Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Chinese don't care as much as you think they do, Tommy.

I'm sure Thomas Friedman thinks he's a really smart guy...

While secrets from WikiLeaks were splashed all over the American newspapers, I couldn't help but wonder: What if China had a WikiLeaker and we could see what its embassy in Washington was reporting about America? I suspect the cable would read like this:
Most of the Republicans just elected to Congress do not believe what their scientists tell them about man-made climate change. America's politicians are mostly lawyers - not engineers or scientists like ours - so they'll just say crazy things about science and nobody calls them on it. It's good. It means they will not support any bill to spur clean energy innovation, which is central to our next five-year plan. And this ensures that our efforts to dominate the wind, solar, nuclear and electric car industries will not be challenged by America.
Now, Friedman might sound like he knows what he's talking about, but consider this from Eric Berger, the science writer for the Houston Chronicle:
Is there any hope that China will take the game-changing first step by adopting a carbon tax? Why would they do so? Why would this be the harbinger of a global framework?

I believe that China has powerful reasons to place a rising fee on carbon: (1) China will suffer more than most nations from changing climate and rising sea level, (2) China has horrific air and water pollution from fossil fuels, (3) China wants to avoid the enormous costs and burdens that accompany fossil fuel addiction, (4) there is great economic advantage in having the leading low-carbon technologies.

Hansen is quite correct in asserting that China would have an easier time of instituting such a carbon fee simply because it could ignore politics -- "At the same time China has the capacity to implement policy decisions rapidly," he writes -- and simply impose a fee.

I'm not sure espousing the virtues of authoritarianism is the best way to win converts to your cause, but whatever. What really strikes me is that I have seen very little evidence that China would actually ever impose such a fee.

Consider the following comments from Huang Huikang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's special representative for climate change talks, on the eve of the Cancun climate talks that began Monday.

"China's overriding priority will be to develop its economy, eliminate poverty and raise people's welfare, and our energy consumption and (greenhouse gas) emissions will experience reasonable growth for some time," he said.

That's pretty unequivocal for a diplomat communicating in public, as opposed to private cables, of course.
Now, we already know about Friedman's love affair with China's authoritarianism, so we'll leave that alone for now. What you wanna keep in mind is what the Chinese diplomat said -- namely, that his country's No. 1 priority was developing its economy, and that greenhouse gas emissions were going to be increasing for some time. Now, you'll note he said nothing about raising taxes on fossil fuels and such, which would seem to imply that he knows that said taxes would hamper that goal -- at least that's how it sounds the way Berger put it, but either way it doesn't seem so farfetched. So yeah, the Chinese do come off as pretty smart if Huang Huikang's comments are representative of their mindset -- just not smart in the way Thomas Friedman would like you to think they are. Apparently Friedman thinks those who read his columns are going to take his word as gospel as opposed to using their own critical thinking skills and seeking out alternative sources of information with differing and potentially more valid viewpoints. Somehow that doesn't surprise me, but being the visionary he thinks he is, you'd think he'd try harder.

There's a lesson here..

...if only our elected officials will learn it:

AP IMPACT: Cartel arrests did not curb drug trade

On a sleepy boulevard of motels and fast-food joints near the Mexican border, police stopped a car with a broken tail light. In the trunk, he found a trash bag containing 48 pounds of narcotics, and in the driver's pocket, scraps of paper scrawled with phone numbers.
Almost four years later, a grave Eric Holder called his first news conference as attorney general and announced where those phone numbers had led — to a sweeping investigation called Operation Xcellerator, which produced the largest-ever federal crackdown on Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, with 761 people arrested and 23 tons of narcotics seized.
Standing with Holder that day in 2009 was acting Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart, who declared: "Today we have dealt the Sinaloa drug cartel a crushing blow."
But just how crushing was it? An Associated Press investigation casts doubt on whether the crackdown caused any significant setback for the cartel.

Now, as you know, a lot of those on the left contend terrorists should be fought in the courts and on the streets with police and lawyers as opposed to on the battlefield with soldiers. One could say that the drug cartels are every bit as powerful as international terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda. If the law-enforcement approach works so dismally with the drug cartels, what makes liberals think it's going to work with terrorism?

Hey, sanity!

On at least one Texas college campus, anyway:

Texas State University’s student government has become the first in Texas to endorse carrying concealed handguns on campus.
Two weeks ago, Texas State’s newspaper, the University Star, became the first student newspaper in Texas to publicly endorse the bill.
That editorial is here. As you'll see if you read said editorial, the Star had run editorials opposing concealed carry on campus, but as the editorial board's membership changed, so did the board's opinion. I can only imagine what the board had said before, but this is a nice reversal:
Students with licenses permitting them to carry should not be forced to unarm themselves before they set foot on campus. The idea of a university being a “safe haven” where guns are not allowed is the status quo, but why? This campus is not a high school full of minors. It is a place where adults come to learn and prepare themselves for reality — and guns and gun-enthusiasts are real.
I surely never thought I would see something like that appear in a college newspaper, even in the heart of Texas. That last line reminds me of an exchange I saw somewhere...

Anti-gunner: "I don't believe in guns."
Pro-gunner: "Ma'am, I assure you, they exist."

Sure is nice to see at least one campus newspaper acknowledging reality as opposed to going into full-bore hysterics as so many media outlets do.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another feminist contradiction...

...right here:

I am a 20-year-old college student who has found the man of my dreams. We both believe it is acceptable (and in our case, preferable) for a woman to be a stay-at-home mother and wife.
However, the number of people who have deemed our views "unacceptable" and "disgraceful" is astounding. I was actually spit on by a woman who accused me of being "the problem with women."
Wow, what does one say to that? It's as if the feminists say, "You should be free to make your own choices without fear of judgment, as long as you make choices we approve of." The treatment of Sarah Palin would seem to indicate they do the same thing vis-a-vis abortion, too. It strikes me that feminism really, well, isn't.

Movin' on up... Wordpress, that is...

I see several other bloggers I read using the JS-Kit comment system that, as you see, has disappeared from my blog. There's a reason for that -- they've one up in price, from $10 a year to about $120. So..yeah. I attempted to migrate the comments to Disqus, but for some reason they never got to their respective posts. So I set up a new blog, at Same blog, same title, just a different location. I will be posting here and at the new place, to give you all time to update your bookmarks and blogrolls accordingly. Thank you!

UPDATE! I was futzing with the template and my blogrolls disappeared. Gonna have to recreate them from scratch, so be patient...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yeah, I'm pretty sure you could do that.

...or, I Get Referrals, from Irvine, California, "deer hunting with a 338 lapua."

Oh, I'm sure a .338 Lapua would make a FINE deer rifle, with that 200-grain bullet chugging along at 3340 fps or so and 4950 lb-ft. of energy at the muzzle. Compare that to, say, about 2620 lb-ft. for a 168-grain .308 round at about 2650 fps. If anything a .338 might be overkill, unless you're making routine shots from 1,000 yards-plus. But hey, as the old saying goes, smoke 'em if you got 'em. I'd hunt with it if I could afford the feeding costs. ;-)

He might not have meant to do it...

...but she's still quite dead:

Admiring the twinkling Christmas lights downtown was one of Samantha Martin's favorite activities, her mother said, so it was no surprise her boyfriend took her to see the illuminated River Walk and watch the Holiday River Parade Friday night.
But several hours later, when Eduardo Mejorado still hadn't brought Martin home, her mother began to worry.
A San Antonio police officer who then knocked on Alma Martin's door confirmed her worst fears: Samantha, 22, was killed in a crash.
Mejorado was hospitalized in police custody. Later, Mejorado was charged with one count of intoxication manslaughter. He was released from Bexar County Jail about 11:45 p.m. Saturday after posting $35,000 bail, officials said.
“We love him and don't have any animosity toward him,” Alma Martin said Sunday. “I'm sure he misses her as much as we do, and I know that he would have never done anything intentionally to hurt her.”
Whether he meant to do it or not, Samantha Martin's still quite dead. If I were her father they'd have to hire armed guards to keep me away from that bastard. "How could you do that? How could you care so little about her safety that you would do such a stupid thing?" I do believe that when my little ones get old enough to date, their boyfriends will definitely be getting the third degree...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sure, centrism deserves a place...

