Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Whoopi Goldberg: The Authority On Un-Funny Comedy

Billy Crystal and Comic Relief forced her upon me in the 80s. Star Trek forced her in The Next Generation in the 90s. The Acadamy forced her upon me as the host of an Oscar show in the late 90s. Now Warner Brothers is forcing her upon me on DVD.

The third boxed set of Loony Toons cartoons features some of the older work from the Warner Brothers animators... and thus a little adult in terms of potentially racist caricatures. How to release such material in such a PC market? Easily, get a radically un-funny black celebrity known for poor taste and vulgarity to remind us that race and gender jokes are not funny... and which black woman epitomizes lack of talent, humor, taste, and sense better than Whoopi Goldberg?

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (I'm praying, not swearing)... what a load of nonsense. Apparently, you cannot skip the little intro.

James Lileks' Bleat from Monday November 28th
...She brings with her a strange set of implications: in another dimension, people think she is funny, but in private even those people do not think she is funny, but they do not dwell on the matter. Apparently to us yokels her presence is meant to indicate the presence, or at least the imminence, of hilarity. She warns us about the cartoons we are soon to behold. Warns us! It seems – odd as this may sound - they had many unexamined casual racial sterotypes back then, and these images found their way into cartoons. These jokes “hurt people of color, women and ethnic groups.” Somehow I doubt stupid barefoot idiot hillbillies are an ethnic group. But they’re mercilessly mocked – not only for their appearance or lack of intelligence, but their inability to resist the instructions of a rabbit whose square-dancing calls have the force of law.

Freedomdogs: Great, But Brace for PC Briefing
...We get it, we really, really get it. I would not have had a problem if they had put this in as an optional comment in the special features—still shows they care about the issue, but does not sock you in the teeth making you cringe each time you put in the disc. And better still, they should have had it presented by one of the old WB guard from his perspective. Using politically volatile person like Whoppi makes it seem like such a cave in to the strong arm of the new Hollyweird kingpins.

Bogus Gold: You May Not Laugh at This Cartoon
Non-skippable intros on DVD's is enough to raise my hackels alone. But being unexpectedly and inescapably sermonized by the Reverend-only-when-she-chooses-to-lecture-others Whoopi Goldberg ought to be prosecuted as a crime against humanity.

I don't know what bothers me more. The notion of the Orwellian thought police attempting to police our laughter, or the notion that Whoopi Goldberg has moral standing to lecture others on the topic. Or maybe instead it's the idea that Warner Brothers thought this was a "must have" on this release.

Mark Steyn: Hollywood's PC Perversion Stifles Storytelling
...unlike, say, Whoopi Goldberg's most memorable joke of recent years, the one at that 2004 all-star Democratic Party gala in New York where she compared President Bush to her, um, private parts. There's a gag for the ages.

I don't know what Whoopi's making such a meal about. It's true you don't see many positive images of people of color on ''Looney Tunes,'' but then the images of people of non-color aren't terribly positive either (Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam). Instead, you see positive images of ducks of color, roadrunners of color and tweety birds of color. How weirdly reductive to be so obsessed about something so peripheral to these cartoons that you stick the same damn Whoopi Goldberg health warning on all four DVDs in the box...

Powerline: Deflating the Whoopi Cushion
...I wonder if the stupefying effect of gearing films to such a low common denominator also contributes to the decline Steyn attributes to political correctness. Indeed, "the Whoopi cushion" may represent the infantalization of the Hollywood mentality as much as its sickening political conformity.

Some of the above links include a little reminder of Miss Goldberg's good taste in terms of racial humor... remember the gag she wrote for her then boyfriend Ted Danson?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Out of Town: Chicago

- Blog Closed for the Weekend -
Badda-Blogger out of town until Sunday evening with access to a computer and the Internet unlikely.

My taxi should be here any moment. When I arrive at the airport I hope to read one of the Politically Incorrect books (either American History, Science, or Islam and the Crusades), more from How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, some short stories by H. P. Lovecraft, or finish off P. J. O'Rourke's Parliament of Whores (which is damn good). I might grab a bite to eat to tide me over until the snack on my 7:00 am flight.

When I arrive I'll take a cab to my hotel, get checked in, take a shower, shave, get some real breakfast, and then register for (I hesitate to mention) the convention. (Suffice it to say that I'm a geek, you don't need to know what specific avenue of dweeb-hood I'm driving on.)

I might feel the urge to call home once a day to hear my boy... oh, and also to talk to the Dutiful and Beautiful Mrs. Badda-Blogger.

Enjoy the weekend.
(I hope my luggage doesn't get sent to Maine.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I Hate Turkey-Day

I love Thanksgiving, but I hate Turkey-Day.

"Gobble-gobble!" Shut your face.

It's called Thanksgiving. It isn't a festival of turkey meat. (Even though turkey tastes wonderful, we do not celebrate the turkey.)

