Archive for July, 2008

Makes me wonder…

July 22, 2008

So I saw this in the Chron this morning, and I got to thinking…

Last Wednesday’s decision by the International Court of Justice, the World Court, ordering the stay of the executions of several Mexican inmates in Texas, pending review and reconsideration of their convictions, was the right thing to do. Before Gov. Rick Perry rejects this decision out of hand, he would do well to consider how defiance of the World Court ruling will affect the safety of Americans abroad who rely on the same treaty protections that Texas violated in these cases. Gov. Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles should concur with the World Court and order a reprieve of the executions until those convictions are reviewed and reconsidered.

American officials can provide a number of services for Americans in trouble to assure proper and fair treatment. And on countless occasions, U.S. consular officials have interceded with foreign authorities to protect the rights of wrongly detained Americans. But in order to secure this access for Americans traveling abroad, the United States had to ensure that it would provide access for foreigners in the United States. This is what it did in signing and ratifying the treaty.

Our good faith goes a long way in securing the good faith of other nations. This is not a capitulation of sovereignty, as has been suggested by agenda-pushing commentators. Indeed, it is the ultimate exercise of sovereignty for the United States to accept treaty obligations which will benefit Americans abroad.

I can almost understand their point, but for the severity of the crime that Jose Medellin participated in. It just seems outrageously simple to me, but then perhaps that’s because I am not a politician — if you don’t wanna pay the ultimate penalty, don’t commit the ultimate crime. I’d argue that the same principle applies to American citizens in foreign lands as well — if they stay out of trouble then they really shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Which is more or less what this guy said, with this great closer:

…especially for Mexico: when you accept our Second Amendment as a valid defense for being in possession of a gun in Mexico, we’ll (maybe) listen to you about the death penalty….

A-yep. Speaking of Second Amendment rights being infringed upon…yeah, it’s bad enough that it happens, but what about when it happens due to an honest mistake? Reading this op-ed piece this morning, I was reminded of the fate of onetime Southeast Texas FFL holder Thomas Lamar Bean

Bean, 62, was a licensed gun dealer, who had never been in trouble with the law except for a few minor traffic violations. Those who know Bean say he is an upstanding citizen of Orange County, Texas.
On March 12, 1998, Bean attended a gun show in Laredo. After the show, he decided to have dinner across the border, in Mexico. Prior to entering Mexico, Bean emptied his Suburban of all firearms except on the backseat Bean had forgotten to remove a box that contained 200 rounds of ammunition.
Bean was stopped at the border crossing of Nuevo Laredo, Tamulipas, Mexico. Mexican authorities saw on the backseat, in plain view, the ammunition box.
Bean was arrested for importing the ammunition into Mexico. Just nine weeks later, on May 27, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in a Mexican prison. In all, he was incarcerated in Mexico for approximately five months before being released to the custody of the United States under the International Prisoner Transfer Treaty. He spent another month in La Tuna Penitentiary, a federal prison in Anthony, Texas, before his nightmare ended on Oct. 21, when he was released from prison under supervision.

After Bean was released from prison, he took action to get his FFL and 2A rights restored. However, as the story states, in 1992 Congress prohibited the ATF from using funds appropriated to it to even investigate applications for relief. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which basically ruled that inaction by the ATF on Bean’s application did not equate to a denial of Bean’s application, therefore there was effectively nothing for the court to reverse.
The long and short of all that is this: Thomas Bean served time in prison and was stripped of his God-given right of self-defense, protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, for an honest mistake. (Unlike, of course, this piece of shit Medellin, who made a conscious decision to do what he did.) And through a loophole effectively passed by the United States Congress, there’s absolutely nothing Mr. Bean can do about it. Yet as far as I’ve seen, absolutely no one has stood up for him. Why don’t Ellis, Jackson and their ilk push for justice for those like Mr. Bean?

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"…Van Halen, NOT Van Hagar…"

July 20, 2008

I must admit, I got a kick out of this

I’m ripping Van Halen’s Best Of, Volume I right now, and listening while it rips.