...but not the kind of centrism Kathleen Parker advocates. I really don't understand why Bob Inglis' advocacy of a carbon tax in the middle of a struggling economy makes him a smart, sensible moderate as opposed to another would-be intellectual who completely fails to understand the consequences of such. No doubt Kathleen Parker would call Mark Kirk, for example, another sensible moderate because he wants to ban only semiautomatic rifles as opposed to all guns. Do you ever notice that Parker has never said anything about the libertarian brand of centrism, the one that supports, for example, gun rights AND gay marriage? It's always, ALWAYS about a little more taxes and spending than the Republicans want and a little less than the Democrats want. As one of the commenters said, "I guess in Kathleen Parker's world, a 'moderate' is a Republican who votes like a liberal Democrat, but conservatives are partisan extremists."

Huh. Wonder how he got those?

I thought the handgun was the scourge of society, also...

First came the phone calls, which left the 55-year-old woman in a fetal position, sobbing on the floor. Then came the 32-page letter.
Each was a jarring reminder of that July day in 1975 when her mother and a family friend were killed in her West Virginia home by a man who refused to accept the end of their high school romance.
They also served as grim proof that the killer, Thomas Creighton Shrader, had finally tracked her down, despite her family's 1,200-mile flight to Texas and the passage of time.

Shrader, 56, is appealing the stalking conviction, and one delivered in July that found he was a felon in possession of firearms. Agents found two shotguns and a rifle in his Mercer County home after his November 2009 arrest.
Felon in possession of firearms. This guy broke the law! Imagine that!

One more time, friends and neighbors, do you know what Thomas Creighton Shrader is? Thomas Creighton Shrader is another person that the Paul Helmkes, Joanne Petersons of the world think is just fine in free society as long as they can't lawfully get a firearm. Not only that, but they think they have a mandate to make it harder for Mr. Shrader's victims to defend themselves. And the woman was also 19 years old when she and Shrader broke up, so the antis among us also would have told you back then that she didn't deserve to be able to carry a gun to defend herself against that madman because of her age.

So, you take all that, and once again you should see exactly why I think the anti-gunners among us are, if not evil incarnate, the closest thing to it that walks the earth. As I have said before, evil doesn't always come dressed in armbands and jackboots. Sometimes it comes in just a suit and tie, or a skirt and blouse, defending things like civilian disarmament and calling them "reasonable, common-sense gun laws."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Layers upon LAYERS of fact-checkers!

That is, of course, what traditional media has over new media!

A .556-caliber Sig? Wow. I wonder what the effective range is with that thing. Wait, I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself here. Why haven't I heard anything about this gun? Have any of you heard anything? Did somebody sneak out this new caliber in, say, the last couple of days while we were all napping after Thanksgiving dinner?

Life for growing weed?


With authorities closing in to seize 2,400 marijuana plants on John Robert Boone's farm two years ago, the legendary Kentucky outlaw vanished like a puff of smoke. The prolific grower has been dodging the law ever since...
...Boone, who's trying to avoid the life sentence he would get if convicted a third time of growing pot, has plenty of sympathizers in an area where many farmers down on their luck have planted marijuana.
"That's all he's ever done, raising pot," said longtime friend Larry Hawkins, who owns a bar and restaurant called Hawk's Place. "He never hurt nobody."
If anything, John Robert Boone set a great example. I hear a lot of people saying that American drug users have blood on their hands because their habits are fueling the violent drug cartel battles south of the border. (I can agree with that to an extent, though I do wonder how far it is from saying that to saying that American gun owners and the NRA have blood on their hands for opposing the tighter gun laws that the Mexican government wants us to enact.) Buying American-grown weed from folks like Boone takes that money and brings it home; of course, with the insane American drug laws, it only fuels the turf wars that take place here. But if we had more people like JRB here, it would at least lessen the potency of the argument that legalizing drugs wouldn't help matters because the cartels are so powerful now.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Add Pravda-on-Hudson to the list...

...of those who don't think 18-year-olds should be able to defend themselves. How about another fun game of word substitution?

"Beyond the dubious legal claims, the idea that African Americans have a constitutional right to buy weapons and carry them loaded and concealed in public is breathtakingly irresponsible."

"Beyond the dubious legal claims, the idea that Irishmen who immigrate to America have a constitutional right to buy weapons and carry them loaded and concealed in public is breathtakingly irresponsible."

"Beyond the dubious legal claims, the idea that young Latinos ages 18 to 20 have a constitutional right to buy weapons and carry them loaded and concealed in public is breathtakingly irresponsible."

Or how about...

"Beyond the dubious legal claims, the idea that young individuals ages 18 to 20 have a constitutional right against self-incrimination is breathtakingly irresponsible."

"Beyond the dubious legal claims, the idea that young individuals ages 18 to 20 have a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures is breathtakingly irresponsible."

"Beyond the dubious legal claims, the idea that young individuals ages 18 to 20 have a constitutional right to free speech is breathtakingly irresponsible."

We all know they'd rightfully get called out as a gang of bigoted assholes in any of those other instances, yes? Why is the right of self-defense so different?

(h/t David Codrea)

The Party of the United Race?

Wow, talk about racial politics writ large.

Many Latinos have become disgruntled with both political parties...
Now I hear from people in their 20s who, in their disillusionment, are pining for something that had its heyday before they were born: the Raza Unida Party.
"The legacy of the Raza Unida Party is the concept of independent thought and that we can speak for ourselves," (party co-founder Jose Angel Gutierrez) said. "No ventriloquist needed."...
These days, Gutierrez's hobbies include tweaking nativists with comments about how Anglos are losing sleep over the browning of the United States.
"They think this is a white country," he said. "And when someone says the opposite, then that's the demon." How sickening. "When somebody says the opposite, then that's the demon." Yes it is. And it's EXACTLY THE SAME THING when a white person says it too. For the life of me I cannot understand why so many blacks and Latinos in positions of "leadership" within their respective communities think racist statements and actions automatically become race-neutral when said or done by someone who's the "right" skin color. Maybe Jose Angel Gutierrez and his acolytes don't have white sheets and hoods in their closets, but that really doesn't make their racial politics any less odious. It only makes said politics less dangerous, at least over the short term. Over the long term, though, that's a different story, as has been said here before. We know what they want, even if they don't come right out and say it -- practically open borders, people coming to the United States who don't know English and have no desire to learn it or to assimilate into American culture, etc., which is going to -- as it always does -- lead to balkanization and tribal war.

And what about that whole "concept for independent thought" and "speak(ing) for ourselves"? Somehow I don't think that's so cut-and-dried, considering the ideology of the folks we're dealing with here. I would bet that just as with the two major political parties, the party bosses of this Raza Unida party are going to dictate the official positions of the party, and while certain factions might be allowed voices they won't have any real effect. Honestly, does anyone really think those assimilated Latinos would be allowed to have any say in the policies the party would advocate? It seems to me that such would be contrary to the Raza Unida's prima facie raison d'etre -- to advocate for policies that benefit a certain race, or even a certain other country. (Which makes the whole "independent thought" thing ironic, as it's not about thinking on an individual level, just a smaller group level -- which really isn't that independent, or thinking for oneself at all.) I suppose that might sound racist to some, but based on my own observations of the political scene I just can't come to any other conclusion.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lack of respect, part God only knows.

Somehow I didn't find this the least bit surprising. Liberals like Al Sharpton and Jay Rockefeller don't have any respect for the Second Amendment; what makes anyone think they'd have any respect for the First? And Rush should be taken off the air for "perceived" offenses? Somehow I think Sharpton thinks the mere existence of Rush Limbaugh is an offense to minorities. Say what you will about Rush, but at least he never falsely accused anyone of rape. From Nordlinger's column:

"One of those whom Sharpton and his partners accused (of Tawana Brawley's rape -- ed.) was an assistant district attorney, Steven Pagones, who was, needless to say, innocent (the crime never took place). After he was cleared, he held a press conference, which Sharpton, in his theatrical fashion, attempted to crash. 'Your accuser has arrived!' he bellowed. Sharpton had said before, 'We stated openly that Steven Pagones did it. If we're lying, sue us, so we can go into court with you and prove you did it. Sue us — sue us right now.' Oddly enough, Pagones did. He spent a decade of his life pursuing a defamation case against Sharpton and his accomplices, finally winning that case one glorious, cleansing day in July of 1998."

That was a hell of a lot more than a "perceived offense," yet Sharpton retained his freedom of speech. Yet he goes off saying that certain people need to be muzzled because of "perceived offenses." What a thoroughgoing asshole.

(h/t Alphecca)

Missing out on masterpieces. (UPDATED!)

