Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An Example of a Non-Answer

OK. So in a previous post, I talked about someone who had called FOX News Channel (and, I think, me) racist.

Of course, as is the norm with some folks, there was no actual example of racism, just the label, which usually achieves the desired effect even without factual backup. I asked the person to provide me with an example of FOX's alleged racism.

So, today, I get this reply: "As an baby boomer African-American, I have experienced racism all my life, and I do not need someone who has never experienced racism to tell me anything about racism. Anyone who watches FAUX as I do on a regular basis)and truly listens to what is said even by Juan Williams (he has no choice or he would be out of a job but to go along with O'Reilly) and his hateful remarks, not only regarding African-Americans, but anyone who does not totally agree with what he says, know that the racism is there. How can you tell me about somthing you have never and will never experience or understand. Just because you have this blog, does not mean a lot. Give me some examples of the racism you have heard or experienced personally, and I will listen to you. Until that time, you need to STFU."

Nice! All those words, and still not a single example of FOX's racism! What a waste of time. But, it's amusing, so I'll go along with it.

First off -- You assume that because Juan Williams is on FOX, he is forced to go along with whatever is said, because he would otherwise be out of a job. But you forget two things: The comments Williams made in agreement with Bill O'Reilly were not on FOX. And, if you think that every commentator on FOX has to agree with the talking points of whatever show they are on, look at Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity. They disagree constantly.

Second -- About experiencing racism ... yes, actually, I have. I've been called a "cracker" (which, until someone told me that it had to do with whip-cracking, I thought meant I was the color of a Saltine cracker!); I've been labeled a "half-breed" because I have Italian-Polish ancestry (oddly enough, both Italians and Poles have some problem with this) ... I've been called a "breeder" by a gay person, because I'm heterosexual, although I don't know if that counts.

Now, I don't even consider that stuff real "racism" -- just silly words from silly people. But, if the Imus controversy taught me anything, it's that in this day and age, just using a "slur" will get you labeled a racist who uses "hate speech." So I guess being the target of ignorant name-calling counts.

But there are some other examples of how I've been affected by something race-based ... when I needed financial aid my last year at college, the financial aid officer looked over all my information and denied my aid request, but said that, all other things being equal, I would have qualified if I was a minority; but being "white" I was just SOL and had to get a second job.

At one of the restaurants I was waiting tables at (to get the dough to finish school because I was denied financial aid because all us white folks have money out the wazoo, don't you know), I had a nice couple inform me ahead of time that I shouldn't expect a tip, because since their ancestors had to serve my ancestors for free, then here was the payback. The looked so proud to finally be giving it to whitey that I didn't have the heart to tell them that my ancestors weren't in this country when slavery was practiced, and when they did get here other people gave them a hard time and called them polaks or skis, wops or dagos.

But, you know what? None of that makes a difference, nor does the claim that you have experienced racism "all your life" -- this isn't about you, or me, this is about your claim that FOX is a "racist network" ... which, may I remind you, you still haven't given me an example of.

Third -- This is one of my favorites: "Just because you have this blog, does not mean a lot." What does that even mean? Again, what does my having a blog -- which, no, doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot, and is especially tedious when I have to sort through silly mail -- have to do with your unfounded claim that FOX is racist?

This whole thing is a great example of how people argue when they don't have an argument. They say "So-and-so is a racist" and I ask "How so?" and then they just ramble on and on about racism and injustice and pain and suffering, but they never actually answer the "How so?" question.

By the way, if I'm correct, "STFU" means "Shut the f**k up," which in some circles constitutes intelligent debate -- but not mine, which is why I'm still waiting for him to tell me how FOX is racist.


Anyway, if you think of an example, I'd still like to hear it. I'll even post it up here, because some people are getting a real bang out of this whole thing.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Comment That Gets Its Own Post

I wrote a post the other day about Democratic presidential hopefuls completely avoiding -- and criticizing -- FOX News Channel.

Someone sent me a comment claiming that FOX hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity and columnist Ann Coulter "make no bones about the fact that they feels blacks are inferior."

So I asked the commenter to please tell me when such statements of "fact" were ever made.

