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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

So. Denver Broncos.

Lendale White signed with the Broncos, which doesn’t sit entirely well considering his personal issues and the fact that he can’t even play the first quarter of the season.

Doom is injured and the Broncos don’t seem to be talking about it. Which makes me nervous since it give the impression that this might be something serious.

It would appear that the football gods are still cranky with the Broncos. Which is surprising since you would think that Tim Tebow’s mere presence would ensure the favor of the football gods.

That’s Not Right

I was going to lead this story with something like this: “I found myself wondering if they had been inspired by So You Think You Can Dance.” Then I realized that it doesn’t really fit my mood right now; not that there isn’t room for humor, but that it isn’t how I want to see this story today. So, instead, this:

I continue to insist that I not only can judge other cultures, but I must judge them so that we maintain a clear-eyed understanding of what distinguishes us from them. We’re told we aren’t supposed to judge and we aren’t supposed to think in terms of us and them--I know this because, like the rest of you, it has been hammered into me from the time I was a child.

It just isn’t done. The problem is that what we were taught is wrong. It is vital for us to be honest and open about other cultures in the world--not in deifying or demonizing those cultures, but in being earnestly critical in the same way that I hope we consider our own culture and politics. With that said, imagine what I think about the culture that gives us a news story like this:

A group of young Muslim men have been publicly flogged in Sudan after they were convicted of wearing women’s clothes and make-up.

The court said the 19 men had broken Sudan’s strict public morality codes.

Police arrested them at a party where they were found dancing “in a womanly fashion”, the judge said.

We need to judge because we need to constantly remind ourselves of what it is that we value as a society and what it took to create something as grand and diverse as the United States of America.

Read the rest.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

So, Josh…

One find’s oneself wondering if Coach McDaniels finds himself missing one Mr. Hillis right about now...

Just sayin’...

Kidding aside, here’s hoping that Buckhalter and Moreno heal up well (and soon). And Tim Tebow watchers might want to take a look at that second link, too.

Football. I love football.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I do not think that means what you think it means…

I think President Obama is confused on the precise meaning of the word “dignity.” if Rangel resigns now, forced out by questions of ethics, the correct term would be “shame.”

For what it’s worth.

Read the rest.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bravery

My wife and I laugh and mock when Hollywood types pat themselves on the back for their bravery. They choose a role designed to get them critical applause and an Oscar and they tell us how brave they have been by, say, playing the role of a gay man confronting bigots, for example. There is nothing brave in that and their well-practiced gravitas and denunciation of the straw men that they build up in the movies are just an extension of the make-believe worlds in which they live and work.

That isn’t to deny artistic merit or even to say that there aren’t truly meaningful movies or is it to say that all of their words are playacting; it’s merely to note that there isn’t much bravery required to cash big checks, denounce racism, and collect awards.

Bravery is something else entirely. If you want bravery, then look to the cover of the latest Time magazine and you will see the face of a brave woman.

Our cover image this week is powerful, shocking and disturbing. It is a portrait of Aisha, a shy 18-year-old Afghan woman who was sentenced by a Taliban commander to have her nose and ears cut off for fleeing her abusive in-laws. Aisha posed for the picture and says she wants the world to see the effect a Taliban resurgence would have on the women of Afghanistan…

If I ever seem proud of my own bravery--or overly proud at my small accomplishments--someone slap me and point me back to this young woman.

Read the rest. Beware: it is, very honestly, a disturbing image.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Damned, Evil Wallpaper

I, of course, reference this story only because I kind of missing using the damned, evil headline every once in a while.

Enjoy.

A malicious Android Market app has reportedly been downloaded by millions of users, according to mobile security firm Lookout. The app, developed by Jackeey Wallpaper, offers a variety of wallpapers including branded content such as My Little Pony and Star Wars.

Aside from providing backgrounds, the utility quietly collects personal information such as SIM card numbers, text messages, subscriber identification, and voicemail passwords.

Must see if darling wife has this installed on her Droid…

Read the story.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Have Seen the Enemy. And He is a Moron.

Ahmadinejad, aside being amazingly hard to pronounce correctly, is picking a fight with an octopus.

For some reason.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, says Paul the Octopus, the sea creature that correctly predicted the outcome of World Cup games, is a symbol of all that is wrong with the western world.

He claims that the octopus is a symbol of decadence and decay among “his enemies”.

I’ve been known to insist that Michael Moore, microwavable pork rinds, and America Has Talent are all symbols of decadence, decay, and exceptionally bad taste in the West, but Paul the Octopus just seems like harmless fun.

