Friday, June 04, 2004

Peggy Noonan on Today's College Graduates

It's commencement season, readers (all 3 of you, lol!), and Peggy Noonan takes an optimistic yet measured look at the next generation in today's online Opinion Journal:
Big Mike, No Message: Sizing up college grads, secular Europeans, antismoking zealots and John Kerry.

In this first portion of the piece, she remarks how struck she is by the number of young Ivy League graduates planning to go into television and journalism. What concerns her is their desire to be communicators, when they are unable to convey just what it is they want to communicate.

A short aside before you click on the link ... Peggy is an amazing writer, probably the best speech writer in the business (she wrote one of Ronald Reagan's most eloquent speeches - the one he delivered at the eulogy for the space shuttle Challenger astronauts), but she can sometimes wax a bit loony, as she does here when she writes: "I have been paying attention to the graduates of Ivy League universities. Every one I see the past few weeks is beautiful. They are tall and handsome and gay-spirited; they are strong and laughing and bright." Sometimes you have to take the goofy with the great, and her stuff is often times the latter:

I see no sign they are going to start thinking anything truly unusual for their time and generation--that religious conversion can be a wholly beneficial and life changing event, for instance, or that breaking with liberal orthodoxy might be the beginning of wisdom.

It must leave them finding it a challenge to speak of their beliefs in an interesting way. They often seem to fall back on attitude--wit, irony, poking fun at the thick-witted--in place of sustained thought, or meaning. And still they want to communicate for a living. I think of this problem as "big mike, no message." They are trained in the finest points of communication, but when they turn on the microphone, they have nothing serious to say.

I'd be interested to know if you are in agreement with her general sentiment, as I am.

The Onion comes to the rescue with Tornado Safety Tips!

A little humor as we head into the first weekend in June - Yippee!

Sorry to admit that I am clueless about photo-hosting for the site, so I will have to link up to my favorite The Onion infographic in many moon: Tornado Safety Tips

My personal favorite?

"In the event of a tornado, lie down in a ditch. If you are already lying in a ditch, do not attempt to sit up."

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Walter Williams: "Three Cheers for the Cos"

In today's columnist Walter Williams weighs in a the controversy surrounding Bill Cosby's recent statements at a service commemorating fifty years since the landmark "Brown v. Board of Education" decision. Williams provides a good intro:

" May 17 saw several gatherings commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court school desegregation decision in Brown vs. Board of Education. But the event held in Washington, D.C.'s Constitution Hall will be the one to be remembered because of Bill Cosby's remarks, which won him scathing criticism from some in the black community.

For years, I've argued that most of the problems many black Americans face today have little or nothing to do with racial discrimination. For the most part, the most devastating problems encountered by a large segment of the black community are self-inflicted. Bill Cosby mentioned several of them, such as black parents who'll buy their children expensive clothing rather than something educational, poor language spoken by many children and adults, and criminals who prey on the overwhelmingly law-abiding residents of black neighborhoods."

Many in the audience apparently agreed and laughed and applauded at Cosby's chutzpah. The reaction of the NAACP leaders, however, was one of horror. Horror that Bill Cosby would make statements outside of what the NAACP deems appropriate and acceptable.

In a recent column, my colleague Thomas Sowell explained, "Bill Cosby and the black 'leadership' represent two long-standing differences about how to deal with the problems of the black community. The 'leaders' are concerned with protecting the image of blacks, while Cosby is trying to protect the future of blacks, especially those of the younger generation."

Go and read it. It says a lot about why the NAACP and other orgnaizations that claim to represent black americans are probably those least suited to alter the landscape of the black working-class / innercity experience.

Just when I think I can't take my job anymore, some little thing makes it all worthwhile ...

Yes, I work in a hospital. No, it's not very interesting work, as I am not a clinician (medical staff). Once in while, though, the comedic value of this place outweighs all other considerations. Case in point?

This morning the caffiene intake from my morning joe isn't proving sufficient, so I head over to the vending machines in the Emergency Room waiting area to grab a Diet Coke. To get to the machines, I circumvent the security check-in, where a young man is removing all metal objects from his pockets. Smells like an ash tray. So far, nothing new.

However, his T-Shirt caught my eye. It's caption:

Will Work For Weed

I kid you not.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Jose Padilla is right where he belongs

Seems like a fairly strong emotion for someone I do not know personally, hmmm? After all, say the LLL's, I am affected more by his denial of civil rights than his murderous plans. To hyper-intellectualized (or perhaps dissociated is a better word) asshats, this may be true; to me, Jose Padilla is a direct threat that's been neutralized, and that's a very good thing.

U.S.: 'Dirty bomb' suspect planned to blow up apartments

``Padilla and the accomplice were to locate as many as three high-rise apartment buildings which had natural gas supplied to the floors,'' the government summary of interrogations revealed. ``They would rent two apartments in each building, seal all the openings, turn on the gas, and set timers to detonate the buildings simultaneously at a later time,'' the papers alleged. The documents said al-Qaida officials were skeptical of Padilla's ability to set off a dirty bomb but were very interested in the apartment operation. Top al-Qaida officials ``wanted Padilla to hit targets in New York City, although Florida and Washington, D.C. were discussed as well,'' the summary said.

I find little comfort in the fact that he apparently intended to target buildings on the East Coast. As some of you may remember, Padilla (a Chicago native) attempted to enter Chicago's O'Hare International Airport via Pakistan, not Mexico or Puerto Rico, as the Chicago Tribune article states. How do we know that Chicago apartment buildings were to be spared? We don't, and that makes me angry and scared.

I'm not angry at the Bush administration, nor the Department of Homeland Security or the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). They did their difficult job well, and caught this former Humboldt Park gangbanger-turned-terrorist creep before he could carry out his (and Al Qaeda's nefarious plans). I'm angry at the people who continue to pretend that we aren't in a fight for our very lives, and sad for myself and my friends who live in apartment buildings here in Chicago and throughout the US. These apartment buildings are our homes, and it is where we live with our loved ones, be they spouses, boyfriends, children or pets. I take it personally when someone means to do us in.

So should the LLL's.