Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Bro64!

A beloved brother. A fine friend. I have nothing bad to say about him!

He helped his then six year old daughter design these football uniforms. You'll want to click to read the details.

Fred Hunt, Jr RIP

Update: Richard Fernandez eulogizes Fred Hunt, Jr.
Fred Hunt, Jr. was a commenter at neo-neocon's blog. He lived in Rochester, NH. He had a disease which caused sudden attacks of vertigo, and he died on Friday: from a brain injury sustained in a fall. His funeral will be tomorrow, and he will be laid to rest in Somersworth.

Fred, through his comments at neo-neocon's blog, was my teacher and my friend. He was a military veteran, a former Marxist, had studied to be a Jesuit, and was a financial planner at the end. Early on, he knew the left from the inside. Later, he knew the right from the inside. From Fred's Obituary:
Fred was an avid reader and loved books, especially history and philosophy; he could discuss almost any subject with anyone. He was a kind and gentle man who always had a positive outlook and loved life.
I soaked up his knowledge and his reasoning. It will live on in me, and I will do my best to pass it on. I miss Fred already. He was one of my favorite people to hang around with.

It's funny how the internet works. I knew some of Fred Hunt, Jr.'s mind; and, through his mind, I knew something of his spirit.

Heartfelt condolences to Fred's family. Rest in Peace, my friend.

Happy National Sovereignity Day, Iraq: June 30, 2009

Ed Morrissey:
In Iraq, it’s already June 30th, and they’re celebrating National Sovereignty Day. The US has pulled back from Baghdad and other urban areas, leaving Iraq’s elected government and its security forces to maintain order and keep the peace. Iraq has erupted in celebration, and the government has declared it a national holiday:
Iraqi forces have assumed formal control of security in Baghdad and other cities after U.S. combat troops withdrew from urban areas. A countdown clock broadcast on Iraqi TV ticked to zero as the midnight deadline passed for combat troops to pull back.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has declared a public holiday and proclaimed June 30 as “National Sovereignty Day.”

A senior adviser to al-Maliki says “the withdrawal of American troops is completed now from all cities after everything they sacrificed for the sake of security.” Sadiq Al-Rikabi told The Associated Press on Tuesday that “we are now celebrating the restoration of sovereignty.”
Well done, American military.

"Short of writing 'get whitey,' it's difficult to imagine how Judge Sotomayor could have fouled up the Ricci case any more than she did."

The above quote is from John at Powerlineblog. In his post, he counts the ways Sotomayor fouled up:
Fourth, even the dissenting Justices blew off the reasoning of Sotomayor's panel in a footnote, and fashioned their own, different standard for deciding the case.

Fifth, the dissenting Justices made it clear they would have disposed of the case differently than the way Sotomayor's panel disposed of it. The [Sotomayor] panel affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the City of New Haven, which would have ended the matter. The [SCOTUS] dissenters, in the panel's position, would have remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings under the different standard for deciding the matter that it articulated.
Thus we see that the 5 SCOTUS Justices in the majority disagreed with Sotomayor, yet the 4 SCOTUS Justices in the minority also believed Sotomayor botched Ricci in a big way. Ginsburg hints that New Haven likely would have won the case if Sotomayor had properly remanded the case to the District Court.

It's being written today, especially in MSM, that the 5-4 SCOTUS verdict vindicates Sotomayor. Horse manure. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against New Haven. The Court ruled 9-0 against Sonia Sotomayor.

John at Powerline concludes:
Judge Sotomayor's work in Ricci should raise serious questions about either her competence or her capacity to handle difficult civil rights cases (essentially the only kind that make it to the Supreme Court) impartially.

At neo-neocon, Occam's Beard defends his assertion that Sotomayor is incompetent:
Sotomayor is incompetent because she issued an unsubstantiated summary judgment - reserved for situations wherein no reasonable jury, properly applying the law, could find for the non-moving party. In essence, a summary judgment is saying that there is no issue of law, that no reasonable group of people could possibly disagree. It is a statement, in essence, that this one is a no-brainer.

The Supreme Court, no less, begged to differ with her.

Getting an appellate ruling reversed on appeal to the Supreme Court is one thing, but getting a summary judgment reversed is outrageous. It is, on its face, a statement that the appellate court was incompetent.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Movie: The Way We Get By

An odd source of comfort and relief for the American left: Iran uprising might be over

[June 29: this post was edited after publication, including changing the headline from "Iraq" to "Iran"]

Or not. There was a demonstration yesterday, somewhere between 7,000 and 20,000 people.

Many on the left did not know how to process an uprising which could not happen, and therefore was not happening - because it could not - and yet, sort of was happening. The Iranian Revolution was very break-your-brain confusing for an American leftist. The left had adopted a set of beliefs and assertions which precluded the possibility of this Iranian revolution:
  1. since "food for the soul" is horse manure,
  2. since Iranians already had some freedoms and therefore could not have been risking life for a few more freedoms,
  3. since people are happy under all forms of government(including theocracy),
  4. since Cowboy Bush is gone,
  5. since Khamenei is a "relatively competent" Supreme Leader
therefore the Iranian revolution simply could not have been happening. Yet, there it was on You Tube. Impossible.

1. The protests were actually about freedom and self-determination. These are important to the soul. So, here is the first source of cognitive dissonance on the left: many on the left do not believe the soul exists. They believe: if the trains run on time, if everyone is fairly and equally miserable, it's all good. That food for the soul stuff is all hype.

2. Everyone has some types of freedoms. The left cannot process why people would risk their lives for a few additional freedoms. Doesn't make sense. If you have 20 freedoms, is it worth risking life for just a few additional freedoms? Where is Iranians' sense of proportion?

3. The condescension thing and the PC thing: precious exotic people are never unhappy due to factors of culture, religion, or type of government. All types of government are equally good (except for America's Democratic Republic, which is the suck). Problems occur only when a ruler or leader is inadequate to the task.

Question: Why has every communist government in history been horrible for the people?
Answer: Just an unlucky 80 year multiple nation, multiple culture streak of bad rulers.

The left is constantly on the search for that one person who will show how communism can succeed. The next communist ruler might be the guy. Hope springs eternal! This bad streak of inadequate rulers has to end sometime.

Side Prediction: we will soon see this "wrong ruler" dynamic played out inside the Obama Cabinet. I predict the first Cabinet level scapegoat/victim will be Larry Summers. It's not the $900B bailout which is bad(and is really a $3 Trillion bailout which the MSM refuses to report): it is, instead, and clearly, Larry Summers who is incompetent. And he won't be the only one. Barack will soon enough discover other members of his cabinet who are incompetent. Watch and see. Barack will be "Shocked, shocked".

4. As the left understands things: U.S. problems with Iran have nothing to do with Iran or with fundamentalist Islam. U.S. problems with Iran have to do with George W. Bush being an arrogant and rude cowboy who dismissed Iran and did not engage with it. How arrogant! Then there was the crudeness of "Axis of Evil". Iran is not part of an "Axis of Evil"! Such an uncouth, clumsy thing to spout! How embarrassing for America! Don't blame us leftists. We didn't vote for that chimp/chump/liar. Like you wise international persons, we were embarrassed by the uncouth cowboy President Bush.

