Thursday, December 31, 2009


...just a few moments ago, as I was wrapped in Sabra's embrace:

"Your ex-husband said you weren't any good...well, he was a fucking idiot! It was like putting a chimp in the pilot seat of an F-16, he doesn't have the slightest fucking clue as to what to do! But you put ME in that seat and I'm like Eddie Rickenbacker!"

Sabra, laughing: "Yes, honey, yes you are!" don't LET her?

That was my response upon reading this:

One local police chief went against the grain of his fellow panel members and said

"you have to remember that this is a law enforcement matter and it is for the Police to respond to. I know you all want to carry a gun, but let me say this as a Chief of Police I don't even let my wife carry pepper spray nor do my teenage children..."

Doesn't LET his wife? Oh, no. No, no, no. Goodness, how could any woman put up with such lilliputian control-freakery? I shudder to see what else he doesn't LET her do. I told Sabra upon reading that, that there was nothing I would ever not LET her do. In fact, even though I would always ultimately leave the decision up to her, if it came down to it I would almost insist that she carry to protect herself. I honestly thought we had moved beyond the relationship in which the man was the boss of the woman. How disgusting to find out that we haven't -- and that there are women out there who will still put up with that.

(h/t Firehand)

Looks like another righteous shoot to me...

...right here:

A homeowner shot and killed a man and then wounded a woman who were reportedly trying to steal tools from his pickup early this morning at a home in northwest Houston, police said.

There were some interesting comments in the comments section of that story, though. "Oh teh noes!!! He killed a man over property! Killing over property is bad, hmmkay?"

There was one that read, "You don't know that man or woman: you don't know the circumstances that drove them to commit what seems at best some petty theft, and to express pleasure at the death of a complete stranger says a lot about your own moral code."

Could be, but I for one don't give a damn about these people's circumstances. If they didn't want to get their asses shot they shouldn't have been stealing from hard-working, law-abiding people. And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It won't work on a micro level...

...what the hell makes our Glorious Leader think disarmament is going to work on a macro level?

Obama laid out his vision of a nuclear-free world in a speech in Prague in April, vowing the U.S. would take dramatic steps to lead the way. Eight months later, the administration is locked in internal debate over a top-secret policy blueprint for shrinking the U.S. nuclear arsenal and reducing the role of such weapons in America's military strategy and foreign policy.

One wonders if he really trusts the Chinese, the Russians or the others to get rid of their nukes too. I know I sure as hell wouldn't. These damned liberal idealists are going to be the death of us all.

Chronsters turning into libertarians?

I doubt it, but it was really nice to see this:

...Starting Jan. 1, county prosecutors are instructed not to file felony charges for drug amounts under a hundredth of a gram.
How much is that? Barely a speck: A McDonald's sugar packet contains 400 times more powder. But a hundredth of a gram is the absolute minimum necessary to conduct two lab tests: one for the prosecution, one for the defense. In other words, it's the absolute minimum necessary for a fair trial.
The change is good for justice — but also good for our justice system, which has focused too much of its scarce resources on prosecuting low-level addicts instead of more dangerous criminals. Of the 46,000 drug-possession felony cases the county filed last year, a third involved less than a gram of a controlled substance. Many of those cases involved crack pipes, which almost always carry traces of cocaine residue. (Very likely the bills in your wallet do, too. Those molecules get around.)

Once again, I find myself agreeing with pretty much every single word they write here. I know well the deleterious effects of crack on its users, and (to a lesser extent) cocaine. But sooner or later we're going to have to take a look at the insane drug policies we have in place and all the deleterious effects of said policies on the Bill of Rights -- to say nothing of the effects on the justice system, which were mentioned later in the piece. I realize that we're not going to get all of it at once, just like we're not going to get all the liberty-infringing gun laws struck down -- but we have to start somewhere, and this is at least as good of a start as any. It'll be fun to see how far it is from this to not prosecuting those with certain meaningful amounts of currently illegal drugs...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Would that Maureen Dowd's brother...

...had the plush New York Times gig:

The Republicans, of course, got exactly what they deserved in 2006 and 2008 mainly because they acted like Democrats. Deficit spending and sex scandals are not a good recipe for success.
But by forcing through a government takeover of health care, the auto industry and the banks, the president and his congressional henchmen have brought us in a time machine to Russia 1917. These massive changes have been done in secret and along bullying, straight party-line votes.

Blogging might be sporadic this week. Sabra's here. :-)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

From your lips to God's ears, buddy...

...or, I think this guy, notwithstanding his disparagement of our state's fine cuisine and the propagation of that secession urban legend, is my new hero:

Dear big beautiful Texas with all your gorgeous pageant women and crappy food: you are the only state that joined our Union with a treaty allowing for legal secession.

Here's the "long story short," your favorite phrase, Dear Texas:

You can get out now and no one will stop you.

Do I even need to say it?

h/t Cold Fury

How many mothers' sons will they send to die...

doing the bidding of assclowns like this? From the comments to this story:

It makes no difference if guns kill people or people kill people -- they are still dead or severly injured. Get rid of guns.

Ultimately there's only one thing to say to pronouncements like this: "You can try, I suppose, but you can't have mine. What're you gonna do now, Sparky?"

I mean, I hate it as much as anyone that this little girl was injured due to her daddy's negligence, but telling 80 million gun owners to turn 'em in for the mistakes of a few, well, that's only gonna end in tears. Do people like the above commenter know this? Do they even care?

Dear God, but I do love this song.

Now playing at The Roadhouse, Sirius Ch. 62: "Two young soldiers from Fort Campbell, told me how they hate that war in Vietnam....sirens echo through an alley, and some woman said some fellow, stabbed a man..."

Man, but that's a lost classic if ever there was one, John Wesley Ryles' "Kay" from 1968. He recorded that song when he was still a teenager, believe it or not. As far as I know that was his only hit, but what a great, GREAT song. That was another one of those songs I first heard on the radio in College Station, and as far as I remember I had not heard it since I left that town.

I hope all of you got what you wanted for Christmas. All I asked for was a renewal of my Sirius subscription, and I got it. :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Eye-rolling amusement... David Broder's column in the Chron this morning...

Six decades after his death, one of FDR's Four Freedoms will, at long last, be guaranteed to almost all Americans. And the shame of this affluent society tolerating the denial of health care to its own citizens will be largely lifted.
But Lord, what a load of embarrassment accompanies this sense of satisfaction! What should have been a moment of proud accomplishment for the United States Senate, right up there with the passage of Social Security and the first civil rights bills, was instead a travesty of low-grade political theater — angry rhetoric and backroom deals.

I really don't understand why he would have expected it to be any other way. Did Broder actually think the Democrats were really going to be any less prone to craven deal-making than the Republicans were? What a stunning display of naivete on his part. At least now I know where Broder was coming from with his classification of health care as a "right," with his citation of Roosevelt's Four Freedoms. I am not sure if I'd ever read about this before, but it does look to be the very root of the decline of American liberalism. Freedom from want and freedom from fear?
Goodness. I shudder to think of how many laws and policies antithetical to liberty have been passed since FDR's time with the aims of expanding those last two "freedoms."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On gift giving.

How much of this could be avoided by better communication on the part of the woman and better paying of attention on the part of the man? And why don't the people who write this editorial every year ever talk about that?

You know those television ads where a ruggedly handsome guy springs a diamond ring on his gorgeous wife? And her face crumples with joy? Pure fantasy. Most males are hopelessly, appallingly, terrifyingly clueless when it comes to finding an acceptable gift. Just ask any woman.

Yawn. I guess I'm lucky that way, because I didn't have to guess what Sabra wanted. I knew what she liked, because, well...she told me. And I paid attention and kept all of it in mind when I went shopping for her gifts. And guess what? She loved everything I got for her. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A scene from Sabra's

Scene: The living room of Sabra's house, discussing Bobbie's homework with her, she says:

"Why can't I make up my own basic facts?"

As I burst out laughing, I say, "Oh, honey, she's gonna be a Democrat!"

Sabra: "I TOLD you she was gonna have a future in Congress!"

She had to have gotten that mentality from her daddy. In fairness, though, she's still young and impressionable yet, and a very bright and articulate child to boot. She gets THAT from her mama. We still have plenty of time to put her on the right path. And trust me -- we will be taking full advantage of that!

