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April 2007

April 28, 2007

Are we losing the ability to think critically?

Question_2 In my Latinos in America course, we were given a list of statistics on the Dominican American population.  Health, crime, education, from one percentile to the next, the story the stats told was bleak.  With only 25% of Dominicans in the United States possessing a high school diploma, tuberculosis tripling in a decade, high incarceration rates and even higher out of wedlock birth, the only explanation, for these drastic disparities, the Columbia student body could come up with was racism.

Continue reading "Are we losing the ability to think critically?" »

April 25, 2007

Speaking as a Former Fetus Myself...

Spec_letterhead_2 This weekend, I attended an international conference on leadership with delegates representing over 50 countries and speaking more than 20 languages. One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Patricia, from Chile, who organizes baptisms and funerals for babies, born and then left to die by their mothers. What seems like the only decent thing to do, is apparently a procedural nightmare in Chile. These un-named children had to be legally adopted, given names, and then buried. The process was exhausting, but Patricia, a tall dignified woman whose lazy "r"s in Spanish betrayed her French birth, has been successful in streamlining the steps and cutting through the government's burdensome bureaucracy. Without cynicism, Patricia explained the government wanted to draw as little attention to the matter of abortion as possible, since most Chileans preferred to consider it a necessary evil.

Continue reading "Speaking as a Former Fetus Myself..." »

April 24, 2007

Corporals--the Backbone of the Corps.

Cpltyler Leave it to the corporals of the United States Marine Corps to make the biggest impression.  Cpl. Tyler Rock of the proud 1st Batallion, 6th Marines, based out of Lejeune, made national news for his frank and direct comments to an American senator. Obviously unafraid, the corporal has spent the past year in what is lovingly known as one of the most dangerous spots on the earth.  So, who can blame him for speaking his mind. Keep safe Marine and thanks for serving. 

I Feel Pretty

Johnedwards1 And who wouldn't feel pretty if your haircuts cost $400.00? Frankly, it's not certain if throwing down four bills is something the populist politician Edwards would say he did "Because I could." or even if it's a matter of having that much expendable income.  Does anyone think Bill Gates spends this much primping his do? More than insincere speeches about two Americas or Coulter's comments on his un-shakeable sexuality, this video, and the presidential candidates visits to the Pink Sapphire hair salon for make-up, will probably doom the Edwards bid for the highest office of the land.

Continue reading "I Feel Pretty" »

April 23, 2007

France Libre?

Presidentielle_3 Nicolas Sarkozy is currently leading the French presidential race, so why should you, the typical American, care? 

As the closest thing France has that passes for a conservative, Sarkozy has run on a pro-"homeland security" platform.  In a country where hundreds of cars are burned every year by disgruntled "youths", the notion of lowering the crime rate has become increasingly attractive among the Brie-eating class.  .   

Continue reading "France Libre?" »

April 22, 2007

Right Wing News!

Right_wing_2Traffic to was unusually heavy today, and the quality of comments improved dramatically--something was different.  I checked the stats and noticed how many hits were coming from Right Wing  RWN was kind enough to put my blog in the company of so many excellent blog.

Continue reading "Right Wing News!" »

The Buchanan Bulwark

Pat_buchananFew people have the experience, passion and knowledge that Pat Buchanan brings to the table.  Unafraid, straightforward and white, Buchanan is everything mainstream media would like to destroy. The fact that the man has little concern for diplomacy does not help his poll ratings either.  His book State of Emergency is a must read for a vision of what this country may look like by 2050.  Frankly, I think he's wrong, but myStateemergency165shop1 fingers are crossed.

Buchanan recently penned an article for where he makes the points most simply do not want to accept as possible, but many suspect are true.

Continue reading "The Buchanan Bulwark" »

April 21, 2007

Take Back the Night--And then hit Starbucks for a Latte

RapistAlmost everyday, on College Walk, members of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) set up a small table and aggressively flag passing students down to talk to them about how racist the NYPD are.  Every year students at Columbia University, and across the country, participate in the Take Back the Night March an event that promotes itself with pictures of bananas and underwear and the slogan "Got Consent?". 

Question: What do these two movements have in common? 

Answer: A complete refusal of reality.

Continue reading "Take Back the Night--And then hit Starbucks for a Latte" »

April 20, 2007

That's the Spirit


The rush to deem the Virginia Tech killings a "tragedy" is an insult to society.  Fatal car accidents, sudden infant death syndrome and getting struck by lightning is "tragic", when a man pre-meditates the death of 32 his classmates, this is what American society calls a massacre.  With the absurdity of wordchoice and the willingness to avoid self-pity, please consider these choice images.   

