Thursday, September 30, 2010

Seems pretty obvious to me...

The answer to this question, that is:

What if Mexico is compelled to accommodate organized crime and acquiesce to its demands? How do we protect our own nation? Our state? Our city? Our families?
An assault weapons ban and closing of the gun show loophole...

(and yes, that was sarcasm)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

There is a silver lining, I suppose... Rolling Stone magazine being yet another PR firm for the Democratic Party.

You'll recall my musing in this space before about Rolling Stone's (and publisher Jann Wenner's) cluelessness vis-a-vis rock music and who should be recognized in a Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame worthy of the name. Well, the 2011 nominees were announced this morning -- and it looks like cock-rockers extroadinaire Bon Fucking Jovi, dance music gurus Donna Summer and Chic, and punk-rockers-turned-hip-hoppers the Beastie Boys get nominated this year while the greats of the '70s and '80s still get the finger. (Can anyone explain to me why, for example, Bad Company and Rush are still not in the Hall of Fame? Rush put out some of the most intelligent and thought-provoking music of all time, and their influence on the rock genre and several subgenres is pretty much undeniable. As for Bad Company, they put out some of the most enduring, timeless straight-ahead rock of the decade -- AFTER forming from the ashes of several defunct bands.) And of course, there was that letter, which is pretty self-explanatory...

With as clueless as these people are about American rock music, their declared area of expertise (the Hall of Fame nominating committee consists of -- among others -- Wenner and several current and former RS writers, IIRC, with Wenner exerting substantial influence over who ultimately makes the cut), why should anyone give a shit about what they say about anything else?

(Welcome, visitors from MArooned! Main page is here, pull up a seat and stay a while!)

They had to fill the space somehow, I suppose...

Jan Jarboe Russell in Sunday's San Antonio Express-News:

The only way I see White winning is if Texans wake up on Election Day, see through the haze of anti-Obama fog and suddenly arrive at the conclusion that 14 straight years of Perry — and his political apparatus — is not in our best interest.
 Lovely. So JJR apparently thinks if Perry wins, Texas voters are in a haze. Texas might not be "recession-proof" as Perry claims, but the fact is that Texas has weathered the recession better than pretty much any other state. Of course you don't see Jan Jarboe Russell elaborating on exactly why 14 straight years of Rick Perry's governorship isn't in our best interest. It would have perhaps been in JJR's best interest to elaborate on that, or at least it would have been in the best interests of the page designers working at the Express-News on Saturday night.

And here's a photographic explanation of what I mean by that. Here is a photo of the first paragraph of Russell's column as seen in Sunday's print edition:

For comparison, here's a photo of the first graf of the neighboring Scott Stroud column:

I used to work in the journalism field as a page designer; I have extensive experience with the QuarkXPress page layout program. One of the ways to make a certain piece fit in a certain amount of space with Quark is to adjust the tracking, or the space between letters and words. You track something (decrease the spacing) in to fit in a smaller space, and you track it out (increase the spacing) to make it fit in a larger space.

Anyway, I told you all that to tell you this. It might not be obvious on the first glance, but here's what I could tell. I'm guessing the tracking on Stroud's column was normal, but they had to track Russell's column out to what looked like it might have been its upper limit. She apparently had so little to say that they had to stretch it to make it fit...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pesky explosive laws and regulations...

Gotta watch out for those, you know...(last graf)

Not-so-random hits: UT shooting, and old man getting beaten

Dude with the gun at UT obviously forgot the law. Guns aren't allowed on college campuses in Texas! Maybe he shot himself out of pure embarrassment upon the realization of that fact.

Bob S. asks this in reference to an old man getting beaten in East Texas:

So, Mr./Ms. Anti-Rights Advocate — what do you have to say to Mr. Whittington?
And we all know the answer to this, right?

"Tough shit, dude." *shrug* "Sorry about your face, but social control is the overriding goal here. Eggs, omelet…you know the rest."

Get rid of them, eh?

One wonders what the logistics of that would entail:

Paraphrasing Pareto, 80 percent of our religious problems come from 20 percent of those who consider themselves religious. Get rid of them, and 80 percent of our headaches are gone.
Can you imagine what the reaction would be if a conservative had said that? As for this:
Maybe we find it embarrassing for kids to know that Christians systematically slaughtered 11 million Native American men, women and children? That Germany was a Christian country during the Holocaust? That Christianity was the seed for Heaven's Gate and the Jonestown Kool-Aid Klub? It's never been about religious faith but about the loons that hijack that faith, whichever faith it may be.
We'd only find it embarrassing for kids to know from the perspective of religion because, well...

A. The slaughter of the Native Americans had almost everything to do with territorial acquisition and nothing to do with religion, which makes the fact that their killers were Christian irrelevant.

B. WWII Germany's status as a Christian nation was also irrelevant because Hitler saw Jews as a threat to the Aryan race, not the Christian religion. In fact, from what I've read, Hitler actually opposed anti-Semitism on religious grounds before he came to see Jews as a threat to the Aryans.

C. Although it incorporated elements of the Christian faith, Heaven's Gate was not rooted in Christianity. In fact, it was more of a New Age faith, incorporating elements of many faiths and influences from many other fields, including psychology.

D. The Jonestown massacre also was not rooted in Christianity. In fact, the people of Jonestown went there to create a community of socialists who eschewed religion completely because they viewed it just as Karl Marx did, the "opium of the people," and they saw socialism as a path to enlightenment -- not Christianity.

Does the San Antonio Express-News have ANY standards as to what it will publish? Or is this some plot by the secretly conservative editorial page editor to make leftists look stupid and/or ignorant? If it's the latter, it's brilliant -- and WORKING.

UPDATE: From my lovely wife, in comments:

Re B:  Nazi Germany was not a Christian nation.  (You live with me for six months and still don't know this?)  Nazi = National Socialist.  Socialism, by definition, is atheistic.  Faith should be in the State, not in God.  "Gott mit uns" on SS belt buckles--the most common "evidence" I come across from the dumber atheists out there as to Nazism's Christianity--was no more meaningful than "In God We Trust" on US currency.
That would have been a better way of putting it, yes. I was putting more of the emphasis on the fact that from a religious perspective it didn't matter what religion was predominant in Germany -- but when you consider that socialism is atheistic by definition, it makes the letter-writer look even MORE ignorant and/or stupid. ;-)

Everybody knows what's at fault here...


An alleged drug dealer was convicted of murder Monday and sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting a customer in the back during an argument over the price of marijuana.
It's all the gun lobby's fault. After all, if there had been a more strict background check requirement along with registration and licensing, this drug dealer never would have gotten a gun. It couldn't have been the fact that marijuana's illegality leads to it being dealt in the dangerous black market, no sir. It's all the gun lobby's fault.

On a more serious note, if you read on you'll see the assistant DA said the dealer could have argued he acted in self-defense. He did note that he was not saying the jury would have gone along with it, but it was something the prosecution had to think about. It strikes me that the only reason the dealer and his attorney didn't argue self-defense was the circumstances. In any other situation they could very well have argued that and won the case. It might not have been a slam-dunk, but this whole situation still strikes me as very, very wrong.

Now, you all know...

...what would have prevented this, right?

BAGHDAD (AP) -- An American serviceman is being held in Iraq in connection with the fatal shootings of two soldiers and the wounding of another following an apparent argument, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman, said a "verbal altercation" broke out among four soldiers last Thursday and the suspect "allegedly took his weapon and began shooting the other soldiers."