Oooh, I bet Lisa Falkenberg won't like this.

These comments to this story, that is:

To steal from anyone is absolutely deplorable, but to steal from people who are trying to make ends meet at this time of year is beyond sorry, it's a buckshot to somebody's backside.
I have a CHL and I'm a damn good aim from that distance. Go ahead...... I dare you.

As for me, though, I can't really say I have a problem with them. I know there are those who will say that using deadly force to protect property is extreme, but I don't agree with that. What I find myself agreeing with is the opinion that someone who would steal somebody's Christmas in broad daylight probably wouldn't have any compunction about escalating his (or her) crimes to the next level. And even in the cases of the ones who keep their crimes to theft, it doesn't really matter, because they're stealing from hard-working, law-abiding people and they deserve anything that comes to them because of that. If some of said law-abiding people deem that theft worthy of high-velocity lead injection, well, as far as I'm concerned that's just the hazard the criminals face. Sonsofbitches should have gotten their own Christmas presents.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I have a hard time disagreeing with this...

...or, I know this is a couple of days late, but this item in the San Antonio Express-News caught my eye:

About 50 supporters of Republican Debra Medina's unlikely run for the Texas governorship showed up Saturday at Silo's restaurant on Austin Highway to cheer her on.
Medina may be a “David against two Goliaths,” as she put it, competing against Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, but she claims to have the stuff that voters will go for.

“I'm the only one in this race who is really fighting for Texans,” she said. “The other two are fighting for their political careers, for more feathers in their caps, rather than the average Texan.”

Based on what I've seen of this race so far, with KBH and Rick Perry slinging mud at each other constantly, I really can't disagree with that. What really caught my attention was this quote:
“I love private-property ownership and gun ownership,” she said. “Those things are bundled together in my mind and are essentially elements of freedom."

Sounds like my kind of candidate, from this and other things I've heard about her. Pro-gun minarchist, advocate for private property rights, she sounds almost like Texas' very own Sarah Palin. Small-government libertarian-leaning conservatives might actually have someone to vote for instead of against. Wonder how she feels about gay marriage and casino gambling...

Back in Southeast Texas...

...familiar territory, but it doesn't really feel so much like home anymore...Lord, but I miss that woman. She's coming HERE in a week, though! Which provides me with a sizable amount of consolation...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just an update...

I am not dead. In fact, I am far from it. I am in San Antonio with Sabra for the week. Back soon... ;-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

More irony for your Monday morning...

...vis-a-vis Houston mayor-elect Annise Parker (emphasis mine -- ed.):

Her sexual orientation did not become an issue in the mayor's race until after the Nov. 3 election produced no clear winner. Two anti-gay activists mailed fliers calling attention to her support from gay groups and to her relationship with her partner of 19 years, Kathy Hubbard. In addition, a group of black pastors spoke out against Parker for her so-called “gay agenda.
Black pastors persecuting her? Wow. It reminds me of the results of the vote for Proposition 8 in California last November, which was to ban gay marriage in that state. As I recall, the black vote for Prop 8 was very high. I remember thinking then, as I think here, that it's really sad that a group that has been the victim of so much bigotry would exhibit it toward another group. No doubt the pastors would say that Parker chose to be lesbian, but I find that argument to be absurd in the extreme. Honestly, with anti-gay sentiments as widespread as they still are, why would anyone make the conscious choice to be such a social outcast? (Remember this conversation, Sabra?) Annise Parker didn't choose to be gay any more than those pastors chose to be black. And when one looks at it that way, the pastors' carping about Parker's "so-called'gay agenda'" look REALLY bigoted.

As for Parker's almost two-decade-long relationship with her partner -- we all know there are all too many heterosexual marriages that don't even last that long. If those black pastors pulled their heads out of their asses they might even see that Parker and her partner might have something to teach them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

To the irony...

...of blacks supporting gun control, you can add the irony of the fans of a football team in a predominantly black city having a chant which is believed to have its roots in minstrel shows making fun of black people. No doubt every Klan member who hears that chant smiles a snaggle-tooth grin as big as Lake Ponchartrain every time he hears it, too.

Sure looks like a good takedown... me:

A 14-year-old boy has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of his mother's boyfriend on Saturday morning, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
The teen's mother and her boyfriend, Juan Contreras, 33, argued at a party, authorities said. Contreras allegedly assaulted and threatened the woman before heading to their far east Houston apartment in the 13900 block of Alderson to collect his belongings.

Now, I'll admit the as-yet-undetermined facts of this case might show the boy's actions weren't justified; as this reads now, though, I can't help but agree with one of the commenters: "Taken into custody...? He should be given the keys to the city. Any low life who threatens and beats a woman deserves a knife in the gut."

I would substitute "a magazine full of .45ACP hollow-points" in place of "a knife in the gut," but hey, the kid did the best he could with what he had to work with. At any rate, his mother's gonna have one hell of a cautionary tale to tell future boyfriends: "It's in your best interests not to hit me. My son killed the last man who did that."

And another one bites the dust...

Another lefty meme, that is:

Annise Danette Parker was elected mayor of Houston on Saturday, winning her seventh consecutive city election and becoming both the first contender in a generation to defeat the hand-picked candidate of Houston's business establishment and the first openly gay person to lead a major U.S. city.

Which meme is that? You know, the one that says Texans and Southerners are bigoted hicks who'd string homosexuals up if they could get away with it. That was a particularly ugly race, too. I am glad to see that Houston voters weren't swayed by the efforts to paint the race as a referendum on gay rights. At least I would hope they voted for Parker on her merits and not just because of her sexual orientation. Harris County may be a bit more liberal than the rest of the state, as Obama did win the county in the '08 presidential election. I think this is still noteworthy despite that, though, especially considering these are the same folks who put Chuck Rosenthal and John B. Holmes in the county DA's chair.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Whatever helps you sleep at night, Dennis.

I read this from Dennis Henigan (of the Organization Formerly Known As Handgun Control) and got a chuckle out of it:

Generally speaking, Congressional offices hear more frequently from “gun rights” partisans than from constituents who support stronger gun laws. This, of course, says nothing about public support for gun control. For example, over 80% of Americans support legislation to close the “gun show loophole” by extending Brady background checks to private sales at gun shows. But it is a level of support not generally reflected in constituent communications to Members of Congress.

In other words, the American public overwhelmingly support more gun control but they're not motivated enough to call their Congresscritters to demand it, getting themselves drowned out and their wishes denied by the noisy minority of the eeeevil gun lobby. Does that make any sense whatsoever? Yeah, to me either. I'd think that if the support for making all transfers undergo background checks was that high, Congress would be hearing from the people. I'd guess those polls were rigged to support HCI's goals. That's honestly the only thing that I could think of that would explain such a poll.

As for the bad reviews of Henigan's book, well, a perusal of said reviews shows quite a few of them to be well-written, and with actual cites to back up what they say. The way he (and some on our side, regrettably) talks one would think the reviews were full of "OMG Henigan is teh suxxorz!!!!1111one!!!"-type writing from people who hadn't read the book, but a surprising number of them are actually very well written, i.e., "Henigan is wrong and here is why." Of course that doesn't surprise me. We are the ones on whose side the facts and logic lie.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Taking the old saying a tad too literally...

As I was at the dentist yesterday waiting to have two wisdom teeth yanked, I had the TV on WGN watching the tail end of "Nash Bridges," followed by the midday news. One of the items on the newscast concerned the police in a certain Chicago suburb (whose name escapes me at the moment) handing out whistles for people to blow when they were being mugged, robbed or what-have-you. I know people talk about "blowing the whistle" on crime, but it seems to me that is taking that saying entirely too literally. One wonders how many people in that benighted area would come to their fellow subjects' assistance as they heard that whistle blow as opposed to waiting on somebody with a badge and a gun. I'd bet most of them would not. Even if the powers that be in Illinois do not actively try to "discourage people from self-help" as certain folks do in Massachusetts, you know the let-someone-else-do-it mindset is only helped along by Illinois politicians' resolute denial of Illinoisans' right of self-defense.

And a, well, not-so-random observation: It didn't hurt so badly when those teeth were pulled. The dentist numbed me up right-good, I tell you what. Once that anesthetic wore off, though, I was in pain like nothing I had known before in my entire life. Seriously. I just wanted to curl up in a ball on the floor and whine. Vicodin and ice on my jaw cleared that riiiight up, though...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Making saints of devils?

