Friday, July 22, 2016

Thoughts on Cleveland, post-convention

I wish I had time to compose a more thoughtful piece on this week's Republican convention, particularly Donald Trump's speech last night, but I don't, and since I don't get paid for this (more's the pity), we'll have to make due with a few random thoughts. There are some striking similarities, though, between 2016 and 1968, which became especially apparent last night, and I'll try to write more about that next week.
  1. The Trump speech was excellent. It probably read better on paper than it did in The Donald's delivery, but the content was very solid, and if it had been read in a more polished, professional way - well, that just wouldn't have been Donald Trump, would it? It would be contrary to what the entire Trump campaign has been about.

  2. Having said that, I though he was more statesmanlike than we've seen him, and far more specific than we've heard him in the past. Am I saying he was statesmanlike? Not exactly; it's as I said above - it's Trump's version of statesmanlike. 

  3. "My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: 'I’m With Her'. I choose to recite a different pledge. My pledge reads: 'I'm with you - the American people." That really is quite good, isn't it?

  4. The usual suspects among the Republican establishment are having the usual hissy-fits about the speech, proving once again how out of touch they are. Trump may not win, but if he doesn't, it won't be for the reasons they mention  Has there ever been a more clueless group of individuals out there, getting paid big bucks to demonstrate they're right even less often than weather forecasters?

  5. That goes for you, National Review and Weekly Standard. To think I used to put stock in your opinions.

  6. Emmett Tyrrell at The American Spectator still knows what the magazine stands for - he ought to, since he founded it - but some of the rest over there? More clueless than  Alicia Silverstone.

  7. I'm talking about you, Aaron Goldstein.

  8. I supported Ted Cruz in the Texas primary, but I always was troubled by the bad things others had to say about him - opportunistic, shifty, lean and hungry. He did nothing to cover himself in honor during his speech. I think the word "weasel" most quickly comes to mind.

  9. It's true that Ronald Reagan did not verbally endorse Gerald Ford in 1976 - but he appeared with him on the podium on the convention's final night. As far as sending a message, that picture says a thousand times more powerful than any word he might have uttered. Meaning, Ted, if you want to think of yourself as another Reagan, perhaps you'd better study your subject more carefully first.

  10. That convention in 1976 was a lot meaner, too. There were fistfights on the floor! These delegates nowadays don't know how they're supposed to act anymore. If you're going to fight, fight!

  11. Ivanka Trump has quite a career in politics ahead of her, if she wants it.

  12. President Trump? Don't bet against it.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday: On civility

Im still impressed--if that's the word--by the way in which the Internet facilitates idiocy. Or, in the words of an unknown commenter quoted in Daniel J. Solove's forthcoming book The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet, 'The Internet makes fools into stars and stars into fools.' "

- Terry Teachout 

Originally published August 21, 2007

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Opera Wednesday

Short and sweet - Maria Callas (above) and Tito Gobbi perform the spectacular finale to Act 2 of Tosca in a special television broadcast from the Royal Opera House in London. This never gets old.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Flashback Friday: This Just In

(Pictured) A recreation of the fateful moment from last Thursday, demonstrating how Fred Smedrick's right finger headed toward a clearly-illuminated elevator button.

Local Man Offers Public Apology After Re-Hitting Already Lit Elevator Button

MAHTOMEDI, MN -- Local window shade salesman Fred Smedrick has issued a public apology after he re-hit an already lit elevator button in the parking ramp of the IDS Center in Minneapolis last Thursday.

"I could tell the second I did it that I had really mucked up,” said Smedrick, who was visiting downtown after a trip to the State Fair with his wife, Maude. “The mood in the elevator shifted immediately. When we got on there had been smiles and polite nods. But when I reached over and punched the up button to go to the 2nd level - even though it was already plainly illuminated - you could feel a sudden, stark chill. It was as if people felt I didn’t trust the work they’d already done, that somehow me, the new guy on board, was disrespecting them. It was just horrible. One guy, the way he was looking at me, I could tell he was thinking, "I'll bet you don't even remember where you parked your car." I just kept my head down and waited for our floor. It couldn’t come fast enough.”

Fred plans to take out a newspaper ad to publicly express his regret, and has decided to take the stairs exclusively the next time he's in the city.

