Friday, October 31, 2008

Wish I'd Written That

By Drew

From the indispensible Jay Nordlinger at NRO:

Senator Obama said this about John McCain: “By the end of the week, he’ll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” That’s interesting. Obama evidently thinks of communists as people who share. I think of them as people who kill.

And that, my friends, in a nutshell, is one of the major the philosophical difference in this election. And one of the problems with Obama.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where Was This When I Needed It?

By Mitchell

If this had been around when I was younger, who knows where I'd be today?

(It's also the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Via The Onion.)

Herlong's Communist Goal List and Obama

By Bobby

In 1963, Rep. Albert Herlong (D-FL), an anti-Communist, posted what he referred to as the "Communist Goals." Note how many of them have been implemented by Democratic supermajorities. Imagine such a supermajority now with Obama, and how many more of those goals can be met.

Based on the number from those 1963 goals, this is a list of what will happen if we have an Obama presidency that turns with 60% libs in the House and 60 in the Senate, and would spell the Communist takeover goals of 1963 with the Obama Agenda.

1. Coexistence with Iran, Venezuela, and other dangerous nations.

2. Capitulating to dictatorial nations to prevent battle. Not willing towarn or fight.

3. "Moral strength" by disarming the nation and cutting the military to Clinton (or worse) levels, and losing all wars which we are leading (see Vietnam, 1975).

5. Support of "Soviet satellites" such as Venezuela, but not Colombia (see Pelosi's blockage of a free-trade agreement).

7. Further advancement of Red China by helping them acquire Taiwan by force. Make President Ma's nation a pariah and isolate them.

11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. A one-world government run by totalitarians is a goal.

14. Let the ChiComs have access to the Patent Office.

15. Control of the Democratic Party.

16. Through Democratic judges of the past 20 years, state European laws override US laws.

17. Controlling schools to promote Communism and Socialism.

19. Use riots to advance Communism.

20. Press control with policy making. Fairness Doctrine eliminates"opposition" press (aka Fox News, WND, Drudge).

21. Use the Fairness Doctrine to gain key positions in the media. This will ban conservative radio as "hate" speech.

22. Discredit American culture. Create shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms (re: 4'33"), controlling art. Force classical European music out and promote shapeless mediocre music (aka gangster rap, bad rock music). Such mediocre music will be all you'll hear on the radio and see on television as federal media policy will weed out Fox News and talk radio.

24. Use the courts to eliminate obscenity laws and violating "free speech and press" which doesn't exist in an Obama world. Freedom of Speech and Press eliminated. Free Speech is eliminated by the Media Regulations that will be worse than even the USSR.

25-26. ENDA, Freedom to Marry Act (repeals DOMA), and FOCA to break down the family and promotes degenerate behaviour as "normal, natural, healthy".

27. The Emergent Church has "social" religion and discredits the Bible (see Bell, Hybels, Warren, et al, and the social gospel).

29. A Court that discredits the Constitution by using "living document" terms, substituting foreign laws, effectively moving the nation's capital to Bruxelles.

30. Textbooks that discredit our Founding Fathers and replace them with special interests.

31. Demeans American culture. Put an emphasis on Communists and their philosophy.

32. Universal healthcare, fuel economy standards to destroy American auto makers, windfall profits taxes to control the government and businesses. Government health care to destroy CVS Caremark and other private health institutions. Tax out Exxon Mobil and make sure most of our oil comes from Venezuela's state-owned Citgo.

33. Fairness Doctrine imposed with new standards to prevent interferencewith operation of Communist apparati.

36. Unions and "card check," a ban on right to work, and replacement workers.

39. Attempt to make anti-Obamaism a psychiatric disorder.

40. Promote same-sex marriage to discredit the family. Force all 50 states to recognise it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Top Ten Political Films

By Mitchell

We're back, with a list for those of you who have just about had enough of this year's political campaigns: our choices of the ten best political movies, guaranteed to take your mind off the nightly news. Many of them may be familiar to you, while we think there are a couple you might be hearing about for the first time. In any event, check them out - on Netflix, Amazon, or just read about them at IMDB.

By the way, they're in no particular order except for that in which we came up with them, which may or may not be a clue as to which are our favorites.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Dir. John Frankenheimer
Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury
There’s not much to add to this classic thriller about an assassin brainwashed to infiltrate the American political scene. It was a movie ahead of its time, boasting terrific performances by Sinatra and Lansbury, who makes you forget all about Jessica Fletcher. If you haven’t seen it, get it. And, yes, this is the number one film on our list.
What to watch for: Most people would choose the hallucinatory brainwashing/tea party scene, which is magnificent – but look for the scene late in the movie when Sinatra scans Madison Square Garden in search of Raymond (Harvey). Even during the National Anthem, when protocol demands that Sinatra’s Colonel Marco stand at attention, his eyes are everywhere, darting back and forth in search of any kind of a clue.

