Sean's Blog

A Guide To Online
Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, October 19, 2002

I have waited till the last minute again to make my football picks. I haven't done my homework so I will just make my picks on gut instinct. Actually I haven't done too well the past few weeks even though I did do my homework. Maybe I have been over thinking. Here are this week's picks:

Inside the NFL: BEAT THE EXPERTS
YOUR SEASON RECORD 49-39

WEEK 7
Sunday October 20, 01:00 PM EDT

Carolina at Atlanta

Chicago at Detroit

Seattle at St. Louis

Denver at Kansas City

Buffalo at Miami

San Francisco at New Orleans

Minnesota at NY Jets

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

Jacksonville at Baltimore

Sunday October 20, 04:05 PM EDT

San Diego at Oakland

Houston at Cleveland

Sunday October 20, 04:15 PM EDT

Washington at Green Bay

Dallas at Arizona

Monday October 21, 09:00 PM EDT

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

TIEBREAKER: total points scored in Monday Night game: 47

Golf carts have become a viable and even necessary mode of transportation in Peachtree City, Georgia according this article in the Christian Science Monitor. Golf carts just aren't practical even in my small town because they are too dangerous to use on regular streets but Peachtree City has over 100 miles of tar paths and that is what makes them a good alternate form of transportation there.

I think we all would like to see cheaper and more environmentally friendly types of transportation just like this. I would love to have an electric car to use locally, but I simply can't afford something like that.

I love Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit site, but I had to disagree with him the other day when he said that Michael Moore had been savaged in a piece. This piece in Reason Magazine is a true savaging and no one deserves it more than Michael Moore. Brian Doherty basically rips Moore a new one and I loved every word of it. Here's a sample:

"With his relentless self-promotion, phony common-man image, and tendency to get facts wrong in pursuit of his agenda, Moore makes a big and tempting target. (Yes, his size is often picked on by his foes as well.) With the exception of the factual errors, most of what Moore is regularly pilloried for is irrelevant for anything other than playing a game of spot-the-hypocrite—not necessarily the most productive intellectual sport.

He pretends to a working class consciousness, but he's really a millionaire Manhattanite. He makes his living bothering people with cameras but had an old employee arrested for doing the same to him. He sticks it to the boss man but is by most accounts such an unpleasant man to work for that one former staffer called him "not just ruthless, but sadistic" and like "Idi Amin—without the laughs."'

Moore is a con man. He is out to make as much money as he can and anyone who believes otherwise is gullible beyond belief.

The post below was my first attempt to actually write something. I don't pretend that it's some great work of art. It's not and I know it, but I do enjoy it. I realize that the best way to improve my writing skills is to write. For now, I think the most important thing I can do is to plan what I want to say before I actually sit here and try to put it down. I have to outline my thoughts before I post them, but that requires the kind of discipline that I don't have yet. I hope I'll get better.

I really don't mind when celebrities voice their opinions. It is their right afterall. But the thing that really pisses me off, ok well the three things that really pisses me off is (1) that they can afford to spend $56,000 on a full page ad in the Washington Post like Sean Penn did the other day, (2) that people sit up and listen when they speak simply because they are famous, and (3) that they lie and distort the truth, and have no clue how irresponsible they are being.

It bothers me that Sean Penn can afford the full page ad, but what bothers me most of all is that people like Matt Drudge promote the ad for him. I would never know that Penn had an ad if people hadn't advertised the fact. I certainly didn't go read the ad because that is exactly Penn's goal. If Penn wants to reach me, he should have to do his own dirty work. I don't mean to come down on Drudge, he's just the example. I read Drudge each day and enjoy his site even though, more often than not, I leave his site more frustrated than when I arrived.

It seems to me is that if the worst did happen, if we were attacked in some horrifying way such as a nuclear attack, that the people most opposed to war would be the most able to leave the US for some European nation or other safe haven. Penn could be thousands of miles away after he had the Lear jet loaded with supplies and family, while we, the common people, would have to stay and live the nightmare. The rich and famous can afford alternatives, but people like me, the people who are most threatened by a nuclear attack, we are chastised and almost belittled for our support of a president that will protect us. The rich and famous say, "Not In Our Name" and I say, "Then Do It In MY Name."

The second thing that really pisses me off about celebrity opinion is the prominent space they are given in major media outlets. For example, can someone tell me why Woody Harrelson was given a space to vent his anti-American and anti-war bullshit? He was given that space because his name is Woody Harrelson; not because he is any more expert on international relations that his cab driver. He was given that space to sell newspapers and the result for people like me was yet another demoralizing rant by a rich and famous celebrity opposed to war.

