Curmudgeonalia
I see I taste I write Links What?

May 25, 2005

5 min. rant: May 25, 2005

Having just read the new paperback release of Dick Morris’s Rewriting History I was caused to go back and reread all of the books on Hillary, including The Case Against Hillary, Last Days, etc.

In years past I have had little use for Dick Morris (the whore-chasing, toe sucking moral cretin who advised the Clintons for so many years), but in reading his subsequent books and watching him in his analytic role as a talking head I have come recognize and respect his abilities in his chosen craft. He is brilliant. Still immoral, but dazzling.

The hours spent rereading all of these works, and reading Morris’s little book bring back to mind all that the Clintons brought down around our heads, and Morris ties Hillary to virtually all of these smarmy activities (except, of course, Bill’s sexual escapades.) Having been on the inside for some 20 years it is hard to doubt him.

So . . . when will the voters of the U.S. wake up and smell the coffee—or will they? I recommend Morris’s book as an arousal mechanism. He lays out Hillary’s management capabilities, recalls her malicious, malevolent streak(s), and makes the case that she is successfully mollifying the public into both forgetting her past, and remaking herself (publicly) as a moderate—which she most certainly isn’t. She is a train wreck waiting to happen!

What with the Clinton’s ability to raise money, Hillary’s reconstructed life of moderation, the advice of the most brilliant politician of the past 50-100 years, and the short-term memories of even the moderates and many conservatives, it is not only possible, but in Morris’s estimation probable, that Hillary will be elected in 2008.

Wake up folks. Recall the devious nature of Hillary. And if you can’t recall, then read Morris’s book. And reread the others if you can spare the time.

This country cannot withstand another Clinton presidency and especially not one with Hillary in the driver’s seat. She would be an absolute disaster. She believed, and still believes that “it takes a village” and all that, and more frighteningly she really is convinced that she can run your life and see to your welfare better than can you.

Remember “Hillary Care” and sweat !! That is what she will do in oh so many other venues. Know that she was party to all manner of electoral malfeasance in winning the senate seat; that she was aware of many of the Clinton pardons—though she denies this—and that on her exit from the White House she stole public property for her own use. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by respeto at 3:21 PM

July 5, 2006

9/11/2001 on 7/4/2006

I’ve pretty much given up blogging. I have little to add to the comments of people with more information, more knowledge and more time. Further many in the blogoshpere are blow-hards who rant about things they little understand. Right now I feel differently.

Last night I had the occasion to see Flight 93 on the tele. It is a movie quite well done, riveting one with its authenticity. It brought back all of the feelings of incredulity, shock, horror and rage that I (and I presume we) felt as we watched the scenes of 9/11 unfold. It also reminded me of my absolute certainty that this time OBL had f----d with the wrong cowboy. No one was going to do this to my country and get by with it. I was mightily relieved that Bush, not Clinton, Gore or Kerry, was in charge.

But before the movie was over I was also reminded of the pea-brained, forgetful, sound-bite mentality of the American public which has largely forgotten the incident, or at least doesn’t factor it into their daily lives and attitudes.

Now, Bush is far removed from my favorite personality, and I held my nose as I voted for him in 2004, but to see the public turn against the war on terror, return to computer games, home refinancing, and the popular “cut and run” philosophy is disappointing to say the least, and frightening if one considers the possibilities.

We are involved in a war which a sizeable minority—approaching a majority--don’t want to acknowledge, and it is a war to the death; a combination of hot and the cold war. Cold in that it will take decades to prevail, hot in the sense that real bullets are flying and real people are dying. (Of course that requires that we forget, as many have, the incidents in Korea, Cuba, Prague, Poland, Africa, Southeast Asia, and others wherein thousands of our own soldiers and millions of others died over a period of half a century as we opposed the USSR.)

I can only plead with my countrymen to be mindful of all this as we pursue our daily lives and our understandable and worthy parochial goals. Islam is not a religion of peace. Radical Islamists are more dangerous than any prior enemy of the West, and their goal is very long term. Indeed, they’ve been fighting their war for over 1,000 years. For them, history begins after they conquered much of the world in the 8th & 9th centuries. They know that they are right. They still consider Spain, much of eastern Europe, all of the Middle East and much of Asia as their property. They are hateful, intolerant fanatics, and enforcing Sharia, a 9th century attitude, upon the whole globe is their goal.

They are not like the proverbial flea climbing the hind leg of an elephant with intent of rape. They have the foresight, the will, and the means to prevail . . . but only if we allow them to do so.

A very long time ago Lincoln observed that a nation of free men will live forever . . . or die by suicide. Let’s keep that in mind!

Posted by respeto at 10:08 AM

January 17, 2007

A 5 minute rant on “alternative fuels.”

The Gaia hypothesis is an ecological theory that proposes that the living matter of planet Earth functions like a single organism. It was first scientifically formulated in the 1960s by the independent research scientist James Lovelock, as a consequence of his work for NASA on methods of detecting life on Mars.

There is a new book by Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia, which I shall be reviewing one of these days. But . . . critical to the arguments about global warming, one of its foremost proponents takes on the Al Gores of the world. (I love it!) A caveat is necessary however. I do not believe in "man made global warming."

The author believes that Nuclear power as the only answer to the problem . . . inasmuch as we can (he acknowledges) contribute only partially to the amelioration of an otherwise natural occurrence.

I shall paraphrase one extended passages:

An outstanding advantage of nuclear over fossil fuel energy is how easy it is to deal with the waste it produces. Fossil fuels produce enough carbon dioxide that, if solidified, would create a mountain a mile high with a circumference of 12 miles. The same amount of energy produced by nuclear fission would generate a sixteen-meter cube. (In more understandable parlance, the nuclear waste could be hauled away in about 25 moving vans . . . the carbon would take about 625,000 moving vans. The math is mine, and approximate.)

Continuing . . . to supply England’s present electricity would require 276,000 windmills—three per square mile if parks, suburban and industrial areas were excluded—and would function only 25% of the time, meaning that 75% of the power would still have to be made by fossil fuel burning. Even when the windmills were working the power plants would have to be on standby, idling.

As for bio fuels he notes that if they were used only for fuel for land vehicles, ships and aircraft, it would require two to three gigatons of carbon. Our current yearly food consumption is about a fourth to a sixth of that amount (half a gigaton), and requires more than half of the productive land on the planet. That is, we’d need the land area of several earths just to grow the bio fuel. “How can we expect Gaia to manage the Earth if we try to take the rest of the land for fuel production?”

Nuclear fuel is far less dangerous than any of the alternatives, and it is about time we decided to do what is necessary. Even the author allows that this is part of Earth’s natural cycle, and that our output simply aggravates the problem. If we are to be serious about the situation, it is time for serious people to discuss rational alternatives, avoiding the kooks like Gore.

Posted by respeto at 2:29 PM

July 21, 2008

A Rant on Tony Snow's Death

I’ve debated for some time now whether or not to write on this subject, but with his demise I find it compelling. I’ve never been anguished over the illness and death of a man I don’t even know. It is his familial history which bothers me, and for those who just might happen into this essay I’d like to clarify the situation. Having spent my life practicing gastroenterology, I did learn more than a few things about it.

This is a rant on the medical profession and the management of his illness, which represents hubris on stilts! While I never had the privilege of meeting—never mind examining—him, his disease clearly was familial colonic polyposis. This is not the common problem many face with a family history of polyps, requiring periodic colonoscopy for removal of same, ideally beginning at age 40. Instead, it is a hereditary situation wherein thousands of polyps literally smother the colon, from which some die of colon cancer before age 30, making serial colonoscopies a practical impossibility and making death from colon cancer a virtual certainty. These polyps are so numerous that some may be overlooked, and the cancers often begin in microscopic polyps which cannot be identified at all.

Clearly Tony was caused to believe that routine colonoscopies, with attendant polypectomies, would be sufficient. They are not! His case proves this. Removal of the entire colon is the only answer in such situations, preferably before age 30, and ideally when the diagnosis is confirmed. This requires the construction of a stoma, or abdominal exit for the bowel waste, which in turn requires the constant use of a bag to collect the effluent: an ileostomy. I have seen many situations wherein this was necessary, for familial polyposis, ulcerative colitis, and more rarely Crohn’s Disease.

The problem with all is that the ileostomy creates a nuisance which all attempt to avoid except where absolutely necessary, as ileostomies are much more trouble to manage than colostomies.

Recall that Tony’s mother died of colon cancer when she was young . . . as was he. Herein lays the problem. With all but absolute certainty I will state that Tony was reassured that “that was then, and this is now,” and that ritual colonoscopies are all that is necessary, today, to prevent death from colon cancer. Either that, or colectomy was recommended, but not insisted upon, which allowed him to believe that he had a choice. I believe the former to be the case, which is why I have described it as hubris on stilts.

The arrogance of modern physicians is frightening to me, but it reflects the generational attitudes of the 60’s; those who trivialized the wisdom of age and judgment, and chose to believe that there was little reason to trust anyone over 30 (until, that is, they reached 30 themselves). Confident that Tony needn’t live with an ileostomy, they assured that he would die of colon cancer. He could have lived a normal life to a normal age, even died of old age! He certainly would have lived to see his children grow up.

More than occasionally I had to counsel, sometimes even frighten patients into accepting, that there was no alternative to a given course of therapy, based upon my training, experience and reading of contemporary literature. They might find another physician who disagreed, but it would not alter my opinion, forcefully held by years of experience—not all of it good. As many sages have observed in the past, some things are simply true, whether or not you like it. This is/was such a situation.

For those who have, specifically, familial polyposis, removal of the colon is the only way to absolutely prevent colon cancer. Period! An ileostomy is nowhere as bad as an early death, especially when accompanied by the agony of repeated surgeries, chemotherapy and all the rest.

