Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Discussion on White Cultural Identity



One of the funniest thing you can ever witness is a group of white middle class far left extremists, who admire third world economic models (i.e. people are poor and none of those bad businessmen are around), attend a Native American gathering or reservation.

Well if you have not witnessed such an event, the D.A.A Collective has blessed us with a full report from their recent trip to what they call “indigenous land”. I knew I was in for a heap of entertainment.

The article, bless their hearts, is pretty extensive. I am surprised they didn’t make note every time they went to the bathroom. I think I am starting to understand why anthropologists get such a bad rap when they go and study in the third world, and it probably has to do with the pedestal indigenous people are placed upon in their eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a lot our society can learn from Native American cultures across the states. But there is a lot to learn from Chinese Americans too. And Italians, and Hungarians, and Argentineans….people are people, and all of our cultures have something interesting to share. One individual echoed my sentiments when he avowed:
“Wow! You visited an Indian reservation!!

Do yourself a favor. Next time you go to one, remember that these are PEOPLE, not some kind of alien species. You wrote as though you were visiting some otherworldly society totally detached from modern America. That certainly isn't true.

In the Southwest, there are dozens of reservations. Some like tourists and some don't. They all have rules. Sometimes people make mistakes and say or do inappropriate things. Relax! They won't hurt you.

Listen, Indians are not special. They're Americans like the rest of us. They drive cars, have TVs, eat frozen dinners and yell at their kids. Don't put them on a pedestal.

As I said, stop treating Indians as though they live in cultural museums...they don't. They live, in this case, in California, probably on the Tule River reservation from what the author wrote.

More than likely, these Indians shop at Wal-Mart and have DVD players, like most of the rest of their neighbors. All this talk about their exalted "elders" and all the rest is nonsense.

These people are not an anthropological study. They are people. They have some nice, old customs, but so do Italians and Chinese. They are no different. Don't try to read more into them than is there.

And by the way, I worked with Indians for 25 years. I have a touch more experience with these matters than this author does.”

Well put.

Like I said, there is something to learn about all peoples and cultures, and the worldlier we all become, the likelihood of conflict between ethnic groups dissipates. But there is a bigger problem at hand here, and that is “white” youth not forming an ethnic identity. Let me see if I can make sense of this…

At almost any university or college, you will find groups that focus on the culture of one ethnic group. So you will have a Black, Latino, and Chinese Student Associations, and so on. These associations are important in helping young people of a certain culture better understand their shared history and customs. But low-and-behold, I have rarely found student associations built around European cultures (or I should say “white” European cultures). I find this lack of cultural identity unfortunate.

One of the unfortunate side effects of not having an association built around white European roots is that it leaves a vacuum for overtly racist organizations to recruit white young people. Since no one wants to discuss what it is to be white and discuss that shared experience, the only folks left to talk about it are the ones who will fill young people’s heads with conspiracies and a sense of supremacy over others.

The main argument I heard against having white cultural groups on campus is that American culture is already “white” centered, and the reason for having minority student associations is to give them an “oasis” of sorts away from the dominate hegemony. So having a white cultural group would simply be redundant. I have a few problems with this assessment.

I love American culture and society, but I admit that it is very commercial and individualistic at this point in time. I am a bit offended by the assumption that my Flemish and Irish roots are somehow represented by MTV and Entertainment Tonight. I think many white students have bought into this idea that the commercialized America is somehow their cultural heritage, and that is terribly unfortunate, and part of what fuels this interest in all things “indigenous” or “authentic”.

The other problem with having a “white” cultural group on campus is the obvious question concerning what white means. Even when considering my Flemish and Irish roots, I find major cultural differences between the two people. Ideally I would love to have Flemish, and Danish, and Romanian student groups, but I am unsure most white students, whose families have lived in the States for decades if not centuries, would define themselves as such.

In a way, I think that by having people take a greater pride in their family and cultural heritage will combat that endless stream of disposable pop-culture that we seem to be knee deep in. As adolescent as it may sound, I would love to see all youngsters’ gain a greater respect for who they are and where they come from, while keeping an open mind to the values and characteristics other peoples bring to the table.

I would love to hear people’s thoughts on this subject, so please chime in.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Joe Lieberman Must Win


Alright, so the primary elections are over. While I could not vote in the CT primary since I am not a Connecticut resident, I did feel that Lieberman was a better choice than Lamont. I just don’t see Lamont as a viable candidate. Heck, he can’t even explain his anti-war policy. That’s a pretty bad sign seeing as how that is his only trick.

