Friday, July 31, 2009

Finally, Someone with Some Class

Last week, I posted a conversation I had with Chaos Jackal regarding the arrest of a Harvard professor by a Cambridge police officer investigating a break in. In the ensuing media battle that was waged, it was clear who the loser of the battle was:

Barak Obama.

With the completion of the "Beer Summit" at the White House (shown in picture above) it has finally become obvious who the winner of the battle was:

Police Officer Leon K. Lashley.

Officer Lashley, a black man, was called to the scene as back up during Professor Gates' arrest. His face was seen in the news in many photos of the incident. His unequivocal support of Officer Crowley was also aired by news sources in interviews with him.

What follows is the letter that Officer Lashely gave to Officer Crowley. I think you'll agree with me that Officer Lashely is the one man who has come out of this with his dignity intact. This is someone I can respect.

Dear Jim [Officer Crowley],

Would you be so kind as to mention the following to Mr. Gates and President Obama during your meeting with them:

One of the major problems stemming from the events of July 16 is that I, now known as 'the black Sergeant', have had my image plastered all over the Internet, television and newspapers. Subsequently, I have also become known, at least to some, as an 'Uncle Tom.'

I'm forced to ponder the notion that as a result of speaking the truth and coming to the defense of a friend and collegue, who just happens to be white, that I have somehow betrayed my heritage.

Please convey my concerns to the President that Mr. Gates' actions may have caused grave and potentially irreparable harm to the struggle for racial harmony in this country and perhaps throughout the world.

In closing, I would simply like to ask that Mr. Gates deeply reflect on the events that have unfolded since July 16 and ask himself the following questions:

'What can I do to help heal the rift caused by some of my actions?; What responsibility do I bear for what occurred on July 16, 2009? Is there anything I can do to mitigate the damage done to the reputations of two respected Police Officers?'

Thank you in advance,
Your friend,

Leon K. Lashley

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Office Space

The AC was out in the office today. I'm sweltering. The humidity is so thick that there are puddles forming on the floor.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama Sticks Gates' Foot in His Mouth

The following exchange occurred in Yahoo Instant Messenger.


chaosjackal: If I were the cop, I'd sue the President. When a national leader calls an individual peace officer stupid, that's defamation of character on an epic scale.

Gleno Underhill: I'm honestly not sure where I stand on this one, but I think we'll see Obama is the going to be the one to make the apology here. Obama snatched defeat from the lack of jaws of any kind in this one. He shouldn't have opened his mouth.

chaosjackal: The police showed up with a complaint of a possible B&E, asked the individual for ID, and before they could explain why they were present, the guy got nasty with them. Where reason and patience should have won the day, it escalated, because of race.

Gleno Underhill: True. BUT... Let's play it slightly differently...

chaosjackal: Kk.

Gleno Underhill: You arrive home and find yourself locked out...

chaosjackal: Common. >.>

Gleno Underhill: You know your house so you know how to get in. You enter. Now, admitting the distrust we both have about the establishment these days, think about it: The cops show up and tell you to come outside...

Gleno Underhill: Do you say, "Certainly Mr. Officer, sir" or do you tell them to show you a warrant? Honestly, depending upon my mood, I could see myself doing either.

chaosjackal: I'd demand a warrant or probable cause.

Gleno Underhill: So there you go.

Gleno Underhill: And if the cop gets pissy, he could push the issue and arrest you (wrongly so, but arrest you nontheless).

chaosjackal: I wouldn't start screaming and such. I'd calmly demand identification and prob cause.

Gleno Underhill: Bottom line: If Gates had not acted like a jackass, there wouldn't have been a problem. He's no dummy. He knew that obviously someone had seen him breaking into his house. Instead of saying to himself, "Good, I'm glad people are looking out," he acted like an idiot to the cop. The cop, instead of just letting the guy burn himself out, or even simply arguing with him, arrested him. Dumb move. Why arrest someone for being a jerk in their own home? Walk away.

chaosjackal: And the President, also playing along the, "Oh, we people of color are so oppressed" immediately makes the leap to, "Oh, the cop is stupid." I don't think there's a soul in this whole thing that's completely right. Not the professor for not being reasonable, not the cops for letting passion get in the way of patience, not the Pres for opening his mouth, and not the MSM for even COVERING the story.

