Archive for September, 2003

Today I’m reading this regarding Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante. The article isn’t really about them, but contains an interesting quote:

Schwarzenegger also responded to criticism from Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante that he is anti-immigrant, saying the fact he is Austrian-born makes him “the poster child for immigrants.”

“I don’t need to get a lesson from anyone else about immigration because I’ve been there,” he told the AP. “Whereas other candidates are maybe sons of immigrants, but I’m the true immigrant, OK? So let’s just make that clear.”

This illustrates one of the many things I hate about Bustamante, and one of the many things I like about Arnold.

Arnold is well-documented as being opposed to allowing illegal aliens to have benefits that are properly reserved to citizens and legal residents. This includes things like unemployment insurance and healthcare, fighting document forgery (i.e. Prop 187, which was approved by California voters and then scuttled by the court system and the direct intervention of Gray Davis), driver’s licenses (thanks to Gray Davis’ intention to sign “Driver’s Licenses for Illegals” SB 60 today), and accommodating non-English-speakers in government venues.

This, of course, somehow makes him anti-immigrant in the minds of people like Bustamante, La Raza, La Voz de Aztlan, and other activist groups. The charge is, obviously, stupid. Arnold was born in Austria and came to the United States in 1968, when he was 21 years old. He wasn’t fleeing from something. He was seeking opportunity in the world of professional bodybuilding, and the United States was the place to do that.

But Bustamante’s accusation brings up something that has been apparent to me for a while now, which is the tendency (and the deliberate attempt, I think), to make the world “immigrant” equal the word “Mexican”. Perhaps that was what Bustamante was really thinking, and Arnold was impolite enough to interpret the word “immigrant” correctly, rather than as Bustamante intended.

Possibly this is a California phenomenon — I don’t know. But the “immigrant” = “Mexican” equation is very prevalent, I think on a subconscious level in most cases. People who express opposition to various preferential treatment for illegal immigrants are labeled “racist”, even though immigrants can come from anywhere, and could indeed be Caucasian (duh).

The news article contains another interesting exchange:

Thursday, Davis attacked Schwarzenegger’s claim in a new TV ad that California spends $29 million more each day than it is taking in. State officials say that under the new budget, which includes heavy borrowing, the state is bringing in about $6 million more each day than it spends.

“Arnold needs to take a refresher course in math,” Davis said at the town hall.

Asked about that claim, Schwarzenegger said he “looked at the numbers very carefully” before approving the ad.

“The reality is that they play games with the numbers,” he said.

This is absolutely correct. One has only to see the phrase “includes heavy borrowing” to understand that this is not real income. Arnold has the temerity to state the obvious, and to call things what they are. He is blunt and plain-spoken, directing everyone’s attention to the Emperor’s lack of clothes.

Arnold’s interview in Oui magazine in 1977 has received some commentary lately, due to the inclusion of coarse language and a casual attitude toward sex and marijuana. I was able to read the entire article on Smoking Gun before it was apparently yanked (presumably because it is copyrighted material), and the thing that really leaps off the page is not the talk of sex and drugs, but the blinding, articulate intelligence of the man.

He’s smart, and considerably shrewder than he’s given credit for. People think he’s dumb because he’s musclebound, speaks with a strong accent, and is an actor. But the reality is that he’s sharp as a razor. Californians who have paid even a modest amount of attention to him over the years are aware of this. If you watch him live on a talk-show, or somesuch, he’s clearly a very bright man.

But the bigger picture is that I think Arnold is the right man for the job. Gray Davis and Bustamante talk about how they have “experience”. Yeah, and look what they’ve done to California. Davis has been in California politics so long that he’s got graft and favors coming out of his ass. Since 1972 he has served in such capacities as finance director for Tom Bradley mayoral campaign & mayor’s special assistant (1972-74); chief of staff for Governor Jerry Brown Jr. (1975-82); California Assembly member (1983-86); California controller (1987-94); California lieutenant governor under Pete Wilson (1995-98); California governor, 1999-present.

I don’t want that kind of “experience” in my government.

…let this come to pass…

Please?

Since we’re on the subject of toilets, I can’t resist tossing this into the mix. This is definitely a data point in support of the thesis that you can find anything on the Internet.

This has got to be the latest wacky entry in the increasingly-visible movement to deny the benefits of modern civilization to underdeveloped nations.

It was bad enough when various eco-Nazis and junk science apologists like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth contributed to the mass starvation of millions of people in Africa by convincing those people that the donated bio-engineered grain from the United States was “poison” (in spite of the fact that Americans have been eating it for 20 years).