Maybe Mahmoud sees something in Paul the Octopus that has eluded me, but I think the answer is more simple that that: Ahmadinejad has gone all Oliver Stone on us and slipped a little further down the slope to outright insanity.

Read the story.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tancredo, You Ignorant Slut

From the Denver Post’s blog this morning, we find that Tom Trancredo is getting ready to launch a third party candidacy.

Tancredo’s fixation on illegal immigration has sometimes reminded me of the Westboro Baptist Church’s obsession with gay folks: unhealthy and wrongheaded. Listening to him over the years--and, if you life in Colorado and vote somewhere on the right side of the divide, you’ll have been forced to listen to Tancredo regularly--it seems that there isn’t anything that can’t be blamed on the border-jumpers. Now, he doesn’t take it to the same place as those idiots from WBC, he doesn’t carry signs that say things like “God kills wetbacks” or anything like that, but, like those folks, Tancredo’s mind just seems to naturally drift toward that topic.

Personally, I think he would be a tremendous bore at a dinner party. He’d be that guy who followed you around, talking constantly about things that you showed even the vaguest, polite interest in, and scaring off all the pretty girls. I hate that guy. This is why Tancredo has never been invited to a Blogger Bash.

I’ve never had a problem with a guest worker program, although I’m a “enforce first, reform later” kind of a guy, so I’m not opposed to politicians who want to find ways to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders. It’s just that he never seemed to have much else--aside from the occasional bellicose comments about waging war against our Muslim enemies--that defined him in the public eye. Illegal immigration is the issue that has defined his public service; and the one note that he sings on the subject gets pretty tiring over time.

I say this by way of noting that, damn, I’m tired of Tancredo and his almost Britney-esque need for public attention. Like the guy at that party, he just keeps following us around, constantly talking, smugly happy that he’s still got an audience, and entirely convinced that he’s changing the world. In fact, what he is managing most to do is alienate the people who should be naturally drawn to him. The guy at the party is pretty, though, and that’s where you find the difference: Tancredo is going to bring the damage.

After threatening the Colorado GOP last week, Tancredo made good on his threat this week: if the Republican candidates for the Governor’s office didn’t leave the race under the conditions that Tancredo had set, he was going to run as a third party candidate and punish them for not bowing to his pressure.

“I will officially announce at noon that I will seek the nomination of the constitution party,” Tancredo told The Denver Post.

The Littleton Republican must file some papers with the Colorado Secretary of State and register as a member of the American Constitution Party, but then “he’s ready to go,” raising money, disclosing his platform and launching a website that is already put together.

Tancredo gave Republican candidates Scott McInnis and Dan Maes an ultimatum last week: Promise to get out of the race after the primary if polls showed the winner lagging behind Democrat John Hickenlooper or else he would get in as a third-party candidate.

He has the right to run in this race, but he has no chance of winning and little chance of bringing Colorado GOP in line with all of his opinions. What he does have a chance of doing is acting as a spoiler for the race; he’ll have an opportunity to put in some a lot off effort to help re-elect Hickenlooper. And he has a decent chance of succeeding--his entry will make it much harder for the GOP candidate to win. What galls is that Tancredo’s success doesn’t leave us with a third party governor or more conservative governance in Colorado; it leaves us with Hickenlooper, a center left guy who doesn’t cross much ideological territory with Tancredo. Instead of supporting positive change, even though it didn’t perfectly fit the borders of his own preferred candidate (at all times, that candidate would be himself), he chose to support the Democrat’s candidate.

I imagine that Hickenlooper is sporting a big smile today.

Tancredo decided last week that he would hold the Colorado GOP hostage to his whims and this week he decided that his whims were to hurt the party, hurt the candidates, hurt conservatives, and hurt the people of Colorado by helping to re-elect Hickenlooper.

Tancredo, you ignorant slut. Instead of finding a way to help us, you’ve found a way to hurt us.

Read the rest.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sherrod to President Obama: It’s a Black Thing. You Wouldn’t Understand.

I learn this morning that our president is a person of pallor.

“I can’t say that the president is fully behind me, I would hope that he is…I would love to talk to him,” Sherrod said on “GMA.”

“He is not someone who has experienced what I have experienced through life, being a person of color. He might need to hear some of what I could say to him,” she told me. “I don’t know if that would guide him in a way that he deals with others like me, but I at least would like to have the opportunity to talk to him about it.”

Rev. Wright is going to be cranky when he finds out.

Read the rest.

