liberals and race: why the left gets to decide who's hispanic and who isn't
is miguel estrada hispanic or not?
Being Hispanic for us means much more than having a surname," said New Jersey Rep. Bob Menendez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. "It means having some relationship with the reality of what it is to live in this country as a Hispanic American." Even though Estrada is of Hispanic origin, and even though he lives in this country, Menendez argued, he falls short of being a true Hispanic. "Mr. Estrada told us that him being Hispanic he sees having absolutely nothing to do with his experience or his role as a federal court judge. That's what he said to us.
thanks, national review. the minority opposition to judicial nominee miguel estrada has been tired and predictable. colored in shades of harry belafonte's "house slave" remark, leftwing hispanic groups and the democratic hispanic caucus have plastered estrada, a man who migrated to america from honduras as a boy speaking little english and today teeters on the edge of becoming one of the most powerful hispanics in our nation, with charges of being a sellout. equally predictable (though deserved) has been the backlash from the right, so predictable, in fact, that the democrats are now backpedaling to stave off the inevitable charges of hypocrisy.
Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, Texas Democrat and the head of the caucus panel that reviews judicial nominees, said the issue is not that Mr. Estrada wasn't "Hispanic enough," but that he hasn't involved himself in Hispanic organizations. Nor has Mr. Estrada paid attention to issues important to Hispanics.
isn't that exactly what menendez meant when he said that estrada lacked "some relationship with the reality of what it is to live in this country as a Hispanic American" and that he sees his race as "having absolutely nothing to do with...his role as a federal court judge"?
the democrats aren't the only ones knee deep in hypocrisy, of course. their special interests are cutting off their noses to spite their faces in a delightful display of partisanship before principle the likes of which have not been seen since the feminists slew monica lewinsky on the altar of political expediency. clinton may have been the archetype busy-handed male pig that caused feminists to join the movement in the first place, but he was their pig, dammit. and boy could he bring home the bacon. if a few bimbos had to get a protein injection now and then to keep him happy, so be it. and so it is with estrada.
the earlier-cited washington times story complains of a growing rift in the hispanic community over the estrada nomination. the mexican american legal defense and education fund, for instance, questioned estrada's willingness to "provide a fair day in court for low-income Latino consumers", alleged he may very well "compromise the rights of Latino voters", and decried estrada's stances on affirmative action, immigration, and racial profiling along with a salad full of other minority buzzwords, as part of a letter they sent to congress. the puerto rican legal defense and education fund was less kind
For the reasons provided in our position statement (a copy of which we reissued on January 27, 2003 and which is also available for you here today) we expressed our opinions that Mr. Estrada is not sufficiently qualified; that his reportedly extreme (and still un-rebutted) views should be disqualifying; that he lacks the maturity and judicial temperament necessary to be a circuit court judge; and that he has not had a demonstrated interest in or any involvement whatsoever with the organized Hispanic community or with Hispanic issues, needs, concerns or activities of any kind.
meanwhile, those minority groups that favored estrada generally did so on grounds of his qualifications as a legal authority. as an example, the hispanic national bar association praised estrada for "his education, training and experience. Our members interviewed Mr. Estrada as well as other individuals to evaluate his integrity, character, judicial temperament" but did also commend his "responsiveness to Hispanic issues needs and concerns." republican congressional hispanics unanimously support estrada on similar grounds and scoff at the criticisms from the left
"The excuses that are used against him would be funny if they weren't serious," said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida Republican. He recounted Mr. Estrada's background of having come to the United States from Honduras at the age of 17 speaking little English, and then graduating from Columbia University and Harvard Law School with honors.
thanks again, washington times.
if there's a common theme in the hispanic opposition to estrada it's that he doesn't pay enough lip service to trendy causes. he didn't kowtow to special interests simply because of the color of his skin. if there's a common theme in the hispanic support--or any support, for that matter--it's that he's a well-qualified judge.
the problem with minority special interests is that they believe their advancement is inexorably linked to that of the democratic party. (that the democratic party has put billions if not trillions in minority pockets through various social programs hasn't hurt, that minority leaders gain influence through their ability to deliver votes hasn't either.) these groups are more than willing then to sacrifice any particular member of their class for what they perceive to be the good of the whole, hence the estrada nomination isn't about the elevation of a hispanic who by any reasonable account should be a hero to his race to a post where he will finally get the recognition he deserves, rather, its about how inconvenient politics must be squashed, whatever the cost. a minority group's support for the members of its race as individuals, much like a feminist's support for "women", is largely an abstraction. they honestly see nothing wrong with killing one of their own.
