Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obamin

Barrack Obama publicly breaks with his former pastor. Now we get to choose: is Obama an idiot or a liar?

Welcome Home, Heroes

The Army has long had the lowest satisfaction metrics of the service branches. Here is a video about living conditions members of the 2/508 encountered when they returned from a 15-month tour in Afghanistan.

George Smiley has a more detailed story here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The N Word

The “N Word”: Ignorant or Empowered?

John R. Shirley
Multiculturalism Paper
Augusta State University

The “N Word”: Ignorant or Empowered?

The so-called “N Word” is a cause of intense divisiveness in the United States. There are several different views of using this word. The most obvious use of this word is as a pejorative for any person of color. Another use is by people who say they reserve this word “for the bad ones (who are people of color)”. A subset of this is people who say they use the N word for any stupid person, regardless of that person’s color. These people usually claim that the dictionary definition of “nigger” is of a foolish person. These categories are fairly easy to ascribe to ignorance and cultural underexposure. The last usages of the N word are more complicated. How should usage of this word by people of color be viewed? Use by people of color contains all the connotations of usage by others. Some people of color use this term to refer to all people of color, while some people of color use the term pejoratively to insult or refer slightingly to certain other people of color. It also may also include meanings of buddy, friend, or pal.

Some words that were originally pejoratives have been embraced by the communities they were levied against. The easiest example is “queer”, but there are other epithets. Some claim that embracing an insulting word robs it of its power to hurt, but is this a reasonable view? Is usage of the N word by people of color harmful, or does frequent use actually rob the word of its shock value? Ultimately, will use of the N word help or hurt the self-image and social interaction of people of color in the United States?

Brandt Williams, in a Minnesota Public Radio story from 8 August 2004, said “Some scholars say 'nigger' was derived from the Latin word for the color black which is spelled 'n-i-g-e-r.'” University of California-Berkeley professor Robin Lakeoff told Williams she believes “nigger” was originally a mispronunciation of “negro”. This author has heard claims that “nigga” is okay, but “nigger” is not, and Williams reports this is a commonly held view. The BBC’s Kari Browne claims the first record of the N word was in 1786, and that it was used by slave owners to refer to their slaves (2007).

One fairly popular view is that context is the most important deciding factor in whether usage of a word is negative and derogatory. New York City enacted a symbolic ban of the N word in 2007 (Cooke, 2007). Andrew Brown, in the University of Washington’s The Daily, contrasted the New York ban with a Santa Rosa, California case in which parents were suing a local school for punishing their daughter for using the expression “that’s so gay” (2007). Gay is a not a pejorative term for homosexuals, but if one uses gay to mean stupid, it has become insulting, even though a person is not being directly ridiculed. By using the term in this way, one must believe that all gay people are stupid, as well.

The NAACP’s CEO, Nelson B. Rivers III said “The N-Word is the most vicious of all racial insults and the most well known example of racist language and self-hatred by African Americans”. Sadly, deejay Eric B., quoted in the same NAACP-issued story, unintentionally points to a deeper underlying issue. “This is not just about burying the N-word,” he said. “This is more importantly about burying the attitude and behaviors that cause you to act like or be called that word. It’s time to take a stand” (NAACP, 2007). Carefully evaluating what Eric is saying gives a translation something like this: “You deserve the insulting terms you are called. Until you change, it’s your fault.” This is, ultimately, a heartbreaking stance. Was Bernadette Anderson, while peacefully eating dinner with her husband in a restaurant, somehow to blame when a little boy called her the N word? Was young Brandt Williams, at seven years of age, somehow to blame when he was likewise insulted (Williams, 2007)? Eric B. is effectively validating the use of the N word, because he believes it does describe some people.

