People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Let Me Help You With That, Colbert

Colbert King, writing for the Washington Post, can't understand why conservatives (apparently he's not aware of the many liberals who hold the same opinion) consider ethnic profiling to be not only acceptable but required in the war on terror.
A Shameful Hypocrisy
By Colbert I. King

I am mystified by the conservative commentators who voice their support for racial profiling as a way to catch terrorist suspects. These pundits support the authorities screening or otherwise keeping a close eye on mainly young Muslim men of North African, Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, because an overwhelming number of terrorists hail from those regions. (link)

Let me explain this in terms you will be able to relate to, Colbert.

When, in the 1950's, the FBI decided to finally come down hard on the Klan, it began its investigation by compiling a list of Klan members. This wasn't an easy task because, as you may have heard, Colbert, KKK members generally liked to hide their identities behind hoods (I hear the one West Virginia Democratic Senator Robert Byrd wore was particularly attractive with cloth horns on top and gold lace filigree bordering the eye holes).

Well, in order to compile the list of byrdbrains who wore those silly hoods and terrorized African-Americans, Jews, Catholics, and Republicans, the FBI had to infiltrate those gatherings of Americans who were behind the terror. Now, Colbert, where do you suppose the FBI started its investigation? In the negro sections of Corinth, Mississippi? In NAACP meetings? Down at the local synagogue?

No, Colbert. The FBI set up a profile. They acted on the assumption - and their assumption proved to be fairly accurate - that the Ku Klux Klan was made up of southern white males between the ages of sixteen and ninety-five. Ethnic profiling. In the 1950's. As I live and breathe.

It's funny, I don't remember you ever complaining about that profiling.

It was an effective tool back then; it's an effective tool today - if byrdbrains like you would give the FBI the chance to do their work.

You see, Colbert, just as the Klan was made up entirely of southern white males back then, the people slaughtering innocent women and children today are all Muslims. Not necessarily all Arabs. Not all male. But they're all radical Muslims.

My guess is, you wouldn't complain if the FBI set up a terrorist profile in 2005 consisting solely of southern white males between the ages of sixteen and ninety-five, but I'd also guess that that profile wouldn't quite work.

It makes good sense for the feds to use ethnic profiling. Colbert. But then I think I just hit on your problem.

The Dukes of Hazzard Controversy

Can I be absolutely honest with you for just a minute? I hated The Dukes of Hazzard when it was a weekly TV series. That tiny judge, the simpleton sheriff, the Duke boys; they all should have gone down in a fiery Dodge Charger-over-the-cliff car crash. The show's only redeeming value came in the form of Daisy Duke's butt, as I recall. That I had a certain admiration for. But the rest of the series was insufferable.

Now someone has made a movie out of it. And controversy reigns.
The latest controversy concerns the forthcoming movie remake of "The Dukes of Hazzard."

Actor Ben Jones, who played "Cooter" in the original TV show, and was last famous for serving three terms in Congress as a Georgia Democrat, has drawn a crowd of media by urging parents not to let their children see the new "Dukes" movie.

In a letter to fans on his Web site, Mr. Jones says he has not seen the film, but has read the script and talked to people on the set: "Frankly, I think the whole project shows an arrogant disrespect for our show, for our cast, for America's families, and for the sensibilities of the heartland of our country." (link)
Don't forget God, the flag, and apple pie.

Here's my take: I don't care. I won't watch the movie if you strap me in a chair in front of the DVD player and threaten my life. I don't care if Jessica Simpson appears half naked in the movie ... well, let me think about that for a second ... and as for the rest of the cast, good God! Aging Burt Reynolds plays the judge? Has the world gone stark-raving-mad?

Don't we have better things to do? Like stop global warming and save snail darters from extinction and crap like that? And what about the growing imbalance of trade? Have we no shame?

OK. I feel better. But I'm still not going to see this movie. Totally nude Jessica Simpson or no. Or ... no ... or ...

NY Times, Where Good News Means The End of Mankind

First the good news, as reported by the Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Nonfarm Payrolls Grew By 207,000 Jobs Last Month
By GREG IP, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON -- Brisk job growth, rising wages and broad hiring across industries all suggest the job market is steadily picking up steam.

