Friday, July 31, 2009

News From the Past - July 31, 1929

Today's selection comes from Titusville Pennsylvania, which I admit I wnet to because I once lived in Titusville Florida.
Policemen Must Use Own
Slenderizing Equipment

PITTSBURGH, July 30.—(AP)— Pittsburgh policemen and firemen who want to reduce will have to use other than city-owned equipment for the slenderizing process.
Council today voted down a proposal for the wholesale purchase of mechanical health and muscle builders. The plan called for placing one of these machines in each police and fire station.
I like this one mostly for the odd terms they use - but I guess "physical fitness" wasn't in the vocabulary yet.

Something to Consider

Linda Chavez's latest article takes on the question of how her race impacts her work, and whether some of the criticisms she's received for being a Latina conservative are fair. Unsurprisingly she says they aren't.
We rightly condemn stereotyping when it maligns whole groups of people. We know that it's bigoted to use terms like shiftless or lazy or greedy to describe racial or ethnic groups.

. . . We ought to relegate terms like Uncle Tom, sell-out, and traitor-to-your-race (or sex) to the same category we do racial and sexual epithets. They reflect the same root prejudices. Anytime we assume that we know something fundamental about how a person behaves or thinks based on race, ethnicity, or sex, we're exhibiting our own biases. People aren't good or bad, hard-working or irresponsible, smart or dull, liberal or conservative based on the amount of melanin in their skin or the number of X-chromosomes in their DNA.
Fair enough as far as it goes. But let's be honest. A certain amount of Chavez's marketability comes from her Latina status. A white male saying the same things that Chavez says would not be quite as valuable to those who employ Chavez. You see most conservatives, like most people, don't want to think of themselves as racist. And Democrats have occasionally been too free with accusations of Conservative racism. And at other times they have accurately pointed out Conservative Racists. So it is obviously very comforting for Conservatives to listen to or read Latinos, blacks, women and so on who largely agree with them.

That said, I, being a white male, may not be the best person to write on this.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

News From the Past - July 29, 1929

Posted that before I meant to. Todays story comes from the Daily News Standard out of Uniontown PA.
4 Convicts
Escape, Said
After Check
AUBURN, N. Y., July 29.—Machine guns atop the ivy-covered walls of the Auburn prison brought armed peace today and ended the most daring outbreak In any New York state penal institution.
Warden Edgar S. Jennings announced shortly before dawn that all but four of the 1700 prisoners who attempted to battle their way out of their narrow world of walls yesterday had been accounted for. The four men apparently escaped. They were George Small, New York City, serving a 12 year term for second degree robbery; Joe Catricio of Rochester, N. Y., serving a 20 year sentence for robbery; Arthur Barry of Nassau county, serving 25 years for burglarly, and Stephen Tawlak, Buffalo, sentenced to life imprisonment as a fourth offender under the Baumes law.
I guess those Machine Guns are useful. Nice to have them on our side.

I'll note that the newspaper also contains articles about Irish Day (at Shady Grove Park) and Big Slovak Day, which is apparently Friday (in 1929). I just like the inclusion of Big there. Big Slovak Day. Probably the little Slovaks have their own day.

We need an early asteroid warning system

And we need to stop all this fooling around with environmentalism. Or such seems to be the point to Jonah Goldberg's latest.
The year is 2109. Celebrations continue as mankind's heroic, century-long, quintillion-dollar effort to lower the global mean temperature by 1 degree has paid off: July 2109 is just as hot as July 2009. Few can contain their jubilation.

But even as the carbon-neutral champagne corks fly, the sky darkens. A projectile of a different kind is coming our way. An asteroid streaks across the skies, giving the media just enough time to spread the word. The New York Times, now beamed directly into subscribers' brains via digital-neural networks, fulfills ancient prophecy and warns that women and minorities will be hardest hit by the incoming object.

But there's little we can do. The space flotsam smashes into the solar energy farm formerly known as Arizona. The space rock, 100 meters in diameter, hits at 50,000 mph with the force of thousands of nuclear warheads. Millions die.

. . . So horrendous is the calamity that some even wonder if the enormous investment in fending off climate change might not have been better spent.
Um. OK. that seems like an odd argument; but how about this. We build an early asteroid warning system and fix the damn environment?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Like Ann Coulter but More Vile, it's Doug Giles

Trying to make a rhyme. Anyway, Doug Giles regularly writes about how he prefers a muscular type of Christianity, a Christianity of Hate if you will. This week, however, he sticks to politics, and shows why he is really working at at being more vile than Ann Coulter.
Did anybody else notice feces fumes coming off Obama’s head during his last presser? I think after that methane emission Obama owes Al Gore a few grand for carbon offsets. This guy has taken lies, hype and spin to an all-new human level. I hear Beelzebub is jealous.

