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Bloviating Zeppelin: December 2005

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Forgotten?






Have we forgotten for whom we fight, and why we fight?

Let us not dishonor these souls in 2006.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bernard Kliban (1935 - 1990)


You won't find this easily on the internet.

And I had to really clean it up in Photoshop CS.

One of my all-time favorite cartoonists. Let's welcome in 2006!

Moonbat of the Week Award


And the award goes to another organization:

AARP.

Yes, the American Association of Retired Persons.

Why?

They made Harry Belafonte an Impact Award for 2006 Honoree.

Now, I've never made Harry Belafonte an official Moonbat; he's so far off the scope that everyone unofficially acknowledges his Moonbat status. That's like Louis Farrakhan; he's so far off the scope that everyone readily lists him: Moonbat. Like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel. And so it is with Pat Robertson: Moonbat. But I digress.

Allow me to put this in a bit of perspective, if you will. I grew up listening to Harry Belafonte because my older brothers used to play his records in their bedroom along with the Kingston Trio, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, the very early Beatles, Donovan, the Beach Boys, Joan Baez and others (And to think I turned out Right Wing. Amazing!).

Okay, sure, Harry was a great singer.

But now he's an even greater fool. People say I should respect my elders. But with age, as many of us already know, wisdom frequently leaves some behind. Wisdom seems to have caught a cab whose driver refuses to go back into the Harry Belafonte neighborhood.

And for good reason.

Belafonte has said:

"Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value," Belafonte said in an exclusive interview with Cybercast News Service.

"[If] a black is a tyrant, he is first and foremost a tyrant, then he incidentally is black. Bush is a tyrant and if he gathers around him black tyrants, they all have to be treated as they are being treated," he added. This was in reference to Colin Powell.

"In the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and were those slaves that lived in the house. "You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master... exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him. "Colin Powell's committed to come into the house of the master. When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture."

"In fact and practice ... you are serving those who continue to design our oppression," he said of Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice. "That is villainy, and I insist you look at it."

Sept. 11 "wasn't just Bin Laden. Bin Laden didn't come from the abstract. He came from somewhere, and if you look where ... you'll see America's hand of villainy."

Asked if he thought leaders of his own country were misguided, Belafonte, said: "Absolutely. I not only think that they are misguided, but I think they know exactly what they are doing and I think that they are men who are possessed of evil."

"I don't think that (U.S. President) George Bush . . . is a man of honor."

"I think he (Bush) has a very selfish, arrogant point of view. I think he is interested in power, I think he believes his truth is the only truth, and that he will do what he wants to do despite the people."

"We have got to bring corporate America to its knees." (Yeah. That's good. All those people don't want paychecks anyway.)

_____________________________________________



BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE:


Whilst I was researching the abundant stupidity of Belafonte, though he's clearly an easy target, I found more quotes sure to warm the very cockles of your heart:

"When I see an American flag flying, it's a joke." -- Robert Altman

"They're sheep. They like him (Bush) enough to credit him with saving the nation after 9/11. Three thousand people get killed, and everybody thinks they're next on the list. The president comes along, and he's got his six-guns strapped on, and people think he's going to save them." -- Ed Asner

"I also think that there is a strong streak of racism, and whenever we engage in foreign adventures. Our whole history in regime change has been of people of different color." -- Ed Asner

"The real terrorist threats are George W. Bush and his band of brown-shirted thugs." -- Sandra Bernhard

"I think America has no experience with terrorism or even with war. In Europe, we know a little bit more about these things." -- Bono

"I'm saying that the moral climate within the ruling class in this country is not that different from the moral climate within the ruling class of Hitler's Germany." -- David Clennon, star of the hit CBS television series "The Agency"

...I'm not comparing Bush to Adolf Hitler - because George Bush, for one thing, is not as smart as Adolf Hitler. And secondly George Bush has much more power than Adolf Hitler ever had." -- David Clennon, star of the hit CBS television series "The Agency"

...I'm saying that we (Americans) have sunk pretty low and I'm saying that you can look at the moral climate in Germany in 1933. We have to ask ourselves if we found ourselves in Nazi Germany, what would we do. Now I say, let the inspection process take its course." -- David Clennon, star of the hit CBS television series "The Agency"

"You can't beat your enemy anymore through wars; instead you create an entire generation of people revenge-seeking. These days it only matters who's in charge. Right now that's us -- for a while at least. Our opponents are going to resort to car bombs and suicide attacks because they have no other way to win. ...I believe (Rumsfeld) thinks this is a war that can be won, but there is no such thing anymore. We can't beat anyone anymore." -- George Clooney

