Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blunt kicks butt

Great article about the governor. The vitriol and aspersions cast his way have melted away in the face of budget surpluses, principled stands and good economic news.

United 93

Joe and I finally saw United 93 last night. Where do I begin?

As a movie, it's a little slow. Showing the people getting onto flights, the air traffic controllers, the military, everyone. Starts off as if it's just another day in the aviation world.

But tension slowly unfolds. You know what lies ahead but you're still waiting for things to happen. All the sudden the first plane hits the WTC. Then the second. Then the Pentagon gets hit. It's only a matter of time till the hijackers finally take over. They murder the innocent pilots of Flight 93 and a few other passengers are killed. They threaten passengers with a bomb. And the whole time, they're praying to God. Somehow they feel He wants this.

To think these passengers were able to fend off the hijackers and divert the plane is astonishing. The plane was twisting all over the place but they somehow managed to get through. It's hard enough walking down an airplane aisle when it's on the ground. Just going having it rapidly turn. But as quickly as the commotion started, it ends. You don't need to told what happened. You just know.

It also shows the pandamonium taking place in the country. The FAA didn't know what was going on, the air traffic controllers didn't know, the military didn't know. The people on the doomed flights didn't know what was happened, everything just happened too fast.

One thing I liked about this film is the portrayal of the terrorists. These guys were smart young men. They weren't wearing turbins or another, they looked like everyone else. Yet their moves were cold and calculated and you saw they were nervous. After all, they thought they were doing what God wanted. Fortunately, this film doesn't show sympathy for them. They were accurately shown as cold hearted savages. They had a plan, were focused and had the skills to carry out their mission.

Luckily, on Flight 93, the terrorists ran into some fearless people. These people acted quickly and decisively, even while facing death. We'll never know how many other lives they saved. But this movie was a great memorial to the thousands that perished that day.

The part that got me was when the passengers talked about getting the former pilot up front. If the plane hadn't been so low and they could have gotten the hijacker out quicker, the passengers could have been saved. You keep hoping it will happen. But in the end, you know their fate.

See this movie. Not so much for the movie itself. Rather, it's a wakeup call for what happened that day. I know many people thought this movie came out "too soon." Others thought it was Hollywood cashing in on tragedy. But we should be reminded of what happened on September 11, 2001 and pray such an attack never happens again.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

smack down.

Dean Esmay (http://www.deanesmay.com/), who usually is pretty reasoned and respectful, absolutely craps himself in an argument with Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch. Spencer makes Esmay look like a complete idiot. One can almost see the people who respect him dwindling to single digits. I wish Spencer's argument were wrong and Esmay's correct, but it's hard to reasonably say that is the case. Esmay should pick his fights more carefully and lay off the vituperation and ad hominem attacks.

Friday, May 26, 2006

VDH rules

Damn, I wish I could write like this. Read this and remember the real reason we have off monday.

one guy I can support

Jim Talent is a good man and deserves to be re-elected. Not that my puny voice really carries any weight. He actually has the guts to make a meaningful immigration package. He may look like a complete nerd, but he's a mensch in my book. Perhaps because he is from the Mid-west where the Latino pressure groups aren't as strong and where people still tend to favor actions over rhetoric, he can act for the good of the country as a whole.
He also voted against the McCain guest worker provision. For me, this provision is a bad deal for the States (millions of unskilled workers) and even more so for the workers themselves. It seems to me that the creation of a permanent unskilled class which only does our menial labor and never gets to become of member of the country is somewhat akin to the helots in ancient Sparta who labored to provide the citizens with the idle time to train for war. These helots had very few rights, could not become citizens and never grew rich. We were not based upon the ideal of Sparta, but on Athens where all citizens participated in the governance of the state (true, they had some slaves, but it is the ideal we hoped to emulate, not the total society). This provision would create a class of powerless, resentful and downtrodden people with no vested interest in our society besides that of a paycheck. It is not immigration, which I support, but the creation of something closely akin to slavery, which cost us 450K men to extinguish. We can do better and people wishing to come to this country deserve better.

