By Jeff Fecke | July 6, 2012
I’m going to tell you a story.
It’s one you may have heard before. I suppose I could cut and paste it from somewhere on the internet; bound to be out there somewhere. But I feel like telling it myself, and this is my blog, so I can.
Once upon a time, there was a man. He was dancing on the beach.
At least, so it appeared to me. In the early morning light, as the tides rolled out, the man was moving along the beach, up and down, up and down, occasionally throwing an arm out toward the ocean.
As I drew nearer, I saw that he wasn’t dancing. He was reaching down for something, plucking it, and tossing it into the ocean. Again and again, over and over, the man would step, crouch, and throw, step, crouch, and throw.
I was now heading toward him, curious as to what he was doing. Soon enough, I saw. The beach was littered with starfish that had been brought in by the tide, just starting to dry in the early morning light. Thousands of them — far too many to count. Far, far too many for anyone to throw back.
Finally, I drew up alongside the man. “Hey,” I said. “What are you doing?”
He did not pause. He kept stepping, crouching, and throwing. But he was kind enough to reply, as if I was unable to see, “I’m throwing starfish into the sea.”
“I can see that,” I said, annoyed. “But why?”
“The tide’s gone out.” Step, crouch, throw. “If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
“But look at the beach!” I exclaimed. “There must be thousands of them!”
“Yes.” Step, crouch, throw. “There are.”
“Well, why do it then? It won’t make any difference.”
The man finally paused, just briefly. He reached down, picked up a starfish and gave it a good heave into the ocean.
“It did for that one,” the man said. And he continued on, dancing merrily down the sandy, starfish-laden shore.
By Jeff Fecke | July 4, 2012
In honor of Venus transiting the Sun, I give you They Might Be Giants.
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By Jeff Fecke | June 22, 2012
About 12 years after Title IX passed Congress, my seven-year-old sister joined a co-ed soccer team.
It was not unheard of for girls to play sports, but the leagues for girls were anemic compared to those for boys. The prevailing attitude was still that sports were for boys. Oh, girls might do gym class, and maybe play softball or do gymnastics, but sports were really for boys. Girls should stay home and tend the kitchen.
One of my sister’s new teammates told her that on her first day of practice.
My sister responded by flooring him with a punch.
The participation of women in athletics grew up along with my sister. My sister was 10 when Title IX turned 15, and playing traveling soccer on the one team our hometown fielded at her age group. She was 15 when Title IX turned 20, a freshman in high school and a member of the varsity soccer and varsity track teams. When Title IX reached a quarter-century in existence, my sister was in her sophomore season with the University of Kansas women’s soccer team, going to school on a scholarship that simply would not have existed a generation before.
As Title IX turns 40, both my sister and I have daughters playing soccer; my sister’s eldest daughter is about as old as my sister was when she decked a boy for telling her she should be at home, learning to cook.
All of my daughter’s friends have played sports at some point; all of them see it as something that everyone — girls and boys alike — does. There was nobody to tell my daughter or my nieces that they shouldn’t be playing sports; our daughter’s parents grew up with girls who played sports. It seems like the most natural thing in the world.
People will often point to the big things — the Women’s World Cup, or the WNBA, or sold-out games at the women’s Final Four — and try to talk about them as the legacy of Title IX. No doubt, they are. But the biggest legacy of Title IX is not at the highest level of sport, but the lowest.
The third generation of women to grow up with its benefits are just beginning to play. They will never understand why anyone would doubt that girls could be athletic, never understand why anyone would ever think girls shouldn’t play sports. They will view the idea that athletic exertion is somehow antithetical to being female as the absurdity it is.
Because of this, our daughters will grow up with one less thing to separate them from our sons, one less barrier to transcend. They will be able to take energy that they would have had to put into simply defending their right to play, and instead use it to play better, or learn better, or simply live better.
True, few of the girls who are starting sports now will reach the level my sister did, much less the level of star athletes like Seimone Augustus, or Abby Wambach, or Venus Williams. But then, few of the boys starting sports now will, either. They’re just going to go out and have fun and exercise and compete and learn to play as a team. The girls are, too. That may seem unremarkable. Which is why Title IX has been so remarkable indeed.