Christmas isn't Present Day or the Tree Day (or the increasingly secularization of the holy day, The Winter Festival). Easter isn't Bunny Day or the Egg Festival. I even take time to say Independence Day when my friends and family reflexively say Fourth of July. To do otherwise trivializes the importance of the holiday... the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Kids may call it Turkey Day, schools may encourage such language, and some atheists and agnostics may wish to avoid any religious meaning... but it is Thanksgiving, a day of thanks not a day of turkey. We recognize the hardships in our lives and in the world. We recognize that which we are grateful for. We humble ourselves to those whose efforts tirelessly bring grace into our lives, freedom to those oppressed by tyranny, and joy to those in despair. We recognize that God created us, that He endowed us with rights, and that He watches over us.

The holiday is not a Catholic celebration. It is not a Protestant holiday. It is neither Jewish or Baptist. This is an American religious holiday. Religious Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. The pilgrims, the colonists, and the Founders understood the value of religion... it is this quality found in the spirit of America and her people. It is a religious holiday created by the faithful.

I have a theory. The Founders understood the problem with a state religion, as seen in England under George III. The Founders didn't want the (Federal) government to establish a religion, but expected the people to recognize God... that America would stand great with faith.

This will surely be misunderstood so I should refine this concept at a later time. Mitchell at Our Word heard me mention this topic earlier this year. He encouraged me to write it all down at the time... so this is what I get for putting it off. ;)

Anyway, back to the nonsense of calling Thanksgiving Turkey Day. Such people who use the words Turkey Day tend to be wary of religion (Christianity in particular), have trouble with their family, act rather cutesy, or some combination of the three. This is merely a generalization, so don't get bent out of shape... unless you're a Godless Commie. ;)

Failing to recognize the religious element of Thanksgiving (let alone the religious component of the founding of our country) is to willingly ignore the nose on your face. Note, I'm not saying that folks who don't celebrate Thanksgiving as a religious holiday are ruining the holiday... you can secularize Thanksgiving. I suspect a number of folks do. However, being thankful for your family and home and career and friends and opportunities leaves you thanking... who?

Thanking your parents, siblings, children, and relatives shows respect and loyalty to your family. Nothing wrong with that. Thanking your friends for their companionship also is good.

Who do you thank for your career? Your house? Your opportunities? Do you thank yourself? That would reduce Thanksgiving to a holiday of smugness and conceit, not humility and gratitude.

We thank those whom we are indebted to. We thank those responsible for our material success, such as our employers, our benefactors, our patrons, etc.

We also thank those responsible for our other successes. As a country, we thank our Creator for His generosity, His protection, His wisdom, and His love. Once a year isn't a heavy burden.

Enough with the cheers of Happy Turkey Day. Wish our fellow Americans a Happy Thanksgiving.

(Besides, I love a Thanksgiving meal of ham or meatballs.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Vonnegut is so DEEP

My grandmother was never this nutty when she was 83. She was a funny but tough old broad, and she would have thought Vonnegut to be a complete nut for saying some of the statements he's reported to have made.

...Vonnegut said it was "sweet and honourable" to die for what you believe in, and rejected the idea that terrorists were motivated by twisted religious beliefs.

"They are dying for their own self-respect," he said. "It's a terrible thing to deprive someone of their self-respect. It's like your culture is nothing, your race is nothing, you're nothing."

You have to read the article... then you have to read Lileks's Screedblog for today. ;)
One suspects that Mr. V would hesitate to extend the same respect to American volunteers; one suspects he would believe they were motivated by twisted beliefs, religious or otherwise. The very fact that they had volunteered to be cogs in the war machine would be suspect. To borrow from another WW2 movie: everyone in the military ought to be freed on the grounds of insanity, as only an insane man would willingly agree to serve.
At one point, Vonnegut suggests that suicide bombers must feel an "amazing high" before blowing themselves up. Lileks brings some desperately needed sense to Vonnegut's quoted comments.
Mr. Vonnegut – again, a patriot whose dissent is being cruelly ground into the nurturing earth before your eyes – seems to think that suicide bombings literally happen in a vacuum, an unpopulated space where the bombers just pop like soap bubbles. It may be painless for them – alas – but it is not painless for the victims. You’d think such an obvious observation would go without saying, but we are dealing with an intellectual.

God help those of the anti-war, peace-activist, Bush-hater brigade who use the likes of Vonnegut to represent the movement. I can't imagine who would, but whoever they are (and however many they are) they are in dire need of some air.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

FEMA Deadline: "...A Big Surprise"

Apparently a deadline for FEMA funding is as much of a surprise as the flooding in New Orleans.

Katrina Evacuees Worry About FEMA Deadline

Now, I can believe that some folks from New Orleans might be surprised that government money would run out, but since when was the flood a surprise?

The comments from kid are pretty surprising themselves. I mean, God help the guy for losing his home and having to stay elsewhere... it must be very trying. However, how long has it been? Calvin Jamison and his relatives have been staying in a hotel, but the deadline to find more permanent housing is coming December 1st. Apparently, that's not enough time.
"It's cramped. It's stressful. It's bad for your nutrition," Jamison says. "All you do is sleep all day. You can't really do nothing else."


"It's just like a big surprise, just like the flood was a big surprise," Jamison said.
The author of the story follows Calvin's first comment with this:
Now, they have added stress: a Dec. 1 government deadline to find more permanent housing, something they have been trying to do for two months.
She's provided no proof that sleeping in a hotel all day is stressful, nor has she shown any of the trouble that Calvin has had... other than quoting the kid.

Another. Bad. MSM. Writer.

