Tuesday, June 30, 2009

News From the Past - June 30, 1929

This is from the Salt Like Tribune - Sunday Morning Edition.
LAVACA. Aik. (AP).—So numerous and dungerous have wolves become in this wpstern Arkansas region that R. A. McCafferty, United States trapper from Scott county, has been sent here as a wolf "Pied Piper." A litter of five wolves was found four miles from here recently.
I'm not sure what a wolf "Pied Piper" is but it doesn't sound good for wolves, does it?

Cal Thomas, Music Critic

Cal Thomas's latest article is on the media circus surrounding the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcette. And then he takes a moment to comment on Jackson's music.
Listening to the Michael Jackson tributes would make one think he had created something of lasting value. Some said his music will "live forever." No it won't. No one today hums Stephen Foster songs or ditties from World War I, or the Great Depression, which were better songs and understandable. Can anyone quote the lyrics from Gus Kahn's greatest hits? Somehow "Butterflies all flutter up and kiss each little buttercup at dawnin'") doesn't seem to have the ring it had in 1922.
Actually many people have heard a Stephen Foster song or two; and writers like George Gershwin and Cole Porter still have their songs listened to and enjoyed. Not to mention classical composers like Beethoven and Bach. Are Jackson's songs in the same category? Only time will tell, but I would suggest at least a few of them might well stand the test of time.

Also I'm not sure what Thomas means by Understandable; I've never had any particular difficulty understanding Micheal Jacksons songs.
Tony Bennett is a singer. His songs have a better chance of longevity than Jackson's because they are about love and relationships, which are common to every generation. Bennett and his contemporaries, including Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme and Ella Fitzgerald, are in a league far above the "pop" culture headed at one time by Jackson, whose biggest hit "Thriller" came before the younger generation was born.
Tony Bennet is quite good at interpreting other people's songs, I'll grant you. And a good entertainer. But I'm starting to think that Thomas has never heard a Michael Jackson song if he thinks he doesn't sing about love and relationships.

His larger point is that Celebrities are not good role models; something very few people disagree with in general (although individual Celebrities might be quite worthwhile people. I think his larger point that he never quite gets around to making is something about the transitory nature of our lives and the eternal nature of God, but, like I say, he never articulates it. So maybe I'm just reading into it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

News From the Past - June 29, 1929

I missed this over the weekend but here we go. This is an odd and truncated article from the Modesto News-Herald, dated June 2, but published June 29. Perhaps they just forgot the 9.
Germany's 'Steel Helmets'
Parade In Munich
One Hundred Thousand Veterans Tramp The Streets Of The
Bavarian Capital, Cheered By Countless Thousands That
Line Every Inch Of The March—The Declared Purpose
Of ' Der Stahlhelm' Is To Bring Back
Christianity As Well As A 'Free Germany'
—Beauty And Beer Still The Leading
Characteristics Of Munich

MUNICH, June 2, 1929.—Munich is alike the capital of Beauty and Beer. The Beauty is in her parks, her fountains, her tree-lined streets, her gardens, her statues; but more than all in the wonderful buildings and memorials erected by the so-called mad king, Ludwig II.
He scoured the earth, but principally Greece and Italy, for architects to recreate here in the Bavarian capital some of "the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome."
And he succeeded most admirably.
To-day, Munich is an inspiration in architecture, as she is an instructress in art and music.
Munich's Second Pride And Glory
Beer—the second pride and glory in Munich; or is it the first?— still holds its sway where so long it has reigned.
Breweries galore lower to the heavens, some of them architectural gems.
Nearly everyone has its beer garden attachment, and all are thronged these pleasent nights.
They Still Are O. K.
In correspondence written upon a previous visit to Munich, Yours Truly descanted at considerable
length in various letters upon alike the Beauty and the Beer of the place.
Suffice it to say he now found the beauty just as apparent - and the Beer just as good.
Trees are Beautiful Poems
Munich today is clothed in her garments of green. Everything about her is fresh and clean. Her trees are beautiful poems in the urban landscape.
What's odd about this article, from 1929, is how the extended headline clashes with the story underneath. Unfortunately the remainder of the article was on Page 11 which I am unable to access for less than $10 a month. So perhaps the bit about the helmet wearing veterans who wanted Christianity and a 'Free Germany' was expounded a bit down there.