Gleno Underhill: This is going to prove to be politically painful for Obama. There's a battle between a cop and a professor. Who loses? The President.

chaosjackal: I concur.

Gleno Underhill: The black guy obviously had a chip on his shoulder. But the cop shouldn't have arrested him. Short of the guy punching him in the mouth, he should have just let him rant.
chaosjackal: Well... did he arrest Gates before or after establishing his identification?

Gleno Underhill: After. The cop asked for ID. Gates initially refused and demanded to see ID from the cop. A short time after, Gates produced two forms of ID.

Gleno Underhill: I've broken into my house numerous times. After I do so, I always expect to hear sirens.

chaosjackal: Okay, yeah. Being belligerent in one's own house is a first amendment thing.

Gleno Underhill: There is no law against being an SOB.

chaosjackal: Newp.

Gleno Underhill: I'm glad. I'd be getting life. :-P

chaosjackal: Haha! Same here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Nomenclature of Race

Woops! My apologies!

I set out to write an article regarding the changing words we use to describe the sundry races of the world, but I got no further than searching for a graphic. It was at that point that I found that even the word "race" itself has apparently come under fire. An article at (the nice folks who don't know that I stole their graphic) asserts that we should use the term "people groups."


When I was a little boy, one of the questions we would most commonly asked other kids was the question, "What nationality are you?" This being America and since everyone came from somewhere else, it was a great way to get to know a new kid and learn something fun. Usually, those you met were Irish or Italian or maybe something as exotic as German or English, but every now and then you'd meet someone from someplace you hadn't expected. It was fun.

Somehow asking what one's "people group" is doesn't quite have the same ring to it. Though today, the very act of asking this question at all might be considered politically incorrect.

It seems strange to me that defeat of racism in our society has ushered in, not tranquility between the races (yes, I said "races"), but instead a new era of drama. Far too many people are uptight. We are looking to be offended, or afraid of offending, at every turn. I find this especially true in the new politically correct lingo that people are using to describe themselves.

I recently attended a meeting of a local political group that works to ensure that minorities get hired in businesses that operate within this city. They frequently referred to black people as "people of color." This is a term that fascinates me. Having spoken the English language for most of my life (I couldn't quite get the hang of it in the first year or so), I'm pretty certain that the phrase "people of color" is no different than the term "colored people." Yet this latter term seems to evoke indignation among those to whom it is applied. I understand that the Archie Bunkers of this country had a way of using the term "colored" in a vituperative fashion, but if the term really has become offensive, why would it be resurrected in the form of "people of color"? Moreover, why would there be an organization called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People if being called a colored person is so offensive?

There was a TV newsman recently who, covering a story regarding the NAACP, right after speaking the words, "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People" congratulated the "colored people" who had assumedly advanced. He had to issue an on air apology. An apology. On air. He had to apologize. For using the term that they themselves had applied to themselves. (Watch it here. It's the most awkward thing you'll ever see in your life.

This a tempest in a teapot. Unfortunately, I'm unable to get a decent cup of tea because of it.

I despise racism in all its forms. It's wrong. It's immoral. It's repulsive. But I also detest people who, for reasons of their own insecurities, want to instill a sense of guilt upon everyone around them. If you are carrying around hostility, that's no one's problem but your own and it's up to no one but you to resolve that. Attempting a wholesale modification of language is not the solution.

Here's another example that baffles me. Somewhere in the last few years, people from South-East Asia have laid claim to the entire land mass. Now they are simply "Asians." How that one quadrant of the earth's largest continent suddenly usurped the entire thing is still a mystery. If I am from Syria or Kazakhstan or Georgia, shouldn't I be offended at your use of this word?

