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The Wrong Side of History

Rick has already touched on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's hateful Monday speech, in which he likened those who oppose the government take-over of health care to those who opposed the end of slavery, women's suffrage, and civil rights. Really, Senator, as if each of those things was a $1 trillion + government boondoggle with no real assurance of granting all Americans freedom or equal rights? Obviously the Democrats know that they have lost their edge in this fight, because only a desperate man would resort to that kind of an ad hominem attack in order to scare traditional hard-core Democrat groups (African-Americans and feminists) into supporting his legislation.

Commenters to Rick's original post did a good job of setting the record straight with respect to Senator Reid's remarks. Reid explained that those who supported the end to slavery and the establishment of women's suffrage and civil rights were on "the right side of history," while insinuating that those who opposed those landmark pieces of legislation, just like contemporary Republicans who oppose the proposed government take-over of health care, were on the wrong side of history. But Reid said nothing about any of the individuals who opposed the end of slavery, fought to prevent the establishment of women's suffrage, or tried to defeat civil rights legislation in the US Congress. As our astute commenters pointed out, the reason for this is quite embarrassing -- virtually all of them were Democrats.

  • Senator Strom Thurmond, then a Democrat from South Carolina, filibustered the 1957 Civil Rights Act alone for 24 hours and 8 minutes.
  • Senater Albert Gore, a Democrat from Tennessee, led a filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that lasted for over 75 hours. Senator Gore also attempted to defang the 1964 Civil Rights Act by introducing an amendment that would continue to provide Federal funds to school districts even if they were in defiance of Federal desegregation court orders.
  • Southern Democrats were responsible for filibusters that killed Federal anti-lynching bills in 1922 and 1935.
  • One of Harry Reid's predecessors, Democratic Nevada Senator Francis G. Newlands, was one of the nation's leading segregationists, pushing for a Constitutional amendment to strip the right to vote from African Americans (he believed that they were capable of nothing more than menial tasks) and using his real estate development business to create permanently segregated neighborhoods across the nation.
  • The Democrats were virtually the exclusive home to vile, racist populists from the South, such as Mississippi's "Great White Chief" Jim Vardaman, whose opinion of African-Americans as voters and politicians is summed up succinctly in this quip: "I am just as much opposed to Booker T. Washington as a voter as I am to the coconut-headed, chocolate-colored typical little coon who blacks my shoes every morning."
  • Democrats also led the Congressional effort to oppose the admission of Wyoming as a state because Wyoming had already granted its women citizens the right to vote.
President Obama, Senator Reid, and Speaker Pelosi should realize that those of us who oppose the current Democrat health care "reform" schemes oppose them precisely because we do not want to be on the wrong side of history. We do not want to have our voices counted in support of legislation that seems to be guaranteed to make health care more expensive for everyone and less available to the elderly and to those who would be forced to buy their insurance from the government.

Senator Reid is obviously embarrassed about the true history of his own party, since he has to project it onto his political opponents. Republicans and conservatives stand behind their history, and we also stand firm in the belief that we are absolutely on the right side of the current health care reform debate.

UPDATE: John Fund chimes in,

After all, it was Southern Democrats who mounted an 83-day filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. The final vote to cut off debate saw 29 Senators in opposition, 80% of them Democrats. Among those voting to block the civil rights bill was West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, who personally filibustered the bill for 14 hours. The next year he also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Mr. Byrd still sits in the Senate, and indeed preceded Mr. Reid as his party's majority leader until he stepped down from that role in 1989.

It's almost cliche to mention Robert Byrd in conjunction with these things, but in this case it is highly relevant. Would liberals have ever given any Republican who had done the things that Byrd had done total political carte blanche, simply because he later apologized? I think we all know the answer to that question.

James Taranto also adds,

Reid's statement is mere scapegoating; the Republicans cannot be blocking ObamaCare for the simple reason that they lack the votes to block anything. If ObamaCare is blocked, it will be because one or more Democrats cannot go along. If the Democrats were unified, Obama would have nothing to lose by attacking Republicans--but with the votes of some Dems in doubt, it would seem imprudent of Reid to alienate Olympia Snowe by likening her party to slavery defenders.

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Comments (40)

Thanks for referencing my N... (Below threshold)
Edward Sisson Author Profile Page:

Thanks for referencing my NewGeorgraphy article on Senator Newlands, however, as a point of clarification, Newlands personally was responsible only for developing segregated neighborhoods in DC and the Maryland suburbs. His was a leading example that helped start a nationwide trend in other cities, but Newlands did not himself develop neighborhoods in other cities.

Well written. I believe thi... (Below threshold)

Well written. I believe this is one of the best posts written in awhile.