Multicultural question of the day: Would Cho be any less of a madman, if he were a pre-op trans-gender person of color?  The answer may not be so obvious.

Rapping Marine???

RapperFor rappers, street 'creds' are an important part of the "tough" image, and Marines are famously proud of being among The Few, so when a rising rap star brags about his service, it definitely earns him credit.  Unless, of course, the Marine Corps doesn't actually have a record of the above-mentioned rapper. 

Obsessive, Compulsive, in that Order

Obsession_2This week, Columbia University screened the Wayne Kopping film, Obsession.  In the spirit of diversity, the College Republicans extended an invitation to all groups who may have had an objection to the screening.  But why would anyone object to the free exchange of ideas, especially on a college campus, where the goal to challenge the student and encourage thought are plainly stated on the campus brochure? 

Continue reading "Obsessive, Compulsive, in that Order" »

April 19, 2007

Randy Thomas

Newrandy03071 Some of you may be surprised by the generally poor state of journalism today.  The internet does a lot of good, and it has made research easier, but this ease of use has come at the expense of journalistic standards.  We all heard the story of Jayson Blair who braved the elements to provide an eye witness account for a hungry readership, when he was actually making the stories up from the comfort of his Brooklyn apartment.  Sometimes, a small word can change the entire tack of a story.  The Marine Corps Times wrongfully used the term "deployment" in lieu of "embed", which changed my status from civilian to active duty service member.  No reply on a request for a correction. With the increase of information and the premium placed on being informed, it is no surprise that a glut of bad information makes its way daily onto the web and from there into print and television.  Reporters are often not living up to their profession, but there are exceptions. 

Continue reading "Randy Thomas" »

Partially Banning Abortion


It seems strange that something as momentous as the Supreme Court upholding the ban on partial-birth abortion would take place without media fanfare.  It may be the disturbing parallels the American public would make with the massacre of students at Virginia Tech.  Of course, abortion is the third-rail of public discourse, but the practice of choosing to eliminate the unborn should not go unchallenged, and fortunately in this country, there are those who feel passionate enough about this issue to oppose it. 


Continue reading "Partially Banning Abortion" »

April 18, 2007

Face of Evil?

New_shootinAs Virginia Tech story unfolds, it's a natural tendency to want to attempt understand such a mindboggling event.  Different members of the public discourse attack this problem from different angles.  Some will investigate the university and their role in student safety.  Others are talking about the police and their response to the incident. Anti-depressants are mentioned as a possible explanation for the shooter's behavior, and many anti-gun proponents see this as justification for their gun control platform.  A group of Asian journalist, feel racism may play some role in this loss of life. 

Continue reading "Face of Evil?" »

April 17, 2007


Mjt_in_lebanon We outgrew the first blog, and it was time to do something a little more professional.  One design was very complicated, flash and graphics that would be difficult to keep up with.  That's when I chatted with Michael Totten.  Out of the MILLIONS and MILLIONS of blogs out there, Totten's was picked the BEST BLOG of 2007!  His site is very simple, but his words are powerful.  I got a hold of him just as he got back from a long trip overseas.  Inspirational, reads like a hybrid between a diary and a tourist guide; with both intimacy and personality Totten is precisely why the blog offers a growing audience the alternative of imagination.  If you're interested in the world outside of the United States, and crave the detail you won't get from CNN International, check out the best of 2007.   

P.S. Our addresses have changed.  We've kept the old one, and have acquired and 

60 Years of Tradition--and still Counting

The Observer began at the School of General Studies, GS, over 60 years ago.  Back then, the school was created for the excess of demobilizing servicemen who were eager to get on with their lives after serving in the military.  Some went to Europe, some went to the Pacific, all ended up at a newly created school for non-traditional students.  GSers were different, older, more experienced. That first class was filled with men who dreamed of the best this country had to offer, after seeing the worst this world had given.

