January 2007


that if you use the word “thug”, you are in fact hurling a racial epithet.

Surprised? I sure was, when I first read about this in Saturday’s AJC article entitled: “What is a Thug?”.

All of this suddenly appears to have come up with the wide reactions to Michael Vick’s latest escapade… being forced to surrender his marijuana transportation container (aka Aquafina Water Bottle Diversion Safe) at the Miami Airport as he passed through TSA security checkpoint on his way to meet his new coach for the first time. Now he wasn’t arrested, because he apparently didn’t have his bottle full of contraband at the time, but certainly did not show very sound judgement for someone who is the “face of the franchise”.

Economic reality means that there’s no way that the Atlanta Falcons would ever cut or trade Vick… even if owner Arthur Blank isn’t happy with him. That’s the fact. But it must be some disappointment to know that your franchise’s star player is a pothead who can’t be trusted off the field. (But in fairness… at least he’s not as bad as his brother Marcus).

Anyway, many fans in Atlanta, very much disappointed in the continued regression in the performance of the Falcons on the field, found Vick’s latest move to be very stupid. And so the article informs… criticizing Vick by calling him a thug is practicing racism:

Considering that the Atlanta Falcons quarterback is not a hardened criminal or known to be a gang member, has the use of the word “thug” about him, and other young black men, started to sound like a racial epithet?

“I’ve been astonished at the blanket bigotry in some cases,” said Jamie Dukes, the 680 the Fan radio talk host and former Florida State offensive guard. “Thuggery denotes a criminal element.”

Now, I really like Jamie Dukes and he usually has some good insight about the game of football. I would have loved to have heard a lot more from him than just the sentance fragment that they quoted in the story… but let’s assume for the moment that he does find it offensive.

Vick’s hip-hop fashion sense, cornrows and jewelry drew as much condemnation in these arenas of public discourse as his string of unrelated personal problems. The incident last week at the Miami airport was the latest to draw attention, with an accusation that Vick tried to take marijuana through the Miami airport dismissed Tuesday. (Earlier this year Vick made an obscene gesture to game spectators and settled a lawsuit alleging he knowingly infected a woman with herpes.)

“It’s become a very racially sensitive discussion,” observes Steak Shapiro, host of 790 The Zone’s “Mayhem in the A.M.” radio talk radio program, with some callers basically saying, “If a white athlete screws up, he’s made a poor decision; if a black athlete screws up, he’s a thug.”

Now I don’t want to nitpick, but Vick was not charged with taking marijuana through the airport security checkpoint. They just noted that he acted suspicious when they took his water bottle and upon further investigation, noted that it had a secret compartment. This was further investigated, but no charges were filed… presumably because there was nothing (or too little) there in the concealed space.

And I can’t discount the fact that there are probably some idiots who might not feel that a black man should be quarterbacking a team in the NFL. But I don’t think that these are the people that are leading the discussion.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think there would have been the same reaction if he were white, black, yellow, or blue.

Towards the end of the story, they note that linguistics people are not quite so fast to confirm this trend, but then immediately refute it:

For the record, [Oxford English Dictionary Editor Jesse] Sheidlower has not noted “thug” used as a pejorative term by whites to describe young black men.

Johnson of the Hawks disagrees. “I do think it’s definitely a race-based stereotype. And I think it’s one that, in our culture today, too many people are willing to accept and tolerate, even when they know it’s wrong.”

Then again on Sunday, the ‘thug’ discussion was reinforced in an AJC opinon piece by Angela Tuck:

With his braids, casual style of dress and “doo-rags,” Vick rubs some people the wrong way.

But, explains Wyche, that’s more a generational thing than a race thing.

In no way has Vick earned the “thug” label some bloggers have given him. It bothers me that people are so quick to brand someone they don’t even know. Even more troubling is the fact that “thug” now seems to be a code word for young black men.

“Most people don’t know the definition of a thug,” said Frank Walker, a cornerback for the New York Giants who lives in Atlanta in the off-season. “Thugs rape and murder people. When they run up against a thug, they’ll know [Vick] is not a thug. He’s an individual.”