But apparently famine isn’t enough for these people. Now there’s movement afoot to discourage the development of indoor plumbing and modern sewage infrastructure through the discrediting of the flush toilet.

What do they advocate instead? The so-called “dry toilet”, recently hailed in the first ever International Dry Toilet Conference (even the Onion couldn’t make up stuff this good). This dry toilet is a contained unit that requires no plumbing. It collects urine and feces and must be emptied by humans on a regular basis (which can conveniently be used as compost, for those of you who live in homes that actually have a need and a space for such a thing).

Y’know, even a hole in the ground in the back yard is better than that.

The argument goes that installing flush toilets in countries where they don’t already exist is prohibitively difficult and expensive due to the lack of a general plumbing infrastructure. That, of course, is a weak argument since the civilized world seems to have adapted fine to the concept.

The more relevant argument is, I think, the assertion that this use of water is wasteful and harmful to the environment.

I’m not entirely sure what harm is meant here. The flush toilet is part of the modern phenomenon of running water and sewage treatment. Water doesn’t vanish from the Earth when you flush the toilet. The Earth is a closed system, and that water will wind up somewhere.

So then they argue that not all societies have access to such plentiful water.

Duh? That’s what pumping stations, reservoirs, and desalination plants are for.

In the article I cited above, Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute takes vehement exception to the concept of the dry toilet and the motives of the people who advocate it. He states: “The toilet and indoor plumbing and indoor sanitation generally have greatly assisted in elevating the life expectancy and disease mitigation of the developed world. . . [Advocates of the dry toilet] are ultimately seeking to subject people to undeveloped standards of living.”

I agree. I cannot see a legitimate reason to promote the dry toilet as a universal substitute for a flush toilet, nor can I see any justification for removing flush toilets to install these stupid contraptions. Sanitary sewage and flush toilets are one of the most significant factors in modern disease control, especially in dense populations.

And let’s face it, if I had to empty my own toilet, where would I put it? I don’t have a yard. Urine and feces qualify as biohazardous waste, and the disposal of such waste is heavily regulated. You can’t just dump it in the trash, not to mention how bad for the environment THAT would be.

Still, I think there is humor value in an International Dry Toilet Conference (read: conference of people from everywhere except the United States). And I don’t think it’s realistic to expect people to give up their flush toilets, voluntarily or otherwise. I mean Jesus, I have relatives and friends with living memories of moving up in the world by finally having indoor plumbing.

But I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Apparently I pissed someone off with my entry about the French.

Ah. Fresh meat. ๐Ÿ™‚ Allow me to dissect the comment. *cracks knuckles* Frenchie’s comments are in italics. I have omitted a handful of his comments that are unworthy of reply.

Only a blood thirsty religious fanatic could make the relation between the refusal of a nation to support an outright invasion with little proof-did we see weapons of mass destruction yet?- and the god-like punishment upon elderly people…pathetic.

1. It was a joke.

2. I’m not a religious fantatic. Most people would argue that I’m an atheist, although Kyle says that my spiritual beliefs qualify as a definitely theist philosophy. Most of my beliefs are rooted in Rosicrucianism.

I guess in your case,if wishing death on 80+years old people as a mean of settlement to your personal dissatisfaction is ok..that IS scary.

Actually, what scares me more are all the Islamist terrorists bent on settling their personal dissatisfactions by actually blowing people up. But that’s just me.

I hope you live long to learn your misdjudgements, my friend..One of my best friend lost a relative in that heat.I mourn for him.

The fact that I didn’t take the opportunity to pour out my condolences to the bereaved should not be mistaken for callousness. How I choose to grieve the loss of human life is something personal, and I generally don’t feel the need to announce it to the world at large.

I have other things to spend my energy on than stating the obvious. But to suggest that my silence equals cruelty is deliberate baiting and not a relevant issue for discussion.

And I’ll even forgive you for your misinformation.

That’s very generous of you. [/sarcasm]

Advice:stop watching too much TV,and if you truly believe in God,pray for the American kids falling for what?,and please don’t call that a liberation,i’m gonna cry.

Well god knows I wouldn’t want to make you cry.

As to watching TV, I don’t do much of that these days. We have TiVO, and typically only watch what we intentionally record. That tends to be episodes of Buffy and Angel, Monster Garage, Kim Possible, and other assorted cartoons.

Oh, I guess you meant TV news. I don’t bother with that either, unless it’s the Daily Show, which is at least amusing. But TV network news is basically worthless.