It certainly seems people are prone to do that, especially when the devils shuffle off this mortal coil.

I can definitely understand BR's daughter getting pissed off about what was being said about him before it was deleted. I can also understand her thinking he was a good person. But I can't agree with that, or with a commenter there saying he "led a good life...despite his imperfections." Those imperfections being, of course, that he was an elitist, vitriolic asshole who tried to divide the gun owner community even more than it already is, when it needs now more than ever to present a united front against those who would take all of the guns. The fact that a certain organization which advocates the government having a monopoly on force called him a "profile in courage" (linked at SIH) ultimately tells me all I need to know about just how "good" of a person he was. It sucks for his family that he's dead, and I'm sorry for their loss, but that's about all the sympathy I can muster.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Civilization suspended?

Oh, man. Leonard Pitts returns to form in a spectacular fashion this morning, with so much hand-wringing that I barely even know what to tackle. There was one thing in this column that jumped out at me more than anything, though:

Can-do fell apart, civilization fell apart, New Orleans drowning and its trapped people turning feral and mean while those whose job it was to rescue them bungled, bickered, pointed fingers and otherwise acquitted themselves with all the smooth efficiency of the Keystone Kops.

"Those whose job it was to rescue them." I wonder if it ever occurred to Pitts how illuminating of a commentary such a statement is on how far we have fallen -- that the federal government was expected to shoulder the responsibility of getting those people out of New Orleans, as opposed to the local and state governments, or -- horror of horrors! -- the people themselves to get out of harm's way via assistance from their friends and family. Why was it that we saw the horrors of Katrina as an example of government dropping the ball, as opposed to seeing it as the result of multi-generational dependence on government on all levels (hence, perhaps, family members being unable to help the downtrodden get out) to do things the Founding Fathers never intended government to do? Things like that only make it that much easier for civilization to fall apart; yet Pitts has yet to address that phenomenon. I wonder why that is?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Hey, another rocker who shares my sentiments...

...on country music:

We all love country music - real country music, not this awful, awful, awful mockery they put out today. They should be ashamed...
(Benmont Tench, a co-founder of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.)

I've said all this before, but I think it bears repeating. It's one thing when you have the classic and Texas-red dirt country singers denigrating Nashville country, but it's quite another when you have the stars of other genres doing it. I recall Tom Petty himself saying a few years back that all this new country sucked eggs too. In a way you could say that the other genres' stars saying this actually boosts the credibility of what the folks in the country genre are saying, because those other singers don't have a vested interest in the popularity of real country music. One could say they come to it with a more unbiased eye.

Of course, the argument goes in an entirely different direction here, with this quote from Kellie Pickler:
I like the tears and the realness in the voices, and it's not overproduced — no smoke and mirrors..."Willie's Place" on XM Satellite Radio is all I listen to.

I must admit I was really surprised by that, as what they play on Willie's Place is just so radically different from the type of music that Kellie Pickler records. Granted, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that the record labels would try to steer her in such a different direction -- but the fact that she doesn't listen to the type of music the record labels want her to record, is not a good commentary on that type of music. I wonder if Taylor Swift's ears were burning when Ms. Pickler said that?

(h/t Country California)

Who are the real racists...

Amid all the headlines generated by Tiger Woods' troubles — the puzzling car accident, the suggestions of marital turmoil and multiple mistresses — little attention has been given to the race of the women linked with the world's greatest golfer.
Except in the black community.
The darts reflect blacks' resistance to interracial romance. They also are a reflection of discomfort with a man who has smashed barriers in one of the whitest of all sports and assumed the mantle of world's most famous athlete, once worn by Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.
On the one hand, Ebonie Johnson Cooper doesn't care that Woods' wife and alleged mistresses are white because he is “quote-unquote not really black.”
The color of one's companion has long been a major measure of “blackness” — one major reason why the biracial Barack Obama was able to fend off early questions about his black authenticity.
“Had Barack had a white wife, I would have thought twice about voting for him,” Johnson Cooper said.

Wow. Not really black? If Obama had a white wife that person would have thought twice about voting for him? And all this time the media have been trying to tell us that it's the white people who are the racists, while here it's put on display for all to see that the black people have their own attitudes and tests on racial purity that would have everyone up in arms were it white people doing it. Tell me how this is any different from the attitudes of the KKK, Aryan Nations, Stormfront, et al?


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Palin Reactions

If Sarah Palin can draw this kind of crowd to a book signing, imagine what kind of crowd she could draw to the voting booth in 2012. I will never understand the feelings of those who say she is a liability to the Republican Party with these reactions. It seems there weren't any protesters to speak of -- if there were, I'd think the story would have mentioned them. I know it's just one book signing, but even so, I tend to think the mewling of the GOP elite is, well, just that.

Friday, December 04, 2009

On the Southeast Texas weather...

...I think one of my college buddies said it best on Facebook this morning:

"I was just watching the Weather Channel and Jim Cantore is in Houston, which means everyone should evacuate."


If a certain gift works for someone...

...for the better, in ways that are not advertised, who gives a flying rat's ass if others might think it's tacky? I might look odd with two cell phone cases hanging off my jeans -- one for my phone and one for my iPod -- but I would damn sure rather have those cases than risk leaving my cell phone or iPod in my pocket and running it through the washing machine. I have lost an iPod that way; I am sure others have as well, and I'd bet more than a few have lost cell phones that way too.

...and justice for all?

Not quite...

...(Martin Luther) King's vision included more than justice for black folk. His vision included all God's children, red and yellow, black and white.
King's vision and struggles are important to remember as serious conversations about immigration reform are again beginning to brew, as indicated by the remarks last month of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at the Center for American Progress.

I think it's rather disingenuous for The Rev. Clemons to be comparing MLK's vision to that of those who advocate certain methods of untying the immigration Gordian knot. It has always struck me that groups such as LULAC, La Raza and (to a much greater extent) MEChA, as opposed to seeking justice for "all God's children," only seek it for their preferred race. And so it continues to this very day. I thought it was particularly self-righteous of him to admonish us all to "(l)isten not to false prophets who wrap their politics around the fear of the immigrant" as he continued to build his premise on the shifting sands of the argument that the advocacy groups share King's goals of justice for all. It's not the immigrant many of us fear; it's the balkanization of American society and culture that is encouraged by these advocacy groups. Sooner or later that is going to have to be confronted and dealt with. And touchy-feely rhetoric from disingenuous clergymen isn't going to be nearly enough to do it.

Quote of the Day...

Ryan Streeter, former Bush White House domestic policy adviser and and current senior fellow at the Legatum Institute, a London independent policy think tank:

California, as everyone knows, has a coolness factor that Texas cannot match...But unless one has been living in a cave, everyone knows the cool state is also the broke state.

Yep. And everyone who's paying attention knows that California's coolness quotient seems to be declining all the time, for as many know, people are fleeing the state in droves, to the point that you're looking at paying at least twice as much for a U-Haul truck to move from California to Texas as you would be paying for a move from Texas to California.

Yes, really. According to the U-Haul website, to rent a 26-ft. truck from Houston to L.A. will cost you $555 if you pick it up a week from today, whereas under those same parameters, an L.A. to Houston rental will run you $2050. Granted, a commenter to this post says it's a bit more complicated than that; but while that may be true, it still deserves to be pointed out that Texas' major metropolitan areas are growing in population while California's are shrinking.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Now, I will acknowledge I might be misinterpreting this...

As an alumnus of St. Thomas University and having been reared in a Catholic family, I would like to respond to your article in Sunday's Chronicle regarding Cardinal Daniel DiNardo's opposition to abortion (“DiNardo not going to ease up criticism of health bill issue; Cardinal says church has a duty to voice its views against abortion,” Page A1).
I regard the church's stand as extremely hypocritical and insensitive to women who risk their health bearing the burden of having more children than they can afford. This issue should be decided within the family without coercion from any church.

...but it seems to me that the author of the above passage is saying the Catholics should be fine with using abortion as birth control, and for the life of me I can't get my head wrapped around such "reasoning." As for not having children than one can afford, well, what happened to using some sort of, um, more conventional contraceptive? I would think that was far preferable to abortion, and cheaper to boot. As for this...
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Pope Benedict don't seem to understand the difference between lobbying and blackmail. When you threaten a member of Congress with withholding of church rites if they don't vote a certain way, that's blackmail, not lobbying.

