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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

  When most parents sign their sons and daughters up to play Little League sports, they want their kids to have fun, but they would also like them to learn a few things along the way. Things like being part of a team, being a good winner and a good loser, playing fair and by the rules. Sometimes the lessons are imparted and learned, sometimes delivered and ignored, and sometimes neither one seems to take place.
  Much attention has been placed recently on the Jackie Robinson West Little League team from Chicago. Last summer, the all African-American team won the National Little League Championship. However, evidence has come to light that the team may have broken some rules, and they were stripped of their title. The team is charged with recruiting players from outside the district where the team is allowed to recruit players.
  As some might expect, allegations of racism have been quick to follow, and since Al Sharpton is no doubt exhausted from stirring up racial tension in Ferguson Missouri and tax evasion, he has handed this one off to Jesse Jackson. Jackson, as he has done to so many other entities, is using the threat of legal action against Little League International if they do not comply with his own racist and bullying demands.
  A lot can be said about what the parents and coaches may or may not have done. Darold Butler, the team's Manager has been suspended, and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly has been removed from his position. But the most important question has to be, what does this teach the kids?
  There is no doubt it is the kids who are hurt the most. They will go to school and suffer taunting and humiliation that only other kids can dish out, and it will stay with them for the rest of their lives. But what are they being taught about dealing with the consequences of one's actions? Are they being taught that you take your consequences, in this case, like men? Or are they being taught that the ends justifies the means, that cheating, if it in fact did happen, is only bad if you get caught, that if do cheat, get caught, and yell "racism", everyone will get scared and back off?
  What are the kids being taught about being perpetual victims? If you have to trot Jesse Jackson in to save the day, does that in itself say to the kids that whatever they do in life will not be seen as good enough unless some so-called black "leader" swoops in to see to it that it is deemed up to par?
  While Jesse Jackson huffs and puffs about racism and the lawyers pick apart every aspect of the rule book that, by all accounts, is very clear and strictly enforced, another question lingers. Should the boys have to endure the punishment having their championship vacated because of the stupidity of the adults around them? They appear to be the only ones doing the right thing in all of this, just working hard and playing their hearts out to win a championship. They have learned that lesson on their own.
  The obvious answer is no, they should not. But it may be one more cruel lesson they learn from this experience. If that should be the case, the best we can hope for is that they grow up to emulate the class, dignity, and integrity, of the man for whom their team is named.
  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brian Williams and all the news that's fit to fake

  Until Rush Limbaugh came along in 1988, and Fox News in 1996, news came from basically three sources, CBS, ABC, and NBC. Those organizations could bend and twist the news and what they believed the opinion and view of any given story should be into whatever they wanted. Not anymore. Rush and Fox News have ushered in a whole new branch of media, conservative media. There are a variety of reasons why new conservative media has become wildly successful. One of those reasons is that the American people have grown tired of being told what to think, and of mainstream media itself becoming the stories they report on.
  The latest walking mainstream media headline is NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams. Williams was recently caught in a liberal-sized whopper when it was revealed that the story of the news crew that he was a part of covering the war in Iraq in 2003 was shot down in the helicopter they were riding in by an RPG. Well, just one problem, it didn't happen. Williams and crew were in another chopper that was behind the ones taking fire. He landed roughly 30 minutes behind the targeted helicopters.
  The situation has gone from bad to worse for Williams, and he has announced that he will take a leave of absence from the Nightly News Anchor desk. The first question could be, why would you do such a thing, which included
a humiliating apology on national TV the following night, but the important question is what does this do to an institution whose credibility is already in question?
  Everyone remembers right before the 2004 presidential election, 60 Minutes ran a story, gleefully told by Dan Rather, of a young George W. Bush shirking his National Guard duties, all because he was a privileged rich kid and could get away with it. Turned out the story was proven untrue at every turn, and several 60 Minutes producers were fired over it. But Dan Rather dug his heels in, and to this day still believes it is true. He was eventually forced to resign and ruined a career that prior to this incident had been a pretty stellar one.
  Williams reporting of bodies floating past him in the French Quarter after Hurricane Katrina also brings into question his credibility. Not only did the Quarter receive minimal damage, it is at one of the highest sea levels in New Orleans. It is not likely such a thing would have occurred.
  Brian Williams is just the latest example, and a symptom of the crumbling of the mainstream media that we are watching before our eyes. They no longer control the daily narrative of any given story, and they don't know what to do with it. They are breaking one of the first rules of journalism; do not insert yourself into the story. They no longer get to pick and choose what they think the American people need to know. All of these things add up to a media that feels the need to prop themselves up by making themselves the story. Brian Williams did not just "misspeak", liberal for "lying"; he retold the story several times. That means he knew exactly what he was doing. And how many people, from top level suits to camera, sound, and other support people knew what he had done and said nothing?
    While Brian Williams is on his self-imposed hiatus, his fellow media cronies will all try to help resurrect Williams so that it will appear that he is triumphantly returning to the Anchor desk. Is the reason for that not just because media types will always stick together and have each other's backs, but that they all know that it might one day be their own careers on the chopping block?
  Next time, Brian Williams might want to make an effort to get his story, whatever version he tells, right.
                

