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Thursday, June 30, 2005

To Be Polite…

Nancy Pelosi
...Let me just say that Nancy Pelosi comes across as neither very bright nor very consistent in this statement concerning the Kelo decision. While some of her colleagues (on both the left and right) move to limit their own powers, Pelosi is quite happy with the decision and the status quo.

Now, in the spirit of being a compassionate conservative, wasn’t that far nicer than saying she’s a stupid hypocrite who certainly didn’t show the same blind devotion to the Supreme Court when they ruled against the Gore camp a few years ago. It’s amazing that journalists work so hard to paint the President as being simple and out of touch when they have people like Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi to work with.

“So this is almost as if God has spoken.”

Amazing.

Update: Nicely done, Bryan. Very nicely done.

No Malaise Here

It’s not a blogging malaise that has kept me quiet today. No, it’s just a more general weariness and the realization that I’m going to be up late tonight getting a site together so that it will be up and operational before the holiday weekend.

It doesn’t help that I’m still cranky about the conference (which really kills the whole hooky vibe that I was going for this weekend), the Rockies, the increase in my insurance payments, and the continued high oil prices that have completely disconnected from the reality of oil production. Of course, all of that is just camouflage for the real reasons that I’m worried, cranky, tense, and disturbed, but I’m pretty comfortable with my camouflage.

Need some thought to make my head feel a little more happy…

Happy Thought: The new design for the WTC replacement is actually attractive and elegant. It’s well considered and classic without being boring or typical, and that is something to be happy about. The previous design was really just an exercise in finger-painting--all form with no real thought as to the functionality of the piece or the context of the city surrounding the oversized and over-designed splinter.

Cheers to architect David Childs for getting it right.

Happy Thought 2: Via Jerry, we find out that there is a brand new Foamy today. I love Foamy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hey, Buddy…

...Could you stake a fellow American to a meal?

Baseball’s Saving Grace

Once upon a time I had a small part of season tickets to Rockies games. The seats were great, I angled for a good mix of day and night games, and I cared very little about which teams were playing. I was seduced by the pure pleasure of those relaxed hours spent at Coors Field (one of the prettiest places to see a baseball game, I’d imagine).

Now, though, quite a few years later, I don’t just want to enjoy the day at the park. I want to see a competitive team--and the Rockies haven’t been that in a really long time.

So, I still go to the game (more because it means I get to play hooky than anything else) and I drink a drink, eat some junky, overpriced ballpark food, and cringe at just how tremendously bad the Rockies really are. For me, the tickets today were free. Thirteenth row almost directly behind home plate. What I don’t understand, though, is why some people still pony up for season tickets when the prices keep going up and the products stays consistently poor.

But the game does have one saving grace. One amazing saving grace.

Even better than watching the game is watching the girls at the game. Their blouses cut so low and their skirts cut so high that you can’t help but wonder if they are in a race to meet each other in the middle. Clingy summer dresses, pony tails, and miles and miles of beauty just waiting to be admired (if not precisely leered over--there is a difference, you know).

The game itself wasn’t worth the time, but the view might well have been worth whatever somebody paid for the season tickets I was mooching for the day.

It was definitely worth it for me.

Part 2 of the Week Interrupted by Hooky Continues

Yesterday it was a conference (that turned out to be an exceptionally irritating waste of time--more on that later) and today it’s a Rockies game.

Hooky is fun when it involves beer, pretzels, sunshine, and a horrible excuse for a baseball team beloved home town team like the Rocks.

Later, kids.

Hey, Whaddyaknow?

Yesterday was also the blogging anniversary of one of our loudmouths!

Congratulations and best wishes, Rae.

Coach Carter: 10 Point Review

  1. Sometimes a movie that wants to be important will forget to be good. Coach Carter walks very close to that line.
  2. The tacked on romance between one of the players and his pregnant girlfriend drags down an otherwise decently paced movie.
  3. The message actually is important for anyone who cares about the education and prospects of America’s most “at risk” kids. It is not, by nature, a liberal (read: Democrat) message, though. It isn’t about needing money or computers or even extra-special white teachers (does anyone else find that offensive?), it’s about needing good teachers, dignity, and mentors.
  4. Samuel L. Jackson is a wonderful presence in the movie…
  5. ...Even when he’s being asked to deliver stilted and cliched lines. The script really isn’t all that great.
  6. Oddly uninspiring cheerleaders. Talk about a downer.
  7. With two subplots of mixed results, the attempt to develop secondary characters was admirable. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, failing to deliver on much of the movie’s emotional promise.
  8. I really would like to know what happened to some of Coach Carter’s players (and his son, who turned out to be a Pointer--very cool).
  9. An aside: just how important is it for young men to have a strong, positive male role model as they grow up? All the public admiration for single family homes aside, I think one of the worst things you can do for a boy is deprive him of a father figure.
  10. Good, but not great. Coach Carter does take itself seriously, but it also manages to tell a decent story. Pity about those subplots.

Three…

So, it’s a tick before 5 a.m.

I’ve woken for no good reason whatsoever.

