Al Gore! Ha!

I thought I'd address the latest installment in the Al Gore saga by writing my article in the UWM Times about him. So here it is for your enjoyment:


If the Price is Right, He’ll Do It

Sometimes certain things haunt you for so long that you never truly get over them. I know of a person that undeniably is haunted by his past. Just look at this quote from September 23rd, 2002: “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power. We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”

Before you jump the gun and call out who made that statement, you would be surprised to find out that the previous quote was taken from our former Vice President Al Gore. The 2000’s have been rough for Mr. Gore after looking so promising at one point. This man was a heartbeat away from becoming our 43rd President in 2000. Now, six years later, a very different man emerges from so long ago.

Instead of being in the headlines every day, Mr. Gore finds himself fighting for media attention. Apparently, Gore’s network channel “Current TV” cannot provide him with all the attention he needs. So, Al Gore has been popping in and out of the headlines with some pretty crazy talk.

In 2004, Al Gore delivered a speech in New York before a Move On audience (I’m not quite sure where “Move On” is moving other than their continual movement away from the mainstream). Gore pulled no punches when he attacked the situation in Iraq and the Abu Ghraib incidents as just the natural progression of President Bush’s policies. After all, Mr. Gore claimed that “the abuse of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib flowed directly from the abuse of the truth that characterized the [Bush] Administration's march to war and the abuse of the trust that had been placed in President Bush by the American people in the aftermath of September 11th…David Kay concluded his search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq with the famous verdict: ‘we were all wrong.’ And for many Americans, Kay's statement seemed to symbolize the awful collision between Reality and all of the false and fading impressions President Bush had fostered in building support for his policy of going to war.”

That’s a pretty bold statement considering that his own administration had been making the same comments in 1998. However, we should keep in mind that the man who invented the Internet has never been to keen on keeping his facts straight or his own comments for that matter. Later on in the same speech, Gore revealed his thoughts on how the United States runs its daily operations. Speaking about torture, Gore said that “we all know these things [torture], and we need not reassure ourselves and should not congratulate ourselves that our society is less cruel than some others, although it is worth noting that there are many that are less cruel than ours.”

Remember folks, this man was running to be our torturous nation’s next leader! It’s hard to digest that ridiculous statement but I guess we shouldn’t blame Mr. Gore for appearing delusional and disconnected. He knows how close he was, he knows that he could have continued the Clinton dynasty another four years and he knows that if he would have carried his home state during the election he wouldn’t have to worry about making the news.

After that speech in 2004, it should be no surprise that Al Gore has reappeared in the news after a steady absence from the spotlight. However, this time Al Gore one-upped himself – and that’s a pretty difficult task. This time, the venue was not New York but rather Saudi Arabia. He was to address the annual Jeddah economic forum and for Al Gore the price was right to resume the bashing of America. I wonder if Mr. Gore knew that the forum he was speaking at is sponsored in part by Osama bin Laden’s family – that’s almost fitting for such talk (even though the bin Laden family has tried to distance itself from their “little terror”). What he did know is that the oil money he was pocketing for such an appearance would ease his mind from what he was about to say.

According to Al Gore, the United States committed “terrible abuses” against Arabs after 9/11. They were “indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa and not having a green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable."

Leave it to Al Gore to use broad and vague language that is not backed up with hard facts. The Arab American Anti Discrimination Committee reported that 1,200 Arabs were incarcerated after 9/11. 725 were held on immigration violations, 100 on unrelated criminal charges, and 360 for possible links to terrorism. How does this number (1,200) compare to the number of Arabs within our borders?

The U.S. Census Bureau shows that there are more than 3 million Arabs within the United States. I don’t know about you but you know what that is in comparison to the 1,200 who were arrested after 9/11? You get .04% of Arabs were rounded up after we were attacked. To claim that an “indiscriminate” number of Arabs were yanked into custody is a ridiculous and careless comment. I see nothing “indiscriminate” about the .04% of Arabs who were brought in.

As ridiculous as Gore’s comments on Arab detainment are, he went one step further to appease the audience he was speaking to (an art form that John Kerry mastered). Apparently George W. Bush and Co. are “playing into al Qaida's hands" by subjecting Saudi visa applicants to special scrutiny, Mr. Gore said. "The worst thing we can possibly do is to cut off the channels of friendship and mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States.”