Seven Days in May (1964)
Dir. John Frankenheimer
Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner
Another Frankenheimer political potboiler, this time concerning a plot by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to overthrow the U.S. government and replace a weak president (March) whom they fear is unable to stand up to the Communists in Russia and China. While not as good as the best-seller that inspired it, Rod Serling’s screenplay takes extraordinary chunks of the book’s dialogue and presents it whole in the movie. The heavyweight matchup is between Lancaster, as the strong-willed JCS Chairman, and Douglas, not only trying to save the American system of government but also preserving the integrity of the armed forces and the American tradition of civilian control of the military.
What to watch for: For techno-geeks, look for Frankenheimer’s use of closed-circuit cameras throughout the JCS offices.

Fail-Safe (1964)
Dir. Sidney Lumet
Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Dan O’Herlihy, Larry Hagman
A computer malfunction results in an American bomber group being given an accidental attack order against the Soviet Union. Fonda’s president – almost too virtuous, as is often the problem with Fonda roles – is stuck in a no-win situation: unable to recall the group, forced to help the Soviets try to shoot them down in order to convince them of his sincerity (and avoid a retaliatory strike), and having to deal with an Ivy League professor (Matthau) trying to convince him that an all-out strike against the Russians is the only way to go.
What to watch for: No music. O’Herlihy’s affecting performance as a world-weary general. Hagman’s underrated turn as Fonda’s interpreter during the hotline talks with the Soviet premier (vastly superior to Noah Wyle's performance in the very good TV remake).

Suddenly (1954)
Dir. Lewis Allen
Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason
The idea behind this sinister little movie must have been very disturbing for 1954 – a plot to assassinate the president (obviously Eisenhower, although his name is never mentioned in the movie) in the small town of Suddenly, a town where nothing much ever happens. The hit is financed by an unseen group (whose motive is never explained, which makes it even more sinister) and to be carried out by mercenary gangsters. Sinatra, so good in The Manchurian Candidate, is equally evil here as the psychotic hired gun, holding a family hostage in order while using their house as staging ground for the assassination attempt.
What to watch for: There is a certain nobility about Sinatra’s fellow gang members. There isn’t much they wouldn’t do for cold, hard cash – but assassinating the president? Instinctively it makes them uneasy: what they’re doing is not only illegal, it’s unpatriotic, and that crosses the criminal code.

The Best Man (1964)
Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner
Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Lee Tracy
A showdown between two candidates for a party’s presidential nomination: Fonda, once again the noble candidate you’re meant to identify with, and Robertson, the ruthless, win-at-all-costs bad guy. Gore Vidal’s darkly comic play becomes a bit more serious on the big screen, and poses a thought-provoking question: is it more important to be virtuous and weak, or cunning and strong. At the time the candidates appeared to be thinly disguised versions of Adlai Stevenson (Fonda) and Richard Nixon (Robertson), but ask yourself if you don’t see more than a bit of JFK (or at least RFK) in Robertson’s heavy-handed tactics. (Vidal, in 1960, was a first-hand witness to the kind of campaign the Kennedy boys ran.)
What to watch for: Tracy, as the former president, is courted for his endorsement by both Fonda and Robertson. Watch him quiz each man about their belief in God, and see if you can figure out what Tracy’s own position is. Does he tell the candidates the truth about how he feels, or merely manipulate them to see what their own answer is? Also according to Wikipedia, Ronald Reagan (still then an actor) was considered for a role but rejected because he didn't look presidential enough.

The Great McGinty (1940)
Dir. Preston Sturges
Brian Donlevy, Muriel Angelus, Akim Tamiroff, William Demarest
The only out-and-out comedy in the list, this sharp satire by the brilliant Sturges tells the story of a tramp-type who in hilarious circumstances rises through the crooked party ranks to become governor, before gaining an conscience and having everything collapse around him. Would that more corrupt politicans reacted the way he does – by fleeing the country.
What to watch for: Besides Demarest’s very funny performance, McGinty and his cronies bring a Three Stooges-like element to politics; appropriate since, again according to Wikipedia, Tamiroff's malaprop-laced performance was apparently the inspiration for Boris Badenov.

A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Dir. Elia Kazan
Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau
The only movie in the list that doesn’t deal directly with a political candidate. We’ve written about it before, but couldn’t pass up the chance to talk about it once again. Sheriff Andy Taylor was never like this.
What to watch for: This is Matthau’s second appearance in this list, and watching his performances in these two movies reminds you of what an underrated dramatic actor he was. If you know Matthau only from The Odd Couple and Grumpy Old Men, don’t miss him here.

