Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Years Predictions

I hate these tag things. I almost never do them, but this one I think is cool so I'm going to do it. Why do I think it's cool? Two reasons. One - it's more interesting to me than those "Top Ten Weird Things About Me" memes. Two - I am the one who made it up.

I want to hear everyone's predictions for 2006. You can do as many as you like (I will do ten) about whatever you want. You can even steal some of mine. This is a very informal tag. You can post on your blog or just do it in the comments on this post. If you read this and you're not tagged, please feel free to comment. Also please do not feel obligated to participate or pass this on to other people.

So without further delay, here are my predictions for 2006:

1. Samuel Alito will be confirmed by the Senate. The Republicans will not have to resort to the "nuclear option."

2. Bush will have another Supreme Court vacancy to fill this year.
2A. Bush will appoint another white male.

3. The Dow will hit 12,000 despite energy prices continuing to rise and the trade deficit with China getting wider.

4. Congress will not reach a deal on the Patriot Act and end up extending it "as is" to the end of 2006 creating a colossal campaign issue for the 2006 midterm elections

5. The Repulicans will pick up five seats in the House and two more seats in the Senate.

6. U.S. Troop levels in Iraq will be below 95,000 in time for the midterm elections in November.

7. Bush will revisit Social Security reform with a renewed campaign blitz this summer putting the debate on the table for the midterm elections.

8. Another natural disaster will occur that rivals the tsunami and Katrina in media coverage and government recovery effort.

9. The New York Mets will win the World Series.

10. Senator Rick Santorum will overcome his double digit deficit in the polls and beat Bob Casey to keep his Senate seat.

For this I am going to tag blogawakening, alisa, bill, Fitch, bookworm, Simple American, and ORF. And yes, y'all can bet I'll be digging this out one year from now to see who was right more often than not.

Reverse Racism

In 2003, four white men were fired from the Philadelphia School District and were relpaced by four African-American individuals. They claimed they were discriminated against by their female African-American boss. They sued the school district and won last week. A jury of 12 white individuals sided with the men and awarded them $3 million ($500,000 apiece) plus their old jobs back with back pay. This whole situation is a sad commentary on life in America, but it is what happened after the trial that pushes this story beyond the fray.

After the trial, the lawyer for the School District, Carl E. Singley who happens to be African-American, was riding the elevator with four of the jurors. During that elevator ride an exchange occurred between Singley and the jurors in which Singley called the jurors "a bunch of crackers." The jurors rode the elevator right back up and told Judge Harvey Bartle, who called Singley back into court within 30 minutes and verbally reprimanded him. To his credit, Singley admitted making the comment and apologized to the jurors likely saving his job and bar license.

I find it interesting in the article I linked above how the Philadelphia Inquirer called the court case an instance of "reverse racial discrimination" (paragraph 8). This three word phrase really sums up the common mentality in America. The phrase implies that discrimination by definition can only occur by whites against blacks. It suggests that when blacks in power favor other blacks it is "reverse" meaning it is abnormal. Discrimination is discrimination. As the attourney for the plaintiffs, Michael D. Homans, said, "You can't discriminate against anyone based on race - white people, black people, Hispanics."

Yet this happens all the time in America. If a company focuses on hiring more white people they are perceived to be racist. But if they focus on hiring more blacks and minorities, that's Affirmative Action. What is the difference? I can't see it. The line in the sand is blurry, but the double standard is so blatant it slaps me in the face.

What's sad and lost in all of this story is that the school district official, Kimberly Sangster, who was found guilty of racial discrimination, still has her job. The school district is still defending her. They plan to appeal this case at the expense of the tax payers. Mr. Singley says she is "the real victim" in all of this. And so the story continues. It appears nothing has been resolved in this case. White America is still evil while black racists get a free pass.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas

to all my Christian friends. To all my Jewish friends, like Bookworm, allow me to wish you and your family a Happy Hanukkah. I will be taking some time off from blogging in order to be with my family during this Christmas season. I may find some time to drop a post or two, but don't expect to see any serious blogging until after the New Year.

In the mean time, for all of you Christians I challenge you to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas. May I suggest after you open your presents and eat your Christmas dinner, you gather your family around and read the following passage from Luke Chapter 2:

1: And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2: (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3: And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4: And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5: To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6: And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7: And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9: And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12: And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15: And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16: And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17: And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18: And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19: But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20: And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 21: And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

It is my prayer that all of you and your families be blessed with peace, love, and joy on this Christmas day through the grace and mercy of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More NSA B.S.

