Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Lent Approaching

Surprised, I should not look... every year I don't really know what to give up for Lent. Last year I didn't really give anything up. Oddly enough, I didn't make as many errors with abstinence and fasting.

Quite a few years ago I gave up cocktails and beer... allowing a single glass of wine with diner if absolutely necessary. At least twice I've given up tobacco. Twice I've given up chocolate. This year? Well, I'm not giving up blogging. The wife (as dutiful and beautiful as she is) once suggested that I suspend all DVD purchases for the period of Lent. This year that might be easier than before, although another season of Columbo is due shortly (with Narnia right around Easter, I think).

Perhaps I'll curb my knee-jerk spending on Badda-Toddler. I've been making little purchases for his birthday and hiding them away. So far, he'll get more than 17 Thomas "Take Along" trains, a carrying case, a rock quarry set... and possibly another DVD set if it comes out soon. Plus, two more trains are on the way. I'll probably grab a few more if I see hard-to-find trains online.

Hmmm. That could be it.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Welcome to the Fold, Mr. Lileks

Does your Browncoat fit nice and comfy? Like an old, worn in leather jacket I suspect.

He's just started watching the oft-hyped Fox sci-fi series from a few years back... "Firefly". Gushing, now... he's in full swoon mode.

I remember silently scoffing at a friend who recommended the series a few years ago. Analog Kid claimed it was the best sci-fi series ever. He also likes Buffy and Angel... so I took that excessive praise with a fifty pound saltlick.

(It's not that I don't like Buffy... it's that my wife does and that's enough for the household. My bag, it ain't. It probably isn't bad, in fact I enjoyed a couple of episodes... but I have no need to wade into yet another geek-pool. I'm drowning as it is.)

Watched it... the same pilot episode (double-length) in the same frame of mind that Lileks did.
So I watched the pilot... out of obligation, really – arms crossed across the chest, remote in hand on the FF button, looking for an excuse to bail, because it just can’t be that good.

Lileks really likes the pilot. I don't dislike it. The rest of the series is much better. It's fairly long. It tells some of the backstory that the audience doesn't need. Cut to the chase... the audience will get it.

The suits at Fox apparently had the same opinion... if rumor is to be believed. They broadcast the pilot much later. (It might have been the last episode aired on Fox.)

Lileks will love it. The series has fun adventure... good characters... no real pandering... some good sci-fi cliches and conventions, but without the half-hearted attempt at working them into the setting and characters. No shoe-horning.

Plus, the space-slang isn't that lame. Most sci-fi slang is lame. Most of the slang in "Firefly" is Chinese... so even if it is lame we can't understand it.

I dare him not to like the episodes "Shindig" or "Heart of Gold". Or "Our Mrs. Reynolds".

Friday, February 24, 2006

Resume Home-Blogging: Now

It's so good to get my computer back... and it even works!!!

Take THAT Missing Software Key!!!

Ah-HA! Brewing J. found a neat little application that can retrieve my wife's old key... what's more he didn't need my old key to get my system started again. What's more-more I'll just use the handy application to get my own key again!

It is the Magical Jellybean Key Finder. (Sounds a little too much like Sammy Davis Junior singing "The Candy Man"... which I cringe at, as much as I love Sammy.)

Whoo-hoo! Today's going to be a great day. Home-blogging to continue on Saturday... probably with a clean desk, too. I might even finally install my brand new printer that I bought six months ago.

On the down side, all the damn dusk I've kicked up from disk/key hunting has aggrivated my cold. (On the up shot, that means I get to treat myself to more booze and dozy-cold-medication.)


Good/Bad Computer News

Good news always seems to come with bad news. My new computer stuff arrived swiftly with everything apparently in order. Of course, I cannot find one of my software keys. Argh.

I had to clean off my perfectly messy desk to hunt down various disks... none of which included a key written on them or an attached note with the key. Far too many CDs and DVDs were unlabled, or poorly labled. That'll learns me.

My wife found her disk and her key... at least we think it's her key. I don't know if I can, but we'll try to look up the key on her computer and see if it matches the key on the software lable she found yesterday. She also wants to root around my desk and office to see if she can find something that I might have overlooked. The room adjoining my office also looks a complete mess... I'm going to hunt through there, too. I bet the Dutiful & Beautiful Mrs. Badda-Blogger wants to double-check my work in that room, too.

If anything, the rooms will be a little cleaner. I must remember to get more garbage bags, though.

Blogging from home might start up again this weekend... depending on if we find the key or if I shell out the extra bucks to re-buy the software.

We probably will find it... considering I have the money to buy the software again. Murphy's Law would suggest that if I didn't have the money then the disk would never turn up. (At least not until I did have money.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Sopranos: Season Premiere

Coming Sunday March 12th... Badda-Blogger and his wife sitting on the couch with excitement (and optimism) for the opening of Season Six of The Sopranos.

The new promotional image looks great... but because my computer is screwy (and I can't get a video player at work) I haven't seen the trailer.

First order of buisness when I get my computer running: download trailer to satisfy my curiosity and to surprise the wife!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Take THAT Confounded Computer!!!

Ah-HA! I've ordered my necessary bits and things for my computer... and the Dutiful & Beautiful Mrs. Badda-Blogger will find a new DVD burner as well. (Probably better than mine, so she better appreciate it!)

With luck I'll see this thing on Thursday... could even have it up and running on Thursday night. That said, odds are good I'll see it Friday and get it running (with the efforts of Brewing J.) sometime Sunday.

Regardless, without a computer to noodle on I get more time to read H.P. Lovecraft. That and the new Thomas the Tank Engine book I got for Badda-Toddler. (More than 480 pages! Who knew?)


Monday, February 20, 2006

Presidents' Day: Voices From Yesterday

Presidents’ Day no longer recognizes the great ness of our first G.W. or one of the Republican party’s finest commanders-in-chief. Perhaps this group holiday dethrones George and Abe as primary presidents. Folks often tell anecdotal stories about how their kids no longer learn much about our first president or the man who held the country together in the wake of the Civil War. However, we live in a time when we have a wealth of biographies in print and on television and video about our great leaders. The Internet helps us find additional information on our presidents… and not just Washington and Lincoln.

Alan Dowd at National Review looks back through our country’s history and finds wise words for our time. (Don’t let Dowd’s name worry you.)

Presidents, Today
Good advice.

By Alan Dowd

For all their flaws and gaffes and imperfections, America's presidents have given us a treasure trove of good advice and wise counsel over the centuries. Perhaps some of their advice will help guide us through these unpredictable times.

For those who are dubious about the spread of representative government, George Washington reminds us of the irresistible power and momentum of freedom: "Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth."

Burnishing their neoconservative credentials, albeit about two centuries early, Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams endorse an unambiguous, unapologetic foreign policy of power-projection. Jefferson even has the audacity to dismiss Europe as (gasp) old: "We are destined to be a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism. Old Europe will have to lean on our shoulders, and to hobble along by our side." Jefferson presciently concluded, "What a colossus shall we be." Adams would seem to agree: "Any effort on our part to reason the world out of a belief that we are ambitious will have no other effect than to convince them that we add to our ambition hypocrisy." Doubtless, today's self-styled wise men in Washington — the people who gave us détente and dual containment and diplomatic nuance — would dismiss both men as imperialists and warmongers.

Abraham Lincoln reminds us of our responsibilities to wage and win this war — and to honor with more than words those who fight it on our behalf: "Let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

And for those who argue that the current president's expressions of faith are somehow an aberration in American history or a cause of cultural unease between America and its secularized cousins in Europe — or even between America and its radicalized enemies in the Middle East — we need look no further than Lincoln for a commander-in-chief unafraid to defer to heaven: "There is a divinity that shapes our ends," he concluded as war raged all around him.