From flipping off home fans to engaging in self-destructive behavior, Mike Vick is not acting very smart. Whether it’s fair to call him a ‘thug’, or simply a ‘fool’… I guess you can debate the point. But I really don’t think it’s just because he is black. Or a quarterback.

Randall Cunningham is not a thug. He may run his mouth sometimes when he should keep quiet, but so does Rex Grossman, who can barely pass the ball and is white. White NASCAR driver Tony Stewart was acting like a thug two years ago, when he decided to punch out any reporter asking him difficult questions. But he was forced to get his temper under control or risk losing a chance to participate in his profession. And he went on to win the championship.

Ironically, with all of this talk of unfair thuggery labels, there was also an interesting story elsewhere in the AJC this Sunday. It was about Quincy Carter, the former UGA standout who went on to the NFL to start for the Dallas Cowboys. You may remember him. He was another black quarterback drafted at the same time as Vick. Now he’s out of football after a couple run-ins with drugs (failed drug tests and an arrest).

Asked if he is an addict, Carter struggles with the term before slowly finding the words:

“That’s a hard one to answer. I don’t need to smoke weed. I don’t have to. I shouldn’t. I do realize that it’s not good. … You know, I’ll go ahead and humble myself and say that I do think it’s a problem. I am smart enough to know that failing a test, getting arrested — I do have a problem. I just don’t like the word addict.”

People have to have responsibility for their actions. I hope that Quincy gets his life together, now that the glare of the lights of the football field are in the past for him. He doesn’t seem quite there yet. But when we are disappointed in the behavior of our sports starts, let’s never sugarcoat the bad and ignore it, because then it’s never corrected, much to the detriment of athlete as a man.

And let’s stop insinuating that criticism of Vick, or the use of the word ‘thug’, is meant to be racist.

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It’s quite sad to see just where cheerleading for defeatism can take a country. Today, we even have a newsflash from the Associated Press: Bush: ‘I’m the decision-maker’ on Iraq. You see - it seems that it’s coming as a surprise to many that Bush is actually the Commander in Chief. Hey, I get it — of course Congress controls the purse strings. But it seems that despite many people’s attempts to equate Iraq with Viet Nam, perhaps underfunding the mission may be the only close similarity should they go through with their plan.

But why not question whether being ‘Commander in Chief’ should be effectively taken away from Bush? There have been many reasons to jump on the Depression Express departing from all stations this week. We’ve heard the trumpeting of John Warner’s contention that he has been “misled” by U.S. military commanders on the Iraqi military’s ability to begin taking over security operations. New media drooling over Sen. Chuck Hagel, just because he’s a “Republican” who has renewed his opposition to the military mission in Iraq. And it seems the only ‘bipartisan’ work being done these days in Congress is related to exactly how strong of wording to include in the latest nonbinding resolution saying that they oppose don’t agree with kind of are unfond of a surge in troops.

I understand that most politicians who have risen to the level of national office are animals of instinct. They have a hard-wired urge to try to say what they think people like to hear, rather than to take a principled stand. Trying to ride the next wave of popularity because, like the brutal nature of American Idol, their very job depends on making the largest number of people happy with them. So when it seems that Americans are tired of hearing about Iraq, maybe it’s time to find a way to cover your own tail.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Let’s stipulate for a moment that all Democrats in Congress are against the war and perfectly happy to see the troops removed immediately. (I don’t actually believe this, mind you, but let’s just say that we won’t spend time trying to convince them of anything, because it seems like the most popular position within their base).

But what of the Republicans?

I encourage you run, don’t walk, over to sign the The RNSC Pledge.
(H/T: My Pet Jawa)

It states:

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.

I would extend that further… but, let’s say that it’s a good start. Let’s see where that kind of ‘popular vote’ takes us, when stacked up against the ‘opinion polls’ with just 100 respondants.

Let ‘em know!