I guess Al Gore forgot that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who planned the 9/11 attacks, told interrogators most of the hijackers he selected were Saudis because they had the easiest time getting visas. According to statistics gathered by the Government Accountability Office, before 9/11 only 3% of Saudi applicants were interviewed prior to being issued a visa, and only 1% were refused. All this information can be found in the 9/11 Commission Report but I don’t think Mr. Gore took the time to read that.

When did Al Gore become so “buddy buddy” with the Saudis? After all, wasn’t it President Bush who has such deep ties with the Saudis? Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com knows that this recent rhetoric from Al Gore is nothing new because “only Al Gore could come up with the idea of criticizing Bush for not sucking up to the Saudis enough.”

It’s sad to see a man be so utterly consumed with bitterness and contempt for the current President. Sure, there is always the “robbery conspiracy” from the 2000 election; but with all the “what if’s” the fact of the matter is that this man’s words are nowhere close to being presidential or even American for that matter. I guess Democrats and Republicans alike can be thankful this guy is sitting on the sidelines playing the part of the annoying fan rather than being the quarterback of the football team in the big game.


More from the UWM Times

The double standard in racism has been around for a long time. I felt it was time to start addressing the issue - so in our last issue of the UWM Times I wrote about it. Here's my article from the February 9th issue:

It’s Only Racism If You’re Conservative

You can call it the exploitation of one’s political views. You can call it willful ignorance by those who are so easily offended. Whatever you want to call it, the fact is this: shameless people are often too quick to label a statement from a conservative as “racist” – but a blatant racial epithet from a liberal is quickly overlooked.

Why is there a double standard when it comes to racially insensitive remarks? Perhaps, liberals believe they are the standard when it comes to political correctness; therefore, they can be racist and sexist whenever they feel. After all, everyone knows that liberals would never say or do anything that would diminish the worth of all cultures and sexes.

In order to give the proper attention to some of the most offensive remarks that have occurred, a review of these instances is warranted. Therefore, let us revisit some of the stories that might not have received the dominant airtime that it would have if these comments came from a conservative:

The 2004 presidential election was a hotly contested race with very high stakes and in the end Bush prevailed to return for a second term. After the 2004 presidential election, liberals simply could not get over the reelection of President Bush. Despite having the most diverse cabinet in U.S. history, the personal attacks on Bush’s cabinet members were relentless. Previously, Secretary of State Colin Powell had to face the accusations of being “Bush’s puppet”. Funny how that works, considering that if Al Gore would have won the presidency in 2000, Colin Powell was being speculated for the same job. After it was made known that a conservative black woman would be the new Secretary of State, liberals started firing away.

Wisconsin’s own liberal talk show host John Sylvester called Rice “an Aunt Jemima”. Others decried her lack of “competence” for the position. Political cartoons came out depicting Dr. Rice with exaggerated features that looked like they were taken out of the Jim Crow era. Forget about the fact that she is a strong, accomplished woman with a PhD. None of that matters if you’re a conservative minority because then, you’re called a “token”. That’s classy.

One of only two black Supreme Court Justices in the history of the court, Clarence Thomas is “Scalia’s puppet” according to liberals Mary McGrory and the ACLU’s very own Alvin Bronstein. Democratic Senator Harry Reid agrees because “[Clarence] has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court…his opinions are poorly written”. Poorly written opinions? Has Senator Reid even read one of Clarence’s opinions? Justice Thomas has a proven track record to go along with his extensive background. However, considering he’s a conservative justice on the Supreme Court, he must not be that bright.

These three prominent black leaders have all had to face discrimination due to their political views. The sad reality is that these sort of demeaning comments do not get enough coverage throughout the media outlets. What does it mean when you call a black person a “puppet”? I’m sure that if any conservative leader, columnist or talk show host made a reference to a liberal minority being the “puppet” of another white person the political fall out would be staggering. Calls for the person’s head would be made, retractions warranted and they can forget about ever running for office again. Most likely, it would end in a resignation. In the cases of these three leaders, they are all deemed sell-outs for their views. The racism doesn’t just stop at the national level. In fact, at the state and local level it can be much worse.