U.S. Grant, one of our warrior-presidents, explains the importance of action — and the need for flexibility — in a time of war: "In war, anything is better than indecision. We must decide. If I am wrong, we shall soon find it out and can do the other thing. But not to decide...may ruin everything."

The words of Theodore Roosevelt serve as a reminder that America should listen to its conscience — and should help the weak in places like Sudan and Srebrenica, Kigali and Kosovo: "There are occasional crimes committed on so vast a scale and of such peculiar horror as to make us doubt whether it is not our manifest duty to endeavor at least to show our disapproval of the deed and our sympathy with those who have suffered by it. The cases must be extreme in which such a course is justifiable...What form the action shall take must depend upon the circumstances of the case; that is, upon the degree of the atrocity and upon our power to remedy it."

For those who say democracy won't work in Iraq or Syria or Afghanistan or Iran, for those who forget the same gloomy predictions were made about democracy in Japan, Germany, India, and a sliver of British colonies in North America, Woodrow Wilson offers this rebuttal: "When properly directed, there is no people in the world not fitted for self-government." Freedom, while it may not be the organic product of every nation, is still, given help and guidance, within the reach of all.

For those who confuse moral relativism for wisdom, who travel to foreign lands to undermine this campaign against terror, who compare American troops to our enemies, Franklin Roosevelt answers with a sharp reply: "As a nation, we may take pride in the fact that we are softhearted; but we cannot afford to be soft-headed...The best way of dealing with the few slackers or trouble makers in our midst is, first, to shame them by patriotic example."

In an echo of FDR, George W. Bush adds, "There is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy."

For those who think a doctrine premised on the spread and defense of freedom is something new and aberrant to America, two Cold War presidents say otherwise: "It must be the policy of the United States," Harry Truman declared as world war gave way to cold war, "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures...If we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world — and we shall surely endanger the welfare of our own nation." As John Kennedy famously added almost a generation later, "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

For those who say America's acquisitiveness and materialism are the byproduct of the Bush presidency — and for those who fail to see the dangers of this "affluenza" — Jimmy Carter's observations from 1979 provide some perspective. "In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose."

For the fatalists and pessimists among us, who believe that people are pieces of driftwood carried along by forces and currents beyond their control, Ronald Reagan's life and words prove otherwise: "I reject," he defiantly declared, "...the doctrine that sees us as helpless creatures of inexorable fate." Reagan knew from experience that people make history, not the other way around.

For those who think the current occupant of the White House rushed into an unnecessary, unwarranted war in Iraq, Bill Clinton offers a reasoned rejoinder: "Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons," he warned. "I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again...The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government — a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort."

And let us end where we began — where America began — with words about the spread of liberty. Amid the ferment of freedom last year, when revolutions of orange and purple and cedar shook Ukraine and Iraq and Lebanon, George W. Bush fused together Washington and Jefferson, Wilson and TR, FDR and Reagan: "We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands," he intoned. "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one."

That's not only a good place to end; it's a good place to begin.

— Alan Dowd is a senior fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research.

Nick Coleman: Selective Memory?

Mitch at Shot in the Dark takes Nick Coleman to task. Not very difficult, but Mitch usually leaves Nick alone these days... so this is a rare treat. (Coleman's column appears here.)
Question: Given that, as well as the synchronicity of Coleman's piece with the DFL's media assault on the ads, who is the propagandist here?
I could tell you more about Progress for America and "Astro-turfing" (artificially created "grass-roots" politics) if the Washington-based group had answered e-mailed requests for information.
No, Nick. I'd be much more interested in your telling us why you are calling PfA (and their step-mothers, fathers, and pro-war parents "astro-turf", but giving "Gold Star Parents For Peace" full credence - not to mention keeping mum about the obvious coordination of your column with the DFL's propaganda offensive.

Because after a year of claiming you're not the DFL's monkey, it's obvious that you're flinging blue poo on command. Don't believe it? Check out the DFL memo over on KvM; note the similarities; note, indeed, the bits that seem to be almost the same words.
Anti-Strib also looks at Nick's reason (or lack there-of) here, here, and here. (Semi-related Anti-Strib observations include this.) At least one of those posts include other links.

Cartoon Violence: part 6, Minneapolis Cartoon

My friend, the Analog Kid, sent out an e-mail to folks after seeing the offending cartoons of Mohammed. He provides a link to his own little cartoon.

I warn you, it is offensive... and more to the point fairly simplistic on the art scale. (Clearly, this was intentnional on Analog Kid's part.)
Free Speech!

Lately, certain nut-jobs have been burning down Scandinavian embassies over a handful of cartoons about the prophet Mohammed. Cartoons which which they found to be offensive.

Setting aside how crazy it is to be burning stuff down over this... once I finally saw the cartoons in question, two things struck me:

1. Most of the mainstream media are utter cowards for not running the cartoons in question during stories about the incidents.

2. If the nut-jobs think those cartoons are offensive, they really have no idea of what we are capable of.

Nevertheless, I want to do my part to stand up for free speech. Here is a link to my very own Mohammed cartoon.

As you can see, artistic skill is not required to do something like this.

I encourage you all to whip out your Photoshop, MS-Paint, or GIMP programs and slap together a Mohammed cartoon of your very own. See if you can come up with something slightly shocking, funny, or even well-drawn. Then, share the love. Post it on the web and show it to friends. Inspire others to follow.

Feel free to distribute mine (and this e-mail) along with it. See if you can get even more people on board making their own little cartoons. Let's start a nation-wide (perhaps even international) fad of standing up and prove the point: "It's okay to make poke fun at
anybody in a free society, even if we need to draw a crappy picture of him to do it."

Let's make Mohammed cartoons the "Aristocrats" joke of our generation!

What is there to be afraid of? The people burning down those buildings pretty much want to kill every motherf*cking last one of us anyway. I say, if there was ever a time for inappropriate,
disrespectful, and downright juvenile humor, it is now.

He might be a little hopeful where the nationwide fad is concerned, but his crappy drawing is definitely in the right place.

Confounded (Potentially) Burned CPU and/or Motherboard!!!

Damn, damn, and damn once again!

The new fan (which was a real bitch to install inspite, or perhaps because, of the fact that it was merely $165) didn't seem to help. Brewing J.'s diagnosis suggest it could be the CPU or it could be the motherboard. We made sure it wasn't the memory.

So instead of spending good money to get the same system I already have (which is about three years old and a little slow) I'm going to throw even better money at better CPU and motherboard... as well as a few other minor details. (Flashy lights added to my already gaudy box... whoo-hoo!)

Of course, no home blogging until maybe this weekend. If I'm lucky. (However, maybe some light blogging when I'm at work and need a quick break.)


Friday, February 17, 2006

Confounded Fault Fan!!!

Once again my computer at home is slightly screwed... no home blogging until I fix my fan problem.

Probably wouldn't blog much this weekend anyway.
  • I'm going to go out and game with the guys at Brewing J.'s house tonight,
  • I'm cooking diner for a small group of friends (including a few women with certain assets) as well as play Scene It and watch a movie on Saturday,
  • I'm celebrating my aunt's birthday with a large family gathering on Sunday.
Hopefully, I'll have blog-potential on Saturday afternoon.


Strib Letter: Public Radio

Oh, in my youth I gave money to my local PBS station (KTCA). I liked watching some of the programs that were rare (at best) elsewhere. (This amounted primarily to Doctor Who and at least a dozen British comedy shows or more.)

Eventually cable and satelite broadcasting came through, a huge video and DVD market grew, and I saw how much money PBS and NPR actually get from folks in addition to government funds. No need to keep paying up.