Watching Barack work his voodoo last Wednesday was like watching Michael Jordan airwalk, or Michael Jackson moonwalk, or Gary Busey simply walk. Or maybe it was like watching Rosie O’Donnell devour a five-gallon bucket of bacon grease sprinkled with lizards and broken eggshells in 30 seconds flat.

It was truly amazing to behold B-HO lie his mocha-chino off to America about his Health Care Reform Bill or Health Insurance Reform Thing-a-ma-jig or whatever the heck it’s called now. His ability to misrepresent like that must stem from his Muslim upbringing; y’know, the whole “end justifies the means” mantra.
Is the end justifies the means really a Muslim doctrine? Maybe he meant Marxist and confused the two.

I debated leaving in the bit about Rosie O'Donnell just because it's so very ugly, but then I figured you needed to see the type of Christian that Giles is.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

News from the Past - July 26, 1929

Gorillas attack Elizbeth Illinois, which is a silly name for a town. Only it turns out it was a monkey enlarged by the power of moonshine.
Think Person
'Saw Things'

Freeport, III., July 26-{AP)— The terrible gorilla 'which yesterday had Elizabeth, Ill., agog, astir and aghast had shrunk today to a monkey, if even that.
The farm women who locked themselves indoors, and the men folk who went forth with guns and grim determined faces, were breathing more easily. The "gorilla" they wanted was the one who started the story.
Preeport police said the gorilla was a combination of monkey and moonshine. A carnival lost some monkeys
while showing here recently, The police hold that some person suffering from sunshine and moonshine saw a monkey and translated it into a gorilla.
As one astute officer explained, even good whiskey has been known to produce an entire horde of pink elephants.
Ok this is kind of a silly one - but isn't there an entertaining movie in it somewhere? Monkeys and Moonshine!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Come off it!

Here is one of the chief complaints against providing a government option to to health care, coming from Jonah Goldberg's latest article.
Under his plan, an official body -- staffed with government doctors, actuaries, economists and other experts -- will determine which health-care treatments, procedures and remedies are cost-effective and which are not. Then it will decide which ones will get paid for, and which won't. Would a 70-year-old woman be able to get a hip replacement, or would that not be considered a wise allocation of resources? Would a 50-year-old man not be permitted an expensive test his doctor wants if the rules say the cheaper, less thorough one is sufficient? The Democrats call this "cost-controls." But for the patient and the doctor, it's plain old rationing.
Except that that's what we have now. Right now people are making the call about what medical care is necessary and what isn't - those people work for insurance companies. Those people have a strong motivation to deny expensive services that would negatively affect their cash flow. At least in "Obamacare," the people "rationing" will be working for the government.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Poor Rush Limbaugh

Brent Bozell steps up to the plate this week to defend Rush Limbaugh against some pretty mean insults coming his way. For one thing, many liberals make fun of him for being fat.

Now I'm somewhat with Bozell on this one. It is one thing to note that Limbaugh doesn't have much sympathy with the hungry in America; that's fair game. But some of these attacks go well beyond that and are frankly pretty ugly.

But of course Bozell, being Bozell, has to overstep.
Let us be honest: Sometimes conservative talk radio goes too far. But never will you hear a credible conservative talk show host -- say, Rush, or Hannity, or Levin or Ingraham -- resort to this sort of ugliness.

They don't have to. They just call liberals liberals and laugh, while those liberals explode with outrage.
Yeah that's all Rush does. Wait, no it's not. What Rush does on his show is gin up hatred for Liberals as often as he can.
We view liberals as a threat to the founding of this country. We view them as a threat to the future. We view them as a threat to the traditions and institutions that have defined this country's greatness. We view them as people who need to be defeated, not worked with.
Like that.

And as I've noted before, Limbaugh doesn't confine himself to insulting the powerful and the wealthy. Instead he attacks every liberal as a threat to this nation. So while I'm not keen on the fat jokes, there's still plenty about Rush to attack.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pat Buchanan and the Persecuted Evangelicals

Buchanan is upset at the Sotomayor nomination, as all good conservatives are. But beyond that, he asks some tough questions about the role of White Evangelicals in our justice system, in his latest article.
And who is the least represented minority in America on the U.S. Supreme Court? Not Catholics, who have two-thirds of the seats. Not Jewish-Americans, who though 2 percent of the population, have 22 percent of the seats. Not African-Americans, who at 13 percent of the population have 11 percent of the seats. And not Hispanics, who at 15 percent of the population will have 11 percent of the seats.

No, the most underrepresented group of Americans -- nay, the most unrepresented minority, the largest group of our fellow citizens never to have had one of its own sit on the U.S. Supreme Court in the modern era is -- Evangelical Christians.

