Monday, November 30, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To the Mosque

The Western "free" world is absolutely drunk on diversity.

In fact most of the Western "free" world, in its sanctimonious quest to please every country, religion, man, woman, child, ethnic group, race, lifestyle, economic class, disability, plant and animal, may soon drown in diversity. And we will have blindly and stupidly jumped into this raging sea of diversity without a lifejacket on.

This past week witnessed just one "small" example of this drunken stupor. The potential dangers from this example will, no doubt, whiz right past most of our heads. In particular, the diversity-drinking, liberal-minded mush heads in Europe and the United States will be wailing about racism, inequality, and unfairness. These are the folks in the drunken stupor. More on this later.

Here's what I would consider to be but one lifejacket: This past week Swiss voters overwhelmingly voted to approve a constitutional ban on the further construction of new minarets (Islamic mosque towers) in the country. According to an Associated Press release filed this past week by Alexander G. Higgins, this initiative and vote was a backlash against what many citizens see as a serious rise of Islamic influence and power in Switzerland in particular, and Europe in general. The referendum was supported and presented by the Swiss People's Party. This might seem like a petty, egocentric concern. But many Swiss citizens view the minarets as a symbol of rising Islamic political influence, and fear that Muslims will soon attempt to turn Switzerland into an Islamic nation, according to the AP report.

As pointed out by the AP, sponsors of the referendum said "...Muslims don't just practice religion. The minaret is a sign of political power and demand, comparable with whole-body covering by the burqa, tolerance of forced marriage and genital mutilation of girls..."

These fears have been voiced throughout several countries in Europe in recent years. There are real concerns that the increasing immigrant populations, and decreasing native populations in France, England, Germany, and the Netherlands, for example, will lead to the creation of Islamic states in these countries. Birth rates are increasing for the former, and decreasing for the latter. Immigration policies in these countries continue to bring in rich, poor, educated, and uneducated former colonists. (There must be some kind of guilt complex among the British, French, Germans, and Dutch: They seem to simply let anyone come set up house just to atone for being former white devil slave masters).

Some watchers expect France to become an Islamic state by 2040, and the Netherlands by 2015! Whether or not these predictions are accurate, it does give one pause. After all, the West IS fighting a "war on terror". The number one leaders of the enemy are Muslim fanatics. And these fanatics have been, and continue to be very clear about two things: They want to kill all infidels, and rule the world.

Now a bit more on diversity and the mush-heads I mentioned above. It's not my intention here to delve into the details of immigration policies and demographics of Europe. But these starry eyed bleeding hearts will agree with Omar Al-Rawi, a representative of the Islamic Denomination in Austria who was quoted by the above mentioned AP report as saying "The Swiss have failed to give a clear signal for diversity, freedom of religion and human rights."

Indeed, Mr. Al-Rawi.

Additionally, Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the British youth organization Ramadhan foundation, was quoted as saying "It's a sad day for freedom of religion. A constitutional amendment that's targeted towards one religious community is discriminatory and abhorrent." (my emphasis).

Indeed, again, Mr Shafiq.

Ok. Now listen up all you diversity loving, equality promoting, peace-love-dove-Hari Krishna-power-t0-the-people freaks! I want you to all buy plane tickets, fly to the heartland of Islam, (Saudi Arabia) and help Mohammed Shafiq spread his feelings about freedom of religion and how constitutional amendments to any one religious community are discriminatory and abhorrent!

DO IT! DO IT NOW! Stand up for what you believe to be true and good and right! Go there and walk towards the first minaret you see, and shout out your beliefs for all the world to hear. And see what happens!

