Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ron Quixote

Is there anyone in the world who not only talks the talk AND walks the walk more than Ron Paul? This is from Talking Points Memo:

The House voted 405-1 today for a resolution in support of the Iranian dissidents and condemning the ruling government. And the one man who opposed it was...Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).
Paul said in his floor speech that he was in "reluctant opposition" to the resolution -- that he of course condemns violence by governments against their citizens. On the other hand, he also doesn't think the American government should act as a judge of every country overseas, and pointed out that we don't condemn countries like Saudi Arabia or Egypt that don't even have real elections.

None of these logical points will make any difference, of course. But it's nice to see someone go tilt at this windmill just the same.
Is there any rational person who thinks it's a good idea for a nation to be run by a bunch of Sand Preachers?
Are we going to intervene in their elections?
So does passing U.N. and congressional resolutions against barbaric theocracies do any good at all, other than giving The Sheeple the impression that our leaders are compassionate?

"It seems our criticism is selective and applied when there are political points to be made," Paul said. "I have admired President Obama's cautious approach to the situation in Iran and I would have preferred that we in the House had acted similarly."

Picture of Ron Paul provided from here. Don Quixote pic provided from here. Bumpersticker provided from here. Ron Paul's compliment of Obama provided with great reluctance.

Friday, June 19, 2009

To my gay and lesbian friends

How is that "Hope" and "Change" thing working out for you? Have you noticed a huge improvement since The Teleprompter Jesus began dwelling among us? I didn't think so.

Remember all the carping about THE FIERCE MORAL URGENCY OF NOW ???

A few proposals can be found here and here.

Here's the money quote from the Andrew Sullivan link:

One way to get the Obama administration's attention on civil rights is for gay people to stop funding the Democrats. That's all these people care about anyway when it comes to gays: our money.

The Libertarians are different, of course. We support your rights on principle, not because you're a dependable constituency.

And we don't have any money.

But let us know if you get tired of throwing money down the DNC money pit.

Yet another coat of whitening to Instapundit for the links.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Meaning Of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"

A friend, fellow blogger, moderate Baptist, dog lover, and companion in the study of human behavior sent me an email this afternoon:

Dear Mr. Sepulchre,
I heard the song, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"
I have never understood that song. I understand it has to do with the South losing the War of Northern Aggression. However....
The war did not end overnight.
And what does it mean "drove old Dixie down"
Can you explain this to me, you being a Reb?

Hugs, Dr. Liz

Dr. Liz is a Michigan native. Check out her blog, Zbeth Journal, for her daily routine, her minimalist book reviews, and the blogs of her two dogs, Blitzen and Lady Chica. Dr. Liz is probably one of the first women in the U.S. to get a doctorate in Sociology, and we sometimes meet at Fort Woof dog park to discuss the sociological theories of Max Weber (long story).

Dr. Liz, as a Yankee, can't be expected to understand the subtleties of a song like "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". But deconstructing lyrics from The Band's 1969 hippie anthem is one of the many services provided by The Whited Sepulchre Outreach Ministry. Let's begin.

This is one of the great songs of the Lost Cause, a ballad whose words and tune could only have been written by a true Son Of The South, someone from the Cradle Of The Confederacy, someone like Robbie Robertson from.....(ahem) Canada.
Yep. The song was written by a Canadian. The Band's drummer, Levon Helm of Helena, Arkansas, got a songwriting credit for helping Robertson out with some of the history.

Virgil Caine is the name and I served on the Danville train
'Til Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
In the winter of '65, we were hungry, just barely alive
By May the tenth, Richmond had fell, it's a time I remember oh so well

The Danville - Richmond supply train was the lifeblood of the Confederate capital until the Union cavalry, led by General Stoneman, ripped up the tracks. This cut off Richmond, so the Confederate capital had to be moved to Danville, probably because all our trains happened to be on that end of the damaged tracks at the time. We weren't very well organized.