Not only that, but around most pledge drives the tweed-suits try to convince the audience that some folks want to end certain programs. Occasionally, they use the old chestnut that Republicans or conservatives or the religious right (or who ever) want to kill Big Bird (or these days, Elmo).

A friend of mine actually said that to me in an e-mail.

Another friend, Brewing J., loves the current local public radio station The Current for playing music he's willing to try out... and can't see how regular comercial radio can survive. (I think he's going Commie on me.)

That said, some folks don't like the Empire any more than I do. (See a related story in the Star-Tribune at Anti-Strib.)


Open the books

I was a contributor to Minnesota Public Radio for many years, going back to the mid-'70s. Over time, it became apparent (e.g. the sale of the "Wireless" business) that president and CEO Bill Kling's primary goal was self-aggrandizement: the accumulation of personal wealth and power.

Also, over a period of time, I came to realize that WCAL (St. Olaf College's public radio service) offered superior programming, playing a greater variety of classical works in their entirety, not just passages or movements. The superior depth and breadth of musical knowledge displayed by WCAL announcers stood in marked contrast to the inanities and platitudes offered by MPR's on-air "personalities." For a few years I supported both broadcast services, but as the relative superiority of WCAL's programming became ever more evident, WCAL became the sole recipient of my public radio contributions.

Bill Kling took it upon himself to destroy the competition, buying WCAL and taking its programming off the air. Now, during MPR's pledge week, we have the Star Tribune story about Kling's half-million-dollar compensation package (Feb. 15). As MPR pledge hucksters beg for donations, perhaps they could let us all know where the money goes. Sure, I listen to MPR, since, thanks to Kling, there is no longer an alternative, but Lucifer will traverse his realm on ice skates before I will even begin to consider pledging.


Cut the government money all together. I've heard more than one PBS and NPR devoted Lefty say that the tax money that goes to public radio and television doesn't amount to much. Great. Then they can be private and do what they want without it. Now's the best time. They've got stores, catalogs, websites, and state of the art equipment for television and radio broadcasting.

I just finished listening to the NPR radio play of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jeji. While I'm greatful that someone put that together, it clearly could have been done by almost anyone. I'd love to see a private college gang get help from Lucas to make his other three films into another three radio plays (and improve on the Lucas work).

In fact, I'd willingly pay money for it. ;)


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cartoon Violence, part 4: A Comical Take

Listen to a comic like Jackie Mason. Every now and then he writes a column with Raoul Felder... which is to say that together they put out a column every couple of months if we're lucky.

(With the column comes a cartoon satirizing the events that came out of a cartoon satirizing terrorism.)
Could you picture a Jew doing something like this? Ironically, the cartoonists were not even condemning Islam, they were merely creating a satire of a terrorist. They weren't insulting their religion, they were satirizing a fanatic. But, the Muslims have decided that there are no laws, limits, or boundaries that apply to their behavior. They not only have the right to take your life, they now have the right to rob you of your freedom of expression.
Of course, you have to read it while trying to do an impression of his voice. You MUST read it like Jackie.
I never saw a Jew going into meaningless fights. That is why you seldom see Jewish football players. A Jew is not going to take a chance in spraining his neck or tearing a ligament in his knee or wrinkling his clothes just because he was fighting with somebody about catching a ball. He would rather go to a store and buy another ball and avoid the whole problem. That is why there are also no Jewish hockey players. Hockey players spend all their time hitting each other in the mouth with sticks. When Jews saw how Gentiles played hockey that is how Jews found out that instead of becoming a hockey player they would become dentists, and that way they decided to let other people play the game while they found a way to make a profit from it.
The strangest part of the piece, or I should say of the riots, is the response in the West:
...Meanwhile the rest of the world is reacting to the Muslims with an amazing cowardice. Instead of a collective fury, we are pleading for forgiveness, and promising not to offend them with any more cartoons. Could anything be more perverted? The same people who are not offended by suicide bombers and terrorist killings, murder, mayhem, and destruction around the world have now decided that a cartoon... "OY VEY IS THIS TERRIBLE!"
Go read the whole column. You gotta laugh!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Special Promotion: You've Got the Wrong House

Just received a call from a girl offering a special promotion.

Badda-Toddler and I were running around the basement. (I hold him just a couple of inches off the ground so he can run in mid-air and pretend to be Dash from "The Incredibles" while we listen to the great soundtrack... he says "Rea'y, set, go Daddy!") We're worn out (me more than him), so even though the phone rings with the special warning (Mr. Qwest Customer... you have a long-distance call or a telemarketer!) I willingly answer the phone to get some air and a break. Caller ID showed Empereon Marketing calling from (303) 337-8074.

The call essentially followed like this...
Girl with poor grammar, pronunciation, not to mention extremely poor delivery: "Hello sir, um, I'm callin' on behalf of the, uh, Tribune."
Badda-Blogger: "From where?"
Girl w/PGPNtMEPD: "We're callin' from the Star-Tribune."

(Great, I've got royalty phoning me at 8:10 PM and Her Majesty makes the adults from The Peanuts sound articulate... should I courtsey or reply using a trombone and a horn mute?)

Badda-Blogger: "Oh."
Girl w/PGPNtMEPD: "We wou' like to see if you'd like to get the paper, the Star and Tribune, sent to your house."
Badda-Blogger: "Is this a special promotion?"
Girl w/PGPNtMEPD: "Uh, well... you can have the paper sent ta your house Monday through Sunday, Wednesday through Sunday, or just on Sunday."
Badda-Blogger: "Yeah, but is this a promotion?"
Girl w/PGPNtMEPD: "You can get the Star-Tribune sent from Monday through Sunday for (whatever price she quoted) or you can get it sent from Wednesday to Sunday for (whatever price she quoted) or you can jus' get it on Sundays for (whatever price she quoted)."
Badda-Blogger: "Actually, I write for the Anti-Strib blog in Minneapolis and our staff of commentators ridicule the Star-Tribune every day."
Girl w/PGPNtMEPD: "Wha' was that?"
Badda-Blogger: "I contribute commentary about how out of touch the Strib's Editorial staff are and how biased and incompetant the columnists are at that paper. I'm pretty sure you don't want to offer me a special promotion to receive the Star-Tribune."
Girl w/PGPNtMEPD: "You write about the Star-Tribune?"
Badda-Blogger: "Every day."
Girl w/PGPNtMEPD: "Okay."
Badda-Blogger: "Thanks!"
If I had known they were calling I would have prepared something better... and offered her the hotline number to the Anti-Strib offices.

I could have read her some of Nick Coleman's rabid rantings and ravings. Nothing special... any of his rubbish would do.

Speaking of Bravery and Courage... Cartoon Violence, part 4: MSM

Dennis Prager comments on the lack of courage in the mainstream media when it comes to publishing the Danish cartoons of Muhammad.

He closes with this:
When it comes to taking on conservatives, Catholics, Evangelicals and the like, liberal news media are Supermen. When it comes to confronting real evil, however, the news media are Mickey Mouse.
There's obviously more.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Bravery & Courage... When It's Safe

Hollywood: No one lavishes more care and expense on saying nothing.

That's what National Review's Mark Steyn says in today's preview of the recent cover story for the new issue... Phoney Baloney. (Consider subscribing.)