We're probably not hearing enough stories of the folks who have moved on and put their lives back together. This story's author is merely writing the newspaper equivalent of a carnival Freak Show.

I bet if Calvin Jamison's mother was Tasha Henderson (from the Scared Straight story earlier today) he wouldn't have been sitting in a Dallas hotel sleeping all day for two months.

Scared Straight: Kid Cleans Up Act

Tough love or psychological scarring? You make the call. (Another story on this case can be found here.)

An Oklahoma City mom put her 14-year old daughter on a streetcorner with a cardboard sign to help snap her out of poor grades and bad behavior.

She made Coretha stand at a busy Oklahoma City intersection Nov. 4 with a cardboard sign that read: "I don't do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food."


While Henderson stood next to her daughter at the intersection, a passing motorist called police with a report of psychological abuse, and an Oklahoma City police officer took a report. Mother and daughter were asked to leave after about an hour, and no citation was issued. But the report was forwarded to the state Department of Human Services.

Here's a photo of the mother, the daughter, and the sign.

The Usual Suspects came out against it.

Donald Wertlieb, a professor of child development at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University, warned that such punishment could do extreme emotional damage. He said rewarding positive behavior is more effective.

"The trick is to catch them being good," he said. "It sounds like this mother has not had a chance to catch her child being good or is so upset over seeing her be bad, that's where the focus is."

The trick is to discipline the kid how you see fit. Considering some parents don't seem to do much it's refreshing to see someone using the stick as opposed to a bunch of carrots.

What's the old saying? When your toolbelt only has a hammer everything begins to look like a nail. Something like that.

Hail to you, mother of Coretha. You probably saved your girl's future... and maybe a couple of others, too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Say Something, Mr. President

Today, Morton Kondrake (or More-Tony Bennett-Less-Tony-Martin, and as John McLaughlin might call him) says: Finally, Bush Acts to Rebut the Charges That He 'Lied' on Iraq.
Why it took Bush so long to respond to his enemies is a mystery. Aides say that Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Ken Mehlman, Bush guru Karl Rove and the White House communications staff all wanted to be aggressive. It's not clear who didn't.

G.W. has long since played nice-nice with these folks. From the early days of his presidency, G.W. courted Teddy Kennedy for movies and popcorn at the White House.

Mort quotes Bush:

"While it is perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war," Bush said, "it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.

"The stakes are too high, the national interest too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and an enemy that is questioning America's will."

Hardly the defense you want to meet the challengers with. I'll take it though... at least he's saying something. What should he say?
Even now, the most definitive defense of Bush has come from the outside — from neo-conservative intellectual Norman Podhoretz in the December issue of "Commentary."

Let's take a look at what Podhoretz says in part of his e-mail: long as we are hunting for liars in this area, let me suggest that we begin with the Democrats now proclaiming that they were duped, and that we then broaden out to all those who in their desperation to delegitimize the larger policy being tested in Iraq—the policy of making the Middle East safe for America by making it safe for democracy—have consistently used distortion, misrepresentation, and selective perception to vilify as immoral a bold and noble enterprise and to brand as an ignominious defeat what is proving itself more and more every day to be a victory of American arms and a vindication of American ideals.

Nice closer for Norman!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

James Ellroy on Cops, Justice, and More

Today's National Review Online features a Q&A with James Ellroy... the author of the L.A. Quartet books. You probably know L.A. Confidential. That's number three. Maybe you know The Black Dahlia. That's number one.

The interview starts by mentioning an honor recently bestowed upon Ellroy by the LAPD. (He also mentions a run-in with the LAPD from the days of his youth.) Ellroy also talks about Rodney King, the OJ verdict, and justice today.

The questions turn briefly to politics. Ellroy remarks on the "screaming from both sides" and has advice for pundits and columnists.
Everyone should take note of Peggy Noonan's behavior. She's charming, reasonable, and she knows how to be conciliatory without giving up her soul.
Sound advice.

Director Brian DePalma is working on The Black Dahlia for a 2006 release. If it's half as good as Curtis Hanson's film L.A. Confidential was it will be worth seeing.

Regarding the adaptation of L.A. Confidential:

You take the money and you hope for the best. Sometimes you get lucky. L.A. Confidential was made into a great film. I'm confident that The Black Dahlia will be a great film as well. All of your readers should take great pains to see it next year.
I hope that film turns out well. I'd like to see another Brian DePalma film. I'm hoping for more Untouchables and less Scarface.

Using Rosa Like Wellstone!

Kathryn Lopez looks at Rosa Parks' funeral service and sees a political event... sounds like the Wellstone! Memorial! from three years ago.

Just listen to (the always available) Reverand Al Sharpton.

"I heard somebody say Jim Crow is who she fought and Jim Crow is still around. But Jim Crow is old. That's not who I'm mindful of today. The problem is Jim Crow has sons."


"One we gotta battle," Sharpton continued, "is James Crow Jr. Esq. He's a little more educated. He's a little slicker. He's a little more polished. But the results are the same. He doesn't put you in the back of the bus. He just puts referendums on the ballot to end affirmative action when you can't go to school. He doesn't call you a racial name, he just marginalizes your existence. He doesn't tell you that he's set against you, he sets up institutional racism. Where you have a nation respond looking for weapons in Iraq that are not there but can't see a hurricane in Louisiana that is there."