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rolling Stone Magazine- New Media's BFF

  Newspaper readership and viewership of mainstream news continues to plummet. Many will tell you it is because of the 24-hour news cycle and the fact that more and more people, especially young people get their news and information from the Internet. But could it be more than that? Could it be that more than ever, mainstream media makes themselves part of the story? Could it be what appears to be a lack of research, the already formulated narrative of any given story, or the complete and transparent bias shown by most mainstream media journalists? Rolling Stone Magazine may be best equipped to answer those questions.
  A recent article in Rolling Stone chronicled the story of "Jackie". Jackie claimed to have been gang raped by several men at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia. The story was very graphic and detailed. The incident took place in 2012, when Jackie said she was attending a party at a fraternity house with someone named "Drew". She says she was lured into a darkened room and raped by by five men. She later claimed it was seven men. Understandably, Jackie's life has not been the same since. She has been traumatized by this incident. When the story came to light however, a lot of questions began to surface, not just about Jackie's actual story, but the reporter behind the story, and her less than conventional way of writing it.
  So many young idealists enter into Journalism School each year with the goal of "changing the world", or something equally cheesy. That is a lofty goal, but it is not your job as a journalist. Contrary to what today's J-school students believe, it is not exactly rocket science to just report the facts of who, what, when, how, and why, which is your job.
  The author of the Rolling Stone piece, Sabrina Rubin Erdely failed to do quite a lot of those things in her piece. She obviously developed a great rapport with her subject, granted, very important. But she left a few things out, like the entire other side of the story. Erdely claims at Jackie's request, that she not contact the men accused of this crime. Even citizen journalists know that is an absolute game changer. What reporter worth their salt does not get both sides of the story or make such an agreement? Apparently, Erdely did not find this necessary. So now, you have a very gripping tale, but when do the accused get to tell their side?
  Other parts of the story began to unravel as well. As stated earlier, the number of assailants changed from five to seven. The fraternity in question said that no party or function was held on that weekend. Jackie also claimed that her date for the evening, "Drew", worked as a lifeguard at the campus pool and aquatic center. The fraternity's records indicate that none of their members held such a job. Even some of Jackie's close friends began to question her version of the evening's events.
  One might ask, where is
justice for Jackie? If this assault did indeed occur, will these men be held accountable? The sad truth is, more than likely not. There is certainly no forensic or DNA evidence left, Drew remains a mysterious character, if that is even his real name, and Jackie did not know the names of any of the other men involved.
  But there are other parts of the story looming. The first one being the perpetuating of the stereotype of the drunken horny frat guy. They are on every college campus in America for sure. But as with most stereotypes, it is a small percentage, and does not represent the majority. Then there is the much bigger question of shoddy reporting, and preconceived narratives. It is stories and journalists like this that are prompting more and more people to turn to alternate and new media sources. The moniker of Citizen Journalist is still no doubt mocked and snickered at in all of the Left Wing media circles. The advent of websites like Matt Drudge, The Blaze, and Breitbart are comedic fodder at all of the proper Manhattan cocktail parties that appear to be mandatory gatherings for media/political types. What happens though, when the mainstream media is totally preoccupied with their own sense of arrogance and grandeur, that all of a sudden they find that no one is watching anymore? That no one cares what they have to say before they even say it because, well, it will just be so predictable? That they have been replaced by the New Media? The one without an agenda?
  Sadly, there are more "journalists" out there like Sabrina Rubin Erdely, all ready to emerge from Journalism School to "change the world".
  It might just be that New media is already beating them to it.
             

