Sean's Blog

A Guide To Online
Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, March 01, 2003

I finally got a reply from someone at The Digital Courier:

"Mr. Roper,

I am going to be out the office for a few days, so I thought I would respond briefly so that you do not think your comments have gone unheeded again.

I assume you sent your comments to the last reporter listed on the staff listing at the newspaper's website. She is no longer employed at The Daily Courier, which would explain why you had no response from her.

I will remind my editors (Managing Editor and Executive Editor) to update our staff listing. I will also personally pass along your weblog suggestion to them and to the publisher. They would be the ones who decided on such a venture.

My personal suspicion is staff time requirements, not being "scared crapless" would top the reasons for reluctance."

I edited out the name of the sender and others that were mentioned by name.

Thanks for the reply.

I have written two letters to my local newspaper suggesting that they start a team weblog. I first wrote to the Executive Editor explaining the concept of a weblog and recommending that he start one, then when he failed to reply after several weeks, I wrote to one of his reporters. I went from the top of the page with the email addresses to the bottom of the page. I was assuming that someone at the bottom of the chain of command might embrace the idea of a weblog. I was wrong. The person at the bottom of the page ignored my letter too. It's been more than 45 days since I wrote the second letter and I have heard nothing.

I can only assume that the people at The Digital Courier are scared crapless of weblogs. They must have some boogey man fear of the unknown. I thought maybe the reporter that I wrote the letter to might jump at the chance to write what she wanted to write without someone telling her that their wasn't enough space on the dead tree version to fit her story in. I am sure that most of the reporters at The Digital Courier have had stories or story ideas killed because of space. You would think that a reporter would jump at the chance to write. In the case of The Digital Courier you would be wrong.

Here's my open letter to The Digital Courier. It's also the second letter I sent to the bottom of the rung reporter:

"I wrote an email to your Executive Editor several weeks ago suggesting that The Digital Courier should start it's own weblog. He never responded. In case you aren't familiar with the concept, here's the pointer to my page http://roperblog.blogspot.com/ and here are links to some of the most popular weblogs: Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit http://www.instapundit.com/, Andrew Sullivan.com at http://www.andrewsullivan.com/, and National Review's team weblog The Corner at http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/corner.asp.

The reason I am suggesting that The Digital Courier start it's own weblog is because I believe that Rutherford County could and should have more discussion of the issues and a weblog could provide that forum for discussion. For instance, your latest poll question asks whether President Bush's tax proposal will help me. I was somewhat distressed to see that, so far, more than two-thirds of the respondents answered "not at all" or "don't know." My beliefs aside, I am certain that a weblog would allow citizens of Rutherford County to respond more fully to that question and others. No doubt both sides of the debate on the tax issue could be represented via email or perhaps even the editors and reporters could expound. In fact, I would hope that the reporters and editors would express their opinions in a team weblog format. There is much to be said for just reporting the facts, but opinions on local, state, national, and international events are important as well as long as the editorializing doesn't take place on the front page.

It's very simple to start a weblog. Blogger.com and Moveabletype.com have templates that can be used. If you need bandwidth, Blogger.com even has free bandwidth or very inexpensive bandwidth. Or The Digital Courier could host the site while using Blogger's free or Moveabletype's cheap template.

A weblog does require some time so I do understand if the staff of The Digital Courier is reluctant for that reason. In any case, I hope you will consider the idea. I will be glad to help in any way that I can.

Sean Roper

A weblog doesn't have to be a threat to my local paper. It can be an extension and a chance for experimentation and growth. We need more of this kind of freedom of the press, not less.

We don't hear much from Afghanistan lately, except when the occasional anti-war supporter wants to make another anti-war statement. You know what I mean. They say that we have failed Afghanistan; that things haven't changed there. They say that we are failing the Afghanistan people and that this is what the Iraqi people can expect. I've heard it all before and if I didn't read I might actually believe those lies. This is what Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) was telling those students in her home state. She was repeating the lie that we didn't care and we didn't spend anything on humanitarian causes.

Fortunately, The Washington Post had a story about how business is booming in Afghanistan thereby going some way toward showing that Senator Patty Murray and her fellow leftists are liars:

"President Hamid Karzai, who will meet President Bush in Washington on Thursday, points to this mini-boom as one of the most important accomplishments of his fledgling administration, a sign that people are voting with their money. "People wouldn't start businesses and rebuild their homes here unless they believed that peace and security were coming to Afghanistan," he said in a recent interview. "This is the most positive sign of all."

