Saturday, June 05, 2004

I have two things that I want to say upon learning of President Reagan's death tonight.

I feel deeply grateful for having had the opportunity to meet President Reagan during his second term of office. From my very limited time with him, I can tell you that he was a quietly confident man, very warm and engaging. What I remember most about him was that although I was only just turning 16 at the time, he treated me as if I were as important as any other adult. I knew that many of the people around him thought that it was either "cute" or "PR" that he bothered to take a minute to ask me if I enjoyed my job (I was working for Governor Sununu at that time in NH), and to tell him something about myself.

I was a kid who had started as a summer high school intern and turned into an assistant to the Press Sec for the Governor, and I have always hoped that Reagan recognized in me the hard work and commitment that I tried to live by, and that he stood for. I had worked on the Christa McAuliffe Scholarship Fund (for those of you who don't remember McAuliffe was the teacher from NH that died in the Challenger explosion) and both Reagan and then Vice President GHW Bush spoke with me about how that had affected us, as individuals and as a country. And when Reagan listened, he really made you feel like he was absorbing everything about you.

President Reagan has always been connected in my mind with my grandparents. My grandmother was extremely fond of him, and was terribly bothered by protesters that would come when he spoke, at that time Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant was the big issue in NH when Reagan came to town. She used to say, "free speech is fine, but there ought to be a certain amount of respect and decency for the office of the Presidency". More than what these people held for signs standing outside of where the President was going to speak bothered her, was the fact that they shouted during his speaking, that they dressed inappropriately for such an event, etc. I was very young the first time that I went to see Reagan speak with her, and like most 12 year olds, I thought that she was just "old fashioned". Now, I wish that I could tell her that I understand, that her respect for this man who never took off his jacket and tie in the oval office was well placed, but I can't, because like Reagan did, my grandmother suffers from Alzheimers. So I guess that tonight the best thing that I can do is what Reagan asked us to do when he found out of his slide into this disease, to take care of the family that suffers alongside silently. I will go write to my grandfather, and then I will say a prayer for Ronald Reagan and his family.

The second thing that I wanted to say was-
Scott, get that portrait ready for a vigil! Reagan's life deserves celebrating, for certainly we wouldn't have the lives that we do today if it weren't for his leadership.

America was blessed to have him, and we will never forget him.

Friday, June 04, 2004



Thursday, June 03, 2004

George Tenet resigns. Not that you can blame all of the bad things that have happened on his watch on him, but this has been a long time coming. You have to think there was more than a little suggestion going on within the Bush admin to get Tenet out before the election. I'll bet this guy's blood pressure drops 80 points after he is officially out.

Abolish War

My family and I went to our local Memorial Day parade in Brunswick, Maine on Monday. In addition to the usual military representatives, high school bands, local clubs, etc. marching in the parade, there was one float titled "Peace is Patriotic." I couldn't tell who the sponsor of the float was, but suffice it to say it was some kind of peace activist organization. They were all wearing black, and their float consisted of a black flatbed covered in a grid of white crosses, simulating a cemetery. While I was sort of amused by the cone of silence that overcame the crowd as the float passed by (pretty much every other float was getting at least polite applause) I really didn't have much of a problem with this float. They were displaying the American flag, which surprised me, and they refrained from the immature "Bush is Hitler" type slogans. A message of peace doesn't seem contradictory to the celebration of Memorial Day, even if these folks were pushing their agenda as opposed to honoring the true spirit of the day.

One thing that did bother me (you knew there had to be something) was a banner that some of the members of this group carried. Written on the banner were the words "Abolish War." The more I thought about it, the more this irritated me. Just what the hell does "Abolish War" mean anyway? Do these people really think that is some kind of solution? That's kind of like saying "make happiness mandatory." Nice thought, but completely outside of reality, and not a solution to anything. (The question comes to mind that if you pass a law abolishing war, and someone breaks it, how do you enforce the law? Perhaps a UN resolution?)