Then again I might be reading this in the light of what I know is coming up in Germany; I can't really blame Mr. McClatchy for not knowing the future.

The Dog Whistle Approach

Of course for years Democrats have been noting that some Republicans and Conservatives use the Dog Whistle approach on some issues touching racism. Essentially they say things that some of their listeners will understand indicate a concern about the growing power of minorities and the shrinking power of white males, while the rest of the audience won't pick up on it. They can't be overtly racist; but they can signify to racists that they understand where they are coming from. With the rise of Barack Obama some are blowing on their dog whistles more than ever and others have carefully put them away.

Rush Limbaugh falls in the former camp; and has gone so far as to hook his dog whistle up to an air compressor.
My friends, despite what CNN and the rest are telling you, Barack Obama is nothing more than an old school African Colonial who is on his way to turning this country into one of the developing nations that you learn about on the National Geographic Channel," meaning he wants to turn this into a Third World country.

. . . Americans look at Obama, first black president, and they go, "Oh we're shedding some of our guilt here. Look at how enlightened we are, what a great country we are," when in fact we've elected somebody who is more African in his roots than he is American. Loves his father who was a Marxist, and is behaving like an African colonial despot and you can see it in his healthcare legislation, the stimulus bill, taking over automobile companies, the czars that he has that are not accountable to anybody but him and now the climate bill. All of this is about nothing other than the acquisition of power and the ability to further regulate your privacy and behavior.
That's not that far from Rush suggesting that Obama should go back to Africa.

Friday, June 26, 2009

News From the Past - June 26, 1929

This is from the Havre Daily News, from Havre Montana.

MEXIA, Tex., June 25. (AP) - Bootleggers of Thornton, a small town near here have a chivalrous but firm warning to
ponder over.
In a paid advertisement in this week's issue of the Thornton Hustler, Nat Hudson, justice of the peace, warns his
"bootlegging friends" that although "I still take a drink" they had better "stay out of our way."
The advertisement:
"Notice and warning: To my bootlegger friends by advice of a friend in one of the departments of justice in Washington. "Beginning with July 1, I am going to make it hard for any man to make or sell home brew or whiskey in precinct number 8.
"Boys, don't let us catch you for we will bind you over to the grand jury with enough evidence to convict you. I'm not on the water wagon. My great grandfather took a drink or two in our war with England. Grandpa had a drink in our war with Mexico. I was more or less drunk in three different armies. I will still take a drink. Boys, stay out of our way, we are your friends but have to do our duty.
Nat Hudson."
I do find it odd that people in Havre Montana were that concerned about interactions between the law and the bootleggers in Texas, two states a fair distance apart.

Also where does Nat Hudson get his alcohol? I mean if he still takes a drink, from who does he take it? Maybe that's his inspiration to go after the bootleggers.

The Joy of Marriage

Cal Thomas's latest article is pretty depressing; it is on fidelity in marriage in reaction to the Governor Sanford situation.
Psychiatrists explain that married people tire of one another after 10 or 20 years (it used to be seven years, as in that Marilyn Monroe/Tom Ewell film "The Seven Year Itch." Must be inflation.). Good marriages are the result of hard work. Forsaking all others is more than a wedding promise. It is a daily denial of one's lower instincts. Temptation is everywhere. The key to overcoming it is to realize you are fighting an adversarial force that wants to destroy you, embarrass you and cause ridicule to be heaped on the God you claim to worship.
So basically you have between seven to ten years of wedded happiness and then you spend the rest of your life fighting against the Devil's temptation? At which point you either succumb or triumph - but even the triumph seems pretty cold.

Pretty depressing view of marriage, but not being married myself I guess I won't comment.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bill O'Rielly vs. Roger Ebert

Not really a fair fight. Ebert took on O'Rielly a few weeks ago on his blog; and it's well worth reading. That said Ebert does come across as a bit of wanting to live in the past.

The problem is that he weeps for a loss of a moral authority that the news-media once held. Once there was a national media that everybody listened to. But as we have gotten more voices and that moral authority has dissipated, one voice is as good as another. In some ways this is good, and in others it's bad.

