I'm a little concerned about this report that Fred Phelps' church is about to be seized to settle a lawsuit:
The $5 million penalty is the result of a lawsuit filed against three of the church's principals by Albert Snyder, the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, whose funeral was picketed by church members.
The senior Snyder contended the picketing caused emotional distress and invasion of privacy.
The Phelps' group is a bunch of sleazebags, with their "God Hates Fags" signs. They deserve little compassion from us. But at the same time, I am very uncomfortable with the idea that what amounts to protest activities may result in substantial penalties.
But this strikes me as a bad decision against bad people.
Freedom of speech is obviously a right that should be protected, but invading funerals to spread a message of hate crosses a certain line. Basically, if you can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie theatre, you shouldn’t be able to yell “Fag!” at a funeral.
Fer Chrissakes, there's a reason why you can't yell fire in a crowded theatre, and it's not because it will offend people.
As always, when the Left is outraged over something, it pays to look at the context. Congressman Patrick McHenry referred to a someone who insisted on seeing proper credentials before letting him into a gymnasium in Baghdad as "a two-bit security guard".
Yes, poor Patrick McHenry. An American stationed in Baghdad followed orders on Green-Zone security only to get mocked by a conservative lawmaker who never wore a uniform. Classy.
Somehow, I have a hunch that if McHenry were a liberal Dem, and he called an American serviceman or servicewoman serving in Baghdad a “two-bit security guard,” it’d be quite a while until we heard the end of it.
Well, first of all, the person was not a serviceman or service women, he was an independent contractor. You know, the guys who Kos was referring to when he said, "Screw 'em." But second, if you listen to the entire clip carefully, you'll see that Congressman McHenry is not characterizing the security guard; he's characterizing himself, deprecatingly. Note that shortly after he was refused entry to the gym, a rocket hit that building. Thus the guard ended up saving his life! Note as well that Congressman McHenry talks about how he stood there like an idiot when the "duck and cover" order was broadcast.
So maybe he did engage in a little DYKWIA with the guard at the time; he recognizes that he was wrong and tells an amusing little story at his own expense, throwing in the "two-bit security guard" to make himself look a little worse.
I'd love to hear the rest of the clip to see if he goes on to thank the guard. At his own website, the congressman has a clip of himself on Easter Sunday (the day of the incident), stating that it was right that he was refused entry to the gym. So as usual this is one of those things that the Left has ginned up that doesn't mean what they claim. Pardon me if I don't join in the condemnation from some conservative bloggers.
His second big mistake is bowling with others in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He ignored the risk every politician faces when trying to be one of the people if they're not, a risk that doubles if you pursue the official state sport when you've never worn a league shirt with your name above the pocket.
A savvy aide would have had Obama devote as much preparation to avoiding a 7-10 split as preparing for debates. Presidents know that if you aren't sure you can get the first pitch from the mound across home plate, better to toss it (like a girl) from the bleachers.
Of course, the next president to sit in the bleachers will be the first, but otherwise her take is pretty solid. You never can tell whether even the practice is going to work out; John Kerry tossed a baseball around on the tarmac for months in 2004, and still couldn't reach home plate at Fenway a few days before the convention that year.
Bush, of course, smoked a belt-high fastball across the dish at Yankee shortly after 9-11, even though he was wearing a bullet-proof jacket at the time.
Michael Barone examines Barack's appeal and notes it's mostly upscale and academic, while Hillary's is Jacksonian.
Academics and public employees (and of course many, perhaps most, academics in the United States are public employees) love the arts of peace and hate the demands of war. Economically, defense spending competes for the public-sector dollars that academics and public employees think are rightfully their own. More important, I think, warriors are competitors for the honor that academics and public employees think rightfully belongs to them. Jacksonians, in contrast, place a high value on the virtues of the warrior and little value on the work of academics and public employees. They have, in historian David Hackett Fischer's phrase, a notion of natural liberty: People should be allowed to do what they want, subject to the demands of honor. If someone infringes on that liberty, beware: The Jacksonian attitude is, "If you attack my family or my country, I'll kill you." And he (or she) means it. If you want to hear an eloquent version, listen to Sen. Zell Miller's speech endorsing George W. Bush at the 2004 Republican National Convention. The academic who hears the Rev. Jeremiah Wright declaiming, "God damn America," is not unnerved. He hears this sort of thing on campus all the time. The Jacksonian who watches the tape sees an enemy of everything he holds dear.
A live hand-grenade was released threatening to blow up L/Cpl Croucher, 24 and the rest of the patrol.
The marine shouted "grenade" and as his friends dived for cover L/Cpl Croucher lay with his back on the lethal device.
