The Idiom

Can You Grok It? Free Grokistan!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Everything Must Go!

I think today New Jersey Legislature may have finally bridged the gap between the ridiculous and the absurd. Why do I say this now considering all the past bad behavior in this state? Well, it's none other than everybody's favorite pol in this state, former Governor and current Assembly Speaker Dick Codey's suggestion to lease the state lottery(!).

Codey (D-Essex) said he wants to ask voters this November to approve a measure
that would allow the state to lease the lottery. "I think we need to keep all of our financial options open at the moment," said Codey. "If we can get the ball rolling on this now, and get it on the ballot in November, then at least we will have the legal means to explore this option in the future." In the fiscal year that ended in June, the lottery generated $2.3 billion in revenue, of which, the state received roughly $828 million. Codey said it could generate more in the hands of a private operator.

Now, Codey is a guy who usually says all the right things voters want to hear, but when it comes time to act he continues to support all the broken polices of the Democrats that have all but bankrupted this state. Now, he may have gone too far. Voters are already squeamish about Governor Corzine's plan to "monetize" (translation "borrow money against future revenues of") the State toll roads. Corzine's toll road plan is just (purposely) vague and confusing enough that he might get voters to swallow it.

But doing the same thing with THE LOTTERY? I don't think so. Even the worst student in the worst Abbott district knows how the lottery works. Lottery money gets split between the State, to pay for public education, and lottery winners. THE LOTTERY IS AS CLOSE TO BEING A LICENSE TO PRINT MONEY AS YOU CAN GET. What makes Dick Codey think splitting lottery revenue three ways, instead of two, with an outside vendor will generate more revenue for New Jersey?

The Democrats just absolutely refuse to consider spending cuts, the only thing that will help this State crawl out of the financial hole it's in. They don't even know what a spending cut is anymore. For our Governor, reducing a spending increase below what the Legislature asked for is fiscally conservative. Spending cuts are out of the question, it would ruffle the feathers of Big Labor and Big Education, the Democrats' best friends. Instead, there's a For Sale sign up on the whole state.

I hope this is the moment where voters in this state finally stand up to the Democratic majority and ask "have you no decency, at long last have you no decency?" Maybe Codey's assinine suggestion will finally wake people up to just how hard they are getting screwed. Maybe this will generate the outrage that's needed to finally cow Trenton into doing what it should be doing, mercelessly trimming spending. Maybe. But I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, January 21, 2008

No More Meat for Alice

Holy Crap! Sam the Butcher is DEAD!

He also played Sgt. Charlie Hacker on "Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C."; portrayed butcher Sam Franklin -- Alice the housekeeper's boyfriend -- on "The Brady Bunch"; and continued playing Barney when the hit "All in the Family" became "Archie Bunker's Place."

Sam had a last name??? Oh man, we hardly knew ye.

AND he voiced Magilla Gorilla!

There Can Be Only ONE!

So far, because of Rudy's big state strategy, McCain and Rudy have not had to come to blows over the electorate they share. But now, the War candidates must fight. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!!

The logic of the McCain and Giuliani candidacies has always pretty much been the same — a strong leader in the War on Terror who is able to secure the votes of independents. But with Giuliani’s political life on the line, he has no choice but to try to uncouple McCain’s recent converts from the Arizona Republican and send them back Rudy’s way. And McCain will have no choice but to respond — and given the aggressive tone of the Giuliani hit this morning, McCain will surely give as good as he got.

Address To The March On Washington

Letter From A Birmingham Jail

April 16, 1963


While confined here in the Birmingham City Jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom, if ever, do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would be engaged in little else in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine goodwill and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every Southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five affiliate organizations all across the South--one being the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Whenever necessary and possible we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago our local affiliate here in Birmingham invited us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented and when the hour came we lived up to our promises. So I am here, along with several members of my staff, because I have basic organizational ties here.

Beyond this, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the eighth century prophets left their little villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Graeco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere in this country.

You deplore the demonstrations that are presently taking place in Birmingham. But I am sorry that your statement did not express a similar concern for the conditions that brought the demonstrations into being. I am sure that each of you would want to go beyond the superficial social analyst who looks merely at effects, and does not grapple with underlying causes. I would not hesitate to say that it is unfortunate that so-called demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham at this time, but I would say in more emphatic terms that it is even more unfortunate that the white power structure of this city left the Negro community with no other alternative.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: 1) Collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive. 2) Negotiation. 3) Self-purification and 4) Direct action. We have gone through all of these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying of the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community.

Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of police brutality is known in every section of this country. Its unjust treatment of Negroes in the courts is a notorious reality. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than any city in this nation. These are the hard, brutal and unbelievable facts. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the political leaders consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.

Then came the opportunity last September to talk with some of the leaders of the economic community. In these negotiating sessions certain promises were made by the merchants--such as the promise to remove the humiliating racial signs from the stores. On the basis of these promises Rev. Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to call a moratorium on any type of demonstrations. As the weeks and months unfolded we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. The signs remained. Like so many experiences of the past we were confronted with blasted hopes, and the dark shadow of a deep disappointment settled upon us. So we had no alternative except that of preparing for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and national community. We were not unmindful of the difficulties involved. So we decided to go through a process of self-purification. We started having workshops on nonviolence and repeatedly asked ourselves the questions: "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeals of jail?" We decided to set our direct-action program around the Easter season, realizing that with the exception of Christmas, this was the largest shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic withdrawal program would be the by-product of direct action, we felt that this was the best time to bring pressure on the merchants for the needed changes. Then it occurred to us that the March election was ahead and so we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that Mr. Connor was in the run-off, we decided again to postpone action so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. At this time we agreed to begin our nonviolent witness the day after the run-off.