An aside: I really take issue with her hyper-racialized view of the world. The tone really bugs me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wrongful Termination: Yes, It is a Teachable Moment (Updated)

Shirley Sherrod should not have been fired. This from Stephen Spruiell at National Review Online tells the story:

I’d encourage you to watch the video for yourself, but the summary version is as follows: After experiencing some hard-core white racism in the segregated South (her father was murdered by white men who were never convicted), Sherrod made a commitment to help black southerners in bad situations. “When I made that commitment,” she said, “I was making that commitment to black people and to black people only. But you know, God will show you things… you realize that the struggle is really about poor people.” She then proceeded to tell the story featured in the clip that Breitbart published (he says he received the clip in its edited form). A white farmer came to her for help, and because she perceived him to be like the others, she fobbed him off on a white lawyer — “his own kind.” But the lawyer didn’t help the farmer, and that is what led Sherrod to revise her previous biases against whites and to resolve to assist all economically distressed farmers, white or black, who came to her for help.

Love me some Breitbart, but here’s the thing: gotcha journalism (and we bloggers are wildly susceptible to this kind of thinking) leaves you open to this kind of thing. When you do your best to catch someone screwing up--showing weakness or hypocrisy--you aren’t actually engaging their ideas. There’s nothing wrong with exposing bad behavior--in fact, we have an obligation to do just that--but we should do it while critically considering the context and the evidence. The things that were said by the left during the Bush years were often the worst sort of gotcha journalism and, like her or loathe her, the treatment of Sarah Palin has often ignored her thoughts in favor of digging for personal attacks.

Ms. Sherrod wasn’t treated well by anyone in this situation. As easy as it is to view bureaucrats as sort of inhuman, the truth is that the loss of her job and the comments about her character could have serious repercussions in her life. It’s something she didn’t deserve.

Sherrod shouldn’t have been fired (and certainly shouldn’t have been fired before the context was considered) and she is owed an apology by everyone who ran with the story. Earlier today, the NAACP referred to this as a teachable moment and I agree. The lessons we need to learn are about how we handle political differences these days and how we handle racial politics these days. It’s not a very pretty lesson at all.

View the video here.

Update: You might also want to consider what the Anchoress has to say on the subject.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This Ain’t TMZ (The Mel Gibson Edition)

I’ve tried to ignore them, but there’s like a critical mass of Mel Gibson content out there that makes it hard to miss the audio that is being released. And, boy, he’s a mess. There is a scary, out-of-control quality to his anger and he comes across as entirely unhinged.

I don’t feel entirely comfortable listening to other peoples’ fights. It’s like being in a restaurant while the couple in the both next to you is having an argument--I don’t want to know who has done what to whom and I don’t want to see that raw emotion thrown out for everyone to see. It makes me squirm a little and it’s hard to escape the feeling that Oksana Grigorieva is baiting him and poking at him to get the response that she wants. It isn’t pleasant listening and her apparent manipulation doesn’t forgive his threats of violence (and, potentially, real acts of violence) and vicious words.

Here’s the thing: Mel sounds like he’s one bad movie review away from killing someone. I’m not sure if it would be himself or someone else, but if all of those snippets of audio are genuine, then he should be spending some quality time with mental health professionals.

One thing is very clear: the Mel Gibson as public construct isn’t much like Mel Gibson the real person. As we’ve seen more and more of the real Gibson over the last few years, it’s become increasingly hard to find something to like about the guy.

Resurrectionsong isn’t TMZ, but this link will take you to that star-stalking site of celebrity obsessives. I almost feel dirty just for linking to them. Or if that seems like a link to far, here’s one to Fox where you can listen to some of the audio.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Let Me Get This Straight…

Mel Gibson professes hate for black folks and thinks that Jews are behind all the bad things that happen in the world. In Clintonland, this just means that Mel is making a run public office?

Well, that’s a surprise. 

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Booze. Yum.

It is a hot freaking day in Denver and I’m cleaning house. This, of course, necessitates booze. Which, when you’ve just spent too much money on a new TV, an iPad, and tickets for your much-later-in-the-year vacation, doesn’t mean going out and getting something new. It means using what you have on hand and hoping it comes out tasty.

Which is how I got this.

Fill a tall glass with ice (crushed if you can because crushed ice is kind of like bendy straws: it makes almost every beverage taste better) and throw in a shot or two of Absolut Apeach vodka. I err on the side of drunkenness, but you might be strangely attached to sobriety.  Put in a few heart dashes of Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters, fill the rest of the way with lemonade, and stir.

Then drink it and marvel that is the theirs-quenching wonder of fruit, fruity booze, and a touch of concentrated rhubarb.

Surprisingly tasty. 

Friday, July 02, 2010

I Find Myself Wondering…

...If there is a big spike in folks either Googling or trudging over to YouTube to watch Johnny Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans.” And, if so, if there is a subsequent spike in secondary searches (from people like me) listening to “Sink the Bismark” again for the first time in years.