5. Thus, from Day One of this Iranian revolution, because Khamenei could not be the problem, we have seen the left promote Khamenei as an effective ruler whom the Iranian people appreciate. An example from June 20:
[T]here is only a mass movement to strike Ahmadinejad from power, not Supreme Leader Khamenini.
And besides that, there’s the relatively competent administration of the [current Iranian government] to consider… For example, educational standards have improved, Khomeini brought electricity to Iran’s countryside, and Tehran no longer has peasant shantytowns.

So, (5) since Khamenei is a "relatively competent" Supreme Leader, (4) since Cowboy Bush is gone, (3) since people are happy under all forms of government(including theocracy), (2) since Iranians already had some freedoms and therefore could not have been risking life for a few more freedoms, (1) since "food for the soul" is horse manure: therefore the Iranian revolution simply could not have been happening.

Yet, there it was on You Tube. Obama almighty! What was it all about? The left was not quite sure, and is mightily relieved the revolution might be over.

Plus, many, MANY pugilistic voices on the left laughed at the ridiculous conservatives - Charles Krauthammer, et al - who harshly criticized Barack for siding with Khamenei and against the Iranian people. How incompetent of Krauthammer. How hilarious that the Krauthammer types didn't understand the strategic imperative for the U.S. to not say anything which would appear to support the protesters, as the Iranian people's hatred for the U.S. would then shift the Iranian people's sympathies to Khamenei's side. Barack could only support the protesters by failing to support the protesters. Don't you see how simple it is? The Krauthammer people are laughable buffoons!

After Barack's people promoted this "strategic thinking" during the first week of the Iranian revolution, Barack double crossed his defenders and began criticizing the Iranian government: kind of limply on Tuesday, more manfully* on Friday. At this point: if Krauthammer is a strategic idiot, Barack is within range of becoming his equal.

For the American left, the Iranian revolution cannot end quickly enough. It is confusing and embarrassing.

*Barack criticized Ahmadinejad more manfully on Friday. Why?

Answer: Because Ahmadinejad had criticized Barack in a very personal fashion. Barack is only moved to passion if and when the legendary narrative of "Barack!" is challenged.

We saw this when Barack refused to criticize Pastor Jeremiah Wright on principle, and only deigned to criticize after Pastor Wright implied Barack was a sleazy, conniving politician. THIS implication was personal! This implication was a threat to "Barack!" the narrative, and Barack the candidate struck back immediately and decisively.

Similarly, as POTUS, Barack is not roused to defend principles such as freedom, human rights, American ideals. Protecting and defending "Barack!" the narrative is more important than protecting and defending American ideals. Barack only progressed beyond limp when an Ahmadinejad statement threatened to make "Barack!" the very and specific and personal narrative look like an affectation. Sacre bleu! "Barack!" the very and specific and personal narrative is not affectation! Non! It is real! And Barack the President then roused himself to stand strong and spit back at Ahmadinejad - not to protect America, but rather to protect "Barack!"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

John Daly's Pants

Link to photos. h/t UniWatch. The bottom half of the UniWatch post is a descrip of the U.S. Open. B/c it includes numerous digital photos which give a sense of the vibe at the U.S. Open, I therefore enjoyed the UniWatch descrip more than the Sports Illustrated descrip.

To John Daly's pants. On the one hand, I do like several versions of Daly pants:

Gold Flowers
Green Flowers
Green and Gold Checkerboard
Both Houndstooth versions - both the white and the gold.

On the other hand, excepting the houndstooth (which I think are a classic and classy look), what does it say about me that I like the wild flowerydy(s/b a word) pants? Does it say I am unserious, and a not fully developed adult? Does it say I am a fully developed adult who knows how to enjoy a lark on the golf course? Is it all about narcissism and "look at me"ism? Is it all about anti-fashion(?), i.e.
to heck with fashion, I'll wear any danged thing I want to: wearing these pants shows how much I do not care about clothing, which is so much not caring that I would golf naked if only they would still send the beer girl around - or if only I could find my old wineskin and fill it with Coors Light and sling it onto my back.
Does it say I must be part English, or part of any culture in which men don skirts or knickers or frou frou clothing and still somehow attract their wives into bed? Do those same wives "close their eyes and think of Britain" because thinking of Britain is much easier than closing eyes and thinking of what their husbands wore that day? Which is still easier to think about than American wives' burdens of naked husbands stalking golf courses toting ancient Coors Light-filled wineskins?

(*) Don't know what those poor wives are thinking, and don't know what flowerydy pants would say about me, so I guess I won't be wearing flowerydy pants until I do know, which will probably be never, unless I somehow start reading about fashion and come to understand it, which will probably be never, unless the person teaching me about fashion happens to be a languidly curvy woman(which is every woman, if you know what to look for), in which case she can teach me about anything, and I will be fascinated and will actually learn whatever she is teaching me, b/c thats just the way I roll. So, there is a chance I will someday become educated about fashion - after which, depending on what is learned, I either will or will not wear flowerydy pants.

Side Note: in real life conversation, I realize I rarely use the word "pants", and instead say "trousers" most of the time. "Trousers" have some dignity. Those flowerydy things, therefore, are pants.

*Don't you really enjoy, once in a while, composing long and rambling run-on sentences? I do. About as often as I get a craving for asparagus - which is a few to several times per year - about that often I also sort of CRAVE the composition of a delicious run-on sentence. Tasty.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"i before e, except after c" spelling rule being retired in Britain

I protest! It has been a valuable rule for me (even though I've complained about it). I learned it as: "i before e, except after c, and sometimes after y."

LONDON - It's a spelling mantra that generations of schoolchildren have learned — "i before e, except after c."

But new British government guidance tells teachers not to pass on the rule to students, because there are too many exceptions.

The "Support For Spelling" document, which is being sent to thousands of primary schools, says the rule "is not worth teaching" because it doesn't account for words like 'sufficient,' 'veil' and 'their.'

Jack Bovill of the Spelling Society, which advocates simplified spelling, said Saturday he agreed with the decision.

But supporters say the ditty has value because it is one of the few language rules that most people remember.
The thing about "sufficient" is that you can sound it out and understand why it is a "cie" word. Same with "their". Sound it out. I'm glad America is not so backward as Britain (or, at least is not such a wild-eyed radical as Jack Bovill of the Spelling Society).

Friday, June 26, 2009


This is an interesting photo.

For me, the mostly hidden body and mostly available face focus attention on the humanity of the girl, and encourage meditation on who she really is: her brain, her opinions and her personality, her heart beating behind her breast, her soul. Her hopes and her fears. Her loves, her desires. Her human strengths and weaknesses. Though the photo is provocative, for me, the removal of most of the body equates to the removal of a distraction. I am left to wonder about the person.

Or, if I focus on the sliver of her body: I wonder at God's artistry. It is magnificent. The curvature. Her calf. Her ankle. Takes my breath away. Makes me want to grab paper and pen and curve languid lines. Which I just did, with a good pen on the back of an envelope. And it felt GOOD.

Her body is positioned as a mountain range, with blue sky behind and blue lake in front. The mountains reflect off of the lake. This, also, calls attention to the artistry of our Creator: of the female body, of mountains, of sky, of the mirror lake. The wonder of it all.


Artistic curvature:


And don't forget the shoulder, the deltoid, the clavicle.

