Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Movie Moment

Went to the movies, not once, but twice this weekend. Saw X Men 3: The Last Stand, and The DaVinci Code.

Also saw the trailer to the new Omen movie, which, frankly I could have done without. Interesting though that the first Omen movie came out in 1976, at a time when the Republican Party was going through a bit of a down period (a very brief down period, as it turned out). I guess lying Republican Presidents prepare the market for films about the Antichrist.

X-Men 3 was good, but a little pinched. It felt like they felt they had to get it to 1 hour 45 minutes. It's rare to say it but it might have been better if had been about 20 minutes longer to give a few of the storylines (particularly Angels and Rogues) time to breath.

On the other hand seeing the Beast in action was excellent. And the movie had a lot of very enjoyable moments and excellent fight scenes. Oh and the use of Jamie Madrox was super - cool.
As for the DiVinci code it's a movie with an ideology. And that sort of gets in the way of the story telling.

An ideology is a "truth," and once you understand the "truth" you either accept it or you don't. Why don't people accept a "truth?" As I've said before, because they are dumb or crazy or they have ulterior motives. Or, in the answer the ideologue never acknowledges, you have another "truth."

So the badguys end up being cardboard cutouts, because you'd have to be a cardboard cutout not to accept the clear "truths" of this Gnostic ideology.

A non-ideologue who wants to create a meaningful villain gives him his own truth and let's his actions spring from that. In a real examination of this half baked conspiracy, the villains would have a motivation beyond maintaining the Catholic Church's awesome power. They'd have their own truth and would express them.

But the ideologue does not wish to confuse the issue by giving the villains a point of view. So they remain cardboard cutouts, in the service of explaining the "truth."

That also explains why the movie seems paced poorly. In a traditional narrative sense the movie wraps up 20 minute or so before it actually ends. We then get not one but two codas to make sure we get the point. Because, at it's heart, the DaVinci Code isn't a story. It's an argument.

Also one other niggling point - which I will put in invisio-print for those who haven't seen it or read it. Simply select it and the words will appear as if by magic.
OK, the movie seems to posit Sophie Neveu as the last descendent of Jesus Christ. That doesn't strike me as very logical. The most logical way for it to have gone (once you accept the postulate that Jesus Christ had a child) is for the line to die out relatively quickly, or for him to, by the year 2006, have many many descendents. Very romantic, but kind of illogical.
Anyway, until the last 20 minutes or so I quite enjoyed the movie, and even the last bit wasn't particularly bad, just kind of seemed long. You just have to know what it is going into it.

If Gay People Really Wanted Freedom they Would Be Conservative!

Or at least that is the argument Star Parker puts forth in her latest article.
If gay activists really wanted freedom, as opposed to advancing a particular political agenda, they would be hard at work moving government control out of areas of our society that limit their as well as everyone else's freedom.

They should be fighting for nationwide school choice, so they can send their children to schools that teach what they want. They should be fighting for private social security accounts and so they could stop complaining about discrimination in survivor benefits. They should fight for private health care accounts and getting corporations out of the benefits providing business and so they could stop complaining about discrimination in benefits toward gay couples.
This almost reads like a parody to me. I mean I understand that Ms. Parker believes that the answer to all of America's problems is more conservatism. But does she really find it reasonable to expect Gays, if they really wanted freedom, to fight, not for legalizing Gay marriage, but for private social security accounts?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

New Format, New Quote!

Good morning all!!!

New format and new quote!!!

Have an enjoyable weekend and memorial day!!!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I'm Angry Just Now

I don't want to guarantee that this post won't involve some swearing - because it very well might.

Reading Natheniel Blake's latest article about the Christian Left - like most Conservative Christians he's uncomfortable with the idea that a person can be a Christian and yet come to a different conclusion on political matters. So he has to prove that people he doesn't agree with aren't really Christians. Take this passage on Senator and former Presidential Candidate Kerry.
This hypocrisy was displayed for all to see in the third Bush-Kerry debate. In response to a question on abortion, Kerry replied, "I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people. That's why I fight against poverty. That's why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth. That's why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith." So he would advance socialism because he thinks that is implicitly encouraged by his faith, but won't oppose the legal killing of babies even though his faith explicitly commands him to. Clearly what he claims is his faith serves him as nothing more than a prop, to be pulled out or put away as it serves his own agenda.
I guess there might be a difference of opinion on what the word faith means in this context, but I assume he means that the Catholic Church is opposed to abortion so Senator Kerry must be opposed to abortion. But since he does not support criminalizing abortion he is a hypocrite.

Newsflash Blake (and other Conservatives who think this way), Kerry does oppose abortion. He has determined, however, that criminalizing abortion is not the solution to the abortion problem. Can't we have even a hint of honest debate with Republicans? Nope.

Then there's this interesting passage.
As in C.S. Lewis'’ wily devil Screwtape wrote, "We want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means-even to social justice-For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience." Of course, there are many on the right who view Christianity in the same way, as a falsehood useful for advancing an agenda, but the proportion to sincere believers is much higher among the conservative ranks.
Some of you might be wondering how Blake determined this little nugget of "information." Well I'll let you in on his secret - wishful thinking.

You might try it yourself; just imagine Blake as an escaped mental patient who wandered into the hallways of the Heritage foundation and was immediately given a column to write (that's how Ann Coulter got her start, you know).

At any rate, despite some meanness I got through the article without swearing. I'm damned proud of myself.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production

This is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's Plutocrat, and I have a headache today.

I confronted the object of my affection today and I suppose I should tell it is Helen Pinksington, my chauffeur. I do not know how I have come to be enamored of her, but I suspect it is due to the chemical tampering on the part of my business rivals. At any rate, I confessed my affliction to Miss Pinksington who admitted to a similar affection, although perhaps a bit more platonic. She said that she would need to go to relatives for a time to consider her move. I applauded this idea, as perhaps whatever spell we are under will wear off if we are not around each other.

So far, however, it seems even worse, as I think of her much of the time, even at times when I am supposed to be concentrating on business. I spilled a bottle of ink, for example. Very embarrassing.

At any rate, you are not here to hear about my afflictions, but to visit the various internet websites I will point you to. So let's go.

Bark Bark Woof Woof has
a story on how President Bush has finally admitted a mistake. He seems to feel this is progress; I am less sure myself. For one thing it's bad form for a leader to admit a mistake publicly. A plutocrat or president should always be certain. Secondly, this President seems like such a chowderhead, I doubt if he really comprehends his errors. Rather I suspect he is simply saying what people want to hear.

LEFT is RIGHT has further thoughts about the President's speaking habits; specifically how he emphasizes the hard work he is doing. I personally don't do a lick of work myself. I make other people work for me. That's what being a plutocrat is all about. This is yet more evidence that if President Bush is a plutocrat, he's clearly an inferior one.

suggests that her readers take time to sign a pledge, pledging not to vote for any Democrat who is not going to uphold their values. Specifically all Democrats should make withdrawal from Iraq a part of their campaign.

Perhaps they should take a page from the West Point Graduates against the War, who are the subject of
an article by THE FULCRUM. They seem like upstanding young men, so naturally the Bush Administration desires to crush them.

rubber hose has
some thoughts on Congress being upset that the FBI may be monitoring them.

Speedkill has
some thoughts on how Saudi Arabia educates it's children; apparently they could do a better job.

MercuryX23's Fantaboulous Blog shares
some thoughts on his voting district, which seems to have been crafted with an eye towards replicating something you might see under a microscope.

T. Rex's Guide to Life
has thoughts on the concept of Majority Rule; and how it does not necessarily apply in America.

Pen-Elayne on the Web
has pictures of English Cats and also apparently a rabbit. I gather she has just returned from England, and seems to have a lot of pictures and discussion. I've always enjoyed England, so I'm a bit disturbed to hear that there are apparently Bat Boys there now.

Happy Furry Puppy Story Time is
apparently three years old. The website not the writer. So congratulations to them on their anniversary.

And that is it for another week. Once again this simple task has taken my mind off of my heart for a little bit, so thank you.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Good article on the Fall Elections

This is by William Pitt writing at truthout. William Pitt is a guy who used to post at Democratic Underground, and now, I believe, no longer does. I don't know the full details, and hesitate to comment. But I always found him to be a sharp mind, even when I disagreed with him (which was pretty regularly), so would like it if he came back to DU.