. . . Republicans should now be searching for highly qualified Evangelical Christian judges and constitutional scholars, women as well as men -- and, when falsely accused of being "anti-Hispanic" or "anti-woman," ought to reply: "What do you liberals have against white Christians, man or woman, not to have named one in 45 years?"
He does use the turn Christian and Evangelical interchangeably; but seems to realize that Catholics are Christians. At any rate, I don't have a lot to say about this particular nonsense; the argument that White Christians aren't powerful enough in our society always makes me laugh.

Monday, July 20, 2009

News From the Past - July 20, 1929

This is from the Charleroi Mail From Charlerrow Pennsylvania. Kind of a jokey article.
Witness Ejected From
Court, Proves Prisoner

Winchester, Eng., July 20 - "That's a lie," shouted a man to a witness in court here.
"Turn that man out of court at once," ordered Justice Hawkes.
Immediately tehre was a scuffling of feet in the dock and two burley warders were obeying the order and were rushing the offender down the steps of the dock.
It was the prisoner who had shouted.
He was quickly brought back.
Yeah I do like the idea of a guy nearly getting away because he's thrown out of court. But it's still kind of a jokey article.

Those Darn Kids!

Burt Prelutsky, humorist, in his latest article, is trying to pin down just when America started to go bad. Was it when Carter failed to take out the Ayotollah? Was it when Bill Clinton got a blowjob? Or was it this?
For all I know, things might have begun sliding the very first time some slack-jawed teenager struck a pose and struck a chord on an imaginary guitar. There was a time, after all, when most American kids were actually given music lessons and learned how to play an actual instrument, and even saved up their allowance to buy sheet music.
Ah the good old days. Actually I saved up money and bought sheet music. But it was to a Sting song if memory serves (Russians I want to say), so I probably don't count.

Of course we did have Reagen and Bush in there, and a Republican controlled congress - so maybe Rock and Roll didn't ruin America.

The rest of the article is lazy and sloppy about what you would expect; Obama is ruining the country and apologizing to other nations (which is just awful).

Oh one other thing, check out the comments on this post from Random Goblin - he wrote a long bit, and it's worth reading.

Friday, July 17, 2009

News From the Past - July 17, 1929

This news report is from a simpler time, when simple people lived simple lives. Also it's from The Carroll Times, Carroll, Iowa.

The annual K. C. picnic, sponsored by Charles Carroll Council which was scheduled to be held last Sunday in Feld's grove, one mile north of Carroll, was postponed because of a continuous rain during the night previous and on Sunday.
The committee In charge has decided to hold the picnic this Sunday, weather permitting, at the same place. A cordial invitation is extended the general public to attend this annual day of fun and frolic. There will be sports of all kinds, and stands have been erected where the thirsty and hungry can satisfy their wants. Those desiring to bring picnic baskets may do so. Coffee will be served on the grounds.
It is nice that if you want to bring your own food you can.

Running out the Clock

Let's be frank; it wouldn't matter who Obama nominated, Republicans would have trashed them using most of the same arguments they've used against Sotomayor. And today's article from Ed Fuelner just underlines that. It's the old canard about using foreign law to settle American questions.
Just two years ago a book titled “The International Judge” featured an introduction she penned. “The question of how much we have to learn from foreign law and the international community when interpreting our Constitution,” she wrote, is “worth posing.”
Yep - because that means that when she's hearing cases on the Supreme Court she's just as likely to draw from the the French or Sudanese constitution as the American one.

Oh and get this, Judge Ginsberg said that Judges should be aware that other nations look at how we interpret laws. Horrors.

Of course neither of those quotes says that the justices involved will misinterpret the law based on foreign laws, unless you are already convinced that Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor are already going to misinterpret the law. Rather they are just commenting on the world that judges live in; there are more laws then our own and there's nothing wrong and possible much good with being aware of that.

I find myself wondering if a liberal Justice said "I really like listening to Miles Davis in my chambers while I am writing my decisions; something about that music gets to me." if we'd read day after day of articles suggesting that this Justice was going to go to Miles Davis rather than the law or the constitution.

But the plus side is that Sotomayor is very likely to be our next justice, as Mike Madden notes in an article about the last day of hearings.
Four days of hearings demonstrated what everyone already knew about Sotomayor: She's obviously qualified, she's not remotely the radical activist the right says she is, and her appointment as the first Latina justice truly will make history. The only question left by the end of the day Thursday was exactly when the Senate would get around to making her confirmation official.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scare Tactics

There are a lot of articles on the Sotomayor hearings, as you might expect. With the Republicans/Conservatives pretending that the Moderate Obama is practically a Stalinist, it's not too hard for them to approve the balanced Sotomayor is a fringe and somewhat crazed judge. One example comes from Horace Cooper, in which he trots out the standard arguments.