News From the Past - June 25, 1929

This is from Waterloo Evening Courier from Waterloo Iowa. June 25 was a Tuesday as it turns out.
Veterans Indorse
Full Conscription

Detroit, Mich., June 25.——Universal conscription, restricted immigration, increased appropriations for civil military training camps and national guard units and adequate national defense were indorsed by the Disabled American Veterans of the World War today. The proposals were contained In a report made by the veterans' legislative committee at the ninth annual convention now in progress here.
I find myself wondering if this could have happened. I mean consider how history would have changed if in 1929 we had adopted universal conscription. It probably wasn't really a possibility even then, but it is interesting to consider.

Respecting other Religions

Ken Blackwell's latest article takes Obama to task for a certain phraseology he used in his recent speech in Cairo, where he said "So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed."
The liberal press may have been too deep in its collective salaam before Obama, their Expected One, to notice the critically important turn of phrase Obama employed in Cairo. He did not say the Middle East was the region where Islam began. No, he would say nothing so pedestrian as that. Nor did he say that it was there, in the shadow of the pyramids where millions first received their inspiration from the man they revere as the prophet of God. Nothing so poetic.

No, what he said was he was now visiting the region “where Islam was first revealed.” Could an informed Christian say that? Christians believe that Jesus Christ is “the alpa and the omega,” that Jesus is Lord. If you say that Islam was revealed, you are saying that Jesus is not Lord, that there was someone or something necessary to complete what Jesus failed to complete. And that something is Islam.
I think that Blackwell is reading too much into Obama's words. Obama was clearly crafting his speech to be palatable to his audience; approaching it with an attitude of Christian Dominionism would not have played. And of course it goes without saying that many Republicans believe that all Democratic/Liberal Christianity is suspect; one cannot be true to Jesus without being Republican/Conservative.

That said it does raise an interesting question; what does religious respect require? In this case, I'd say, it requires quite a bit. Obama was not speaking for himself but for America; he has a duty to represent us well. And whatever Blackwell's or Obama's position on Islam, America does not have and should not have a set position on the truth or falseness of any particular Religion.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

News from the Past - June 24, 1929

An odd one today - well the article is rather pedestrian - from The Bee, published in Danville, Virginia, Monday June 24, 1929.
"Kid"Lilly Is
Now Accused
of New Murder
No further trace has been found in this section of "Kid" Lilly, negro desperado who escaped last week while being taken to Chatham in a bus. Despite the alertness of people in the Ingram section where he made his getaway no trace of him has been found Sheriff Murphy has deputized several people to act in the event the negro is found but all have been warned that if the negro is still there and has parted the handcuffs and secured a gun it will be a question of who shoots first.
At the present time there is reason to believe that 'Kid' Lilly long since vacated this section in fact the police at Alexandria where he was captured for Chatham authorities believe he is responsible for shooting and killing Detective Charles McClearly In that city last Thursday night.
The police detective followed the negro and accosted him. to question him when he was shot. Several people saw the murder and are positive the gunman was a negro. Of particular importance is the fact that the Alexandria police were "tipped" that Lilly had been seen in Alexandria two hours before the shooting and the fact that McCleary was the officer who arrested Lilly about two weeks ago for the Chatham authorities having some trouble with him at that time.
That last sentence I find baffling; McCleary arrested "Kid" Lilly because the Catham authorities were having trouble with him? But then it occurs to me that he might just have been "uppity."

Compare and Contrast

Or putting the lie to Conservative Talking Points.
"First, I’d like to say a few words about the situation in Iran. The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost.

“I have made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs. But we must also bear witness to the courage and dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.
President Barack Obama, June 23, 2009.
There’s never been a better time to be an enemy of the United States of America. Whether you’re a trained jihadist in US custody, a diminutive cult leader starving his own people while developing nukes, or part of a ruthless regime that murders dissidents in broad daylight, you can rest assured that the United States government is unlikely to act—or perhaps even speak—in a manner likely to disrupt your daily routine. While invoking “our values,” hailing the importance of American humility, and rejecting the “failed policies of the past,” the current administration is projecting a dangerous image to the world. This approach may be extolled as cautious pragmatism on the Beltway cocktail party circuit, but it’s most assuredly perceived as something entirely different by America’s current and emerging adversaries around the globe: Weakness.
Guy Benson, "Radicalism, Rewarded," June 24, 2009

Since events in Iran started taking an ugly turn Republicans and Conservatives have said, again and again, why doesn't the President strongly condemn what's going on there. Then they would regularly say something like we don't mean invade, we just mean condemnation. Now that was always not entirely true; of course they want us to invade Iran. If we, as a nation, make a strong statement in favor of those protesting the presumably stolen election, don't they also expect us to follow up that with action? And of course Guy Benson kind of underlines it; Obama's failure to engage Tehran militarily is, in Republican's eyes, weakness.