Just before the war began in Afghanistan, the anti-American left was saying that the only reason we were going into Afghanistan was because we wanted to control their natural resources. They said that the U.S. interests were imperialistic. But what they were really saying was that we should GIVE Afghanistan money.

The left is big on welfare. They believe in it as a matter of policy. They generally hate capitalism which is the real reason they hate the U.S. so much. In the leftist view, capitalism is evil. It is better to give the people what they need and to disdain the idea of profit. That's what really infuriated the left about our involvement with Afghanistan. We were going to show those people how to make a profit and the left hates profit. They don't want us to help the Afghan people to develop their natural resources. That's western capitalism. No, instead they want us to GIVE Afghanistan money. Welfare yes, profit no. To leftists, when we give money we are being kind and loving. But when we help develop a nations resources we are doing it out of some sense of greed and self-interest. Maybe, but I am sure the people of Afghanistan would much prefer to provide for themselves instead of relying on the U.S. to feed them.

That's not to say that the left hates all wealthy people. They love wealthy people who make their money without the aid of the U.S. even if those people are among the most corrupt, brutal, and evil dictators the world has ever seen. They love Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat and they are multimillionaires even though they are as leftwing as they come. Maybe it's because they made their money the old fashion way (they stole it) that the left loves them so much. I mean, they didn't get rich by capitalism and as long as they didn't get rich that way then all is well.

Another idiot celebrity has come out against the war. This time it's Russell Simmons. I recognize this for what it is. Simmons is getting free advertisement. I doubt whether he gives a shit whether there's war or not. Oh he would care if his lifestyle and money were at stake. Then he'd be the first in line saying that we need to kick the crap out of Iraq. But because there is little danger to his lifestyle, Simmons has calculated that he can get free publicity and at the same time establish his leftwing credentials.

I've taken the chance to post a response on the message board that has been set up at Rolling Stone. Here's my post:

"This is not a peace movement. A REAL peace movement would involve world wide protests in front of Iraq's embassies demanding that Saddam disarm. This is nothing more than a chance to show your leftwing credentials by expressing your hatred for America. If you want peace tell Saddam to disarm. Idiots."

Friday, February 28, 2003

I have a few thoughts I would like to jot down. Here goes.

I don't know what I would do if September 11 had never happened. I probably wouldn't even have a weblog. Everything that I read mostly revolves around that one day and our response to those attacks.

A weblog is a personal diary of sorts. I have chosen to make mine rather impersonal, but I could easily go off on a tangent about the details of my personal life. I fight that urge often and today has been one of those days. I have written and erased, written and erased, and written and erased more times that I can count. I'm about to burst right now. I've tried a hundred times to say things that I know I shouldn't say and I've erased each one of them. My head is telling my heart to snap out of it. I know that saying what's in my heart is the absolute worst thing I could do, but the need to be understood is overwhelming. I know what I want, but saying it is out of the question. I'm so frustrated.

One of these days I should write a book. Yea right. Me and about 200 hundred million other people have that same idea. Each of us has our own story to tell and we are each sure that our situation is unique. We all think we have suffered and have had injustice heaped on us.

Enough of that.

The company I work for just finished a Kaizen in the department I work in. A Kaizen is a process of determining the best, most efficient way to manufacture a product. I wasn't a part of the select team responsible for analyzing and deciding on the process which would work best, but I must say that they came up with a good plan. We worked on it all week long and I think the people involved did a very good job. I'm just glad it's all over. The whole thing exhausted me. I am looking forward to sleeping till noon tomorrow. I can imagine how the people who came up with the plan feel. Their brains must be fried.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

David Horowitz is a great man. He recently appeared at the University of Oregon and the university's official newspaper featured the account of his visit. Here's why I admire Horowitz so much:

"Horowitz said the anti-war movement in the 1930s was responsible for the 70 million people who died during World War II, and he said the current anti-war movement is moving in the same direction.

"A genuine peace movement would, of course, be demonstrating at Iraqi embassies" and demanding that Saddam Hussein disarm, he said. "This is not a peace movement; it is a movement to divide this country, to sabotage its defense efforts and to help our enemies to win."

The first tense moment of the evening erupted when Horowitz's critical remarks about the anti-war movement provoked an outburst from the back of the room. Horowitz responded with annoyance to the interruption.