"... We do not want to h... (Below threshold)

"... We do not want to have our voices counted in support of legislation that seems to be guaranteed to make health care more expensive for everyone and less available to the elderly and to those who would be forced to buy their insurance from the government."

Even if the Domocrats' schemes didn't have such an utterly obvious and predictable result, we would still be "on the right side of history" to oppose them, for their schemes are anti-liberty.

"Rick has already touche... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"Rick has already touched on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's hateful Monday speech, in which he likened those who oppose the government take-over of health care to those who opposed the end of slavery, women's suffrage, and civil rights."

I actually agree with Reid - it's a good analog.

People who oppose health care for the poor are oppressive, just as those who supported slavery were oppressive.

People who oppose health care for the poor are not interested in the well-being of their fellow countrymen - just as those who supported slavery were uninterested in the welfare of those Americans.

And then there is the group of racists who oppose everything Obama wants simply because he's black.

It fits.

Stevie....just like the Ass... (Below threshold)
Rich:

Stevie....just like the AssHat fits you.

Feceral?I l... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Feceral?

I like it! lol.

Steve:You are wron... (Below threshold)
James H:

Steve:

You are wrong, and so is Sen. Reid.

I can see a lot of perfectly valid reasons to oppose it, especially in its current form. We could begin with the wisdom of heavy expenditure when we're already knee-deep in debt to China, segue into esoteric debates on federalism, ponder the implications of public-choice theory, assess the million-plus methods of delivering health-care reform, and even touch on whether the federal government would start playing an improper role in individual health-care decisions.

Show me one racist element among the concerns listed above. Show me one argument above that equates to keeping one portion of the American population down while the rest is ascendant. Show me one argument above that betrays a level of moral rectitude tantamount to supporting slavery.

I'll answer for you, Steve. You can't.

I'm not saying that conservative critics are all sweetness and light. By turns, they've been demagogic, deceptive, vindictive, obstinate, and, quite frankly, bloody annoying. But that's not venality. It's just normal political pettiness.

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza correctly chastises Reid for breaking a cardinal rule of politics with this accusation. Reid's accusation is ridiculous on its face.

Right on, Steve.Ra... (Below threshold)
SteveP:

Right on, Steve.

Racists rarely recognize themselves in the mirror. (and by the way, Strom Thurmond eventually realized his voice wasn't democratic at all,
thus the switch to republican).

Conservatives are by nature anti-progressive. The idea of changing ANYTHING is anathema to them.

That's why it's always been a mystery to my how any young person would decide to be a Republican, unless they are either ignorant or completely fearful of the world around them.

steve green-"An... (Below threshold)
914:

steve green-

"And then there is the group of racists who oppose everything Obama wants simply because he's black."


You exemplify Asshatery at its core.

steveP- "Conser... (Below threshold)
914:

steveP-

"Conservatives are by nature anti-progressive. The idea of changing ANYTHING is anathema to them."


I'd sure like to change the socialist makeup of D.C. Im a conservative. Just not a republican.

Steve, I do not see how opp... (Below threshold)
James H:

Steve, I do not see how opposing health-care reform equates to opposing health care for the poor. It just signals opposition to the currently proposed method of expanding health-care access.

Then again, if you find video footage of John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell driving around the country and closing down free clinics, I'll happily eat my words.

"And then there is the grou... (Below threshold)
Mark Pinzon:

"And then there is the group of racists who oppose everything Obama wants simply because he's black."

I wonder, Steve, do you agree with Thomas Sowell on everything he says. Because according to your argument, if not you don't because he's black, and are therefore a racist.

Steve,so you are i... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Steve,

so you are in agreement that it was Democrats that opposed the Civil Rights Act ?

just wanted to be sure since you did not try and refute it ...

as a point of reference, nobody is opposed to healthcare for the poor (which they get for free today at any emergency room) ... what is opposed is the METHOD of improving healthcare for the poor ... in fact the 2 main reasons most oppose ObamaCare is that 1) it will not improve healthcare for the poor and 2) it will diminish the healthcare provided to the remaining 90% of insured Americans ...

I wonder what % of African Americans distrust Obama personally because he is half white ? we can start the count with Jessie Jackson and Al Sharton ...

nobody is opposed t... (Below threshold)
SteveP:

nobody is opposed to healthcare for the poor (which they get for free today at any emergency room) ... what is opposed is the METHOD of improving healthcare for the poor.

What that really means is let those who cannot afford healthcare rot. Emergency room visits are not the same as being able to go to a doctor when you feel ill. It is usually a last resort for someone who has avoided doing anything because they cannot afford the costs. You people know that. Feigning ignorance about it is just pathetic.