There's a phrase about what everything looks like when you have a hammer; fortunately the conservatives don't have the hammer for now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

News from the Past - June 23, 1929

This is from the Daily News Record of Miami, Oklahoma.
First Complaint of
Smoking in Plane
Received in West

OAKLAND, Cal, June 22— (UP) the first complaint against smoking on air liners has been made to the Boeing Transport system.
A Stockton man, leaving his signature off tho letter, wrote he was celebrating his seventy-eigth birthday with a ride over the Sierra Nevada mountains but that women smokers spoiled some of his fun.
It didn't look right, he said, and the company shouldn't tempt its passengers by putting ash trays near each seat of the airplane.
Not much to say about this one except I doubt those were literally the first complaints.

Mike S. Adams is Lazy Lazy Lazy

Mike S. Adams, poor tormented Mike S. Adams, has apparently been driven lazy by the persecution he's suffered from people like me. How else are we to explain his last two articles, which are carbon copies of each other.
Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgendered students (GILBERTS) need to pay especially close attention.

First of all, GILBERTS will not be allowed to mention their status as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or trans-gendered. A few semesters ago, a gay student in one of my classes said – right in the middle of class, mind you – “I’m gay.” It offended me when he said that. That is why I am banning such statements for the duration of the semester. The simple awareness of the presence of gays in my classes offends me. No other reason need be offered. Just shut up and comply with the rule.
Get Back in the Closet
Feminist students need to pay especially close attention.

First of all, feminists will not be allowed to mention their status as feminists. A few semesters ago, a feminist student in one of my classes said – right in the middle of class, mind you – “I’m a feminist.” It offended me when she said that. That is why I am banning such statements for the duration of the semester. The simple awareness of the presence of feminists in my classes offends me. No other reason need be offered. Just shut up and comply with the rule.
Get back in the Kitchen

Poor Mr. Adams. Of course, he points out later in his article that these points of view are simply satire, based on something that happened to him (when he apparently noted that he was a Christian and was persecuted for it). So he personally would never harass gays or feminists (despite in the latter case at least writing dozens of articles attacking them).

Monday, June 22, 2009

News From the Past - June 22, 1929

Today's article is from the Piqua Daily Call, from Piqua Ohio.
Dry Activities Frowned
Upon — Says Bible
Does Not Forbid
Wine, Beer.
River Forest, Ill.; June 22, (UP)—Pointing out that the Bible does not forbid moderate use of beer and wines, Dr. W, C. Kohn, president of the Rivercrest Concordia College condemned the "criminal practice of prohibition officers in shooting down innocent citizens." In an address before the Missouri synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Chruch in session here.
"We do not believe in the principles that underlie the Volstead law," Dr. Kohn told the delegates "The Bible does not forbid moderate use of beer and wines. Why should a government or an individual do so? That is a personal matter.
Sort of an counter point to the article on the bootleggers a couple of days ago. I do find Kohn's rhetoric a bit overblown - the police were shooting gangsters not regular citizens. And the title is a bit odd; although I suppose we should all be opposed to killings.

An Odd Article

Apparently last week Congress issued a formal apology for Slavery. Allen Hunt, in his latest article, applauds the move, but feels it was lacking. What was it lacking?
Unfortunately, the Senate's apology leaves out the crucial component of a healthy apology. That component is not reparations. The missing component is far more important because it alone can bring the reconciliation we all yearn for and desire. The missing component? The transfer of power in the vulnerable words: “Please forgive me.”

. . . However, the Congress apologizes but never explicitly asks for forgiveness. To ask for forgiveness provides the one receiving the apology to offer reconciliation. A transfer of power takes place – from the offender to the wounded. It takes two to reconcile. An apology only begins the conversation. True acceptance of the apology brings reconciliation. One party can apologize, but the other party must receive and agree to release the pain and the hurt in order for all to be healthy.
I'm not sure what to make of this; except to observe that while it does transfer power it also transfers responsibility. If Congress had asked Blacks to forgive the United States, it would then be up to Blacks to forgive before we could move forward. It seems like we could then blame Blacks for racial tensions in America.

