Sean's Blog

A Guide To Online
Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, December 21, 2002

I will go ahead and announce it. I will be at Excite's chatroom Soapbox (download required) on Sunday night at 8 PM Eastern Standard Time if anyone would like to bitch me out anonymously. I hope that someone will meet and challenge me on any position I have staked out.

Did you catch the remarks that Senator Patty Murray made to a group of high school students in Vancouver, Washington? Here's an excerpt from the Associated Press's report:

"Sen. Patty Murray intended to be provocative when she told a group of high school students terrorist leader Osama bin Laden is popular in poor countries because he helped pay for schools, roads and even day care centers.

'We haven't done that,' Murray said. 'How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?'"

In fairness to Senator Murray she did say that Osama Bin Laden was an evil man who had killed thousands of people, but the fact of the matter is that Senator Murray was attempting to portray the US in the most negative light by saying that even Osama Bin Laden, the murderer that he is, is admired around the world because he gives money to the poor while the US does not.

That seemed to be her message. Rightly or wrongly, that is how it came across. Well, of course Ms. Murray got a letter (I love to write letters). Here it is:

Ms. Murray

With all due respect you lied to those students. Here'a a piece from Collin May's weblog at that details how horribly wrong you are about America's generosity. I suggest you apologize to the American people for spreading lies about them. I further suggest you issue a retraction of what you said because, simply put, you lied to the world too.

Senator Murray, Check the Figures

In response to Senator Pat Murray’s recent comments claiming the US has, unlike Osama bin Laden, failed to provide aid to woo the sundry peoples of the world, I would like to note a few points. Until last October I worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. My job was fundraising. I wrote funding requests and financial reports for one donor: the European Union. My division was one of six that secured funding for ICRC activities. Each year our divisions tallied the total amount of donations coming from the various nations and organizations. We then produced a bar graph that listed the largest donors beginning with the most generous. And each year, first place in donations went to one nation: the United States. Indeed, in terms of the bar graph, American contributions towered above all others. Before working for the ICRC, I also worked for the United Nations. The case there was similar to the Red Cross. The US alone stood out ahead of all other donors.

Of course, Murray is correct to note that Osama bin Laden has used his vast family fortune (one he did absolutely nothing to earn) to win converts to his cause. By comparison, the money provided by the American government comes from taxpayers of various degrees of wealth, from American billionaires to the guy selling hot dogs on the street.

And Murray is also correct to point out that America did drop bombs on Afghanistan. But perhaps in her smug wisdom she might go further and ask another question. What were the results of bin Laden’s stewardship in comparison to those American bombs? Again I can refer to my work at the Red Cross. During my time with the ICRC I wrote funding requests and reports on Afghanistan both prior to September 11 and after. Prior to September 11, Afghanistan had experienced periods of sustained drought especially in Ghor province and Herat. This situation was complicated by an interminable civil war. After September 11 and the eventual attack on Afghanistan, I had the opportunity to talk with people who worked directly in Afghanistan. All told me about the incredible change in Afghanistan. Almost overnight, the country went from a land living in fear of the Taliban and al Qaeda operatives to one where children were playing in the streets, often kicking around soccer balls given them by American, British or French soldiers. And what about the activities of the Red Cross? Well, as my source in the field told me, the Red Cross now had access to areas previously prohibited by the Taliban. The humanitarian activities of the Red Cross were ultimately aided by those American bombs.

By saying this, I don’t mean to speak for the International Committee of the Red Cross, nor do I mean to suggest that the US has never engaged in activities that ultimately harmed its reputation in various parts of the world. All I would suggest is that Senator Murray may wish to reflect a bit more the next time she makes an attempt at being provocative. To suggest that the US does not provide a substantial amount of aid to the developing world is blatantly foolish. To compound this foolishness by failing to take account of the difference between the motives and results of funding coming from Osama bin Laden and the United States is perverse.