Oh wait...that's right: You can't just go to Saudi Arabia. They won't let you in without an invitation and proper visa. And wait! This thing about religious freedom and discrimination, and human rights, and such: That's just not going to fly in the Kingdom. No sir! Here's a little reality check for you all:
-All citizens in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must be Muslims.
-The public practice of any other religion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is prohibited.
-Separation of religion and state in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not exist.
-The legal system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is based on Shari'a (Islamic law).
-Foreign imams are barred from preaching during Friday congregational prayers.
-Foreign non-Muslim clergy are not allowed to enter the country and conduct services.
-Distribution of non-Muslim items such as Bibles and crosses is illegal.
-Customs officials open mail to search for contraband and non-Muslim materials. (During three years of living in Saudi Arabia, I experienced this first-hand)

This is the tip of the ice-berg, but I think you get the picture. The home of Islam doesn't encourage, promote, or support non discrimination, diversity, or tolerance. How can anyone miss the hypocrisy in all the posturing about diversity and tolerance?

Trust me, no amount of bowing or foot kissing by President Obama will help this little situation either!

So next time you read a small paragraph about Islam in the West, Muslim honor killings (Ref: Story in USA Today, November 30,2009), the newest mosque, the Islamic school in your neighborhood, or efforts to enact Shari'a law in Europe, Canada, and the United States, stop and think. Ask questions. Research and read. And be cautious.

And be well aware: The home of Islam won't be backing you up when you shout out to the minarets about equality, discrimination, or diversity. The loudspeaker calls to prayer from those towers may drown you out faster than your drunken feast of diversity ever could.

©2009 by R. Burnett Baker
Graphic © 1980 by National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Black Friday

Single File, Please, Or You WILL Be Shot

That's my little Black Friday fantasy. That nasty little day is less than two weeks away, but in my perfect world, there would be no Black Friday. Thanksgiving would be a four day holiday with blue laws in effect. Gas stations and grocery stores would be allowed to open. That's it. No Target. No Sears. No Best Buy. And especially NO WAL-MART.

And come Monday morning, stores would be allowed to open their REGULAR hours. Period.

I'm here to remind you all of Mr. Jdimytai Damour, the part time Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death as he opened the doors on Black Friday last year in Long Island, New York. I wrote about that last November in my essay titled "Black Friday, Blood Red."

This week I heard about a website called Oh yeah! They give you all the latest about door busters (aptly named) in various retailers, and these mercenary businesses are helping sponsor this site. God only knows how many websites and blogs there are out there to fire up a little excitement among the throngs of recession-weary consumers. No doubt they'll be lining up at 2am to purchase the latest iWad.

As for Wal-Mart, I suggested last year that they should have been held accountable for the death of Mr. Damour, as well as the serious injuries sustained by a pregnant woman whose fate I never heard any more about.

Well, Wal-Mart got a slap on the wrist. Had to set up a $400,000 "victim's compensation" fund, and give $1.5million to social services programs and nonprofit groups! Are you kidding me? Social services programs? Let me go out on a politically incorrect limb here and suggest that some of those programs may be offering financial benefits to the very "customers" who trampled Mr. Damour to death!

Additionally, Wal-Mart was required to create crowd management plans for all of its New York stores. You know: How to enter the store. (Single file, please, or you WILL be shot!) Where to place the 50 cent plasma TV's. Check out line control. Store exit procedures and so on. Supposedly the company consulted with safety experts who have experience with the Super Bowl, Olympics, and concerts. I'm sure Mr. Damour's family takes great comfort in all that.

So, I'm here to request that NONE of you participate in Black Friday. If you do: Shame on you!

And if you know anyone who does participate in this travesty of commerce, do all you can to convince them to STOP IT NOW.

Enjoy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the three days following by sharing them quietly with friends, family, or alone if that be the case. And do it with peace and love in your hearts!

Rick B. Baker
November 14, 2009
Rochester, NY

© 2009 by R. Burnett Baker

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Don't Let'em Score A Hundred!

With recent stories about bad behavior and the so-called "decline" of civility in our country today, out comes a story from Florida about a high school football team that beat an opponent by a score of 83-0.   The tone of the story was that it was shameful a coach would allow his team to run up such a high score, thus humiliating the opposing team.  Boo hoo hoo.