This reveals that we did not move irresponsibly into direct action. We too wanted to see Mr. Connor defeated; so we went through postponement after postponement to aid in this community need. After this we felt that direct action could be delayed no longer.

You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, etc.? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are exactly right in your call for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. I just referred to the creation of tension as a part of the work of the nonviolent resister. This may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word tension. I have earnestly worked and preached against violent tension, but there is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. So the purpose of the direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. We, therefore, concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in the tragic attempt to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

One of the basic points in your statement is that our acts are untimely. Some have asked, "Why didn't you give the new administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this inquiry is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one before it acts. We will be sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Mr. Boutwell will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is much more articulate and gentle than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to the task of maintaining the status quo. The hope I see in Mr. Boutwell is that he will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from the devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have never yet engaged in a direct action movement that was "well timed," according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the words [sic]"Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tip-toe stance never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"; then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: There are just and there are unjust laws. I would agree with Saint Augustine that "An unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority, and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. To use the words of Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher, segregation substitutes and "I-it" relationship for an "I-thou" relationship, and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. So segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, but it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Isn't segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, an expression of his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? So I can urge men to disobey segregation ordinances because they are morally wrong.

Let us turn to a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is not binding on itself. This is difference made legal. On the other hand a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

Let me give another explanation. An unjust law is a code inflicted upon a minority which that minority had no part in enacting or creating because they did not have the unhampered right to vote. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up the segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout the state of Alabama all types of conniving methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters and there are some counties without a single Negro registered to vote despite the fact that the Negro constitutes a majority of the population. Can any law set up in such a state be considered democratically structured?

These are just a few examples of unjust and just laws. There are some instances when a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I was arrested Friday on a charge of parading without a permit. Now there is nothing wrong with an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade, but when the ordinance is used to preserve segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and peaceful protest, then it becomes unjust.

I hope you can see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law as the rabid segregationist would do. This would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly, (not hatefully as the white mothers did in New Orleans when they were seen on television screaming "nigger, nigger, nigger") and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks, before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman empire. To a degree academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.

We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal. If I lived in a Communist country today where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I believe I would openly advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws. I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice, and that when they fail to do this they become dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is merely a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, where the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substance-filled positive peace, where all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

In your statement you asserted that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But can this assertion be logically made? Isn't this like condemning the robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical delvings precipitated the misguided popular mind to make him drink the hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because His unique God-Consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to His will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, that it is immoral to urge an individual to withdraw his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest precipitates violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.

I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth of time. I received a letter this morning from a white brother in Texas which said: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great of a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost 2000 years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." All that is said here grows out of a tragic misconception of time. It is the the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill-will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy, and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

You spoke of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of the extremist. I started thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency made up of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, have been so completely drained of self-respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation, and, of a few Negroes in the middle class who, because of a degree of academic and economic security, and because at points they profit by segregation, have unconsciously become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness, and hatred comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up over the nation, the largest and best-known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. This movement is nourished by the contemporary frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination. It is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incurable "devil." I have tried to stand between these two forces saying that we need not follow the "do-nothingism" of the complacent or the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. There is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I'm grateful to God that, through the Negro church, the dimension of nonviolence entered our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, I am convinced that by now many streets of the South would be flowing with floods of blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who are working through the channels of nonviolent direct action and refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes, out of frustration and despair, will seek solace and security in black-nationalist ideologies, a development that will lead inevitably to a frightening racial nightmare.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The urge for freedom will eventually come. This is what happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom; something without has reminded him that he can gain it. Consciously and unconsciously, he has been swept in by what the Germans call the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa, and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, he is moving with a sense of cosmic urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. Recognizing this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand public demonstrations. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations. He has to get them out. So let him march sometime; let him have his prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; understand why he must have sit-ins and freedom rides. If his repressed emotions do not come out in these nonviolent ways, they will come out in ominous expressions of violence. This is not a threat; it is a fact of history. So I have not said to my people "get rid of your discontent." But I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channelized through the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. Now this approach is being dismissed as extremist. I must admit that I was initially disappointed in being so categorized.

But as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a bit of satisfaction from being considered an extremist. Was not Jesus an extremist for love -- "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice -- "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ -- "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist -- "Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God." Was not John Bunyan an extremist -- "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist -- "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist -- "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice--or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. So, after all, maybe the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this. Maybe I was too optimistic. Maybe I expected too much. I guess I should have realized that few members of a race that has oppressed another race can understand or appreciate the deep groans and passionate yearnings of those that have been oppressed and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too small in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some like Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden and James Dabbs have written about our struggle in eloquent, prophetic and understanding terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy roach-infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of angry policemen who see them as "dirty nigger lovers." They, unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation.

Let me rush on to mention my other disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Rev. Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a non-segregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

But despite these notable exceptions I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say that as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say it as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

I had the strange feeling when I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery several years ago, that we would have the support of the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be some of our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of the stained-glass windows.

In spite of my shattered dreams of the past, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause, and with deep moral concern, serve as the channel through which our just grievances would get to the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed. I have heard numerous religious leaders of the South call upon their worshippers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers say, "follow this decree because integration is morally right and the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churches stand on the sideline and merely mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard so many ministers say, "Those are social issues with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched so many churches commit themselves to a completely other-worldly religion which made a strange distinction between body and soul, the sacred and the secular.

So here we are moving toward the exit of the twentieth century with a religious community largely adjusted to the status quo, standing as a tail-light behind other community agencies rather than a headlight leading men to higher levels of justice.

I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at her beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlay of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over again I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave the clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when tired, bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment, I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church; I love her sacred walls. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great-grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators." But they went on with the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." They brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest.