He references the Wise Latina, but like all conservatives, leaves out the context. For those who don't know the quote, while a bit further than I would go, was basically saying that her experience brings some value to the role of judge. In a judicial system, that by any measure, treats blacks and Hispanics differently than it treats whites, and treats the poor differently than it treats the wealthy I don't know what's so controversial about saying that.

And then he brings up the line about the courts of appeals being where policy is made. And he takes this further out of context. Again Sotomayor was asked what is the difference between Courts of Appeals and other courts, and what she said is, in reality, completely non-controversial. But Cooper, of course, reads it as a prescription for activist courts.
. . . policy making is among the least appropriate practices of the judiciary and her comments raise the question as to what policies will be promulgated and for whose benefit and perhaps most importantly if the U.S. Constitution and American law won’t be used, on what will she use instead as the basis for these policymaking decisions?
Except that of course precedent is a key part of our legal system. Yes the Congress passes the laws, but interpreting them often falls to the courts. And that's where Sotomayor is, naturally, completely right in noting that they are required, in listening to their cases, to decide what that precedent is going to be. And they determine that precedent by referring to the Constitution and American Law.

What exactly is controversial about that?

He also pads out his article by talking about a Clinton era appointee who he sees as similar; subtly equating the two, although it's clear she went a good deal farther than Sotomayor.

I do think it's interesting that in her legal decisions, with the exception of Ricci (in which they believe she should have had empathy for a white fireman and ruled in his favor regardless of the law), they aren't finding anything. She wasn't appointed yesterday. You'd think with that record they'd have more substantial criticisms, but I guess not.

For more on the court of appeals policy quote, check out this post at the Huffington Post.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

News from the Past - July 15, 1929

News from the mean streets of LA today - it's the sad story of a movie messenger who got robbed, brought to you from the Jefferson City Post-Tribune, Jefferson City, Missouri.
Los Angeles Theater
Robbed of $15,000

LOS ANGELES, July 15.—(AP)— A messenger of the Chinese Theater, one of Los Angeles' largest motion picture houses, was robbed of approximately $15,000 today by three men, one of whom was captured by police. A pedestrian was wounded in an exchange of shots between the policeman and the robbers.
It's a hard town.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

News from the Past - July 14, 1929

OK this is legitimately an odd one - from the Nevada State Journal out of Reno, Nevada.
'Girl' Becomes Boy
To Go Into School

SELINSGROVE, Pa., July 13.- (AP) —Marion Bodmer, 19. son of Gurgess G. A. Bodmer, after masquerading for 19 years as a girl, donned mannish attire and is preparing to enter the legal profession. This was revealed here today when it was learned that Young Bodmer had enrolled at an Allentown preparatory
school, a boys' school.
Inquiries as to why a girl was enrolling at a boys' preparatory school brought the admission from the parents that Marion or Marian was really a boy and not a girl.
Young Bodmer was graduated from the Selinsgrove High School in 1928 as a girl. He had made a good scholarship' record and, had played three years on the girls' basketball team at the school.
OK - so I guess he grew up as a girl for 19 years? I wonder how that worked out for him.

Your Weekly Rush - Obama Wants America to Fail

Yeah - Limbaugh just got back from vacation, and he's still pretty upset.
It's really not even a question of wanting Obama to fail. He has failed, not the way I wanted him to fail. He succeeded in his mind. He has succeeded. This is my whole point. This is a man with a chip on his shoulder. This is a man who seeks to get even. He apologized for this country again on this latest trip. He said, "We had nothing to do with the Cold War. We had nothing to do with anything, no, no, no." He's out there apologizing and I believe this man has as his intention to cut this country down to size, and that's why I think he chose Sonia Sotomayor.

I think we've got people here who have a deep resentment of this country. He's into transfer and redistribution of wealth and to do that he has to take wealth from somebody, and he's taking wealth from those who have produced it and created it, and he's going to transfer it to those who can't.
He was more clear on this today, when I was listening to him driving around at lunch. Obama wants this country miserable, so he can punish it with liberal programs.

Maybe Limbaugh should go back on vacation.

A Small Thing

This is just niggling me, so I'm going to get it out there. I am reading Michael Barone's latest article.
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, who promised a health-care bill last month, still isn't delivering, and neither is the Health Committee's Christopher Dodd. They're both trying to nibble down cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, which has put the price tag at a trillion or more. But their latest ploys -- broad-based tax increases, transferring more of the Medicaid burden to the states -- sound like sputtering.