Posted by respeto at 2:38 PM

June 18, 2005

A follow-up on naivete

As a follow-up to my last commentary, I'd like to reinforce it with the probably redundant reminder of the idiotic, politically venomous diatribe just launched by Senator Durbin of Illinois on the subject of Guantanamo.

Little more needs be said.

Such people are, unfortunately, believers--to an extent--in what they say, and willing to do great harm to our military and our country. Despite knowing that what they say will be broadcast around the globe, and most specifically by Al Jazzera, to inflame their Muslim audience, they say it anyway in the hopes of making their point.

Sadly, "the point" they wish to make is not clear to most of us.

'Nuff said. Durbin simply and tragically reinforces my previous point(s).

Pathetic!!

Posted by respeto at 9:56 AM

May 19, 2007

A much overdue 5 minute rant

I haven't been on a rant for a while now. Maybe it's time.

The new immigration bill is disingenuous, at least. Keep in mind that just last year a bill was passed for a 700+ mile fence. This year congress refused to fund it. And recall that under Reagan we "solved the immigration situation for all time." Maybe that's why we have 12-15 million "undocumented workers" now??? Congress will not do as (apparently) most of us wish until we demand it!

No, we can't just deport 12 million people, but the truth of the matter is that many return home after a time, and if we stop illegals from entering, when they return home they will not be allowed here again. And we can deport anyone we find thru the legal process and deport them. Most of that element will be criminal in any event, and good riddance that cadre.

And who believes that we will suddenly identify and "integrate" 12 million people? Think of the bureaucracy needed to accomplish this? At that only with complaince of the illegals. There is no way in hell that if 12 million illegals showed up at the immigration office they could handle the mob. I've tried to determine the actual number of such offices and can't. But if we suppose there are 5000 of them (a number which is likely ten times the actual number) that would be nearly 2,500 descending on each office.

With a track record like congress has, who amongst you really believes that this bill will result in border enforcement and the termination of illegal immigration? Certainly I don't. Go to the following site and register your compliants and insistence if you agree with me:

http://www.grassfire.org/19042/offer.asp?Ref_ID=1721

And permit me to encourage to copy and paste this address into your google search bar as well. Carefully read the article. You may not want to believe it, but there isn't really much doubt about the data.

As I've repeatedly noted, you may be permitted to do with the facts what you wish, but you do not get your own facts!

http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaruherald/4064691a6571.html

Posted by respeto at 11:40 AM

October 24, 2007

A rant on "The World is Flat"

Friedman points out some issues with productivity which I found amusing, if not relevant to the general purpose of his observations, and not of little concern, either:

• One anecdote involved a CEO racing along in Japanese a bullet train using the net. Friedman observes that we can’t even keep contact with a cell phone tower when driving in this country. Droll was the fact that this busy executive was rocketing thru one of the most beautiful countries in the world, yet instead of enjoying the experience he was buried in his task. Whatever happened to remembering to smell the flowers?

• He emphasizes that the Japanese “believe that the mobile phone will become the essential controller of a person’s life,” which I find that scary as hell.

• Another mention was that, with current digital storage capacity, a kid can now have “thousands of songs” in his iPod. Who in hell needs 120 hours of music at his fingertips? The kid would be better if he went out and played tennis. Of course it is now possible to play tennis, alone, on your computer. Who knew? And why would you do it? Seems to me it destroys the whole idea of exercise . . . camaraderie . . . even life!

But, then, according to the Guru, we’re merrily heading toward an exciting life of electronics. And the life-determining cell phone.

Spare me!!

Posted by respeto at 1:10 PM

February 20, 2008

Assessing current politics and Obama-bots

Observing the electioneering on the tube last night I was struck, listening to Barak Obama, at the similarities of the scene to those described in The True Believer, by Eric Hoffer over 50 years ago (a book I'd strongly recommend being re-read . . . or read, if you haven't.)

"People in the atmosphere of a mass movement are fashioned into incomplete and dependent human beings . . . The blindness of the fanatic is a source of strength. He sees no obstacles(!) yet is the author of intellectual sterility and emotional monotony. At root it is his conviction that life and the universe must conform to a simple formula--HIS !"

Do I hear change, anyone? Change to what? From what? Where are the "sheepul" being led?

"Mass movements substitute for individual hope. Folks who see their lives as spoiled cannot find a worth-while purpose in self-advancement, and look at self-interest as something tainted. Unless someone sufficient talent to make something of himself, freedom is a burden."

So he's selling hope, but hope for what? Prescribed by whom? To what purpose? Seems I rremember a time not long ago when the man from Hope was selling some of the same stuff. Now it's his wife competing with Barak to see who can offer most.

It is frustrating to witness what is most easily compared to the "Beatle-mania"of the 60's, Elvis in the 50's, or the fainting for Sinatra in the 40's, becoming the political activity of the new century. Politicians always promise more than they can deliver, but one senses that Barak doesn't even recognize that what he promises cannot be delivered. It is politically, economically, socially, and philosophically (not to mention rationally) impossible.

He really believes that what he says is the truth, the whole truth, etc. True believers, as was noted long ago by Hoffer, believe that everyone does--or ought to--believe as they do. Anyone who doesn't is wrong . . . at least!

Our government is not responsible for the people--at least that was not the intention of the founders of our republic. Our problem today is that people too willingly give over to government the responsibility for making life worthwhile. It cannot be done by government, and the sacrifice of the freedom to be in control of one's own destiny is frightful, at least to me. Barak is promising a government solution to everything: safety from the terrorists to security in your mortgage payments. He presumes to take responsibility for all of life's activities in our name. Do we want that? Should we? And if so, can it really be done?

The answer is NO! So, let's try a little analysis and reality, shall we? It's especially important before November's election.

“When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lay low until the wrath has passed. There is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse. . . . .”

Posted by respeto at 8:53 AM

July 9, 2007

Catch - 22

Long past time for another rant.

If ya don’t letum in ur a ***phobe, if ya do ur a corpse! In any case you’re the evil, intolerant one. That’s the Catch - 22!

The latest “spoiled” terrorist plot in England has me livid. Again we hear drivel about how terrorism is unique to radicals. Bulls**t! The 9/11ers were educated, middle-class, and evil. So were the 7/7ers. Now we have physicians (docs of war?), generally thought to be the cream of the crop, involved up to their gill-slits. “At least do no harm?” Right!

The squalid truth about Islamic aggression is that it is Islamic aggression, most assuredly not based upon specific rational grievances. It is irrational religious fanaticism having nothing to do with education, discrimination, poverty, segregation or the war in Iraq. While spreading to Muslims in the East it is basically a Middle-Eastern phenomenon.

What they want is separate monoculture—labeled multiculturalism--within and tolerated by their hosts, while they themselves are abysmally intolerant as they wait and war to dominate the West. Afterward it’ll be to hell with all tolerance. They feel superior with nothing to prove it, except of course their own perverted opinions.

Their aggression is said to be a legitimate defense of Islamic “values.” So what are those values?
1. Murder or enslave all the Jews, gays and Christians--and the insufficiently Muslim Muslims of course. Who kills whom is dependent upon which sect is involved, since it applies to all, reciprocally. Hence their war of all against all.
2. Deny female equality, arrange girls marriages, beat them if they misbehave, stone them to death if they get pregnant out of wedlock—even if they’re raped
3. Leaving home? Women must be attended and completely covered up. Be anonymous. Even an exposed, stocking covered ankle may tempt and taunt a man and make them do wild sexual things. Right! . . . things like
4. Honor killings. Daughter is seen with another boy without an “attendant” . . . horrors . . . murder her. The men must restore the family honor. They mutilate female genitals, too, to minimize female sexuality. This is the most bizarrely perverted sexual culture on the planet.
5. Insist that the world obey the Koran and its mandates for life; it doesn’t matter whether you agree. Obey! All other religions are false. Should a Muslim choose to convert to another religion the penalty is death. They have all of the answers . . . just ask!
6. And then there is freedom of speech. Just ask Salman Rushdie who is back in the news since he was knighted by the Queen.
7. Attack anyone you choose for any reason; but, whoa(!), a response to that attack is met with the claim of Islamophobia, and justifies another attack by the original perps. They’re defending their honor! Again, bulls**t!

Last night I caught the end of a T.V. interview with self-confessed immoderate Muslim who has become a moderate. He’s now against this nasty stuff (though he wasn’t clear what he was against.) He observed that Americans are “more educated” than the Brits, which is why we have less conflict with Muslims . . . whatever that means. Seems to me like 9/11 was a conflict of sorts, and the fact myriad American Muslims thought it was OK is not reassuring.

As well, he insisted that we recognize the predominant, rational, reasonable, middle-of-the-road Muslim moderates. How? They don’t say much and they don’t do anything. (I don’t believe they are predominant. I doubt they’re even a significant minority.) He commented that “ordinary” Muslims need to take a stand. Well . . . Hussein . . . we’re waiting. Hello out there. We hear nothing that pretends to be an open debate over the issues between you ‘all. Let’s hear from you. How about a “Million Muslim March” on the Capital? . . . not one protesting Islamophobia.