Self-described “Urban Conservative” Akindele Akinyemi attended the ceremony, and he was strongly opinionated regarding it: “Do you really think super-rich thugs and wannabes are going to stop doing what makes money because a bunch of "leaders" and guilty-conscious liberal whites stage a ceremony?” Akinyemi went on to accuse the NAACP of focusing on the wrong issues instead of the more important challenges facing Blacks in America:
Suppose the NAACP could indeed magically eradicate racism. What changes would be wrought in the our community? Few, if any. Our brothers would still be perpetrating a vastly disproportionate amount of crime; 80 percent of Black babies would still be born illegitimate; and a huge number of Black kids would still be dropping out of school. In short, the self-inflicted problems that are today's biggest stumbling blocks in the Black community would still be in place. And these are what the NAACP should be obsessing on. But it's much easier and more heroic to say you're fighting external villains than to courageously face the reality that people don't want to hear. Just ask Bill Cosby. But until the NAACP, and other Black organizations, quit hiding behind racism, and begin facing and remedying those self-inflicted problems, the road to Black problems will continue to be strewn with major obstacles (Akinyemi, 2007).

Using the N word, even with a different syllable, is a hotly debated issue in today’s United States. It is used derogatively by some people of color and others, and it is used as a term of endearment by some. Racism is inexcusable, but whether using this emotionally charged word is racist is a personal determination. This author will never use it.


References

Akinyemi, A. (2007). We Need to Bury Racism Not the N-Word. Akindele Unleashed.
10 July 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2008 from
http://whoisakindele.info/2007/07/we-need-to-bury-racism-not-n-word-by.html
Browne, K. (2007). Should racist word be rehabilitated? British Broadcasting
Corporation. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2008 from
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6407413.stm
Cooke, J. (2007). Racial slur banned in New York. British Broadcasting Corporation. 1
March 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2008 from
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6406625.stm
NAACP. (2007). Rap Pioneers Join NAACP in Funeral for the N-word, Sign On to
“Stop” Campaign. NAACP.org. 29 June 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2008 from
http://www.naacp.org/news/press/2007-06-29/index.htm
Williams, B. (2004). The ‘n-word’. Minnesota Public Radio. 8 August 2004. Retrieved
25 April 2008 from
http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/06/28_williamsb_nword/

Monday, April 28, 2008

Deviously Stupid?

A Google Earth image has lead to several stories about supposed underground airstrips in North Korea that would allow NK fighters to pop out just before taking flight.

Excellent! I thought. Build more. It's not like the U.S. could shut one of those down-blocking and perhaps destroying the aircraft inside- with a single good strike to the tunnel mouth! Silly North Koreans.

Unfortunately, as In From the Cold explains, this idea from a bad 60s James Bond flick is unlikely to be true. Oh, well.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Country for Old Men

Last night, Jordy and I watched the Coen brothers' movie adaptation of No Country for Old Men. Judging the movie by its cover, it looks grim and unhappy, but hey, my very excellent friend Matt G recommended it. (There is a lesson here, which I will get to later.)

No Country has excellent acting, and it's beautiful. Events don't happen as most viewers will expect, and some of the characters are very likable. I'm not going to say the movie sucked, because some things were well done, but the big lesson I got from this is Matt G does not suggest "feel-good" movies (he also liked Brokeback Mountain). I want to at least write movies one day, and I want to write movies that my viewers will leave the theater or turn off the DVD feeling good about. No Country is very contemplative, but I mostly suggest it as a good view before eating a 12 gauge barrel. 3 stars.

While I'm on the subject, let's talk about my good friend and wonderful human Larry Corriea. Good guy. Great feel for enjoyable writing. Movies? He thought 30 Days of Night was a good flick. I can contrast these two stirling human beings and good friends with my sister Tamara.

Some of Tam's suggestions: The Way of the Gun. Wonderful acting. Thoughtful fight scenes. Not predictable, and doesn't end depressingly. Another suggestion is True Romance, by director Tony Scott. Enjoyable movie. Great ending. Thank you, Tamara.

What have we learned? (1) Matt G loves beautiful movies made to drink to, that are SOOOO DEEEEEP (and try too hard to "say" something, making them ultimately shallower than "pure" escapism). (2) Larry Correia writes great stories, but watches silly movies. (3) Tamara makes much better movie suggestions. Thus endeth today's lesson.

