Friday, May 30, 2008

A quote you should find really disturbing

"To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary…These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We must create the pedagogy of The Wall!" -- Che Guevara

I never get the whole "Che" thing. The guy was a murderous bastard yet stupid college kids love wearing his tee shirts. And now the laudatory movies about him.

What did Orwell say? "He who controls the past . . ."

Free Rides to the Airport

"If McCain gets in, it's going to be very, very dangerous," she says. "It's a critical time, but I have faith in the American people. If they prove me wrong, I'll be checking out a move to Italy. Maybe Canada, I don't know. We're at an abyss."

So says Susan Sarandon.

I never got the "I'm moving to X if Y gets elected" thing. I guarantee if HRC or Obama get elected, I am not moving to a foreign country. It is just plain silly. And haven't we heard all this before? Every celebrity seemed to threaten to move to wherever when Bush was elected then reelected. Other than Pierre Salinger, none of them did. And Salinger was not really a celebrity and he was living in France when he made the threat anyway, so he should not count.

Here is my offer -- I will give a ride to the airport to anyone who threatens to move if their favored candidate loses. So SHUT UP AND JUST LEAVE ALREADY!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Did she say that?

Did Maxine Waters really suggest that the oil companies should be nationalized?

I am not sure she was serious about that, but maybe that explains why the Decemberists played for Senator Obama at his last campaign rally in Oregon -- they were playing our new national anthem.

Enjoying the Show

The reason I am enjoying the Democratic primary so much is that this is 40 years of Democratic Party victim identity politics coming home to roost.

"Vote the Woman!"

"No Vote the African American!"

"And you are not voting for me because you dislike [insert victim group here]!"

All we need is a transgendered Latino to complain that it is really his (or is it her) group's turn.

OK Kiddies -- Die for Gaia!

This is very disturbing. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has a website aimed at kids which helps them (i) calculate their carbon footprint so that they can (ii) decide when they have to die. (HT Rachel Lucas)

I think this global warmongering is getting out of control. Do I think the planet has gotten hotter -- well yes, it seems that way.

Do I think human activity effects the environment? Of course it does . Often human manipulation of the physical environment is a good thing. It has turned deserts into farms and swamps into livable space.

Do I think human activity has caused all of the current environmental changes? No. History shows us that climates often change. And climates on other planets even show signs of changing.

So do I think we should do nothing? Of course not. Reducing carbon emissions in and of itself is probably a good thing and of course we need to protect the environment. I do not want to pave over Monument Valley nor do I wish to live in smog ridden world. Further, as a Catholic, I believe in environmental stewardship.

But there needs to be some sanity injected into this debate. If not, people will tune out the increasingly shrill and silly alarmism. Economic effects also need to be taken into account -- given the choice between their job and a pristine planet, people will choose their job. Finally, those stars and politicians who are crying the most about carbon footprints should start acting as those they really believed what they are saying -- people will not stand being lectured about global warming by jetsetting movie stars with their own personal 707.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A quote I really like (for my 300th Post)

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching." -- Satchel Paige

(From Rodak's Website)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Trinity Sunday

Sunday was Trinity Sunday and the homilist was expounding at length on the difficulty in understanding the Trinity. This concept still is a hard one to understand, despite having been pondered by the greatest minds in Christendom for almost two millennia. Some Christians, such as the Arians and Monophysits of old times and Unitarians of today, gave up trying to understand it and found it unworkable.

I remember my mother teaching my first grade CCD class trying to explain it to a bunch of six year olds. Needless to say, we did not quite get it. I remember was my mother finally saying "think of it is you, your mother and your father tried to bake some cookies together" - so I think she ran out of ideas also.

But my favorite story is that of Saint Augustine, walking along the shore of Hippo, pondering the problem of the Trinity. There he saw a young child dig a hole in the sand. She then began taking buckets of water from the Mediterranean and started pouring it into the hole. When Saint Augustine asked the child what she was doing, she replied that she was trying to puring the sea into the hole. When Augustine told her that was impossible, she replied that she would pour the entire sea into the hole before Augustine was able to understand the Holy Trinity.

Sometimes Politics Takes a Back Seat

Senator Ted Kennedy has brain cancer. There are times when we all must remember that politics is not war, that the other party is not the enemy, that politics is not everything, and that we are all humans.