"I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies." -- Sheryl Crow, married to cyclist and Texan Lance Armstrong

I think the U.S. is terrifying and it saddens me. You only have to look at the state of affairs in America. I do worry about my children. As a parent you are always concerned...I just want them to be in a place where they are going to be strong enough to be able to make the right choices. Unfortunately we're in a position where people are so irresponsible that human life holds so little value to them. -- Tom Cruise explains why he wants his kids to be raised in Australia instead of America

"I just wish men would quit thinking they could just duke it out with each other. I don’t have all the facts, and who knows what’s really the truth, but I don’t really respect (Bush’s) way of dealing with this situation. It would have been great to have someone really, really smart in that office, and someone who is globally aware." -- Sandy Duncan

"I don't know if a country (America) where the people are so ignorant of reality and of history, if you can call that a free world." -- Jane Fonda

"(W)hen Communist U.S.S.R. was a superpower, the world was better off. The right-wing media is trying to marginalize the peace movement." -- Janeane Garofalo

"This (Iraq) is a manufactured conflict for the sake of geopolitical dominance in the area." -- Janeane Garofalo

"In a situation like this, of course you identify with everyone who's suffering. (But we must also think about) the terrorists who are creating such horrible future lives for themselves because of the negativity of this karma. It's all of our jobs to keep our minds as expansive as possible. If you can see (the terrorists) as a relative who's dangerously sick and we have to give them medicine, and the medicine is love and compassion. There's nothing better." -- Richard Gere

"America has never paid any attention to other people, so it's absurd for Bush to say that it's all in the best interests of the Iraqi people." -- Richard Gere

"Yes, (Bush is a) racist. We all knew that but the world is only finding it out now. As Texas's governor, Bush led a penitentiary system that executed more people than all the other U.S. states together. And most of the people who died from (the) death penalty were Afro-Americans or Hispanics. (Bush) promoted a Conservative program, designed to eliminate everything Americans had accomplished so far in matters of race and equality." -- Danny Glover

__________________________________________



And you wonder why box office receipts, MSM newspapers are dwindling and cultural divides are widening?

Not I.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Goodbye to Monday Night Football



Are you ready for some football?

I was, and still am. Sorry for the "guy" post but here it comes.

Last Monday night, December 26th, was the 555th and final episode of Monday Night Football. Maybe it doesn't mean much to you, but it represents the end of an era to me -- and it conjured up many, many memories that night before I slept.
You see, I grew up with Monday Night Football. Its past 36 years, now gone, were my past 36 years reminding me that, too, those years are gone. I didn't watch each of every game; some of them were just stinkers. But, somehow, it was comforting to know it was there and would be there, during the season, the very next week -- just waiting for me to watch and then decide.
Monday Night Football was the child of ABC Sports' Roone Arledge and Pete Rozelle, NFL Commissioner. Its very first broadcast featured the New York Jets vs. the Cleveland Browns (Browns winning, 31-21) and, as revealed during the final episode, the graphics, cutaways, B-roll footage and general production was simply Neanderthalic compared to that of today. White text with no shadowing or contrast over background image just doesn't cut it, shall we say.
Beginning on September 21st, 1970, Monday Night Football became the second longest-running prime time series in the history of TV (the first, I believe, is still 60 Minutes). And this past Monday's game ended, in a bit of an historical chill, with the Jets again losing, 31 to 21, against the New England Patriots. Vinny Testaverde, at 42, threw the very last touchdown on Monday Night Football.
Yes, Monday Night Football is now gone and with it a part of my past. I was 16 when MNF first came on and I was captivated -- as was everyone else at the time. I couldn't wait to hear what Cosell would say to Dandy Don, and how DD would throw Cosell's barb right back at 'im.
I grew up with Monday Night Football and its closing earlier this week simply reminds me: another chapter in my life is gone. I know, I know, you're thinking: Christ, get over it, it's just a stupid TV show. But I am wistful nevertheless.
Things change. They always will.
Life moves on.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Another Leak, Another Day, Another Dollar


From the online 12-22-2005 version of US News & World Report:

In search of a terrorist nuclear bomb, the federal government since 9/11 has run a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities, U.S. News has learned. In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts.