Huh, and all this time I thought the Catholics were just asking the politician members of their church to adhere to one of their most fundamental beliefs. Hey, wait a minute, I still do think that....

Everybody knows this is the fault...

...of American gun shows...

Mexico cartels buying officials with campaign cash

Yep, and everyone knows what would remedy that, right? An "assault weapons ban" in the United States...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

You can't have one without the other...

...or, Cry me a river, Chet Flippo...

"Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," Trace Adkins (2005) -- I know Jamey Johnson was a co-writer, but I don't hold it against him. I respect Trace as an artist, and I don't hold it against him, either. It's a tough business climate in country music these days. But "Badonkadonk" and especially its accompanying video represent the absolute bottom for country music. And this opened the floodgates for even more vulgar songs and trashy videos and even gave skin a bad name. Everyone involved is capable of much better.
I'll admit he's absolutely right here. The thing about it is, though, is that this sort of thing is what's going to happen when you introduce those pop influences in country music in an effort to get the younger audience. You're not going to get one without the other, because they're both part of an effort to gain new audiences for the music. Just like the music itself evolves, so does the marketing for it. This isn't going on in a laboratory in which one can keep undesirable elements out. And if Chet Flippo is going to defend country music going pop, which of course he has done in the past, then he doesn't have any business whatsoever bitching about it taking on the characteristics of pop music or it being marketed like pop music. Different audiences call for different marketing schemes. If I can see that, then why can't he? Is it really more complicated than that?

(h/t Country California)

If they don't condemn him for this...

...then they nigh well should...

Regarding “4 officers shot dead in ambush” (Page A1, Monday), since Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted the suspect's sentence, I assume the Republican Party will now condemn Huckabee with the same fervor as it did Gov. Michael Dukakis, who afforded a convicted murderer a long weekend.
I am sure the guy who wrote that was an Obama voter, but even so he does have a point. It'll be quite interesting to see if Huckabee comes back for another round in '12...

UPDATE: Quote of the day, from a commenter at Hot Air, in response to a Huckabee quote from this Politico story:
“It is disgusting, but people use anything as a political weapon.”…Mike Huckabee

You mean, like referring to your opponent’s (Romney) religion (Mormonism) as being in league with Satan in the midst of a campaign? YOU MEAN DISGUSTING LIKE THAT YOU SANCTIMONIOUS PILE OF DEMAGOGUERY?
Ooooh, burn!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Interesting contrast here...

...that I just HAD to blog about...

Now playing at Hair Nation, Sirius Ch. 23: Queensryche, "Jet City Woman," which of course has the line: "Fortunes are lost on the women I've seen, but without you, I can't're the air to me..."
As I was listening to it, I saw today's Quigmans. I thought that was pretty funny. But maybe that's just me...

I'm just not seeing anything suicidal here...

....or, Maybe Kathleen Parker has a different definition of "suicide pact" than I do:

Just when independents and moderates were considering revisiting the GOP tent. Just when a near-perfect storm of unpopular Democratic ideas — from massive health care reform to terrorist show trials, not to mention global warming hype — is coagulating over 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Just when the GOP was gaining traction following gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey … Republicans perform a rain dance at their own garden party.
Things were just going too well.
Thus, some conservative members of the party have come up with a list of principles they want future candidates to agree to or forfeit backing by the Republican National Committee.
The so-called purity test is a 10-point checklist — a suicide pact, really — of alleged Republican positions. Anyone hoping to play on Team GOP would have to sign off on eight of the 10 — through their voting records, public statements or a questionnaire.

Okay then. Let us, for just a moment, look through this checklist (PDF ALERT) and its essentials:

1. Support of smaller government, lower debt and lower taxes.
2. Support of market-based health reform as opposed to government-based health reform and government-run health care.
3. Support of market-based energy reform and opposing cap-and-trade;
4. Support of workers' right to secret ballot.
5. Support of legal immigration and assimilation and opposition to amnesty.
6. Support of troop surges in the Middle East.
7. Support of containment of Iran and North Korea vis-a-vis their nuke threats.
8. Supporting retention of the Defense of Marriage Act.
9. Opposing government funding of abortion and rationing and denial of health care.
10. Supporting the right to keep and bear arms by opposing further restrictions on gun ownership.

Now, granted, this list does have its flaws, in particular No. 8. As a libertarian who thinks the government has no business telling people whom they can and cannot marry, I find the DOMA to be a tremendous affront to personal liberty in this country, even being quite heterosexual as I am.

However, I see absolutely nothing wrong with any of the other nine items in this list whatsoever. After all, for example, if you support higher taxes, more gun control and amnesty for illegals, for all practical intents and purposes, you're...a Democrat. The only problem I might see in some of them is their phrasing, i.e., "support this by opposing this." To that extent I might agree with Kathleen Parker that taking positions on certain issues might "require more than a Sharpie check in a little square." On the other hand, I think it's safe to say this list takes all those so-called "nuances" and distills them down to their bare essentials. And I don't really see anything wrong with that either.

I am not surprised that Parker just preferred to take the list at face value and proclaim it to be some sort of Manichean litmus test, as that's the only spin on it that gives her "argument," if you want to call it that, any credibility whatsoever. It is, however, ironic that she would contend that "the problem is that many conservatives have lost faith in the ability of Republican leaders to think" considering how she leveled every other accusation in that piece off the cuff, evidently with no other reasons to back them up than "because I said so and my status as an elite media pundit matters." Such a method of argument, of course, requires absolutely zero thinking.

Just some random observations...

...prompted by this story:

The brazen escape early Monday of a pistol-wielding rapist — a career criminal with a penchant for abducting and assaulting girls as young as 7 — had prosecutors and police scrambling to notify past victims while state lawmakers, once again, demanded a crackdown on prison contraband.

There are those who want to make it harder for average citizens to get a gun, all the while saying, "you don't need guns, because the police will protect you." Well, what happens when this guy takes down someone who's not in blue? Why should ordinary citizens be left to wait on the police to save them from monsters like this when, as the courts have ruled, the police don't have any responsibility to the individual citizen, just to the public at large?

I should note I would never argue that the police DO have a responsibility to protect the individual citizen. After all, that would leave the door open to huge liability when the individual citizen has harm visited upon him or her. And there are only so many people out there who are willing to put on the badge and gun. However, even if there were enough people to assign a cop as a personal bodyguard to everyone, it still wouldn't be feasible, because, well, those cops have to feed, clothe and house themselves and their families too. And the money for that has to come from somewhere.

So it only follows that at some point, individual citizens are necessarily going to have to take responsibility for their own protection at some point -- and this responsibility is not going to end when they step out the doors of their homes. Which puts Doug Pennington's mewling about being forced to live with concealed weapons in a whole new and quite unflattering light. I guess he and his kind would prefer that my Sabra and her beautiful little girls be at the mercy of monsters like that. One more wonder why I think gun-grabbers are by and large evil, despicable people who deserve whatever harm criminals might wish to inflict upon them? There's your answer.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The amazing world of self-medication...

...or, Hey, did you know alcohol has other uses besides getting you drunk? That's right!

I have been in what seems like constant pain this weekend, with what I think is an impacted wisdom tooth. Started around last Wednesday and seems to have gotten progressively worse. I will be making an appointment with a dentist posthaste, but in the meantime, my dear, sweet Sabra suggested the fifth of vodka I have on hand could help with the tooth in general, with alcohol being the disinfectant that it is. So, I went a-Googling, and found this: 21 Amazing Alternate Uses for Vodka.

Several of them have supposedly been disproved, but I'm here to tell you that No. 20 -- swishing a shot of vodka over an aching tooth and allowing your gums to absorb the alcohol to numb the pain -- works pretty damn good. It works even when the pain awakens you from a deep sleep at 0245 hours, as happened to me today. Swished the vodka around and let it soak, then back to bed I went till 0735 or so. So not only does the alcohol keep it clean, but it works as an anesthetic of sorts. Had it not been for Sabra I might never have been alerted to that. One more reason I love that woman...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

More bloggy for you soon...

...but right now I am spending time with my baby. More posting to come soon. ;-)

Friday, November 27, 2009

For once, I agree with Clarence Page...

...but perhaps not for the reasons he thinks.