Originally published September 29, 2006

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Major scandal brewing at a "Life Enhancement Centre": is this what you want in a church?

The leader of a popular Life Enhancement Centre that boasts of 32,000 weekly attendance in 17 venues representing seven markets – Western Carolinas (Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Asheville), Columbia, Charleston, Pee Dee (Florence and Myrtle Beach), Charlotte, Augusta, and Savannah, has been involved in alcoholism that led to his termination recently.  However, the more serious issues with this venue that boasts of being a church are not just the alcoholism that led to their charismatic minister's termination as it is the Life Enhancement Centre being what can be called a “McChurch” if there ever was one (considering a newspaper was called, in its early years, “McPaper”) with those venues, as its base format is one central location is in Anderson (near enemy territory, a reason why I often say I'm at a Chevrolet dealership when everyone else is wearing powder blue Etihad Airways shirts) and the 16 satellite venues all feature one rock band and vocalists playing the same set list (all 16 venues are given the same set list to play), and some assistants (not always ordained), while the church service plays off a giant video screen, sometimes live and sometimes on tape.  (The live services from Anderson typically take place at their regularly assigned times;  if there is no service in Anderson at the time, it is transmitted on tape to that venue)  You can see the attitude of the venue in these clips of the said Life Enhancement Centre.  So many new churches in our area have copied that venue's concept with loud rock bands, and even some older churches have adopted the rock band similar to them, though often it is Universal Music's Top 40 hits that dominate.

Catholics in 1967 had The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, also known as Vatican II, that included the Musicam Sacram,where Sections 62 and 63 of Vatican II could be cited to ask if these pieces from the self-help venue in question would pass mustard in being approved by this meeting.  But it's not just Catholics, primarily led by Mr. Ratzinger (the Pope Emertius Benedict XVI), that would not be pleasing with these pieces.  Mr. Mohler and Mr. MacArthur would probably be in unison with regards to the music played at that venue.  How many of these songs used at that “McChurch” would ever be approved in a house of worship?

None of them, I believe, could be approved.  Each would be given the long illegal clue buzzer on Pyramid (not used in the Strahan version, which is a double short buzzer).  Judge for yourself.  I cannot see the virtue in these songs played at that Life Enhancement Centre at a mass, let alone a church service.  Yet we see people defend these services, when so many clones of this McChurch have developed (one such meets in a former grocery store building as part of what has been a purging of grocers here to two – the entire area where their version meets in in an area 25 years ago was just trees, and all stores opened in that area have closed – welcome to Sixth District Relegation, and they have a satellite campus 20 miles away in the remnants of a fairly recently built auto dealership building).  Most of these venues do not state its denominational affiliation, are sometimes called Community Church, and in some cases do not even state they are a house of worship.  Many of them you can walk inside the doors and see a stale nightclub atmosphere or a theatre setting;  in some cases, they meet in government school auditoria or gymnasia.  In the case of these chains, they have one rock band play the same set list everywhere and the service is played on a video from the central location.

As for this credentialed singer, I see no virtue in any of these Top 40 hits being used in church.  In one case, they played the theme to a raunchy movie, and a friend responded, “Get out the whips and blindfolds!”  This resembles a nightclub, not a church!

Example 1, Example 2. Example 3. Example 4. And example 5.

Is this what you think when you see a church service?  There are also numerous other bad songs from the Top 40 charts that they have used, and none of them make any sense.  As Mr. MacArthur says, the Biblically mandated teachings of the Bible in music has been ignored.

Oh, by the way:  In regards to an It's About TV column regarding the WSB-TV Independence Day parade of the past, the parade ended because WSB wanted a more diverse region to represent other than just the city proper;  for example, sports teams with Atlanta in their name no longer represent the city anymore.  (The Braves will move to Vinings next season outside 285, and the Boston Bruins' AA affiliate in the ECHL, the Gwinnett Gladiators in Duluth, changed its identity to Atlanta in September 2015, though staying in Duluth.)  They wanted more representation of Gwinnett and Cobb Counties, and not just represent the DeKalb and Fulton Counties.  Logistically, I cannot see it being held on Peachtree Street now because of Peachtree cleanup (and I ran it again this year).