Anyway he just wrote an article at truthout about the Republicans strategy for keeping the House in the fall. Not very inspiring.
The abandonment of Congressional oversight is a lot of the reason we are in such a sorry state, and that abandonment was authored by Republicans who were stupid enough and opportunistic enough to trust that Bush and his people would lead them to the promised land of a permanent majority. This won't be forgotten by November.
Beyond that, few people are going to rise in response again to the waving of the bloody shirt of September 11. The Cunningham and Abramoff scandals continue to grow, chopping down Republicans left and right. The GOP's usual electoral strengths - morality and security - are gone, and the Republican base is abandoning them. The cupboard is just about empty.

What's left? Vote for us, or else we'll be held accountable! That's just funny.
It is pretty funny, actually.

Another American Idol Suggestion

Maybe some of you think repeating "I am a Robot" is a little too far out there. For those of you who feel like this I suggest, instead, singing "The Richest Man in Babylon" by Thievery Corporation (with Notch). Great track.
There is no guidance in your kingdom
Your wicked walk in Babylon
There is no wisdom to your freedom
The richest man in babylon

Your beggars sleep outside your doorway
Your prophets leave to wonder on
You fall asleep at night with worry
The saddest man in Babylon

The wicked stench of exploitation
Hangs in the air and lingers on
Beneath the praise and admiration
The weakest man in Babylon

There is no hope left in your kingdom
Your servants have burned all their songs
Nobody here remembers freedom
The richest man in Babylon
babylon no get rich again
but to end up sick again
and you end up weak again
babylon you run
you better know you you better understand
the rancher man you better hear what we say
babylon this is your final day
babylon this is your final call
read the writing that's on the wall
see divided we stand
and together we fall
you never know that
you not gon' catch me in a rat pack
we not gon' fall away from it jah

Contest Time!!!

I'd just like to announce a new contest here at Make Me a Commentator!!!

The rules are quite simple. They are beginning auditions for the next season of American Idol. All you have to do is participate in said auditions. When your time comes simply say in a clear voice, "I am a Robot."

Repeat the phrase "I am a Robot" until you are escorted from the studio. The person who repeats this phrase ("I am a Robot") the most wins.

And what do you win? My respect (this explains why I won't be participating in said contest; I know myself far too well to ever respect myself). That is a precious commodity, or at least extremely rare.

You can say "I am a Robot" in any way you like. You can even sing it if you want. I personally favor the semi-lombotomized glassy eyed deputy mayor style myself.

Also remember, participating in this contest isn't just a good idea. Frankly, it isn't even a good idea. But it's the law. So there you go.

Separation of Powers

As you know Rep. William Jefferson, Democrat, had his office was raided over the weekend by the FBI. They found that he was guilty of freezing his bribe money, and he has been asked to resign from Ways and Means committee. As it turns out, however, this is being seen as a question of the separation of powers, by such Republicans as Newt Gingrich and Sen. Bill Frist.

Tim Chapman's latest article praises Republicans for taking a stand on principle (for once).
It is worth examining the position that GOP leadership has taken. In 219 years the Executive branch has never infringed on the Legislative branch in this manner. This week's raid was a first. Now consider if the situation were reversed. Can you imagine what would have happened if House impeachment investigators had sent a team to President Clinton's White House to search for subpoenaed documents?

The FBI claims that it raided Jefferson's office with extraordinary safeguards in place. But did it? The historical practice of allowing a representative of the House such as the general counsel to observe the search was not honored. Quite to the contrary, in fact. The general counsel was not allowed in the room at the time of the search and was instead given assurances that the FBI would police itself in regards to privileged and unprivileged documents. Police itself?

Critics of congressional leadership certainly have a point regarding the politics of the situation: This is messy, and it appears silly. But critics should concede that a principled argument is being made here. Those critics are free to critique that argument, but they should recognize that those legislators who are making it are not in any way motivated by politics . . . for once.

This conservative would like to see Republicans stand for principle on a much broader range of issues. But hey, beggars can't be choosers.
I don't know if we should tire ourselves out patting Republicans on the back for this. Most people want to protect their turf. It's human nature.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I got nothing to say

I'm sorry - I've been reading articles and trying to come up with something - but just out of it.

Political Advice from Republicans

Boy am I tired of hearing political advice from Republicans (such as Ben Shapiro provides in his latest article). It all boils down to the same damn thing. "Real Americans are Conservative. If you want to appeal to real Americans you need to be more Conservative."

I don't think that "real Americans" exist. I think that's a rhetorical ploy. Simply pick the qualities you like in a voter and claim that those qualities are shared by all voters. Simple, but pretty much crap.

Plus of course, such formulations from a Conservative always seem to crap on California and New England (Case in point - Shapiro saying "Most of the country isn't like California and Massachusetts.").

Shapiro says that in relation to Gay Marriage, underlining that Liberal support for Gay Marriage will hurt them with "Real Americans." He also notes that Democrats, like President Bush, don't seem to want to demonize Latinos as much as "Real Americans" would like.

Then of course he makes fun of Al Gore. Al Gore takes global warming seriously. Ben Shapiro and many Conservatives do not believe in global warming, largely because global warming would not be profitable. So every time Al Gore describes the seriousness of the threat Global Warming proposes, they snicker up their sleeves, in much the same way you would if someone were to take the national stage and warn against an attack by the Loch Ness Monster.

But of course Global Warming has a bit more scientific evidence behind it.

At any rate, as these articles always do, Republicans think we would be more successful if we were a bit more like them. I think if we were a bit more like them, there would be little point to being successful.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More on Making English our National Language

E. J. Dionne has written a solid article on this subject.
There is no point to this amendment except to say to members of our currently large Spanish-speaking population that they will be legally and formally disrespected in a way that earlier generations of immigrants from -- this is just a partial list -- Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Norway, Sweden, France, Hungary, Greece, China, Japan, Finland, Lithuania, Lebanon, Syria, Bohemia, Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia were not.

Immigrants from all these places honored their origins, built an ethnic press and usually worshiped in the languages of their ancestors. But they also learned English because they knew that advancement in our country required them to do so.
Here's a question for you to consider. Why, in the middle of a debate on reforming illegal immigration, are we stopping to discuss this? Will this make our borders more secure? Seems unlikely.

Mental Laziness

Dennis Prager decries liberal laziness of thought in his latest article. According to Prager, Liberals don't think issues through. Rather we have a list of negative words to attach to Republicans and a list of positive words to attach to Democrats. Prager uses as his example, Harry Reid who recently characterized an amendment offered by Senator Inhofe as "racist."

Prager illustrates another mental time-saver. Rather than grapple with what your political opponent is saying, simply assign him a position, and attack. For example, rather than come to terms with what Reid actually said, simply claim all he did was throw around the word racist and leave it at that.

Sen. Reid did use the word racist in his attack on Senator Inhofes amendment making English the National Language, but placed in context it is a bit more understandable.
I have affection for my friend from Oklahoma, but I have the greatest disagreement with him on this amendment. While the intent may not be there, I really believe this amendment is racist. I think it is directed basically to people who speak Spanish.

. . . I have served in the Congress of the United States with JIM INHOFE for many years, and we disagree on issues on occasion. But even though I believe this amendment is unfair, I don't in any way suggest that JIM INHOFE is a racist. I don't believe that at all. I just believe that this amendment has, with some people, that connotation - not that he is a racist but that the amendment is. So I want to make sure the record is spread with the fact that I have only the strongest, as I indicated early on, affection for JIM INHOFE, the senior Senator from Oklahoma.

. . . Why don't we spend more money so we can educate more people who want to learn English? We are short of money. We have programs that are cut every day. That is the way it is in Nevada and around the country. That is where we should be directing our efforts. That brings people together. That is good for all of us. This does not bring people together. It makes it far more likely that we will end up with civic exclusion, including the denial of rights they should have to millions of U.S. citizens.

I hope we reject this amendment. It is bad policy. It is un-American. It turns back the clock on the substantial gains that language minority citizens have made. I hope that there will be a resounding vote against this.
Here is a text copy of the speech. It is not a masterly speech, but the argument is far more complex than simply saying that the Amendment is Racist. If you want to look up the speech it is found in the Congressional Record S4766-7, May 18, 2006.

Frankly the proposed Amendment is racist. The whole point to the bill is to slam people who don't speak English. And given the context of the debate the people to be slammed are Hispanics. The point of the bill isn't to help people learn English, but to punish people for not learning it.