Rather than give me an example (because there are none to give), I received this gem of a reply:

"If you don't think what was said by Bill O'Reilly about blacks was racist, I can see why you watch Fox. Fox is a racist network, so I cannot speak about that network without mentioning race. Remember, O'Reilly was shocked to see that blacks knew how to behave in a restaurant. "

OK. Now, the item this poster cites to make the claim that the entire FOX network is racist was a part of O'Reilly's radio show (not on FOX, by the way) and he was speaking to Juan Williams (who is not white, by the way). They were discussing race relations in America, the after-effects of segregation and such, and the effect of things like gangsta rap and stereotyped movies on people's perception of "black culture." And even though it's long, the only way YOU can make up your own mind is to ignore whatever liberal TV show or newspaper is telling you "Bill O'Reilly said ...", and make up your OWN mind if it's racist. You HAVE to read the WHOLE thing -- without context, everything can be manipulated to show anything.:

From the September 19 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor:

O'REILLY: Now, how do we get to this point? Black people in this
country understand that they've had a very, very tough go of it, and some of
them can get past that, and some of them cannot. I don't think there's a black
American who hasn't had a personal insult that they've had to deal with because
of the color of their skin. I don't think there's one in the country. So you've
got to accept that as being the truth. People deal with that stuff in a variety
of ways. Some get bitter. Some say, [unintelligible] "You call me that, I'm
gonna be more successful." OK, it depends on the personality.
So it's there. It's there, and I think it's getting better. I think black Americans are
starting to think more and more for themselves. They're getting away from the
Sharptons and the Jacksons and the people trying to lead them into a race-based
culture. They're just trying to figure it out: "Look, I can make it. If I work
hard and get educated, I can make it."
You know, I was up in Harlem a few weeks ago, and I actually had dinner with Al Sharpton, who is a very, very interesting guy. And he comes on The Factor a lot, and then I treated him to dinner, because he's made himself available to us, and I felt that I wanted to take him up there. And we went to Sylvia's, a very famous restaurant in Harlem.
I had a great time, and all the people up there are tremendously respectful.
They all watch The Factor. You know, when Sharpton and I walked in, it was like
a big commotion and everything, but everybody was very nice.
And I couldn't
get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and
any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even
though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship. It was the same, and
that's really what this society's all about now here in the U.S.A. There's no
difference. There's no difference. There may be a cultural entertainment --
people may gravitate toward different cultural entertainment, but you go down to
Little Italy, and you're gonna have that. It has nothing to do with the color of
anybody's skin.
WILLIAMS: Well, let me just tell you, the one thing I would say is
this. And we're talking about the kids who still like this gangsta rap, this
vile poison that I think is absolutely, you know, literally a corruption of
culture. I think that what you've got to take into account that it's still a
majority white audience -- young, white people who think they're into rebelling
against their parents who buy this stuff and think it's just a kick. You know,
it's just a way of expressing their anti-authoritarianism.
O'REILLY: But it's
a different -- it's a different dynamic, though.
WILLIAMS: Exactly right
O'REILLY: Because the young, white kids don't have to struggle out of the
WILLIAMS: Right, and also, I think they can have that as one phase of
their lives.
WILLIAMS: I think too many of the black kids
take it as, "Oh, that's what it means to be authentically black. That's how you
make money. That's how you become rich and famous and get on TV and get music
videos." And you either get the boys or the girls. The girls think they have to,
you know, be half-naked and spinning around like they're on meth in order to get
any attention. It really corrupts people, and I think it adds, Bill, to some
serious sociological problems, like the high out-of-wedlock birth rate because
of this hypersexual imagery that then the kids adapt to some kind of reality. I
mean, it's inauthentic. It's not in keeping with great black traditions of
struggle and excellence, from Willie Mays to Aretha Franklin, but even in terms
of academics, you know, going back to people like Charles
or Ben Carson
here, the neurosurgeon at [Johns] Hopkins [University]. That stuff, all of a
sudden, is pushed aside. That's treated as, "You're a nerd, you're acting
white," if you try to be excellent and black.
O'REILLY: You know, and I went
to the concert by Anita Baker at Radio City Music Hall, and the crowd was 50/50,
black/white, and the blacks were well-dressed. And she came out -- Anita Baker
came out on the stage and said, "Look, this is a show for the family. We're not
gonna have any profanity here. We're not gonna do any rapping here." The band
was excellent, but they were dressed in tuxedoes, and this is what white America
doesn't know, particularly people who don't have a lot of interaction with black
Americans. They think that the culture is dominated by Twista, Ludacris, and
Snoop Dogg.
WILLIAMS: Oh, and it's just so awful. It's just so awful because,
I mean, it's literally the sewer come to the surface, and now people take it
that the sewer is the whole story --
O'REILLY: That's right. That's right.
There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, "M-Fer, I want more iced
WILLIAMS: Please --
O'REILLY: You know, I mean, everybody was -- it
was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of
people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there
wasn't any kind of craziness at all.