All the King’s Men (1949)
Dir. Robert Rossen
Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru, Mercedes McCambridge
Another repeat appearance. We discussed the Pulitzer-winning novel here, but while the movie lacks much of the book’s depth and subtlety, it makes up with dominant (and Oscar-winning) performances by Crawford as Willie Stark, who truly was an honest man at one time; and McCambridge as Sadie Burke, Stark’s right-hand woman.
What to watch for: You know you’ll end up hating Crawford by the end of the movie, which makes the actions of the honest Stark at the movie’s beginning even more painful to watch. Jack Burden (Ireland), about whom the book really revolves, is much less prominent here.

Columbo (1973)
Dir. Boris Sagal
Peter Falk, Jackie Cooper, Joanne Linville, Tisha Sterling
OK, it’s not a big-screen movie like the others, but the episode “Candidate for Crime” surely belongs on the list. Cooper plays a U.S. Senate candidate carrying on an affair with a member of his staff. When his campaign manager finds out and orders him to end the affair, Cooper murders him and tries to make it look as if he, Cooper, was actually the intended target. He may fool his wife, his lover, the press, and even the voters – but not Lieutenant Columbo.
What to watch for: Cooper, like most of Columbo’s adversaries, takes the Lieutenant far too lightly. Watch him trying to film a sound bite for television, all the while being distracted by Columbo’s poking around his house. By the time he realizes that Columbo’s no fool, it’s too late.

Winter Kills (1979)
Dir. William Richert
Jeff Bridges, John Huston, and an all-star cast

Like The Manchurian Candidate, Winter Kills was based on a novel by Richard Condon. Unlike Candidate, it’s far less well known. Condon’s dark comedy tells the story of a man (Bridges) trying to discover the truth behind the conspiracy that took the life of his half-brother, an American president who was supposedly killed by a lone gunman. Any similarities to JFK, including gangsters, nightclub owners, and a domineering father (Huston), are purely intentional.
What to watch for: We won’t give away the ending, but suffice it to say that it involves a wonderful scene with Bridges, Huston and an enormous American flag.

Feel free to add your favorites - but be sure to check these out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Dangers of Barack Obama

By Bobby

The dangers of electing Barack Obama as President of the United States would seriously bring this country back into the hands of those who wish for our defeat, and support rogue dictators around the world, including the most dangerous ones currently in power.

The defense that was built as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks successfully knocked out the Taliban and Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party is what Barack Obama wants to eliminate and to put us in Clinton-era or weaker defense policies that allowed terrorists to have free reign and gave us four major attacks. (See Clinton Era Policies Coming Home to Roost.)

Mr. Obama wants to eliminate all state, local, and federal laws on abortion by passing the Freedom of Choice Act, which eliminates parental consent rules, thus legalising the practise of carrying people across the border for the gruesome act, and will legalise a gruesome form of infanticide where the baby is born feet-first and then the abortionist decapitates the baby's head. Jill Stanek, a nurse in a Chicago hospital, has seen other gruesome infanticides and has discussed the gruesomeness of the actions. Gianna Jessen suffers from cerebral palsy because of attempt to kill her in the womb with a lethal solution. I have seen both speak about the gruesomeness of the types of baby killings that would increase with federal legalisation of such acts, as each has spoken about it at the South Carolina March for Life.

The Culture of Death of the Obama administration also wants to create rationed health care. Does anyone understand that with such rationed health care, people could wait months for treatments or even basic illnesses, and in some cases, people will be left to die because it would be cheaper than to treat people for illnesses, with the proposed policies? (In Oregon, the state health care system said they would not treat a person to cure the illness, but instead would support euthanasia of the person by treating her with medicine to kill her instead.) It would allow for things such as Michael Schiavo, who killed his wife in a 15-year battle in order to marry another woman (as I've learned from Suzanne Vitadamo, Terri Schiavo's sister). It would create a socialist policy that would make important treatments impossible to obtain, and create less of an incentive to bring medical research by imposing rationed health care similar to European countries – and why many Europeans prefer to have their special treatments performed in the United States, where the incentive to do such experimental treatment is high. An Obama health care plan would eliminate that and rationing would eliminate the development of new doctors, quick-service medical care centers for basic symptoms that do not need a full-service doctor (such as CVS Caremark's Minute Clinic). It would also eliminate specialists who help with the special problems that need special treatment – I have a friend from college who now has a rare symptom that needs special treatment, and the Obama health plan would ignore her in favour of basic rationing of health care that would cripple her worse or even kill her.