Because, seriously, those are awesome songs.

Well, if so, let me simplify your morning.







And then, if you find yourself wondering at my wondering, check this out. I’ve just discovered that my wife doesn’t know either of these songs--has never even heard them.

Her parents neglected to educate her properly. Bad parents. Bad, bad.

You Did What to a Grilled Cheese Sandwich?

This seemed like a good idea to someone. And to someone’s boss. And to a focus group that inevitably had to try the thing.

We all know that the bun is easily the most boring part of a burger. So why not swap a stale old bun for something rich and flavorful like, say, a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches?

I’m tempted to make a comment about contemporary America that references wars, recessions, and either the wealth or the willful blindness of our society.

But, hell, it’s just a sandwich.

Read all about it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

i heart iowahawk

lolz

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Carter Must Be Lovin’ It

Is it just me or has this entire administration seemed a little like one long malaise speech? It’s making the Carter years look positively upbeat.

In between telling us that we’ve turned a corner (when we obviously have not), we get messages about how things are horrible and, just maybe, it isn’t going to get better.

More than a year on, the message remains just how bad the last administration was, how unlucky they were to have inherited such a mess, and, gosh, life is tough. Here are a few messages I really think President Obama and Vice President Gaff-o-Matic need to learn if they want to do something other than offering excuses for the next few years before being ushered out of office with nothing to show for their effort but a pair of “I’m With Stupid” t-shirts (which I’ll be happy to send on my own dime--assuming I have any dimes left after the program of threatened tax hikes, fee hikes, energy cost spikes, and new health care costs that have been leveled toward me like the barrel of a freakin’ 12-gauge).

  1. Stop blaming. I don’t care who’s fault it is right now, all I know is that America hired this duo because they said they have the answers. They promised answers to the wars, to the economy, to our energy policy, and to our political divisions--and so far, the answer has been to blame someone else for just how rough life is in the White House. Get to solving the problems.
  2. Don’t tell me it won’t get better. “There’s no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession.” I tell you what, Vice President, step the hell aside and let American businesses and ingenuity do the job, then. If you don’t have any ideas, I guaranty you that there are people out there that do have ideas--and if government won’t make it too hard, they’ll put their time, their money, and all their ideas to good use in finding ways to get us working and making money. It won’t always work, but you won’t win a lot of money betting against America. You guys weren’t hired to tell us that we can’t fix the problem--and if that’s what you really believe, then get the hell out of the way.
  3. Stop making it hard for us to dig our way out. This isn’t a good time to saddle us with more taxes and regulations. This isn’t a good time to make it unattractive to hire new help. This isn’t the time to threaten businesses with new barriers to entry or to make it harder or more worrisome for businesses to expand, invest, and hire. And yet, that’s exactly what you are doing under the guise of saving us from this recession. You don’t have to spend us into prosperity; not only will that plan only leave us hurting, but there is an easier plan that doesn’t involve piling debilitating debt on top of our already crippling debt--and leaving our next few generations to clean up the mess. Here’s the solution: leave us alone. We don’t want handouts and free crap, we just want the freedom to pursue opportunity without worrying about how the government will punish us for our risk-taking.

Businesses are like consumers: when they understand the rules, when they know the costs and risks, they adjust, they expand, they take calculated risks in hopes of creating reward. The problem comes when the rules and risks aren’t understood, when folks believe that the rules are changing faster than they can keep up have no space from which to take those risks. They have no way to judge whether the potential reward is worth the cost.

None of which changes the fact that Youth in Revolt, (which, in the simplest terms might well be described as a quirky, humorous look at a boy suffering a psychotic break who obsesses dangerously over a pretty girl) is absolutely wonderful. Smart, beautifully shot, entertaining, and morally questionable, it’s still not for everyone. But if the sound of seeing Better Off Dead as written and directed by Wes Anderson sounds intriguing, then this might be the movie for you.

Update: Michael Steele hasn’t quite been the person that I expected when I supported him for his job as head of the RNC, but on this issue I find that I am echoing his words:

“ Americans know that job creators thrive and hire when the economic environment is stable and predictable, not when politicians are taking over whole industries, passing sweeping thousand-page industry overhauls and empowering unelected bureaucrats with hundreds of regulatory decisions. It’s time to stop the economically illiterate micromanagement of our life-blood industries and let us work.”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If by Any Weird Chance…

...You happen to be attending the Hillhead 2010 show, let me know. If you have any pictures, I’d love to see them.