Knocks me out.

via Rocio Ponce

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The man who tried to save Neda Agha Soltan: Mr. Arash Hejazi, speaks out

and, in so doing, puts his life in further jeopardy. He is an ordinary man, infused with a Divine spark, finding his voice and rising to this moment, as a pantheon of ordinary men have done through the ages. Salute. Video.

Something Sweet

Have been blogging on fire. Need something different. Something sweet. Here's Midwestern Nephew and Midwestern Niece, two years ago, heading off to the bus stop for the first day of school. It is her first day of school, ever, as she is beginning Kindergarten on this day.

Present day, Midwestern Nephew and Niece, ages 10 and 7, are enjoying the freedom of their summer. THAT is sweet.

I love "Almost Famous". It's the music. And I went to school with the characters, back in the day.

English Bulldog ooches downhill, then sits down to smell the day:

Blazing Saddles and Obama White House

zhombre Says:
June 23rd, 2009 at 7:10 pm
Who is Hedley Lamarr? Compare:



When I was growing up, the kid who lived across the street: Steve Waire, was a huge, frequent, and blatant liar. Barack is Steve Waire.

Jim Lindgren:
Here is Mike Gonzalez at Heritage on Friday:
Less than 24 hours after Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner questioned the veracity of President Obama’s persistent claim that, under his health care proposals, “if you like your insurance package you can keep it”, the White House has begun to walk the President’s claim back. Turns out he didn’t really mean it.

According to the Associated Press, “White House officials suggest the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken literally...."
In other words, if you believed something closer to the opposite of what Obama promised, that would be closer to the truth. When Obama said he “will keep this promise”:
If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period.
he actually meant:
If you like your doctor, many of you will NOT be able to keep your doctor. Period.
And when Obama said he “will keep this promise”:
If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.
Obama really meant:
If you like your health care plan, many – perhaps most – of you will NOT be able to keep your health care plan. Period. Someone – perhaps your employer – may take it away. It all depends on how things work out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A way forward for regime change in Iran, Part 2

Part 1

Former diplomat, current author and professor Paul Rahe:
Five things are nonetheless clear.

First, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not win anything like 63 percent of the vote in the recent election. Over the last four years, he has brought Iran to the edge of economic disaster; many Iranians are fully aware of their plight; and the authorities, fearful that he would go down to defeat, rigged the entire process from the start.

Second, the ruling order in Iran is bitterly split over what amounts to a coup d'état.

Third, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has put his prestige and that of the regime itself on the line.

Fourth, the people of Iran are aware that they have been hoodwinked, and the Islamic Republic is now without a shred of legitimacy.

And, finally, if the police and the militia should prove unable to control the crowds in Teheran, and if the Revolutionary Guard is called out and the guardsmen refuse to fire on their fellow citizens, things really will come apart.

If the authorities manage to restore order (as, I suspect, they will), the pot will nonetheless continue to boil--unless they resort to severe repression and purge those within their own ranks who lent support, open or tacit, to the demonstrators. But if they do this, they will at the same time seriously narrow the base of the regime's support, and that will only hasten the day of reckoning. As Reuel Marc Gerecht argues in a trenchant piece in The Weekly Standard, we are witnessing a game-changing moment.

From all of this, the supporters of George W. Bush's policy in Iraq should draw consolation, for the elections that took place in that country under the American aegis contributed mightily to the discontent in Iran. The people of Iran were witness to the emergence within Iraq of a secular republic sponsored by an Iranian cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, possessed of an erudition and an authority rivalling and arguably surpassing that of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They were witness to elections that were really free and to public debate open in ways that debate within the Islamic Republic is not. Morever, in Quom, the stronghold of the Shiite clergy, the clerics who most fully command respect have long rejected, as contrary to Shiite tradition and the interest of Islam, the path of direct clerical rule pursued by Khomeini.

Iran today looks something like England in the wake of Oliver Cromwell's death. There has been a religious revolution; it never commanded full popular support; it is now seen, even by many of its most ardent supporters, to be a failure; and there will be a scramble to attempt to sustain the polity it produced. Ordinarily, American leverage does not amount to much. In this situation, it could nonetheless be considerable. Economically Iran is on the ropes. If we keep the pressure on, following the policy of the Bush administration, the regime may in fact collapse. If, however, in the interests of stability, in the manner of the so-called "realists," the Obama administration opts to take the pressure off and, in effect, bails out Iran's bankrupt regime, it may stumble on for some years to come.
The genesis of the current revolution began with the impossibility of effective rule by a fundamentalist clerical Islamic government: it was a bad idea to begin with, and it could not work. The next step was Iran's call for more babies, so as to replace the lost men from the Iran-Iraq War in the early 1980s. This was followed by citizen dissatisfaction with the repressive and corrupt aspects of the current regime(dissatisfaction which was helped along by access to the internet). The youth population, combined with this growing dissatisfaction, has for some years prompted predictions of an uprising in the Iranian street.

GWB's sandwiching of Iran between democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan did not cause this Iranian revolution, yet it likely helped tip this revolution over the top of the mountain. I wrote this on Monday:
Iranians could already see votes which count in neighboring Turkey and Pakistan. Suddenly they see votes which count in Iraq and Afghanistan. Afghanistan?! She is to an Iranian as Mexico is to a U.S. citizen. Iranians are proud of their nation. Iranians had to think the equivalent of: Why do Mexicans cast votes which count, and we do not?! This is intolerable!
Such thinking was not the genesis of the revolution, but it was the final step which pushed the revolution over the top of the mountain and started things rolling down the other side at speed.
neo-neocon comments on the Obama Administration's claim that the Cairo speech inspired the uprising. She ruminates on the difference between action (GWB), words (Barack), and words which are backed by a foundation of years of prior action (Reagan's 1987 call to "tear down this wall").

Related End Zone:

A "vote of confidence" = sign of trouble; notable moment in human history; Khamenei's problem; Barack's irrelevance

Khamenei said the government would not buckle to pressures over the election, closing the door to compromise over Mousavi's claim that the vote was rigged and he was the rightful winner.

"On the current situation, I was insisting and will insist on implementation of the law. That means, we will not go one step beyond the law," Khamenei said on state television. "For sure, neither the system nor the people will give in to pressures at any price." He used language that indicated he was referring to domestic pressures.

A "vote of confidence" usually means a baseball manager will be fired within days, if not within hours.

What Khamenei is saying, above, amounts to a vote of confidence for the Supreme Leader system of government.


A bloody day in Iran. A violent day. The regime is knocking heads without mercy. The people are not backing down. Great danger; great opportunity. Amazing heart rending and heartening stuff. Allahpundit has video clips of individual experiences.

In the second video clip, an Iranian woman invites beating and possible death. In so doing, and with help of a cell phone video camera which would expose the actions of the men who would beat her (and w/the unstated threat of other cell phone video cameras capturing the beating), she cows the men who were just beating her. It's a notable moment in human history: courage and cell phone video used as weaponry.

I’ve toured the weapons in the Tower of London. If there is ever a Tower of Tehran, to memorialize Iranian weapons, the cell phone video camera has a rightful place there.


The problem, for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad: their legitimacy generates from their claims to piousness and to true faith. Thus, they cannot justify irreligious actions against the people.