Doing nothing, the high plank of the republican party, is a subtle form of racism. If you have any other solutions, you people sure aren't putting them forth. There is, of course, a reason for that. If you do nothing the status quo remains the same. Reform is something the brave do, not cowards like yourselves.

Republicans have been the standard bearers for opposing equal rights, women's rights and gay rights. Nothing more needs to be said.

Despite the original post f... (Below threshold)
James H:

Despite the original post fulminating about Democrats opposing the Civil Rights Act, it's worth noting that a majority of Democrats (and a majority of Republicans, from what I can tell) supported its passage. Wikipedia breaks down the votes here.

It strikes me that the Civil Rights Act was less a partisan vote and more a regional one.

SteveP,You ignored... (Below threshold)
Mark Pinzon:

SteveP,

You ignored my comment and therefore seeing as I am hispanic, must mean that you are opposed to my equal rights.

So you should probably look into getting some sensitivity training before offending any other cultures, creeds, sexes, species, etc., etc., etc...

Doing nothing, the... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:
Doing nothing, the high plank of the republican party, is a subtle form of racism. If you have any other solutions, you people sure aren't putting them forth. There is, of course, a reason for that. If you do nothing the status quo remains the same. Reform is something the brave do, not cowards like yourselves.

Right on.

Doing nothing, the... (Below threshold)
James H:
Doing nothing, the high plank of the republican party, is a subtle form of racism. If you have any other solutions, you people sure aren't putting them forth. There is, of course, a reason for that. If you do nothing the status quo remains the same. Reform is something the brave do, not cowards like yourselves.

Bah. I don't see racism, subtle or otherwise, here. I see cowardice. I see political opportunism. I see cynicism. I see pettinesss. But I don't see racism.

"Doing nothing, the hig... (Below threshold)
Mark Pinzon:

"Doing nothing, the high plank of the republican party, is a subtle form of racism. If you have any other solutions, you people sure aren't putting them forth. There is, of course, a reason for that. If you do nothing the status quo remains the same. Reform is something the brave do, not cowards like yourselves.

Right on."

What if another plank is being anti-socialist and anti-communist. Is that another subtle form of racsim?

Yeah , all the good little ... (Below threshold)
doubled:

Yeah , all the good little leftists want is to provide healthcare to the poor. And the ONLY way to do so is to add 111 new bureaucracies and agencies :

http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/13094-Were-from-the-government,-and-were-here-to-help.html

111 of them and I can't find ONE that gives the poor healthcare or fixes anything other than creating more public sector workers, aka domocrat voters for life.

That list of new bureaucrac... (Below threshold)
doubled:

That list of new bureaucracies to be created reminds one of the list of recipients of money from Obama's Arnenberg Challenge in Illnois, which was to increase students test scores. Lots and lots of great sounding 'agencies' and 'thinktank this and thinktank that' , but not one dime to actual teaching at all. Never once saw the results from the dispersment of this 'slush' fund for the clout heavy. Seems the left loves the poor,but only as stage props for their grand plans to control everyone (for the betterment of mankind of course).

Steve P....have you ever wo... (Below threshold)
Rich:

Steve P....have you ever worked in an ER? I seriously don't think you know what the hell you are talking about. Having worked in ER's around the country for the last 17 yrs I have seen all kinds of stupid crap that people come to be treated. One of my favorites is feigning some abd pain just to end up getting a pregnancy test. It avoids paying the 7-15 dollars at the store while the visit to the ER costs hundreds of dollars,just not for the patient. Stubbed toes,or sore wrists,or backs that have hurt for weeks or months. Diaper rash...theres a good one.The hospitals eat this day in and out. You wonder why shit costs so much? Obama and crew want to add millions more to this group that can just walk in for nothing and get treated on the public dime. The democrats have no idea what they are going to do when they put millions on welfarecare. What is worse is that I think they do know. If the democrats really cared about the poor then they should stop trying to increase their numbers. We can not afford this reform.

Stevie you want to make it seem that the Dems are the party of the poor? All those histories cited above(civil rights,womens rights,slaves),those were the poor asshole. One of the biggest scams next to Global Warming is the Dems party of the minorities and poor.