Censure Carter

Go to the site advocating the censure of Jimmy Carter. If you ever read this blog you know how I feel about the man. His own words speak for themselves.

Also check out this article. True, it's a few months old talk of censuring Bush is old news. So maybe I'm a little behind on world events. But hey, anything to put Jimmy Carter in his place is okay with me. Of course with Castro speaking in one ear and Chavez speaking in the other, Jimmy probably wouldn't hear you.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's time for a revolution

That's it. I can't stand it anymore. The crassness and cravenness of our elected officials is staggering. The Republican's defense of William Jefferson is appalling. The basis of this country is that every man is equal before the law, not some more equal (to steal from Orwell). This bloated, entitlement ridden, fat-cat, free-loading, holy-than-thou, opportunistic, fraudulent, thieving, cynical, complacent, privilege seeking, law shirking, lying class of politicos that have infested Washington DC need to all go (with the exception of very few). How dare they claim that they cannot be investigated by the FBI. Apparently, one could rape a nun while smoking a blunt and shooting a baby if one were a member of the government. It's sickening and it has to end.
I know about the separation of powers, but that does not imply diplomatic immunity or that the branches of government have no oversite over the other. The clause was put in there to avoid the capricious arrest of a rival governmental body, not to provide our representatives with privileges that no citizen can claim. We are on the steps to an oligarchy, and, if ancient Rome is to prove an example, tyranny or revolt are the only consequences.
I am not advocating violence, but rather a revolution of the mind and of our system. That is, that we go back to limited government so that capricious, grasping moral midgets such as those on the capital cannot wield power enough to enrich themselves and burden the average man. We need ethical people in power and checks upon the power of the government. Without those, the Visigoths will surely be at the gates soon enough.

dixie chicks

I'm a fan of country music (thought not more than rock), but I have always thought that the Dixie Chicks sucked and were musical posers. It's only in the context of Nashville that they looked authentically country. However, all that being said, they have been given a course in marketing, i.e. don't piss off your fanbase, and I find it hilarious.

I hate to say it, but this is a classic case of life imitating art. In "This is Spinal Tap" when David St. Hubbins is asked to comment upon the smaller venues and dwindling fan base that great his band, he responds: (not verbatim)

"I wouldn't say we have less fans but that our fans are getting more selective."

As always, it's not that the artist is an idiot or has lost their mojo, but that only a select, initiated few can understand their genius.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

ok, so it might be true.

I don't know. I wouldn't put the color-coding by religion past the mullahs of Iran. It happened in the past, it could happen again. The man who originally reported this is sticking by it. We'll see.

The Most Irritating Songs Ever

I can't say I agree with my brothers worst song assessment. For me it's a tie between "Kokomo" by the Beach Boys and "We Built This City" by Starship.

But then I can't decide. Are these songs really bad or just annoying? A question for the ages.

Monday, May 22, 2006

some interesting thoughts about Castro

Why won't he just die so Hollywood types don't have to make the obligatory pilgrimage. Seriously, this is a good, albeit too brief, analysis concerning Cuba, Venzuela and the US.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Good on ya, Europe

Hirsi Ali will not be deported from the Netherlands. Thank God. She needs to stay there to keep fighting, though a woman of her stature will always be welcomed in the USA.

Worst song EVER

I must say that it is a rare treat when one can find the absolute, no questions asked, will find none to surpass, worst of anything. Well, after years of searching, I've managed to find the worst song ever put to tape. This song combines a horrible, Spinal Tap-esque topic, absolutely unlistenable screeching guitars, gonads crushed in vise singing, make me want to give up on music phrasing and grotesquely unmeshable song parts with embarrassingly incoherent lyrics. And, to make everything better, it goes on for the better part of 13 minutes. Many times one thinks that it must be over, that God would not allow such ordure to pollute the air for that long and then, bam, they go into another laughable refrain or 1st year of lessons, guitar solo.
The song: "Loch Ness" by Judas Priest. I'm pretty sure that if Nessy weren't dead in the bottom of the Loch, this would have killed her, or at least driven her into the WPP. One wishes that Judas Priest would not sully their rock-reputation by producing such drivel. I can't believe the listener can't hear the engineers and producers laughing in the background. The lyrics are so bad it makes one wish that Shakespeare could rise from the dead and rip out their tongues for their assault upon the English language.
I whole-heartedly recommend everybody find this song and listen to it. If you can disagree with my assessment then, well, something is wrong with you. It's so laughable it's kind of sad. Don't worry, they're rich, they don't care.

or maybe not(?)