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Days of Infamy

  Seventy-three years ago to the day, on a lazy Sunday morning in December, America was jolted awake by one of the most horrific attacks in its history. Naval and Air forces of the Empire of Japan destroyed the U.S. Military Base at Pearl Harbor Hawaii. The intensity and brutality of the attack prompted many young men to immediately enlist in the military to defend America. Today, senior citizens in their 80's and 90's can tell you where they were and what they were doing on that morning. President Franklin Roosevelt would describe it as "a day which will live in infamy".
  Twenty-two years later, on an autumn day in November, a young, popular, vibrant President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a car through downtown Dallas Texas. It was not the first time in American history that a president was assassinated, but it was the first time that Americans heard and saw first-hand accounts on television. Once again, ask anyone, even those in elementary school at the time, where they were when they heard the news.
  In 2001, on a beautiful sunny September morning, Americans watched in horror as two planes dove into the World Trade Center in New York City, another into the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and still another into the fields of the Pennsylvania countryside.
  America has endured many days of infamy. For the generations who are unfortunate enough to have one, often it defines who they are. Sometimes it defines what happens following that day. For those whose day will forever be December 7, 1941, it was a jolt out of a crippling depression. It sounds odd, but suddenly there were much bigger things to deal with than a job, a meal, or a place to stay. There would be none of those things if there was no America. She had to be defended at all costs. So the greatest generation went to work to defend her.
  After the death of John Kennedy, many say that America lost her innocence. Soon after, things like hippies, drugs, and violence in American cities began. Other assassinations followed, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. America was turned upside down in what seemed like every aspect of life. Did people wonder if it was ever going to end?
  On September 12, 2001, on what was the saddest day in recent American history, might also have been the day that united Americans the most in recent history. Yes, there was Congress on the steps of the White House singing "God Bless America", but it went so much deeper than that. Flags were flown on almost every single house. Some people even attached flags to their cars. For a brief moment, there were no white or black Americans, no Mexican, Chinese or Asian Americans, just Americans. We had all been attacked and we would, as a people, answer those attacks. We would survive, yet again, a day which would live in infamy.
  Today, we remember that first day of infamy, December 7, 1941, and the men and women of that greatest generation who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. There are those that say we are living in days of infamy right now. Will we allow those days to define us, or the day after?
   