Lastly, the most infuriating thing about celebrity opinion is that very often they lie and distort the truth just like Harrelson did in his piece for The Guardian. Harrelson implies that the US is directly responsible for the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children. That is a gross distortion of the truth, but Harrelson repeats the Chomskyesque lie for dramatic effect. The truth is that we allow Saddam to sell his oil so that he can buy food and medicine for his people, but Hussein uses that money to build his palaces, to finance his weapons programs, and to buy loyalty. Harrelson ignores those kind of silly and inconvenient facts. Also in his piece, Harrelson says that Bill Maher was stripped of his free speech. The truth is that he lost his job. The free market determined that Maher was a liability and advertisers pulled their spots. Bill Maher still has his right to free speech, it's just that now no one is paying him to give his opinion. It's not dramatic to say that Maher lost his job so Harrelson resorts to deceit by implying that John Ashcroft stripped Maher of his free speech. Harrelson uses the same techniques throughout his piece to achieve maximum dramatic effect. Distortion of the issues allows Harrelson to shock and anger the people who only tuned in to read what he has to say. That's irresponsible, but Harrelson doesn't seem to care.

It's not fair that Harrelson, Penn and others like them have such prominent soapboxes simply because they are rich and famous, but that is the nature of our society. They paid for the soapboxes and have every right to use them as they see fit. It doesn't mean they are right.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Wow, The New Republic has a excellent piece on the life of a reporter in Iraq. No wonder all those media outlets featured headlines that implied Saddam Hussein's election was legitimate.

I don't have Cinemax so I need to find someone to record a documentary by the French filmmaker Joel Soler that is due to air next month on that network. The New Republic reports that the documentary is titled, Uncle Saddam and it apparently shows that Saddam is quite mad. I am looking forward to seeing that.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Condoleezza Rice has written a piece that is featured in The Telegraph, the British online outlet. This is the first thing I have ever read by her and I am encouraged.

I am proud to be able to say that Ms. Rice is an American.

Of course I can't give complete support yet, but I have to admit that I am very impressed and intrigued with Condoleezza Rice, and I am more than a little interested in hearing what her opinions are on the range of issues most important to Americans. I know her position on international relations and I am satisfied that she would be a strong representative of the US, but a president must be more than that. Indicators seem to suggest that she would be a strong domestic leader as well and that's more important to me than being a strong international leader. During her tenure as Provost at Stanford University, Ms. Rice turned a budget deficit into a budget surplus. In time I'm sure we'll find out where Ms. Rice stands on other domestic issues, but so far so good.

I am hopeful that I can someday support her run for the presidency, but I am only cautiously optimistic. I was also eager to learn more about Colin Powell and when I learned what he believed I was disappointed. As it turned out, I am glad that Powell did not want the job of president. I have more hope that Ms. Rice will be much more conservative and a much stronger leader than Mr. Powell has turned out to be.

In my rare need to be somewhat balanced I have to say that a conservative newspaper is also guilty of legitimizing the "election" of Saddam Hussein. I found the headline in Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus column. Here's the excerpt:

"The Wall Street Journal had what I would consider an unfortunate headline: “With Iraqi Vote, Hussein’s Party Shows Its Cohesion.” Cohesion? It showed its effectiveness in terror. Those people “voted” at the point of bayonet.

I loved this line within the article: “The mass of the population, freely or not, announced its loyalty.” Freely or not — that’s a fine clause! And how ’bout the word “loyalty”? “Sheer fear,” and instinct for self-preservation, would be more like it."

North Korea has nuclear weapons. Thanks Bill Clinton! Your foolish and naive belief that you could soothe the North Korean's and bring them into the civilized world if only we gave them billions of dollars and a nuclear reactor did not work (I believe that was a form of appeasement). They now have nuclear weapons and you better hope they don't decide to give one of them to some terrorist group to set off in Tokyo or Washington DC because of some perceived economic or military threat. After all, the reason for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was because of an economic embargo against Japan. Thanks again for creating yet another threat to world peace. Way to go!

We are now reaping the fruits of Bill Clinton's disastrous foreign policy.

A buddy sent me this in a mail:

Bumper Stickers I'd Like to See

1. Jesus loves you ... everyone else thinks you're an asshole.

2. Impotence: Nature's way of saying "No hard feelings"

3. The proctologist called, they found your head.

4. Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don't have film.