If only the police and military had guns...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh, look! Another gun control law failure!

This time in Florida:

A man shot and killed his estranged wife and four of his stepchildren and then killed himself early Monday, but he spared his two biological children, police said.
Police said there was a restraining order against (Patrick) Dell, who was in the midst of a divorce from his wife. He had gone after his wife with a knife in December, telling her "you will be going to the morgue," police said.
Now, I know for a FACT that Mr. Dell was a prohibited person as per the terms of the Lautenberg Amendment to GCA '68 because of that restraining order. Yet despite he still managed to get a gun and kill five people. Wow. It's almost as if gun control doesn't work.

I should note that I wouldn't be supporting Lautenberg if it DID work, just on the general principle of the thing; if there are people out there so dangerous they can't be trusted with guns, they shouldn't be trusted with knives, rope, matches, gasoline or anything else that can be used to kill. In other words, as so many of us have said so many times before, if these people are so dangerous they can't be trusted with guns, they ought to be locked up. This case is proof of that, as Patrick Dell had already gone after his estranged wife with a knife. And he got that knife without having to go through even a background check, let alone having to be licensed to own that knife or register that knife. Why was he not in jail? And why do gun banners not care about that?

Do what, Kenny Chesney?

I have to wonder what kinds of people Kenny Chesney talks to and/or hangs out with...

You could ask a guy my age or 90 when was he the happiest and had the most fun, and everybody that I have talked to said it was when they played high school football.
I guess this is probably the band nerd in me talking, but I can't imagine ever saying anything like that. I had fun in high school, and my experiences with the band ranked way up there, but it certainly isn't where my happiness in life peaked. Of course I've mentioned before that that I identify a lot more with songs like Cross Canadian Ragweed's "17" than, say, Jason Michael Carroll's "Where I'm From," the tune that mentions a variety of cliches, among them the quarterback dating the homecoming queen -- but even so, I'd like to think that even if I had been the star quarterback it wouldn't have been when I was "happiest and had the most fun." Maybe that's not a fair assessment of what Kenny Chesney's saying, but if that's the case why is it that he so often goes back to that particular well? "Young," "Never Wanted Nothing More," "I Go Back," and now "The Boys of Fall"? I understand looking back on those days fondly now and then, but there's a difference between that and what seems like constantly having your head turned...

(h/t Country California)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Control of definitions = control of narrative.

And we see that on full display here, as Beverly McPhail (McFAIL?) sets herself up quite well:

Definitions of feminism by noted feminists can separate the wheat from the chaff, and by extension, the feminists from the female conservatives.
Given McPhail's ideological bent, I'm sure all her "noted feminists" support taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, gun control and all the left's other pet projects. So of course female conservatives are going to be cast out of the feminist movement if you let those people define it. Never mind, of course, that somebody like Sarah Palin is a great example of what the feminist movement has accomplished in this country. A mother of five couldn't always have been elected to governor of Alaska (or ANY state, for that matter) and almost have been elected vice-president of the United States. But of course, you see, since she opposes abortion, she's apparently not a feminist. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that bitter harridans like Beverly McFAIL are still looking down their noses at women who don't share their ideological bent, but it doesn't speak well of the Houston Chronicle that they still give said creatures a platform to spew their vitriol.

Leftist intellectual midget says what, again?

He says, "Keep growing government," and gives a whopper of a reason for it:

To create jobs, the Republicans vow to make all of the Bush administration's tax cuts permanent — as opposed to the Democrats' position, which is to make the cuts permanent for the middle class but allow taxes to return to Clinton-era levels for households making more than $250,000 a year. The GOP also would give small-business owners a new 20 percent tax deduction on their business income.

But on the spending side, the party would take actions that would immediately destroy jobs. Republicans propose a hiring freeze for federal employees — exempting the defense and security sectors. Since the private sector isn't hiring, a public-sector job freeze would only ensure more unemployment.
If we're going to go along with Eugene Robinson's line of thinking, how about we suggest the feds create even more federal bureaucracies to employ everyone out of work now? What's that, you say? There'd be no way to pay their salaries without more economy-strangling taxes or more deficit spending? Exaaaactly.

And maybe the private sector isn't hiring because employers know they're going to get sacked at the first of the year as the Bush tax cuts expire? I'm not surprised that Eugene Robinson doesn't know any more about economics than he does anything else, but reading claptrap like this makes it quite obvious why the newspaper industry is in such dire straits.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

So Joe Wilson was right, apparently...

...when he called the president a liar:

President Barack Obama says Republicans' plan to slash taxes and cut spending if the GOP retakes the House in November is no more than "an echo of a disastrous decade we can't afford to relive."
Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday to skewer House Republicans over the "Pledge to America" they unveiled this week. It also promised to cut down on government regulation, repeal Obama's health care law and end his stimulus program.
"The Republicans who want to take over Congress offered their own ideas the other day. Many were the very same policies that led to the economic crisis in the first place, which isn't surprising, since many of their leaders were among the architects of that failed policy," Obama said.
Really? The Republicans cut spending when they controlled Congress? I could have SWORN that one of the complaints of the Republican base was that they INCREASED it with their own special brand of not-so-limited government, aka George Bush's "compassionate conservatism." Am I missing something here?

Well, why would they?

From the San Antonio Express-News:

How do Slayer's and Megadeth's albums hold up in a live setting 20 years down the line? Rock critic Bill Brownlee caught the two bands last month at Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone Amphitheater in Bonner Springs, Kan.

“As each band performed the entirety of those albums,” Brownlee wrote in the Kansas City Star, “it became clear that neither work has lost any of its sinister significance.”
Why would that music lose any of its significance? I can't really speak on Slayer, as Tom Araya's singing style never appealed to me so I never explored their music that much -- but I do have Megadeth's Rust in Peace, and it's a great record. There are those who say it's the band's best, but I don't have all of them so I can't really make a decision on that -- but it is very, very good. "Holy Wars (The Punishment Due)," "Hangar 18," "Tornado of Souls," the title track -- all those songs are timeless classics of the genre and stand quite well on their own merits both lyrically and musically. Metal itself at best is given short shrift as a genre and at worst is looked down upon by so many people, but it's every bit as valid and vital a genre of American and world music as any other. And, yes, 20 years later Rust In Peace is still a great record. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I hate that it took me 20 years to discover this music. I was missing out on so, so very much.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What about the other side of that coin?

I'm not surprised that E.J. Dionne looks at things the way he does...

Judge the tea party purely on the grounds of effectiveness and you have to admire how a very small group has shaken American political life and seized the microphone offered by the media, including the so-called liberal media. But it's equally important to recognize that the tea party constitutes a sliver of opinion on the extreme end of politics receiving attention out of all proportion with its numbers.
The tea party drowns out such voices because it has money -- some of it from un-populist corporate sources, as Jane Mayer documented last month in The New Yorker -- and has used modest numbers strategically in small states to magnify its impact.