Seems there are some doubting the story of Iran making non-Muslims wear identifying clothing (see previous post). Wish we had people checking facts like this with the Qur'an in the toilet story. We'll see if it's true or not. I hope not.

this positively sickens me.

The trains and ovens are only a short step away. Where are all the "peace loving" people of the world? Where is Europe? Where is our own government? Where are all the people who care about human rights? Oh, yeah, they are too busy seeing if we accidently dropped a pork chop in a prisoner's meal in Guantanamo. "Never again" has been replaced by a shrug and a Che t-shirt.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Although I was a bit underwhelmed by Bush's speech, I do think it is a step in the right direction that we are even debating it in Congress. It appears we are having a wall built after all, which is a good thing. I'm very leery of the amnesty by another name and the guest worker program. The heritage foundation study (sorry, no link) that says that the immigration proposal proffered by Hegel and Martinez would allow over 200 million (yeah, you read right) immigrants into the country the next 20 years seems like cultural and political suicide. I think the house is headed in a better direction for they are stressing enforcement first. We'll see where this all leads. I pray that it isn't just political window dressing and posturing (which, btw, the 6,000 troops is-Dick Durbin's comment that we would need 150,000 is equally stupid and patently impossible). I hope that real solutions are being debated. We have no alternative. American culture isn't indestructible, even if it sometimes feel that way. I welcome immigrants, but not at such great numbers that we become overwhelmed and, having authored our own destruction, we, as a people, cease to exist.


Would the wailing and gnashing of teeth and flagellation please stop about Guantanamo Bay. These guys are getting better treatment than our prisoners being held for shoplifting. Now, we need to ascertain whether or not those held should be there, but that is a totally different matter.

my g/f agrees

She agrees with my analysis of military vs. hospital dramas. Never thought she would. She also added that hospital shows have gossip and relationships, something one doesn't really find in war movies.

What is the Spanish word for "chutzpah"

Mexico is a joke and the only bigger joke is that fact that we allow them to dictate our border policy. Now Mexico is considering legal action if we send troops to the borders to stop their citizens from illegally entering. Excuse me, doesn't Mexico do the same with their Southern border? Why do we listen to this banana republic? No wonder people are fleeing there by the millions. I have a hard time blaming them in that regard.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Europe's loss/ our gain

Never again will I tolerate any snooty European trying to lecture me about the superiority of Europe and the evils of our political system. A real political refugee, a women who is marked for death by Islamicists everywhere, a women whose friend and collaborator, Theo Van Gogh, was ritually slaughtered in the streets of Amsterdam, is now being deported out of the Netherlands because of irregularities in her initial immigration application.
It pains me to say so, but Europe is sick and craven and has destroyed whatever honor she once had. Western civilization is being burnt to the ground and Europe is having an orgy on the ashes. Oriana Fallaci cannot enter it any more, the proprietor of websites in Norway showing the Muhammad cartoons of dread is threatened with criminal action along with the founder of the Brussels Journal and Ali is being deported all for the sin of deviating from the socialist thought of the ruling classes of Europe.
I have been to Europe several times and have many friends there. It's people are too great and it's legacy to glorious to give it up for some free health care. Please, Europe, at least allow people free expression and the ability to dissent from the party line. Samizdat is needed once again for Europe is no longer free.