The Department of Energy's (DOE) Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) has been around for many, many years, originally created as the "Nuclear Emergency Search Team." It is said that NEST has already paid off in a limited number of very, very critical incidents.
NEST in itself is not a "kick the doors in" kind of unit; it is comprised of nuclear tech wonks with pocket protectors and access to a wide array of very, very sophisticated equipment and transport/storage mediums, aircraft and warehouses secreted all around the nation. NEST's "Rules of Engagement," it is said, are the most strikingly liberal ever created -- that is to say, when faced with a true nuclear threat, NEST will do whatever is necessary, if you get my drift, to get the job done.
NEST works in conjunction primarily with the FBI's HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) based in Quantico, Virginia. They are responsible for NEST security, insertion, extraction, and are the body to the NEST head. NEST may also find itself working with SEALs, DELTA and other SpecOp units. There are no photographs of NEST. No one knows who the members are. No one knows how they function -- and all rightfully so. All that is known is, when needed, this country will do whatever is necessary to transport NEST and its corollary support infrastructure and security to the site in question to fix the problem at hand.
Radiological detection is nothing new. There are and have been detectors overseeing the White House, for example, for years.
Does it bother me that we have been radiologically surveilling, "absent warrants," certain factions domestically since 9-11?
Not in the slightest.
I not only do not object; I expect it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dubya's Ready


For the New Year!

Your Fifteen Minutes of Fame


In the comment section of a prior post I wrote: it might be interesting to see how many of us have come across "famous" people, who we knew, and how they reacted to us.

So that's what this post is about:

"Famous People" and our encounters with them.

Who have YOU come across and/or interacted with?

Leave your comments and tell everyone:

  • Who were they?
  • When and where was it?
  • How were you treated?
  • What was your impression?

I'll start first:

I was in radio for a number of years and made some contacts in the so-called music business. I had occasion, in October of 1976, to help record a rock album with Steve Lillywhite and Mal Kingsnorth in Glasgow, Scotland, and the result was Status Quo Live, issued in 1977. For my efforts I did get a free plane trip and a black and white glossy of the group -- but that's it. I got no credits on the album but it was still a helluva lot of fun. I was introduced to drinking a lot of beer, and also met, peripherally, some of those young women who tended to follow rock groups.

Around that time I had chance to become involved with "looping" dialogue for ILM at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County -- particularly involving The Empire Strikes Back -- because it was discovered I could imitate a certain small green character at the time, as I was helping do sound in San Francisco. And that's where that ends because I promised. I had a chance to become involved in Foley creation and editing but, because I was stupid, I let it drop.

Silly me.

I saw actress Tyne Daly at the bar of a small restaurant near the former Sutro Baths south of San Francisco in the early 80's. This was prior to her becoming a Zeppelin herself. Today she requires her own zip code.

In 1987, I was invited to the dinner table of then-Fornicalia Governor George Deukmejian and his wife Gloria in the Straw Hat Pizza restaurant at Marconi and Fair Oaks in Sacratomato. I was surprised that there was no security detail with him. The manager embarrassed the couple by announcing their presence over the building's intercom. They got their pizza for free. I had to pay.

_______________________________________________


Enough about me.

What about you?

Civil Liberties Attacked, Or the Nation Upheld?


You've read the posts throughout the Blogosphere, seen the TV shows (even that horrible Fox News!), probably listened to the rational and reasonable NPR or, worse yet, dared to listen to those Right Wing bastions of chest-thumping screeching screwball screeds, radio shows on the order of the dangerous Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved and, and, those types --

You know the kind -- the ones that grab the sheepish, uneducated, unwashed masses by the glottis and brainwash the groundlings, likely by subversive, hypnotic machinations (how else would these NASCAR-watching, bloated-belly, trailer-trash, white, gun-toting, dentally-challenged, wife-beater-wearing, 12-pack-chugging dolts, their women, as chattel of course, kept barefoot on the hardpack dirt floors and oppressed by being forced to cook, clean and churn out little whelps like production lines despite womens' Right to Choose - be duped!) -- these are the people that are supporting (Can you possibly feature this?? Supporting!!) President Bush's lame justification of domestic spying on American citizens.

This all came about, and rightly so, because the New York Times dared to print a story (on 12-16-2005) about the NSA spying on our own citizens, within the shores of the continental United States. Our citizens! What an abrogation of power! What an abuse of executive authority! And who is responsible, who ordered these abuses you ask? Why, none other than the Master Abuser himself, President George W. Bush!

Jonathan Alter, in Newsweek, wrote yesterday that George Bush is acting like a Dictator, though in his own mind, Bush is not thinking he's a Dictator. In this case he was working in an extra-Constitutional, dictatorial fashion, a violation of the separation of powers. Alter said Bush is in fact acting dictatorially, as Bush insists his authority is coming from the Congressional resolution after 9-11 regarding the use of "all necessary force." Alter was not making a 4th Amendment argument -- he was saying that Bush was in violation of the 1978 FISA Act itself.