Just recently, tea party victories in Alaska and Delaware Senate primaries shook the nation. In Delaware, Christine O'Donnell received 30,563 votes in the Republican primary, 3,542 votes more than moderate Rep. Mike Castle. In Alaska, Joe Miller won 55,878 votes for a margin of 2,006 over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is now running as a write-in candidate.
...but it's incredibly disingenuous of him to focus only on how many votes Tea Party-supported candidates have gotten. Ultimately it doesn't matter if the Tea Party's influence is out of proportion to its numbers, because Tea Party activists exercise their power by voting. Does the support of the majority of the electorate really matter if said majority stays at home when it's time to vote? Christine O'Donnell, Joe Miller and Sharron Angle might well have gotten the support of a minority of the electorate...but the flip side of that is that Mike Castle, Lisa Murkowski, Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian had the support of an even SMALLER minority of the electorate. One more time, this is nothing more than a lefty whistling past the graveyard. I'm not surprised that Dionne would be so disingenuous -- that's just how he rolls, and he's shown it time after time -- but you'd think he'd try a little harder.

(h/t Borepatch)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh, man, this is funny.

My wife and I often talk about the fact that I grew up in Texarkana, a town much smaller than San Antonio. She has told me a few times that there was no way she could live in a small town after growing up here. I told her that living in smaller towns never was either good or bad for me, it was just something that well, WAS -- though I will readily admit I love San Antonio. What bugged me about the town I grew up in was that it was not only not that big, but it was so damn far from, well, ANYWHERE. Three hours from Dallas, a good 5 1/2 hours from Houston and about 7 hours from San Antonio. Sure, there were Little Rock (two hours) and Shreveport (1 hour), but there's only so much to do in either of those locales. But I got a huge kick out of this:

Maybe the best apocalyptic novel I can think of is "A Canticle for Leibowitz", by Walter Miller. It is a post-nuclear holocaust novel, where the world slowly slowly recovers, over the centuries, to the point that the realization dawns on the reader that they are going to do it all over again.

And sure enough, they do it again, but apparently for keeps the second time, though it appears a few may escape into space. An amusing side light is that much of the action occurs in a future Texas, where one of the new empires that leads to the second nuclear holocaust is the Texarkanan Empire, with capital city of Texarkana, which apparently escaped the first holocaust due to its obscurity.
Not that I hated living in Texarkana, but this was just too funny. It struck me that in the other Texas metro areas I've lived in (Bryan-College Station and Beaumont-Port Arthur), I'd tell people where I was from and a lot (if not most) of them had no idea where it was. It was...obscure to them. ;-)

Wow, what a surprise.

No, really. I actually agree with pretty much every word Ruben Navarrette writes here. I'd be interested to know which of the "gaggle of right-wing radio talk show hosts" have been "discourteous and childish" towards Christine O'Donnell, though; as far as I can tell, all of the Big Three talkers on WOAI every day -- Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity -- enthusiastically support her. One of the reasons for that is that she was NOT anointed by the establishment. And then, as Navarrette points out, "It also didn't help (Mike) Castle with GOP primary voters that he has been seen over the years drifting to the Democratic side of the aisle."

What I'd like to know is, if O'Donnell's too conservative for Delaware, how exactly DID she manage to win? Do moderate Republicans in Delaware really hold such weak beliefs in their principles that they won't get off their asses and support people like Mike Castle on the primary level? (You can say the same vis-a-vis Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller in Alaska.) It's not as if no one saw it coming. The writing has been on the wall AT LEAST since Scott Brown took Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat back in January. Moderate supporters have had almost a year to open their eyes to what's going on, and still their preferred candidates went and are going down in flames. It strikes me that all those people saying candidates like Joe Miller and Christine O'Donnell can't win are whistling past the graveyard.

UPDATE: Quote of the day from blog-friend and fellow San Antonian Scott Chaffin, about what O'Donnell said on Bill Maher's show 11 years ago...

"Speaking as about a red-dirt, black-clay, gun-hugging, Jesus-loving, Constitutional-demanding mustachioed redneck with enough ammo in my garage to cause Bill F***ing Maher to faint, I can’t find myself possibly giving one lousy Mexican centavo about what is uttered in the Evil Dwarf’s presence on a show distinctly labeled Politically Incorrect, in which youthful persons of the teevee-lens seeking variety are encouraged to sit around and utter vapid bullshit for the poli-dorks sitting at home watching a show called Politically Incorrect....

"Can you seriously not see that you’re doing nothing but taking the Tiny Man Maher’s bait? Really? But screw that, that’s your problem. Mine is — are you that fucking dumb? Al Fucking Franken is a senator, and I’m supposed to reject Christine O’Donnell over a Bill Maher scripted set-piece of dipshittery? Give me a break, turn off your idiot box, read a book."

Wise advice, my friend, wise advice indeed.

This is nice...

...but there's still a hole in it big enough to drive a B-52 through:

Six weeks before midterm elections, House Republicans vowed to cut taxes and federal spending, repeal President Barack Obama's health care law and ban federal funding of abortion as part of a campaign manifesto designed to propel them to victory in November and a majority in the next Congress.
It calls for every bill to cite its specific constitutional authority, a vote on any government regulation that costs more than $100 million annually and a freeze on hiring federal workers except security personnel. It also has a "read the bill" provision mandating that legislation be publicly available for three days before a vote.
Specific constitutional authority. How has pretty much everything the government does been Constitutionally justified by those who promote big, activist government? Thaaat's right...the general welfare clause and the commerce clause. Of course you might remember that the feds got their pee-pees smacked by the Supreme Court with U.S. v. Lopez, but as we see it hasn't slowed them down much if at all. It'd be fun to see, well, pretty much every government employee attempt to justify his or her job -- and every senator and representative attempt to justify each bill he or she introduces -- by citing specifically which part of the Constitution authorizes it other than the above-cited clauses. Hell, if nothing else it'd slow things down.

Hen to fox in doorway of hen house...

..."We're about to be attacked!"

President Felipe Calderon announced a plan Wednesday to protect journalists in Mexico, where violence against reporters has surged since the government launched a crackdown on drug traffickers nearly four years ago.
The plan includes an early warning system in which reporters would have immediate access to authorities when threatened, the creation of a council to identify the causes behind attacks on reporters, legal reforms, and a package of "best practices" in journalism, according to a statement from Calderon's office.
A council to ID causes behind attacks on reporters? Something so stupid could only come from government. As for the title of this entry, well, Boomer Lad had this trenchant observation in comments here:
" sector of society should negotiate with criminals..." is SERIOUSLY PROBLEMATIC. 

How are they supposed to interact with their government, with la mordita being part of the way their government is structured, if they aren't allowed to negotiate with criminals?  The whole government would fall apart if citizens didn't negotiate with criminals on a daily basis. 
I thought of that when I read about the "early warning system." God only knows to what extent the Mexican police and military have been infiltrated by the drug cartels, so who's to say that any number of those journalists who are feeling threatened won't unknowingly go straight to one of the cartels' informants? How can those journalists rely on the government to protect them from criminals when there are so many of them IN the government?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yes, it really does taste better...

Coca-Cola bottled in Mexico with real sugar, that is. My first taste of it was here in San Antonio; I could almost immediately tell the difference between it and American Coke bottled with the high-fructose corn syrup, and one day after drinking the Mexican Coke right after a bottle of the American Coke....yeah. Less carbonation, not overly sweet and next to NO aftertaste. It's pretty much your Platonic ideal of soda. I'd love to know who's doing Coca-Cola's "...consumer research (that) indicates that from a taste standpoint, the difference is imperceptible," because from what I've had of both of them, I'd have to say it's anything but. Let 'em compare it bottle vs. bottle rather than sip vs. sip and see how it comes out. I bet it'd be a different story then.

Oh, how special.

Not much I can say to this...