Americans might need to have a candid conversation on race -- but honestly, if we're going to talk about race vis-a-vis anything, we need to talk about why it is so many folks on the left are so damn eager to throw out the "RACIST!" accusation every time some person or group comes out opposing various presidential initiatives, such as government health care, or cap-and-trade. I particularly loved (well, okay, maybe not) the way Page spun this:

In some cases, the nuances as to what's racist or what isn't draw distinctions without much of a significant difference. Take, for example, the anti-Obama billboard that auto dealer Phil Wolf erected recently in Wheat Ridge, Colo. In big letters it says, “BIRTH CERTIFICATE” and “PROVE IT,” a reference to the goofy movement that questions Obama's natural-born citizenship despite overwhelming evidence. It also features two cartoonish images of Obama wearing a turban and reads, “President or Jihad?” and “Wake Up America! Remember Ft. Hood.”
In interviews, Wolf has said he's convinced Obama is a secret Muslim, a view that Pew Research Center polls have shown about 11 percent of the population shares. Would they feel that way about a white president with Obama's background? Frankly, it's not hard to imagine, considering the paranoid streak in American politics that has nurtured worse myths than that about previous presidents.
Maybe that's what my friend and MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews was thinking when he blurted out during coverage of the 1,500 people waiting for Palin in a Grand Rapids, Mich., bookstore that “They look like a white crowd to me” and “not that there's anything wrong with it, but it is pretty monochromatic up there” and “I think there is a tribal aspect to this thing, in other words, white vs. other people.”
Conservative bloggers took umbrage at that, for all the understandable reasons of racial ambiguity that I listed above. You're not a racist just because everybody around you happens to be of the same race as you. Yet, as political demographics take shape, there is a tribal aspect to politics. Birds of a feather flock together, social scientists tell us, and so do people.

Well, no. I would put money on the proposition that conservative (and libertarian) bloggers (and non-bloggers too!) took umbrage at that because it was a filthy slander from an Obama-fellating pansy who has nothing of substance to say in response to why there's, well, ANY opposition at all to his Dear Leader. And if we're going to talk about all the white folks banding together, then we need to take a good, long, hard look at the black, brown, and yellow folks doing it too. Really, though, we need to break away from Black vs. White, and move on to Pink vs. Grey, as the peerless Bill Whittle put it once upon a time. If you haven't read that linked BW essay, I very, very highly recommend you do so, but I particularly loved this line:

"Let’s not talk about Black and White tribes… I know more pathetic, hateful, racists and more decent, capable and kind people of both colors for that to make any sense at all. Do you not? Do you not know corrupt, ignorant, violent people, both black and white, to cure you of this elementary idiocy? Have you not met and talked and laughed with people who were funny, decent, upright, honest and honorable of every shade so that the very idea of racial politics should just seem like a desperate and divisive and just plain evil tactic to hold power?"

Why yes, Bill. I know good and bad people of all colors. And yes, the very idea of racial politics IS evil. Those who engage in it are going to have much to answer for, I believe.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A bit of a rant...

....inspired by my baby's troubles with Windows Vista and downloading Service Pack 2 this morning...
You would think Microsoft would have their shit straight by now in relation to updates. You would, however, be wrong. She was downloading SP2 this morning and ran into a corrupt program file, and everything just STOPPED. I did a bit of searching for her and found out that this would require re-installation of Vista. She knew what I was probably thinking, so she went ahead and said it: "This is why you own a Mac, I know." And indeed it is. I know Vista has been huge amounts of trouble for a lot of people, and I have a pretty good idea as to why...but one would think after, what, six versions (?) of their operating system, they'd have it to the point where updating the system wouldn't grind the machine to a halt. Yet one more reason it's gonna be nothin' but Mac or Linux, or some other alternate OS, for me from now on if I can help it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ahhh, more great late-'90s George... Prime Country, Sirius Ch. 61: "I caught you lookin' at me when I looked at you, yes I did, ain't that won't get embarrassed by the things I do, I just want to dance with you..."
The lead-off single from Strait's 1998 album One Step At A Time, "I Just Want To Dance With You" spent three weeks at No. 1 in the summer of 1998. Songs like this were about as close to bubble-gum as George ever got. I've heard some people claim people like me have a double standard for not minding songs like this, but I don't so much mind them if they sound halfway country, and this song had a great fiddle-and-steel arrangement that didn't sound like it was tacked on, as many songs from the more contemporary acts do.

The reviews of One Step At A Time in general weren't quite as positive as the ones for the two sets that preceded it, Blue Clear Sky and Carrying Your Love With Me, but in spite of that I for one thought the cd was arguably the best of those three, It had some of the best single songs of George's career, among them the title track, "Remember the Alamo" and "Maria."

I always thought it was pretty nifty that the album had a song with the title "Remember the Alamo," considering it was released on April 21 -- San Jacinto Day here in Texas, the day that the Texians won their independence from Mexico, with the Texian soldiers' battle cry being "Remember the Alamo!" The gut-string-soaked ballad "Maria," was, in a way, my introduction to the Texas music scene, as it was penned and originally recorded by Robert Earl Keen; I bought the Keen cd with the original version of that song (West Textures) a few months later, and really liked it. I really should pull those cds out and put 'em on the iPod...

Monday, November 23, 2009

I don't get it.

I don't fully understand why certain people are making such a big deal out of the Rhode Island Roman Catholic bishop's decision to ask Patrick Kennedy to stop receiving Communion due to his pro-abortion stance. It seems rather cut-and-dried to me. I know some will say that the Catholic Church is being judgmental here and it's unbecoming of them to do that, but the bishop isn't asking Kennedy to stop taking Communion based on anything he has done. He's asking Kennedy to stop taking it based on what he believes, which to me is clearly a fundamental difference and makes Mario Cuomo's complaint about faith guiding one's authority little more than a half-assed attempt at rationalizing whatever beliefs one wants to hold. But that's just what I think...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

As usual, some juicy tidbits are to be found... the letters to the editor in this morning's Chron:

Palin once stayed with her daughter at a luxury hotel for five days, which brought her grand total for travel (including air fare) to more than $3,000! It is clear that Palin is not ready for the White House after all. She is going to have to learn how to squander taxpayer money in a much bigger way if she aspires to the pinnacle of politics. When our president jets off to New York for a few hours to go on a date with the first lady for a price tag of several hundred thousand dollars on the taxpayers' tab, that is presented as presidential good taste that Americans should appreciate.

Yep. Who says American news media don't have one set of standards for Democratic politicians and another for Republican?
I am reminded, though, of something I heard not long ago, in regards to Palin's book; a Palin fan was dissatisfied with Palin's not calling the McCain people out earlier, saying that "evidently she did not have the spirit to rock the boat" then. While I can understand that opinion somewhat, I don't necessarily think it was bad that she stayed silent then. I am absolutely certain that had she rocked the boat back then it would have been a lot worse for the Republicans, because the Democrats and their PR firms (aka the American news media) would have taken full advantage of that. It might have been a bit late, but I think it was better she call those apparatchiks out a bit late than not at all. And I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Despite the relatively close margin by which McCain lost last November, he was still arguably the second-worst candidate (after NYC mayor Rudolph Giuliani) that the Republicans could have chosen to be their standard bearer and had he picked almost anyone other than Sarah Palin to be his running mate, Obama's margin of victory would have been much larger than it was. Palin deserved so much better, and so did the rest of us.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Real Americans? Real funny.

I actually saw this column in the dead-tree edition of yesterday's Houston Chronicle, sitting in Beason's Park on the Colorado River just outside of Columbus with Sabra yesterday, and I will tell you the same thing I told her. Where the hell does E.J. Dionne get off talking about what Real Americans do and do not understand? He talks as if he has the slightest clue of what anyone outside the District of Columbia boundaries actually thinks, when the truth of the matter is that he proves himself to be just another insulated lefty journalism elitist every time he sits down at his keyboard. It'd be interesting to see how Dionne defines "Real American," too. Judging from the column, I'd bet he probably defines it as "one who voted for Obama for his promise to do his best to nationalize one-seventh of the American economy," or however much of it health care is. Going by that definition, I'd wager that less than half of the electorate comprises Real Americans. Who says modern liberals don't know how to demonize the opposition?

