Archive for November, 2008
27 Nov 2008

9 Year Old Encounters PC at Plimouth Plantation

, , , ,

“Plimoth” Plantation advertises itself as portraying:

Plymouth as it was in the 17th century

Native Wampanoag and Colonial English men and women living their lives, as if it were the 1620s. It is living off the land. It is cooking over the fire. It is managing conflict and navigating political relations in an uncertain time. See it, smell it, hear it and experience it here.

That experience is complete with 21st century political correctness doled out by professional “Native Americans,” the kind of people who leave suburban split levels, not wikiyups, get into automobiles, not onto ponies, and go out to work as administrators in non-profit organizations equipped with degrees from state universities, rather than hoeing corn.

The guy who used to mow my yard in Connecticut also had three hundred year old New England descent, but he didn’t make his living on the strength of it or parade grievances about the cruel Episcopalians whose remote ancestors made England disagreeable enough for his Puritan forbears to feel obliged to emigrate to the New England wilderness.

CNS News
:

A nine-year-old girl was recently asked to remove her “Indian” costume before entering the Wampanoag Homesite of the Plimoth Plantation, a historical site that allows visitors to experience Plymouth, Mass., as it was in the 17th century.

The outdoor museum features a 1627 English village beside a Wampanoag home site. The purpose of the museum is to educate visitors (school-children and adults) about what happened between the Native Americans and the colonists, especially during the first Thanksgiving.

The nine-year-old was one of thousands who flock to the colonial museum during the Thanksgiving season. She dressed as an Indian and her friend dressed as a pilgrim to celebrate the occasion.

Linda Coombs, associate director of the Wampanoag Indigenous Program, asked the girl to remove her homemade beaded costume before visiting the site, reducing the child to tears and upsetting her mother, the Boston Globe reported on Nov. 24.

“Native people find it offensive when they see a non-native person dressed up and playing Indian. It’s perceived as us being made fun of,” Coombs told CNSNews.com.

Coombs said she understands it was not the girl’s intention to be offensive – that she was only trying to “honor the Indians.”

“I could see that she’d put a lot of effort into making this dress and that it meant something to her … I could see by taking this dress off, I was dashing this whole thing that was going on in her mind,” Coombs said.

So she gave her a necklace from the gift shop in exchange.

“I wanted to acknowledge that she was giving up something that meant something to her and that I could appreciate everything she was feeling,” said Coombs. “Typically, in our culture, you give something away to show you appreciate what someone else has given up. And I wanted to mark that moment with her.”

Coombs said good intentions do not matter because she and the other Native staff members perceive the costumes as mockery before the wearer has a chance to explain his or her intent.

“Costumes are offensive because of what has happened in history – the Hollywood pseudo Indians, the Italian actors playing Indians, the crappy dress they put them in, the Halloween costumes. When other people dress up as Native people it’s offensive, period,” Coombs said.

She compared people wearing Native American costumes to white entertainers who put on blackface in old minstrel shows.

27 Nov 2008

Doom For Browser

, ,

The first episode of the classic first person shooter game can be played via browser. The old game software won’t run on the operating systems we use today.

link

————————

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

26 Nov 2008

Xmas Decorations Banned at Florida Gulf Coast U.

, , , , , , , ,

Demonstrating once again the American propensity to entrust the education of the young to society’s biggest fools, the eminent Wilson G. Bradshaw, president of Florida Gulf Coast University, struck a blow recently for “diversity” by issuing a proclamation banning public acknowledgment of Christmas.

Fort Myers News-Press:

Christmas is just 30 days away, but Santa Claus won’t be stopping by Florida Gulf Coast University this holiday.

He’s not allowed on campus.

FGCU administration has banned all holiday decorations from common spaces on campus and canceled a popular greeting card design contest, which is being replaced by an ugly sweater competition. In Griffin Hall, the university’s giving tree for needy preschoolers has been transformed into a “giving garden.”

The moves boil down to political correctness.

“Public institutions, including FGCU, often struggle with how best to observe the season in ways that honor and respect all traditions,” President Wilson Bradshaw wrote in a memo to faculty and staff Thursday. “This is a challenging issue each year at FGCU, and 2008 is no exception. While it may appear at times that a vocal majority of opinion is the only view that is held, this is not always the case.”