Also, the Obama group would impose severe tax increases. As proven on recent talk radio programs, Obama would keep our corporate tax rates – one of the highest in the developed world – at 35% (or raise them), and increase our income tax severely, restore the estate tax, and more than double the dividend and capital gains taxes to spend on another failed Keynesian economic policy based on the government, not the free market, in control. The Obama plan asks Americans to stop investing in the market and instead be sheeple to liberal economic policy of “government knows best” when it does not do so. They intentionally helped bring down the stock market, and they want to drive Americans out of investing, turning American back from a 25-year revolution of the Investor Class that came from the Reagan economic policy, especially Kemp-Roth, that led to the surge of the stock market past the 1,000 mark and into five-figure gains that rode high until the Obama scare and the liberals' protection of unethical behaviour in the markets led to the current crash.

Franklin Raines, the Clinton appointee running Fannie Mae at the time, created the fiscal crisis by falsifying records of the government entity. Other Clinton officials, including the infamous Jamie Gorelick, were also in charge of the enterprises. After Mr. Raines left Fannie Mae, he ran down another company, Maytag, to the ground, leading it to be sold to Whirlpool. Can you trust leaders who ran down two companies to the ground and helped create the crises that caused the reign of Al Qaeda?

Furthermore, the Obama organisation has been deep into media regulation. Knowing the success of of the Lyndon B. Johnson administration in using the Fairness Doctrine to earn thousands of free hours on the air to push the Great Society and other anti-American legislation in the 1960's, they are willing to go one better and fight opposition media by shutting them down, as they have attempted against WGN Radio, the National Rifle Association, and Fox News Channel. They could simply pass new regulations to regulate radio, television, and the internet be regulated in a manner similar to China or Venezuela – and as we have seen, the Obama camp would want the United States to be regulated in a way similar to Hugo Chávez's Venezuela, where even private stations that do not tow the line are seized and replaced by government propaganda stations. In this situation, news-talk radio stations and even the Fox News Channel be seized by authorities and replaced by government propaganda nobody wants to listen by federal order, similar to what Mr. Chávez did to private station RCTV. The popular news-talk format created by the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine would be replaced by more annoying liberal music formats promoting liberal agenda such as homosexual “marriage” and an All Obama Channel similar to what has been done by Mr. Castro and Mr. Chávez. Can you imagine on the day of the Daytona 500 when liberal activists call the FCC claiming a violation of Obama Media policy, and the FCC forcing Fox to air a 4-hour infomercial to promote the Obama Green Earth mantra, including clips of environmentalist propaganda such as “Live Earth,” starting at 3:30 PM (the start of the Daytona 500), as liberals would force Fox to air such under threat of losing their licence?

In addition, the taxation policies of the Obama administration would be creating an anti-business atmosphere. Businesses rely on trucks -- especially pickup trucks and vans -- as part of their jobs. Under the new CAFE standards that increased the taxes on the auto industry based on fuel economy, automakers have lost many automotive jobs as it forced smaller cars and prevents businesses from buying the types of trucks they need for their work. The Big Three automakers are having to plead for a bailout because the government does not want them making anything but federally mandated microcars that cannot seat more than two people and are structurally weak such as the 1,700-pound microcars -- lighter than the 1,900 pound single-seat P1 prototypes in the 24 Heures du Mans. The Joe the Plumber types (and others) who rely on trucks for their jobs will not be able to have those trucks by mandate, let alone have them for their jobs. Furthermore, one major source of General Motors' advertising has been through talk radio with five conservative stars -- Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Rush Limbaugh -- receiving 30-second ads GM has placed on their shows. Liberals would want GM to lose as regulators would strip GM of a major advertising campaign to appease the Socialist/Marxist Left.

Liberals think the best way to fix a crisis they created is to create more problems, when they are causing the problem. Do we want Barack Obama, a "community organiser" in the form similar to ACORN, which is the organisation that would have benefited from this rejected policy and attempting to steal this election, running the country and turning it over to these crooks? ACORN is one of the organisations that benefited greatly from the fraudulent behaviour at the financial institutions, as they forced the banks into the bad loans that led to the present crisis that created partially nationalised banks and other banks to collapse.

It is time we look at the consequences we would pay in electing an Obama Presidency – support of terrorists, surrendering the legislature to Europe and letting them write our laws, killing babies on demand by legalising infanticide, rationed health care that will kill more people, media regulation that would take news radio away and replace it with government propaganda, and more policies such as the ones that brought this current financial crisis. We must prevent Obama and these activist liberals from bringing in a Chávez, Marx, and Lenin-style totalitarian régime from this country at all costs. It is similar to Pinks – lose and you lose it all.

The original letter was written to the local newspaper but this version has been edited to remove sections I mentioned in previous columns on this blog.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Let the Ink Flow

By Kristin

“Mitchell is on vacation, I can write what ever I want.”