Lieberman, unless he fudges up this campaign like his primary, will win this November, and for good reason. His middle of the road policy and pragmatism is going to attract voters from all political realms, and Lamont won’t. I will give it to Lamont, he is a better candidate today than he was 3 months ago, but he has a long way to go to become a respectable candidate. Unless he spends the next month actually developing a comprehensive plan, he will fail miserably.

Lieberman will not “split the vote” between Democrats and let the Republicans win the election. Their candidate, someone who I can not even remember, has little support amongst the Republican base in CT. Whoever he is may hold the Republican nomination, but most reasonable Republican voters will vote Lieberman in November.

Last night, I was at Joe’s “concession” speech. For a night where his team lost the support from the party that had previously propelled him to their vice presidential nomination, it was surprisingly upbeat. They know that his pragmatic approach is going to site well with voters. He just needs to fire his previous campaign manager, and he may be all set….

Joe was right when he said this country is tired of partisan politics. Ned Lamont would only send this nation’s capitol into more dead-lock, and I am tired of it. I dislike Bush for the same reason I dislike Lamont; because they think they know what is right and won’t give an inch to make this country run smoothly. Play to your radical base and all is fine these folks think.

Well it isn’t.

I don’t agree with everything Lieberman stands for. I don’t like the idea of having someone in office more than a decade. But if the alternative is someone like Lamont, who is only the leftist version of George Bush, then I hope Joe keeps his seat for the next 30 years.

Joe has his problems, but this is a time to stand up to ideologies in both political groupings.

Hezbollah and Modernity

Over at ModernityBlog:
"I am still digesting the news from the Middle-East, so probably won’t comment for a while, but one of my commenters (JohnG) wondered what I thought of the Lebanese Communist Party’s recent statement.

I think I give it as much credence as I would statements coming out of the North Korean CP or the speeches of Kim Jong Il, which is to say: zilch

Of course, I can see the Lebanese Communist Party’s point of view, either they side with Hezbollah or side with Israel and they are toast, not a hard political decision.

After all, Hezbollah are a sizable group of Islamist thugs, so if you lived in Lebanon would you want to cross them? Probably not.

Nevertheless, it brings up the point of: support for Hezbollah in the West.

I wonder why people in the West seem to have been dragged into the infantile nihilism of supporting Hezbollah?

They might choose to cover it with some “anti-imperialist” gobbledygook, but they are consciously supporting a pack of Islamist fundamentalists, who would gladly kill all Jews, Westerners or other “decadent” examples of Western hegemony, civil rights for women and gays, etc. if they had the means. Talk about rolling the clock back.

Here’s a tip for would-be supporters/sympathisers of Hezbollah.

When faced with a choice between modernity and reaction, pick modernity.

Hint: Hezbollah are not modernity."

Oil

I was given this heads up to a piece at truthout.org claiming a big oil spill.
“Nairobi - An oil spill caused by Israeli raids on a Lebanese power plant could rival the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster that despoiled the Alaskan coast if not urgently addressed, the United Nations has said.
The Nairobi-based UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said Tuesday the spill that poses severe ecological and human threats is already comparable to a 1999 oil tanker accident off the coast of France and had the potential to get far worse.”

Anyone heard of this previously? Is this being reported on any major newswire? Is it credible?

Primary Results

I was not pleased to see Joe lose the Democratic nomination, but I was thrilled to see Cynthia McKinney lose hers.

“Cynthia McKinney, the fiery Georgia congresswoman known for her conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 attacks and the scuffle she had earlier this year with a U.S. Capitol police officer, lost a runoff election Tuesday for her district's Democratic nomination.”

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lieberman loses Connecticut primary



Just got back from Joe’s speech. More on that tomorrow, but I need to sleep at this point…
(photo via Reuters)

Lieberman Polls Thus Far

Lamont 57%
Lieberman 43%

Those are the numbers reported so far…I don’t know what percentage of votes have been counted…not looking good for Joe so far…

The Reason Blogs are Important

Bloody Connecticut television! Apparently coverage of this Senate race is not that important, because the major network stations are now broadcasting reality TV shows that nobody cares about. What is wrong with these stations? There should be all attention on this race; no wonder bloggers have become so prominent within American political circles.

Oh, and the Jesse is here in Hartford.

End of Polling

Ok, it is 8:00 PM in Connecticut, the polls are closed. I talked with a local AM radio show earlier about the power bloggers have asserted over this election and their importance in the future. I’ll have any news and drama as it develops.