Audio Version Here

Continue reading "60 Years of Tradition--and still Counting" »

April 16, 2007

Columbia Observer, 60 years of Tradition and Counting

Last year, this blogger was elected editor-in-chief of The Observer, Columbia University's longest running and arguably most prestigious literary magazine. This year, the current editor, Brendon McQueen called me. It turns out that the magazine is several months late and he's having a problem with his staff. As in every undertaking the leader is always besieged by the subordinates. It takes an enormous amount of will power to put out a finished and professional project. Last year, this blogger had to physically design and typeset the final product, because the student designer quit at the last moment. McQueen has the best of intentions and is working hard to get an issue of the magazine out before the end of the year, which is not easy. Final papers, exams and deadlines loom large, and everyone is extremely busy.
We wish him the best of luck in his endeavor and look forward to seeing the finished project. Anyone who has been in charge of a publication knows that there are plenty of problems, both foreseen and unforeseen, that come up before the final product hits the stands. The upside is that there is a lot of raw talent at Columbia University, especially in the School of General Studies, where students have often had much experience before returning back to school. So far, last year's issue (pictured above) has been one of the most successful runs and this bloggers wishes the current editor-in-chief, Brendon McQeen, the best of luck.
Listening to chief editor's McQueen's problems made this blogger think that he'd like to be Editor-in-Chief again. We'll keep you posted for further information. Audio Version Here

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April 15, 2007

T S Eliot 70 years ago

Eliot_2"One of the causes of the totalitarian State is an effort of the State to supply a function which the Church has ceased to serve."  T S Eliot 1938

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Continue reading "T S Eliot 70 years ago" »

20% increase???--Wow

In just one week, the traffic to this blog has increased by 20%, and it seems that readers are spending a full minute more on this site than they did the week before!!! Wow, those anonymous commentators must be slow at typing. This week has been a busy one, since the school year is winding down and the deadlines are coming up, so we haven't been able to post as much. Nevertheless, you'll see this blog grow, as we've just secured the rights to and We're working with a well-known designer to give you the best we can, so thanks for the vote of confidence!!! Things are about to get interesting. Click Here for Audio

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April 14, 2007

The Future of Undergraduate Education

The department of American Studies at Columbia University hosted The Future of Undergraduate Education summit. This is the type of event the academy does extremely well, and the head of the department, Professor Delbanco highlighted the salient issues of the day.

A re-occurring theme is the diversity
dilemma. How to bring in more students from "diverse" backgrounds, a
veritable obsession in a university environment that is a militant
force for social change. Several experts,
university Deans, presidents and academics from prestigious
institutions spoke as a chorus in the cause of creating opportunity.
Experts discussed poverty, biased aptitude tests
and community outreach; yet like too many of these forums something was
missing. The experts lose sight of the population they are attempting
to civilize in this 21st century re-run of the White Man's Burden and fall into the all too common rut of victimization, paternalism, and--my personal favorite--the ubiquitous Marxist
rhetoric on class, resistance and revolution. All the while, a
potential for diversity is reduced to an item on a check list in
preparation for the trip to Utopia.
Thanks Gabe!

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Newsweeks Current for Veterans on Campus

Sometimes, it's easy to take your eye off the goal. Newsweek ran a feature article on the situation of veterans on college campuses. The piece did an excellent job of showing the diverse problems veterans like fellow Columbians Oscar Escano and Luke Stalcup face on campuses across the nation. They even re-hashed some of the issues this blogger had way back in the Fall of 2005. After seeing so much shoddy online press, it was refreshing to read a piece that limited itself to facts and pertinent issues. The school year is winding down to a busy end, but for veteran's issues, progress has been made on many fronts. This blogger is certain he'll have more to report in the near future.

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Ode to Anonymity

I am anonymous, I am brave, for I speak for "everyone". I am anonymous, my knowledge knows no boundaries: politics, society, history, every one is entitled to my opinion. I need no facts, my feelings, impressions and emotions make up any discrepancy in the details. Nothing is more important than me expressing my point of view. I am anonymous and though I remain in the shadows, there is no doubt in my mind that I am a thoroughly amazing individual. I am anonymous, I need not step forward, though I will constantly step on the views I do not agree with, for I am anonymous and my words alone are a gift to this blog. I am anonymous, I will be heard. Audio Version Here

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April 12, 2007

Why Coulter Counts

Ann_coulter_3 In a media ocean filled with schools of the undistinguished,  Coulter's bold individuality will inevitably curry envy. She set the record straight on what's "mean" and what's "fair game" while taking just enough time to give great suggestions for a beleaguered Imus.  No one gets more unjustified grief than Ann, so it only surprises the haters that she would defend Imus,  and define precisely why the shock jocks comments were inappropriate. In the current self-absorbed culture where the notion "I think" is code for "In my own little world I am absolutely correct", Ann Coulter decides on the conversation and sets the rules.  Liberals beware.

*Note* I have a Cavuto Appearance I'll be posting as soon as it is available.

