Saturday, February 28, 2009

Text Excerpts: Rush Limbaugh at CPAC

The speech will be referenced for a long time. It looked like Limbaugh spoke extemporaneously for 90 minutes - 60 minutes beyond what he had agreed to - in response to the electricity and enthusiasm of the crowd. Excerpts:

We love the people of this country. And we want this to be the greatest country it can be, but we do understand, as people created and endowed by our creator, we're all individuals. We resist the effort to group us. We resist the effort to make us feel that we're all the same, that we're no different than anybody else. We're all different. There are no two things or people in this world who are created in a way that they end up with equal outcomes. That's up to them. They are created equal, given the chance - -[Applause]

We don't hate anybody. [...] if you were paying attention, I know you were, the racism in our culture was exclusively and full on display in the Democrat primary last year. [Applause]

It was not us asking whether Barack Obama was authentic. What we were asking is: Is he wrong? We concluded, yes.
[...]
We want everybody to succeed. [Applause]

You know why? You know why? We want the country to succeed and for the country to succeed its people, its individuals must succeed. Everyone among us must be pursuing his ambition or her desire, whatever, with excellence. Trying to be the best they can be. Not told, as they are told by the Democrat Party: You really can't do that, you don't have what it takes, besides you're a minority or you're a woman and there are too many people that want to discriminate against you. You can't get anywhere. You need to depend on us.

Well. Take a look, someone has to say this -- I am thrilled for the opportunity to say it in my first national address to the nation -- and I'm going to touch on this in more detail in a moment but this is just to get you thinking -- take a look at all the constituency groups that for 50 years have been depending on the Democrat Party to improve their lives. And you tell me if you find any. They're still complaining, still griping about the same problems. Their problems don't get fixed by government. And those lives have been poisoned. Those lives have been cut short by false promises, from government representatives who said don't worry about it, we'll take care of you. Just vote for us. [Applause]

For those of you just tuning in on the Fox News Channel or C-SPAN, I'm Rush Limbaugh and I want everyone in this room and every one of you around the country to succeed. I want anyone who believes in life, liberty, pursuit of happiness to succeed. And I want any force, any person, any element of an overarching big government that would stop your success, I want that organization, that element or that person to fail. I want you to succeed. [Applause] Also, for those of you in the Drive-By Media watching, I have not needed a teleprompter for anything I've said. [Cheers and Applause ] And nor do any of us need a teleprompter, because our beliefs are not the result of calculations and contrivances. Our beliefs are not the result of a deranged psychology. Our beliefs are our core. Our beliefs are our hearts. We don't have to make notes about what we believe. We don't have to write down, oh do I believe it do I believe it we can tell people what we believe off the top of our heads and we can do it with passion and we can do it with clarity, and we can do it persuasively. Some of us just haven't had the inspiration or motivation to do so in a number of years, but that's about to change. [Cheers and Applause]
[...]
George Will once asked Dr. Friedrich Von Hayek, tremendous classical liberal economist, great man. 1975, George Will, Dr. Von Hayek, why is it that intellectuals, supposed smartest people in the room, why is it that intellectuals can look right out their windows, their own homes and cars and look at their universities and not see the bounties and the growth and the greatness of capitalism? And von Hayek said: I've troubled over this for years and I've finally concluded that for intellectuals, pseudo intellectuals, and all liberals, it's about control. It's not about raising revenue.
[...]
When Obama talks about past economies, he somehow always leaves out the recession of the '80s as worst than this one. Why does he leave it out? Because you know why he leaves it out, America? He leaves it out because we got out of that recession with tax cuts. [Applause] [...] We got out of the 1980s recession with tax cuts. Do you know that President Obama, in six weeks of his administration, has proposed more spending than from the founding of the country to his inauguration?

Now, this is not prosperity. It is not going to engender prosperity. It's not going to create prosperity and it's also not going to advance or promote freedom. It's going to be just the opposite. There are going to be more controls over what you can and can't do, how you can and can't do it, what you can and can't drive, what you can and can't say, where you can and can't say it. All of these things are coming down the pike, because it's not about revenue generation to them, it's about control. They do believe that they have compassion. They do believe they care. But, see, we never are allowed to look at the results of their plans, we are told we must only look at their good intentions, their big hearts. [...] We're not supposed to analyze that. We're not supposed to talk about that. We're supposed to talk about their good intentions. They destroy people's futures. The future is not big government. Self-serving politicians. Powerful bureaucrats. This has been tried, tested throughout history. The result has always been disaster. [...] Spending a nation into generational debt is not an act of compassion. All politicians, including President Obama, are temporary stewards of this nation. It is not their task to remake the founding of this country. It is not their task to tear it apart and rebuild it in their image.

(Crowd chanting "USA").

It is not their task, it is not their right to remake this nation to accommodate their psychology. I sometimes wonder if liberalism is not just a psychosis or a psychology, not an ideology. It's so much about feelings and the predominant feeling that liberalism is about is about feeling good about themselves and they do that by telling themselves they have all this compassion. You know, if you really want to unhinge a liberal it's hard to do because they're so unhinged now anyway, even after -- but all you have to do is say you know what the things you people do, the things you people believe in are cruel. That's the last way they look at themselves. They are the best people on the -- they're the good people. You tell them that their ideas and that their policies are cruel and the eggs start scrambling.
Re "their policies are cruel", I quote Jonah Goldberg (from memory):
Democracy and free markets are the best methods ever invented for reducing human misery.
Update: Rush Limbaugh may not have defined conservatism as well as this 13 year old did in his 3 minutes onstage, i.e.
Conservatism is

  • Respect for the Constitution
  • Respect for life
  • Less government
  • Personal responsibility

Other ideologies believe the key is ideological fervor.
We believe conservatism is principles based.

Conservatism is an ideology of protecting the people and the people's rights.

200 determined taxpayers slog through a snowstorm

to participate in the Kansas City Tea Party:



I don't know who wrote the following. It was quoted by Mike Pence, R-IN, at CPAC, and refers to the 1812 battle (in and around Baltimore) which inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the Star Spangled Banner:
As I stood, on that cold January day, atop the grassy hills surrounding the fort, in the theater of my mind I could almost see the armada sailing up the river - hulls overflowing - with the pride of having sacked the capital of a young country with little opposition. But, the long night would not end as they hoped. There, amidst those earthen barricades, a small, determined band of patriots would save a revolution because they would not yield.

Update: good photos of the protesters marching to Sen. Claire McCaskill's office.

h/t Instapundit

Lindsey Lohan's character forgets all the lyrics

except for "Frankie and Johnny", in her first ever public performance, when she is pushed onstage to fill out the final couple of minutes of the sweet, family friendly, Prairie Home Companion radio show. Time to get extemporaneous:



"Hose in tailpipe" comes from some morbid poetry Lindsey's character had written.

This was the last film Robert Altman directed.

Is there anything God cannot forgive?

I'm uncertain if God can forgive Han Solo encased in guacamole.

An outstanding story from Pastor Rick Warren's new magazine: Link

Harvard: Conservatives are psychologically troubled

from Cato Institute and Daniel J. Mitchell:  
Harvard Law School is having a conference to analyze the “free market mindset.” The basic premise of the conference seems to be that people who believe in limited government are psychologically troubled.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Jindal Katrina Story: What Likely Happened

1. Sheriff Lee lined up private boats for rescue
2. Bureaucrat said private boats could not go out due to lack of insurance or permits
3. Sheriff Lee sent boats out anyway
4. A few days later, bureaucrat was on phone complaining to Lee when Jindal walked into Lee’s office. Lee was excitable, was not interested in listening to more complaining from bureaucrat, and issued challenge: come arrest both me and Congressman Jindal if you don’t like it.