The ineffable Wilson G. Bradshaw’s Holiday proclamation. .pdf

————————————–

UPDATE

11/27: Policy reversed.

26 Nov 2008

“Obama Appointments Demonstrate His Inexperience”

, , ,

Dick Morris still bears a major animus toward the Clintons as the result of his inglorious and involuntary departure from Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign (in connection with an indiscretion on Morris’s part involving a prostitute), so he is not at all pleased to see Obama cozying up to the Clintons and loading up his administration with former Clinton staffers. Good vituperation.

Having upended the Democratic Party, largely over his different views on foreign policy and the war in Iraq, he now turns to the leader of the ancient regime he ousted, derided, mocked, and criticized to take over the top international-affairs position in his administration.

No longer, apparently, does he distrust Hillary’s “judgment,” as he did during the debates when he denounced her vote on the Iraq war resolution. Now, all is forgiven. After everything Obama says he stood for, the only change he apparently truly believes in is a fait accompli.

Apart from the breathtaking cynicism of the appointment lies the total lack of foreign-policy experience in the new partnership. Neither Clinton nor Obama has spent five minutes conducting any aspect of foreign policy in the past.

Neither has ever negotiated anything or dealt with diplomatic issues. It is the blonde leading the blind.

And then there is the question of whether we want a secretary of state who is compromised, in advance, by her husband’s dealings with repressive regimes in Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Dubai, the U.A.E., Morocco, and governments about which we know nothing.

These foreign leaders have paid the Clinton family millions of dollars — directly and through the Clintons’ library and/or foundation — funds they can and have used as personal income.

How do we know that she can conduct foreign policy independently even if it means biting those who have fed her and her husband? But the most galling aspect of the appointment is that it puts Obama in the midst of an administration that, while he appointed it, is not his own.

Rather, he has now created a government staffed by Clinton people, headed by Clinton appointees, and dominated by Hillary herself. He has willingly created the same untenable situation as that into which Lyndon Johnson stepped when JFK was assassinated in 1963.

Johnson inherited a Cabinet wholly staffed by Kennedy intimates with Bobby himself as attorney general.

LBJ had no choice and had to spend two years making the government his own. But Obama had all the options in the world and chose to fence himself in by appointing Hillary as secretary of state, Clinton Cabinet member Bill Richardson for Commerce, Clinton staffer Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, Clinton buddy (and top lobbyist) Tom Daschle to HHS, and Bill’s deputy attorney general, Eric Holder, to Justice. …

Not since William Jennings Bryan in the 1910s have we had a defeated nominee named as secretary. Obama will not be able to control Hillary nor will he be able to control his own administration with Emanuel as chief of staff. He will find that his appointees will march to the beat of their own drummer — if he is lucky — and Hillary’s if he is not.

Either Obama has chosen to put himself in this untenable situation because he is not wise in the ways of Washington or because he plans to be little more than a figurehead. Given his campaign, neither seems likely. But his promise of change has proven so bankrupt that maybe the rest of his candidacy is too.

25 Nov 2008

Polish Joke

, ,

The Telegraph reports a continental example of the kind of robust European racial humor that would be completely unacceptable in the politically correct United States.

In an episode that could potentially strain relations between Warsaw and Washington, Radek Sikorski, an Oxford-educated politician who has lived in the US, was reported to have made the jibe by an opposition politician, Ryszard Czarnecki.

Writing in his blog, Mr Czarnecki, an MEP, quoted the foreign minister as saying: “Have you heard that Obama may have a Polish connection? His grandfather ate a Polish missionary.”

25 Nov 2008

Bruce Lee Plays Ping Pong

, ,

A Nokia commercial.

1:16 video

25 Nov 2008

Obama: First Moves

, ,

Stratfor’s George Friedman notes Obama’s moves toward the center, admires the duplicity with with Obama campaigned, and argues that Obama is safe moving toward the right in hope of building a larger coalition of support, because, after all, his radical leftist base has nowhere else to go.

I would say that Friedman is right, but only up to a very limited point and for only a very limited period of time. It doesn’t matter that the radical leftwing base has nowhere else to go. If Obama seriously disappoints them, if they conclude that he isn’t really on their side, if they decide that he has betrayed some crucial ideological test or shibboleth, they will turn on him in exactly the way the left turned on Lyndon Johnson.