On a different note in the column, I got a huge kick out of this line:

Defenders of the Senate always say the Founders envisioned it as a deliberative body that would cool the passions of the House. But Sessions unintentionally blew the whistle on how what's happening now has nothing to do with the Founders' design.

And I bet you money that Dionne hasn't a clue as to why things go down so often like that in the Senate. A "deliberative body that would cool the passions of the House" is EXACTLY how the Founders envisioned the Senate, and that is exactly why they were initially not subject to popular vote. The Constitution as written specified that Senators, as representatives of the states, were to be elected by the state legislatures; it was only with the passage of the 17th Amendment in the early part of last century that they started being elected by the people, as the members of the House of Representatives are. So with that, the Senate became nothing more than a smaller version of the House, and the states as entities don't have any representatives in Washington anymore. And I would also bet you that Dionne, being the lefty that he is, thinks this is a GOOD thing, because hey, the people know best, even the ones that, as Tam so pithily put it, think "legislation proclaiming the theme song from Friends as the national anthem or Britney Spears being voted Dictator-for-Life" is a good idea. And you'll note, of course, that the health care bill recently passed by the thinnest of margins. Did Dionne really not think that would be at least one indicator of just how contentious the bill would be in the Senate? Or that the popular-vote-elected Senators would take advantage of the rules not repealed by the 17th Amendment? Once again, E.J. Dionne is being his typical naive and/or disingenuous self.

I also got a kick out of this howler earlier in the piece:
Republicans know one other thing: Practically nobody is noticing their delay-to-kill strategy. Who wants to discuss legislative procedure when there's so much fun and profit in psychoanalyzing Sarah Palin?
Not to retort to third-grade-recess-level discourse, Scooter, but YOU and YOUR people started THAT shit. It's a bit late to be bitching about it now, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So male culture is now to blame...

....for gang rape, apparently...

The ingredients for tragedy all were present, experts say. A bunch of men. A vulnerable young woman. Alcohol.
What happened next, authorities say, degenerated into a two-hour-long gang rape by as many as 10 males. Another 20 people allegedly watched as the victim was assaulted, beaten bloody and robbed of her jewelry but they did not stop it or call police.
"Everybody was asking why did this happen?" said Peggy Reeves Sanday, a University of Pennsylvania anthropologist who has written extensively about gang rape. "It's very clear if you look at the male culture and the bonding culture of young males and the adventure and bravado of a social situation."

Wow, who knew such naked bigotry disguised as legitimate scientific observation would make it into a newspaper story like this one? Honestly. Can you imagine the outcry if Ms. Sanday had said something such as, "It's very clear if you look at the black culture and the bonding culture of young blacks"? I know well that anecdote is not the plural of data, but my buddies and I never did anything like this when we were plied with alcohol. And I very seriously doubt we are the exception here.

This sort of thing reminds me of a discussion I had with my darling Sabra not long ago. If I remember correctly, I had suggested she study anthropology; she recoiled at the suggestion, saying that the field was permeated with moral relativism, as part of being a scientist was being able to make observations free of any kind of judgment or personal bias. Sounds good in theory, but in the practice of anthropology, this sort of thing means you can't call out things like this as the barbaric practices they are. After she pointed that out to me, I saw exactly where she was coming from. And the flip side of that is what we see here, that is, that you can get away with smearing entire races and even genders if you do it under the guise of scientific observation. It'll be interesting to see who else picks up on what this particular anthropologist said.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A new favorite for me, from Waylon Jennings... The Roadhouse, Sirius Ch. 62: "Someone called us outlaws, in some old magazine...and New York sent a posse down like I ain't never seen..."
A hit record for Waylon in 1978, "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand" was based on a true story, the one of his getting busted for possession of cocaine. I had not heard this song that much before I got Sirius, but it's gotten to be one of my favorites. As bad as I hate to admit it, I really got familiar with the song due to James Hetfield's recording it on the 2003 Waylon tribute I've Always Been Crazy, and while the Waylon original is different, it remains the best.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dear Abby drops the ball...

...once again:

My wife of 25 years, in an effort to get me to stop smoking, refuses to have sex until I quit. It's been more than a year since we made love.
I love my wife with all my heart, and I always will. I plan to stop smoking, but not this way. She will not give in (or give out). I don't want to think of sex as her weapon, but it is. Any advice on how to cope with my unwinnable battle?
DESPERATE in Arlington
Dear Desperate:
Yes. You mentioned you plan to quit smoking, so why not start now? Read on:
Dear Abby:
On Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009, the American Cancer Society is celebrating the 34th Great American Smokeout...

Now, this whole Great American Smokeout is a great thing, but is it wrong here that I see the issue as one of the woman's use of sex as leverage as much as it is the man's not quitting the cigarettes? Haven't made love for more than a year? I really don't know what to say to that. I maybe hopelessly naive here, but I thought using sex for such purposes was supposed to be verboten. I am not a relationship expert; all I know is that I think that woman's doing her husband wrong even if it is for a good cause, and I'd think that if the roles were reversed, too. Thoughts?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This ran in a TEXAS newspaper?

Yeah, it did...

Production of the AR-15 sporting rifles a big mistake
I’m a strong Second Amendment rights person. I stand against fire arms registration and government control and confiscation of our guns. But I strongly feel that the firearm manufacturers of our country are making a big mistake in producing the AR-15 sporting rifles.
These modern sporting rifles are inflammatory in looks — they don’t look like modern hunting rifles. They are military in looks. They look like they were produced to kill men, not deer.
...why endanger our Second Amendment rights by manufacturing and defending a modern hunting rifle that has such an inflammatory design? It plays right into the hands of the anti-gun movement. They love the looks of the AR-15. It’s easy to enrage the average American against such an “assault rifle.”

Let’s get wise. We have a difficult enough task defending our right to own firearms without this foolish battle.

Wow, where to start here? I think if you say things like "I support the Second Amendment, but..." my fellow gun owners and I are well within our rights to call you out as NOT supporting the right to keep and bear arms. Either you do or you don't, and if you support throwing any kind of gun to the anti-freedom wolves, for any reason whatsoever, you are not a supporter of the right to arms. I really do believe it's just that simple. Jim Darnell makes it even easier to call him out, as he even readily acknowledges the excellence of the platform for hunting, calling the rifles "light, compact and accurate." Yet he still advocates ceasing production of the rifles on the flimsy grounds that "it's easy to enrage the average American."

So I guess he thinks it's not even worth trying to educate this archetypal "average American." Of course that's ASSUMING what he says is true. And I'd be willing to bet that isn't the case, because of the very facts he uses in his column -- namely that it's a very popular rifle and that it's produced by several different manufacturers in MANY different calibers, from the .223 Remington right on up to the .50BMG. With that large of a market for those rifles, after the expiration of the Clinton gun ban and especially after last year's elections -- and the lack of a groundswell of support for a semiautomatic rifle ban -- it's worth asking just how "enraged" Americans are about these weapons. Not enough to make that much of a difference, I think, if ANY.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wow, what a pathetic excuse for a man...

...Doug Pennington is:

[I]sn’t it ironic how some libertarians want government to stay out of their lives, yet have no problem with forcing other people to live with loaded, concealed weapons everywhere they turn? The grocery store; the park; the school; the airport. Apparently, we have the “freedom” to live with what these so-called libertarians tell us to live with. After all, they have the guns, right?

Actually, no. I see no irony in that whatsoever. Libertarians merely want others to respect their right of self-defense. Doug Pennington thinks said libertarians are going to pull out their guns and start shooting for whatever reason, I guess. I get the idea he's confusing libertarianism with nihilism, or one or more aspects of one belief system mixed up with the other belief system. Which makes him either a blithering idiot (spouting off about things about which he knows little to nothing) or appallingly disingenuous (intentionally confusing the two belief systems and/or aspects thereof in a cynical attempt to take advantage of his audience's ignorance vis-a-vis the different belief systems). At any rate, his rhetoric does not speak well of him. One wonders how he gets out of bed in the morning with such an overweening fear of his fellow human being.

He is right about one thing, though. We DO have all the guns. He and his anti-liberty ilk would do well to keep that in mind as they push for ever more restrictions on our liberties.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I don't know if it goes under the heading....

...of "Only in Texas," but this took balls of steel:

A Missouri City man was able to get the drop on a pair of armed robbers Wednesday, shooting one several times as the other fled, authorities said.
After he was forced upstairs, the man managed to grab a pistol and began shooting at the attackers, striking one several times, Bailey said.