And I find myself wondering: just why does Mario have three lives?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The President’s Speech (And Other Interesting News)

It wasn’t a great speech. He stumbled a bit here and there, it didn’t tell us much we didn’t already know, and it wasn’t a thing of Churchill-esque beauty. What it was, though, was a necessary thing to remind the country of why we went to Iraq, what we hope to do there, and why we are neither leaving now nor invading with all the manpower that America can muster. It was also a good reminder for us to say thank you to all of the professional, talented men and women who make up our military.

That is to say, the speech was the success it needed to be.

I have to admit that it was also gratifying to see the speech held on a military base, and an absolute pleasure to hear a speech that wasn’t interrupted by 50 applause points.

In other news, the United States and the United Kingdom have been waging a secret war against Zimbabwe.

A state-run newspaper in Zimbabwe has suggested the UK and US are to blame for droughts in southern Africa.

The Herald said climate change has been artificially induced “in a bid to arm-twist the region to capitulate to the whims of the world’s superpowers”.

It said weather was being manipulated for political gain using unspecified “unconventional” chemical weapons.

For shame, us.

Of course, it might also be that the state (and, by extension, the state controlled media) finds itself in the embarrassing situation of having to explain why Mugabe predicted that Zim’s moribund farm industry was going to produce so much maize this year that they would be exporting the stuff. Every NGO that tracks such things, of course, knew that Mugabe’s disastrous farm policies were going to leave Zimbabwe in a desperate situation and began an early begathon for food aid to the ruined nation.

Nah. That’s ridiculous. It has to be weather control and conspiracy.

(Thanks to Nathan for feeding me this wonderful story.)

Update: Here’s a good round-up of reactions to the speech. Like the right-wing shill that he is, though, he ignores the evidence of the Anglosphere’s secret war against Robert Mugabe’s brave revolution.

Before I Get Back to the Regularly Scheduled Blogging…

...I would like to say congratulations to my friend, Val, on his blog’s second anniversary.

Well done, Val.

Like Little Children

The Democratic Party Blog is inhabited by children. That is the only way to explain the simplistic view of the world embodied in a post like this:

Tonight in his speech, president Bush plans to bring up Osama bin Laden:


The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11 ... if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi ... and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like Bin Laden.

Bush doesn’t get it. There’s an easy way to make sure we don’t “yield the future of the Middle East” to bin Laden: catch him.

Okay, raise your digital hand if you think that, somehow, President Bush doesn’t realize that we need to capture bin Laden? Raise your hand if you think that there are any people in his administration who don’t find capturing bin Laden to be an important goal. Raise that hand really, really high if you actually think that capturing bin Laden is anything resembling a simple task.

Now, here’s the really important one: raise your hand if you think that capturing or killing bin Laden will end our war against militant Islam or magically bring peace and prosperity to the Middle East.

Capturing bin Laden is an important strategic goal, but it is hardly the only goal and would most certainly not mark the end of the campaign. Jesse Berney, who authored that original post on the Democrats.org blog, is indulging in a simplistic attack that brings absolutely no real thought to the task at hand. Like a terribly clever child, he seems to think that his quip rises to the level of actual critique.

Update: Somehow, this post by Michelle Malkin seems to fit in with the overall mood of my post.

The Office Dictionary (I)

Conference, N.

  1. A meeting between any number of people designed to fill available work time with nothing resembling work.
  2. Where bad employees go to get fired.
  3. A formalized gathering of any industry professionals playing hookie from work while attending an eductional event.

I’ll be away from the blog for at least part of the day. I’m rushing off to a conference and I’m not sure what access I will have to the Internet.

See y’all later.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Must Run to the Office (To Retrive Cell Phone)

But first, I just wanted y’all to know just how spooky the world is.

Very spooky.

And in other news, it’s kind of the Supreme Court moment right now, isn’t it? I mean, they are getting more attention these last few weeks than they usually get in a year. It’s almost as if they were maneuvering for their very own reality show…

Anyway, click that link for more thoughts and links about the recent rulings.

John Walton Dies

John Walton, son of Sam Walton and one of the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune, has died in a plane accident. Do you think that we will see gloating and happiness from the far left on Indymedia, Democratic Underground, or one of the other wing-bat sites?

I would say that their irrational hatred of all things Wal-Mart makes that kind of response almost inevitable.

Update: Speaking of DU, I was over there reading and being entertained when I thought I would ask for clarification on this thread where every Republican male is being compared to the BTK killer. Unfortunately, my commenting privileges have been revoked--surprising only because I have never said anything that was inflammatory or even particularly impolite on the site. In fact, I’ve only left, perhaps, three comments since I registered.

Unfortunately, that means I won’t be able to ask for further clarification of this:

This sickness infest ALL Republicans; the party of the Privileged White Male Psuedochristians

Update 2: Y’all know I was missing Bejus, didn’t you? I can’t believe I didn’t realize...

Update 3: And we have a winner:

Maybe he will be re-incarnated as a slave laborer…

Or this little treasure:

one down…

....four to go…

They really are predictable--but I don’t consider that to be a good thing.

There is, however, a bright light in that thread. “Charlie Brown” offers a dose of decency that the other comments are lacking. Good for Charlie.