We’re currently at “Dance The Night Away”, which means we’re about two tracks from where the train veers off the rails, three tracks from where the cars start to pile up, and five tracks from where body parts start hitting the ground. You’d think time would dull the pain, but it never gets any easier to watch…

I am reminded of the line from Joe Dirt, where David Spade’s title character is reeling off a list of his favorite bands: “I’m a rocker through and through. Here’s a list of my favorite bands: AC/DC, Van Halen NOT Van Hagar, Skynyrd, Def Leppard…”
I never was a fan of the post-David Lee Roth Van Halen myself. Nothing at all against the other band members, but I think Roth more or less WAS Van Halen and things just weren’t the same after he left. The Red Rocker just didn’t do it for me, though by himself he wasn’t bad at all. (Of course, I only REALLY discovered them after their heyday; I was only three months old when Van Halen’s self-titled debut album was released.) There is at least one glaring flaw in that best-of set from where I sit: Eddie Van Halen’s guitar instrumental “Eruption” isn’t immediately followed by “You Really Got Me.” I don’t know if the solo was meant to be an intro to the song, but that’s the way I’ve always heard it and it works GREAT. It’s always made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, and isn’t that one of the things good music is supposed to do? I’ve always thought that the guys covering “You Really Got Me” on their very first album was quite a ballsy move on their part. To this day it’s my favorite song of theirs — with the “Eruption” lead-in, of course, both of which can be found on that eponymous 1978 debut. The Kinks’ 1964 original was all right, but David Lee Roth and the boys really took that song and made it their own. I love it, yes, I do…

Say what, Kemosabe?

July 18, 2008

You know, I could have sworn the U.S. Supreme Court last month clearly said this sort of chicanery was unconstitutional…

Dane von Breichenruchardt, a gun advocate and adviser to Heller, said further legal challenges are likely because city officials continue to insist on stringent regulations.

“They think they’re above the Supreme Court,” he said, echoing other gun rights advocates.

Von Breichenruchardt, president of the Bill of Rights Foundation, said that as long as the city outlaws most semiautomatic firearms, Heller likely will be prohibited from registering his weapon of choice — a .45-caliber Colt pistol. Heller said he’d return today to register a different weapon.
.45-caliber Colt. I’m guessing that’d be John Browning’s masterpiece that nowadays is made by everybody and their brother, some variant of the Model 1911. The Court clearly said that arms in common use were protected by the Second Amendment, and considering, once again, that defensive sidearms such as the Glock and 1911 variants — both of those, of course, are semiautomatics — are close to the top of the best-seller list of guns in this country, it would only follow that they’re in common use by the citizens. Which means, of course, that the D.C. regulation that bans most semiauto firearms looks on its face to be unconstitutional as per the decision handed down in Heller v. D.C. I am led to believe that Mr. Heller and his representatives knew exactly what they were doing, though — they were looking to take action so Heller would have standing to take the D.C. authorities back to court to have these particular regulations struck down. It’ll be interesting to see what the courts do with this.
On with the show, commenter dtb had this to say, in comments:

for the record I’m not anti gun. just pro-gun law


I read that and I was reminded of a really good answer to the old question, “You have a permit to carry that?”
“Yeah, I have a permit. It’s called the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
But you know the Second Amendment is never what they mean when they say things like “I’m pro-gun-law.” No. It always means various and sundry regulations that directly contravene that amendment, from background checks right on up to outright bans — you know, things that would have had our Founding Fathers beside themselves with rage. All of which brought to mind an exchange in an old movie, slightly modified, of course…
“I’m not anti-gun. Just pro-gun-law.”
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Random Thursday Hits

July 17, 2008

I was reading Scott Chaffin early this morning, and a commenter over there offered a pretty good explanation of the mess we’re in vis-a-vis the devaluing of the dollar….

When the Fed bails out these banks and mortgage lenders, where do you think they are getting the money? They aren’t! They’re printing it. They are giving them newly printed Federal Reserve Notes and the buying power is tremendous for the ones they give them to. As all those greenbacks trickle-down, they lose value. With all those extra dollars in circulation the value of each dollar drops, and the purchasing power drops along with it.

For the record, I think he was making way too big a deal about Phil Gramm’s comment about America being a nation of whiners. To the extent Americans expect the government to solve various national problems, I’d say Gramm was spot-on. Back to the money, though, it’d be nice if the politicians would at least look at the way the money supply’s being fucked with as part of the culprit behind high oil prices instead of constantly demagoguing oil companies. But of course that would take some modicum of integrity, which is something most politicians at the national level are sorely lacking.
Speaking of oil, I really liked how Ann Coulter responded to the Democrats’ assertion that we can’t drill our way out of the current energy crisis. From what I remember she said that was more or less like saying you can’t eat your way out of malnourishment or that you can’t drink your way out of dehydration. Drilling may well not be the long-term answer, but over the short term while we find those elusive alternative energy sources, I think we’d be wise to take advantage of our own resources instead of competing for the rest of the world’s resources. If we have the oil and the means to extract it, then it deserves to be asked why in the hell we’re not getting it already.
Moving on, Kurt Hofmann over at Armed and Safe had a hell of a good quote the other day about government regulations on gun sales:

I happen to be one of those “extremists” who believe that the government should have no more ability to control the sale of firearms than they control the sale of screwdrivers (in other words, no ability to infringe on that which shall not be infringed).

