Saturday, January 31, 2009

Military Pledge a Hoax

Says World Nut Daily:

A recent Internet report that a battle was shaping up between the U.S. military and the White House because of executive plans to have soldiers pledge allegiance to the president instead of the nation and its Constitution raised alarm among the patriotic this week.

But it didn't seem to include the detail that the Department of Defense knew nothing about the "issue."
[Still, I find it funny that WND claims the alarms were only raised among the patriotic. The non-patriotic not being as easily duped, I guess.]

Anyway, that didn't stop our local resident nutcase, Peter DiGaudio, from jumping all over the rumor and distorting it to read that the oath of allegiance would now be made to President Obama himself. Spouting Peter wrote this:

If Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Barack Hussein Obama gets His way, members of the United States military will be pledging allegiance to Him rather than the U.S. Constitution.

That’s breathtaking in its arrogance. It’s also reminiscent of 1930s Germany, when members of the German military had to pledge allegiance to Hitler. Here’s a draft of the new allegiance oath:

I swear by God Allah this sacred oath that I will obey without question the F├╝hrer of the German Reich United States of Obama Nation and people, to Adolf Hitler Barack Hussein Obama, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and that I am prepared as a brave soldier to lay my life on the line at any time for this oath.
Peter is so deluded that he now actually believes that what he wrote previously is being enacted.

I give it 24 hours before Peter pulls a Fred Dooley and sends his post down the memory hole. It's what local wing-nut conservative bloggers do when faced with -- facts and truth.

Oh, by the way, the original piece was clearly labeled satire.

Who's Got Family

Eat your hearts out. I was in bed this morning with four beautiful females.

My stunning wife, Kelly; my eight-year old daughter Abby; my two-year old daughter Quin; and our little cockapoo puppy Molly all joined me in our king-size bed for some morning family goofing around.

I'm a lucky husband/daddy. Yo conservatives -- you haven't cornered the family values market, you just think you have.

Friday, January 30, 2009

When Are We Going to Get Over It

by Andrew M. Manis

For much of the last forty years, ever since America "fixed" its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, "When are African Americans finally going to get over it? Now I want to ask: "When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that "Election Spurs Hundreds' of Race Threats, Crimes" should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in "Bombingham," Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than "talk the talk."

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes.

Criticize them, yes. Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we're back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we've proven what conservatives are always saying -- that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are talking about wanting to "assassinate Obama."

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, "How long?" How long before we white people realize we can't make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can - once and for all - get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color?

How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior? How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we starting "living out the true meaning" of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that "red and yellow, black and white" all are precious in God's sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn't believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency. I still don't believe I'll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here's my three-point plan: First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built, I'm going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I'm going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama. Third, I'm going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can "in spirit and in truth" sing of our damnable color prejudice, "We HAVE overcome."

My mother sent me this editorial written in the Macon Telegraph by Andrew M. Manis, an associate professor of history at Macon State College in Georgia.

What Patriotism

This from the often wrong perfesser from Tennessee, Glenn Reynolds:

I think the stimulus is objectively a bad idea. But politically, opposing it seems like a no-brainer: If it passes and the economy gets better it’s old news, and who’s to say the economy wouldn’t have gotten better on its own? If it passes and the economy doesn’t get better, it’s an issue for the GOP.
So, what's good politically supersedes what's good for the country. Thanks for clarifying.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

You Hate Me

From God is for Suckers. [Click on image to enlarge]

Only "Good Americans" Wanted

Can you hear the jackboots and the sound of breaking glass?

No Spine

Another demonstration of what it means to be a conservative. Kind of reminds one of local bloggers who delete posts when it's found they made a mistake.

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), yesterday (from Politico):

"I mean, it's easy if you're Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don't have to try to do what's best for your people and your party. You know you're just on these talk shows and you're living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn't be or wouldn't be good leaders, they're not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell."