Here we are six days into the "Bush Spied...Libs Cried" controversy and already people are jumping on the "Impeach Bush Bandwagon." Every Democrat is running for the nearest camera to say Bush thinks he's above the law. Bush threw the Constitution in the trash can. Bush needs to answer for his crimes.

The problem is that these people refuse to acknowledge that the President has more responsibilities spelled out in the Constitution than just holding up the Fourth Amendment. First and foremost the president has the duty to protect the country as Commander-in-Chief. Sometimes these two tasks come in conflict. When you really examine the Constitution, you come to the conclusion that the Fourth Amendment isn't really even a duty assigned to the President at all. It is a granted right of the people. Violating the amendment itself does not constitute a crime. What is the punishment for violating the Fourth Amendment? Can anyone tell me? Is there mandatory jail time? The death penalty? When law enforcement violates the Fourth Amendment and makes an illegal search, does the police officer go to jail? No. What happens is any evidence the officer collects can not be used in a court of law.

So the worst that could have happened had Bush made an arrest as a result of this program is that the evidence they collected could not be used to convict someone. But that still isn't necessarily a bad thing. Suppose they heard someone on the phone plotting to blow up a chemical plant. They go take the guy into custody, sit him in the interrogation room and tell him they know of his plot. The guy goes to court and gets off because the NSA got the evidence without a warrant. Do you think that guy is going to go through with his plot to blow up that chemical plant or anything else for that matter? You think he doesn't know he's going to be watched pretty carefully? My guess is he'll be on the next plane back to Syria or Jordan to get out of the country. So while Bush may have violated his Fourth Amendment rights, he stopped a terrorist plot. That's a winner in my book.

But all this talk about laws and courts fails to grasp what we are really dealing with here. What we're dealing with is a foreign power trying to commit terrorist acts on American soil. I expect my President to do everything to stop that from happening. If that means listening in on phone conversations or killing the person dead in the airport, so be it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Wikipedia Bias

As some of you may have noticed, I like to use Wikipedia to get a lot of information online. For the most part it is a good source. It is an online encyclopedia that allows people to edit entries to include information they may know. I was doing a little surfing through it today and found some evidence of bias that those who use this source may want to be aware of. Follow me on a little journey here. Take a look at the following entries for the following U.S. Presidents. Don't bother reading the whole thing. Just look at the outline and some of the headlines. Pay attention to how much space is devoted to scandals and criticisms.

John F. Kennedy
Lyndon Johnson
Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton

All for the most part seem to be pretty well done. They accurately characterize the presidencies of these men accentuating mostly the positive aspects of their administrations. The sections marked "Criticisms" are relatively short and don't go into much detail. Now take a look at this:

George W. Bush

This is an all out rip piece on President Bush. Note that the criticisms for the other presidents are lumped into one section. For Bush, these scandals aren't just lumped under one section. No no. For Bush, each "controversy" gets it's own section. They start right off with his military service. Of course there is no mention of Rathergate. Then we go into the section called "Substance Abuse Controversy." Scroll down to the section on Iraq and the bias just hits you in the face. Look at the captions under the pictures of Bush on the USS Abraham Lincoln. Both captions label his speech as "controversial". Scrolling down some more they manage to get a picture of Bush reading "The Pet Goat" to school children on 9/11 and states some criticizing him for not taking charge and walking out. Then we get entire sections devoted to Hurricane Katrina, Valarie Plame, and the Secret CIA prisons. Check back in a day or two and I'm sure somebody will have added the latest NSA scandal. Scrolling down some more they feature the Daily Mirror cover after the 2004 election that is captioned: "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?" The only thing that amazes me is that they didn't manage to work Abu Ghraib into the article somewhere. Anybody who hasn't been paying attention the past few years and was reading this to learn about George W. Bush would think he was the worst president of all time.

Contrast all of this with the article on Bill Clinton, arguably a president who had just as many scandals if not more. Whitewater gets one sentence. Filegate gets one sentence. Travelgate gets one sentence. Chinagate gets one sentence. Pardongate gets one sentence. Lewinsky doesn't even get her own sentence, just an honorable mention in the section on his impeachment which is about 1/4 of as much space as Wikipedia devoted to talking about how much George W. Bush is hated outside of the United States.

Clearly Wikipedia is a biased source if you want to use it for political research. So bloggers beware. I suggest you use caution in selecting what information you pull from this site. By all means do not treat it as the final authority.