L/Cpl Croucher, who suffered a bleeding nose and shock, was saved by the special plating inside his Osprey body armour. He almost certainly saved the life of Marine Scott Easter who had "just completely frozen".
His backpack took the brunt of the explosion, but as noted in the story, there was no way he could have known that at the time.
Particularly heartening are the comments on that article. Highly recommended!
When I joined the freedom movement in Mississippi in my early 20s, it was to come to the aid of sharecroppers, like my parents, who had been thrown off the land they'd always known - the plantations - because they attempted to exercise their "democratic" right to vote. I wish I could say white women treated me and other black people a lot better than the men did, but I cannot. It seemed to me then, and it seems to me now, that white women have copied all too often the behaviour of their fathers and their brothers. In the south, especially in Mississippi, and before that, when I worked to register voters in Georgia, the broken bottles thrown at my head were gender-free.
I made my first white women friends in college; they loved me and were loyal to our friendship, but I understood, as they did, that they were white women and that whiteness mattered.
Of course, she claims that "blackness" doesn't matter:
It is a deep sadness to me that many of my feminist white women friends cannot see him, cannot hear the fresh choices toward movement he offers. That they can believe that millions of Americans choose Obama over Clinton only because he is a man, and black, feels tragic to me.
Well, you know, the fact that you started out by talking about "white" women might possibly have something to do with that tragedy.
She engages in the usual gushing about the Obamessiah:
When I have supported white people, it was because I thought them the best to do the job. If Obama were in any sense mediocre, he would be forgotten by now. He is, in fact, a remarkable human being, not perfect but humanly stunning, like King was and like Mandela is. He is the change America has been trying desperately and for centuries to hide, ignore, kill. The change it must have if we are to convince the rest of the world that we care about people other than our (white) selves.
Monsoor was part of a sniper security team on Sept. 29, 2006, in Ramadi, Iraq, when an insurgent threw a grenade, striking Monsoor in the chest. He threw himself on the grenade to save his fellow SEALs.
I covered Monsoor act of heroism previously here and here.
McCain's Blogger Outreach Effort Noted in Washington Times
In an article that mentions my longtime blog-buddy Pat Hynes:
The main reason: Mr. McCain's blogger outreach, the most extensive of any presidential campaign in either party, helped keep him afloat in the dark days last summer when the major press was sizing up his campaign grave. During those times, Mr. McCain got attention and digital ink from the bloggers he invited to biweekly conference calls, and got a chance to talk policy.
"During the unpleasantness, whenever Senator McCain put himself in front of reporters, the question was always, 'How much did you raise today, when are you dropping out,' " said Patrick Hynes, a conservative blogger who Mr. McCain hired in 2006. "And then we'd put him on the phone with bloggers, and they'd want to talk about Iraq, and pork and chasing down al Qaeda."
Patrick has done terrific work for McCain, although it's taken his toll on him as you can see from this recent photo:
Update: John Cole, who was most emphatically not part of the blogger conference calls, offers these trite thoughts:
I suppose it is only natural to go to a forum where you can be asked the truly pressing questions. Things like- “Who is less patriotic, Obama or Hillary?” Or, “Will the Democrats be content to lose the war in Iraq, or will they try to turn the US into a province of Iran.” Or, “Do you think you can be as great a President as Bush?”
If anything, Cole's commenters are even more pathetic.
Mr. Obama picked up a ball, cued up all confident-like, and sent the thing into the gutter. “We’re just warming up,” Mr. Obama assured himself, maybe.
So it rolled, one desultory frame after another. Rox hit spare upon spare; Mr. Obama knocked a few pins here and there and announced that his goal was to beat Mr. Casey. “I can’t beat Roxanne,” he said.
Mr. Obama, it turns out, was a weak centrist. His balls rolled down the center of the lane, but much too slowly to knock over more than a half dozen or so pins. “You notice I’m getting better?” he asked.
The Times fails to note his score. Thirty-freaking-seven. (!)
Look I'm not a great bowler; I never really learned to curve the ball, but even in my first game, I got a 55, and the main reason I remember that is because I've never done as poorly as that again.
And Obama is supposed to be an athlete? That's ridiculous. We all remember John Kerry's absurd attempts to look like somebody who didn't get picked last in every team sport he ever played. Is Obama going to groove one across the plate at Yankee?
You might think this is an especially hard-hitting John McCain ad. In fact, it's an ad for Hillary Clinton put together by a supporter of Hillary Clinton, to give Democrats an idea of what awaits them in the fall if they nominate Barack Obama.
McCain is too classy a guy to do this, but it sure would be devastating.