Kathryn takes time to mention some respectful words to honor Rosa. I'll let you see for yourself.

Zero Tolerance Runs Amok

Thanks to the zero-tolerance attitude that has been growing over the past fifteen years, we have a new high school production of Much Ado About Nothing staged by the school administration and the girls hockey team of Burnsville Senior High School: Hockey Initiation Brings Suspensions for Blaze Girls.

Let kids be kids, for crying out loud.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Not Out on a Limb: Ghoul "Protestors"

They are ghouls... if in fact these folks are for real. I mean, the thing happened, but you can't even begin to imagine who would do such a thing.

Local news outfit, KSTP (from the vast Hubbard empire), aired a story on a soldier's funeral in Hudson disturbed by some protestors. Who in the flamming hootie-hoo are these folks?

Joe Soucheray talked about it on Garage Logic in his first hour, and at least some of his second hour. I've been trying to track down the text of the story (or another report... somewhere, anywhere)... if I can find something I'll post it, or even transcribe the story.

Apparently one of the protestors (or more) claim to be Baptists... enough listeners of Joe's called in to say (essentially), "I'm a Baptist, and that guy ain't no Baptist."

I can't even say these folks are mere Leftists. I don't know a single Leftist who I'd think (for even a moment) that this kind of protest (if you can even call it that) is anything but beyond the pale.

11:00 AM News on Eyewitness News, KSTP Channel 5 (ABC affiliate for Minneapolis/St. Paul): Army Specialist Benjamin A. Smith

Mike Binkley (studio anchor): A traveling band of protestors disrupts a funeral for a U.S. soldier. Good morning, I'm Mike Binkley.

Vineeta Sawkar (studio anchor): And I'm Vineeta Sawkar. A fringe group from Kansas caused a scene outside this morning's service for Army Specialist Benjamin Smith of Hudson. Smith died last week while serving in Iraq. Jessica Miles is live in Hudson with more. Jessica.

Jessica Miles (live in Hudson, WI): Well Vineeta, Veterans' Day has a whole new meaning for the family of Army Specialist Ben Smith. He is, uh, was killed rather in Iraq about a week and a half ago. His funeral, right now, is going on in this church behind me. While there has been a lot of support out here there has also been a lot of anger and protest as well.

Video package:
(Protest sign says, "THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS".)
(Protest signs say, "THANK WMDs" and "GOD HATES YOU".)

Protestor: Fear God and keep his commandments.
(Motorcycle revving drowning out the protestor.)

(Protest sign says, "THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS".)
Jessica Miles (VO): With signs in hand, protestors stand on what would typically be a quiet corner in Hudson. Voicing verses from the Bible and slaming dead Army Specialist Ben Smith.

(Protest signs say, "FAGS DOOM NATIONS" and "YOUR PASTOR IS A WHORE".)
(Protest signs say, "THANK GOD FOR 9/11".)
(Protest signs say, "GOD HATES THE U.S.A.".)

Steve Drain, Protestor: This maudlin show of mourning and weeping and wailing, it's just a show. They hate that boy. They raised him with the devil. That's the truth of the matter.

[Voice drowned out by the sound of a motorcycle revving nearby.]

Jessica Miles (VO): Occasionally drowned out by the bike, it was more than difficult for family and friends to hear.

Andrew Dew, Soldier's Friend: It's kind of upsetting and angering. I mean, someone just died. I mean, if you're going to protest do it somewhere else this isn't the time.

(Sign says, "You're in our prayers! GOD BLESS YOU!!".)
Jessical Miles (VO): Dozens of people, many who never knew Ben Smith lined the streets in Hudson today waving flags and wiping tears, showing their support for a 21-year old killed by a roadside bomb.

Kurt Schoenrock, Supports Soldiers: It, its such a heavy burden our, our young people are carrying, that we have the day off. It is the least we could do was come down and show our support.

Jessical Miles (VO): Kathy Metcalf even brought her children, saying this is better than any message ever taught in school.

Kathy Metcalf, Supports Soldiers: Ben, Ben had died in service to our country and I felt it was important for myself and the kids to come out and honor him and the sacrifices he made for the Iraqi people and fighting the war against terror.

(Protest signs say, "USA = FAG NATION" and "GOD HATES THE U.S.A.".)

(Video of protestor standing on the American flag.)

Jessical Miles (VO):
Police had no problem with the protestors other than removing one sign. They were here for thirty minutes and then gone.


Jessica Miles (live in Hudson, WI): Well Army Specialist Ben Smith will be buried in the Northern Wisconsin Veterans' Memorial Cemetary later on this afternoon. We are live in Hudson, I'm Jessica Miles, 5 Eyewitness News.


On a related note, a Tennessee county bars protests near funerals.

Sounds like the same gang.
The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays. The church is not affiliated with a larger denomination and is made up mostly of Phelps' children, grandchildren and in-laws.

Of course, the guess-who-gang says this is a no-no.
"While most of us would be offended by a funeral protest, individuals do have a right to protest. Clay County can't pick and choose who the First Amendment applies to," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
You have a right to speak. You don't have a right to be heard, or to be heard by a specific group of folks... especially grieving folks.

