Friday, November 09, 2007

I Object

Thanks to John Foust and here is a link to the offending comments by Peter DiGaudio that were referenced below in the post titled: McIlheran Likes it Caustic and Pungent.

The title of Peter's post was innocent enough: Texas Pizza Chain Accepting Pesos. Here's the text of the post.

This is wrong on so many levels.

Pizza lovers who don’t happen to have American currency on them can still purchase their favorite pies with Mexican pesos, thanks to a Texas-based restaurant chain.

Starting this week, Pizza Patrón outlets, which caters heavily to Mexicans, will offer the alternative form of payment.

“We’re trying to reach out to our core customer,” Antonio Swad, president of Pizza Patrón Inc., told the Dallas Morning News.

“We know they come back [from Mexico] and have pesos left over. We want to be a convenient place for them to spend their pesos.”

It’s believed no other food chain operating so far from the Mexican border is allowing customers to pay with foreign currency.

You’re in the United States. Embrace our culture. Learn our language. Use our money.

Or go back home.
Pretty standard nonsense from the charitably-challenged. Just commenting now on this subject I could provide a couple of reasons for this being a good thing. One, it's good business. And two, other places in the United States have been accepting international currencies for years ... and the dollar is accepted internationally.

But you see, it's not really a question of what constitutes good business practices, or a question of whether we want to be a good, international buddy. Nope, in the comment section we find out what it's really about. This is where Peter hits his stride.

I am sick of them shoving their fucking culture and theire fucking language down my throat.

I stood in Wal Mart yesterday and listen to a bunch of chattering chihuahuas speaking Mexican until I sick of listening to it and finally said, “You’re in America. Speak English or go back to wherever you came from” and walked away.

Either adopt our culture or language or get the fuck out of the U.S. My grandparents were immigrants and guess what? English was learned in their homes. It was the only acceptable language.
This is who McIlheran links to approvingly. Why does the Journal Sentinel employ this guy? He's not even a real journalist. Hell, I'd feel better (well, just a real, teeny weeny bit - microscopic really) if Jessica McBride were writing the columns.

His posts and columns are poorly researched, using either ultra right-wing conservative think tanks as his sources, or questionable news organizations like the Washington Times, which is run by Sun Myung Moon. Yep, that Moonies guy and humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.

I don't have a problem with conservative columnists being employed by the local paper to provide views. That's as it should be. But the Journal Sentinel must be able to do better.

4-Block Fun

With apologies to Tom McMahon.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

McIlheran Likes It Caustic and Pungent

My good friend Michael Mathias, co-proprietor of Pundit Nation, wrote a post titled "The Banality of Evil Redux." He wrote of the torture issue and noted that Journal Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran admits to having slept well despite evidence that the CIA has involved itself in cruel interrogation methods, popular amongst these being waterboarding, which causes the victim to think he is drowning. Having once almost drowned, I can state unequivocally that the sensation is extremely unpleasant and stressful.

Mathias offers this insight from Hannah Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem that Adolf Eichmann "... represented the sort of everyman that had to exist for the Nazis to exercise total control over German life. Hitler didn’t owe his power to the loyalty of his fanatics, but to the acquiescence of the regular German citizen—the ordinary citizens who were only too happy to turn away from the truth, even as greater and greater evils were perpetrated against his neighbors."

McIlheran took offense. He did not like being compared to Eichmann, he thundered. In fact, though, Mathias never said that. He explicitly said he was not calling McIlheran, Eichmann. You can read McIlheran's rambling post here. He concludes by wondering whether "... Mathias has already sent them [Washington Times and Wall Street Journal editorialists] little paste-on Hitler mustaches."

Mathias responded with a knockout blow, which you can read here.

After reading all this, I checked to see if there were any comments to McIlheran's post. I found this comment left by someone named 3rd Way:

Condemnation of Hitler comparisons are apt. A blogger you are supporting with a link from this page has posted a video of Hitler and claims it is a US senator. I hope you condemn the comparisons being made by the Texas Hold 'Em blogger by removing his link. Such tasteless comparisons do nothing but degrade the debate.
Ah, so let's up the ante. McIlheran relied thusly:

Well, you've got a point there, Mr. Way. I assume you're talking about Texas Hold 'Em Blogger's post of last Jan. 20.