Some of you are thinking about the cost of printing ballots in Spanish and in English. First of all the expense is not as extreme as you think it is (certainly nothing compared to the expense of invading Iraq). Secondly, the Inhofe amendment won't actually change that. Yet. As near as I can tell it carves out an exception for bi-lingual messages that currently exist, while expressing that such things are un-American for the future.

Monday, May 22, 2006

President Bush and the Knee Jerk Reaction

I think that President Bush has earned a bit of a Knee Jerk Reaction at this point. He has screwed up so consistently over the last 5 years that predicting he will screw up in the future is a safe bet. But it's not always the best response to the President, as Robert Scheer points out in his latest article.
What is different about Bush's stance on immigration is that the president is, at long last, dealing with a subject he actually knows something about -- as opposed to his failed war of words against terrorism, Iraq, nuclear weapons proliferation and even Social Security. On this subject, the former governor of a state with a 1,200- mile border with Mexico grasps that the problem is complex, the solution elusive, and fact and logic do matter.
Scheer makes the point that President Bush's plan does provide some way to deal with those who are here currently.
"What I've just described is not amnesty, it is a way for those who have broken the law to pay their debt to society, and demonstrate the character that makes a good citizen," Bush said, in what is certainly one of his milder stretches of the truth.

This de facto amnesty would allow those already here without papers to go about their work and lives without fear of deportation. This is crucial, because the alternative is social chaos of a dimension not experienced in this country since the Civil War and Reconstruction.

As Bush put it with uncharacteristic clarity: "It is neither wise nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border."
Anyway, something worth considering.

What makes great Music

Over at Townhall, Paul Jacob is taking on the problem or racism, or to be more frank, he's trying to argue that racism is no big deal and that Blacks can be racist too. And then he starts talking about music.
I'm more likely to listen to James Brown than Beethoven, but I'm not going to try to make the case that James Brown was the greater musician. The everyday values that determine our personal preference differ from our appreciation of greatness in art. And I don't let race have anything to do with my judgments of preference.

Or "greatness."

. . . Music evolved to greatness as a fine art tradition in Europe, not south of the Sahara or in the wilds of the Americas. That's just a fact. Most of the great composers - whom most of us don't listen to, anyway -were white Europeans.

The RZA and the Duke have written some amazingly good music, but I doubt if even they aspired to compose on the level of, say, Bach. Offenbach, maybe. To suggest a higher level of greatness takes quite a bit more chutzpah than I have.
Of course the question Jacob carefully fails to ask is "what does determine greatness." And the answer is largely "What old white guys have determined is great." That is to say Classical Music.

The truth is that Classical Music is dead music. It's been dead for a long time, which is why the bits that have stuck around look so good. It's as if some rogue medusa wandered through the garden of music and here and there petrified a piece of music here or there. It's fellow tunes long since decayed we can see this statue and forget that at one point it meant something. Instead we admire the marble finish, the solemn dignity of a piece that has "survived" through the ages.

I do appreciate Classical music, but I appreciate it for what it is. I suspect Jazz will go through the same process, although given the inherent liveliness of the music and the fact that we do have recordings of the original recordings, we probably won't end up with the same kinds of statues.

But if you consider the value of music to be it's ability to touch people, the ability to be meaningful in their lives, well Classical Music and Jazz both largely fail that test right now.

Opening the Flood Gates

Mary Cheney, who is related to someone notable, has written a book. Being a lesbian, her book doesn't exactly toe the party line on Gay Marriage. On the other hand, given her famous relative, there has to be some consternation at the idea of going after her.

But Star Parker is willing to take her and her arguments in favor of Gay Marriage on. One passage I found particularly striking.
Now it is absolutely clear that legalization of gay marriage opens the door to every imaginable possibility. Once the authority for defining marriage moves from biblical tradition to politics, marriage will be defined by whatever might be deemed so by a court or that can be passed into law.
Or, to put it another way, we need government to define marriage, because otherwise government will have the power to define marriage.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

New Format, New Quote!

Hey all!!!

Hope you are having a good weekend. I guess I don't need to tell you I've updated the format and quote. Have a great weekend.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Will Immigration Destroy the Republican Party? Pt 3

In which I present two Conservative views of the Senate's Immigration bill.
The Senate immigration plan, he found, essentially creates an entitlement to citizenship. Tens of millions of foreign citizens would qualify for the unilateral right to come to America and apply for citizenship. (The precise number, as of this writing, appears to have dropped considerably from Rector’s original estimate of 103 million to a “mere” 66 million over 20 years, thanks to the Senate’s adoption of an amendment by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.)) Because many would likely be low-skilled high school dropouts who would work in low-wage jobs, they can be expected to consume more in social services than they pay in taxes. Rector characterizes this possibility as “the largest expansion of the welfare state in 35 years.”

Rector shows that immigrant households are already 50 percent more likely than native-born households to use welfare. Immigrants without a high-school degree are two-and-a-half times more likely to use welfare. That means billions in additional spending on programs such as Food Stamps, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit. This is not your grandfather’s welfare state.
This is from Mike Franc's latest article, and it looks pretty bad, doesn't it? But let's check out another view of this bill.
Regardless whether the bill in question (S.2611) is better or worse than other immigration bills, to suggest it would, could or even might permit legal immigration to average between 5.1 million and 10.9 million per year is nothing more than a cheap parlor trick.

The larger estimate of 217 million legal immigrants by 2026 implies that annual legal immigration under S.2611 would be almost 12 times larger than its current rate of about 950,000 a year (plus at least 400,000 illegal immigrants). Nobody could possibly believe legal immigration is suddenly going to jump from about 1 million a year to nearly 11 million, so the 20-year average of 10.9 legal immigrants per year necessarily requires annual immigration much larger than 10.9 million in the future -- larger, in fact, than 25 million a year. If the idea of Congress allowing 25 million legal immigrants per year is starting to sound unbelievable, that is because it is.

The trick involved is aptly called "the magic of compound interest." The original version of S.2611 would have allowed the number of temporary guest workers (initially set at 325,000 a year) to increase by as much as 20 percent in any given year, but that was a ceiling, not a norm. Congress could also reduce the number.
This is from Alan Reynolds, also writing at Townhall and presumably conservative. Presumably he's a cheap labor conservative, like our President.

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production

Good morning future people. This is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's plutocrat, and I am still suffering from an outbreak of affection. My efforts to find out who has inflicted this fate on me have proven futile thus far, but I am sure that at some point I will figure it out, and when I do, let the heavens tremble!!!

Anyway onto this weeks round the horn.

Liberty Street has the
rather shocking news that those in charge of listening in on phone companies rejected a system that would have protected privacy and been more effective. It is hard to imagine why this program was rejected.

Rick's Cafe Americaine has
some thoughts on a judge who recently retired to become more wealthy in the private sector. It's kind of sad; the plutocrats in this judges region have clearly missed the boat by failing to purchase this judges loyalty. Speaking from experience, it is more than a convenience to have a friendly bench when you are a plutocrat. It's a necessity.

Scrutiny Hooligans has
a story on a sharper Plutocrat. Apparently this gentleman who serves in the House of Representatives is voting against a Democratic Russia because this would offend his business partners in Russia. Good for him. It shows he knows how to effective manage his Public Service so as to profit himself and his allies.

Sooner Thought has
some thoughts on how Democrats might win Republicans over to their side.

Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggeral Democrat, has
thoughts on making English the national language and on what such laws might mean. You future people suffer from a bit of insecurity, don't you?

Steve Gilliard's News Blog has
a story about Ham that warms the cockles of my heart. After Sinclairs detestable book, "The Jungle," I feared that America might turn away from producing meats in time tested delicious methods. Thank goodness you haven't.

And that's it for another week. I need to get down to the florists to acquire . . . I mean I need to go to my factory and fire a few of my employees!

Yr Cities a Sucker!

Ok this is really more about whether or not the Republican Party is done. Pat Buchanan gives a brief history of politics since the civil war and notes that Each Party has gone through periods of ascendancy and decendency. The Republicans ruled from the Civil War through Herbert Hoover and the Democrats ruled from FDR to LBJ. And the Republicans have ruled since Reagan.

So the question is are we coming to the end of Republican Rule? Buchanan thinks this is a possibility.
All this is in peril today, as the Republican Party heads into a perfect storm in November that could sweep it away because it has failed not only to address the crisis of the age, but to comprehend it.
Another question is if George W. Bush is this cycles Hoover, where is our FDR going to spring from? Buchanan, not being very keen on Democrats, is quick to point out that we don't have one. But perhaps the question could be asked another way. If President Bush is this cycles LBJ, who is our Nixon. That reads a bit better, doesn't it?