Harry Reid is a liberal dem... (Below threshold)
Flu-Bird:

Harry Reid is a liberal demacratic blabbering nit-wit with brains the size of a pea

To further my thoughts on t... (Below threshold)
doubled:

To further my thoughts on the left: they also know that their ideas can not provide for themselves, thatis they need SOMEONE ELSE's money to inact, as they don't create anything, in particular wealth. But they always cost, and a lot. so they are constantly badgering those who DO produce items of actual need or desire, (that create wealth) and greedily garnish the capital (wealth and assets)produced for themselves. Think of all the global warming, whoops, sorry, climate change scum who troll for government handouts to 'show' for sure that we are 'changing' the climate, a climate that has changed constantly for millions of years before we even were around to bitch about it. Great work if you can get it, filling your own coffers with taxpayer dough by playing chicken little to like minded leftist politicians and their admiring acolytes in the MSM.

Steves P&G = Stuck on stupi... (Below threshold)
914:

Steves P&G = Stuck on stupid!

Steve's paste does not with... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Steve's paste does not withstand scrutiny, but what else is new?

1. The Republicans have numerous ideas but they have been shut out of the entire process. Democrats have actually taken to locking the doors. Thus, this is your albatross.

2. The Republicans can't stop squat. They don't have the power.

3. If Democrat's disastrous 'reforms' are successful, people are gong to die by the thousands from lack of care due to rationing. What are you going to do, say "Oops, we're sorry.?"

But, don't let the facts get in the way.

To further my thou... (Below threshold)
James H:
To further my thoughts on the left: they also know that their ideas can not provide for themselves, thatis they need SOMEONE ELSE's money to inact, as they don't create anything, in particular wealth. But they always cost, and a lot. so they are constantly badgering those who DO produce items of actual need or desire, (that create wealth) and greedily garnish the capital (wealth and assets)produced for themselves. Think of all the global warming, whoops, sorry, climate change scum who troll for government handouts to 'show' for sure that we are 'changing' the climate, a climate that has changed constantly for millions of years before we even were around to bitch about it. Great work if you can get it, filling your own coffers with taxpayer dough by playing chicken little to like minded leftist politicians and their admiring acolytes in the MSM.

Well, there's some codswallop. Does it not occur to you (or anybody else) that some people on the Left actually care about issues? That they're not trying to pick profit-makers' pockets, per se, but are actually trying to create a better world?

I know that's true for many... (Below threshold)
Mark Pinzon:

I know that's true for many, in fact, probably a majority of liberals.

The problem is that, they don't stop to consider the unintended consequences of those policies. It's great that you want to help everyone AND not penalize producers (profit-makers), the question is, how are you going to do it?

And just saying that you care about helping others is meaningless, for, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

There are moments I almost ... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

There are moments I almost sympathize that the libs posting here are so farking stupid. Then I realize that their unique and well developed combination of hate, ignorance, and laziness deserves no sympathy.

#27 see #29."Does ... (Below threshold)
liberal troll:

#27 see #29.

"Does it not occur to you (or anybody else) that some people on the Left actually care about issues? That they're not trying to pick profit-makers' pockets, per se, but are actually trying to create a better world?"

"There are moments I almost sympathize that the libs posting here are so farking stupid. Then I realize that their unique and well developed combination of hate, ignorance, and laziness deserves no sympathy."

To paraphrase the immortal words of Brandt from The Big Lebowski: "That had not occurred to them, Dude."

"To paraphrase the immortal... (Below threshold)
914:

"To paraphrase the immortal words of Brandt from The Big Lebowski: "That had not occurred to them, Dude."

To paraphrase another: "Frankly You troll I dont give a damn."

Does it not occur ... (Below threshold)
Marc:
Does it not occur to you (or anybody else) that some people on the Left actually care about issues? That they're not trying to pick profit-makers' pockets, per se, but are actually trying to create a better world?
sure they do, on the other hand they, in the name of obama, want to tax small business close to or out of business with taxes included in the health care bills.

Correct me if wrong but I tend to think that would be called picking of pockets.

James H & LT - "That the... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

James H & LT - "That they're not trying to pick profit-makers' pockets, per se, but are actually trying to create a better world?"

The problem I've got with it, guys - is that the left isn't willing to give people the choice to REFUSE what THEY think is 'better'. (Which is also questionable, but we'll leave that for a better time.)

If a proposal isn't voted in, (gay marriage, for example - and I ain't against it, I see it as a real bonus for lawyers since gay marriage =gay divorces) you'll try to get judges to do it by fiat. If you don't get judges to do it, you'll wait until there's a sympathetic President and Congress and you'll try to get it pushed through that way. (Except Obama seems remarkably unsympathetic to the gay community since he got into office...) You'll bitch about a Republican President using signing statements to make law, but chortle gleefully when a Democrat does it.

We're seeing the deficit skyrocket - and we KNOW it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better - and THEY DON'T CARE. Hell, they'll jack things up just on general principles! Tax the rich, baby! Tax 'em at 75%! 85%! They'll pay it!