Meanwhile, Majority Leader Harry Reid says he's taken off the table one approach that has potential bipartisan support -- ending the tax preference for employer-provided insurance.
I don't know enough about the health-care proposals to know if this is a valid approach or not; I just am annoyed at the phrase "one approach that has potential bipartisan support." What that means in this context is that Reid has rejected the Republican plan.

The argument assumes that it's up to the Democrats to compromise and work with Republicans; Republicans are under no obligation to compromise with Democrats. If there is to be bi-partisan, it's up to the Democrats and the Democrats alone.

Bi-partisan on those grounds isn't bi-partisan. It's capitulation.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Acknowledging your Biases makes you a Slave of Them

Or such is the theme of Mario Diaz's latest article.
“Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.” — Judge Sonia Sotomayor, October 26, 2001 speech at the University of California–Berkley.

Really? So now judges are supposed to ignore facts because they don’t comport with their heritage? As a Hispanic, I can proudly say Judge Sotomayor’s views do not represent my views or those of the Hispanic community in which I participate. Do you want to know what we believe in? We believe in justice, fairness, freedom, and equality. I have never met a Latino who thinks he is wiser than a white person because he is a Latino. Sotomayor stands alone on that one.

Although I proudly join her in celebrating her heritage, I strongly disagree with her judicial philosophy. I believe judges must look away from personal heritage and look to the rule of law. Judge Sotomayor’s own words indicate that she is incapable of doing this. Therefore, senators should not confirm her to the Supreme Court.
I have to Say Diaz sounds like kind of a twit for advancing this argument. She clearly is talking about how biases affect all of us, not saying that she would abandon facts or the law in favor of her biases. I mean this isn't even really an example of someone taking something out of context; this is Diaz quoting what Sotomayor said and pretending it means something else.

News From the Past - July 13, 1929

Wasn't feeling great this weekend and today is very busy, but I can't miss out on News from the Past for too long. Today's comes from the Edwardsville Intelligencer from Edwardsville Illinois. It's a somewhat shocking story, as it turns out the Governor's Wife's Negro chauffeur is a speeder.

Maishall, Mo., July 13—Mrs. Henry Caulfield, wife of Governor Caulfield, was forced to pay $7.50 fine for speeding here before she was allowed to continue from Jefferson City to Cariolton.
The ofticer who stopped the Caulfield machine at Halla Bend testified the Caulfield negro chauffeur was driving 58 miles per hour. The speed limit at that point is 20 miles per hour.
Not much to say about this one; except that reference to Negro Chauffeur kind of chafes, doesn't it?

Friday, July 10, 2009

News From the Past - July 10, 1929

Saw this story in a number of papers while I was looking around, but this particular one comes from the Hope Star, of Hope Arkansas. For some reason that sound seems familiar.
New Bills To Be In
Circulation Today

Make Effort To See If
Smaller Money Go As
Far As Other

The effort to see if the new small-sized paper money will go as far as the older and larger kind began in Hope at nine o'clock this morning and many an anxious - and proud - owner of a one-dollar William is trying to figure out the result.
The Federal Reserve bank shipped to each of the banks here an allotment of the new currency, based on number of depositors, and other shipments are scheduled to be showing up at regular intervals consigned to each of the three local institutions.
Efforts will be made to distribute the currency in the normal cource of business. Ray Anderson of the Arkansas Bank & Trust Co., said No Hard and Fast Rules have been laid down, but it is hoped that a general game of "please exchange this for that" will not ensue.
However for the satisfaction of the public generally, Star announces that it will accept the older currency on subscription just as readily as it will the new. There, there now, don't crowd.
I like the paper in general, particularly because they put in pictures of the actors in a local play. But this article does have some odd bits; like I'm not exactly sure how you read that sub-headline.

I-Pod Ten

1. "Adrian" Jewel
2. "Reel Around the Fountain" - The Smiths
3. "Last Word" - Johnny Fiasco
4. "The Moment of Truth (Ooriginal Radio Version)" - BT
5. "Roller Coaster (Moto Blanco Club Mix)" - Erika Jayne
6. "Retox (Getting Freqy with Fatboy)" - Fatboy Slim
7. "Good to See You" - Neil Young
8. "Sugar Boy" - Beth Orton
9. "Flight From Ashiya" - Kaleidoscope
10. "Sour Times" - Portishead

Weak Mix today, I have to admit. Although there are some good tracks in there (Real Around the Fountain, Sour Times, Flight from Ashiya among them) it doesn't really come together, and the house tracks in the middle are kind of weak.

American Workers vs. Machines

Jerry Bower's latest article is about how, essentially, the American worker has it too easy, has too many protections, and machines generally are better.
As long as we are pressing to less flexible labor markets, with higher minimum wages and more unionization, as long as we leave employers in the dark as to exactly what kind of government-mandated health insurance liabilities they're getting themselves into when they hire a human being, as long as we leave unemployment compensation as an unfunded mandate paid by employers with every growing durations of coverage, we will continue to tip the scale away from people toward machines.