Well maybe not. But surely we can find a candidate somewhere in between the lofty heights of FDR and the competent skulldudgery of Nixon to take us into a new cycle of Democratic ascendancy.

Minor niggling. Buchanan takes exception to the fact that Nixon's 1968 campaign strategy is referred to as a "Southern strategy." "Though decried as a Southern Strategy, Nixon's was a national strategy." It was a national strategy. President Nixon used language that meant one thing to the North and the West and something else to the South. That was the whole point.

What Buchanan finds offensive, presumably, is the suggestion that in 1968, Nixon pandered to racists in order to see Republican victories in the south. I can see why he would find that disagreeable. A pity for him, I suppose, that it happens to be the truth.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Will Immigration Destroy the Republican Party? Pt. 2

In which we look at a number of other articles.

Ann Coulter's latest seems to indicate that it just might. Or at least the Bush administration.
Instead of a moratorium on new immigration, I'd settle for a moratorium on the use of the expression "We're a nation of immigrants." Throw in a ban on "Diversity is our strength" and you've got my vote for life.

. . . How about this: It's not fair to want to go out with someone just because that person is attractive and has a good personality because it discriminates against people who are ugly with bad social skills! That's our immigration policy.

Press "1" for English; press "2" for a new president ...
Yes Ann Coulter, queen of the specious argument. And of a lot of other stuff come to think of it. Doesn't sound like she's keen on President Bush just now, does it.

Cal Thomas is similarly displeased, although he tries to take a more serious approach.
Throughout his address, the president kept referring to the immigrants and their rights and desires. What about those of us born in America, or who legally immigrated to this country? Do we have a right to preserve the nation the way it was handed down to us, with our English language, our culture and our loyalty to America first with no agenda other than this country?

. . . This is more about politics and votes. It goes to the nature of who and what we are. Current citizens had better make sure this is not an invasion masquerading as immigration.
At this time I'd like to remind you that it was 10 days ago that Mariachi's Mexican Bar and Grill was burned, vandalized and grafittied with anti-Mexican language. I imagine I'll be reminding us of that often in this immigration debate. I have this crazy idea that there might be a connection between hateful rhetoric and hateful actions.

Larry Elder points out that President Bush's policies have been relatively predictable.
As to the issue of illegal aliens, many conservatives consider Bush a sellout and beholden to corporate interests. Here again, what did Bush supporters expect? Republicans wanted the then-governor of Texas to run for President. Why? Governor Bush unseated a popular incumbent governor with 10 percent and 24 percent of the black and Hispanic vote, respectively. Texans re-elected Bush in 1998, this time with 30 percent black and nearly 50 percent Hispanic support. Did Bush's supporters truly expect him to urge an "enforcement first" policy, without dealing with the status of the eleven-plus million illegal aliens here, or without a temporary guest worker program?
It's an interesting argument. As scary as it is to some of us on the left, President Bush isn't as conservative as some people would like. If Conservatives want someone who is going to criminalize Hispanics, they should vote for someone who is going to do just that.

Alternatively, if Conservatives want someone who is going to set us on the path to Christian Theocracy, they should do that.

Or if Conservatives want someone who is going to dismantle three fourths of the government, they should do that.

Of if Conservatives want someone who is going to focus on creating a good climate for American Corporations, they should do that.

Of course it's different Conservatives who want these different things, and it's hard for a movement to go down more than one path at a time. I find myself imagining the Republicans walking up to a crossroads with three different roads labeled "Dominionism," "Traditional Conservatism," and "Libertarianism," and splitting into three smaller and weaker streams. Very gratifying thought.

Will Immigration Destroy the Republican Party?

I hope so. Particularly the Republican party that feels it necessary to mandate that the National Anthem be sung in English.

Let's trace this back.

At some of the immigration rallies a few months ago, the Hispanic community was accused of being insufficiently in love with America by virtue of the fact that they waved Mexican Flags.

Then they waved American Flags and were accused of insincerity. Somewhere in the middle of this people got annoyed that they were singing the National Anthem in Spanish.

Now I could understand if it were badly translated. Say if they rendered "Oh Say can you see by the dawns early light" as "Oh say can you see how America sucks." You'd have a point then. But nobody seems to be claiming that. So the problem is simply that it is offensive to hear the National Anthem sung in a language other than our beloved English.

I wonder how such people feel about our deaf Citizens signing the National Anthem. Or how they would feel about translating the National Anthem into, say, Cherokee.

Our President is on both sides of this issue, naturally enough. Being an insincere flip flopper he told reporters that he thinks it should only be sung in English, while during his campaigning among Latino voters he sang it in Spanish.

Anyway Congress is on the case and soon it might be illegal to sing the National Anthem in any language other than English.

I want to be very clear here. There are valid concerns with illegal immigration and with helping immigrants assimilate to American Culture (part of which is, like it or not, learning English). This particular issue, however, is steeped in racism and ethnic bigotry.

Hispanic people are never going to actually be "White" enough to please the sort of people who get all tense over the national anthem being sung in Spanish.

Frankly there's a valid reason why one might want to allow people to sing the National Anthem in Spanish - it will mean more to them.

I speak French fluidly (which is a lot like fluently, so long as no actual French people are around), and I can say that the French language does not have the power to hit me as hard as the English language. It's the translation problem - when I hear English words the meaning goes straight through. When I hear French words, they go through slowly, hitting a few road blocks along the way. So that by the time they reach comprehension, a lot of the power has gone out of them.

A person who speaks Spanish will feel the meaning of the National Anthem more powerfully if allowed to sing it in their own language. So we should allow them to do that.

If you are feeling transgressive, perhaps you would like to sing the National Anthem in Spanish? Here are several versions of it, provided by our State Department.

More to come, as we review Ann Coulter's opinions on how we should deal with Illegal Immigration.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bush's NSA Program to Get Information On Everybody that Everybody has Called: two Conservative views

The newest manufactured brouhaha -- over the National Security Agency (NSA) creating a database of phone records to track terrorist phone patterns -- was just the latest in a long string of stories trumped up to make Bush look not just incorrect, but dictatorial, even evil. USA Today hyped the story, and the media pack lapped it up, but it failed the first test of newsworthiness: Is it new? No. USA Today's scoop was mostly a retelling of what the New York Times reported last Christmas Eve, that the phone companies had given the NSA "access to streams of international and domestic communications."

. . . It's only when Republicans hold the White House that the networks fear an "imperial presidency." But the problem for Americans is an imperial media, so assured of its own self-congratulatory role as defender of America's freedoms, but such an emperor with no clothes of fairness or balance.
From Brent Bozell, "The database double standard."
The NSA's defenders cite Qwest's refusal, which shows supplying the data was voluntary, as evidence the program is legal. In fact, it indicates just the opposite: Had Qwest been presented with a lawful subpoena or court order demanding the data, it almost certainly would have complied, and if it hadn't the government could have forced it to do so.

Instead, the NSA resorted to extra-legal methods, pressuring the phone companies to divulge the data through appeals to patriotism, warnings about terrorism and (according to USA Today) threats of lost government contracts.

. . . seeking statutory authority should not be considered optional: Whether he likes it or not, the president is not above the law.
From Jacob Sullum, "Is the NSA's phone call database legal because the President says so."

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to determine which of these two men is a "real" conservative.

Should Conservatives vote in the November Elections?

My opinion is, no they should not. But given I don't like what Conservatives want to do for America, you have to take that with a grain of salt.

On the other hand I'm pretty enthusiastic that Republicans feel that this is an issue worth discussing at all. One would hope you would take it for granted. But apparently not.
Note to evangelicals: it will be harder to get your agenda passed by exercising a strategy that allows political friends to be defeated for reelection. Then you’re left with an uncooperative and unpopular president, minorities in Congress, and no friends in those minorities.

On a macro-level, Republicans are already in danger of losing their majorities, but dismal turnout by base Republicans will make Democratic takeovers near-certainties. Then, conservative evangelicals would have no hope of getting their issues passed and would be lucky to get a meeting with the new majority, let alone private nurturing.
That's from Nathen Gonzales's latest article. Let me take a moment and marvel at the subtext behind the phrase "private nurturing."
There are many now arguing that even if we had to endure two years of Speaker Pelosi or Majority Leader Reid, it would pay off in the long run, perhaps as the first two years of the Clinton administration resulted in the 1994 Republican landslide. Well, this is not 1994. Even two years of control of one branch of the government could do irreparable harm at a time when the outcome of the mission in Iraq and the status of judicial appointments is at such a delicate and critical point.
From Lorie Byrds latest article.

