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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.

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