President Barack Obama's aunt, who lived for years illegally in Boston before being granted asylum in May, said the United States has an "obligation" to grant her citizenship.
except for what one of the commenters said: "A perfect argument as to why we're staring at an irreversible slide into third-world status."

Oh, and then there's this little nugget:

She said she feels as if she's been treated as "public enemy No. 1" since her residency status went public.
Huh, I wonder why anyone would think that of people like her? God forbid anyone feel any animus toward those with such a tremendous sense of entitlement. Nicki pretty much nailed it here.

Would that she had come along six months ago.

Kathie Glass, that is. From what's said in this story, she sounds a lot like Debra Medina, sans the ammunition that Medina gave to her critics vis-a-vis Sept. 11. And as great as I might think Texas being its own country again would be, this got me all misty-eyed:

Glass, a native of Georgia who moved to Texas in 1977, made it clear in an argument with secessionist Larry Kilgore this summer that she does not support breaking with the Union, according to an account in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“Why would you want to stay with the United States government and let them kick you in the head? Why? What reason?” Kilgore shouted at her.

“I was born in America, and I intend to die here,” Glass replied. “And I'm not leaving her in her hour of need. I'm not turning my back. She's not going to fall. Not on my watch.”
Her position on gay marriage leaves a lot to be desired, but so do those of Perry and White. I'd be interested to know her position on casino gambling...

Well-deserving of a ride on the bolt... my question is, why won't he get it?

A Houston man today faces the possibility of spending 25 years to life in prison with no chance at parole after being convicted of raping his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter shortly before her June 2009 death.
I know that the Supreme Court ruled a couple of years ago that child rapists can't be executed, but it seems pretty obvious that Lucas Coe caused the death of Emma Thompson with his actions. I'd be interested to know just why the "super aggravated sexual assault of a child" charge would come with a stricter sentence than, y'know, KILLING her -- especially considering the (de facto) torture aspect of it. Bruises, busted lip and fractured skull? You know that little girl had to be in extreme pain. We live in allegedly more civilized times than this, but I can't help but think of this line from an old Charlie Daniels song:

"As far as I'm concerned there ain't no excuse for the raping and the killing and the child abuse, but I've got a way to put an end to all that mess. You just take them rascals out in the swamp, put 'em on their knees and tie 'em to a stump, and let the rattlers and the bugs and the alligators do the rest."

Would that that were an option.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Can't have that, can we?

Not that this was news, but we see it on display here that Paul Krugman is among those who think that if you make over a certain amount of money per year it ceases to be yours:

And among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: It's their money, and they have the right to keep it.
Yeah, Paul. God forbid those uppity rich think they have the right to keep what they earn. We can't have that, can we? Not when there are votes to be bought with that money, and especially if it stands in the way of the Marxist ideal.

How are they gonna do that?

...or, Is Felipe Calderon serious?

Mexico's government said Monday that no sector of society should negotiate with criminals, making an indirect criticism of a Ciudad Juarez newspaper.
The comments came a day after El Diario de Juarez published a front-page editorial seeking a truce with cartels in this violent border city after the second killing of one its journalists in less than two years.
"In no way should anyone promote a truce or negotiate with criminals who are precisely the ones causing anxiety for the public, kidnapping, extorting and killing," said Alejandro Poire, security spokesman for President Felipe Calderon. "All sectors of society should fight them and bring them down in a definitive way."
How is anyone in Mexican society going to literally fight the drug cartels when their own government denies them their natural right to keep and bear arms? The folks at El Diario de Juarez are doing what they're doing because they don't have a choice -- their own government denies them even that much. It's really just that simple.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Psychoanalyyyze the chapters, on the path, to my darkest dayyyys..."

(since I had Queensryche on the brain after that last post)

...or, What the hell?

Some people read way too frakkin' much into simple statements. My status last night on Facebook:

Sure is nice to come home to somebody who misses me when I am opposed to coming home to someone (the ex-girlfriend) who got to caring so little she got to never being there when I got home. What a welcome and appreciated change.
Comments from a couple of family members:
• erik belive (sic) you have isue (sic) with your X that need working out

• Erik I agree with him, you need to move on or nothing will work
I honestly had no clue where that came from, or that that simple statement would trigger that round of armchair psychoanalysis. Really, people, sometimes a cigar is just a damn cigar! I moved on a long time ago; I honestly didn't think that making observations, direct or indirect, on past relationships would be any kind of indicator that one had lingering, unresolved issues with said relationships. Am I missing something here? I've had a lot of shit thrown at me, and I know they didn't know that; but even so I thought those comments were quite uncalled for. Everybody has those experiences and remarks on them now and then, no??

Monday Music Musings: Billy Currington and Rascal Flatts

Why, Billy Currington? Why?

I remember I first came out with a song that I really promise I was never going to put on an album or come out with first. It was called ‘Walk a Little Straighter.’ It was personal about my dad. It was sad, not sad, but it was happy sad. I learned that I really don’t want to be a part of those types of songs on the radio. 
I remember "Walk A Little Straighter." I thought it was a great record and thought it was a shame that song didn't do well on the charts. What's wrong with those sad songs? I thought those songs were part of the backbone of country music. Why would Billy Currington not want to make more beautifully poignant music like that? Does he WANT to be known as a one-trick pony with little to no depth? *really bad segue following here* Sabra told me she hated the Jamey Johnson song "In Color." She told me she heard it and thought, "How vapid!" or something to that effect. I don't agree with her assessment, as you might remember if you're a longtime reader; I thought it was quite poignant and beautifully evocative, arguably the best single song to come out of Nashville in at least the last decade. But I was thinking the other day as Currington's "Pretty Good At Drinkin' Beer" was playing on my daily radio-surf on the ride to work, "You know, even if I did share Sabra's opinion of 'In Color,' this song would still make it sound positively Haggardesque." I'm all for fun, uptempo songs, but some of them just really suck. I hate to see Currington waste that voice on such crap. Like C.M. Wilcox said, "Since 'Walk a Little Straighter' was the song that got me interested in him in the first place, I guess it’s safe to stop paying attention now?" Sure sounds that way...

Next up in the sights, songwriter Chris Sligh on writing for Rascal Flatts:
They kind of have a formula that works very, very well for them, and the nice thing about [lead singer] Gary’s voice is that he has one of the few in country music that has that range of an octave-and-a-half. That’s the nice thing about writing for Flatts — you can write real pop songs...
Contrary to what you might think, I didn't think about the 'pop songs' mention when I pondered this comment. (Hellooo, broadening horizons!) It was this:

Octave-and-a-half vocal range? Sligh sounds like he thinks that's something really special. And I suppose it might be -- until you consider the fact that Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson has about a three-octave range, Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate can go four octaves, and then there was Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury with his seven(!)-octave range. Different genres, I know, but since Sligh was talking about pop songs anyway I still think it's a valid comparison. Let's see what Gary LeVox could do with "Aces High" or "Deliverance." On second thought, how about we not go there...

(h/t Country California)

I'm sure the blood-dancers will be along shortly... exploit this to its fullest.