The old and/or current communists: in USSR, in Eastern Europe, in China, in Latin America, were/are not hamstrung by morality. The communists strictly lust for power. Repression and murder was/is justified as part of a larger good which is undertaken on behalf of the masses.

Conversely, Khamenei is restrained by the immorality of murdering his own citizens. He cannot argue "larger good", as Islam recognizes such an argument is immoral. Khamenei cannot allow his murderous actions to be known to the largest part of Iranian citizenry. Khamenei is forced to do his murdering in secret, mostly at night, and always covered up by propaganda and lies which deny the truth of his murderous actions.

Many older Iranians get all news from state run TV. If these Iranians come to believe the truth of Khamenei's murders, the Supreme Leader will soon be unsupreme. This is why it is critically important for the President of the United States to speak out strongly, to call murder by it's name, to call a murdered girl in the street by her name: Neda. All effort must be made to get word to older and rural (computerless) Iranians about the truth of Khamenei's actions.

The Office of the President of the United States used to automatically have a respected voice, and consequently a loud voice. Much of the world disagreed with President Bush; yet much of the world nevertheless respected his power, and thus listened when he spoke.

Much has changed in six months. When you say nothing, as Barack does; when everything you say is "on the one hand, on the other hand"; when haughtily you place yourself above the fray, and deign to not compromise your perceived heightened stature via taking stands on the pre-eminent moral questions of our day: you thereby lose the respect of listeners who once respected the Office of President of the United States.

Barack cluelessly negotiates with terrorists: receives corpses in exchange for live terrorist leader

Unbelievably clueless.

Story: Five British engineers kidnapped in Iraq in 2007. Kidnappers demand their three leaders be released from American custody. Pres. Bush refuses, saying "The U.S. does not negotiate with terrorists."

Side note: in March 2008, Barack falsely claimed GWB attacked him via saying he - Barack - would negotiate with terrorists. Politically, Barack needed a personalized fight with GWB, and chose this ground. Barack huffed that he would never negotiate with terrorists.

Return to story: With President Bush in Dallas, President Barack agrees to exchange one of the terrorist leaders for the five British engineers. President Barack releases the terrorist leader and receives ... the corpses of two British engineers, plus a demand for the two other terrorist leaders to be released.

Barack Obama:
  • strategic idiot;
  • sap;
  • man w/o knowledge of how the real world works;
  • man whose EVERY SINGLE PROMISE comes with an expiration date. EVERY. SINGLE. PROMISE... is a promise for today only. Tomorrow is a new day, and who can expect - on the morrow - a man to keep his promises from yesterday?

Ed Morrissey
Andy McCarthy
John Podheretz, writing in March 2008, on the Campaign kerfuffle

A way forward for regime change in Iran


Mullahs join protest?

If true: a big step.

Much of the following information, and all links, came from this Richard Fernandez post.

Here's a how a revolution succeeds: the people with the guns abandon their commanders and join the revolutionaries. It happens all of a sudden. Some police and security forces switch over, then most police and security forces see them and suddenly join them. Voila. Successful revolution.

It's been hard to see, from my end zone in Texas, if that will happen in Iran. But here is a way forward:

Influential Shiite Clerics throw their allegiance away from Khamenei and Amadinejad and towards a more representative form of government. Iranians and police and security forces follow the guidance of the clerics. Voila. Successful revolution.

It could happen.

Khamenei and Ahmadinejad are fundamentalist to the core. They believe an Islamic state is incompatible with democracy.

However, the most influential Shiite cleric in the world is Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Of Iraq. America expended years of effort in lobbying and in courting the favor of the ancient (in his 80s) and inscrutable Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Sistani was a coy tease. In the end, however, Ali Sistani was willing to consider whether or not America might have the best idea in some instances, and was willing to consider whether or not America's idea might be consistent with Islam. Ali Sistani is a liberal Shiite cleric who now believes Islam and democracy are compatible. Ali Sistani was an important voice supporting a democratic Iraq. Ali Sistani has huge following and influence in IRAN. Threatswatch quotes Ayatollah Sistani in a 2007 proclamation:
"I am a servant of all Iraqis, there is no difference between a Sunni, a Shiite or a Kurd or a Christian."
Okay. So what? This what: Al Arabiyah:
Religious leaders are considering an alternative to the supreme leader structure after at least 13 people were killed in the latest unrest to shake Tehran and family members of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, were arrested amid calls by former President Mohammad Khatami for the release of all protesters. … The discussions have taken place in a series of secret meetings convened in the holy city of Qom and included Jawad al-Shahristani, the supreme representative of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is the foremost Shiite leader in Iraq. An option being considered is the resignation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s president following condemnation by the United States and other European nations for violence and human rights violations against unarmed protesters.
Threatswatch again:
In November 2007 at National Review Online, I wrote about this aspect of Ayatollah Ali Sistani, including a reference to another analysis I had written earlier in the spring.
In fact, what exists is a deep rivalry between the revolutionary Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini and the traditionalist Grand Ayatollah Sistani, both claiming authority over the Shi’a faith. While the Khomeinist revolutionary Khameini clearly believes in Shi’a theocracy, the Iraqi Ayatollah Sistani believes that the faith can exist within a democracy without theological conflict. And while the Iranians work to spin the growing Sunni tribal rejection of al-Qaeda as Americans “negotiating with terrorists,” Sistani himself has always had open channels of communication with American forces and the Iraqi government.
Why does this matter for Iran and Iranians? Pay close attention here, for Iraq’s Sistani carries great weight among the Iranian Shi’a faithful.
Sistani’s appeal does not end at the Iraqi border, as Iranians increasingly observe his leadership with interest and fondness. Some are “intrigued by the more freewheeling experiment in Shi’ite empowerment taking place across the border in Iraq,” which is fundamentally different in approach than the Iranian theocratic brand of dictated observance and obedience. The Boston Globe’s Anne Barnard reports that within Tehran’s own central bazaar, “an increasing number of merchants are sending their religious donations, a 20 percent tithe expected from all who can spare it, to Iraq’s most senior Shi’ite cleric.”
If that didn’t quite sink in, go read that paragraph again. Many Iranian merchants have been sending their 20% tithes to Sistani, not Khamenei. Since at least 2007. I spoke to the significance of Rafsanjani seeking Sistani’s support earlier on ‘The Steve Schippert Show’ on RFC Radio just before the al-Arabiya story broke. His name is an attention-getter for those aware of players and forces in both Iran and Iraq. And for good reason. Perhaps in Iran, just as in Iraq today, true democracy can exist “without theological conflict” with the Shi’a faith. And perhaps the most unlikely cast of available men in Iran are set to bring that to be. Perhaps only something close, or closer. But whatever the change, and the extent of the change - and it appears the intent is significant change and not simply a game of Shuffling Ayatollahs - it will be positive for Iranians, for the region, for Americans and for the entire world. I think it is nearly inevitable at his point, and time is not on the regime’s side.
Intrigue has had permanent residence in Persia since Eve ate the apple. I don't know what's going to happen, but it's likely a lot of different scenarios still could happen - including overthrow and liberalization of Iran's government. It wouldn't be liberalization like Sweden, yet it would be a sight better than fundamentalists Khamenei and Ahmadinejad searching out nukes to enact an end of the world scenario. The cleric way is a way forward which is solidly founded and structured. It would not be a Hail Mary. It would be a balanced offense seeking to matriculate the ball down the field. The drive could take weeks or months or years, but it would be grounded and plausible. Those old clerics are gritty, tough, and smart. Think Ali Sistani trading his black turban for a houndstooth hat.