UPDATE: From Senator Johnny Isakson’s Weekly e-mail Newsletter:

The other major event this week in Washington was our debate on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the non-binding Iraq resolution. I opposed this resolution because it sends a dangerous signal at a time when the United States is committed in the global war on terror. The resolution expressed opposition to sending additional troops to Iraq and it passed the committee by a vote of 12 to 9. I offered an amendment to the resolution that stated: “It is not in the national interest of the United States for Congress to cut off funding for members of the Armed Forces deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or to cap the number of troops available to our military commanders to be deployed to Iraq.” Unfortunately, my amendment failed by a vote of 8 to 13. Resolutions expressing the sense of the Senate are important in what they say, but they are equally important in what they do not say. The unintended consequences and misinterpretations of non-binding resolutions can be disastrous and I could not in good conscience support this wrong-headed agenda.

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Tonight, George Bush will deliver the State of the Union address to the nation. Is there really anything that he could say that will be viewed positively by the media? Not a chance. He could propose all of the same programs previously championed by Democrats (and no doubt he probably *will* do some of that tonight), and he will still be vilified. We will still hear in the morning that the latest opinion poll shows that Americans disapprove of Bush.

Neal Boortz summarizes it well today:

I believe that 9/11 transformed George Bush. I believe that since that date he has been completely dedicated to the purpose of protecting this country from further terrorist attacks.

How can he be blamed for acting against Saddam Hussein? Have we all forgotten that the official U.S. policy of removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq was adopted during the Clinton administration? Have we forgotten Saddam’s cat and mouse games with U.N. weapons inspectors? Have we forgotten that American intelligence officials have recovered documents and materials that constitute proof positive that Saddam was proceeding with a program to develop nuclear weapons? Hussein defied the U.N. He defied the international community. The proof is there … he had contacts with Al Qaeda. No, I’m not saying that Saddam was behind 9/11, but there were agents in Saddam’s government who had contact with those who did plan 9/11. Add the rape rooms, the mass graves, the use of WMDs to kill tens of thousands of Iranians and his own countrymen .. .and you come up with a despot that should have been left in power — in power to continue with his weapons programs?

Come on, folks. Either you’re glad Saddam is gone, or you wish he was still in power. Which is it? You can’t just wallow in your hatred of George Bush … you have to make a decision. Saddam or no Saddam.

And what of Bush’s goals for Iraq. What did he want. He wanted to create a country in the heart of the Islamic middle east with an elected government and a rule of law that protected the rights of each and every citizen .. no matter what Islamic sect that citizen belonged to. He wanted Iraq to be a demonstration project to show the rest of the Middle East what could be accomplished through freedom and representative governments. Was this such a bad goal? Do you think that Bush should have just gone into Iraq, destroyed Saddam Hussein, and then left? That has never been the way America operated. But that’s the way you wanted it to be this time? Or are we back to leaving Saddam in power.

Mistakes?

Damn right he made mistakes. They’re easy to chronicle. But how do Bush’s mistakes compare to the Democrat Party plan to demonize George Bush? What do you think had a greater affect on the situation in the Middle East — the mistakes Bush made in the pursuit of a better way of life for the citizens of Iraq, or the Democrat’s determination to sabotage Bush’s efforts?

From where do you think the Islamic fascists have received their most encouragement? From the tactical mistakes made by George Bush, or from the weakness in the American spirit that has been fostered by the whining Democrats?

Even in the face of these depressing approval polls, Bush remains determined to protect this country from Islamic terrorism. Someday perhaps the American people will appreciate him for his determination, however flawed, to protect this nation, and will come to recognize the damage that has been done by the actions of the not-so-loyal opposition, actions that have convinced them that America is becoming weak in the face of the ongoing Islamic jihad.

Meanwhile, the posturing for the next Presidential race is in full swing, as evidenced in the announcements made over the weekend, so you can be sure to get plenty of sound bites from the various candidates pushed out into the press. And the various members of Congress all seem to be trying to craft some position in order to oppose a troop surge in Iraq.

Iraq=Vietnam. At first it was just a silly comparison. After being repeated over & over for six years, it just permeates the discussion today. Where will we as a country get the will to finish the work? Or else the terrorists are right - we talk a good game, but when push comes to shove, we are weak.

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GA Senator Johnny Isakson has again introduced a bill for consideration in the US Senate which would tie border enforcement as the top priority before considering other changes to immigration law. Isakson was part of the earlier efforts to do this in the last Congress, but as we know, we ended up with border security authorization (as as with the construction of the border wall), but without any real confirmed guarantee of funding for the project.