Things are different now. The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are.

But the judgement of God is upon the church as never before. If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I am meeting young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust.

Maybe again, I have been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to status-quo to save our nation and the world? Maybe I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ecclesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone through the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been kicked out of their churches, and lost support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have gone with the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. These men have been the leaven in the lump of the race. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the Gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope though the dark mountain of disappointment.

I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are presently misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence, we were here. For more than two centuries our fore-parents labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; and they built the homes of their masters in the midst of brutal injustice and shameful humiliation--and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.

I must close now. But before closing I am impelled to mention one other point in your statement that troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence." I don't believe you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its angry violent dogs literally biting six unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I don't believe you would so quickly commend the policemen if you would observe their ugly and inhuman treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you would watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you would see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you will observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I'm sorry that I can't join you in your praise for the police department.

It is true that they have been rather disciplined in their public handling of the demonstrators. In this sense they have been rather publicly "nonviolent". But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the last few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. So I have tried to make it clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Maybe Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather publicly nonviolent, as Chief Pritchett was in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of flagrant racial injustice. T. S. Eliot has said that there is no greater treason than to do the right deed for the wrong reason.

I wish you had commended the Negro sit-inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of the most inhuman provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, courageously and with a majestic sense of purpose, facing jeering and hostile mobs and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy-two year old woman of Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride the segregated buses, and responded to one who inquired about her tiredness with ungrammatical profundity; "my feet is tired, but my soul is rested." They will be the young high school and college students, young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders courageously and nonviolently sitting-in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience's sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for the best in the American dream and the most sacred values in our Judaeo-Christian heritage, and thusly, carrying our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Never before have I written a letter this long, (or should I say a book?). I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else is there to do when you are alone for days in the dull monotony of a narrow jail cell other than write long letters, think strange thoughts, and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that is an overstatement of the truth and is indicative of an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything in this letter that is an understatement of the truth and is indicative of my having a patience that makes me patient with anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil rights leader, but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Insane former chess champion Bobby Fischer dead at 64.

There has always seemed to be a link between chess and madness. The ability to see the board 5 moves into the game just takes a different kind of mind. One not always able to sync appropriately with the real world.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Honor Killing Comes To America

Good Lord! An "honor killing" in Texas!

Amina Said, 18, and her sister Sarah, 17, were found shot multiple times in a cab outside a suburban Dallas hotel. Police found them after one of the girls called 911 from a cell phone and said she was dying. A capital murder warrant has been issued for Yaser Said, 50, who has not been seen since the Lewisville High School students were found dead.

Gail Gattrell, the sisters' great-aunt, has called the deaths an "honor killing," in which a woman is murdered by a relative to protect her family's honor.

According to a police report released Tuesday, a family member told investigators that Yaser Said threatened "bodily harm" against Sarah for going on a date with a non-Muslim.


Everyone should read Bill Whittle's latest about John Boyd. Kid Various is familiar with Boyd, specifically his description of the OODA loop. But Whittle points out something that indeed, blows the mind of The Kid.


Then Observe.

Then Observe…

It’s a cycle. It’s a loop. It’s called by its inelegant acronym: The OODA loop.

Now here’s what blew my mind, as I am sure it blew John Boyd’s mind on a level I can not and will never fully comprehend:

The winner of these battles is not necessarily the fellow who makes the best decisions. More often than not, it’s the guy who makes the fastest decisions.

Agility. Speed. Precision. Lethality. Fingerspitzengefuhl: fingertip control.

It seems counter-intuitive.

Holy cow! That is so simple! You don't have to make better decisions - on average - you just have to make them faster. That's so money...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How Come We Never See This On The Cartoon Network?

This should be shown to every 5th grade class in America. via Captain's Quarters

Never saw that on channel 5 in the afternoon!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Gas Powered Lantern

Coolest... thing... ever...

Maquettes of a Victorian Justice League based on Gotham by Gaslight.

Snow Falls On Baghdad

Snow falls in Baghdad for the first time that anyone can remember. via Instapundit

Idiom friend and commentator, Mr. Democracy, confirms in an email that it snowed as well in Ramadi:

You can imagine my surprise when I looked out my window this morning and saw snow. Like real snow on the ground.

What I always tell people who are coming to Iraq for the first time is to bring a coat and an umbrella. Because it rains here a lot in the winter and it gets freaking cold! During last night's freeze we had the great fortune to also have the power go out in our trailers. So I wake up at 3 in the morning, freezing my XXX off because my hooch has quickly cooled to outside temperatures. (they're not well insulated.)

I get up and grab my coats from the closet and throw them on the bed as extra blankets. Woke up this morning and realized that we could have had someone freeze to death if they were a heavy sleeper. All in the name of Freedom baby!

Borg Make Obama Presidency Possible In Bid To Take Over Alpha Quadrant

Kid Various fears Obama. That much is known. But what's been pointed out in this piece is that if 7 of 9 had just kept her big Borg yap shut - we may not even have been put in this situation!

Yet despite running away with the primary, Obama still had a formidable challenge in Republican Jack Ryan. Ryan was an impressive candidate - attractive and wealthy, with law and business degrees from Harvard. After making a fortune at Goldman Sachs, Ryan left to teach in an inner city school.

Yet Ryan had a problem - during the campaign, he was going through a messy divorce from actress Jeri Ryan, of “Star Trek: Voyager” fame. Details of Jeri Ryan’s testimony contained lurid details about Ryan forcing his wife to go to sex clubs in Paris. These details were toxic to Jack Ryan’s campaign, and he saw his poll numbers plummet - eventually, Republican leaders pressed Ryan to quit the race, fearing he was toxic to the statewide ticket.