McCain excoriates Barack re Iran

Bravo, Senator McCain. The United States of America DOES NOT ignore moral atrocity in favor of preserving potential for negotiation.

It's especially ironic that negotiation, in this instance, will not succeed anyway. Negotiation would be a Clintonian exercise in posturing and then making false claims of success.

Senator McCain:
"Between Ahmadinejad and the reformers, do you think there's any doubt what side President Obama is on?"

"I know what side I'm on. I'm on the side of the people. I'm not on Ahmadinejad's side or Mousavi. I'm on the side of the Iranian people and I'm on the right side of history. And I'm not going to walk on the other side of the street while people are being killed and beaten in the streets of Iran."

"We can't sit by and watch a film clip on television of a young woman bleeding to death and say that we're worried about the Iranian reaction or our ability to negotiate with them. We have to stand up for those people."
Even though Barack's press conference prepared statement was stronger than he has been, I was still sickened by it - sickened by the missed opportunities.
  • Barack did not say Ahmadinejad is illegitimate. He called Iran "sovereign". Yet, the Iranian government has not been sovereign since the election. The Iranian government is illegitimate.
  • Iranians are not "conducting a debate". The debate is over. The election was crooked. Iranians are trying to stop an illegitimate President from retaining office.
  • Barack mentioned innocent deaths, yet did not call it murder. "Murder" would have been a truthful and powerful statement.
  • Barack mentioned a girl shot in the chest, yet did not call Neda by name. Invoking her name would have been incredibly powerful. Would Reagan have failed to invoke her name? Never. When Reagan invoked her name, tears would have wet the ground all over the world. Reagan would have invoked Neda as a line of demarcation; as a call to action; as an injustice up with which we will not put.
  • Barack said "the Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government." Barack's statement is living in two weeks ago. Iranians have ALREADY judged the illegal and murderous actions of their own government. The judging part is over. We are to the demanding justice part, and to the government is committing murder part.
Even now, Barack continues to pull up short in his prepared statements. It sickens me. John McCain is exactly right. Bravo.

Video highlights of Barack's testy press conference.

James Lewis at American Thinker: The Little President Who Wasn't There

Andrew McCarthy at NRO's The Corner:
It's a mistake to perceive this as "weakness" in Obama. [...] Obama has a preferred outcome here, one that is more in line with his worldview, and it is not victory for the freedom fighters. He is hanging as tough as political pragmatism allows, and by doing so he is making his preferred outcome more likely. That's not weakness, it's strength — and strength of the sort that ought to frighten us.
More Andy McCarthy:
(a) [President Obama] does not think the mullahs are evil,
(b) he thinks they have a point,
(c) he thinks he can forge a rapprochement and deal effectively with them (though he is under no illusions about stopping their nuclear ambitions),
(d) he is not a big believer in freedom, and
(e) he thinks the world would be more stable and easier for him to navigate if the mullahs win.

Despicable and Inane White House damage control

White House fantasy, in Wapo:
Since taking office, Obama has argued that reclaiming America’s moral authority by ending torture and closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay provides essential diplomatic leverage to influence events in such strategic parts of the world as the Middle East and Central Asia.
Despicable and inane White House damage control, in WaPo:
But privately Obama advisers are crediting his Cairo speech for inspiring the protesters, especially the young ones, who are now posing the most direct challenge to the republic’s Islamic authority in its 30-year history.
Ed Morrissey:
This is the most despicable, self-serving, and arrogant spin I’ve seen yet from this White House, and that’s saying something.
It's not just that Obama is tepid, feckless, anti-democratic, appeasing, cowardly, and weak. That's his, well, that's his foreign policy. He has chosen this foreign policy, deliberately, pre-meditatedly, and with malice aforethought.

The galling thing is that, having chosen this path, he also wants credit for Reaganite boldness and unwavering moral conviction in the face of evil.


WaPo: How Rahm Emmanuel Spins the Media

Here's how: skillfully, blatantly, profanely, ruthlessly, relentlessly. Emmanuel has a little Lyndon Baines Johnson in him. He feeds the media a line, and he's open about what he's doing while he does it. He ruthlessly plays the media against each other: offering scoopy tidbits here and there, rewarding and punishing with carrots and sticks, trading gossip and searching out info about what media persons know. Like LBJ: Rahm has game, and is not morally conflicted about his actions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Barack refuses to call the Iranian election illegitimate

Barack, in a press conference, changed protocol and called on a HuffPo blogger for the second question of the press conference, in expectation of a question about Iraq. Politico recounts the blogger's question:
“I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian.”

He then noted that the site had solicited questions from people in the country “who were still courageous enough to be communicating online.”

“Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad, and if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn't that a betrayal of the — of what the demonstrators there are working towards?”
That's the best possible question. Kudos to the HuffPo blogger. The question both put Barack on the spot and gave Barack opportunity to call the election result illegitimate; to say he would not recognize an illegitimate President of Iran; to thus delegitimize the Iranian regime and legitimize the protesters.

Barack punted, of course. An answer to that question wasn't in his script. Besides, Barack is all about negotiating with Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. This matter of murderous action to retain power is just a kerfuffle. It happens. Such ought not derail negotiations, for gosh sakes. Pish.

Politico completely misses the real story, i.e. Pres. Obama evades question. Politico instead focuses on the breach of press conference protocol via calling on HuffPo second. American reporting is no longer about reporting, but rather about petty turf disputes amongst the media who are themselves the real story. Contemptible.

Paul at Powerline notices the same thing: the real story was the excellence of the question and Barack's inability to directly address the question without making himself look bad in the process. Barack's only recourse was to look bad in evading the question, which still allowed him to look less bad than if he had addressed the question - and especially so since the U.S. media seem to not have noticed his evasion(due in part, perhaps, to U.S. media's disdain of any question originating from HuffPo). Paul:
What a terrific question -- a query that not one in a thousand American journalists could be expected to match -- and kudos to Pitney for selecting it. The question elegantly but pointedly (1) refutes the suggestion of Obama's apologists that the president helps the protesters by remaining above the fray while (2) reminding Obama that he cannot really remain above the fray in any event because he must eventually accept the election of Ahmadinejad by dealing with him as planned or reject that fraudulently reached outcome by changing his course.

The president could only bob and weave.
The question thus stands unanswered by Obama, though it answers itself: if Obama treats Ahmadinejad as the legitimate leader of Iran in the absence of significant changes in conditions there, that would indeed constitute a betrayal of what the demonstrators are working to achieve.

