Friday, February 13, 2004

Shame on NASCAR?

The articles on NASCAR's predominantly white performers and fans has given rise to questions about the sport's commitment to diversity. ESPN's is only the latest.

Here comes the reality check: there isn't a sport I can think of that isn't dominated by one group or another. Does hockey have a diversity problem? Sure- dominated by whites. Golf is also dominated by whites, even if the most dominating golfer is not white. Basketball also has a diversity problem, if you are honest enough to state the obvious- it is dominated by blacks. Ditto football. Major League Baseball may be the most diverse pro league I can think of, and yet, it does not reflect the population in the country in which the games are played.

Know what? I couldn't care less. I am a fan of pro sports because I enjoy watching the world's best athletes compete, and it doesn't reduce the fun for me if there isn't a white guy on the basketball court, or there isn't a black guy on the ice. I am tired of the social engineering, whether from the Rainbow Coalition or from Rush Limbaugh. Play the games, and enjoy the games- as played by humans.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Guess Who?

Read the following rhetoric, and see if you can place the source without cheating:

"A lot of people think that just because the U.S. Congress passed it...and the President signed it...and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it...that means they can freeze you out...sever your tongue...and choke your voice to silence.

And you?ll just have to get used to it.

If they can steal that much freedom today, think what they?ll embezzle from your children and grandchildren...who will never get it back.

No, we will not be silenced.

We?re going to use every means to restore the 1st Amendment."

You're guessing, perhaps? Nope. The ACLU? No. John Kerry? Howard Dean? Dennis Kucinich? This will knock your socks off:

The National Rifle Association!

The NRA has generally been on my shite list for failing to support LP candidates. They endorse and support Republicans who tend not to be consistent friends of the Second Amendment, let alone the rest of the Bill of Rights, whereas Libertarians would be. I'll put this gripe aside for the time being, for here is Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA, preparing battle plans in defense of the First Amendment. The article.

More from LaPierre:

"Thanks to a hand-wringing band of whiny politicians who?ve entered into a smelly insider deal called the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. I call it an incumbent protection scheme.

You know it as McCain-Feingold, a bald-faced insult to the constitutional freedoms of common Americans."

The NRA is now expanding the number of Bill of Rights Amendments it defends. Where has the ACLU been on this huge assault on the First Amendment? Beats Me. Their most relevant article is dated 2001. For years it has disappointed me how the ACLU selectively defends Amendments, generally ignoring the Second, passing others by here and there as suits the left-leaning politics of its leadership. When the ACLU soft-pedals the fight for the First Amendment, abandon ye all hope in that organization.

The top five "Hot Topics" on the ACLU main page today? 1. USA PATRIOT Act; 2. Defending Abortion; 3. Airport Spying; 4. Gay Equality; 5. March for Women's Lives.

Sorry- I have free speech for all way ahead of these five.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


If ever in southern Spain, northern Morocco, or sailing the Mediterranean, I highly recommend a trip to Gibraltar.

It was rather bewildering to find this very British outpost after having been emersed in Spanish culture for over a week, but in a delightful way. After all, I did have a 12-year-old with me, and he finds it easier to explore another new culture when the primary language is English. The Royal Post, a pint of Bass, and fish and chips joints are easy to find.

The military history is everywhere, from the 10-pound notes with images of cannons pointing downwards, to a hike up the Rock itself, where remnants and ruins from various sieges can be found. The area is sufficiently small that you can tour the place in one or two days and come away with an excellent sense of the place.

I found an instant affinity for the Gibraltarians, thanks to a few hours spent with a cabbie who took us up the Rock and to the Barbary Apes. He couldn't contain his passionate devotion to the Crown and his distaste for the Spanish Government, who, in his estimation, was trying to slowly starve the 30,000 or so inhabitants of the peninsula away from England, to be assimilated into Spain.

The guidebooks told us that the dictator Franco sealed the border in 1968, leaving Gibraltarians unable to leave by car until 1984, when the border was re-opened. The cabbie told us plenty more, but Ame and I found our own example of Spain's passive-aggressive behavior: try to find Gibraltar by relying on the road signs, and you never will. There is not a single sign pointing the way to Gibraltar from any main roadway. If you do not know the names of the nearby towns and have the certainty of mind that you should turn towards them, you simply won't find Gibraltar. We passed the story on to the cabbie, and he gave us the smile-and-shrug that says, "see what I mean"? Item of interest.

It takes two minutes to be waved into Gibraltar. It takes 15 minutes to get back into Spain. American passport holders seem to get waived through quickly enough, but everybody else gets 100 questions. There were signs at the exit lines declaring this discrepancy in times in and out to be just another example of Spain's un-neighborly behavior. I couldn't agree more. Ame and I both wished, as we sat in the car, that we had purchased one of those Keep Gibraltar British t-shirts.

It is Gibraltar's tricentennial this year. Queen Elizabeth II was apparently invited to the celebrations but she declined, not wishing to insult the Spanish... at the cost of insulting her subjects! Knowing this, I guess I would rather have a Self-Determination for Gibraltar t-shirt.