Yeah, I'm not sure I buy that. On the other hands his readers are furious at him for suggesting they have anything to apologize for. I guess you can't win for losing some days.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

News from the Past - June 21, 1929

This one is somewhat goofy; it's from the The Daily Northwestern out of Oshkosh Wisconsin.
Milwaukee - (AP) - Two men drove up to a filling station on fifteenth street last night
"Just how would you like to be robbed?" they asked the attendant Dan Allen.
Allen, a normal individual, said his only preference was not to be robbed in any manner or fashion.
But the bandits also had their preferences. They forced Allen to open a cash register and hand over the contents.
First of all that title reads like an instruction, not a description.

Secondly I find myself wondering why the AP reporter took the time to underline that Allen was a normal individual. I guess because of his question, which does seem sarcastic.

Thirdly, how many different fashions are their to rob a person?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

News from the Past - June 20, 1929

Sorry to be posting this so late in the day - from the Constitution-Tribune of Chillicothe Missouri, apparently a fairly liberal paper.
But Independence Theatre
Will Appeal From Sentence
Independence Mo, June 20. — (U.P.)-In tho fight to set aside the 20- year-old Sunday showing ordinance, Sunday shows lost the first round here today. W.T. Boles, theater manager, was fined $50 and post by E. N. Parton, police judge, for operating the theater last Sunday.
The case will be appealed to the circuit court. Boles has announced he will keep his theater open again next Sunday.
Interesting to consider what was a big story in 1929 is nothing these days.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I-Pod Ten

1. Insignificance (Live) - Pearl Jam
2. I Can't See Your Face in my Mind - The Doors
3. I am in Love with You - Imogen Heap
4. Words I Must Say (Demo) - Buffalo Springfield
5. These Days - Joy Division
6. Somewhere They Can't Find Me - Simon and Garfunkle
7. Bankrobber - The Clash
8. Sheltered Life - Erlende Oye
9. The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife are some Jive Ass Slippers - Charles Mingus
10. Think for a Minute - The Housemartins

Tianamen vs. Iran

Just for your consideration, a writer over at Salon writes comparing the events in Tiananmen square with what is going on Iran right now, with depressing results.
. . . we thought the same thing before the tanks rolled in in 1989. And then we realized that a mass movement melts away when the rulers are determined to open fire. And whether your weapon of choice is a fax machine or a re-tweet, there's not a whole lot you can do.
I don't think the two situations are parallel but I agree that the current regime in Iran isn't likely to go quietly.

News From the Past - June 19, 1929

This isn't as funny but it is kind of exciting.
Smugglers Open Fire on Customs
Boat in Detroit River Then
Retreat lnto Canada

Windsor, Ontario, June 19. (AP) After a swift moving revolver battle in Detroit river today rum runners of the East Windsor sector retreated into Canadian waters after shooting a hole in tho prow of a United States customs patrol cutter. There were no known casualties.
The rum runners deliberately opened fire without notice on the American boat, Walter B, Petty, acting collector of customs at Detroit, said. His men returned the volleys and chased the intruders back to the Canadian shore.
The battle started, Petty said, when the rum craft was about 100 feet off the foot of Joseph Campau avenue Detroit. The border patrol was gliding down stream and was about 50 feet from the runner when its crew of several men blazed away suddenly with revolvers, the bullets drumming against the government boat and blasting a hole above its water line.
"Our men returned the fire promptly," Pretty added. "The rum runners swung about and retreated toward Canada, maintaining a heavy fire at our boat;"
Petty charges that the firing from the rum boat continued long after it had reached Canadian waters The customs boat abandoned the chase at the International line.
I do find myself wondering what our relationship with Canada was back than? I mean these rum runners get into Canadian waters but feel free to just continue blazing away? Wouldn't Canada want to put a stop to that?

But then again maybe there weren't any Canucks around.

The Freedom to Fail

Lot of crap articles over at Townhall, mostly decrying President Obama for failing to attack the the Iranian leadership forcefully enough. What's hilarious is how regularly these articles deny the need to get militarily involved while setting up situations that will almost certainly get us involved militarily. I mean really, if Obama says to Tahran "Stop persecuting those protesters." And the Iranian government says "Nope," that our friends on the right are going to shrug and say "Well that's that." No, these articles strike me as attempting to build the foundation for a war with Iran.