5. Gov. Jindal tells story in Tuesday night's SOU response. In context, Jindal is making a point about government bureaucracy not being the answer to the nation's problems. Jindal concluded:
And before I knew it, he [Sheriff Harry Lee] was yelling into the phone: 'Congressman Jindal is here, and he says you can come and arrest him too!' Harry just told the boaters to ignore the bureaucrats and start rescuing people. 
Gov. Jindal, from one sentence to the next, jumped backward in time: from b) Sheriff Lee's conversation in Jindal's presence, backward in time to a) Sheriff Lee's decision, a few days previously, to send out the boaters sans insurance and permits. 

Jindal's jump backward in time might've been part of a striving for brevity. No sense in bogging down an entire speech with this story.

Or, Jindal, in a possible attempt at self promotion, might've cleverly allowed listeners to jump to the conclusion that he was a semi-hero who helped get the boats released to go rescue people.

The full text of Jindal's speech remarks about this are here (plus video of Dem. Sheriff Lee endorsing Jindal for Governor, and heavily praising Jindal for his work during Katrina).  Jindal Chief of Staff Tim Teepell backs up Jindal's story, says he was in Lee's office when phone call occurred.

6.  Politico blog, reacting to left blogosphere questions about timelines of when Jindal visited Sheriff Lee vs when the rescue boats went out, investigated and accused Gov. Jindal of exaggerating/lying via painting himself as a semi hero who helped get the boats released to the rescue.  

I commend Politico for journalistic investigative effort.  However, now that Jindal  aide Teepell is speaking up, now that the story timeline is falling into place in Jindal's favor, Politico is slow to give up the ghost of their unsubstantiated (imo) allegation that Jindal was untruthful.  There's no way for Politico to prove that Jindal's point was I am the great rescuer Bobby Jindalas opposed to being  Government bureaucracy is not the answer. Politico cannot read Jindal's mind - and therefore, with the appearance of Teepell, Politico no longer has a story.

And that's what likely happened.  Media (new media) are attacking a rising Republican star, and are refusing to back down in face of new and seemingly exculpating evidence.   Kerfuffle!  Dog bites man Sarah Palin.

Yellow Haired Avenger

Jim Calhoun awesomeness

"Rent" is being promoted as a play for high schools

for the purpose of eliminating "discrimination" against homosexuals (which is partly or mostly code language for convincing students to support gay marriage?). The meme is being pushed, and is gaining steam nationwide: perform "Rent" in high school theater companies!


High school education is not about eliminating discrimination against homosexuals.

Such is a political agenda, and taxpayer monies ought not be spent on it. Education is not about "expanding our minds" so that we all embrace particular politically correct conclusions. Such is shrinkage of minds; such educates the reasoning ability right out of the students.


I should probably declare myself here: is homosexuality a sin? I firmly say: maybe. Heh. I'm still reading and learning about the Bible. I'm willing to be convinced homosexuality is a sin. For now, I'm a cafeteria Christian. For now, I've heard too many stories of people who swear they were gay from birth, i.e. "I knew I was gay in 5th grade, when I was turned on by the bodies of the high school boys." Therefore, if pressed, I come down on the side of homosexuality not being a sin.

I might change my mind as I study the Bible more. Jesus described homosexuality as an "abomination". Not much room for equivocation there!

One of my favorite quotes is from Billy Graham (quoting from memory):
"I believe homosexuality is a sin. But I don't believe it's any more of a sin than the many sins I commit each day. We Christians tend to overreact about anything which has to do with sexuality."


I should also say: I like "Rent"! The music is wonderful. I enjoy the humor. The story pulls me in. I cried (sort of!). I like "Rent"!


Cassy Fiano articulates the problem:
The problem with Rent is that it is not a cautionary tale. The main characters are portrayed as heroes; their lifestyle glorified.
Throw the gay stuff completely out of the equation: "Rent" glorifies the risky behaviors of drug use and promiscuity. Could anything worse be glorified in a play by and for high school students? From the perspective of a high school parent: not many things could be worse.*

It is true "Rent" could be used as a teaching tool for examining classical virtues. It is also true "Rent" would largely not be used by theater teachers in that way.

Therefore, if "Rent" is coming to your high school, unless you have extreme confidence in your school's theater teacher: please get in contact with other parents, with your school's Principal, and with your school district. Many fantastic plays have been written throughout history. It is silly for your high school to perform "Rent"; silly to risk the negative consequences which might result.


Last word goes to Cassy Fiano:
Benny is disease-free, drug-free, in a committed marriage, and working in a good job with his wife’s family. Yet he’s the bad guy who’s sold out his principles. The characters who do drugs and have casual sex with no money, no jobs, and no future are portrayed as pure and good.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Suppose someone reads this and says:
What if a play promoted murder or child abuse? Wouldn't that be worse?
Yes and no. Our culture deplores murder and child abuse. Therefore, high school students would to some degree be less likely to be influenced, by a play, into committing murder or child abuse. Conversely, our culture virtually or actually celebrates promiscuity and drug use. Students performing the play (rehearsing for weeks, performing night after night) or watching the play might more easily be influenced towards promiscuity and drug use.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last night, my cousin sent email suggesting I might like joining Helium.com website. When I first looked at Helium.com, I saw three articles about Gay issues, and I kept looking, wondering:  "Is this a gay website?  Does Karen think I'm gay?"  And I had written this blogpost, to be published this morning, about "Rent", so I was thinking: "Have I already published that post about 'Rent'?  Is that why she thinks I'm gay?"

So, when next I see Karen, and even though Helium.com is not a gay website: I will nevertheless walk with an especial manly swagger, just to ensure she is not confused, b/c that's just the way we hetero males overreact roll.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rove comments on Pres. Obama's persistent use of straw men

in his Presidential speeches:
Continually characterizing those who disagree with you in a fundamentally dishonest way can be the sign of a person who lacks confidence in the merits of his ideas.

Dogbert Testifies Before Senate Committee




Link

NY Post Cartoon

Actual Insensitivity
If anything was in bad taste, if anything was insensitive, it was using an animal which brutally maimed a woman as part of a lighthearted cartoon joke. While the left gaze at their navels and fraught their grievances: I've not seen a word about the pain the cartoon must have created in the woman's family.



Defining the Cartoon
In the cartoon, one officer says
"They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
The left argue that Barack is heavily identified with the stimulus(he is), and therefore the cartoon is racist or insensitive or in bad taste.  Yet, the joke =
the stimulus is so bad that an enraged animal must have written it.
The joke plainly is not about who is most identified with the stimulus.  



Being Sensitive About Misinterpretation: Where to draw the line?
Some will inevitably misinterpret and assume the chimp represents Barack.  In the name of racial sensitivity; in the name of good taste:
How much ought any of us be protected from free speech which we might misinterpret in an upsetting way?  
If taste and sensitivity dictate protecting us:
Where should the line be drawn?  Where does good taste call out for the NY Post to censor itself?