Nonfarm payrolls grew by 207,000 in July from June, the biggest increase in three months, the Labor Department said Friday. Employment in the prior two months was revised up by a total of 42,000. Although payroll growth has been volatile, monthly gains have accelerated to an average of 191,000 this year.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate, which is based on a separate survey of households, held at 5%, the same as in June, down half a percentage point in the last year. For blacks, it plunged to 9.5%, the lowest since 2001, from 10.2%.

The jobs report suggests the economy, which grew solidly in the second quarter, may be accelerate in the current quarter. (link)
Could economic conditions be any better?

Well, according to the folks at the New York Times, the great news only portends disaster.

Here are the conclusions reached by the editorial staff this morning (the sentences highlighted in bold are my emphasis):
  • With July's number, the average monthly job creation so far this year comes to 191,000. (Since the spring of 2003, when job losses bottomed out, the monthly average has been 152,000.) That's enough to absorb the 150,000 or so new workers who enter the labor force each month, and then some. Still, it's not robust.
  • Employment rates - the share of the population that is employed, broken down by groups - tell a similar story. The rates ticked up slightly for most groups in July, including for African-American men and high school dropouts. Nevertheless, employment rates are still well below their most recent peak, in 2000.
  • Because the demand for workers has been subpar for some four years now, wages have suffered. Average hourly wages rose a surprising 0.4 percent in July, the strongest monthly surge in a year. But they're up only 2.7 percent over the past year, hardly keeping up with inflation.
  • If July's employment and wage gains persisted for 6 to 12 more months, the labor slack would tighten and the job market would really be strong and getting stronger. Unfortunately, that's far from a sure thing.
  • Wall Street took July's relatively upbeat jobs report as a sign that interest rate increases would continue. Higher rates might well be a head wind for further job gains, not least because they would be likely to dent the hot housing market, which is itself a big source of both jobs and the consumer spending that supports employment. (link)

These poor creatures must live such depressing lives. If their thought processes weren't clouded by the daily funk they seem to endure, this would be today's editorial:

Economy Doing Great. Let's All Get Crazy and Celebrate!

But I doubt that we'll see that on the editorial page of the Times any time soon.

Presbyterian Church Takes Sides

While Israel moves toward a pullout from Gaza and strives for peace, the leadership in the Presbyterian Church USA has decided to stir up trouble by siding with the Palestinians.

You few remaining Presbyterians out there must be very proud.
Threat to Divest Is Church Tool in Israeli Fight

The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. announced Friday that it would press four American corporations to stop providing military equipment and technology to Israel for use in the occupation of the Palestinian territories, and that if the companies did not comply, the church would take a vote to divest its stock in them.

The companies - Caterpillar, Motorola, ITT Industries and United Technologies - were selected from a list of several dozen possibilities by a church investment committee that met Friday in Seattle. The Presbyterians accused these companies of selling helicopters, cellphones, night vision equipment and other items Israel uses to enforce its occupation. (link)

Did you get that? The Presbyterians "accused" the four companies of selling wares to Israel. How shameful. Cellphones no less. There'll be no "Hello, Moto" around the Holy Land if they can help it.

Why don't you people just come out with your resolution stating your true beliefs? You hate Jews and want them all slaughtered by the Arabs. How else to take this move by your church? Ariel Sharon is making a clean break with Palestine by relocating Jewish settlers and is in the middle of a struggle with Zionists in Gaza and the West Bank who are not going to leave without a fight, and you make a move to weaken him.

I have half a mind to add the Presbyterian Church to my boycott list, like so many former Presbyterians have.*

* THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (USA). The PC (USA) has lost almost 2 million members since 1965 representing a decline of 40 percent. Congregations and Presbyteries are in open rebellion against established church law regarding homosexual ordination and their historic Confession of Faith. Recently, a Presbyterian court ordered a Florida church to rescind its endorsement of a confessional statement that affirmed Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation, the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and life, and that sexual activity can only be affirmed in heterosexual marriage. (link)