So everybody's making a big deal out of the Beatles' catalog being available on iTunes now. As far as that goes vis-a-vis the Beatles, all I can say is, meh. (I always thought that, along with Bruce Springsteen, they were one of the most overrated acts in pop music history. The Rolling Stones always appealed much more to me.)

But there is something about the whole thing that bugs me -- the whole downloading-just-one-or-two-songs-per-album phenomenon. For the life of me I can't understand why any music fan would do this. Whenever you get a group of fans together and a discussion gets rolling, inevitably said discussion is going to turn to "Favorite Unreleased Album Cuts." And such treasures are going to go undiscovered with this new business model that concentrates on the song instead of the album. I can think of (almost literally) a thousand examples for myself off the top of my head; but just for one example, if I had downloaded what were then my two favorite songs from Iron Maiden's Powerslave cd -- "Aces High" and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" -- I would have missed out on "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)," "Flash of the Blade" and "The Duellists" -- as Albatross said of that last one, "Never very popular, yet oh so good." The title track and "Back In The Village" were also worth the price of the cd even if they didn't end up being favorites.

And the same could be said for those thousand other examples. I don't know what this new business model holds for the future of the music industry vis-a-vis its profitability, but as far as creativity goes I don't think it's going to be good. What's the incentive for the artists and labels to spend all that money on recording 8-12 songs if fans are going to buy only two or three of them? And I know every genre's fans are going to be different, but what of unreleased gems from other genres -- like, say, George Strait's rollicking version of the Del Reeves classic "Good Time Charley's"? I sure hate to think recordings like that would go unmade or be phased out for more popular downloads. Thoughts, anyone?

UPDATE! Sabra with her comments made me think to Google "B-Side hits," which yielded this link. Some of my favorites:

"Born on the Bayou," CCR

"Not Fade Away," Buddy Holly

"Roadhouse Blues," The Doors

"Mercedez Benz," Janis Joplin

"Get Rhythm," Johnny Cash

"After the Thrill Is Gone," the Eagles

"Love Is A Rose," Linda Ronstadt

Now wouldn't it have been a shame if those songs had gone unrecorded?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quote of the day, from a Facebook friend...

"When POTUS pardons the turkeys, I'd hope you will think of the thousands of people who are locked away in federal prison because of unfair sentencing laws, especially drug laws (libs) and gun laws (conservs). Empty seat at this year's Thanksgiving table."

Would he have written this column...

...before January 2009? Somehow I really doubt it. But either way Eugene Robinson really comes across as an ignorant tool, just as he does with everything else he writes. Profiling couldn't possibly work, huh? Then how does it work so well in Israel? They don't just profile by race. And there hasn't been a single plane out of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport that has been hijacked since 1970. Somehow it doesn't surprise me that Eugene Robinson is living in some sort of alternate reality. Most modern liberals are, it seems.

That does sound just like him, doesn't it?

Bob Herbert, that is, as quoted by Cal Thomas in the San Antonio Express-News:

Writing in the New York Times, columnist Bob Herbert says: "However you want to define the American dream, there is not much of it that's left anymore. Wherever you choose to look — at the economy and jobs, the public schools, the budget deficits, the nonstop warfare overseas — you'll see a country in sad shape....We have become a hapless, can't-do society."
And I'm sure Herbert has no clue that it's exactly because of what he and his kind believe in -- a Big Daddy Government that does everything for its citizens and paying for it with the fruits of their labors whether the people want it or not, sapping the strength and vitality right out of the American way of life and the "American dream." It's not so much what John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address now as it is "Ask what your government can do for you." Liberalism has fallen so, so far in the last 50 years, and it really is a shame, too. I've heard it said that JFK would probably be considered a neoconservative today, and that does sound about right, though I don't know that he'd be so willing to use military power to export American ideals as so many accuse neocons of doing.

I do wonder, though, if Herbert was so glum from, say, November 2008 to at least January 2009. I think I already know the answer to THAT...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No blog for you today....

...but I did stumble up on some blogfodder that I don't have time to work with today, so stay tuned. ;-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

They say this like it's a good thing.

And it doesn't surprise me, but still I shake my head...

"We had to bring something new to the table," (Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary) LeVox said. "Call it what you want but we sure love making country music and I think we've been able to open some doors for people like Taylor Swift. Who would've ever thought you'd hear Bon Jovi on country radio with Kid Rock? We might've had a little hand in opening the door to radio and getting them played."
I am reminded of Kevin Coyne's recent post at Country Universe:
Dear Country Music,

Don’t get too excited about Taylor Swift’s sales numbers. They have nothing to do with you.
And, of course, in the comments there people observe that they have heard people say things to the effect of "I don't like country music, but I love Taylor Swift." I've talked about all this before, but I don't see why Bon Jovi and Kid Rock getting played on country radio is a good thing. I'd be tempted to make an exception for Kid Rock given his professed affinity for the old country, but he seems to blow his potential as a Real Country Singer all to hell every chance he gets. And I've said before that I don't see why Taylor Swift's success within the country genre is a good thing. Why are certain artists so hellbent on attracting people to the genre who never had any appreciation for it? Going back to one of my favorite anecdotes, it was a mere hop, skip and a jump for me from Metallica's self-titled black album to the wonderful world of '80s thrash, power and progressive metal. (It might have taken longer if I hadn't gotten Sirius satellite radio, but still...) I don't see that working out in the context of country music, especially since Metallica's self-titled album wasn't nearly as different from their earlier music as Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift are from older country music. I just don't see today's Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift fan being tomorrow's Loretta Lynn and Merle Haggard fan, especially since radio has such an aversion to playing the legends.

So, given all that, it alternately makes me laugh and grind my teeth to see Joe Don Rooney whining about people not thinking RF is a country act. I am reminded of what the reviewer at wrote in his review of their debut album ten years ago:

"With harmonies as squeaky-clean as their faces, Rascal Flatts relish the pop and lite-groove direction that the genre has taken at the turn of the century. In fact, they seem to take pride in their distance from hard-core country roots. To their credit, this trio of earnest young men sounds as if they are truly enjoying themselves as they run through their bouncy, bubbly love songs. And at least these boys don't pay lip service to keeping country traditions alive in 2000."

That would have been what I'd have written had I not had such a visceral reaction to RF back in the day, as opposed to, "Good Hank Williams, do these guys suck." And membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame? The day Rascal Flatts gets into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the day they need to nuke the site from orbit, 'cause it'll be the only way to be sure.

(h/t Country California)

More unintended consequences!

I wonder how many environmentalists are really giving this an honest look:

The first mass-market electric cars go on sale next month, and the nation's electric utilities couldn't be more thrilled — or worried.
Plugged into a socket, an electric car can draw as much power as a small house. The surge in demand could knock out power to a home, or even a neighborhood. 
Now, if you'll remember, depending on which source you consult, between 45 and 60 percent of the electricity generated in the United States is generated by coal-fired plants, which have come under attack by the environmentalists in recent years because of their pollution levels. Yet you never hear any of them talk about that. The folks who wrote the column mentioned here didn't even mention electric cars and those unintended consequences as they advocated the institution of a carbon tax. No doubt they'd see electric cars as a godsend because of the money that would be raised via the power the cars would take off the grid. But it'd be fun to see what they'd say, in their more honest moments when they thought no one was listening.

Just because of her age?

Such would seem to be the anti-gunners' answer to the question, "Why can't this woman and those like her own and carry a gun?"

At least four women are sexually assaulted in the greater Houston region every day — attacked in their homes and in their beds, in parking lots and on public streets, their assailants armed with pistols, knives, drugs and fast-flying fists.
And though most sexual assaults involve victims who either know or at least recognize their attacker, police estimate about 25 percent are simply random.
One such attack happened to a 19-year-old Houston woman snatched from her southwest Houston apartment complex two days before her high school graduation this year.
Of course, they don't say anything about people in that age group being licensed to drive. I wonder what they'd say if rape victims started running down their attackers with their cars. "Car registration and licensing NOW! Do it for teh rapists!"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What does that have to do with anything?

Look, it's great that Andrew Traver is a survivor of prostate cancer, but I don't understand why the Christian Science Monitor sees this as a plus in relation to his nomination to head the ATF. I know that current military officers are under oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same," but from what I understand the vast majority of them endeavor not to BREAK that oath when they leave the service. Is it just me, or do Mr. Traver's post-Navy actions seem to be breaking that oath? Sounds like he never took it that seriously to begin with, considering his alliances with various anti-gun organizations.