Incidentally, my source in the field quipped, half jokingly half seriously, “I wish the US would invade a few more countries, it would make our job a hell of a lot easier.” He wasn’t an American by the way.

posted by Collin May at 12/20/2002 05:14:58 PM

Friday, December 20, 2002

Andrew Sullivan recently held a weeklong fundraiser to pay himself a salary and to be able to hire an assistant. He eventually raised $80,000 dollars and proved that a weblog can make money. Well, I'm no Andrew Sullivan. I am not asking for money because no one is going to pay me a cent to do this. I do this because I enjoy it. I love to read and to share the things I find. I do have a request though. I am not asking for money, but I am asking for mail. I enjoy the few mails I do receive and that includes the ones where the writer calls me "some dumb guy" and worse. So please, keep your money. I don't want it (did I say that?), but I would really enjoy some letters.

Rod Dreher on The National Review's weblog, The Corner, makes an excellent point that the Wal-Mart story of forced unpaid overtime is a prime example of why unions exists and why they were once very necessary to protect workers. This story shows why many people are Democrats and why we citizens need them. Business will try to screw their employees and this story shows that even the richest will do it if they think they can get away with it. I don't like Wal-Mart and I avoid those mega-stores because they are so huge and crowded. Now I like them even less.

I wanted to relate the story Dreher tells of one of his relatives because it's another example of a company abusing it's employees:

"This story reminds me of one of my male relatives, a hard-working blue-collar guy, votes Republican, loves Rush, etc. For years he worked at a paper mill, and would come home at the end of the work day with a headache and a nosebleed. There was supposedly some kind of toxic, odorless gas in the air. The EPA had made the plant put an electronic monitor in the work area, but it kept going off so often that the foreman simply stuffed a sock in it to shut the device up. True story. My relative said the workers had to live with it because their union was weak, and management had made it clear that if they complained too much, they might shut the plant down and move it to Mexico, thanks to NAFTA."

Fox News is reporting right now that Lott will step down as majority leader!

Thursday, December 19, 2002

It doesn't include my name, but I swear it's from me. Let me set it up. Jonah Goldberg wrote a column and in this column he more or less said that affirmative action equals racism. Then, he had a reader to write this letter in response to the column. I read both the column and the letter, so I sent this letter. Got that?

James Lileks (via The Corner) has an absolutely brilliant piece about two Canadians and their anti-Christmas message.

"We have to marvel: What sort of person complains that Santa is straight? A thirty-three-year old college student, that's who. Someone who's sat in the canteen and nodded excitedly as a fellow student describes how the whole Santa-with-his-big-red-bag-thrusting-down-the-chimney thing is a metaphor for Western anxieties over homosexual rape. Of course! It's so clear! They have to make Santa straight to make the rape-myth palatable. They all feel used by Christmas. They feel shame that they need Santa, yet are repulsed by him. Mall Puppet? More like Mall Prostitute. Ho, Ho, Ho, indeed."

I particularly loved this wonderfully inspired version of "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" that Lileks rewrote for the leftist masses:

"Lenin the bald-head Marxist
Had a very nasty foe
He was opposed by royalty
So of course they had to go (bang bang bang)

All of the evil bourgeois
Used to sneer and call him mad
They never let poor Lenin
Put in place his strategy for implementing a nationwide struggle to wrench the means of production from the parasites’ grasp and thrust it into the proud, eager hands of the proletariat to build a future in which all were equal and rhymes were the forgotten legacy of a debauched capitalist system! (Sung very quickly, with great anger)

Then one snowy October
Hist’ry came to say
Lenin with your theories great
Won’t you seal our cent’ry’s fate?

Then all the masses loved him
As they shouted out with glee
Lenin the bald-head Marxist
You’ll save us from Christ - mas - Treeeees!"

No one can touch Lileks when he is inspired.

I am tired of the whole story, but Ann Coulter makes a couple of excellent points in her latest column.

"In 1948, Thurmond did not run as a "Dixiecan," he ran as a "Dixiecrat" – his party was an offshoot of the Democratic Party. And when he lost, he went right back to being a Democrat. This whole brouhaha is about a former Democrat praising another former Democrat for what was once a Democrat policy.

Republicans made Southern Democrats drop the race nonsense when they entered the Republican Party. Democrats supported race discrimination, then for about three years they didn't, now they do again. They've just changed which race they think should be discriminated against. In the 1920s, the Democratic platforms didn't even call for anti-lynching legislation as the Republican platforms did."