. . . The micro-chip is the way the small-business class will survive Obamanomics. Unless and until Obama moves to the center or America chooses a successor who will the best advice I can give to you is this. Don't buy man-hours; buy machines.
I'm not sure how bad American Workers would have to have it before they would be more efficient than a machine. Slash salaries, end health-care, lower minimum wages, end unemployment compensation and it still seems like machines are a better deal, unless they are some very high maintenance machines.

But then again I'm not sure what jobs, exactly, machine are stealing. Certainly Bower doesn't speak to that; he just asserts that employers are buying machines rather than hiring people.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

News From the Past - July 9, 1929

This is from The Daily Northwestern (Wisconsin's Greatest Family Newspaper) from Oshkosh, WI, Tuesday July 9.

Fond du Lac. Wis. - (AP) - Words of gratitude may bring a penalty instead of a reward. It all depends on the way in which they are used.
Take the case of William Grauer, who was sentenced to five days in county jail on a charge of being drunk and disorderly yesterday. On hearing the sentence, he said "much obliged."
"Ten days more for contempt" counted Judge H. M. Vellenz, adding that the extra ten days were not so much because of what Grauer had said but because of how he had said it.
To add a touch of the dramatic, Grauer then offered to fight the judge. That raised the contempt sentence to sixty days and the total to sixty five.
Well, today is No. 1.
Love this article; from the goofy title, to the oddly sarcastic tone throughout.

I think offering to fight a judge is always a bad idea.

Government Behaving Badly

A pair of posts from other blogs that are well worth reading.
Let me repeat that: Gov. Rick Perry of Texas wants to put in charge of his state's public schools a woman who wants to destroy those schools.

Perry doesn't just want to hire the giggling firebug, he wants to make her the fire chief.
What Obama is saying is this: we'll give real trials only to those detainees we know in advance we will convict. For those we don't think we can convict in a real court, we'll get convictions in the military commissions I'm creating. For those we can't convict even in my military commissions, we'll just imprison them anyway with no charges ("preventively detain" them).
Glenn Greenwald

On the plus side Gov. Rick Perry may not appoint the giggling firebug. Hard to find an upside in the Greenwald story, though.

Sarah Palin, Again

I saw this article early on in my review, but kept looking around, hoping to find something else. But nothing else really piqued my interest; so here we are. Ross McKenzie's latest article starts with an an intriguing question, to wit, "Does it make any sense, what Sarah Palin has done?"

He concludes, unsurprisingly, that we don't really know why Palin did it, but he seems to hope that she did it in order to save the party.
With the Republican Party increasingly leaderless and seemingly on a descent into the maelstrom, the conservative/moderate remnant may require a galvanic force. A leader. An opposition on the British model, the sort of opposition rarely seen in America - if ever.

. . . with the ethics process in Alaska having been turned against her for partisan/ideological purposes, and proving crippling financially, and a disabling distraction, she may have decided that if she is even to try to serve as a catalytic agent for conservatives and moderates nationwide, she has to devote her energies to that task full-time.
So there you go; Sarah Palin has proven her leadership by resigning. Honestly the article seems a bit tentative; MacKenzie doesn't really want to crawl too far out on that particular limb, even if he is hopeful about Palin.

The Republicans aren't likely to be this demoralized forever, but it's enjoyable to watch for now.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

News From the Past - July 8, 1929

Short one today, about an "Amazon." This is from the Chester Times out of Chester, Pennsylvania.
NAPJERVILLE. Ill., July 8—Laura Weaver, 21, described by police as possessing Amazonian strength, had confessed today she strangled her common-law husband, Wilbur Kitselman, 52, and then burned his body near Annawan, III.
Of course you have to look at this within the confines of the day - Amazon was not intended in anyway shape or form as a compliment. And it's possible that a 52 year old guy marrying a 21 year old woman was not as odd as it might be today.

Kathleen Parker is going to be Attacked Again

Parker was one of the first and few conservatives to point out that Sarah Palin may not really be the savior of the party. And she took a lot of heat from her fellow conservatives for failing to recognize the homespun greatness of Palin. Well, her latest article isn't likely to turn that around.
When you're up to your waders in barracuda, blame the media.

And quit your job.

And say you did it for the people.

And hire an agent.

And try to keep a straight face.

On your way to the bank.

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, H.L. Mencken once said. Terribly elitist fellow, that Mencken. If only he were alive to witness the phenomenon of Sarah Palin, whose biography validates every cynical thought that ever found expression in his prolific prose.