Furthermore, shouldn't that be a conflict of interest that automatically disqualifies him from being head of the organization?

That whole sovereignty thing goes both ways.

Apparently the Mexican people and government don't think so, though...

Without leaving American airspace, remotely piloted surveillance drones — outfitted with cameras that provide real-time video — fly along the Texas border searching U.S. territory for drug smugglers, illegal immigrants and potential terrorists.
They also are fully capable of peering into Mexico, where narco terrorists eviscerate the rule of law.
Although U.S. narcotics agents long have been in Mexico, there also has been public outrage of anything more intrusive.
“We have come a long way in terms of cooperation, but there are areas that still test Mexico's traditional notions of sovereignty,” said Tony Garza, the former U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
How nice. They get angry when they perceive Americans to be intruding on their sovereignty, but they have no compunction whatsoever about intruding on American sovereignty in several different ways, from protesting tougher immigration laws and border controls to agitating for gun bans. I realize the culture's different down there, and I suppose that's what Garza was getting at when he referred to "Mexico's traditional notions of sovereignty," but it'd be nice if Mexico stopped meddling in our business as they think our government is doing when the government shifts the drones' cameras slightly to the south. It strikes me that such is a hell of a lot less intrusive than their citizens and government officials coming to our country and demanding we change our laws to suit them.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wow, Paul Helmke is losing it.

Bob S. fisks him more than well enough, but really, Paul?

NRA Sides With Mass Killers Over ATF
That would more accurately read "NRA Sides with Peaceable, Law-Abiding American Gun Owners Over The American Version of the the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice." It's about bloody fucking time the NRA stood up for the interests of its membership, considering how they rolled over on their backs when Eric Holder was nominated for Attorney General.

Personally, though, I think it's at least a bit laughable that the NRA would come out in such blatant opposition to Andrew Traver, considering how the organization supports the existence of the ATF to begin with. I realize it may not be politically feasible to get rid of the ATF any time soon, and that the NRA's move is just the way they "play the game," but there's never going to be anyone in charge of the ATF who's any better than indifferent to the right to keep and bear arms. And the sooner the NRA recognizes that and acts accordingly, the better.

Now it's something else's fault...

...instead of someone else's fault:

The Reverend Cedric Miller, pastor of the 1,100 member Living Word Christian Fellowship, called for his congregation's leaders to dump their Facebook accounts.  He blames Facebook for the marital problems of 20 couples in his church.
Yep, it's all Facebook's fault. Damn that Mark Zuckerberg for creating a way for people to stay and/or get back in touch. He should have known that bad things would happen when certain people got back in touch with one another.

Seriously, if Facebook interaction leads to old flames burning down marriages, those marriages had problems that staying off the site wasn't going to fix. Why can't people take responsibility for their own actions? And why do church authority figures enable this evasion of responsibility?

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'd just like to say...

...that this quote from Robb Allen was just packed with WIN:

"There is no need for the United States to have the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice BATFE."

Oh, isn't that special?

Talk about a case of flipping the wrong switch:

An undercover Plano police officer told investigators that he meant to turn on a flashlight attached to his gun when he fatally shot a drug suspect.
Wow, that's a violation of at least two of the Four Rules right there, maybe three if you consider the first one, "All guns are always loaded." I'd love to have seen how far away the flashlight switch was away from the trigger. Something tells me it's not so close to the trigger that the officer would mistake one for another.

But remember, friends: Only the police and the military should have guns because they know so much more about how to handle them than us mere civilians!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hey, it's their culture, right?

Enshrined in the laws passed by their government, right? So who are we to judge?

This month a Pakistani court sentenced...45-year-old Asia Bibi, to death, not because she killed, injured or stole, but simply because she said something.
Prosecutors say Bibi, who is a Christian, broke Pakistan's strict blasphemy law by insulting Islam and the prophet Muhammad, a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment according to Pakistan's penal code.
Now, I'm sure you longtime readers remember one Ladd Everitt mewling about "Second Amendment remedies." Well, it deserves to be asked what those like him would do if our democratically elected government got to the point of passing laws like this. It'd be a long process, considering something like the above-mentioned law is blatantly unconstitutional in the United States, but it's still a question worth asking.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How about those copy editors?

From today's Express-News:

Police Officer Andrew Montemayor was kicking flares to the side of Potranco Road, joking with fellow rookie Robert Davis about how crazy their day had been, when he heard the revving of an engine outside his line of vision.
Instinctually, he knew something was wrong and began to run, Montemayor told jurors as testimony began Tuesday in the manslaughter and aggravated assault trial of former colleague David Seaton.
I think the reporter meant "instinctively." That's pretty funny. I was taught in my journalism classes in college never to use big, flowery words when smaller, more straightforward ones will do. Perhaps they should have also taught reporters never to make up words. And I know no one would believe this without photographic evidence, so...

Wow, what a state big-city journalism is in...

Red light camera supporter FAIL.

In the letters to the editor in today's Houston Chronicle:

Now that they have succeeded in getting the cameras turned off, most citizens are chagrined to find that the police will have to start doing without a substantial portion of their budget, the taxpayers may be on the hook for a penalty for termination of the camera contracts, and some drivers who may have begun to learn that yellow means prepare to stop will go back to their previous misconception that it means speed up. The cynics who say that the cameras were just another way to get money will have to get used to paying more taxes themselves, since the scofflaw drivers will no longer be paying those millions of dollars into the city's coffers.
My, so much fisk-worthy material I hardly know where to begin.

First, there are going to be times that it's just not good to put on the brakes when the light turns yellow. I'll admit that at least as likely as not, when I see a yellow light I speed up to get through it before the light turns red. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. No doubt my wallet has thanked me, too, because it seems obvious that if one slowed to a stop every time the light turned yellow, it'd make the brakes wear out that much faster.

And "cynics who say that the cameras were just another way to get money"? Sounds like they were right to be cynical, considering that Houston mayor Annise Parker made such a big deal about the city's budget taking a hit.

Last, not that I would advocate that drivers who run red lights shouldn't be forced to pay, but for the city to rely on those cameras to plug the holes in the police department's budget just strikes me as, well...wrong. It's as if lawbreakers are financing the police department, and do we really want to fund the police departments with that concept? What's next, murderers and home invaders being fined for their crimes too? I can just see where that would go:

"All these citizens defending themselves are really cutting down on murders and home invasions. The police department's budget is really suffering because of the fines not being paid by these dead or deterred criminals. Is it really a good idea for citizens to be able to defend themselves and not have to wait on the police?"

Is it really that far-fetched?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hey, more bigotry from the social cons!

Okay now. What would you say to this:

The El Paso City Council could overturn a voter-approved ban on medical insurance benefits for domestic partners of unmarried black and Latino employees.

Pastor Tom Brown, who led the ballot initiative, says it's a matter of democracy and he's outraged that the will of the people might be overturned.
You'd probably say, "Wow, Pastor Tom Brown is one bigoted asshole, isn't he?" Well, how is that any different from this?

What's that? Hunting rifles can kill, too?

I wonder how long it'll take for the gun controllers to latch on to this...

Thursday night, (Pennsylvania game warden David) Grove caught a felon poaching deer with a spotlight near Gettysburg, pulled him over and was shot four times, police said. He was the first Pennsylvania game warden killed in the line of duty in 95 years, but the occupation remains hazardous by its very nature.

"Everybody we deal with has a firearm," said Richard Cramer, the association's vice president and a land management supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Often, game wardens are "encountering folks out to intentionally break the law with firearms."
Hunting rifle licensing and registration NOW, for teh game wardens! Seriously, how long do you think it would be from this to "do you really need to hunt when we have grocery stores and such" if they wanted to take it that far. Certain organizations such as the Violence Policy Center are already calling for tighter regulation of certain calibers of hunting rifles such as the .338 Lapua and .50 BMG, but I'd bet smaller, more common caliber rifles are the ones the poachers are carrying when they're apprehended by the wardens. I'm sure the VPC will be all over the smaller rifles before long.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gratuitous baybeh picture.

From earlier this evening:

She may be a headbanger already...

My Miss Marie, that is.

I was just holding her and she started crying and thrashing about with her mouth open, like she was looking for a nipple to latch on to. It looked like she was headbanging, no lie. I told Sabra about that and what I thought she was looking for, and she said, "She either wants a nipple or Iron Maiden."