Either way, it's a win-win situation. If a county or city bans such protests near funerals then the grieving folks are given peace. If a county or city allows such protests near funerals then the whole world will see what jackasses they are.

WQOW features the story on their website:

Funeral Services Held for Soldier from Hudson

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Honoring a National Treasure

Today, the President and the nation recognizes and gives thanks to several great Americans with the top civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

National Review looks at one of the honorees, Carol Burnett (a personal favorite of mine). Much like Dean Martin (another great talent with a hit comedy show back in the day), when I think of her I grin at least and often laugh.

Who else receives this award today?
Designers of the software code used to transmit data over the Internet.
A groundbreaking scholar of Soviet history, politics, and foreign policy.
A veterans' champion.
A hero hotel manager.
A boxer.
A golfer.
A baseball player.
A general.

Also, another personal favorite... a guy who has a voice and a delivery so distinct. You might not know his name, but you probably know his sound. If not for him, for any comedian who has done an impression of him.

Paul Harvey... good day!

(A local radio favorite, Tommy Mischke, has had some fun with Paul Harvey over the past 14 or more years of the Mischke Broadcast... he even played a Paul Harvey comercial that someone doctored to sound like an ad for a bong.)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Reworking a Picasso but Leaving the Signature

Nothing wrong with using the indefinite masculine to refer to anyone. Some chicks don't dig it. Apparently it's better to mangle the language.

David Gelernter writes about it in a column I found on Jewish World Review. He mentions the writers' handbook "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk, Jr., the '57 revision by his student E. B. White, the further version White revised in '72 and '79, and a recent revision from '99.

The new version violates what Strunk and White is all about.

The revision was done anonymously. The only new name on the title page is now the illustrator's. And the reviser has been unfaithful to Strunk and White. For starters, he changed White's signed introduction, a short memoir about Strunk — like reworking a Picasso but leaving the signature. He changed lots of other things too.


Adding insult to injury, the illustrated edition includes a page of credits, dedications, copyright notices and so forth — each printed separately and placed on the page at strange angles or upside down. Clever. The word "hello" sprawls across the inside front cover in fancy italics; "thank you," "and," "goodbye" appear on three pages at the end.

"Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, and the cute," say Strunk and White.

Thanks Miss Steinem... wait, it's Mrs. Bale now isn't it?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Religious Terrorists... From Today and 400 Years Ago

Captain Edmund Blackadder - "This Guy Fawkes bloke, do we let him off or what?"

As an American watching British television since at least the age of 10, I've resigned the fact that some cultural references go over my head.

Boxing Day was one. I sort-of got it after talking to some military guys who know one angle of the tradition.

Show jumping. "Cornonation Street". Boys' School literature (although the Michael Palin / Terry Jones parody series Ripping Yarns best show was the series opener, "Tomkinson's School Days" and is funny to me inspite of some of the lost subtlties of the genre). Cricket. I could come up with more. (However, I completely understand the appeal of kippers for breakfast... wonderful!)

Guy Fawkes Day also thuds on me as a cultural tradition. I've taken enough history classes to know the basics of the Gunpowder Plot, but the celebration of November 5th is elusive.

Bonfires. Fireworks. Effigies of Guy Fawkes carried about the neighborhood. Effigies of Fawkes (and some of the Pope!) burned.

So it's like Independance Day? No, not really... other than the fireworks, perhaps. So it would be like celebrating the capture and execution of Benedict Arnold? Maybe, but we haven't celebrated the death of a traitor for 400 years.

Best to go to a Brit for a little insight. We may not quite get it, but National Review's John Derbyshire connects the dots between oppressed Catholics at the beginning of the 17th century in England and today's radical Islamic terrorists.
Does any of this offer lessons to the many Muslims now living in Britain and America? Some commentators think so. Writing in the London Daily Telegraph a few days ago, Philip Johnston drew a parallel between the English Catholics of 1605 and the Muslims of present-day England. He congratulates his countrymen on their refusal to follow the jihadist bombings in London this year with a general persecution of Muslims: “As we remember once more the Fifth of November, let us also not forget what a frightened and intolerant society we once were and how far we have come in the intervening 400 years.”

I think Mr. Johnston’s self-satisfaction is misplaced. Muslims in present-day Britain enjoy full civil rights, and always have. The plotters of 1605 came from a background of decades of persecution, when Catholics had been dispossessed, exiled, hanged, and burned at the stake. Whatever you think of religious terrorism, Guy Fawkes’s grievances were real.

Pause for thought. We no longer live in the 17th century, and we've proven it. If we did, we would have seen a bloodbath in the streets in the days that followed September 11, 2001. There was no bloodbath in the streets.

However, there was dancing in the streets on September 11, 2001.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Wayback Machine: Ann Coulter "This is War", September 14, 2001

Controversial, to be sure. Often taken out of context, no question. Targeted with epithets that would make sailors would blush.

When you look for a conservative to fit those statements most folks might say Rush Limbaugh. True, he gets a fair amount of criticism, even from Right-Leaners. Some might name other talk-radio folks, columnists, or politicians. Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, President Nixion, President Reagan, President G.W. Bush, Michael Savage, G. Gordon Liddy, maybe Karl Rove, or Vice President Cheney.