Friday, April 25, 2008

All Your English Are Belong to Us

I'm not usually much for (conscious) memes, but here's one (and since several friends are doing it, it must be cool):


1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
2. Find page 123.
3. Find the first five sentences.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Trying to explain was a mistake. My father just shrugged and said, 'It's just a book; don't get so excited.' And then rubbed in some salt by saying, 'You should have taken your time and made sure there wasn't a third one before you left.'

I'm not much for "tagging" other people. Play or don't.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dear Georgia Arms: Thank You

Georgia Arms has finally made the Big Medicine for the .45 Colt: a 260 grain JHP traveling at 1200 fps. This load should be safe for any modern .45 Colt, but still plenty of UMPH! for close deer and black bear. If penetration is adequate, it should also be a fine hog gun.

This load is a welcome addition to the scene, because .45 Colt tends to either be loaded very lightly, so as to be safe for old guns- or loaded very heavily, for super-strong firearms like Rugers that can easily handle .44 Magnum pressures. The GA Arms load gives a good middle ground for loads that won't kill your wrists or wallet, but still give a good bit more potential. I'd love to see a 300 grain Colt hard cast at about 900 fps from a 4" barrel next.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New! Improved!

I am adding an additional feature to the page, a link to Orson Scott Card's column. I know I will not always agree with Card, but his writing shows him to be thoughtful and intelligent (not always the same thing, unfortunately). I think you'll find him to be worth reading. Here is the most recent essay.

Editorial Link

- A lie with the best of intentions is still a lie -
P.D. Shirley

A discussion of unintended consequences and junk environmental science.

liberté est morte

From Little Bro, we find that free speech in France is dead.

Muzzling Free Speech

Readers may be aware of the raid about a week ago on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints near San Angelo, Texas. This story from Fox News does appear to show a disproportionate use of power against a group that apparently had given no threat of armed resistance.

Potentially even more disturbing than the armored personnel carrier and massive militaristic police presence is the allegation that video and photographs taken of the police were seized during the raid. This appears to be a clear violation of the First Amendment, and is a disturbing precedent.

This group may have been involved in illegal and immoral activities: I do not know. Seizure of proof of police activities, regardless of what the holders of that proof have been accused of is extremely alarming, and appears to prime the pump for only the government-mandated officially approved voice to be heard. If this type of thing is allowed to stand, secret police squads cannot be far behind.

And it's only waterboarding. It's not real torture.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Too Much Metal for YOU!

From Timbo, we get the hardest rocking- well, you have to watch it. But no cat could ever do this, which is why

Beary Funny?












Seems the story ended happily for all concerned. Both parties are still alive. Hard to believe some dumbass was shooting pictures instead of bullets, though!

Monday, April 14, 2008

HKFail

Brother Oleg is cracking on H&K.

Surprise, surprise

Obama is showing his true colors- and also showing he's an idiot. A 3 April 2008 article on Townhall.com has some of the most nonsensical quotes I've heard in a while.

Obama supports additional so-called gun control because...I think it's important for us to recognize that we've got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally. And a lot of law-abiding citizens use it for hunting, for sportsmanship, and for protecting their families. We also have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage. And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets.

Okay. Let me be sure I'm understanding Obama correctly. He suggests the U.S. needs additional gun control so communities can take illegal guns off the streets?

Let's rephrase what is actually being said here for clarity's sake. Here 'tis: We need to make additional laws because that will somehow remove items that are already illegal.

Mr. Obama continues And cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children, the mentally ill.

Wow. Just- wow. Since there are no legal U.S. firearm sales to children, I'm not certain exactly how to evaluate the first part of this statement, which I feel can only be interpreted in two ways.

First, and more palatable (though unacceptable), Mr. Obama may genuinely not understand that no state allows firearms to be sold to anyone under the age of eighteen. The second potential interpretation is that perhaps Mr. Obama suggests that no firearms should be sold to homes with children. This is even less acceptable.

This guy is either an idiot, or a tool, and perhaps both.

Life Goes On

I'm back. Wow, I'm behind.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Honey Week

Jordy and I are on our honeymoon. If I don't have much to write for a week, don't worry. I'll be back soon. :-)

HallowE09