Maybe it's a plot by the Collective to change the time-line to alter the correlation of forces in the 24th century in their favor! You know how good the Borg are with time travel.

And you people thought we couldn't wedge a STAR TREK reference into this topic...

The Pieces Of The Plan Are Falling Into Place

Patrick Basham in today's National Review Online makes the first mention of what Kid Various has been touting for the past few weeks. Rudy Guiliani is well placed in his bid for the nomination.

However, as the Republican race journeys down to South Carolina, and then on to Florida — prior to decisive Super Tuesday — Giuliani may be in the best overall shape of any Republican candidate. Giuliani’s advantage over his competitors in key facets of the nomination battle is increasingly overlooked; too little attention has been paid to his financial resources, organization, and electability.

The Giuliani campaign has made comparatively large investments in organization, candidate visits, and advertising in many of the big, early-voting states, including Florida, California, and Illinois. Consequently, beyond the headline poll numbers, Giuliani holds a far more competitive position across the spectrum of upcoming primary states than Huckabee, McCain, or Romney.

The Kid supports McCain, but is almost just as happy with Rudy. All that matters is that we nominate a War candidate. And as The Kid noted before, the most important thing for Rudy is to keep consensus from coalescing around one candidate (ie Romney) until Feb. 5 - when Rudy can bust out and scoop up a third of the delegates needed for the nomination. Then suddenly, he's way ahead and the "candidate of destiny."

The Difference

Kid Various was listening to the Dennis Prager radio program the other day and Prager noted a truly astounding difference in the visions of the New Hampshire primary winners; John McCain and Hillary Clinton. And Kid Various dares to say, between the Republican field in general and the Democratic field in general. To wit:

The work that we face in our time is great, but our opportunities greater still. In a time of war, and the terrible sacrifices it entails, the promise of a better future is not always clear. But I promise you, my friends, we face no enemy, no matter how cruel; and no challenge, no matter how daunting, greater than the courage, patriotism and determination of Americans. We are the makers of history, not its victims. And as we confront this enemy, the people privileged to serve in public office should not evade our mutual responsibility to defeat them because we are more concerned with personal or partisan ambition.

Whatever the differences between us, so much more should unite us. And nothing should unite us more closely than the imperative of defeating an enemy who despises us, our values and modernity itself. We must all pull together in this critical hour and proclaim that the history of the world will not be determined by this unpardonable foe, but by the aspirations, ideals, faith and courage of free people. In this great, historic task, we will never surrender. They will.

Compare that with this excerpt from Clinton's victory speech:

Too many have been invisible for too long. Well, you are not invisible to me.

The oil companies, the drug companies, the health insurance companies, the predatory student loan companies have had seven years of a president who stands up for them. It’s time we had a president who stands up for all of you.

So basically, we have a candidate who feels that the primary enemies of America are "The oil companies, the drug companies, the health insurance companies" and "the predatory student loan companies." Corporations who, whatever excesses one can document, exist basically to give us Americans power, energy, health care and education. In the Post-modernist's view - these are the principle enemies of America.

The other candidate, who The Kid might say represents the best of the Modern, on the other hand thinks that the primary enemies of America is a large network of Pre-modern savages who feel their traditional way of life threatened by the expansion of The Enlightenment and are currently doing everything within their power to destroy every vestige of Modern culture and those who embody it.

Stark choices ahead.

Self Parody

Hillary Clinton's come from behind victory in New Hampshire - it's like a black fly in your chardonay...

Tigerhawk picks up the humour in a reader's email to Andrew Sullivan.

Watched the NH returns with some friends last night, and something quite unexpected happened when the AP called it for Clinton -- inexplicable ANGER. I was surrounded by people in their early 30's, registered Democrats, receptive to the Clintons in the 90's, and I swear I thought someone was going to throw their wine glass at the tube during her 'victory' speech. We made a pact last that we all followed through on this morning -- logging on to and donating $100 each to his campaign (this is the first time ANY of us has donated money to a campaign). Oh, and did I mention we're all New Yorkers?

Man that joke just writes itself. And it is unintentionally instructive of the fact that many Americans are living in an alternate moral/political universe.

We're talking alternate. Way more alternate than that universe where Spock has the cool goatee. So alternate, that they would actually put that description of their election eve soirée down on paper (well electrons) and send it to a major media outlet with absolutely no conception of just how far they had descended into self-parody.

Unless of course, the writer is so meta that he created that story as hook to get Sullivan to publish it as a real anecdote, thus highlighting Andrew's own hiptard leanings. Then that guy would be a genius!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Who Knew?

The bustling metropolis of New Brunswick! City of Hope - City of Broken Dreams!

Who knew it was a hot-bed of jew hatred?

The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office said 499 gravestones were knocked over in two separate instances on Jan. 1 and Saturday night. It was a scale of destruction that neither law enforcement officials nor members of the Jewish community here could recall ever witnessing. Many of the gravestones, some of which date to the 1920s, were cracked or broken.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Uh Oh

Iranian speedboats harassed three U.S. Navy ships in the (highly strategic) Straits of Hormuz on January 6 for 30 minutes. Here's video of the event provided by the Pentagon.

Iran (along with many YouTube users with a tenuous grip on reality) have already claimed the video was fabricated, without offering any proof of this charge. The same Iran the sponsors Holocaust denial conferences and denies having any homosexuals. Apparently though, Iran's word is good enough for many people who believe this is just all part of the Bush evil plan to start a war with Iran. For an explanation of why this encounter is troubling I invite readers to read about the U.S.S. Cole. I particularly invite lefty types that have drunk the Kool-Aid to do so.