This time of year the media buzzes with excitement. For some reason folks eat up all the Oscar chit-chat, even when ticket sales are down. Forget the box office when causes and principles and courage are at stake:
...George Clooney’s triple Oscar nominations for acting, writing, and directing are said to be a significant moment in the life of the nation, and not just by George Clooney, though his effusions on his own “bravery” certainly set a high mark. “We jumped in on our own,” he said, discussing Good Night, and Good Luck with Entertainment Weekly. “And there was no reason to think it was going to get any easier. But people in Hollywood do seem to be getting more comfortable with making these sorts of movies now. People are becoming braver.”
Bravery? You made a slanted talkie about the McCarthy Era, son! USA Today says other films took on tough issues. Really? Like what?
…“Brokeback and Capote for their portrayal of gay characters; Crash for its examination of racial tension; Night for its call for more watchdog journalism; and Munich for its take.” Whoops, my mistake. That should be “Munich for its take on terrorism.” In their combined take at the box office, these Best Picture nominees have the lowest grosses since 1986. That means very few people have seen them. Which in turn means these Oscars are likely to have the lowest audience ever. Okay, maybe not ever. In 1929, they handed them out to an audience of 270 in the Blossom Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and no doubt by the time you add in overseas viewership from the many chapters of the Jon Stewart Fan Club this year’s audience will be up around 309.

The fact that hardly anybody has seen these films does not in and of itself mean that they’re not artistic masterpieces. That’s why the Oscars are important: They can shine a light on undeservedly neglected art-house jewels that might otherwise get overlooked. But you couldn’t exactly call Brokeback Mountain overlooked. It’s the Jungfrau, it’s the peak of cinematic achievement. It’s an Everest papered from base camp to summit in rave reviews. And in the week the Oscar nominations were announced the world’s most ballyhooed art-house obscurity added another 435 theaters to its outlets — and business declined 13 percent.
Now, like I said, we can't just consider the box office. Um, well then how do we figure that Titanic won over L.A. Confidential? If anything, Titanic ONLY had box office going for it and L.A. Confidential had quality as well as crooked cops, a crooked DA, and evil political machinations in America's golden age... the 50s. Why didn't the Acadamy like that message?

Actually, that's a good question. It might be the fact that L.A. Confidential didn't pander to the audience, didn't play to the lowest common denominator, challenged viewers to pay attention and follow a slightly complex plot, used character with good and dark sides, etc. However, there might be more to it. Always worth looking at that film.

In any case, Cloony and his courage:
…Clooney’s other Oscar movie, Syriana, in which he stars and exec-produces, reveals that behind a murky Middle East conspiracy lies . . . the CIA and Big Oil! In Good Night, and Good Luck, he’s produced a film set in the McCarthy era that could have been made in the Jimmy Carter era. That’s to say, it takes into account absolutely nothing that has come to light in the last quarter-century — not least the relevant KGB files on Soviet penetration of America. To take one example that could stand for Clooney’s entire approach to the subject, Good Night includes shocking scenes of Senator McCarthy accusing Annie Lee Moss, who worked in a highly sensitive decoding job in the Pentagon, of being a Communist, and the heroic Edward R. Murrow then denouncing McCarthy’s behavior.

But we now know, from the party’s own files, that Miss Moss was, indeed, a Communist. What should we conclude from the absence of this detail in the picture? That Clooney, who goes around boasting that every moment in the screenplay has been “double-sourced” for accuracy, simply doesn’t know she’s a Commie? Or that he does know but thinks it’s harmless? That she, like he and Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, is merely exercising her all-American “right to dissent,” in her case in the Pentagon Signal Corps’ code room? If so, that’s a subtly different argument than Murrow was making: It’s one thing to argue that it’s all a paranoid fantasy on the part of obsessed Red-baiters, quite another to shrug, hey, sure they were Commies, but what’s the big deal?

Or is it that Clooney doesn’t care either way? That what matters is the “meta-narrative” — the journalist as hero, “speaking truth to power,” no matter if the journalist is wrong and wields more power than most politicians. Even if one discounts the awkward fact that these days CBS News is better known for speaking twaddle to power — over the fake National Guard memos to which Dan Rather remains so attached — the reality is that the idea of the big media crusader simply doesn’t resonate with any section of the American public other than the big media themselves…
Twaddle to power. That fits. Not just Hollywood, but news. Look at the locals... we've long noticed the excessive happy-talk, sweet feature stories in the kicker block, and either an agenda to push in the top block or enough ignorance to not know the difference.

Neither the news nor Hollywood have the courage to look at real news consistantly. Last Friday the Dutiful and Beautiful Mrs. Badda-Blogger folded clothes on the Coma-Couch while watching television... waiting for me to finish some nonsense on my computer. We were going to grab a DVD and relax. However, when I got there she was watching one of the magazine shows and it had a feature story on young girls stuck in prostitution. I said, "For eff's sake, what are you watching?!?!?! Don't you know this is February?" She didn't immediately know what I meant. Sweet, young girls... lost with no chances in life... yanked into a Dickensian scenario with no way out... used by lustful, evil, married men. This script was old when I was in college!

Try something new. Your audience is going elsewhere... and it isn't getting better for you.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Cartoon Violence, part 3: An American Muslim's Take

Hardly any words could add substance to this man's column... M. Zuhdi Jasser at National Review. He asks what could possibly turn certain folks into (literally) a mob... the answer he comes up with is: dreams.

Whoa! Isn't NRO where conservatives go for good columns and thought and analysis and such? Buckley started it up, right? How in the flamming hootie-hoo could it allow such a flim-flam idea into a subject to explain away this blood-thirst?

Well, after that I had to finish reading it.
There are some in my faith who dream of a new Caliphate, a world ruled by and for Islam. It is a seductive call to many in my faith, as dreams always are. But it is anathema to me. I do not believe that we were meant to be one thing, because that, in itself, takes away our free will. My dream can only be real if it is only mine — if it is rooted in the individual success. Once the community or the so-called ummah takes it on as a communal success, it is no longer a dream but an imposition, a violation of freedom and liberty.

...Dreams are a funny thing. For example, it is a dream for me that I may one day make the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. But the very thought of living there, makes me feel all hollow inside. Is that not a peculiar thing — that the holiest place for me to visit would not be a holy place for me to live.

That is because the hajj is a dream of mine, a pillar of my faith, but living there would be my reality. The difference between a dream that is fleeting and one that is real always comes down to the question of free will. If I would live there, I would not be free and no devotion that is coerced can ever be true.

That is why my first allegiance is to this country. Without its freedoms and protections, my faith would be something much smaller. That is also why my dream has always been one of a pluralistic, democratic society where all religions and people can feel welcome. Islamists, from the radical to the moderate, would argue that in their dream the will of the majority and the Islamic state become one. What instilled my intense love for the United States from a young age was that our democracy has a Bill of Rights that upholds minorities, prevents oppression by the majority, and keeps religious scripture out of government — the antithesis of Islamism.

Oh, this guy is good! He gets better.

The next question flowing from all this is, "How can we create a new dream for people so driven towards rage?" Dreams are the product of our imagination. If we can visualize something, then we can imagine it becoming a reality.

And that is why I am so enthusiastic about the liberation of Iraq.

Speaking my language, Z.J. ...only much more eloquent, obviously.

Earlier in the piece he describes a Muslim newspaper that serves his local area (in Arizona). In it he was caricatured as a dog (which, as you can imagine is fairly offensive to Muslims) a few weeks before this recent outbreak of the 12-Cartoon Fury. He completes the circle conceptually:

I would like to end with my own cartoon. In it, I see all the compassionless theocrats and obscenely rich despots on a ship named al-Titanic leaving the Middle East forever — and, on the shore, the Muslims, Jews, Christians, and all people of faith joyously dancing in victory for the advent of a new Middle Eastern pluralism. Now, that would be a cartoon worth getting excited about.

Just so you know, this guy is the chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy... I'm going to have to check this thing out!

Enjoy the read.

(Traffic whoring: New post at the Anti-Strib on GW's new budget.)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Take THAT Confounded Faulty Router!!!

Ah-ha! I win, you damnable faulty router. You'll have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat me!