but in so doing they are crippling themselves. by linking their advancement to a particular party, they have in effect denied that they could ever advance aside from government assistance. people like estrada blow that paradigm right out of the water by becoming living examples of americanism: hard-work, ingenuity, and intelligence will be rewarded no matter what your background in life. if minority special interests ever let word escape that america works, suddenly the need for them vanishes. the increasing shrillness of these groups in opposition to conservative minorities is a testament to the fact that genuine grievances are getting hard to come by. after all, since the fifties and sixties, how much genuine discrimination occurs in our society? according to the needs of the special interests groups there has to be some, and it has to be significant. thus in order to have succeeded, estrada had to benefit from the help of people like them. he had to get a leg up through affirmative action or some federal handout. now that he has succeeded, they believe, he has turned his back on his people by refusing to endorse those programs that could give others of his race the same chances he got. he has sold them out.
it's an overwhelmingly negative and self-serving message which starts with the premise that aside from the largesse of benevolent government programs and groups which lobby for them on your behalf, you cannot succeed if you aren't white. it ensures that those who lobby, and those who bestow the benefits, will always be fat and happy. over and opposed to this is the message of conservatives, minority member or otherwise: you can make it on your own. if you work hard enough, if you are smart enough, if you can pick yourself up enough times, you will eventually succeed. no one can stop you but you. the beauty of this philosophy is that it draws no lines. it eliminates race from the equation and evaluates people on the basis of what they've done--which is why virtually every essay written in defense of estrada has mentioned his overwhelming support from the american bar association, his 15 cases argued before the supreme court, and his performance at harvard.
minorities will begin seeing the advancement they crave in american society when they stop demanding it from others and start demanding it from themselves. continually pulling their members down to the level of the lowest common denominator is racial suicide. while discrimination continues to exist, and always will, it's influences are waning to negligible levels. those minorities that struggle to succeed in spite of discrimination rather than demanding assistance to overcome it need to be held up as examples, not shunned as pariahs. until this happens, the only minorities who will be advanced are those who best keep themselves in the good graces of the democratic party.
the right of the people...shall not be infringed.
take the title above and plug in the words "to speak freely", then imagine that you are living in a city that denied you that right by mayoral fiat. imagine that all political opinions were subject to censorship, and those deemed incorrect by city hall could bring you a heavy fine, or even land you in prison. imagine universities in the city, how the students would be required to conform to the appropriate standards of speech and conduct, how protests would be banned, how books which advanced avant garde views of society or government (like those by rush limbaugh and bill o'reilly) would be burned. imagine the noisy main street of this town, full of americans peaceably assembling to protest or support the war in iraq, thrown into chaos by jackbooted thugs with batons and gas, then silenced. imagine your nightly news broadcasts with large chunks, particularly those embarrassing to the city or which contrast with its agenda, deleted. your morning paper would be a state run propaganda rag.
take the title once more but this time plug in "to worship as they chose", and imagine this city once more. perhaps it's lead by a secular city hall, one that has purged all traces of religion from city life. boarded up all churches, eliminated all nativities and menorahs, torn down all Christmas lights. consider for a moment small groups meeting in secrecy to worship, only to be broken up by city-run secret police who haul the offenders off to jail or to re-education classes. or perhaps city hall has taken the opposite extreme and has adopted a talibanesque form of rule, where all but the official religion is forbidden, and participation in religious activities is mandatory for all residents.
take the title one last time, and this time plug in "to keep and bear arms", and imagine that you live in this city again. would anyone care?
the cato institute is leading the charge on a suit filed by residents of washington d.c. who are challenging the city's ban on handguns as unconstitutional. the plaintiffs include a security guard who is licensed to carry a firearm at work, but not in his own home, a woman who lives in a bad neighborhood and fears for her safety, and a homosexual who has been receiving threats from gay bashers but isn't allowed to protect himself.