All right, then: Tsk, Tex. It was quite a good PhotoShopping, and it's as amusing, in-house, as it was during the previous Clinton years. But it wasn't the most effective argument against Hillary.
I know this because you've made far better arguments. One would hate to think you'd have to do the reductio ad Hitlerium against the Hildabeast.

There, Mr. Way. Taken care of. And as I gave Matthias a heap of free publicity -- and an enduring link to his blog off my post -- I don't think I'll asymmetrically sever my blogroll link to Tex. After all, he remains the Clorox of Wisconsin blogs: pungent and caustic in such a wonderfully beneficial way.
My, he thinks highly of himself. I had to reply to this impossible defense of DiGuadio:

Peter DiGuadio, or Tex, as you refer to him, once proudly admitted on his blog to yelling at a group of Latinos because they were speaking their native tongue. He demanded they speak English, called them "chattering chihuahuas" and suggested they go home, assuming, I guess, they were here illegally. Which, by the way, is still no excuse in case you had doubts, Mr. McIlheran.

I am stunned that the Journal Sentinel keeps you on its payroll ... one who so approvingly links to this character. It's not a good smell emanating from the JS these days.
McIlheran returned fire:

Dear Mr. Rock: You may have missed this one, but I'm not Pete DiGaudio's editor. You may want to go complain to him about that one.

Or, to be more explicit, here's my disclaimer: Hyperlinks from my blog, either in posts or in the blogroll, do not imply agreement in whole or in part with any particular content on the linked pages.

Particularly in the case of the blogroll links, it implies only that these are blogs I look at with some regularity and that I suspect you may find interesting as well. They are, after all, bloggers with viewpoints of their own.

If you want to impose your little speech codes on them, knock yourself out, but don't expect me to play along.
And I conclude here at my blog:

No, you're wrong. Considering the sparseness and selectiveness of your blogroll, it's reasonable to assume a certain amount of agreement with the views of those linked to, including the views of DiGuadio. Additionally, you have accorded praise for other posts he's written in the past, linked to him approvingly and quoted him on occasion. All this implies just a wee bit of agreement..

As far as speech codes, isn't that exactly what you were trying to do with Michael Mathias? I've read his post and nowhere did it imply you were a little Nazi. Michael made a point, albeit a harsh one (as he said), regarding the ease of acquiescence of the “everyman” in WWII Germany. Eichmann is described by the author Michael quotes from as archetypal of that everyman. Your continued defense of the indefensible Bush administration and your dancing around the torture issue brand you as an acquiescent “everyman.” You swallow what you are told and follow in lockstep.

Mathias (one T by the way) is exactly right.

By the way, you still owe Mathias an apology for your little aside regarding Hitler paste-on moustaches. Who now is playing the Nazi-insinuation card?
One More Thing

McIlheran wasn't done, though, and added one more defense of the indefensible DiGuadio, whose writing style he referred to admiringly as caustic and pungent.

Mr Way: Yes, caustic and pungent, just the qualities that made, for instance, H.L. Mencken so readable.
I almost threw up after reading that, but recovered. Here my final comment to it all:

Finally, comparing H.L. Mencken to DiGuadio, even in the abstract, is ludicrous. Mencken was the master of satire and the exquisite use of the lampoon ... quite a bit different from the race-baiting and sophomoric name-calling that DiGuadio engages in.

It discredits you and the Journal Sentinel to lend any credence to DiGuadio's writings.


The Headline Was Telling

I continue to be astounded by Jessica McBride.

Her most recent leap into looniness is titled: Isn't this headline telling?

The headline in question tops a front page article in the Journal Sentinel: Residents of south side divided on whom to blame.

All right, I thought, let's start with how the headline is telling. So I linked over before reading the rest of her post and I read the story. I discovered that the headline is an accurate decription of the story. The story includes a number of interviews with local residents about the recent shootings on southside. Each of the residents interviewed shares personal horror stories and their different views of the shootings and the reasons why. Also part of the article are statements from District Attorney John Chisholm, Police Chief Nannette Hegerty and Mayor Tom Barrett. In other words, the writer, Linda Spice, did her job as a professional journalist. She did not try to ascertain right or wrong. She remained neutral and objective. She reported. It's a good article.

I returned to McBride's blog. All right, why is the headline telling, I asked myself? This weird ramble from the golden-haired one followed:

This is an open question? Why is it a tough question? The people to blame are the shooter(s). THE SHOOTER SHOT 2 COPS.

