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Saturday, April 19, 2003

Voting with their feet

This operation involved private citizens, not governments:
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Up to 20 high-ranking North Korean military officers and nuclear scientists have defected to the United States and its allies under a plan involving several countries including the Pacific state of Nauru, an Australian newspaper said on Saturday.

The defections began last October after 11 countries agreed to provide consular protection to smuggle North Koreans from China, The Weekend Australian said.

The man seen as the father of North Korea's nuclear program, Kyong Won-ha, was believed among the defectors, the newspaper said.
It is good news when any people escape from the state-sponsored system of slavery that is Communism. This is especially good news because these folks can let us in on facts abut North Korea's military and nuclear programs. Information is power, and we are better off negotiating an end to the current crisis there. But, a military strike must remain on the table as a very real option, and it helps to have as much intelligence as possible.

For the youngsters among us (who might not remember when Communism held many, many more people in its grip than now), there was a time in which defections from Communist countries was an almost daily event. The USSR and Eastern Europe had to build walls to keep its people inside and enslaved. The remaining Communist nations still do. Cuban dictator Fidel Castro recently sent a bunch of people to jail, some simply because they wanted to leave.

*Gasp!* Kiddie porn!

Look at this picture. It shows a naked breast and a near naked child with its lips actually touching the breast. Does it look like child pornography? It might, if you are involved in law enforcement in Dallas County, Texas.

In a frightening article, the Dallas Observer tells the story:
The service was fast, the judgments even hastier. Never did Jacqueline Mercado imagine that four rolls of film dropped off at an Eckerd Drugs one-hour photo lab near her home would turn her life inside out, threaten to send her to jail and prompt the state to take away her kids.
For Mercado and her family, last fall was a happy time, one they wanted to record and save in the venerable tradition of the family photo. Johnny Fernandez, Mercado's boyfriend, had just emigrated from Lima, Peru, ending a yearlong separation, and on top of that, it was their son's first birthday.

The photographs they took over several days in late October included pictures of Fernandez reunited with the family at their modest home in suburban Richardson. Others captured their 1-year-old son Rodrigo, and 4-year-old Pablizio, from Mercado's earlier marriage, playing in a neighborhood park. Using the camera's timer, they also took three snapshots of themselves, naked in their bed. They arranged their bodies in ways that showed less flesh than most freeway billboards.

A half-dozen others recorded the kids at bath time. Fernandez took several photos of the boys "playing around," naked and innocent, with the oldest flashing a big smile. Mercado, who says she often bathed with the kids, is in several of the shots unclothed from the waist up, holding her arm modestly across her bare chest.

In one -- the photo that would threaten to send Mercado and her boyfriend to prison -- the infant Rodrigo is suckling her left breast.

The photograph at right is not the one in question. I found it here.
With nothing else to support their contention that the photos were related to sex or sexual gratification, the police and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office presented the photos to a grand jury in January and came away with indictments against Mercado and Fernandez for "sexual performance of a child," a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The charges centered on a single photo, the breast-feeding shot. Fernandez and Mercado say they took it -- although the child had ceased breast-feeding -- to memorialize that stage of their baby's development.
Of course, having their heavy handed prosecution exposed to the light of day helped the situation somewhat.
In late March, a week after the Dallas Observer asked District Attorney Bill Hill about the case, he ordered the criminal charges against both parents dropped. "It has some gray areas to it, but it doesn't rise to the level of a crime," Hill said. He said justice comes from more than isolating facts and interpreting them in a way to make them narrowly fit into a criminal statute.

Still, at press time, child welfare authorities continue to maintain control of the boys, even though a lawyer appointed to represent them says he believes they should go home. In its latest legal filing, the state said it would not consent to releasing the boys until the couple jumps through more hoops, including a lie-detector test they must take at their own expense.

Stored away in a dusty box in my parents' home, there is an old photo album that contains Polaroids of my brother and I sitting naked in a bathtub, our little toddler penises and shiny, white butts visible for all to see. I remember occasions when visiting relatives would whip out a breast to feed their infant children, and my parents did nothing to stop them from exposing themselves.

Perhaps I'll drop a dime on mom and dad. Of course, it's too late for me to go into foster care. Mom and Dad don't exactly have deep pockets, so a lawsuit won't do me any good.

These kids have been damaged by being torn from their parents in ways far beyond any damage they could have suffered from being nude or from, gasp, seeing a naked parent.

I have a friend who is a breast feeding advocate. Hell, advocate is too weak of a word. She is a fanatic about the subject. In her mind, a breast is not a sexual object. She would be furious at the attitude shown by these Dallas officials because it reinforces the idea that breastfeeding is dirty, not a healthy activity, both physically and emotionally.

The problem, as I see it, is that these government officials believe they have the right to enforce their personal value system on others. Being naked in front of children is dirty, or at least it makes them uncomfortable. They cannot comprehend that the standard must be whether there is real sexual abuse, or just behavior that they would not do.

Darwin Award nominee Rachel Corrie

Real facts about "human shield"

Remember the story of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American woman (I refuse to use the phrase "peace activist" to describe any person whose efforts tend to prolong hostilities) who was mercilessly slain by an Israeli bulldozer that was heartlessly destroying the home of innocent Palestinians? Well, it turns out that version of events is not entirely accurate, at least according to Israeli investigators.


Who would have thought that people who consider it moral to wrap explosives around children and send them to bomb universities, buses, shopping centers, parks, open-air markets, pool halls and discos might play fast and lose with the facts? I am also shocked, yes shocked, that the mainstream media that prints every utterance of those who support the terrorists paid so very little attention to reports that refute of tale of Israeli oppression.

Thanks to In Context for providing the information, based on an article posted on Jerusalem Diaries on April 4 (even though I heard of this only today).

I am not surprised it took me so long to come across the info. It's an old story: The accusation runs on page A1, the denial is on the jump page and the correction, if there is one, runs a on B17 days later, if at all. There are still people out there who still believe the Jenin massacre story is accurate because they never were told any different.

If only we can convince Michael Moore, Tim Robbins and Janeane Garofalo to thin the heard and improve the gene pool and stand in front of a moving bulldozer. I left Susan Sarandon off this list on the outside chance she will night take her clothes off in her next movie. As for Garofalo, no one wants to see her naked, so she lacks any value to society at all.

Chicago Tribune drops “Gil Thorp”

For 40 years, this venerable strip about the coach of the Milford High School Mudlarks has focused on the lessons that can be learned on the playing field and sometimes touched on the important social issues of the day. Gil is a real mensch, the kinda guy you pray coaches or teaches your kid someday. The only person who didn't like Gil was Marty Moon, the evil sportscaster who served as the coach's nemesis.

Not anymore.

The Chicago Tribune has taken the strip off its sports pages. The Trib says the decision has nothing to do with politics -- specifically a recent storyline in which Gil and his wife take in a young teenage girl who is pregnant and considering an abortion. I don't buy it. The Trib's editor is Ann Marie Lipinski, the same person who had managed to dump all many of the Trib's old, white, male columnists, including Bob Verdi, Skip Bayless, Bernie Lincicome and most famously, Bob Greene, for violating her feminist sensibilities by daring to have had consensual sex with an of-age female about a dozen years before.

Can you image the shock and awe Lipinski felt having to interact with fellow feminists while her very own newspaper was carrying a strip that suggested that an abortion was not the best option for a pregnant teenager? Sacrilege! How could she hold her head high at NOW rallies and other politically correct teach-ins. The Trib placed the strip's Web address on the page it used to run in print, but hardly makes up for depriving readers of the best sport strip in in America.