I’m sure that both funding for existing initiatives as well as this new measure will face a tough road in the Democrat-controlled Congress, especially since the existing nearly toothless measure barely came out of the Republican-controlled Congress, but I think it is a good attempt to frame the problem as a multi-dimensional one.

As the AJC reported from Isakson speech on the Senate floor:

The hope and opportunity of reforming legal immigration in this country can become a reality.

And I am not an obstructionist to doing it. In fact if anything needs to be done, it’s that we need to reform the legal system because we almost promote, through the rigidity and difficulty of legal immigration, coming here illegally because we’re looking the other way on the border.

And we have a historical precedent. In 1986, we reformed immigration with the Simpson Act. We granted three million people amnesty, said we were going to secure the border and didn’t. Today we have 12 million because we did not secure that border.

That can never happen again.

Providing ad hoc amnesty will not nothing more than to encourage more people to continue to violate the laws unless we are prepared to really draw the line. And contrary to the biased opposition, measures like that proposed by Senator Isakson are not an attempt to “keep foreigners out of America”. There’s no question that reforming the process of legal immigration is not also essential. As long as that does not just substitute as a code-word for amnesty alone and continued non-enforcement of the borders.

There’s more at Sen. Isakson’s website as well, including this summary:

“There is no way you can reform legal immigration unless you first stop the porous borders and the flow of illegal immigrants,” Isakson said on the Senate floor. “I come to the floor of the Senate today to introduce a major immigration reform bill that I think is the bridge from where we are to where we must go. I stand ready to work with any senator on comprehensive immigration reform as long as securing the borders is the foundation of that reform.”

Isakson’s legislation would prohibit implementation of its guest worker program until the Department of Homeland Security certifies to the President and to the Congress that the border security provisions in the immigration legislation are fully funded and operational.

Those border security provisions that must be in place before a guest worker program can begin are spelled out in Isakson’s bill and they include five main items:

* Manpower – authorizing 14,000 new full-time Border Patrol Agents as well as 2,500 new Port of Entry Inspectors and 250 new Deputy U.S. Marshals.
* Detention beds – authorizing detention facilities with an additional 20,000 detention beds to end the practice of “catch and release.”
* Barriers – authorize additional barriers such as fences, roads or underground sensors where appropriate.
* Unmanned Aerial Vehicles — authorize more than $450 million to acquire and maintain a squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles with high-tech sensors and satellite communication to allow coverage on the border by an unmanned vehicle 24 hours a day.
* Biometric ID – establish a biometric secure identification card program so employers can verify an immigrants’ status.

“The reason we have this problem is we have the greatest nation on the face of this Earth. You don’t find anybody trying to break out of the United States of America. They’re all trying to break in,” Isakson said. “And they are for a very special reason: the promise of hope and opportunity and jobs. But we must make the only way to come to America be the legal way to come to America.”

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Fire and Hammer asks a provocative question in the post "Taking a Stand": what happens when we are faced by a situation that we know is wrong, but we fail to have the courage to take a stand against it? And with most people, the little situations we face every day can be must more difficult than looking at “macro”-issues.

As Fire and Hammer describes well:

The other day my son and I were riding the subway when four black teens started cursing. They carried on their conversation as if their language was natural. On this same car there was at least one other small child who could hear this foul language. I thought about saying something to them, asking them to watch their language in front of the children, but I did not.

Later I felt bad. I felt like I missed an opportunity to take a stand. I spend time here on this blog speaking of the need for change. Yet, when it was time to really speak out, I kept my mouth shut. At the end of the day I felt a little less like a real man.

The next day my son mentioned these boys and their language. I told him he will hear people cursing, just make sure it is not him. He asked if he should say something if people are cursing: should he tell them to stop. Having missed my opportunity to speak up, I did not know what to say to my son.

It is so easy to speak here on the net, with a degree of anonymity. But there is a real world out there and I hope the next time the need arises I will have the courage to speak out, or to act in a way that will make the world just a little bit better.

Amen.