Furthermore, WSB-TV is regarded as on of the most popular markets for ABC's struggling The View; the show wins convincingly the 11 AM time slot weekdays, surprising since in most markets, CBS' long running The Price Is Right (since 1972), which has been at the 11 AM time slot since 1979, wins its slot.  However, the 1990's television realignment has given the liberal gabbers a convincing win over the long-running game because of the weakness of CBS affiliates after their relegation to minor network status during the era.  Milwaukee and Detroit are two other notable markets where the same problem exists to this day where CBS could not find an affiliate after the 1994 relegation had CBS in virtually a last-minute attempt to find a new affiliate after losing major markets to Fox.

CBS found Channel 46, now WGCL, but they are typically fourth, fifth, or seven sixth place in Atlanta.  They regained major network status in 1998, but the damage was done;  The View was designed to capitalise on weak CBS affiliates that hurt Price, since ABC's way to capture the time slot that CBS has long held since 1979 was with a network talk show.  At the time, only one network daytime game show was remaining (CBS has since added a second), and with CBS having weak affiliates that were unavailable in outlying areas in major markets, The View has long beaten Price in those affected markets; with Atlanta being one of the best examples of ratings domination by the femme talk show. WSB needs their talk show to beat what has, since 2008 (because of the late start to Season 36 of Price with the new host, the season ran from mid-October to mid-July;  the experiment became permanent since 2010) WGCL's broadcast of the game show that has, in recent years, aired a new episode on the holiday (July 2 or 3 if it falls on a weekend).

Friday, July 8, 2016

In memoriam: Dallas, et al

The Adagietto from Mahler's Symphony 5 in C sharp minor, with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Uh, why do we celebrate Independence Day again?


Proceeds from the sales of these [special design Independence Day] jerseys and caps are going to MLB’s Welcome Back Veterans charity. That’s very nice, but it’s also the latest example of MLB promoting bad history and bad civics, because Independence Day is not about honoring the military. It’s the anniversary of when the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Continental Congress. A more appropriate move would be to donate funds to the National Archives (where the original Declaration is preserved), or to donate funds to Independence Hall National Historical Park (site of Independence Hall, where the Declaration was debated and adopted), or to support American history programs in public schools (which could teach kids, among other things, that Independence Day is not about the military). Instead, MLB has yet again chosen to conflate patriotism with support for the military — a terrible piece of political messaging. Very disappointing.

Couldn't agree more. Words mean things, and special dates commemorate special occasions. At the risk of sounding non-patriotic to those of a knee-jerk disposition, the Fourth of July, commonly known in the United States as Independence Day, has nothing to do with the military. You could argue that the independence of the United States is ultimately due to the military, in that they achieved victory over the British at Yorktown, but even in this case the American victory is due more to the greatness of one man - George Washington - than to a generic military.

But the point remains. Independence Day is perhaps the only holiday we have that actually honors politicians - the men willing to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in the name of an independence that no country had ever won under similar circumstances. These men - unlike our politicians of today, perhaps - were willing to risk it all, knowing that charges of treason, and possible execution, were the certain result should their gamble fail.

Using Independence Day as yet another occasion to honor the military, which was also the subliminal message of MLB's game at Fort Bragg on Sunday, is just plain bad history. It is no disservice to the military to point this out. We have Memorial Day to honor those who gave their lives for their country, Veterans Day to honor those who have served in the past, and Armed Forces Day to honor those currently serving. That's pretty much all-inclusive, don't you think? What we're supposed to be honoring on the Fourth of July is America's declaration of independence from the United Kingdom. The message to Major League Baseball - and to everyone else out there who uses the day as another excuse to dress in camo and build up the military - is that you ought to think before you act, even if you'd be doing it for the first time. Cheap "patriotism" is no way to honor the Fourth.

On the other hand, since we seem to be losing our freedom at a consistent rate, perhaps the confusion is understandable. Maybe there just isn't that much independence worth celebrating anymore.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Declaration of Independence

The numerous cases that have asked us if the Declaration of Independence should even be celebrated Monday by just the pushing of sexual freedom over all have forced us to read the document our Founding Fathers posted 240 years ago, because the same things happening with the Founding Fathers then are happening now again. Read this, and consider the absurdities of the "pass the law, get elites to overturn the laws"; let's look back at the document and consider we are turning to what led to this document's adoption 240 years ago.

