Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron, R.I.P.

Gil Scott-Heron has left the building. He was 62. 

I first heard him on the old 1979 "No Nukes" album. 

Here's "We Almost Lost Detroit":

And the classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised":

Mitt Romney goes to Iowa and Speaks Truth To Power !!

No, not really. 

Mitt spoke Flattery To Leeches. 

Mitt Romney wouldn't stand up to the Iowa Ethanol Producers at gunpoint.  He doesn't have enough starch in his sacred Mormon undergarments: 

It was an odd setting for a policy pronouncement, but on the sidewalk outside the Historical Building here, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney embraced ethanol subsidies. It came just days after and blocks from where his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Tim Pawlenty, said the subsidies should be phased out.

“I support the subsidy of ethanol,” he told an Iowa voter. “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.” Iowa leads the nation in the production of corn, a main source of ethanol.
Here's the truth on ethanol, from Saint Albert, The Goracle Of Music City, Tennessee:
Al Gore says his support for corn-based ethanol subsidies while serving as vice president was a mistake that had more to do with his desire to cultivate farm votes in the 2000 presidential election than with what was good for the environment.

"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol," Gore said at a green energy conference in Athens, Greece, according to Reuters. First generation refers to the most basic, energy-intensive process of converting corn to ethanol for use as a motor vehicle fuel additive.
On reflection, Gore said the energy conversion ratios -- how much energy is produced in the process -- "are at best very small." "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee," he said, "and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."
When Al Gore makes more sense on harmful fuel subsidies than your leading presidential candidate, your political party has a problem.  

Beat The Cripple

I tried to beat The Cripple on the Memorial Day quiz

I failed.  I got 28 out of 30. 

Cripple fight pic came from here.  

A history of Rand Paul's failed filibuster against The Patriot Act

I'm going to get out the winch, the chain hoist and the halter. 
It's time to drag the dead horse out of the shrubbery for another beating. 

There is no difference between the Republican Party and the Democrat Party. 

There are some individual outliers, but the goals of the two organizations are identical.  They continue driving the national car down the same road.  They stop at different gas stations, they frequent different chain restaurants and hotels.  The road map does not change. 

Senator Rand Paul is an exception. 
Remember back in 2008 and earlier, when the Unconstitutional Spying On Americans Act Patriot Act was reviled by almost every Democrat politician in D.C.? 

Rand Paul tried to filibuster the renewal of this vile piece of totalitarian crap. 

He failed.  Why?  Because of Senator Harry Reid. 

Here's a timeline, courtesy of Young Americans For Liberty.  Hit the link to see the videos.

  • Rep. Ron Paul says in a video update that the Congress plans to extend some of the worst clauses of the PATRIOT Act as “quietly as possible.”
  • Sen. Rand Paul posts a video and a statement stating his strong opposition to the extension and applauding the house for initially voting it down.
  • The House passes a ten month extension, sends it to the Senate.
  • Sen. Paul writes a "Dear Colleague" letter explaining to other members of Congress his concerns with the extension.
  • Sen. Paul threatens to filibuster the bill, so Sen. Reid makes a deal with Sen. Paul to pass a 90 day extension and promises to have at least a week of debate and an open amendment process on the bill before the extension expires.
  • The Senate passes a 90 day extension 86-12, sends it to the House.
  • The House passes the 90 day extension 279-143.
86 days pass and the PATRIOT Act is once again taken up by the Senate.

  • Senate invokes cloture on another extension 74-8.
  • Sen. Mike Lee tweets he could not vote due to weather delay, but that he would have voted "no."
  • Sen. Paul speaks on the floor in opposition, introduces 8 amendments.
  • Sen. Paul tells reporters he will "drag [the debate] out" if he doesn't get the debate and votes he was promised.
  • Sen. Paul speaks again about the need for honest debate on the PATRIOT Act extension.
  • Sen. Mike Lee speaks in support of Sen. Paul.
  • Sen. Reid takes the floor and launches baseless accusations at Sen. Paul, claiming that he wants to put guns in the hands of terrorists.
  • Sen. Paul responds, calls Sen. Reid's claims offensive and insulting, and defies Sen. Reid by calling for a vote on 3 of his 8 amendments. Sen. Reid objects and prevents roll call votes on the amendments from happening.
  • Sen. Paul appears on Freedom Watch to explain his opposition to the bill.
  • The Senate votes 79-18 to move forward with the extension.
  • Slate reports that Republicans are blocking Sen. Paul's efforts.
  • A White House official accuses Sen. Paul of threatening national security.
  • The Senate debates and votes on two of Sen. Paul's amendments.
  • The PATRIOT Act passes the Senate 72-23 and is signed by President Obama minutes before it is set to expire.