To Come...

Via CT Politics:
"I talked with a Hillary Clinton supporter who was here to both drum up support for Hillary in 2008, and to support Lieberman. He believed that a Lieberman loss would be devestating for Hillary. He told me of all the anti-Semitism beneath the surface of the Lamont campaign, and how only Lieberman--and possibly Hillary could deal with something like the current situation in the Middle East."

Wise Words

A friend of mine, concerning the down Lieberman website, just said,
“I bet some tech guy just spilled beer on his keyboard.”

For Joe’s sake, that best be true.

$15 Bucks?!?!?!

Matt Stoller makes a great point at his blog:
“At the end of the day, if you're paying $15 for your web hosting and have a 10GB hosting limit, one shouldn't expect to have their website up and operational when traffic spikes. Bandwidth alone just costs more than that, plain and simple. In contrast, I don't want to go into any specific numbers, but if Lamont had a 10GB cap on his bandwidth, he'd have been down at the first of the month. Plain and simple.”

I like Joe, and I am supporting him, but if this is the reason his website went down, he should be voted out for simply being stupid.

And good God, is Blogger slow this evening or what? Must be all this hot hot primary action!

Pay for What you Get?

"Lieberman's campaign pays $15 dollars per month for their web hosting. Lamont's campaign pays $1,500 per month."
I will do my best to keep up with all the info coming out of CT tonight concerning the DC primary between Joe and Ned. So drop by here often.

Trouble with the Primaries

Via the Hartford Courant:
"Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, locked in a battle with an anti-war challenger in the nation's most closely watched primary race Tuesday, accused his opponent's supporters of hacking his campaign Web site and e-mail system.

Lamont, campaigning early Tuesday afternoon in Bridgeport, said he knew nothing about the accusations. "It's just another scurrilous charge," he said.

Sean Smith, Lieberman's campaign manager, said the site began having problems Monday night and crashed for good at 7 a.m. Lieberman's staff offered no evidence that Lamont's supporters were to blame."

Ann the Chimp



Just the other night, CSPAN ran a speech Ann Coulter gave to a number of young Republican women in D.C. I don’t care for Coulter, but I also don’t despise her. Not because I agree with the things she says, but because she clearly is putting on a show to sell books and stay a media personality. Every time she says something outlandish and stupid, she gets her name on the front page of every paper and a seat at countless talking head programs. She has created a character that she plays very well and has made a fortune in doing so. So all power to her on that regard.

I have not read her new book, but based on the speech she gave, I could see she jumped into scientific territory she knew nothing to little about. She apparently “proves” that evolution is a hoax, in one chapter no less! She went on to claim that evolution is a religion for liberals, and its believers will do nothing to suppress “other views on the subject”. She should have stuck to what she does well, and left science alone. When it comes to personal attacks and gaining media attention, she is a pro. A scientist, she is not.

Again, I have not read her book, but the massive amounts of bullshit that she recited concerning evolutionary principles basically told me everything I needed to know. Her arguments are nothing new, and she simply lifted a number of prominent conspiracy theories out of the anti-science handbook. Thankfully I found someone out there (James Downard) who has taken this chapter in Coulter’s book to task. You can read the whole thing here; it is too much to cut and paste into this blog.
“…Her sashay into matters scientific delightfully illustrates a common theme in sloppy thinking. Coulter is a secondary citation addict.
Like a scholarly lemming, she compulsively reads inaccurate antievolutionary sources and accepts them on account of their reinforcement of what she wants to be true. It never once occurs to her that she might find it prudent to check on the reliability of those sources before accompanying them off the cliff, either by investigating critical takes on those sources, or by actually inspecting the original technical literature directly.”

Being an Orthodox Christian, I have never understood this fear of evolution that so many American Christians have. The theory does not disprove my faith, and claiming that it is not a verifiable theory only goes to show a complete lack of understanding many Christians have for the scientific process. Far too often, they present a caricature where we are some foolish lot of uneducated dunces who have no interest in actually understanding science and natural history. We as Christians should demand better from our religious brothers and sisters.

While I would love to discuss this topic further, I fear that my own assessment of evolutionary principles would also ring hallow, seeing as how I do not have the scientific background to explain the entire theory adequately. I would recommend picking up Robert Pennock’s wonderful book titled “Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against New Creationism”. He lays it out pretty well and explains that science is not the attack on Christians many believe it is.

So Ann, stick to the mud slinging and avoid the topic of science for your own sake.