Inasmuch as their stated goal is to establish an Islamic theocracy ruled by Sharia--in our country--I have a suggestion or two:
1. Cease all Muslim immigration from all sources. Since we have difficulty determining which are risky, stop them all. We have malevolence and Muslims aplenty right now. Don’t need any more. A lot fewer might be preferable. Safer, too!
2. Monitor all of the Mosques and Muslim schools all of the time. At the first indication of incitement to evil, charge, try, convict and imprison the guilty imam or teacher . . . or at least evict them from the country.
3. Carefully vet every non-citizen Muslim in the country. “Safe” ones can stay-out their visa but not extend it or return after departure. If there is a question, immediate deportation is appropriate. Want an education? Go somewhere else. Want to live where there is peace and quiet? Fix your own G**D****d country and leave ours alone. It was working fine before you showed up on the world stage. Problems galore but not death in the streets. Didn’t used to have to undress to fly, either.
4. As for Muslim citizens, question them, too. Determine if they are with us or against us. Experience thus far would indicate that over half are against us, and half of the remainder is uncertain. Recent data on their opinions is frightening. I’m not sure what one does with a supporter, but a majority seems to be on the wrong side, and most favor the establishment of “an Islamic Republic.” Republic? Right! Iran is less “republican” than the Nazi Reich.

When so called moderates say it isn’t true and it isn’t fair, as I’m sure they will, I say: prove it! Sound a little cruel, or at least self-righteous. Right! I can get very self-righteous when we’re discussing the future of my grandkids and our country. If moderates exist, speak up. NOW! Maybe these suggestions will give them a little encouragement.

Yo, “moderates,” fix your own bloody religious mess or get the hell out of our country! “Radicals,” before you go further with this war consult the Japanese and the Germans. They’ll tell you what it’s like when we decide we have to fight one. Soon the gloves will come off. Trust me on that! You might also Google Dresden, Germany and Hiroshima, Japan. That’ll give you a little idea of where it’ll all end. You’ve had a few victories which will prove pyrrhic. You will not be permitted to win the war.

It’s true that there has been a recent and palpable loss of nerve in the defense of freedom in, and the defense of the West. Keep pushing. About the time you decide to nuke San Francisco to rid the world of its “queers” you’ll convince even Nancy Pelosi to sanction bare-knuckled, bi-manual brawling.

For a more authentic "take" on the problem, copy and paste this into your search bar. Turn up the sound (or not) and be prepared to hear and/or read a brilliant refutation of Islam of the 7th century in Ms. Sultan's scathing rebuke of an Imam on Memri TV. It is riveting and worthwhile.
http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=1050wmv&ak=null

Posted by respeto at 1:37 PM

July 11, 2007

Catch – 22, addendum

Read t’other first if you haven’t. Rather than expand that recent epistle I favor an addition.

Children today are not being taught how to think, but what to think, which results in losing the ability to think. This is brought on by the ruinous attitudes of the 60’s which invaded our culture in the hippie era. At the heart of this is the marginalization of the founding faith of our fathers and the source of our fundamental values. With it the sense of national identity or purpose has been consumed, including individualism, responsibility, obligations to our fellow citizens, and our collective love of liberty.

Diversity is diversifying Judeo-Christianity out of society and “notions” of propriety out of the West . . . which calamity fundamentally emasculates everything we formerly believed in and defended. Now all attitudes and beliefs are equal and we apologize for being insufficiently sensitive; especially for not accepting that all cultures are equal. We alone are responsible for slavery, annihilation of indigenous peoples, etc. No one on the planet ever did it before, don'tcha know. We are no longer teaching what’s good about the West, only its mistakes. Youth aren’t taught that we corrected, and still correct our mistakes, unlike most every other culture on the planet. Why? Because the secular intelligentsia doesn't believe it. They hate the West that much! Strange how they tolerate barbarity, isn't it?

As Christianity is “ushered out” there is a hiatus wherein other faiths—and no faith—can be ushered in. Islam, by contrast, doesn’t see established religion as anachronistic, and uses our dethroning of Western religion as a helpful advantage in the subjugation of the West. Freedom of religion for Muslims is the freedom to propagate their religion in every possible way and without interference from or challenge by our primary culture. Culturally they believe. Culturally we believe in nothing of substance.

There are secular Muslims who deplore these “Islamic” attitudes but a troubling number of them subscribe to all of them, and a majority subscribe to some. It therefore becomes necessary to be a Clintonesque parser. Since we are discussing moderation, define moderate, please. If discussing, as they often do, the fact that the Koran forbids attacks on the innocent, define innocent, if you will. Define tolerance while you're at it.

Most of the moderates condemn atrocities while simultaneously denying that Islam has anything to do with them, often denying that they are even perpetrated by Muslims.

A prominent Imam, along with far too many liberal multiculturalists, insists that “it is the legitimate right of people to resist invasion and occupation, by force if necessary.” O.K., how about us? We are being invaded and occupied by a foreign force at odds with our culture. Have we no right to resist? With force? Since when is their claim the only legitimate one? Oh, yea, I forgot. They are a minority and therefore subject to discrimination, which by definition the majority cannot be. Right!

It is true that support of the radicals by the liberal left is demoralizing to those moderate Muslims who might come forth, but I’d still like the moderates to stand up, define moderation, state their case and join the rest of us “non-intellectuals” in the fight against radical Islam, if that be what it is, Koranic interpretation notwithstanding. Don’t just cower . . . do something constructive, and quit excusing the radicals.

Posted by respeto at 1:02 PM

June 20, 2007

Deep-Act Chopra

Ah, yes, that great Maharishi of Indian wisdom and sensitivity. I caught an interview of him selling his newest book: Buddha: a story of enlightenment. He “mentioned” that he was curious about those in the West who claimed to be students of the great Gautama who “didn’t even know that he was Indian.” Well . . . Deep-Act, imagine my surprise that you “didn’t even know” that he wasn’t Indian! He was a Nepalese prince! To be sure, he taught in India, but he wasn’t Indian. So there! Maybe you should inform yourself before you criticize the ignoramuses in the West.

Posted by respeto at 12:58 PM

September 15, 2007

Fahrenheit 451 revisited in real life?

No review of this book is necessary. More than when written—in 1950—it reflects the politically correct attitudes of today, and I thought a heavily excerpted quote therefrom to be particularly cogent. And it is better than anything I might write.

It occurs at some future date when the fire chief, an older man who remembers books is explaining to a younger fireman, who had no experience with books, why it is necessary to burn all books:

• “Once, books appealed to a few people . . . they could afford to be different. . . . But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths. . . . Films and radios, magazines, books leveled down to a sort of paste-pudding norm.

• “Then, in the 20th century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids. Everything boils down to the gag, the snap ending. Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a 10-12 line dictionary resume.

• “[There were] many whose sole knowledge of Hamlet was a one-page digest in a book that claimed: now at last you can read all the classics; keep up with your neighbors. . . .

• “School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped. English and spelling gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?

• “Empty the theaters save for clowns. More sports for everyone, group spirit, fun, and you don’t have to think, eh? . . . Organize and superorganize super-sports. More cartoons in books. More pictures. The mind drinks less and less. Impatience. Highways full of crowds going somewhere [and] nowhere. Towns turn into motels, people in nomadic surges from place to place, living tonight in the room where you slept this noon and I the night before.

• “Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Don’t step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in [books, plays, and serials no longer] represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere.

• “Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. No wonder books stopped selling. But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily let the comic books survive. And the three-dimensional sex magazines of course.

• [and] “It didn’t come down from the Government. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions or trade journals.

• “With schools turning out more [mediocre students] instead of examiners, critics, knowers and imaginative creators, the world ‘intellectual’ became dread and unfamiliar. Remember the kid in school who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting, [etc.] The one picked out for beatings and tortures after hours?

• “We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Breach man’s mind. Who knows what might be the target of the well-read man?

• “So, when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world, there was no longer need for fireman for the old purposes. They were given the new job as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges and executors. That’s you and me!”

Anything amongst these quotes which suggests modernity? Anything you recognize? Think, folks. And maybe fear a little? Maybe even undertake to do something about it?

Posted by respeto at 12:26 PM

February 18, 2007

Gutless Brits . . . or not!

‘Bout time for another rant:

T’other night I happened into a presentation on the tele of the history of the Danish invasion of England in the 9th century. By happenstance a day later I grabbed a book, . . . one to read for fun . . . and discovered that Cornwell’s newest paperback The Last Kingdom was about the same subject. (Good book, too.)

The Danes were run out of the British Isles by Alfred the Great, securing for the moment Christian Anglo-Saxon culture and founding England. Later they came back, this time from Normandy, and won England all over again. If the Brits had any guts they’d attack and take it all back and go on to invade Denmark, over which they had some control centuries earlier. Might even consider retaking the middle east and the Holy Land. Instead, the Brits became Danes and the Danes became Brits, they both became English, they all got civilized—yea authored the modern West--and here we are with modernity!

In 732 A.D. Abdurrahman was stopped by Charles “the hammer” Martel from taking over Europe at the battle of Tours: Saracens vs. Christians or Crescent vs. Cross. The Muslims are still fighting the same war, and with great vigor. They didn’t give up! And they won’t until they are whipped. They are certain that they are right, as have all tyrannical regimes of the past.

Of course, Martel was a Frank (i.e. an ancient German) not a modern Frenchman, hence he had some fortitude, and the Danes became Christians and gave up their “Viking ways,” as did most of us in the West. Unfortunately the Islamists are still living in that time frame, totally removed from both modernity and reality, still fighting against history, and each other of course, intending to reclaim what Allah has ordained to be theirs. This “religion of peace” defines peace as a circumstance in which they own the world and Sharia, with guidance from Allah, rules it. We dhimmis will be tax-paying subservients, or dead!

And if we don’t wake up, they might succeed! Imagine being transported to Mohammed’s 7th century. It won’t be much like “Kate and Leopold,” and even less like “Back to the future.”

Posted by respeto at 11:40 AM

April 23, 2005

Inaugural issue of the five minute rant:

Why do the “progressive intellectuals” find it appropriate to deem the new pope--a wise, well read, informed and philosophic priest--wrong because he does not agree with abortion, euthanasia, and other “progressive” attitudes?