Why did the chicken cross the road? Updated for 2008!

I got this in the mail from a friend the other day -- it went around the Internet maybe 5 years ago, but now updated for 2008!


**The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!**

**My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.**

**When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One! -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.......** [ed: And to avoid sniper fire in Tuzla]

**DR. PHIL:**
**The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT' problems before adding 'NEW' problems.**

**Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.**

**We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.**

**Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...**

**We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.**

**Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it!
It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.**

**That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.**

**To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.**

**No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.**

**Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.**

**To die in the rain. Alone.**

**Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth? That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side'. That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.**

**In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road.
Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.**

**Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heartwarming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.**

**It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.**

**Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.**

**I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of the Chicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never crash . . . reboot.**

**Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the

**I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of

**AL GORE:**
**I invented the chicken!**

**Where's my gun?**

**Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.***

*Did I miss one???*

Post Racialism

While I was never an Obama supporter, my hope for his campaign was that it would further along the cause of "post racialism." Face it -- race has been an albatross around America's neck since before the founding. Far too much is seen in the prism of race. And race has left America with a legacy of bitterness and anger with respect to 11 percent of our population.

Most major black politicians come to prominence through the traditional civil rights leadership. As such, for good or ill, they are too connected to the racial divide to really fight it, even when they run for office under the banner of black empowerment.

I hoped that Obama would transcend race (I have always seen him as the liberal yuppie candidate, not the black candidate) mostly because he did not have the usual path that most black leaders had. His father was not the descendant of southern slaves, but rather was born a subject of the British crown. His mother was white, and from a comfortable middle class background.

Obama lived for a while outside the US. When here, he lived in the least "white" state in the US and went to a somewhat exclusive school. So for good or ill, all the baggage, cultural and historical, positive and negative, that gets attached to the previous generations of black leaders did not get attached to him.

In some ways it was the same with Collin Powell. Powell's parents were Jamaican immigrants, not native US blacks. He went to West Point and was immersed in the military culture. Hence he was able to be himself, without reference to almost 400 years of the black experience in America.

That is what I really hope for Obama -- that he loses the presidency, not because he is half black, but because people decide he is not the one for the job (in the same way HRC lost the Democratic nomination, not because she is a woman but because people thought Obama was better). Yes there are lots of people who will not vote for him because he is black. But many others (white and black) will vote for him because he is.

Will Obama be that post racial transformational character? That is a lot to ask someone and probably very unfair, as he is trying to run for President and be himself. In light of the Wright fiasco, I am not sure we are there yet. But I think we are getting closer.

Some proof?

The daughter of the President of the United States gets married, the minister is black, and no one really notices! (Well, the Anchoress did and her reaction was the same as mine)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Farm Bill

Considering that crop prices are at their highest since, well, ever, why is Congress about to pass a farm bill that increases subsidies? And while I can understand some subsidies to small farmers (to help them along, preserve open land from development and have extra land available for crops in an emergency) it appears that most of this largess will go to large corporate farmers. The bill has passed with veto proof majorities in the House and Senate, with lots of Republicans joining the Democrats. The GOP has learned NOTHING from 2006 and will lose (and deserve to lose) more seats this November as a result.

How about a better idea -- let's get off of subsidies. I am hopeful on biofuels, so instead of an ethanol subsidy that has done little for energy independence while increasing food prices let's go with the Zubrin plan. Require within three years that all automobiles that use gasoline must also be able to accept ethanol and methanol. Wider use of methanol, made not from food crops but rather from stalks and non food crops, should help reduce food prices.

And while we are at it, let's end the tariff on Brazilian ethanol, made from sugar and with a higher energy produced to used ratio than corn based ethanol.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The cure for the common liturgical dance

Catholic churches do not use enough Palestrina these days. If heaven has a soundtrack, I hope this is included.

What was that?

I do not know exactly how to describe this.

There are no words. Now I know that a liberal Catholic or a low church Protestant will tell me to get with it and let the spirit move me, but, well, there are no words. That is all I can say.

(HT: Reformed Pastor)

West Virginia

It was over so quickly I did not even have a chance to mix my martini!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


My numbers were off a "little" (OK Bill and Rob -- a whole lot!)