5. Save Your Breath... You'll need it to blow up your date!

6. Some people are only alive because it is illegal to shoot them.

7. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

8. WANTED: Meaningful overnight relationship.

9. Hang up and drive.

10. If you can read this, I can slam on my brakes and sue you!

11. Heart Attacks... God's Revenge For Eating His Animal Friends

12. Your ridiculous little opinion has been noted.

13. Try not to let your mind wander. It is too small to be out by itself.

14. Some people just don't know how to drive. I call these people
"Everybody But Me."

15. Don't like my driving? Then quit watching me.

16. Guys, just because you have one,
doesn't mean you have to be one.

17. Welcome to America... Now speak English

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

I found out just a little while ago that the company I work for has been bought out by a competitor and things are looking kind of bleak. I am concerned that my coworkers and I may not have jobs for very much longer.

One of my coworkers (a very attractive coworker I might add) asked me tonight if I was going to mention the news of the takeover on this page and I said no. Then I thought that this was the sort of thing this blog is for. This is an online diary, although no self-respecting man would use the word diary (it's a journal dammit!), and if Andrew Sullivan can mention the stray dog he found then I guess I can mention my pending job loss. It's not certain that I will lose my job, yet, but our plant manager could not reassure us. His practiced line was, "I don't want to speculate" and that is understandable, but it left us all very worried. We work for a very good company that has treated us well and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a company that would treat us as well.

I do not relish the job search, if it comes to that, mostly because I would starting over again. I don't like to start over. I have grown attached to a few of the people I work with and I would miss them very much. It would make me very sad to know that I would never see them again.

I hope and pray everything works out.

Best of the Web is not only witty and funny, it is also thought provoking. Let's see how major media covered the "election" in Iraq

"Iraq Says 'Yes' to Saddam; Voters Show Support as U.S. Threat Mounts"--headline, MSNBC.com, Oct. 15

"Iraqis Urged to Back Hussein 100%"--headline, San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 15

"Saddam Aims for 100% Support"--headline, BBC, Oct. 15

"Although President Saddam Hussein faces no challenger in Tuesday's presidential referendum, the government is pushing for the highest percentage of 'yes' votes to paint Saddam as a popular leader in a rebuke to the United States."--lead paragraph, Associated Press dispatch, Oct. 15

CNN and Reuters are still at it too. A CNN.com headline from yesterday declares: "Election All but Assured for Saddam." (Isn't that "all but" a lovely touch?) Today's follow-up: "Landslide Expected in Saddam Poll."

Reuters leads off its "report" with this ludicrous statement: "Defiant Iraqis lined up to show their support for Saddam Hussein Tuesday as Western powers were deadlocked over how to deal with the veteran leader they say threatens world security." A captive people does a dictator's bidding under threat of death--only in Reuterville could anyone call this "defiant."

Worst of all is the Los Angeles Times. Reporter Michael Slackman's article carries the headline "For Iraqis, Vote for Hussein Is an Exercise in Democracy." "Of course the outcome is preordained," Slackman acknowledges. "But then, so is Western reaction"--as if making a mockery of democracy were morally equivalent to recognizing that someone's made a mockery of democracy.

The New York Times and Washington Post deserve credit for playing the story at least somewhat straight, albeit with excessive understatement. The Times' headline reads "Iraqis Cheer for Their President, but Their Real Mood Is Hard to Read." The Post has a silly headline--"In Iraqi Ballot on Hussein, All Signs Pointing to Yes"--but at least the subheadline acknowledges it's an "orchestrated referendum."

These outlets are all leftwing and they are framing the "election" in Iraq as legitimate. If these outlets are presenting this "election" in Iraq as legitimate, then how accurate do you think they will be when they cover social or campaign issues? It's my guess that if they cover the Iraq "election" as a legitimate event, then the chances that they will be honest with campaign issues is next to zero.

And to think that there are people who deny a media bias. If they can't admit there is a media bias, I hope the above headlines show that there is at least media stupidity.

What a disgusting editorial in today's Telegraph.

Germaine Greer is saying that Australia is to blame for the Bali bombings. Her thesis seems to be that if Australia had not supported the US against terrorism, that Australia would have been spared.

I sent this letter to the editor of The Telegraph:

Editor

What a disgusting editorial. Ms. Greer is arguing that for evil to stay away, good men must do nothing. What a spineless and craven position to take.