Monday, December 19, 2005

If You're Going to Throw an Uppercut, You'd Better Land It

The Old Gray Lady is at it again. Last week The New York Times ran a story about the Bush Administration tapping phone lines without warrants in order to gather intelligence that may be useful in the War on Terror. The story sent liberals in Washington scrambling to the nearest camera like a nest of upset ants claiming Bush didn't respect the civil liberties of Americans. The headlines were ominous: Spying on Americans, Bush Defends Illegal Spying on Americans, Spying and Lying, The Constitution and Conservatism, and my personal favorite, Bush Vows More Eavesdropping just to name a few.

Over the weekend I tried to keep up with the story by watching the news and the political talk shows. Not surprisingly, the Republicans are trying to spin this to say Bush is only trying to protect America from terrorist attack while the Democrats are saying Bush has broken the law in violating Americans' civil rights. Congressional Democrats are calling for an investigation and I think it will only be a matter of time before the calls for impeachment start echoing through the capitol rotunda. Some of us are already jumping to conclusions.

Before I get into breaking down this story, I just want to note an observation. In the NYT story, they note they have known about this secret program for a year now and witheld printing it at the request of the White House. It makes me wonder, why are they reporting it now? Why last week? I think the answer is three pronged. One - the elections in Iraq last week were sure to give the President a small uptick in the polls so releasing this story would cut into that. Two - The liberal boogie man otherwise known as The Patriot Act was up for renewal last week giving this story extra significance and ensure it would get noticed in the headlines. Three - Times reporter James Risen has a book due to come out about Bush administration intelligence. Think he's going to sell a few more copies now that this story broke? All of that is interesting, but it is neither here nor there in the big picture.

Once again we're seeing the new George W. Bush at work. The old Bush would have denied the secret program or just tried to ignore it. This George W. Bush is fighting back. In his weekly radio address the President openly acknowledged the program and gave a very reasonable explanation for it. Coming out like this was brilliant. He immediately took the possibility of a coverup scandal off the table. Now we are forced to just argue the merits of the program. Bush spelled out how he has a duty as Commander-in-Chief to protect America from attack. At the same time he has a duty to uphold the civil rights of American citizens. Sometimes these two duties come in conflict and his job as President is to make tough decisions in these areas. After consulting the White House legal counsel and Congress, the President made the decision to go ahead and tap the phone lines in order to protect America. You know, it's not the first time a President has trampled on civil rights in a time of war. FDR imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Japanese during the second world war. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the civil war. The latter was challenged and upheld by the Supreme Court.

It's important to note that the line tapping only took place on international calls placed from people with known ties to terrorist groups. The FBI has jurisdiction to listen in on domestic phonecalls with a court issued warrant. Before 9/11, the NSA could only spy on foreign countries and had no jurisdiciton to listen in on domestic phonecalls. But after 9/11 Bush discovered no agency had the power to intercept calls to other countries that originated in America. He gave the NSA the power to do so in order to close the loop.

Liberals are already convinced this the beginning of the end of the Bush administration. They also said that about Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Plamegate, and the secret overseas detention facilities. And of course they're still holding out hope that WMD's are going to bring this president down. But they should know by now that none of these scandals stick to Bush. It isn't because he is the Teflon President. It's just because these scandals have no meat to them. Liberals will cry and moan about how much of a liar Bush is, but at the end of the day, he fessed up and is being honest about the program which gives him enormous credibility with the American people. If the debate is framed to the American people in a way such that they have to decide if they would rather live under the threat of a terrorist attack in their home town or if they would rather have the government listen in on their weekly phone call to aunt Ethel out in Iowa, the democrats are going to lose. Bush is well on his way to doing that. But I would still like to hear a concrete example from the administration of where getting a warrant was not an option in order to truly put this so-called scandal to bed for good.

Even if this story does linger for a few months, it's not going to end in impeachment. Any reasonable person, and perhaps a few democrats, can understand that the President was only acting in what he felt was the best interest of the country. Nobody is going to hang him for that. The worst that could have come from this whole spying program is that evidence that was gathered would have been thrown out in court.