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), today (h/t Think Progress):

“I want to express to you [Limbaugh] and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday” and “the best possible message for this country would be for every single Republican to vote against [the economy recovery package].”

Monday, January 26, 2009

California Leads the Way Again

A new smoking ban ordinance in Belmont, CA is now in effect. The effort to eliminate second-hand smoke was begun by an elderly man named Ray Goodrich who suffers from pulmonary disease and has a lifelong allergy issue. Because of his efforts and the efforts of other elderly citizens, apartment buildings have now been added to the list of places where smoking is outlawed.

And about time. Good for Mr. Goodrich and Belmont, CA. Hopefully, Wisconsin is not far behind.

Your right to smoke does not supersede my right to breathe smoke-free air. Period!

Every Sperm Is Sacred

For Steve Edlund.

Someone We Know?

Saw a catchline regarding old reptile becoming a dad at an exceedingly old age. Linked over and read this:

A captive reptile in New Zealand has unexpectedly become a father at the ripe old age of 111 after receiving treatment for a cancer that made him hostile toward prospective mates.
I couldn't help but think of dad29. You gotta know him.

(Just kidding daddio -- I know the reptile referred to is just a kid compared to you.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hate Club

I was zipping through TV channels last night just before going to bed when, for no reason really, I turned on Sean Hannity's new Fox television show, Hannity. Mr. “Reasonable” was sitting with his back to the camera, looking at a relatively large sound meter with a sign overhead that stated Hate Meter. In succession different voices became audible (all interestingly with what one might charitably call an Ozark accent); all ranting obscenities about Hannity which resulted in the predictable response on the Hate Meter.

Hannity finally turned to face the camera and claimed the voices were those of liberals who had been invited to call in and rant at him. It was all done altruistically, he claimed, so they could release their hate at him and not at his viewers. He then provided a phone number for future call-ins.

Aside from the fact that I think the voices were actually those of Hannity's parents, I couldn't help but recall in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four something called the Two-Minute Hate. It occurred to me that Hannity (and other squawkers these days) rely on this sort of fear-mongering to incite their followers and enable them to loath and hate anyone different from them. Liberals have become Emmanuel Goldstein and it has been very successful. The word “liberal” is now conservative code word for traitor, commie, tax and spend socialist, etc.

So successful that local conservative bloggers who are losing arguments (most all) resort eventually to calling their debate antagonist a member of the hate left. One local blogger known for less than real debate has even taken to calling a local lefty the king of the hate left. It doesn't matter the subject, anyone writing anything that disagrees with most anything he writes is not only hateful, but the evil falsehoods will likely be sent on a short, quick trip down the memory hole (as does anything he writes that proves to be false).

This reinforces my belief that Hannity's show and the others like him (squawk radio host Charlie Sykes, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, etc.) are merely instruments for conservative brainwashing; the members of the incurious club who are affected most then carry out the demonization of liberals on the local level.

It's sad really. They never had a chance.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Refreshing Change

Dennis C. Blair, retired admiral and President Obama's choice as top intelligence official is a refreshing departure from the psychopathic lackeys employed by the previous administration. On the disturbing surveillance activities previously supported Blair said:

I do not and will not support any surveillance activities that circumvent established processes for their lawful authorization. I believe in the importance of independent monitoring, including by Congress, to prevent abuses and protect civil liberties.
Ah, civil liberties. And regarding these and basic human rights, you know those things that America has been respected for upholding in past times, Blair said:

The intelligence agencies of the United States must respect the privacy and civil liberties of the American people, and they must adhere to the rule of law.
He added that torture is “not moral, legal or effective” and said any interrogation program would have to comply with the Geneva Conventions, the Convention against Torture and the Constitution.

And lastly, what impressed me most was Blair will not simply sugarcoat his message and try to please the president by providing intelligence he thinks the president wants to hear. Instead, he said:

There is an obligation to speak truth to power.
He added that he would honestly present “unpleasant” facts to the president.