That's why we won't see the end of the Patriot Act within our lifetimes.  The fix is in. 
You can vote for Republicans until your arm withers.  They won't repeal ObamaCare.  The fix is in. 
Please consider the Libertarian Party in 2012. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In which Tim Pawlenty takes questions from The Libertarians

Here's why Tim Pawlenty will never, ever shrink the size and power of government. 
This is from Slate, on a Q and A that T-Paw did at The Cato Institute:

Tim Pawlenty regularly got strong ratings from the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank, which grades governors every year on how adroit they are when it comes to cutting government. It made sense for him to continue his campaign launch week with a speech there; a speech that hit the same notes as everything else on his tour, with added wonkishness. It was in the Q and A section of the event that Pawlenty learned the true joy of answering libertarians.

Question one: Why the hell does the United States have more than 170 military bases?

"I'm not one who's going to stand before you and say we need to cut the defense budget," said Pawlenty, who up to that point had been pounding the table about austerity. Get rid of the bases that sound like wastes of space and you risk American supremacy. "You'd see a massive realignment of the strategic relationship towards China and away from America in Asia," he said. "This is not where we're going to get six months, six years warning about the next conflict. I'm not for shrinking America's presence in the world. I'm for making sure America remains the world leader."

A more dangerous question was next: In the wake of NY-26, what did Pawlenty make of the Ryan plan? This elicited the safe, smart, tapioca answer that Pawlenty's been giving for weeks.

"In general," he said, "I think the direction of it is positive, but I'm going to have my own plan."

Issue, dodged. Pawlenty pointed into the crowd again.

"We'll take the guy in the purple tie," he said. "That's a Vikings color!"

Unfortunately, the wearer of Vikings colors worked for the Marijuana Policy Project, who asked Pawlenty how he could be taken seriously on health care since he had opposed "my group" on medical pot.

"What was it?" asked Pawlenty? "Marijuana? Yeah. Well... I stood with law enforcement issue on this issue... we just have a respectful difference on this issue."

End of audience questions. 

And, if we're lucky, the end of the Pawlenty campaign. 

The Dollarhite family of Dixa Missouri fined $90,000 for failure to "negotiate" with Rabbit Police

A Missouri family has been fined $90,000.00 for failing to "negotiate" with a government Kickback Artist bureaucrat.
It has something to do with raising rabbits. 
But before we get into the story, please allow me to pull one paragraph out of context for those who have ever had to deal with city building inspectors, electrical inspectors, plumbing inspectors, and their ilk.  All of you will instantly know what's going on here.  Here goes....

In fact, there are no actual written USDA standards for what constitutes proper care of a rabbit by a wholesale breeder of pet animals, Sacks said. Instead, the process is a “negotiation” between a USDA official and a breeder when they apply for a license.

Ok, if you just read the word "negotiation" and didn't think "kickback", you're not spending enough time in the real world. 
Here's the rest of the story.  Hit this link to read the rest. 

It started out as a hobby, a way for the Dollarhite family in Dixa, Mo., to teach a teenage son responsibility. Like a lemonade stand.

But now, selling a few hundred rabbits over two years has provoked the heavy hand of the federal government to the tune of a $90,643 fine. The fine was levied more than a year after authorities contacted family members, prompting them to immediately halt their part-time business and liquidate their equipment.

The Dollarhite’s story, originally picked up by local Missouri blogger Bob McCarthy, has turned into a call to arms for critics of the government’s reach and now has both Democratic and Republican lawmakers vowing to intervene.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Protocol droid needed. Will pay air freight to England.