But I still will not be surprised if the Democratic nominee is Al Gore.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Prediction for Primary Day

HRC wins Indiana by 5-10%.

Obama wins North Carolina by less than 5%.

Delegates are evenly split.

And the winner is . . .


Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Wright Fiasco

For the past three weeks or so, we have been bombarded with commentary about Reverend Wight. Should we care? Why do we care. It is important given that Senator Obama claimed Wight was his mentor and spiritual guide for 20 years. The title of his book, "The Audacity of Hope", comes from one of Wright's sermons. This is more than someone who simply attended church on Sundays.

We seem to care, should we? I don't know. I am somewhat sympathetic to Reverend Wright as the angry black man of the 1960s, angry at racism and the "system" that kept blacks from fully participating in America. But he went beyond that. Calling for his parishioners to reject "middle classism" while running a church that even Senator Obama admits has a reputation as something of a "buppie" church.

The Wright situation has been brewing for a long time. I remember noting to a friend (who was working for one of Obama's Democratic Senate race rivals in 2004) that Wright could be a problem for Obama. Of course, in 2004, Obama sailed thorough thanks to his opponents in both parties self destructing. So the issue is only being raised now.

And Wright refuses to go quietly. This makes we wonder if Wright is trying to do this on purpose. I know I am not the only person thinking this, Spike Lee has muttered some vague conspiracy theory.

So why is Wright doing this? Wright was known but not a huge player here in Chicago compared to other ministers. Wright built a very impressive congregation on the South Side (and to be sure does a lot of good) but he was a local figure. Now, thanks to all the controversy, he is a national figure.

This could torpedo Senator Obama's chances. But if he gets past Denver, he will be happy it happened now, and not in October.

Thoughts on Immigration

Yesterday, there was the now traditional May Day immigration rally. Unlike the past few years, this was a smaller rally. I think that the whole issue seems to have disappeared from people's radar screens for now. Both parties are probably happy with this. The issue is very divisive. People don't want to be overrun by hordes of illegal aliens but I believe most people also recognize the value these folks bring to our country. And people really do not want to be in the position of deporting parents of children born here.

I think the real problem is not the immigrants we know but those we don't know. Everyone in the US knows an immigrant. And generally they like the ones they know. Growing up we had one guy across the street who was an immigrant from Italy and a guy down the street who was an immigrant from Egypt. No one had a problem with them. In fact, most people liked them, felt they were hard workers and nice people.

The issue is the immigrants we don't know -- the nameless faceless people who hang out at Home Depot looking for work. I am someone who is usually accused of being an "open borders" type, but I think the real problem here in the US is simply a matter of human nature -- people have a fear of the unknown and the "other".

The other problem is in Mexico. This is not an issue that just popped up, rather something that has been brewing for a century. Namely, the fact that successive Mexican governments have refused to reform the country, and instead send their excess population to the US. It has only gotten worse under the leadership of Fox and Calderón. And to make it worse for Mexico, those who have left probably represent the most ambitious of their lower classes. The rich have no reason to leave and the middle classes probably feel they can still make a go of it. But if you are poor and ambitious, the government has basically said "Go North!" So Mexico is basically exporting those people who would be helpful in building up a better Mexico.

I am sympathetic to illegal immigrants and their plight. I believe generally in free movement of goods and people. And considering that we do not have the all pervasive and suffocating safety net that Europe has, the kind of people that come here will be the hard working people we want to attract. But wandering around the fringes of the rally yesterday, I think it would be easier to be sympathetic if many of those marching were not wearing Che Guevara tee shirts or carrying signs for some Trotskeyite organization such as the ISO or ANSWER.

Friday, May 2, 2008

More proof my wife is a saint

I was putting our flag out yesterday, which was also my wife's birthday. Given that I usually only put it out on holidays (Memorial Day, Armistice Day, Flag Day, etc) my wife asked why. This was the conversation:

Me: "For your birthday"

She: (Gives that "certain look") "No really".

Me: "Because it is May Day".

She: (Looking a little confused) "Is that a flag holiday?"

Me: "It is for communists."

She gave me that "really certain look", shook her head, and I am sure quietly wondered how she ended up with a nut like me.

As I said, my wife is a saint.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May Day!

This is really cool

Granted, non-socialist that I am, I think this must be the soundtrack for Hell.