This sort of openness and honesty is going to dismay the incurious crowd.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

At Least There Were Times He Made Us Laugh

With the "End of an Error" nearly upon us, I thought it appropriate to look back and review some of the pearls of wisdom [inadvertantly] provided for our entertainment by the appointed King of Comedy (he was not elected) -- George W. Bush.

The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.

If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.

Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.

No senior citizen should ever have to choose between prescription drugs and medicine.

I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.

One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.

Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.

I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.

The future will be better tomorrow.

We're going to have the best educated American people in the world.

One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures. (during an education photo-op)

Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.

We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.

It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.

I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.
You know what's even more amusing? Conservatives wanted to elect a person even less comprehensible than Bush -- Sarah Palin.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inauguration Spending

There having been cry and hue over the estimated $40M spent for George Bush's second inauguration, it seems fair to question why an estimated $150M will be spent for the Barack Obama swearing-in festivities.

I understand the uniqueness of this event. Obama is our first minority President and the numbers of people attending are expected to shatter records. Still, security money aside, it's a heaping amount of cash. Fortunately, most of it is paid for through individual and corporate gifts.

The Greatest Canadian Song

And finally, number one may not asthetically or musically match the other nine, but it is a tribute to a proud and beautiful land -- Geddy Lee of the rock group Rush sings Oh Canada.

The Second Greatest Canadian Song

Number two on our magical illogical look at top great Canadian songs is Heart of Gold. This is Neil Young's second foray into this top ten list. Surely there are other artists who merit attention in such a prestigious list you might opine.


But it's my list and I like Neil Young.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Three Years Yesterday

I saw at Thoughtful Conservative that a few blogs were celebrating anniversaries. So I checked my begin point and was shocked to see that my first post was January 13, 2006. That post can be found at BRASS League, a Strat-0-matic baseball site I run for a couple of leagues. It used to be The Other Side. Then I renamed it. Then I got the itch to blog again and so restarted my original blog.

It gets confusing at times.

Interestingly, the first person to leave a comment was my mother. She has not left another.

Guns and Cowboys

I'm guessing it was a couple of "Bubbas". From ESPN:

DALLAS -- Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin says he calmly chatted with a gunman in another vehicle after the armed passenger turned out to be a Dallas Cowboys fan.

Irvin, who was not harmed, says he was "very afraid."

A Dallas police report says Irvin was stopped at a red light Monday night when two men in a truck pulled up next to him.

The driver rolled down his window, so Irvin did the same, thinking the two men recognized the radio talk show host and television commentator.

The passenger flashed a gun. Then the retired NFL star heard one of them call out his name and mentioned being a "huge Cowboy fan."

Irvin says he began talking with the men about the team's disappointing 9-7 season and Dallas not making it to the Super Bowl.

The pair eventually drove off.
This is exactly why conceal and carry should not be passed here in Wisconsin. For every responsible gunowner there is a dipshit (a number of local bloggers would be included in this description) who thinks what happened to Michael Irvin is funny. Unfortunately, what those who rally for conceal and carry forget is even one incident like this is too much.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Loathsome People

h/t Jay Bullock.

From the Beast, here are three of the mosty loathsome creatures from 2008. These would be my top three.

47. Michelle Bachmann

Charges: Exemplifies the simmering, all-American fascism lurking behind the forced smiles of uptight church ladies throughout “real America.” Echoing Sarah Palin’s alarming hints about “helping” the media do its job, Bachmann’s casual call for a “penetrating” press investigation into “anti-Americanism” in Congress was so fucking dumb it made Chris Matthews seem smart. Once it occurred to the Oral Roberts University graduate that calling for witchhunts against Democrats might be a tad extreme for election season, she decided to just pretend she didn’t say it, and then she blamed Chris Matthews. Then she just blamed words. Then she denied it again. Then she won. Way to go, Minnesota’s 6th.