the right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. without it, none of the others can exist. no one can truly possess this right unless they first possess the power to enforce it, and that means the power to use, when necessary, lethal force. the government cannot guarantee an individual's right to life no matter how many laws they pass, how strict their enforcement, or how many cops they hire to do the job. a person who rents a home from a landlord is at the mercy of the same when it comes to repairs. a person who rents their right to life from the government through taxes is at the mercy of the same when it comes to preserving their security. that which we cannot take for ourselves, we do not truly possess.
the fact that law abiding citizens are deprived of the opportunity to defend their own lives is far more than a breech of contract between the government and the people of the united states concerning some irrelevant relic of a bygone age. it is a violation of one's most basic of liberties, and is as profoundly wrong as the hypothetical infringements described above. it means that, rather than living in fear of gestapo tactics or censorship, a person must live in fear of the drug dealer, the gay basher, and the gang banger. it is a fear which is every bit as real, every bit as deeply felt, and which has as its object not a deprival of some liberty, but a deprival of life itself.
laws that ban handguns are patently unconstitutional and i believe that most anti-gun crusaders know it on some level. they overlook the unconstitutionality issues since they believe that the world the constitution was written for no longer exists. it makes no sense for us, therefore, to cling to an outmoded amendment which serves no purpose and can only produce (as they see it) negative consequences for those who chose to exercise their right. what the anti-gun crowd misses is that the right to keep and bear arms isn't a hopeless anachronism or even a quaint, traditional rule which no longer matters but which should be obeyed out of respect for a piece of parchment. it is rather a moral right. it is the right of each and every person to secure for themselves their right to life. that's why it was in the constitution in the first place.
locdog will be rooting for cato on this one
who knew bush did such a good osama?
is george w. bush the next rich little?
Strangely enough, all the networks, including al-Jazeera, were scooped by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who revealed during morning testimony to a Senate committee that he had reviewed a transcript "of what bin Laden, or who we believe to be bin Laden, will be saying on al-Jazeera during the course of the day." Powell gave no indication of how he had obtained the information.
from the washington post, excerpted.
oooOOOooo. it's so "strange" and "cryptic". powell gets this mysterious tape that not even al-Jazeera has heard of, and yet he says it will be on al-Jazeera later in the day. even limbaugh was speculating earlier on his program that the tape could be a fraud perpetrated by the bush administration. except that according to al-Jazeera's website the tape is legit.
Yasser Thabet, a broadcast editor at Al-Jazeera, said the 16-minute tape appears to be authentic because the television station got it through the same means as previous bin Laden statements. He did not elaborate.
evidently there's nothing more strange and cryptic to this than u.s. intelligence picking up wind of a new bin laden tape before the media. glad to hear it. as far as the al-Jazeera prediction goes, that's where all the other tapes went, so why should powell hesitate to predict this one would too? bottom line is that this tape is legit or they were all frauds since they all reached al-Jazeera in the same way.
perhaps even more amusing than the bin laden tape conspiracy theories is all the cattiness directed at fox news for their editorial decision to air the tape in its entirety
Fox News Channel was the only cable network to air yesterday's purported Osama bin Laden audiotape in its entirety.
from the earlier quoted washington post article. bush gadfly maureen dowd added
In the past, Condi Rice has implored the networks not to broadcast the tapes outright, fearing [bin laden] might be activating sleeper cells in code.
i find dowd's (albeit smarmy) concern for the security of the people of the united states touching, but if she's looking for a more positive outlet for her energies, perhaps she could send a memo to her boss howell and tell him to stop putting detailed military plans on the front page of his newspaper before he gets thousands american citizens killed himself. oh, wait, she just wants to bash fox news. and as for the administration's decision to "flack" this latest tape, i mean, the nerve of these guys, huh? out there showing everyone hard evidence of an affiliation between al qaeda and iraq, embarassing partisan hacks like dowd who for months have been poking fun of bush's lack of convincing evidence to the same. how dare they.
ari fleischer said that u.s. security officials weren't upset by fox's decision, lending credibility to fox's defense that rice's warning applied mainly to video tapes. of course, they learned of fox's decision after fox aired the tape, meaning that whether it was a good idea or not bush had nothing to do with it. besides, would the bush administration really compromise the safety and security of the united states to let bin laden read a talking points memo on fox news? dowd has no trouble believing so, which says a lot more about dowd than it does about bush. but even if the administration was that cynical, there wasn't any need for fox to read the entire message for bush's purpose to be served. the "go blow yourself up in defense of iraq" part would have done quite nicely on it's own.