Actually, this problem persisted for two days, so maybe I should say:
You'll have to get up pretty early in the later part of the week to beat me!

Actually, the solution came from the folks at Visi and $70 of my money, so maybe I should say:
You'll have to get up pretty early in the later part of the week to beat Betsy and Seth in Visi's service and tech... and my $69.99, plus tax.

I did wait on the phone, drive to the store, and follow directions from the Visi folks. That must count for something.

Cartoon Violence, part 2: Coulter’s Take

Love her, hate her, just make sure you sit up and take notice of her.

Recently, Nate (the exile in Iowa) commented that his blog (Pencils Suck) was found by a guy claiming to be a Muslim who took issue with Nate’s stance on the editorial cartoons of Mahomed. Not that we need evidence, but this clearly shows that this topic crosses typical party lines. (Big surprise.)

You might remember that Nate isn’t much of an Ann Coulter fan. (I’ve heard she rubs some folks the wrong way.) However, he might get a kick out of her recent column. Maybe you have friends and relatives who don’t like Ann but think this cartoon violence nonsense is a load of… nonsense. Have them read this one.

She says the caricatures were probably made to show how the followers of Islam have a predilection toward violence. (Not that I need to say this, but that obviously doesn’t mean all Muslims are violent… if she or anyone meant that they would say all Muslims are violence. No one is saying that. Move on.)

In order to express their displeasure with the idea that Muslims are violent, thousands of Muslims around the world engaged in rioting, arson, mob savagery, flag-burning, murder and mayhem, among other peaceful acts of nonviolence.

Muslims are the only people who make feminists seem laid-back.

The little darlings brandish placards with typical Religion of Peace slogans, such as: "Behead Those Who Insult Islam," "Europe, you will pay, extermination is on the way" and "Butcher those who mock Islam." They warn Europe of their own impending 9/11 with signs that say: "Europe: Your 9/11 will come" -- which is ironic, because they almost had me convinced the Jews were behind the 9/11 attack.

For those who carry on this way because of some, to be fair, insulting and crass cartoons seems to be unique to Islam. We know many cases of crude (so called) religious art. Let’s not even use those examples. What about other religions with strict laws?

Making the rash assumption for purposes of discussion that Islam is a religion and not a car-burning cult, even a real religion can't go bossing around other people like this.

Catholics aren't short on rules, but they couldn't care less if non-Catholics use birth control. Conservative Jews have no interest in forbidding other people from mixing meat and dairy. Protestants don't make a peep about other people eating food off one another's plates. (Just stay away from our plates -- that's disgusting.)

But Muslims think they can issue decrees about what images can appear in newspaper cartoons. Who do they think they are, liberals?

She kids because she loves.

Confounded Faulty Router!!!

Nope... it wasn't a virus, a bug, the flu, spyware, adware, or underwear. Damn router ports are going bad, so now I need a new one. Of course, I have precious little time to go out and buy one.

Maybe I can ask Brewing J. Hmmm... I might even give him some cash for beer, too.

Hey, this could work out pretty well!!!


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoon Violence

Why even bother? Everyone else wrote about this earlier... and even last fall. Good folks too, like Mitch at Shot in the Dark (here, here, and here), the gang at the Anti-Strib (here and here), and Doug at Bogus Gold (here and here).

Well, the Souch wrote today's column with the cartoon controversy in mind. (If only Monty Python were still together and writing, maybe they'd thumb their collective noses at it... or considering Terry Jones these days, maybe not.)

Remembering the recent issue of Rolling Stone with the "annointed Kanye West" attempt at insta-controversy:

I suppose if Rolling Stone had a flag somebody might burn it, or if they had an embassy somebody might torch it, but I doubt it. The problem with demanding responsible free speech is who is going to do the determining.

We use laws to set the guidelines, but the protesters in Denmark have said, literally, that they have no interest in such laws. That places quite a burden on free people governed by laws, who, in order not to inflame Muslims, must be terribly careful not to, well, inflame Muslims. But without the law as a guide, that is like searching about in a dark room for the safe way out. In England, Burger King changed the packaging on its ice cream cones because a Muslim employee at Burger King was angry that the swirl of ice cream atop the cone resembled, so he claimed, the Arabic inscription for Allah. Uh, hallucinogenically, maybe.

If you can get upset at a picture of an ice cream cone, that would put cloud formations in play. But I don't know who you would rail against if you saw imagery in the sky.

Folks, we get the stick poked at us pretty often here. We as in conservatives, Christians, Catholics, Republicans, Libertarians, supporters of the war, what have you. Even our sacred cows get gored. (Wait, that's an ox... and I don't know if anyone has sacred oxen.) What do we do? We bitch about it on our blogs, we write snooty letters to the editor, we cancel our subscriptions to the paper, we tell our friends, we gripe to our wives (who hope we finish soon enough so we can continue watching the rest of "House" or "Celebrity Poker"). THAT'S what we do.

We don't take hostages, burn buildings, threaten offenders with death, or any such nonsense. When the neighbors do that we don't invite them to the really good parties.

We've seen so called art where someone creates the image of the Madonna with elephant dung, a jar of unrine holds Jesus on the Cross, and so on. This, for some time, has not been uncommon. (Just re-read that sentance again... to think that such displays are even predictable in some areas of the country.) Claudia Rosett in National Review mentions how reactions from the usual suspects are also not uncommon.

What’s noteworthy about the latest violence is not that it is unusual — but how very ordinary in so many ways it has become. Yes, of course, the grimly whimsical surprise is that this time the lightning rod has turned out to be not the famous London underground, or the grand train stations of Madrid, or the twin towers of New York, but a set of cartoons out of Copenhagen. The Danish drawings did not trigger some previously nonexistent fury. They have simply become the latest litmus test of how very much the worst thugs of the Islamic world believe they are entitled to get away with, whatever the pretext.

As for the cartoons, what ought to jump out here is that it is not, in fact, common for the Western press to caricature Mohammed, or even to run pointed cartoons about Islam. One has to wonder if the organizers of the gunmen, arsonists and death-threat-deliverers (and it takes a fair amount of organization to get hold of Danish flags in Gaza, or burn an embassy in the police-state of Syria) had to scour the ample outpourings of the Western press looking for something, anything, over which to take offense, and — faced with reams of material trying to understand their pain — had to fall back as a last resort on the cartoons of Denmark.

Taking a slightly different direction, Lee Harris (also at National Review) suggests that this latest outrage doesn't stem from a clash of civilizations.

In order for there to be a clash of civilizations, it is necessary for there to be two civilizations, both of which are prepared to defend their deepest cultural values. Those in the Islamic world who are violently protesting the Danish cartoons clearly represent a civilization that is keen on maintaining its own deeply held traditions and convictions, as the Muslim rioters are prepared to do, even to the point of bloodshed. The Danish cartoons are an affront to their own religion and culture, and it is pointless for those in the West to wish that Muslims could learn to be less fanatic in their approach to their faith: What we call fanaticism is an essential element of their faith, and it is one of the reasons that Islam is still a living religion in a world where so many others are moribund.

But, again, to have a clash of civilizations, it is not enough simply to have one civilization that is prepared to fight tooth and nail to defend its own ethos; there must, in addition, be another civilization that is also prepared to defend, with the same depth of conviction, its own ethical principles. The evidence, unfortunately, is that the West is not even remotely interested in mounting a defense of its values in the face of Muslim fanaticism. Worse, there are signs that the West is even prepared to sacrifice some of its core values in order to appease those who have always despised these values — values such as the freedom of individual expression and the right of every man to hold views that others find offensive and even downright blasphemous.

Can we be that timid?