Exhibit A: BACHMANN: Actually, that's not what I said at all. COLMES: Well, I'm just — I'm reading your exact quote. BACHMANN: Actually that's not I said. It's an urban legend that was created. That isn't what I said at all. COLMES: We have — it's on tape.

Sentence: Assigned to conduct her own “expose” on anti-American views, in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
I saw her on television with Mathews when she made that statement. My jaw dropped. I could not believe an American politician would say something that incredibly dumb -- and frightening. Though in retrospect, I thought, after the past eight years and after having been involved in blogging for three years and reading the tripe that passes for commentary on the right, I should not have been surprised.

33. Jeremiah Wright

Charges: It’s said that in politics, a gaffe is when someone tells the truth, like connecting 9/11 to blowback from America’s long history of Middle East meddling. But then again, sometimes they just say something incredibly fucking stupid, like that AIDS was created by the U.S. government to kill black people. Seriously, you don’t think the U.S. government could do a better job than AIDS? AIDS takes years to kill, spreads relatively slowly, and kills white people all the time. A CIA super-virus that can’t beat Magic Johnson? Unlikely. But beyond past statements of viral delusion, Wright’s weird-ass grandstanding at the height of the sound bite frenzy seemed to indicate he really didn’t give a shit whether Obama was elected president, and might even be jealous.

Exhibit A: “And I stand before you… with the hope that this most recent attack on the black church is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright; it is an attack on the black church.”

Sentence: Sickle cell anemia.
One might have thought this clown was a conservative plant.

1. Sarah Palin

Charges: If you want to know why the rest of the world is scared of Americans, consider the fact that after two terms of disastrous rule by a small-minded ignoramus, 46% of us apparently thought the problem was that he wasn’t quite stupid enough. Palin’s unending emissions of baffling, evasive incoherence should have disqualified her for any position that involved a desk, let alone placing her one erratic heartbeat from the presidency. The press strained mightily to feign respect for her, praising a debate performance that involved no debate, calling her a “great speaker” when her only speech was primarily a litany of insults to city-dwellers, echoing bogus sexism charges when a male Palin would have been boiled alive for the Couric interview alone, and lionizing her as she used her baby as a Pro-life stage prop before crowds who cooed when they should have been hurling polonium-tipped javelins. In the end, Palin had the beneficial effect of splitting her party between her admirers and people who can read.

Exhibit A: Waving her embryo-loving credentials, in the form of her Down syndrome baby, at "But ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy."

Sentence: Hand-to-hand combat with Vladimir Putin and a pack of wolves.
Another example of why reasonable and well thought out conservative dialogue is necessary to America's future, if anything to shut out the claptrap from the Palins, Bachmans and most of the conservative blogosphere. Unfortunately, there are so few conservative intellectuals, and there are so many who think Palin is the hope for America.

The Beast 50 Most Loathsome People in America in 2008 was written by Allan Uthman & Ian Murphy

Another Argument for a Cigarette Ban

Saw this on a bumper sticker:

Isn't a smoking area in a restaurant like a peeing area in a swimming pool?


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Trevor Hoffman Agrees to Deal With Brewers

While it's good news the Brewers have apparently signed all-time MLB saves leader Trevor Hoffman, don't go planning your World Series tailgate parties just yet. No longer the hard thrower he once was, Hoffman now relies on a nasty changeup to get the job done. He should help, but there is a lot more work needed before the Brewers become real contenders.

According to ESPN, Hoffman has signed a one-year deal rumored to be for $6 million, with an option for the second year. Hoffman, who saved 30 games last year for San Diego and has accumulated a record 554 saves is no longer considered an elite closer, probably not even top ten. However, his addition should provide some comfort to fans and players. Last year, even with the arrival of Salomon Torres in the closer role, the ninth inning often resulted in bleeding fingertips as leads disappeared faster than $6 beers. The failed $10 million Eric Gagne experiment (a shame because Gagne was a class act) nearly contributed to the Brewers missing the playoffs, so the money ponied up for Hoffman looks like a deal.