Yeah, I laughed. ;-)

The critic does have a place...

...but I still don't understand why this was ever the case (in bold -- ed.):

In the information age, the relationship between professional critic and reader has become so complex and frayed that it’s difficult for either party to know what is expected, or what to expect, from the other. That used to be a pretty simple exchange. Back in the day, the very fact that one had earned a position as a critic at an organ capable of reaching the entire country was de facto proof of one’s value as an analyst.
I don't understand what it is about being a critic at a major media outlet that makes one's opinion on something so subjective as music (or, for that matter, books and film) any more valuable than anyone else's. Critics are only human just like the rest of us and are going to have their own likes and dislikes. I don't know for sure if that was ever taken into account to any significant extent, but if it wasn't, it should have been. You know what I think about certain bands. Would it make any sense at all, for example, for me to review a Rascal Flatts album? There's no way I could do that with an unbiased ear. I think this would probably be the gist of my review:

"I suppose as a pop album this might be good. But as a country record it blows. Go buy you some George Strait or Jamey Johnson."

Of course there's the flip side of the unbiased critic, the gushing fanboy -- "OMG this album rulz! If you don't like it your a hater!" And I'm sure there are some of those on or the like that "Authorized Critics" would love for us to think are the majority of music fans posting reviews. But as I've said before, for many if not most albums whose reviews I've read on, the reviews have been pretty well-thought-out. Yeah, they're from fans of the bands in question, but so what? I'd argue this gives them that much more credibility. Fans have expectations too, and any honest fan will call the artist out if those expectations are not met. I don't understand what's so difficult to comprehend about any of this. And I don't understand why there was any "relationship" between a critic and a fan to begin with. It's just always struck me as another kind of elitism: "Listen to me. My tastes are refined and diverse."

Sure they are. I'm sure fans of most new "country" would say the same thing.

"I like a lot of music, from Carrie Underwood to Metallica. The black album* totally pwned."

"Mm. So what's your opinion of Iron Maiden? How about Lefty Frizzell?"


*Nothing against the Black Album, btw. Despite its difference from early Metallica I still really like it. It's just that the album was the band's most successful and the one a lot of music fans would probably think of when Metallica is mentioned. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the sole Metallica album in many people's music collections. You know how a lot of folks' tastes are -- a mile wide and an inch deep. Somehow I don't think the Authorized Critic is THAT much different.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Count me in... a Texan for Palin. And I love the nom de blog -- if that's not his real name, that is. If it is, so much the better!

"Son? Russians don't take a dump without a plan." Heheheh.

Dude, you wish.

Eric Church on Miranda Lambert:

She's like a female version of me.
Really? Try as I may, for the life of me I can't remember Miranda Lambert ever talking about how much of a badass she was or how people thought it was cool to wear shirts with her picture on them to class. I loved what CMW had to say about that quote as he attributed it:

"Eric Church on tourmate – and, apparently, now that she’s a big deal, kindred spirit – Miranda Lambert."

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Overheard in the living room...

...right after Sabra's ex picked up the kids for their weekly visit with him:

"I must have been the neediest 18-year-old in existence. He actually appealed to me at some point."

Yeah, I laughd out loud. So loud I was almost afraid I woke the baybeh. :-)

You knew it had to be about money...

...didn't you?

The operators of Houston's red-light cameras agreed to shut down the system on Monday, but questions remain about how the company will recover its costs if the city cancels a contract that was to run until 2014.
Mayor Annise Parker...has said the Houston Police Department will lose $10 million annually in revenue if the cameras are taken down...
I wonder if that was a Freudian slip on the mayor's part. I realize that there are going to be those who blow through those monitored intersections despite the fact they're being watched, so the cameras WOULD be a source of revenue -- but you'd think Parker would have tried a bit harder not to say something like that.

What was I just saying...

about stories of women being killed with other implements besides guns?

A 55-year-old man was charged with murder on Saturday for allegedly beating his wife to death with a baseball bat, authorities said.
Isaiah Hurts is accused of killing his wife, Beverly, on Friday as the family's pastor waited outside the southwest-side home to counsel the couple.
The 54-year-old woman had been a victim of domestic violence for years as her husband struggled with a drinking problem, said Houston homicide investigator Roger Chappell. Last week, Beverly Hurts "finally got fed up" enough to leave the couple's apartment in the 11900 block of Oakmoor to move into a shelter for battered women, Chappell said.
Bats are bad news for women! When will we wise up and institute common-sense measures such as bat licensing and registration? Close the bat show loophole NOW!

Hey, more Express-News double standards!

This time from the man at the top of the newsroom:

These days, it seems, there is an increasingly small political space for the moderate.
So, apparently, Robert Rivard's definition of "moderate" is his columnists -- among other things -- accusing Republicans of demonizing ethnic groups and saying Texans prefer a caricature for a governor. I guess he has a different definition of "moderate" than I do.

Another victim of a bad mindset.

That's about the only way I'd be able to describe this:

A San Antonio man accused of stabbing a woman to death in her family's home on the Southeast Side had made unwanted romantic advances toward her in recent days, a relative told investigators.
A day before she was killed, Ofelia Alvarado, 25, told her older sister that Mario Ramirez, 25, was “creeping her out” ever since she had rebuffed him, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Now, if society didn't subscribe (at least to an extent) to the insidious idea that "guns are bad news for women," Ms. Alvarado would have been encouraged to get herself a decent firearm and would have had no compunction about doing so. Alas, this theory seems to have taken hold in society's collective psyche and still only a small minority of women get the idea of self-defense and take that idea as far as it needs to be taken. Granted, that "small minority" is but a guess on my part -- it may well be more women than I think, and I do hope that is the case -- but considering the frequency with which such stories show up in pretty much any newspaper you'd care to name, I am not so optimistic it isn't.

On another note, why is it that no one talks about "knives (being) bad news for women"? These killings happen often as not by stabbing or slashing, it seems...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hey, wait...

...I thought it was only the "far right" that advocated violent insurrection. One of the commenters here said it best:

"This is not surprising. When the left doesn't get their way, they often resort to totalitarianism and wholesale slaughter. One needs look no further than Hitler's Germany, Pol Pot's Cambodia, and Stalin's Russia for the left's 'final solution' to the people not understanding how the left just wants to help them."

Wow, what a faimiliar refrain.

"It was someone else's fault!"

Jurors handed a 25-year prison term Friday to a repeat offender who shot his ex-girlfriend in the face two years ago, then married her several months later.

“I had no control over anything, so I guess this is where God wanted me to be right now,” he told the jury. “I feel I was never that bad. ... I'm just in the streets. The environment I'm in is gang-infested. It's just where I live.”
I guess the gang members made Josephus Duncan shoot his now-wife in the face. Sucks for him that he lived in a gang-infested environment, but not everyone falls to the siren song of the gangs. But at least now he has 25 years behind bars to shirk personal responsibility.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Great minds think alike.

Well, maybe that title was misleading, as I would never presume to have as great a mind as that of Marko Kloos, though I (and many others) have been saying something to this effect along with him for a good while. At any rate, though, this was great:

Remember: a vote for drug prohibition is a vote for gun control.  Without illicit substance turf wars, we wouldn’t even have NFA ’34, GCA ’68, or the 1994 Crime Bill.  We wouldn’t have asset forfeiture, RICO, or any of the many other onerous laws that shackle our movements and make a mockery of the Bill of Rights.  But point that out to a self-righteous dope prohibitionist, and you get the old saw about the damage drugs can do, and do you want to see schoolchildren legally light up crack pipes in front of the CVS at eight in the morning?  It’s the same kind of arrogant paternalism that the gun banners display when they talk about how blood would flow in the streets if we removed all the restrictions on gun ownership and carry.
You know what to do.

Some people are really good... talking out of both sides of their mouth:

In January, the Supreme Court again tormented reformers who are eager to empower government officials to ration speech about government officials. The court ruled that because the First Amendment proscribes laws limiting political speech, it proscribes laws that limit independent candidate-related advocacy by Americans organized as corporations. In 2007, the court had held that the First Amendment protects issue advocacy by corporations.
In his meretricious autumn campaigning, Obama told Americans that democracy was threatened by the amount of political speech the court empowered. Americans, however, are indifferent to arguments about process, which failing candidates talk about to avoid discussing their unpopular policies.
Will actually makes a good point here, but apparently he forgot about this column he wrote about the Heller v. D.C. decision, in which he lambasted the court for not adhering to certain processes. I thought intellectuals were supposed to be smarter than that...