"It was the work of a patriot inside the government who leaked the NSA program," Alter also wrote. Yes, the individual did break the law for that individual to leak. But he should not necessarily be prosecuted for doing this because of the overarching good. Doing so would have a chilling effect on future leakers or whistleblowers. In a larger historical sense, considering the good of the American people, FISA says you have to seek approval from the FISA court. Period. Read USC 1809.

Alter, on Hugh Hewitt's program this date, said Gore was the actual winner in 2000. Bush should have conceded. Gore made a mistake in cherry-picking a certain county and should have insisted on a recount throughout the entire nation.

9-11 gave Bush license to act like a Dictator, Alter said. The original draft of the Patriot Act gave carte blanch to eliminate habeus corpus. Alter supported The Patriot Act, but wants it done according to the law. Bush cited the Constitution in giving him the right to tell the NSA to make its taps. In the larger view, Bush believes he has the ability to simply violate the law. And so Alter wrote.

The House, unfortunately, recently passed the re-crafting of The Patriot Act, which sunsets December 31st. If the Senate doesn't re-authorize, then the House (currently adjourned) may find itself re-summoned to attack the Senate. How wrong is that?

What a ridiculously lame argument the Right makes, to say that technology is such that the FISA court cannot be sought after, within 72 hours as it should. It is not about technology, or the so-called safety and security of our country, but continuing national oppression by the Fascist Bush Regime.

So someone belonging to some innocent Islamic organization acquires a cell phone with a US area code and uses this phone internationally? Big hairy deal. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a right to privacy; no, an expectation of privacy in the United States. The claim that those may have connections to so-called government designated terrorists factions is wrongly declarative and judgmental on its face -- consider the source, people; consider the source!

  • The Right brings up Craig Livingstone
  • The Right brings up the United States vs. United States District Court
  • The Right brings up Hillary's 400 missing FBI files
  • The Right argues that the Constitution is not a suicide pact

Even the occasionally-respected Wall Street Journal strays off the reservation with its newest editorial:

Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold wants to be President, and that's fair enough. By all means go for it in 2008. The same applies to Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who's always on the Sunday shows fretting about the latest criticism of the Bush Administration's prosecution of the war on terror. But until you run nationwide and win, Senators, please stop stripping the Presidency of its Constitutional authority to defend America.

That is the real issue raised by the Beltway furor over last week's leak of National Security Agency wiretaps on international phone calls involving al Qaeda suspects. The usual assortment of Senators and media potentates is howling that the wiretaps are "illegal," done "in total secret," and threaten to bring us a long, dark night of fascism. "I believe it does violate the law," averred Mr. Feingold on CNN Sunday.

The truth is closer to the opposite. What we really have here is a perfect illustration of why America's Founders gave the executive branch the largest measure of Constitutional authority on national security. They recognized that a committee of 535 talking heads couldn't be trusted with such grave responsibility. There is no evidence that these wiretaps violate the law. But there is lots of evidence that the Senators are "illegally" usurping Presidential power--and endangering the country in the process.

Clearly, journalism at its unmitigated, Right-Winged worst.

_______________________________________________


Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of All Ages: I will be away on vacation for the next few days with my honey, enjoying mud baths, massages and Irish music in an authentic Bay Area IRA pub where once rested a photo of Lord Mountbatten with a big X through it. I'll clutch a Guiness for you!

Please, have a very Merry Christmas one and all!

_______________________________________________


And thank you all, once again, all my Usual Suspects (and newcomers as well!) for visiting my blog, leaving your wonderful comments, supporting my existence in the Blogosphere and for conducting yourselves with aplomb and dignity.

2006 will be better still for each and every one of us!

Excelsior!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Blogging In a Snap, Part Deux



THIS is why I love the internet -- and blogging in particular!

Two posts ago I wrote about how I'd just purchased the book Blogging In a Snap by Julie Meloni (gotta plug ya now!) because I wanted to find out how to make my blog a little nicer and find out why Blogger works as it does.

I got some comments from the post and then - boom - the author herself came to my blog and made a comment:


JM said...
Hey, for not being a shill, you shilled pretty well. Thanks! :)Now that I know people actually have it in their hands, I'll step up my updating of things that changed in the month between finishing the book and the time the chapters were printed. So, please do check back to the book's blog!
9:18 AM

Boys and girls, this is the NEW MARKETING that either some people get, or they don't.

Our world has changed. It is changing still, even as we sleep at night. And each one of the Usual Suspects who read my blog is participating in a new force, a new movement, that is taking the place of standard communications, marketing, sales and promotions.