Why the World Deserves Something Better than International ANSWER



I have nothing against anti-War groups and philosophies. I rarely see eye-to-eye with them, but I can respect their position. War clearly tears people and societies apart, and while I feel that not confronting evil and tyranny where it develops only makes for a bigger war later on, I can clearly understand any individual’s moral desire to stop war from starting.

But for the love, the left needs to find some better groups to lead the anti-war movement. In Santa Cruz (and around the country for that matter), two main players are International ANSWER and SAW (Students Against War). Both of these groups have radical socialist positions and are anything but the “give peace a chance” side of the argument. Both SAW and ANSWER are not interested in stopping war, but simply want to see another side win the conflict. The anti-war movement deserves better than these clowns at the helm. (My buddy Matt over at Euston and Beyond has a quick piece up about building a “real” anti-war movement. I don’t completely agree with all his points, but there clearly needs to be a real anti-war position and not just front groups for communists and terrorists.)

Anyhow, Amelia McDonald from International ANSWER has written a letter criticizing the Santa Cruz Good Times for running an add (paid for by a private organization) calling for support of Israel. The letter was then published on Indybay Santa Cruz. She says:
“The people of Palestine, the people of Lebanon, the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, all black and brown people and yes the people of Israel (not the state)- none of these people are benefiting from the growing war in the Middle East, the growing War on Terror and the growing war on the working class.”

What? The “war” in Lebanon is a war on the working class? How so? I guess I should expect as much from ANSWER. Everything they see is some type of massive class war perpetuated by “business elites”. Here I thought it was about attacks on Israeli citizens by armed terrorists in Lebanon. Silly me.
“With the continued support of the US, Israel, like the US seems to not have to answer for its actions. I urge the staff at the Good Times to not support the lies, and to use your conscience when selling space in your publication.”

Translation: please become a propaganda mill that avoids all facts for the sake of our political and ideological gain. How dare they select an add that opposes our twisted world view!

And of course, it wouldn’t be ANSWER unless they threw this last bit in:
“It is our government who is providing the financial means to fund this war machine that is known as the state of Israel!”

This just in: International ANSWER considers changing name to International IDIOTS.

(Photo via ZombieTime)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Counting Down the Hours



From Reuters:
"The latest Quinnipiac University poll, conducted between July 31 and August 6, showed Ned Lamont, a wealthy businessman with little political experience, leading Lieberman by 51 to 45 percent among likely voters.
Last week Lamont led by 54 to 41 percent."

Should be an interesting election tomorrow, maybe I can bring a television into work….
I personally think that if Lamont beats Lieberman by more than 10 points, Joe will not run as an independent like he has stated he would. I have no facts to back up this claim, just a general hunch.

(Photo via Mike Segar/Reuters)

Moral Purpose?


Just another example of the complete moral bankruptcy by some of those on the left, and yet another reason why the Euston Manifesto is important in our day and age.
“A measure of Fidel Castro's greatness was obvious in his personal bravery and unwavering moral purpose.” - Myron Stagman

Moral purpose? I am sure Hitler also had some form of “moral purpose”, but that did not make the things he did justifiable.

Here is a lesson a lot of you pro-Castro individuals should have learned a long time ago: the man is a dictator who controls an intense police state. Every time you complain about “repression” from the U.S. government, but give this man praise, you come across sounding like a bloody idiot. So please, for the sake of your standing in society and the freedom of the Cuban people, stop supporting this man.

Decisions, Decisions…

Tomorrow, Connecticut Democrats will decide the direction of their party by choosing their next Senator. On the one hand, you have an experienced candidate whose support for the war in Iraq has put him in hot water. A candidate however, that is clearly a Democrat, and is constantly given high marks by left leaning organizations.

On the other hand, you have an inexperienced newcomer that has been propelled by his one trick pony campaign. A candidate whose level of sophistication results in flowery and nonsensical statements that may sound vaguely appealing, but show an utter lack of anything that resembles a viable platform. From the Wall street Journal online:
Mr. Lamont comes to this campaign for the U.S. Senate from absolutely nowhere--and it shows in his pulpy statements on public issues. Here is a paradigmatic one: "We need to provide parents and communities the support they need to assure that children start their school day ready to learn."

Brilliant.

Democrats in Connecticut have a choice tomorrow. We shall see which direction they take.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

God's Away on Business

Since my weekend routine has focused on the posting of videos, I felt it best to display “God’s Away on Business”. Enjoy!