By Jeff Fecke | June 5, 2012
Sometimes you lose. But you keep fighting anyhow.
By Jeff Fecke | June 4, 2012
“Why, once I met this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy’s cousin…”
If you’ve been following the Breitbarteers since their fearless leader died, you know that they’re currently deeply involved in vetting President Obama. Why are they so deeply invested in vetting a guy who’s already been vetted, you know, by being president for three years? Bill Ayers, ACORN, New Black Panther Party, Where’s the Birth Certificate, that’s why!
Today’s shocking revelation is so shocking that you will be shocked. Are you sitting down? Are you? Really? Okay, here goes….
It turns out that back in 2005, some guy heard that then-Sen. Barack Obama attended a barbecue at Bill Ayers’ house on the Fourth of July! And the guy knows, because went to a party at the house of a guy who lived next door to Ayers! All right, he didn’t actually see Obama there, but he heard a rumor that Obama was there, and isn’t that just as good as actually knowing things?
You think I’m exaggerating. You are wrong, mister:
Dr. Tom Perrin, Assistant Professor of English at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, was a graduate student at the University of Chicago at the time, and maintained a blog called “Rambling Thomas.” He lived next door to Ayers and Dohrn in Hyde Park. He wrote at 8:44 a.m. on July 6, 2005:
Guess what? I spent the 4th of July evening with star Democrat Barack Obama! Actually, that’s a lie. Obama was at a barbecue at the house next door (given by a law professor who is a former member of the Weather Underground) and we saw him over the fence at our barbecue. Well, the others did. It had started raining and he had gone inside be the time I got there. Nevertheless.
My God, someone at his party thought they saw Obama at a party! I’m sure there’s rock-solid evidence of that.
Or, you know, not; as Charles Johnson at LGF noted, the rest of the post was at follows:
Despite posting someone on Obama-watch at the window, we didn’t manage to spot him again as we had our rained-off picnic in the living room. Instead we all went outside again and sat about under umbrellas. All around the south side sounded like it was involved in a small war, so presumably lots of people had been to Indiana to buy proper fireworks, which are illegal in my corner of the Midwest. We, however, made do with party poppers from Osco Drug (which you have to be 21 to buy). Then everyone ritually beat me up and threw me out for being British. Actually, that’s a lie.
Yes, that’s right — someone thought they saw Obama at a party in a neighbor’s yard, and then they never saw him again! This proves, beyond a doubt, that Obama has an invisibility cloak. He could be right by you right now.
Honestly, it does the heart good to see Breitbart’s high journalistic standards being carried on.
By Jeff Fecke | June 1, 2012
By Jeff Fecke | May 30, 2012
Topics: Blog Navel-Gazing | Comments Off
By Jeff Fecke | May 29, 2012
Good morning, everyone! It’s your friendly neighborhood Jeff here, with exciting announcement regarding me. If you don’t care about me, well, then fine. It’s probably not that exciting for you. But then again, you’re reading this, so if you’re bothering to read something by someone you don’t care about, what does that say about you?
Anyhow, I’m happy to announce that I have joined the staff at Care2 Causes, where I will be writing about women’s health and politics. I’ll be joining some terrific writers, including Jessica Pieklo and my former boss Robin Marty.
I’m not sure what my first story will be on or when exactly you’ll see it (though I suspect the answer will be “soon”), but given that I’m writing there now, there’s no reason for you not to go there and start poking around the site, which is excellent.
At any rate, I’m looking forward to writing more, and I hope you’re looking forward to reading it; if you aren’t, again, I’m not sure why you’re reading this, and you may want to think that over.
By Jeff Fecke | May 14, 2012
Remember John Derbyshire? Of course you do! He’s the incredibly creepy guy who got fired from National Review Online for writing an incredibly racist screed for an online site frequented by Pat Buchanan and Steve Sailer.