Those words were quoted directly from the horse’s mouth. Not that I am calling Mitchell a horse or ever call anyone a horse for that matter. Mitchell is very tall, horses are tall. I can possibly see where there might be some resemblance based on height alone, but again, I would never call Mitchell a horse. But now that we are on the topic, I have always thought that it might be fun dressing up as a horse for Halloween. It would most likely get quite a few laughs and be terribly awkward for anyone wanting to maneuver around the costume. One obstacle I have found in fulfilling my dream of dressing as a gallant steed for Halloween has been to find someone willing to be doubled over for the entire evening as the rear-end. And if I were to go to a Halloween gathering, without doubt there would be some type of bean dip, because it would’t be a party with out bean dip. And if I have a lot of this delicious bean dip, we all know what would happen. It would be doubly painful for the “end” person to have to walk around hunched over with the bean aroma wafting around in the suit.

After careful consideration, I respectfully suspend any attempts to dress as a horse for Halloween.

I digress. The point of this is that I can write about whatever I want because Mitchell is on vacation, or as some like to say, out to lunch. Or does that mean he is crazy? I can never remember with these phrases. You’d think that by saying that someone was “out to lunch”, that would mean they would be at least mildly intelligent, or intelligent enough to hold down a job to be able to afford eating out once in a while. And another phrase that bothers me is “a piece of cake”, as in, “I had no problems tying my shoes this morning, it was a piece of cake”. I feel I can’t speak for everyone, but to me, baking has always been a challenge. I will be the first to admit failure in baking from boxes by adding ingredients out of order, in the wrong portion mistaking myself for an Iron Chef. The phrase “a piece of cake” should be changed to refer to skilled and precise tasks that take years to master. And I would just like to add that the idiom “beat a dead horse” is just cruel and conjures images of a poor fellow in a horse Halloween costume being beaten with a newspaper.

But let us talk about the fact that I have total free rein to write anything I want because our fearless leader is absent. I could write about politics, but I feel a little drained about the topic. The Economy? No, its been beaten like a dead horse. Oh, that phrase did fit quite nicely. I guess it is useful. Sorry horse.

Well I have had a field day with this article. Letting my metaphorical pen flow across the metaphorical page was truly a day at the beach. Let’s cross our fingers and hope at I am able to stay with this blog after this.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Story of the Election

By Mitchell

The Democrats had won a decisive majority in the midterm elections, and after eight years of Republican rule, they sensed that their time had come.

The Republicans sensed it as well, as as the economy continued to stagnate toward a recession, they reacted accordingly, throwing most of their principles out the window. "Fiscal conservatism appeared merely gauche among Republicans desperte to retain power," the reporter wrote. The lame-duck president was, politically, "out of step," it was said, and Republican candidates maintained their distance. In "a city crammed with yes men and sychphants, no one . . . extended a word of support."

The Republican candidate won his party's nomination easily, but he was never truly accepted by a significant number of his party's faithful, and "even those most favorably disposed to him possessed their doubts." Both the conservative and moderate wings of the party harbored uncertainties. "The Right should have listened better," the same reporter wrote, for the candidate "never painted himself as a conservative." Rather, he was an internationalist, a progressive. He was also an enemy of the press, who took every advantage to highlight his faults and missteps, even when they hadn't really occurred, and contrasted them with the glowing achievements of his Democratic opponent. In the end, however, all would agree on one thing - that the Republican candidate had run a very poor campaign in the fall.

For all of the optimistic signs, however, the Democrats too were concerned. The nominating battle had been a bruising one, raising more than one hackle among committed supporters. And then there was the lingering uncertainty over the wisdom of the outcome. "[T]he Democrats" another reporter noted "were going to nominate a man who, no matter how serious his political dedication might be, was indisputably and willy-nilly going to be seen as a great box-office actor, and the consequences of that were staggering and not at all easy to calculate." In the end, though, it proved enough to win the nomination. "Charm could carry one only so far," but "it might yet carry one all the way."

The election was charged with historic external elements as well. "If I criticize anything he's doing," a candidate said of his opponent, "I'm supposed to be a bigot." And there was much to criticize, including rumors of fraud in voter registration. Money was reported to be changing hands as well - a lot of money. As for the bigotry, nobody was really certain how much of an issue it was, except for one thing: that the candidate himself, in ways both overt and subtle, made sure everyone knew about it, and he displayed a remarkable facility for portraying himself as a victim without suffering the weaknesses that often went with the label. The voters would not, could not, forget about the issue - not because it was important to them, but because it seemed so very important to the candidate and his supporters.

As we stand two weeks from election day, it seems as if we still have one chapter left to write, and though everyone thinks they know how it will end, the voting machines will tell the final story, honestly or otherwise.