it worked for locdog
bin laden tape not a link to iraq, says mccain, germans
it's important enough for osama to call on muslims to blow themselves up in sucide attacks over, but other than that, there's no connection between iraq and al qaeda says john mccain and the germans. well that's a relief. for a moment there, i thought bin laden was taking this seriously.
does bush need to prove a connection now that osama has shown how far he's willing to go to defend iraq? doesn't that in and of itself establish all the connection we could ever hope for? this is a war on terror, bush has always said, and terror wants to defend iraq. guess what that means, kids.
locdog bets you get it on the first try
what was bin laden thinking?
by now, you've probably seen this or something like it:
“WE STRESS the importance of martyrdom attacks against the enemy,” said the speaker on the tape, which was aired Tuesday on the al-Jazeera Arab satellite station. Analysts and government officials said that it was a call for Muslims to launch suicide operations against U.S. and allied interests around the world.
in case your cave doesn't have cable television, this, most experts agree, is osama bin laden rallying the muslim war for jihad against the united states should we come to blows with iraq. fine. osama hates america. saddam hates america. makes sense...or does it?
osama hates america but he also hates saddam. saddam is an infidel, a godless heretic as far as a theocrat like bin laden is concerned. the secular government of iraq is an insult to the islamic rule bin laden prefers, and, worse, it is perpetrated by an arab: by one of his own. sort of makes you appreciate how desperately the osamas of the world hate the united states, doesn't it? the enemy of osama's enemy is his friend, and right now he fears the united states a lot more than he does saddam. as a matter of fact, things have gotten quite cozy between osama and saddam of late, with osama's number two man setting up a base of operations in baghdad. there are few nations left, i would think, willing to grant al qaeda and its affiliates the sort of latitude they need to train and plan, so i would surmise that al qaeda is in iraq because it has few other choices. doesn't seem like the type of place they'd go willingly, unless, that is, they were going to wage jihad against saddam. so, icky as he is, saddam must be defended.
but is osama doing saddam any favors? the north koreans are threatening full scale war with the south in response to any american strikes on their nuclear program. osama is threatening full scale holy war in response to any american strikes against iraq. it's the same game with different players. the rules of the game are that the united states has rules, terrorists/rogue states don't, and that can be used to the advantage of those who are clearly outgunned. it isn't that the united states couldn't whoop the muslim world or the north koreans in a bar-brawl, it's that we don't want to. it's distasteful to us, which is another way of saying that it's politically messy for the president. osama, like the north koreans, knows that he can use the american media to generate anti-war sentiment and cut the president's legs out from under him if he can make the price of war too high. but if that's his plan, it's going to backfire.
osama's (apparent) miscalculation is that his bluff isn't going to politically weaken the president, it's going to strengthen him. it's not hard to see. one need only consider the ramifications of bin laden stepping forward and publicly denouncing iraq. imagine if instead of giving the troops a gut-stomping pattonesque pep talk, osama had instead come out and said "well boys, i hate that lousy saddam hussein, and if the americans want to kill him they'd be doing me a favor. as a matter of fact, let's give them a hand!" ok, maybe that was over the top, but you get the idea. bush has been trying to establish a link between iraq and al qaeda and osama has now given him exactly what he wanted. it doesn't prove that they've been in bed for any length of time or that saddam is giving them access to weaponry or anything so slam-dunk certain, but it does prove loudly and clearly that destroying the hussein regime is most definitely not in bin laden's best interests.
i say that this is an apparent miscalculation because the other possibility is that bin laden doesn't want to defend hussein at all, does hate his guts more than he hates ours, and is trying to get saddam offed. i balk at this on grounds of general wackiness, although there is a certain ticklish rationality to it that the osama-is-defending-saddam theory lacks. but, when all is said and done, bin laden's actions will be dictated by necessity, and right now, he needs warm, flat rocks to sun himself on a lot more than he needs to see saddam sleeping with the fishes. the latter isn't a necessity at all, in fact, it's a dream, a wish, a Someday. ergo, bin laden opted to play the only card he could play and threatened wide scale terror. what he should have done is fold and make bush struggle to prove what has now been written in stone.