I'm struck by the plaintive tone in these two articles; these people are genuinely worried that their base is going to screw them in November.

Can't say that bothers me all that much.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

You Should Get to Know Coleen Rowley

She's running for Congress, in the Minnesota 2nd. And if she's a sample of what kind of people we will be putting in Congress in the fall, I have to say, it's very heartening (which I assume is the opposite of disheartening, but I'm not entirely sure). Or to put it another way, it gives one hope.
"Irresponsible"? The irresponsible Republicans have run the economy into a deficit ditch, abandoned millions of our jobs to other countries, wallowed in a culture of corruption financed by the likes of Jack Abramoff, eavesdropped on American citizens without warrants and led us into a quagmire of death in Iraq. The most responsible thing Democrats like me can do is take back the House and Senate in 2006 by speaking the truth all the way.
She has a website here, and she has also posted repeatedly at the Huffington Post.

Does this apply?

Just read an article in the New York Times about the difficulty of the Summer Blockbuster.
More striking, though, is the degree to which summer films like this year's "X-Men 3" or Mr. Singer's "Superman Returns" seem increasingly to define a new kind of cultural space, in which traditional notions about age mean little.

Such pictures appear to sit comfortably with an ascendancy of adults who act and think more like kids than conventional adults. These are the not-quite-grown-ups - one could call them "rejuveniles" - who delay marriage and parenthood, the better to maintain lives of fun and flexibility, who then bond and play with their own offspring in ways their parents would find ridiculous, and whose consumer choices have expanded the market for everything from micromini cars to gourmet cupcakes.
I'm not sure I'm happy being a rejuvenile; but I will say the preponderance of gourmet cupcakes does take a bit of the edge off.

I Know This is Obvious but . . .

Does it strike anybody else as ironic that President Bush, who's own service in the National Guard was, shall we say, less than stellar, is so eager to turn to the guard to get himself out of his problems?

Perhaps ironic isn't the right word.

Illegal Immigration and Burning of Mariachis Bar and Grill

I grew up in California as some of you know. I've been hearing about illegal immigration my whole life. So it strikes me a bit odd that all of a sudden illegal immigration is such a problem that we have to militarize the Mexican American border.

Yes I know that President Bush specifically said "The United States is not going to militarize the southern border. Mexico is our neighbor, and our friend." He also said he was going to fire anybody in his administration who leaked classified information. When you station soldiers on the border you are militarizing the border, pretty much by definition.

Maybe someone should give President Bush some "Word of the Day" toilet paper.

At any rate President Bush's speech was, I suspect, a non-starter. Yeah he spent a lot of time assuring his base he really hated those illegal immigrants and wanted to stop them. But he also mentioned is guest worker program, which his followers see as amnesty (no matter how many times he denies this). His supporters want to hear something closer to what a World Net Daily writer suggested.
. . . he will be lying, again, just as he lied when he said: "Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic – it's just not going to work."

Not only will it work, but one can easily estimate how long it would take. If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn't possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don't speak English and are not integrated into American society.
At this time I'd like to remind you that it was 8 days ago that Mariachi's Mexican Bar and Grill was burned, vandalized and grafittied with anti-Mexican language. I imagine I'll be reminding us of that often in this immigration debate. I have this crazy idea that there might be a connection between hateful violent rhetoric and hateful violent actions.

Let Us Now Praise Famous Goblins

Starting with the most famous Goblin that I know; Random Goblin. Who pointed us to the comments section of the story I posted on yesterday. And rightly so because there are some doozies there.
Excellent the Media needs looking after, Traitors most of them.......
by ken wiley
good, you seditionist creeps deserve what you get. who knows how many serviceman have died because of your "right to know"
by jeff bynum
I am a journalism graduate, UNC-Chapel Hill. I am also a veteran.
I hope they catch every government leaker of classified secret information and put them in prison for life. And any reporter publishing known classified secret information should be shot. It is called treason, not first amendment rights.
by Tom Champ, who apparently likes to stack the deck.

Of course there are those who disagree.
I'm always staggered when people who claim to uphold the "values of America" willingly and joyfully allow their government to violate those values. What's your problem with the Constitution? Take another look: Fourth Amendment. Please.
by RHG
If you don't believe in the US Constitution, get the out of here. If you don't support the Bill of Rights, then YOU are Anti-American. Go move to Russia, Cuba, or China; move anywhere but get the hell out of my country. The only reason our soldiers are dying in this war is because the people that you degenerates voted into office sent them off to fight for someone else. Own up to your mistakes and quit trying to trade my liberty for your false sense of security.
by Leland McGee
The blind hatred for the press conveyed by several who have posted is more frightening than the NSA.
by Mike.

We live in dark days. I walk on guilded splinters (not really, but I'd like to sometime). I'm trying to be vaguely poetic but my head feels like it's not good. Oh well - I'll be back soon to talk about Presiden Bush's plan to militarize the border.

Monday, May 15, 2006

And We Are Told that There's Nothing to Worry About

Rush Limbaugh assures us that we don't have to worry about the White House tapping our lines. Tell that to Brian Ross and Richard Esposito.
A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.
As I noted in the first post today - once you figure out that your political enemies are enemies of the state, a lot of doors open up. Doors that are bad for Democracy.

And intimidating reporters is just one way this program can be used to hurt America.

Got this originally from Salon's War Room.

De longer you work here, diverse it gets!

Armstrong Williams thinks that Blacks, and other minority communities, should get a better slice of the pie in America. But what he really wants you to know is that he's not in favor of Affirmative Action.
. . . when hiring, bosses may look for those personal traits they associate with their own success. Consequently, they may end up hiring people who look, think and act in a manner similar to themselves. If confronted with a minority applicant who looks, sounds or communicates differently, they may turn these differences into perceived soft skill deficits.
But please remember, Armstrong Williams is not in favor of Affirmative Action.
We had no intention of pushing certain candidates ahead of other candidates by virtue of their skin color. Rather, we resolved to broaden our recruiting practices by increasing our presence in underserved communities. We wanted to give ourselves access to job candidates who may have been overlooked in the past. Plainly, this is not affirmative action.
Plainly. If Armstrong Williams were in favor of Affirmative Action he couldn't be a real conservative. We'll have to see how other conservatives who read his article take it.
Clearly you don't believe they should be required to meet the hiring standards of the business, but rather that the business should hire them despite the fact that they don't meet the standards. That is "affirmative action" in my dictionary.
That's from Audir10.
I've been on corporate America for over 20 years, mostly in management. One thing I've noticed during the hiring process is a larger percentage of blacks, compared to whites, exhibited behavior that was unbecoming as a potential hiree.
By Rick, who also claims he doesn't look at skin when evaluating a potential hiree.
Having worked at one of the top and biggest financial institutions in the world, I can't tell you how many diversity classes employees "must" attend during their career, all of them either extolling the value of different cultures, different skin tones, different life experiences. The one thing they all have in common is discrimination against white employees.
This is from Colorado, who really feels for the plight of the poor White Employee.

I feel kind of sorry for Mr. Williams, but I guess he just has to accept that conservatism just isn't interesting in the plight of minority communities. If you want to be friends with Conservatives tell them that most Black people really deserve to be in the ghetto.

France Should Watch It's Back

Or at least that's how I take the concluding paragraph in Diana West's latest article. The article is mostly about whether we should allow the Palestinian people to go hungry and get sick, or whether we should just let them go hungry. But she concludes with this interesting paragraph.
Maybe waging a nebulous "war on terror" has hopelessly confused us. Maybe finding ourselves in the costly business of making the world safe for sharia has muddled our objectives. But if we cannot retrieve the simple, precious principle that took us into war -- you're either with us or you're against us -- not only will we never achieve victory, we won't even know what it looks like.
So here's a few questions. Is France with "us" or against "us?

How about anti-war protestors?

How about snarky political bloggers?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

New Format, New Quote!

Good morning all!!!

Hope your weekends are going great. Also, as a special treat, we updated our Quotes page. So enjoy!!! : )

Friday, May 12, 2006

Fire and Ashes

Go look at this map, and come back.

On that map is a restaurant named Mariachi's Mexican Bar and Grill. The restaurant was vandalized, burned, and had racist grafitti placed upon it. There's a price to be paid for Anti-Immigrant rhetoric.