Anyhow, Derbyshire may have left NRO, but he’s still kicking it old school at the online webmagazine VDARE (slogan: “It’s Stormfront For People Who Like to Pretend They Aren’t Nazis”). And by old school, I mean the 1650s.
VDARE.com occupies a corner of the non-Conservatism Inc. spectrum, though, and publishes commentary from other corners thereof, and it would be nice to have a definitive name for the whole shebang—something a little less defined-by-exclusion than “non-Conservatism Inc.”
“Alternative Right” has been snaffled by Richard Spencer, all good luck to him. “Paleoconservative” has come to have a whiff of incense and cassocks about it, at least to me. I have tried to float “Oppositional Right,” but it’s a bit of a mouthful.
The enemies of conservatism are eager to supply their own nomenclature. “White Supremacist” seems to be their current favorite. It is meant maliciously, of course, to bring up images of fire-hoses, attack dogs, pick handles, and segregated lunch counters—to imply that conservatives, especially non-mainstream conservatives, are cruel people with dark thoughts.
Leaving aside the intended malice, I actually think “White Supremacist” is not bad semantically. White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with. There have of course been some blots on the record, but I don’t see how it can be denied that net-net, white Europeans have made a better job of running fair and stable societies than has any other group. [Emphasis Mine - jkf]
Yes, White Supremacy is a nice term! After all we white people have done a great job running the world, and we’ve only sometimes wiped out indigenous populations a few times. Sure, there was that one time we took all the valuable stuff out of Africa in exchange for subjugating the peoples of Africa and selling them into slavery, and okay, there was that time we started randomly partitioning the Middle East based more on what European countries’ interests were than on where actual peoples lived, and of course, there were those little bitty genocides here and there, but hey, you can’t steal the wealth of the world without breaking a few humans. And there’s no question but that the domination of other states by white people has worked out great for white people!
In all seriousness, a man who would embrace the idea of white supremacy as a good thing has no business in polite society, and neither does any site that publishes him. And frankly, it’s an indictment of any organization that ever published him, because you cannot tell me that Derbyshire suddenly became a white supremacist in the last few weeks, and you cannot tell me that a writer would never have shared those thoughts with his colleagues, even if he had enough sense to keep them out of print. If there was any doubt that NRO still clings to ideals of racial separatism and racist degradation, Derbyshire’s years of service there should eliminate them, even if they fired him when he had the poor judgment to actually express those ideas openly, rather than in code.
Finally, two quick things. First, the link above goes to Little Green Footballs (I know, they’re anti-racist now, which is weird, right?) rather than VDARE, because to hell with VDARE. I don’t link to Nazis.
Second, sing us off, Randy Newman.
By Jeff Fecke | May 11, 2012
Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit drinking:
An unidentified entrepreneur admits he is trying to profit off Trayvon Martin’s death by selling gun range targets featuring the teen who’s death has sparked a nationwide controversy.
Although Martin’s face does not appear on the paper targets, they feature a hoodie with crosshairs aimed at the chest. A bag of Skittles is tucked in the pocket and a hand is holding a can resembling iced tea.
According to an advertisement for the targets that had been posted on a popular firearms auction website, the sellers stated they “support Zimmerman and believe he is innocent and that he shot a thug.”
That online ad has since been removed.
In an email exchange with reporter Mike DeForest, the seller wrote, “My main motivation was to make money off the controversy.”
The seller would not disclose how many paper targets had been made, but said in an email, “The response is overwhelming. I sold out in 2 days.”
Some of those targets were sold to two Florida gun dealers, according to the seller.
Before DeForest identified himself as a reporter, the seller claimed that targets were still available for purchase. After being informed Local 6 was investigating his online business, the seller claimed the targets would no longer be sold.
Oh, well that’s great. I mean, sure, the guy was evil enough to make a target depicting a murder victim, but heck, I’m sure he’ll totally back down now that he’s on the news.
Seriously, sometimes I think the comet can’t get here fast enough. Most people are decent, kind, caring individuals. But the worst of us are truly awful.