Let's just say, Palin is in no danger of going broke. From her book contract alone, she never has to worry about money again, according to one close insider.
Parker isn't wrong; but I doubt expressing these sorts of opinions is going to endear her to the conservative base.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

News From the Past - July 7, 1929

A timely story, considering Ms. Charen's article earlier; this is from the San Antonio Light, for Sunday, July 7.
Turkish Women
Discard Veils 'N
'This and That'

CONSTANTINOPLE, July 6.— (INS) — Young Turkish women, caught in the whirlwind of modernism, have not only discarded the face veil, but some of them have discarded nearly everything else.
A new system of German exercises has been introduced throughout the republic and is being adopted generally. Some of the young women who have gone in for the exercises are practically nude, while taking part in the athletic drills.
Physical culture is taking such an important place in the education of young Turkish women that the government has decided to establish a director of physical culture at Angora, the seat of government.
A few points - apparently the young Turkish men were lazy slobs. But then again maybe they just preferred to watch?

I'm also curious about this "new system of German exercises."

From the "What the Hell" department

"I think on a national level, your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we've been charged with and automatically throw them out." - Sarah Palin
Look I'm generally done with Sarah Palin; she ran for the Vice Presidency, made a less than strong showing, and now she's not even Governor of Alaska. Who cares? But sometimes you read a quote that just calls out to you.

This quote read like an onion/SNL parody, but it turns out to be genuine according to ABS. As the article notes, there is no Department of Law.

The Burqa

Mona Charen's latest article takes on the Burqa, and France's recent decision to ban it. For those who don't know what a Burqa is, well, she handily provides a description.
Unlike the headscarf, which covers a woman's hair but leaves her face visible, the burqa is a head-to-toe covering that makes walking draperies of women. Some, like the chador worn in Afghanistan, feature a mesh covering for the face. The Saudi version usually sports a slit for the eyes. . . . Available in your choice of Navy Blue, Brown, or Saudi Black." Yes "Saudi black." In a country where summertime temperatures often reach 120 Fahrenheit, the geniuses designed a garment for women that is stifling and black.
She says that it would probably be unconstitutional for the United States to ban the Burqa but that as individuals we can resist it.
The French approach would be constitutionally complicated in America. But as C.C. Colton observed, "The law allows what honor forbids." For all men and women who consider themselves enlightened, fighting off the burqa should be a matter of honor.
It seems to escape Charen's notice that some women might choose to wear the Burqa of their own free will. In which case, I'm not sure anybody but the woman involved should make the decision.

Monday, July 06, 2009

News From the Past - July 6, 1929

This is from a paper called, simply enough, The News, from Fredrick, Maryland
New Orleans, July 6 (AP) - Three street cars were burned at the Canal street barn early today in addition to one destroyed at the food of Canal street yesterday. Other cars went out on the line were practically demolished before the City Council instructed that all attempts at operating cars be halted during the carmen's strike.
Police riot guns, tear bombs, and high pressure streams of water were used to quell the services and interrupt the almost continuous stoning of railway premises by union sympathizers in the crowd of several thousands. Police warned the union men they would take their lives in their hands if they sought to force entrance into the barn.
I'll just note that the "fair and balanced" way American Media treats Union matters has deep roots.

Bill O'Reilly - Language Nazi

Yep Bill O'Reilly has written a new article over at Townhall where he is angry that more people don't talk like him. He brings up 1 1/2 ones from his own world and then several hip hop phrases (old-timey hip hop phrases) that he doesn't like.
That cliche comes from the hip-hop world, which has done more to ruin the English language than Paris Hilton. But the rappers have won this lexicon battle.
In fairness the rappers outnumber Paris Hilton both in number and in actual talent.

For his next article, Bill O'Reilly should take on the pressing issue of why kids are always tramping through his lawn.

Oh I titled this article that just as a tweak; obviously as a freedom liker, O'Reilly presumably believes that only liberals strive to control speech.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

News from the Past - July 5, 1929

A grim warning from The Pointer, from Riverdale Illinois, on Friday July 5, 1929.
Thistles and Weeds
Notice—All Canada Thistles and obnoxious weeds growing in the village of Riverdale must be cut and destroyed. Those failing to comply with the state law and village ordinance will be prosecuted.
WIEBE VANDERVEEN, Thistle Commissioner.
I wonder how you get to be thistle commissioner? Do you campaign for it? Or is it appointment? At any rate, Vanderveen certainly seems committed.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

News from the Past - July 4, 1929

This is from the Waterloo Evening Courier, where they are concerned about the morals of Des Moines.