Here is what this author (who is one smart person because, when I "Yahoo'd" her for a photo to place in my post, I found tons of other computer books with multi-syllabic words and acronyms - like PHP - way, WAY above my head!) has done:

  • Written a book
  • Sold it to a publishing house
  • Associated it with a teaching series

And then, more importantly due to the nature of the book, she produced an associated blog (for FREE!) which will provide updates to the book AND, decided (I'm guessing here) that she'd Google or Yahoo certain keywords to find out who had mentioned her book and, somehow, found my miniscule piece of the web.

So she came to my website, posted a comment herself, which impressed me, made me want to make a separate post about this event, and will end up garnering even more "advertising," for free, about her book.

Yes, whatever "advertising" she gets from this post will be minimal because I'm certainly no force in the blogging world, but I'm only one point in likely a myriad of points she found about persons who mentioned her book. My political philosophy is likely 180-degrees opposite hers but it's not about philosophy, it's about making contacts and expanding one's circle of contacts regarding the book.

And THAT is very SMART marketing on her part!

And THAT is one aspect of why I love this blogging thing!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Hollywood and Media Sinking


I wrote about this in the comments section of another blog and thought: this warrants a post in and of itself. So. . .

Brokeback Mountain has already been given 7 Golden Globe nominations -- it also garnered awards from Critics Choice and other areas. Any publicity it acquires helps its box office. Some kids in the Sacratomato Valley area have already been exposed to trailers for this movie. There is the given "hukk" factor from many males. These are two guys who are cheating on their wives, married to two beautiful women. They go hunting and fishing several times a year with each other -- making, perhaps, women at home now wondering what's happening when "their men" take off.

This is a movie about gay Wyoming cowboys with a Chinese director and two stars, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who want greater "exposure" so to speak. Gyllenhaal already "tanked" in the deceptive Jarhead which went afar from the book.

But you know what? Nobody's going to see Brokeback. The only alternative is to make the most of whatever publicity the movie generates.

But, of course, there's more: soon coming is a movie about two gay baseball players, further expanding the "hukk" factor for most men.

"Hukk," by the way, is the noise one makes, deep in the throat, before one blows chow.

Hollywood is experiencing the biggest drop in attendance in 20 years.

So is the major media.

But this post is primarily about Hollywood -- so what factors are responsible for the diminishment of box office revenues -- at the same time that motion picture producers are taking many of their companies and shoots away from Fornicalia and into areas NOT anchored to huge union costs and oppressive union rules?

Let's look:

1. Quality of Films
Just hitting the high points of films I've watched in the past year or so (either in the theatre or rented on DVD), some positive examples come to mind:
- Criminal
- Serenity
- Crash
- Lord of the Rings trilogy
- Wedding Crashers (I kinda like Vince Vaughn)
- March of the Penguins (a French documentary fer Christ's sake!)

The only movie I've walked out of for at least 25 years:
- The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (what a listless waste of celluloid!)

That's about it.

Some positives from television (only on "cable"):
- Empire Falls
- Deadwood
- Rome

I've seen a buttload of movies this year and most were eminently forgettable.

Coming up as trailers as I anticipated seeing Walk the Line: remakes of The Poseidon Adventure and Miami Vice. As expressed by a young man, rather loudly after the trailer for Miami Vice: "Show of hands for those who think this is a bad idea?" Most everyone in the theatre raised their hand.

I usually see, on average, one new movie a week. Sometimes I'll not see anything for a week or two -- depends on circumstances. Cutting to the chase: I am a Hollywood-friendly person who wants to see movies. And even I'm hitting the alternatives.

The remakes suck. There is little originality. And the more you cater to the fringes in, for example, the homsexual community, the more I'll see movies at home and more carefully pick and choose.

2. Ticket Prices
In Sacratomato, Fornicalia, most tickets cost $9.50. Make it an even ten bucks. In Auburn, where I go to see many of my films, ticket prices are $6.50 during the day -- which is when I attend. I try not to see films in so-called "major cities" because $10 for a movie is a waste -- particulary considering the tripe most movies turn out to be.

3. Concession Prices
Even in Auburn, a little (but expanding) foothills bedroom community: $6.00 for a large bucket of popcorn, $4.25 for a "medium" Coke. Total: $10.25.

So to see one movie away from a major theatre city, I've spent $16.75 for one person -- the better part of a $20 bill.

In Sacratomato, a smaller bag of popcorn, still called "large" but not containing nearly as much popcorn as Auburn, costs $6.50. A drink, smaller (but still called medium) costs the same.

4. Advertisements
Get there early, so you can catch "The Twenty!" Wrong. I get to most Regal Theatres late so I don't have to catch that crap. At least Century Theatres don't have ads. Guess what folks? More ads are coming! Why? To make up for lost revenues!