That was just awesome, and I agree 110 percent. If some people are so dangerous the government doesn’t trust them with guns, then what the hell are they doing walking the streets? And why don’t the gun-control groups have any problem with these predators walking the streets? I always thought the Brady background check was symptomatic of some huge flaws in the American “justice” system. But of course, such a perspective is way, way beyond the ken of simpletons like Paul Helmke and Sarah Brady.

Finally today, on a non-political note, George Strait’s Troubadour cd doesn’t bring back the best of memories for me, to say the least, but that record’s title song is arguably one of the best songs he’s ever recorded. The rest of the cd is pretty good too, but that song just really stands out. He may well be an old troubadour, especially compared to all the rest of the folks on the scene — but he’s still just as on top of his game as he was 20 years ago. When he goes home to his Texas ranch for good, it’s gonna be a huge, huge loss for country music — but the genre is immeasurably richer for his contributions.

A bad way to go about it…

July 15, 2008

I must admit, I had a pretty visceral reaction to this, on a couple of different levels:
(http://www.thebitchgirls.us/?p=8404)

Just because you don’t participate in a sport and haven’t been introduced to it doesn’t mean you get to start throwing people off the lifeboats. …Will those of you who are angry at NRA for defending one unpopular sport allow them to stand down on that one? Because I’m sure if you polled all gun owners, many of them would be okay with not “wasting resources” to defend the indefensible guns.

To address the very specific issue of pigeon shoots – no, I have never participated in one. Yes, I have known people who have participated in them regularly. It’s not something I can say I’d jump up to do. By that same token, I’m not going to jump up and volunteer to get my ass up before the crack of dawn and sit in a deer stand in the cold. In fact, whenever I do eventually go hunting someday, I’ll probably hunt some kind of bird because that’s my sport of choice. It doesn’t mean I’m going to throw deer hunters the bus because I don’t feel like joining their little group….

For all the talk about helping us get hunters on board with defending against infringement on self-defense issues and gun bans, it’s dismissive attitudes like this on the shooting side that will help turn them off of the idea of helping us out. Anyone who wants to be an effective activist can’t be seen volunteering to drive the bus that will run over the other group.

I gotta say, I think that’s a piss-poor way of defending something. I don’t think that just because humans make sport out of something that automatically makes it worthy of defending. If the most that can be said of something like a caged pigeon shoot is that calling it out for the blood sport it looks to be will piss off the people who do it, well then I have to wonder just what the utility is in spending resources defending it. I mean, if it has any kind of benefit vis-a-vis preventing the spread of diseases to animals, humans or other pigeons or something along those lines, then that’s the basis on which it should be defended. I mean, hell, ask the pistol shooters in (formerly) Great Britain how approaching gun ownership from the perspective of defending their sport turned out — and that was a sport, by the way, that could and does quite often have a hell of a lot more of an immediate benefit than something like a pigeon shoot. (To be honest I don’t know enough about the pigeon shoot to make enough of a comment one way or the other as I write this, but I will say at first glance that it does look to be absolutely ghastly…) And I would say that if the hunters are going to tell the defensive shooters to go to hell just because we don’t defend their sport, then I’d say that’s more of a reflection on the pettiness of that contingent than anything else. I can’t help but think that putting self-defense — whether it be with a pistol or an Evil Black Rifle — on the same level of importance as hunting is to cheapen the value of self-defense. The fact is, it’s in everybody’s best interest to get on the pistol/black rifle bus. I mean, yeah, it’s our problem too if the hunters don’t get on board that bus, but still I can’t help but think that if Abe Maslow had designed his hierarchy of needs with gunnies in mind, self-defense would be closer to the base than hunting.
And then there’s the age-old hunters vs. shooters aspect of this. Personally, I am sick unto death of hearing people shriek about how “we shouldn’t offend the hunters!” I remember reading somewhere — it might well have been on Michael Bane’s blog — that there were 20 million hunting licenses issued in the U.S. every year and between 60 million and 80 million gun owners in the United States. Doing the math, that comes out to between 66 and 75 percent of gun owners in the U.S. not being hunters. Add in the money that the shooters spend on ammunition and accessories, the fact that various defensive sidearms and semi-automatic rifles are the biggest-selling firearms in the country, and it makes me wonder, why are some people so hell-bent on not offending the hunters, let alone to the point that we make such extreme contortions with our ethics? Um, quite frankly, I think that’s bullshit, and I make no apologies for that.