American Left Plants Kiss of Judas Upon the Iranian People

Richard Fernandez:
In an article dealing with the infatuation of some sections of the Western press with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Lee Smith argues that whatever the diplomats do, the Western intelligensia endorses positions and mass movements all the time. It just depends on which. How does one reconcile the fear of irking Iran by supporting the students with the openness to dealing with Hezbollah, a sworn subverter of the Lebanese state? The answer perhaps is choice. It is horrifying to think but worth considering that in some perverse way some people have made the intellectual choice to admire the bad guys. Smith makes the argument that liberalism isn’t really as popular as one might think with the intelligensia; that of late a perverse infatuation with fascism and a deeply illiberal attraction for the strong horse exists where we would least suspect it. He wonders whether the desire to deal with strongmen isn’t an implicit acceptance that they are the wave of the future. In other words perhaps the West has lost faith in democracy in the Third World just as people in these countries are discovering it. How did it happen?
Many of the veterans of the Western left are at pains to point out to their younger colleagues that their admiration for the Islamic Resistance is misplaced, that Hezbollah does not share their progressive values, their interest in, say, women’s rights or gay marriage. But it is the old-time leftists who are mistaken, for the rising generation that admires Hezbollah knows all that – and as I said, it is not about values.
[A]n entire generation of Western Europeans and Americans, the cream of our cultural elite, has been shaped by an intellectual current that despises liberalism [i.e. classical liberalism, or what we in America would call conservatism which believes in freedom and human rights] and dismisses as mediocre the universal humanism that prizes the same values across cultures, from the US and Europe to the Middle East. Instead, it welcomes the return of the magic, the blood and power, the violence of the strongman. Why we never imagined that these ideas would affect how people interacted with the world around them and interpreted it is hard to explain. What is easy to explain is why Western journalists, academics, writers and artists are in love with the Islamic Resistance – it is not despite the violence, but because of it. So how would they like it if an armed gang ran through New York, London or Paris? In effect, it already has.
It would be ironic if the diplomatic establishment consents to talk to the commanders of the Hezbollah and the paymasters of the Basijis before it could nerve itself to talk to the Iranian students in the street. Maybe the reason that the guilt-stricken Western intelligensia has avoided bestowing the “kiss of death” upon the Iranian demonstrators is that it has already planted the kiss of Judas upon their crimson cheeks.
On Saturday, I commented the following on a left blog which, to all appearances, is cheerleading for Khamenei to quell the uprisings and negotiate with wise and persuasive Barack:
Why are you, Mac, and you, Tas, the only people on this blog who are outraged about peaceful Iranians being beaten and killed and oppressed? If the Palestinians were protesting in the streets, and Jews on motorbikes rolled in and beat them with batons, this entire blog would erupt in outrage and protest. Why is not the same outrage directed at a government in Iran which is oppressive and murderous? You open yourself to this:

DrewM asks: “Remember when the left cared about governments mowing down people?”
Dave replies: “No”.

Dave’s point being: the left hates Israel more than they care about Palestinians, Iranians, or Georgians; more than they care about Taliban-oppressed Afghanis or Saddam-oppressed Iraqi Shiites and Iraqi Kurds. I’m not going to say Dave’s point is correct. But I do note his point, and I note the vast, vast different reaction on this blog to the oppression of various peoples. I do note the left too often works itself into a corner where they end up muddled and not clearly standing against the Taliban, not clearly standing against Saddam, not clearly standing against Russia in it’s invasion of Georgia, and not clearly and distinctly standing against Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. This is muddled morality.

Today Barack unmistakably criticized Khamenei and the Iranian government. There is no reason for any moral person to hold back their outrage against the murders which occurred today. Everyone here ought take unleash their outrage. Put the lie to the accusations of the Daves of the world. Show everyone that you care about innocent persons being oppressed and murdered - no matter who the innocents are, no matter who the oppressive murderers are. Show everyone that, for you, it is about injustice and about immorality, as opposed to merely being about personal anger at the Israelis. Take a clear and evident stand against Khamenei. Doing so will be good for the spirit and the soul: it will be cleansing; clarifying. It cannot have been fun to not unload on the Taliban, on Saddam, on Russia. Unload on Khamenei. Have some fun. Unburden your souls.
Khamenei has planned for this type of uprising amongst Iranians. During the daytime, the violence is bad, but somewhat tamped down. However, during the night, government forces are murdering protest leaders in their homes; and reportedly murdering their families. The night is a reign of terror. And the days are bad enough. Watch this video. Listen to the gunfire in the background. These are the students many on the American left are betraying in favor of rooting on (hopeless) negotiation by the god Barack. These are the students whom the left Judas is betraying.

Texas Rangers: Can this offense be saved?


A] Protect the young hitters and the wilder swingers. Rangers have been hitting Davis, Saltalamacchia, Andrus back to back to back. Pitchers toy - via pitches off the plate - with whomever precedes Davis in the lineup, then toy with Davis, then toy with Saltalamacchia. Only Andrus sees pitches, b/c Andrus is protected by lead off hitter Kinsler.

B] Davis to AAA. If you keep him in Arlington, hit him 9th and protect him with a veteran lead off hitter. But, don't keep him in Arlington. Last game, Davis swung through a 3-2 fastball which was a fat as a pitch could be: it exactly bisected the strike zone both Left/Right and Up/Down. If you can't hit the fattest fastball a pitcher can throw on 3-2, then there's nothing you can hit. I DO NOT understand why the Rangers are torturing Davis by keeping him in Arlington. I've never seen a player who looked more lost or who was in a worse slump.

C] When Hamilton returns: the optimal line-up for protecting the young hitters:

1. Young ------- veteran is unprotected and needs to handle it for the team
2. Andrus ------ protected by Ham; is patient; can bunt, hit and run
3. Hamilton RF-- wild swinger is protected by Cruz
4. Cruz -------- showing patience; will flourish in front of Kinsler
5. Kinsler ----- hitter in a hurry is protected by Jones
6. Andruw Jones -- veteran is unprotected; has the necessary discipline
7. Saltalamaccia --- wild swinger protected by Byrd
8. Byrd CF ----- veteran is unprotected; must sacrifice for team
9. Davis ----- will see better pitches than when in front of Saltalamacchia

Monday, June 22, 2009

Baseball Ensures American Rock Chunking Supremacy Over Non-Baseball Nations

Heartening video. At the end, 35 or so members of Iranian government security forces break and run away from the crowd in fear. The people win!

Before the people win, we see 2 minutes of a rock chunking contest between government forces and protesters. Who knew dodgeball was training for real life? We've got to get it back into PE.

And here's where we see that baseball is America's secret weapon: baseball ensures American rock chunking supremacy over all non-baseball nations of the world.

Iranian protesters are brave and motivated, yet their form is lacking. Their balance is poor: thus their accuracy is compromised. They consistently fail to use their lower body to generate leverage and rotational whip: thus their velocity is compromised, plus they risk injury - to their shoulder, especially. An injured rock chunker is a useless rock chunker.

Below, the Oklahoma City Ambassadors (in gold) high school aged baseball team. The man leading the prayer is a friend I knew in college: Lee Tunnell. Pick a praying kid from this photo and fill his pockets with rocks. America could send any kid in this photo to Tehran

along with softball superstar and Texas legend Cat Osterman

and my 10 year old nephew

and a random Oklahoman such as Carrie Underwood

and this elite 4 person American Special Forces Team could rock chunk any 35 Iranian security guys off of any Tehran street. Facts is facts.

Above: Cat Osterman says
"Get off my street, or my 10 year old friend will re-launch!"

China: Shishou Event

I was emailed by my friend in China. Found this report from Corner Attorney:
Xu's family, however, believed that he was murdered because there were no blood stains on the ground, but there were some obvious injuries in his body. Moreover, a similar incident had taken place two years prior. Rumor spread that local police and government officials had shares in the hotel.