By Jeff Fecke | May 9, 2012
I don’t have much to say about President Obama officially endorsing same-sex marriage; it’s long overdue from him, but then, it’s still overdue from most Democrats. Indeed, North Carolina notwithstanding, this is an issue where the direction of history is already clear. If you’re under 50, you probably support same-sex marriage, and if you’re under 30, you almost certainly do, no matter your political affiliation.
That said, while the long-term direction of the marriage issue is clear, the short-term politics are not. There are still a lot of older independent voters who are put off by same-sex marriage, and while they’re utterly and completely wrong, they have votes. In a close election, Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality is risky. But it’s unquestionably right, and pace Laura Roslin, sometimes you have to do the right thing, even if it isn’t the smart thing. This may or may not be the smart thing, at least in terms of the 2012 election. But it is the right thing for liberty, the right thing for equality, and the right thing for morality (for what is more immoral than forbidding someone to marry the person they love?). It was a brave move by the President, and I’m glad he did it.
Now you can enjoy these videos what express happiness with things and stuff.
I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more.
By Jeff Fecke | May 8, 2012
If you missed Sendak’s unbelievably amazing interview with Stephen Colbert, or indeed if you didn’t, please enjoy:
Topics: In Memoriam | Comments Off
By Jeff Fecke | April 30, 2012
From Peter Sagal of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” fame. It isn’t particularly funny:
The first soldier was in bed, surrounded by six members of his family, including his fiance, who was slumped over asleep. His left foot was missing, and he was in obvious pain, and also obviously in a fog of painkilling drugs. I chatted with his family, and heard about his injury – an IED in Afghanistan. My memory of this first visit was foggy, because I was slowly realizing something that for the life of me I had not anticipated: the men I would be meeting were not in rehab, or in recovery. These were not the guys I had read about in magazine features, gamely learning to walk on prostheses or deal with TBI,, months after their injury. These were guys who had just been gravely hurt, weeks or in some cases days before. They were sitting with family members who – also just weeks or days before – had gotten a call from the Army or Marines saying, “Your son has been wounded in battle,” and had with hearts pounding and tears streaming thrown things into a bag and gotten on a plane for Germany or Washington. These wounds were fresh and raw, in every sense.
I will not, or can’t give you details of every visit I made that morning, even a day after. I sat by bedsides and, as [Garry] Trudeau advised, asked them what happened, and heard their stories. As I listened, I tried to focus, and control my own feelings of horror and dismay, and my growing urge to walk out of the room and tell the Sergeant, patiently waiting outside, that I could take no more and needed to leave now. (The sergeant told me later that this does happen.)
But these are the things I remember most vividly….
Seriously. You must read this article. The men and women we send to war for us should not be forgotten. Especially as the war is still being fought.
By Jeff Fecke | April 30, 2012
I thought Mittens might want to use this as his campaign theme song. I’m sure Shatner would be okay with it.
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By Jeff Fecke | April 26, 2012
That Barack Obama knows nothing about foreign policy:
The Romney campaign organized a conference call today with three of Romney’s foreign policy advisers to push back. During the call, Romney adviser Ambassador Pierre Prosper attacked President Obama for dealing with Russia, albeit using geographical terms from the Cold War era:
PROSPER: The United States has become a spectator on issues of national security. We’ve also been embarrassed by North Korea where again it continues to be a conciliatory leaning forward approach and yet the North Koreans will launch a missile surprising the United States by violating their agreement.
You now Russia is another example where we give and Russia gets and we get nothing in return. The United States abandoned its missile defense sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia, yet Russia does nothing but obstruct us, or efforts in Iran and Syria.
Yes, Czechoslovakia. Obama has abandoned them. What’s more, he’s ignoring our friends in Yugoslavia, Carthage, and the Kalmar Union. And what is he doing to address the rise of the Republic of Goust, Eastern Rumellia, or the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies? Truly, that Obama is terrible at foreign policy. I pray he doesn’t sell us out to the Kaiser, the Emperor of China, or the Pharaoh of Egypt.