5. Rude Assholes In the Audience
Plenty of them in major cities. Cell phone yakkers and loud talkers and kids talking and talking and parents bringing their stupid damned crying babies. Here's a clue: parents, give us a break. I don't pay to eat in a restaurant or sit in a movie to hear your piece of s*!t kid cry, talk, bawl or throw a tantrum. Take the damned kid out and pitch him or her into the nearest dumpster. One parent recently had enough class to actually say, in a loud voice to their child: "That's enough!" and they were marched out of the theatre. There was actual applause. Myself included. That parent was the exception and not the rule.

6. DVD Pricing and Watching At Home
So here are my options:
- I can park in a packed lot with all the other groundlings
- I can hope my car doesn't get broken into whilst I'm gone
- I can pay $10 per ticket
- I can pay $7 for popcorn that costs 20-cents to make
- I can get served by a listless tweener with nose piercing, bad nails, surly attitude, wearing pants barely containing her ass and roll of body fat with green teeth who can only produce change because the machine tells her what to give back
- I am subjected to ads prior to even the trailers
- I can hope I've chosen a spot furthest away from the pack of teenaged kids or bawling baby
- I can hope the movie doesn't both suck and blow
- I can hope the bathroom, after the movie, has paper towels and warm water -- or not

*OR:

- I can watch what I want, when I want, pause for breaks, on my new 36" Toshiba flatscreen
- I can see how various movies were made in the "extra" section of each DVD
- I can lay on my leather couch, pull a fleece blankie over me, drink a Diet Pepsi instead of a stupid Diet Coke
- Or another Adult Beverage
- No one cries in my house, talks on the phone, or irritates me
- I just purchased two wonderful, classic movies on DVD for $9.95 each through Amazon.com: Three Days of the Condor and Marthon Man -- for the price of a ticket for a bad movie
- And I get to keep the movies!
- And they play as well the 100th time as the first!

Hello?

Earth to Hollywood?

Are you listening?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Blogging In A Snap & King Kong


First, I am not a shill for the author, the publisher or the series. I happened to come across the blog for the book when I logged into Blogger one day. I went to the blog associated with the book, which led me to Amazon.com.

From there I checked out the book, examined the contents page, and decided to purchase the book.

I received the book a few days ago and, as promised in another comment section, I am proffering my opinion about the book because, as a man rather unskilled in confusers and Blogger in particular, others had asked about the book and whether or not it contains valuable information.

I'll cut to the chase:

Should you purchase the book? Yes, if you're not really familiar with Blogger and find it difficult to interpret their help areas and, more importantly, find their help areas woefully inadequate, this book is for you. I'm still reading it (at 270 pages, I'm around half through) but, though not finished, I give the book very high marks.

Once I finish the book, I hope to garner the time to attack my blog and make some updates and/or more completely understand how Blogger functions.

Some bloggers have sites that are feasts for the eyes. They've broken down their side links and blogrolls exquisitely and enhanced their sites with wonderful graphics, moving gifs, photo links, surveys, hit monitors and the like.

Of course, in my opinion, it's all about the writing. But it doesn't hurt that, in addition, one's blog is well organized, pleasing to the eye and customized to your wants and needs.

Also, there is a website concomitant with the book, maintained by author Julie Meloni, entitled Blogger In A Snap. Please remember: the book, though entitled BLOGGING In a Snap, is specifically about Blogger and no other blog provider.

Once I start to apply the various ideas and concepts I've gleaned from the book, I'll provide another review regarding the ease of application.

KING KONG: The New Movie

I saw the new King Kong today. Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings trilogy) directed this second remake (1976's King Kong starred Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, Charles Grodin) of the classic 1933 black and white thriller, starring Fay Wray. On the heels of Rings' success, Jackson is gold and could, essentially, have made a movie about banana slugs and found it funded.

First: be prepared. This movie is 3 hours and 14 minutes long. I timed it. Better hit the bathroom and squeeze every little bit of pee from your bladder prior to finding a seat.

Was it another Lord of the Rings? No. Out of 5 stars, I'd give it 3.5.

It was just too long. Peter: learn to listen to your editors. But the Brontosaurus stampede scene was absolutely riveting and marvelous -- what viewpoints, digital melding and drama!

A very good movie, not an exceptional movie, but there was just -- I don't know -- something missing. So much of it was digitally contrived. Yes, it yielded some Eye Candy scenes. But the digital thing just lacks -- for want of a better word -- humanity.

Homo Cowboys vs. Reality


If you'd been reading actual newspapers today instead of acquiring your news from blogs or the internet, you'd have thought the new movie "Brokeback Mountain" was the center from which the sun, moon and stars revolved.