had osama said nothing, or even subtly distanced himself from saddam, war probably would have occurred anyway. but if the long, protracted struggle he is calling for would have occurred in that war, wouldn't it have been hotter for bush politically? if it happens now, bush can simply say that he's doing precisely what he said he's been doing all along: fighting the war on terror.
can the oscars get any gayer?
last year moulin rouge, before that shakespeare in love, now chicago and the hours...can you say "agenda"? why don't they just move the whole damn thing to san francisco and have tom cruise host?
locdog better be careful or he'll be hearing from maverick's lawyers
update: a reader on the fray pointed out that i forgot as good as it gets. that's as bad as forgetting napoleon when someone asks you to list successful french military commanders.
bye kovy. bye pens. bye NHL.
the pittsburgh penguins traded their star forward and any hopes they had of making the stanley cup playoffs to the new york rangers yesterday for four million dollars in cash.
alexei kovalev, who most would rank among the top five hockey players in the game today, was sent to new york along with three other players you've never heard of in exchange for four players you've never heard of and $3,999,999.99 (the league forbids cash trades of $4 million or more). gary bettman, the NHL commissioner, studied the proposed transaction to ensure it was a genuine "hockey trade" and not a mere salary dump. the commissioner’s findings?
"Talented as Kovalev is, he is not four NHL players."
true. he's better than most quartets of NHL players. certainly, he is better than this one. of the four "NHL players" acquired from the rangers, only one had any big league playing time to speak of. the rest spent most or all of their days in the farm system. if one combined the point totals of the four scrubs--er, i mean, NHL players, one would still not exceed kovalev's offensive production. nor would one match his salary, coincidentally enough. also crucial in evaluating bettman's so-called "hockey trade" is the following:
penguins general manager craig patrick would not entertain any deal in which the other party was not willing to:
1. pay four million in cash
2. accept two defensemen along with kovalev, one who's always injured and one who's playing in the minors, and each earning over 1 million
couple of rather odd stipulations for a "hockey trade"...
according to patrick, however, the penguins are now better poised to make the playoffs. and, indeed, how could they not be, after having rid themselves of that dead-weight superstar who's currently fourth in the NHL scoring race for four no-names, one of whom has already been consigned to the team's AHL affiliate, and two of whom spent their entire seasons with new york's? i feel bad for craig, i really do. he's one of the most gifted general managers in all of hockey, but he has to hold press conferences where he lies to the people of pittsburgh and makes himself look like a fool trying to polish what is quite obviously a turd because bettman wants to be a hypocrite. the penguins, like a lot of teams, are fighting to keep their heads above water. for gary bettman to throw them a life preserver, he'd have to first admit that they were drowning. but, he was at least willing to look the other way on a trade that was patently financial, so to pay him back craig has to pretend that a deal your average four-year-old would leave for dead is in fact the life of the team.
what does this mean for the penguins? it means that they will continue to be the whore of teams like washington, colorado, and new york. teams with bank rolls two or three times the size of theirs, and who can buy up any talent the penguins might produce because a sky-rocketing salary structure has prevented all but a few from having any legitimate hopes of building a contender. and so the penguins bit the bullet with players like darius kaspiritis, robert lang, jaromir jagr, and now alexei kovalev in deals which have failed to net one single NHL caliber player in return, but have allowed the penguins to prolong their slow death by perhaps a few years more. but as talent leaves and winning records leave with it, so do the revenues. since hockey income is based almost exclusively on ticket sales, and since no one wants to go to the oldest arena in the NHL to see a bunch of losers, the penguins will continue dumping contracts and checking waiver wires until eventually they fold, or the team is sold and moved to a different market. they are, in short, doomed.
what does this mean for the NHL? it means that they are content to be major league baseball, except that they don't have baseball's fan loyalty, popularity, or fundage. it wasn't supposed to be like this. hockey and the men who play it were supposed to be different. we weren't supposed to have "labor" disputes and primma donna players and season-long strikes. but we do, and we will. this is a league which has virtually no television revenue (NHL teams get about five million a year in TV revenue, compared to about seventy million for NFL teams) and yet their average salaries exceed those of average NFL players. this cannot go on. the only hope for the league is that in another year the collective bargaining agreement will have expired, there will be a strike, and hopefully the NHL can institute revenue sharing and a salary cap. the strike will undoubtedly kill a few teams that are on their last gasp now, saving the league the unsavory task of formal contraction. but if something isn't done in this next round of negotiations, the big market teams will continue to gobble up all the talent, the small market teams will continue to evaporate, and sooner or later the NHL will die.