Crediting Readers With Being Intelligent, Shrewd, Clued In
If anything, the NY Post cartoonist and editors were crediting their readers with having the shrewdness and intellect to properly understand the cartoon. If the cartoonist and editors were racists who believed black readers were stupid, then they would not have risked the cartoon at all - for they would’ve been confident the cartoon would be misunderstood, and thence create a backlash against the newspaper, the cartoonist, and the editors. Publishing that cartoon amounted to an acknowledgment that black Americans are smart and shrewd and clued in to events.

Is Al Sharpton attempting to disprove the working thesis that black Americans are largely smart and shrewd and clued in? 

What, really, are white people saying if we protest that the cartoon is insensitive? Are we not saying that black people are too unsmart and unshrewd to understand what the cartoon was clearly saying, i.e. the bill is so bad it could've been written by an out of control ape.



What is the Mission of NY Post?
Maybe the more proper perspective:
Isn’t it proper for the NY Post to be mostly concerned about their readers, and to be mostly unconcerned about what their non readers might misinterpret?
I suspect the people who pay for the newspaper - whether black, white, or whatever - vastly understood the reference, and vastly did not misinterpret.  



NY Post Publisher Apologizes:
The publisher of the NY Post, Rupert Murdoch, issued an apology for the cartoon. Excerpt:
[T]he only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation.
[...]
I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.
Rupert Murdoch is apologizing for NY Post having failed to dumb down the newspaper to accommodate the moving target which is the new acceptable level of intelligence, shrewdness, and clued-in-ness. That level is, at any moment, two levels:
1) what the left says it is for the left, and
2) what the left says it is for the right[NY Post and Rupert Murdoch are considered to be on the right].



Dancing To An Enemy's Tune Does Not Work
If Murdoch were going to apologize, then - rather than seeking to be more attuned to community sensitivities - Murdoch ought to have apologized for NY Post having failed to live up to its own standards of taste and sensitivity.  Ultimately, NY Post must publish what NY Post personnel are proud of, then let the chips fall where they may.  Any other operating principle is destined for failure.  NY Post will not be able to constantly accommodate a moving target of community standards which are declared by enemies of the NY Post.  

This is especially true when NY Post is pre-convicted on the basis of being a rightwing newspaper; especially true when "leaders" of the community are looking for evidence to confirm to the public what those leaders already know:  NY Post is racist.  Such is plainly evident to the leaders by virtue of NY Post being on the right.  The leaders are looking for ways to make it plainly evident to all.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Advice to a new tweeter

http://twitter.com/nlnorton, whom I met just as she was about to open a Twitter account.

Today her account is open, and she emailed to get my Twitter ID: http://twitter.com/gcotharn.  My reply included tips about Twitter:
When someone follows you, if you wish: follow them back, then send them a private direct Twitter message like this:
Thank you for following me. I am following you back. I write for the Dallas Conservative Examiner http://www.examiner.com/x-3502-Dallas-Conservative-Examiner
 
Some tips:

1.  Download Tweetdeck.  EVERYONE on Twitter uses it.  (it will draw some RAM, and maybe REM)


2.  To get a sense of how to use Twitter to market whatever you wish to market in future, follow these guys and notice how they market:

https://twitter.com/gapingvoid   this is Hugh Macleod.  He does Marketing for Dell and for other concerns, and is artistic cutting edge re social media, et al

https://twitter.com/guykawasaki  this guy is famous.  Used to work at Apple.  Is at forefront of marketing and networking via Twitter.  (Added in:  Guy Kawasaki has a couple of clued in and shrewd assistants do some tweeting for him.  His strategy:  provide value via excellent/informative tweets, then readers will happily allow you to market to them.)


3.  There are TONS of conservatives on Twitter, from Karl Rove to Newt Gingrich to Patrick Ruffini to RWSparkle to everybody in between and all around.  Conservatives are going Tweet crazy.  After you have Tweetdeck, you can begin following as many as you want via compartmentalizing the tweeters you follow.  Start Tweetdeck columns for #SGP (Smart Girl Politics) and #tcot (top conservatives on twitter) and see what is happening there for a while.  When you get a sense of it, you can delete the columns if you wish.


4. Read Here's Whats Rising From the Grave of Traditional PR, then follow Penelope Trunk's blog and tweets.


5.  Having said all this, remember that virtually all tweets deserve to be ignored.  You have a life, separate from reading tweets.  But you are smart to be there on Twitter, and to get a sense of how people use Twitter to help further their goals, and to use Twitter as your own tool to help a bit with your own goals in future.


Tips I did not think about in the email:
6. Put a link to your website or your Dallas Conservative Examiner column in your Twitter bio/description. When someone is making a quick  decision about whether or not to follow you, they do look to your bio and your website.


7. Use your real name in your Twitter account. Make it easy for friends and others to find you.


8. Having your very own Twitter shirt will totally help you with the opposite sex. And during job interviews.


Last:  I most recently tweeted The Bloggess' remarks about a rainbow shooting out of her left boob.  Great intro to my tweeting, I'm sure.  Juuust perfect.  







btw:  this is my blog:  http://theendzone.blogspot.com   God knows what's on there lately.  Sheesh. Next time you see me you can run away, fast.  I will understand. 
That ended the email. When someone is looking at your tweets for the first time, or at your blog, maybe it's best if you don't link to any quotes from The Bloggess, as Jenny the Bloggess loves scatology with a zest rarely encountered irl. Video Sample  Some favorite parts:
"This is my "confidence wig."

"... and the dentist assistant had to come out and change out my gauze in the parking lot while I acted like a total idiot. And I'm still vomiting out the window, and I'm like: this is exactly like college but with more dental assistants."

"So I sat there thinking that [my husband] was never going to be able to shoot that leprechaun, cause those things are fricken nimble."
Jenny is kinda the middle class white girl's unpolished Richard Pryor, if Richard Pryor's father was a taxidermist in a small town.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Best thing about internet: Well-scrubbed, All-American girls singing into their webcams

Enough(!) with the wallowing.  Time for some happy. This is a favorite which disappeared from YouTube, and now, happily, is re-uploaded: Christine Gambito and her cousin Jana Verdes.



Re: the Oscars

I watched Kate Winslett's acceptance speech. Way to go Kate!

I've seen some dresses and some dress commentaries in the blogosphere. None of the actresses looked any better in their dresses than this pretty girl in her dress:

Viva!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Joan Baez: "Oh, Freedom" 1966

I'm still traumatized by the pain of my bereaved friends.  I grasp the death of their son.  He is in a blissful place.  He is better off than ever.  Rather than focusing on him, I am, instead, in shock at the immense pain my friends are suffering. 

Maybe there's a perspective which can point to some value in their suffering.  Maybe they are taking on, on behalf of mankind, the suffering which Jesus was unable to take on before His death.  I'm not an expert, and I'm not actively searching out that perspective.  I am busy being dazed at the suffering of the parents, the 2 younger brothers and 2 younger sisters, and the grandparents.  

My sister in law Lisa says we are especially sensitive to the family b/c we (she and my brother, and me) have sons almost exactly the same age as the lost young man.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BTW:  here is You Tube of my son, Jake, playing with his high school jazz band three years ago.  Jake is currently a music composition major, and a junior in college.  Thank you to my wonderful and beautiful cousin, Brooke Dodson, for videotaping and uploading the video.  At the end, (approx 5:00) Jake has a couple of girls screaming his name.  Sometimes high school is fun that way - though it never was fun that way for me!