However, if you specifically look for a woman I bet most folks would come up with one name.

"This is War"
By Ann Coulter

Barbara Olson kept her cool. In the hysteria and terror of hijackers herding passengers to the rear of the plane, she retrieved her cell phone and called her husband, Ted, the solicitor general of the United States. She informed him that he had better call the FBI -- the plane had been hijacked. According to reports, Barbara was still on the phone with Ted when her plane plunged in a fiery explosion directly into the Pentagon.

Barbara risked having her neck slit to warn the country of a terrorist attack. She was a patriot to the very end.

This is not to engage in the media's typical hallucinatory overstatement about anyone who is the victim of a horrible tragedy. The furtive cell phone call was an act of incredible daring and panache. If it were not, we'd be hearing reports of a hundred more cell phone calls. (Even people who swear to hate cell phones carry them for commercial air travel.)

The last time I saw Barbara in person was about three weeks ago. She generously praised one of my recent columns and told me I had really found my niche. Ted, she said, had taken to reading my columns aloud to her over breakfast.

I mention that to say three things about Barbara. First, she was really nice. A lot of people on TV seem nice, but aren't. (And some who don't seem nice, are.) But Barbara was always her charming, graceful, ebullient self. "Nice" is an amazingly rare quality among writers. In the opinion business, bitter, jealous hatred is the norm. Barbara had reason to be secure.

Second, it was actually easy to imagine Ted reading political columns aloud to Barbara at the breakfast table. Theirs was a relationship that could only be cheaply imitated by Bill and Hillary -- the latter being a subject of Barbara's appropriately biting best seller, "Hell to Pay."

Hillary claimed preposterously in the Talk magazine interview that she discussed policy with Bill while cutting his grapefruit in the morning. Ted and Barbara really did talk politics -- and really did have breakfast together.

It's "Ted and Barbara" just like it's Fred and Ginger, and George and Gracie. They were so perfect together, so obvious, that their friends were as happy they were on their wedding day. This is more than the death of a great person and patriotic American. It's a human amputation.

Third, since Barbara's compliment, I've been writing my columns for Ted and Barbara. I'm always writing to someone in my head. Now I don't know who to write to. Ted and Barbara were a good muse.

Apart from hearing that this beautiful light has been extinguished from the world, only one other news flash broke beyond the numbingly omnipresent horror of the entire day. That evening, CNN reported that bombs were dropping in Afghanistan -- and then updated the report to say they weren't our bombs.

They should have been ours. I want them to be ours.

This is no time to be precious about locating the exact individuals directly involved in this particular terrorist attack. Those responsible include anyone anywhere in the world who smiled in response to the annihilation of patriots like Barbara Olson.

We don't need long investigations of the forensic evidence to determine with scientific accuracy the person or persons who ordered this specific attack. We don't need an "international coalition." We don't need a study on "terrorism." We certainly didn't need a congressional resolution condemning the attack this week.

The nation has been invaded by a fanatical, murderous cult. And we welcome them. We are so good and so pure we would never engage in discriminatory racial or "religious" profiling.

People who want our country destroyed live here, work for our airlines, and are submitted to the exact same airport shakedown as a lumberman from Idaho. This would be like having the Wehrmacht immigrate to America and work for our airlines during World War II. Except the Wehrmacht was not so bloodthirsty.

"All of our lives" don't need to change, as they keep prattling on TV. Every single time there is a terrorist attack -- or a plane crashes because of pilot error -- Americans allow their rights to be contracted for no purpose whatsoever.

The airport kabuki theater of magnetometers, asinine questions about whether passengers "packed their own bags," and the hostile, lumpen mesomorphs ripping open our luggage somehow allowed over a dozen armed hijackers to board four American planes almost simultaneously on Bloody Tuesday. (Did those fabulous security procedures stop a single hijacker anyplace in America that day?)

Airports scrupulously apply the same laughably ineffective airport harassment to Suzy Chapstick as to Muslim hijackers. It is preposterous to assume every passenger is a potential crazed homicidal maniac. We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now.

We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Milwaukee Paper Claims: Clarence Thomas... Not Really Black

Ever heard black folks get told by other black folks that they are "not black enough"? A couple of years ago a good friend of mine told me that some kid told him just that. Maybe my eyesight isn't good enough, but the man's black. Clear as day.

Well, just a couple of days ago the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel printed an editorial saying pretty much the same thing about Justice Clarence Thomas.
In losing a woman, the court with Alito would feature seven white men, one white woman and a black man, who deserves an asterisk because he arguably does not represent the views of mainstream black America.
Oddly enough it was on Halloween.

I don't think much of another assertion the editorial writer makes.
...[nominating another white male to the Supreme Court] lessens the extent to which the court mirrors the nation's rich diversity...


O'Connor herself had expressed the desire that her successor be a woman.
Why should the court mirror the lovely tapestry that is our nation? Why should we introduce quotas into the Supreme Court? Surely, if these fine justices understand the Constitution and stick to it we really shouldn't worry whether a president nominates a guy with brown eyes, a woman in a wheelchair, a homosexual Korean man, a black fan of Star Trek, a lesbian woman with family in Portugal, an Italian who is a practicing Jew, or a half-black/half-white woman who once visited China.