Over the past two weeks, Obama has begun to reveal his appointments. It will be Hillary Clinton at State and Timothy Geithner at Treasury. According to persistent rumors, current Defense Secretary Robert Gates might be asked to stay on. The national security adviser has not been announced, but rumors have the post going to former Clinton administration appointees or to former military people. Interestingly and revealingly, it was made very public that Obama has met with Brent Scowcroft to discuss foreign policy. Scowcroft was national security adviser under President George H.W. Bush, and while a critic of the younger Bush’s policies in Iraq from the beginning, he is very much part of the foreign policy establishment and on the non-neoconservative right. That Obama met with Scowcroft, and that this was deliberately publicized, is a signal — and Obama understands political signals — that he will be conducting foreign policy from the center. …

This does not surprise us. As we have written previously, when Obama’s precise statements and position papers were examined with care, the distance between his policies and John McCain’s actually was minimal. McCain tacked with the Bush administration’s position on Iraq — which had shifted, by the summer of this year, to withdrawal at the earliest possible moment but without a public guarantee of the date. Obama’s position was a complete withdrawal by the summer of 2010, with the proviso that unexpected changes in the situation on the ground could make that date flexible.

Obama supporters believed that Obama’s position on Iraq was profoundly at odds with the Bush administration’s. We could never clearly locate the difference. The brilliance of Obama’s presidential campaign was that he convinced his hard-core supporters that he intended to make a radical shift in policies across the board, without ever specifying what policies he was planning to shift, and never locking out the possibility of a flexible interpretation of his commitments. His supporters heard what they wanted to hear while a careful reading of the language, written and spoken, gave Obama extensive room for maneuver. Obama’s campaign was a master class on mobilizing support in an election without locking oneself into specific policies. …

Presidents are not as powerful as they are often imagined to be. Apart from institutional constraints, presidents must constantly deal with public opinion. Congress is watching the polls, as all of the representatives and a third of the senators will be running for re-election in two years. No matter how many Democrats are in Congress, their first loyalty is to their own careers, and collapsing public opinion polls for a Democratic president can destroy them. Knowing this, they have a strong incentive to oppose an unpopular president — even one from their own party — or they might be replaced with others who will oppose him. If Obama wants to be powerful, he must keep Congress on his side, and that means he must keep his numbers up. He is undoubtedly getting the honeymoon bounce now. He needs to hold that.

Obama appears to understand this problem clearly. It would take a very small shift in public opinion polls after the election to put him on the defensive, and any substantial mistakes could sink his approval rating into the low 40s. George W. Bush’s basic political mistake in 2004 was not understanding how thin his margin was. He took his election as vindication of his Iraq policy, without understanding how rapidly his mandate could transform itself in a profound reversal of public opinion. Having very little margin in his public opinion polls, Bush doubled down on his Iraq policy. When that failed to pay off, he ended up with a failed presidency.

Bush was not expecting that to happen, and Obama does not expect it for himself. Obama, however, has drawn the obvious conclusion that what he expects and what might happen are two different things. Therefore, unlike Bush, he appears to be trying to expand his approval ratings as his first priority, in order to give himself room for maneuver later. Everything we see in his first two weeks of shaping his presidency seems to be designed two do two things: increase his standing in the Democratic Party, and try to bring some of those who voted against him into his coalition.

In looking at Obama’s supporters, we can divide them into two blocs. The first and largest comprises those who were won over by his persona; they supported Obama because of who he was, rather than because of any particular policy position or because of his ideology in anything more than a general sense. There was then a smaller group of supporters who backed Obama for ideological reasons, built around specific policies they believed he advocated. Obama seems to think, reasonably in our view, that the first group will remain faithful for an extended period of time so long as he maintains the aura he cultivated during his campaign, regardless of his early policy moves. The second group, as is usually the case with the ideological/policy faction in a party, will stay with Obama because they have nowhere else to go — or if they turn away, they will not be able to form a faction that threatens his position.

Read the whole thing.

24 Nov 2008

Afghanistan: Marines Rout Nearly Ten to One Attack

,

Military.com:

Farah Province, Afghanistan — In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.

Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district. …

“The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,” said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. “Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our ‘humvees’ was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.”

The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

“The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight,” the sniper said. “A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.”

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”

After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies’ spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

“I didn’t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies’ lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us,” the corporal said. “It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.”

————————

Hat tip to Bill Dupray.

24 Nov 2008

Obama’s New US Seal

, ,

Investors Business Daily: Michael Ramirez

24 Nov 2008

Captured al Qaeda Letter Praises Iran’s Support of Terror

, , , , , , , , ,

Let’s see, Bush’s war policy was wrong, because sophisticated people knew that al Qaeda is a Sunni organization, and neither secular Ba’athists, like Saddam Hussein, nor Shiites, like the mullahs controlling Iran, would ever under any circumstance cooperate with or assist al Qaeda.

The Telegraph:

Fresh links between Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and al-Qaeda have been uncovered following interception of a letter from the terrorist leadership that hails Tehran’s support for a recent attack on the American embassy in Yemen, which killed 16 people.

Delivery of the letter exposed the rising role of Saad bin Laden, son of the al-Qaeda leader, Osama as an intermediary between the organisation and Iran. Saad bin Laden has been living in Iran since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, apparently under house arrest.

The letter, which was signed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s second in command, was written after the American embassy in Yemen was attacked by simultaneous suicide car bombs in September.

Western security officials said the missive thanked the leadership of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards for providing assistance to al-Qaeda to set up its terrorist network in Yemen, which has suffered ten al-Qaeda-related terror attacks in the past year, including two bomb attacks against the American embassy.

In the letter al-Qaeda’s leadership pays tribute to Iran’s generosity, stating that without its “monetary and infrastructure assistance” it would have not been possible for the group to carry out the terror attacks. It also thanked Iran for having the “vision” to help the terror organisation establish new bases in Yemen after al-Qaeda was forced to abandon much of its terrorist infrastructure in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

There has been intense speculation about the level of Iranian support for al-Qaeda since the 9/11 Commission report into al-Qaeda’s terror attacks against the U.S. in 2001 concluded that Iran had provided safe passage for many of the 9/11 hijackers travelling between Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia prior to the attacks.

Scores of senior al Qaeda activists – including Saad bin Laden – sought sanctuary in Iran following the overthrow of the Taliban, and have remained in Tehran ever since. The activities of Saad bin Laden, 29, have been a source of Western concern despite Tehran’s assurances that he is under official confinement.

But Iran was a key transit route for al Qaeda loyalists moving between battlefields in the Middle East and Asia. Western security officials have also concluded Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have supported al-Qaeda terror cells, despite religious divisions between Iran’s Shia Muslim revolutionaries and the Sunni Muslim terrorists.

24 Nov 2008

Obama Mobilizing For His Next Offensive

, ,

Rather than toning the bitter partisanship that divides the nation as he promised during the campaign, Barack Obama is issuing a new mobilization order to the activist faithful. The obvious conclusion is that the new administration’s legislative agenda will be backed by organized campaigns of activist agitation at state and local levels throughout the country.

McClatchy:

President-elect Barack Obama’s 3 million campaign volunteers got re-enlistment notices this week.

Campaign manager David Plouffe, in a mass e-mail sent Wednesday to former workers, asked how much time they can spare for four missions integral to Obama’s effort to transform his victory into a broader political movement. …

“Obama’s building a political machine,” said Stephen Hess, a presidential scholar at the Brookings Institution, a center-left Washington research group.

24 Nov 2008

Scary Footpath

, , , ,

Built in 1901, and currently in considerable disrepair, this walkway, called El Caminito del Rey, serves as an entrance to Makinodromo, the famous climbing sector of El Chorro in Spanish Andalusia.

Wikipedia:

The walkway has now gone many years without maintenance, and is in a highly deteriorated and dangerous state. It is one meter (3 feet and 3 inches) in width, and is over 200 meters (700 feet) above the river. Nearly all of the path has no handrail. Some parts of the concrete walkway have completely collapsed and all that is remaining is the steel beam originally in place to hold it up and the wire that follows most of the path. One can latch onto a safety-wire to keep from falling. Several people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent years; after four people died in two accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed the entrances. However, adventurous tourists still find their way onto the walkway to explore it.