The following day, the hotel told Xu's family that if they could agree with a report that Xu committed suicide, they could get 35,000 yuan in compensation. Instead, Xu's family insisted on finding out the truth and refused to hand over Xu's body.
At 1am on June 19, police and funeral cars arrived at the hotel, wanting to take the body away. 2,000 Shishou residents blocked the hotel entrance to protect Xu's corpse. The first confrontation between local residents and the police took place at 8am, during which some residents were arrested, while more joined in. At 1pm, several thousand local residents fought back with stones and bottles and the police line broke down. At 3pm, police failed again in seizing the dead body and the city government had to seek help from armed police. Eventually, Jingzhou sent a clan of armed police to back up. However, the number of local residents had reached more than 40,000 at its peak and the armed police had to retreat.

At night, there were still more than 10,000 residents blocking the hotel entrance and main roads leading to the hotel. At 2am on June 20, 500 police took action again and there was another confrontation. Dozens of local residents and polices were injured.

The city government began to cut Internet connections on the early morning of June 20. Another round of confrontation took place around 7am. This time police were equipped with 8 anti-riot vehicles and six fire engines. Thousands of local residents fought back with stone and bricks. Below are some video showing the confrontation scene:

The most update news from twitter via freemoren at around 10am on June 21 says that police had finally seized the dead body and transported it to the crematorium. Torrent from twitter has set up a twitter account @shishou for translating updates in English.

While overseas media such as Reuters and AFP have reported on the riot, Xinhua Chinese has a news story describing the confrontation and riot as an inter-departmental fire drill.

Audio: gunshots, outrage, panic during night time home invasion in Iran

For several nights, government forces have been targeting protest leaders and breaking into homes in the darkness: murdering families; intimidating everyone in the neighborhood. In this cell phone video, we cannot see the action, but we can hear and sense the outrage and the panic in the neighborhood. Near the end, we can hear the gunshots. Lots of them, fired with the rhythm gunmen use against stationary and helpless targets. Awful. Nightmare stuff.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Moral Logic (the exact thing Barack lacks)

thanks to Gateway Pundit for the following:

Ed Morrissey:
What kind of democratic leader deliberately chooses to ignore and then downplay a grassroots, democratic movement against tyrants in order to preserve some hope of negotiating with the tyrants for a less-hostile relationship with them?

Instapundit reader Paul Levitt quotes former Aussie PM John Howard:
If you imagine that you can buy immunity from fanatics by curling yourself in a ball, apologising for the world - to the world - for who you are and what you stand for and what you believe in, not only is that morally bankrupt, but it’s also ineffective. Because fanatics despise a lot of things and the things they despise most is weakness and timidity. There has been plenty of evidence through history that fanatics attack weakness and retreating people even more savagely than they do defiant people.

Happy Father's Day!

To my Dad, especially. I most admire his fundamental decency.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

People are dying in Iran: cold blooded murder (Updated)

Update 2
Richard Fernandez:
All the people you see on the video, for however long they live, will remember where they were this day. Whatever happens outwardly the old Iranian regime can never put things back together in quite the same way again because the interior landscape of the country has changed.

Update 1: "The following letter from an Iranian student was received by The Jerusalem Post via a professor at a leading American university with close ties to Iran": link. Excerpt:
"Girls are extremely active in all these rallies (a little less in night riots where patches of young men are more visible). They courageously charge anti-riot police, chant slogans in front of them, lead the crowd, etc., but they are equally beaten too. The police seem to have no limit in the use of force. They are disproportionately violent. They don't use fire weapons, but they don't go easy on you with their clubs. They literally beat up protesters to death if they don't get rescued by fellow protesters or somehow break away and run.

The level of brutality is exceptional, but it is amazing to see how people stand up to them."
Concluding words:
"It's all about people telling each other where to gather next time, pledge to show up and keep their promise. There is a spirit of fraternity, determination, resistance, courage, solidarity and generosity that no words can describe. I thank God to have seen this in my lifetime, and I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Quoting, from memory, a recollection of WWII from a veteran of the Easy Company "Band of Brothers" parachute company which fought around Bastogne, and also around the Ardennes Forest:
Furthest from your mind is any thought of falling back. In fact, such thought does not exist. So, you dig your hole. Deep. And you wait.


Hot Air has a long post with links, including war zone quality footage of a young Iranian woman who is shot directly in the chest and is dead within a minute or two. It's disturbing. It's graphic. It could not be more graphic. It's cold blooded murder.

This is a moment of peril. A tipping point. The issue is still in doubt, yet the unarmed protesters look like a bigger threat to the regime than they looked like yesterday. The protesters are coming out today, unarmed, to face the hired goon squads and to possibly die. That is powerful, and puts the regime at actual risk. Some regime goon squads have allegedly been brought in from outside Iran - from Hezbollah, especially - to bolster the good squads already in place. It is reported the Iranian regime has been planning and strategizing to counter this type of Orange Revolution internal threat for years. That is bad news for the protesters' life and health. God be with the Iranian people.

National Security

In the comments, my friend Paul Gordon:
Thanks to the USAF, this high-school drop-out spent a year at Yale's Institute of Far Eastern Languages (along with a VERY select few other airmen) to learn Korean.

That was in 1961-1962, and most of that learning has faded, but I believe that Korean phrase in the bottom balloon translates literally as "Oh, Damn it!"

In context, "OH, SH*T!!!" is probably much closer.

Extraordinary Clouds


Slide show

Texas Rangers' Scott Feldman is pitching his rear end off

Feldman's sinking fastball has maybe the best movement in baseball. It is his calling card.

His second best pitch is a slider he throws down and away to RH hitters.

His third pitch is a cut fastball he throws up and into the hands of LH hitters.

His fourth pitch is a slow curve which he will throw about 6-8 times per game - always keeping it low, where it cannot hurt him - sometimes getting it low in the zone for strikes. Hitters who are watching out for the slider are typically famfloozled by pace of the slow curve, and swing through it for strike three. Feldman uses this as a change of pace strike out pitch.

He shows a four seam fastball up and in to RH hitters. He usu throws this pitch just out of the strike zone. It touches 94, which is faster than Feldman has ever thrown in his career. He has gained the speed through physical maturity and through raising his arm slot from sidearm to 3/4.

He shows a change-up a few times a game - usually down and out of the zone - just to give hitters something else to think about.

Scott Feldman is pitching his rear end off.

Baseball: Colored Sanitary Socks

Uni Watch links some photoshops of what colored sanitary socks would look like: American League; National League.

Astros consistently wear solid colored jerseys on the road. Colored sanitary socks balance out a solid colored jersey.

If a uniform has a colorful and contrasting cap bill, or a colorful and contrasting number on the breast, then colored sanitary socks generally look good, and ought be worn.

The Orioles are the clearest example of a uniform in need of colored sanitary socks. Orange socks would not only match the cap bills and the uniform lettering, but would allude to fiery plumage.

Similarly, the Tigers ought have orange sanitary socks which faintly allude to the coloring of tigers.

Astros two tone sanitary socks: sweet.
Cardinals: navy sanitary socks coordinate with navy belt and navy cap.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Taking A Moral Stand

Rep Mike Pence, R-IN:
“When Ronald Reagan went to the Brandenburg Gate, he did not say ‘Mr. Gorbachev, that wall is none of our business.’”