Huh. Now, the antis always tell us guns are bad for self-defense because the goblins will get the jump on you with them, but here this guy was working on his car in his yard, forced in the house with a rifle, no less, and he manages to get a pistol under that stress and take down one of the would-be robbers. I'd guess it was the goblin with the gun, too. (So much for the argument, as well, that rifle always trumps pistol...) To paraphrase the inimitable JayG: Do NOT fuck with Texans. We WILL get a gun and shoot your stupid ass even if you DO get the jump on us.

Oh, and one final note: The resident shooter was 20 years old, one year younger than the legal age to own a pistol. Why is it that our state and federal governments deem him unworthy to own the very tool that likely saved his life?

UPDATE: Mike W. pointed out in comments that one can possess a pistol at 18, but one may only buy a pistol at 21. I knew this but did not think of it as I was writing earlier. He also points out something else:
This also illustrates why you should have a gun ready to go. If he had to abide by a "safe storage" law he'd never have been able to use the gun for self-defense.

Yep. God bless Texas, as it has not yet been sullied by such feel-good nonsense and with the grace of God never will.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To all the veterans, near and far...

...thank you all, for making the sacrifices you have made and are making for all of us. May we prove ourselves worthy of them.

Personally, I thought it was the government...

...that got us into this mess:

A new poll shows Southerners are fretting about job loss and the economy and don't think the federal government is doing enough to address either.
Nearly 72 percent said they favored new government programs to create jobs.

And no doubt economics and history teachers everywhere -- and especially from Texas to Virginia -- are crying. How are those federal programs going to be funded? You and I both know the answer to that: the funds will be taken from the people who actually fund job creation, that is, all the small businesspeople in this country. I honestly figured more people would know -- at least intuitively -- that said entrepreneurs would be better at creating jobs than faceless federal bureaucrats, considering it's, you know, those entrepreneurs who depend on said job creation to put roofs over their heads and feed their families. If this poll is any indication whatsoever, the dependence on government is a lot farther along than I thought it was. It's going to be interesting to see how many Republicans campaign for next year's elections on the promise of "creating more jobs" via yet more stimuli....

Acting presidential for once...

...that would be Barack Obama...

...For those families who have lost a loved one, no words can fill the void that's been left. We knew these men and women as soldiers and caregivers. You knew them as mothers and fathers; sons and daughters; sisters and brothers.
But here is what you must also know: Your loved ones endure through the life of our nation. Their memory will be honored in the places they lived and by the people they touched. Their life's work is our security, and the freedom that we all too often take for granted. Every evening that the sun sets on a tranquil town; every dawn that a flag is unfurled; every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- that is their legacy.

There's really nothing else I can say, but that he did their memories right. May they all rest in peace.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If I were a Virginia taxpayer...

...I would be quite ticked at this:

Unless Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine steps in, sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad will be executed Tuesday for the attacks that terrorized the nation's capital region for three weeks in 2002.
Death penalty opponents planned vigils across the state, and some were headed for Jarratt, about an hour south of Richmond, for the execution.
Beth Panilaitis, executive director of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said those who planned to protest understand the fear that gripped the community, and the nation, during the attacks.
"The greater metro area and the citizens of Virginia have been safe from this crime for seven years," Panilaitis said. "Incarceration has worked and life without the possibility of parole has and will continue to keep the people of Virginia safe."

Excuse me, but no. She may be right that the citizens of Virginia are safe now, but to insist that the hard-earned tax dollars of those citizens continue to be used to feed, clothe and house that murdering monster is just...words fail me. How about the opponents of the death penalty take care of that? Let their tax dollars go to the care and feeding of Muhammad and the others on death row, since they're the ones insisting on keeping him alive and let the rest of the people's money go toward more worthy endeavors? Sounds fair to me. They want this bastard to continue to draw air, so they should be the ones to pay for it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Closed for what, now?

Yeah, I read this right, apparently...

MARION, Ala. — The sign going on the front door at the Perry County courthouse reads: "Closed for the Obama Holiday."
The rural, mostly black county has proclaimed Monday as an official holiday celebrating the election of the nation's first black president, Barack Obama. It's one of Alabama's poorest counties, but it's sparing little during five days of festivities.
County Commissioner Brett Harrison, who cast the lone "no" vote when the commission voted 4-1 to set up the holiday, questions adding a paid day off in such a poor county. He said the county already had 14 paid holidays and it didn't seem like the right time for such an ambitious event in the middle of a recession.
"The timing didn't make any sense," Harrison said, pointing out that many private businesses will be open Monday, including his full-service gas station.
Wow, I just don't know what exactly to say to this. One of the poorest counties in the state throwing away its money on a golf tournament, parade and a carnival, and paid days off for county employees, and the citizens support this? I'm sure you'll also find most of the people in this county supporting yet more redistribution of wealth by way of taxing teh eeevil rich folks to pay for government health care. I wonder what the Perry County residents who support this holiday would be saying if I blew my rent money on music and gun stuff and then demanded the government pay my rent because "living space with climate control is a right that no one should be denied because of his or her inability to pay for it." And furthermore, I wonder how many of the people who would rightly protest my statements and actions with responses such as, "You should have had your priorities in line" see absolutely no problem with pissing away their own money on stupid crap like this when in all likelihood they don't have their own damn priorities in line.

And the fast train to hell chugs on down the tracks...

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Hey, wait a minute!

This surely did not happen where they said it did!

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. — The high school buddies who trolled the streets looking for Hispanics to attack called it "beaner hopping."
"Jose, Kevin and I started popping and Jose punched him so hard he knocked him out," Anthony Harfford told police.

But...but...but...I thought they were all enlightened souls up there in the North! Progressive, tolerant and all that good stuff, and the South was the exclusive domain of such incidents! Huh, d'you hear that? That, my friends, is the sound of another leftist meme shattering.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Another unintended consequence...

...of the War On Some Drugs...

Suspected serial killer Anthony Sowell seemed like a "civilized person" on the April evening that Tanja Doss went up to his third-floor bedroom for a beer — until, she said, he leapt up and began choking her and threatening to kill her.
The 43-year-old woman told The Associated Press on Thursday that she survived a night of terror through a combination of calm and cajoling, prayer and trickery. But when she escaped the next morning, she didn't tell police. Her past conviction on a drug charge, she said, made it unlikely they'd take her seriously.
"Now, I feel bad about it," she said, "because my best friend might be one of the bodies."

Many say that legalizing drugs would be a bad thing. Would it be worse than situations like this? I would surely not claim that Mr. Sowell would have been caught sooner were it not for this, but I wouldn't dismiss the possibility out of hand either. I'd be interested to see on what kind of charge this woman was convicted. I'd just about bet money it was a misdemeanor, and that's just a damn shame.

Best. Birthday. EVER.

...or, More blog silence which has a GREAT explanation... ;-)
I turned 32 years old yesterday. I spent most of it, and a big part of the day before it, in the arms of a beautiful woman. We had planned the trip much more in advance than the one before it, and I am sure you can imagine the anticipation we were both feeling. I know I was on pins and needles all day Wednesday waiting for her to get here. She left right after her first class Wednesday, and about 3:30 or so I heard a knock on the door. I opened it and there she stood with the biggest smile on her face. "Hi!"
"Hello!" I said, and she walked in, I took her in my arms and we kissed for what seemed like hours. From then till about 8:30 last night, we barely left each other's sight, touch or embrace. It was beautiful, every minute of it. I love her touch, her kiss, her embrace, her voice...I just can't get enough of her. We spent the time discussing politics and everything else too. And she even cooked for me, which I admittedly made more difficult with my pathetic selection of sharp knives. You're gonna hear more from her later on that. ;-) I can honestly say I have never known anyone like her. I don't know if I've said it before, but she really is the female version of me -- with a few very minor variations. She loves the old country, she's conservative with libertarian leanings, she's just...well, every single thing I could have ever wanted, along with a few things I probably didn't know I wanted but are certainly very nice to have. And I know I've said this before, but I won't ever tire of saying it...
I love you, Sabra. And there's no place I'd rather be than with you, ever. I miss you...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

What's the difference, really?