Yay for no-knock warrants!

'Cause drugs 'r' bad, hmmkay?

Four San Antonio SWAT officers executing a narcotics search warrant at an East Side home were wounded in a hail of assault rifle fire Thursday afternoon.
Yes, I know the SAPD spokesman said the officers were wearing vests labeled POLICE, but the point still stands -- we are way the hell past the point at which we need to be asking ourselves when the cure is worse than the disease. It'd be interesting to see if the officers that broke down Kathryn Johnston's door were wearing vests, too.

And what do you want the bet those cretins at The Organization Formerly Known as Handgun Control are going to be using this incident to push for another "assault weapons" ban or a ban on pretty much any ammunition that could penetrate police vests?

I do wish the officers a speedy recovery, though. It's really not their fault they're being put in bad situations like this.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A good reason for blog silence...

Marie-Honor Evangeline made her grand entrance into the world at 12:34 pm today. 8 pounds 9 ounces, 20 inches long, and baby and mother both are fine. :-) More later...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reality and history have already fisked this, and continue to do so...

...but I do have this to say, in regards to this:

We don’t need guns.
I'm sure the forebears of modern-day American Jews thought the same thing, right up until they saw the doors of the gas chambers. Not that Timmy Not-So-Wise and his ideological compatriots are nearly as oppressed as they think they are, let alone as oppressed as Jews in World War II Germany were, but I think the point still stands.

(h/t David Codrea)

It's always someone else's fault, isn't it?

Kathleen Parker seems to think so, considering she agrees with a certain Alabama senator:

Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama recently had the audacity to assert what heretofore had been relegated to whispers behind closed doors: "Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate."
Yes, it's all the Princess Party Girl's fault. (Hey, that's Kathleen Parker's appellation for Mrs. Palin, not mine.) It could never have been the fault of the Republican establishment that got so out-of-touch that they forgot why they were sent to Washington and who sent them there, thereby starting the chain reaction that led to last Tuesday's tea party-fueled anti-incumbent blowout. Apparently it was all Sarah Palin's fault the national Republicans lost their way to the extent voters handed two branches of government to the Democrats, even though Palin hadn't even advanced to state-level politics in Alaska as the Republicans ascended in Washington. She must be really powerful to have had that effect, eh?

Just a couple of questions...

...raised by this story:

A federal campaign to stop the smuggling of high-powered guns to Mexico is too narrowly focused on small-time gun runners and not the larger organizations suspected of arming Mexico's increasingly violent drug cartels, the Justice Department's inspector general said Tuesday.

Authorities in both countries say guns smuggled from the U.S. — bought largely in Texas and Arizona — are the largest supply of weapons used by the cartels. The ATF does not release estimates of how many guns seized by Mexican authorities are traced back to the U.S. because the numbers have become too politicized.
So we're just supposed to take the Mexican authorities' word for it that the United States' border state gun dealers are the cartels' largest suppliers? Even though, as David Codrea reported here, serial numbers (if there are any) and such for only a small fraction of guns -- as in perhaps ONE PERCENT, if that -- seized from the cartels are even submitted for tracing? The numbers are too politicized? I'd bet they don't release those numbers because they're not anywhere near accurate. At least I'd hope that's the case, but one never really knows. And we see that no one really knows how many cartel weapons are actually coming from the United States, either. I'd love to see how many of those warehoused weapons are select-fire and don't have serial numbers. (As you all probably know, if you get caught with one of those types of weapons in the United States, you get ten years in jail and a $250,000 fine and get stripped of your right to arms.) But I'm sure we'll never find out.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Batting around a troll.

Yes, I know, but I just couldn't resist...especially since I am running low on blogfodder:

Those who can't .... blog angrily.
Those who can't do what? Sing? Apparently this is someone I know who has heard me sing and didn't like it but was too chickenshit to tell me that I wasn't that good of a singer. Of course most folks who have heard me sing have told me I sound really good, but there are going to be those few who don't agree, and that's all right with me.
Maybe you and this moron can start a band and get out there and show everyone what it is like to be perfect.
Hooo, straw man! I never said anything about anyone being perfect. I don't think any of my favorite singers or bands are perfect. Hell, even George Strait and Alan Jackson have disappointed me periodically. (Never together, though. I'd love to see them record a duet album.)
It really sucks that in "almost" every Sugarland song there is a positive message. Despite whatever Ego issues you might have with them, few bands are as generous with their fans
Non sequitur alert! I fail to see where the "positive messages" come into this discussion. It wasn't about messages. It was about shitty pop music being marketed as country. Big difference there.
Unlike your blog, read by few which spews hatred.
Lol. So just because I don't like your pet band I spew hatred, despite the fact that I rave about my favorite music here more than I rag on Nashville music. Shades of the Carrie Cult here...
Oh and Sugarland made you a metalhead? Really?
If you'd read the blog you'd have been able to figure the answer to that out for yourself.
Sugarland would support your listening to multiple genres.
Sure they would, considering they try their hand at so many of them but country...

Sorry, dude. Hate to break it to you, but just because I don't like your favorite band doesn't make me a moron, a perfectionist, narrow-minded, jealous, or any other characteristic you'd like to attribute to me. Just like your liking them doesn't make YOU a moron. Different strokes for different folks. But you certainly seem to come with an unhealthy amount of insecurity and self-righteousness. You don't see me typing things like "George Strait sucks" or "Iron Maiden is lame" and going off to troll the blogs that come up in the results, do you? No. No you don't. Have a nice day now.

Somebody didn't get the memo... the truth slipped out:

Many Democrats scoffed at the notion that the Republicans, under the leadership of backbench bombthrower Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., could win back the House. But President Bill Clinton's push for universal health care (seeing a pattern yet?), gun control and lowering barriers to gays serving in the military brought forth a tidal wave of resentment. 
What's that? Clinton's push for universal health care AND more gun control was one of the reasons the Republicans beat the Democrats so thoroughly at the polls in 1994? It wasn't the failure to pass a health care plan? I'm sure the author of THAT blog post is going to get a stern talking-to.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Puppet proctology?

Yeah, I know, I never would've thought about that either. At least not before today, when Esther (my youngest stepdaughter) picked up a mouse puppet they'd left over at Sabra's mother's house. Apparently she asked what the hole in the bottom was for, and Sabra told her, "That's so you can shove your hand up the mousey's butt and make sure its prostate's okay."

Ahhhh, Merle. "It's a big job just gettin' by, with nine kids and a wife..."

Who said this?

Right here:

"You read it on message boards, you see what people say or if I'm looking at a guitar website: 'Old country music! Whatever happened to old country music?' Well, it became old country music. And I love it. I love everything about it. I love the day and time of Johnny Cash and Buck Owens on the radio. I love it. But they aren't with us. We have what we have now, and I'm very proud of these people."
Tim McGraw? A member of Rascal Flatts? No. Avowed traditionalist Brad Paisley said this. And of course he has a right to his opinion, but if -- as CMW said -- this is Paisley "balancing traditionalism with relevance," then it sounds to me as if he's saying traditional country isn't all that relevant anymore. Which makes one wonder why he fancies himself as one....

Oh, my. Scott Stroud really said this?

Yes. Yes he did.

But for someone who pledges allegiance to the Constitution, he sure would rewrite the sucker. He'd prefer, for example, to have senators elected by state legislatures.
Erm...rewriting the Constitution would not be required to have senators elected by state legislatures. It would require nothing more than the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, the process for which is considerably different than the process required to "rewrite the sucker."

Also, "Tenth Amendment radical"? What would you think of someone who described a politician as a "First Amendment radical" or a "Fourth Amendment radical"? Or how about an "Eighth Amendment radical"? You'd probably think such people were authoritarian, sociopathic control freaks, wouldn't you?

And how nice to see his opinion that Southerners are so incontrovertibly racist that we would still think it peachy to own other human beings in 2010. What a jerk. I swear, folks like Stroud and Jan Jarboe Russell bring to mind the folks Brian Burns was singing about in "Welcome to Texas":

"You don't like our drivin', you don't like our roads. You make fun of the way we talk, make fun of our clothes. But you clog up our highways, been pourin' in for years; if you don't like the way we do it, what are you doin' here?"

