Sunday, February 26, 2006


Anyone who knows my background, knows that I'm not crazy about the Bush Administration, but I have to say that this is one time I'm siding with them.

I don't get the whole flap about a company owned by the United Arab Emirates running major ports in our country. I can understand some apprehension being that the potential owners are from a current global hotspot, but that doesn't mean we go as nuts as some in Congress have been doing.

Congress in my view is trying to take the easy way out. It's easy to take potshots at a weakened President or at an ethnic group. It's much easier to devise an approach that will secure our nation's ports without resorting to cheap xenophobia.

Clearly, port security in the post 9/11 era is a top concern, but it is not going to be solved by blocking foreign companies from running our ports.

As a fellow blogger has said, the UAE isn't going to plunk to down a huge chunk of change just so that they can come in and blow up stuff. The UAE wants to diversify its economy away from oil and this is one way it can.

I don't need to remind people that the 9/11 hijackers flew jets owned by American airlines, and were trained by Americans to fly the planes they used as bombs. If the terrorists want to hit us, they don't need ports owned by Arabs.

Blocking this deal isn't going to make us safer. Maybe Congress can get off its high horse and developed a real plan for port security other than their current "America First" plan. But that would make too much sense.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blame Political Correctness

Alan over at Maverick Views has a perceptive piece on how the American media has downplayed the so-called "cartoon" story of the Danish periodical that placed depictions of Mohammed that has set off a malestrom of protest by Muslims around the world. He links to another blogger over at Done With Mirrors, who hits the nail on the head as to why American journalists are not focusing on this issue, but are focusing on the whole Cheney-cum-Elmer Fudd- shooting fiasco:

Like my liberal newsroom co-workers, who greeted the cartoon row with a profound silence despite its obvious overlap with our beloved freedom of the press. It was an uncomfortable moment, I imagine, to minds that stoutly refuse to criticize a non-Western culture -- and mouths that never cease to trash-talk their own.

I don't want to get into debate about whether or not the mainstream media is liberal or not. But I do think there is a grain of truth here. I think the reason many in America have been so skittish on this issue, if not downright hostile and accusatory is because many have adhere to some rule that one can't condemn another culture-unless it's Western.

I've seen this a lot in many of my liberal friends. They heap sins upon sins on the United States and other Western nations and yet ignore the sins committed by other nations. Years ago, a friend of mine said to a group of us, that the United States was the worst nation when it came to women's rights. Another friend corrected her and said that she might want to consider Saudi Arabia as the holder of worse nation for womankind. Even though this happened years ago, I am still astounded by it. Women in the US can be Sentors and Governors, run major corporations and the like. I'm not saying it's paradise here, and yes there is more to do, but I can think of many nations where women are treated like property instead as full human beings.

Some of this comes from the fact that in the not too distant past, Westerners came and conquered societies claiming to "civilize" them, while ignoring the cultures that existed. It was also not too long ago, that people discriminated against Jews and Catholics. Restrictive covanents made sure to keep Jews out of certain areas. And of course, as a black man, I'm well aware of how African Americans were treated until a generation ago. Many liberals are aware of this and want to be sensitive and appreciative of other cultures. And I agree with this-to a point.

When another culture does something that is just patently wrong, we should be able to call a spade a spade without being cultural imperialists. It isn't right to do what radical Muslims are doing by trying to scare the European media into submission. There are some universal values, and one of them is allowing people the freedom to say what they want, even if it is stupid.

Political Correctness has lifted sensitivity and non-offensiveness to universal values. But the minute we do that, we weaken the values that are really important to us: the freedom of speech, a free and independent press and the like. Yes, we should respect other cultures, but respect goes both ways and radical Islam has shown no respect to those of us in the West. They can't demand something they have no intentions of showing to others.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dafur: Where is the Black Community?

As I was cooking some chili tonight, I sort of listening to "Newshour with Jim Leher" and they began talking about the situation in Darfur with Senators Sam Brownback and Barack Obama. It was good to see such bipartisan cooperation, especially from Senator Brownback, a man that I don't agree with on a lot of issues. Brownback has taken a strong lead in this issue and he needs to commended for that.

It is also hearting to see Olympic Speed skater Joey Cheek donate his winnings to those suffering in Darfur.

But I have one question. Where is the African American community when it comes to Darfur?

I might be wrong about this, but with the exception of Senator Obama, I don't hear much of black America talking about this issue and we should be. Twenty years ago, it was the black churches as well as other prominent black leaders who took the lead in fighting against the aparthied regime in South Africa. Now, when genocide faces the African continent, there is nary a peep. Why?

Why is it that a white Senator from Kansas and a white speed skater from North Carolina seem to care more about some black folk in Africa than, well black folk?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there are a whole bunch of black musicians and sports figures doing something. I surely hope so. Because with all the talk about Africa being the "motherland" you'd think Black America would be doing something.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Quick Reads

Via Charging RINO is profile of Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel. I've always liked Hagel's independence and true conservative bona fides and you will get a good snapshot of the Senator.