And let's dispense with this nonsense that an outgoing justice had any say what so ever in his replacement. O'Connor didn't win the presidential election of 2004... G.W. did. It's nice she has an opinion... I'm sure she has a lot of them, only some probably miss the Constitutional mark.

Not black enough... mirroring the nation's rich diversity... what a load of baffle-gab. What this editorial writer means is, "We want a Democrat party sympathizer".

Well, how about this... Alito was nominated, so stick it to the Man.

UPDATE: 9:02 AM, Thursday November 3rd, 2005

Gina (from GeeDubya) mentions this sad, related story:

Top Democrats duck on Steele hits

The story also mentions some great words US Senate hopeful Mr. Kweisi Mfume for those who treat Steele and others with such racial contempt.
"Racially tinged attacks have no place in this campaign for U.S. Senate," said Mr. Mfume, who has chided his party's lack of support for his campaign. "If they did, I could very well be the object of public racial humiliation, based on my skin color, by people who don't like my politics."

"Black bigotry can be just as cruel and evil as white bigotry. There are too many bigots in too many places," Mr. Mfume said, repeating a common refrain from his speeches.
(I seem to recall disagreeing with Mfume on more than one occassion... however, I am very glad to give him a "Hail fellow, well met!" on the basis of his comments in this article.)

However, it was too good to last:
Even the spokesman for Mr. Mfume's campaign said pelting Mr. Steele with Oreo cookies and calling him an "Uncle Tom" are simply "pointing out the obvious."

"There is a difference between pointing out the obvious and calling someone names," Mfume spokesman Joseph R. Trippi said Tuesday.
Jerk. Mfume ought to be a man and at least come out against what his spokesman said. Fire him if he wants to show true values.

The article dodges the worst... mentioning the Photoshopped image of Steele and the story with thrown Oreos on the second page of the story. (Interesting possitioning, folks... some might call it covering all bases.)

If you wish to see more, Michelle Malkin has quite a few links on this story.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Win Debates: Call Your Opponent a Nazi

Ever get into a discussion with someone only to find he just won't agree with you? The gall! The arrogance! The ignorance!!!

Old hat, really. It should be, anyway. Aside from the aspect of boring conversation, most of us know that a good, healthy dose of disagreement keeps you a little sharp and helps you revisit your position (by the virtue of having to describe it once again). Catholics certainly experience this with their faith. (Good Catholics, anyway.) A little challenge is clearly healthy.

What about those jackasses who call you a Nazi, though? ;)

Hey, I'm not just talking about the Left... although, they've been calling conservatives, Republicans, and religious folks Nazis for years. We all know folks that let the argument (or the heat of the moment) get the best of them and they throw out the closest epithet.

For the most part, we can do without that sort of thing... right? I mean, I'm not really standing on a huge limb. I'm not really being courageous and virtuous by saying that the Nazi insult is unhelpful, untruthful, distracting, and weakens the word (for those times when we must really call a Nazi a Nazi)... it's fairly obvious.

Of course, some folks need to be told for one reason or another. ;) I didn't really want to send this guy traffic, however, who am I kidding. I have less than he does.

This little discussion starts in Gina's blog, GeeDubya. (Nice place... stop by and have a peek.) The sticking point seems to be Ann Coulter and her comment from her September 12, 2001 column "This is War" (with the Left's favorite phrase regarding Invade/Kill/Convert. The discussion progresses in the comment section at GeeDubya followed by a couple of brief e-mails and then to his site. (He failed to provide a link to Gina' s blog for some reason.)

Why post this sort of thing? Hey, I'm just really willing to analyze the merits and demerits of Ann Coulter, her writing and opinions, and her column "This is War". (In this case, mostly the column.)

Nate doesn't want to comment more than he already has done. I believe his case is stated in a very sparse manner making me wonder if he's actually read Coulter's post-9/11 column (let alone any of her other work, whether or not it speaks to the subject at hand). In fact, I suspect he just decided to identify me as "that kind of conservative" and does not wish to talk with "those kinds of people". Fine. I'm sure we all have a list of folks like that.

However... he clearly didn't address the Nazi comment he used on me. (The comment in question was the typical kind from young Left-Leaners, "Badda, do you wear your swastika to work or do they make you take it off?") One more small point... I'm not "that kind of conservative". At least not to the many (somewhat) sensible Left-Leaners I know.

Again, why post this sort of thing? (If only to make Nate look fairly unreasonable, but no more than he makes himself appear.) I'd love to seriously analyze the Coulter column in a way that he might have with me.

I might also want to look at the use of Nazi-themed insults. Seriously, and not with the over-simplified "he's a moonbat" reasoning. He very probably is (he's mentioned something about getting into journalism if my memory serves)... however, that really doesn't address the real points. Clearly, he's got issues and doesn't understand the side that opposes him.

Anyone able to help me out here?

By the way, Happy All Saint's Day. ;)

UPDATE: 9:03 PM, November 2nd, 2005

Below are the e-mails I mentioned. This started in the GeeBubya thread, followed by a brief comment on my blog (when my kid was sick), then this e-mail exchange. Remember, there are other posts in Comment sections after some of these posts.