Looks like there was at least a nugget of truth... what I was saying the other day. From this morning's Express-News:

(Democratic political consultant Leland) Beatty said there also is the phenomenon in which Hispanics assimilate into Anglo, blue-collar neighborhoods and the men in particular begin voting like their Anglo neighbors.

“Demographically,” he said, “we're talking about people who listen to the same radio stations, drive the same pickups and wear the same gimme caps.”
How interesting. People assimilate and they start voting like many Americans instead of like foreigners would vote. I would take that off the top of my head to mean that many of the naturalized Americans that came from Mexico would have supported someone like Francisco Canseco because of his support for Arizona's Senate Bill 1070. I could be wrong, but it wouldn't surprise me if Canseco did get quite a few votes from Mexican expats. There are only so many white voters in Alamo Heights...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Why should Perry have cared?

About meeting with or seeking the endorsement of the San Antonio Express-News or any other of the state's major daily papers, that is. It's not as if any of them had any interest in getting his message out free of their own lefty spin or distortion. The people working for Texas' major papers all considered savaging Perry as their primary mode of entertainment this election season. I really can't blame him for telling them to go pound sand.

It'd be interesting to see...

...if this sort of thing would happen in Texas. Protesting in neighborhoods and vandalizing the property of innocent people? Oh no. Not just no, but hell no. That would be about the time the guns came out. Or at least it would be if so many people were not conditioned to believe that "the police will take care of it"...

FAIL, right out of the gate...

...and an appallingly obvious one for a columnist in Jan Jarboe Russell's position:

Given the vast amount of money and time devoted to make sure Texas rivals Mississippi for low taxes, low services and status as the most undereducated state in the union...
Vast amount of money? I thought that was what Russell and her ilk wanted us to SPEND, not what was actually being SPENT. And of course that money has to come from somewhere. While Texas' economy has fared much better than those of most states, sales tax payments and property values (to which, of course, property TAXES are tied) are and have been down from what they were. I'm guessing Russell is a proponent of a state income tax on "the wealthy," or just more taxes in general -- which would among other things take more money that could be used to create jobs and bolster the economy, and fuel sales tax payments all on its own -- thereby dragging the Texas economy down in the muck in which so many other states are stuck, and making it MORE difficult to get more money for the schools and everything else. Of course Russell has such a tenuous grasp on every other topic about which she writes that it doesn't surprise me that she knows nothing about economics either.

What's that, you say? WHO lost the independent voters?

The Democrats did, that's who:

Some key strategists believed that Obama voters, many of whom had scant history voting in Democratic primaries, would swallow their anxiety over deficit spending, bailouts and the president's sprawling health care reform, and vote Democratic anyway.


“We actually had a decent Democratic turnout, but we absolutely lost the independent voters,” said political consultant Christian Archer, one of the principals of Bexar County United Democrats, a privately run organization that sought to get Democrats to the polls.

“We were looking at '08 primary voters, and a lot of them just flat out left us,” Archer said.

How funny. How many times did the token "conservatives" say the Republicans in various places were going to drive off moderates with their "incendiary" and "divisive" "oogedy-boogedy right-wing" rhetoric? How many times did they effectively say the Republicans should tack to the center so as to avoid alienating the moderate voters?

And how about that first paragraph? "Yeah, our guys in charge did all this stuff that scared the snot out of a bunch of folks Dear Leader hoodwinked into voting for him with that hopey-changey bullshit, but we really thought they'd get out and vote for what was essentially more of the same. How could we have been so wrong?"

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Maybe they should look in the mirror...

...instead of pointing the finger at someone else:

WASHINGTON — Tea party-backed candidates helped and hindered Republicans, injecting enthusiasm into campaigns but losing Senate seats held by Democrats in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada that the GOP once had big hopes of capturing.
Republican leaders and strategists are muttering that the same tea party activists who elevated Speaker-to-be John Boehner and the party to power in the House simultaneously hobbled the GOP's outside shot of running the Senate.
"You let the voters decide" the nominees, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said Friday. "It's a risk. Voting is a risk."
Wow, what an elitist jerk Michael Steele is. You know that left unspoken in that first sentence was "but if we don't think the voters' choices are moderate enough we'll throw them to the wolves and let them fend for themselves." I suppose that might be too harsh considering that national Republicans did back Sharron Angle in Nevada, but even so the Republican establishment's bias against the tea party candidates is still pretty obvious. You know what the Republican Party needs? It needs its own "Revolt at Cincinnati."

Friday, November 05, 2010

Answering her own question.

This widow did that:

Investigators have released a surveillance camera image that shows the black pickup involved in an apparent "road rage" killing that occurred in the middle of the afternoon Oct. 19 on a busy thoroughfare in southwest Houston.
"I know the police's gang task force has been involved to determine if the shooting was gang-related," she (the wife of the man killed in said shooting) said. "Why would so many people be driving around with loaded guns? I'm told this is their initiation season."
Yeah, if I knew it was gang initation season I'd be driving around with a loaded gun too. But it's not a bad idea even if it isn't.

Demonizing whom, again?

Somehow Scott Stroud writing this does not surprise me in the least (emphasis mine -- ed.):

Congressman Ciro Rodriguez didn't say much during the fall campaign about Arizona's new immigration law, which Republican Congressman-elect Francisco “Quico” Canseco heartily endorsed.
In a district with a voting-age population that's 63 percent Hispanic, that's a major reason the Democrat lost Tuesday.
It remains the issue on which Republicans are most likely to crack open a bottle of crazy, diminishing their appeal to moderates, independents and even Republicans who think demonizing ethnic groups isn't cool.
Good grief, what a git. It's not demonizing ethnic groups. It's demonizing LAWBREAKERS. There's a big difference there. I love how Stroud just breezed right over the fact that Francisco Canseco "heartily endorsed" the controversial Arizona immigration law and then went right into talking about other aspects of the immigration issue. And it's not as if that law wasn't one of the most-discussed news items in YEARS. So. Let's repeat this, just for good measure. Francisco Canseco endorsed the new hugely controversial (to the media) Arizona immigration law. In a congressional district whose voting-age population is 63 percent Latino. And he WON. So apparently the law and Canseco's endorsement of it -- from the perspective of Democrats and Latino advocacy groups -- at best was not a big deal to said population and at worst was a factor in Canseco's win. I would not extrapolate this to the Latino population as a whole in Texas or nationwide, but it would be very interesting to see what would've happened in other districts, especially those whose races were as contentious as the one in District 23, had one of the candidates endorsed the Arizona law. Something tells me we're not getting a picture of how Latinos (who came here legally) feel about stricter immigration laws that's anywhere near accurate.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

History lesson FAIL...

...not surprisingly, from the Houston Chronicle editorial board:

For their part, resurgent Republicans on Capitol Hill would be wise to ignore the model left for them by their '94 predecessors, who regrettably used their election triumph as a pretext to shut down the federal government. It cost them dearly.
Um, NO. They most certainly did NOT do that. It was the Democrats who shut down the government in 1995 because they didn't agree to reductions in Medicare increases. Payments were going to be increased, just by a lower amount than the Dems wanted. And they and the press were able to spin that as "those evil Republicans cutting Medicare to pay for tax cuts for the rich." It was the most disgusting thing I've ever seen since I've followed politics. And it's unconscionable that the editorial board of this state's biggest paper would say that Republicans used their victory that way when anyone who really knows what went on back then knows damn good and well that isn't the case.

The answer is no...

..."tea and theocracy" do NOT mix. At least I sure as hell hope not. It may be a bit harsh to refer to Ralph Reed & Co. as "theocrats," but considering how they will hijack and co-opt the conservative movement at every turn, I think "social conservative" is a bit too mild of a term for them. They're for more government just like liberals are; they just want it in different areas of people's lives. In some ways they're worse, because -- as noted here before -- there are those in the movement that will put all of our rights in jeopardy to make sure their sacred cows' asses are covered. I really do hope they're marginalized to the extent that the libertarians in the Tea Party are able to get things done in Washington and don't get derailed by all the social issues, but we will see.

How stupid do you have to be... break into a house in Texas armed with only a knife?

 homeowner shot and killed one intruder and gravely injured another after a group of knife-wielding men kicked in the man's door early Wednesday, police said.
Cresencio Briones, 37, told police four combative men showed up outside his home in the 500 block of Creath Place around 1:30 a.m. looking for someone who allegedly was staying at the house.

A witness told officers one of the men said he'd recently been released from prison and didn't care if he went back, according to a police incident report.

Moments later, the witness saw him kick in the door and enter the home alongside Rene Zapata, 19, who was holding a knife, the report states.