A 47-year-old father worried that he would never see his three children again was charged in their deaths on Sunday, accused of fatally shooting his son and two daughters as they slept in his north Harris County apartment.
Mohammad Goher then turned the gun on himself, firing into his mouth. Authorities found him unconscious and transported him in stable condition to Ben Taub General Hospital.
I'd love to know how Mr. Goher got that gun, though, considering that -- if I am reading this right -- due to a 2006 conviction for what I'm guessing was assault and battery against his wife, he was a prohibited person under the terms of the Lautenberg Amendment. You mean to tell me another gun control law didn't work? You mean to tell me that the only those kids would've been kept safe is if their daddy had been locked up tighter than Dick's hatband guarded by other men with guns? Color me shocked.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

'Don't any of these academics ever work in the real world?'

A commenter asked that question in response to this opinion piece, and it's a damn good one:

The case for a carbon tax is a compelling one, given our current macroeconomic quandary and our apparent inability to deal with climate change. Each of these factors alone can make the case persuasively. When we take them together, the tax becomes even more convincing as a solution to some seemingly insurmountable problems.
If you look at said factors, they're really not all that convincing at all. Lawmakers might well not like to cut spending projects in their districts, but that's hardly a good excuse to go raising taxes when the economy's still not so good. To their (minuscule) credit, the writers here do tell how much it would raise heating oil and gas prices (around 5 cents per gallon), and coal prices (around 50 percent)....

Hey, wait a minute. Coal prices would jump 50 percent? With half the electricity generated in the United States generated by coal-fired plants, this would be a minimal impact? Wow. If ever you needed proof that academics don't live in the same world as the rest of us, there it is. Of course, earlier in the piece you'll see this, which is the nut graf of the whole thing:

As a general rule, taxes hinder economic efficiency because they raise the cost of doing business and reduce workers' incentives to work and save. But linking a tax to a pollutant can have the beneficial effects of reducing pollution by encouraging the development of nonpolluting technologies. Unlike higher income tax rates, a carbon tax would not weaken incentives to work and save.
I bet you knew behavior modification would be their ultimate goal too, didn't you? Other consequences be damned. And you'll note they said nothing about the energy companies already investing in the development of alternative energy. It's as if they think the people running the energy companies don't know that fossil fuels are called 'nonrenewable resources' for a reason. It's as if they think the energy companies don't know or care that the left in this country is out to destroy them, shaky science be damned.

In other words, it's as if they think the people running energy companies live in some alternate universe just as they do.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Feds to Texas: Go screw.

They might as well have said that, at least:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano again rebuffed Texas Gov. Rick Perry's call for more U.S.-paid National Guard troops along the Texas-Mexico border, insisting Friday that current deployments are enough and the governor can call up troops anytime — at his own expense.

 Sounds like it's time for another lawsuit against the feds, this time for failing to fuifill their constitutionally-mandated duty to provide for the common defense. If the border is really secure enough, then why is illegal immigration such an issue? Why is drug trafficking such an issue? I don't understand.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Don't know if we'll ever get there...

...but this guy is right (last letter on the page -- ed.):

Due to politically correct and loudly lauded diversity concepts, today America is no longer a melting pot but rather a salad bowl of national origins. My pride today is in American ideals, not in my Scots-Irish ancestral roots. And diversity is not uniform as it champions Cinco de Mayo celebrations but not Bastille Day for our French-American citizens. Until pride in the American heritage supplants ethnic and cultural backgrounds of our ancestors, divisions unhealthy to America's unity and longevity will continue.
I will say, though, that I think a better example would have been the fact that Cinco de Mayo is big even in Texas, to the point that it overshadows San Jacinto Day, even; more to the point, it seems, some people who emigrated from Mexico still have a problem with the day being commemorated. I don't know just how widespread that phenomenon is among Mexican immigrants to America, but I'd certainly be interested to find out. And I suppose the contention that ethnic and cultural backgrounds of Americans' ancestors undermine the American heritage can't really be backed up with objective data, but if anyone has a better explanation for phenomena such as the one mentioned above I am certainly all ears.

Good for Cornyn...

...for telling the bigots at the Family Research Council to piss off.

Well, okay, maybe that was an overstatement; but still, Cornyn's doing the right thing here. Republicans still have a ways to go to rid themselves of this particular stain of bigotry, but the Log Cabin Republicans (and unaffiliated gay Republicans, conservatives and libertarians) as a group are going to be a hell of a lot more valuable ally than RINOs like Mark Kirk, Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle. Some bridges need to be burned, and some need to be built; the one between Republicans and organizations like the Family Research Council is but one that needs to be burned, for the good of the party and the conservative movement. They would be a lot better off with the support of gay Republicans for good conservative principles rather than the support of heterosexual Republicans In Name Only who will sell them out for the sake of getting in good with the press. This isn't to say social conservatives aren't fiscal conservatives as well, but with the social cons wanting to enforce their morality on everyone else by any means necessary seems to come the willingness to throw the gay fiscal conservatives under the bus -- and then where is the conservative movement as a whole? How do we gain from that? We DON'T. So yeah, Cornyn, Steele and all the rest: MORE of this, PLEASE.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In which I raise hell about Alamo City freeways.

...or, This isn't the only thing wrong with the freeways running through downtown San Antonio.

For one, they put only a one-lane ramp for motorists coming onto I-35 North from I-10 West into downtown as I-35 North and I-10 West merge. Not only that, but they also built that lane in a manner in which all the traffic being shunted onto I-35 from I-10 has to yield the right of way to the folks in the right lane on the upper level of I-35, where the I-10 ramp goes. I suppose I-10 on the east side might not have as much traffic as I-10 on the west side, but I still think that design's dangerous because there are going to be times when the traffic from I-10 has to come to a dead stop to yield to the I-35 traffic. (I know this because I have seen it happen with my own two eyes and therefore had to do it myself.) It's not so bad coming from the other direction (where I-10 eastbound and I-35 southbound split), as the ramp from I-35 South to I-10 East goes into its own lane for a short distance -- but, again, there's one lane going from I-35 South to I-10 East on that south-side split, and two from I-35 South to Highway 90 West. And because of that, more than once I have had to take Highway 90 West instead of I-10 East because I couldn't get into that ONE LANE I needed to get into.

I know all that would be a pain in the ass to fix -- a fat lot more so than the lower level drainage problems -- but I don't understand why they built it like that in the first place. Like I tell my wife all the time going through there (and certain other places, such as the I-10/Loop 410 interchange on the east side), "The engineers who designed this need to go the hell back to school."

Going to bat for the RINOs...

Not me, but rather Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne...

A genial and courtly man in the manner of the elder President Bush (who held a fundraiser for him in Kennebunkport), the nine-term congressman was mourning the decline of both the conciliatory style of politics that animated his career and the moderate Republican disposition that the tea party is determined to destroy.
"There are issues on which, as Republicans and Democrats, we should sit down and work out our differences," (Mike) Castle said Monday night as we sat outside at Kelly's Logan House, a watering hole where he has gathered his closest supporters the night before every election since his first victory, for the neighborhood's state legislative seat, in 1966.
I don't see what Mike Castle's "genial and courtly" manner has to do with any of this. And I don't know exactly what he thinks Republicans and Democrats should be sitting down and talking about. Just a little bit of cap-and-trade? Lower tax increases and not-as-deep spending cuts? Just an "assault weapons ban" with a grandfather clause as opposed to a ban that mandated confiscation? I don't see what's so wrong with the collapse of "the Republican Party not only of Nelson Rockefeller and Tom Dewey, but also of Bob Dole and Howard Baker." Sure, Bob Dole was a fiscal conservative, but he also supported Clinton's assault weapons ban. Why should we trust people like that? Let alone send them to Washington? It strikes me that E.J. Dionne is just pissed that his pet president isn't going to be dealing with (as many) people who "go along to get along" after the November elections.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What gun for zombie meme?