Ms. Greer thinks that Australia brought this on themselves by speaking out and fighting against evil. Does she really believe that Australia would be left alone if they stayed quiet and timid in the face of aggression? Unbelievable nonsense. If the stronger nations who are the main targets of terror, if they fall, who is going to be left to defend the weaker nations? The idea is to topple the stronger nations first and then the weaker nations will fall easily, but Ms. Greer seems to think that the Arab Muslims will stop once the US and Great Britain are destroyed. Has anyone checked to see if Ms. Greer has suffered any head wounds lately? This is the most idiotic argument for cowering in the face of terror that I have ever heard, but it's also the sort of ridiculous opinion the Left has been resorting to since September 11th, 2001.

Ms. Greer is arguing for assuagement of an evil that would kill us all if they could. What a preposterous idea!

Sean Roper

For the year, I am 49-39 on my football picks. I am tied with Bob Costas.

I intentionally waited to say anything about the Panthers loss to the Cowboys on Sunday because I was afraid my head might explode in frustration. The Panthers have lost three games in a row by a combined total of seven points. Seven points. The same thing happened last year. They lost game after game in the final minutes and probably lost most of them by no more than three points each.

The Panthers lost another close game in the final minutes of their game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Panthers totally dominated the game, especially from a defensive point of view, but still lost because they can't score. The biggest problem seems to be the quarterback position. The opposing defense is lining up eight men on or very near the line of scrimmage to take away the run game. If the Panthers had at least an above average quarterback, the opposing defense would have to take a couple of steps back from the line to protect the secondary. I read that Chris Weinke has been named the starter for the game this weekend. Maybe he has learned something from watching Rodney Peete. I give Peete a lot of credit. He is a very smart and savvy quarterback, but the problem is that he doesn't worry defensive secondaries. They know he doesn't have a strong arm or fast legs so the strategy seemed to be to make Peete beat them. He simply isn't able to do that.

I haven't given any thought about my football picks this week so I'll have to wait a few more days before I make those picks.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Campus Nonsense features the less reported, but still infuriating, stories of campus leftwing lunacy (both students and administration). Here's a prime example:

"From a recent U of Michigan campus-wide email:

"'Although we defend the right to freedom of expression, we also have a responsibility to vehemently dispute speech that is incompatible with our principles and beliefs.'"

-Mary Sue Coleman, President of the University of Michigan"

In other words, Ms. Coleman is saying that it is okay for leftists to continue the things they have been doing on campus to silence speech they disagree with. This includes violence, shouting down speakers, and stealing conservative newspapers, denying student funds to conservative groups, and continuing to hire only leftwing professors.

The left doesn't want political diversity. They want uniformity and they are prepared to do just about anything to ensure it.

The very first section headline in James Taranto's Best of the Web column for Opinion Journal features the hilarious words, "Don't Call Me Violent, Or I'll Have to Kill Someone." Brilliant! That's why I love Taranto's column. Read the whole story to understand the context. The rest of the column is pretty good too.

Thomas Bray argues persuasively in his editorial for Opinion Journal that the Republicans are situated very well for the midterm elections. I hope he is right when he says that the American people are seeing the cynicism and mean-spiritedness of the Democrats. Bray is absolutely right when he says that the Democrats should be ahead in the polls and that the party who controls the White House virtually always loses in the midterm elections. Bray is also right when he says that the fact that the polls indicate a near draw is a victory for Republicans.

I just hope that the people who were most angry about September 11th vote the day of the election because most of those votes will undoubtedly go to Republican candidates.

Wendy McElroy has finally written another article that I want to link to. Ms. McElroy is a feminist, but she is not a National Organization of Women feminist.

I read her column each week, and for the longest time she had many articles that I would have linked to if I had had a weblog. But since I have had this blog, nothing. I don't know what happened, but finally she has written a decent column that I felt worthy of linking to.

Please visit Tim Blair and send letters to the Australian newspapers he has links to.

Monday, October 14, 2002

William Kristol of The Weekly Standard warns supporters of the presidents war against Iraq that, now that congressional approval has been given, we should expect the president to be vague and even downright deceitful about his plans. Kristol warns that we may hear talk about giving Saddam one more chance or that President Bush may even seem to talk seriously about weapons inspections. But, Kristol says, we must understand that keeping Saddam unbalanced and confused is going to be more necessary than being open and honest if we are going to win the war with a minimum of casualties on both sides. Kristol says that Bush is now a war president and that he must do everything to ensure a quick and decisive victory.

It seems to me that President Bush has already been doing these things for several months now and that he has been performing brilliantly.

