Tuesday, October 2, 2007
A surprise summer television hit has been the show “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader.” Recently a West Point Graduate found out that, though he wasn’t smarter than the fifth graders in the cast, he was just as ignorant as the majority of them.
The question that he and the majority of the fifth grade participants failed was this: “In the following sentence, which word is a common noun?”
The sentence read: “I like the city of Baltimore.”
The West Pointer had already had trouble with another question and this was only, as I recall, his third question. The most objective of viewers could tell that he was stunned by the question and agonizing over his answer.
Additionally, his fifth grade ‘team member’ also looked quite concerned.
[One must know that a contestant on the show chooses one of the fifth grade participants as a partner for a few questions at a time. If the contestant answers incorrectly or is worried about his answer, he can ‘peek’ at his partners paper, ‘cheat’ by copying if he has no answer, or be ‘saved’ if the fifth grade partner has the correct answer.]
In any event, back to our West Pointer. As mentioned, his fifth grade partner for the ‘common noun’ question looked very puzzled. Of course, one can never take the facial expressions of puzzlement shown by the children as real. The kids have obviously been coached to act worried about their answers
But then the axe fell.
Foxworthy demanded that the West Pointer answer the question.
The word ‘I’ was the common noun in the sentence.
“Wrong!” Foxworthy exclaimed.
Immediately the West Pointer blurted out, “Oh! It’s ‘Baltimore.’”
Uh – wrong again. That, of course, is a proper noun.
So – to stay in the game and redeem the ghosts of Grant, Sherman, Lee and Patton, the West Pointer had to be ‘saved’ by his fifth grade partner.
Her answer? “The common noun in the sentence is the word ‘the.’”
The disaster and humiliation does not end there.
The remaining four fifth graders then had to reveal their answers to the question. Only two, that is to say, only two out of the five fifth graders had the correct answer: ‘city.’
Thus, of these five very bright kids who are one year away from middle school, only two could identify the common noun in the simply sentence, “I like the city of Baltimore.”
But the implications of this West Pointers humiliation go way beyond this funny little game show. The implications are an indictment of the teaching of English in our public schools.
Ever since the curricular cancer known as “Whole Language Curriculum” was introduced in American during the 70’s and 80’s, more than an entire generation has gone through thousands of American elementary schools with barely any instruction in the phonetic code, structure, grammar, and spelling of the English language.
Morons – idiots – ignoramuses - that is to say, elementary school teachers throughout America have been taught and in turn have taught their students that “the learning of reading and writing is a natural process like the way in which babies learn to walk and talk.”
Teacher guides have been issued in such schools that specifically command a teacher NOT to instruct children in the phonetic code that is the key to learning and speaking English. These teachers are told not to correct spelling errors.
They are not even to correct blatantly wrong answers if the child has a vague notion of the meaning of the words in a sentence.
For instance, this example came directly from a pro-whole language article aimed at so-called elementary educators. [I will paraphrase to save time.]
“Example: A child is asked to read the following sentence and tell its meaning to the class: ‘A young boy sat in the saddle as he rode the pony into town.’”
“Imagine that the child does not know the word pony. He reads the sentence, pauses at the word pony and then says ‘horse.’
“The teacher should commend the child and not point out that he or she is wrong.”
You may think I’m insane in writing this, but every word of it is true.
Whole language instructors believe that phonetic instruction is actually damaging. It interferes with [the insane idea] that people learn to read and write naturally.
If the child guesses that the word ‘pony’ is the word ‘horse,’ that’s o.k. Why? The most important thing to these moron-educators is that the child was able to guess the meaning of the word from context. [i.e. the boy ‘rode’ and was in a ‘saddle.’]
To teach the child the word is ‘horse’ would require phonetic instruction and decoding. Whole language instructors do not do that.
School systems that adopt the whole language approach also abhor the rote learning of spelling and the formal learning of the rules of grammar.
After all – these concepts – so these charlatans and frauds believe – will eventually come to the child ‘naturally.’
So, if one does not teach all these various rules and phonetic codes, there’s another item that will not be taught: “the eight parts of speech.”
In a more classical era, all children, by at least third grade, would have memorized the eight parts of speech, [noun, verb, pronoun adjective, etc.].
There’s a reason they used to memorize these parts of speech by third grade: they were needed to help explain the grammatical structure of a sentence.
Additionally – those basic concepts were, and are, never taught again after that age level. All teachers of the subsequent grades assume the child has achieved mastery of [not passing familiarity with] those concepts.
I have little doubt that the West Pointer could very well have also been a victim of whole language fraud when he was in elementary school. He is now about 29 years of age. When he was in elementary school, the whole language nonsense was spreading like wildfire through the public schools of the USA.
Further evidence in support of my contention that the show’s fifth graders are probably whole language victims: virtually none of these five bright children can spell correctly.
One of the brightest of the shows regular children recently answered the following question: “What was the state from which President Harry Truman came?”
The answer, as spelled by the child: ‘Misourie.’
Once again: rote memorization is despised by the teacher/frauds of today. Fifty years ago, every child would have not only memorized the fifty states, but would have been able to spell those names as well.
One must ask: Just when will this little child genius/actor/contestant get around to learning how to spell the names of the fifty states?
By fifth grade, all that knowledge was drilled into their little heads for permanent reference.
I know, I know – there are those of you who will say that the problem is computer spell-checkers. It may be, in part, true.
However, you cannot discount the fact that thousands of children are actually being deprived of spelling instruction and correction by the teachers hired to serve their best interests. They believe it stifles the child’s self-esteem. They also – insanely – yes, insanely, there is no other word but insanely – believe that children will just ‘naturally’ learn to spell as they get older.
I was raised by public school teachers. I was also a tenured public school teacher. If I had a child, he or she would never see the inside of a public school classroom.
After all, one doesn’t want healthy children put into a sick ward. And I would no more send a child of mine to a public school where the teachers are determined to cripple the child’s ability to read and write for the rest of his life.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Senator Obama's Latest Idea? "Let's invade Pakistan. I've always wanted to see how their hydrogen bombs worked."
Poor Senator Obama. I almost feel bad for the guy. People keep comparing him to President John Kennedy. Of course, Kennedy did everything he could to prevent a nuclear war. Apparently Obama wants to start one. [More on that in a moment.]
Yeah, Obama talks with those flowing rhetorical tones and has a certain flourish to his gestures. His anorexia diminishes from the over-all physicality of his presence, but he certainly knows how to ‘wow’ the masses with [as reads the title of his book] ‘The Audacity of Hope.’
Of course, I don’t know what’s audacious about ‘hope.’ But then again, I suppose it depends on that for which you are hoping.
This week, however, he expressed a ‘hope’ that had a certain audacity to it and which I found of particular interest. Apparently, however, I’m the only person who found it interesting. No one in the mainstream media has even so much as burped in response.
Obama said, and I paraphrase, that Pakistan wasn’t doing enough to track down Osama Bin-Laden in whatever cave he currently occupies in the Pakistani mountains. Therefore, said Obama, if Pakistan continues to refrain from tracking Osama Bin-Laden, America should send troops into Pakistan to ferret him out.
No one seemed particularly perturbed by this plan. NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and even FOX had no commentators who found this of particular interest.
So, dear reader, I’ll pose my concern and Obama’s statement in a different, and more journalistically accurate way. Then, when you’ve digested it, think how you would react to the following headline:
“Senator Barack Obama suggested we send troops to invade Pakistan. Such an invasion will mark the first time since the advent of the Atom Bomb, that a presidential candidate has advocated the United States conduct an invasion of another nation which is also a member of the ‘nuclear bomb club’ and has its bombs mounted on inter-continental ballistic missiles."
Now how do you like them apples?
Yeah, Pakistan, for all its backwardness, just happens to possess tons of nuclear missiles, the bulk of which are pointed at Hindu India.
So, not only is he suggesting we unilaterally invade a sovereign nation – he’s suggesting we invade one with the ability to incinerate all our armies in Europe and the Middle East.
Yet – no one, not even Hillary, seems concerned enough to take the time to insult him with a rebuke.
Of course, I understand his other proposed invasion - that is to say his idea that the U.S.A. should invade Darfur.
It's one of those invasions that make sense to the Democratic party.
Why? Well - Darfur has no strategic interest for anyone in the world. It is particularly of no interest to America.
Actually, if we all faced the truth, Darfur is of no particular interest to Africans, either. You don’t find people in Zimbabwe sticking signs on their front lawns proclaiming “Not On Our Watch!”
Darfur is just about the most unattractive area near the Horn of Africa. Its chief export, thanks in part to the wind, is sand. Also, for the same reason, it’s chief import is sand.