…do these people think we’re stupid?

July 10, 2008

By “these people,” I mean, of course, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, or The Organization Formerly Known As The National Coalition To Ban Handguns…
http://csgv.blogspot.com/2008/07/freedom-vs-responsibility.html

As German theologian and Nazi resister Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Responsibility and freedom are corresponding concepts. Factually, though not chronologically, responsibility presupposes freedom and freedom can consist only in responsibility. Responsibility is the freedom of men which is given only in the obligation to God and to our neighbour.”

There are at least a couple of ironies here, both of which apparently escaped Michael Beard and his evil minions. One is the fact that Beard talks about responsibility at all. After all, I’ve said it elsewhere, and so have many others, including Kurt Hofmann over at Armed and Safe: Freedom IS responsibility. This responsibility includes watching out and being responsible for yourself in all areas of life, and this includes self-defense, against everything from petty criminals to tyrannical governments bent on your enslavement. And Michael Beard and his cohorts don’t support using lethal force for defending yourself from anything on that continuum. On one end, we have Beard saying, “The privatization of public safety is a dangerous issue in our society. And I’ve always seen that as the beginning of the loss of liberty.” If you’ll recall, he said this after Arlington, Texas grandmother Susan Buxton made national headlines when she was recorded on a 911 tape shooting an intruder who broke into her home. So that leaves one to think that Beard and his organization thinks Ms. Buxton should not have done anything to protect herself, that she should have waited for the Arlington police to show up and take care of it, or just “given him what he wanted” — in short, that Ms. Buxton should have just let the Arlington Police Department take responsibility for her safety, despite the fact that various courts have ruled over the years that the police are not responsible for individuals’ safety, but only that of the public at large. On the other end, we have Beard’s colleague Ladd Everitt contending that “the government should have a monopoly on force.” Which brings me to the next irony.
You’ll note that Beard quoted a member of the Nazi resistance. Where’s the irony in that, you ask? Well, it lies in the fact that if Beard, Everitt and the rest of that gang had their way, there would have been no way for the opponents of the Nazi regime to mount a resistance that was anywhere near effective. After all, while Hitler was not directly elected, he came to power directly through the democratic process.
(http://www2.dsu.nodak.edu/users/dmeier/Holocaust/hitler.html)

The Nazis gradually devised an electoral strategy to win northern farmers and white collar voters in small towns, which produced a landslide electoral victory in September 1930 (jump from roughly 3% to 18% of the votes cast) due to the depression. Refused a chance to form a cabinet, and unwilling to share in a coalition regime, the Nazis joined the Communists in violence and disorder between 1931 and 1933. In 1932, Hitler ran for President and won 30% of the vote, forcing the eventual victor, Paul von Hindenburg, into a runoff election. After a bigger landslide in July 1932 (44%), their vote declined and their movement weakened (Hitler lost the presidential election to WWI veteran Paul von Hindenburg in April; elections of November 1932 roughly 42%), so Hitler decided to enter a coalition government as chancellor in January 1933.

Upon the death of Hindenburg in August 1934, Hitler was the consensus successor. With an improving economy, Hitler claimed credit and consolidated his position as a dictator, having succeeded in eliminating challenges from other political parties and government institutions.

In light of that, I have to ask — do Beard, Everitt and the rest of that gang think Hitler’s “undesirables” should have rolled over and taken what Hitler and his forces eventually handed to them? I can’t help but think the answer is yes. How do these people look themselves in the mirror every morning?! On with the show…

The recent Supreme Court decision in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller has set the principle that there are legitimate restraints on the constitutional rights of individual citizens to own firearms. This is consistent with the view of our Founders that government regulation was an integral part of not only the Second Amendment, but ordered liberty in general.

I’d love to know who wrote the history book Beard got that out of, and why in the hell he hasn’t demanded his money back, because he was woefully mis-informed. As has been covered on numerous occasions, the regulation mentioned in the 2A referred to training with one’s weaponry to assure proficiency with it — NOT government regulations of and restrictions on the business of selling arms. After all, anyone who’s read what the Founding Fathers had to say about government in general knew that they regarded it with extreme distrust, as a necessary evil, one might say — with an emphasis on the evil part, because the Founders had seen up-close and personal what government could do when it was left to its own devices. They regarded it with so much distrust that they made sure the people would have the means to overthrow it if it got to be too big for its britches. Once again, the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Do Beard and his cohorts really think the Founders would have approved of the government telling the people what kinds of arms they could and could not own? That the Founders would have approved of the government imposing certain conditions on the ownership of said arms? Does that jibe AT ALL with the words reproduced above that the Founding Fathers penned 232 years ago? If so, how?

…and what, really, is so bad about that?

July 10, 2008

From the comment section of a Houston Chronicle story about Walmart pulling a Mexican comic book containing a character that some saw as racially offensive:

They will however, continue to sell clothes made in sweatshops,
Rap CD’s (sic),and Guns.

To be honest I don’t know enough about the whole “clothes made in sweatshops” thing to make an informed comment on that — but if Walmart keeps selling rap cds and guns, well, so what? (Hey, guess what, smart guy? They’re gonna keep sellin’ ammunition, too!) I don’t understand what’s so bad about guns OR rap music. I can’t stand rap music, to be honest, but hey, maybe if people didn’t buy that shit Walmart wouldn’t sell it. To be sure it’s not the most wholesome thing in the world, but then again you’ll find artists in just about every other genre singing about not-so-wholesome topics too. To cite one of my favorite examples, all the Cross Canadian Ragweed cds in my collection, I picked up at Walmart (with the exception of the double live cd recorded in Tulsa). “I pulled out my Old Timer, I cut that boy from ear to ear…”
And if we advocate pulling some of that not-so-wholesome music from the shelves, the only fair thing to do would be to pull it all. And where would that leave us? Without a lot of great music, no doubt, none of which as far as I can tell had no discernibly negative impact on society. I know many might say that rap music has had a horrible effect on blacks in this country, but I think to say that is horribly condescending to black people. They have choices just like the rest of us. After all, how many Texas red-dirt country music fans do you see going out and robbing banks or killing lovers who did them wrong? Not that many, I would think, and certainly not enough to point to Texas/red-dirt music as a contributing factor to the decline in the region’s culture (if there was anything wrong with the culture, which, of course, there isn’t).
And the same, of course, can be said of the guns Walmart sells. That in itself is a bit of a flawed argument, as Walmart doesn’t even sell the kinds of guns favored by the drug dealers and gangs that are shooting each other down. But even if Walmart did sell personal defensive arms in the lower 48, well, so what? Once again, inner-city blacks have the same free will the rest of us do, no matter what certain people might think. And again, to deny that, to blame it on anyone or anything but the people doing the killing, is a racist cop-out. No matter what stupid assholes like Cam’ron might think.

Mandatory volunteer service…isn’t that like "jumbo shrimp"?

July 9, 2008

As if it wasn’t bad enough that that socialist bastard Barack David Lee Roth Obama wants my guns and more of my money, now I find he basically wants to extort my time from me, too…

He said he would make federal assistance conditional on school districts establishing service programs and set the goal of 50 hours of service a year for middle school and high school students.
For college students, Obama would set the goal at 100 hours of service a year and create a $4,000 annual tax credit for college students tied to that level of service.

Oh, now, isn’t this just peachy! As if so many college students don’t have their hands full now with working to pay for the rent, bills and car note along with their tuition, now we have this smiley-faced empty suit coming along and throwing more bricks in the bed of that truck. As someone who’s going to be putting himself back in that pool — going back to school and working to pay the bills and tuition as well — I take this sort of thing VERY personally. I have one college degree, and I busted my ass for it, going to school part-time while I hustled the shopping carts off the Walmart parking lot 40 hours a week to pay my rent AND car note AND phone and light bill, along with my tuition. I guess that $4,000 tax credit would be a fair form of repayment for that time, but it deserves to be asked where the money to fund those tax credits is going to come from. You might even say that’s yet another form of wealth redistribution, and a particularly underhanded one at that. Whatever the case may be, I got a huge kick out of this comment at Larry Correia’s place:

I won’t do 100 hours of community service. I won’t do ONE fucking hour of community service. Community service is for people who don’t pay parking tickets or get caught driving with an expired license. The thought of being forced to do community service pisses me off so much I just might go pee in some homeless guy’s bottle of Thundebird out of SPITE.