Barack Obama makes The Clintons look like The Kennedys. 
Yesterday (see previous post) he wrote the date as "2008" in the Westminster Abbey guest book. 
Last night, it was time for someone to program the neural interface of The Teleprompter Jesus to propose a toast to the queen....

The president paused, the guests stood, and the orchestra prepared to play.

But the president wasn’t done speaking.
“The vitality –“ the president said before the orchestra began…
“To the Queen,” the president finally said.
He lifted his glass to her, she smiled a bit uncomfortably.
But because the song was playing, no one drank from his or her glass, including the president, who put his glass down on the table.
....Protocol, apparently, requires the toastmaster to wait until after “God Save the Queen” plays and then begin the toast. But the almighty O waits for no sovereign, so he launched straight into his shpiel.
From the comments in the Hot Air post from which this is taken:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand with me [and they did]. . . .

and raise your glasses as I propose a toast to her Majesty”. . . [and they didn't. In fact not one person in the room picked up a glass other than Zero and the first non-lady(?). Meanwhile, Camilla shot a look at the Queen to see how she would handle it and took her cue from her.]

Zero didn’t notice, as he was reading the toast. Then the orchestra began to play. Buoyed by the dramatic effect, Zero’s voice swelled [thinking, 'dang, it's like they've set up Greek columns for me!'] as he quoted Shakespeare.

And then, alack and alas, he actually looked at the Queen, saw she held no glass, and put his on the table. His face revealed his utter mortification. Boy was he pissssed!

. . . and the Queen graciously raised her glass immediately as the song ended. /She didn’t drink to him either.

LOL Good times! But I am embarrassed for my country.

Don't they have a migrating herd of Protocol Droids to take care of this like this for the Teleprompter?  What are we getting for our money with these people? 

Barack Obama could screw up a brass donkey. 
You could lock him in a padded cell with 100 ball bearings, and he could damage half of them in an hour. 
He's made a total mess of the economy, no one knows how many wars we're now in, he's socialized two car companies at a massive loss to taxpayers, and the media keeps giving him a pass. 
And as I said in a brief rant yesterday....

He (The Teleprompter Jesus) should not be in charge of your healthcare.

He shouldn't be in charge of sending your kids to die in Middle Eastern sandboxes.
He shouldn't be in charge of deciding who can and can't marry, what drugs you can and can't purchase or consume, what guns you can own, or what food you should be allowed eat.
He shouldn't be allowed to spend your money bailing out auto companies, stimulating the economy, swapping your cash for someone else's clunkers, or investing in green energy.
No one else should be given this much power, either. Not George Bush, not Ron Paul, not Saddam Hussein, not Harry Reid. They are all normal people, just like you and me.

Barack Obama is a generic, normal human that people want to turn their lives over to. I'll never, ever understand it. This is the man who gave the Queen Of England an iPod pre-loaded with his speeches.

I mean, Good Lord in heaven, people, he can't even propose a toast. 
For lovers of small government, this is a golden moment.  Play it for your younglings. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Barack Freakin' Obama just wrote the wrong damn year in the damn guestbook at Westminster Freakin' Abbey

He should not be in charge of your healthcare.
He shouldn't be in charge of sending your kids to die in Middle Eastern sandboxes.
He shouldn't be in charge of deciding who can and can't marry, what drugs you can and can't purchase or consume, what guns you can own, or what food you should be allowed eat. 
He shouldn't be allowed to spend your money bailing out auto companies, stimulating the economy, swapping your cash for someone else's clunkers, or investing in green energy. 
No one else should be given this much power, either.  Not George Bush, not Ron Paul, not Saddam Hussein, not Harry Reid.  They are all normal people, just like you and me. 

Barack Obama is a generic, normal human that people want to turn their lives over to.  I'll never, ever understand it.  This is the man who gave the Queen Of England an iPod pre-loaded with his speeches. 

Obama doesn't even know what freakin' year it is. 

This is how Barack Obama signed the damn guestbook at Westminster Freakin' Abbey. 