Perhaps they had a Mexican Flag outside. Or maybe they sang the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish. Or perhaps they just had Brown Skin. At any rate they paid the price.

I got this story from Orcinus, who has noted in the past that this kind of activity is not as rare as you would like to think it is.

Rush Limbaugh and the NSA Probe

Listened to Rush a bit as I was driving around at lunch, and I heard the following defenses of the NSA program.

1. If you think that's bad, consider this. The NSA is allowed to look in the phone book. "gasp" And that has your phone number AND your address!
Yeah, that's pretty scary. But they won't know that I called 1 900 SPANKME, so I'm cool with it. Of course the innocent need never fear that information on who they called will leak out to the Press.
2. If Democrats think this program is so bad, why don't they come out in favor of shutting down the NSA entirely?
Hmmmm. And if Democratic doctors find an in-grown toenail, one presumes that Rush would suggest cutting off the whole leg.
Oh Rush, you make it so easy sometimes.

Ann Coulter

I skipped Ann Coulter's article this week; just missed it. Now that I've read it I'm not sure whether that was a good move or a bad move. Over all it's laughing at and attack Patrick Kennedy's bad behavior while exonerating Rush Limbaugh for his. But then you get to this section.
Democrats have declared war against Republicans, and Republicans are wandering around like a bunch of ninny Neville Chamberlains, congratulating themselves on their excellent behavior. They'll have some terrific stories about their Gandhi-like passivity to share while sitting in cells at Guantanamo after Hillary is elected.

For a political party that grasps the concept of victory against foreign enemies, Republicans can't seem to grasp that concept when it comes to domestic enemies. Instead of taking a page from Sun-tzu's "Art of War," when it comes to fighting liberals, American conservatives prefer the Jimmy Carter unconditional surrender strategy.

Patriotic Americans don't have to become dangerous psychotics like liberals, but they could at least act like men.

. . . The violence and threats of imprisonment have started. Now the only question is whether conservatives will choose victory.
I really don't know what to say to that - I have such a visceral and emotional response to these lines that it's hard to boil it all down to a calm reasoned argument.

Part of me is amused and angered by the apocalyptic way she describes Liberals. After her and her cause has spewed hatred for a number of years now, pretty much constantly, she argues that we are the dangerous psychotics. Yeah, that's liberals to a T.

Or wait, is it that we are all weak willed girly-men who can't be trusted? I get so confused some times. Maybe we are psychotic girley-men?

Dangerous psychotics. I wonder exactly who Ann is talking about when she says that. Harry Reid? Michael Moore? Me? All of the above?

Another part of me agrees with her. If she and her kind want war, than me and my kind should respond in kind. We should show them that Liberals can be just as "manly" as conservatives (in this context, the phrase "Manly" means "Like an asshole"). If any conservatives want to "throw down," I'll be there. I'll even wear a blue bandera so you can recognize me.

I mean how can I have peace with people who think I'm a "dangerous psychotic?" The logic of that phrase is unacceptable. You don't negotiate with "dangerous psychotics." You lock them up or put them down. Those are pretty much your only options. So is that the future Ann envisions for Liberals?

No, because this is all "satire." I hate that. I remember when I was in college reading the Limbaugh Letter (my roommate had a subscription) and reading a hateful piece about us Democrats. The answer? Rush was just joking. He was being humorous. So here's some satire for you. Ann Coulter is a dangerous psychotic and anybody who employs her, broadcasts her, or even reads her is a moral failure. Ha ha ha ha ha. Get it? I'm just joking. Cause it's satire.

God, I'm funny.

Anyway to conclude, and in all seriousness, Ann Coulter wants to destroy America. She wants to change America so radically that it would no longer be America (in the same way that someone who wishes to impose a Communist state on America wants to destroy it). Perhaps I should put my faith in the American people to see through her; but that doesn't mean I can't help the American people in my own little way to see through her.

So look around at the Liberals you know. If Ann and her followers get their way, they will be gone eventually.

Edited to Add:Both Echidne of the Snakes and Orcinus have good posts on this subject. Go read them.

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production

Greetings all. This is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's plutocrat.

I believe I have been stricken by some sort of elixer provided by my enemies to distract me from crushing them (in business). I find myself infatuated with a person in my life, to the point that I am unable to draw my mind away. I am sure that this individual is completely innocent.

This is truly a fiendish plot on the part of my adversaries. For example, today I was in a good mood because this person smiled me and I let one of my workers off with a warning and a beating. Normally I would have fired this person, but my heart has been softened somehow.

It is very unpleasant.

At any rate I am not going to let this . . . fascination get in the way of my duties here.

Natalie Davis's All Facts and Opinion has
the opportunity to create a new community around shared musical love. I personally am partial to the blues (particularly W. C. Handy), but the almighty dunderheads of the publishing industry are not interested in recording this musical form. I see that in the future perhaps they are (unless the turn blues refers to something different in the future (like the word "Gay").

David at blogAmy has
a theory about why the Republicans are so furious with President Clinton (who was President before the current muttonheaded President). It appears to involve the opportunities for romantic liaisons that being a Democrat presents.

The Republicans should be happy that they are not distracted by opportunities for romance. Romance makes you weak and often renders your brain inoperative as well. It is a well known scientific fact that the more powerful the heart is, the weaker the brain is. After all you only have a certain amount of blood and humors in your body; stands to reason you can't think and love at the same time.

Of course President Bush, even without the distractions of the heart, seems to be an incurable melonhead. So perhaps they have bigger problems than romance.

Bloggg has
some thoughts on President Bush's plans to monitor telephonic communiques, and a way to share your thoughts on this subject.

According to Collective Sigh, the Bush Administration is arguing that this collection of information on private citizens is legal because you signed agreements agreeing to this, when you agreed to have telephonic devices in your home.

farm runoff has
further details on how this system of monitoring telephonic communication was worked out.

First Draft has
a review of a press conference; I have to say I find it refreshing to see the press having such access to the President. Better they should be up there in Washington rather than sniffing around my factories. This one also covers the plan to track Telephonic Communication.

Dohiyi Mir
argues forcefully that the current chowderheaded President may have a hard time regaining his popularity.

Firedoglake has
the words of Jennifer Nix who believes that the Democrats should ignore conventional wisdom in their drive to regain their former power. I would agree with that assessment; conventional is often a synonym for old-style foolishness.

Dodecahedron has
some thoughts on the Republican Parties lack of ideas. I do have to say I support the idea of giving more money to the Plutocratic class. This is largely because as a Plutocrat I like having more money.

And that is all I have time for today. This was very good; it is pleasant to drink deep of your future time. Takes my mind off of my darling . . . Factory! I love my factories and my money and nothing else! Remember that, future people!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

How to Beat the Democrats

Well, one method is to simply beat the Democrats. Bark Bark Woof Woof pointed this out in a recent and typically sharp post.
In other words, if you have nothing you can run on yourself, you run over the other guy. Scare the crap out of the electorate with wild tales of Democrats running the House and Senate, recklessly bringing the budget into balance, wontonly demanding oversight of the government as if Congress acutally had a role in something like that, foolishly restricting the government's role in monitoring every uterus, radically allowing people who are in love to actually be left to make their own lives together, and care in a liberally irresponsible manner for the health, rights and privileges of every citizen.
Dead straight, mate!

This dovetails nicely into a highlighted article at Townhall today (that is to say an article they are pushing on their front page) by Lorie Byrd, entitled "All Investigations, All the Time."
Even though Democrats are now speaking publicly about it, I doubt that this all-investigations-all-the-time agenda will be the main focus of their campaign ads leading up to the November elections. This is why I hope that Republicans will make it one. I wonder how many voters, even those disillusioned with the current Republican majority, would want to vote for Democrats just to see them tie up the Congress with investigations through at least 2008.
Tie up Congress with investigations?

Isn't that little like tying up Publix with grocery selling? Or tying up the local Shell station with gas-purchases? Or tying up "Make Me a Commentator!!!" with badly edited commentary involving many references to television shows that are no longer on the air?

But I do realize when you put the words "tie up" it sounds bad. So why don't replace them with more honest. "I wonder how many voters, even those disillusioned with the current Republican majority, would want to vote for Democrats just to see them do their duty in the congress with investigations through at least 2008." Reads a bit better, doesn't it?