The side issue lost in all of this debate is how once again the liberal left in this country is so rabid with their Anti-Bush hatred that they are willing to devulge national security secrets and obstruct anti-terror legislation in order to harm our Commander-in-Chief. Today the President held a press conference where I understand he was absolutely furious with the New York Times for releasing this classified information. Rightfully he should be. Now a major weapon we used to fight the terrorists has been taken off the table. In his press conference today, Bush came out swinging again against democratic senators who are filibustering the renewal of the Patriot Act. My favorite line was directed toward the Senators of New York (Schumer and Clinton), Nevada (Reid), and California (Feinstein and Boxer): How will you explain how your cities and states are safer(when the Patriot Act expires)? WHACK!!! It appears the Democrats have missed with an uppercut and Bush countered with a right cross. They are on the ropes and their knees are buckling. Now is the time for Bush to go in for the KO. I love the new Bush so much more than the old Bush.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Fallen Eagle

Like I've said before, sports often serve as a microcosm of life and culture here in America. Often more so in terms of racial relations than any other aspect of society. Sports have often served as some of the greatest triumphs and setbacks in the history of race relations. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in major league baseball was a defining moment in the history of this country. He was the perfect man to be the first African American to break the segregation barrier because he was able to do so with pride and class.

But each step forward is difficult. Progress is often met with resistance. Although African Americans have been playing professional football since before the second world war, as late as the 1980's there was a common belief in the NFL that black players were not smart enough to play quarterback. It wasn't until the 1987 Super Bowl when Doug Williams led the Washington Redskins to a victory over the Denver Broncos that the myth was dispelled. Since then there have been a plethora of black quarterbacks to enter and compete in the league, although Williams is still the only African American to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory as a quarterback.

In some sense, there is still a misconception out there that black athletes just aren't as smart as their white counterparts. Black quarterbacks to this day are still fighting those stereotypes. Many people believe they cannot be effective passers. Many believe they are best utilized as scramblers (quarterbacks who run a lot instead of throwing) like Michael Vick and Randal Cunningham. This week that stereotype is being debated in bloody fashion on the pages of the newspapers in Philadelphia.

When Donovan McNabb was first drafted by the Eagles he was booed because his name wasn't Ricky Williams. But it didn't take long for him to gain the faith of the City of Brotherly Love. He electrified the crowd with his ability to will his team down the field. He led the Philadelphia Eagles to four straight NFC Championship Games and ultimately made it to the Super Bowl last year where they lost to the New England Patriots. One of his greatest weapons when he was first drafted was his ability to run with the ball. But as the years went on McNabb took a beating from all those scrambles and hits. He started running less and throwing more. Over the past six years, his number of rushing attempts have decreased each year.

Since being put in as the starting quarterback, McNabb has been considered the leader of the team. He has always been the team spokesman. He's always been the guy to pick up his teammates when things looked bad. But this year has been a horrible year for McNabb. Injuries have plagued him and his team. His star wide receiver has been banned from the team. Now there are grumblings that McNabb has lost his team in the locker room.

This past weekend, J. Whyatt Mondesire, President of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), wrote a scathing article about McNabb in the Philadelphia Sun Newspaper. In the article (sorry I could not find a link), Mondesire analyzes the drop off in McNabb's rushing production and concludes that McNabb is trying to fight the stereotype of the scrambling quarterback that is too dumb to run a passing offense even though McNabb has made no such claim. Mondesire accuses McNabb of "playing the race card" and selling out "by claiming that 'everybody expects black quarterbacks to scramble' (which) not only amounts to a breach of faith but also belittles the real struggles of black athletes who've had to overcome real racial stereotype casting in addition to downright segregation." Mondesire also attacks McNabb by calling him "mediocre at best" and went on to say "And trying to disguise that fact behind some concocted reasoning that African American quarterbacks who can scramble and who can run the ball are somehow lesser field generals ... is more insulting off the field than on."

McNabb responded to these comments in the Philadelphia Inquirer saying, "Obviously if it's someone else who is not African American, it's racism. But when someone of the same race talks about you because you're selling out because you're not running the ball, it goes back to: What are we really talking about here?

"If you talk about my play, that's one thing. When you talk about my race, now we've got problems. If you're trying to make a name off my name, again, I hope your closet is clean because something is going to come out about you ... I always thought the NAACP supported African Americans and didn't talk bad about them. Now you learn a little bit more."

Donny, Donny, Donny. I'm sorry you had to learn this lesson the hard way, but the NAACP does not look out for you just because you're black. Ask Clarence Thomas, Condoleeza Rice, Michael Steele, and Thomas Sowell. These are all prominent African Americans who the NAACP has either at one time opposed or refused to support. Their message is clear if you know how to read between the lines. They are not for the "Advancement of Colored People". They are for the uniformity of "colored people". You see Donny, they like to have all African Americans fit into one mold, or stereotype if you will. That way it's easier to control them. You broke that policy by starting to act more like a white quarterback in their eyes. Remember these are the same people who sanctioned an event where Oreo cookies were thrown at Michael Steele because he is a "black republican".