I must admit though that the Iranian voice at the end of the video saying "I am coming at you. . . You will explode in a couple of minutes" sounds strangely like Borat. Borat doing an impression of the French Soldier who taunts King Arthur in Monty Python's Holy Grail.
You don't frighten us, English pig dogs. Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called "Arthur King," you and all your silly English K-nig-hts.
Wonder where Sasha Baron Cohen has been lately?

2008 Baby!

An amusing list of ways to know that you are living in 2008. via Parkway Reststop

Kid Various particularly recognizes #5

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that you don't have their email addresses.

Hell, The Kid will forget you exist if you're not on his IM contacts list!

Good News Everyone!



McCain beats Romney by 5 in NH. Thus avoiding a narrow win which is spun into a Romney victory by beating expectations. Romney is now seriously wounded. Paths to victory for him are narrowing. Paths to victory for McCain are expanding. Throw in the Rudy Feb. 5 scenario and the the options for a war candidate victory seem solid.

Even better, against all expectation, Hilary beats Obama in NH. Critical. Obama is too dangerous and needs to be stopped. Plus options for a bruising Dem primary battle increase.

All the pieces of Kid Various' plan are falling into place...


An Interesting Formulation

Take a look at this from the AP article covering the Clinton and McCain wins in NH.

Her victory, after Obama won last week's Iowa caucuses, raised the possibility of a prolonged battle for the party nomination between the most viable black candidate in history and the former first lady, seeking to become the first woman to occupy the Oval Office.
and then

Obama's defeat came as he had appeared to be within reach of gaining an endorsement from the powerful Culinary Workers union in Nevada in the days ahead. He is still strong in South Carolina, where the Democratic electorate is heavily black and likely to go for the most viable black presidential candidate in history.
That's a rather odd formulation isn't it? "The most viable black presidential candidate in history?"

News organizations are having to increasingly contort themselves to put a racial spin on the campaign. Because, to the media - Barack Obama is a black man. But the awkward construction of the AP's description just goes to highlight, that despite the fact that America is "racist, bigoted, fascist nation," an increasing majority of people don't care any more.

Obama is not the first black man to contend for the presidential nomination of a major political party. Hell, he's not even the second since the Democratic Party, apparently after dropping serious acid, decided to welcome the black PT Barnum, Al Sharpton, to the festivities in 2004.

Jesus, when you throw in speculation about presidential runs by Colin Powell or Condoleeza Rice, (and don't forget President Palmer from 24) - to most Americans, the prospect of a black president seems downright normal.

But normal doesn't fit the narrative does it?

So Very Very Georgian

It seems as if the Georgian elections are wrapped up. there have been some allegations of fraud as there always are. But in general it seems as if Saakashvili's narrow election victory is legit.

Actually his margin of victory was not narrow. His closest rival Levan Chachechelidze got 27% to Saakashvili's 53%. But in the Georgian system, if no one gets over 50% - the top two contenders go into a run off.

Kid Various is happy that our friends the Georgians (or kartvelebi in their language) have managed a round of real democratic action when power was at stake. The Kid has always believed Georgia has at least a shot a becoming a real western, Enlightenment culture.

Plus, fried sulguni cheese is their national food. How can you not love a people like that?

But what disturbed Kid Various about the Georgian elections is this:

Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat heading the OSCE mission, said it was unfair to be too critical of the election, describing it as only a step on Georgia's road to democracy.

"These people are just 16 years away from a level of repression that most Western countries theorize about and they lived," he said by telephone early Monday. "They didn't have a perfect election. They took a step."


is the leader of the OSCE observation mission? Alcee Hastings? A member of congress precisely because he got thrown out of his old job as a federal judge for corruption and perjury? Oh man, that's sad. And strangely, so very, very Georgian.

Vaccinate, Your Children Well...

Oh, by the way. You know the MMR vaccines that had a small amount of mercury in them that vaccine makers were hounded into removing from the market a few years ago? The ones that supposedly caused autism?

Major study on the effect of those vaccines just finished. Was there any discernible effect on autism rates?

SURVEY SAYS............................Of course not you idiots!

The data "do not show any recent decrease in autism in California despite the exclusion of more than trace levels of thimerosal from nearly all childhood vaccines (and) do not support the hypothesis that that exposure (to it) during childhood is a primary cause of autism," the study concluded.





Why Not Just Get Them Feline Minoxydil?

The American society is incredibly creative and productive, inventing all sorts of new things to improve human (and otherwise) lives. But every once in a while, we do come up with something that is completely superfluous.

That's right. Wigs for cats.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a cat blog

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Speaking of Change

All the Democratic candidates running for President want you to know they are all for CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE. I have no idea what exactly they going to change. With luck, if elected, they will only change things that need to be changed like dirty diapers or the TV when you finish watching Jeopardy and forget to switch to another channel before the horror that is Wheel of Fortune starts, who knows?

I, too, support change, specifically climate change. I think the paranoia over global warming is basically a load of crap. I'll say this though, if people are causing the Earth's temperature to rise, BRING IT ON! As I sit here it's a balmy 60 degrees outside. You don't need a coat to go out and you can drive around with the windows down. I could get used to January days in Jersey like this.

It's a Horserace

Well, surprisingly, Hillary Clinton scored an narrow win over Barack Obama in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. With 81% of precincts reporting, Hilly has a 2-3 point margin of victory. Primary season is starting to look more and more interesting.

Survey Says!

You heard it here, er, third...CNN and Fox News just called the New Hampshire Republican primary for John McCain...15 minutes after the polls closed.

I Apologize for Nothing

This just makes me choke on my Cheerios. The State Legislature of New Jersey has voted to apologize to the descendants of slaves (but essentially to all blacks in general) for the evils of slavery. A lousy 10 (count'em TEN) legislators had the balls to vote "no" on this resolution.