And would you believe that the Bishop of Rome favors recognition of the fact that European/Western civilization has its roots in Christianity? Or that he opposes the Muslimization of Europe? Imagine that . . . someone with an orthodox position which has been carefully thought out and masterfully defended.

Why is it that the liberals now pontificating upon these attitudes and expressed positions seem surprised to discover that he is, after all, Catholic? After centuries of repeating the old saw: “Is the Pope Catholic?” they are flummoxed by discovering that he really is! And not one like John Kerry, either.

Does the average American really understand that it is not the Republicans who are changing protocol in the Senate, but the Democrats? For the first time in history the filibuster is being used to block the appointment of a judge. And if they do not, why don't they?

And why don’t the Republicans actually make them filibuster, instead of just threatening? I can remember when the Democrats (yes, it was those enlightened souls of the Democratic Party who now preach about their concern for minorities) sought to block the Civil Rights legislation for days . . . commanding the floor in the well of the senate continuously. That is what a filibuster is supposed to be: blocking all activity by commandeering the floor and not relinquishing it to anyone for any reason. It didn’t work then, and likely won’t work now, but still the Republicans ought to make these dissidents actually do it.

Better . . . reinstate the centuries old tradition of not blocking judges. An up or down vote will do, as it has since the 18th century. Majority rules in a democracy. The Democrats seem unable to understand the fact that they have been ritually losing elections since 1994--are no longer in the majority--and the candy-assed Republicans are letting them get by with it. They’ve been in the minority for so long they don’t know how to govern.

On the other hand, they (the Republicans) certainly have learned to spend money like the Democrats. Seems they haven’t learned the right lessons.

Finally, have you heard that the Iraqis have yet to establish a sound democracy? Those on the Left, after grousing about the war, then the “quagmire,” then the “stolen treasures,” then Abu Ghraib, then the civil unrest (terrorism), then the absence of elections, then postponement of elections (which postponement they recommended), then the elections (more honest than those in South Dakota 2 years ago), and now . . . that there really is a government . . . they chastise it for not achieving in several months—with absolutely no history of freedom in Iraq—what it took us a millennium to perfect, and which is certainly not yet perfect.

Will nothing satisfy these people? Or is that a rhetorical question?

Posted by respeto at 3:47 PM

September 28, 2007

Johnstown vs Katrina

I cannot leave the Johnstown occurrence with just a book review. Further comment is mandatory. While vacationing in NH I read a book published in 1965 on the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. Again there were parallels worthy of comment. Less than 20 years after Johnstown another American boom town experienced a catastrophe. It was far more encompassing because of the size of the city (e.g. 300,000 homeless) but the response was equally dramatic.

“[There was,] exhibited . . . the American capacity for organization . . . [wherein others placed] their dependence on men who have exhibited their capacity to do things.” Military ships “self deployed” on order of their commanders arriving within hours; major moguls sprang into action providing tens of thousands of dollars for relief, free transportation out of the area, food, water and supplies. All this was achieved in less than 24 hours. Millions of relief dollars were raised quickly from New York to Los Angeles.

President Roosevelt provided nine million dollars in funds and appointed a disaster coordinator who, working with the fledgling Red Cross made this event into the first major calamity serviced by that organization.

Now let us revisit Katrina. I encourage you to read the book review on the flood, but remind you that the press at the time reported rumors of 10,000 dead, with plunder, mayhem, rape and murder. All of these rumors were corrected within a day or two. With Katrina rumors persist after two years, since they serve the purpose of Nagin and Blanco, the NAACP and the press.

Most interesting however, was the fact that in that era, without FEMA and its like, money flowed in from every state and many foreign countries totaling millions (of 19th century) dollars! In little more than a day the railroads were operational, carloads of necessities arrived and volunteer workers in the thousands came to help. In months Johnstown was back in order and rebuilding was largely accomplished. Steel was being manufactured, and life had returned to normal. In San Francisco shipping restored and businesses were operational and booming again within a couple of years.

All we hear about New Orleans is bitching about insufficient governmental aid and money, the rest of us unwilling to fix them up better than before, and complaints that countrymen are tired of hearing about the problems, etc., ready to move on, and wondering when they will be so too.

The century old calamities offer testimonial to American ingenuity, vigor and humanity under duress in the 19th century, begging the question of what has happened in the 21st

Things worked well without government in command, with individuals assuming--and presuming--responsibility! Maybe we should consider another revolution? (Keep in mind that revolve--the root word--involves a return to a beginning.)

Somewhere we have lost our way!

Posted by respeto at 12:30 PM

June 16, 2005

Liberals, Bolton, terrorism and a response

Relevant quotes:

“The same (American, of course) inability to feel the pain of others is the pathology that shapes the minds of terrorists.” (as if suffering everywhere is somehow America’s fault, and terrorism an appropriate expression of it. Italics are my additions.)
Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun

“To say that poverty explains terror is to slander those caught in poverty who choose to lead worthy lives. . . . Based on the biographies of the September 11 attackers, the logical inference would be that ‘money, education, and privilege’ cause terrorism.”
Sean Wilentz (a Princeton professor and Clinton defender.)

Notice any similarity?.

Mona Charen, in her tome Useful Idiots (2003: Paperback edition ISBN 0060579412) observed, as have others in the past, that (in the post-WWII era) “liberals failed one of the two great moral tests . . . [and] still do not know [that] they failed [nor have they] grappled with the implications of that failure.” They had no difficulty facing down “despicable, barbaric” fascism, but did and do fail to identify the same difficulties in Communism, and now in the war on terror, which is arguably as important as WWII—maybe more so.

If liberals in the legislature are using all of the current techniques for purely political reasons they are beneath contempt. If they truly believe what they say they are hopelessly naïve--even childlike. One of the beauties of childhood is this simple naiveté. It fits less well on an adult, and especially one supposedly educated, and in the know, not to mention in positions of power.

Their post Vietnam views, further conditioned by the dilemmas of Central America, were wrong, as history has proved. All of the countries over which the Pooh-Bahs of the left wrenched themselves out of shape are now democracies. Worse, they were and are similarly wrong about America. To suggest that America is corrupt, dangerous, culpable, etc. is simply incorrect. Pure and virginal we are not, but, as Reagan observed: “America is not what’s wrong with the world.”

An unwillingness to carefully evaluate the dangers, and the need to sacrifice some of our vaunted liberty in order to get inside the terror network (i.e. the Homeland Security debacle), and the stalling of the Bolton nomination to the U.N. for nothing but political reasons is abominable. With the U.N. in its current condition, we need another strong personage to represent us, as were Moynihan and Kirkpatrick. To deny this requires considerable, voluntary blindness to the facts, or intentional distortion of them.

No war is perfect . . . many are necessary . . . most have no “exit strategy” except victory. To interfere at all levels at all times for political advantage (think terrorist detainees in Cuba), just to make Bush look like a demon is simply not acceptable. Problems do exist, and certainly some need address by these legislative bodies, but to pretend that Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo equals the Russian Gulag system, Saddam, and terrorist beheadings is repulsive on its face.

We are in a war to the death. Psychological Operations manuals all note that you can’t kill them all, you have to convert some of them . . . still, killing some of them is necessary in its own right, and is known to assist in the conversion of others.

Posted by respeto at 10:29 AM

January 19, 2007

More on "Global Warming"

For those of you who really believe in man-made global warming, please copy and paste this link into your search engine and carefully read this brief article . . . with an open mind . . . from a serious weatherman . . .

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=3a9bc8a4-802a-23ad-4065-7dc37ec39adf

Posted by respeto at 1:13 PM

December 6, 2008

Nobody asked me about piracy, but:

The answer now is the same as it was 200 years ago with the Barbary Pirates: destroy their land bases. This B.S. about getting the U.N. interested, and "helping Somalia" develop a liberal democracy, thus to control piracy, is absurd. Look at all the U.N. has accomplished in Palestine since partition. Wow! Impressive. Who's afraid of that "big bad wolf?" Nobody! And, besides, those people couldn't organize a one car funeral.

Blue water patrols can help. Sinking a few of the bastards might get their attention. But Jefferson had the right idea (not Wm. Jefferson--42nd . . . t'other one: Thomas, 3rd president of the U.S.) who loosed an invasion to largely destroy one of the Barbary bases, kill some of the cretins, and threaten the power structure with further damage.

Then, and only then, did the pirates decide they'd had enough. Stephen Decatur had earlier infiltrated their harbor with a handful of marines, and destroyed a valuable ship they had captured. Later, as piracy continued, a local army, and a handful of U.S. marines, (remember: "the shores of Tripoli?") marched in from the deserts to the East, wiped out one base and threatened to overthrow the Bashaw. He got the message. "Peace" was declared.

So . . . maybe Savior Obama should parley with the other (pathetic) Western "powers" to assist in this endeavor. Failing that--and it will fail--SEND THE MARINES!

Posted by respeto at 1:56 PM

October 23, 2010

Obama's Hypocrisy

Last evening I caught Obama pandering over the election. He spoke, passionately insisting that "we take care of each other" in this country. We Care !! Is that so? His aunt has been in this country for seven years, all of it illegally, yet she has been receiving welfare checks for all of this time. She has been on the street for part of it, and in a homeless shelter for 2 years by her own admission. Now she is living in subsidized public housing, having never asked for it and being unaware of who is her benefactor; all of this on the taxpayers dime. Maybe "we" do actually care for each other, but it doesn't seem to include him now, does it?

I understand that in Africa most cultures encourage successful people to help others. Indeed large villages often sap huge quantities of wealth from even very successful people because of this custom. Barack is a "proud African-American" who has visited his homeland and village, yet, while insisting he's ever-caring he hasn't provided a nickel for his aunt. He's a millionaire, but won't part with rent or food money for her. Similarly so for his half-brother in Africa who lives on less than a dollar a day. Such is his generosity !! The taxpayers provide food, clothing, shelter and medical care for his aunt and he pretends she isn't here.