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Dark Side of Racism

For the past three weeks, the citizens of St. Louis have been able to see themselves and others in a completely different light. It is not a good one. Oh sure, the recent shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown, a black teenager by a white police officer, has had many people, black and white, calling for peace and waiting for all of the facts to come in for a full and complete investigation. They have helped each other clean up after days of looting and rioting. They have sat in church together and tried to heal their community.
  But it has brought out the very worst as well. Not just the obvious in looters and rioters, but the subtle, the unseen, the things people don't like to own up to.
  We know that bigots come in all shapes, sizes and yes, colors. They will usually train their vitriol on others who don't look like them, or have differing opinions and views. But whenever a high profile case, especially of a racial nature is front and center, a special brand of hate is unleashed at black conservatives.
  This time however, was different. It hit much closer to home. Why? Because the object of so much venom was my dear friend Martin Baker. Martin is certainly no stranger to the political landscape that is reserved for black conservatives. Having run for office a few times, and being on the front lines with various conservative groups, Martin is well prepared for the name calling, the smears, and all of the usual tactics used by liberals, especially black liberals, against other blacks. When he attended a rally recently in support not so much for Officer Darrin Wilson, but for law and order, for transparency, and for the fair and impartial carrying out of justice, a picture of Martin showed up on Twitter, and it was open season on anything and anyone Martin Baker holds dear.
  He was viciously attacked in any way a person can be, but it was all really aimed in only one direction, his political beliefs. For some reason, most black liberals don't know that groups like the KKK were started by Democrats. They don't know that every single piece of civil rights legislation passed in the 1960's passed because of Republicans. Democrats blocked it every way they could. But conservatives, Frederick Douglass conservatives like Martin Baker know the true history of the Democrat Party.
  But never mind the facts. Facts are pesky things sometimes. So not wanting those pesky facts to get in the way, those brave
champions of civil rights lurking behind anonymous Twitter handles went to work. Decorum prevents this Blogger from repeating most of them here, but you get the idea:
  "@Afrocentricity", (is that even a word?) said, "How U gon support Darren Wilson? U a clown, all u missing is the red nose. U no longer black". Mr. Centricity, apparent self-arbiter of all things "black", was the most polite of the bunch. "@A.Pink", could that be short for pinko or communist? Perhaps. He at least made it to the spelling portion of grade school, but unfortunately, he does not get an "A" for originality. "People can you believe this Uncle Tom? He's a lead supporter of the criminal cop that murdered Mike Brown." With random folks with law degrees running around like Mr. Pink(o), who needs a jury? Of course the usual Shakespearean wannabes who like to scribble "sell out" and the n-word all over anything that doesn't move made their presence known as well.
  Why is it that all black people are required to think alike? Why is it that when black conservatives dare stray from the "Audacity of Hope" bandwagon, and form their own thoughts and opinions, they are deemed, "not officially black"? Doesn't freedom not only mean physical freedom, but intellectual freedom as well? Is this not what black people and many white people have fought and died for?
  Men like Martin Baker are a rare breed. They march to the beat of their own drum. Their beliefs are unbending, never wavering, because they know those beliefs to be the truth. They stand up for those beliefs when it is not cool, and even dangerous to do so.
  If that is the definition of "sell out", America is in desperate need of them.     

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fashionable Hatred

  The conflict between the terror group Hammas and Israel rages on with no clear end in sight. Cease fires last no more than a few days, and once again the silence is shattered by exploding rockets. The usual sequence of events seems to be Hammas doing the rocket firing. It is a complicated case to most Westerners, its origins dating back thousands of years.
  As the fighting continues, many people around the world are quick to take sides. Israel is firing on innocent women and children say one side. Hammas is storing their weaponry in schools and residential areas and using their citizens as human shields says the other. There may be more evidence of Hammas using human shields than anything else. But what is also becoming very apparent is the rise of anti-Semitism in a big fat global kind of way.
  The incidents started out sort of few and far between in Europe. In a heavily Jewish section of Paris, crowds could be heard yelling, "Gas the Jews". In Frankfurt Germany, there were signs that read such things as, "The Jews are beasts". In Great Britain, mainly in London, over 100 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported. The violence has now spread to the United States. In Miami, a synagogue was vandalized, and in Boston, angry mobs of people chanted anti-Jewish slogans.
  In a somewhat bizarre twist, some rather loud bursts of anti-Semitism have come from Hollywood. It seems the place to go for anything overly weird seen on Twitter is Twitchy.com. There, you will find any foolish nonsense tweeted out by any foolish celebrity on any given day, and the Gaza-Israel conflict seems to bring out the best, or worst in a whole bunch of them.
  Not that all Hollywood celebs are dumb, some are actually pretty smart despite their chosen profession, but the ones who may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer keep displaying their "talents" to the tweeting public. Actress Selena Gomez recently tweeted, "#PrayForGaza". She is of course entitled to her opinion, but could she find a place called Palestine on a map? Even if it actually existed, most likely not.
  Singer Rhianna also felt compelled to tweet out, "#FreePalestine". But perhaps the most egregious was actress Penelope Cruz and husband Javier Bardem, who signed a letter accusing Israel of genocide. The best part? All of these global events experts had to walk back their silly uninformed comments.
  Ironically, Jewish celebrities like Steven Spielberg and Liberal poster child herself, Barbara Streisand have been silent on the whole situation. It certainly is not like either one of them would not find work if they did choose to speak out. Why the silence?
  But possibly the biggest question, why is it all of a sudden, almost cool, to be an anti-Semite? In the case of Spielberg and Streisand, their ideology is no doubt second to their ethnicity. It has often been said Liberalism is a religion, so perhaps their conversion is complete. But one has to wonder at younger performers like Gomez and Rhianna. Is it that they have never been taught anything about the Middle East in school? Maybe. At least in the case of Selena Gomez, she spent much of her formative years on a Disney set. But why be so quick to comment on something that they clearly have no knowledge of, and know that their many fans may decide that this also is their view? Do kids of their generation know the evil history of anti-Semitism? Given the watered down state of American education, it is a safe bet they do not.
  Fortunately, the older generations of Hollywood, like actor Jon
Voight are trying to make sure that anti-Semitism in Tinsel town does not become the norm. But will it filter down to the younger set? That remains to be seen.
  During World War II, Hollywood was the biggest supporter of American soldiers. In 2014, will it be the biggest supporter of bigotry and hatred?
  The tolerant Left, at work again.             