All of my life the term "Oriental" was used to denote people from the Far East. This word has now somehow become forbidden. Why?

I asked a friend this question once and she told me that the word "Oriental" conjures up images of geisha girls and women who have their feet tied.


To whom? Who decided this?

The root of the word comes from a time when maps in Europe were held with the east at the top. The map would be oriented to the east. Hence, this land was called by the noun "orient". People and things from there were described by the adjective "oriental." That's how the English language works.

Tlahtoki Xochimeh, a Diversity Commission Student Representative from Northewestern University(1), claims that the word "oriental" was used to denigrate people from the Far East. He continues on to claim that the word is associated with genocide and disparagement of the people he calls Asians. Oddly, however, his article offers no proof of any of this. Were I to have the chance to ask him, I'd like to know, "Is it the word that denigrated Far East Asians or is it the actions of certain people that did so? Would these actions would have happened regardless of the word used to describe the people or is it the word itself that inspired the actions?"

Explain to me how, exactly, changing the name by which a thing is called somehow has power to change the thing itself. Does calling a crippled man "handicapable" somehow remove his malady? Does calling a black man an "African-American" somehow remove the strains of prejudice he may have suffered under?

My frustration is not with race. My frustration is with those who try to use language as a weapon. It is with those who think that if we simply change the name of a person, a condition, or a culture every 20 years or so that we can somehow count this as a measure of our success in defeating racism and intolerance.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Throwing the Christians to the Lions

One of the simple pleasures of the Internet (which, as you may recall, is a series of tubes), is that marvel known as Stumble. Stumble, as I believe I've mentioned in previous posts, is an Internet search engine that randomly serves up pages that it suspects will be of interest to you based on your previously visited sites.

Today, while home sick and killing time, I found an article entitled "God vs. Science - A debate between Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins"(1). It was an apparent interview conducted by Time Magazine between noted proponents of Darwinism and Intelligent Design. To wit, there is nothing terribly new here that those interested in this debate haven't seen before in terms of the content and framework of the argument. However, what did strike me was the hostility of Dr. Dawkins, the man arguing in favor of Darwinism. (Dawkins is biologist, the author of numerous books, and a professor at Oxford University.)

Let me step back a moment and provide some background to this.

Francis Collins, a believer in God and in a God-directed formation of the universe and the life within, is credited as being the man responsible for the mapping of the human genome. In his book, The Language of God, he described his particular faith and his life as a scientist. But Collins is far from being a 6-Day Creationist; rather, he professes a Theistic Evolutionary belief. In the article here, he states:

There are sincere believers who interpret Genesis 1 and 2 in a very literal way that is inconsistent, frankly, with our knowledge of the universe's age or of how living organisms are related to each other.

In the article, Dawkins counsels Collins to avoid all dialog with those who take the Bible literally. He admonishes, "Why bother with these clowns?" Collins counters with a measured response, explaining that name calling will do little to further Dawkins' cause. To this, Dawkins makes a volatile statement:

Once you buy into the position of faith, then suddenly you find yourself losing all of your natural skepticism and your scientific -- really scientific -- credibility. I'm sorry to be so blunt.

Let me interpret that comment for my more innocent readers: "If you believe in God, you don't have a voice in this debate. You're not welcome here. You're too stupid to take part."

But it goes much deeper than this. Christians have already been conditioned to accept that they are free to believe whatever they wish -- just don't talk about it. No one wants to hear it. Keep your beliefs out of our politics, off of our streets, out of your workplace. Now we're seeing society take the next step to marginalizing faith. Read on, please.