Obama's instincts, however, are right about the politics of invading Darfur. At least he wouldn’t have to put up with protest signs proclaiming:
“NO BLOOD FOR SAND!”
But the idea of invading Pakistan is truly mind-boggling.
We are now hated throughout the Arab world and much of the other countries with Islamic populations due to the Iraq invasion and some particularly bad public relations campaigns.
But, if we were to invade Pakistan, I would imagine that its Dictator/President/General Pervez Musharraf would last about five more minutes in office.
He would probably be replaced after the sixth minute by some Islamic Nut-Bag whose one and only goal would be to take one of those Pakistani nuclear missiles on a test-drive over our armies.
But, again, no one is mentioning this aspect of Obama’s mental meanderings.
And why? I guess because he sounds so good saying it.
George Bush, on the other hand, would be hated just for saying, “Tomorrow is National Take A Boy Scout To Lunch Day.”
Why? Because he sounds so bad saying anything.
We are truly a culture that has come to value form over substance.
After all – the man proclaimed the greatest public speaker in America today is Bill Clinton.
The man can barely speak two consecutive sentences that are grammatically correct. Reading an interview with him is like correcting an essay by a dyslexic high school sophomore. But – yep Bill says stuff with panache and savoir faire.
So does Obama.
It’s too bad they don’t say stuff with their brains as well.
[Post-script: As noted above - a day after this column was posted, there was a brief article posted by the AP about Obama's ideas of invading Pakistan. The article noted in part:
"The Illinois senator warned Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf earlier this week that he would use U. S. Military force in Pakistan even without Musharraf's permission if necessary to root out terrorists. However, when asked by the Associated Press after a breakfast with constituents whether there was any circumstance where he would be prepared or willing to use nuclear weapons to defeat terrorism and al-Quaida [sic] leader Osama bin Laden, Obama replied, 'There's been no discussion of using nuclear weapons and that's not a hypothetical that I'm going to discuss.' [emphasis added.] When asked whether his answer also applied to the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons, he said it did."
The AP article continued:
"Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is politically unstable, raising concerns that the current military leadership could be replaced by religious fanatics who would be less cautious in using the weapons."
The article concluded with this quote from Senator Obama, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will." [emphasis added.]
Again, virtually every time I hear audio of Senator Obama, he speaks with confidence and with great technique. But, despite the fact he is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the concepts he expresses are those of a poorly educated child.
Obama refers to the use of nuclear weapons as a "hypothetical I'm not going to discuss." He treats it like a law school discussion.
It is FAR from being a 'hypothetical' concept. Why?
Because Obama has removed it from the hypothetical realm!
HE has threatened the invasion of a country that possesses ICBM's with nuclear war-heads!
He has created the factual circumstances that make such a discussion not only plausibly realistic, but absolutely necessary as well.
Like a child on the international playground, he thinks he can just walk all over any third world country that doesn't bow to his will.
Obama reminds me of Senators Edwards, Kerry, and Clinton as well as the first President Bush and President Clinton.
These are the adults we knew as kids who wanted to be president of the student council. They accumulated the resumes necessary to get into great colleges. They have always wanted to be elected to some high office with great power.
To those ends, they have educated themselves in the political process. They are not, however, 'wise' people. They are children who lack impulse control when it comes to their random thoughts.
As the old saying goes, 'Politics is show business for ugly people.' In some ways, that is very true. Obama and the others named above have no other discernible talents other than running for office. They want the office of president like someone else wants to win a prize. They don't want the presidency so they can be wise and lead well and solve specific problems.
They want to be president because they want to be president. That's it. There is not other reason. "Hey everyone, look at me! I can't dance or sing - but now I'm the President! Yay!"
I'm still amazed that the major networks and newspapers have not been fascinated by this story about invading Pakistan. Obama is a very real candidate with real chances at election. He has raised as much or more money than Hillary.
I guess when a Democrat proposes leading us into nuclear war it isn't as big a deal as it would be if a Republican suggested it.
But, to me it's a big deal. It should be the biggest news item of all this week, and it's not even making most of the news wires this week.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Does Santa Claus Take Viagra? - A Look At Senator Obama's Ideas of Sex Education In Elementary Schools
The American public schools are now populated by teachers who, on average, are in the bottom quarter of their college graduating classes. These are the folks to whom we are now entrusting all the instruction that – prior to the discovery of day care centers – was the job of the parents.
These teachers are the same folks who – in Massachusetts anyway – screamed bloody murder when they were required to take a basic proficiency test showing – among other things – that they knew how to read and write in English. Of course – considering that one major city’s superintendent has repeatedly flunked the English portion of the exam, one can understand why the lesser lights on these faculties might object.
In any event – we are now having a miniature national debate on the topic of age appropriate sex education commencing in kindergarten.
Some years ago the big fad was requiring age appropriate ‘drug’ education in kindergarten.
I objected back then to the ‘drug’ education for little kids and I object to the stupid notion of sex ed’ for those same little kids.
My reasons can be summed up with one statement:
These are children who believe that a four hundred pound man, with no visible means of financial support and an eternal life span – comes down four billion chimneys once a year with toys he has personally selected for each one of them. They’re as sure of this as they are that they have two eyes, two ears, a nose and a head.
They actually are taken by adults to see this man at various of his hang-outs, including Wal-Mart and Toys R Us.
In addition – they rarely seem flummoxed by the fact that this same man – flesh and blood as he appears to them in an aluminum chair, surrounded by minimum wage elves – can be viewed – again, in flesh and blood with homeless elves in tow – simultaneously at three or four locations within ten miles of their homes.
The fact that: in some locations he’s tall; in some locations he’s short; in some locations his beard grows from a string; and, in some locations he’s even sober – does not once shake their seemingly Jesuitical faith in his existence and in his powers.
These are also the same little children who believe that a bunny of indeterminate height and with unclear motivation - also breaks into their homes once a year. Like Mr. Claus, the bunny leaves gifts and no signs of forced entry.
You’d think that if these kids were smart enough to deal with marijuana and sexuality, that they’d at least start taking a careful look at the forensics left by these intruders and begin to ‘dope’ out the fact that they’re being taken for a fantasy ‘screwing.’ [A-hem.]
But no. They not only do not figure it out, they actively avoid figuring out. About one thing, however, some are smart.
Once the awful truth dawns [or should have dawned] that:
“No Virginia, The Fat Man and the Rabbit are frauds. They are perpetrated by your parents to allow them to satisfy a primitive urge to be omniscient god-like actors pulling magical strings in your life in a subliminal act that projects their fervent desire always and forever to be able to protect you and magically to weave happiness into every day of your life. “
Depending on whether that truth ‘dawns’ on them or has to ‘hammered’ into them -- then – yes THEN we find out which of these kids will become lawyers and which will become future kindergarten teachers.
The lawyer-kids start doing the math at an early age. They realize that the local mailman can barely cover their neighborhood in one day. Even then they realize that at least once a week they get some piece of mail that mom has to take down the street to the ‘proper address.’ They start realizing that even a mailman, working in daylight, with a finite group of customers cannot keep them straight for a week.
Next, of course, is the chimney problem. The lawyer-kids have seen the department store fraud posing as Santa. They know him to be flesh and blood. [All doubt of that fact is soon removed since not too many real ‘spiritual-fairy-like’ characters have to take a ‘smoke’ break or go to the can – so the lawyer-kids’ Santa fantasy is further eroded.]
They look at this Santa guy and they know that he’s obviously suffering from the latest epidemic that is ‘obesity.’ They’ve probably seen that their own fat aunt can’t even fit into a plastic patio chair.
So, of course, how the hell can he fit down their chimney? And – what about the kids who don’t have chimneys?
In short order the lawyer-kids have ruined the fantasy – not so much for themselves – but for their parents.
However – and I’m now getting back to how we tell the difference between the future lawyer-kids and the future kindergarten teacher-kids.
The lawyer kids play it smart and never tell their parents they’ve figured out the fraud. Why? Because they’ve also wised-up enough to know that once the jig is up, that they’ll be confronted with economic arguments.
No longer will they hear, “Please don’t be disappointed if Santa doesn’t bring you the elephant….They’re an endangered species in parts of Africa and he’ll probably bring all the ones he has to kids in Kenya who need 800 pound pets and have a yard that’s big enough for them.”
Instead they’ll be slapped with, “What? You think we’re made of money? Whose gonna pay for the vet’ if the elephant gets a nose bleed? You seen their noses? Huh? Gimmee a break. You want an elephant – become a zoo keeper.”