But enough of that; lets move on to Jonah Goldberg's latest, in which he decries Big Business's willingness to get into bed with liberals.
While doctrinaire socialists might feel betrayed by liberalism's cozy embrace of big business, their betrayal pales in comparison to the bitterness of free-marketers who defend big business's freedom to operate, only to see these businesses use that freedom to hide behind the skirts of the nanny state. Real freedom means the freedom to fail as well as succeed. Big business wants to be protected from the former and deny competitors the latter. And their betrayal, more than anything, disheartens those who would defend both freedoms.
I agree with him to a certain extent. But it is odd that he is suggesting that Big Business should act according to some moral code in this particular area. Free marketers generally defend Big Business's core principal which is make money for the stockholders. If a company can make more money for their stockholders by hurting the environment or mistreating their workers, than that is the fiduciary duty.

Not to mention the longstanding complaint that CEOs are regularly shielded from their own mistakes; they negotiate such protections before taking the job. Presumably Goldberg is ok with that practice.

So it is odd that in this one particular area, Goldberg feels that Big Business should place principal above their stockholders. But I suppose harming capitalism is far worse than harming the environment or harming their workers.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

News From the Past - June 18, 1929

This is from the Albuquerque Journal, which proudly proclaims itself New Mexico's leading paper. Not going to argue there. It also its home owned and home operated. June 18th 1929 was a Tuesday, incidentally, which perhaps explains this amusing story.
Man Who Shows "Personal
Magnetism" by Walking
Los Angeles Streets in
Nude, Thinks It Over

LOS ANGELES, June 17 (UP). Wine tonic and the overpowering urge to radiate personal magnetism proved the undoing of Daniel Kovich, 36, here Monday when, unclothed, he tripped merrily down Washington boulevard. Kovich was reading "Instantaneous personal magnetism" and sipping the heavily laden tonic when the urge for self expression became so great. He slid from his room, through the hotel lobby, and out into the busy street.
"Ah, I am full of personal magnetism," Kovich, who is a painter, breathed. "No longer am I submerged in the crowd."
He even attracted the law, and after he had progressed about ten blocks, a burly policeman commandeered an automobile and took his unblushing charge to a police hospital for observation.
"I over did it," the student sighed. "I should have stopped at the third chapter."
So many jokes.

1. I guess chapter four was the one that suggested walking around naked.

2. I wouldn't mind having instantaneous personal magnetism, but if I did I hope I wouldn't feel the urge to say "I am full of personal magnetism."

3. I wonder what the tonic was laden with?

4. Yeah if I walked down the street naked, I suspect I would no longer be submerged in the crowd either. I think people would prefer to stand a good 10 to 15 yards away.

How to Understand Liberals

Or, more accurately, how to demonize people you disagree with. Today's example comes from Laura Hollis's latest article which seems awkwardly formatted.
Liberals profess to “love” all kinds of things: whales, polar bears, snail darters, the planet. Strangely, few of them are human. Or anything that makes humans’ lives better. What seems to drive most liberals is hatred and a need for control. What they control, they destroy. And there are few things they hate as much as American business.
Just let me point out, the planet does actually make humans lives better - without it where would we stand?

Of course one could argue that whales, polar bears, and snail darters also make life better for humans, but I'm guessing that Hollis doesn't see it that way.

At any rate it's a pretty lazy article, basically collecting stereotypes about liberals, the sorts of things Limbaugh and others have been repeating for decades. The best you can say for her is that she seems to believe what she's saying.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

News From the Past - June 17, 1929

If I were giving these catch titles I would call this one "Non-Specific News."

CHICAGO, June 17 - Ten Per-person were dead today in the Chicago area as a result of automobile accidents. Eight persons were reported dying.

INDIANAPOLIS Ind. June 17 - At least four persons were killed and a dozen were injured in accidents over the weekend in Indiana. Practically all of them were the victims of automobile accidents.
The Ten Per Persons bit was probably an error on the type-setters fault. These stories are from the Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Well they are two stories with one headline. A generic one.

Lord Almighty

It's hard to know exactly what to say about this; presumably the makers of conservative shirts believe that a significant portion of their audience is eager to wear a shirt that proclaims their willingness, even eagerness, to simulate drowning in order to torture. Leaving aside the question of the potential innocence of some of these victims of torture, should we, as a nation or even a portion of a nation, be so gleeful about our torture of guilty suspects? Or what does that say about the people willing to buy these shirts?