locdog hopes they get it turned around
p.s. in an ironic footnote, rangers fans seem to hate the trade as much as pens fans do. while they clearly got the better of the deal, kovalev is simply one more offensive-minded superstar on a rangers team chock full of 'em. hard to see how this deal will help them make the playoffs when it's their defense, not their offense, that's so painfully lacking.
dude, you're goin' to jail!
and he seemed like such a nice boy...
and here locdog thought it was all an act
where do babies go when they die?
in c. s. lewis' the screwtape letters, what little drama there is comes from the venerable race-against-the-clock device. screwtape becomes increasingly anxious as the bombs burst closer and closer to wormwood's "patient", knowing that at any moment death could come and one more soul would be lost to heaven. this puts wormwood in the somewhat paradoxical position of trying to keep his patient alive--at least long enough to corrupt his faith and ensure that, when he dies, he'll sink safely to hell.
now obviously lewis did not intend screwtape as a theology text book, and we shouldn't take a device he used to inject dramatic tension into a book which would otherwise lack it altogether too seriously. (and this is no criticism of screwtape, by the way; i adore the book.) but it did get me thinking on the tangential issue of abortion. we Christians believe that abortion is a tool of the devil. we believe that it is our duty to stop abortion. and yet we also believe that these unborn babies go straight to heaven when they die. why, then, are we trying to stop abortion? why, then, would satan want abortions to occur? he's guaranteed 40 million plus souls entry into heaven, most of which would have otherwise wound up in his own fiery clutches. doesn't make much sense, does it?
is abortion then a tool of God, a means by which He ensures the maximum number of people make in into heaven? perish the thought. abortion is murder, on that we all agree. is satan somehow working against abortions to keep souls from entering paradise? seems rather hard to believe, given that Christians are overwhelmingly pro-life, and those who are pro-choice generally support a lot of other things the Bible regards as immoral. what's left? why, what's left is that unborn babies, when they die, cannot go to heaven. it's the only thing that fits. where do they go? other than hell, i know of no other place. maybe limbo, depending on how seriously one wants to take dante. maybe purgatory, but i don't believe in purgatory, don't see it taught in Scripture, and besides, isn't that for those who were saved but still have some debts to work off? this is one of those times where a monochromatic hell leaves one rather unsatisfied. unborn babies, sin nature or not, shouldn't roast alongside of adolph hitler. my guess is that dante was closer to the truth than we may have thought, and that the unborn are hanging out in the country-club section of hell with aristotle and his clique. that or what some Christians refer to as "abraham's bosom", the place where Old Testament patriarchs and good jews who died before Christ came would go. sort of like an under-worldly garden of eden. it's always been my understanding that this place was emptied-out by Christ while He was in the tomb, although it seems like the unborn might meet the requirements for entrance since, though they have a sin nature, they never had a chance to accept Christ. then again there are a lot of people who've never had a chance to accept Christ (those who live in dark corners of africa, etc.) but these, unlike the babies, have had a chance to do good and evil.
my best guess is that these babies wind up either in "abraham's bosom", or in hell's swankier neighborhood (if such a place exists). either place would be much better than anywhere they could go here on earth. still, i'm unsatisfied with that explanation because it's like these souls are a "tie" between God and the devil. a stalemate in which the pawns being played for are consigned to a dull, if comfortable, eternal home, with neither side completely happy about their fate. i should here point out that i wouldn't dream of speaking dogmatically on this. if i was giving odds, i would give my "best guess" maybe one shot in ten of being correct. what i'm more interested in is the responses that some of you might have. you calvinists, for instance, need to explain what the state of the unborn has to say about God's sovereign purpose where everyone is predestined for either eternal glory or damnation. you catholics might want to comment on whether or not these souls would end up in purgatory, pending ultimate admittance into heaven, and if so, does this escape our initial dilemma? if there are any like-minded wishy washy not-quite-arminians out there like myself who have no clue either, well, what did you think of that michael jackson interview?
locdog hasn't been able to make much headway with this problem