Normally the NAACP doesn't concern themselves with these types of issues. Normally they are too busy convincing African Americans they are disenfranchised at the polls and the white man won't let them go to college and make good money. The problem that organizations like the NAACP and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have is with each generation more and more African Americans start to achieve the American dream and the scars of slavery and segregation heal a little bit more. As African Americans become more diversified and some of them start to make it in this country, others will start to wake up and realize they can make it too. People who embrace freedom feel a sense of self-governance and responsibility. People like this are less likely to look to social crutches like the NAACP. It's time the NAACP get with the 21st Century. For goodness sakes, the title of their organization still refers to African Americans as "colored people".

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Winds of Change

Just a few short months ago it appeared the Bush presidency was in shambles. His closest advisor was under investigation for leaking CIA information. The media was bombarding him with reports of dying soldiers in Iraq as the number approached 2000. The Hurricane Katrina relief effort was poorly handled. Republicans in Congress were openly speaking out against his Supreme Court nomination. Bush's approval rating dipped into the 30's. People were calling him a lame duck. People started calling Hillary "Madam President".

Since then there has been a change in this administration. There is a renewed sense of optimism. There is a spring in their step. The President has come out fighting. We should not be surprised since this is the man who got clobbered in the first presidential debate with John Kerry and came back to perform equally if not better than Kerry in the next two debates. This president has a knack for coming out of the corner swinging after getting almost knocked out in the previous round.

I think this president finally gets it. He is no longer pandering to the Democrats. He is finally acting like he won the election. He has finally realized that no matter what he does, 45% of the people in this country are never going to support him. So he has finally tuned those people out and has started to focus on his base and the moderates. And I for one say it's about time.

No more meetings with Democratic congressional leaders. For five years he invited Perlosi and Reid and Daschle to the White House to discuss legislation only to see them run to the nearest camera and bash him. No matter what he does these people will never come over to his side on any issue. So he has done the only thing he can do. He has bypassed them and taken his arguments directly to the American people. These past weeks he has given numerous speeches on the Iraq war again spelling out the necessity for our involvement. He has started taking questions from reporters and answering them honestly. The other day when asked how many Iraqis have died in the war he answered with a hard number, 30,000. The old Bush would have given some disclaimer about how unfortunately some Iraqis have died but estimates were uncertain. Yesterday, the President admitted that there were mistakes in the pre-war intelligence. He said as President he takes responsibility and he intends to see to it the intelligence mechanism of this country gets fixed. But while saying that, he also pointed out that taking out Saddam was a good thing and we still have work to do. And today that work is getting done as Iraqis come out in huge numbers to vote.

This president is once again starting to connect with the American people. History shows when he does that his poll numbers go up. While I don't put much faith in the poll numbers, politicians do. And when the president has high numbers, people are afraid to speak out against him and more inclined to go along with his agenda. This is bad news for the Democratic party who has sold their souls to the anti-war movement. If this President can harden American resolve to see this war out to completion it's going to be tough for the Democrats to overcome their poor judgement.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Culture Wars

This Christmas season is unlike any I can ever remember. The "Christmas Wars" seem to be dominating the headlines. Non-Christians are attacking our sacred holiday by accusing us (Christians) of being intolerant and hypocritical. Much of this criticism is unfair. On the other hand, radical Christians are becoming almost militant in their insistance that stores recognize Christmas and encouraging Christians to boycott stores that dare to wish you a "Happy Holidays." In my opinion these people are lost in their faith and do us Christians a disservice.

There can be no denying that the Christmas holiday has been hijacked in this country. What should be a day set aside solely for Christians to reflect on the good news of Jesus Christ coming to save the gentiles from eternal damnation has been absorbed into our secular society and morphed into a day of family, mythical characters (Santa Claus), and presents. It's no wonder people get all stressed out over Christmas. They don't celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

If the alteration of Christmas had stopped there I could live with that. But it is starting to go beyond that. It's not enough that the seculars want to celebrate Christmas without recognizing the significance of Jesus Christ, they want to completely take over Christmas and prevent others from hearing the good news of Christ. Christmas trees become "Holiday Trees". Schools take "Winter Break" instead of Christmas break. Schools substitute traditional religious Christmas carols with "Frosty the Snowman", unless you live in Johnstown, PA. When you go to the mall to do your Christmas shopping, you are hard pressed to find a Nativity scene on display. Christ is being erased from Christmas in the name of tolerance.