Because I am still learning about music, I used to say to Jake: "Play louder."  To me, louder is better!  Jake would say "No no.  I have to play just the right volume to play against the other musicians in the proper way."  Oh.  Well.  I learn new things all the time.  I wish Jake had played "just the right volume" when he was learning the trombone in 6th grade. As I recall, he appreciated loud volume much more back then.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This performance: "Oh, Freedom", in Stockholm in 1966.



Baez is 25 years old.  She had, the previous year, marched with Martin Luther King.  Wikipedia:
Joan linked arms with Martin Luther King to protect African American schoolchildren in Grenada, Mississippi and joined King on his march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, singing for the marchers in the town of St. Jude as they camped the night before arriving in Montgomery.
"Oh, Freedom", a simple and clean song, nicely showcases Baez' voice. It is perfect for her.

And maybe it's perfect for me, tonight.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Arms embracing us

"Always remember: you have arms embracing you. If you feel like you are falling, go ahead and fall. They will catch you, and lift you back up."

Thus spake my sister in law, Lisa, now paralyzed for 6 years, to our friend whose 19 year old son has just died. I hugged and listened. Lisa didn't waste niceties on a mother whose world has been shattered. Lisa spoke immediately and directly to the most important point. Because of Lisa's own suffering, her words carried extra authority. I thought, in the first moment, Lisa was speaking of helpful friends. In the very next moment, I realized Lisa was speaking of God.

Lisa is a 7th grade teacher. She teaches a full schedule of classes. I wrote about her here.

We also spoke with the grandmother of the deceased. One of my favorite women in the world, and surely one of the most beautiful grandmothers in the world, she lost her own beautiful 18 year old daughter, and has now lost a 19 year old grandson - her oldest grandchild - with whom she was extremely close.

My grandmother friend is a strong Christian. She asked us to pray for her, because she is so angry with God. I asked if she has read C.S. Lewis. She has.

C.S. Lewis never married until his late 40s. He then lost his wife after only 5 or 6 or 7ish years of marriage. C.S. Lewis became angry with God, and began to question his own faith. He continued being angry and skeptical for an extended period (a couple years, as best I recall, but I'm not looking it up tonight) - even writing a book about his anger and his doubt. Lewis wrote that anger at God, and doubt about God, are perfectly natural - even healthy, and ought not be avoided. Lisa agreed that anger and doubt are natural, and ought not be stifled, but rather ought be worked through to resolution. "God is strong enough to handle anger and doubt", she said.

Sometimes, I think, we are reticent to be angry at God. We might believe, intellectually, God doesn't deserve our anger, and thus we stifle and deny heartfelt feelings of despair and fury. Or, we might know we need God on our side, and we might fear that - if we are angry with God - He will abandon us when we need him most.

He will never abandon us. He will catch us when we fall, and lift us back up. He is strong enough to handle our despair, fury, and doubt.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Joe the Plumber ~ Tito the Builder ~ Rick the Trader

Lee Cary at American Thinker:
So, let’s see if we have this straight. Political hack since college, Robert Gibbs, invited seasoned financial executive Santelli to the White House where Gibbs (the bureaucratic factotum) will lecture Santelli (the trader/financial executive) on the markets. Rick said he’ll come.

If they sell tickets, put me down for a dozen.
Elsewhere in article:
Here's Santelli's background:
A veteran trader and financial executive, Santelli has provided live reports on the markets in print and on local and national radio and television. He joined CNBC from the Institutional Financial Futures and Options at Sanwa Futures, L.L.C. There, he was a vice president handling institutional trading and hedge accounts for a variety of futures related products.

Prior to that, Santelli worked as vice president of Institutional Futures and Options at Rand Financial Services, Inc., served as managing director at the Derivative Products Group of Geldermann, Inc., and was Vice President in charge of Interest Rate Futures and Options at the Chicago Board of Trade for Drexel, Burnham, Lambert. Santelli began his career in 1979 as a trader and order filler at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in a variety of markets including gold, lumber, CD's, T-bills, foreign currencies and livestock.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana with a Bachelor of Science degree. Santelli has been a member of both the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi puppies

Warning:  if you watch this, you will desire a puppy. Corgis are a highly, highly intelligent breed, as evidenced by their swarming attacks on the cat. Swarm! Swarm!

Joan Baez: Diamonds and Rust

Joan Baez' own sublimely beautiful poetry, about being 21 and 22 and 23 years old, and intensely in love with Bob Dylan, i.e. "the most talented crazy person I ever worked with". Written ten years after her relationhip with Dylan had ended, Baez is here, in 1975:  age 34, and divorced with a 5 year old son.

Well, I'll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that's not unusual
It's just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I'd known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall

As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin's eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the Midwest
Ten years ago I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust

Well, you burst on the scene, already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes, the girl on the half-shell
Could keep you unharmed

Now I see you standing with brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you're smiling out the window of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there

Now you're telling me you're not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
'Cause I need some of that vagueness now
It's all come back too clearly
Yes, I once loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid

Baez and Dylan, each 22 years old, at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, singing "With God on Our Side". They became well known for this song, which amazes me b/c: could hound dogs hear this song, surely hound dogs would howl.

25 seconds of a young Baez doing a parody of Dylan.  It might help to know "Madam the Queen" = Baez.  Baez displays a self possessed quality which was different from typical young Americans during that early 1960s period.  I suspect this might have been part of her attraction - might have added an exotic quality to her allure.   I suspect her self-possession resulted from an intelligent atmosphere surrounding her family, and from a father raised in Mexico and a mother raised in Scotland, and from  her family's repeated moves during her childhood - prompting exposure to cultures outside the United States.

Baez and Dylan, in 1976, outdoors in Fort Collins, singing the 1960s anthem "Blowin in the Wind" in a quirky Dylan rhythm.  


Related End Zone:  Earl Scruggs and Joan Baez:  "Love is Just a Four Letter Word"

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Bob Dylan "Hallelujah",  just b/c I like the song, and I like Dylan's version, which is heavy on electric guitar.  He grabs the song; he makes it his own.  Only Bob Dylan would ever sing it like this. 

This is one of only two performances of the original version of Leonard Cohen's song (that I know of - Cohen sings the other).  Virtually every other cover is of the Jeff Buckley version of the song. 


Friday, February 20, 2009

Han Solo encased in Guacamole

Sometimes you have to let art flow over you.

h/t

Another nice sports story

This time in Milwaukee.

Dog agitated by Happy Birthday song

Why? Can't figure it out. Maybe the dog was frightened by birthday cake candles, and he's getting out of the house to a rally spot, as children are taught to do in cases of fire.

Is the dog happy? Does he associate the song with humans coming into the yard and playing with him?

The dog doesn't understand words, but rather understands something about the tone of voice, or understands something about how the woman is being when she sings - some body language cue. What could it be?

A mystery. We need Sherlock Caesar Milan.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spelling Bee, and "Spellbound"

I like this kid. Watch the first 60 seconds, then skip ahead to the 2:00 mark for the payoff (he spends the time between 1:00 and 2:00 asking for definitions and origins, et al).
LINK


Related: I heartily recommend this entertaining and touching documentary about a Spelling Bee: "Spellbound", from 2002.
Spellbound Trailer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Merriam-Webster:

Sardoodledom noun
mechanically contrived plot structure and stereotyped or unrealistic characterization in drama : STAGINESS, MELODRAMA

Tracey McGrady: Modern Athlete

Tracey McGrady chose to have microfracture surgery yesterday ... wait for it ... so he could be healthy in 2010 when he becomes a free agent.