We all have opportunities every day where we have to demonstrate what we are made of. Sometimes it is the actions we take that define what we are about: the act of kindness that we extend to a stranger; or perhaps the ethical behavior we exhibit during our business dealings. But sometimes its the actions we don’t take that also can define us: the insulting comment about a coworker that we hear, but do not refute; or the injustice against someone we see, but do nothing about.

That’s one reason why we have to continually pray for forgiveness because “we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done”.

And when it’s a matter of someone else’s behavior, it can really put us in an uncomfortable dilema. Do you “stick your nose in” to someone else’s business? What might have happend on that subway car if he had confronted those foul-mouthed kids? They might have been ashamed and quieted down in front of the small children. They might have sensed the opportunity to annoy someone and cranked up the profanity even higher in an effort to be even more shocking. They might have decided that this was their car, cursed out the father in front of his child, and tried to pick a fight. So what to do? Not an easy question to answer.

And we are confronted by these types of “little opportunities” constantly in our daily lives.

Reading this story made me think about a time during my senior year in college. It was close to the end of the year and graduation was in sight. Moods were pretty good. Most people already had secured their post-college employment or school plans. One classmate in particular was ready to start a new job, and had already gone out and bought a new car. At least at that time, it was a pretty remarkable thing. Most people, if they had a car, had something less than new — paying for college took most of our money. He asked me if I wanted to take a ride in his new car. Like anyone, he wanted to show it off. We went around campus and quickly we arrived at the edge of town. Dusk had fallen, and suddenly he took off. The car flew down the two-lane rural road. Now in the Midwest things are pretty flat. And pretty dark at night. We hurdled down the road and I was braced in the passenger seat. I don’t remember what I said. Now I’m not someone who always obeys the speed limit. But I remember what I was thinking that night: we were going *way* too fast, especially if something were to get in our way. And I remember the relief that I felt when a distant streetlight started approaching nearer, signalling the end of this road and the need to slow down.

Of course, I didn’t tell him that he shouldn’t drive like that. It wouldn’t have been cool. And maybe I was the only person he ever took out for a ride that was actually scared about what he was doing. What a loser I would be to try to put a damper on his good time.

It was only a few weeks later, just as final exams were ending and graduation was nearly upon us, that we got the news. He apparently had taken two of our friends out with him. Must have been showing them how fast his car would drive. But this time the car wrecked on that same stretch of rural road. The car left the road, and eventually flew threw a fence. The driver and person in the passenger seat were both injured, but eventually recovered. But our classmate in the back seat was ejected from the car and was died along side that road.

As I tell this story, I don’t mean to make the driver out to be a bad person. It was an accident. But it was something that was avoidable. And I can’t tell you how many times I wondered if things might have been different if I had told him what I had felt the night he took me for a ride. We can’t know for sure. Maybe he would have ignored my warnings and went on to have the exact same consequences. Maybe he would have laughed at me and went on to cause me great social discomfort with my friends. But maybe he would have thought about it and decided not to wind up the engine like that in the future…

So, all I can do is echo what Fire & Hammer put forth. Situations come up every day that do call for some action. Not always big things, but sometimes it can be the little things that later turn out to be very big things. Boy, can it be uncomfortable! It can even be embarassing, inconvienent, and painful.

And that’s why we have to pay attention and look for these times. We need to pray for the strength to take the right action. We have to encourage each other every day.

And maybe the world, and each of our lives, can end up just a little better in the end.

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As part of the much bally-hooed “first 100 hours” (which appears to be measured on a broken clock), we found out that one of the first bills to be pushed through the new Democratic-controlled Congress would be to increase the minimum wage, from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour.

The Washington Times first reported that while other U.S. territories such as the Northern Mariana Islands would be included in the proposed legislation, American Samoa would be exempted from the minimum wage increase. It was first noted in that paper that one of the biggest opponents of increasing the minimum wage is Samoa is StarKist Tuna, employer to 75% of the island’s residents. It was also noted that StarKist’s parent company, Del Monte, is headquartered in San Francisco, which is coincidentally Ms. Pelosi’s district.