Okay, so Iraq is holding elections in its country and ours as well. That clearly should be secondary to a movie featuring homo cowboys grabbing dicks in the hay.

You know what? I'm sorry, but here's where I simply draw the line. Maybe 6 to 7% of our nation is homosexual -- male and female. That's nice for you. Congratulations. You have jobs. You pay taxes. You arrange flowers. Some males have prominent lisps. Some dykes wear flannel, guts overlapping your blue jeans, crop cuts, mullets and biker wallets. Fine. Become carpetmunchers. Or sodomists. But I simply don't want to see that s!!t on the big screen. Give me a label. I'm a racist (because a certain percentile of homosexuals are ____, _____, or _____.). I'm a homophobe because I don't actively promote the homosexual lifestyle or endorse mens' penises penetrating other mens' sphincters.

Okay, I'm all that and more. BABAGOI.

But I'm STILL NOT spending any money to see your stupid Ang Lee movie.

Hello? Did you copy that? MONEY.

Oh yeah. You're motivated by money. Let's just see how well this stupid perversion of the standard western does when it gets thrown into the mix in most Century Theatres, Regal Theatres, or any of the other national chains. Outside of Bunghole City, San Francisco.

Oh gosh, that would be judgmental, wouldn't it?

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch:

Everything we've said would come to fruition has: Iraq has held free elections. From the Associated Press news:

Iraqis voted Thursday in one of the largest and freest elections in the Arab world, with strong turnout reported in Sunni areas and even a shortage of ballots in some precincts. Several explosions rocked Baghdad throughout the day, but the level of violence was low.

The heavy participation in the parliamentary voting by the Sunnis, who had shunned balloting last January, bolstered U.S. hopes of calming the insurgency enough to begin withdrawing its troops next year.

Hello? Dems and DEMs: Are You Listening?

No, you're not. Nancy Pelosi isn't listening. John Murtha, that incontinent wonk, isn't listening. Howard Dean isn't listening. John Kerry isn't listening. Teddy Kennedy doesn't have the capacity to listen unless it involves an aged bourbon. Barbara Boxer isn't listening. Hillary Clinton is listening a little but missing the mark (because she's too Centrist -- can you imagine?), Joe Biden isn't listening. Harry Reid is barely above Stegosaurus level -- you know, his brain makes his front limbs work and another ganglion of nerves barely make his back legs function.

We're setting world records in Iraq.

And at home the media is writing about a movie involving cornholing cowboys.

_______________________________________


Welcome to America.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I've Been Tagged!


I've been tagged, not once, but twice by both:



Both excellent blogs, I should immediately like to point out, so click on the links and visit them!

In any event, as it was explained to me, I must now write in some detail about 5 odd/strange/unknown habits or aspects about me and then tag 5 others. Well, in my limited blogworld, the 5 others I'd like tag in kind have themselves already been tagged; I think I'll leave that portion unfulfilled (clearly going to BlogHell, I think).

So, heavy sigh, here goes:

1. I am very anal about organization, cleanliness and, in particular, my house. This has caused some, eh, shall we say, irregularities in some relationships. I have had a very strange job over the years, located in a number of places, which can be alternately peaceful or ridiculously stressful. I have historically had little if any control over what occurs at work and there have certainly been peaks and valleys.

My home is my cave. I like to go home and, following a particularly bad day or week, pull the rock over my hole and escape within. When my home makes sense, when things are in order, when there is one aspect of my life over which I have control and into which I can flee, then my "outside" or work world can go to Hell -- as it frequently does. As long as one portion of my life is rational and controllable, I can deal with Life and the trials it distributes.

2. I am a Railroad Buff. I "chase trains." I do not build model railroads or play with toy trains. I like the real thing. I live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Fornicalia off Interstate 80 at the 4,000 foot level, right at the snow belt. Not more than 500 feet away are the main #1 and #2 tracks forged and laid by those who built the Central Pacific Railroad. This roadbed still rests on the original CP line hewed by literally thousands of Chinese workers with nothing more than picks, shovels, wheelbarrows, black powder, horses, oxen, blood and sweat.

The photograph above is that of me in the engineer's seat of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe SD40-2 locomotive, waiting for the east CTC signal at Switch 9 at Emigrant Gap -- kindly taken by the engineer himself who requests to remain nameless.

I have been in the cab of numerous Union Pacific and Southern Pacific locomotives -- pretty much a no-no for cab crew. Even worse, I have been given cab rides on another number of occasions by kindly cab crews -- an absolute trip when you watch an engineer at work handling a 6,000-foot, 10,000-ton train up and down the mountain. There are engineers and conductors I know by name who wave at me from their cabs -- knowing that I'll be using digital photo or digital video equipment and recording their passing. I have roughly 2,000 + 35mm and digital photographs of trains, some published, one used for the cover of a train video in VHS. I also have over 50 hours of mini-DV video from a Sony VX-2000.