The Media and the Real Man

According to Cal Thomas's latest article, there are five kinds of men the media will permit us to see. The sitcom man, the pro athlete man, the Playboy man, the soldier man, and the "Brokeback Mountain Man." Let's consider.
There is sitcom man, who is usually plain or ugly and weighs much more than his wife. He is an idiot, who is unable to do the simplest task and should feel lucky any woman would have him.
I don't watch a lot of sitcoms myself. Certainly this does describe Homer Simpson - but what about the male members of the cast of The Office. Or Scrubs. Or Friends for that matter (off the air now, but very popular fairly recently). There are probably other examples.
There is pro athlete man, whose boorish behavior is exceeded only by his sexual conquests and ridiculous salary demands.
I don't really have anything to say here, except that I encourage conservative pundits to take a stand against professional sports and see how that plays with their base.
There is Playboy man, represented by the fossilized Hugh Hefner who, were it not for what he pays the blonde bimbos who hang on his arm and the little blue pills he takes so he might convince himself and others that he is still desirable, would long ago have been stuffed and put in a museum.
This strikes me as frankly bizarre. I don't know how Thomas thinks he's talking about here, unless he's literally angry about Hugh Hefner being allowed on tv.
There is soldier man; not the hero who gives his life for the freedom of others, but the few the media pay attention to that commit atrocities.
This of course is nonsense as well. The Media does not atrocities (it's called presenting the news), but they also regularly bend over backwards to show American Soldiers in as positive a light as possible.
There is "Brokeback Mountain" man and we know their story, whether we've seen the movie, or not.
This is the only one I can sort of see, if I twist my mind around to Thomas's way of thinking. There are more gay men on TV than there were 10 years ago. I don't know if they make up 20% of the men on TV, but presumably having more than one is bad enough.

It's kind of obvious that either Thomas doesn't spend any time watching TV (in which case, fair enough, but then you probably should talk about it), or he has a very narrow way of looking at it. Jack Bauer somehow doesn't register with Mr. Thomas, apparently. Neither does Dr. Who. Nor Special Agent Seeley Booth. I'd say there are a lot more competent men in dramas than there are "Hugh Hefner" types. Conservative Male Commentators don't register either. People like Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or even Mr. Thomas himself aren't on his horizon.

I think his comments on the male Sitcom give a hint at what sort of female characters mr. Thomas feels are most appropriate for TV.

At any rate his complaints about the sorts of males allowed on TV are all a set up for his pushing a book he happens to really like, not really a full throat attack on television. So no big deal, I guess. Just interesting for what it shows about Cal Thomas's connection to reality.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

How to Get Behind in Business by Opening Your Mouth

Here's the story. U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson was speaking in Dallas on April 28, and he told this charming little vignette.
After discussing the huge strides the agency has made in doing business with minority-owned companies, Jackson closed with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor.

"He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," Jackson said of the prospective contractor. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something ... he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'

"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush.' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect -- the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn't be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don't tell the secretary.'

"He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."
Here's the denial.
Dustee Tucker, a spokeswoman for Jackson, told the Dallas Business Journal Tuesday that Jackson's comments at his April 28 speech were purely "anecdotal."

"He was merely trying to explain to the audience how people in D.C., will say critical things about the secretary, will unfairly characterize the president and then turn around and ask you for money," Tucker said. "He did not actually meet with someone and turn down a contract. He's not part of the contracting process."
Here's the question.

Just how stupid do they think we are? Either Jackson was lying in his speech, or his spokesperson is lying now, right?

Here's the answer.

Stupid enough, hopefully.

Play it to the Bone, er, Base

Terrence Jeffrey, in his latest article, has some advice for President Bush. Essentially he should start picking fights with the Democrats and Liberals.

Jeffrey praises Bush for putting the warrentless wiretapping program front and center. He then suggests Bush "deploy troops to secure the Mexican American Border", "offer supplemental spending cuts and enforce them with a veto", and "lift the moratoria on offshore drilling and enforce it with a veto."

Of these three plans, the first is ludicrous. We don't have enough to do occupying Iraq, so let's occupy the American Southwest. Brilliant. The third would cost the Republicans Florida, so it isn't likely either.

The middle one might have some legs, but it's esoteric enough that it will appeal mostly to conservative policy wonks. I admit they would get super happy at any spending cuts, and Democrats would fight it tooth and nail.

But so would most Republicans. Because you would end up cutting "pet projects" as the most politically viable. Cut welfare programs and you get a few years of ads explaining that Bush wants those of us who have the least to shoulder the cost of his war. So it will be things like bridges to nowhere and tree research stations. I guess I could live with that; but Congress critters won't be keen on it. So, even if President Bush enforces it with a veto, I don't think it's going to fly.

On the other hand, even if he can't actually accomplish these plans, trying to accomplish them could certainly invigorate the base. There's nothing they like better than a good donnybrook (that's true of all bases, incidentally), and this would certainly give them one. But my feeling is that the Bush Administration doesn't want any losing fights just now.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Is Glenn Beck Racist?

I've been thinking about this in relation to Glenn Beck's new show on CNN, and the compilation of quotes Media Matters has gathered that certainly portray Mr. Beck in a negative light. And there certainly are some stinkers in there, particularly one he did in a "blackface" voice. And suggesting that Mexico "has been overtaken by lawbreakers from the bottom to the top."

But despite all that I'm willing to believe that Glenn Beck may not be racist. I've never met the man, and it's possible he doesn't have a racist bone in his body.

What I do know is that a significant portion of Beck's audience (and Limbaugh's audience, and almost any conservative talk show hosts audience) is racist and wants to hear validation for their point of view.

And Glenn Beck (and Rush Limbaugh and all the rest) is certainly aware of that.

Actually the most offensive thing, in my opinion, that Glenn Beck said was in regards to Michael Moore.
Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?
I don't know about a guy who feels like someone should die simply because they express a view point you don't agree with. Of course I'm sure Beck's supporters will explain that he was only joking. If so, than permit me to note there must be something wrong with my sense of humor because I just don't get it.

A Conservative Estimate

Dennis Prager's latest article is in the "Muslim Menace" series, designed to remind America that we are at war with Islam, not Terrorism.
But by the most conservative estimates, 10 percent of Muslims are in sympathy with the bin Laden way. That means at least 100 million people are prepared to murder (and apparently torture) in Allah's name. And given the history of Islamic imperialism and its roots in Muslim theology, hundreds of millions more are probably fellow travelers. Hence the almost unanimous Muslim governments' support for the genocidal Islamic regime in Sudan.

We pray that there arises a strong Muslim group that is guided by the Quranic verse, "There shall be no coercion in matters of faith."

But until such time, we had better understand that we are not merely fighting a war on terror, but a war against an ideology that wishes us to convert, be subject to Islamic law, or die.
Now here's a question: by who's most conservative estimates? Nimrod conservative radio hosts? Who is making this estimation?

Also is being sympathetic to the view that the United States of America has systematically screwed over the Middle East the same as being willing to fly airplanes into American buildings?

But asking that question dodges the real issue; is the vision of 100 million murderous Muslims based on real data or did you pull that figure out of thin air?

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Illegal Immigration Debate and Racism

It is entertaining to watch Republicans complain about injecting accusations of racism in the immigration debate. I do think it's possible to be concerned about illegal immigration and not be motivated by racism or xenophobia; but when John Leo writes paragraphs like this, it's clear that there is an undercurrent of racism in some Republican arguments against illegal immigration.
High and continuous immigration is occurring under conditions of bilingualism and multiculturalism, rather than assimilation. In the name of diversity, the academic elites have encouraged immigrants to maintain their birth-country cultures and to adopt a stance of separatism and pugnacious victimization. Political scientist Samuel Huntington argues that this amounts to a deconstruction of American identity that has been "gradually created over three centuries." In his book "Mexifornia," Victor Davis Hanson says California is not quite Mexico, but not quite the United States either.
That last line comes pretty close to suggesting there's something un-American about being Hispanic.

I do want to be clear. I'm not in favor of raising the bloody shirt of Racism in all debates, but neither am I in favor of ignoring Racism when it shows it's ugly head.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

New Format, New Quote!

Hi all!

Hope you are all having a great weekend. : )

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hot Dogs and Blog Popularity

I have had over 500 hits today (which outstrips all my other days by quite a wide margin). The vast majority of which are from a google search of the term "Allen Brothers Hot Dogs." In fact if you type in Allen Brothers Hot Dogs, my website comes up number 2 or 3 (right after the Allen Brothers website itself), because I wrote a post on the appearance of their adds on the Rush Limbaugh Show.