There is so much wrong with New Jersey apologizing for slavery it's difficult to know where to start. How about New Jersey abolished slavery long before the civil war, was not a confederate state, and many New Jerseyans paid the highest price to end slavery during the Civil War. How about apologizing for slavery is beyond meaningless considering every actual slave (as well as every slave owner) has been deceased for the better part of a century.

None of that really matters though because the express purpose of the resolution is to make blacks "feel better" today. The full text of the resolution runs below so you can appreciate the sheer amount of words, time and effort wasted on this horse shit legislation. Blacks today are still experiencing the "vestiges of slavery" according to the resolution. This signals its true purpose. It's nothing more than a naked ploy to advance the case for reparations (notwithstanding the statement in the resolution that "it can't be used in litigation" -- wait did someone suggest litigation?). Well, that's just great.

New Jersey doesn't owe blacks reparations or even an apology for slavery for that matter. How do you quantify the damages inflicted on the descendants of slaves (blacks who emigrated here voluntarily after the emancipation, you're out of luck, caveat emptor)? The answer is you can't, it's just just too attenuated to show how anyone has suffered because of slavery. And if this resolution is directed at apologizing for the "ills inflicted upon African Americans" in general, which seems to be the case, then Mr. Surly wants his apology for the discrimination that held his drunken ancestors back from achieving their full potential. A quarter for every "No Irish" sign ever posted ought to do.

I'd like to cut through all this apology and reparations nonsense with a modest proposal. I would support reparations for blacks (hell, I'd make this offer to anybody who wants it) under certain conditions. I won't even ask for credit for all my tax dollars that have gone to fund predominantly black Abbott school districts. I only want a few things in return for reparations: the end of affirmative action programs, the reform of employment law, civil rights law, education law, housing law, and welfare programs that sacrifice sound policy in the name of redistributing income, creating victims, encouraging the politics of race and dividing people along racial lines, and protecting people from being offended. Oh yes, and one more thing. If you accept reparations, you must renounce U.S. citizenship, be repatriated to an African nation and never return to the United States.

Any takers? I thought not. The hard truth for many to accept is that, as evil as slavery was, the descendants of slaves are better off because their great-great-grandparents came to this shore no matter how they got here. Unpleasant as life was for their ancestors and despite any indignities which are currently borne by minorities, on the whole, their life is better today in the U.S. than if they had been born in Africa (and most of the rest of the world frankly). The truth of this statement is proven by the millions of people who want to emigrate here, many of whom die trying to come here. The United States is the greatest and most benign nation that has ever existed. We enjoy freedoms and a standard of living which is the envy of the world. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we as a nation could focus on that simple fact and put aside our differences and stop focusing on past wrongs. Perhaps we could all begin to consider ourselves Americans first instead of some hyphenate. It would be wonderful. But I am not going to hold my breath. This nation has endured over 50 years of entitlement programs and civil rights laws which have encouraged minorities to think of themselves as victims and failed to enfranchise them. As long as these policies continue (and they will for the time being because Democratic leaders derive political advantage from them) minorities will continue to see themselves as a group separate and apart from the rest of America, as victims who are owed a debt, and America will never escape the shadow of slavery.





Sponsored by:

Assemblyman WILLIAM D. PAYNE

District 29 (Essex and Union)

Assemblyman CRAIG A. STANLEY

District 28 (Essex)


Expresses New Jersey’s profound regret for its role in slavery and apologizes for wrongs inflicted by slavery and its after effects in the United States.


As introduced.

A Concurrent Resolution apologizing for the wrongs of slavery and expressing New Jersey’s profound regret for its role in slavery.

Whereas, Slavery has been documented as a worldwide practice since antiquity, dating back to 3500 B.C. in ancient Mesopotamia; and

Whereas, During the existence of the Atlantic Slave Trade, millions of Africans became involuntary immigrants to the New World, and millions more died during passage; the first African slaves in the North American colonies were brought to Jamestown, in 1619; and

Whereas, The Atlantic Slave Trade was a lucrative enterprise, and African slaves, a prized commodity to support the economic base of plantations in the colonies, were traded for tropical products, manufactured goods, sugar, molasses, and other merchandise; and

Whereas, Some African captives resisted enslavement by fleeing from slave forts on the West African coast and others mutinied aboard slave trading vessels, cast themselves into the Atlantic Ocean, or risked the cruel retaliation of their masters by running away to seek freedom; and

Whereas, Although the United States outlawed the transatlantic slave trade in 1808, the domestic slave trade in the colonies and illegal importation continued for several decades; and

Whereas, Slavery, or the "Peculiar Institution," in the United States resembled no other form of involuntary servitude, as Africans were captured and sold at auction as chattel, like inanimate property or animals; and

Whereas, To prime Africans for slavery, the fundamental values of the Africans were shattered; they were brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized, and subjected to the indignity of being stripped of their names and heritage; women and girls were raped, and families were disassembled as husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, and fathers and sons were sold into slavery apart from one another; and

Whereas, A series of complex colonial laws was enacted to relegate the status of Africans and their descendants to slavery, in spite of their loyalty, dedication, and service to the country, including heroic and distinguished service in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and all other conflicts and military actions involving the United States military; and

Whereas, New Jersey, with as many as 12,000 slaves, had one of the largest populations of captive Africans in the northern colonies; and

Whereas, In 1786, the State of New Jersey enacted a law that prohibited the importation of slaves into this State and made owners punishable for the mistreatment of slaves; and

Whereas, Although the State of New Jersey passed a gradual emancipation law in 1804, it was the last northern state to emancipate its slaves, and required all children of slaves born after July 4, 1804 to remain the “servant of the owner of his or her mother” until they were twenty-one years of age for women or twenty-five years of age for men; and