I want to tear my eyes out. grab some friends and beat some sense into Tracey McGrady.

The Rockets should sue. They would lose, yet they should sue just to make a point. They're already giving away $16M so Tracey McGrady can run out on them. What's another $100K in legal fees to make their point about principle? Turn it into a rallying point and opportunity for fans, and into an advertising/public relations opportunity for the franchise.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rangers starters pitch batting practice

"to build stamina".  Like a quarter miler runs series of 880s and 660s and 440s to build stamina. Throwing off a mound also specifically conditions leg muscles.

Nolan Ryan also wants pitchers to be mentally tougher + throw more strikes, two traits which are somewhat intertwined. 

I say throwing batting practice also helps in this mentally tough/throw strikes areas.  Consider:  

1.  Pitchers watching some number (40? 60? 80?) of their pitches be hit are watching the exact pitch location of the batted pitches, and are monitoring how and where each pitch into each pitch location is batted.  Thus, each batting practice session amounts to an intensive exercise in exactly where hitters do and do not want pitches to be thrown.*  A valuable exercise, even for a professional pitcher.  Inches make a difference in pitch location.  

2. Pitchers see batters mishitting fat pitches.  They see professional batters, in perfect conditions, who have perfectly timed their batting practice offerings: out and out mishit some percentage of fat pitches.  This has to give pitchers confidence, in the regular season, to go ahead the throw the fastball even when a batter knows it is coming.  The pitchers have seen too many batting practice mishits to do otherwise.  No more curves and sliders on 3-2 counts.  Just bring it, and trust your luck and your fielders.  

Hopefully, regular season 3-2 counts will occur less often.  Pitchers will bring it from the first pitch, and will not waste pitches being cute.  Babe Ruth is dead.  Or, at minimum, if you're a Rangers pitcher:  Babe Ruth is heavily tatooed and patrolling RF for you at the moment.

Watch Neftali Feliz throwing to Justin Smoak, and see if you don't agree with my thoughts:




*Some of the greatest pitchers - such as Catfish Hunter and Greg Maddux - were great observers of body language and great thinkers. They noticed when batters were trying to pull pitches vs when batters were merely trying to make solid contact. They adjusted during games, and even during at bats, to foil opposing batters' plans.

Pitching batting practice can only help pitchers' understanding of hitters' body language, if only pitchers are willing to keep their eyes open and clear.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One of the funny characters on Friday Night Lights

is, unexpectedly, the coach.  From Hulu history of episodes:

1.  Teenaged daughter is constantly rude to her parents.  Comes home from 3rd date ever, says, sincerely:  "I just want to thank you guys for being wonderful parents, and for providing for me, and taking care of me, and I just really appreciate it." Coach nods his head in satisfaction, as in:  Finally, she recognizes how awesome we are.  Wife says to Coach, "No, honey.  Something must've gone really wrong!"  Wife jumps up and chases towards teenaged daughter's bedroom:  "Julie!"

2.  Teenaged daughter is picked to QB powderpuff game.  Coach finds out, jumps up, takes daughter into street at 10:30 PM and begins releasing all the pent up desire he had to coach a son who was born a daughter.  You just had to see it.  It was funny to me.

3.  Coach charges into his wife's office:

I gotta talk to you, and I don't need you to be my wife.  I need you to be the guidance counselor, because everything's riding on this:  what do I do about firing Mac McGill?

As a guidance counselor I gotta say that, to me, what he said is a firable offense.

Alright.  Wuhl lemme talk to my wife.  Lemme talk to the person that cares about me and cares about the team, and also has to understand the relevance to our future of us winning the Regional.

There is nothing more clear to me than that your team is way more important to you than Mac McGill.

Is there anyone else I can talk to?

You can talk to your friend.

Wuhl wha does she have to say?

This is not about Mac McGill, and this is not about the team.  This is about you.  And you've been put in this position now where you've got to make the decision.  If you don't fire him at this point, you are condoning what he said.

Wuhl, honey, he said somthin stewpid.  He's not a racist.

I know.  But that is not sumthin for a kid's assistant coach to say; no less for a government employee.  Which is what he is.

Coach gets up and walks to door; pauses and turns back:  

The three of you scare me.
`
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`

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sports garb ideas

I find myself reading Uni Watch Blog more and more.

Two ideas in this Uni Watch post:

1. Instead of trophies, sew 19" pennants for the players (made 28 pennants for $35 cost of materials). This pennant congratulates players for a championship (on the far right side).

I love this idea. However, I'm a bad judge of what other players and parents will love.


2. Make your own felt logo for a jersey. This gentleman liked this classic (and retail unavailable) Baltimore logo and Oriole sleeve logo. He downloaded, printed, then used the prints as a maps for his felt logos. Total cost of sweat top and logo: $20. Retail cost of currently available, and uglier, Baltimore sweat tops: $60.



A note about both pennant and sweat top: if the applique/sown felt is accidentally applied in a gritty or unique fashion - in my mind, that just gives the items an old time, authentic, and actually better look. However the application ends up: it's win/win.

Second note re making your own garb: must use black and orange. It's clearly a rule.

The silverware wouldn't fit in her purse

Day by Day

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day: Earl Scruggs and Joan Baez, "Love is Just a Four Letter Word"

A sublime melding of Earl Scruggs' banjo and Joan Baez' voice. Just beautiful.



If embed fails: video link video link #2. Baez' voice has a three octave range. A generation+ of female singers idolized and imitated her, yet few could stretch themselves over three octaves. Bob Dylan's lyrics work as poetry, yet the shimmering melding of Scruggs' and Baez' talents is the true attraction for me. Other versions of this song - lacking Scruggs and Baez together - do not measure up to this performance. At the end, Baez smiles in pure delight. BTW: Earl Scruggs invented this bluegrass style of banjo music:
Scruggs literally sent bluegrass in the direction it has followed to this day. His banjo virtuosity was an amazing novelty in 1945; today it is a requirement for every bluegrass band. In Country Music U.S.A., Bill C. Malone writes that Scruggs "added a new and dynamic ingredient to the Blue Grass Boys sound, and audiences were bowled over by the boy who, with a shower of syncopated notes, had made the banjo a lead instrument capable of playing the fastest of songs. Here was something new under the sun."

Earl Eugene Scruggs was born in Flint Hill, North Carolina, and raised on a farm in the foothills of the Appalachians. He was one of six children. His father died when he was four, but the family kept itself solvent by farming and performing; two of his sisters played banjo, and his mother played the organ. Earl himself picked up the banjo at an early age, and he imitated the three-finger picking style that was common in his region. In Earl's youth the three-finger style was relatively rare, but it offered several advantages. It had a more fluid sound, was closely tied to fiddle music, and used a G tuning that was more compatible with other stringed instruments. Earl could play the banjo before he entered first grade, and by the age of ten he was devising new "licks" of his own.

Scruggs and Baez were likely filmed for a TV show Scruggs once did called "Earl Scruggs and Friends". I'm unsure if this ever aired. Scruggs' son plays from the couch beside Baez.

The year is 1970. Baez is 29 years old and never more attractive. Her husband, David, recently released from a Texas prison sentence for (intentional and public) draft evasion, plays with Baez' only child. Motherhood has appealingly softened her - as also soft shoulder length hair, playing in the living room of her own home (her dog at her feet), and Scruggs' benevolent Yoda presence. Scott at Powerline:

In the D.A. Pennebaker documentary "Don't Look Back," Baez can be heard singing the song [at 2:50] to Dylan on tour in England in the spring of 1965. Dylan says [at 3:38] he's never finished the song; Baez says he's finished it "about eight different ways," and promises to record it if he finishes it.