But let's look at the numbers to gauge whether this is a good pickup, or a panicky grab.

It is troubling that Hoffman only pitched 45 inings last year. As relievers have become more specialized in their roles, the number of innings that the designated closer pitched has decreased. But not that much. Forty-five innings means that maybe Hoffman is reliable every other day. He'll need to pitch more innings. Plus he's 41-years old and relies almost entirely on guile to succeed. One has to wonder if the league doesn't eventually catch on -- lefties did beat Hoffman up a bit in 2008. They hit .291 and slugged at a .532 clip.

Hoffman also suffered a serious injury as recently as 2007 so it's not a stretch to question his stamina and ability to pitch more than every other game. Given the sorry state of the Brewers' bullpen – come on, they've only signed Jorge Julio – Hoffman may be needed a lot.

People often look at a pitcher's earned run average (ERA) to determine how the pitcher fared. Hoffman's ERA in 2008 was a career-high 3.77. Not good – however, I did some checking and found if you took away one unfortunate outing April 2, his ERA dropped to a more respectable 3.02. I point this out to show that ERA is not really a reliable number for determining effectiveness because there is a lot still impressive about Hoffman's numbers.

What is impressive about Hoffman? Well, he allowed only one baserunner per inning (1.04) and he only walked 9 batters all year while striking out 46 in 45 innings. Contrast this with Torres who allowed 1.35 baserunners per inning, walked 33 and struck out only 51 in 80 innings of work. This is not a slander of Torres, he helped save the Brewers' season, but it does just how much more efficient Hoffman was.

Interestingly enough, Hoffman yielded seven of his eight homeruns at San Diego's Petco Park, one of the stingiest places to hit a ball out of the park. It's probably a statistical anomaly.

It appears the Brewers are willing to go with a starting rotation of Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Dave Bush, Jeff Suppan (ouch) and the Unknown Comic. Actually, they'll probably go with Seth McClung or Carlos Villanueva in the fourth or fifth spot. Using either one of them however, will weaken an already suspect bullpen. Hoffman only pitches the ninth. The Brewers will have to find reliable setup relievers to protect the lead until then.

Hoffman is a nice, inexpensive pickup and if he performs at last year's numbers with a few innings added and a better performance against lefties, the Brewers will have done well. Don't discount the added effect of having the all-time saves leader as your closer. Last year there was palpable fear on the field and in the stands when the ninth rolled around with any sort of lead. Here's hoping that hearing AC/DC's Hells Bells when Hoffman jogs in to finish games is good for indigestion, relieves nail-biting and helps send the Brewers to another playoff match. Don't count on it if acquiring Hoffman is all the Brewers accomplish.

Cross-posted at Wigderson Library & Pub

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Third Greatest Canadian Song

Thanks to grumps for pointing me in the direction of Crash Test Dummies, a Winnipeg folk-rock group popular in the 90s. I'd never heard our number three greatest hit, Superman's Song (for which they won a Juno Award in 1991) until just a few moments ago. What country do I live in?

Oh yeah, not Canada.

A Rare Moment

Peaceful turnover of power -- it's something we can all be thankful for. This really is an extraordinary photo.

Photo: Doug Mills/ The New York Times

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Fourth Greatest Canadian Song

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down was written by Robbie Robertson, one of four original Canadian members of The Band. The other three were Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko. The four were joined by drummer Levon Helms, an American by birth.

This has always been one of my favorite songs. Being an avid reader of Civil War history, the songs lyrics, rendered by Helms with mixtures of sadness and hope, are haunting.

As always on this illogical march to number one, suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Fifth Greatest Canadian Song

At the request of Jay Bullock, here is These Are the Daves I Know by Bruce McCullough of the Canadian sketch comedy group, Kids in the Hall. These guys were worthy successors to the Monty Python tradition of zany and often nonsensical comedy.