Archive for October, 2009

So the country music genre has come to this…

October 31, 2009

…covers, that is, of Hall and Oates and Nickelback — and not even one of Nickelback’s GOOD songs, fer cryin’ out loud! I know there are people who will say, “it’s just music, can’t you judge it on its own merits?” The thing about it is, the term “country music” rightly means something to a lot of people and because of that things like the aforementioned covers come off to this country music fan as the audio equivalent of a raised middle finger. I heard Jimmy Wayne’s cover of the Hall and Oates song “Sara Smile” this morning (when I went OFF the presets again, Sabra — I need to break myself of that habit!) and it was like a car wreck. You just couldn’t look away. It’s worth asking why hacks like Jimmy Wayne and Bucky Covington choose to dump these steaming piles of crap on the country genre.

Getting "Westernized" is generally what happens…

October 30, 2009

..when you move to the West:

Police in a Phoenix suburb say they have arrested an Iraqi immigrant suspected of running down his daughter because she was becoming “too Westernized.”

I am going to refrain from casting any judgment on Iraqi or Middle Eastern culture, as the facts aren’t here to make the assessment as to whether it was an attempted honor killing or anything of the sort. But no matter the facts of the case, it’s only natural to wonder why Faleh Almaleki thought becoming “too Westernized” was a bad thing. I can understand him wanting to retain his homeland’s culture, but if he thought Westernization was such a bad thing, well, it’s worth asking why he brought his family here as opposed to staying in Iraq. It’d also be interesting to see how many liberals would defend those who refuse to assimilate into American culture and say things like this — which look to me to be a clear consequence of tolerating those who are actively hostile to our culture and its norms — are an aberration rather than the norm. They would be right, of course, but what do you do when you’re dealing with more insidious effects of that, i.e. those of whatever nationality, for example, who refuse to learn to speak the English language? I am not against people coming to this country by any means, but if they’re going to come here it’d be best for all concerned if they were familiar with and friendly to its language and culture.

UPDATE: I accidentally deleted this post, but before I did, I caught Kelly in comments saying she could not understand Mr. Almaleki wanting to retain his culture. And on further reflection I agree with that. I suppose I might have come off as a cultural relativist in the original post and that wasn’t even the last thing I meant to do. No matter where you are, running down someone in your car just because she doesn’t conform to your homeland’s culture is just wrong, and on further reflection it also becomes quite clear that a culture that would condone that sort of thing really isn’t worth preserving.

More lefty double standards…

October 30, 2009

…this time from David Broder of the Washington Post:

There is an air of desperate improvisation to Sen. Harry Reid’s scheme to pass a “public option” as part of health care reform, but at the same time provide an easy exemption for any state that objects to it. The warning flags ought to be flying for anyone who can count to three — let alone 60.

Consider the precedent that would be set if a major piece of social legislation were to be passed with a states’ rights provision. Imagine, for example, FDR had signed the first Social Security law with the proviso that any states with Republican governors and legislatures could exempt themselves from its coverage.
This might have seemed a minimal concession to conservative opinion. But what would have followed? How long before some states would have demanded an exemption from the wage and hour law that established a minimum wage? And what about the clamor in a broad swath of the country when the first civil rights law was passed?

I’ll avoid the easy snark about how Texas might have an even lower cost of living with no minimum wage law and its residents would be able to take the Social Security tax money that’s taken out of their salaries and invest it somewhere besides the Ponzi scheme SS has become. I will say, though, that I find it quite disingenuous for Broder to lump the civil rights laws in with Social Security and the wage and hour laws. The latter two were more or less examples of government stepping in to take care things that should be left to citizens themselves, while the former was government stepping in to protect citizens’ basic rights that were outlined in the Declaration of Independence. And then there’s the matter of the patchwork of gun laws in different parts of the country, many of which clearly violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution. I would bet my next check that if the Second Amendment is incorporated, Broder and his ilk are going to be saying that certain cities and states should still be able to deny their citizens the basic right of effective self-defense under the rubric of “one size does not fit all” or as our illustrious Dear Leader *hawk-spit* put it, “what works in Cheyenne does not work in Chicago” — as if residents of Chicago should not be afforded the same rights as those of Cheyenne. Either it’s true in all cases or none. No one should get to pick and choose.

At least one person sees this…

October 29, 2009

….for exactly what it is:

NEWARK, N.J. — Loiterers and criminals on the nighttime streets of New Jersey’s largest city have some company — concerned citizens and government workers who are cruising neighborhoods in an effort to reduce crime.

The program also helps Booker politically (Newark mayor Cory Booker — ed.) by harnessing the same popular angst over community violence as his opponents, who have been holding anti-violence protest rallies in key city intersections.
John Sharpe James — son of former Mayor Sharpe James — is part of that movement. The former U.S. Army major views the caravan program as strictly a political ploy.
“I see no effect” from them on street violence, James said.