The night they drove Old Dixie down and the bells were ringing
The night they drove Old Dixie down and the people were singin', they went
La-la-la la-la-la, la-la-la la-la-la, la-la-la-la

The song is about defeat. Being trampled into the dirt. At the time Robertson wrote this song the U.S. had not yet been kicked out of Viet Nam, and the South was the only American region to ever undergo a full-blown enemy occupation.
The north is full of people who say "soda" or "pop" instead of "Coke". Their states and cities sometimes need bailouts. Some of them root for New York teams in The World Series. Yankees say "you guys" instead of "y'all".
Dixie wasn't driven down in one night - that's poetic lisence. But if Yankees capture your capital, it's all over.

Back with my wife in Tennessee, when one day she called to me
"Virgil, quick, come see, there goes Robert E. Lee!"
Now I don't mind choppin' wood, and I don't care if the money's no good
Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest
But they should never have taken the very best

This is a troublesome verse. Virgil Caine is back with his wife in Tennessee, and his wife calls him to see Confederate General Robert E. Lee passing by. But Lee was never in Tennessee after the war. You can read various theories about what it all means by going to this discussion page on The Band's website.
The line about "I don't care if the money's no good" is an allusion to Confederate money after the government printed too much of it, a subject I've beaten to death elsewhere.

I've always wondered about the next line, "they never should have taken the very best".... Does "the very best" refer to Caine's brother's death in the next verse?
Did the Damn Yankees take everything the Caine's owned during the Reconstruction era?
Did Dr Liz's Michigan ancestors take Caine's wife at some point?

(My parents once lived near the empty field where Civil War Reenactors annually fight The Battle Of Clinton. Every year when my mother saw the Yankee army march into view, she wanted to run back home and bury her silverware in the back yard.)
I have no idea what that verse is supposed to mean.
Those Canadians are poetic, but vague.

The night they drove old Dixie down and the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down and all the people were singin', they went
Na-na-na na-na-na, na-na-na na-na-na, na-na-na-na

Like my father before me, I will work the land
And like my brother before me, who took a rebel stand
He was just eighteen, proud and brave
But a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
You can't raise a Caine back up when he's in defeat

Like my father before me, like my brother before me....I hear it all the time. My father was a republican, my brother is a republican, so I'm a republican. My father was from the south, my brother fought for the south, so I'm going to fight for the south. Every tribal war in history (and they've all been tribal) was fought by people with the same general mindset.
And can we all agree that "raise a Caine" is a bad pun?

The night they drove old Dixie oown and the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down and all the people were singin', they went
Na-na-na na-na-na, na-na-na na-na-na, na-na-na-na

The night they drove old Dixie down and all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down and the people were singin', they went
Na-na-na na-na-na, na-na-na na-na-na, na-na-na-na

That's my interpretation of Robbie Robertson's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". The lyrics, combined with the bass line that descends over and over, have a vibe of hopeless defeat. Reading it as history is kind of like reading the book of Genesis for science. Great song, don't you think?

I hope this helps, Dr Liz.

Here's The Band doing the song in Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz". Beautiful stuff.

I had no idea this was out there. The Black Crowes !

And now for something completely different ! ! Here's Joan Baez doing the song with some Muppets.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The Mouse That Roared....

Remember the concern about who is going to do reporting if the traditional print media goes under?
Remember when people cared if CNN's coverage of an event was any good or not? People are writing letters to the New York Times about how crappy CNN's coverage of the Iranian protests has been.
That was then, this is now.

If you haven't heard, there's a revolt going on in Iran.
I've had ample opportunity today to listen to the radio. I didn't hear a peep about the revolt in Iran on KERA, our National Socialist Radio affiliate. None of the right wing AM stations - KSKY, KLIF, or WBAP were talking about it. KMNY, the lefty station (1360 on your AM dial) spent the day damning Rush Limbaugh.
AS OF 8:09 P.M., THE FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM'S WEBSITE DOESN'T MENTION IRAN ON THE FRONT PAGE ! ! ! the old men said when Ebeneezer Scrooge died, I'll go to their funerals if refreshments are served.

This revolution is being broadcast all over the world, as it happens, but without the CNN/FOX/ABC/NBC content filter, or Voice Of God network anchorman.

It's amazing. Check this out from Little Green Footballs, especially at the .30 mark where the woman gets knocked down by police, hops up like she's got Allah on her side, and goes back for more:

I'd like to meet that lady.