That was my thought as I read this:

Like most insurgencies, the Mexican drug armies also have an external source of funding and weapons. Shamefully, that is the United States.
Despite an eloquent appeal by Mr. Calderón during an address to Congress last spring, neither the Democratic leadership nor President Obama has dared to push for a reinstatement of the ban on sales of assault weapons.
So apparently, Calderon's "eloquent appeal" should take precedence over the Supreme Court ruling in Heller v. D.C. that arms such as the AR-15 and AK-47 are protected as arms "in common use" under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. (It deserves to be pointed out, once again, that since the expiration of the Clinton "assault weapons ban" in 2004, the AR, AK and rifles like them have gotten to be the hottest-selling guns in the country PERIOD, which would arguably put them squarely in the middle of the "in common use" territory.) I remember the apocryphal quote from George W. Bush that the Constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper" or something to that effect, but it appears that viewpoint is held rather by the editorialists at the Washington Post and every other media outlet calling for a ban on semiautomatic rifles.

And again, what of the full-auto weaponry, RPGs and such that the cartels are using that is highly illegal in the United States? Why no mention of any of that?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why does it cost one side...

...but not the other?

Renewing the tax cuts for everyone would cost the government almost $4 trillion over the next decade, according to congressional analysts...
Why does the Associated Press talk about this but not say that "Letting the tax cuts expire would cost the American people almost $4 trillion over the next decade"? Just whose money is it here?

And why were there no follow-up questions by the AP to Congress about the fact that the tax cuts for the wealthier Americans would be a good bit less than half of that $4 trillion? I guess congressional Democrats and the Associated Press agree that once you make over $200,000 a year it ceases to be your money.

History revision FAIL.

...from no less than the president of Mexico, even:

President Felipe Calderon on Monday criticized both Americans and Mexicans for their roles in the 1846-1848 war that cost Mexico half its territory during a ceremony commemorating the definitive battle of the conflict.
Speaking on the 163rd anniversary of the Battle of Chapultepec, Calderon called the war an "unjust military aggression motivated by clearly imperialistic interests."
Aggression? Calderon apparently has a different definition of aggression than the rest of us do. The Mexicans were the first ones talking smack after the Texas Revolution -- that is, the Mexicans were the ones threatening war with the United States if the latter annexed the Republic of Texas. (The Mexicans were also the ones to fire the first shots in the war.) No doubt the Mexicans of today would reply with, "But this 'Republic of Texas' was a rebel territory we were going back for!" Of course you won't hear them say a thing about the fact that Mexico itself was a rebel territory of Spain. As far as I know, modern Spaniards don't bitch and moan (like Calderon and so many of his countrymen do about Texas) hundreds of years after Mexico declared its independence from Spain.

(Shorter, more pithy version of the above, from my wife a few weeks ago: "About 170 years ago there was a war.  We won.  That means the land is ours.")

Come to think of it, I have also never heard any prime minister of Great Britain say anything about the American Revolution being an "unjust and illegal secession of the King's colonies in the New World" or anything else even remotely along those lines. In fact, England is one of this country's staunchest allies and has been for a good long while. Why the difference? Why are so many Mexicans so bitter about Texas after almost 175 years?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Somebody lied.

Either it was my 7th grade Texas history teacher 20 years ago, or Jose Antonio Lopez when he wrote this column:

In 1835, a group of armed Anglo illegal immigrants from the U.S. were upset. The Mexican government told them they were welcome to settle in Texas on the condition that they had to free their black slaves, since Mexico freed all slaves in 1829

Illegal immigrants? That isn't the way I remember it being taught. And I do remember the slavery aspect of it, but the Texians had quite a few more grievances than just the slavery issue:

Under President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government began to shift away from a federalist model. The increasingly dictatorial policies, including the revocation of the Constitution of 1824 in early 1835, incited many federalists to revolt. The Mexican border region of Texas was largely populated by immigrants from the United States. These were accustomed to a federalist government and to extensive individual rights, and they were quite vocal in their displeasure at Mexico's shift towards centralism. Already leery of previous American attempts to purchase Texas, Mexican authorities blamed much of the Texian unrest on American immigrants, most of whom had made little effort to adapt to the Mexican culture.
But I guess it's more convenient to your argument if you boil it down to just slavery, especially if your argument is based on race, and Lopez makes it quite clear that it is, in the last sentence of his fact-free screed. I am almost surprised that he did not call Juan seguin, Jose Antonio Navarro, et al. race traitors. No doubt he thinks just that, though.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Was he trying to make a statement or something?

Leonard Pitts, that is.

24-hour news cycle conveys power to unworthy
Miami Herald
Sept. 11, 2010, 3:28PM

By the time you read this, Terry Jones will have burned the Quran.
Or not.
One wonders if Pitts knows that by the mere mention of the crazy Florida preacher's name, he gave said preacher the very power he goes on to decry. I would surely hope he does, but then one never really knows, does one?

Who's politicizing this, again?

...or, Has Kathy Miller ever heard of the "argument from authority" logical fallacy?

“What used to be a sleepy little board operating under the radar has attracted national and international attention solely because some members of the state board have willfully ignored the advice of teachers and scholars and, instead, politicized the content decisions they are making,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which monitors the State Board of Education and usually ends up on the opposite side from the Liberty Institute.
Advice of teachers and scholars. Do these advisers really have that much credibility when they've been shown to be politicizing and modifying the curriculum to reflect their own politically correct ideology? Kevin Baker at The Smallest Minority recently pointed to a five-part essay in which said modification and its flaws vis-a-vis teaching American history was pointed out in stark detail. Here's just one example:
Editors [at Houghton Mifflin] were put in the hands of revisionist historians, Islamist activists, and diversity counters. … Its eighth-grade history, Creating America, produced by Houghton Mifflin’s McDougal Littell imprint, … identifies ten representative American heroes:

Abigail Adams
Crispus Attucks
Andrew Jackson
Queen Liluokalanai
Abraham Lincoln
Juan Seguin
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
George Washington
Ida B. Wells

In this popular textbook, to counteract the unfortunately necessary inclusion of the three Dead White Male presidents on the list (Washington, Lincoln and Jackson), the publishers selected an array of second-tier historical figures whose ethnic diversity is beyond reproach — and also ensured that the genders were represented equally as well. And while I have no problem with students learning about Queen Liluokalanai and the rest of the crew, in context, I fear that America’s children are coming away with the impression that these really are the most important people in our nation’s history, and not just a list assembled at random to satisfy multicultural pressure groups.
The author of the piece goes on to discuss his learning of "history viewed through the lens of race," and an example of it, the elevation of Crispus Attucks -- one of the colonists killed in the Boston Massacre -- to some sort of mythical figure seemingly because of his race (Attucks was, as you probably learned yourself, partly black), and how the American Revolution section of his history class revolved around Attucks. I'll honestly say I don't remember being taught that Crispus Attucks was "the original American patriot, a noble-minded martyr who almost singlehandedly brought America to independence" -- but I also do not remember being taught the names of the four other individuals who died in the Boston Massacre, either. Attucks' name was the only one I remember being taught. As the author of the piece also says:

"Multiply this scenario a million-fold and you can begin to see the problem with the kind of ethnocentric historical re-prioritization that has become commonplace in American education. It’s not that Crispus Attucks and Vernon J. Baker and Roy Benavidez (read Part III of the piece for the context -- ed.) were bad people, or are unworthy of praise, but rather that they are figures of at best secondary importance being given leading roles in history."