Des Moines Crazy
for Divorces; 52
Split in 2 Days
Des Moines, July 4.—(UP)—A divorce craze apparently has hit Des Moines.
In the past two days 53 divorces have been granted here, during which time no suits have been refused.
Tuesday was the banner day, when 28 couples severed their marital ties, and yesterday 24 more couples called it "quits."
In yesterday's actions, one woman was granted a divorce because her "husband insisted on dolling up every night and leaving home," while a man was declared victor when he testified that his wife "pulled my hair and scratched me."
A policeman won his suit for separation when he said that his wife was too hardbodied.
OK that last one seems a little sad.

Friday, July 03, 2009

News from the Past - July 3, 1929

This is from the Clovis New Mexico Evening News Journal - a very depressing newspaper.

(By The Associated Prigss)
WINNIPEG, Man., July 3 - A violent explosion, which, shook nearby buildings, caused injury to two persons and damage to the basement of the Jewish orphanage on Matheson Avenue, North Winnipeg last night.Children at the orphanage escaped injury.
Almost every other story involved death, so this is relatively upbeat.
Family of Six Wiped Out In An Ax Murder

Two Found Dead On a Kentucky Highway Today

Two Plunge Off Mountain Ledge To Their Death

Houston Youth Slain; Companion Seriously Hurt

Firemen Killed in Crash With Train

Engineer Falls To Death From His Locomotive

OK that last one wasn't so bad.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

News From the Past - July 2, 1929

This story is from the Lethbridge Herald, out of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
Banker Kidnapped
But Makes Escape

NUTLEY N.J. July 2—Reappearing as mysteriously as he disappeared last Wednesday, Willard H. Elliott Passaic banker walked into the Nutley police station early this morning and told of his having been kidnapped and held captive by three men. Except tor a several days growth of beard, the missing banker appearred none the worse for his experience. He said no threats had been made by his captors nor any ransom demanded, and could assign no reason for his abduction.
After telling his story to tho police and telephoning Joan J. Roegner president cf the Hobart Trust Company where he was vice-president and treasurer, he left for his home in East Orange. He later declined to talk to newspapermen who telephoned there. He said last night he started drinking with his captors, and when they became drunk, managed to get away.
Yeah this is almost a companion to yesterdays story; except it seems like the Banker might not be telling the truth which would, parodoxically, make it a lot less interesting story.

I am curious as to how the newspapers knew about him drinking with his captors if he refused to talk to them. Maybe they are psychic.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

News from the Past - July 1, 1929

This is from the Fresno Bee, July 1, 1929. Odd story.
Wealthy Inventor
Denies He's Dead

SAN FRANCISCO, July 1 - (AP) - C.B. Huley, wealthy inventor, refused to admit he is dead even though his family has arranged for his funeral. The body of a well-dressed man, answering Haley's description, washed up on Brighton Beach and was identified by Haley's relatives. The inventor was on a business trip in Los Angeles and returned to halt funeral plans.
Yeah I think that would be awkward.

"That's not me."

"But Dad, you have to understand. He's so well dressed."

Yeah a bit awkward.

The Forgotten Wealthy

Michael Medved's latest article is a paean to the forgotten millionaire, the ones we have been making songs attacking for a long time (he quotes several of these songs). But is that really fair?
The presence of unimaginably wealthy people enriches our area in both tangible and intangible terms. Its not just the obvious addition to the tax base, or the lavish level of charitable giving with local museums, parklands, performing arts institutions, universities, sports stadiums and much more benefiting handsomely from the generosity of the Gates family, or of his idiosyncratic Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen. Theres also an energy, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and a sense of world class swagger, that comes to any community thats able to spawn and retain some of the most productive and powerful entrepreneurs in existence. Far from swallowing up limited resources that would otherwise nourish the middle class and the poor, a citys most successful businessmen generate and contribute resources that benefit everyone.
So far so good, but Medved does leave out a couple of points.

First of all, you have to ask how they made their millions; some people acquire money through base or immoral means. Yeah it's nice that a plutocrat might build a museum, but if he acquired the money to build that museum by exploiting the city's worker or polluting the city environment, well it might not be a net gain.

Secondly most wealthy who run industries don't choose to live in exactly the same communities as those industries. If you are wealthy, why would you want to live next to a manufacturing plant? Rather you move to a large urban center.

Thirdly he notes that people like it when a wealthy person moves into their neighborhood and dislike it when a poor person moves into their neighborhood. This proves we like wealthy people more. Or it proves that we are very sensitive about home values (this part of Medved's article is pretty nasty).

Finally, Medved's larger point is something that Conservatives believe generally, which is that the Wealthy's interests should be the interests of society in general. That whatever the wealthy want, the poor should want that as well. That has always struck me as faulty logic. While I am not keen on demonizing the wealthy as a class, it should be obvious to all that what is good for the wealthy is not necessarily good for the rest of us.