That, my friends, is hypocrisy on steroids, yet altogether consistent with what we know about Barack and Michelle. Like all Liberals, they are happy to spend other people's money, don'tcha-know? Learned it from Ted Kennedy. He's rich, we're strapped, but welfare provides for his relative. Wow. What a guy. What a family. What a scam. BLAAAAAAAAAAHH

Posted by Curmudgeon at 2:49 PM

June 8, 2008

Obamaniacs and Demagoguery

In the Wall Street Journal there was a recent comment: “In Mr. Obama, Democrats are taking a leap of faith that is daring, even by their risky standards.”

And why do they “dare”? Well, it seems that they (Dems and WSJ) consider “extraordinary” the fact that a huge number of citizens appear willing to put the future in the hands of an inexperienced young man with no track record who just happens to be a skilled campaigner and an inspiring speaker; one who gives no clue how he would govern . . . assuming he has a clue himself.

What he does make clear is that he will, if allowed, be in charge of us all, take care of us all, and do it in whatever way he sees fit. Of course the details are few, and those few are frightening to the alert amongst us recognize that the devil is always in the details.

I dunno 'bout-chew, but I want to be left alone to care for myself and those I value, with due consideration of others, and immense caution towards those who would tell me what to do, how to do it, and when . . . and then send me the bill.

What this graphically demonstrates is the complete ignorance and naiveté of a large portion of the public. This is what all demagogues and would be dictators have been counting on since time immemorial. In many times, in many ways, and by many sages it has been observed that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

These folks don’t simply ignore history, they are unaware of it. And they don't seem to recognize or care that they are ignorant. They just want someone who is "concerned" to care about them. "Change" (whatever that means) is the mantra of the day. It is frightening to me that these people are allowed to vote in a republic.

Posted by respeto at 10:26 AM

June 20, 2005

Oh, for a little civility!

As I watched 1st Monday in October (1981) the other night (courtesy of NetFlix) I was reminded of several things from a different time . . . before the war of the worlds now taking place in Washington:

First, that despite having very strongly held positions on opposite sides of almost every issue, the principals had an awesome respect for each other, and, while not originally cordial they became fast friends . . . a moderately “conservative” individual, and a radical “left-winger.” They had heated discussions, held mock cross examinations, and had visceral reactions to them without the intolerant and vitriolic interchanges so familiar today. One wonders how Hollywood managed that. It certainly wouldn’t be done that way today. The conservative would be portrayed as a bombastic, opinionated though uninformed purveyor of falsehoods, and be played in a fashion sufficient to engender hatred by all, including not a few conservatives (think The American President.) The liberal would be a brilliant saint: cordial, informed, attractive, will informed and, of course, right (think the same.) I was reminded that nowadays it isn’t enough, or even possible, for a liberal to feel that a conservative is thoughtless, uninformed or wrong—never mind a thoughtful and informed person with a different opinion and a different “take” on the issue--he must also have wicked intent and be evil.

Second, I was reminded that a real conservative is not an ideologue, while liberalism is an ideology. “Progressive,” it’s presently called, while being careful not to define progress. Or mentioning towards what. Unfortunately, most modern conservatives are ideologues as well, which is why the battles get so fierce. At heart much of the country is basically conservative in thought and morality, and liberals don’t seem to comprehend that. Their agenda embraces what are, for most of us, really “far out” issues including the exclusion of Christmas as a festival because of its Christian heritage, morality as a political issue--not just separation of church and state, but elimination of “churchy” thoughts from activities of the state--pornography as free speech, homosexual “marriage” as a right and sodomy as a federal issue, abortion and fetal stem-cell research as issues completely without emotional or moral implications, education as training and indoctrination, the feminization of men and society, and Western civilization as just one of myriad options, neither better nor worse than any other on the planet.

Finally, capitalism is, of course, evil. Liberals fail to integrate the fact that the problem with socialism is socialism—though they don’t consider themselves socialists--whilst the problem with capitalism is capitalists. This, too, was brought to mind by the movie, when the conservative protagonist discovered that her deceased husband had been one of those amoral capitalists which any good conservative would deplore.

View the movie. It comes from a kinder, gentler time, when opponents could be civil to one another. Heated sometimes, and argumentative, but inherently civil.


Posted by respeto at 4:05 PM

July 4, 2005

On Arabs and Islam . . . again.

Last night I had the occasion to see again, after more than 20 years (thanks to NetFlix), the movie Khartoum. For those who can’t remember, or didn’t see this 1966 movie I highly recommend it. It chronicled the historic sacking of Khartoum in 1885 by the army of the Muslim “Mahdi” (chosen one)—a 19th century version of Osama Bin Laden who was convinced that he had been selected by Mohammed to “purify” Islam by killing everyone who didn’t agree with him. Men, women and children . . . Sudanese, Egyptian, English . . . Muslim, Jewish, Christian . . . it didn’t matter.

Initially an army of 100,000 Muslims led by this fanatic laid siege to Khartoum for 10 months. Terrified by the threat, half of the city’s population “crossed over” to the Mahdi’s side and left the city. Days later Khartoum was destroyed, along with the 30,000 remaining inhabitants. This was accomplished cruelly and unmercifully with pikes, swords, daggers, primitive rifles, even picks and shovels. The city was sacked and burned--left in ruins, and the dead left for preying birds and animals.

The British, wishing to avoid involvement, delayed in sending their army. They reconsidered, but the army arrived several days too late to save the city and its people! It was a disastrous decision which the British Empire regretted immediately, and it still stands on the record of one of their “worst hours.”

There is a message here. One would have thought that the Brits wouldn’t forget, but most have. (The French probably cheered.) We must not forget! We are the only power sufficiently large and sophisticated to stand up to the threat of terrorism and we must not fail. If we do, Western Civilization will fail as well, and the world will enter another dark millennium. We can “bring along” allies, if they will join us, but we must do it alone if we can't. There is no acceptable alternative.

Those who feel we should “legally prosecute” or “negotiate” our way out of this threat are missing a serious point. These fanatics are out to destroy the world as we know it, and expressly Western Civilization, and will quit only when they are killed or at least neutralized. Afghanistan was a first step. Iraq is a second. Others will follow, but fail we must not. As in WWII, the only rational exit strategy is victory.

We must defeat this nebulous enemy by whatever means necessary, wherever necessary, whenever necessary, and over whatever time period is necessary.

Posted by respeto at 1:23 PM

August 20, 2006

On “Saturation Bombing”

Why did we do it in WWII? . . . And should we reconsider now?

Just had to share this! It is a letter to the Weekly Standard in response to an article (which you do not have to have read to appreciate the rejoinder.) I encourage you to read this letter and carefully consider its content. Never have I seen a letter to the editor which was so explicit and so matter-of-factly correct. I did a thesis on this once, yet never have I heard an argument for annihilative bombing that makes more sense. Keep in mind that this is more of a testimonial than it is a random opinion. The author experienced the trauma and renders first-hand knowledge!

The letter is as it appeared in the Standard (the emphasis is mine.)

Regarding Christopher Hitchens’s “Scorched Earth” (July 31): The real consequence of an indiscriminate bombing campaign was the changing of the German (and Japanese) mind after 1945. As a German born and raised in Hamburg, I am pretty sure that the air campaign extinguished German romantic militarism.

The bombing bore two lessons for the generations to come: First, those who did not prevent Hitler from rising to power in 1933 perished along with the Nazis—a lesson that made Germans very wary of extremist parties in statu nascendi ever since. Second, the war came home to German women, instead of being fought merely in the trenches. As such, for the first time since the Thirty Years’ War, the female half of Germany drew on firsthand experiences when cautioning against militaristic slogans. In the years following 1918 that had not been the case, resulting in young Germans falling prey to heroic tales the Nazis were telling them about Langemarck and Verdun.

After 1945 it was different. I have known many Hamburg citizens who could not stand a cozy fireplace any longer, even decades later, for the terror of the fire bombing made a fireplace unbearable to them. The reply an American general gave to a reporter in March 1945 when asked why the Allies bombed small cities with no strategic value has tuned out to hold true: We want Germany to remember for a hundred years the consequences of waging war against us.

It is, I might cautiously add, an experience that our present enemies are missing. A strategy that makes allied soldiers and pilots tiptoe and hop around mosques and kindergartens is a very humane and sensitive one. It might, though, fail to drive home a lesson that Japanese and Germans learned the brutal way: Citizens who do not care about what their neighbor does, citizens who do not rise to the occasion when there is time to do so, will pay dearly for it. Terrorists hiding among the populace count on precisely such complacency.

In Germany and Japan, the allied bombing campaign made it clear to everyone that missing courage may not be a means of getting out of the way; to the contrary, it may draw those who do not stand up against megalomaniacal hotheads into the abyss as well.

That is a lesson the allied warplanes, amidst their bombs, pounded the Germans and Japanese with, and though I hate to admit it, given the sacrifices of those who did not favor the wars of Hitler or Hirohito, it did indeed work.

Posted by respeto at 2:24 PM

May 26, 2005

Rant 26 May, 2005

For those who want to know about politicians and compromise for the good of the nation, Peggy Noonan says it best:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110006736

Posted by respeto at 11:55 AM

November 15, 2005

Several quotes to pass along--food for thought

In this morning's reading I came across several important quotes, apropos the forthcoming debate over judges. I only wish I had the facility to express such important things in such a wise yet succinct ways:

Do you believe it is possible for something to be constitutional, but wrong? Right but unconstitutional? This is what fundamentally separates the left and the right on judges. Either the constitution means something, or it doesn't. In a nation of laws, reasons--and rules--matter.

and:

If the Supreme Court is there to decide what's right or wrong rather than what's constitutional or unconstitutional, then we don't need lawyers on the bench at all. Surely if the questions before the court concern what's good and what's bad, there are people--priests, rabbis, truck drivers--more qualified to decide such things than a bunch of lawyers.