24 May 2008

And yes, he's the one who wrote the wrong year

Barack Obama makes "Larry The Cable Guy" look like Cary Grant. 

How to learn to appreciate Bob Dylan, in honor of his 70th birthday

First of all, Happy 70th Birthday, Bob Dylan ! 
The world is a better place with you in it. 

Second, there are billions of people out there who just can't "get" Dylan's music. 
I used to be one of them. 
I couldn't get past all the strange vocal mannerisms.  The swoops at the end of each line and his kazoo voice (which I think can produce the root and the 3rd of a chord simultaneously) were too off-putting for this boy who grew up singing in Southern Baptist choirs. 
But Dylan was always there in the background, lurking in the pages of my Rolling Stone subscription that my grandmother got me every year.  Every now and then Dylan's songs would get played on WHBQ in Memphis, or a little more often on Rock 103 out of Jackson.  Sometimes I changed the station, sometimes I didn't.  I figured Dylan was just a "you had to be there to appreciate it" 1960's thing. 

Dylan became a Christian in the late 70's, and his "Slow Train Coming" album could've been the gateway drug to a proper appreciation of The Great Bob and all his works.  I thought "Serve Somebody", "Slow Train", and "When You Gonna Wake Up" were pretty good songs, mostly because they fit well with the near-fanatical sense of evangelical purpose I felt at the time. 
But "When He Returns" was nothing to me but a series of croaks and groans.  Why on earth would anybody sing that way?  I mean, you could listen to him on "The Freewheeling Bob Dylan" and hear that the man really could hold a pitch for several seconds.  Why did he do that Minnesota Mud Throat thing, and why did so many people like it? 
I just didn't get it. 

And then it happened.  Trisha Yearwood covered Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love" on the "Hope Floats" soundtrack.  It was a beautiful song, and I had no idea that Dylan wrote it. 

Later on in the same movie, Ol' Garth did the same song.

I liked the movie; I loved the soundtrack.
Years passed by. Dylan kept writing songs. I kept ignoring them.
Then an employee of mine asked me to sing "To Make You Feel My Love" at her wedding. When I was downloading the guitar tab, I saw that the song was written by...Bob Dylan.
I found his original version, and it clicked. I loved it.
I got it.

(Is there any other performer out there who can inspire "conversion stories"?)

In my opinion, the vocal swoops and falls are more than just a weird mannerism. Listen to any of the dozens and dozens of covers of Dylan songs on the internet, and you'll hear people taking his melodies in radically different directions. That's because different people hear different pitches inside those weird-assed roller coaster vocal things he does. Bob Dylan hits every note in the scale when travelling from the first to the last syllable of a word. If you want to sing a Dylan song, you can take your pick of pitches and melodies.

Somewhere in there, your version fits his.

Rolling Stone magazine has published a list of the 70 Greatest Bob Songs.
If you're not yet a Dylan fan, but feel like you're missing something, select one of those tunes. Pick one that has lots of YouTube pickers who cover it. Listen to his fans do the songs. Keep it in your head for a few days. Sing it to yourself.
Then listen to his original. It'll be like finding a King James Bible after making do with nothing but a copy of Good News For Modern Man.

If that doesn't work, at least you'll know that you have an open mind and that you gave it a shot.

Here's one for all my friends in Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. "High Water Everywhere (for Charley Patton)".

I get it now. I get it. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.
Hope you learn to like it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

British Hospitals - People are dying to get in !!

From The Manchester Evening News comes a preview of what we'll experience with our new ObamaCare© medical system:

Two patients died after being left waiting in ambulances outside an over-stretched hospital.
The patients, believed to have been in their 80s, couldn’t get into the Royal Oldham Hospital for seven and 20 minutes respectively.

They were assessed by ambulance crews as ‘very sick’ and were both suspected of having suffered heart attacks.
The A and E department was so busy that all but the most urgent cases were being sent to other hospitals at the time. All five resuscitation beds at Oldham were full.
The two patients were assessed and treated by a casualty doctor and senior nurse in the ambulances.

It is understood neither actually had suffered a heart attack by the time they were admitted – although both later died at the hospital. One died in the resuscitation unit the following day and the other three days after being admitted to a ward.
A probe has been launched after ambulance chiefs reported the incident to regional health authority NHS North West.