Take the recent incidents involving current Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, a black conservative Republican. He is currently running for a seat in the U.S. Senate against former NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume. The tremendous amount of racial vitriol directed towards him is unfathomable. So far, Steele has had Oreo cookies thrown at him during a campaign appearance, been called an “Uncle Tom” by his liberal foes and depicted as a black-faced minstrel on a liberal website that contained the caption, "I's Simple Sambo and I's running for the Big House”. Apparently, such degrading treatment is justifiable according to black Democrats.

Black Baltimore Democrat Delegate Salima Marriott believes such actions are not racial. She claims that “if they call him the ‘N’ word, that’s racial…just because he’s black everything bad you say about him isn’t racial”. Oh really? She further states that Mr. Steele welcomes comparisons to a slave who loves his cruel master or a cookie that is black on the outside and white inside because his conservative political philosophy is, in Marriott’s view, anti-black. Conservatives would NEVER be able to get away with such lowly, pathetic stunts to a man who was Maryland’s first ever black man to win a statewide election. No matter how hard you try and say otherwise, there is no justification for the actions against Mr. Steele. Furthermore, remarks don’t have to contain the “N” word in them to be racist. Just ask Rush Limbaugh.

Conservative pundit and a minority, Michelle Malkin knows all about these types of attacks. She’s been called names ranging from “whore of the Republican party” to being told to inject more collagen in her lips so that she can “play the part” better. It’s hard for liberals to get over the fact that there are minorities out there who don’t adopt liberal policies. Liberals simply cannot tolerate conservative minority dissenters. The liberal left does not believe that minorities should have the right to an opinion – unless they espouse liberal ideals. So, they’re labeled as sell-outs.

And now the latest accusations from current chairman of the NAACP, Julian Bond. Bond is no stranger to wild and outlandish comments. Back in 2001, he claimed Bush’s nominees came from the “Taliban wing of American politics… whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection”.

Bond, whose organization represents the “advancement of colored people”, has fallen back on attacking his own people. In a speech at Fayetteville State University, Julian Bond compared the Republican Party to the Nazis and called out Colin Powell and Condi Rice. According to Bond, these black conservatives are nothing more than “tokens”. However, later in his speech he claimed that black people “have to fight discrimination whenever it raises its ugly head”. Funny he should talk about discrimination when five minutes earlier he was attacking two black people for being “tokens” of a political party. His speech so offended some members in the audience that one black family got up and left during the middle of his speech. Resorting to name calling appears to be the norm when debating the issues no longer works.

It is people like Julian Bond that exploit their own people when they resort to such pitiful tactics. The list continually grows every day and there is little that is done about it. When will people wake up to this blatant double standard and realize that political affiliation does not matter when it comes to racism?

Racism has been a problem throughout our history and has been a problem since before our country began. I realize that liberals and conservatives alike can be offenders in regards to racism and bigotry. However, allowing one group to get away with such obvious racial remarks belittles the cause towards equality. It is time for people to call out these delinquents regardless of their political views if they will resort to attacking the person’s racial composition rather than the issues. If we do not do so, we are merely promoting the racial tension we so desperately want to stop.

Commit To Milwaukee's Phase II If You Don't Value Your Education

Here's my article from the January 26th edition of the UWM Times:

Commit to Milwaukee’s Phase II If You Don’t Value Your Education

Many of you may have received an email in October from the UWM Coalition for Diversity and Access that called for the implementation of the Milwaukee Commitment’s Phase II Plan. For those of you who do not know what this plan entails, here is the basic rundown of the program:

The Phase II Plan has several goals – the most important is to close the achievement gap through retention and graduation. Phase II is a follow-up proposal to the original Phase I initiative. Phase II strives to create more diversity at the UWM campus by enacting several proposals. Mainly, these proposals include accepting not only more students of color, but also professors that resemble the racial composition of the Milwaukee community.

This is a noble cause. At first glance, one could hardly find fault with its earnest attempts at diversifying this campus. However, the proposals in this initiative would raise tuition significantly – thereby undermining its own attempts at creating a “diverse” campus. The proposed initiative does more damage than good.

It is logical for a university to accept students based on their accomplishments during high school. I would rather have students accepted based on their merits and achievements – not their race/ethnicity. What does it say to a student when you accept them because they fell into a category? "Oh, you're important - your grades don'tmatter, but you're important - we let you enter into school because you makeour university look more diverse".