So, the lawyer-kids keep their mouths shut. Eventually the parents realize, however, that the kid has figured it out. Kids that age are smart – but they ain’t smart enough to ‘hide their lights under a bushel.’ Eventually – like most bank robbers with a few beers in ‘em – they brag about their discovery and the con’ they’ve been pulling.
The parents tumble to the truth and Santa’s gone – poof! Of course the Rabbit goes right out the door with him.
The future kindergarten teacher-kids? Well – by about third grade the parents figure, “Good Lord, we hate to break the kid’s heart – but for God’s sake – the list of gifts she wants is growing faster than she is.
Those parents have to sledgehammer the kid with the truth.
So, even by about third grade, many sophisticated, hip, and with-it young Americans still have to disabused of the notion that an obesity victim on the verge of a heart attack can defy the laws of time, space and physics – not to mention the elfin labor laws – to drop retail merchandise under a tree after defying the law of bricks by traversing a chimney’s interior.
And to these children we are going to teach sex? We’re going to teach them about the ‘fantasy’ world of drug abuse?
Wait a minute….come to think of it….I’m not really being very creative here when I ponder my argument. Perhaps I am wrong.
Come to think of it – I suppose the sex ed’ and drug courses could be integrated.
Yeah – I think I can hear the kindergarten teachers ‘dialoguing’ with the ‘students’ right now.
Sally: Ms. Smith? How come Mr. and Mrs. Claus don’t have any children? If he loves kids so much, how come he doesn’t have any of his own?
Teacher: Well, Sally – you’ve presented me with a ‘teachable moment’ and I want to thank you. Class? Let’s learn today’s new word: ‘menopause.’ As you know Sally, Mrs. Claus is about the same age as God, and that’s very old isn’t it?
Teacher: And when women reach a certain age, they cannot bear children anymore.
Sally: Like my neighbor Mr. Sullivan?
Teacher: Did you say ‘Mister’ Sullivan?
Sally: Yeah, my mom says he can’t bear children playing in the yard….They make too much noise. Mom says he’s a Jack’s Ass.
Tommy: Does ‘menopause’ mean you can’t stand loud noises?
Frankie: That’s ‘jackass’ you idiot!
Sally: Teacher! Frankie called me an idiot!
Teacher: Frankie, that’s not nice.
Frankie: Screw ‘nice.’ I don’t give a damn if Santa and his old lady are doin’ the ‘dirty’ – I wanna know if he takes amphetamines?
Frankie: Yeah – ‘member you were tellin’ us how truckers took ‘uppers’ like meth’ so they could drive all night? An’ how they cracked up their trucks and killed innocent kids in the 4-H club?
Teacher: But –
Frankie: I just wanna know – how does some old cuss like Santa keep awake enough to drive all night? When I saw him at the mall he was plastered. My dad says there wasn’t enough coffee in the world to sober him up. So – I figured it musta been amphetamines he was using to mush that sleigh all night.
Sally: Santa’s a junkie!? Whaaaaa!!!!
And so I can hear it going and going…….a teachable moment all gone to hell.
You want to teach these kids about drugs?
They are taught that Snow White was put into a coma via an ‘apple.’ And without so much as receiving basic life-support – hung onto her beauty like some waxen-faced Lenin in Red Square’s Tomb.
They think pigs talk and build homes that can withstand, variously – winds varying in intensity from a Category 3 to Category 5 hurricane.
[The variation, of course, depending on the lung capacity of the wolf involved.] And let’s not forget that that a similar wolf appeared as a ‘transvestite’ in Little Red Riding Hood. Explain that one – eh?
Of course, the hardest character to deal with – a real psychedelically tripping junkie – is ol’ Mushroom Alice. Yup, she of Alice in Wonderland.
She didn’t get to Wonderland by taking the subway, my friends.
But enough with the examples. Let’s switch gears.
Right now we live in a nation with thousands of ‘educators’ at the kindergarten and first grade level who honestly believe in something called ‘Whole Language.’
It is an approach to teaching reading and writing.
Well – it is not an approach so much as it is a ‘belief system.’
These ignoramuses in these classrooms believe that children should never be taught the phonetical key to English. Thousands of these fools have created a couple of generations of children who have been diagnosed as ‘learning disabled’ because of the crime – there’s no other word for it but crime – committed by these fraudulent teachers in withholding the phonetical key to understanding the English language.
These so-called teachers have dumped over two thousand years of proven language instruction methodology. They’ve done so at the behest of idiot-professors of education.
I have written at other times about Whole Language. Most parents, unfortunately, cannot understand the problem with the program. Their failure is based on a need to trust the teachers to know what’s best for the kids.
I have news for them.
Many teachers have no clue what is best for the children. Many are barely able to teach the children how to read and write simple sentences. Many others are actually incapable of teaching these basic skills.
Yet, to these same people we are going to entrust teaching the abstract nature of drug usage and sexuality?
I think not.
Senator Obama may be smart, but he is certainly not wise.
You do not ever teach abstract concepts to those who lack abstract comprehension.
Until a child has disabused himself of the notion of Santa’s Magical Powers – as possessed by a real person at the real shopping mall – and started to get a grip on reality – you do not teach them about drugs and human sexuality in any classroom anywhere in this country.
Children in early elementary school do not have the intellectual tools nor mental developmental level to distinguish fact from fantasy. You do not confuse them with harsh realities that are also dependent on in-depth abstract comprehension.
Leave all this stuff to the parents. God knows, the parents of America have tried everything possible to avoid having to raise their own children. But – when it comes to discussions of drugs and sex at an early age – they should be on their own.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
He went on to say, and I paraphrase, "Of course, political institutions will have to be involved in implementing the solution...but this is a moral issue."
Translation: There is to be no debate.
The moment an issue is not a political issue, it means that there is only one side to the issue and that is the 'right' side.
It was a very telling statement by Gore. The fact that it comes from the same man who just published a book that is ostensibly about reason and logic makes it truly astounding.
In short - Gore speaks the idiotic language of a high school sophomore.
I am talking about a man who got his meteorological and astrophysics degree from Vanderbilt Law School. This is the same man who has regularly misquoted scientific findings and grotesquely exaggerated facts and made outright misrepresentations.
To think that he possesses an absolute truth - a truth that is so profound and so great that it is not to be subjected to the political process - reveals him to be a man possessing an ego that is - without exaggeration or misrepresentation - megalomaniacal!
I'm not just writing this column to cast insults. I mean it as a factual statement when I assert:
Gore's statements truly are signs that the listener is dealing with a man whose mind has inferior reasoning skills and whose education is bereft of any knowledge of the history of western civilization!
It smacks of the Roman Catholic assertion that it is the one true faith; of the Islamic assertion that it is the embodiment of the final word of God; and of the notion among the Swiss that they produce the world's best cheese [to cite but a few such superlative assertions.]
I was stunned when I heard him say it. I was not stunned that Larry King did not have the brains to ask him what he meant by the statement.
[I think Larry King is probably a nice guy. Being a 'nice guy,' and making sure that someone at the studio waters and prunes him each morning is probably the reason for his longevity.]
College students - of all people - should be up in arms over such assertions. Professors of Political Science, of Classics and Humanities, and of Philosophy should be bent out of shape by such an assertion.
But instead, opponents of Gore are branded as 'deniers' and referenced in the same sentence with idiots who deny one of those very rare but truly absolute truths: that the Holocaust really did happen in World War II.
I suppose I should not be surprised.
The public school systems are increasingly run by axe-grinders instead of educators. The same goes for the colleges that produce the so-called educators.
It is also stunning to me that Al Gore will not debate his assertions which - by his own words - he has now elevated to an absolute and indisputable moral truth that is on a par with the Catholic doctrine of the Transubstantiation.
[Please keep in mind that I am a lapsed Catholic. I am not 'picking' on the Catholic church. I use Catholic examples because of my basic familiarity - though not anything approaching expertise - with the teachings of the Holy See.]
An absolute truth - such as the occurrence of the Holocaust - or by Gore's assertion: Man Made Apocalyptic Global Warming - should be something Gore would be willing to debate. He has claimed in the past to be known as a really 'great' debater. When one is defending an absolute truth - like the Holocaust - the proof of one's position is a 'slam-dunk' proposition.
Here's an absolute truth: If a 40 megaton hydrogen bomb hit Key West Florida - no human being would survive. It's easy to prove. One has merely to show the dimensions of the crater left below the ocean's surface when the Bikini Islands were incinerated with a less powerful hydrogen bomb in the fifties. As a matter of fact - the island of Key West would cease to exist and that could be shown by such a comparison.
But Gore - he who holds himself out as a man of reason and an author on that very topic - refuses to appear on-stage to have a debate with anyone about his global warming position.