Then ... "Hey, where the hell did they all go? And where's our money?"

They're pissing people off, pissing a LOT of people off, even the folks who'd otherwise support things because they KNOW the bill's both got their name on it and they're not going to be getting anything at all good from it.

That attitude is going to cause a bloodbath in 2010 - and there's not going to be a way to blame it on the right.

Since there's a grain of "h... (Below threshold)
epador:

Since there's a grain of "health care for the poor" in this thread, here's a quick question for either Steve:

Which President had to push hard to get Congress to write budgets that quadrupled Federal moneys and expanded the FQHC programs that provide affordable health care on a sliding scale (keeping many folks OUT of the ER) across the nation?

Now, the Stimulus I package increased one-time grants for specific purposes to FQHC's (for things like IT and training), but I do believe that ol' W expanded these programs like no (Democratic) President before or after him, in sustainable manners, and his spending will comparatively outperform ol' Barry's.

The democrats want the poor... (Below threshold)
Madalyn:

The democrats want the poor to stay poor. That enables the Dems to be able to manipulate them. They did that with welfare, food stamps, and medical. They want the poor (mostly blacks) to be so dependent on them that they will always vote Dem because the Dems are the ones fighting to keep giving them things they don't have to work for or deserve. I was once very poor with kids to support, but I did something unusual: I went to work!! God help me, I defied those damn congress critters and got a job because I felt I did not want to degrade myself and apply for welfare. The Dems don't want the poor to do that. It is a sick mind that wants to control people so badly they will stoop to what our congress is trying to do.
Madalyn

Madalyn,You prove ... (Below threshold)
SteveP:

Madalyn,

You prove my point about republicans being ignorant, uneducated and scared. How in their right mind anyone can equate welfare, food stamps and free medical care with some conspiracy about trying to keep votes is so moronic it almost doesn't deserve a response.

You basic theory is that the republicans give the poor more freedom to get "rich" by giving them no lifelines at all.

Those who stay on welfare for life have themselves to blame. Anyone can get out of their rut, but the entire reason these programs and social security exist is because the poor and elderly were left to their own devices after they could no longer make a living. So programs were created during Roosevelt and Johnson.

If idiots like Palin and the like have convinced you otherwise, you're too stupid to even have a discussion with. And those who aren't that stupid push this agenda because they don't give two shits about anyone other than themselves which, despite their twisted logic, is abhorent.

SteveP, you need to take so... (Below threshold)
Hank:

SteveP, you need to take some classes on reading comprehension.

Madalyn is exactly right. Get someone to help you with the large words.

As for being "ignorant, uneducated and scared", the author of this gem wins the award: "Doing nothing, the high plank of the republican party, is a subtle form of racism."

Yes, it was Southern Democr... (Below threshold)
Luther Ruckerson:

Yes, it was Southern Democrats who supported slavery and were against civil rights legislation in the past. As the Democratic party divorced itself from those positions, those old racists left the party. Where did they go?

To the Republican party!

Organizations change over time, and using historical positions of either party to somehow make statements about their present make-up and positions is not intellectually honest. It makes for some good smoke and sparks, but that's about it.

Nice try, though.

SteveP, you need to... (Below threshold)
SteveP:

SteveP, you need to take some classes on reading comprehension. Madalyn is exactly right.

Sorry. She's not.

You can wish it to be true as much as you like, but the truth is these systems are in place precisely because, when push comes to shove, democrats actually give a shit about individuals over corporate interests.

Please explain to me in clear, intelligent terms how the dismantling of social security, welfare and medicare will help those who are disabled, destitute, uneducated or in a geographic location where there are no jobs available. If you can't do that, shut your ignorant yap.

Financially, I do pretty well in this world - but I still give of myself and to charities based on the idiom "There but for the grace of God go I."

If you are so self-centered as to believe that others deserve no regard whatsoever (other than to serve as pawns in a failed conservative theory), I pity you.

Like I said, SteveP, get so... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Like I said, SteveP, get some help with your reading comprehension.

No one is advocating the dismantling of SS, welfare and medicare/medicaid.

As for Dems caring so much for the poor over corporate interests...chew on this from Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University.
Seems he did some research and what did he find?

-- Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

-- Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.

-- Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.

-- Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.

-- In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.

-- People who reject the idea that "government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.

Sure, you dems really really care.
I understand. Feelings matter. As long as someone else is paying.

On a more personal note, since you brought up the fact that you give to charities, I'm happy to read that. (in all sincerity). As for me, I'm just "self-centered". Though I do work every month at a local food bank and also a local clothes bank providing free clothes to the needy.

That's enough, I've wasted enough time with you. Go play the race card again.





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