Maghreb meets Al Qaeda--Again.

Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for several bombings in the capitals of Morocco and Algeria. Did anyone notice? Unfortunately, this major international event went pretty much unreported by the American press. There is, however, some decent coverage in the French press.

This blogger spent part of the summer in the Maghreb. Many long-time European residents and native Moroccans felt a stronger tendency toward radical
Islam. Women wearing burhkas were not an uncommon site, particularly in
the working-class neighborhoods. The recent bombings mark an important
shift in radical Islam's targets, so why isn't the American press
reporting it?
Audio Version Here

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Nice to Meet you too

Bilingual Education was just picked up by The Brandon Show.
The producer said he has two relatives who work in New York public
education and that he "believed in" the premise of the article.
Thanks for the enormous compliment.

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April 10, 2007

Why Coulter Counts

In a media ocean filled with schools of the undistinguished, Coulter's bold individuality will inevitably curry envy. She set the record straight on what's "mean" and what's "fair game" while taking just enough time to give great suggestions for a beleaguered Imus. No one gets more unjustified grief than Ann, so it only surprises the haters that she would defend Imus, and define precisely why the shock jocks comments were inappropriate. In the current self-absorbed culture where the notion "I think" is code for "In my own little world I am absolutely correct", Ann Coulter sets the rules for political discourse and social commentary. Watch the video below.

Click here Audio Version

*Note* I have a Cavuto Appearance I'll be posting as soon as it is available.

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Bilingual Education is Half-Empty - Opinion

Audio version here

"Gays Narcissistic"--Roseanne Barr

"Never once in my 54 years have I ever once heard a gay or lesbian person who's politically active say one thing about anything that was not about them. They don't care about minimum wage, they don't care about any other group other than their own self because you know, some people say being gay and lesbian is a totally narcissistic thing and sometimes I wonder.""I've never heard any of them say anything except for "accept me 'cause I'm gay."
Caution: gay-sensitive may be offended by Roseanne's co-host who pretends to be effeminate and hits on his male sound engineer.
Click here to hear it from the domestic diva's own mouth.

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April 09, 2007

From Reader to Writer--Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk wrote one of the most astounding first novels of the 90's. Fight Club
spoke to the masses through its raw message of anger, violence and the
subtle art of making fun of it all. I was fortunate enough to have the
opportunity to sit down with Chuck Palahniuk and this is what he had to
say about his famous book as well as the journey from from Reader to Writer.

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Gingrich Got it Right Again--In Audio

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April 05, 2007

Gingrich Gets it Right

"Ghetto" is not Spanish for poverty, but American "bilingual education" is English for failure. Most agree, knowledge is power; the problem with public school bilingual education programs is that instead of learning two tongues, students learn to speak one language poorly and the second language even worse. In plain English, it's a two for one scam, the student's education costs more, for less results. "Certain" students who grow up speaking another language are sometimes offered bilingual education. There are many bilingual programs that teach a United Nation of languages from Navajo to Vietnamese, but let's not kid ourselves, like the term "inner-city" bilingual education is code for teaching in Spanish. Gingrich never mentioned Spanish by name, but no one thought he was referring to Polish ghettos. Public schools are not emphasizing Russian, Ethiopian, Korean, or Hebrew in American education, even if regionally these are sizable linguistic populations. Why single out America's fastest growing minority group?
  • Many nationalist groups want to encourage "Latino pride" in the public school system, as if American public schools could possibly teach a young Hispanic student how to be a better Mexican or Dominican. It's Si, se puede with American tax dollars.
  • School districts get more funds for students enrolled in bilingual education. Can any other motive possibly explain the push to recognize Ebonics as a foreign language?
  • Teachers get more money for being "bilingual certified" which does NOT mean they actually speak the target language. Please note, teacher's unions are huge supporters of bilingual education.
  • The "self-esteem" lobby think learning ethnic pride will somehow blot out other scholastic deficiencies, like the unwillingness to stress reading and writing.
The end result is a group of students who are not only left behind, they're simply left out. The subtle racism of lower standards is met with the open hostility to challenging the student; the bilingual guinea pig can spend years in a program where normal standards simply do not apply. If this sounds harsh, I have succeeded, this farce has gone on long enough. Hispanics face enormous problems in the public school system and bilingual education tops the list. Unlike past generations of immigrants, the cult of multiculturalism will turn a blind eye to a lack of integration and chalk up this dumbing down to diversity. Full disclosure, this is personal. Even though my mother tongue is English, I was placed in a bilingual classroom because my last name ends in 'ez'. Some do-gooder probably thought it was positive profiling. Currently, less than half of Hispanic kids are finishing high school and even fewer are going to college. As a student-teacher, I taught bilingual education to Spanish speakers. These were young, adaptable fourth graders who often could not read or write in Spanish much less in English. The quickest and most direct route for these kids to both acquire literacy and a decent shot at scholastic success was the time proven method of immersion. Instead, these kids got poorly translated books and a program that was a scholastic dead end. Through one standard and a stronger emphasis on English acquisition, Hispanic students may become just as eager to show off a well-earned diploma as they are to gleefully wave a foreign flag.

