names he called him. Powell is entitled to his opinions and he does not deserve to be called names for his beliefs, especially the names that Belafonte called him.

Sean Roper

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

This is one of those "Wow!" stories. The Internet as we know it will be vastly different than the one we have today in just a few years. We'll be telling our kids (if I ever have kids) how we used to "dial up" an Internet connection. It'll be our version of our parents story of how they used to walk five miles to school, through a foot of snow, up hill each way.

Here a quote from the piece:

"If Internet2's promised speed of ten gigabits per second doesn't sound fast enough, even faster Internet speeds are being tested by Canada's equivalent high-speed research program, the similarly non-profit Canarie Inc."

Wow. I can't wait. I just hope I can afford it when it does arrive. I will probably be on the old Internet system for several years after the introduction of Internet2. I'm still on a dial up connection if that tells you anything.

A new breed of Republican has been defined. They are Southpark Republicans. Andrew Sullivan says that he was first to use this term, but whoever coined the phrase is on to something.

I also very much like the term "anti-idiotarian." I think that captures the spirit at least as well as Southpark Republican.

I wish I had seen President Bush's speech last night, but I had to make do with reading it. It should be clear to any intelligent person that President Bush is fulfilling his obligations by disclosing to the American people his intentions in regards to our national defense. The speech last night was a formal declaration to the American people.

The world doesn't want us to go to war, but they are not prepared to defend us or to force Saddam Hussein to comply with Security Council resolutions. This doesn't leave us with much choice. We will defend ourselves. We are not going to wait until the mushroom cloud appears over New York City before we take action. It's time to get on with it.

Jay Nordlinger has another excellent Impromptus column full of interesting facts, perspectives, and links. For example, I am sure most people have heard about the longshoremen strike on the west coasts ports. Did you know those workers average $100,000/year with the average benefits package coming to $42,000/year? Another tidbit in Nordlingers column:

"Glad to see that there are protests in Paris against the government’s selling off of parts of state-owned companies. I didn’t know they were doing that — selling off, that is." I did not know that....weird wild stuff (yes, that's my Johnny Carson impression).

I really don't know why Larry Miller is a contributing writer for The Weekly Standard. It's not that he is a bad writer, he is just not great and doesn't seem to measure up to the other writers. I love Miller as a comedian. I think he has perfect timing and he plays the villainous comedic role very well. But as a writer, I'm not overly impressed. And no doubt he would not be impressed with me either. With all that said though, Miller shares with Weekly Standard readers something that happened at a punk rock festival in Southern California. This is the sort of thing that restores my faith in the American people. Mind you that this happened at a punk festival. Punks aren't exactly hippies. The Buzzcocks is the name of the band in question is case you miss it. Here's the quote from Miller's piece:

"The lead singer of every band that day had gotten huge cheers in between songs by shouting things like "ANARCHY!" or, "F--- CORPORATIONS!" or just, "S---!" and all fifty thousand kids would scream their approval, whoop, and shove their fists into the air. Typical, I guess. Then, "Buzzcocks" came on, played their first song, and the lead singer stepped forward and shouted this (verbatim from Jack, he wrote it down) into the mike: "F--- GEORGE BUSH! DON'T LISTEN TO HIM. WE HAVE NO BUSINESS BEING IN IRAQ, NO MATTER WHAT HE SAYS." And here comes the good news.

There was a long pause, complete silence. And then they started. The boos. One here, one there. Then everyone. Everyone. Louder and louder. Jack told me how the puzzled singer blinked in surprise, looked at the rest of his band, and then stepped forward again to try to save the moment. "NO, NO, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. I SAID F--- GEORGE BUSH. F--- HIM." The boos grew even louder, and then people began shouting back up to the stage, "NO, MAN, F--- YOU!" "YEAH, F--- YOU, A-----E!" More and more, ceaselessly rising, until the shaken band caucused quickly and just blasted into their next song."

Good news at last from California. It's about time.

I have read a couple of articles today on the latest New York Times/CBS opinion poll that was conducted just a couple of days ago. The headline at the New York Times the day the poll came out was, ""Poll Says Bush Needs to Pay Heed to Weak Economy." The only problem is that is NOT what the poll said. In what has apparently become a pattern with the New York Times, their headline bears no resemblance to the factual content of the poll.

David Tell points out the facts in his latest piece for The Weekly Standard and he also provides a link to the poll itself in Adobe Acrobat form at CBS News.

Former Clinton adviser Dick Morris also has an op-ed on the recent New York Times poll and shows how The NY Times slants the questions to get the answers they want.