On the evidence of Baez's memoir, Dylan wrote the song at Baez's house in Carmel Valley in the summer of 1964. Baez writes that "Dylan was turning out songs like ticker tape, and I was stealing them as fast as he wrote them."

In the song the singer resists the statement that "love is just a four-letter word." He initially overhears the woman -- "the friend of a friend of mine" -- say it to "the father of her kid." He thinks the statement is absurd. Over time, however, he seems to have come to believe it himself.

In the closing verse that Dylan leaves off the published lyrics, he meets up again with the woman many years later "with tables turned." He says he can say nothing to her but that "love is just a four-letter word." He doesn't quite go so far as to say he believes it, although he's had experiences that make him understand what she meant. The song seems to belie the statement, the singer saying in his own way that he loves the woman.

I think the lyrics are partly a refutation of the significance of starry eyed romantic love, and partly an affirmation of love which grows in the presence of mutual commitment. But, it's likely unwise to delve overdeeply into lyrics from any of Dylan's songs. I think he intends his lyrics to be sincere, yet not chin-scratchingly, mystically deep. Dylan doesn't think he is a yogi.

Baez, at the moment of this performance with Scruggs, has already led a fascinating life. She was born to a Mexican mathematical physicist father and a Scottish mother. The family, blessed with three beautiful daughters, became Quakers when Joan was a small child, and moved frequently, as Baez' father worked on various and prestigious projects (though he refused to work on either The Manhattan Project, or on any project having to do with nuclear weaponry). Wikipedia:
Owing to [her father] Albert's work in education and with UNESCO, the family moved many times, living in different towns across the United States, as well as in England, France, Switzerland, Italy, and the Middle East, including Iraq, where they stayed in 1951. Joan, at the time only ten years old, was deeply influenced by the poverty and inhumane treatment suffered by the local population in Baghdad. While there, she saw animals and people beaten to death and legless children dragging themselves down filthy streets, begging for money. She later wrote that she felt a certain affinity with the beggars in the streets, and that Baghdad and the suffering of its people became a "part" of her.
Baez found fame in 1958, at age 17. She met Dylan in 1961 in Greenwich Village, becoming his lover after he was originally interested in her sister. Baez put the unknown Dylan onstage during her performances. Her fans would boo him. Their romance lasted two eventful years, and each wrote several songs about the other, including Dylan's lyric "She aches just like a woman, and breaks just like a little girl."

Baez was/is friendly with persons as disparate as Martin Luther King, Caesar Chavez, and the first President of the Czech Republic: Vaclav Havel. Wikipedia:
The early years of Joan's career saw the Civil Rights movement in the United States become a prominent issue. Joan linked arms with Martin Luther King to protect African American schoolchildren in Grenada, Mississippi and joined King on his march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, singing for the marchers in the town of St. Jude as they camped the night before arriving in Montgomery. Her recording of the song "Birmingham Sunday" (written by her brother-in-law, Richard Farina), was used on the soundtrack of "Four Little Girls," Spike Lee's film about the four young victims killed in the bombing of an African American church by racists in 1963. Her performance of "We Shall Overcome," the civil rights anthem written and popularized by Pete Seeger, at Martin Luther King's March on Washington permanently linked her to the song. She would sing it again in Sproul Plaza during the UC Berkeley Free Speech Movement demonstrations and at many other rallies and protests.

In 1966, Joan Baez stood in the fields alongside Cesar Chavez and California's migrant farm workers as they fought for fair wages and safe working conditions and performed at a benefit on behalf of the United Farmworkers Union (UFW) in December of that year; in 1972, she was at Chavez's side during his 24-day fast to draw attention to the farmworkers' struggle and can be seen singing "We Shall Overcome" during that fast in the film about the UFW, "Si Se Puede" ("It can be done").
[...]
In May 1989, Baez performed at a music festival in communist Czechoslovakia, called Bratislavská lýra. While there, she met future president Vaclav Havel, whom she let carry her guitar so as to prevent his arrest by government agents. During her performance, she greeted members of Charter 77, a dissident human rights group, which resulted in her microphone being shut off abruptly. Baez then proceeded to sing a cappella for the nearly four thousand gathered. Havel cited Baez as a great inspiration and influence in that country's so-called Velvet Revolution, the bloodless revolution in which the Soviet-dominated communist government there was overthrown.
In 1969, after husband David was arrested, she performed at Woodstock while pregnant, and shorn, for the first time, of her formerly long hair.

Baez, in Hanoi in Dec 1972, survived the eleven day American "Christmas bombing" of that city. Wikipedia again:
Her [later] disquiet at the human rights violations of communist Vietnam made her increasingly critical of its government and she organized the publication, on May 30, 1979, of a full-page advertisement, published in four major U.S. newspapers, in which the communists were described as having created a nightmare, which put her at odds with a large segment of the domestic left wing, who were uncomfortable criticizing a leftist regime. In a letter of response, Jane Fonda said she was unable to substantiate the "claims" Baez made regarding the atrocities being committed by the Khmer Rouge.
Steve Jobs?! Wikipedia:
She dated Apple Computer cofounder Steve Jobs during the late 1970s and early '80s. She was a frequent authorized guest in the highly secret lab of the Macintosh project at a time when most Apple employees were refused admission. A number of sources (including biographer Jeffrey Young) have stated that Jobs had considered asking Baez to marry him, except that her age at the time (early 40s) made the possibility of their having children unlikely.
Re British themed Valentines Day: Joan Baez once lived in England; Earl Scruggs has heard of England!

British themed Valentine's Day: Sleeping Beauty awakens to kiss

Nice story. A love story. She might have a chance of significant brain recovery. The human brain can heal and regenerate itself if conditions are right. Amazing design.

British themed Valentine's Day: Oren Lavie "Her Morning Elegance"

Tell your Valentine the truth: something about her reminds you of this woman. It will get Valentine's Day off to a good start. h/t

Oren Lavie is Israeli. However, he did study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art!

Video of Grapevine Faith parents cheering for Gainesville State School

A nice story. Video is better than words.

Boehner: "Not one Member has read this!"

Video of Boehner holding up 1100 page bill on House floor yesterday. link

K Street had at least parts of the bill midweek, and was leaking to media, who were calling Congresspersons for comment, who could not comment b/c they did not have the bill. K Street had it. Your and my Congressional Representatives did not.

Brian Riedl, Director of Budget Analysis for the Heritage Foundation:
"All this is 25 years of government expansion jammed into one bill and sold as stimulus."
This is seriously bad. One day, we will look back on these weeks with incredulity. For me, that day is already here. And the new bank bailouts are yet to come. This is no joking around bad.

Happy Slip Valentine's Video

link

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Night Lights prediction

Watching the show now. QB Matt Saracen just got benched so Janine Turner's son, the hot shot frosh QB, can start and run the spread.

Prediction: Saracen somehow saves the season.

Maybe Saracen becomes a WR and catches the pass which wins the championship. Maybe hot shot frosh twists a knee and Saracen leads team to championship. Something like that will happen.

This is the final season of Friday Night Lights. I will not stand for Saracen ending his TV football career on a bad note. The kid has more good karma built up than anyone in TV history. If his career ends badly, I will rally viewers and storm NBC Studios like the Vandals stormed Europe.