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

In Congress, July 4, 1776

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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 of 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. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops
among us;

For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

For imposing taxes on us without our consent;

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;

For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrection among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in our attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

WE, THEREFORE, the REPRESENTATIVES of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

[Signed by] JOHN HANCOCK [President]

New Hampshire

Massachusetts Bay

Rhode Island


New York

New Jersey



of Carrollton.


North Carolina

South Carolina


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Are we down to just one freedom, invented by a few cities?

Albert Mohler calls it "religious liberty versus erotic liberty".  John Stonestreet references it as religious freedom versus sexual freedom in the late Charles Colson's BreakPointcommentary that he is the lead commentator today (BreakPoint has been the subject of religious radio's decline as it tilted towards a new entertainment-based format that refuses to inform evangelicals that was noted in 2006.)

Those two commentaries have sadly reared their ugly heads in a series of Supreme Court cases where the court has ruled "sexual freedom is the first (or only) freedom" that I can call part of the Obergefell movement's ulterior motive to ensure that religious freedom is replaced by the Left's call of sexual freedom, and that sexual freedom becomes the only freedom.

For the urbane courts decided, especially since the Bork rejection, to turn its back on the people and favour just those few cities and crybaby losers as a form of "social justice" to the form that Clarence Thomas referenced through the heavy court packing (40% of the court's judiciary from this Administration), “The Court has simultaneously transformed judicially created rights like the right to abortion into preferred constitutional rights, while disfavoring many of the rights actually enumerated in the Constitution.”  It's not just abortion but all of erotic liberty from marriage to adoption and all forms of lewd behaviour.

Look at the sexual freedom movement's line of wins.  From erasing marriage laws to erasing abortion restrictions, mandating businesses support erotic liberty's mandates, erasing male/female standards in restrooms, and all types of common sense being erased, this forced Dr. Mohler in a commentary to notice the line of left-wing victories from a Biden (1), Clinton (2), and Obama (2) left-wing majority in courts.  Now we have states attempting to force out colleges with a Christian worldview by mandating the only worldview that can be pushed is the liberal worldview of no moral standards and erotic liberty endorsement.  See the rampant parades of the sexual perversion movement, appropriately named "pride" because they are, as mentioned here in the past, throwing Christians to the lions.

In the thoughts of my fifth-grade history book, Old World History and Geography from A Beka, we have become classic Hindu India's caste system.  All of the Left's leadership are now the warrior caste, while Christians are now entirely sent off into the untouchable caste.  Those liberal denominations are in the middle, and we are seeing how the denominations that are in Protestant liberalism have seen steep declines to the point conservative factions have broken away similar to Brexit (see the Episcopal, Presbyterian PCUSA for examples).

In correlation to Brexit, I see a pattern in the UK that applies to the United States also.  The elites are losing at each turn of the ballot box.  The entire sexual freedom movement's victories have come by elites.   In essence, we are now coming to a dangerous part of our nation where the law is the feelings of a few elites on the bench, and the people are now being suppressed, similar to what the Colonists understood that led 240 years ago to the most important document in this country's history.  We are eerily seeing, thanks to the advancement of the sexual freedom movement, the late, great Lawrence Berra's phrase, "It's Like Déjà Vu All Over Again," come back.  Our laws passed are being erased by elites in the left-wing judiciary.  Didn't we fight England over the king erasing our laws and replacing them with his wants?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Poetry Wednesday

Our summer chorus finished off our season that had three songs -- a Mozart Missa Brevis (K. 140), Brahams' "Nänie," (Op. 82m, Schiller's elegy), and Corigliano's "Fern Hill" (a setting of Dylan Thomas' poem).

Over the next few weeks, we'll share some thoughts of one of the two poems.

As our chorus sang the Corigliano's "Fern Hill," I had to reflect the poem was published in 1945, and it was at the end of World War II.  I thought the poem, while a reflection of family visits, could at the time, have reflected on soldiers from their youth to the unpredictable life of war that was happening at the time. Let's look back at the poem itself.

NOTE:  Because of copyright claims that are technically on the edge of public domain (the poem has a 1945 copyright, and US rules regarding the life plus 70 has this poem on the edge).  Read it from this site

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