Alan over at Maverick Views talks about a Texas Democrat who is in an election fight against far left Democrats.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Medium Post on the Cartoons

Since it seems like everyone and their brother has commented on the depictions of the prophet Mohammed and the reaction in parts of the world, it seems like a good time for me to say something. Of course in true blogosphere fashion, I'm going to comment on what others have said. I want to start first with my fellow centrist blogger, Alan over at Maverick Views. He has a good post about why it might be time to stop reprinting the cartoons in question, but he adds this comment that I found troubling:

The mass republishing of the cartoons also served a good purpose as it showed the radical Muslims that our culture of free speech cannot be subdued—that we as Westerners are united in our commitment to freedom and condemnation of radical Islam.

I am glad for the original publication of these cartoons and glad they were republished all over Europe, America and elsewhere.

But the usefulness of these cartoons has ended. We’ve proved how incompatible much of Islam is with Western values. We’ve proved our commitment to free speech. Now we’re just poking a rabid dog with a sharp stick. There’s no sense to that.

Flag on the play.

Islam is incompatible with Western values? Hmmm. Should a bunch of screaming fanatics in Syria or Iran speak for a whole faith? What about American Muslims? Are they basically backwards folk because of their faith?

Maybe it was a slip of the tounge and Alan meant radical Islam. I would hope that he wouldn't paint all 1 billion adherents of Islam as a bunch of savages.

Which leads to this great op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by a Muslim biochemistry professor at Cal State-Los Angeles.

Finally, the
Minneapolis Star Tribune had an editoral in Thursday's paper that just didn't get what this was all about. The editorial condemns the violent reactions to the cartoons in the Muslim world, but it also very scathing towards the Danish paper that first ran the offending cartoons accusing the paper and the editor of racism, and belittling the free speech argument:

Then there is the ignorant Western notion that this is a "free press" issue. Baloney. Sure, a free press CAN depict Mohammed any way they want, but that doesn't mean they SHOULD, knowing how deeply Muslims feel about it. The Danish editor who started all this hadn't a clue what he was doing -- perhaps because racism is so widespread and virulent in Europe. The editor was so Eurocentric he didn't know that depicting Mohammed would cause offense. Equally ignorant was the decision by other European newspapers to reprint the cartoons in "support" of the Danish newspaper. They weren't supporting a free press, they were supporting a stupid press.

I think the "Strib" is way off the mark on this.

First, this is a free press issue. They are right that what was shown was offensive and if I were the Danish editor, I probably wouldn't have run it. But this is about principles not niceties. I tend to have a libertarian view on this, but I feel that we have to defend speech, even if it offends others. I don't like the Klan, but I would allow them to protest because they have a right. And if others want to protest the Klan protesting, that is there right as well. If the only speech that we defend is that which doesn't offend any group, then we might as well chuck the belief in the free press out the window. My own belief is that the Strib is putting Political Correctness (which last I checked wasn't included in America's Bill of Rights) over long held democratic principles such as freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Part of me wonders if the Star Tribune would have the same view if this were a paper in the American South that was being harrassed by a bunch of Christian fundamentalists. I'm not holding out hope.

Second, is the charge of racism. Okay, so where was the outrage when The vanGogh was murdered by a Muslim fanatic in 2004? Should someone be shot and then have their throat cut because of a film? I guess the Strib would say he got what he deserved.

On a similar note, I'm kinda embarassed by the timidity of the American media on this issue. Why aren't news outlets standing in solidarity with the Euro-counterparts?

On another topic entirely, sorry for the sparse posting. I have a new job, so that and other outside activities are keeping me busy.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Short Post on Wiretaps

Charging RINO links to a fascinating piece in the Washington Post that shows that the wiretapping program initiated by the White House is bigger in scope than what was initially known.

My own view on this is two fold: First, we do need to know what terrorists might be planning and I can see wiretapping as one way of doing that. However (and this leads to my second point) it has to be done within a legal framework-something the President seems to have forgotten. The President could have turned this into a positive by calling on Congress to stregthen or update the FISA statutes to fit the times. Instead, he used the old tactic of fear.

However, the Democrats haven't done any better. They could have scored some points by also offering a bill that would create a legal framework for wiretapping of suspected terrorists, but instead they chose historonics over policy.

What's sad is that there are two problems. Terrorists who mean America harm, and an Administration that tends to overstep its bounds way too often. We need our leaders to come up with solutions to both; to find ways to keep the government from snooping too far into the lives of Americans and that will give them the legitamate tools they need to combat terror. But silly me, I'm thinking logically.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Carter and Hamas

I want to say first that I admire Jimmy Carter. He was a bad President, but he has done a lot of good in the 25 years he's been out of office. He builds homes with Habitat for Humanity, and works for peace around the world. He is a great example of a person of faith who isn't using God to spew hate and divisiveness.

That said, I think Carter is wrong on Hamas.

In an interview with CNN, the former President says that the rest of the world should give Hamas a chance. Hamas, as you well know, won the majority of seats in the Palestinian legislature in elections last week. Hamas does nice acts of charity for the Palestinans when they aren't trying to blow up Israeli citizens. Carter believes that Hamas could become a "nonviolent organization."

Maybe, but I kinda doubt it.

Listen, Hamas isn't the African National Congress. Back during the days of aparthied, the ANC worked for a multiracial democracy. There wasn't talk of driving the white South Africans out or anything. Hamas, on the other hand, has called for the destruction of Israel. They don't seem very interested in peace at all.

I'm all for a Palestian state. I want Israel and Palestine to be at peace with each other. And I want to see democracy in Arab world flourish. But not with a party built on hate.

I still like Mr. Carter, but he's dreaming if he thinks Hamas will change.