I can't see that as the case, for what it is worth. However, don't we need to show a little more fire in the belly when defending our beliefs? I mean the true beliefs... the important beliefs. Certainly not by turning over the office desk when your co-worker gets snotty about where you go to church (much less by cutting his throat).

I'm getting into a new topic, so let me just say this and be done with it. Stand up and speak up... confidently and polite. Use humor, often. Chat over a drink (especially if you can convince the person his offense amounts to the cost of your usual libation).

Of course, if the person is a punk-ass let him hang himself with all the rope you can afford.

Confounded Worms and Bugs and Viruses!!!

Something unfortunate found a new home... in my computer. For now my home blogging will not exist. Hopefully it won't last long.

What an annoyance!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Day for Celebration: Update

A while ago I mentioned that the seventh anniversary traditionally called for a gift of copper or wool. Here's what the Dutiful & Beautiful Mrs. Badda-Blogger received... and loved:
  • Duracel batteries (the copper top)
  • Copper cookie cutter (bell shaped)
  • Copper coated salt & pepper shakers
  • Copper coated skillet
  • Coppertone tanning oil
  • One of the ugliest wool skirts you could possibily think of... especially for Liz Claiborne
Of course, some of this stuff will get returned for a nice purchase.

I got a nice shirt and a cool lighter for the fireplace (in the shape of a very large matchstick with a copper top).

More importantly Badda-Toddler gave us both a big hug, a big kiss, hugged us both, and then pushed our heads together and said, "kiss". Somehow he just knew, I guess.

Strib Editorial: GW's Budget

From the Anti-Strib vault:

Today's" editorial in the Star Tribune asks not if the priorities in Bush's budget are good, but if we can believe that it will cut the deficit. Fair enough. I'm not brilliant at math and really need to put pencil and paper in front of me (with a calculator) to comprehend some of the economy talk folks engange in. That's not what I'm going to mention. I'll leave that to Sequel and Tracy and the other big-brains. (In other words, have at it boys.)
Let's look at one of the later statements in the editorial:
Meanwhile, to pay for yet another new round of tax cuts, the president would chip away at programs most Americans find highly valuable, such as nutrition assistance to the elderly, rural land conservation, community policing and academic counseling for disadvantaged high school students.
What effect will chipping away on federal programs have? Surely we cannot believe that merely chipping away at a program that helps feed our aging parents and grandparents will eliminate that program let alone leave them starving. None of these programs will disappear... God knows a certain slice of the population won't let THAT happen. In fact, these programs will all increase.
These programs ought to see real cuts, as opposed to the reductions in spending increases they will see. Our own individual charity ought to play more of a role in feeding the edlerly. We ought to urge more groups to help fund rural land conservation efforts. Don't let the government do it all... and let's not have the government urge companies to do this work either. That's something that we can do. Ask Target to float some more money to a specific area that you say can't get funded with charity or without government money. Ask Cargill, ask any of them. Keep asking.
And keep giving. (Although, it would be much easier if we had more individual tax cuts!)


Monday, February 06, 2006

Happy Birthday Mr. President

He's gone but not forgotten. Today is Ronald Reagan's birthday.

I suspect he and Dean Martin are trading jokes and one-liners with a glint in their eyes. I might even add one here later. ;)


A Day for Celebration: February 6

Check out Mitch's post honoring the birthday of President Reagan.

Today I'm very thankful, and not just for Ronald W. Reagan (who is one of my favorite presidents). February 6th, 2006 marks the 41st anniversary of my parents' wedding.

It also marks the seventh anniversary of marriage to my wife the Dutiful & Beautiful Mrs. Badda-Blogger. Who knew I could keep her fooled so long? ;)

Strib Letter: Evil Republicans


This is the sort of nonsense you expect from... well a hate-mongering gal who either believes nonsense or hopes to further her cause with folks who believe nonsense.

Can you spot the nonsense in this letter?
Then and Now, No Social Saftey Net
While watching the Masterpiece Theatre presentation of Charles Dickens' "Bleak House," I felt a sense of recognition. In Dickens' day, if you were not rich, you had very little hope of surviving any setback that might befall you. This is exactly the place the Republican Party is gleefully taking America today.

Traditional Social Security and Medicare provide the benefit of being part of a group and sharing the risk. Privatized retirement and health plans strip us of the safety we find in numbers. If you remain young and healthy, things may work out. But what if you become ill, have an accident, age, or join the 5 million Americans who have lost health insurance coverage since 2001? In 21st-century Republican America, if you are not wealthy, you may find yourself alone and in trouble.


As if that weren't enough it is a Letter of the Day no less! Oy Gevalt and Madonn'!

Let's just say her number of 5-million Americans is accurate enough (it probably is), just out of curiosity I wonder how many of those who have lost health insurance coverage since 2001 have since got it again? How many voluntarily dropped it and have no intention of getting coverage in the near or immediate future? How many of those folks are wealthy? What is wealthy to Mary Anderson? Does Mary want legislation to help Americans to avoid alcohol, tobacco, fatty foods, exposure to too much television?Just curious.

(Really? "Gleefully", Mary... are you nuts?)

By the way...
I have a nice little post at Badda-Blogger regarding at least one Loonie-Leftist and the French Revolution... they both want to kill their ruler??? Surely that can't be true.

(Don't call me Shirley.)


The People are Revolting

You're telling me! (Definition of a traitor? Perhaps.)

James Lileks covers a little of the French Revolution... he even manages to compare and contrast the two basic groups of French folk who wanted change with the two basic groups of Lefties who want change now. wasn’t entirely a matter of the Poor Oppressed Peasants rising up against the let-‘em-cake-factions; a good deal of the opposition to the monarchy came from the upper middle class, which wanted larger portions of the cake for themselves. Faced with an ossified system that thwarted reform on one hand and grudgingly agreed to it on the other, the Thinking Class decided they were the vanguard of Electrified Liberty, and set in motion events they could not have anticipated. The sober voices wanted a new France, modern and progressive and civil and humane, and they made common cause with sharp clever men who wanted the same, but more. …

What more did they want? Go to Lileks' Screedblog today to see... and what the raving revolutionaries wanted appears to look like what some loonie lefties are asking for. (See the link I started with.)

Who else wants Bush gone? Oh, we've heard them before... apparently, lots of folks. The usual suspects, too. (Unfortunately, it also includes one of the real Usual Suspects.)

…I do not think that any of these people want anyone decapitated. I also do not think that any of these people would have told the woman to put the sign away. I do think that I will recall that sign when I hear their names again.

"But, but, but..." I can hear the spluttering right now. "Freedom of Speech, man... Freedom of Speech!" Don't you mean Free Market? The Marketplace of Ideas? Freedom of Association?

...and like the woman I started with in the link, we also will turn a blind eye to any such possible illegal act (regardless of how traitorous and, more to the point, bone-headedly stupid the act is).

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Let's Find Out What's On Bin-Laden's Mind

Why is it not possible that Osama bin Laden's offer to negotiate a truce is sincere?

Dick Cheney's "I think you have to destroy them," and Scott McClellan's "We do not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business" remind me very much of George W. Bush's "Bring 'em on" remark.

The Bush administration's arrogance could be preventing the start of a peaceful solution to the problem of terrorism. How could it hurt us to talk instead of hunt-down-and-kill, just this once? It might even improve our relationships with others around the world.


I'm gonna go out on a limb here... this woman is in her 60s and takes care of more than two cats.

Just take a look at some of her other letters:

I am one American who is delighted to hear that Hugo Chavez is a [proposed, if not an actual] candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. I have admired him since seeing the Irish documentary, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” a couple of years ago.

Would that our government, instead of bad-mouthing a leader who puts human rights and needs first, would learn from him that their job, too, requires that they consider “the general welfare” (see the U.S. constitution) rather than the enrichment of the rich and the effort to build what can only be called empire.