And I would bet no one else will see any effect either, considering the fact that New Jersey by and large doesn’t respect its subjects’ right of self-defense. It’s all going to boil down, really, to the citizens saying, “Leave us alone! Or we’ll say ‘Leave us alone’ again! And we’re going to be very, very angry!”
Of course you know what the criminals are going to do, considering the fact that they by definition don’t obey the laws and will therefore have the advantage when it comes to force. I got a chuckle out of one of the participants in this program saying that “the goal is deterrence,” considering they don’t have the proper tools for deterrence due to their state’s draconian firearm laws. Neighborhood patrols are a great thing, but what happens when things, as the ‘Dog might put it, go pear-shaped?
On the upside, though, I think things going pear-shaped for the people involved here could be a good thing as it could lead to a challenge to the state’s aforementioned firearm laws — assuming, that is, they don’t get thrown out with incorporation of the Second Amendment. We’ll see, I guess.

Missing the Purpose…

October 28, 2009

I wonder if it ever crossed the minds of the people who started the museum mentioned here that most if not all of the wars in which the United States has fought were started with the aggression of other nations or parties. Peace is great, but some people aren’t really all that receptive to leaving everyone else alone, which of course is how things like wars break out. See, for example, the Germans ca. 1939 or the Japanese ca. 1941. I thought it was funny how that so-called “peace museum” had an exhibit consisting of pictures of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, considering the fact that if it had not been for those cities getting nuked the war would have dragged on that much longer and God only knows how many more Americans (and Japanese) would have died. And I thought it was also interesting how they had an exhibit dedicated to the U.N., as I read something in the “Today in History” feature in the newspaper the other day that was just one illustration of how useless that organization really is when it comes to keeping the peace:
“October 26, 1996 — As eastern Zaire slides into chaos, the United Nations evacuates aid workers from the camp in Bukavu, leaving half a million Hutu refugees from Rwanda to fend for themselves.”
That pretty much says it all, I think. I know those people have a right to their misguided opinions, but is it so wrong of me to think they’ve proven themselves unworthy of the sacrifices made for them to be able to continue their self-righteous posturing?

Interesting little statistic here…

October 26, 2009

…that just changes everything, if it’s true:

The DEA has estimated that marijuana accounts for well over half of cartel sales. Legal marijuana would slash the chaos on our border and the impact of cartel operations in some 200 U.S. cities and in over 60 of our national parks.

Now, for all anyone knows this guy just pulled that statistic out of his posterior. If it’s true, though, I think it’s safe to say that the wind would be taken right out of the sails of the people who advocate continuing the War On Some Drugs on the basis of “if we legalize it there will be junkies on the streets.” I’d like to think that the argument that weed is a gateway drug to harder drugs has been thoroughly discredited; I know there was at least one study that did discredit that argument. And if profits from weed do comprise that large percentage of drug cartel sales, then I would think that when you look at it as a percentage of drugs sold by the cartels, it would comprise an even larger portion; i.e., the cartels sell more weed than anything else. Of course that’s operating on the assumption that cocaine and heroin cost more per unit than marijuana does, which I would think is a fair one given the latter two drugs’ potency. At any rate, though, it deserves to be asked at what point the cure is worse than the disease.

One more reason I love her…

October 25, 2009

Because she makes me laugh, she shares my passion for music…and she gives me blogfodder to boot!
Sitting here talking with Sabra, listening to this station, who I think is Radney Foster singing “Raining on Sunday,” the song Keith Urban took to No. 1 a few years ago, and the following exchange ensues…

Sabra: Which Nashville twit did this?…This fellow sure does make it sound appealing, doesn’t he?
Me: Keith Urban had a big hit with this song back in 2003. I believe this is Radney Foster. That’s who it sounds like, at least.
Sabra: Oh, well, that makes sense, then! Radney Foster shits out more talent every morning than Keith Urban could hope to ever possess, even when he’s holding onto Nicole Kidman.

She’s all mine, folks. And I am never, ever gonna let her go!

One of the Strait man’s best now…

October 23, 2009

…at Prime Country, Sirius Ch. 61: “Do you love me, do you wanna be my friend, and if you do…well then don’t be, afraid to take me by the hand, if you want to…I think this is how love goes, check yes or no…”
One of the previously unreleased tunes from Strait’s 4-cd career retrospective Strait Out Of The box, “Check Yes Or No” ultimately showed itself to be another example of George Strait’s unerring ear for songs as was everything else in that set; the song spent four weeks at No. 1 in the fall of 1995 and to this day is a staple of Strait’s live show. Even back then I thought it was amazing that Strait could have that kind of success — both in the record stores and on the radio — after most of his contemporaries were left behind in the wake of what everyone called “the new breed” of stars coming along in the early 1990s. Looking back I see it as nothing short of a miracle. I know I am a fan, with all the biases that come with that, but I still think his success and longevity make for a real testament to his artistry.

There aren’t many things lower…

October 22, 2009

…than a serviceman who fakes being an injured war hero to get free stuff. He deserved exactly what he got.

Now what does it tell you…

October 22, 2009

…when the Associated Press cites as the President’s strongest card in the health care poker game “appeal for party loyalty and Democratic achievement” as opposed to health care reform being what the wavering pols’ constituents want?