And why? Because it is not a position - it is a religion.
In any event - I shouldn't go on about this today. I just heard Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. stating that public media figures who contradict his warnings of global warming apocalypse should literally be tried for treason - a crime that carries the death penalty.
If he had his way - I'd be one of the ones lined up against a wall and offered a last cigarette - whoops! No......no cigarette. It would enlarge my carbon footprint.
Sorry about that.....never mind.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Today it was reported that Albert Gore, III, was nailed at 2:15 a.m. for driving at 100 miles per hour on a southern California freeway. In the car - which smelled of freshly smoked marijuana - the cops found a smorgasbord of drugs including: speed; uppers, downers, and pain killers.
Reports said that young Al's problems started in 1996 when he was bounced from the highly exclusive public school he attended just outside D.C. Back then he was caught smoking or possessing marijuana.
Also back then, his father was just completing four years as Vice-President/Lap Dog to Bill Clinton.
This young man is the same child cited by Al as having almost died when hit by an automobile - before Al Senior's very eyes - on a roadway. The story was used by the V.P. in various speeches during that period of his career.
It was a story meant to show that the future V.P. had his family priorities straight and that he had learned what, in life, really mattered.
Well - since that time, Al the Third, has been nailed several times by cops. Some of these nailings involved drugs, some were automobile violations and some - like this last one, involved both.
In those earlier years, young Al the Third had to bear up to the publicity created when his mother testified before congress about posting warning labels on CD's regarding violent and lewd lyrics. Though I believe his mother, Tipper, was correct in her position, nevertheless, I would imagine that young Al must have taken some awful teasing and ribbing about his mother - [she who was ALWAYS described by the press at that time as a 'former drummer' in a rock and roll band] - by his classmates.
I'm not saying she shouldn't have expressed her opinion. I am saying that I have little doubt that such maternal opinions might have caused him problems at school.
Additionally, we all know that his father has more piety than the average monastery. His old man knows several things: how all of us should live; who should be allowed to contradict him [answer: nobody - debate not allowed]; that he's a modern day prophet and visionary who only now is being recognized for his genius and prescience; that he thinks he and Tipper were the direct inspiration for Erik Siegel's "Love Story" characters; and that while he was 're-inventing the government' as Vice-President, his immediate boss, the President, was getting fellated by an intern while conducting business conversations on the Oval Office phone. [That act alone gives a whole new dimension to the phrase 'multi-tasking.']
Anyway - did all the activities of his parents have a negative effect, the results of which were, in part, played out this week on a California freeway?
Could be. I don't know. Unlike Al the Third's father, I am not an expert in much of anything.
But - there are two things I have going for me in writing this column:
Personal experience as a student, and personal experience as a teacher.
My mother was a high school teacher at the high school I attended. She was quite respected and was quite a great and wise character.
I loved my mother as deeply as can any son and as a result, I never told her what her teaching activity did to me.
What it did, and what she never knew, was this:
During my two years in junior high school, I was repeatedly told by my friends' older brothers who were then in high school, who was planning to beat me up when I eventually arrived in high school. It was made clear that the 'beatings' were to be a way to 'get' at my mother for perceived slights.
I spent the summer between junior high school and high school with my stomach in a rather terrified knot.
For the first two years of high school, I walked with great dread through the halls of the building. I feared going to the men's room.
On several occasions I was beaten up. I was also knocked around, repeatedly threatened, cornered and intimidated and, in general made to fear my daily entry into the school building. And why?
Why indeed. These bums did not, as it turned out, do it to me because my mother had done something to them. In fact, my mother actually got along with the bums who attended my high school back then.
I would guess-timate that only about five per cent of the harassment had anything to do with an 'action' taken by my mother.
The bums who made my life hell did so because they were son's of bitches. They were stupid young men - and, without exception - they were cowards.
Or - as we called them then and now: they were bullies.
But, no matter what you call them, they had mental baggage that made them vicious.
Again - I must emphasize that my mother was not some 'crone' who was hated by students. In fact, she worked very well with the slower students and often had some of the toughest guys in her classes.
She also never had any real disciplinary trouble. She was a veteran teacher and was respected across the board. In all the years she taught there, her classrooms were orderly, disciplined, interesting, and productive.
In all her years there, she sent only one person to the front office for a discipline problem. The reason she even did it on that occasion was because she feared that, if the boy remained in the room, a real brawl would break out. It was simply a matter of defusing the situation.
So - she handled her classes well and had few discipline problems. Plus, those she had, she handled herself and handled quite well.
So - why did I go through such hell?
Again - the demented s.o.b.'s who made my life hell did so just because they could. There really is no other reason.
Now - imagine being young Albert Gore, III. Your parents are out on the lecture circuit discussing morality - telling people that they have the 'answers' to the ways we should live - etc. etc.
If you're young Al, your father - whether with deep sincerity or not - has already used you - when you were about nine years old - as a 'speech prop' when he was trying to beat Clinton for the nomination in '91.
In what some believed was a craven attempt to acquire sympathy and to get some street credibility in the: "I have suffered just as have you commoners," department, Senator Al used to talk publicly about two events in his life: his older sister dying of lung cancer and the day an automobile almost killed this same son - Al the III, right before Senator Al's eyes.
Young Al the III's accident was a regular staple in Senator Al's speeches. Of course, sometimes the kid was right there with him and had to listen to the speech and - no doubt - relive that accident to some extent.
Now, I know nothing about Al, III, other than what I've read in the papers and heard in his dad's speeches.
Nevertheless - I cannot even begin to imagine the hellish crap that that boy has undoubtedly been through in his life due to the high profile of his parents.
Can you just imagine how 'ducky' it is to be in junior high school while your mother is campaigning against 'dirty lyrics' in rock songs? Imagine how the bullies treated Al III when pictures of his mother appeared on front pages of newspapers showing her when she was a 'rock and roll' drummer in her own band in her youth.
Then, all during your high school years, your father is vice-president to a president who is known for: screwing a former t.v. reporter/lounge singer known as Gennifer Flowers; is accused of requesting sexual favors from a young gal who is later called 'trailer trash' by the president's colleagues; and who is ultimately impeached for lying about receiving oral sex in the oval [oral?] office?
I'm not just beating up on Clinton here. Sure - V.P. Al didn't commit those 'sins.' But - kids being kids, can you not just imagine what Albert III's life was like?
"Hey, Alby, Baby, is your dad gettin' any of Bill's 'left-overs?' Was your dad there when Monica was doin' Bill? Your mom's gettin' long in the tooth, y'uh, know - so - just maybe - your dad's gettin' some 'referral's from the Prez' when your momma ain't lookin'."
Also, lest we forget, the Clinton/Gore administration was the first presidential administration to openly champion homosexual rights in general and in the military in particular. Adolescent boys can be vicious when they can use homosexual issues to taunt another kid. Even though young Al, III is most likely not gay, it wouldn't matter. The bullies would be brutal: "Hey, Alby - your daddy and Bill are in big with the 'pansies and fairies' ain't they? Does your daddy think a Drill Sargent oughtta wear a dress?"
Oh man - the potential harassment that I imagine in this column probably doesn't come close to what this young man suffered through his adolescent and teen years.
It must have been brutal at school and elsewhere among his peers for Albert III whose junior high and high school years ran concurrently with his father's eight years as vice-president.
On top of it all - he then has his father run for president. By then his father was the subject of merciless satire and parody for his inability to tell jokes effectively - and for his marionette-like woodeness.
His father was parodied on Saturday Night Live, on Leno, Letterman - you name it! Candidate Al was a punch-line in many a joke.
And, if I'm right, has the Gore family dealt with the such issues of harassment?
I doubt it. For that matter - I doubt that Alby has ever told them even one per cent of the crap he's been through due to their public personas.
So - to that extent - I'm guessing that V.P. Al and Tipper are unaware of how much he's probably suffered. If they aren't aware, then it's hard to blame them for not connecting his drug use and delinquency to consequences he may have suffered from being their child.Yeah, it sounds like I'm defending Tipper and Al. And, I am - a bit. True, I cannot stand the former V.P., but I can empathize with the family. And my theory that the parents are not completely to blame is based on the premise that, indeed, Tipper and Al may have no idea that their son may have truly suffered a great deal of harassment and thus incubated some terrible resentments.
Why do I think the Gores are probably ignorant of their son's suffering? Well - I'm extrapolating based on my personal experience.
As I wrote above, I went through hell in high school. But I never once reported any of it to my mother or father nor to any school official.
I did not tell them for four reasons: My mother loved to teach. It would have ruined teaching for her if she'd known the fall-out in my life.