And why are they given leading roles? Because Kathy Miller's "teachers and scholars" advise that they be given leading roles. Viewed in that light, the Texas State Board of Education telling them to go pound sand doesn't sound quite as bad, does it?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Oh, I'd say the message is loud and clear.

The Washington Post's Michael Gerson, in today's San Antonio Express-News:

Even Democrats who agree with President Obama's ideology, respect his tenacity and admire his deliberative manner have begun to whisper: Maybe he isn't a very good politician. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who is genetically incapable of whispering, puts it bluntly: “Ironically, the best communicator I ever saw in a campaign has turned out to be not so good at getting out the message as president.”
Not so good? On the contrary, the message seems to be loud and clear: "Government knows best, you ignorant rubes, specifically Big Government! Run by Democrats with nothing more than a token minority who's supposed to go along to get along!" What Michael Gerson is describing is Barack Obama's petty narcissist coming out because the message isn't being received as well as he'd like it to be. And surely that was not a surprise to Gerson. Surely he's been paying more attention than that. (Surely, for example, he remembers this.) If he hasn't...well, I guess I shouldn't expect better from the Washington Post, especially considering some of the other columnists that rag has in its editorial stable.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hit-n-run: Been done before, but better...

And yeah, I'm sure you know where I'm going with this.

I'm sure the writers of Jason Aldean's "Crazy Town" probably thought they were bringing a fresh new song idea to the table...but how many of you remember this song?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Ignorance the best policy?

Just a question, about the folks burning the Koran on Saturday: If the pundits would stop talking about it so much, wouldn't that be the best thing that could happen? Everybody talks about it being a nice little recruitment tool for al-Qaeda -- but if fewer people were talking about it, wouldn't that be a good way to marginalize them? I don't get it...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

He should have been led out in handcuffs long ago...

...Mayor Richard Daley, that is, on innumerable counts of violating 18 USC 241 and 18 USC 242 (the civil rights statutes), as Joe Huffman suggested a few years ago. But I suppose his stepping down is progress. Not much, though.

Everyone knows...

...what would have prevented this, right? Car registration and licensing...

"You stole my country, you made me curse..."

...or, More not-so-random musical observations prompted by hearing a certain song by a certain artist yesterday afternoon at HEB...

Would you like to know just why I turned into a metalhead? Because in the span of just over four decades, mainstream country has gone from "Sing Me Back Home" to Carrie Underwood singing about some dude stealing her happy. I do love me some sugary pop music when it's done right -- witness my fondness for Kelly Clarkson -- but not when it's marketed as "country." And I realize that country music has had its bad songs and good with every time period, but I just can't help but think it's gotten stagnant, if not progressively worse, over the last decade or so. I know that for every George Strait there's been a Lee Greenwood, and that for every Merle Haggard there's been a Barbara Mandrell. And I will admit there are some bright spots in modern country, with traditional-leaning singers like Easton Corbin, Jamey Johnson, Chris Young and Miranda Lambert. But Haggard and Strait got to be superstars of the genre, and I'm not so sure the same is going to be said of the newer traditional singers. I've said before that I don't really need my music tastes validated by everyone else buying the same music I do, but just the same it really bothers me that most of the traditionalists seem to have been relegated to B-list or lower A-list status these days...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Some more thoughts on disarmament.

Since I don't have anything else for today, and I am trying to be a good blogger and post at least once a day...

Recently one of the topics in the gun blogosphere was another of Bradyite Dennis Henigan's rants in the Huffington Post. In said rant he cited Molly Ivins' famous column (discussed previously here and here) in which she observed (in her own half-witted attempt at snarky humor) that people were seldom killed by cleaning their knives:

Let me start this discussion by pointing out that I am not antigun. I'm proknife. Consider the merits of the knife.
In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

I suppose that might be funny...for about the blink of an eye or however long it takes one to consider the real-life ramifications of a "general substitution of knives for guns." There are going to be those of us that, for whatever reason, are never going to get to the level of physical fitness at which your typical 20-year-old college football running back resides. I'm one of them, with my mild case of cerebral palsy that left me walking with a limp in my right leg. I'd really rather not have to take my chances on my gimpy leg being able to carry me faster than said 20-year-old with a knife. And then there are certain other classes of people who are going to be left shit out of luck, too. I am reminded of a song from Gary Allan's 1998 cd It Would Be You, titled "No Judgment Day":

Willie Johnson was locking up his store Monday night
And someone snuck in and they commenced a fight
His wife Amelia found him lying on the freezer floor
Now this sleepy little town, it ain't sleepy no more
Sheriff Walker holds three local boys in jail
They confessed right down to the last detail
They beat Willie with a bat, he was 70 years old
Then they bought some beer with the six dollars they stole

That song was based on a true story; the shopkeeper in the song was a friend of writer Allen Shamblin's father.

 So...yeah. Certain people, among them the Willie Johnsons of the world would be be left at the mercy of bigger and stronger thugs, unable to adequately defend themselves. And Molly Ivins and her ilk effectively say, "Too bad for y'all. Bye now!" Is it so wrong of me to think that makes them callous at best, and downright evil at worst?

Monday, September 06, 2010

I certainly hope not.

A letter to the editor in yesterday's San Antonio Express-News:

The Express-News is a reflection of tea party philosophy, and will never be in the same league as the New York Times.
Well. I sure as hell hope it's never in the same league as Pravda-on-Hudson, especially considering the sub-mousegun caliber of some of the scribes who have worked there over the years. It would seem that in a way the Express-News at least once upon a time was even better than the NYT, considering the fact that Jayson Blair cribbed from one of its stories.

How does the old saying go?

...the best thing to stop an armed bad guy is an armed good guy?

A pawn shop worker fatally shot a 50-year-old customer after the man loaded a handgun from the case with his own ammo, left the store and fired a round at the employee.
The Houston Chronicle reported Sunday that Melvin Clark, a regular customer entered Northwest Pawn Shop on Saturday afternoon and asked to see a pistol. Clark loaded his own ammo into the weapon with the store employee's approval.
Clark left the store, turned and fired at the employee. Officials say the employee returned fire, killing Clark.
So much for the anti-gunners' contention that if the bad guy pulls his gun first the good guys might as well not even be armed. And how about that headline? 'Pawn shop worker kills customer'? No bias there, no sir.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Huh, now that I think about it...

...the song mentioned here was not the first George Strait song that the station mentioned in that post did not play. They also blacklisted "Murder On Music Row" from what I remember, due (I think) to their fear that it would alienate the younger audience. Strangely enough, though, KPLX also went after that younger demographic with Willie and Waylon as well as **gritting teeth** Tim and Kenny. One can only guess the reasoning behind that.

What is it modern liberals say again?

Something to the effect that all cultural norms and standards are equally valid and that no culture's norms and standards should be judged by another culture's norms and standards?