Briones fired multiple shots from inside the home with a .38-caliber handgun, prompting one of the intruders to flee in a dark-colored vehicle.
"Briones is not expected to face charges." Well, I sure as hell hope not. He should get the key to the damn city for ridding the community of yet more stupid criminals. As the old saying goes, "Never bring a knife to a gunfight." I seriously have to wonder what those thugs were thinking when they broke into that man's house.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

This isn't going to be so true anymore... least I don't think so:

You, too, will reach a point when a new gizmo seems impossible to use.

 I could be wrong, but I don't think I am, considering the technological innovations we've seen in the last century. It's probably safe to say that previous generations either didn't really know what their progeny would be capable of or didn't think new inventions would make that much sense, and Froma Harrop tacitly acknowledges as much here. But with the newer technology comes a different mindset. Consider this:
This is the best way I could think to illustrate what I'm about to talk about here. (It's not a perfect illustration, I know, but I think it gets the job done.) The x-axis is the horizontal axis, while the y-axis is the vertical. Let's say the horizontal axis here represents a timeline, and the vertical axis represents technological perfection (defined as the most gadgets that do the most stuff, maybe). The y-values on the graph represent the number of new whizbang gadgets. The red line that denotes the function represents society's march towards technological perfection. As the years go on, you see us getting ever closer to technological perfection, but never actually getting there. I don't know where we'd be on the curve here, but I think it's safe to say we're at least very close to the point at which the red line starts going vertical as opposed to earlier generations when the line was still horizontal (that is, when there weren't all those new and exciting widgets). With the curve in the middle comes the realization of what this generation and the succeeding generations will be capable of.

Anyway, I told you all that to tell you this: We know what we're capable of. And I think it's safe to say that there won't be as many things that we won't be able to figure out as we think there might be. Back in the Depression a robotic car that drove itself seemed like a fantasy, but then the same could be said for laptop computers, the Internet and mp3 players. I really don't think we'll believe as our forebears did, that *fill-in-the-blank* is technologically infeasible. We know what we're capable of. And I think we'll adjust our mindsets accordingly to be able to take advantage of it. Thoughts? Borepatch? I was  channeling you here somewhat...

No, this blog will not be turning into a Failbook rip-off...

...but this was just too good not to post...

I see what he's getting at...

...but this was a really ham-handed way of saying it:

Our world has changed and we need to change the way we educate our kids. They really don't care about George Washington crossing the Delaware. They do care about having to survive and make money. So let's give them what they need.
Surviving and making money is good, but I don't understand why history and critical thinking should be given the short shrift in any kid's education. Learning that should be as important as learning math and science in high school at least. I thought the whole point of trade schools was to teach trades exclusively anyway, no? I don't see why we should do the same in middle and high schools. But maybe that's just me...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Your oh-so-tolerant left on display...

...right here:

Pretty much speaks for itself, don't you think?

Welcome, visitors from Another Gun Blog! Main page is here, pull up a seat and stay a while!

Maybe they should bring those refineries home.

Valero and Tesoro, that is:

The two San Antonio refining companies have spent millions backing the measure (Proposition 23), which would put California's law reducing greenhouse-gas emissions on hold until the Golden State's present 12.4 percent unemployment level falls to 5.5 percent for a full year.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has referred to Valero and Tesoro as “greedy Texas oil companies” and some of the biggest polluters in California.

In a speech in late September, Schwarzenegger kicked it up a notch, saying, “Does anyone really believe that these companies, out of the goodness of their black-oil hearts, are really spending millions and millions of dollars to protect jobs? This is like Eva Braun writing a kosher cookbook. ... It's about their ability to pollute and thus protect their profits.”
Greedy Texas oil companies. How special. If Ah-nuld really feels that way, then Valero and Tesoro executives need to take a long, hard look at the costs of moving those refineries to a more business-friendly state (such as the state in which those two companies are headquartered). I'm sure Texas would welcome with open arms those 4,000 jobs, that $259 million payroll and $100 million in taxes, and it would make for great press in the state too: "Texas companies bringing jobs home." No doubt Jan Jarboe Russell, Rick Casey and other Texas media pundits would spin it as Valero and Tesoro moving jobs to where the laws are more lax, but that's okay. I'd think those Texans who took those jobs and the people running the places where said Texans spend their money care a hell of a lot more about providing for their families than they do about the opinions of lamebrained journalists.

Tuesday Music Musings: Sugarland and Carrie Underwood

Jennifer Nettles really said this about Sugarland's new album?

I think it’s inspired a lot of conversation about ‘what is country music today?’ That makes me feel very proud to be a part of that kind of cultural moment.
I wouldn't be surprised if most replies to that question, in the context of the new Sugarland album, go something like, "Whatever country music is, it sure as hell ain't this shit." I sat down and listened to "Stuck Like Glue," the album's first single, so as to make an informed decision; and the only thing I can say that as bad as Sugarland had sounded before, this was a thousand times worse. I don't necessarily think that blending genres is a bad thing, but that only works if the two genres share some stylistic elements. (How else could Willie Nelson or Waylon Jennings have pulled off "Midnight Rider"? It wouldn't have sounded nearly as good if the Allman Brothers had been part of, say, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.) Like CMW said, have they even been reading their own reviews? Good Christ, and people think DREAM THEATER is pretentious? I don't think James LaBrie or John Petrucci ever talked about their music the way Sugarland talked about themselves. Of course, they knew what they wanted to do and didn't go about shitting on a treasured genre the way Sugarland does either. But then I suppose Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush are catering to the people who didn't like country music to begin with, as evidenced by this comment to the CMT story:
FYI, I've been to a great deal of concerts, and when artists do covers, generally the covers AREN'T country songs. Tim McGraw sang an Elton John song for crying out loud, so you can't use Sugarland's covers as a strike against them.
I don't even know where to begin with this. Most of the country concerts I've been to have involved the artists doing covers of country songs. For every Jo Dee Messina covering Huey Lewis and the News, I have seen six or seven George Straits covering Bob Wills and Merle Haggard. And yes I CAN use Sugarland's covers as a strike against them. I have done the same with other artists and I don't understand why it can't be used as a valid yardstick to measure just how "country" an artist is. You wouldn't see me covering Metallica or Iron Maiden if I considered myself a country artist. I wouldn't do the Eagles, the Doobie Brothers or Bad Company either.

And what to make of Carrie Underwood?
I’m glad people can find some happy by telling people what they had for lunch.
Find some happy. This is a mass communication major with an emphasis in journalism saying this, friend -- not just a mass comm major, but one who graduated magna cum laude. I must say, that doesn't speak well of her alma mater's communications programs.

(h/t Country California)

Back to bed for me...

Feeling like hammered dogshit, been that way since last night. A nasty stomach bug got me. More later.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Delusions of grandeur?

Sure seems that way to me:

In Oxford (Miss. -- ed.) the mayor Patterson says his opposition to Sunday alcohol sales isn't out of fear of fire and brimstone.
"The majority of the people who live here don't want it to be another Beale Street or Bourbon Street," Patterson said, referring to tourist destinations in Memphis, Tenn., and New Orleans, respectively. "It's about the direction your town is heading."
Oh yes, Oxford, Mississippi is SO CLOSE to getting to be one of the hottest tourist destinations in the country that all it would take to get them there is legalizing alcohol sales on Sunday....

How utterly ridiculous. It's been years since I've been to Oxford, but from what I remember, pretty much its only attraction is the University of Mississippi. And even if Oxford got to be a tourist destination like Memphis or New Orleans, I'd think that was a good thing in times like these.

Maybe they should declare...

...a War On Alcohol:

Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, according to a new study.
I don't know why they needed a study to do something like that, because it's already very well known how much damage legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco cause. Interesting how they said we couldn't go back to the days of prohibition because alcohol was too embedded in the culture. That certainly didn't stop Carrie Nation and her band of thugs, did it? And what's so different about this as opposed to the outlawing of other substances and campaigning unsuccessfully to keep them out of society?

Bleg: I wouldn't normally do this, but...

...I need help. I got a money order for $250 to cover the last part of the rent, and I lost it. I have the receipt for the MO, but it's going to take a little bit to get the money back. I would be more than happy to pay each one of you back who hits up the PayPal link at the right; I'll keep track of your donations and pay you back as soon as I can. Those of you who have blogs of your own, spread the word if you like. I truly appreciate your help.