Bernice Vetsch

On the BBC News website:
The Washington Post reports offers from Sunni leaders to negotiate peaceful elections without further devastation by US military. I don't know why the hell we haven't taken them up on their offer to talk. George Bush and his group are not good for the world.
Bernice Vetsch, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

And at the Daily Star:

The editorial "A window through which to engage U.S. foreign policy" (Dec. 11)
I couldn't agree more. There seems no visible evidence that the Bush administration has learned anything from its first-term mistakes, so hearing that the rest of the world is willing to help them avoid further misadventures is heartening.

Bernice Vetsch
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.

On the Progressive Democrats of America blog: (in response to a post called Rep. McGovern to Introduce Bill Ending Funding For Iraq War)
Bernice Vetsch says:
October 28th, 2005 at 1:44 pm

What a smart and wonderful thing to do. May I suggest also eliminating about half the defense budget — all the R&D money for missile systems, nuclear zappers orbiting space, permanent military bases in Iraq and elsewhere. It would be another big step toward world peace through cooperation instead of domination.

And she apparently donated to the Minnesota Senior Federation (in the Metropolitan Region)... so i might be right that she's in her 60s. Now to prove that she's a weird cat-lady. She's clearly a socialist commie.


Strib Letter: Groundhog Sees Doom & Gloom

For eff's sake, this woman needs to take a poetry class and get her anti-Bush spleen vented in a room with other like-minded whiney-woos.

Barbara J. Miller of Eagan writes what the Strib calls the Letter of the Day. Apparently, yesterday's patriotic letter was too much for their Left-Leaning feelings so they had to make themselves feel good with some pablum puking nonsense writing she-author.

The Strib titled the letter, "A Chill That Will Last Longer Than Six Weeks". Keep it coming Barbara... keep it coming Strib. You're motivating us more than anyone else.

Staggering into the light of day, the American Voter stares in horrified fascination at the country. It has morphed into a place where illegal search and seizure is defended. Where torture is condoned. Where young people are shipped overseas to die. Where the earth is melting, plague threatens and hardly anyone seems to care very much about either. Where corruption runs rampant in government and business. Where checks and balances have been shelved and where the Constitution has become optional.

The American Voter sees all the dark shadows. So what'll it be: the cave or the voting booth? It's time to decide.

By the way, no it is not time to decide. That time comes in November.

She might be the same Barbara J. Miller who used the language in Minnesota's handgun law to claim our governor was insensitive to mentally retarded folks.

She might also have posted a letter to the Strib (where else) on Morning in America Day (November 5th, 2004).
The day after the election, I crawled to my computer. There were just two e-mails. Two! In the preceding days, they were coming in at a rate of two per second!

Friday morning, I stepped outside and saw my shadow. That means I'm vertical again. And when Democrats see their shadows on Nov. 5, it means four more years of hard work.

Listen! If you put your ear close to your computer, you can hear thousands of fingers clickety-clicking on Democrats' keyboards, all across the country. It is begun.

She is a self-employeed writer (who uses the title Ms., if that means anything to you) who has given money to John F. Kerry and Howard Dean. (Big surprise.)



Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Larry Elder For Black History Month

I wanted to look at a column by Larry Elder for Black History Month. I noted the link and saved it so I'd remember. Since looking at it again I noticed that the piece really speaks for itself... requiring little from me. The column only dates back to November 17th of last year but bears repeating.

Black Support for Bush Drops to Two Percent
Nov 17, 2005
by Larry Elder

So much for the Republican "outreach" to black voters, with only 2 percent of blacks "approving" of the president's performance.

If only blacks knew of the true history of the Democratic Party.

"Black History Month" has been observed for 29 years, yet many blacks know little to nothing about the parties' respective roles in advancing or hindering the civil rights of blacks. How many blacks know that following the Civil War, 23 blacks -- 13 of them ex-slaves -- were elected to Congress, all as Republicans? The first black Democrat was not elected to Congress until 1935, from the state of Illinois. The first black congressional Democrat from a Southern state was not elected until 1973.

Democrats, in 1854, passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This overturned the Missouri Compromise and allowed for the importation of slaves into the territories. Disgusted with the passage of this Act, free-soilers and anti-slavery members of the Whig and Democratic parties founded the Republican Party -- not just to stop the spread of slavery, but to eventually abolish it.

How many blacks know that blacks founded the Texas Republican Party? On July 4, 1867, in Houston, Texas, 150 blacks and 20 whites formed the party. No, not the Black Texas Republican Party, they founded the Texas Republican Party. Blacks across Southern states also founded the Republican parties in their states.

Fugitive slave laws? In 1850, Democrats passed the Fugitive Slave Law. If merely accused of being a slave, even if the person enjoyed freedom all of his or her life (as approximately 11 percent of blacks did just before the Civil War), the person lost the right to representation by an attorney, the right to trial by jury, and the right to habeas corpus.

Emancipation? Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War. In 1865, the 13th Amendment emancipating the slaves was passed with 100 percent of Republicans (88 of 88 in the House, 30 of 30 in the Senate) voting for it. Only 23 percent of Democrats (16 of 66 in the House, 3 of 8 in the Senate) voted for it.

Civil rights laws? In 1868, the 14th Amendment was passed giving the newly emancipated blacks full civil rights and federal guarantee of those rights, superseding any state laws. Every single voting Republican (128 of 134 -- with 6 not voting -- in the House, and 30 of 32 -- with 2 not voting -- in the Senate) voted for the 14th Amendment. Not a single Democrat (zero of 36 in the House, zero of 6 in the Senate) voted for it.

Right to vote? When Southern states balked at implementing the 14th Amendment, Congress came back and passed the 15th Amendment in 1870, guaranteeing blacks the right to vote. Every single Republican voted for it, with every Democrat voting against it.

Ku Klux Klan? In 1872 congressional investigations, Democrats admitted beginning the Klan as an effort to stop the spread of the Republican Party and to re-establish Democratic control in Southern states. As PBS' "American Experience" notes, "In outright defiance of the Republican-led federal government, Southern Democrats formed organizations that violently intimidated blacks and Republicans who tried to win political power. The most prominent of these, the Ku Klux Klan, was formed in Pulaski, Tenn., in 1865." Blacks, who were all Republican at that time, became the primary targets of violence.

Jim Crow laws? Between 1870 and 1875, the Republican Congress passed many pro-black civil rights laws. But in 1876, Democrats took control of the House, and no further race-based civil rights laws passed until 1957. In 1892, Democrats gained control of the House, the Senate and the White House, and repealed all the Republican-passed civil rights laws. That enabled the Southern Democrats to pass the Jim Crow laws, poll taxes, literacy tests, and so on, in their individual states.

Civil rights in the '60s? Only 64 percent of Democrats in Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act (153 for, 91 against in the House; and 46 for, 21 against in the Senate). But 80 percent of Republicans (136 for, 35 against in the House; and 27 for, 6 against in the Senate) voted for the 1964 Act.

What about the reviled, allegedly anti-black, Republican "Southern strategy"? Pat Buchanan, writing for Richard Nixon (who became the Republican Party candidate two years later) coined the term "Southern strategy." They expected the "strategy" to ultimately result in the complete marginalization of racist Southern Democrats. "We would build our Republican Party on a foundation of states' rights, human rights, small government, and a strong national defense," said Buchanan, "and leave it to the 'party of [Democratic Georgia Gov. Lester] Maddox, [1966 Democratic challenger against Spiro Agnew for Maryland governor George] Mahoney, and [Democratic Alabama Gov. George] Wallace to squeeze the last ounces of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice.'" And President Richard Nixon, Republican, implemented the first federal affirmative action (race-based preference) laws with goals and timetables.

