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.