The complaints about the Times' bias are getting louder and louder. If the editors would just come out and admit what everyone knows to be true, that is that the Times is a leftwing newspaper, then much of the criticism would go away. The problem is that the Times refuses to acknowledge that they are a leftwing newspaper even when they are caught time and again slanting the news.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Is Saddam nearly finished? The Telegraph is reporting that there are signs that Saddam's inner circle is crumbling. This would be great news. Not only would a war be averted, but a peaceful transition of rule could be realized as well.

Thank you BellSouth. I can resume normal blogging now that that nasty problem is taken care of.

I just found out that Arts and Letters Daily has gone under. It seems that the parent company has declared bankruptcy and is preparing to have all it's assets auctioned off. I will miss Arts and Letters Daily, but I hope to provide a permanent link soon to Denis Dutton's Philosophy and Literature site that will be taking it's place.

I am having severe problems with my local phone service. I have a repair request in to BellSouth and hopefully they will get the problem sorted out today. I had to put up with this all weekend and my patience is gone. Each time I click on a link I am getting disconnected. It has taken me about 20 minutes to get to my weblog to write this post while dealing with multiple disconnections. BellSouth told me that they would fix my problem by 6PM today. We'll see.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

So, the Mayor of Paris was stabbed (via Instapundit) in an attack while hosting a city wide "Sleepless Night" festival. The mayor was attending a concert at City Hall when the attack occured.

Now the attack is not really what this post is about. The reason for this post is the reponse to the attack in the form of a letter from Claire Berlinski. Here's Ms. Berlinski's letter to Glenn Reynold of Instapundit:


"Hi Glenn,

I was, evidently, within 50 feet of the attack -- I was at the Hotel de Ville at exactly that time -- and had no idea, none at all, that it had happened until this morning. Neither did anyone else there. The mayor didn't want to ruin the good time everyone was having and insisted upon being escorted away discreetly. Today the French papers are reporting that the assailant appears to have been a random lunatic "known to the police" -- there's no evidence as yet that it was political.

Re. your headline "Those Violent Europeans: "This was such depressing news, because this event was otherwise inconceivably good-natured and civilized, by US standards -- imagine opening the White House doors to every US citizen for the night, having an open bar, live music, no security -- none -- at the gates, letting in anyone who wants to come in, and having an perfectly lovely evening where everyone listens politely to the music, admires the paintings in the Oval Office and is very careful not to damage the carpets. The whole city was having a good time and no one was behaving badly -- except for one lunatic. Really sad, especially since the mayor is such a *nice* guy -- he organized all of this just so that Parisians could have fun and feel that the public monuments really belong to them. That's why there was no security."

Did you catch those comments? Here, let me point them out: "This was such depressing news, because this event was otherwise inconceivably good-natured and civilized, by US standards -- imagine opening the White House doors to every US citizen for the night, having an open bar, live music, no security -- none -- at the gates, letting in anyone who wants to come in, and having an perfectly lovely evening where everyone listens politely to the music, admires the paintings in the Oval Office and is very careful not to damage the carpets. I know that Ms. Berlinkski is an American by birth, but it seems to me that she has adopted a European attitude towards (harumph, sniff sniff) Americans. The tone of her letter implies that America is too uncivilized, unsophisticated, and lawless to ever dream of having anything comparable to the Paris "Sleepless Night" festival.

Here's my letter to Glenn Reynolds about Ms. Berlinski's comments:

"Glenn

Why is this woman comparing the White House to Paris City Hall? Talk about comparing apples and oranges. The White House is certainly a much more visible target than the Paris City Hall, but Ms. Berlinski seems to be saying something about the lack of civility in America, and Americans in general, because the president of the US doesn't throw the doors of the Oval Office open for a party. Frankly, I resent her implication. If Ms. Berlinski would like to make a more accurate comparison perhaps she could complain that the New York City Hall or Boston City Hall don't throw open their doors for an all-night party.

It seems to me that Ms. Berlinski is trying to say that Europeans are more sophisticated and enlightened than Americans because the Paris Mayor opened the doors of City Hall to a party. I am so sick of Europeans telling us they are better than us. They constantly accuse Americans of being arrogant while at the same time telling us how superior and more civilized they are. That's arrogance!

I hope a lot of people wrote to you to comment on Ms. Berlinski's seeming innocuous comment. I hope people don't let her get away with her arrogant and slyly derisive slap at the lack of American sophistication and civility.

Sean Roper"

I am absolutely sick that the Carolina Panthers lost to the Arizona Cardinals. Poor offensive play and poor coaching lead the Panthers to their second loss in a row.

I am disgusted by what I saw today. The Panthers should have beaten the Cardinals like a drum, but lost due to turnovers and a game plan that emphasized the pass over the run. If I were a member of the Panthers defensive unit I would be pissed. The defense played exceedingly well, but they can only do so much.

The Panthers have returned to last years form of losing close games in the final minutes. I am angry and sickened by the Panthers offensive perfomance today. This loss will take the whole week to get over, much like last weeks game.