So next "Black History Month," pass some of this stuff along.

Larry Elder is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and publishes a monthly newsletter entitled "The Elder Statement."

So do as he says... pass this stuff along! (Don't forget to read more of Mr. Elder's wisdom at Town Hall... I also have a few more snippets from a few other black conservatives [here] at the Badda-Blog.)

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Elder Wisdom: Black History Month

What I am about to write goes against my philosophy. I want to write about a few black authors and their works.

Why should I bristle at this idea? Why merely take the works of some black authors? Shouldn't I look for good writing from as many authors as possible?

Some folks often look to black history in February. Lessons in school, news paper stories and editorials, subjects for radio and television talk shows, water cooler talk, workshops and policies at work and local community centers, and so on. A month? A whole month? The very idea raises the question, "Why not Jewish History month? Communist Chinese Escapee Month? Italian Surrender and Cheap Auto Mechanic History Month?"

Screw it. I'll subdivide my list of authors... but if I'm only going to check out some black authors I'm going to further limit my choices: Black Conservative Day. (The sort of stuff that has blue-staters seeing red... if you know what I mean.)

The idea popped into my head while reading a piece from Larry Elder (and while writing an introduction to this post). A great column about visiting the old neighborhood barbershop with his old man. (Instantly the movie "Barbershop" came to mind, so I got hooked... nice job, Mr. Elder.) He noted several useful reminders for Black History Month, but he did this back in December of 2005.
The barber offered to take my dad right away, cutting in front of others, but [D]ad and I quickly refused. As we waited, one of the barbers and I began talking about what the barber called the "problem of racism." I argued that racism no longer posed a significant obstacle to black progress. What other country could produce a Colin Powell, a Condi Rice, an Oprah Winfrey, a Tiger Woods, a Barack Obama and a Snoop Dogg?

Larry: What about my dad? How did he manage? How do you compare what it's like now to what it was like then? He grew up in the Jim Crow South during the Depression, when black adult unemployment was 50 percent. He dropped out of school at age 13, after his mother threw him out of the house in favor of her then-boyfriend. Hard jobs followed, and he served in World War II. When he came out, he worked two full-time jobs as a janitor, cooked for a family on the weekends and went to night school to get his high school G.E.D. He saved his money and somehow managed to start a restaurant when he was in his 40s, which he ran until he was in his 80s. If racism didn't stop him then, how can racism stop you today? And he votes Republican!

Needless to say he got the attention of one of the customers.

He also pointed out some very key details regarding blacks and civil rights.

If only blacks knew of the true history of the Democratic Party.

"Black History Month" has been observed for 29 years, yet many blacks know little to nothing about the parties' respective roles in advancing or hindering the civil rights of blacks. How many blacks know that following the Civil War, 23 blacks -- 13 of them ex-slaves -- were elected to Congress, all as Republicans? The first black Democrat was not elected to Congress until 1935, from the state of Illinois. The first black congressional Democrat from a Southern state was not elected until 1973.


Civil rights in the '60s? Only 64 percent of Democrats in Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act (153 for, 91 against in the House; and 46 for, 21 against in the Senate). But 80 percent of Republicans (136 for, 35 against in the House; and 27 for, 6 against in the Senate) voted for the 1964 Act.

Of course, he's got more in that column for you!

Larry Elder wasn't on my list of regular reads, but he is now. For some time, though, Dr. Walter E. Williams has been on my regular read list. I first saw him while flipping channels on television (he was on a show with Montel Williams). A few years later I heard him sub for Rush Limbaugh. When I learned he wrote a weekly column I was thrilled.

Williams writes as an economist. (Two Walter E. Williams hail from Philly and are economists, but our Williams points out that the other is a bit of a socialist.) Go ahead and read any of his columns... some cover education, economics, politics, social issues. All worth checking out.

Last October he covered poor families in white and black American families in this column:
Though I grow weary of pointing it out, let's do it again. Let's examine some numbers readily available from the Census Bureau's 2004 Current Population Survey and ask some questions. There's one segment of the black population that suffers only a 9.9 percent poverty rate, and only 13.7 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor. There's another segment that suffers a 39.5 percent poverty rate, and 58.1 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor. Among whites, one segment suffers a 6 percent poverty rate, and only 9.9 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor. The other segment suffers a 26.4 percent poverty rate, and 52 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor. What do you think distinguishes the high and low poverty populations among blacks?

Would you buy an explanation that it's because white people practice discrimination against one segment of the black population and not the other or one segment had a history of slavery and not the other? You'd have to be a lunatic to buy such an explanation. The only distinction between both the black and white populations is marriage -- lower poverty in married-couple families.
That's the tip of the iceberg. Read on.

Another relatively recent name on my list... Thomas Sowell. Publicity for his book Black Rednecks and White Liberals certainly caught my attention. (I still need to read the book.) I've also heard him a couple of times on the radio. Clearly a bright guy with a talent for getting ideas across... which really helps me out on some issues. One of his columns in early November covered civil rights.

While blacks have had a long struggle to achieve the civil rights that many other Americans took for granted, not everything that has advanced blacks in the past or that can advance blacks in the future, is a civil right. In fact, the most dramatic economic advancements of blacks, in both incomes and occupations, occurred in the years immediately before the civil rights legislation of the 1960s.

The effect of government policies on blacks cannot be judged by whether these policies were conceived or carried out with blacks in mind.

Obviously, there's more than these guys.

There's Armstrong Williams:

To this day, many black officeholders depend on the perception of on-going, widespread racism in order to remain competitive in the electoral process. They underplay the dramatic improvements in economic and social status experienced by blacks over the last 40 years. Large numbers of their constituents, particularly those who came to age during the overt racism of the past half century, continue to believe that the problems confronting the black lower class stem primarily from racism.

Herein lies the greatest missed opportunity of the civil rights movement. They never prepared for the day when whites would start treating minorities as equals. Their entire public image, their very legitimacy as political and cultural spokespersons--was predicated on the rhetoric of a black versus white war. As Justice Clarence Thomas once observed, the [civil rights] revolution missed a larger point by merely changing the status [of minorities] from invisible to victimized.

Tragically, this point was also missed by the pop culture, which glorifies images of black misogyny, violence and victimization. We hold up gansta rappers as models of achievement. Hey, they’re just keeping it real we say. Meanwhile our children stare at these sociopaths with adoring eyes. They emulate their mean sense of entitlement, their broken English, and their violence, because this is what the popular culture tells us it means to be black.

What about Star Parker:

I wrote a book called "Uncle Sam's Plantation." I used the plantation analogy because the bigger government is, the less control individuals have over their own lives and the more dependent they are on the decisions that others, i.e., politicians, make for them. For poor folks, reliance on government builds a culture of dependency that often never ends. It is generally appreciated today the damage that the welfare state caused in poor, mostly black, communities.

We've got kids from poor families all over the country today trapped in pathetic, failing inner city public schools. Yet in a nation which prides itself on being free, we refuse to allow competition and allow parents to choose where to send their kid to school. This defines a big government plantation.

Mrs. Clinton analogizing the House of Representatives to a plantation is absurd. No one is forced to be there. Members are elected every two years. What Mrs. Clinton doesn't like is that Americans keep re-electing Republicans and putting them in control. And this means more initiatives to try and reduce the big government plantation that Hillary in fact loves. Recall that her answer to health care was to essentially nationalize it.

You can find more, too. Easy as pie. However, why look for a columnist with black skin... look for anyone with good writing and reason. That said, you're sure to find at least a couple of these folks when you do hunt down a good columnist.

Check some of these:
Jewish World Review
National Review
Town Hall