Archive for February, 2010

Through the looking glass…

February 28, 2010

…or, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia…

The tea party sounds more like the Communist Party of the Cold War era. The tea party has taken America’s freedom of speech to an all-time-low.

One would think this guy was a certain conservative pundit’s evil lefty doppleganger, as he serves up one of their talking points with absolutely nothing to support it. From what I’ve seen of the Tea Party folks, as opposed to trying to silence anyone, they’re just exercising their own freedom of speech and it’s certain protesters from the LEFT side of the political aisle who are trying to shut them up. Not that it surprises me that this letter would run, but still, it’s just disgusting.

A ten-year-old has the capacity for that?!

February 28, 2010

Are these people serious?

In the year before he killed restaurateur Viola Barrios, Joe Estrada Jr. was snorting cocaine three times a week, smoking marijuana daily and ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms about once a week, he told a psychiatrist during a recent jailhouse interview.

Estrada, who faces either life in prison without parole or the death penalty for the capital murder conviction, has brain damage because of partial fetal alcohol syndrome, Adler surmised. He has the developmental age of a 10-year-old, he said.

In a vacuum that sounds reasonable, I suppose, but at breakfast yesterday (where Sabra and I first saw this in the Express-News’ Saturday print edition), Sabra lent a different perspective. Her oldest daughter Bobbie will be eight years old on her next birthday, but she said she seriously doubts that in the next couple of years Bobbie is going to develop the foresight and thought processes to, say, attempt to burn the evidence of a murder she committed. (And I will point out that I’m sure she isn’t going to go shooting people with arrows, guns or anything else to get money from them…) I may well be a heartless bastard for saying this, but damn, people, dispense with the excuses and put the needle in that monster so he can’t do to anyone in prison what he did to Viola Barrios!

Fundamental flaw with the business model?

February 26, 2010

Sabra and I were eating breakfast at Bill Miller’s this morning, perusing today’s San Antonio Express-News, and this was one of the above-the-fold stories. Pretty newsworthy, eh? Sure it was, but the thing about it is, I had already read that story a good 15 hours before on the Express-News’ website. I honestly have to wonder what the people who do this are thinking as they post those stories. If one can read those stories before they hit the print edition of the paper, then what the hell’s the point of having a printed paper? I like having a printed paper at least as much as anyone, but which one’s better? Obviously, it’d be the Web. I’m sure there are those who will say, “Well, some people can’t afford a computer or high-speed Internet.” And that may be true, but if they can’t afford those, they probably can’t afford a newspaper subscription either, much less buying a copy at a buck a day (and $2 on Sundays) from the newsstand. I heard one publisher say he was thinking about putting on the paper’s web site, “See tomorrow’s news today! Check (paper’s web site) at 10 p.m. each night!” And I thought, “I’m sure the advertisers in the printed edition are gonna thank you for your making it unnecessary for the townsfolk to buy said printed edition.” There are those who say newspapers are in the shape they’re in because of reporters’ and editors’ bias and such, and while that may be true to an extent, I’d say a hell of a lot more of it is due to media corporations’ failure to anticipate changes in the business model and act accordingly. I don’t know what can be done about it, but it sure does suck for those in the business.

Where do you draw the line?

February 25, 2010
Kathleen Parker, on the tea-partiers, in today’s San Antonio Express-News:

And though there’s no centralized organization and no leader, some segments find nullification and, apparently, secession reasonable alternatives to failed politics and a gorging government.

I’m guessing she doesn’t think those are reasonable alternatives. Which leads to the question: Is there ANYTHING Kathleen Parker and those who agree with her will take risks for? Apparently they think the American people should just take what the majority foists on them. And I wonder why it’s never mentioned that the United States itself was formed by an act of secession. Oh, I’m sure they’ll say “Ohhh, but THAT was diiiiifferent!”

To which I would reply, “How?” What the hell do these creatures think the Founders would have said had the British Crown required them to, say, buy health insurance? They started a WAR over less than that, for crying out loud!

So now we know the truth…

February 25, 2010

Overheard, earlier this evening, as Sabra and I were shopping at Wal-Mart:

“You think I’m just running my fingers through your hair, but I’m really just getting the pen out from behind your ear.”

I was gonna buy her some, but I couldn’t find ’em…

Even a broken clock…

February 23, 2010

…is right twice a day:

Ever since Ronald Reagan, the GOP has been run by people who want a much smaller government. In the famous words of activist Grover Norquist, conservatives want to get the government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
But there has always been a political problem with this agenda. Voters may say they oppose big government, but the programs that dominate federal spending — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security — are very popular. So how can the public be persuaded to accept large spending cuts?