tv shows

I'm presently taping "Gray's (sp?) Anatomy" (aka 'sex with interns') for my girlfriend (yeah, I'm that great of a boyfriend), and it made me think of different entertainment choices of men and women. I can't get my girlfriend to watch more than five minutes of a war movie and she can get me to devote even less time to a hospital show. They are both drama shows, but I don't know many women who like war movies and absolutely no men who like hospital shows (besides Scrubs, which is a spoof). True the sample is limited, but I think it's pretty sound.
I think the reason is that women, on a whole, appreciate heroism, but get a little more squimish when the heroism might entail aggression or personal danger. True, this is pure sterotyping, but I prefer to think of it as acknowledging a trend. Men like to watch a war movie and hope that we would be brave and steadfast like the hero. Women watch a hospital drama and appreciate the ultimate act of selfless nurturing. The fact that man are inerently more prone to take risks (stupid and otherwise), makes war a more attractive possibility. Many people have said that one can only test their true mettle under fire, and for men, a hospital drama lacks the sense of personal danger that we find so appealing and enticing.
This could be pure drivel, driven by purely anecdotal observations, but it does make sense in many regards.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

jumping ship

Seems conservatives are jumping ship on Bush (although I don't buy the 29% approval rating. The methodology is severly flawed. Rasmussen, a traditionally more accurate poll, puts him at 41%. Still lousy, but very different). Congress if faring even worse. Whearas I only see the Democrats taking one house of Congress or the other, I do think that the right wing is sending a message to our elected officials. Spendhogs like Lott need to go and they need to embrace the fiscally responsible platform upon which they first seized power. Coburn needs to be the face of the Republican party if they wish to lure back libertarian/conservative voters.
As well, they need to pay attention to our concerns about immigration, taxes and energy policy. It appears a shot is being fired across their bow. We'll see if they are smart enough to change course. My money is on no. I cannot vote for the Democrats as they are presently constituted, but I don't see how I can vote Republican either. What is a principled man to do?

Jean Francois Revel

In honor of the man's passing, I order several of his books and am presently reading Without Marx or Jesus. Good book, although I think his premise has turned out differently than he first thought. Yes, there was a revolution, but it was in the direction of Reagan, not McGovern. However, he acurately conveys the inherent restlessness and vitality of the States. We are nothing if not an unctious lot.
I remember reading an article in Macleans (a Canadian publication) which profiled him (sorry, can't find it. Twas four years ago). It always blew me away because the article talked about how the French value and honor their philosophers in a way that the USA doesn't. I found the article tedious for two reasons. First, why was a Canadian publication comparing France to the US, not Canada. It's typical of the magazine I found. Anything positive in the world needs to be contrasted with the USA, for balance I suppose. The second salient fact that escaped the author was that JFR was a very pro-American author (at least philosophically, not always politically) and that his work appeared to have very little influence on French society as a whole. If he were so revered, why did he not make more converts?
This is not to mock JFR, for I find him to be a brilliant, insightful man who is not leaden with Foucoult or Satre's intentional opaqueness and obfiscution. It's a comment that societies easily make rock stars out of people and still can readily disregard what they think. All that being said, he will be sorely missed, a man unafraid of the truth, a man unafraid to speak his mind with the mental incisiveness to say it well. The only question remains, can France produce a successor?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

let kids be kids

Speaking of John Stossel, I saw one of his articles about kids and designer clothes. Parents are paying hundreds of dollars so their children can have Versace and other top line clothing. People are even paying $400 for their childrens raincoats. Children are also becoming runway models, wearing mini skirts, etc. No surprise here: a lot of these runway kids (or soon to be runaway) are sporting clothing developed by none other than Madonna.

I'm not gonna go into a rant about what has happened to our world, we have no morals, the apocolypse is coming because of this. No doomsday scenarios are coming from me. It's too easy to say everything is going to hell when you read a story like this.

My main problem is that it reflects on how pathetic these parents are. If they need their children to be wearing expensive so THEY get noticed, frankly, it sounds downright bipolar to me. The parents must not feel good about their children if they "value" them spending $400 for a raincoat. The only reason why a child would even be concerned about his clothing would be 1) if his or her parents told them to be 2) if other children ridiculed them for their clothing.

This article doesn't really concern me because it isn't normal behavior. Take any decent group of people and they'll find this absolutely preposterous. Well, at least in the circles I hang around.