As for the liberation of Iraq, that is absolutely what it is. Are you even paying attention to what Saddam’s regime was like? How thoroughly destroyed that country is both in the freedom of its people and the physical infrastructure? Iraq used to be a modern nation with a sophisticated, thriving society.

I don’t feel like using this space to expand upon the horrors of Saddam Hussein or the Baath Party, or Islamist/Arabist militants in general (Saddam’s was a secular dictatorship). But it nauseates me to think that you obviously believe that the voluntary sacrifice of our brave soldiers is somehow not worth the freedom of a nation in which Saddam abducted men and boys from the streets and forced them into the army (and then refused to decently feed or clothe them, and tortured or killed those who tried to escape).

And as far as pussies go,remember this country would not exist if not for the French sacrificing their lives some 200 years ago against,,,your precious British allies.

I was wondering when you were going to trot that out. Seems like everybody does.

To quote something I said in one of my fiskings of Michael Moore, “Yeah, and?”

In any case this criticism is just stupid. Yes, the British were our enemies at the time. It was a war of independence, the American Revolution, remember? And yes, the French navy did play an important role in the Battle of Yorktown. Again, I don’t feel like expanding upon that battle or its effect upon the Revolution (it was not the final battle of the war).

But by your reasoning, that one event 200 years ago is somehow valid as a basis for any and all future allegiance to France, even to the point of opposing something we know to be morally necessary?

The British are our allies because they are our allies. They act like it for one, and don’t act like spoiled children whenever we disagree on something or refuse to go along with something they think is a good idea. Nor do they use NATO, the EU, and the United Nations as clubs to make us do what they want.

Friendship is an ongoing process that involves reciprocity. I don’t think I need to explain how that isn’t the nature of our relationship with France these days.

Pray for them as well.

Indeed. I pray that the French people come to their senses before their country is overwhelmed by Islamist immigrants who refuse to assimilate into their society and fuel the pre-existing anti-semitism there.

History class time:France was overwhemingly occupied by Nazi germany.Did you ever wake up with that at your door?

No, but I like to think that if the Nazis came knocking on my door, I would greet them with a shotgun in the face instead of throwing the door open wide, inviting them in, going prostrate on the floor and then serving them my finest food and drink for several years.

I’m also not entirely sure what this has to do with the rest of your comments. Are you attempting to cite an excuse for cowardice in the face of evil? Probably not the concept you intended to advance.

And part of the country-called resistance greatly suffered murders-and torture-to help….the Britain-Us liberation..Would not dare call that pussies.

You’re going to have to clarify that one for me, because I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

Thank you Kyle for bringing some sense to the table.

What he omitted from his remarks is the observation that one of the reasons France lacks widespread A/C is the socialist nature of the economy, which makes electricity prohibitively expensive for no good reason.

And so you know,just because France opposed a decision from this administration does not make them supporters of the last Iraki government…after all,EVERY country was doing business with Irak until last year…

That’s very cute how you first deny the connection and then make excuses for its existence. So which is it?

And don’t twist words around to avoid the issue. France “opposing a decision from this [the United States] administration” is considerably more innocent-sounding than “defending at all costs its own illegal involvement with the Saddam regime and the ridiculously huge amounts of money being channeled to specific French politicians and businessmen”.

France’s opposition was not mere moral qualms, no matter how they choose to frame the issue. It also wasn’t all just talk. France took material, concrete steps to obstruct and oppose the functioning of the United Nations and the global diplomatic community in order to thwart the United States (and that was after approving the UN resolution that started the ball rolling). It constitutes a tangible betrayal of France’s relationship with the US, and this is pretty obvious to Americans, although apparently less so to the French.

And no, not every country was doing business with Iraq. France had everything to lose from the fall of Saddam’s regime. All the under-the-table oil deals were made with Saddam. Without him, those contracts aren’t worth a pile of dogshit. All of that was in direct violation of UN sanctions, don’t forget.

And yes, anyone who opposed the deposing of Saddam was ipso facto a supporter of his regime. Period. There is no neutral ground in this war. The UN got their building in Baghdad blown up thinking that.

Talking of which,that mass murderer Idi Amin Dada finally died this month…living and protected by Saudi Arabia. Are we looking in the wrong place?

The House of Saud is not out friend. I think that much is obvious. Clearly we are going to have to deal with them sooner or later.

Take your own conclusions,and please stop the hate..

Y’all really need to be directing that appeal to the Islamists who are determined to kill everyone who isn’t Muslim. But I realize that such people wouldn’t give you an open forum for your free speech, nor would they allow you to live after speaking out against them. So I suppose civilized people like myself are the safest places to vent that sentiment.

Peace.

No thanks to you.