I don't know too many people who actually like war. While I realize political slogans are often oversimplified for impact, it's scary to think there are people out there that vote who think that the world is so simple that you can just be completely passive and all of the evil bastards around the globe will have a revelation and give up their Jihads based on your fine example. Pacifism is nice for winning little moral victories inside your own head, but historically its track record for encouraging evil is frightening. Abolish war? Let's abolish stupidity first.


This is what you get when you work a 14 hour day and are too wired to sleep. Hopefully I won't regret this in the morning...

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Post away guys, I gave my plug, but this is a compilation blog, and equal time, so now it's your turn guys.

Monday, May 31, 2004


Two weeks ago, I announced here that I was going to be working for Spirit of America. In exactly what capacity at that time, I didn't quite know. What I did know was what capacity I wanted to be working for them in...


I had a great talk with Marc Danziger, Spirit of America's COO, (aka to those in the blogoshere as "Armed Liberal" at the well respected and incredibly well written Winds of Change site) and I was hooked. You talk with anyone involved in this organization, and you'll be hooked as well.

Let me tell you one of the key secrets to this organization's appeal: it crosses both sides of the political and ideaological aisle. Heck, I cross both sides, when it gets right down to it. I vote a person, not a party. You could say that I subscribe more to nation building than to the "Ledeen doctrine". However, I temper that with I want to help others help themselves. I want to help them be able to grow all of the opportunites that we have here in America. How do you do that? By providing the tools needed. Crayons, soccer balls, books, TV cameras, computers, all of this and more Spirit of America supports and helps to provide. Read this fantastic piece by Dan Gillmor (whom I personally disagree with ideologically on many subjects, note that this organization is one that we can both support) that was published this past Sunday, and you'll understand perfectly what I am talking about.

I now have the best job of my life: Director of Procurement/Logistics at Spirit of America. I work early mornings and late nights. I work weekends. It's not work. It's the kind of fulfillment you get from making a difference. Oh, sure, I know, this sounds like "liberal mumbo jumbo" to some of you. But here's the reality: not very many people on either side of the aisle have actually spoken with Iraqis or Afghanis. Know why? Sure you do, because when you get personally involved with people, it makes it much more difficult to generalize. There are way more shades of gray that come into the picture. Now, think of what our armed forces people face every day. They face the humanity of the Iraqi people, and they face making black and white decisions that greatly affect both the lives of those people, and their own lives.

You know, when I made a promise to Zeyad at Healing Iraq on a day that he was despondent over the continued violence marring the country, and I said "though my eyes are full of tears, I will not look away" I was making a promise to more than Zeyad. I was making a promise the the people of Iraq. A promise to the people of Iran, and all of the others in nations oppressed by dictators and tyrants, who are fighting for a democratic form of government. A promise to my own two boys to try in what small way I can to make this world safer, to grow trust and friendship between nations. A promise to my husband to honor the service that his family has given our country, and those of others.

I made a promise to myself.

Make the promise.
Make the promise that Jeff Jarvis has made.
Make the promise that Britt Blaser has made.
Make the promise that Jim Hake has made.
Make the promise that Marc Danziger has made.

Make it because you support the troops, make it because you support the Iraqis, make it because you support having a free and prosperous Middle East, make it for whatever reason you want.

Because whatever that reason is, it's the right thing to do.
And Spirit of America is doing it.

Ok, normally I don't elaborate this long on a given subject but since the following upset me very much at the time it happened I thought I'd answer these questions from Larry:

1.)Is this devastation of free speech indicative of your surrounding EU members?

Well, in May 2002 there was this Dutch rightwing politican Pim Fortuyn who dared say that The Netherlands were "full" (having absorbed more than its share of non-integrating immigrants and with 16,000,000 people crammed on 36,000 square kloms, I can understand that).

He was shot dead by Volkert Van Der Graaff, a 32-year old Radical Green-Left activist.

"Fortuyn, 54, was shot in the head and chest at least three times at close range at 6 p.m. Monday as he was leaving a radio station in Hilversum, 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Amsterdam."

"Fortuyn, an openly gay former TV analyst, was a plain-speaking politician who targeted fears over immigration. Saying that the Netherlands was "full up," he criticized Muslims for not embracing Dutch culture."