Secondly: Squealing would only produce more beatings and punishment.
Third: If I didn't learn to handle my own problems - I never would.
Fourth: [and most importantly] I was growing bigger and the older thugs were graduating. I knew it was a matter of time before I was a junior/senior and I'd be at the top of the 'pecking' food chain.
It was knowing that the crapola would totally end with high school graduation that made everything bearable.
But what of young Albert? When will his torment ever end?
His father has never stopped shoving his own face in the public eye. The father's has been parodied, imitated, scorned and been the object of immensely funny [or, depending on one's viewpoint, immensely vicious] satires.
It should be apparent to anyone watching the Gore family, that former Vice-President Al Gore is the 'child' cheered on by the family. He's the one who's the focus of the families energies and attention.
Perhaps the social pressures on young Albert have been too much.
He can never compete with his father's accomplishments and no matter what his father accomplishes - it is never 'enough.' His father always has to be 'out there' - pushing his mug and his philosophy and his so-called ideas.
Young Albert is now twenty-four years old.
The ages of twenty to thirty are the period when a young man should start making his mark and name in life. That's when his parents should be rooting him on.
But it is his father who is STILL out there, pounding the pavement, trying - at 59 years of age - to build his 'legacy.' And - from what pundits can guess - his father is still trying to get that 'big job promotion' that he's wanted his entire life - that is to say: the presidency of the United States.
In a way, young Albert is a bit like a 'Prince Charles.' He can never be a big cheese while his father is alive since his father can never stop trying to be king himself.
Getting back to dealing with abusive behavior: I'll also bet that young Albert has handled the incredible multitude of embarassing and angering situations involving his parents in the way I did: He has probably kept his mouth shut.
As noted, in some circles his father is a laughing stock as a 'wooden' and uncomfortable speaker with little real humor. And - as noted above - the second half of his father's vice-presidency was riddled with scorn and ridicule since it was dominated by the actions of Al's boss whose inability to resist oral sex was legendary.
As some national news anchors noted: They had never even referred to the phrase 'oral sex' on the national airways in any context whatsoever until Clinton's escapades during the Clinton/Gore years became famous.
Just this past year, Al the Third's dad was the subject of a merciless parody on the Comedy Channel's television series entitled 'South Park.'
I confess to a guilty pleasure: I am a huge fan of 'South Park.' I saw the show in which they made fun of former V.P. Al Gore.
More importantly, since Al the Third is twenty-four years old - I should point out that 'South Park' is a major - and I do mean major - hit show within that age group. Therefore - without doubt - virtually every one of young Al's peers as well as - probably - young Al himself - saw the episode I'm referencing.
Here I'm going to give you a brief run-down on that episode. Just imagine what young Al's days were like after this show ran.
In the Gore episode, V.P. Al is portrayed as an eccentric dooms-day lunatic. He stomps around the little Colorado town of South Park warning everyone that the horrible, vicious creature known as 'Man-Bear-Pig' is lurking in the woods. 'Man-Bear-Pig' is a blatant metaphor for 'global warming' throughout the episode.
Gore's character cannot convince everyone that the legendary 'Man-Bear-Pig' exists. Soooo what does he do? He dresses up in a combined man/bear/pig costume and haunts the woods.
The town's people decide he is a completely deranged idiot. Throughout the show, everytime he appears, characters make fun of him. And, everytime someone makes fun of Gore, another character says, and I paraphrase:
"Don't pick on him. He's lonely. He has no friends. No one likes him. He's just yelping about 'Man-Bear-Pig' to get attention. It's just something he made up 'cuz he's lonely. He's really just a harmless and partially demented fool.'
At the episode's finale, the Gore character is verbally shredded by a nine year old character who really insults him with quite carefully crafted psychological insights and repeats - 'Look, we know you're lonely. We know no one likes you. But you don't have to go around dressed as 'Man-Bear-Pig' to get attention,"...etc.
Can you imagine being twenty-four years old and having your own father [for whom you are the 'namesake'] humiliated on a show that is perhaps the most popular comedy show among your college educated age group - a show that virtually every one of your peers has seen?
Whew! It must have been brutal for young Al when that episode aired - as well every time it's been re-run. And believe me - it has been re-run several times.
So - I suspect that young Albert bears a lot of emotional scars and baggage.
And - let's take a look at the boy's chronology. He started getting into trouble with marijuana at the exclusive St. Alban's school in Washington, D.C. - the same school his father attended when he was thirteen. That would be the same year that his father was re-elected as vice-president and the same year that the young boy's adolescence - as well as that of any peer/bullies - would begin its full bloom.
He's been caught two or three times since the age of thirteen. That doesn't mean he's only been in trouble three times. It means he's only been caught three times. I suspect that, since the age of thireteen, he's been in trouble right along through this present incident.
And let's look more closely at his latest bust.
We have a young man, twenty-four years of age, possessed of every educational, financial, and societal advantage - alone - driving a car at 100 miles per hour down a southern California freeway - stoned on pot and with his car loaded with other drugs for his own use - none of which he attempted to conceal.
And - according to cops - as soon as they pulled him over he admitted who he was - and not in a way that implied he was seeking special treatment.
One doesn't need to be a 'shrink' to recognize a cry - or rather - a 'scream' for help and a 'shout' for some attention! The kid is a hurtin buckaroo!
Where was dad? He was out saving the world. I assume his mother was probably lining up the rock bands that are always so essential to saving mankind as well.
Anyway -- I never talked about my nasty high school experiences with my parents -- nope -- not once. My mother went to her grave not knowing about the little sadistic bastards - some of whom she'd had in class - who had endeavored to make my life hell. I am proud that she never knew.
And, I think it's a fair guess that young Albert, III, has been through experiences similar to mine - and, far more likely - has been through far worse experiences that are just horrible for an adolescent and a young man and which can result in deep scars.
Furthermore, I have little doubt that the taunting and controversy surrounding his father has not stopped and will not stop until the old man retires after becoming the world champion of 'show and tell' or finally gets tired of running around, metaphorically shouting: "Look at me - look at me! I'm going to save the world!"
Like I said: I never talked to my parents about my problems that resulted from my mother's job. Why? As noted, I didn't want to hurt my mother and destroy the great pleasure she took from teaching.
I suspect young Al hasn't talked to his parents about the problems he's suffered from their pursuits and for reasons similar to mine: He probably doesn't want to hurt his mother and father who so immensely enjoy being on-stage and telling the world how to live.
My problems ended when I graduated from high school. For young Albert, I doubt that there is - or ever will be, an end in sight.
But - what I suspect now, more than anything: Now young Albert may be ready to talk. His latest escapade is just too much of a cry for attention.
I entitled this column "Channeling my mother."
By that I mean: I can hear what my mother would be saying today if she read the recent articles about young Gore:
"For goodness' sake. The former Vice-President should shut up about his slide show and heat stroke and God-knows-what-else and go home. His family needs him. How the hell does he think he can save the world if he cannot even save his own son? The number one job he signed up for in this life was the one with the title 'father.' It's time he went home and took care of that job."
I wish you luck, young Albert Gore, the Third.
Your father appears thrilled to have everyone 'looking at him' and praising him.
I suspect that as long as there is a mirror in this world, your father will never feel lonely.
But for you, young Albert? For you, I don't think a mirror is the companion you need right now.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
O.K. Fair enough. That’s his solution.
Now – further down in this column, I’m going to ask you, dear reader, a question based on the following hypothetical situation which is also based on a very old joke:
You are a tour guide. You are mountain climbing with your client, a certain well-known fellow named Michael Moore. Halfway up the mountain, you stop for a snack break and Michael plunks his prodigious arse down on a log. Behind the log, nestled on a rock and absorbing the midday sun is a fanged, cold-blooded creature of the forest nick-named ‘Ol’ Diamondback.’ [‘O.D.’ for short.]
Throughout your snack break Mr. Moore denounces the American health care system. “It’s that damned ‘profit-motive’ that’s ruining health care in this country!” shouts Mr. Moore.
In the meantime, our forest friend ‘O.D.,’ is beginning to get a chill. Moore’s arse has eclipsed the sun. ‘O.D.’ slithers three or four feet to get out of the way of this giant shape that’s shading his rock.
It doesn’t matter. Moore’s arse is huge. O.D.’s still in the shade.
He slithers another ten feet this way – then ten feet that way – but no matter how far ‘O.D.’ slithers, he can’t seem to escape the gigantic shadow cast by Moore’s gigantic ‘can.’
On top of that, ‘O.D.’s sensitive body is picking up the annoying vibes of Moore’s shrill voice. It’s all too much for ‘O.D.’