Francis Collins was selected by President Obama to head the National Institutes of Health(2). The LA Times article describes Dr. Collins as a scientist who discovered the cause of half a dozen diseases, who oversaw the efforts to map the human genome, and one who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

What follows is the quote from Richard Dawkins in the forums of as he replies to people's reactions to the news of Collin's nomination:

I know we are all supposed to say it doesn't matter how ridiculous somebody's beliefs are, so long as he leaves them at home and doesn't thrust them on other people. This is often said of teachers. For example, it doesn't matter if the science teacher believes the world is 6,000 years old, so long as he tells the children the scientific estimate is 4.6 billion. But I can never be quite happy with this. Surely the fact that somebody believes really dopey things tells you he isn't INTELLIGENT enough to teach, even if he keeps his stupid beliefs out of the classroom.

Now, Francis Collins is a very nice man, he doesn't SEEM stupid, and I think Bill Maher was mistaken when he told me, on television, that Collins believes in a talking snake. But he presumably believes the things his Biologos Foundation advocates, for example the view that God causes miracles to happen (illustrated with a picture of Jesus walking on water). Can somebody who holds such anti-scientific and downright silly beliefs really be qualified to run the NIH? Isn't he disqualified, not by whether or not he leaves his beliefs outside the laboratory and the committee room, but by the very fact that he is capable of holding such beliefs at all?

Get it now? Do you see the step being taken here? It's no longer "Believe whatever you want, just keep quiet about it". It's now become "Your belief itself automatically disqualifies you."

Welcome to the New America. Welcome to the fruits of Darwinian Humanism, the new pseudo-religion that will grab you by the throat and force you to believe what you're told. Such a brave new world!

Make no mistake, this is not science talking. The scientific method offers NO tools to make a declaration one way or another on the existence of God and the rationalism of faith. This is Humanism -- the religion of man-worship.

By God, if I wasn't a Fundamentalist Christian already, these arrogant, assinine comments would quickly drive me to seek out what it would mean to be one.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Hear Dead People

They say that people die in threes. I remember experiencing that for the first time when I was about 13 years old. Elvis, Groucho Marx, and my grandfather all passed away within just a few days of one another. Most recently, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, and Tito Jackson's younger brother all expired. (Order now and you'll also receive a fourth death, Billy Mays, at no extra cost.)

Particularly with the death of Tito's brother, there seems to be no escaping the media circus involved in revamping the life and work of the self-deformed, effeminate, pedophile. What gores my ox are the absurd statements being made by a wide range of people from blogging fans to pop-culture pseudo-news sources that are grasping desperately to find something good and redeeming to say about the man-boy and his distorted lifestyle. The following drivel was found with a casual Internet search of fan responses:

"Which was the bigger step for mankind -- Apollo 11 or [Tito's brother's] moonwalk?"

Two hundred people gathered for a candlelight vigil in a Tokyo park. Thirty were planning to fly to LA to try to attend the funeral.

"[Tito's brother] was a living legend not only in America and the Christian world, but the Islamic world too," said Mehmet Ali Aslan, head of the Association for Dialogue between Religions.

"His death, like Presley's may not have been fitting of a hero. But his life will shine on in world history."

"The U.S. won the Cold War not through military might, but through the charm of artists like [Tito's brother]."

May we all stand and vomit.

While the unthinking masses of the world remain steadfastly focused upon the unimportant, the irrelevent, and the farcical, what deaths are being ignored, I wonder?

"On January 17th, 93 year old World War II Veteran Marvin Schur was found dead in his home in Bay City, Michigan by his neighbors. His death was caused by hypothermia. ...the utility company notified Schur that his power could be shut off, because he was more than $1,000 behind on his utility payments. ...the utility company had installed a ‘limiter’ at his home... The limiter device was set to shut off Schur’s electricity when usage surpassed a pre-programmed amount. The week that Schur died, saw frigid temperatures with nights dipping down well below zero each night."

Jim Norene, who fought with the 101st Airborne Division, traveled to France for the D-Day reunion ceremony on Saturday, June 6th, but died in his sleep Friday night.,5143,705308933,00.html

Those are just two that jumped out at me. You could probably find more. I think my point is clear, however. Most people do not live in reality. Instead, they accept a media/culture imposed faux reality that is intended to insulate us from the real reality. It's a Matrix of the worst kind -- that of self-delusion.