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Damn. Every national publication I normally read is obsessed with the Trent Lott story. I'm sick of it.

I was just reading where Los Angeles is considering putting an end to police chases. The reason L.A. is considering this is because innocent people are getting hurt and killed by the drivers who are fleeing from police.

The chief of police is the person who made this recommendation so I am sure he has considered it carefully. Also, I know that I am totally unqualified to second guess him, but my gut reaction is that this will lead to a lot more people refusing to pull over when the police try to stop them with sirens and lights. If this idea becomes policy I believe that L.A. will see a sharp increase in general crime as the police lose the respect of the population. When the police stop pursuing criminals it sends a definite signal that the local officials are soft on crime and the odds have increased for the criminal getting away. Ultimately it only makes it easier to be a criminal.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Matt Labash has "The J-Lo Chronicles."

The woman's a royal bitch. Here's a sample:

"BUT IF REPORTS are to be believed--and she's never provided any good reasons why they shouldn't--J. Lo is guilty of much more boorish behavior than that. According to news stories, her bodyguard must address her as "Number One." She has been known to order six breakfasts at a time, because she likes plenty to choose from. If her coffee isn't stirred counter-clockwise, she won't drink it. At a Vogue party, she demanded that all revelers be cleared from the ladies' room before she entered, a request that wasn't nearly as odd as when she visited the Rick Dees radio show, and had an underling warn the staffers to avoid eye contact with Her Number Oneness, while another lackey prepared her way, spraying Tuberose perfume in the studio where she'd be interviewed."

It's official. Columbia University (via Opinion Journal) has revoked Michael Bellesiles' Bancroft Prize for history.

Trent Lott is destroying principled Republican opposition to affirmative action to try to prove that he's not a racist and to save his career.

"I am for affirmative action. And I practice it. I have had African-Americans on my staff, and other minorities, but particularly African-Americans, since the mid-1970s ... you can get into arguments about timetables and quotas. Here's what I think, though. I think you've got to have an aggressive effort in America to make everybody have a chance."

Oh good lord. Why doesn't the man just step down? I only hope that he gets voted out of his Senate Majority leader position. If only the Republicans in the Senate have that much sense.

This is a good example of why the Democrats lost in the last election.

Sean "Jane Fonda" Penn is unfortunately the typical Democrat. They refuse to see that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the US, not with a direct attack, but with a terrorist attack. They ignore this very real threat and their favorite protest slogan implies that it's not a terrorist attack that we fear, but instead they are saying that we simply want cheap oil as if that and that alone is the reason for our insistence that Saddam Hussein must go.

Dictators all over the world saw the possibilities on September 11. They realized they could attack us by proxy and claim total innocence. Further analysis would bring them to the conclusion that they would be able to rely on the Democrats to protest any retaliation, in effect comprising a fifth column of supporters within the US itself. That's what the Baghdad Democrats are. A fifth column.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Mark Goldblatt has a convincing piece for The National Review that makes the case that the New York Five are not martyrs of a racist legal system, but are indeed the animals that they have been accused of being. Maybe they didn't commit the rapes of the the New York Jogger, but they certainly committed all the other crimes just short of that one act. Black leaders are trying to portray these animals as racial martyrs, but it's clear that they committed several acts of viciousness on April 19, 1989. Read Goldblatt's article and understand what IS known about that night.

Wow. I found this tidbit via The National Review's weblog, The Corner.

Is Demi Moore really dating Bill Clinton?

The Washington Times has the results of a survey that shows that, "Programs set up to help minority students are a form of racism and have led to segregation at many universities nationwide...."

This is not news to anyone who has been following the balkinization of our college campuses in the past two decades, but it is good that a study has formally verified what many people knew to be true.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Jonah Goldberg makes a very good argument that Democrats are idiots. Ok, that's not exactly what he's saying, but he does make a good point that Democrats are over reaching on this whole Trent Lott affair. Yes, Lott should resign, but Democrats are using the whole thing to say, "See, Republicans are ALL racists and this proves it." That's idiotic.

Democrats now make up the party of conspiracy theories and the extended logic they employ to prove that the Republican party is the political wing of the KKK shows them for the irrational loons that they are.