From Badda-Blogger to Nate on Wednesday October 26th at 20:08 -0700 PDT...
The questions are in the same spot that I left them...
GeeDubya's blog in the Comments section.

That's the best place for the answers.


From Badda-Blogger to Nate on Thursday October 27th at 10:21 -0700 PDT...
You've bailed, but you've mischaracterized me and put words in MY mouth, too.

More comments are on GeeDubya's blog:

You may be taking this as an insult, but I'm merely responding to comments you've made... calmly and reasonably. I invite you to continue to do the same.

Besides, I've actually got experience in journalism... you might find me helpful.


From Nate to Badda-Blogger on Thursday October 27th at 10:59 -0700 PDT...
The fact that you still think I said Coulter said those things dissapoints me. I'm not putting words in anyones mouth [Badda-Blogger]. The original quote was the only thing I know Coulter said.

You are strong in your beliefs, and I respect that, but our differences have already been explored, and this is becoming a circular arguement in which you can't possibly understand my views just as I can't yours.

I'm sorry to dissapoint you, but this is pointless.

You sound like a great parent, and as any good parent knows sometimes there just is no reasoning with a child.

From Badda-Blogger to Nate on Saturday October 29th at 18:18 -0700 PDT...
Just to give you some notice, I'll probably be posting a topic on my blog with your posts sometime in the next week or so.

It's only fair to let you know.

From Badda-Blogger to Nate (and others) on Tuesday November 1st at 18:19 -0800 PST...
Notice! Hear-ye, hear-ye! Extree, extree!
Just a call for a little healthy conversation from sensible adults.

Disagreeing with Coulter fans and then calling them Nazis to win your arguement:
[Link to this topic.]

All folks who call others Nazis need not apply... unless they change their evil ways. ;)

Seriously, it's up on the blog so pretty much anyone can check it out, but poor behavior (ahem, -Nate-, cough) is not encouraged.


From Nate to Badda-Blogger on Tuesday November 1st at 20:29 -0800 PST...
Im honored. But whats the dif between calling people names and hinting that they might be a jackass in an indirect way?

Why do you feel I'm worthy of conversation with you on these matters? From your post it seems like I'm the most illogical and smug person you've recently talked to.

From Badda-Blogger to Nate on Wednesday November 2nd at 05:43 -0800 PST...
Well, Nate... you did give me that impression. However, I'm perfectly willing to change my opinion.

You have to admit, I've been pretty fair with to a guy who called me a Nazi. ;) The jackass comment is pretty light compared to the Nazi comment.

Oooh, that little smiley-wink reminds me... the jackass comment is followed by one of those. Not to mention, when someone calls you a Nazi for no reason that might give me the reason to honestly call you a jackass... but I still gave the smiley-wink thing all the same to be fair.

Or you could just continue ignoring the fact that you called some guy who disagrees with you a Nazi.

By the way, if you read my post and the only thing you came away with it was that you might be a jackass for calling me a Nazi, you need to do more analytical reading. Surely, you can make a more useful and interesting response than that.


Of course Nate can make more useful and interesting responses... but don't call him Shirley.

Maybe not very useful and interested responses, at least not until after some of his comments in this topic's Comment section. He snapped off a counter-post on his blog after my last e-mail.

The fat lady has no vocal chords.

Remember Badda Blogger? The gentleman that I had a disagreement with? Then he showed me the ignorant and childish error of my leftist ways?

Badda, after not getting what he wanted from several emails he sent me and unsuccessfully taking up Gina's bandwidth trying to argue the air, has dedicated an entire post to this here kid.

Gee, I'm flattered.

Anyhow, I'm going to do something he says he doesn't want to do for me (not sure why, are we in some ratings race Badda?) and push some traffic his way.

Please jump in and feel free to take part in the 'argument'.

I'm still waiting for the e-mail he says he sent to apologize. As Nate mentioned in the comments, he apologized in the comment section of his blog's topic "The Right Keeps Pushing Me Left", but it seems to have a little bluster.
Okay, so we can finally put this decaying, rotten, long-dead horse to rest and stop its beating.

Badda; I apologize for the Nazi comment.

I welcome you to move on with the rest of us and jump in to some more relevant conversation now.

He also said he would re-send that e-mail... and I'll post it when I receive it.

In the meanwhile, I've added a topic including Ann Coulter's column, "This is War". Depending on the place you get it from the dates are different. (September 12th in her book "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)", September 13th in National Review, and September 14th at Town Hall.)

UPDATE: 12:09 PM Saturday November 5th

Nate just sent me the apology... although he had some trouble.

From Nate to Badda-Blogger on Saturday November 5th at 08:53 -0800 PST...

For some reason, my computer is not letting me re-send from my sent file, although I know this feature is available.

Here is the original mail, cut and pasted.

The context was there, but that doesn’t make it an excuse. I do apologize for inferring you are a Nazi. I hope we can have an attack-free intelligent conversation and try (probably not succeed by try) to understand each others viewpoints.

His friends seemed to enjoy suggesting that I lack the ability to reason, lacking in dignity, am severely misguided, am an ass, and have no life. To be fair to Nate, he asked that they be nice.

Just imagine what might be been said otherwise. ;) As long as they enjoyed themselves.