Think about it. How can you disagree?

Posted by respeto at 11:53 AM

March 30, 2005

The Hardly Conservative George Bush - Part III

Blog . . 30-March-2005 - - - The hardly conservative George Bush - Part III

Relevant quotes of the day:

“As a nation of free men we live forever, or die by suicide.”
Abraham Lincoln

“If American radical leftists, pacifists and libertarian isolationists prevail in promoting a pacifist political culture in the U.S., then it is only a matter of time before the world is dominated by a military superpower whose leaders have an ethos [of totalitarians].”
Michael Lind

“There is only one guaranteed way you can have peace—and you can have it in the next second--surrender.”
Ronald Reagan

“When you don’t know what you’re talking about it’s hard to know when you’re finished.”
Tommy Smothers

Would you believe that the ostensibly conservative –W- is

• An alleged—and in selected situations the demonstrated--staunch defender of the U.S. who will not secure our borders, indicating that those invading our country are “peaceable people” who come here for employment are just seeking opportunity. (The euphemism “undocumented workers” is substituted here for factually accurate: “illegal immigrants”). For the many, “peaceable people” is likely true, but no nation can remain a sovereign or a free self-determining realm without exercising control over its borders. We can . . . and must! Compromise over such an issue, with Liberals, Democrats, the press and/or the business community, the Hispanic vote and/or the Mexican government, is both untenable and unforgivable. When did being elected become more important than doing what is right when necessary? He overlooks the fact that a huge majority of our nation’s citizens, including a majority of Hispanics, favors border control and oppose illegal immigration. Even liberal Europe is beginning to get the message! Why not “43?” Will it take another 9/11 to get his, and the government’s attention?

• Further, this alleged guardian of our safety and freedom of action, is in favor of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which will give control of the right of movement upon, study and, yes, exploitation of the oceans of the world to a body every bit as corrupt as the U.N., the World Trade Association (WTO), the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the and promulgators of the Kyoto Treaty. Unlike the U.N., however, we will have no veto power. WTO made some sense, perhaps, but Kyoto was voted down by the Senate 95-0 (because it spells economic disaster while avoiding the problem it is assumed to address), and LOST 19-0 in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (because it curtails defense, science, industrial progress, and who knows what else.) Bush, at great political expense, stood and stands against the ICC and Kyoto. Why not against LOST?

I have no problem with compromise. That is the nature of politics. But one must not compromise principal, national security or independence. That represents the death-knell for sovereignty. (Sovereignty remains a subject for a later rant.) It is important to know exactly what is at stake, and “what you’re talking about!”

Political correctness, trolling for European support and behaving as the world opinion believes we should is getting a little old. Yeah, they didn’t like the invasion of Iraq, though some are now having second thoughts; and they didn’t like our pulling out of Kyoto, though it is to be recalled that Clinton signed on (despite the senate vote--and for altogether political reasons) during his last days in office whilst Bush simply signed off in the same fashion.

(Recall that they didn’t like it when Reagan pushed missiles into Europe in contravention of their wishes, but was successful in forcing the USSR to remove theirs as an “even trade.” And they didn’t like Reykjavik, or “star wars,” but Reagan prevailed and won. The Germans were apocalyptic when Reagan delivered his “tear down this wall” speech. Reagan did what was necessary and correct despite flak from all quarters, including more than a little from the “peaceable” (and the pacifists) in the U.S.

So . . . “splain” to me just why any conservative, let alone this “compassionately conservative” President, would hamstring the U.S. by refusing vigorous defense of our borders, and pushing the passage of LOST. The latter is worse than giving our Panama Canal away. Sure, the Liberals will like it, because it will interfere with the world class U.S. Navy, make exploration and exploitation unaffordable and/or impossible (not just difficult). The oceans will belong to “humanity,” whoever in hell that is, and are to be controlled by an agendized committee which will determine who can move where, when and for what purpose, and by whom all subsequent development is permitted, as well as to whom the fruits of such labors will be awarded. That is, we spend the money, we exercise the expertise, then we give the profits to the third world (or whomever the committee decides.)

We won’t be able, with any degree of assurance, to go anywhere in the world on water without checking with someone. No territorial land-mass control by sovereign nation, or territorial waters to honor, despite the fact that many claim 50 miles and others up to 400. If ratified we won’t be able go anywhere without abrogating the Law of the Sea. Gotta’ check with the U.N. or some other NGO to do most anything. It won’t fly and oughtn’t.

We don’t need treaties for that. We just need to surrender. It’s as simple as that!

Posted by respeto at 2:44 PM

January 7, 2008

The Mauling (sp-intentional) of America

This rant is precipitated by comments made in The World is Flat and several other such renderings I have more recently read.

Neil Postman once observed that Las Vegas is a metaphor of our national aspiration: a city devoted to entertainment: i.e. faux reality. It is, in essence, a prototypic American mall—on steroids! Like our modern shopping malls it is without significant statuary or public squares; public art is replaced by plastic plants arranged around contrived storefronts; artificial lighting is associated with “neat” electronic tricks. Everything is simulated. The occasional skylight admits a little sunshine from time to time.

Malls have been declared to be private places, with notable displacement of the public square where full freedom used to be exercised, right down to the nut on the soap box. It has turned us away from the authentic drama played out on city streets which are no longer the focus of a community. Instead, we have a 50-100 acre regional expanse “at the far end of the road.” There are even different types of malls catering to lifestyle, income, values, and décor – just as we have with neighborhoods of uniform homes in the same price range.

Commerce prevails over all other human values, thus diminishing the sense of citizenship, and one further senses a diminished sense of self-worth. No one really questions whether the loss of community is really a fair trade for the maximum in shopping values and options. Is citizenship more important then consumerism? One doubts it!

Carole Rifkind has observed cogently that consumption has replaced community as a means of identification, while William Kowinski commented that the mall is “the TV you walk around in.”

Cities smaller and less historic than New York and Chicago are disappearing. We end up with LA in varietal permutations. I grew up in a neighborhood where there were falling down houses rented to the poor, admixed with lower middle-class, middle class, and even relatively expensive homes.

Now there are subdivisions of near identical homes with prices varying little more than a few thousand dollars, separated from one another and from down town areas by miles of four-lane roads and freeways; and even the expensive ones are tacky, “kit homes”which remind of the Pete Seger song from half a century ago in which he was champed about Levittowns as “houses made of ticky-tacky all standing in a row.”

My move to Florida has been disappointing because there is a seriously diminished variety of all manner of things, associated with an over-arching vacuity. My prior promise to myself was that I’d “never live more than a few miles removed from oak leaf lettuce.” Here they’ve never heard of it, along with uncountable other kinds of produce . . . not to mention gourmet pasta, unusual types of meat and fish! . . . and class is spelled with a “K”.

Posted by respeto at 4:35 PM

August 1, 2011

The Truth: Scary

I just learned of, and last night watched the documentary entitled Inside Job, produced by Charles Ferguson and narrated by Matt Damon. It is a scorching, frightening narrative--very well documented--which exposes and explains the enormous power that the present banking industry has over the government, and our economy; how they engineered the recent financial disaster and are in a position to do it again.

Having read a number of books about the present calamity, I can assure everyone that this is "the God's truth." With the recent banking bailout, the remaining banks are both larger and more dangerous; less regulated and more powerful. They are playing with our money and it must be stopped, though I have no idea how it is to be accomplished.

It is available thru NefFlix, and can be purchased on line thru Amazon, amongst others.

Rent it or buy it, but see it ASAP. Contact your Senators and Congressmen, and insist that they figure out what to do. They are ruining the economy of the world as we knew it only 30 years ago. This documentary carefully and fully explains how and why.

Posted by Curmudgeon at 2:55 PM

March 8, 2005

The debate over evolution.

Relevant quote of the day:

“Proteins are what you get when you string amino acids together. . . [and] there may be as many as a million types of protein in the human body . . . To make them you need to assemble [some or many] amino acids in a particular order, in much the same way that you assemble letters in a particular order to spell a word. To spell collagen, the name of a common type of protein, you need to arrange eight letters in the right order. But to make collagen you need to arrange 1,055 amino acids in precisely the right sequence. But—and here’s an obvious but crucial point—you don’t make it. It makes itself, spontaneously, without direction, and this is where the unlikelihoods come in. The chances of a 1,055 sequence molecule spontaneously self-assembling are [mathematically] nil.” (Visualize a Las Vegas slot machine large enough to accommodate 1,055 little wheels with 20 symbols on each wheel. How long do you suppose you’d have to pull the handle for those symbols to come up in the right order? E.g., if you reduce the spinning wheels to 200, the odds against all 200 coming up in the right sequence is 1 in 10 with 260 zeroes behind it—itself larger than the number of all atoms in the universe. And that’s for 200, not 1,055)
Bill Bryson (from A Short History of Nearly Everything.)

One ought consider the fact that a single, microscopic living cell carries more data than all of the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica!

Or that there is nothing in the record--biochemical, anatomical, genetic, or archaeological--to substantiate evolution. The entire human collection of ostensibly proto-human bones in the world’s museums wouldn’t fill a decent sized box, yet we are expected to accept these, and the testimony of an ever decreasing handful of “experts,” that they confirm the theory. Right !! And we can prove that the moon is made of green cheese, based upon similar “science.”

Things are heating up. The Scopes Monkey trial is again being discussed as if it proved Darwinism. It didn’t. It proved that courts are ill-equipped to handle such a complex question.