When you get a chance, look at the Tehran Twitter Feed. Amazing, depressing, and exhilarating. There are thousands of voices out there, Tweeting away, many of them doing it in English for YOUR benefit. Be grateful.

Andrew Sullivan has been going at it for four days straight, posting a fraction of the tons of material sent to him. Talk about your "first draft of history".... Eat your heart out, Newsweek.
Here's a sample of what Andrew's been posting. Warning: neither of these videos is for the squeamish.

Here's where things started getting out of hand....

When Iranian "students" took Americans hostages during the Jimmy Carter Era Of Darkness, the clerics who led the Iranian revolution claimed that the students were acting on their own.
Years later, six of the former hostages now claim that one of their student captors was.... Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, now semi-legitimate president of Iran.

It's funny how those revolutions will turn on a guy. Trotsky, Che, Danton, and now Ahmadinejad.
But, I digress.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. It will be Tweeted, Texted, Blogged, Emailed,and YouTubed. Coming straight to that little screen in front of you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why I Am A Libertarian, Part 3, Childhood Reading Edition

Because of reconnecting with old friends on Facebook, I'm doing a series of posts about what makes someone go from political near-apathy to rabid Libertarian. I feel the need to explain myself.

Sarah Jean Cartledge (sp?), my fifth grade teacher at North Sunflower Academy, required us to read Harold Keith's "Rifles For Watie".

It's the story of a kid named Jeff who goes to fight for the Union army during the Civil War. Jeff is eventually asked to infiltrate the enemy lines and become a spy inside the Confederate army. Here's a section that describes Jeff's first Confederate payday:

"....each trooper received a month's salary, too. Jeff looked curiously at the crisp, new green banknotes, two fives and five ones.
"Know what I'm going to buy first?" Jeff said to Hooley, later. "There's a man selling ginger cakes up on the street. I'm going to buy me a whole dollar's worth. Come on, Hooley, I'll buy you a chunk, too."
Promptly they found the vendor. He was a big, bare-headed fellow, who had built himself an oven in the hillside next to the town blacksmith. He was standing behind a three-foot square of freshly baked brown gingerbread, fanning the flies off it with one hand. The hot, sweet smell was overpowering. Jeff slid off Flea Bite (his horse).
"Give us a dollar's worth of that," Jeff said, waving his one-dollar bill proudly.
The vendor extended his dirty hand, plucked the bank note away, laid it on the square of gingerbread and, cutting around it neatly with his bowie knife, hewed off a piece exactly the size of the bank note and handed it to the surprised Jeff. Then he pocketed the bill. Thus Jeff learned for the first time of the weak buying power of Confederate paper money.

Hooley laughed uproariously as Jeff broke off half his small piece and handed it to him. Jeff grinned ruefully. "I guess that's what Pa meant when he told me once that money is the measure of value."

When I read this in the early 1971, bread sold for .25 cents per loaf. The idea of only getting a dollar bill-sized piece of bread in exchange for a greenback seemed ridiculous.
I don't know why, but that passage from "Rifles For Watie" has always stuck with me.

Flash forward to the year 2009. Take a one dollar bill into Starbuck's and see how much bread or pastry it will buy.
Is it because bread is scarce? Is there a huge demand driving the price up?
It's because our government is financing its goofy-assed spending habits by printing money.

With the exception of the Ron Paul splinter of the Daddy Party, the Libertarians are the only ones who have consistently protested against this kind of taxation without legislation.

Jeff couldn't buy very much bread with his paycheck because the Confederate government was financing almost everything with printing presses instead of silver and gold. (Plus, most outsiders knew that the Confederacy was doomed.) Today, a Confederate one-dollar bill has no value to anyone but collectors.

So keep saving U.S. dollar bills. In 140 more years, if people start collecting them, they might once again be worth what they were in 1971.

But in the meantime, don't plan on buying very much bread with them.

Audit The Fed. Sign up here.

Money supply chart came from here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Other Side Of Mount Rushmore

A fresh coat of whitening to my Alabama friend who just happens to be named Allen Patterson.

