Friday, December 30, 2005

Real journalism

News anchors from every major news network were quick to criticize Farris Hassan, the sixteen year old student who travelled from his home in Fort Lauderdale Florida to Iraq to report on what he saw there.

On CNN, talking head Paula Zahn asked, "How can he abandon traditional journalistic practices such as sitting in our news room reporting manufactured polls in favor of novel methods such as actually going to Iraq and discussing what he sees first hand?"

Bob Schieffer on CBS Evening News claimed that Hassan's trip was a stunt: "They ask us to believe that a sixteen year old was able to go to Iraq and report what is really going on there? I am seven times his age, and even I don't actually go there."

On NBC, Brian Williams asked "Don't the people we poll, sitting on their sofa at home, have a better perspective on what is beneficial for Iraq? If people start seeing the reality for themselves and actually thinking rather than blindly accepting our version of the story, they may not reach the desired conclusions."

Farris Hassan gained a very different perspective from his visit to Iraq than you would get from watching the news. He wrote:

Life is not about money, fame, or power. Life is about combating the forces of evil in the world, promoting justice, helping the misfortunate, and improving the welfare of our fellow man. Progress requires that we commit ourselves to such goals. We are not here on Earth to hedonistically pleasure ourselves, but to serve each other and the creator. What deed is greater than sacrificing one's luxuries for the benefit of those less blessed?

If I know what is needed and what is right, but do not act on my moral conscience, I would be a hypocrite. I must do what I say decent individuals should do. I want to live my days so that my nights are not full of regrets. Therefore, I must go.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What went wrong?

Senate Democrats, while noting that the Iraqi election voter turnout put American voters to shame, are wondering why the turnout was slightly lower than the turnout for Saddam Hussein's landslide victory.

Senator Harry Reid said, "You may say that a seventy percent turnout is a sign that democracy is taking hold in Iraq, but I must remind you that four years ago, Saddam got one hundred percent of the vote with every single Iraqi voting. Is this really progress?"

While some Iraqi voters were kept at home by a total ban on vehicles and the threat of terrorist attacks, it has been pointed out that the transit strike in New York deterred more people than these obstacles.

Democrats, who had partnered with their friends in the insurgency and the New York Times to undermine the elections, were discouraged by the results. Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean said, "We can't let the unfortunate success of these elections give us the impression that we are winning in Iraq, because the results would be disastrous next November."

Senator Hillary Clinton was asked to comment, but an anonymous staffer indicated that they were still taking polls to determine if she would take sides with the 10,000 insurgents and the rest of her party, or with the 25 million Iraqi people.

Senator Ted Kennedy reminded Americans that the Iraqi election is not the only issue. "We can't focus solely on the thirty percent of the Iraqi people who did not vote. We must remember that there are other important questions. What should be done about Saddam being beaten by Americans? Should George Bush be impeached for spying on terrorists? Were Diebold voting machines used in Iraq? The American people deserve answers to these questions."

CNN Reporter Walter Jenkins, currently on assignment in Baghdad, interviewed a number of Iraqi citizens who did not vote, searching for an explanation for the decreasing voter turnout. One Iraqi said, "We knew that the entire world was not behind this election because Richard Gere didn't tell us to vote."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Golden Globe

The Hollywood elites of the Golden Globe film awards have proven what we suspected for a long time: they are so open minded that their brains leaked out.

Last week the Golden Globe nominees were announced. "Brokeback Mountain", the gay cowboy movie, received seven nominations. This box-office flop was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Direction, Best Song, and Best Score. It is clear that politics was the deciding factor here, because the quality of filmmaking couldn't explain the nominations. The film is beyond tacky. It is an assault on the genre of the American Western. Fortunately, the American public demonstrates better taste than the Golden Globe awards. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, based on the amazing book by Christian author C.S. Lewis was released on the same day as Brokeback Mountain, and to date has attracted 32 times the audience.

The other day I watched "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", a great western starring John Wayne and James Stewart. I shudder to think of what John Wayne would do to Heath Ledger if the two met in Dodge City. This year, instead of watching the Golden Globe awards, rent anything starring John Wayne and enjoy a celebration of what made America great.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How to get in real trouble

There are two ways to get yourself into a heap of trouble in this "holiday" season.

A music teacher in a Richardson Texas school told her students that there is no Santa Claus. The backlash was so severe that the school district was forced to issue a "pro-Santa" statement from the big man himself.

In Manhasset New York, a Catholic priest who had been asked to give the blessing during the lighting of the town Christmas Tree had the audacity to mention the name of Jesus. A city councilman interrupted him as he was speaking and chastised him for being "inappropriate."

We have Santa Claus, a fictional character based on a myth, and the historical person Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, whose name is the basis of Christmas, whose birth celebrated at Christmas is the central point in history.

The two ways to get into a lot of trouble:

Question the myth or declare the truth

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Making it right

I learned a few things last night as I listened to Tookie William's lawyer make the case that his brutal gang killer client should not be executed. I learned that guilt or innocence is not the important factor in determining if justice should be carried out. The important factor is that executions should be done in proportion to the demographics of the population at large. For example, more than half the people in the United States are women. Therefore, more than half of the people executed should be women. I have a proposal to make sure that this happens. We need to begin randomly arresting and executing white women. To assure that the system is fair, diverse, and equitable, we must take action now. I call on Senators Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein to take the lead in this issue by volunteering to be first on the list. We would be eternally grateful to them for helping to end decades of injustice.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Tookie's Last Book

Gang Murderer Tookie Williams will soon be executed, more than 26 years after he brutally killed four people.