“Scholars” are now railing against Intelligent Design. Overlooked, amongst other things, is the fact that even Darwin considered his concept a theory. (You’ve heard of the “theory of evolution,” I’m sure.)

Truth be known, Godlessness is in trouble. Many of today’s most thoughtful scientists, philosophers, intellectuals and doubtful clerics are coming to the (to me, obvious) conclusion that belief in Darwin’s theory requires more “blind faith” than a belief in some sort of omniscient, omnipotent power--call it God, or whatever you choose. As with the legal concept of res ipsa loquitur: “the facts speak for themselves.” At least they do for those paying attention, and willing to listen and consider them.

Darwinism and Atheism have as many frauds, psychopaths and careerists as do their antitheses: creationism and religion. And the latter group is now being joined by these legions of the best informed, most knowledgeable people on the planet, who are concluding—some reluctantly—that there is no way around the facts.

Read The Blind Watchmaker, or other such ostensibly factually informative texts, and you might be tempted to believe—at least until such time as you reflect upon what is offered, not for consideration, but as fact. Dawkins and Diamond have written numerous such tomes, all of which skirt the actual issues in debate. One prototypic of such books is The Beak of the Finch, which details how the beak evolved. Overlooked is that showing how the beak adapted to ensure survival within a given species is an incredible remove from the theory of a single paramecium becoming a man, and by pure accident at that. (After all, the paramecium didn’t have to become a monkey, or a man, to survive . . . now did it?

No one informed by the facts argues with intra-species evolution. Actually, few argue over inter-species evolution. Rather, they argue that design requires more than luck or good fortune, and they prove it with statistics. Just as (the Scottish economist) Adam Smith identified “the invisible hand,” so too does evolution require such a hand. Perhaps, as well, what we might broadly consider “a mind” intent on creation and evolution to some particular end . . . or, maybe, just a challenge to a force with such a capacity? It certainly exceeds my pay grade, not to mention my (relatively) feeble mind.

Read, additionally, How Blind is the Watchmaker, by Broom & Dembski, or the devastating Not by Chance, by Spetner (the “most rational attack on evolution that I have ever read.”-E. Simon: Biology Dep’t at Purdue University). And, do not to overlook Darwin’s Black Box, by Behe (“No one can propose to defend Darwin without meeting the challenges set out in this superbly written and compelling book.” - D. Berlinski.)

Generally we find ourselves amidst the perpetual struggle to explain, rather than sanctify, varietal theories as realities which fall within the construct of scientific revolutions. Once the world was flat. (Indeed, more than once.) Once the universe was centered about the earth, till later when we “discovered” heliocentricity. Now we recognize that within the cosmos we are but the tiniest of backwaters in a miniscule solar system which is part of a proportionally only slightly larger galaxy. We are honest enough to admit to this so what is the problem with dissecting the original “theory of evolution.” After all, old Nick (Copernicus, 1473-1543) labored long and hard over his theory, which took centuries to reach anything like consensus. Galileo was “housebound” because the clergy wasn’t quite up to believing what he had to hypothecate, and now, several centuries later there are still things yet to be proven about Einstein’s theories, themselves nearly 100 years old.

So why must we accept Darwinism, hypothecated in the 19th century, without challenge or debate? Even Darwin wasn’t sure that what he observed had anything like universal application, and there are (literally) tons of books arguing of the issue. Barnes and Noble list 11,364 entries.

If you have an informed opinion feel free to comment. But, as a reminder, avoid being “the unarmed man.” (see top of this page:)

Posted by respeto at 1:24 AM

March 19, 2005

The hardly conservative George Bush - Part II

Blog . . 18-March-2005

Relevant quotes of the day:

“As a nation of free men we live forever, or die by suicide.”

Abraham Lincoln

“A desperate disease requires a dangerous remedy.” Guy Fawkes

“Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”Benjamin Franklin

“Good intentions are no match for armed and resolute wickedness.”
Winston Churchill

“There is only one guaranteed way you can have peace—and you can have it in the next second--surrender.”
Ronald Reagan

Would you believe that the ostensibly conservative –W- an alleged--and in selected situations the demonstrated--staunch defender of the U.S. who will not secure our borders, indicating that those invading our country are “peaceable people” who come here for employment are just seeking opportunity. (The euphemism “undocumented workers” is substituted here for factually accurate: illegal immigrants, and “peaceable” necessarily implies all of them.) For the many, peaceable people is likely true, but no nation can remain a sovereign or a free self-determining realm without exercising control over its borders, keeping out the peaceable and the unpeaceable. We can . . . and we must! Compromise over such an issue, with Liberals, Democrats, the press, the business community, the Hispanic community and/or the Mexican government, is both untenable and unforgivable. When did being elected become more important than doing what is right when necessary?

In so doing he overlooks the fact that a huge majority of our nation’s citizens, including a majority of Hispanics, favors border control and opposes illegal immigration. Even liberal Europe is beginning to get the message about dangerous, and too numerous immigrants! Why not “43?” Will it take another 9/11 to get his and the government’s attention? One hopes not, but one must enquire into why the “compassion” on this point.

The current status of inspections on container cargo, and other shipping, is said to be no better than on 9/10. Why not? A “suitcase nuke” is only a little larger than a standard airline carry-on. Searching millions of potential sites for such importation is understandably extraordinarily difficult . . . but no better than 9/10? Certainly we can do better than that. At least we could try, and if we trying there would measurable evidence of improvement.

“W” has done so well in so many parameters of foreign consideration, errors and miscalculations notwithstanding, that it is difficult to comprehend why he has not acted in these and other related matters. Surely Europe, Canada and Mexico--never mind the Middle East dictatorships--shouldn’t get a voice in domestic U.S. affairs. Why do they seem to? Giving these folks a veto, or even compromising a rational position, is irrational. Maybe they don’t mind getting attacked (they certainly don’t mind it when we get attacked), or like the Spanish they may still feel that the terrorist can be bought off by compromise. I don’t. Collectively we don’t, and clearly Bush doesn’t, so why is he reluctant to do what is necessary. Politically correct is one thing, intolerable and unacceptable as it is. Surrender, and possible suicide, is quite another, and altogether unacceptable.

Effective politics is the essence of compromise. But one must not compromise principal, national security or independence. That represents the death-knell for sovereignty. (Sovereignty remains a subject for a later rant, and a book review.)

Political correctness, trolling for European support and behaving as the world opinion believes we should is getting tiresome. So they didn’t like the invasion of Iraq. Too bad. (And many of them are now having second thoughts about Iraq, however reluctantly.) They didn’t like it when Reagan pushed missiles into Europe in contravention of their wishes either, but he was successful in forcing the USSR to remove their missiles as an “even trade.” The Germans were apocalyptic when he delivered his “tear down this wall” speech. They didn’t like Reykjavik, or “star wars,” but Reagan prevailed and won.

But Reagan did what was necessary and correct despite flak from all quarters, including more than a little from the “peaceable” in the world, including the U.S. “There they go again” was his peaceable rejoinder.

So . . . “splain” to me just why any American President, let alone a conservative, would hamstring the U.S. by refusing vigorous defense of our borders? We don’t need foreign power agreement, nor do we need accolades from them. We just need to surrender. It’s as simple as that! Frightening, too.

Posted by respeto at 12:03 PM

March 10, 2005

The hardly conservative George W. Bush

Relevant quotes:
“We could give it all back to you (the tax surplus) and hope you spend it right.” Bill Clinton

“This is the man who prints the money. I spend it.” (This was a comment made when introducing then Secretary of the Treasury, Wm Simon, demonstrating the liberal ignorance in the field of economics)
(Senator-MN) H .H. Humphrey

“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” (Senator-NY) Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“Lest we forget, civilization emerged not from the grand documents and noble philosophies of men, but from an arbitrary little voice in the female head saying: ‘that’s not nice.’”
Florence King

It is central to understanding Moynihan’s quote that both are correct whilst not fully so. Arguing “nature” against “nurture” is to deny that both are relevant. Can anyone with an I.Q. in double digits argue that only one applies? The civil rights activities of the 60’s demonstrate that politics is indeed relevant, and the righteous anger of our citizens over the unleashing of dogs on the demonstrators exemplifies the importance of basic cultural values (as in: “that’s not nice!”) Bill Clinton and Hubert Humphrey, as always, speak for liberals, however moderate/immoderate: there’s no such thing as a bad tax, or too many taxes and it’s always possible to spend more than you have, just borrow the difference or print more money (which is a major cause of inflation—thru devaluation of the currency.)

Would you believe that the ostensibly conservative “W,” an alleged tax cutter, is unwilling to rule out surreptitiously and disingenuously raising taxes by increasing the base upon which Social Security Taxes are collected. He emphasizes that he will not increase the rate of taxation. Be attentive here, this is doublespeak. Bush-41 overtly broke his promise about “no new taxes,” was honest about it, and paid dearly. Bush-43 is becoming a little sleazy here, not to go so far as to say lying, and dissembles reality like a typical politician. He “hasn’t ruled out” anything . . . meaning that he is willing to discuss this misrepresented travesty. He reiterates his willingness to “expend political capital” over his cherished endeavors . . . but is hypocrisy to be the cause and the fashion in which he does so?

Keep in mind that with the taxable base increased anyone earning over $90,000 will be compelled to pay 12.4% in tax on the additional amount, while “qualifying” for no new or increased “benefit.” Ostensibly, this taxpayer is (maybe—and it is a maybe!) to be granted permanency of the previously temporary tax relief. Said reduction of tax represents a trifling few percent overall, whilst W is “considering” a compromise with the Liberals to permit raising the base upon which the laughably labeled “Federal Income for the Aged (FICA) tax, not insurance premium, is paid. And it is paid on all income, not adjusted gross income.