Revisiting the Flag Amendment

Jim, from Parkway Rest Stop, absolutely nails my feelings on the the flag burning debate and does it in the context of an American Legion member who disagrees with the Legion’s push for the amendment:

Me: “Isn’t it more accurate to say that when you wear your Legion Cap, you are saying something?  By wearing the cap, aren’t you letting the world know that you are a veteran who served in time of conflict, that you’re proud of your service and the service of others, and that you support causes that improve the lives of veteran’s in general?”

Him: “I suppose so.”

Me: “So, both you and the flag burner are each ‘saying something,’ he by burning a flag and you by wearing a Legion Cap.  So, again I ask you, how you would feel if Congress passed a law prohibiting you from wearing your Legion Cap?”

Very nicely done.

Check out the rest.

Send ‘Em to US

I realize that countries have to have a methodology by which they determine whether a person seeking asylum should be granted protection. I realize that.

But when people are leaving a country like Zimbabwe that is teetering on the edge of complete collapse--where the ruling party has stated its intentions to form a one party democracy, where the police have rendered (at the very least) hundreds of thousands homeless, where food is being used as a weapon to influence voters, and where the whispered threat of a new civil war is beginning to sound like more than just idle talk--then it seems that the desire for asylum should be taken seriously. The desire for security and opportunity away from the abuses of a dictator aren’t just understandable, they are the most sympathetic cry for protection that I can imagine.

Until two years ago, the UK had a policy that did not allow Zimbabwean asylum seekers to be deported back to Zimbabwe; despite the Robert Mugabe’s recent abuses, a small group is set to be deported. This strikes me as a wrongheaded policy reversal that, even if it doesn’t result in the direct abuse of these people when they are shipped back to their homes, will result in the loss of human potential.

For citizens of the failed and failing states in Africa that don’t move toward reform, liberalization, and economic reform, there is a cold truth: the best way to help them is to allow them to start over somewhere else. The best, the brightest, and the most driven aren’t leaving Africa because they don’t love their homelands; they leave because they want a future that they can’t possibly envision in their own countries. And our most effective way to help them is to allow them to begin new lives in the West.

If the UK doesn’t want them, send them here. Zimbabwe can only offer them unemployment (with at least 80% unemployment nation wide), food shortages, political repression, ridiculously poor health care, and an early death.

Read the rest.

Be Cool: The Pretty Short Review

Nearly everyone comes out looking bad in this smug, self-satisfied movie. Only The Rock (absolutely hilarious), Cedric the Entertainer (Oops), and Andre Benjamin (as Dabu) emerge relatively unscathed. By comparison, John Travolta, Steve Tyler, and Uma Thurman look particularly bad.

Mostly slow. Mostly lifeless. Mostly not so good.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

So, I Don’t Really Dig Popularity Contests (Updated)

But every once in a while they get it pretty close to right.

Pretty close.

Update: My favorite Dizzy Girl encouraged me to check out the DU comment threads on this.

1) The poll was conducted by AOL. Hence, it was most heavily advertised on AOL.

2) AOL is the country’s most popular dial-up service.

3) With broadband internet becoming steadily more popular and less expensive across the nation, the largest group of AOLers today are probably rednecks—or, more broadly (and more politely), those who live in rural parts of the country where broadband is not available and cheap.

The whole thread is a bunch of whining and twisting to blame the results on idiots and rednecks. Funny stuff.

Copyright Violation

For some reason I really wanted to listen to my two Trail of Dead CDs tonight, but they happen to be at the office and I’d really rather not drive in just to pick up two CDs, turn around and come home. To save me from that fate, I paid a Russian Web site a couple of bucks for the privilege of downloading the MP3s for the albums (Source Codes & Tags and Worlds Apart).

You couldn’t convince me that I’ve done anything morally wrong. I have actually purchased the music through normal, legal channels and I actually own the CDs. I could have (and should have) ripped the CDs to my hard drive and exposed myself to no legal repercussions whatsoever. But, whether ripped from my MP3 or downloading the songs through the Russian site, the music that I listen to is the same. In a non-legal sense, there is no possibility that I have done anything wrong.

In a legal sense, though, I most certainly have. By downloading music from a source that wasn’t derived directly from my legal source of music, I have probably broken the law.

Read the Rest...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Real Live Conversations

I went into the 7-11 to get a Cherry Coke. I like Cherry Coke. I swear, I didn’t go to start an argument. But I’m a little tired, and the filter that normally controls the flow of words from brain to mouth seems to function poorly when I’m tired.

In front of me was a woman making a purchase, and one of her purchases was a newspaper. On the front of the newspaper was a story about the Supreme Court decision.

“So, now they can just take away your home,” said the woman behind the counter. She shook her head in obvious anger. I, still in spectator mode, said nothing; people should be upset about the ruling. “I can’t believe it. I’m just so tired of Bush.

“What the hell did he have to do with this? This was a Supreme Court decision...”

And the conversation degenerated from there.

I’m sure that, if you look just right, there’s a lesson here. I swear I can’t find it, though.

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