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April 04, 2007

Along the Trail

During the Crucible segment of basic training, drill instructors will lead soon to be Marines around to different test stations. Usually, there's some difficult task to get through, a task that will always require lots of team work and will probably be next to impossible to accomplish. When the drill instructor has had enough, he'll take the recruits to a designated rest stop, somewhere in the woods, sit us down and ask how we did. Where we stop during the Crucible is not just a random choice, a picture of a fallen Marine--usually an old picture, becomes the focus of a discussion on what makes the Corps different. One Marine, from the Korean War jumped on a grenade to save his buddies. It's the type of almost corny stuff that's hard to believe anyone would actually do. Real heroism is rare. Cpl. Jason Dunham did what probably every Marine fears he would not be able to, he became a true hero. For that Dunham is to be admired and honored by those men he will inspire along that Crucible trail for many generations to come.

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April 03, 2007

Christianity in Conflict

Possibly one of the most important books out there, Janet L. Folger meticulously narrates how Christianity has become the least welcome in countries that were founded on Christian principles: tolerance, equality and democracy. Plenty of room for debate here, but Folger presents a very persuasive argument.

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April 02, 2007

Depends on the Audience

"Know your audience." As the saying goes, it's a fairly reliable guideline for giving a speech, taking a picture and conceding an interview. Jack E. Jett asked to interview so I said I would. Unfortunately, he's printed a couple of errors, some spelling, some vocabulary and some factual. It happens to all of us and I'm hoping he'll make some of the corrections I've asked of him. We'll see what happens, but in the end, you're really at the mercy of the goodwill of the writer. At least Jack E. Jett took the time out to even ask me a question before writing about me.
"The angry left should be dealt with like a rabid dog on a chained leash, that way it can only lunge at you so far before it hurts itself." Matt Sanchez
It's a sad state, but believe it or not, too much "news" is just inflated rumors that flash across a screen for our fleeting attention.

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April 01, 2007

Lovely Lies, or Tedious Truths?

One of the great things about attending a school at the level of Columbia University is the quality of professors, students and guests the institution can attract. Actors, politicians and every now and then, an ambassador or two. Last week, we had the honor of receiving Ricardo Suarez, the First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations.

A different point
of view is edifying and the First Secretary did not disappoint; he was
passionate in his explanation, defense and justification of his
country's long, dramatic, history with the United States. He covered a lot of Columbia oldies but goodies: racism, national healthcare, oppression, embargoes, and immigration. He truly believed in what he was saying and that gave me pause.

You see, I've been to Cuba and I didn't believe a word he
was saying. Cuba is a 24-hour Fellini movie suffering from A.D.D. in
the mornings, and taking Prozac at night. A dozen disparate buses donated from cities world-wide circulate on the streets of Havana. The surrealism of expertly insulated Montreal autobuses that can comfortably transport in the extreme cold turned into windowless gua guas with jobless Havana commuters hanging on from the outside, was jarring. The Cuban First Secretary spoke quickly and took few questions, as if he was afraid of missing out on a detail, afraid of not telling us just how great his country was and how flawed this
country is. The urge to raise my hand and grill Mr. Suarez on prisoners
and poverty or torture and totalitarianism was overwhelming, especially
when other naive students asked softball questions like, "Can anyone become a doctor for free in Cuba?" But, then it became clear. The sweat on his forehead,
the fist in the air, and that inexpensive tie he did not bother to
adjust before he had entered the lecture hall. It became clear that you
really can convince yourself you're right when faced with enormous contradictions. Anyone can do it--hell I've done it.

Cuba's a long way from being a just and revolutionary society, but in the eyes of that man, in that classroom, the Triumph of the Revolution
was everything he could hold on to. That was his reality, and when his
strained eyes finally conceded me a question, I did not waste the
"So, do you think your baseball team can win the World Championship
next year?" He laughed, I smiled.

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