Note: Been Hulu-watching my way through the history of this TV series.
FB Tim Riggins = Achilles.

British themed Pre Valentines: Imelda May, "Johnny Got a Boom Boom"

Monday, we went Wales with Duffy. Today, we sample Dublin's Imelda May.



Rockabilly fun. If you like it, watch Imelda perform "Big Bad Handsome Man" just a day or two ago. After, in a brief interview, she laughs raucously from the back of her throat, then declares her love of wearing leopard skin.


The End Zone likes girl singers:
Duffy
Jenny Silver
Brandi Carlile
Nina Simone: "Sinnerman" from "The Thomas Crown Affair"
Aretha: "Say a Little Prayer"

Muslim man founds TV channel to combat negative perceptions of Muslims; later beheads wife

and he sees no irony! Well, I might've made that part up. I can't help snorfling at this tragic story. The hilarity overrides the empathy. I'm a jerk (snicker) of a human (heh heh) being. I'll maybe feel bad for the victim later. It doesn't help that the victim encouraged her eventual murderer to start the TV channel as a method of combating negative stereotypes of Islam. Jihad Watch links to a hilarious quote:
"Obviously, this is the worst form of domestic violence possible," Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said today.

Pre Valentines Post: Mood Breasts

To get us in the mood for the holiday, and as part of this blog's British themed 2009 Valentines celebration:

~Paglia does Nigella~

Camille Paglia: Nigella is "a merry dumpling barely contained by her midnight-blue velvet evening gown"

"But anyone who thinks Lawson's talents were mainly a function of her brunette mane and ample bust hasn't experienced her as a pure, disembodied radio voice. [...] English poetry is thriving in the subtle, mellifluous, adjective-laden culinary odes of Nigella Lawson (who has an Oxford degree in medieval and modern languages). After listening to her on my car radio on the way to work, I often arrive for my morning classes in an ecstatic haze."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stormhoek: Moneyball Marketing

A 30 second marketing video for Stormhoek, a South African wine which is being introduced in the United States:



Hugh MacLeod, the man running the marketing campaign for Stormhoek, explains some of his marketing strategy here.

I love this video. Why? In no particular order:
  • 10 seconds in, my reaction was "What is this? I don't know, but I like it."
  • The flag is flapping. It's fabulous they could get that. It creates a subtle context: Americans love South African wine. What kind of Americans? The kind who fly American flags. Also, a tiny, tiny detail to remember for later: the flag indicates the wind is at the skateboarder's back.
  • The dog adjusts track in concert with the skateboarder. Context: All of us - the actors in this video and people watching this video - are working together: we are a team promoting Stormhoek.
  • The video communicates effortless momentum. The dog is running easy. Wind at the back. Skating like water running downhill. Easy. Natural. Effortless. Momentum. Stormhoek is up and running in America, with momentum. The music, a key component, is perfect for communicating momentum. Whoever chose the 30 seconds of music earned their money.
  • The video communicates the marketing message: "we're into the same things you're into". What is that? Having fun! Easily. Effortlessly. Naturally. Without pretense. In harmony with our (dog) friends whom we love. Drinking Stormhoek is fun and easy and natural. Drinking Stormhoek fits into being fulfilled in ways which are truly important, i.e: true experience of life, of nature, of loving, of finding one's place in the world. It's all there in the video. Watch it again. It's in there.
  • Was this video done early in the morning? If so, this was likely for proper lighting, yet it represents another tiny metaphor.
  • Final thing I like: dog not wearing bandanna.
Several of the above items are maybe or probably unplanned, unintended, and mere fortunate happenstance. Still, the "we're into the same things you're into" Alpine, TX viral internet marketing is brilliant, and it's danged sure cost effective - like winning a World Series with low priced youngsters instead of high priced free agents. Moneyball marketing.

"Shared Items" on Sidebar

I'm putting stuff I like over there, and I'm into some of the same stuff you're into!

Judging

A friend wrote this self-description:
"I am always judging. If you've met me, I've judged you."

Every human consistently engages in intellectual discrimination, aka "judging", and thank God for it, else we would sleep on railroad tracks.

It is not "judging" which is the problem. Rather, it is harsh judging. Which is to say: the problem is the adoption of standards which are not in harmony with God's design of the universe and of mankind.

All of us - groping to comprehend God's design - blindly adopt standards which are not in harmony with that design. We try. Sometimes we come closer to succeeding than other times.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Effective negotiation: Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element

Was reminded of this: link

Debra Burlingame reports on 9/11 and Cole families meeting with Pres. Obama

Radio interview accessible here.

Ms. Burlingame is a lawyer. She gives personal impressions of President Obama which I find interesting b/c it's difficult to get a sense of who he truly is. My paraphrase of Ms. Burlingame:
President Obama did say GITMO is a pristine, professional operation, but he has decided to close it b/c of negative world opinion.

He is attractive, extremely likable, a good listener. But, if you really listen to what he's saying, he gets things wrong* there isn't much there.

I went up to Greg Craig [Pres. Obama's Legal Counsel] and said "You know he got [info about] the Boumediene decision wrong." Craig said: "I know."

He did a lot of touchy feely stuff in the meeting: I'm here for you, that type of thing. He did appear to be open to ideas from the families.


*originally working from memory, I got that part wrong! Heh. I listened again.

Dow evaporates almost 5% of total value

Geithner gives new bank bailout details; Multi Generational Economic Rape Act passes Senate; Dow plunges 381 points, losing almost 5% of it's total value. Coincidence, I'm sure.

The biggest problem may actually be Geithner's bail out program. Powerlineblog:
In the Financial Times, Martin Wolf critiques the Obama administration's approach:

The banking programme seems to be yet another child of the failed interventions of the past one and a half years: optimistic and indecisive. ...

All along two contrasting views have been held on what ails the financial system. The first is that this is essentially a panic. The second is that this is a problem of insolvency.

Under the first view, the prices of a defined set of "toxic assets" have been driven below their long-run value and in some cases have become impossible to sell. The solution, many suggest, is for governments to make a market, buy assets or insure banks against losses. This was the rationale for the original Tarp and the "super-SIV (special investment vehicle)" proposed by Henry (Hank) Paulson, the previous Treasury secretary, in 2007.

Under the second view, a sizeable proportion of financial institutions are insolvent: their assets are, under plausible assumptions, worth less than their liabilities. The International Monetary Fund argues that potential losses on US-originated credit assets alone are now $2,200bn (€1,700bn, £1,500bn), up from $1,400bn just last October. This is almost identical to the latest estimates from Goldman Sachs. In recent comments to the Financial Times, Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor and the Stern School of New York University estimates peak losses on US-generated assets at $3,600bn. ...

Personally, I have little doubt that the second view is correct and, as the world economy deteriorates, will become ever more so. ... The new plan seems to make sense if and only if the principal problem is illiquidity.

I had lunch today with a prominent economist who made similar observations: a considerable number of banks, including some of the biggest, are insolvent and need to go into bankruptcy. Trying to preserve equity in these institutions is madness.

[...]

Wolf says something similar:

I would merely add that it is extraordinary that a popular new president, confronting a once-in-80-years' economic crisis, has let Congress shape the outcome.

[W]hy does a new administration, confronting a huge crisis, not try to change the terms of debate? This timidity is depressing. Trying to make up for this mistake by imposing pettifogging conditions on assisted institutions is more likely to compound the error than to reduce it. ...