Both sides play the blame game - it's the gun! it's the culture! it's poverty!I don't even blame gangs. A person has to choose to join a gang.

I would apportion some blame to the parents; however, not as much blame as the shooter deserves. The shooter was allegedly 15. The parents should have made sure their underage child wasn't roaming around the street, possibly with a gang, shooting at cops. Period.

Okay. What was that all about? The headline did not ask a question. The rest read like something my 12-year old would put together. At least he is learning to reread what he writes and work with rough drafts before submitting a final copy.

Now I know that she is just writing on a blog. And I know she's probably writing bits and pieces between the times she spends with her daughter, or looking at the television, or scheming ways for her husband and herself to keep their name in the limelight (you know, like lawyering up for the Sheboygan One). But still, you would think she had a little more self-respect and would attempt to at least make some sense.

Please, why is she teaching journalism?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Help on Deciding for Whom to Vote

My mom just sent this link to me. It's kind of fun. If you are undecided about who to vote for in the presidential race, answer the questions provided by the ABC Match-o-Matic.

I'm apparently a Barack Obama supporter.

It does clarify one thing for me, I knew I was not a supporter of Hillary Clinton or any of the Republicans.

Shallow Hal's Sister?

Is it possible for Jessica McBride to be any shallower?

She links to a story about a child that miraculously survived an attempted abortion and wonders why there isn't any condemnation of the original decision to abort.

Of course, it matters not to her that it was a joint decision of doctors and mother. The doctors believed the child would die in the womb and his death could cause the twin to die as well.

Happily the child survived.

What is there to condemn?

If I were the mother, I know what I would call McBride for her insinuation that anyone, doctor or mother needs to be condemned for what was a heartbreaking decision based on the best medical evidence. But I would keep it to myself or the conservative blogosphere would be all over it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

More Thoughts on Smokers' Rights

Did you know that the cost of a pack of cigarettes averages $4.49, probably more now with the increase in taxes? A pack-a-day smoker, which is what I was for nearly 30 years, coughs up nearly $1,700 per year. But, as the rights people like to say, "Hey, it's their choice."

Did you know that smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States? An estimated 440,000 people were hacked off prematurely from 1995 through 1999.

Did you know that on average adult men and women smokers lose 13.2 and 14.5 years of life, respectively, because they smoke? My grandfather smoked and died of emphysema. It's a painful way to die, gasping for breath. Dobly painful for grandpa. He was unable to play with his grandchildren because the effort was too great for his burned out lungs.

I've got news for the rights people, it's painful to watch, too.

Did you know that the economic costs during the same period were $81.9 billion in productivity losses from deaths (average for 1995 to 1999) and $75.5 billion in excess medical expenditures in 1998? Productivity lost that affected those other than smokers. Excess medical expenditures that resulted in excess time being spent with smokers who had the choice, taking away time and money from those who chose more wisely.

Did you know that smoking during pregnancy results in more than 1,000 infant deaths annually? Some choice. Where are the anti-abortion forces?

Did you know that because of smokers, we all pay in higher taxes to fund government health care programs, like Medicare, and in higher health insurance premiums?

Did you know that secondhand smoke imposes significant costs on nonsmokers and society? The annual cost of excess medical care, mortality and morbidity from secondhand smoke exposure in the U.S. is approximately $10 billion. This includes approximately $5 billion in direct medical costs and approximately $5 billion in indirect costs, such as lost wages, reduced services and costs associated with disabilities per year.

Oh, did you know this stat includes those workers who are non-smokers but must endure the fumes offered up by the rights people?

I have a couple of additional rights that have been conveniently forgotten in the zeal to make a political point:

What about my right to breath clean, smoke-free air, or am I required to change my plans because of the poor choices of smokers.

What about my right to reasonably priced health insurance, which is adversely affected by the poor choices that smokers make?

What about the rights of my children not to be tempted into an unhealthy life style, and to not have to watch family members die a slow, painful death because of the poor choices smokers make.

There is no constitutionally-protected right to smoke. There is agreement, however, that government, which is selected by the people, can pass laws for the betterment of society, according to the standards the community agrees upon.

For example, pornography is legal, too, more legal in many ways than smoking ... the courts having determined that pornography is protected speech. But the courts have also determined that communities may make choices regarding the sale and distribution of pornography.

I have yet to find any free speech connection with inhaling noxious fumes. But I do know that communities have the right to decide how to handle poor choices.