Ah, the joys of Socialism.  From the comments, someone named Jay Tilzey writes:

After 35 working years of never bothering the NHS (but paying my contributions) I now need it and am appalled at how badly I am being let down by it. Hospitals are depressing, overcrowded, untidy places, I am rushed in and out of appointments (having waited months for them) without being given a chance to express myself, and find myself almost crippled with pain because of budgetary restraints or overloaded doctors (who should, nonetheless, ensure that their patients are not affected). It is no consolation to me, nor doubtless to the families of these unfortunate people, that many people have "positive experiences".

Only to be rebutted by someone calling himself Bolton Lad:

Thank you for insulting my many thousands of colleagues. It is lovely to know that our hard work and determination isn't appreciated anymore. Next time you need emergency treatment we'll just kick you out the door and you can crawl along to The Alexandra who will turn you away as they don't want blood on their carpet.

The main problem with the NHS is it is used as a political football and every time there is a Goverment change they feel the need to tinker with it. Just leave us alone and let us get on with what we were set up to do. Labour's reorganisations were only just settling in repairing years of cronic under investment and now the new kids on the block are making us change again. Is it any wonder beuracracy is rife.

Sorry, Bolton Lad, but for politicians, that's not a bug, that's a feature.  If you socialize medicine, it's going to be a political football.  Just like education, the roads, the sewers and the dog pound.  Why bother getting elected if you can't kick the political football?  Any time you turn something over to a gang of beauty contest winners, you surrender your control over it, and it becomes a political football.   

Seriously.  Would it not be best to keep the government out of medical care, turn it into a free market system, and let private charities take care of the rest? 

And to readers in the U.S.....  What levels of expertise do you think John Bolton, Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Bachmann, Harry Reid, Henry Waxman and Charlie Rangel are going to bring to our medical system when ObamaCare© kicks in?  Those characters are going to make the British look like Seal Team 6. 

At this point, people are seeking waivers by the hundreds and hundreds (with an astounding number from Ms. Pelosi's district.)  What do you think will happen when your broken leg becomes a political football? 

One last thing about the picture above...I was looking for a good picture of the Royal Oldham Hospital, and found it here, in an article about The Royal Oldham's staff wheeling a man outside to die of a brain hemorrhage because they thought he was drunk. 

America the stony-hearted

Neal Gabler has an editorial in the L.A. Times.  It's called "America The Stony-Hearted", and it shows how we've gone from a nation that meekly goes along with whatever ridiculous spending boondoggles the Democrats propose, to a cold-hearted group of selfish bastards.  The closing tag (which Mr. Gabler didn't write) is one of the funniest accidental juxtapositions I've ever read. 

It made me spew Coca-Cola and donuts all over a Firestone Auto Repair center waiting lounge. 

But before we get to the money quote, here's a typical paragraph:

One can see this division in something as simple as the denigration of the term "liberal," the "L" word, with its attendant idea that to be compassionate, caring and tolerant — virtues that had been celebrated, if only via lip service, by most Americans — is really to be mush-minded, weak and, more concretely, willing to give taxpayer largesse to the undeserving and lazy. (This was essentially the argument that some Republicans, such as former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), used when they sought to deny an extension of unemployment benefits.

The conservatives and libertarians that I know are, as a general rule, generous people.  It's just that the Department Of Health And Human Services, HUD, ACORN and such aren't their charities of choice.  The statists (as a very general rule) that I know?  They seem to think that lobbying to tax the rich is enough to exempt them from charitable giving. 

Folks, lobbying to take money from one person to give it to another, after taking a cut for yourself off the top, doesn't make you virtuous.  I'm a moral leper, but I've got that much figured out. 

Anyway, back to Mr. Gabler's editorial, and the side-splitting tag from the L.A. Times.  Here's the last paragraph. 

But it is to say that this moral reconfiguration has not only changed our politics and our perception of morality; it has changed us. If compassion is seen as softness, tolerance as a kind of promiscuity, community as a leech on individuals and fairness as another word for scheming, we are a harder nation than we used to be, and arguably a less moral one as well. In undergoing a revolution for the nation's soul, we may have found ourselves losing it.