The Vatican on Sunday raised the possibility of using behind-the-scenes diplomacy to try to spare the life of an Iranian widow sentenced to be stoned for adultery.
Talking to Sabra the other day, I observed how ironic it was that the feminist movement is still so overwhelmingly liberal, considering modern liberals' attitudes towards phenomena such as multiculturalism and cultural relativism -- that is, that they would be aligned with such an ideology considering certain cultures' attitudes toward females. I did this on the heels of telling her about something I saw at work -- a little Mexican boy, couldn't have been any more than about six years old, telling his slightly older sister, "Fuck you!" and his mother not doing anything about it. Sabra had mentioned before to me that the Mexican culture values boys much more than girls, or something to that effect. Because of that, in the Mexican culture males can get away with all sorts of behavior toward females (such as what was mentioned above) at which American feminists would rightly be aghast. Yet said feminists align themselves with an ideology that will tolerate this just because it's another culture's standard. The first comment I saw this story was this:
NOW organization strangely quiet about treatment of women in the Muslim world. Why is that? Is it because they hope Muslims will vote for Democrats?
Anti-War Moms are strangely quiet about the escalation of the Afghan war. Why is that? Is it because a Democrat President did it?
Can we conclude that issues of life and death take second place to power and money with the Left?
It certainly seems that way, doesn't it?

Oh, this is gonna be good, too...

More live recordings from Queensryche...from back in the day:

QUEENSRŸCHE has partnered with Capitol/EMI for the September 28 release of an expanded 20th-anniversary edition of the band's triple platinum-certified breakout album "Empire". The new 2CD and digital packages both include the remastered album, featuring six hit singles, including the #1 smash "Silent Lucidity", as well as 13 bonus tracks, among them 10 previously unreleased live performances recorded in 1990 at London's Hammersmith Odeon.
01. Resistance
02. Walk In The Shadows
03. Best I Can
04. The Thin Line
05. Jet City Woman
06. Empire
07. Roads To Madness
08. Take Hold Of The Flame
09. Silent Lucidity
10. Hand On Heart
Yes indeed, I bet that live cd is going to kick all sorts of ass. From what I remember, most of the live cuts on the classic Queensryche remasters came from the Building Empires tour and they all sounded great. I was thinking just the other day how great it'd be to have a live cut of "Jet City Woman." Only thing that'd make it better is a live cut of "Anybody Listening" or "NM 156"...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Some questions do indeed need to be asked...

...just not this one:

Does anyone care that criminals, domestic abusers, terrorists and dangerously mentally ill people can get guns in the secondary markets without background checks? 
I'm guessing the above-quoted blogger doesn't give a shit about the fact that these allegedly dangerous people aren't locked up tighter than Dick's hatband in the first place. This seems to be a common thread among those clamoring for tighter gun laws -- they don't seem to care about the fact that these dangerous people are walking free in the first place. I understand that locking up every single mentally ill person might not be feasible. My wife pointed out as much one day as we were driving, and it is a good point. But as for the rest of them, I don't understand why they all can't be locked away for the good of society...for teh childrenses, even.

(h/t Weer'd)

Whose money is it, again?

From comments to this Paul Krugman column (emphasis mine -- ed.):

If the GOP takes the House and Senate, which will not happen, what will be the FIRST legislative act that they will pass which will immediately make every thing right? What is this secret? What will they do to get businesses to hire, other than cutting taxes, which is in reality just another government bailout?
Cutting taxes is a government bailout? Just whose money does this guy think it is? It would seem he thinks it's the government's money to begin with. This is how modern liberals think, folks. This is the extent to which the "progressives" have hijacked liberalism. Such a shame, too, because once upon a time they really did love free markets and everything else that made America great. Now they're just a bunch of borderline Communists.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Bill White is 'in it for Texas'?

Not so much, if this story is any indication:

Retama Park begins its 16th season of live racing this evening, but the thoroughbreds won't rescue the Selma racetrack from dire financial straits.
Texas track officials are turning to a well-worn idea in hopes of reversing their fortunes: A constitutional amendment to allow slot machines at racetracks.
Slot proponents won't get the backing of either candidate for governor. Both Gov. Rick Perry and Bill White oppose expanding gambling.
One wonders why Bill White would oppose such a thing, especially given his campaign ads in which he touts the jobs his policies helped create (and the taxes said policies helped keep a lid on) during his tenure as mayor of Houston. Is he really going to try that hard to go after the damn social conservative vote? Is said voting bloc really that strong? I find that difficult to believe. But maybe that's the optimist in me talking and hoping this state isn't in that much trouble. I really didn't think White could count on any of those people to vote for him anyway, but I suppose I could be wrong.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

What is it with lefties and straw men?

I find myself asking that question once again this morning as I read Leonard Pitts (emphasis mine -- ed.):

(Glenn) Beck was promoting his “Restoring Honor” rally, which was held Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial, 47 years to the day after Martin Luther King famously spoke there. You'll notice he didn't define the “we” he had in mind, but it seems reasonable to suppose Beck was speaking of people like himself: affluent middle-age conservatives possessed of the ability to see socialism and communism in places where it somehow escapes the notice of others.
We” is celebrities like Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando and Pernell Roberts of “Bonanza,” lending their names, their wealth and their labor to the cause of freedom.
Sure, it seems reasonable...if all you're looking to do is gin up another bitch-and-moan fest about those eeeeevil conservatives. But how about we take Pitts' reasoning here and turn it back at him?

We see he mentioned Harry Belafonte. I take it this is the same Harry Belafonte who compared Colin Powell to a house slave? So, using the logic and reasoning Leonard Pitts uses here, we can only reach the conclusion that Belafonte, Steve Gilliard, King Samir Shabazz, et al are the legitimate heirs to the leadership of the civil rights movement. Of course they're NOT, and I have little doubt that Leonard Pitts would call anyone crazy who suggested they were -- but if that line of reasoning is unfit to use one way, it's also unfit to use another. If Leonard Pitts had anything approaching intellectual honesty, he'd realize that.

UPDATE: For a much more lucid and insightful analysis of Beck's rally and motivations (that is, one NOT seen through Pitts and company's racial lenses), see here. The whole thing's definitely worth reading, but this is just one of the money grafs:

"Beck is attacking the enemy at the foundations of their power, their claim to race as a permanent trump card, their claim to the Civil Rights movement as a permanent model to constantly be transforming a perpetually unjust society.

He is nuking out the foundations of the opposition’s moral preeminence..."

Yes, indeed. Thanks to Borepatch for that link!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Like he wouldn't have been slinging his own mud...

...or, How could he say this with a straight face?

Backed by the Tea Party Express and Sarah Palin, a little-known conservative lawyer from Alaska became the latest newcomer to the national political stage to take down an incumbent in 2010.
In arguably the biggest political upset of the year, Joe Miller claimed the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate when incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski conceded Tuesday evening.
Miller will face Democrat Scott McAdams, a small town mayor, in the November general election. The former commercial fisherman was given little chance against Murkowski, and as of June 30 had raised less than $10,000.
But Democrats figure his chances are better against Miller, and they plan to present him as a moderate, rational alternative.
"Lisa Murkowski is a class act who always put Alaska first," McAdams said in a statement late Tuesday. "By contrast, lawyer Joe Miller ran an unfair, nasty campaign that didn't extend to Lisa Murkowski the respect she deserves."
What an outrageous insult to the voters of Alaska. Does anyone really think Scott McAdams would not have been slinging his own fair share of mud at Lisa Murkowski had she been his opponent in the general election?  We all know that Scott McAdams and his people would likely concede the damn race before they were so magnanimous in it at that point. At any rate I would love to see how they're going to counter Miller's message and whether the countering of that message is going to resonate, especially with the nation's finances in the shape they're in.