However, the last chapter has in fact already been written, and for nearly fifty years we have known how it came out. For the story you have been reading, the story of the election, was not of this election, but that of 1960. The Republican about whom the conservatives harbored such doubts, the candidate who ran such a poor campaign and yet nearly pulled it off, was Richard Nixon. The movie-star Democrat - with "an undistinguished record (save for absenteeism)," who was described with words such as "[p]hotogenic, charismatic, charming, bright" - was John Kennedy. It was Hubert Humphrey, a man who probably didn't have a bigoted bone in his body, who was constantly having to deal with the onus of running (in the primaries) against JFK, the man trying to become the first Catholic president, and the Kennedy clan made sure that religion played an important role, even to voters who didn't particularly care about it.

The quotes all come from David Pietrusza's fascinating new book, 1960: LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon. It would be trite to simply say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It would be true, although only slightly less trite, to point out how often history repeats itself. However, it does bear repeating that the election of 1960, which was supposed to usher in a new generation of politics, was in fact the beginning of a great deal of misery and tragedy for this country, much of which we continue to deal with today.

Will the election of 2008 be the precursor of a similar future? Regardless of how the vote turns out, no matter who wins, we can only hope that the answer this time will be different.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Submitted for your approval

By Kristin

Afternoons in my car on a Sunday afternoon are never boring. The line up on NPR keeps me quite entertained. A Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me are among of the few programs that entertain me along my drive. This past Sunday, I was able to catch a portion of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, a news quiz show where contestants are tested on their knowledge of current events. One bit of news breaking from Google land will, if successful, save hundreds of thousands of relationships nation wide. To loosely summarize a summary of the new GMail feature given by one of the guest hosts, if someone writes an email during evening hours and on the weekend, the sender would be prompted to solve a series of math questions aimed at determining if the sender is in an appropriate state to send the email. This would hopefully eliminate emails sent after a night, or early afternoon, out on the town aimed at assumingly innocent victims of the dreaded “drunk email”.

I, for one, am a fan of this new feature. It creates a safeguard for the emailing world. Not only would the intoxicated person need to be able to successfully open the email program, he would then need to demonstrate a minimal level of intelligence to proceed with the letter. For example, Jimmy goes to happy hour with some co-workers and takes full advantage of the specials. He then goes home to compose a letter to his old girlfriend to tell her that he still thinks she is the most rotten person on earth and he is holding on to her favorite earrings as payment for how she broke his heart. In the heat of the moment, the letter is eloquent, powerful and hits a home run. This is where the new GMail feature will step in:
Question 1: Find the area of a square that measures 4 feet long and 2 ½ feet wide. Jimmy answers, after struggling with the calculator, 10 feet.
Question 2: Susie, who is 7 years old, is four times as old as her brother. How old will Susie be when she is twice as old as her brother? Jimmy puts his head in his hands to think and promptly falls asleep only to wake up in the morning and delete the unsent email saving himself an embarrassing phone call to the ex-. Success! The GMail function has worked.

I propose that we establish a similar sort of test for all bloggers. After typing a masterpiece the writer would be forced to answer a series of questions about the article to make sure that it is blog-worthy. I have a sampling of questions I would like to see asked:
Question 1: Count the number of times you use a personal pronoun. Is there one personal pronoun for every 10 words? Correct answer, Yes.
Question 2: Have you used any current, hip and trendy jargon from the youngest identified generation? Correct answer, Yes.
Question 3: Have you avoided an angry tone aimed at other bloggers who clearly have no idea what they are talking about? Correct answer, No. You should quote at least 2 other relevant bloggers in each article and clearly state that they are out of their minds.
Question 4: How many other bloggers have written about this topic? Correct answer, Irrelevant, all other bloggers are interior and their opinions do not matter.


Opening Panel Round
A sobering new email application

Economics - and Technology

By Drew

Courtesy of 2Blowhards, here's some very interesting stuff from Tom Wolfe on the cause of the current economic unpleasantness:

The whole thing, starting with the subprime, is the fault of the computer. I was just talking to a banker the other day, and not that long ago, 20 years ago, an investment banking house, let’s say, Lehman Brothers, when it got a package of mortgages, they would go through every mortgage, every single one, and they’d throw out the ones that just seemed absurd, they just wouldn’t accept them. Things used to arrive on paper. Today things arrive on a screen, and a screen is back lit, and one of the biggest pains in the neck is trying to read something dully written and complicated on a computer screen. It will drive you nuts—I mean, try it sometime. Now they say, ‘Oh, to hell with it,’ and they just accept the whole package. And if it hadn’t been for that, they’d be going over each loan. What’s happened is the backward march of technology.

"The backward march of technology." In an era where we too often think that all progress (like all change) is good, that's refreshing to hear. It also suggests just how lazy technology has made us. . .

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dress Codes at Church

By Bobby

Cathy posted a recent blog on dress codes at church, and she commented that the "come just as you are" attitudes in church have become a concern. She said, "(T)hey frequently look like they stoppedby on their way to ______ (beach, football game, baseball game, picnic,work, bed, gardening, party, roller derby)"

She then noted there was no reason for what is commonly worn in churches today, and she went after the MTV-type "dress code" in churches today, and asked if what people wear for job interviews is the same as church.