In many parts of the U.S., 90K is not a huge salary. Not modest, but not huge. If, say, one earns 120 K, the increase in FICA tax will be almost $4,000, offset by a reduction of income tax of less than $1,000! Further, the increase in FICA won’t address, let alone resolve, the looming deficits in this socialist program. We don’t yet know if “43” is prepared to compromise over personal accounts as well, which you will recall was the reason touted for entering the discussion in the first place. Great conservative, he!

I am increasingly unable to differentiate between his version of compassionate conservatism (an oxymoron of sorts) and the supposed alternative: liberal democratic socialism (another oxymoron, inasmuch as there is nothing especially democratic, and certainly nothing liberal in the classic sense, about socialism.) His spending on programs such as No Child Left Behind, and Free Drugs for the Greatest Generation (of thieves*), has placed him second on the list of all time biggest spenders . . . the first having been F.D.R. Please recall that Roosevelt was in the middle of a war which was orders of a magnitude more expensive than the current Gulf War/War on Terror. Again, great conservative, he! (Which he? Clearly F.D.R was more conservative than either Bush, and J.F.K was significantly more conservative than any of them. **)

*By way of disclosure, let me identify myself as almost (at 68 y.o.) one of that generation, as I indemnify myself by abhorring the AARP, oppose free drugs for seniors—especially Levitra. I argue constantly against programs such as Social Security. I am, or was, one of those who paid infinitely more into S.S. than I will ever get in return, and strongly support a totally privatized retirement program, albeit required by the government. It works in Chile, why not here? Further, one has to be apprised that even F.D.R., the author/sponsor of Social Security, inaugurated it as a temporary system, to be replaced by a permanently self-sustaining private system once the depression was over, and (if I recall the quote properly) “surely within no more than 30 years.” So why do the Democrats argue for the permanence of this government program, and why do the Republicans agree with them? We know the answer to the first half of the question: modern liberals favor huge and oppressive government, since they truly believe they can run our lives better than we can. It is the latter half of the question which is puzzling to me, and ought to be to you.

**I voted for Nixon--or, rather, against Kennedy because he was too liberal.

Posted by respeto at 1:50 PM

September 5, 2011

Tho'ts on a vanishing president

Have recently run into some particularly apt quotations, which I shall simply use to amplify the title of this little missive:

"Most political disputes boil down to a contest between the party of hope and the party of memory."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (c.1850-not much change, huh?)

"Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."
Margaret Thatcher

"From an early age, smart people are reminded of their intelligence, separated from their peers in gifted classes, and presented with opportunities unavailable to others. For these and other reasons, intellectuals tend to have an inflated sense of their own wisdom."
Daniel J. Flynn

"Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."
Voltaire

"Amid all the concerns about the skyrocketing government debt, a front-page headline in the Wall Street Journal said: "Families Slice Debt to Lowest in 6 Years." It is remarkable how differently people behave when they are spending their own money compared to the way politicians behave when spending the government's money. "
Thomas Sowell

"He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else."
Ben Franklin

"All charming people have something to conceal, usually their dependence on the appreciation of others."
Cyril Connolly

and, finally:

Progressivism is the belief that we have too much freedom with which to make too many stupid choices.
David Harsanyi

"In politics, stupidity is not a handicap."
Napoleon

"We are all born ignorant, but one must work very hard to remain stupid."
Benjamin Franklin

Posted by Curmudgeon at 11:50 AM

August 31, 2005

Tradegy and Looters

The cataclysm that is now the coastal gulf south is unimaginable!

That said, looting is absolutely unacceptable. I am reminded of a time in the '60's when Los Angeles and other cites around the country were "burning" as a result of the race riots.

A couple of blocks in urban Chicago were torched. Mayor Daley went on live T.V. and radio--and it was headlined in newspapers--that he had instructed his police officers to "SHOOT TO KILL!"

The looting and burning stopped. IMMEDIATELY!! Chicago was not burned because Daley was tough, and everyone knew he'd do what he said he would.

Time to get serious in New Orleans, Biloxi, and other places. SHOOT THE BASTARDS and the looting will stop. Believe me. They may be moral cretins, but they are not so stupid as to risk death for what they can steal. Assured that they WILL die, it'll be all over, and the inadequate police protection will suddenly become sufficiently adequate that the police can do what they ought to be doing . . . saving lives of the deserving.

Posted by respeto at 10:42 AM

November 1, 2008

Voting Americans, Abroad

I have recently been communicating via e-mail with a bright, pleasant nephew who has immigrated--permanently--to Australia. Now . . . I have nothing against that. Indeed, I encouraged him to do so for a lot of reasons.

He is an almost rabid supporter of Obama. I have difficulty with that, since he is prone to argue rather than debate his support. Nonetheless he is entitled to his opinion, and I cannot dissuade him from his conclusion.

My problem is that he is a permanent expatriot who has absolutely no intention of ever returning to the U.S., except to visit . . . yet he is privileged and encouraged to vote by absentee ballot, since he is a U.S. citizen.

I am offended by this. His vote counts, yet he will be unimpacted by the vote he casts. We've communicated about his right to vote, about which I have some doubt under the circumstances, but I do feel he has a positive obligation not to vote because he will experience none of the consequence of that vote.

I object !!

And I presume that if he takes up dual citizenship he will still be allowed to vote, both there and here.

The same applies to my daughter-in-law by marriage who has moved to England to live. Permanently.

Think about that. Two people, amongs hundreds of thousands I suspect, who are permitted and encouraged to impact upon our government with none of the obligations. No taxes, no consequence to their vote, yet they help determine who will govern US !!

Posted by respeto at 4:17 PM

March 14, 2011

We're back, and "well"

I apologize to those who visit my site with some regularity. For the past two years my wife has been quite ill, and my attention has been elsewhere. After many operations, months in the hospital, and nearly 2 years to recover she is finally back and in better condition than she has been in years.

I expect to be making regular entries from now on; at least that is my plan, though it has been my experience over the years that "life is what happens to you while you are making plans."

Thanx for your patience and loyalty.

RAM

Posted by Curmudgeon at 4:44 PM

January 11, 2010

When I'm "down" on America I watch a movie:

A very specific movie. Some claim the best sports movie of all time is Bull Durham. I liked it. I like most of'em, especially Rudy and Brian's Song. But . . . I am secure in the conviction that Miracle is the most uplifting if not the best.

America was really down--as low as it had been in my adult lifetime--in 1980, the last year of Carter's disastrous presidency. Everything seemed wrong, and most of it was. In one of his fits of pique he cancelled us out of the summer Olympics because of Russia's invasion of Afghanistan.

In what was called "The Miracle on Ice," the American hockey team scored an incredible victory over the best hockey team in the world--Russia--and then went Gold

Miracle, the movie, was made in 2004 starring Kurt Russell as the coach, Herb Brooks. It is perhaps his finest role on film. His supporting cast was as remarkable as was his team.

The movie is wonderfully choreographed, using original voice recordings from the Olympics, matched to filmed action and events which reminds of the exact nature of the games. When those recordings were made no one knew the outcome. Now we do, and I am still thrilled by them.

The brilliant coaching, hard work, and team-play by "the boys" were alone astonishing as they moved into the medal rounds. But the Russian team had played together for 15 years, the boys 6 months. The Russians were mature men, some having played together for the entire time, having been almost undefeated for 15 years. They were a shoo-in for the gold, again, and everyone knew it.

But Brooks knew they could be defeated, and instilled in his boys the will to believe, and to win.

In the dramatic game, portrayed masterfully in the film, the Russians led off with a goal, matched later by a U.S. goal. The Russians scored again, but with one second on the clock the boys matched it. First period score was 2/2.

The Russians became alarmed and started being vicious, but our guys shrugged it off and matched them. The Reds scored again, and in their haste to overpower, drew a two minute penalty with a "slashing" call. With only seconds to go in the penalty time the boys scored again, tying it at 3/3.

With 10 minutes left, the U.S. scored again. Ahead at last! The remaining ten minutes were exhausting, but they held. At the bell, USA! USA! USA! rang out. It was as thrilling as the first time, 30 years ago. And it is every time I watch the film. That's why I watch.

IT WAS A LOT MORE THAN A HOCKEY GAME! It provided a much needed boost to American morale.

It was the last time we used amateurs in the Olympics. Since then we've depended upon the pros; a mistake in my estimation.

Brooks commented:
"Now that we have 'dream teams' we seldom get to dream. But on that weekend, as America and the world watched, a group of remarkable young men gave the nation what it needed the most: a chance, for one night, not only to dream, but a chance once again to believe."

I need that again. We need that again. I believe that we can prevail over our present difficulties if we again work hard, tend the goals and continue to believe. To hell with this looney "hopey-changey" crap. Hope doesn't accomplish much. Only hard work. . . . and a little luck helps, too.

Watch the movie and get motivated.

Posted by Curmudgeon at 1:20 PM

October 28, 2007

Who Cares?

I dunno ‘bout-chew, but I am frustrated that the information channels consider it news--and that we care--that all of the screwed up young and famous are in combat over their kids, enamored of their drug use, excuse their drunk driving and wallow in their sexcapades—even make movies of them.

It’d be delightful to go the rest of my life without hearing another word about Paris, Britney, Madonna, K-whatever his name is and their ilk. Even the aging Madonna!

When I was a kid there were problems in Hollywood—one hears about Doris Day’s sexual excesses, alcoholism, profanity, etc—but we never heard about it at the time. The tabloid press tried to make them exemplary citizens. Serious effort was made by the adults in charge to keep it under wraps and, one suspects, even acquire therapy when necessary.

Now we’re treated to hourly doses—even hour long doses—of this tripe, pretending to be news, and I wanna meet the adult who gives a S**T!

Posted by respeto at 1:00 PM