Friday, July 30, 2010

RKBA, free speech and Mexico

You know what I'd love to see? A discussion of how the Mexican people's right to keep and bear arms having largely been denied is affecting freedom of the press in Mexico. I realize that the drug traffickers are getting arms from other nations that aren't even available commercially in the United States, but somehow I get the feeling that if Mexican media outlets were able to form their own little militias and start shooting back, things would be a lot different. Thoughts?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Do I really look that naive?

...or, I'd like to take the handle of that damn pan and beat some people down for their fucking nerve...

I'm used to panhandlers, yes. I encountered them every now and then back in Southeast Texas. Perhaps I should have known the number of times I'd be approached by them would increase when I moved to the big city, but I was still taken aback by it, especially lately; at the closest H-E-B, it seems I have gotten approached by someone about four times out of every five that I have been there. One incident earlier this week triggered my ire:

Panhandler: "Do you have a couple dollars?"
Me: "No."
Panhandler:"Come on, can't we work something out? I come to your house and do your lawn?"

Oh yes. I will give a complete stranger directions to my home! I DID in fact fall off the turnip truck yesterday! Who the hell do these assholes think they are? Yeah, I realize they may be falling on hard times, but do they think everyone they come up to has that money to spare? It's one thing to ask, but after I say no, dammit that should be IT.  Would that I could do that again. I know exactly what I'd say.

"Don't fucking ask me again, what the fuck is wrong with you? Don't you fucking think I have a family to feed too?"

I know very well that Jesus said, "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me," but who's to say that "the least of these" is anybody but my pregnant wife and three stepdaughters? I may drive a semi-new truck, but it's NOBODY'S place to assume that I have money to give away just because of that. More and more I understand my wife's aversion to people in general...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More musical musings: Yep, that's exactly the problem....

...or, Sometimes I think I get off on the pain...

I made the lunch run just now, to this little barbecue joint on New Braunfels Avenue just north of IH-10. And once again, I left the Sirius receiver at home and surfed. I need to get out of that habit. I heard a Y100 promo that went, "We play the best country," followed by a snippet of Kid Rock's "All Summer Long." I thought to myself, all righty then, as I went on to KZEP and Bad Company...

And backing out of the place to bring home lunch, once again on Y100, I heard Jason Aldean's "Crazy Town" (thought the melody sounded like "She's Country," and that's a commentary all its own -- people think GEORGE STRAIT records the same song over and over? What the hell ever, y'all.) in which he describes Nashville as "Hollywood with a touch of twang." And I thought that summed up the problem with modern country in a nutshell, though I'm sure the songwriters probably meant it as a compliment. So back to KISS 99.5 it went. Lord knows Sirius isn't perfect, but it's still a fat lot better than terrestrial. I'd have to agree with TFG's comment here, though I do love the headbangers:

"This town don't know from country music -- it's headbangers and Nashville.  Kind of like hell would be."

There can be only one... least, according to one letter-writer in today's Houston Chronicle:

The Bushes, not the Kennedys, are the royal family of the United States.
Really? I don't recall any of the Bushes being romanticized by the media the way the Kennedys have been. Everybody and his brother knows about the JFK administration and that general era being painted as an "American Camelot" of sorts. The Kennedy mystique and the media musings of "what might have been" were only amplified by Bobby Kennedy's assassination; it's arguable that had neither Jack nor Bobby been cut down in the prime of their careers, we might well have seen three or even four Kennedy presidents. Of course I'd hate to think Americans would have been so starstruck as to have elected a piece of human detritus like Teddy, but I am well aware that could have happened -- perhaps even in spite of Chappaquiddick. Thank the good Lord above that it didn't, though.

It's good to see...

...that at least some interests and concerns transcend skin color, especially in this day and age. It's also good to see an organization that represents black-owned businesses not reflexively support what the president (with the backing of Congress) wants to do just because he's a black Democrat. One might even call that progress, even though we still have a long, long way to go.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I wish I had thought of this.

ROTFLMAO at this comment from jdruse, in the comments to this post:

Bono peaked with Cher, it's all been downhill from there (including the tree).
I bow to your rapier wit, dude!

Monday, July 26, 2010

This is somehow the fault...

...of those damned American gun shows, right? I mean, surely the Mexican prison guards are not really to blame, huh?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stupid radio edits

...or, The pussification of terrestrial country radio continues.

I should preface this by saying I don't make it a habit to listen to San Antonio country radio. I'd heard enough complaints from Sabra about about KJ97 and Y100 that I figured it'd be best to stay away from them. It'd take a lot for me to be pulled away from the satellite radio anyway, though KISS 99.5 is actually a pretty good rock station and I've really gotten to like KKYX...

The other day I made a run to Bill Miller's and HEB and left my satellite radio at the house, so I was left with terrestrial. So I surfed, as I am wont to do, and came up on Y100 playing the Zac Brown Band's "Toes," which as far as mainstream country songs go is pretty edgy, with the line about the dude having his "ass in the sand" and "roll(ing) a big fat one." But what do I hear when they get to that first line?

