Monday, May 5, 2008

CULTURE WATCH by Nancy Morgan

It would be nice if the situation in Iraq could fit into a nice little soundbite. There's comfort in knowing something is either black or white but reality often hovers somewhere in the grey area. Nowhere is this more apparent than in two news items out of Iraq that, as usual, were given short shrift by the old media.

In what might be considered a sign of progress, Iraqis have moved from survival mode to complaining about a suggestion being floated by lawmakers that Baghdad should start paying a share of the war's cost by providing cheap fuel to the U.S. military. Welcome to the real world.

Another positive sign: A group of Iraqi citizens witnessed a car bomb explosion that took the life of a soldier. They chased down the perpetrator and turned him over to Iraqi National Police. It appears Iraqis are now getting the hang of law and order and citizen participation. Good stuff. Here's hoping for a lot more.

Good News:

Northwestern University has withdrawn its offer of an honorary degree to the 'Hate-America,' former pastor of Obama, Rev. Wright. Kudos to NU and memo to Rev. Wright: Don't feel too bad - a new study is showing that a college degree isn't all its cracked up to be.

Speaking of schools, although federal courts have banned the teaching of 'intelligent design' in public schools, legislators in several states are seeking new ways to allow teachers to cast doubt on Darwin's theory of evolution. Meanwhile, atheists are pushing for their own holidays and the world's first cloned horse has given birth.

In Arizona, a legislative panel has endorsed a proposal that would bar government schools from any teachings counter to democracy or Western civilisation. The measure would also prohibit students from forming groups based in whole or in part on the race of their members. Hey, wasn't that settled with the civil rights act??

Two steps forward and one step back. A state-funded organization in Maine, touted as a "stellar program for social change" is providing a seminar to boys on how to be homosexual. Lovely.

Speaking of social change: More bad news for the New York Times. This, formerly influential newspaper is reaping the rewards for representing only the liberal point of view. Sadly, it has lost more than 150,000 Sunday subscribers, which, along with a daily circulation decline, has forced the once reputable media organ to initiate mass layoffs for the first time in its history. Standard and Poor's also cut the NYT rating to BBB. This is one level above junk bonds, which seems appropriate. Forgive me for smiling.

Comedian Bill Cosby exhorted hundreds of people to stand up and confront the ills of the black community and ignore those he calls "intellectual panhandlers." Here's hoping that term catches on. And here's hoping that one day soon whites will be able to say what Cosby just said without being called racist.

Our Government At Work:

While most Americans are busy working, paying taxes and raising families, our government is slowly becoming and replacing our daddy. From natural disaster to gas prices, more and more Americans automatically turn to government for solutions. More on this in Who's Your Daddy?

Government is now hiring new employees at the fastest rate in six years. Probably to help make and enforce all the new rules and regulations governing our behavior. Like the proposed 'sin-tax' on fast food being considered in New Jersey. Or the new ban on salmon fishing along the west coast that was just announced.

The good news is, the public isn't buying this stuff. A WSJ poll shows that that positive views of both parties are the lowest in nearly two decades. I vote we downgrade government's rating to BBB.

Globaloney Update:

NASA scientists say the earth is entering a cooling period. That hasn't deterred Father Earth, Algore. He just closed another $683M 'green' fund. That's called making hay while the sun shines.

It hasn't deterred our lawmakers either, as the new farm bill just passed, retaining $5 billion in crop subsidies. These subsidies pay farmers not to grow food, even though the world is experiencing a huge food shortage. Sam's Club is already rationing rice, and food rationing has spread as far as Israel and Asia. (Thanks to Algore's ethanol mandates.)

Meanwhile, the UN has latched onto the 'global food crisis' in order to plea for $775 million more bucks to fight hunger. This, as the UN's World Food Program is sitting on a cash and near cash stockpile of more than $1.22 billion.

Essential Trivia:

A simple brain exercise has been found to boost IQ. 58% of black children can't swim, almost twice the figure for white children. Scientists have launched a trial on a vaccine designed to help smokers kick the habit by depriving them of pleasure. Technologia Aeroespacial Mexicana has designed a strap on helicopter that will enable a solo flying experience. Cool jeans.

Scientists have observed an Antarctic fur seal trying to have sex with a penguin in what they say is the most unusual case of mammal mating behaviour yet known. I wonder if global warming will be credited. Or possibly boy Clinton?

Idiot Of The Week:

That honor goes to an ethics panel formed at the request of the Swiss government. They opined that plants have "dignity" and the arbitrary killing of flora is morally wrong. I'm not kidding.

In keeping with my desire to leave you with a smile on your face, check out this Boxing Kitty Cat Video.

Till next Monday, keep smiling,

by Nancy Morgan

Nancy Morgan is a columnist and a news editor for
She lives in South Carolina, where she writes "Culture Watch" weekly.

Article may be reprinted with attribution. Bio available on request.


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