I don’t agree with Paul Krugman often, but he actually makes a good point here. If we’re ever going to get a handle on our government’s spending, we’re eventually going to have to confront the fact that a big chunk of it consists of programs for which cutting spending is seen as a third rail of sorts. However, what Krugman doesn’t tell you here is that the Democrats have a history of taking advantage of the Republicans’ efforts to do that sort of thing. Does anyone remember back in the mid’-90s when the Republicans in Congress wanted to cut projected increases in Medicare spending? The spending was still going to be increased, just not as much as it originally was. The Democrats and the media (redundant, I know) went all out to portray this as an outright cut in spending, and the Republicans took a pretty big beating in the opinion polls from what I remember. If memory serves me right, the Democrats’ cynical spin of this was to an extent responsible for Bill Clinton’s re-election the next year. So yeah, that’s why the Republicans aren’t saying about what programs need to be cut, because they know the Democrats will spin it as Republicans wanting to starve babies and the elderly. The Democrats know damn well what programs whose spending we’re going to have to cut too. But you know they won’t do it. They’ll just resort to the old mantra of “tax the rich,” as they’re wont to do, and nothing is going to change.

A wicked sense of humor…

February 22, 2010

Albatross has it:

How much deeper can our national deficit go? As Lewis Carroll wrote, “One, two! One, two! and through and through / The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!”

You have to click for the proper context. I can’t quote just part of the rest. But trust me, it’s worth it. Damn hippies. 😉

And he says this as if it’s a good thing?!

February 22, 2010

Rascal Flatts frontman Gary LeVox:

“I think we definitely opened the door for the Taylor Swifts and Carrie Underwoods of the world,” the Ohio native said. “We’re proud we’ve been able to expand our genre of music a little bit. A lot of times their perspective of country music is sitting on hay bales and whistling the theme from ‘The Dukes of Hazzard.’ But we’ve helped other genres look at country music like country’s pretty cool now.

Sitting on hay bales…? Whose perspective is this and why should any self-respecting music fan give a shit about the opinions of the people who hold such a warped perspective? I would guess that just like certain pundits, Gary LeVox pulls this shit out of his ass and expects fans to believe it based on his supposed authority as a “country music artist” (and trust me, in this case I use that term in its loosest sense). I submit the only reason that these hacks perpetuate this meme is to justify their watering down and bastardizing of the genre. I find it difficult to believe it’s based in any kind of truth whatsoever, and to the extent it is, well, as the old punk number goes…So Fucking What? I would submit that those people with that warped image are the Johnny-come-lately fad-chasers at which country music was never aimed anyway. Sounds a lot to me like Gary LeVox is almost ashamed of country music.

As for the way other genres’ stars look at country music — one wonders what LeVox would say to people like Tom Petty and Don Henley, who think today’s “country” music is some sort of sick joke. I would bet you that *I* have more evidence to back my side of that argument than he does to back up his. And even if I didn’t, it wouldn’t matter, because as a music fan, I honestly don’t give a damn about what other people think is cool and what isn’t. Would that I could get a personal audience with Mr. LeVox. I know exactly what I’d say to him.

“Made country cool? Whatever helps you sleep at night, dude. Your ‘cool’ kind of ‘country’ is the reason this long-time country fan is listening almost exclusively to bands like Pantera, Queensryche, Megadeth and The Cult these days.”

She keeps me rollin’, yes she does…

February 21, 2010

…by saying stuff like this:

“Why is your mother a fan of Houston, TX? I love Facebook. You can become a fan of anything…I should see if I can become a fan of scratching my ass in public.”

Heheheh. She’s all mine, yes she is. I am a lucky man!

Missing the point…

February 20, 2010

…David Brooks has time and time again demonstrated himself to be good at that:

Since Watergate, we’ve tried to make government as open as possible. But as William Galston of the Brookings Institution jokes, government should sometimes be shrouded for the same reason that middle-aged people should be clothed. This isn’t Galston’s point, but I’d say the more government has become transparent, the less people are inclined to trust it.

Brooks seems to be saying here that government is not trusted because it’s too open. For the sake of the argument we’ll grant his point and leave out things like the Democrats not wanting to let C-SPAN televise the talks on health care. One wonders why he fails to mention the possibility that Americans don’t trust their government because of the outrageous things that our legislators do when the cameras are on them, seemingly not caring that they’re being watched. Does Brooks think that it would be better if things like the deal Ben Nelson got for Nebraska in exchange for his vote for the health care plan were not so extensively documented? Once again, we see Brooks putting forth an argument with absolutely nothing to support it.

I also thought it was funny to see Brooks say it was “less necessary to be clubbable,” considering how he prattles on about supposed intellectuals and with almost every column he writes divides people into two clubs — the intellectuals and everyone else. In effect he does that here, as he puts forth the idea that society should have leaders, saying it’s “not even clear that society is better led” and talks as if it’s people in professions like finance that supposedly lead us — breezing right over the fact that the people in finance in effect do things with money that everyone else makes. And that includes those in that other club whose members Brooks looks down on and derides. I shouldn’t be surprised that he misses that from his lofty pseudointellectual perch, but it’s still not a pretty thing to see someone demonstrate time after time just how “educated beyond his intelligence” he is.