He needs the sun’s warmth and he needs some peace and quiet
With his jaws agape, ‘O.D.’ plants two fangs into Moore’s butt. Moore starts the laborious process of jumping straight up from his seat. In mere minutes he is off the log and screaming, “Oh m’ God! A rattlesnake has bitten me in my privates!”
“Uh, where, exactly, on your privates?” you ask.
“My balls!” screams Moore.
[Ooooh, you think – that’s just too much information -- more than you really wanted to know. Still - you have a touch of admiration for the fact the snake could even find them. It says something about the killer instinct, doesn't it?]
“What are you going to do?” cries Moore.
“What am I going to do?” you ask. “Are you kidding? I’m a tour guide, not a doctor.”
“But I could die! Aren’t you worried?”
“About what?” you ask. “You already paid me….and I have your credit card number if anything else comes up.”
“No – you idiot! Not about your fee – what about me? Aren’t you worried about me?”
You take a sip of your mineral water. “Nope – I’m not worried in the least. That diamondback was six feet long. He packs one hell of a wallop. Even though your arse is the size of Belgium, that snake has definitely given you a ‘killer’ dose.”
“But isn’t there something that can be done? Aren’t you going to do something?”
“Well, Mr. Moore,” you reply, “those are two very different questions. Let’s deal with your first question: Is there ‘something,’ that can be done? – The answer is ‘yes.’”
“What? What can be done?!”
“Well, Mr. Moore, you could first drop your trousers. Then, if a hydraulic jack was available, we would elevate your stomach until your upper thighs were exposed-"
“Uh – I’m beginning to feel dizzy….I’ll drop my trousers. You set up the jack!”
“Hold your horses, Mr. Moore,” you say. “We’re still dealing with your first question about what should be done – we haven’t gotten to the part about what, if anything, I am going to do.”
“Well hurry it up – goddammit – I can’t feel my arse – it’s gone numb!!”
“Don’t worry – it’s still there. Believe me - you can’t miss it. Anyway – with your stomach elevated we would then attempt to part your thighs with an expansion winch. If that was successful – and depending on the availability of magnifying glasses, we would commence a search for your privates.”
“Hurry up! You work the winch and I’ll find my privates!”
“Ooohhh, Mr. Moore – if it were only that simple….But, you see, after locating your privates, I would then gently hold your – pardon me – your ‘balls’ -- in the palm of one hand, while I gently palpated the little devils with my other hand.”
“Gaaaawwwdammitt! Will you get started?”
“Believe me – I’m almost done with your first question… -- Then, when I located the puncture wounds, I would take a razor blade from my snake-bite kit – “
“FOR CRISSSSAKES! YOU GOTTA A SNAKEBITE KIT? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR?”
“Well, Mr. Moore, you see, we seem to have reached the nub of both of our problems simultaneously…”
“I feel faint – oh no – don’t tell me.. You’re a Republican aren’t you?”
“No – I’m a registered Tree Hugger. But that’s not the problem….See – I would then take the razor blades and ‘lance’ the entry point of each fang…and then – well, then, I, uh – well…then we start getting to the answer to your second question.”
“Wait a second - What??? You would do WHAT??? What are you supposed to do?”
“Well - then I would place my lips on the site of each puncture wound and suck out the poison. If I were to do that, then you might have a chance to be rolled down this hill and live to see another day.”
“What do you mean ‘if’ you did that? What’s stopping you, dammit? Why don’t you get started?!”
“Mr. Moore, we have now fully arrived at the answer to your second question: ‘What am I going to do? I am going to do ‘nothing,’ Mr. Moore. ‘Nothing,’ is what I am going to do.”
“Why? What do you want? Tell me!!! I’ll pay you anything!!!”
“Ahh! You see Mr. Moore, you’ve gotten to the heart of the situation. Mr. Moore: I WOULDN’T TOUCH YOUR BALLS FOR A MILLION DOLLARS!”
“What about two million dollars?”
“No way in hell…”
Moore groans…“How about ten million?”
“Ten million, it is! Mr. Moore, you have a deal!!”
All right then – dear reader. Let me now ask you the question I promised in my opening statement.
If Michael Moore and, let’s say – the first ten random people you met today – all came to your office, took off their clothes and asked you to examine every one of their bodily orifices – how much would you want to get paid to perform those examinations?
Remember – it’s not just Michael Moore, we’re talking about. Pick the first ten people you see today and imagine having to paw over their naked bodies all day long. Imagine having to peek into places that even they cannot see.
How much would you want to be paid for each appointment?
A lot? I would think so!
And now – let’s add a few elements to this hypothetical.
Each one of your ‘clients’ has some sort of infectious disease compounded by oozing bodily sores. And each one of these people expects you to breathe the same air as they are breathing and to touch their sores. They also expect you to do this for them in a gentle and caring manner.
Additionally – one half of your clients are guys who work at the fish docks. They have been hurt on the job. They have come to your office straight from work.
Not one of them had time to go to the fumigator or put his or her body through a car wash.
Now how much would you charge to pat and rub the bodies of your naked clients in an office that now smells like old Sea Bass?
Lots and lots and lots of money!! Right?
Then why does Michael Moore, who – despite his politics and his lies is obviously an intelligent man - believe that - after you served twelve years of your life to achieve your medical education - you would want to palpate his nuts and, say, do a colonoscopy on him for, say, twenty bucks?
Well, Michael Moore is not only a purveyor of propaganda, he is apparently a believer in the propaganda of others.
He must truly have been suckered into believing that young men and women go into medicine for one reason and one reason only: ‘to help mankind.’
Dear Reader, if you have a high school classmate who became a doctor, I want you to think back to your days in school with that person.
Was the Future Doctor you knew a person who was an ‘artsy’ type? Was he or she the type of person who was always leading little protest movements to save the starving people of “Any Third World Country?”
Was he or she the type of person who volunteered to do anything that wasn’t specifically recommended to help improve their resume for medical school?
No. And why? Because they were not stupid, that's why.
The kids who were determined to go into medicine were technical and scientific worker bees. And, like the bees, they worked day and night – skipping parties – avoiding wasted time – single-mindedly pursuing their goals to become doctors. And – not only to become doctors – BUT:
To become WEALTHY!!! [Not "J. P. Morgan Wealthy" - but certainly 'well-to-do.']
Yes!! Let’s say it! Forget the medical associations and their public relations stuff – they worked their noses to the grindstone so they could make a bundle of money! They wanted to make a bundle of money so they could have a nice home and provide for their families.
Oh – and – yeah, incidentally – we are the beneficiaries of a side-effect to all this worker bee activity in high school which was induced by the profit motive.
That side effect: Human beings were benefited, and a little piece of the world was saved each time these worker bees -- who became doctors – opened an office for business.
There was another tremendous side-effect from which humankind benefited: Some – not all – but some of those doctors dedicated portions of their lives to volunteer work.
BECAUSE THEY COULD AFFORD TO WORK AS VOLUNTEERS A FEW WEEKS A YEAR FOR NOTHING AND STILL AFFORD A SUMMER HOME, A MERCEDES, AND A BOAT!!!
Because: THEY ACQUIRED WEALTH BY PRACTICING MEDICINE!!! With their families fed and clothed, with college education money socked away - they could then afford to donate some of their hard-earned skills for charitable purposes!!!
For goodness sake, people – get a grip on reality.
Do the students who are less technically inclined become plumbers because they have an idealistic desire to bring ‘piping’ to the world?
Uh-uh. That’s not why they show up and stick their hands in our toilets.
They do it because it pays damned well. They do it because they can afford a summer home located next door to their doctor’s summer home.
Michael Moore has the same stupid flaw in his thought process that afflicted Karl Marx and his insane ideas about communism:
Moore and Marx forgot – or never knew - that people work to improve their own lives.
The profit motive is what makes them do it.
They may or may not also be motivated, secondarily, to ‘help their fellow human beings.’
But – and here’s the irony of the situation – the insight that Moore and Marx missed:
IT DOES NOT MATTER IF PEOPLE WORK HARD AT HIGH PAYING JOBS FOR THE BENEFIT OF MANKIND OR FOR THE BENEFIT OF THEIR OWN ‘SELFISH’ LITTLE FAMILIES:
EITHER WAY, WE ALL BENEFIT.
We benefit through the payment of taxes by the wealthy; by their creation of jobs; by their creation of medicines; by their creation of plumbing and by their opening of doctors’ offices.
We benefit by the creation of wealth.
And, it is because people in America have the possibility to create and acquire wealth that we have the greatest health care system in the world.
Remember – Britain has socialized health care. And, by all American standards, doctors in Britain are just barely middle class.