Yeah, blah blah blah.  We should all get out of the way of those who best know how to spend our money. 

And here's the glorious tag line at the end of the editorial, courtesy of the L.A. Times....

Neal Gabler is at work on a biography of Edward M. Kennedy.

Go here to read how much Ted Kennedy gave to charity. 
Go here to read about the Kennedy tax avoidance strategy. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

On False Prophets

Harold Camping's predictions about the rapture were deeply and profoundly wrong.  As wrong as you can get.  He didn't misunderstand anything, he didn't mis-speak, and he didn't fail to nuance his position properly. 

He was just wrong.  The world didn't end yesterday. 
These things happen. 

It happens to me sometimes.  Hit the "Prophecy" label at the bottom of this post, and you'll eventually find a good collection of my hits and misses. 

But my failed predictions don't hurt anyone but me.  (Well, the bad sports bets sometime impact the family and dachshund grocery budget, but you know what I mean.)

Harold Camping's followers spent around a million bucks on their billboard campaign and End Of The World merchandise.  That's "one comma zero zero zero comma zero zero zero decimal zero zero".  That's a lot of money. 
But Harold Camping didn't show up at anyone's front door and arrest them for not contributing.  He never withheld any money from someone's paycheck.  People were willing to give Camping their money because they believed in his cause. 
I had an interesting conversation in a Starbucks with a Campion disciple a couple of days ago.  Go here for what few details I had time to write about this lady.....

When I run into her again, I intend to be nice and polite, but I'm gonna have to ask how she feels about having supported Harold Camping and  Wouldn't you? 

Now, speaking of ripoffs and scam artists....  In 2008, Barack Obama told us that if he gave 3/4 of a trillion dollars to his campaign contributors, our economy would recover, and that unemployment would never go above 8 percent. 
We didn't give him the money for this project.  It was taken from us by force or threat of force. 

Barack Obama spent our money like a Middle Eastern dictator showering dollars on his loyal supporters.  Most of his "stimulus projects" had been on the government wish list for quite some time.  Others were invented on the spot.  My favorite was the one where Mark Penn, Hillary's failed campaign manager, got a couple of million to publicize the switch from analog to digital TV, long after the TV technology change had already received more publicity than Harold Campion could ever dream of. 

Here's Obama's chart, with reality drawn on it in purple.  We're still not below 8 % unemployment.

Barack Obama took SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS of your money, and just handed it over to his peeps.  That's "seven eight seven comma zero zero zero comma zero zero zero comma zero zero zero decimal zero zero". 

Here's a more up to date chart showing Federal Spending vs. jobs. 

Are the people who claim government spending creates jobs....a....little...bit....superstitious?  Or gullible?  Or just not very smart?  Seriously.  Those are the only explanations at this point. 

This is the biggest ripoff in history.  This Keynesian Con Artist has taken us to the cleaners.  And we're going to come up with excuses for him, and we're not going to circle the White House with protests, and we're going to find a way to rationalize the total failure of our government. 

Almost exactly like FamilyRadio.Org's followers are doing today. 

Today the media is having a field day ridiculing Harold Camping, a ridiculous Baptist Witch Doctor who probably can't wait for his 15 minutes of fame to end. 

Where's the media outrage over Chicago's failed prophet? 

Here's some dude named John, writing at Powerline.  (John's excellent post got me started on this rant, BTW.)

The Obama administration's failed prediction of job growth has significant public policy implications. The most basic division between our political parties is their relative faith, or lack thereof, in the efficacy of federal spending. We are embarking on an election cycle in which Republicans will argue for reduced government spending, and Democrats will claim, against all the evidence, that cutting back on out-of-control spending will somehow be bad for the economy. But the Democrats' theory has been tested. It flunked. It would be nice if reporters and editors would find that failed prediction as newsworthy as the latest end of the world calculation.

So who is the bigger sucker?  My friend from Starubucks in the photograph above? 

Or these folks? 

The pic of Barack Obama with his flock of gullible sheep came from The Democratic Underground.