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Offer A Splendid Lesson - 05-21-09
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"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" - 2-27-08
"Nosy Congress Makes
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"Right Decision Could
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"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07
This week we are again making my column available Friday instead of each Saturday as we had originally planned.
A number of you have told me that you don’t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That’s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)
And, if you haven’t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a Friday reminder that a new column is available.
October 26, 2007
Today let’s start with three examples of Congress causing problems by sticking its nose into matters that are really none of its business.
Example one: The House Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution which, understandably, thoroughly angered the government of Turkey, up until now one of America’s staunchest allies.
Nearly 100 years after the death of hundreds of thousands (one estimate is 1.5 million) Armenians, the House Committee on Foreign affairs - - under pressure from Armenian Americans - - approved a resolution declaring that those deaths were the result of Turkish government-directed “genocide.”
Keep in mind that Turkey stands as the southern anchor of NATO, has a democratic government, not one dominated by Islamic clerics, this in the face of the fact that the Turkish population is predominantly Muslim. Remember, too, that about 70% of U.S. cargo headed for Iraq goes through Turkey, as does about one-third of the fuel used by the U.S. military in Iraq.
It simply makes no sense to antagonize the Turks by reigniting a controversy over how something that happened nearly a century ago should be described.
A second example of House of Representatives involvement in something which is none of the business of the United States government: The House voted 376-0 for a resolution honoring the Islamic religion and its Ramadan holy month, expressing the “deepest respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world.”
I doubt that this will persuade Islamic terrorists to stop trying to slaughter Americans in the name of the jihad or “holy war” beliefs embraced by some Muslims.
More likely, such action by the House of Representatives will anger Americans who question why our elected representatives should pay special tribute to a religion some of whose fanatic adherents, for one example, on September 11, 2001, killed nearly 3,000 people, nearly all of them Americans.
Then, to round out a sort of trifecta of Capitol Hill ineptitude (I was tempted to call it stupidity), there was the absolutely unnecessary provocation of the Chinese government. In this case, President Bush joined in.
Despite what one news account described as “furious objections from China,” controlled Congress bestowed its highest civilian honor on the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists - - considered by the Chinese government as a troublesome voice of separatism.
The Congressional Gold Medal was conferred on the Dalai Lama in the ornate Capitol Rotunda with President Bush in attendance.
The Dalai Lama, worshipped by the Tibetan people as a divinely inspired spiritual leader, said that he is “not seeking independence” from China but wants “meaningful autonomy for Tibet.” Fair enough. Let him speak his views, which he has done since he has lived in exile these past 48 years. He has received the Nobel Peace Prize. Again, fair enough - - and recognition enough.
But why does the United States government, at a time when we are trying to create some kind of accommodation rather than antagonism between the two countries, take a highly-publicized step which the Chinese interpret as a slap in the face? How are America’s basic national interests involved in a conflict between Tibet’s spiritual leader and the Chinese government?
‘Diversity’ or Best Qualified Police and Firemen?
If Omahans would like assurance that only the best qualified police and fire department personnel are hired to watch over their lives and property, they had better let members of the Omaha City Council know it.
The council recently voted, 5-2, to advance an ordinance which will allow police and fire chiefs to hire women and black and Hispanic applicants in preference to white males who scored higher in both mental and physical examinations.
This will be done in the name of paying obeisance to the great god “Diversity.” The basic tenet of this religion is that “diversity” in hiring - - or in admitting students to colleges which have enrollment limits - - somehow produces a mixture of people which helps meet a basic need of American society.
But protection of lives and property is certainly a basic need of society, and what better way to serve this basic need than to hire only the best-qualified police and fire department personnel?
There Goes Iowa’s Holiday Season
How silly can the “we’ve got to be first” presidential preference sampling competition get? Now the Iowa Republican Party has decided to move its first-in-the-nation caucuses to January 3.
And a happy holiday season to all you candidates and you Iowans who seem to love to be flattered by repeated visits from candidates who are really more interested in New York and Texas and California and any other state significantly more populous than Iowa.
It is ludicrous that the Iowa caucuses, which are not necessarily a reliable test of how a candidate might fare in an Iowa primary election, sometimes serves to advance one candidate and knock another candidate from contention because of a poor caucus showing. I would temper my criticism to this limited extent: The Iowa caucuses did an effective job of knocking zany Democrat Howard Dean out of the presidential nomination race in 2004.
But in general, the Iowa caucuses constitute a frequently misleading way of influencing presidential campaigns.
Hardly ‘Key Victory’ for Johanns
When Governor Dave Heineman endorsed former Governor Mike Johanns for the Republican senatorial nomination, one news account said this represented a “big win” for Johanns.
The news account also interpreted Heineman’s announcement as “a key endorsement.” Heineman’s endorsement of Johanns was not, of course, a non-event but it was certainly an expected event, hardly constituting either a “big” or a “key” victory for Johanns.
Heineman’s road to the governor’s office was, after all, paved by Johanns, who appointed Heineman lieutenant governor. Heineman advanced to governor when Johann’s resigned to accept appointment as Secretary of Agriculture.
Going to the Dogs Again
I end the column today with an offering which I hope will be enjoyed not just by dog lovers but by anyone with a good sense of humor. You will soon be seeing a column with a picture of those three most lovable cocker spaniels in the world that live with Marian and me, but for today a sample from a newly-published book entitled “They Moved My Bowl” containing a collection of dog cartoons by Charles Barsotti of the New Yorker magazine.
It was hard to pick one cartoon from the dozens which have appeared in the New Yorker over the years, but I settled for the cartoon reproduced below. I may share one or two others with you, with the thought that you might be encouraged to acquire your own copy of the book, accurately described on the dust jacket as “a howlingly funny collection of dog cartoons.”
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