The regional government of Andalusia budgeted in 2006 for a restoration plan estimated at € 7 million.

6:26 video.

23 Nov 2008

Home Defense With Katana

,

The NRA’s Armed Citizen column in American Rifleman has for many years published accounts of successful cases of self defense with firearms. But how often do you read a story of someone defending his home with a samurai sword?

Muncie Star Press:

Muncie man is in jail with samurai sword injuries after allegedly breaking into another man’s home to get his wife back.

Joseph M. Hartman, 28, and his friends Bobby Joe Overbay, 18, and Matthew Michail Wilson, 23, all from Muncie, broke into the home of Jessy Mann, 26, 1910 S. May Ave., early Saturday morning to “take Hartman’s estranged wife by force,” according to the Muncie Police Department.

In a telephone interview on Saturday, Mann gave this version of the incident:

The three men knocked at the door and refused to leave when Mann asked them to do so. Then they entered the home and began throwing objects at him, including an alarm clock and furniture. Mann grabbed a collectible sword to defend himself and swung at the three men, hitting Hartman in the head and chest and Overbay in the forehead.

“It was crazy,” Mann said. “It was like something you would see in a movie.”

At one point, Mann said Hartman found his wife, from whom he is separated, in the bedroom calling the police, and he grabbed her by the hair.

“They were saying ‘Just let us take her, just let us take her.’ I was like ‘You ain’t taking nobody from my house,” Mann said.

Hartman and his friends left the home without his wife. Before fleeing, they got into a Jeep Cherokee and ran into the house three times and then drove away.

The police arrested the suspects and took them to Ball Memorial Hospital before booking them into the Delaware County Jail with no bond. …

Mann said he never intended to use the sword as a weapon and he was glad no one was killed.

“I just like swords,” he said. “I just have them around for novelty. I never expected I’d have to do some crazy stuff like that.”

23 Nov 2008

Obama’s Fatal Dilemma

, , , , , ,

It’s sad that we had to lose this year, but conservatives and Republicans can console themselves with Barack Obama’s unhappy prospects based upon the irreconcilable dilemma facing his presidency.

If he takes a thoroughly “progressive” course, agreeable to the democrat party’s leftwing base, he will assuredly produce economic calamity domestically and US humiliation in foreign affairs à la Carter, and he will then have a snowball’s chance in Hell of being re-elected.

On the other hand, if he tacks to the center, he will bitterly disappoint that extremist and highly volatile leftist base, which will turn upon him like the Furies, ultimately over time bringing into active and hostile opposition both the media and the community of fashion. In that case, like Lyndon Johnson, he will become a discredited, failed, and reviled president, unable to defeat primary challenges from the left, and not even able to run for a second term.

Will it be Door 1 or Door 2, President Obama?

As the Telegraph reports, his appointments of supporters of the war in Iraq signal a centrist direction, and the natives at Daily Kos are already becoming restless.

Mr Obama has moved quickly in the last 48 hours to get his cabinet team in place, unveiling a raft of heavyweight appointments, in addition to Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State.

But his preference for General James Jones, a former Nato commander who backed John McCain, as his National Security Adviser and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, a supporter of the war, to run the Homeland Security department has dismayed many of his earliest supporters.

The likelihood that Mr Obama will retain George W Bush’s Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, has reinforced the notion that he will not aggressively pursue the radical withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq over the next 16 months and engagement with rogue states that he has pledged.

Chris Bowers of the influential OpenLeft.com blog complained: “That is, over all, a centre-right foreign policy team. I feel incredibly frustrated. Progressives are being entirely left out of Obama’s major appointments so far.”

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos site, the in-house talking shop for the anti-war Left, warned that Democrats risk sounding “tone deaf” to the views of “the American electorate that voted in overwhelming numbers for change from the discredited Bush policies.”

A spokesman for the President-elect was forced to confirm that Mr Obama holds to his previous views. “His position on Iraq has not changed and will not change.”

But the growing disillusionment underlines the fine line Mr Obama must walk between appearing to reach out to former opponents and keeping his grassroot supporters happy.

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted for November 2008.

















Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark