Archive for July, 2009

Something else I never thought I’d see…

July 25, 2009

First, the lead graf to this story

WASHINGTON — Texas Sen. John Cornyn announced Friday he will vote against Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation as the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court, even though the decision could carry political risks among his Latino constituents.

And then, a comment:

Is the author actually suggesting that Latino voters are so narrowly focused on superficial properties (like the color of the Senators skin) that they are incapable of weighing issues on the merits of their positions? The very suggestion that a Latino voters only see skin color as criteria to the high court is in itself a racist suggestion. Latinos can think for themselves, they have moral standards, they can make value judgments based on the merits of the argument, they are capable of intellectual honesty. I’m tired of the MSM portraying us as disparate, ignorant groups of bigots who are incapable of making decisions based on reality rather than superficiality.

I am not really sure what to make of this observation. I don’t know that the writer of the story was trying to make it sound as if Latinos put ethnicity at the top of the list for qualifications to the high court, but unless Latinos are the solid liberal voting bloc as might be suggested by their problem with many GOP positions — and I am not so sure this is the case, considering from what I’ve read many Latinos are actually more conservative than their voting record would suggest — then I don’t know how the journalist was really that far off the mark. How else would one explain Senator Fischer’s remark that Cornyn’s “no vote will be a symbolic gesture to the largest growing demographic in Texas”? I got a kick out of another commenter basically referring to this:

Cornyn said he remained puzzled by Sotomayor’s positions on the Second Amendment right to gun possession, government taking of private property and expanding constitutional rights based on foreign law…

as “baseless reasons.” They look pretty legitimate to me. Especially (speaking of property rights) in light of this.
On a related note, a bit of googling brings me to this:

Kelo is now a precedent of the court. I must follow it. I am bound by a circuit — a Supreme Court decision, as a 2nd Circuit judge. As a Supreme Court judge, I must give it the deference that the doctrine of stare decisis would suggest.

I know I’m going to get in all sorts of trouble for this, but I really do wonder if she’d have given Dred Scott v. Sandford or Plessy v. Ferguson the deference they were due according to the stare decisis doctrine. Like I’ve said before, I can understand that doctrine. I can see how it maintains consistency in the law. But how long are we willing to tolerate decisions like the one handed down in Kelo v. New London? Why must it be assumed that every single decision handed down by the Supreme Court really upholds the Constitution when even a cursory glance at history will tell you that isn’t the case? And why in the hell does no one ever talk about that either?

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Funny stuff right here…

July 24, 2009

I like a lot of the acts the author of this comment to this story mentioned as Rock & Roll HOF inductees, but I do see exactly where he’s coming from…

Just a sampling of the credibility of the “The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame”…
.
Not Inducted (meeting all criteria): Deep Purple, Bad Company, Cheap Trick, Supertramp, ELP, The Hollies, Badfinger, Blind Faith, The Moody Blues, Squeeze, Peter Frampton, Humble Pie, Little Feat, Kansas, ELO, The Scorpions, Sweet, Boston, The Cars, Nazareth. REO Speedwagon, Sammy Hagar, Steve Winwood, Joan Armatrading, Thin Lizzy, Yes & Judas Priest.
.
Inducted: LaVern Baker, Madonna, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Aretha Franklin, The Jackson Five, Michael Jackson, James Taylor, Little Walter, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Floyd Cramer, Parliament/Funkadelic, Etta James, Pete Seeger, Bessie Smith, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Mahalia Jackson, Percy Sledge, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five…freaking Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five!!!

Quite a revealing list there, indeed. And even with the artists/bands I don’t like that have and have not been inducted I can certainly give them their due as deserving. I do wonder how many of the inductees got to be that way for political reasons, and not necessarily just Dem/Rep/right- or left-wing. Food for thought…

I know he means well…

July 24, 2009

…but Clarence Page comes off as a little bit myopic here. I’m guessing he thinks all those attendees of the two-year college should be on a four-year degree track, which isn’t a bad goal on the surface, but where does that leave trades like plumbing, welding, machining and such? It’s always seemed to me that classes for those trades — vo-tech classes or whatever you call them — have gotten an unfairly bad rap, because in some cases that particular track can be every bit as lucrative as a college degree. And there are reasons for that. It seems to me that no one who’s talking about higher-ed talks about that, and I haven’t the foggiest idea as to why.

How many antis would say…

July 24, 2009

….that this was a legitimate defensive gun use…

An intruder might have managed to dodge a bullet and escape early this morning after trying to break into the apartment of a Houston police officer, who fired once, officials said.

…because of who the tenant was? That pisses me right the hell off. Why is his life worth more just because he wears a badge? Have none of those people ever heard of Sir Robert Peel’s Nine Principles? Specifically No. 7?

Another random musical observation…

July 23, 2009

I haven’t heard that many songs from Mott the Hoople, but damn, am I glad that “All The Young Dudes” was different than everything else I’ve heard from them. That song blows chunks, if you’ll pardon the expression. I’d hate to have found out it was representative of their entire catalog.

Computer literacy has its advantages…

July 23, 2009

….as shown here:

Q. My kid has MySpace IM that automatically pops up when the computer is starting up.Since she has done that, the computer is freezing up and is really really slow. How do I get rid of that altogether?
A:…It seems that the first thing that kids like to do when they get hold of our computers is to run out and install all of these little programs so they can chat and cavort with their friends, not realizing that they can sometimes cause an awful mess.

Yes indeed, but who leaves that door open in the first place? The first thing I’d be doing if I had kids and got a new computer would be to set them up with their own accounts — ones that don’t allow them to run out, download and install all that crap on them that slows them down. I wonder how many parents out there just get it out of the box, turn it on and leave it at that, letting the kids do to it what they will. More of them do that than not, no doubt about it. It’d be interesting to see the kids’ reaction.
“But I wanna taaaaaallllk to my frieeeeends!”
“Well, ok. Here.” *hands kid the phone*
Or, in the case of the friends living nearby, “Get on your bike and go see ’em.”
“But that…I can’t play on the computer that way!”
“And your point?”

Man, they’re rollin’ here lately…

July 22, 2009

…the folks over at Country California, that is…this is good, and this is even better!
“…he was rubbing his chin and looking all reflective, like he thought he was coming up with that sh*t for the first time or saying something really deep or something. ” ROTFLMAO!

This might be a bit controversial…

July 22, 2009

…but it’s what I think and I can’t really help that…
Reading this story

A Montgomery County jury’s recent decision to sentence a paroled murderer to life in prison is a comfort to the widow of the man he killed nearly 25 years ago, she said Tuesday.
Brian Keith Balentine received a life sentence last week for a March 2008 shoplifting case in Conroe. Prosecutors and Balentine’s defense lawyer said the August 1984 murder of Leroy Larson, disclosed during the punishment phase of the trial, played a decisive role in the jury’s decision. Balentine, 43, will return to a Texas prison, joining his older brother, who was also convicted in Larson’s slaying.
“These are mean people,“ said the woman once known as Marilyn Larson. “Whatever happened to make them the way they are, I don’t know, but, they should not be on the street.“

…really set the stage for me to get good and riled when I read this one

LUCASVILLE, Ohio — A man who went on a 1992 Christmas holiday killing spree that left six people dead, including an 18-year-old mother gunned down at a pay phone, was executed Tuesday, the state’s second execution in two weeks and the 1,000th lethal injection in the U.S. since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

The European Union presidency, currently held by Sweden, released a statement noting the number and calling on the U.S. to halt executions, pending the abolition of the death penalty.
“The European Union is opposed to the use of capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances,” the statement said. “We believe that the abolition of the death penalty is essential to protect human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights.”
The death penalty is abolished in the European Union, and the United Nations General Assembly has called upon all countries that use it to stop executions and end the practice.

Human dignity? Human rights? Sorry, but this is wrong. Creatures who do things like what was discussed in these two stories have lost all rights to be called human. I would say these people are animals, but they’re even worse than that — because, for example, if you get mauled by a mountain lion, well, that lion’s just reacting as per his natural instinct, and the same can’t be said of Messrs. Balentine and Keene. None of this is to say they should be tortured and such, but when you do things like what these creatures did, you’ve forfeited your right to live. And if those in progressive, tolerant, oh-so-enlightened Europe don’t agree, well, that’s their problem. I do find their whinging about “human dignity” and “the development of human rights” rather hypocritical considering that, for example, if I were walking down a London avenue and some street thug came up, whipped out a knife and demanded my cell phone and iPod, I would have no other legal option than to “just give him what he wants” because if I resisted I might well get in trouble with the authorities. What about MY dignity? What about MY rights? To say nothing of the people who actually find themselves in such situations…

Pull out the chainsaw here…

July 21, 2009

…’cause the hypocrisy’s so thick here, you’d need that to cut it…

DALLAS — Black and white extremists are expected to demonstrate Tuesday in an eastern Texas town where murder charges were dropped against two white men accused in the death of a black friend run over by a vehicle and dragged beneath it.

Like a demonstration staged last month to protest the dismissal of charges, Tuesday’s rally is likely to include the black power salutes and Nazi symbols typical of such clashes. The angry rhetoric already has begun.
“Caucasians in Paris must understand that they are the reason for Paris being the center of unsavory attention,” one black protest leader, Jimmy Blackwell of the Tarrant County Local Organizing Committee, wrote in an editorial published last week in The Paris News. “We welcome the KKK because we want the world to see how real Americans act.

The KKK is representative of Real Americans? White people — ALL the white people in Paris, no less — are the reason for the attention the town’s getting? And so many people, no doubt he included, have been telling us all not to paint people with such a broad brush? Cripes, what a thoroughgoing asshole. It brings to mind a piece of Bill Whittle’s Sanctuary essay from a few years ago…
“I can’t pretend to understand this. It is simply beyond my ability to grasp. Nor can I understand why so many rich people who so hate and despise this land do not simply move somewhere else.”
Now how rich this bigoted asshole Jimmy Blackwell may be I do not know, but the point still stands. If he really sees that as the way things really are, if all the good is the exception to the rule…then what the hell is he still doing here?

Straw man alert…

July 20, 2009

here, seen at Country California:

I would hazard a guess that some members of the rabid keep-it-country purist crowd are also angry Yankee-haters and those who are suspicious of anyone who appears to be from somewhere else.

I would hazard a guess that Chet Flippo is still a flaming asshole — with, apparently, a huge supply of a certain agricultural byproduct hidden somewhere or another, considering the size of the straw man he sets up in his column and what he uses to support said straw man. I don’t think I’ll ever quite understand those who accuse the traditionalists of saying the genre shouldn’t evolve. Who is saying or implying this? I’d bet you a lot of those folks’ tastes are more varied than people like Chet Flippo would give them credit for. No doubt the purists have been raising hell about the newer artists probably at least since the first amp was plugged in, but like I said over at CC, why does Chet Flippo seem to think it’s so wrong for people like me to think evolution of the genre shouldn’t be duets with ’80s rock acts like Def Leppard and the B-52s? And pointing to Willie Nelson’s duet with Julio Iglesias? Is this where I’m supposed to say, vis-a-vis my own position, quod erat demonstrandum? Because to put it mildly I thought that was a low point in the Red-Headed Stranger’s catalog. And Jennifer Nettles and Bon Jovi? I am sure you might be able to figure out what I think of that considering I am a fan of bands like Queensryche, Megadeth and Pantera. (Actually, I really don’t hate the hair metal, I just find it more than a little banal after hearing the more traditional metal.) And of course, the tune that was playing here one day comes to mind…

Well the folk scene’s dead, but he’s holdin’ out in the village
He’s been writin’ songs speakin’ out against wealth and privilege
He says ‘I dont believe in money but a man could make him a killin’
‘Cause some of that stuff don’t sound much different than Dylan
I hear down there it’s changed you see, they’re not as backward as they used to be
He’s gone country

…that is, washed-up singer from another genre looks to Nashville and sees the cash cow being milked, gets the dollar signs in his eyes and off he goes. It isn’t the evolution of the genre that’s the problem. It’s the bastardization of it. Really, what’s next? A “country” cover of “Silent Lucidity,” “Bringing On the Heartbreak” or “Nothing Else Matters”? And where exactly do the Texas-red dirt artists fit into Chet’s paradigm? It seems to me he’d think they’re holding the genre back, considering what he’s advocating and how he supports it. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering where Chet Flippo’s been for the last 30 years or however long it’s been, but it’s still very disappointing. Keeping in mind his earlier definition of “country” as “something that shows up on the Billboard country charts,” I have to ask, who exactly is the narrow-minded contingent here?