Tough Choices for Obama

General McChrystal was wrong. Even if he and his aides were right about everything they said in the Rolling Stone piece (PDF warning), they were wrong. It was purely dumb to let the reporter from RS have that kind of access to the general’s inner circle. It was dumber still to treat the reporter like just another troop with an ear for the kind of rough commentary that comes from military man instead of like an enemy looking for an ugly story to break in a magazine not known for its friendliness to the military. And it was completely idiotic to break the rule that even a trainee in basic knows: you don’t get caught playing in national politics and that rule is more important the higher you get up the food chain.

If you can’t swallow your words, you resign your position. An officer in a time of war can’t expect to keep his job after displaying judgment that poor. To allow him to maintain his position, in fact, would be damaging to an already depleted presidency--a show of weakness that President Obama really doesn’t need right now. And yet firing McChrystal could be hugely damaging to the war effort--finding the replacement, confirming the appointment, and getting the new commander up and running could leave Afghanistan a mess during the transition. I somehow imagine that our enemies won’t be honoring any timeout requests.

What Obama needs to be asking himself right now is how he can visibly punish McChrystal, preferably involving a change of command in Afghanistan, without creating a huge setback in a war effort that is already in near-crisis. I have been unimpressed with our president’s executive capabilities thus far, but I hope that he and his advisors can find the right path on this. The BP spill is ugly, no doubt, but completely fumbling Afghanistan would be ruinous (and not just to a presidency). McChrystal needs to resign and he needs to offer up everything that he can do to help this president maintain authority and credibility.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Misplaced Praise, Eighth in a Series of 562 (Updated)

Congratulations to the teachers and administration of Tiogue School in Coventry, Rhode Island, a “Blue Ribbon School of Excellence where Everybody is Somebody for Some Reason or Another!” The way you protected children from the very real dangers of little, tiny, plastic simulations of weapons glued to a hat was just marvelous. Your death-grip embrace of zero tolerance rules regarding weapons is an example to us all; someday we can all make ridiculous, well-intentioned decisions without having to overtax our brains with things like common sense and context.

Which is awesome. Life is easier when you don’t have to think too much.

Christan Morales says her son just wanted to honor American troops when he made a hat decorated with an American flag and small plastic Army figures.

But the hat ran afoul of the district’s no-weapons policy because the toy soldiers were carrying tiny weapons.

“His teacher called and said it wasn’t appropriate because it had guns,” Morales said.

Morales’ 8-year-old son, David, was assigned to make a hat for the day when his second-grade class would met their pen pals from another school. She and her son came up with an idea to add patriotic decorations to a camouflage hat.

Earlier this week, the Tiogue School in Coventry sent the hat home with David after class. He wore a plain baseball cap on the day of the visit instead.

Superintendent Kenneth R. Di Pietro said the principal told the family that the hat would be fine if David replaced the Army men holding weapons with ones that didn’t have any.

“The issue for us was, can it be done in a way that didn’t violate the zero-tolerance for weapons?” he said. “Nothing was being done to limit patriotism, creativity, other than find an alternative to a weapon.”

Superintendent, you, sir, are an idiot. In no sane mind do little army men even marginally qualify as weapons or as dangers to your school students. The teacher who turned the child in deserves just as much criticism, but I find myself running out of polite, family-friendly words for the thoughts in my heads.

If they ever wondered why some folks have worried at handing over their children to the care and mercy of our public schools, well, this helps illustrate the point. Until school administrators can fully engage their own brains, how can we possibly expect them to successfully educate our children?

While the individual school’s rules might differ (I couldn’t find a copy online), the district lists as an example of their school rules a zero-tolerance for weapons rule (link opens a pdf in a new window):

Weapons or items that could be used as weapons (including toys) are not allowed in school (zero tolerance and is often an offense that requires out-of-school suspension)

From the same document, we get the district-wide rules on drugs and weapons:

Drugs, Weapons, Inappropriate Materials:
For the safety of all students and faculty and based on state regulations, students may not bring to school drugs or weapons of any kind. Students who display behaviors that represent danger to other students, regardless of the fact that a weapon may be a toy or utensil or that a drug or illegal substance may be later identified as non-threatening, will be addressed through disciplinary action up to and including suspension. Every student deserves to learn in a safe and threat- free environment.

Could the little army men glued to the hat really be used as a weapon in any more of a useful sense than, say, your typical spork could be used as a weapon? Unless the school has drastically different language (and language that would be even more utterly stupid if it is so broad as to include army men in the range of things that could be used as a weapon or even manage to be meaningful simulations of real weapons), then the teacher and administrators somehow judged that, yes, those toys were a real hazard to other children or to their learning environment. Which is, in the most polite term I can imagine, just silly.

Read the story.

Update: Check out Jen’s post. Complete with graphics.

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