During my junior year in high school in Spring, Texas I was the starting center of the varsity team.  I weighed about 135 pounds, we had a 122 pound featherweight quarterback, our coach had a revolutionary ONE PLAY strategy that we were going to run for the entire 1969 season, and our team produced the longest consecutive losing streak in the state of Texas! 

That year we never scored a touchdown.  Not one.  

We lost our first game 7-0 if I remember correctly. After that we had losses of 49-0, 64-0, 56-0, and the mother of all our losses that year:  79-0.  I don't remember the other scores, but it doesn't matter.   I'll never forget half-time in the locker room during that 79-0 game.  Coming in from a driving, steady rain, our coach was literally foaming at the mouth, and the only words he could muster was, "Just DON'T let'em score a hundred!"  Those words came out through his foaming, clinched teeth!  All these years later I can't help but laugh. 

We were so bad, that the number one radio station in Houston at the time (KILT) would talk about us Spring Lions every Friday morning.  "How bad will they get beat this week?!?"  We were so bad that the then losing  Houston Oilers came to one of our Friday pep rallies!  We were (in)famous! We were considered losers.  Thinking back now, I don't believe we were losers:  We were just failures! 

But now 40 years later, some whinny mommies and daddies, and mollycoddling school administrators in Florida are all questioning whether it was sportsman-like for a coach to allow his team to continue scoring.  Boo hoo hoo again.  

At the beginning of our next season in 1970, Coach One Play had been fired, we began the year in a brand new high school with a new stadium and coaching staff, and our first game saw us score the first touchdown in nearly three years!  

We lost 7-6.  

We went on to score more and more touchdowns, we had some very close games, but we still didn't win a game that year, thus increasing the losing streak.  

But from those years of being beaten, and during our last year of rebuilding we learned life lessons.  We were taught by our parents that they could and did support us no matter had badly we played or what the score was.  They still cheered and yelled "Go Green!"  even when the score was 79-0.  We learned to have a sense of humor about our plight, even though we felt humiliated.  We witnessed the profound lack of leadership that fostered our losses, but were uplifted by the inspired humility of our new coach who never chastised us with clinched teeth, but encouraged us to pick up the slack, work harder, concentrate, and strive to work as a team.
He also taught us to appreciate any and every improvement and success even during moments of defeat.  

We learned that even failure has dignity if we did the best we could do with what we had to work with.  We were taught to never give up!  All that ultimately instilled in us a sense of decency and respect for self and others.  

That's what isn't being taught anymore.  A couple of generations of kids have been told that winning is bad and hurts the feelings of those who might not be as accomplished as you.  As a result, those who aren't as accomplished, don't get an opportunity to look at their failures "subjectively" and make objective decisions that facilitate success (winning).  

All the whining about how winners make others look bad will never inspire effort, learning, critical thinking skills, strategy, or creativity.  The mollycoddling that punctuates how we interact with each other these days will continue to stifle and squelch innovation and productivity, for both individuals and society.  It will encourage, at best, mediocrity, and even worse, an overall lack of civility because no one will have a real measure or benchmark of success and how to achieve it.  

The writer of the Florida story, Dallas Jackson of, posits this question:  "...when is enough, enough?"  The answer is this:  When they score 50.  Or 79.  Or 83.  Or 100.  To nothing!

Let'em score 200 hundred if they can, and let the losers (failures) learn as many lessons about hard work, persistence, teamwork, leadership, a sense of humor,  and humility as the score can teach. 

Rick B. Baker 
Rochester, NY 
©2009 by R. Burnett Baker

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bailout My Ass! Please...Bailout MY ass!

Five billion here.  Thirteen billion there.  Seven hundred billion plus around the corner.  ALL tax dollars we have worked our tails off for to send to Washington week after week, year after year.  

And today the damned auto companies want MORE.  Obamanomics has signed the so-called bailout package into law to stimulate something or other.  Most of the men and women in government who signed the bill never read it.  And frankly, with all this bailout talk day in and out, I'm clueless as to what it all means.  Even the porn industry some weeks ago asked, tongue in cheek (pun intended) for a bailout.  