Horowitz's scathing response to the outburst seemed to cool the atmosphere, and he started telling the crowd why he believes leftists are responsible for society's ills, especially in the public school system. He said America's poorest and most oppressed minorities are in America's inner cities, and the city councils and school boards of the inner cities -- who he said are all controlled by leftists -- keep minorities illiterate with their policies.

Leftists "have their boot heels on the necks of poor black and Hispanic kids all across this country ... because they are running the public school systems as a jobs program for adults, and they could care less about what happens to those kids," he said."

Jay Nordlinger features some letters in his latest Impromptus column:

“Dear Jay: I am an American living in Warsaw. In your recent article, you mentioned that some Americans would like to pass off as Canadians.

“My wife and I were in Berlin this last weekend, and were not ashamed or frightened of being American. We were at an Internet café checking our e-mails and speaking ‘American.’ The fellow at the computer next to ours leaned over and asked (with a heavy German accent, but excellent English) whether we were American. We said yes, wondering what was going to come next. He responded: ‘I just became a United States citizen a couple of months ago — I am back here visiting family.’ His pride in being an American citizen was obvious.”

“Hey, Jay: I spent last week on vacation in beautiful Rio de Janeiro. The only television channel broadcast in my hotel was CNN World. And I thought plain ol’ CNN reporting was tainted! No Iraq report could go for more than two minutes without mentioning the possibility of the United States taking ‘unilateral action.’ Arrgghh. If ‘our’ news abroad is so biased against intervention, it’s no wonder the rest of the world looks at us so skeptically.

“On a much more upbeat note, however, I did find myself in a bar with a Scotsman who is a member of Her Majesty’s Special Forces. He had recently returned from Afghanistan and was preparing to leave for Baghdad. He said he hadn’t seen his wife and kids for six months. I wished him the best of luck and said, ‘We’re with you.’ He got a very serious look on his face and said, ‘No, WE are with YOU.’

Spine-tingling!”

Much of the world hates us, but I still believe with all my heart that we are doing the right thing and that we will be vindicated.

Aha! Here's the automated response I got from Manhattanville:

"Thank you for your interest in Manhattanville College and its website.

You email has been received and will be forwarded to the appropriate person at Manhattanville."

I am confident that my mail got through and will be forwarded.

Yea, I've heard about Toni Smith. She's one of the captains of Manhattanville College women's basketball team and she turns her back on the American flag before each game in protest of "......the inequalities that are embedded in the American system....."

What a stupid girl. She has some idea that the world would be a better place if the U.S. had to have a bake sale when it wanted to buy a bomber. What an unbelievably stupid (I refuse to call her naive) thing to say. Here's my letter to Manhattanville's webmaster:

Webmaster

I am not going to register with Manhattanville College to express my outrage over Toni Smith's ignorant and stupid decision to turn her back on the flag.

I hope you will forward this to the athletic department.

First of all, Ms. Smith has every right to express her beliefs, but I also believe I have a right to express my belief that she is a stupid and deeply ignorant person. I don't appreciate being forced to register to send an email. I won't do it.

As for Ms. Smith, how dumb is it to wish that the U.S. had to have a bake sale when it needed a bomber? Ms. Smith, you are the dumbest, most intellectually dishonest person I have ever had the misfortune of reading about. Your political views are childish and morally imbecilic. You are one of Lenin's "useful idiots." Congratulations. I hope it is all that you hoped for and more.

Sean Roper

The regular email address required a registration and I was in no mood to register with them to express my outrage.

Andrew Sullivan has an excellent piece about Al Sharpton.

"In a sane world, Sharpton, who has held no serious political office and shown almost no interest in any matters outside racial hucksterism, wouldn't be a serious candidate at all. But he's now running for president no less, as a Democrat. In a field of eight candidates (they keep increasing in number), his small but loyal black following could easily keep him viable through the early primaries and even get him enough delegates to have bargaining power at the Boston convention. Most worrying of all is the fact that the Democrats have scheduled the South Carolina primary immediately after Iowa and New Hampshire. At least 40 percent of South Carolina's Democratic primary voters are black. All the ingredients are therefore there for an early Sharpton break-out, with all the damaging national publicity, at a critical moment in the Democratic presidential race. No wonder centrist Democrats, epitomized by The New Republic magazine, which just ran a cover-story attacking Sharpton, are rattled."

The Democrats are so screwed. They have to treat Sharpton as a legitimate candidate. If he were white, he could be called every name in the book and nearly universally hated by all Democrats. But since he's black, he must never be offended.