As for me, I am tired of this charade in churches. I am tired of the idea that youth in tee-shirts, torn khakis, jeans, shorts, cargos, denim and extremely short skirts sit in the front and dominate the congregation such as a rock band that sings secularised pop-rock love songs (see some churches that have AC/DC, the Beatles, or pop-culture themes) instead of singing hard-hitting sacred songs that glorify God and describe His Attributes. I have also seen the rise in "anything but the Bible" teachings in church today that this attitude has developed. Meanwhile, those who are starting to fight against the "dress code" change, the change in themes, or the false church teachings being promoted are being forced out using Warrenist tactics.

I wonder once these people graduate from high school, if they come to college, will they learn to dress properly, or will they use their "dress code" into the places they work?

A recent episode of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" showed the difference when host Jeff Foxworthy was "undressed" compared to the contestant (one of the greatest game show contestants of all time -- after the show his game show winnings are $3,623,414.29). I cannot imagine people dressing the way they dress in church anywhere -- at the office, at the grocery, or at the opera. When a game show legend outdresses the host, what does that say?

Monday, October 13, 2008

An All-American Candidate

By Mitchell

Has the political landscape got you down? Are you dismayed by your candidate's performance? Have falling poll numbers, garbled rhetoric, and missed opportunities driven you to the point of dispair? Are you just so cynical about the whole thing that you're not even sure you're going to vote?

Fear not. For those of you depressed, disenchanted, or otherwise disgusted by the whole thing, we have the candidate you can believe in.

Go here to read the true story of Car and Driver magazine's semi-mock 1964 presidential campaign for the great American race car driver Dan Gurney. David Davis says in his editorial, "As we sit in our office watching the parade of poltroons, charlatans, earnest amateurs and fuzzy idealists that constitutes the current assortment of presidential aspirants, we rebel. We will not let the major political parties lead us down the garden path again this year." Which once again goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This Just In

By Steve

Petters, Castroneves Announce Racing, Criminal Defense Partnership

(ELK RIVER, MN – October 11) Millionaire businessman Tom Petters today announced his sponsorship of an Indy Racing League team for the 2009 season, and that he had signed two-time Indianapolis 500 champ Helio Castroneves as his principal driver.

Speaking from the Sherburne County jail in Elk River, MN, where he is currently being held on charges of mail and wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice, Petters announced the partnership with Castroneves, who was the big winner in 2007’s “Dancing with the Stars” and is presently under federal indictment for conspiracy and tax evasion.

“It was a no-brainer,” Petters said of the Castroneves signing. “Helio and I have a great many interests in common. Our common background and shared passion made this a natural relationship. We’re also pretty creative in figuring out ways to stay one step ahead of the . . . competition.”

Smiling through a glass partition at reporters who had gathered in the visitors' center at the jail, Petters added, "Helio's a winner. They don't call him the 'Spider Man' for nothing. His tradition of climbing the fence after race victories could come in quite handy for 'Team Petters' in the future."

Petters spoke optimistically about his new venture, which would mark his initial foray into motor sports. Castroneves, who won 12 Indycar victories racing for Roger Penske, will drive the number 02158758 car for Team Petters, sporting a distinctive black-and-white striped color scheme. Petters said the car would run a limited IRL schedule in 2009, competing only in races in Algeria , China , Saudi Arabia , Zimbabwe , and other countries which currently lack an extradition treaty with the United States . He said that in future years, races held in Caribbean island countries might be added to the schedule.

“People might be wondering how we’ll be able to pull this off,” said Petters, speaking rapidly as his phone call minutes dwindled away. “But we’re not going to let little things - external distractions like multiple felony indictments, possible life imprisonment - get in our way. We're focused! We’re winners! But I’ve go to go now, we’re having chipped beef on toast for dinner.”

A spokesman for Team Petters said that the Petters-Castroneves partnership would extend to shared services for their upcoming criminal trials, and did not rule out the possibility of asking federal authorities for a joint trial, even though the two men have been charged with separate crimes. "A good legal defense is like a good pit crew," he said. "You need teamwork and cooperation all around."

He added that sponsorships and other financing details for Team Petters were still under discussion at press time.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Revisiting An Old Friend

By Mitchell

Last year, in a comment at our sister blog Stella Borealis, I upbraided Karl Keating for being willfully out of touch with popular culture. "Can you understand – even enjoy – aspects of pop culture without being consumed by it?" I asked at the time. My answer: "I think you can." I took particular exception to what I saw as a gratutious shot by Keating at the actor Orson Bean. (" I never could figure out who the guy was," Keating wrote. "So far as I knew, he never had done anything of note. He was on the show because he was a celebrity, and he was a celebrity because he was on the show. . . He was the compleat artificial man.")