So today I'm asking for MY bailout.  Not much, mind you.  Just $9000.00.  That's it.  More on this later.

Ok, let's review.  According to the Associated Press today, General Motors has already received more than $13 billion in "loans" from the government.  Now GM says that they will probably run out of money by March if they don't receive about $9 billion in new loans and a credit line of over $7 billion.  March is 11 days away.  

Chrysler has received about $4 billion so far, and is asking for an additional $5 billion.  Oh, and part of Chrysler's "restructuring" plan is to eliminate three car models while GM will eliminate up to 47,000 more jobs.  Woo Hoo!  Sign the check, Mr. O!   

According to the AP report today, Chrysler estimates that US auto makers will sell just over 10 million cars this year.  Ok. Let's review again:  How many millions of people are now jobless in the US?  I would argue that GM's plan to add another 47,000 to that number will mean that the automakers may NOT sell over 10 million cars this year.  Just a hunch. 

So where, then, will that leave the auto makers?  Asking for a couple billion MORE?  And yet MORE again down the road?  Where does all this money come from after we taxpayers have paid, and where does it all go?  Does the Treasury just crank up the printing presses?  Someone put this all into layman's terms, please!  

On top of this ongoing foolishness, Associated Press also quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. as saying she hoped this would lead to the "transformation of our domestic automobile industry into a viable, technologically advanced, and globally competitive manufacturing force." 

She expects that from a nationalized auto industry, and a  government (never mind who happens to be in the Oval Office) that can't even win wars with 13th century-minded 4th world countries!  

WAKE THE FREAK UP, AMERICANS!  ISN'T ANYONE ASKING WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?   Are you all STILL too busy buying crap you don't need with money you don't have (or WON'T have for very long),  grazing in all of those stores' "Going Out of Business"  liquidation sales, and buying plasma TV's?  I'm just saying....

So this is where I ask for MY bailout.  In late 2007 I bailed out of a 24 year job with a company that isn't expected to survive through 2009.  They were purging tenured associates and managers to cut costs, as retailers are want to do.  I expected to have my employment terminated in December 2007.  So, I did what my accountant and every other "expert" says NOT to do:  Borrowed money from my 401K to pay off the car, and what little debt I had.  I couldn't have a car payment and other monthly expenses if I had to live on unemployment.  

As it worked out, I was recruited by a healthy company, for better pay.  I left the sinking ship.  I'm gainfully employed while the economy crumbles around our feet.  I'm fortunate.  Now, however, I'm liable for taxes and penalties on the funds I took out of my 401K.  My accountant estimated an additional $9000 in taxes will have to be paid this April to cover this horrible thing I did to keep from going bankrupt myself.  I took it out of an account that I'm fully vested in, and managed by banks that probably have received  bailout money to manage the failing funds that are eating away at what's left of my 401K.  

So I want a bailout.  For $9000.  Detroit gets billions, the pork barrel stimulus bill gets billions, the banks get billions, the insurance industry gets billions, the Chinese (who we are deeply in debt to) get billions, and the porn industry has the balls to ask for a bit too. 

$9000.  To pay my taxes.  After all, those billions in taxpayer dollars are getting shuffled from one account to another.  All I'm asking is that the government shuffle $9000 to me, and I'll give it right back to them.  

It's not like I'm flying to Washington in a private jet asking for money.  Or taking a multi-million dollar bonus from a failed company.  Or running a ponzi scheme.  

I'm just working my ass off to help billions. 

(c)2009, R. Burnett Baker  


Sunday, February 8, 2009


a full moon 

all life 

in silver.  

Acrylic on canvas painting and poetry 
(c) 2009 by R. Burnett Baker 

Monday, January 5, 2009

sleeps cold 

a tree outside 
my window 

sleeps cold in winter 

a blanket 
defines the distinction 
between me and 

unborn leaves. 

Photo and poetry (c)2009 R. Burnett Baker