Sharpton is poised to throw out the race card as soon as anyone disagrees with anything he says. To be fair, he wouldn't do that the first time someone disagreed with him, but the charge would not go unused if someone started getting on his nerves.

This is beautiful. I couldn't have asked for a better scenario. The voters will see through Sharpton. The Democrat's inability to call Sharpton a hatefilled bigot will, once again. reveal the Democrats for the unprincipled party it has become.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

This makes my blood boil. From The Opinion Journal:

"Bloggers Joe Katzman and Trent Telenko pick up on a disturbing report from WABI-TV in Bangor, Maine (video is here), that children of Maine National Guardsmen who've been deployed to the Gulf have found themselves facing schoolyard taunts--not from fellow students but from "antiwar" teachers. Here's a quote from the WABI report:

Alan Grover, WABI-TV: "What the kids are facing is hearing that their mother or father is a bad person for taking part in the confrontation with Iraq; comments that are coming from teachers. That's according to officers with the Guard's Family Assistance Program who've been traveling throughout the state this week. The officers report that such incidents are relatively few in number but that they've occurred in practically every region of the state."

Maj. Andrew Gibson: "Some kids have even reported that . . . teachers have said things to them, specifically, about the . . . unethical nature of their parent going off to fight."

Most of the children involved, WABI reports, are between seven and nine years old."

How much despicable can the anti-war crowd get? I don't know that the teachers who did this are Democrats, but I would almost be willing to bet a week's pay.

Jay Nordlinger has an excellent Impromptus column from Monday. Here's a taste:

"Here in New York, Mayor Bloomberg has opted not to sign on with those who are supporting the University of Michigan in its fight for racial preferences. One of his Democratic opponents said, “The mayor is having problems protecting civil rights because of his alliance with the Bush administration and the Pataki administration.”

Did you catch that? “Civil rights”? This is, of course, the age-old liberal and Democratic tactic. Anything you like, call a “civil right.” Because civil rights are good, you see, and opposition to them is iniquitous. Actually, the civil-rights side is the anti-Michigan, pro-equal opportunity side. But this is not the way it usually works in today’s America, when all the “civil rights” rhetoric is on the left.

(This is why it’s important and wonderful, in my view, that Ward Connerly calls his group the “American Civil Rights Institute.” I take every opportunity to refer to Connerly as a “civil-rights leader.”)

Also, I saw a sign that said, “Save Brown v. Board of Education! Defend Affirmative Action & Integration!”

Notice the brazen linkage of the Brown decision to today’s reverse race discrimination. To be on the left is always to be on the side of the angels, and liberals will always wrap themselves in Brown and other cozy things, even if their ideology and actions are inimical to those things. Brown, of course, had to do with equality of opportunity and colorblindness; the Bollingerized University of Michigan is dedicated to bald racialism.

But the language persists in the mouth of the Left. Whatever you do, it will always be for the sake of Brown; and whatever your opponent does will always be for the sake of Plessy (or worse). This is why Jesse Jackson invokes “Selma” in every other breath — he means it as a perfume to whatever foul thing he happens to be doing at the moment."

I was just watching Gore Vidal on CNN's Crossfire. He was saying that 9/11 was a conspiracy, that President Bush would be impeached by the House of Representatives, and that the Patriot Act was written in preparation for the 9/11 attacks, or at least it was written before the attacks and 9/11 was the perfect pretext for it's passage into law.

Vidal is out of his friggin mind. You should have heard him. What was better was the audience reaction. They laughed at him. No one should take anything that Vidal says seriously. He's another of the leftwing conspiracy theorist nutbags who have determined that President Bush is simply going to war with Iraq to take over the oil fields so that he can reward his oil and gas buddies. What a load of crap.

Monday, February 24, 2003

The New Republic has the first review (that I know of) of Janeane Garofalo's appearance on Fox News Sunday. I missed it, but I knew that someone would do a piece on her appearance. As a side note, Garofalo better hope that Ann Coulter doesn't review the appearance. As I was saying, someone did a review and what makes this piece even more satisfying is that TNR is a left of center publication. Here's an excerpt from the piece:

"But Garofalo would have been much better off if they were, because when it came to talking about foreign policy, she showed that there's an enormous gap between being a smart comedian and a smart analyst. In response to the question about whether there was such a thing as a just war, Garofalo didn't exactly betray a facility with the writings of Michael Walzer. "God, that's a tough one," she sputtered. "I guess everybody always looks toward World War II being the definition of the ultimate just war. I suppose, but I absolutely would not say this war in Iraq is a just war." She then launched into a tangled discourse on the "Anglo-American alliance," the "Carter doctrine"--proving she did indeed know that Jimmy Carter had once been president--and the fact that it strengthened OPEC "when in the Mideast they started nationalizing their own oil." As for whether Saddam was a mass murderer, she conceded that he was, before moving on to the fact that "[T]he sanctions, you could say, have been responsible for mass murder."