...or, Come on, he left the door wide open for this!
Joey Guerra had this to say about Carrie Underwood in this review of Underwood's new album, which drops today:

She's a good girl who occasionally goes bad, a Barbie doll with sporadic Bratz tendencies.

I don't know if Guerra intended for anyone to think this, but I read that and thought: When you get right down to it, the only difference between the Barbie and the Bratz is the image. Ultimately they're both plastic toys for kids that will be put away as those kids mature. So it is with Carrie Underwood and her music, which made his comparison quite fitting if I do say so myself.

In which I agree with Leonard Pitts...

...yet again:

An open letter to African-American women:
It's about the need to be beautiful, I know.
...go on, sister, do what you do. I ain't mad at'cha. But neither am I fooled by your chemicals and weaves.
I am your brother, your father, your husband and your son. I've seen you in church with big hats on, giving children the evil eye. And at the jail on visiting day, shoring up that wayward man. And at the bus stop in the rain on your way to work. And at the dining table with pen and paper, working miracles of money. When I was a baby, you nursed me; when we were children, I chased you through the house; when we were dating, I missed half the movie, stealing sugar from you. I saw you born; I took you to your prom; I glowed with pride when you went off to school. I have married you and buried you. I love your smile. A million times, you took my breath away.
You are the rock and salvation of our people, the faith that remains when all hope is gone. So if it's about the need to be beautiful, maybe it's time somebody told you:
You already are. You always were.

As you longtime readers know, I rarely agree with Leonard Pitts -- but when he does hit the target he tends to nail it right on the nose. As I read this column, I thought that he should take on what black music has become. Before I wrote that, though, I hit Google searching for "Leonard Pitts rap music" and found out that he has done that at least a couple of times. One choice snippet:
I find myself wondering how black culture, that old sweet song of strivers and lovers, blues and rhythm and how I got over, ever came to this. Is this how the present generation of black entertainers builds upon the opportunities secured for them by the sacrifices of those who came before? Is this why Nat Cole was attacked onstage by white racists and Paul Robeson was blacklisted? Is it why the Temptations endured segregated ballrooms and Sammy Davis put up with death threats? So that two petty thugs with a reported 14 bullet wounds between them (50 Cent and The Game -- ed.) can get rich off coonish stereotypes that would make Sambo blush?
And another:
The vast majority of that genre's (rap -- ed.) practitioners are nothing more and nothing less than modern-day Uncle Toms, selling out African-American dreams by peddling a cartoon of African-American life unencumbered by values. It is a cynical, knowing act, promulgated by young men and women who get rich by selling lies of authenticity to young people, white and black, who are looking for lessons in blackness. They are as much minstrels and peddlers of stereotype as Stepin Fetchit, Bert Williams or any black performer who ever smeared black goop on his face or shuffled onstage beneath a battered top hat.
The only difference - the only one - is that Bert Williams and Stepin Fetchit had no other choice.

As I say, when Pitts is on target he's on target.

Monday, November 02, 2009

One wonders what certain people were thinking...

...when they went to the polls 51 weeks ago tomorrow:

Without question, hiking the tax burden on America's oil and gas companies will mean less, not more, domestic energy production. In exchange for at best a small reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, thousands of jobs will be destroyed, billions of potential investment dollars will flow overseas, imports of fossil fuels will increase, energy prices will rise, and many states and localities who derive revenue from oil and natural gas production will witness further declines in their tax receipts. What's more, the tax plan is at odds with the administration's own carbon reduction goals since it would discourage production of natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel.

Earlier in the piece the author observes that the Obama administration argued that elimination of certain tax breaks would "stimulate greater energy efficiency while providing funding for 'green' energy alternatives." One wonders where the administration came up with such a convoluted line of reasoning, as allowing those companies to keep their money would be a better way of providing funding for alternative fuel development. And it's also worth asking why the administration doesn't seem to think the energy companies have a vested interest in the development of alternative energy sources, especially when one takes the environmental and supply considerations into account. If nothing else these alternative energy sources wouldn't be held hostage to the Mother Gaia worshippers, which to me would seem to be by itself worth whatever amount of investment it would take to develop said sources.
As for the title of this post -- well, a good 20 percent of the nation's oil refining capacity is located here on the Texas Gulf Coast, with the majority of it located in Jefferson and Harris counties. The ExxonMobil refinery in Baytown (Harris County) is the largest in the country at about 557,000 barrels per day capacity, and it will be overtaken by the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur (Jefferson County) as that facility is expanded to an estimated 600,000 barrel-per-day capacity. Yet the majority of residents of both Jefferson and Harris counties effectively voted for this burden on the industry by casting their votes for Obama in the last presidential election. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Considering all of this, somebody needs to ask Thomas Frank and his ilk just who's voting against his or her own economic interests here. It sure as hell isn't who they think it is.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

So the country music genre has come to this...

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

Friday, October 30, 2009

Getting "Westernized" is generally what happens...

..when you move to the West:

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

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

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

More lefty double standards...

...this time from David Broder of the Washington Post:

There is an air of desperate improvisation to Sen. Harry Reid's scheme to pass a “public option” as part of health care reform, but at the same time provide an easy exemption for any state that objects to it. The warning flags ought to be flying for anyone who can count to three — let alone 60.
Consider the precedent that would be set if a major piece of social legislation were to be passed with a states' rights provision. Imagine, for example, FDR had signed the first Social Security law with the proviso that any states with Republican governors and legislatures could exempt themselves from its coverage.
This might have seemed a minimal concession to conservative opinion. But what would have followed? How long before some states would have demanded an exemption from the wage and hour law that established a minimum wage? And what about the clamor in a broad swath of the country when the first civil rights law was passed?
I'll avoid the easy snark about how Texas might have an even lower cost of living with no minimum wage law and its residents would be able to take the Social Security tax money that's taken out of their salaries and invest it somewhere besides the Ponzi scheme SS has become. I will say, though, that I find it quite disingenuous for Broder to lump the civil rights laws in with Social Security and the wage and hour laws. The latter two were more or less examples of government stepping in to take care things that should be left to citizens themselves, while the former was government stepping in to protect citizens' basic rights that were outlined in the Declaration of Independence. And then there's the matter of the patchwork of gun laws in different parts of the country, many of which clearly violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution. I would bet my next check that if the Second Amendment is incorporated, Broder and his ilk are going to be saying that certain cities and states should still be able to deny their citizens the basic right of effective self-defense under the rubric of "one size does not fit all" or as our illustrious Dear Leader *hawk-spit* put it, "what works in Cheyenne does not work in Chicago" -- as if residents of Chicago should not be afforded the same rights as those of Cheyenne. Either it's true in all cases or none. No one should get to pick and choose.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

At least one person sees this...

....for exactly what it is:

NEWARK, N.J. — Loiterers and criminals on the nighttime streets of New Jersey's largest city have some company — concerned citizens and government workers who are cruising neighborhoods in an effort to reduce crime.
The program also helps Booker politically (Newark mayor Cory Booker -- ed.) by harnessing the same popular angst over community violence as his opponents, who have been holding anti-violence protest rallies in key city intersections.
John Sharpe James — son of former Mayor Sharpe James — is part of that movement. The former U.S. Army major views the caravan program as strictly a political ploy.
"I see no effect" from them on street violence, James said.

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Missing the Purpose...

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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Interesting little statistic here...

...that just changes everything, if it's true:

The DEA has estimated that marijuana accounts for well over half of cartel sales. Legal marijuana would slash the chaos on our border and the impact of cartel operations in some 200 U.S. cities and in over 60 of our national parks.
Now, for all anyone knows this guy just pulled that statistic out of his posterior. If it's true, though, I think it's safe to say that the wind would be taken right out of the sails of the people who advocate continuing the War On Some Drugs on the basis of "if we legalize it there will be junkies on the streets." I'd like to think that the argument that weed is a gateway drug to harder drugs has been thoroughly discredited; I know there was at least one study that did discredit that argument. And if profits from weed do comprise that large percentage of drug cartel sales, then I would think that when you look at it as a percentage of drugs sold by the cartels, it would comprise an even larger portion; i.e., the cartels sell more weed than anything else. Of course that's operating on the assumption that cocaine and heroin cost more per unit than marijuana does, which I would think is a fair one given the latter two drugs' potency. At any rate, though, it deserves to be asked at what point the cure is worse than the disease.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One more reason I love her...

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

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

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