Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Now That The Smoke Has Cleared

9/11 has come and gone, this year marred by a number of offensive and disturbing political statements.

The first offense came from the Florida pastor who proposed to mark the day by burning the Koran. While one can make a sound argument that Korans SHOULD be burnt, in this instance the suggestion was but a tasteless publicity stunt.

More offense came from our august Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who described the idea as “disgraceful.” Setting aside the incongruity of Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton condemning any conduct, one must question the propriety of a senior American official denouncing a US citizen for proposing to exercise one of his fundamental rights.

Amongst the disturbing statements was Mr. Obama's utterly predictable lecture to the effect that burning the sacred books of any faith was contrary to the central ideas of America. Curiously, the man who was willing to defend the rights of agent-provocateurs to build a victory mosque at Ground Zero was unwilling to defend the free speech rights of someone with whom he disagrees. It was a startling display of moral cowardice.

But perhaps the most disturbing statement may have come from General Petraeus, who reportedly opposed the burning because it could stir up animosity in Afghanistan and put our troops in danger. Assuming the General did make such a statement, a troubling question arises: Isn't his main mission to defend the right of all of us – of you and I and even that shameless pastor – to speak and act freely, no matter what some foreign extremist might think?

Have our Armed Forces subscribed to Barack Obama's 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Offend A Muslim?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Summer Of Recovery – A Post Script

Dear Joe,

I wrote the other day asking for a job. I fear I wasn't terribly specific as to what job. At my age, and with my qualifications (law review, top 10 percent of my class, Firsts at a European university, 20 years of law practice) I can't be picky. Anything that pays well, offers security and doesn't require much initiative would do. Unhappily, all the Cabinet posts are filled, but then in the recent news I found just the ticket: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change needs an executive director, or so the Boston Herald reported on September 5.

I'm your man. I am not a climate scientist, so I have don't have a vested interest in any of the competing theories. Indeed, I am not a scientist at all, but I did spend nearly two years in Nashville, bathed in the influence of Al Gore. How could I not be one of the enlightened?

Frivolity aside, I am schooled in the scientific method. I understand the need for hard data, for test results that can be repeated and for theories that can be falsified.

..............What's that?

I see your point. I might be over-qualified to run the IPCC. Fear not. Pay me enough and I can be as ignorant of sound practice and as blind to facts as you want me to be. Just don't forget the chalet in Gstaad.

Bite me,

Tom Hall
Racine, WI