Glenn Reynolds says that Michael Moore is being "savaged" in this article, but I disagree. I read the piece and I would hardly call it a savaging. I would call it a fairly balanced piece that features quotes by people that are both pro- and anti-Michael Moore, plus it has many quotes by Moore himself.

Personally I can't stand Michael Moore. I think he is nothing more than a con man who is out to make as much cash as he can while pretending to be Everyman who is just trying to scrape by on a blue collar salary and raise a family. The man is a multimillionaire. He lives in a multimillion dollar home and sends his kids to private school. He talks like a far leftwing true believer, but he is in fact a typical limousine liberal who has found an economic niche from which he can make himself fabulously wealthy. I believe very few things he says because he has a history of lying and distorting facts for his own economic gain. When many of Moore's "facts" are investigated it is found that he has distorted and told outright lies. This creates a credibility problem, but it's a problem that his fans don't acknowledge.

John Leo has a column that shows the threat to free speech around the world. Speech that may be completly legitimate, but which also hurts the "feelings" of minorities is being prosecuted as hate speech. That's to say, that if you disagree with homosexuality, Islam, or affirmative action you can be PROSECUTED in many modern democratic nations, including the US.

The left is using coercive and, in my opinion, downright evil tactics to force people to accept things that they might be morally opposed to. Medical students are being forced to learn to perform abortions, a woman in Wisonsin was sued and lost because she refused to accept a lesbian housemate, and writers in Europe are being tried for speech that is critical of Islam.

I believe that most Americans would be deeply offended if they realized this is what the left (Democrats) was doing, but I also understand that most Americans don't pay attention and this sort of thing will just creep up on them until it's nearly too late.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

My letter to the Sniper, er, Fox News Channel:

You people are killing me! It's sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper.........(breathe) sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper.......(breathe) sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper, sniper and sniper! You people have beaten that subject to death. Please stop! That's enough!

Sean Roper

The more I learn about Jimmy Carter the more I am disgusted by his politics. I can't believe some of the things Carter has said and done. Jay Nordlinger flashes back and provides all the sickening details of Carter's behaviour. I had no idea how much Carter supports communist and other extreme leftwing ideas.

I offer Thomas Sowell's article as an example of how easily all of William Raspberry's arguments (see below) are easily and thoroughly refuted. Here's the bottom line:

"At the end of World War II, Winston Churchill said that never was there a war that would have been easier to prevent. The earlier that preventive action would have been taken against Hitler, the lower the cost would have been. But history, he added, showed '"how counsels of prudence and restraint may become the prime agents of mortal danger."'

Caution is sometimes the most dangerous policy. And this looks like one of those times today."

I believe that people like William Raspberry counsel prudence and restraint and thus become the prime agents of mortal danger.

It's been awhile since I have read anything by William Raspberry so I figured that it might do me some good to read his latest column titled, "Delivering On Pizza." I found a link to his column at The Drudge Report which features a long list of columnists. When I clicked on Raspberry's link I was taken to his archive site where I could pick the article I wanted to read. I noticed that the September 9th, 2002 column is titled, "Our Insane Focus On Iraq" and immediately I felt a deep disgust in my stomach. After reading the silly and naive column, where Raspberry makes all the same thoroughly analyzed and easily refuted arguments against war with Iraq, I thought that maybe it had been a mistake to read his work. But I like pizza and his latest column appeared to have very little to do with the war against Iraq so I gave it a read. I am glad I did.

"Delivering On Pizza" is, at the same time, a capitalism success story and thoughtful examination of why certain high crime sections of cities are not served by taxi service, pizza delivery, or other services that most people take for granted. Raspberry does not go on a rant about racism or oppression. Instead he tells it like it is. I wouldn't want to have to go into a high crime area and deliver a pizza. More likely than not, I would get my head blown off and I know it. And Raspberry knows it too. That's where the success part of the story takes over. Five teenagers saw an economic opportunity and took advantage of it. They filled an economic niche and became an example of the entrepreneurial spirit that makes the US the land of opportunity.

187 killed in a devastating bombing of a Bali, Indonesia nightclub.

It appears that Al Qaeda has regrouped and is resuming it's terrorist activities. In my opinion, this is an escalation that is more likely than not to solidify world opinion. The French are reported to be more supportive than ever due to the recent bombing of their oil tanker and now I believe that Indonesia will be forced to do something about the terrorists that use that Muslim nation as a haven. If Indonesia does nothing, they will see their tourist industry completely dry up. Already tourists are leaving that nation in droves and it's my guess that they will not return for quite some time.