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I Miss Celebrating Father's Day

Wow. I have not been here for a while. Been busy with a million other projects. I am glad about that. Guess I will just sleep when I am dead. All of a sudden, it's Father's Day. Well that crept up on me!
  I don't do much on Father's Day anymore. I tell other Dads I know to have a great day. I truly hope that they do. I wish I could tell the young children of dads I know to appreciate and savor every moment.
  I thought about what we would have done today as a family. My parents and my brother would have come over to our house. We would have barbecued. My husband and my brother, both of them guitar players and frustrated rock stars, would have proceeded to discuss a new tune, band, or guitar just out by Gibson, Les Paul, or another guitar maker, and it would have been kind of fun to sit and watch my dad watch them talk about something they both love, and not know what the hell either one of them was talking about. But he would make sure he looked interested.
  In case no one has figured it out by now, we are a political family. My brother and I were taught to pay attention to what was going on around us, and in the rest of the world. It has made us care. We would talk about things like the Middle East, health care, and just the President in general. My dad was a Conservative from the Reagan/Buckley school of Conservatism. He was never afraid to let that be known.
  He would ask about our jobs, how our cars were running, and my husband would have at least one household repair that needed the knowledge and expertise of somebody who had been self taught in the ways of do it yourself home repair. That knowledge was usually spot on, and I know was invaluable to a guy whose first talent is not being a handyman.
 After dinner, we would gather in our family room, around the TV. We would have channel surfed, and no doubt would have stumbled on an old movie, or TV show. The musicians in the family might have commandeered the remote before anyone else, and promptly switched to VH1 Classic, just to make my dad, an old school jazz man in every sense of the word, listen to Led Zeppelin, RUSH, or some obscure 80's hair band that has been forgotten. I think they just liked to torture him.
  I was always sad to see the day end. Like everybody else, I was always busy with work, or something else that would make me put off just stopping by to shoot the breeze with my dad. But instead of feeling bad or guilty about that, because he would not want that, I think I will just remember the warm summer Saturday afternoons of my childhood. I was 7 or 8 years old, my dad would spend the day working on cars. When you could actually still work on your own car. Cars were his passion. He would wash his or my mom's car, change the oil, or do what ever it was that needed to be done. The garage door would be up all day, and strains of the late Jim Bolen's Saturday afternoon jazz show, "Jazz Comes Calling", live from "Jazz Central" could be heard on his garage radio.
  Those Father's Days, and those Saturday afternoons only live in my memory now. I wouldn't trade them for the world. I think about my dad every day. Maybe that makes, at least for me, every day Father's Day.


  Happy Father's Day Dads, from The Conservative Cauldron!    

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