Opponents of the death penalty want Tookie's life to be spared because, they say, he is a changed man, and he has done so much good during his twenty years on death row. He has written books encouraging kids to not join gangs. At the same time, he refuses to give law enforcement authorities the information which could help them shut down the lawless gang he founded.

But nothing that a murderer does in prison after being sentenced to death should affect the carrying out of the sentence. For one thing, there is no proof that his reform is genuine. Secondly, writing books does not bring back the people he killed. If Tookie is genuine in his regret for his actions, and if he actually has influenced kids to not join gangs, I extend my thanks to him, as they swab his arm with alcohol before they insert the needle. Got to avoid infection, you know.

For justice to be done, the sentence must be carried out. But if Tookie is really concerned about influencing kids in South Central LA to not join gangs, he has just enough time to write one more short book. In this book he can describe how he founded the Crips, how he killed people, and how he was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. He can talk about how he wasted his life. He can tell kids who are considering joining a gang what it is like to spend twenty six years sitting on death row. Then he can tell them about the ultimate consequence for what he did: how tonight he will be strapped to a gurney, a needle inserted into his vein, and lethal drugs pumped into his body. Perhaps there will be a few kids who would read that book and see that justice is done in spite of Tookie claim to be reformed, and they will decide not to join a gang.

Tookie's life was wasted, but perhaps his death would not be wasted. What happens tonight is the most powerful anti-gang statement Tookie will ever make.

The Grinch who Stole Target

Employees are Target have been instructed not to mention Christmas. No Christmas signs. No Christmas music. No greeting customers with "Merry Christmas." Instead, they can say "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays." You see, they don't want to offend anybody. They want to be inclusive of all traditions, including those who would rather have a twig of holly stuck in their eye than wish someone "Merry Christmas."

We shop at Target quite often, and we are not going to boycott Target.

Instead we are going to pick up the slack. When I take my little boys to Target, we are going to wish every person we see a "Merry Christmas." Every customer, every employee, the police man by the door, and the checkout clerk. Then we will page the manager so that we can wish him a Merry Christmas, too. We may even sing a few choruses of "Away in a Manger" or "Joy to the World." If the security guard asks us to leave, we'll wish him a Merry Christmas too.

And to all you readers of this blog: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Why our kids are not in public schools

These days many people delegate the responsibility to educate their kids to the government by putting them in public schools. Not only do they give up the opportunity to instruct their kids with the knowledge and skills needed for life, but they also entrust the state to provide their kids world view and moral foundation in their formative years. Public schools claim to be "tolerant" and non-religious, but they do promote their own political and religious views of liberalism and secular humanism.

We put our oldest child in public school for two years, but changed to a Christian school because of a number of incidents. Here are a few:

On the first day of seventh grade, the social studies teacher conducted an "ethnicity survey". The paper she sent home claimed that they are concerned with "ethnicity" not race. This paper informed us that there are four ethnicities: African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, and European American. An African American is any person with black skin, regardless of where their ancestors are from or where they currently live. A white native South African who is currently an American citizen living in Texas is not an African American. A black man from Jamaica living in France is an African American, even though he is neither African nor American. Likewise, any person with oriental features is of the same ethnicity, whether they are from China, Japan, Thailand, Korea, or Indonesia. Like I said, it is about ethnicity, not race. The most important factor in the quality of education is the "ethnic" makeup of the class. To adequately prepare students to avoid Affirmative Action lawsuits in the corporate world, the practice of using quotas to ensure a diverse classroom is essential. Defining everyone by placing them into one of four categories is critical in recognizing each of our uniqueness and viewing all people based on their character. To conduct the ethnicity survey, they went around the classroom and each student indicated which of the four ethnicities they belong to. When they got to my son, he said, "I am an American." The teacher was a bit confused, as that is not one of the four ethnicities in the world. "Yes, but what is your family background?" He replied, "Well, my biological father is half Hispanic-American and half European-American. My biological mother is European American. My mother is Asian-American. My father is part American Indian. My brothers are half Asian-American and half European-American. I was born in The United States, so you can list me as American or Native American." She looked at him and said, "You are white. You are a European-American." Like I said, it is about ethnicity, not race.

Later that year, the same teacher spent weeks talking about "non-violent social action." The class was supposedly about American history up to the Civil War. However, the teacher couldn't help but interject her own agenda into the class. "Non-violent social action" was held up as the paragon of virtue. The Civil Rights movement, feminism, and the homosexual movement were held up as prime examples of the good which could be accomplished by non-violent social action. The teacher asked for other examples of non-violent social action, and my son mentioned Operation Rescue, a movement of people willing to sacrificially place themselves between the unborn baby and the abortionist who wants to dismember her for money. Although violence has been inflicted on Rescuers, Operation Rescue has never condoned or initiated violence, and takes action to prevent violence on defenseless babies. However, the teacher told the class that Operation Rescue is not an example of non-violent social action because some Operation Rescue members support the death penalty.

Public schools promote tolerance for every idea except for Christianity. They will make accommodations for Muslims to do their prayers during school hours, but one teacher told our son that he could not bring a Bible to school. Separation of Church and State, you know. The First Amendment is a limit on the state, not on citizens, and it protects the citizen's right to practice religion. But public schools are bastions of their own state-sponsored religion, secular humanism, and they preach tolerance, but don't tolerate Christian ideas.

We spent so much time deprogramming our son from the crazy stuff he was taught at school that we came to realize that it is not the responsibility of the government to teach our kids or to guide them as they build a world view and a moral compass. It is a parent's job.