You must also keep in mind that when I say those doctors are just barely British middle class - that I'm referring to a British middle class - and that is several notches below what we consider to be American middle class.
When I visited Britain in the 1970’s, I was a second year public school teacher in Massachusetts. I was earning $9,800 dollars per year.
And guess what? I was making just one thousand dollars less per year than a fully licensed British medical doctor working under Britain’s National Health system.
[It might interest you to know that, at the same time, a college friend of mine was in his second year of medical practice in America. He was making ten times as much money as I was.]
There are a couple of other problems with eliminating the profit motive as was done in the British system.
The creation of the National Health System [NHS] in Britan resulted, many years ago, in a huge escaping migration of British doctors to Canada where they could make some decent coin.
Then - the Canadians, displaying an odd sense of humor, instituted their own 'single-payer' system and once again ruined the financial futures of the British doctors who had migrated.
The result, British doctors who moved to Canada, now want to come to the States.
But there's also been another effect created by Britain's socialized NHS that was unforeseen.
With the emigration of smart and motivated British born doctors to Canada, and now to the U.S. to avoid socialism, the Brit's have had to recruit foreign-born and foreign-trained doctors to fill the British medical positions.
Most recently it was reported that some 30 to 40 per cent of British doctors are now foreign-born physicians who emigrated to Britain to practice medicine.
And why did they move to Britain? For the money?
They emigrated because, for the most part, they were born and raised in Middle-Eastern hell-hole countries where toilets are a luxury item and where Katusha Rockets and Incoming Mortar Rounds are considered part of the weather report.
For them, anything was a step up.
Of course that has had another unintended consequence. Some of those physicians have taken up the hobby of bomb-making and we've recently seen the results of that actitivity.
Back to my personal experiences:
If I had stayed at teaching for ten years, I would have made twice as much as a British doctor was then making per year.
But, even though I loved it – I left teaching and went to law school.
And do you know why?
I left because there wasn't enough money in teaching. And why didn't I take up the profession of medicine?
Because no matter what I was paid, I never wanted to see my clients naked, let alone have to palapate any part of their bodies.
The defenses rests - case closed.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Illegal Immigrant Gang Members Must Renounce Membership - Same Procedure As Sen. Kennedy Quitting the Owl Club? [Uh - I don't think so...]
Right….Well, perhaps they haven’t heard, but resigning from an L.A. street gang is not the same as resigning from the Owl Club.
The Owl Club, in case you haven’t heard, was a gang to which the esteemed blimp from Massachusetts, Edward Moore Kennedy [D-Goodyear] belonged for decades.
Its dues were one hundred dollars a year and its major criminal activity was preventing women from joining. It was due to this criminal activity that Kennedy had to resign from the gang in shame this past year.
But resigning from the Owl Club is nothing like quitting the street gangs of L. A.
Uh – uh….If anything, for those accustomed to a moral society - it’s more like trying to quit the Catholic Priesthood without having been de-frocked. As far as the church is concerned: once a priest, always a priest. Of course, there the resemblance between the Holy See and the L. A. hoodlums ceases, but you get the idea. Once you’ve been ‘ordained’ as a gang member, your membership is ‘irrevocable.’
Some of those gangs have a pretty straightforward policy: You leave when you are dead, and not one second earlier.
I happened to get an education about seven years ago regarding one particular L. A. street gang whose members were comprised of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
I was working as a teamster on a movie being filmed in San Diego. The crew members all had 24 hour a day access to a ‘walk-in’ food service vehicle that was basically a cafeteria mounted on a six wheel truck.
It was easy for passers-by to slip in and take a sandwich, drink or snack since there were a couple of hundred extras as well as crew members working on the film.
On one particular afternoon I was waiting in line in the food truck. Ahead of me in line stood a very muscular and tall black fellow. He and his girlfriend were trying to choose from the snack bin.
I do not know what the black fellow said out loud, but a security guard for the movie company overheard him. The guard then told the man and his girlfriend to get out of the truck and leave the set – that it was not open to the public.
The black fellow immediately threatened the guard. He said something along the lines of, “Hey man, mind your own business or I’ll give you a beatin.’”
The security guard, a middle-aged fellow of average height and possessed of a somewhat stocky and overweight build, turned down the collar of his jacket. “Hey!” he called out to the man, “You wanna step outside? I’ll f--- you up real good.”
With that one gesture by the guard – that of the down-turned collar - the black man suddenly started apologizing and practically humiliated himself with his suddenly humble and submissive attitude.
He took his girlfriend’s arm, quickly turned and started out of the truck. As the pair squeezed between the on-lookers, the man kept calling out to the guard over his shoulder such phrases as, “Hey man, I’m sorry – like, no offense – O.K.? I didn’t know man, O.K.? We’re leaving……Come on, babe, let’s go, hurry it up…”
I was amazed. I had no idea what had just occurred. I walked up to the guard and asked him what that ‘show’ had been all about. The conversation went like this:
“What’s with that guy?” I asked. “What just happened?”
“Oh, nothin’ much, man,” said the guard, “I just overheard the dude talkin’ to his lady. I realized he wasn’t part of the film crew, so I told him to leave.”
“Yeah, I know,” said I, “but at first he wasn’t going to go. He started cussing you out…But then you did something with your coat collar - something that scared him…I mean – that guy was suddenly petrified of you. It was obvious he couldn’t get out of here quickly enough.”
Again, he turned down his jacket collar, just as he had done when talking with the black man. “I just showed him this, and he knew he should leave.”
I looked at his neck – but --stupid me. I still didn’t get it.
I just saw a bunch of tattoos. I had no idea what the hell this guard was talking about. “I’m sorry,” I said, “but I’m from Massachusetts. I guess I don’t know what it is you’re trying to show me.”
The guard laughed. Then very quietly he said in my ear, “He saw my tattoos and realized I’m an ‘S.A.,’ so he knew he better leave or I’d hurt him real bad.”
[For purposes of this column, I am writing the letters ‘S.A.’ to express what the guard said. The way it is pronounced, the term sounds like the word “essay.” I’ve never heard a good definition of it. However, my guess is that the term comes from the abbreviation for Hitler’s original gang of street thug storm troopers which terrorized the Jews of Germany in the 30’s. They were known as the “S.A.”]
Anyway, at that point I decided not to push my luck. “Oh,” said I, as though I understood what he meant. “So that’s why he left?”
“Yeah…he knew better than to stick around.”
I was still amazed. No matter what the tattoo showed, the black man had looked like he definitely had the physical strength – and the youthfulness coupled with toughness and attitude - to stuff this middle-aged guard into a trash barrel.
Later I asked one of my fellow teamsters what an “S.A.” was.
He explained that it meant that the guard was a member of a street gang in L. A. I recounted to him what I had earlier observed.
“Oh yeah,” said the teamster, “the black guy was smart to leave. Those Mexican guys, they’ll kill y’uh, man. They are really, really tough. The black guys, especially if they’re alone, won’t screw with the Mexican gang members. They’re pretty much afraid of them. The black gangs will fight among themselves, but they leave the Mexican guys alone.”
Now I was fascinated. I wondered what a ‘street gang’ member was doing working for a security guard firm and what he was doing on the set. Remarkably, I got a rather full answer over the next few nights.
That evening, the same guard, whom I’ll call Miguel [definitely not his real name] was working a double shift. As part of my teamster duties, I was living on the set in a small trailer. Thus, he and I were there together.
Since it was a particularly cold evening, I asked Miguel if he wanted to sit in the trailer for a while and get warm by the propane heater. He was quite glad to accept my invitation.
Over the next three nights, from midnight until about four each morning, Miguel and I talked the nights away. He was a seemingly pleasant fellow and very soft-spoken.
We chatted amiably for hours. He told me of his girlfriend, who was toying with him and had just about dumped him. He told me about the new girl he had just met whom he wanted to ask out on a date. He also told me about a softball team on which he had played in the army.
And he told me about the number of people he had observed being shot, knifed, beaten, or robbed, depending on the circumstances.
In the same very soft voice, this man described all sorts of horrific crimes he had ‘observed.’ He discussed the gang structures in L. A. and the divisions of gangs between the northern and southern parts of California. He was careful not to say exactly what role he had played in the crimes he had happened to witness. But the implication was very, very clear: he had been heavily involved in the execution of these various crimes.
Miguel had also served in the United State Army as a young man. Even in the army, he told me, the gang divisions had reared their heads. He told me of fights that had occurred off-base between varying factions of gangs, including some stationed in Alaska.
As stated, some of the stories were horrific. Some were morbidly funny, and some were outright funny and rose to the level of practical jokes. Were they to be believed?