From there, many people raised much ado and made many snarky comments about the loophole, and implications that its presence was due to Del Monte lobbying which influenced Pelosi to make an exemption just for them.

Now I don’t know whether anyone at StarKist or Del Monte ever really discussed this with Ms. Pelosi (something she’s denied). And I certainly am not normally in the business of defending her. But while the Democrats can be blamed for a lot of things, I don’t think this is really a discussion over earmarks.

What prompted me to even write about this was yesterday’s Townhall.com article by Rich Galen. In dissecting this situation, he jumps to an interesting (but dangerous) conclusion:

That leads us to two points:

1. This is what happens when you shove major legislation through the House without proper committee hearings and minority party participation. How do we know this? Because the DEMOCRATS COMPLAINED ABOUT IT FOR 12 YEARS!

2. Unless Nancy Pelosi has hired the Oompa Loompas from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory to write legislation, it strains credulity that the bill drafters were unaware of the effect this was going to have on a major corporation headquartered in the Speakers’ district.

Tuna packers on American Samoa are, on their own, not crucial to the health of the US economy. However, this episode shows that the Democrats are a long way from cleaning up abuses of privilege in the House.

The very issue on which they ran and won.

I’m sorry, but the exemption’s existance neither proves reckless favoritism championed by Ms. Pelosi nor amateurish legislation writing.

I personally don’t believe that the bill was crafted in order to provide an intentional loophole for a Pelosi-friendly company. Period. Maybe some evidence will surface which proves this point of view wrong, but until then, I think focusing on Del Monte’s connection with Nancy Pelosi is just misleading.

But, unfortunately, the response to the accusations is equally as silly: as the Democrats now pledge to extend federal minimum wage to all U.S. territories. Loophole closed.

But is anyone asking the real question? Why did American Samoa have a different minimum wage set in the first place?

You see, American Samoa was excluded from the legislation because it was not mentioned. The previous U.S. minimum wage law did not apply to them. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that they would not have been included in an increase to said wage. This practice neither originated with this Congress nor with Ms. Pelosi.

But apart from these semantics, you can see the real problem that Democrats themselves do not want to admit. The reason that they are pushing through a miniimum wage increase is supposedly to “help” people. Specifically, to force an increase in pay to those who are currently earning only the minimum wage and, supposedly, provide them a better opportunity to care for themselves and their families. Sure, there are some who will see that $2.10 per hour (before taxes) in their paycheck and the Democrats want them to know who to thank.

But what does raising the minimum wage really do? American Samoa actually provides a great laboratory to see the effects. When the cost of labor goes up, some people lose their jobs. You see, contrary to the opinions of the anti-capitalist protestors, businesses don’t actually print cash and hoarde it away. Nothing is for free. So when the government forces an increase in labor costs, it requires the business to either (a) raise the prices it charges for its goods and services in order to pass on the increase, (b) reduce the amount of profit or increase the amount of loss generated by the business, or (c) reduce the number of employees in order to hold the labor costs stable.

American Samoa shows us this very well. As the wages go up, so will the unemployment, because the economy there is so reliant on these businesses. In fact, not only will some small number be affected, many more may become unemployed if the tuna packing businesses there decide to relocate. As Samoan Rep. Eni Faleomavaega states:

“The truth is the global tuna industry is so competitive that it is no longer possible for the federal government to demand mainland minimum wage rates for American Samoa without causing the collapse of our economy and making us welfare wards of the federal government.”

Instead of addressing accusations of favoritism by applying the minimum wage laws to American Samoa, we should instead be asking why in the world we are meddling with their economy this way. “Helping families” by raising the minimum wage could end up putting many more families completely out of a job. Even a low-paying job is better than none at all!

And while we’re at it… let’s ask ourselves why we in the world we’re even still tweaking the minimum wage law anywhere - including for the mainland USA? By any standards, we are not dealing with the same conditions of poverty that faced the population during the Great Depression. And any time those in government get the bright idea of mandating that private industry fund their latest vote-buying initiatives (whether it’s raising the minimum wage, requiring businesses to pay for health insurance, or the like), they must understand the consequences, since none of this comes for free.