So where is the racist stuff? I mean, I read that, and I find it pretty straightforward. There are people in this world who don't have a lot of interaction with black people, and all they know is what they see on TV, read in the papers, hear on the radio. They have misconceptions about "black culture" that the media feeds them.

"O'REILLY: The band was excellent, but they were dressed in tuxedoes, and this is what white America doesn't know, particularly people who don't have a lot of interaction with black Americans. They think that the culture is dominated by Twista, Ludacris, and Snoop Dogg. WILLIAMS: Oh, and it's just so awful. It's just so awful because, I mean, it's literally the sewer come to the surface, and now people take it that the sewer is the whole story."

Seriously, how is that racist? I mean, to say that "O'Reilly was shocked to see that blacks knew how to behave in a restaurant" is silly if you actually read the whole thing, and not just the lines the left wing tosses out to support their agenda.

But wait! The poster had more for me: "O'Reilly intimated that Blacks could not think for themselves and had to follow people like Jackson and Sharpton. Any race that cannot think for itself would have to be inferior. "

Are you serious? Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have thousands upon thousands of "followers" that consider them to be the "voices" of black America. If they see an injustice -- even if there's not really an injustice there (Tawana Brawley? Duke Lacrosse?) -- they can get those followers to come out in droves, with the whole us vs. them thing going on.

It IS bad for people to not think for themselves. But the fact that so many people do follow Sharpton and Jackson blindly isn't O'Reilly's fault -- that's just the way it is. And if he perceives that fewer and fewer people are doing that, well, that may or may not be correct, but it certainly is not a "racist" viewpoint. The poster inferred that on his/her own.

TO THE POSTER: I ask you again, please give me an example -- a real one this time, not one the left made up -- how FOX is a "racist network."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Like Taking Candy From a Baby

Ah, the way people squirm their way around the rules. ...

Here's a neat little story about how some folks managed to give Barack Obama more campaign cash than they were supposed to ...

I have no comments. I'm sure there are a lot of politicians that get extra money this way. This is just another example.

Talking Turkey

Here's a funny story about wild turkeys "invading" Massachusetts ...

I love it when nature fights back.

Edwards Doesn't Want My Vote - Not a Problem

Presidential hopeful John Edwards told Bill Maher recently, "Well, that is the best endorsement a Democrat can get, to have Bill O'Reilly against you."

The Democratic candidates avoid Fox like the plague, and criticize the network and its commentators every chance they get.

The whole thing seems really stupid on their part. With the size of Fox's audience, wouldn't it make sense to go after those votes?

I mean, all they seem to be doing is spouting the same rhetoric, to the same people -- the people that already support them.

It's as if they don't even want to tell me why I should vote for them -- they figure that because I'm watching Fox News that they shouldn't bother trying.

It's ridiculous. At the same time they piss and moan about how others are "divisive," and how the country needs "unity," they have no problem discounting a huge number of voters based purely on what channel their TV is on.

It's easy to pander to the people who already support you -- the challenge, and the test of a true "candidate," is to make an effort to convince other people to vote for you, too.

I was reading some of the posts on John Edwards' campaign Web site, and I really wanted to puke -- post after post after post of people talking about all the "hate" that gets spewed on FNC, and how, if he had "any guts," O'Reilly would do his show from Iraq.

Here's the laugh -- if they had every actually watched the show they would know he already has -- more than once. And they were good shows, where he interviewed soldiers at the heart of the war.

But they wouldn't know, because their opinions are based not on personal knowledge, but on the regurgitation of other uninformed people's spouting.

How do the lefties do it? They criticize FNC, but haven't ever seen it; they condemn Ann Coulter, without ever having read one of her books ...

You know, it's OK to disagree with something, but for Pete's sake, at least go and watch it and form your own opinion, instead of just repeating whatever Tim Robbins or Sean Penn or Susan Sarandon or Rosie said about it on TV.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sick and Tired of This SCHIP

You must have heard something by now about how evil President Bush vetoed health care for millions of children.