Members of Fortuyn's party apparently had reason to be afraid too.

Okay, it's old news now, but it is says a lot of the way things have become for anyone who dares challenge the established views of the politically correct elites. But slowly, times are changing: France recently banned some extremsit clerics, Denmark put legislation into effect restricting the influx of radical Imams, and the Dutch will expel 26,000 illegals over the coming three years (it really, really has become too bad over there). From what I see, it's rather Belgium that, as so often, is at the tail of the movement to address the immigrant problem in a thorough way.

2.) Michael- I find this information mind-boggling.
Stephen Pollard's site mentioned the Vlaams Blok(VB)party advocates secession from Belgium and the establishment of a Republic of Flanders...Could you elaborate a little on that?
Where will conservatives seek refuge when sharia law is instituted if secession is not realized?

Well, I'm glad you bring that one up Larry. It is indeed true that the Vlaams Blok advocates nothing less than the breakup of Belgium as a nation and the creation of an independent Flanders. To be sure, I am against that. We are already so small a country, why divide it even further? It is however important to consider their rationale for such a bold claim. Flanders, the northern, Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, DOES transfer huge sums of Social Security money to sick brother Wallonia, the southern, French-speaking, purely socialist run part of Belgium. I think the amount per 4-person household has been calculated as being something in the neighborhood of the price of a small family car, say a Ford Orion, every four years.

Basically Flanders keeps Wallonia afloat through an imbalanced redistribution of federal funds. The federal government is raking in much more from Flanders than it does from Wallonia and then diverts it mostly to Wallonia - small wonder, in Wallonia 1 active person in three "works" for the state, the other two depend on social security. Marc Dutroux, this horrible child molester and murderer, who was just dandy, had somehow managed to get himself declared unfit for work and got 80,000 Belgian francs per month (some 2,000 US$) from Social Security - NOT KIDDING!!!

Still I think breaking up Belgium would be a bad idea. You might ask why I have joined the Vlaams Blok. Well, because it was the only party that vehemently OPPOSED granting the right to vote for municipal councils to non-Belgian immigrants - read the hundreds of thousands of Moroccans, Tunisians, Algerians and Turks who live here since decades but of whom a majority still does not speak our language, of whom many don't abide by our laws (slaughtering animals at home during Ramadan, e.g., although law says they should do it in one of the designated slaughterhouses etc...).

For me the point about the voting right is right now much more important than the Vlaams Blok's unrealistic claim that Belgium should cease to exist - it will never happen, a grand majority of Belgians like it just as it is.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

A definitive Memorial Day post on one of today's soldiers.
Corporal Jason Dunham is a hero and an inspiration, he deserves the Medal of Honor that he has been put in for, but the even greater medal will be the one carried by the soldiers that he saved in their hearts every day as they strive to finish the work that they all began together. His parents selflessness shows where he got his from, they have treated their son to the greatest dignity in the face of every parent's worst nightmare.

As heroic as our WW2 Vets were, and both my husband and I had grandfathers that fit that title, so are these guys and gals in Iraq today.

I ran across this today, and I feel compelled to make an announcement: McDonald's isn't bad. Their food isn't really even bad for you, believe it or not. Like so many other things demonized as being "bad" (fast food, TV, video games, etc.) by those who seek to remove all fun from life, it is the excessive consumption of said item that can lead to problems. You will die faster on an all broccoli diet than you will on an all Big Mac diet, so where is the anti broccoli movement? The fact that the children in this story were denied a little treat just so a few pompous asses could proudly display their moral superiority is particularly infuriating. I suppose simply not accepting the food vouchers of using them to purchase a salad simply wasn't acceptable. Better to force everyone to accept your great wisdom than to allow people to make their own choices.

Yeah, I know, this isn't exactly a world changing event, but you see this kind of thought, or lack thereof, all the time and it's total bullshit. As someone wise once said, it's amazing how many people see democracy as a way to turn their own personal prejudices into laws.

Larry F. wrote: “Michael, what are the chances of you starting your own "talk-radio" show in Flanders?”

