Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith Story - RIP Please!

Our nation is at war. The '08 presidential race has begun. We have huge immigration issues to resolve. Our budget and trade deficits are at all time highs.

Yet our news providers pummel us continually with stories about the death of Anna Nicole Smith, a woman who should have been forgotten 10 years ago. In life, she was a dim witted, drug using, greedy tramp. Yes those words are harsh, and perhaps even mean spirited. But they must be considered in order to realize how perverted our national definition of "celebrity" has become.

Anna Nicole stripped her way to become a minor celebrity, married a man 60 years her senior in order to become a multi-millionaire, then shocked the nation with her spaced out ignorance on her way to becoming a reality TV star. Now in death, she's receiving national attention on par with the deaths of Princess Di and Ronald Reagan.

Here's hoping another major news story develops, so we can all begin forgetting a woman who's already received far more attention then warranted.

May Anna Nicole Smith, and the Anna Nicole Smith story, forever rest in peace.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Signs of Progress in Iraq

Muqtada al Sadr has reportedly bailed out of Iraq, and high tailed it into Iran. My sources tell me his final words to his minions were as follows:

"Allah Akbar! Death to America! And, uh, oh yeah, Death to the Zionist pigs! I've, uh, got an appointment in Tehran. I've got an overdue book to turn in to the library there - you know I hate late fees. So, anyway, uh carry on the jihad! Rejoice in your upcoming martydom. And, uh, let's see...... Death to the infidels! See ya suckers."

And fresh off the wire today, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq is apparently wounded, and his top aide is asking St. Peter where he can find his 72 virgins. I'm sure he'll have a hot time at ol' Lucifer's Hotel California.

That story here.

1 Step Closer to A Color Blind America

Believe it or not, but here we are in 2007 and the country is still trying to determine whether or not people can be discriminated against based on their skin color.

The good news is that more than 2 dozen public universities (and the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund) will begin treating all college applicants the same, regardless of the color of their skin. The bad news is that this only happened because those schools lost a court case, and it only applies to urban journalism programs, but it is a victory nonetheless.

Emily Smith, a 16 year old high school student, applied to be accepted into Virginia Commonwealth's Urban Journalism Workshop. Emily was accepted. But when the university saw her white skin 1 week later, they rejected her. Apparently, there are more than two dozen universities who reject white student's applications to similar programs based on race. Perhaps the program creators believe that white people only live in the suburbs. Or perhaps they believe whites are somehow genetically incapable of reporting "urban" journalism.

In any event, the Center for Individual Rights filed suit on behalf of Emily, and fortunately more racially sensitive heads prevailed. As part of the settlement, all the schools offering a similar program can no longer reject candidates based on the candidate's race (although none of the parties admitted any wrongdoing).

Story here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Beware of the Klan!

According to CNN/Paula Zahn, the rise of the KKK and other "hate groups" is news worthy. The front page lead-in to tonight's show has a picture of a hooded Klansmen, accompanied by this text:

Is the Klan making a comeback? Is it exploiting anti-immigrant sentiment to further its cause? Hate, on the Rise, Out in the Open. (emphasis added)

I've lived in the South for 20+ years now, and have never met a Klansmen, nor known anybody who's known a Klansmen. And I haven't noticed any rise in "hate" either. There's no hooded guys running around Houston, and I haven't noticed a single instance of racism since 1984. But in the eyes of the media, I guess there is a compelling need to make sure the country doesn't forget that racist whitey is out there, ready to rise up and strike at any moment.

In all seriousness, it's understandable that CNN has to find something of interest about which to report. Certainly if the KKK is "on the rise", then this story is newsworthy. But does anybody really believe the KKK numbers more than perhaps a couple hundred backwoods fools? Is it in any way productive to devote one hour of CNN programming to publicize an insignificant hate group?

More importantly, notice how CNN links "anti-immigrant" sentiment to the KKK. Seriously, who is anti-immigrant? I'm strongly in favor of enforcing our immigration laws, but that does not make me anti-immigrant. It seems clear that CNN is out to fire up some good old fashioned racial tensions, and connect white America's racist history to a supposed hatred of Hispanic immigrants.

Hopefully the actual program (which airs tonight) provides a balanced perspective on the matter, but given the lead-in I'm not too optimistic.

Paula Zahn schedule as of Feb 6

Thursday, February 01, 2007

How Radical is a "Radical" Muslim?

Ever since September 11th, 2001, we've all been assured that the men who preach jihad against the west and who aim to spread sharia law throughout the world are a small minority within Islam. After all, there can't be that many people who actually advocate the death penalty for converts from Islam, or amputations for theft, can there? These "radical" Muslims comprise perhaps 2% of the Muslim world, or so we've been told.

But take a look at this recent poll of UK resident Muslims , who are supposedly more moderate than their Middle East brothers in faith. Some of the "highlights":

  • 37% of Muslims between the ages of 16-24 want to live under sharia law.
  • 19% of Muslims aged 55 and above believe those who leave Islam should be killed. 36% of those between the ages of 16-24 share this belief.

    Perhaps these numbers are distorted because Muslims feel like outcasts in Britain. Maybe UK based Muslims believe they've been oppressed by the government, so their opinions are distorted. Think again. 84% of the Muslims polled stated that they have been treated fairly by the UK government, which leads us to conclude that the aforementioned sentiments on sharia law and death for converts are the genuine beliefs for a large number of Muslims.

    So when can we stop pretending that the ideas put forth by Hezbulloh, Al Qaeda, the Mahdi Army, and the dozens of other terrorist organizations are limited to extremist Muslims? Or at the very least, can we change the definition of "extremist" to mean "roughly 33%"?

    On a related note, I'd love to see a similar poll taken among US based Muslims. I can't believe the numbers would be comparable, but then again I never would have guessed the extent to which UK based Muslims share radical views.

    Story here.