A-yep. As far as I’m concerned my working to pay my bills is enough community service all by its lonesome self. I serve my community through the time I sell to my employer. Why isn’t that good enough for Barack James Hetfield Obama? This was better put, though, by a commenter over at Professor Stephen Bainbridge’s blog:

I perform a socially useful function, by dint of the fact that I am lawfully employed doing something that other people, uncoerced, give me money to do. It’s part of the deal that I turn up on time and produce stuff. Fair enough. That’s my job. But being a citizen is not a job. The government has no rightful say as to how I order my life in any respect other than its direct effect on others, and assuming that by not ‘volunteering’ I am somehow being parasitical on society is essentially fascist (and I’m not just using that as the Argumentum ad Hitleram)…I won’t use the ‘some of my best friends are Jewish’ defence that I do a lot of volunteer work on my own: I don’t. But it’s not up to plaster saints like Barack Obama to guilt me into doing so. By just rolling out of bed on time five days a week, turning up to work, and not breaking any laws, I have fulfilled my side of the bargain. The Self-Righteous Brothers can bugger off.

Amen, brother…
And for all you leftists out there raising fifteen kinds of holy hell about Blackwater and its contracts with the government, fucking explain to me how what Blackwater does for the military overseas is worse than this:

We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set…We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.

Is it wrong that when I read that, it evoked the term “roving bands of armed thugs”? I should say that by no means do I think Blackwater is composed of “armed thugs,” because unlike this so-called “civilian national security force” Obama talks about here, at least Blackwater provides a valuable service for our troops overseas. I honestly can’t see any kind of redeeming feature for this CNSF. Like Larry Correia, I wonder exactly what the purpose of such a force is, and why it’s preferable to the “well-regulated militia” mentioned in the Second Amendment. Could it be that the types of people who consider themselves part of said militia — or the military itself — would not be in agreement with the goals of Obama’s civilian national security force? Like the man said, that’s some scary stuff. Can you imagine the media outcry if it had been John McCain putting forth such a proposal?

…um, say what?

July 7, 2008

Barack Obama,on the foreclosure crisis in the U.S.:

If the government can bail out investment banks on Wall Street, we can extend a hand to folks who are struggling on Main Street.

Perhaps we can, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we should. I wonder if he and his cohorts ever stopped to think that maybe giving government handouts to the Wall Street investment banks was a bad idea for the very same reason bailing out private homeowners on Main Street is, i.e., it just encourages more of the very same bad behavior. It would seem the esteemed (sic) senator is still under the impression that two wrongs make a right. I honestly thought the vast majority of us learned that two wrongs DON’T make a right somewhere around the first or second grade at the very latest. Call it just one more piece of evidence that education doesn’t necessarily lead to intelligence or enlightenment — yes, even when that education is at a supposedly top-tier institution like Harvard University. But then, you never know. He might have just said that because he thought all those ig’nernt rubes who cling to their religion and guns — as he apparently sees those of us in Middle America — would think it sounded good. Either way it doesn’t speak well of him, as a man or someone who aspires to lead this great country.

A little music for the Fourth…

July 4, 2008

I’ve always been a huge, huge Ray Charles fan. You hear people talk about a singer now and then and they’ll say something like, “He could sing the phone book and it’d be an instant classic.” And so it was, with the R&B crooner from small-town Georgia who was completely blind by the age of seven. I’d say he could probably take any genre short of thrash metal and fit right into it, even country; although I never was a big fan of the countrypolitan sounds of Charlie Rich and Ray Price, which was where Charles positioned himself in the country genre, somehow you’ll always find me leaving the radio right where it is when “Crying Time” or “I Can’t Stop Loving You” comes on the classic country station here.
But to my ear, the finest piece of Charles’ repertoire just has to be not one of the blues or country standards he made his own, but his rendering of “America the Beautiful,” the old Katherine Lee Bates poem that was put to the music of Samuel Ward, the composition that many believe should be our national anthem. I’d bet a good chunk of change that a lot of people think that because of Ray Charles.

http://www.youtube.com/v/X1MaGwl51qg&hl=en&fs=1