Zilch Larry. The following is a story about a fellow who had a talk-radio show of his own (scroll down till you get to "Kritishe talkshow afgevoerd"). I’m talking about Jurgen Verstrepen, whose show “Zwart of Wit” (Black or White) was broadcast every Sunday afternoon on Radio Contact and LibertyTV. The motto of his talkshow was “Freedom of Speech by all means”. The show gave, a.o., a voice to the many disgruntled Belgians living in Brussels or Antwerp neighborhoods with a majority of foreigners. Sometime in February, Radio Contact decided not to broadcast the show anymore, and LibertyTV stated that it does want to cooperate further with Mr. Verstrepen, but only when non-political issues are treated. I might add that Mr. verstrepen’s talkshow’s format followed a pattern which seems to be popular in the States: a multitude of telephonic interventions by listeners, followed by anitmated studio discussions with a political panel.

This is the second time that Mr. Verstrepen’s voice is stifled: the previous version of his show, broadcast on Kanaal2 and TopRadio, was suspended in 2001. Here’s a comment on that by NRC Handelsblad, which is a widely respected Dutch newspaper (yes, the news was important enough to be reported in The Netherlands): “But Verstrepen also writes political commentaries on an Internet newssite. Or rather: wrote. Because he’s stopped with that just lately. There was pressure on him, he says, by the Prime Minister’s circle. If Verstrepen should continue with his “shitty business in those columns”, so he was assured by left and right, then “the Prime Minister would make sure not a single political authority would appear in his TV show”.

Anyway, Mr. Verstrepen apparently had to shut up for introducing people on a radio show who dared to say that immigrants should assimilate and that if not they could return. Somewhere in March Mr. Verstrepen joined the Vlaams Blok, a Flemish nationalistic party which the political establishment over here demonises as “extreme right” but which has an agenda that has actually quite a few similarities to the one of the Republican Party in the States. Some of you may remember that I actually joined the Vlaams Blok back in February, because all other parties had agreed to grant the right to non-Belgian immigrants to vote in municipal elections (which implies that if you happen to live as a Belgian in a neighbourhood with a majority of, say, Moroccans or Tunisians, you’re likely to see your tax euros go to a new mosque rather than to that desperately needed municipal playground.


The photo shows him during the press-conference, where he was sided by Filip Dewinter and Frank Vanhecke, leading figures of the Vlaams Blok. Behind him you can just make out part of the slogan “13 juni, een kwestie van vrije meningsuiting” (June 13, a matter of Free Speech), the motto under which the Vlaams Blok participates in the upcoming June 13 European elections.

But alas, Mr. Verstrepen again had no luck. Hardly had he joined the ranks of the Vlaams Blok, or, surprise: the Court of Appeal in Ghent ruled that the Vlaams Blok was a racist organization (arrest from April 2004). To be sure, the Vlaams Blok welcomes any immigrant who wants to integrate in our society, i.e. that he/she learns our language, behaves like agood citizen and contributes to our wealth. Non-assimilating ones should return or stay home, simply put. Anyway, for having had the audacity to say that, the Vlaams Blok was rewarded with the (heavy) fining of three of its supporting organizations, and steps are now being taken to make the distribution of Party publications, leaflets etc… via the Belgian Postal System impossible. In a later stadium the financing of the Party by the state (in Belgium political parties receive a donation from the state) will be suspended – although that may take some years yet. Find out more about the story on Stephen Pollard's blog: I've seen the future: it's scary and it's Belgian. Recommended reading.

Interesting to note that the Vlaams Blok threatens to be declared a criminal organization while the Antwerp-based Arab European League, led by former Hezbollah member Dyab Abu Jahjah, can freely threaten the Antwerp Jewish-owned Diamond Sector with bomb attacks by Hamas.

They also wanted to get a militant Pakistani cleric with al-Qaeda ties to Antwerp to give a speech, but luckily the guy intended to visit The Netherlands first. As could be expected the Dutch government refused the fucker a visa, upon which the Belgian government was somehow able to muster sufficient courage to do the same. But only barely. Hear the AEL whine about the affair over here.

This is Belgium Larry. No, I'm not gonna start a radio talk show.