This story doesnt make me want to talk about a world gone mad cause frankly, it's always been mad (sorry Greatest Generation, but it's true). Though I'll concede, this craziness probably didn't happen during the days of Ike.

But if parents believe the secret to having happy kids that "fit in" is buying them expensive clothing, well, they must be raising children that don't like themselves. It's a dangerous proposition because kids need to learn how to value themselves and who they are as a person, not what they wear around their peers.

Something to say, but not much

Sorry folks, my mind has been elsewhere and I haven't had anything to write about. Working, schooling, doing a ton of freelance copywriting work, plus I'm composing a newsletter for my old scout troop.

Main thing I've paid attention to is the NHL playoffs. At this I'm thinking the finals will be Anaheim vs Buffalo. Hoping that a team that has never won will raise Lord Stanley this year. Either of those teams or Carolina would be fine. I hope Ottawas playoff misery continues and Colorado, Edmonton and New Jersey have won enough, I'm hoping for someone else.

Seriously, I don't have anything to say right now. I'm sort of paying attention to politics but I really don't care that much. Although I did catch John Stossel on the O'Reilly Factor, sounds like the man can't have too many friends at ABC. Kudos to him for not toeing the liberal line.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

thinking more.

Been thinking a bit more about Dean Esmay's article yesterday (see post below). How is it that the same people who think that the people of the Middle East can embrace democracy and join the civilized world (read: neocons) are somehow islamophobic, while those who think that Middle Easterners will never be able to behave responsibly and, therefore, we should just let them live the way they feel, no matter the consequences here and abroad, are somehow enlightened and progressive? Explain to me how understanding a culture entails accepting it, no matter how deep and severe the faults. We have a responsibility to understand Islam, but not to accept the political thuggery and despotic ordering of their societies which plagues them.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I love it

Total takedown of the Loose Change documentary (I use that in almost the same sense that Al Jezzeera is a news source). Shame on the people who think that our government did this. Go join the Unabomber, the Birchers, the Tri-lateral Commision people, Mike Meyer's father in "So I Married an Axe Murderer" and the Timothy McVeigh out in the woods of Montana and leave the rational people alone. Colonel Sanders didn't destroy the towers.

Great contrarian post

Good post by Dean Esmay about Islamaphobia (a term which I categorically reject as intellectually lazy, politically correct and smacking of group-think). I disagree with many of Dean's points, especially with what appears to be only a superficial knowledge of the Qur'an, ahadith and sura and the history of Islam. However, that doesn't make his fisking unneeded or spot on. The comments are also contain a reasonable discussion, not vitriolic spittle spattering contests. The post, however, never answers two salient question: 1) is the fact that there are moderate Muslims an aberration or result of Islam and 2) is not the fact that the Qur'an is believed to be the literal word of God (down to the fact that God spoke arabic) and Muhammad the perfect example of piety a signifcant, maybe fatal stumbling block towards modernization.
The lucky thing about Christianity is that it is awfully vague. It created guidelines for ethics and morality, but often left out the many specifics. True, many people stepped into the void, for right or wrong, but, ultimately, the individual is left with the decision concerning morality. Perhaps the most crucial aspect of this line of thought is that the individual is paramount and equal because God has created us all. If nothing else politically is distilled from Christianity, this still remains, undiminished.This is not to say that Christianity is superior as a religion (we'll only find that out when we are dead), but whether it has provided a more sound foundation for our modern way of thinking. This vagueness allowed us to create the American Constitution (and the 17th British Bill of Rights), which, whilst acknowledging Christianity as the foundation of the line of thinking, did not proscribe it as the law of the land. This latitude allowed human reason and logic to step into the breach.
Does Islam contain this flexibility or will it develop it? (two very different questions) That is the question. Judaism certainly did. I have moments when I believe it can, and many when I think we are doomed. Time will tell.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