Or, were these tall tales like those of police ‘bloodbaths’ described by L.A.P.D. Detective Mark Furhman about ten years before the infamous O. J. Simpson trial?
I say that Miguel’s stories were true. Why? Well, it’s necessary to distinguish Furhman’s tales and tales told by folks like Furhman, from the stories told by Miguel during those evenings he and I spent together.
Furhman’s tall tales were brought out during his cross-examination by F. Lee Bailey. It was this cross-examination, more than anything else I can think of in our culture, that has resulted in newspapers and media resorting to the phrase “the ‘n’-word.”
[Incidentally – I personally find the phrase silly. When dealing with anti-semites, we do not refer to the ‘k-word’ for kike, nor when referring to disparagement of the Irish do we refer to the ‘H-word’ for Harp, etc. Whenever I write this column, I will state the word to which I’m referring – other than outright profanities – in full. I see no point in creating an alphabet soup of code words for racial, religious or ethnic words. We are – I hope, all grown-ups here.]
It turned out that Furhman had used the word ‘nigger’ repeatedly when talking with a woman who was purportedly writing a movie script about cops and criminals.
Furhman had sought to impress her. He told her story after story about cops beating up, as he said, ‘niggers,’ and leaving rooms with walls covered with blood from the victims of the police.
In fact, the stories Furhman told her were all urban legends that the cops told about themselves. Cops who told these stories were basically portraying themselves as the type of rogue cop one sees portrayed today on television by actors such as Michael Chiklis in “The Shield” television series.
But Furhman’s stories were told in a style of braggadocio. He was not apologizing for these [fictional] violent acts. He was using them to impress the young scriptwriter with how ‘tough’ he and his colleagues supposedly were.
But what about my gang member, Miguel? What distinguishes his wild stories from those of Mark Furhman?
Well, after three nights of these stories, I finally asked Miguel how he had gotten to be a security guard if he was actively involved with a street gang.
He explained that he was no longer in the gang.
How, I asked, did that work? Did one resign? Did you get kicked out? How did one end one gang’s membership since he obviously still had the tattoos that had put such fear in the black man days earlier.
Again, in that soft-spoken voice, he began to describe more of his history with the gang and spoke of a turning point that he had reached.
The story was this: He had joined the street gang when he was about sixteen years of age. For several years he had done the bidding of the gang leaders. Some of that bidding involved pretty violent and vicious stuff. Still other acts of violence he had done for the ‘fun’ of it.
Seemingly without doubt, these stories were the tales of a man who had no conscience. In other words – the stories were those of a sociopath.
In my lifetime, in the practice of law, I have had occasion to meet three people who turned out to be criminals who were sociopaths. However, with each of these three men, I had sensed from the first moments I had met them, that they were missing a piece of the ‘human pie.’ There was something not ‘there.’
I do not know how to describe it, but I knew that they, for lack of a better word, each had no ‘soul.’ In each instance, it was only later that I found out that each of these three men were, indeed, criminal sociopaths.
But I had not sensed that moral vacuum in Miguel. It was one of the reasons I had talked with him for so many hours. I did not sense that total lack of conscience in the man. And, this was in spite of the horrible stories he had recounted, some of which included vague descriptions of his direct and enthusiastic involvement.
He then described what one might call a ‘moment of moral clarity.’ Without going further into the details of Miguel’s life, suffice it to say that something terrible had occurred in his family’s life when he was about thirty-five years of age. By then he had been a gang member for almost twenty years.
This incident of ‘moral clarity’ had awakened his conscience. In one fell hit, the horror and repugnance of his actions and the life he had led had come crashing down on him.
He had had a moment of ‘empathy’ that led to this ‘clarity.’
‘Empathy’ is a quality that sociopaths are incapable of having. Miguel was not, in fact, a sociopath. Rather, Miguel had been a giant, walking-talking case of arrested moral development.
He was not a fully formed man with a full moral conscience when he joined the gang at age sixteen. As a young child he had admired the gang members. He had begun to develop a warped sense of loyalties and of morality. By the time he joined the gang, he had a totally twisted and misguided sense of what was right and wrong.
“Loyalty” was good.
Being ‘loyal’ to the gang was good.
The gang was his surrogate ‘family’ and the older members ‘surrogate fathers.’ Being in a surrogate family with surrogate fathers was a ‘good’ thing to the teen-aged Miguel.
Through it all, he had been able to ignore the havoc his acts and those of his fellow gang members had wreaked on the lives of their victims.
But, as I say, when he hit the age of thirty-five, something had happened within his own biological family. It had devastated him. This event had sledgehammered his psyche and what spark was left within him of a moral being.
It had taken but a moment for the door of ‘empathy’ to open in his very cold soul. But, when it did, repeated tidal waves of guilt and remorse had practically drowned him.
He had suffered a complete nervous breakdown.
With his hands trembling and his body shaking – his mind in a virtual catatonic state – he had been committed to a mental institution. It had taken him over a year to recover sufficiently to function outside the hospital.
After the year of hospitalization and with continued counseling, he had come to the conclusion that he could not continue in the ‘gang’ life. He could no longer behave as a sociopath – for – indeed, he was not a sociopath.
But he also knew the potential consequences of quitting the gang.
There was a penalty for leaving: it is known in the justice system as ‘the death penalty.’
Yup! Miguel would be murdered if he tried to quit the gang. His family, as well, might suffer consequences.
But, Miguel could not live with himself and remain in the gang. So, he decided to do the unthinkable: he would ask the local ‘board of directors’ of the gang if he could leave.
Everyone in the gang and among his family and friends had known about the nervous breakdown and what had happened to Miguel. After all, he had been in the ‘nuthouse’ for over a year.
When he made his request, he was told to come to a meeting. As he said, when he walked into that room the evening of the meeting, he did not know if he would ever leave alive. But he felt he had no choice. His mother and family were still in L. A. and his mother was an invalid. He could not leave her.
If he stayed in L.A. and tried to quit the gang he might be killed. But if he left L.A., his mother would certainly die without him there to provide home care. So – he faced a Hobbesian choice and decided to do so ‘head-on.’
The board had first met in ‘executive session’ without him present. They then heard his personal plea to be released.
They had told him that, due to his many years of loyal service on behalf of the gang [it sounds sort of like a speech at a retirement party for an insurance salesman, mais non?] that he would be allowed to leave the membership and to live in peace.
He was also assured that his family members would not be hurt or murdered. [Nice of those fellahs, ‘eh?]
So, about five years before I met Miguel, he had gotten his freedom. But the tattoos that had identified him as a gang member covered his body from his lower neck to his waist. There were a few small ones on the back of his neck and a couple of very small ones on his face.
But it was the ones on his neck that clearly identified him as belonging [or in his case, having belonged] to a certain gang. And it was those tattoos that had so frightened the black man in the cafeteria trailer earlier in the week.
As shown on that day in the trailer, Miguel had found that sometimes the old tattoos had come in handy during his security job. Sometimes when he encountered a street ‘tough’ who was not impressed by an overweight, 40-something ‘security guard’ who was armed with nothing more than a metal badge, it just took a flick of his collar to get the fellow’s respect, fear and immediate obedience.
So, that, my friends, is the story of Miguel, the L. A. gang member.
Senator Edward Kennedy may have had to resign the Owl Club in shame. They may have cursed his name for violating whatever sacred trust this little band of men had established.
But one can be sure that the Owl Club did not tell the good Senator that – due to his years of faithful service – they had decided not to murder him or his family members as a penalty for quitting the club.
Our distinguished Senators on both sides of the aisle are living in a total fantasy if they think that illegal immigrants who belong to the street gangs such as those found in L. A. are going to be able to quit the gangs even if they sincerely desire to do so.
Under this current proposed immigration bill, we will be granting citizenship to gang members, most of whom, unlike Miguel, have had no moment of moral clarity. These young men and women think nothing of driving by a group of people and opening fire in hopes that they might hit one of the people in the group – while taking down another six or seven who were unlucky enough to be in the way.
No, my friends, the folks known as S.A.’s live a world away from the Owl Club and the Whiffenpoofs and the super secret bunch at Yale known as ‘Skull and Bones.’
These clubs are groups comprised of the social and educational elite of this country. They play cards. They play golf. They have secret handshakes.
They are not, however, anything like the street gangs of L.A. and of other urban sites in California.
Those gangs are nothing short of a modern-day version of Chicago’s depression era mob known as “Murder Incorporated.”
If this immigration bill passes, these sociopaths-in-training or in-fact will not just own shares in Murder, Inc., will also become citizen shareholders in the United States of America.
This cannot and must not be allowed to happen.