Not only was this needlessly cruel, I argued, it was also patently false - Bean had had a long and succesful career on Broadway (including a Tony nomination), movies and television, and had authored several books. Meanwhile, at this blog, Drew piled on with his comments in this piece.

Well, over at the inimitable Dirty Harry's Place, Harry links us to this video of Orson Bean appearance this week on Dennis Miller's radio show. In it, Orson talks about iconic things such as the first blacklist, Ed Sullivan and Jack Paar, and discusses his new book M@il For Mikey, in which he writes about finding God and becoming a Christian.


Orson Bean
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We can only be glad, I guess, that God has a wider range of interests than Karl Keating has. But, more seriously, we can be very happy for Orson Bean, and that the many years of pleasure he has given us has now been matched by the happiness that his his.

Cross-posted to Stella Borealis Catholic Roundtable

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wish I'd Written That

By Mitchell

"We cannot blink the fact that gentle Jesus, meek and mild, was so stiff in His opinions and so inflammatory in His language, that He was thrown out of church, stoned, hunted from place to place, and finally gibbetted as a firebrand and a public danger. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah into a household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.”

Dorothy L. Sayers

Friday, October 3, 2008

Timing Is Everything

By Drew

Cosmic justice, perhaps? From CNN:

Thirteen years to the day after a Los Angeles jury acquitted him of two murders, another jury began deliberations Friday in O.J. Simpson's armed robbery and kidnapping trial.

Do you remember where you were thirteen years ago today? I wonder how this one will end? Will it be déjà vu all over again, or will this time be different?

UPDATE: Apparently, justice delayed is not justice denied.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The History We Forget

By Drew

What with the Vice Presidential debate this evening, it seemed like a good time to remember that Sarah Palin is not the first Vice Presidential candidate to come under intense scrutinty - although she might be the first to suffer the kind of character assassination she's endured at the hands of the leftist media and bloggers. The MSM might have you believe that no running mate has ever been so seriously questioned. This is a convenient hook for them. But, of course, it lacks historical perspective.

Back in 1952, the young Richard Nixon, running mate of Dwight Eisenhower, was the subject of a headline in the New York Post: "Secret Rich Men's Trust Fund Keeps Nixon in Style Far Beyond His Salary." Many Republicans urged Ike to drop Nixon from the ticket. The result was called "The Checkers Speech."

Part 1:


Part 2:



You can read more about the background of the speech here. The upshot is that the speech was an enormous success, Nixon remained on the ticket and complied a long (albeit not always glorious) history in national politics, and the Checkers Speech became a part of American history.

That is of course, except for the times when the MSM finds it convenient to forget about it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Opera Wednesday

By Mitchell

Well, we haven't done one of these in a while - it's about time. I could talk about the opening of the Met last Monday, a gala starring the wonderful Renée Fleming, or I could discuss the opening of the Minnesota Opera, a so-so production of Verdi's Il trovatore.

Instead, however, we're going to look at the harrowing Allein, weh Ganz allein from Richard Strauss' 1909 opera Elektra. I've always been ambivalent when it comes to contemporary opera, but this was the one that made me a believer - at least some of the time. The aggressiveness of the dissonance combined with tonality is totally compelling. Strauss was clearly influenced by his countryman Wagner - as a matter of fact, even in Strauss' less dissonant pieces (such as his Four Last Songs, or the final scene of Capriccio, which Fleming performed last week), there is the hint of melancholy which infuses so much of Wagner's music. However, what makes me a fan of this piece is the drama inherent in the lyrics - whereas traditional arias generally dealt with the exposition of feelings - what was going through the character's mind - contemporary opera (and by that, we'll go as far back as Verdi's middle period) began to deal more with advancing the plot. The drama in Allein goes at breakneck pace. It is, as I said at the begininng of this long paragraph, harrowing.

I first saw this on television starring the incomparable Birgit Nilsson. However, in order to get the full flavor of the lyrics, here is a clip featuring Hildegard Behrens:




If you're in the mood for a more atmospheric (not to say hallucinatory) version, here is Leonie Rysanek. Note that the subtitles are not in English, so I'd recommend watching the Behrens version first - not that you wouldn't be able to figure out the context from the action on the screen.



Finally, for the sheer power and drama of it all, here is the aforementioned Birgit Nilsson. If there had been subtitles, I wouldn't have even bothered with the other clips. Nilsson, at this point in her career, is not the voice she used to be, but her presence on the stage, combined with the sheer drama of the scene, is overpowering - or, at least, not to be missed. The copy isn't the clearest, but stick with it. And if this makes you want to see and hear more of Richard Stauss, remember that on October 11 the Met will be presenting Salome as its moviecast of the month.


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