I have to say (for the benefit of any Allen Brothers executives or lawyers) that I'm quite sure that Allen Brothers makes a fine hot dog. They are too expensive for me personally, but I'm sure they are a superior hot dog, one that anybody would be proud to eat. The fact that they advertise with Rush Limbaugh shows that they lack a soul, but frankly I'm not sure a soul is an important quality for a hot dog manufacturer to have. At any rate, had I $50 to spend on Hot Dogs, Allen Brothers would be my first choice.

Judicial Nominees Rise as an Issue Again

It's entertaining to read David Limbaugh's latest article, in which he argues that the Conservative Base is no longer satisfied with the number of justices President Bush has had confirmed (which is the vast majority). Instead Republicans in Congress need to get busy and confirm two more controversial nominees or else they will abandon the party.

I suspect the point is that the Republicans are happiest when they are sticking it to the Democrats. Confirming more controversial nominees will, in fact, stick it to the Dems. So let's confirm us some more controversial nominees. The fact that one of these judges has been accused of ethical laspses (see this Salon story, for example), and the other was involved in our decisions to torture detainees doesn't matter.

Frankly in Limbaugh's worldview those qualities are positive attributes, because the point isn't to get good men on the bench. The point is to stick it to the Democrats, and those negative qualities are what make sticking it to the Democrats possible. And if Congressional leaders don't stick it to the Democrats (and soon), the base will not be happy about it.
The Republicans' acquiescence to the Democrats' demand for a delay on the hearings on these nominations is just another straw. When will the elephant's back be broken? How long will Republicans continue to allow themselves to be walked on?

. . . Grassroots frustration is growing with a vengeance, and someone in charge better wake up and show some leadership.
Of course this might be a case where what the pundits and the grassroots want is actually bad for the party as a whole. Slamming down the Democrats might make the Republicans look tough, but only if they can convince the American people that they are in the right. And I don't think the Republican Party can count on that just now.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Four Dead in Ohio

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
On this day in 1970, the Kent State shootings occured.

Lyrics by Neil Young, one of his greatest songs in my opinion.

My Mind is on the Fritz

I don't like Cal Thomas very much. For one thing he's one of the biggest writers of "Muslim Menace" articles, and he quite clearly has a xenophobic streak. And his articles on the recent immigration issue have revealed that there's all kinds of brown people he's not a fan of (in his defense, I think he's ok with Latinos and Blacks who behave exactly like upper middle class white people). That said one section in his latest article is dead on.
One of the fictions masquerading as fact is that these illegals do work Americans don't want to do. There is not a shortage of American workers. But there is a shortage of American employers willing to pay competitive wages. The jobs many illegals take are jobs Americans used to do, but too many won't do them now because they pay less than they used to. Illegals have demonstrated they will work for less than American citizens. Many employers, seeking to improve their profit margins, are willing to let them.

This is one of the changes real immigration reform must address. Permanent low wages create a new underclass with no hope of advancement. Between the exporting of jobs to China and India and the importing of low-skilled workers at low wages, we are competing against our long-term interests.
This is more or less dead on. American employers don't want to play by the rules of our society, and they should be the ones paying the price for their bad behavior, not the people they victimize.

I do like how Cal Thomas gently lifts the invisible hand of capitalism out of the picture here. ". . . because they pay less than they used to?" How did the value of these jobs diminish? Was it just magic? No. Employers would like to pay all of us nothing, if they could get away with it. Your corporate headquarters don't want to pay you, and if they have to pay you, they want it to be as minimal as possible. That's just good business. And if they can pay an illegal to do a job at a fraction of what they would have to pay you, well, so much the better. That's capitalism (and, it should be noticed, I am pro-capitalism. But pro-managed capitalism).

So they are going to employ the cheapest labor they can, assuming they can get away with it. The key thing is to prevent them from getting away with it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mail Bag and Komments Korner

One of the things I fail to completely understand is why in the human language words with Ks in them are funny (with the possible exception of Kaiser).

Anyway I'm in the office again and I'm flying clean and sob . . . well clean anyway.

Well I'm here anyway.

Sort of.

Anyway let's get right to it, with the comments of Justin, referring to
an article on Media Bias.
Well, here is the crux of it: Ignorant, shallow people listen for what they want to hear and nothing else, and don't really care if it is supported by any actual evidence, while responsible individuals actually attempt to filter any media offering by asking pesky questions like "who is saying this", "does this person have an agenda", and "should I actually follow up on this to see if I'm being fed a load of..." , well you get the idea. From what I've seen, there are many on both sides of the political fence who are more than willing to listen blindly to what their side has to say. Most of the Democrats I know, however, seem to be far more open to rational conversation.
I didn't hear what I wanted to hear in that post so I'm editing it in my memory. As I recall, Justin said something about how great Lobsters are. And he makes a good point. Lobsters really are great.

You see what foolish humans do naturally, I have learned to do through sheer force of will.

Karen also thinks lobsters are keen in this response to
a post on Senator Kerry running for President in 2008.
Here's the letter I sent to the BG (which I doubt they'll print)

In the week of a landmark speech, rather than complimenting her Senator for saying what needs to be said on both dissent and Iraq, Ellen Goodman begs him not to run. Senator Kerry has said he will make up his mind later this year. Why not comment on the speech - and realize that Kerry is leading on Iraq and the repression of dissent, serious important issues NOW, not in 2008? Why not comment on the climate that has made dissent hard - that she as a journalist can impact?
There's more to her response and it's a well reasoned and well thought out letter. About how keen . . . lobsters . . . oh no! I used my memory editing meditation before reading the Komment. Must sort out mixture of memories. . . .

There I think I got it. Anyway go read the rest of the article. You'll love it, or my name isn't John Kerry.

Our final comments are from Sarah and why should i tell respectively, in response to a couple of
Panels from Simpsons Comics. I should note there are several other responses involving Sarah and her brother, if these pique your interest.
thanks for doing what i asked for i no what means i just want to know if this is on a site i will tell my friend holly adcock about this its really cool my 4 kittens
sarah 04.24.06 - 5:23 pm #


dont leav a coment this suks
why shoul i tell 05.01.06 - 3:27 am #
Its really cool my 4 kittens. I never thought I would hear those words again.

It was 1969. London. Miles Davis's 'Round Midnight was on the turntable. Some dead animal's fur was on the floor. I had a Martini in one claw and a Lugar in the other. I wasn't pointing it anybody (my claws make operating a firearm pretty much impossible), just holding it. Suddenly my claw snapped the martini glass, spraying the room with gin and little shards of glass. Reaching with my other claw, the lugar went off, hitting the turntable and ending the music. I turned around, sheepishly, and said "It's really cool my 4 kittens," and stumbled out into the night. The last time I saw them (assuming I saw them at all).

Turning to the mail bag, we recieved a letter from empiresfall.
Subject: Re: New Kid on the Blog

Hi there,

I'm a reader. I've recently started a blog of my own, at
empiresfall.blogspot.com, and I wonder if you'd consider adding a link to me. I'll put up a reciprocal link.

You're doing a great job, by the way. Keep up the good work.

-Steve Barnes
I've talked with Cheery (who is in charge of such stuff) and she says we will link to you. She also assured me that I am not in fact John Kerry, which kind of hurt my feelings. I could be John Kerry. We both enjoy shellfish, I am given to understand.

Anyway our final letter comes from Wang Qin, and as it is quite long, I am going to link to a
text file of the letter so you can enjoy it in it's entirety. Note to Mr. Qin: your boring. Even to me, John Kerry, a lobster known for his compassion and passion for minutae. Anyway here's a bit of the letter that I particularly enjoyed.
Thank you for giving me your time, it is of great importance for you to take care and understand every word which I have written down below; please be patient and read the explanation in my email.

. . . What I wish to relate to you might be a smack of unethical practice but I want you to understand something; it is only an outsider to the banking world who finds the internal politics of the banking world aberrational. The world of private banking especially is fraught with huge rewards for those who occupy certain offices and oversee certain portfolios; you should have begun by now to put together the general direction of what I propose. There is USD $15,991,674(Thirteen million, nine hundred and ninety one thousand, six hundred and seventy four united states dollars) deposited, I alone have the deposit details and they will release the deposit to no one unless I instruct them to do so.
Apparently when you are an international banker you are quite used to embezzlement. You also know that the number 15 is actually the number Thirteen. You can see how complicated it is to be an international banker.

Anyway that's it for another week. I do hope you will all consider voting for me when I run for President later on this year. Remember Lobstocracy - it's not just smart - it's the right thing to do!