The one thing we know for sure is that the thirteen-digit cost of TARP II will be borrowed and passed on to our children as part of the most extraordinary deficit spending binge in our history, with consequences that no one can foresee.


I heard Rush Limbaugh reading an economist - cannot remember the name - comparing what we are doing financially to Doctors who, years ago, would bleed a sick patient:
If the patient didn't get better, the Doctor would bleed him more, and more - mistakenly believing the disease was in the patient's blood, and if he could only bleed him enough ...
This economist also said(my paraphrase):
Politicians always take actions which position them to later take credit. Politicians WILL NOT allow an unimpeded market to correct the problem as quickly as is possible, b/c then there is no political credit to be claimed for fixing things.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

322 Professors of Economics to Barack: Bull@#$%

Three hundred and twenty two Eco Profs:
Mr. President, you have, um, strettcchhed the truth a bit. You told a biiitt of a whopper.

(Economists now speak in DeNiro accent)

You did disrespect us a little bit.
You did exaggerate a little bit. You did. A little bit. Yes you did.

Okayfine: you lied. There. We said it.
link

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Barack is also "truth challenged" regarding pork - and, as I never fail to remind: climate change.

Ed Morrisey: Barack lied.

Real Clear Politics calls out Barack for repeatedly propping up Republican Straw Men.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Amused Cynic was underwhelmed by the 13 questions=1 hour Press Conference:
He spoke in vapid, platitudinous campaign-speak. I couldn’t decide if he was deliberately trying to run out the clock on the presser with absurdly long answers, or if he just had no idea of what he was talking about and thought an endless stream of buzz-words would so confuse the press that he’d get himself off the hook.
By way of comparison, in his first (also televised) press conference, JFK answered 37 questions in 40 minutes. Amused Cynic has more at the link.

Aimee Duffy

Soul music singer from ... wait for it ... Wales. She kind of has an Elvis thing going, insofar as she's pale as a Welsh girl can be, yet sings American Soul music as if born in a shotgun house. Have listened to the catchy "Mercy" about 10 times, and am not near tired of it yet.

Duffy's youthful, mercurial missteps remind of a young and lost LeAnn Rimes in desperate need of mentoring.

Wikipedia:

Raised in Nefyn on the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales, with her twin sister, Katy Ann, and older sister Kelly, Aimeé Duffy grew up speaking Welsh as her mother tongue.[4] Her parents divorced when she was ten and she moved to Pembrokeshire with her mother and sisters. She dropped her first name at the age of nineteen, calling herself Duffy professionally and personally.[5]

Duffy's introduction to soul music and inspiration to get into the music industry occurred while watching Whoopi Goldberg's performance in the movie Sister Act.[6] It is known that Duffy watched her father's videotapes of the 1960s television rock show Ready Steady Go![7] – she says she grew up without a record collection of her own.[8] Duffy began singing at age six and carried around a notebook which she filled with scribbled lyrics. She was later asked to leave her school choir because her voice was "too big" and she "didn't fit in."[9]

Monday, February 09, 2009

When the trouble started

The Bloggess gets letters:
Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote “The Hokey Pokey” died yesterday at age 93. When they put him in the coffin, they put his left leg in. That’s when the trouble started.

Nancy W. Kappes
Paralegal Tranny Mess

Failure Project 5

Because failure is so important, I'm changing the name of "Success Project" to "Failure Project".

"Failure is a byproduct of pushing the envelope."

Failure is good.
Failure is evidence we are playing.
Failure is evidence of faith that life has purpose.
Failure is evidence we are clear about our goal, and we are measuring.
Failure is evidence of our love for God and fellow man.
Failure is evidence of courage.
Failure is to be cherished, celebrated, acknowledged. Failure is accomplishment.



This video, Failure: The Secret to Success, (h/t) inspired these posts:
1
: Have faith that life has purpose.
2
: Being productive is an expression of love.
3
: Success is often difficult to see, difficult to measure, easy to discount.
4
: Be as clear as possible about your purpose. Be inspired.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Could whistleblower blogging have widely revealed the Madoff Ponzi Scheme?

Yes. Absolutely yes.

At the end of 2003, I sent email to Instapundit and he put it up on his blog. B/c even big bloggers do keep up with their blogs, I've received personal emails from 6 or 7 big names in blogging, and from 15ish medium big names. If whistleblower Harry Markopolis had emailed some medium big bloggers with his info, Madoff absolutely would've been stopped by at least mid 2003.

Markopolis did everything in the prescribed right way: he repeatedly contacted the SEC with math which proved Madoff was crooked. The SEC was created to protect investors, yet did not. This is a classic example of government failing to protect citizens where private initiative (blogs) would've gotten the job done. Private initiative is consistently faster, more agile, more adaptable, more efficient. I do note the internets originated w/the U.S. Army. Government does have a role - a limited role.

Ace of Spades

Blatant Barack

on Jan 6, 2009:
"We are going to ban all earmarks, the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review"
on Feb 5, 2009, justifying earmarks in the "stimulus" bill:
"When was the last time that we saw a bill of this magnitude move out with no earmarks in it? Not one."

Jim Geraghty famously said
All Barack promises come with an expiration date. Every single one of them.
I recall candidate Barack repeatedly promising to go "line by line" through bills, to cut out the fat and pork. Now Barack says "Everything in this bill is not perfect. It never is".


Stolen from Darleen Click, who also linked to this:

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic

Jay Nordlinger met Klaus in a small group of reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland:
Klaus: "I don’t think there is any global warming. I don’t see the statistical data for that.” (Klaus, incidentally, is a professional economist and statistician.) “I don’t believe in the results of the IPCC” (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

When it comes to the climate, “there are competing theories. I’m very sorry that some people, like Al Gore, are not ready to listen to competing theories. I do listen to them.”

Klaus has published a book called Blue Planet in Green Shackles: What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? He tells us that the answer is freedom—freedom is endangered—adding, “I imagine National Review would understand what I mean.” I reply, “Actually, there are differing views about global warming at National Review.”

A different journalist says, “What freedom do you mean? What freedom is endangered?” Klaus points to her and says, “Yours, mine, [turning to the WEF representative] the moderator’s. The freedom of publications like National Review.”

Still another journalist, with high-pitched indignation, says, “Are you saying that Al Gore is threatening freedom?” Klaus answers, “More or less. Environmentalism and the global-warming alarmism are challenging our freedom; Al Gore is an important person in this movement.”

About the financial crisis, Klaus says, “I am more afraid of the ‘reforms’ that will result from the crisis than I am of the crisis itself. I’m afraid that the current crisis will be misused for radically constraining the functioning of the markets and market economies all around the world. I’m afraid of the potential consequences of overactivity by politicians,” as those politicians “try to win votes by pretending that they are coming to the rescue.”

Klaus later says that, as a rule, “it’s difficult to make a good regulation”—a regulation that is helpful rather than harmful.

And a couple of more points about the global-warming debate: There is a difference between believing something and knowing something, he says. Make sure that you make this distinction between “to believe” and “to know.” Knowing, of course, is better than believing. And, at the end of our session, someone asks whether he will attend the big climate-change confab in Copenhagen. He says no. He says he is getting more confrontation-averse, all the time, and doesn’t like to be in full protest or opposition mode. So he will probably send the prime minister instead!

Let me ask you something ... : Is there a world leader you admire more than Václav Klaus?