Some people, some of them not necessarily Christians, are overreacting to all of this. Calls for boycotts of stores that wish you Happy Holidays are over the top. I suspect these people do not truly wish to spread the message of Jesus Christ. I get the feeling they are more interested in making money or getting political support from Christians. Brothers and sisters in Christ, beware of these people. They do not have your best interest at heart. Do not follow the man who says buy my book or vote for me in order to save Christmas. They are only trying to make you angry because they know passionate people act with their votes and their money. Don't fall for their games.

Non-Christians have to stop this notion of Christmas being offensive to all other religions. If the celebration of the birth if my Savior makes you feel uncomfortable, too bad. Deal with it. Tolerance means accepting other points of view without being offended. It does not mean keeping your believes to yourself for fear that someone else might not agree with them. Allow Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus without feeling like they are being insensitive to others.

Christians need to take the high road in dealing with non-Christians. We should not be offended by people trying to push Christ out of the public scene. This is nothing new to us. Jesus told us the world will persecute us for following Him. We have to shake it off, but continue in our faith. It's ok to wish someone a Merry Christmas, but if they retort back that they are Jewish or atheist, use it as an opportunity to witness for Christ. Wish them a Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or New Year. We need to be accepting of other people just as Jesus was. Show respect for other religions, but don't be afraid to share the message of Christ and the birth of the Savior.

Sixty-Five Years Ago

I realize this is a few days late, but here is a taste of history we should always remember and reflect on during this busy time of year.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Profiling for Pedophiles

About a year ago, Mark Worsley got on a Quantas flight in New Zealand. He was traveling with his two year old twin sons. He got on the plane and took his assigned seat next to an eight year old boy. Shortly after takeoff from Christchurch the flight attendant approached him and told him he needed to change seats with the woman two rows ahead of him. When he asked why he needed to change seats the flight attendant told him the airline has a policy of not seating male passengers next to unaccompanied children. Mr. Worsley obliged the flight attendant, but as he sat in his new seat and thought about the situation, he started to realize that the airline had profiled him as a pedophile. The more Mr. Worsley thought about it, the angrier he got. He didn't want to cause a scene on the flight because he was aware you just can't do that in a post 9/11 world. But since the incident Mr. Worsley has been very vocal about the fact he felt he was discriminated against and he has contacted the Nation Party Political Correctness Eradicator, Wayne Mapp* to assist him in getting Quantas and Air New Zealand, which admits to having a similar practice, to change their policies.

Is this a situation of profiling run amuck? I must admit this is a tough one for me to reconcile in my head. I can see the argument for wanting to protect children from pedophiles. While the child is on that plane, they are the legal guardians and can be held responsible for anything that happens to that child. But at the same time I can understand why this man was upset. If it were me, I would probably feel a little embarrassed and angry myself. But after pondering it for awhile, I have come to my own conclusion that the airline has gone too far in this one.

I think profiling can be a useful tool when used properly by law enforcement officials. It is a fact that most terrorists tend to be muslim males of middle eastern decent between the ages of 25 and 35. But they represent a small portion of the American population, so profiling them makes reasonable sense to me. In contrast, these airlines have instituted a policy of profiling fifty percent of the population. When you are talking about such a large portion like that, profiling loses its effectiveness.

That being said, it seems like something that is easy for the airline to do. It doesn't really require any extra resources which pass extra costs onto the consumer. As long as they don't deny access to the plane to anyone, I don't see this as discrimination. Mr. Worsley is trying to turn this into a Rosa Parks type event, but I'm just not seeing that. But there are other things the airline can do to prevent children from being seated next to a sexual predator.

Mr. Worsley was put in a situation where he was made the center of attention on the plane and some people may have perceived that to mean he was a problemed individual. That isn't right. In this day and age, we can single out child predators more effectively than just assuming every male is a potential sexual predator. The United States has set up national child predator databases. Flight passenger lists should be cross checked against those databases and in the event there is a match the suspected pedophile should be seated as far away from the child as possible and the flight crew should be discretely notified to keep the person and child on close watch. The parents of the child should be notified that there will be a convicted sexual offender on the flight with their child and give them the option of choosing another flight. In addition, unaccompanied children should be seated with a flight attendant or other airline official. Beyond that, if the airline wishes to seat unaccompanied children next to female passengers, I don't have a problem with it. But when mistakes are made, all efforts should be made to handle the situation in a discrete non-offensive manner. In the case of Mr. Worsley, that didn't happen.

(* - How cool is it that the New Zealand National Party has a Political Correctness Eradicator? How do we get one of those?)