Those are better questions for Republicans to be asking, not whether Pelosi knows that Del Monte is located in her district.

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Something I missed mentioning last week, but despite recent news that Indiana’s Voter ID laws withstood the latest legal challenge, the outlook is not as good for the Georgia version. Thursday the AJC reported that new Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle believes that a proposal to amend the Georgia State Consitution to clear any objections to Voter ID rules will not even come to a vote in the Georgia State Senate.

Senate Resolution 4, sponsored by Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon), was assigned to a Senate committee Thursday. If approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate and House, and then by Georgia voters in a statewide referendum, SR 4 would allow the General Assembly to enact regulations over voting, including a future photo ID requirement.

Past attempts by the Legislature to enact photo ID at the polls have been struck down by state and federal courts. A Fulton superior court judge last year ruled that the Legislature lacked the authority in the state Constitution to pass laws restricting the right to vote to only those who hold picture ID.

On Thursday, Sen. Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta) predicted that another bitter, divisive fight over photo ID in the General Assembly would harm the newly-inaugurated lieutenant governor’s efforts at bi-partisanship.

In a question-and-answer session in his office today with reporters, Cagle said he supports the voter ID requirement, but he said he doesn’t believe SR 4 can gain the required two-thirds majority in the Senate.

“If you don’t have the votes, it’s not worth the fight,” said Cagle, who has appointed three Democrats to chair Senate committees. “I’m not pushing it. I’m not interested in bringing bills to the floor … if there’s no possibility of it passing.”

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The AJC is reporting that Alvin Lorenzo Murdock of Norcross, GA was indicted on bigamy charges. As I detailed back in October, Murdock was one of three people arrested in Gwinnett County for multiple marriages to illegal immigrants, including multiple marriages at the same County Courthouse. The cases did prompt Gwinnett County to at least search its own database for matches when someone applies for a marriage license, although fraud is still possible because there is no system today that coordinates between counties in Georgia, let alone with those in other states.

Murdock, 38, married five other women after marrying his first wife. All the alleged illegal marriages occurred in a 5 month span in late 2005 and early 2006, according to the indictments.

In a separate indictment, Murdock was also charged in connection with the stabbing of his daughter.

In that case Murdock is accused of stabbing his daughter and another male while two young children watched. He was arrested on that case in July.

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I’m really surprised, but it appears that Buford, GA’s own Darius Walker is skipping his senior season at Notre Dame and decalring for the NFL draft.

The AJC predicts he might go in the bottom of the third round or the fourth round.

A surprise.

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There is a most excellent point by Vanishing American called “Squandering our riches”. Upon observing that some literary classics no longer appear on library shelves, they also address how the rules in many libraries are ignored and those who would have followed them ultimately move away from the library itself. It begins a cycle where the library no longer preserves the best, but is reduced to a place to hang out.

A piece from the post:

It’s another example of the broken windows theory: the idea that when a broken window is ignored and left unrepaired, the whole building and then the neighborhood falls to decay. So when a broken rule or two or three are ignored, pretty soon everybody has it figured out: the rules are not taken seriously, nobody will enforce them, and thus anything goes. Soon the rulebreakers are in control, while the rule-abiding people have to go elsewhere to escape the chaos, or resign themselves to it. Another obvious illustration of this theory is the abandonment of our borders.
But standards, rules, borders, they’re all so elitist, so yesterday, so Eurocentric.

It’s all a manifestation of the prevailing liberalism of our time: it’s deemed unfair and elitist to demand conformance to rules. Only legalistic prudes want rules enforced, and besides, who are we to judge others’ behavior? After all, homeless people have to bathe somewhere, and why not in the library? And who are we to judge those who want to view graphic porn openly on the library computers? Or read trashy ‘fotonovelas’ in the library? Or turn the library into a hangout and free sidewalk cafe?

The dumbing-down of libraries is just a part of the dumbing-down of our society, part of the leftist war against all standards, against excellence and achievement and civilization, really. Excellence, high achievement, such things are too exclusive, too hierarchical, and to leftists this is intolerable. Anything which does not ‘include’ everybody, which is not demotic and egalitarian, cannot be allowed.

Definitely read the whole thing!

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