Actually, aside from the political games some lawmakers are playing with kids' health, "SCHIP is a discretionary spending program run by the states and designed mainly to provide private insurance for children of low-income families that are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. About 92 percent of the children receiving coverage under this bill would be from families earning up to twice the federal poverty level. The bill would expand coverage from 6.6 million children to 9.8 million children and deny SCHIP eligibility to children of illegal aliens and adults." (from Thomas Voting Reports' Roll Call, 10-19-07)

Did you read that? Did you notice the line, "About 92 percent of the children receiving coverage under this bill would be from families earning up to twice the federal poverty level" ...?

To me, that's key -- that is the difference between helping the "needy" get medical insurance and the liberals' goal of completely socialized health care (that you pay for).

Listen to me: If your income is twice the poverty level, you are not poor.

If your income is twice the poverty level and you do not have health insurance, then you are not spending your money wisely, period.

If you make that much money and don't have enough cash left for health insurance, then your priorities are screwed, and the rest of us taxpayers should not have to cover for your stupidity.

You know? I'm so sick and tired of people trying to take my money and give it to other people who are irresponsible.

Here's the worst part -- I can't even blame this solely on the Democrats, or libs, or lefties, or whatever you want to call the gang of whiners that usually have their hands in our pockets, because Chris Shays, that dope, voted to override the veto.

Just one more reason to get that guy out of office. It's bad enough when left-wingers try and screw us out of money, but when people from the "conservative" party encourage such behavior, and follow it, it's time for them to get the boot.

Kick out Chris Shays, and get someone who has a clue.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Evil 'Republican Plot' Debunked

So, remember all the people that were screaming about how the evil GOP death machine had "outed" Joe Wilson's CIA operative wife?

Well, it turns out, according to Robert Novak, that the "leak" was nothing more than "an off-hand remark to a question I asked in an interview I requested. This was not a conspiracy in the federal government to go after Valerie Plame Wilson.”

Here's the full story, which I'm betting you won't hear from the liberal, Bush-hating news outlets.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Calling for a Boycott - Stop Buying CDs

Check this out:

NEW YORK/LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The recording industry has won a major fight in its effort to stop illegal music downloading with a U.S. jury decision to impose $222,000 damages against a Minnesota woman who used a Web service to share music.

(Read the full story here.)

OK. Long story short, a woman was using a peer-to-peer file sharing program on her computer, called Kazaa, where a user can download files -- music, graphics, etc. -- from other users; at the same time, files on her computer could be downloaded by other people using Kazaa. So some record companies sued her for intellectual property rights infringement, and the jury awarded the record companies $222,000 for 24 songs -- more than $9,000 per song -- they said she made available for others to download.

An interesting factoid in an earlier article about this woman is that she buys many CDs.

This is just ludicrous. I understand the whole concept of intellectual property rights, and I also understand that downloading/uploading music is a violation of those property rights. But, to me, there are several mistakes being made on the part of the record companies.

First, just because someone downloads a song doesn't mean that they would have bought the whole CD if that download had been unavailable.

Second, by restricting music to those who can afford to buy numerous CDs, the recording industry is actually decreasing the market for their products: The music industry has to stop looking at the business as simply selling CDs; they are selling the performers, and if they restrict the number of people that are exposed to that performer, they are limiting the number of fans, which means fewer dollars on the bottom line (everything from concert tickets to T-shirts, posters, magazines).

Example: I've downloaded songs from bands I never heard of because the people offering the songs for download compared them to bands I already like -- and I've ended up being a fan of those new bands, though I never would have known about them had it not been for file sharing. File sharing, in fact, has resulted in more money for the companies, because I've then bought CDs, concert tickets and other related items that I would never have bought had I not been introduced to the music -- It's not like I'm going to walk into a store and plunk down $15 for something I've never heard of.

Which leads to another point: Maybe fewer people would download music if CDs weren't priced so incredibly high. When you have to pay $15-$20, or more, for something that costs pennies, you're getting ripped off.

And it's not even just the record companies that are screwing the fans -- some bands do it, too. A while back, the band Metallica started going after people on the Internet that were sharing Metallica songs. They got lists of thousands of names and actually tried to get the people -- their own fans -- in trouble. Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich was the leader of the effort, and complained that his art was being stolen.

Next thing you know, Ulrich will try getting a cut every time someone remembers a song he played.

I personally boycotted Metallica after that. I refuse to spend a dime on anything related to Metallica, which wasn't hard because they really are lousy now (they were good back in 1983-1988, and then got all serious about themselves and turned into "artists" instead of musicians, and, not surprisingly, the "art" suffered).