"I got my toes in the water, toes in the clay."

And radio programmers (and supposedly audiences) had a problem with the word "ass" here but two summers ago had no problem with the blatant sexual overtones in Rascal Flatts' "Bob That Head"? What the hell is wrong with people?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

They do this quite often.

A letter in today's Express-News:

In his article “Republican political wave could hit rocky shore” (Other Views, July 18), Michael Gerson takes time out to throw some eggs at libertarianism. His comments are quite inaccurate.
Many people who throw eggs at libertarians do indeed take liberties with the truth about the libertarian philosophy. Almost to a man and woman, they paint libertarians as, well, anarchists -- as if anarchism and libertarianism were one and the same. I know well why they do it, but you'd think if their position was so strong, they wouldn't have to resort to lies.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Like they don't have a clue.

Damned if I can find a link to it, but in the print edition of the San Antonio Express-News I read a news analysis from the Washington Post on the Shirley Sherrod affair.  Said analysis characterized Andrew Breitbart as someone who had a "casual relationship with the truth" -- without a single shred of evidence to back up said characterization. It's like they think they still have any credibility outside the ruling class. Amazing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More random music musings: U2 and best-of lists

I saw this comment at The 9513 a couple of weeks ago, re: Dierks Bentley's cover of the U2 song "Pride (In The Name Of Love)":

“the Joshua Tree” is probably in the Top 5 (10?) albums of all time, any genre. 
...and I had to say, "Really? As good as, say, Waylon Jennings' Honky Tonk Heroes, Metallica's Master of Puppets or Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime (or even The Warning if you Queensryche fans are feelin' froggy)?"

I have NEVER understood what everyone thought was so great about U2. I suppose some of their songs are fairly well-written lyrically, but beyond that I just never saw that much to put them on the level on which some people put them. Both instrumentally and vocally I was largely left with this impression: Meh. Bono was never much more than a competent vocalist at best, and I don't recall any of the guitar work on U2's records that made me sit up and take notice. That's not to say that the band was not talented or that their music was disposable on the level that, say, Rascal Flatts' music is; but still, to me they've just always been one of those bands that if you could buy them for what they're worth and sell them for what the critics and the band's fans think they're worth, you could eat lobster and steak every night for the rest of your life.

Beyond that, there's the whole issue of "Top 5 albums of any genre." I suppose every generation has its own tastes and opinions, but it strikes me that to narrow any list like that down to such a low number is incredibly narrow-minded because you're necessarily going to be excluding a train-load of great music from various genres and sub-genres. Is it really fair that bands like Queensryche and Iron Maiden are by and large excluded from any "best albums of any genre" solely because their music didn't get played that much outside of niche programs like MTV's Headbangers Ball (and only then if the songs had videos)? Such is the problem with such lists, I suppose -- they're all ultimately shaped by media exposure. I'd love to see how music fans' perceptions would have been different had things like the Internet and satellite radio existed 30 years ago. Thoughts, anyone?

Welcome to the party, Leonard.

...or, Yeah, Leonard, let's do that:

Let's admit War on Drugs a failure

 And while we're at it, how about we give up on this silly and arguably just as antithetical to liberty War On Guns, too? I know you hate them as much as you hate drugs, but if you're going to argue that Prohibition was a failure with tobacco and drugs, it only follows that you have to extend the argument to other prohibited objects, too. And how about you confront the nasty reality of the history of gun control, that it was originally used as a tool to keep black people down just as surely as the drug laws do now?

Monday, July 19, 2010

I have been a very bad blogger.

Wow, so much for updating once a day, eh? You're lucky i you get fresh content once a week now! I am still here and missing that reliable Internet connection, but I think I have found a semi-acceptable substitute for now. (And the flip side of that is that I have gotten behind on my blog READING as well...) So look for more posts here. Perhaps not once a day, maybe, but I will do the best I can.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Not surprising in the least.

Texas LEO Matt G:

Apparently, it's ludicrous, in the mind of a N.Y.T. editor, to conceive of a situation when an armed family member would be a more effective response to a real threat than calling a police officer to your location, away from the thousand-odd other persons that he's charged with protecting.
Sure it's ludicrous to them. It has been posited in many corners of the Web that there are two Americas, and the New York Times' position on armed self-defense is yet more proof of that. I will freely admit that growing up in rural east Texas I was imbued with certain opinions and sensibilities that are completely foreign to those who work at the NYT (and those who take seriously the opinions of its editorial board). One wonders what those people would say to the fact that it was someone with a badge who called the NYT's position for the bullshit that it is, especially considering that he's far from the only rank-and-file LEO who supports the RKBA.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Still here...

I am still alive! Tired, but alive. We're in the process of moving. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 05, 2010

Well, I guess that answers that.