This sort of thinking hurts not only the university, but the student who was accepted. True concern for minority students is not there. Rather, Phase II makes UWM look more concerned about their ethnic composition rather than their dedication to the success of all its students.

I know what most people are thinking by now. This kid is a bigot – he doesn’t care about the diversity of his university. Instead, he would rather let his university become a “cookie-cutter” institution of no racial make-up. Wrong. Is UWM really not diverse? Most people would beg to differ. In fact, statistics from the Milwaukee Commitment show how diverse our campus is compared to other schools within the UW system.

According to its own numbers, in the 2003-04 academic year, while UWM enrolled 16% of all students in the UW system, our proportion of enrollment of students of color in the system is twice that at the undergraduate level (32% of all undergraduate students of color in the UW System) and more than twice at the graduate level (37% of all graduate students of color in the system). Additionally, to the graduating class of 2002-03, UWM awarded one third (33%) of all bachelor’s degrees and more than one half (52%) of all master’s degrees awarded by the UW System to African American students.

These statistics certainly show our campus as the leader in diversity among the other UW institutions. Professors and Teacher’s Aids also resemble a very diverse racial makeup. Just sit in one of your classes and you can agree that our educators do not fit into one racial category.

Going back to the admission of ethnic students, I would love to see minority students accepted into UWM. However, I do not want them accepted with the stigma of being labeled as a "Phase II" student and seen as one who has been successful in his/her academic pursuits. It is vital to respecting the student and the university. We need fairness in university admissions. Do you not see where I am coming from?

Many people think that I might be talking about standardized testing as the yardstick. Many statistics have been thrown out there trying to prove why standardized testing does not work (i.e. timed tests). However, this is not what I mean at all when I call for fairness in university admissions. To clarify, my "fair" strategy is not taking a pre-entry test such as the ACT to determine access to the university. Rather, how you perform in high school gives a good sign of how you will perform in higher education.

Even after examining this statistical data, it is hard for me to look at these figures when other statistics glaringly stick out. For example, truancy rates in the state of Wisconsin are appalling and ridiculous. MPS habitual truancy numbers show an increase from each school period - elementary, middle school, high school - to the point that in 2003, the MPS high school average rate of habitual truancy was 73%! Add in the fact that MPS enroll about 11% of the students in the state, and report more than 50% of all the habitual truants in the state – a large percentage being minorities.

The yardstick I am calling for is not standardized testing. It is the willingness to be successful in high school. These would include activities mentioned by the UWM Coalition for Diversity and Access: community involvement, blue-collar work ethic, etc. It is this dedication that brings about academic success. The responsibility to a student’s success does not fall under one category.

More importantly, parents must be aware and involved in their child’s academic life. Truancy rates would severely decline if parents would accept the responsibility of their child, not pass it off to the government or schools. After all, who has the ultimate responsibility for their child? The obvious answer is the parent. Mark my words: academic achievement and success would skyrocket if parents assume their natural and inherent responsibility.

On a side note, I would be interested in seeing the racial composition of applicants to UWM. This, broken down into locale, would also help to see if minorities are beingunfairly treated in admissions. Are the people we are trying to help evenbothering to apply? At the very least, the people who are serious about attendinguniversity – not those who failed in high school due to lack of interest in education (seenin truancy rates, grades, etc.) – are those who should be studied.

A big concern is the cost of the Phase II initiative. This will most certainlyraise the cost of education. Does this not hurt the same people we are tryingto bring into UWM? Or are we placing the burden of cost on others? Where is themoney coming from to fund this unproven program? These are serious questions that need to be addressed.

One final thing, there is the proposal within Phase II that calls for professors to match the racial composition of UWM's community. This is a very disturbing suggestion. What does this mean? Quite possibly, we could be denying qualified professors positions at our university because they don't pass the litmus test of race! Here is the point: I don't care if you are black, white, yellow, orange or purple. The professors at UWM should be the most qualified people in their field – regardless of race. This remains the responsibility of any university. The denial of qualified professors is the denial of a student’s right to the best education possible.

These are the issues that need to be addressed before we commit to a programthat could damage the university more than preserve it. Committing to this program devalues a student’s education for the sake of outward appearance.