I think the model there kind of gets it; there's something really sad and blank about her. Like she knows she's selling something ugly and is trying very hard not to think about it. Certainly some of the models this company uses seem much happier than she is.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Two points of view

Take a look at the Drudge Report, folks. Go to the front page, just the front page and you'll find a picture of one of the four Chinese Uighurs transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Bermuda swimming in the ocean. And there are stories accompanying these pictures saying that the Uighurs now have totally changed their mind about the United States. Now, Bermuda is British, and the UK was not informed that these four Uighurs -- these are Chinese Al-Qaedas, essentially -- were going to be in Bermuda. . . . The only thing missing is the pina coladas 'cause I know Uighurs don't consume alcohol. Well, they could be virgin coladas. They don't consume alcohol.
Rush Limbaugh
Refugees from Chinese communism, these Uighur men were swept up by US forces in 2001. They were sent to Guantanamo. But they were not terrorists and not our enemies. The military soon realized its mistake and quietly tried to resettle them abroad. The efforts failed: No one wanted to brook the Chinese for the sake of a few dissidents whom the United States would not accept itself.

Years later, after the Uighurs' plight emerged in court, the Bush administration formally admitted they were not enemies. A judge ordered their release.

. . . And so the Uighurs, cleared in every imaginable way, were stranded at the prison.

Bermudian Premier Ewart Brown saw the humanitarian crisis that lay beneath the politics. He offered to accept four of them into the island's guest worker program. At 3 a.m. on June 11, I watched on the Guantanamo airstrip as four innocent men were unshackled for the last time. They climbed aboard a charter aircraft. And when the sun rose, they stepped down to free soil in Bermuda, smiling broadly.
Sabin Willit

Maybe Rush Limbaugh isn't up on the facts of the case? But why should he be? Why waste precious seconds on Chinese al-Qaeda (even if they are totally innocent)? People accused of being Chinese al-Qaeda deserve no rights, even if they are completely innocent of those accusations.

Or that seems to be the way Limbaugh thinks. For a more rational view, read Sabin Willit's article, and see that Limbaugh isn't alone in his assessment of these innocent men.

News From the Past - June 16, 1929

This story appeared in the Miami Daily News Reporter, Sunday June 16, 1929, although it's dated June 15th. Weekends, what are you going to do?
80 Year Old War Veteran Hikes Miles for Pension
Joplin Mo. June 15.
—An 80 year old Civil War Veteran, stooped of shoulder and silver haired, trudged slowly through Joplin today, homeward bound to Dodge City, Kas., from Siloam Springs, Ark. where ha had walked to arrange an application for a pension. He is U. S. Sawyer.
Several weeks ago Sawyer started afoot from Dodge City, walking many dusty miles before reaching his destination. There the pension papers were arranged and now he is walking back to Dodge City.
Sawyer has refused many "lifts."
"I don't need to ride," he said. "I can make it all right so long as 1 take my time. 1 don't like to accept lifts anyway. People might think 1 was a bum. I'll be home in a little while."
Honestly, I find this story somewhat affecting, particularly that last line.

What Conservatives could do to get me to take them more Seriously

I am reading Michael Barone's latest article, in which he takes Obama to task for changing the way we fight the War on Terror.
The other problem is what I call the sloppy over-generosity of the American people. Except when aroused and alert, we have a tendency to be fat, dumb and happy, and to want to spread that happiness around. So, hey, let's give these detainees more rights than they're entitled to under the Geneva Conventions. It'll make us feel generous, and maybe it will make them like us.
OK come on, Barone. Do you really believe that Liberals support giving rights to suspected terrorists because then they will like us? One thing Conservatives could do to earn my respect is deal with what our arguments actually are.

That wasn't my main point though - my main point is I would love to see someone like Barone or Limbaugh deal with the reality of Khaled el-Masri (who Glenn Greenwald mentioned the other day) or others in a similar situation.
From the start, the rendition team suspected that his case was one of mistaken identity. But the C.I.A. officer in charge at Langley—the agency asked that the officer’s name be withheld—insisted that Masri be further interrogated. “She just looked in her crystal ball and it said that he was bad,” a colleague recalls. Masri says that he was chained in a freezing cell with no bed, and given water so putrid that he could smell it across the room. He was threatened and stripped, and could hear other detainees crying all around him. After several weeks, the C.I.A. officer in charge learned that Masri’s German passport was not a forgery, as was originally suspected, and that he was not the terror suspect the agency thought he was. (The names were similar.) Even so, the officer in charge refused to release him.