But Garofalo was least convincing when she talked about America's motivations for going after Saddam. According to Garofalo, the current kerfuffle over Iraq isn't about weapons of mass destruction or human rights or even, necessarily, oil. It's about America's never-ending quest for hegemony. "This particular administration, as the Clinton administration did, they wanted into Iraq. Diplomacy last, war first," she declared. "I would say that it has been the idea since 1990, '91, to go into Iraq and to have hegemony over the region, redraw the map. Oil is a part of it, not all of it. But 9/11 has been a way to reinvigorate the plan that the right-wingers and the ideologues and people like the people at the American Enterprise Institute, and...." This is almost too stupid to rebut. (If the United States has really sought hegemony over the Middle East since 1990, then why did the first Bush administration leave Saddam in power? Why did the Clinton administration respond with pinprick air strikes when Saddam kicked out inspectors in 1998?) And Snow didn't really try to muster one. "Well, [that] strikes me as a little far-fetched," he said. But Garofalo couldn't be talked down. "Oh, don't pretend that this is like some crazy conspiracy," she said. At one point she became so worked up she let fly with a little saliva. "Oh, I just spit," she told the viewing public. "Sorry."

Man, I hope Coulter does a piece on this.

It's rare when a U.S. foreign aid package is popular. Most people are maybe justifiably angry when we give our money to another country. The only country that we American's maybe approve of sending aid to is Israel and I'm sure most people are really skeptical about even that aid. Without trying to sound like a "know-it-all" I tend to see the reason for most, but certainly not all, foreign aid. Our money buys stability in a lot of countries. Without that stability, our strategic security could be in danger.

One country that deserves our money is Turkey. They are asking for aid and loan guarantees in exchange for allowing us to stage troops and materiel in their country. Turkey is important because it is Iraq's northern neighbor and they have a lot at stake when war comes. They are looking at refugees and a potential uprising by Iraqi Kurds who want their own homeland. It is also important to note that the Turkish people are deeply opposed to war against Iraq. The Turkish government is sticking it's neck out and they deserve our support. Turkey is the only Muslim democracy in the world and if we do invade Iraq Turkey will be the most important ally we have. They will serve as an example for post-war Iraq and other mideast nations where we are eager to establish democracy.

The good news is that it looks like a deal has been worked out and Turkey will allow us to use their bases. Turkey has been a good friend to the U.S. and we should do all that we can to help them.

I am late responding to this, but I just read another piece about how France has truly made a mark on history with their insistence that we do nothing about Iraq AND especially President Jacques Chirac's reaction to the letter that those Eastern European leaders sent to President Bush expressing their support for the U.S. In case you didn't hear about Chirac's reaction, here's what he said:

"[The Eastern European nations' public support of America] is not really responsible behavior," he said at a news conference. "It is not well brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."

And this:

"Romania and Bulgaria were particularly irresponsible to sign the letter when their position is really delicate," Chirac said. "If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe, they could not have found a better way."

The experts are saying that France has permanently, and perhaps mortally, wounded NATO, the European Union, and the United Nations. It will probably take years to realize the effects of what France has done, but we have learned that France cares more for it's oil and weapons contracts than it does about U.S. national security. The Eastern Europeans have learned that France intends to thoroughly dominate them in the E.U. and the whole United Nations has been virtually destroyed because they have proven that their resolutions mean nothing. Thanks France. Although I am not disappointed about the U.N.

Via Drudge. Good question. Why DOES the Grammy foundation get $800,000 of taxpayer money?

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Is anyone going to watch the Grammy's? I wouldn't watch that event if I was paid. I am not going to do that to myself. I will read the accounts and hopefully someone will have the courage to speak out in favor of American policy to disarm Iraq or maybe one of the Hollywood leftists will actually ask Saddam to disarm for the sake of world peace. Yea, right. That's going to happen.

I see that George Clooney (via Drudge) is running his mouth again.

I am so thankful that he and his fellow leftwingers aren't running this country.