Jean Seberg and Jean Simmons

I used to think Jean Seberg and Jean Simmons were the same actress. They sort of look alike, and I didn't realize there were two different names and two different actresses.

If you have to choose a Jean: which?

Jean Seberg, of Marshalltown, Iowa, who was discovered by Otto Preminger and cast as Joan of Arc in Saint Joan, then went on to star in European Cinema?

Or Jean Simmons, of London, England, who played Ophelia to Laurence Olivier's Hamlet; who played leading Hollywood roles in Guys and Dolls, in Spartacus, in Elmer Gantry, among other roles?

Found a publicity photo of Jean Simmons wearing a Snuggie and hugging Richard Burton.

The title of this movie suggests an alternate and ancient name for a Snuggie: "The Robe".

I enjoy Jean Simmons' movies, but I'm going with the Iowa girl.

Jean Seberg was a knockout, and in a healthy, athletic way which is especially attractive. Plus, ever been to Iowa? People are NICE in Iowa. I sense a fundamental decency, and accessibility, in Jean Seberg.

She was, however, tormented in midlife(by depression, exacerbated to some degree by FBI intimidation). She died at age 40.*

Publicity stills from Jean-Luc Godard's famous first film: À bout de souffle, aka "At Breath's End", aka "Breathless".

The first photo is Jean Seberg, in bed with Jean-Paul Belmondo, being directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It's a festival of Jeans.

The second photo is one of the famous scenes in French film history: Belmondo meets Seberg for the first time. He purchases a newspaper from her, and they walk along the Champs-Elysees.

Before this was shot(1960), Marlon Brando had helped make t-shirts famous in America. However, Seberg's was the first t-shirt to have something printed on the front. À bout de souffle burned through both Europe and New York like wildfire. Seberg's t-shirt sparked a trend of putting writing and slogans on shirts. Exact copies of Seberg's "New York Herald Tribune" shirt were sold and seen around NYC for years.

Here's the trailer for the movie. Belmondo is a criminal who models himself after Humphrey Bogart's Hollywood criminals. Belmondo steals a car, then kills a policeman who follows him. Seberg is an American student who unwittingly hides him in her apartment as he tries to seduce her. From there, chase scenes ensue. The film used a fresh visual style, and was the first film to use the jump cuts which we now see abused in Hollywood.

* Wikipedia:
Seberg married Francois Moreuil in 1958. He directed her in Playtime (1961) before they divorced shortly after. In 1962, she married French author Romain Gary, who was 24 years her senior. Their only child is Alexander Diego Gary, born in 1962. When Gary discovered Seberg was having an affair with Clint Eastwood during the shooting of Paint Your Wagon, he confronted them both and challenged Eastwood to a duel in the French tradition. Eastwood ducked out, and Gary returned to Paris. Shortly thereafter he decided to end the marriage.

During the later part of the 1960s, Seberg used her high-profile image to privately voice support for the NAACP and supported Native American school groups such as the Mesquaki Bucks at the Tama settlement near her home town of Marshalltown, for whom she purchased $500 worth of basketball uniforms. She also supported the Black Panther Party. Though she had done nothing illegal, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover considered her a threat to the American state. Her telephone was tapped and her private life was closely observed. She knew about it and felt chased.

In 1970, when she was seven months pregnant, the FBI created a false story leaked to the media that the child she was carrying was not fathered by her husband Romain Gary, but by a member of the Black Panthers Party, Raymond Hewitt. Although Gary acknowledged the child as his own, Seberg did confess to him that it was in fact the result of an affair she shared with revolutionary student Carlos Nevarra during their separation. She gave birth to a Caucasian girl on August 23, 1970, but the infant died two days later due to Seberg's consumption of sleeping pills during the pregnancy. Seberg and Gary divorced before the year's end.

In 1972, she married film director Dennis Berry. Seberg suffered from a deep depression and became suicidal. According to Romain Gary, Seberg made suicide attempts every year on her daughter's birthday, including throwing herself under a train on the Paris Métro (since disputed). She also became dependent on alcohol and prescription drugs.

Seberg's problems were compounded when she went through a form of marriage to an Algerian playboy, Ahmed Hasni, on May 31, 1979. The brief ceremony had no legal force because she was still married to Berry. In July, Hasni persuaded her to sell her second apartment on the Rue du Bac, and he kept the proceeds (reportedly 11 million francs in cash), announcing that he would use the money to open a Barcelona restaurant. The couple departed for Spain but she was soon back in Paris alone, and went into hiding from Hasni, who she said had grievously abused her.

In August 1979, she was missing and found dead eleven days later in the back seat of her car, which was parked close to her Paris apartment in the 16th arrondissement. The police report stated that she had taken a massive overdose of barbiturates and alcohol (8g per litre). A suicide note ("Forgive me. I can no longer live with my nerves.") was found in her hand, and "probable suicide" was ultimately ruled the official cause of death by the French coroner. However, it is often questioned how she could have operated a car with that amount of alcohol in her body, and without the corrective lenses she always maintained she absolutely needed for driving. She was forty years old when she died. Her second husband, Romain Gary, with whom she had a son, Alexandre Diego Gary, committed suicide a year after her death.

Grave of Jean Seberg
Seberg was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris, France.

Tragic beauty.

What would have happened if Jean Seberg had been half as beautiful? Had not been a movie star? Had not been pursued by French Directors, by Clint Eastwood, by revolutionaries, and eventually by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI? Would she have married and raised children? Would she have lived happily in either Iowa or Chicago?

Update: The photo at left is from the cover of "Jean Seberg-Breathless", by Garry McGee. The biography "contains interviews with Jean's family and friends, as well as obscure interviews Jean had made which were overlooked or improperly translated into English", and is available on Amazon. A Garry McGee article about Jean Seberg.

Jean Seberg's wealth, fame, beauty, and taste of the world did not bring her any more happiness than that of the Iowa housewife she might have become, or that of the babysitter she once was.

What would have happened if Jean Seberg had been more firmly grounded in solid values? In religious principles?

Maybe nothing different. Maybe she was physiologically susceptible to depression, and nothing could have prevented it's severe onset.

Or, maybe being more firmly and stubbornly grounded would have saved her. She does have an air of accessibility about her, and it is an attractive trait. However, when you are so open to other people, you need solid values to ground you. Otherwise, it is easy to become lost. Other human beings will lead you to a bad place.

To be grounded in eternal values would have been especially difficult for Jean Seberg. When you are so beautiful, when wealthy and famous and older men are offering you the world, it must be very difficult to choose eternal values.

Tribute to Jean Seberg (1938-1979)
in American films and French New Wave films -by Stephen B Whatley.
Oil on canvas, 30 x 24in
Private collection, UK

Many women have chosen the path of eternal values. Yet, most were not quite so beautiful as Jean Seberg; were not being quite so flattered; were not being offered quite so tasty a bite of the world. Some of these women are perhaps fortunate their temptation was not exactly as Jean Seberg's temptation.

God works in mysterious ways. Jean Seberg lived a life of value. We are blessed that she walked amongst us. She got a lot more attention - including now, from me - than the women who chose to live by more solid and eternal values. The extra attention did not bring extra happiness.