my town

I would like to talk a bit about my hometown and current choice of residence, St. Louis. For a long time (since about '45), St. Louis has been in a perpetual decline, hemorrhaging occupants, and, more importantly, young occupants. During the 60's, 70's and 80's it was jockeying with Detroit for greatest symbol of urban decay and incompetent governance in the USA. Growing up, my friends could not wait to get out for as everybody lamented "nothing happens here." In a sense it was true. St. Louis had become a hollowed out core with a ring of nice, but unexciting suburbs. (note of disclosure: I came from Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis and truly love the place. Best city in the world to raise kids and one with a true sense of community. I am not an inherent suburb hater like so many urbanites like myself. It has it's place, but it is not a general source of dynamism for a city). Young people left in droves for Chicago, NY, LA and Denver. Most of my friends left to find cities more accommodating having a good time and finding cool jobs.

However, something has happened. In the mid 90's people began rehabbing the old beautiful buildings in such places as Soulard and Lafayette Sq (the process actually began in the 70's but gained true momentum in the mid 90's) and soon spread all over the south side. Soon the CWE replaced Clayton as the hip and chic place to live and it's beauty now rivals anywhere in the US. Even the downtown, once a ghost town after 5 PM started showing signs of shaking off it's 100 year old doldrums. But, more importantly, around the turn of the millennium, St. Louis experienced an attitude shift. This was subtle and imperceptible, but no longer would people say that "St. Louis sucks" and yearn for greener pastures. People, especially young people, starting taking pride in the city, boasting of its many charms, instead of denigrating its equally numerous faults. It still loses young people, but now it is a net importer of young people instead of exporter. We who left (I did for graduate school, but returned) no longer looked at those who remained as poor souls trapped in purgatory. I found myself longing for the city and its unique weirdness. My girlfriend decided to stay for the same reason that I returned, because we were interested in living in a place that was becoming rather than was already established.

There is still a long way to go, but there are more developments happening now than what happened in the 60's, 70's or 80's. The streets are filling up again (slowly, of course, construction takes time), but, more importantly, the sense of pride is returning. Buildings no longer lie vacant and infill buildings are arising for the first time. The first skyscraper in the city since the 60's is being built, and that is being joined by up to ten others. For us, that's quite a bit. The south side is filling up and soon, the north side, much more rough and decrepit, beckons. St. Louis will again be the great, dynamic city it once was and not the backdrop for "Escape from New York" anymore.

Monday, May 01, 2006

um, three years late.

Glad Clooney is finally on board for something we evil Neo-cons have been clamoring about the last decade or so. Of course, we can't use military force to stop the genocide, so what should we do. Their principles are finally right on this one (that is, on the side of freedom), but once again, I doubt that any real solutions will actually ever be proferred. It's sad that pacifism has become such a tenent of faith amongst the hard core left that the West is paralyzed in the face of true genocide.

immigration rally

In case you have been living under a rock (like my brother Mike, but that's a totally different issue), you would know that various groups have organized a protest today to try and shut down America. I can say that it didn't work. Well, St. Louis didn't shut down, at least. In fact, pretty much only portions of LA were shut down. I think that the majority of Latino immigrants are starting to realize that they are not helping their case very much by protesting in the streets demanding rights for doing something illegal, no matter the situation that propelled them to do so. It must also really chap those Latinos who legally immigrated here to see people defining their ethnicity purely in terms of being here illegally to do work picking lettuce.
I sympathize with those that are here, that are stuck in a legal limbo simply for wanting a better life for themselves. We need to deal with that problem. We, however, need to stop the flow of illegals or the situation could very well spiral out of control. Securing the borders is the first priority and we can debate after that.
I also must chastise those that employ illegals for rates well below what the market is offering. Those people are taking advantage of illegals situation and should be punished.
At the risk of sounding cliche'd, I think the illegal marches have jumped the shark. We'll see. That's purely an instinctive guess (or perhaps wishful thinking), but the massive shut downs have not occurred throughout the country. There is indeed a symbiotic relationship between immigrants and the US, but we are certainly not dependent.
One final note, the "la raza"/mecha people can kiss my butt. Racism sucks no matter the color and just being an oppressed "brown" person doesn't give one a license to act like a clown in a white hood.