Whereas, New Jersey had one of the severest slave codes in the northern colonies and was one of the few northern states to sanction the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which permitted authorities in free states to return runaway slaves to their owners, with the result that Underground Railroad passengers had to proceed with utmost caution in this State; and

Whereas, In 1846, New Jersey passed a law officially abolishing slavery; and

Whereas, The system of slavery had become entrenched in American history and the social fabric, and the issue of enslaved Africans had to be addressed as a national issue, contributing to the Civil War from 1861 to 1865 and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude on December 18, 1865; and

Whereas, New Jersey adopted the Thirteenth Amendment on January 23, 1866 only after originally rejecting it on March 16, 1865; and

Whereas, After emancipation from 246 years of slavery, African-Americans soon saw the political, social, and economic gains they made during Reconstruction dissipated by virulent and rabid racism, lynchings, disenfranchisement of African-American voters, Black Codes designed to reimpose the subordination of African-Americans, and Jim Crow laws that instituted a rigid system of state sanctioned segregation in virtually all areas of life and lasted until the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act; and

Whereas, Throughout their existence in America and even in the decades after the Civil Rights Movement, African-Americans have found the struggle to overcome the bitter legacy of slavery long and arduous, and for many African-Americans the scars left behind are unbearable, haunting their psyches and clouding their vision of the future and of America's many positive attributes; and

Whereas, Our nation acknowledges the crimes and persecution visited upon other peoples during World War II lest the world forget, yet the very mention of the broken promise of "40 acres and a mule" to former slaves or of the existence of racism today evokes denial from many quarters of any responsibility for the centuries of legally sanctioned deprivation of African-Americans of their endowed rights or for contemporary policies that perpetuate the existing state of affairs; and

Whereas, In 2003, during a trip to Goree Island, Senegal, a former slave port, President George W. Bush stated, "At this place, liberty and life were stolen and sold. Human Beings were delivered and sorted, and weighed, and branded with the marks of commercial enterprises, and loaded as cargo on a voyage without return. One of the largest migrations of history was also one of the greatest crimes of history.... For 250 years the captives endured an assault on their culture and their dignity.... Small men took on the powers and airs of tyrants and masters. Years of unpunished brutality and bullying and rape produced a dullness and hardness of conscience. Christian men and women became blind to the clearest commands of their faith and added hypocrisy to injustice.... We can finally judge the past by the standards of President John Adams, who called slavery 'an evil of colossal magnitude’.... My nation's journey toward justice has not been easy, and it is not over. The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation ... and many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times ...; and

Whereas, In New Jersey the vestiges of slavery are ever before African-American citizens, from the overt racism of hate groups to the subtle racism encountered when requesting health care, transacting business, buying a home, seeking quality public education and college admission, and enduring pretextual traffic stops and other indignities; and

Whereas, European and African nations have apologized for their roles in what history calls the worst holocaust of humankind, the Atlantic Slave Trade, and racial reconciliation is impossible without some acknowledgment of the moral and legal injustices perpetrated upon African-Americans; and

Whereas, An apology for centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but confession of the wrongs can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help African-American and white citizens confront the ghosts of their collective pasts together; and

Whereas, The story of the enslavement of Africans and their descendants, the human carnage, and the dehumanizing atrocities committed during slavery should not be purged from New Jersey's history or discounted; moreover, the faith, perseverance, hope, and endless triumphs of African-Americans and their significant contributions to the development of this State and the nation should be embraced, celebrated, and retold for generations to come; and

Whereas, The perpetual pain, distrust, and bitterness of many African-Americans could be assuaged and the principles espoused by the Founding Fathers would be affirmed, and great strides toward unifying all New Jerseyans and inspiring the nation to acquiesce might be accomplished, if on the eve of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in the New World, the State acknowledged and atoned for its role in the slavery of Africans; and

Whereas, Acknowledging that there is a difference between wrong and right, and that slavery as an American "institution" was a wrong committed upon millions of African Americans and that their descendants continue to suffer from the effects of Jim Crow laws, segregation, housing discrimination, discrimination in education, and other ills inflicted upon African-Americans; and

Whereas, The State of New Jersey, the Governor, and its citizens are conscious that under slavery many atrocities and gross violations of human rights were imposed upon African-Americans, and that acknowledging these facts can and will avert future tragedies, be they in the Sudan, or other parts of the world; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey (the Senate concurring):

1. The Legislature of the State of New Jersey expresses its profound regret for the State’s role in slavery and apologizes for the wrongs inflicted by slavery and its after effects in the United States of America; expresses its deepest sympathies and solemn regrets to those who were enslaved and the descendants of those slaves, who were deprived of life, human dignity, and the constitutional protections accorded all citizens of the United States; and we encourage all citizens to remember and teach their children about the history of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and modern day slavery, to ensure that these tragedies will neither be forgotten nor repeated.

2. It is the intent of the Legislature that this resolution shall not be used in, or be the basis of, any type of litigation.

3. Duly authenticated copies of this resolution, signed by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the General Assembly and attested by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the General Assembly, shall be transmitted to the New Jersey Secretary of State, all New Jersey branches of the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People, Garden State Bar Association, the Amistad Commission, and the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education.

Monday, January 07, 2008

RIP Andy Olmstead

A great warrior geek has died in Iraq. Read milbloggerAndy Olmstead's final posthumous blog post. It is equally sad and inspiring.

Via Tigerhawk.

Wah Wah Wah!

Hillary gets emotional...because she cares SO much!

Please. Check out how compassionate Hilly is when the cameras are off here.

Here's a sample:

"This is the kind of sh*t I have to put up with."
To a friend after a Clinton supporter had given her earrings shaped like Arkansas Razorbacks (Blood Sport, p. 105).