Not long ago, I posited, after reading an E.J. Dionne column: strikes me that E.J. Dionne thinks that democratically elected officials' decisions should ultimately be the last word...Seriously, does he not know what the function is of the judicial branch of government?
Well, with this morning's column, he shows once again that he either does not know or care about said function, as he seems to praise Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's remarks that she would be deferential to Congress when casting her vote in cases before the court. I don't see why Elena Kagan apparently doesn't think everything is "clear-cut." Sure seems like it to me -- either it is or is not faithful to the Bill of Rights and/or conducive to liberty as the Founders envisioned it. Oliver Wendell Holmes might well have "insisted that if the people wanted it, it was their right to go hang themselves," but what about when the people wanted to force people to hang themselves who wanted to keep on living? I suppose that might count as one of those more extreme cases, but at any rate, you see what the deference of the liberal wing of the court to elected officials has meant in recent years. It has meant the liberals on the Supreme Court have deferred to:
those who took land from a private citizen to give to a public entity because the public entity's use of the land supposedly benefited the public more;
those who denied their citizens the right to protect themselves with firearms in their own homes; and
those who denied certain organizations their constitutional rights to free speech.
I'm guessing that E.J. Dionne, Elena Kagan and their ilk wouldn't see those cases as "extreme," even though it's been argued here and there that if you don't have the right to your property and the right to defend yourself, you really don't have any rights at all. Apparently "progressives" think that's just fine as long as elected officials decide it.

Yeah, let's COMPLETELY ignore... the American Revolution started:

On this 4th of July we are remembering those lost in IL & IN during the Benjamin Smith Shooting Spree Support gun control
 Yes, indeed. Forget the fact that the first shots in the American Revolution were fired because British troops came to seize arms and gunpowder from the colonists. Not that I'm surprised that they're depressed -- I mean, with two defeats at the highest court in the land in the last couple of years, wouldn't you be too? -- but I still thought it was rather ironic that they would say "Support gun control," considering the Redcoats' attempted disarmament of the people was one of the bigger issues to factor in the Revolutionary War.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Your non sequitur of the day.

I don't understand how the writer of this letter (last one on the page) gets from this...

Well, San Antonio, after reading so many letters in this newspaper that bicyclists have no rights, that they deserve to be mowed over and that $1 million for a safe bike trail is a waste of money, I have finally decided: that is how it's gonna be.
to this:

I guess I have two choices now: Move to a friendly, healthy city or sell my bike and start eating more hamburgers, tacos and ice cream. Thanks for nothing!
It sucks that he got hit, but I don't understand why he can't find another way to exercise. Why does it have to be a choice between bicycling and letting yourself go? I've heard a lot of people say bicycle riders are self-righteous pricks. I can certainly see why they would be labeled as such, if this writer's attitude is any indication.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Oh, I understand it perfectly.

I saw this comment at the 9513, regarding one Eric Church:

I don’t understand most of the hostility thrown toward this guy.
Well, for one, how about this? If you have to market yourself as an "outlaw" country singer as Church does, um, BY DEFINITION YOU ARE NOT AN OUTLAW. I realize it's an image as much as anything, but the thing about that is that people like Waylon, Willie, et al. did not market themselves as Outlaws. The term and its accompanying image, from what I read, have their origins with music journalist Hazel Smith. To the extent the '70s "outlaw" singers marketed themselves as outlaws, they did it mainly with their music and not with macho bravado posturing. Of course you know a lot of them also lived fast and high; Waylon's "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand" was based on a true story, from what I recall. The closest Eric Church has gotten to that is insisting on real wine glasses when he's on tour, so that whole "outlaw" thing comes off as a bit fake, to say the least. And we haven't even gotten to the music itself. I've heard one song from Eric Church. I'll admit it. The name of the song was "Hell On The Heart," and he sounded like a Keith Urban clone in it so I pretty much wrote him off after that. So yeah, I totally get the hate.

Ooooh, the Derailers, at "I wanna go home to the Armadillo, good country music from Amarillo and Abilene..." The Gary P. Nunn original was the best, but the Derailers really nailed it on Viva Terlingua! Compadres, the tribute album to the legendary Viva Terlingua!, the live album recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker and friends in 1973.

More Texas Child Protective Services FAIL...

here, to add to all the others:

CPS spokeswoman Mary Walker said a caseworker monitoring Hernandez noticed improvement and never saw any signs of abuse by the last visit at the end of April.
(And just last night, I was telling Sabra that you see the results of CPS fuckups just like this on the front pages of this state's major metro dailies on what seems like an almost-daily basis...)

If you go on to read the rest of that story, you'll see that little Faith Escamilla had bruises, cuts, scabs and cigarette burns, and "the arrest affidavit states she had injuries to the nose and mouth consistent with suffocation." I'd be interested to know if CPS could have stopped that were they not diverting resources towards clearly fraudulent cases or, say, if their caseworkers used a bit more discretion and common sense as opposed to reverting to what they were indoctrinated to believe when they went for their MSW. I'd like to think they would have actually been able to do right by Faith, Riley Ann Sawyers, and Emma Thompson (to name but three kids who lost their lives at the hands of truly abusive parents). I guess we'll never know, though.

Still here...

Things are a bit hectic. Blogging will be sporadic. Stay tuned