I'm a firm believer that the consumer has the power to break a company. Stop buying music -- CDs are not essential items. Listen to the radio, listen to them online, or borrow CDs from your local library -- but do NOT buy any more CDs.

If the record companies are whining about only making millions of dollars instead of billions, let them taste what it's like to make NO money. Convince everyone you know to boycott the music industry -- you won't have to do it for long. One or two quarters of slashed revenues can make a huge negative impact on a company.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Speaking of Stupid Lawsuits ...

I had a previous post about lawyers, so here's one about a really stupid lawsuit.

You can read the story here.

It seems a guy who had been teaching in the parish religious education program called the parish priest one day to complain about the quality of the priest's sermon, and left a message on the priest's answering machine.

The priest then played the message one Sunday. The message allegedly said "Father Rios, this is Angel Llavona. I attended mass on Sunday and I have seen poor homilies, but yesterday broke all records."

The priest then made a remark connecting the complaint to what he perceived as the low quality of the religious education program.

So now the guy is suing the church for $50,000. He says he was defamed and suffered "immediate emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation."

So he gets the legal system involved?

If you have a complaint, but are embarrassed about that complaint being made public, then maybe you shouldn't have complained in the first place. It's called standing behind what you say, and everyone should do it. Granted, maybe it was in poor taste to play the message for the rest of the parish, but it's certainly not an issue for the courts.

Great, Another Lawyer (And a Bad One, Too)

Let me make this clear right off the bat: I generally don't like lawyers.

Some, I suppose, are fine, doing good work navigating through the tangled legal system. But, for the most part, I think there are too many people who just have law degrees so they can make money off other people, wither by charging them crazy fees, or by taking it from them in court for ridiculous reasons.


Here's a nifty story about a 51-year-old paralegal who sued his school for what he considered a poor grade.

I think it's really funny that this guy wants to be a lawyer, but his suit against the school gets immediately dismissed ... so maybe he's not that good at understanding the law?

And, the fact that he wants to be a lawyer, and thinks that the judicial system is where you go to argue about a grade ... I guess maybe he does have a promising career as an ambulance chaser.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Congress is a Joke

Congress is a joke.

Yes, there are many, many reasons I would say this, but I simply don't have the time to list them all here. This post is about one issue in particular.

Senate Democrats are condemning radio talker Rush Limbaugh for some stupid thing he said on the radio. (Here's the latest story.)

Now, to me, it doesn't even matter what he said, short of calling for genocide. The very idea that our tax dollars pay enormous salaries to these morons in Congress so that they can sit there and play around taking votes on what people say on the radio, TV or whatever is just ridiculous.

Hello? There's a war going on, people in the U.S. are going broke even though they're working their butts off ... but Congress has to take time to deal with Limbaugh? What's next, a resolution condemning Britney Spears for being a no-talent gutter skank?

The saddest part of all this -- aside from the fact that we can't just toss these dopes out on the street -- is that some of the fools supporting this action actually want to be president of the nation.

Yeah, that's what I want, a president who will stop and put all the other trivial issues like war, fanaticism, poverty and education aside, and deal with the true issues, like Limbaugh's stupid comments.

Cripes. Hell, give me $160,000 a year, I'll do more work for you then these nimrods. I swear, some of these people have their heads so far up their butts they're using their bellybuttons for peepholes so they don't bump into each other when they ravage the complimentary bagel cart.

Man, I really hate these politicians. They don't do squat - neither party. I mean, they have the power to change the way things are, but things are still bad, so what does that tell you?

They're not doing squat.

And, I have to ask, because people like Harry Reid are at the forefront of the whole Limbaugh thing: Is this the big turnaround the Dems promised everyone in exchange for their votes? Forget Osama and al-Sadr, they caught Limbaugh!

Seems to me you got ripped off.


Here's a quick story about Clear Channel's CEO responding to Reid. Make sure you read some of the user comments, that's usually where the real humor is, you can read comments from people who are dumb but think they are smart (like people who complain about politicians but don't know what party the politician belongs to).

And, here's another story about radio guy Mike Savage (who, personally, annoys me to no end). Seems people are trying to take away HIS freedom of speech, too, because they don't agree with it.

You know, it never ceases to amaze me that the people who cry the most for tolerance and equality are the most intolerant, self-centered people around.