Via Jim at Parkway Rest Stop

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Saakashvili with 53%

Kid Various is impressed. Not that Saakashvili won, but that he did so with 53%. Why is this impressive? Because it means that the election probably were pretty free and honest. Georgia has a history of having generally free elections where an outcome of 53% is normal.

This contrasts with the normal post-soviet election where presidential candidates win with pluralities in the high 80's, low 90's.

We'll see in the coming days if any claims to fraud pan out.

For now - time to break out the Saperavi, Sakartvelo! And have a khachapuri on The Kid!

Having Had All The Blood Sucked Out Of Him, McCain Rises From The Dead

Good article on the comeback. We'll see if it's long lived or not.

But a minor point in the article that shines through big as life for Kid Various, is that McCain tanked when he was having the life sucked out of him by vampiric consultants.

But McCain appeared spooked by his own strategy. On the stump he was cautious, scripted, and far too focused on ingratiating himself with all the groups and special interests that, by and large, never trusted him to begin with. Behind the scenes, his campaign was torn by strategic chaos and riven by feuds between consultants charging huge fees.

Vampires, we're telling you!

Outright Lies

Of course, anyone who has a passing familiarity with the situation knew the Lancet study concerning Iraqi casualties was bogus and riddled with error. But now, it seems as if there is a possibility of outright fraud.

"The authors refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data," said David Kane, a statistician and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Statistics at Harvard University. Some critics have wondered whether the Iraqi researchers engaged in a practice known as "curb-stoning," sitting on a curb and filling out the forms to reach a desired result. Another possibility is that the teams went primarily into neighborhoods controlled by anti-American militias and were steered to homes that would provide information about the "crimes" committed by the Americans.

Fritz Scheuren, vice president for statistics at the National Opinion Research Center and a past president of the American Statistical Association, said, "They failed to do any of the [routine] things to prevent fabrication." The weakest part of the Lancet surveys is their reliance on an unsupervised Iraqi survey team, contended Scheuren, who has recently trained survey workers in Iraq.

This study would have been laughable, if it did not both give ammunition to the antiwar propagandists who have come within a hair's breadth of making America declare defeat and also do injustice to the actual Iraqis who have died horribly - mostly at the hands of the Enemy.

The Enlightenment and its Enemies

Former Dutch MP and continued infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes a review of Lee Harris' The Suicide of Reason. Harris' book is an extremely important clarion call to members of the western enlightenment, spelling out the dangers of the current conflict with the pre-modern. It is an excellent read, and, as you can see - tops the list at The Idiom Library over there to the right. We suggest you pick it up.

Ali has an interesting criticism though that Kid Various noted in the margins when he was reading the book. The crux of Harris' argument is that we are so enmeshed in a society that embodies the Enlightenment value of reason that we are incapable of believing that other societies may behave fanatically. He kind of blurs the difference between the modern and the post-modern. Both of which are on exhibit in the West. The West has become bifurcated into modern (Enlightenment) and post-modern (Romantic, Multicuturalism) camps. And that distinction is important.

Both the Romantic movement and organized religion have contributed a great deal to the arts and to the spirituality of the Western mind, but they share a hostility to modernity. Moral and cultural relativism (and their popular manifestation, multiculturalism) are the hallmarks of the Romantics. To argue that reason is the mother of the current mess the West is in is to miss the major impact this movement has had, first in the West and perhaps even more profoundly outside the West, particularly in Muslim lands.

Thus, it is not reason that accommodates and encourages the persistent segregation and tribalism of immigrant Muslim populations in the West. It is Romanticism. Multiculturalism and moral relativism promote an idealization of tribal life and have shown themselves to be impervious to empirical criticism. My reasons for reproaching today’s Western leaders are different from Harris’s. I see them squandering a great and vital opportunity to compete with the agents of radical Islam for the minds of Muslims, especially those within their borders. But to do so, they must allow reason to prevail over sentiment.

Kid Various does not see Harris as placing the fault of the weakness of the West purely on reason - like he said - Harris more kind of blurs the line. It certainly does not detract from the importance of his work. Highly recommended.


The amount of Enemy in Iraq who are no longer wasting Kid Various' oxygen according to Terrorist Death Watch.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

Good article on the ability (and NON ability) of private citizens to monitor those who monitor us. via Instapundit

The candidates didn't trust me because the editorial page of the newspaper I worked for had endorsed their opponents. But the encounter always bothered me. How can a verbatim record of a conversation increase the chance of being misquoted?

At the time, I hesitated for a moment and considered walking away from the interview. But I changed my mind and put the tape recorder away. In hindsight, I should have said, "Look, I can't take notes as fast as my tape recorder can. Why don't you go grab a tape recorder, too. We'll both tape it. If I misquote you, you can prove it."

The problem they had -- and one problem with surveillance in general -- is that it upsets the balance of power. Whoever has the tape has the power to use, not use, selectively use or misuse the information or proof or evidence recorded.

Privacy as we know it is going through a major reorientation. The assumption of anonymity that we've all grown comfortable with is simply no longer valid. And it will get worse. But instead of privacy advocates getting all freaked out and Canute-like trying to command the tide of technology to flow backwards - we should be making sure that we put into practice laws which promote the widest possible use of surveillance technology. Ordinary citizens should have the absolute right to record every interaction they have with government officials.

The power of surveillance is dangerous only when an elite group has access to the information. If everyone can have information on everyone else - including us observing the authorities who observe us - information becomes less powerful.

David Brin wrote an excellent book on this topic - The Transparent Society - which is well worth reading. Check it out on The Idiom library!

UPDATE: More reason to make sure we have eyes on who's watching us.