"The Burning Hell" - Episode Four - Where The Worm Never Dies

It's Sunday morning, and time for another visit to the video collection of New Albany Mississippi's Reverend Estus Pirkle.
Every weekend I'm posting a clip from "The Burning Hell", Reverend Pirkle's early 1970's masterpiece. The film depicts the eternal consequences of disagreeing with Brother Pirkle's theology.
This movie me nightmares when I saw it in church one night in the early 1970's. I spent years praying and worrying about friends and relatives who might be "lost".
So now I'm making fun of it every Sunday morning.

If you want to watch the previous episodes, hit the Estus Pirkle label at the bottom of this post.
To recap:

In episode one, Pirkle's troupe of Mississippi thespians reenact Israel's disobedience to Thor Zeus Santa Claus Billy Gibbons of ZZ Topp Moses, and shows the earth swallowing the disobedient Jews into hell.

Episode two begins the story of two hippies, Ken and Tim, who disagree with Reverend Pirkle's theology. They've been corrupted by someone named Dr. Long, who teaches that God would never send anyone to hell forever. Within minutes, Ken and Tim are severely punished. Ken's head is cut off in a motorcycle accident and Tim has to endure flashbacks of every incident where he rejected God's saving sacrifice.

Episode three has Tim staggering back into Reverend Pirkle's Sunday A.M. service, taking a seat near the front, and listening to stories about eternal damnation. The North Mississippi All-Stars cover themselves in mud, slime, and clothes from their tenant houses, set a pasture on fire, and run around saying "Ah Hate Chew".
One of the more influential demons reunites Ken's head with his body and carries Ken away to be roasted for a few billion decades.
Reverend Jack Hyles, who went on to financial scandals, child abuse scandals, etc., etc., etc., makes a cameo appearance to explain why he loves the idea of hell, and wouldn't bother getting out of bed in the morning without it.

That gets us to #4, the part we all remember. For those of us who saw this movie at church, at a youth retreat, or at a lock-in, this episode has the money shots. Some of us stayed up for weeks worrying about dead relatives and worms.....

If you find my commentary helpful, it continues below the YouTube clip.

:24 Reverend Hyles reads a list of Hell's characteristics, a list that sounds similar to the goings-on at his last church.

:48 Tim has a flashback to other church services where he didn't give his heart to Jesus.

1:50 For those of you who didn't grow up with altar calls, this is one of them. At the end of a worship service the choir and congregation sing something evangelical while the preacher tries to talk people into becoming Christians.
It would make sense to do this on streetcorners or in shopping mall parking lots (if you buy into the concept), but it makes absolutely no sense to do this inside of a church.
Because the people inside a church, for the most part, are already Christians. The man is fishing inside his own aquarium. But it gives the congregation the feeling that they're part of some large evengelistic outreach.
I can't tell you how many hours of my life I've spent listening to this stuff.

2:25 God is love. He is defined by love. He loves you so much that he sent his son (1/3rd of himself but also 100% of himself - it's a long story) to die in your place.
But if you can't believe this story, this is what he's going to do. Bring plenty of water with you.

3:15 This is what gave me the willies back in 1974. Isaiah 14:11 and Mark 9 talk about worms as a form of punishment.

3:45 Reverend Pirkle goes back to the original Greek to explain that these aren't symbolic worms. These are genuine maggots.

4:05 Number one, where did they get the maggots? Number two, how much did they have to pay these people for the stunt work? Number three, can you imagine people watching this and taking it seriously and literally? People with doctorates?

4:30 Pirkle and the Delta Dramatists are now at an amphitheatre, putting on a performance of "The Death Of Herod - With Worms", complete with costumes and special effects. Tom Savini can rest easy.

5:08 Pirkle: Herod would soon be just a dim memory as the worms devoured his organs. They feasted on his black heart, relishing his ???? intestines. They devoured his eyeballs and face and all of him until nothing was left but the odorous rotten form of what was once the evil Herod. What a horrible sight to behold. What a stench there must have been. Does this give you a nauseating feeling?

Well, yeah.

5:35 Reverend Pirkle begins the parable of Lazarus and Dives.

That's all for this week. In closing, may I direct you to one other website? Here's an account (with pictures) of a recent showing of "The Burning Hell". Be sure your sound is turned on.

Notice the contrast between the look of the website and the contents of this movie?

Come back next week for Episode 5 of THE BURNING HELL ! ! !