Eventually, Masri went on a hunger strike, losing sixty pounds. Skeptics in the agency went directly over the officer’s head to Tenet, who realized that his agency had been brutalizing an innocent man. Masri was released after a hundred and forty-nine days. But the officer in charge was not disciplined; in fact, a former colleague says, “she’s been promoted—twice.” Masri, meanwhile, has been unable to sue the U.S. government for either an apology or damages, because the courts consider the very existence of rendition a state secret—a position that the Obama Justice Department has so far supported.
El-Masri's situation is unfortunately not unique. One of the reasons to insist on actually gathering evidence against the people we imprison and having that evidence reviewed by people with some distance is to ensure that we aren't torturing or tormenting COMPLETELY INNOCENT PEOPLE!

But I do not recall Barone ever talking about the possibility of error. Let's be honest I got a problem with torturing guilty people, but I'd like to think we are all opposed to tormenting guys like Masri. I suppose saying that, though, would weaken Barone's position.

Monday, June 15, 2009

To Hell With Burt Prelutsky

For being a filthy liar. In his latest article he takes up the often and thoroughly debunked canard that President Obama is not actually eligible to be President of the United States.
We elect a new president who, for all we know, doesn’t even meet the few Constitutional qualifications of the office.
Seriously - anybody who repeats this canard, even if they wrap it around "for all we know" is a jackass. This has been reviewed and reviewed and reviewed and yet we still don't know enough to definitively say that Obama was born in the US?

It says more about Burt Prelutsky than it does about President Obama

News From the Past - June 15, 1929

The first in an ongoing look back at the news of the past, this one from the The Bismark Tribune, Saturday June 15, 1929, from Bismark North Dakota.
University Couple
Marry in Airplane
Grand Forks, N. D., June 15. Happy marriages, they say, are made in heaven, and that, naively explained Mr. and Mrs. Virgil E. Knight today is one of the many reasons why they are happy today.
For they were wed in the skies yesterday; married in an airplane soaring hundreds of feet above the noise of traffic in the town below.
The bridal couple, both students at the University of North Dakota, Leora Ellen Oliver. Grand Forks, and Virgil E. Knight, Flaxton, took off Orville Shupe. Miss Borchild Olsen of Fargo, was maid of honor, and Orville Shupe of Minot, pilot of the Plane, acted as best man. The marriage ceremony was read by the Rev. G. W. Ford, Crookston, Minn.
It's interesting that Ms. Borchild Olsen actually is the maid of honor while Orville Shupe is only acting as the best man. Maybe Virgil didn't have a lot of friends? But that had to be a bit of a blow to Orville - "You can act as the best man, I guess, but don't go thinking you are one?" Or possibly the actual best man was afraid of heights? So many mysteries.

Ending Radio Silence

I was on the road two weeks ago and quite busy last week; but I am rededicating myself to this blog. For the next few minutes anyway.

It turns out President Obama wants us to all accept Islam; it was in his Cairo Speech.

Bruce Bialosky's latest article declares that he will happily accept Islam once they change completely (in his mind). He decries all the bad things Islam has done (i.e. mistreating women and gays, being enemies with Israel, pretending to care about the Palestinian cause (he presents a particularly fictional version of history). He concludes with a nice statement about Islam.
Mr. Obama, it is nice that you want us to accept Islam, but would you have asked us to accept Nazism or Communism with their mass murders and mistreatment of people? I suggest you remember we did not elect you to be Brown-Noser-in-Chief or Apologist-in-Chief; we elected you as Commander-in-Chief. I respectfully suggest you start acting like it because these apologies to mass murderers and intolerant sons-of-bitches are really getting tiresome.
Yeah; well kind of non-sensical; I suspect Bialosky didn't read Obama's speech, but he doesn't need to I suppose. Any speech that deals with Muslims or Arabs as human beings isn't going to be very popular with him. Bialosky and others who believe in the "Muslim Menace" don't seem to see peace with the Islamic world as likely until we have thoroughly conquered it.

For a rational alternative let's turn back to President Bush's Cairo speech.
In Ankara, I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America's goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.

Make no mistake: we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

That's why we're partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths – more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.