This is how weird I've gotten: I can immediately tell the difference between a GE or EMD locomotive by its sound; I can differentiate between the airhorns of Amtrak locomotives and freight locomotives; I can tell, unseen, if a train is going uphill or downhill from some distance by listening for a locomotive set in dynamic braking.

As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing finer than anticipating a train, watching a set of armor yellow Union Pacific locomotives approach and listening to the thoaty diesel roar of a triple set of 4,000 HP engines passing, their traction motors howling, watching the sanders at work and smelling the heady diesel fumes pouring from the hot stack of each unit. Boys and girls, now that's livin'!

3. I used to be in radio a number of years ago, both in news and music. I once worked for a large 50,000 watt AM radio station where Rush Limbaugh cut his teeth. I've performed every job in radio, from on-air talent to ops director to news editor, programmer, production room control, promotions director to program director to station manager. As a result I am well schooled in music and have a vinyl record collection exceeding 4,000 classic, valuable and irreplaceable disks. I have a CD collection exceeding 2,000. I am a treasure trove of late 60's, 70's and early 80's rock, jazz, soundtracks and electronica.

4. I cribbed the name for my blog, Bloviating Zeppelin, from Hugh Hewitt's description of the loveable, cuddly Teddy Kennedy. At the time it was quite appropos as I weighed 320+ pounds. In the past year I've gone from 320 (ahem -- kinda around there) to 235. I've gone from a size 52 waist to -- ta-daa! -- a size 42 waist last week. I did it all on Atkins and 24 Hour Fitness. I feel better than I have in 15 years. I still Bloviate but I am not quite the Zeppelin I used to be.

5. I was once a registered Democrat. In college I had hair past my shoulders and a red beard that would make Dusty Hill blush.

___________________________________

This is where the tag ends because, essentially, everyone else I would have tagged has already been subject to same.

And that's the name'a that tune. . .

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dangerous Moonbat Award


Sorry, I just couldn't wait for the weekend to make the award. On the way to work this morning at 3:15 AM (PST), I tuned into the news and caught a very brief quip about Iran and it's President. After that, I knew what my morning post must be.

The first Dangerous Moonbat Award goes to:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

These are perilous times. And this Moonbat proves it conclusively, making Iran a very hazardous threat to Western states and cultures -- clearly, focused on Israel.

Ahmadinejad has made three remarkably ignorant, uneducated and ridiculous statements:

-- On December 8th, he said the Holocaust was, essentially, a myth:

"Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail."

"Although we don't accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem?" he said.

"If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe -- like in Germany, Austria or other countries -- to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it."

-- On December 7th, he also said:

"They have fabricated a legend under the name 'Massacre of the Jews', and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves," he told a crowd in the southeastern city of Zahedan on Wednesday.

-- Finally, on October 26th as reported by Aljazeera.net:

"As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," said Ahmadinejad, referring to Iran's revolutionary leader Ayat Allah Khomeini.

________________________________________


Is there any wonder Israel has said they're considering bombing missions to Iran in March to eradicate nuclear enrichment sites?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

One Last Post About the Bastard, Then We're All Moving On


At around 1 PM yesterday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made public his decision regarding 51-year-old Stanley "Tookie" Williams: there would be no clemency.

At one minute after midnight, Williams was given the injection. He did not request a "last meal" nor did he have any "final words." He was declared dead at 12:35 AM as nurses had trouble locating an appropriate vein in Williams' arm due to his hypertrophic condition. The difficulty was with the second IV in his left arm. Williams asked: "You doing that right?"

At 12:35 they did it right.

Predicted rioting did not occur indicating that, finally, the '70s are indeed dead along with Mr. W.

Governor Schwarzenegger issued a five-page Statement of Decision (click here for full text) regarding his denial of clemency. The governor wrote:

In all, Williams’ case has been the subject of at least eight substantive judicial opinions.2 Prior to the filing of the clemency petition, the state court habeas process was completed on June 21, 1995 when the California Supreme Court denied Williams’ fourth state habeas corpus petition.3 The federal court habeas process was completed on October 11, 2005 when the United States Supreme Court denied Williams’ writ of certiorari.

This is the governor saying: his case has been vetted to the Nth degree.

The claim that Williams received an unfair trial was the subject of this extensive litigation in the state and federal courts. The courts considered the sufficiency of his counsel, the strategic nature of counsel’s decisions during the penalty phase of Williams’ trial, the adequacy and reliability of testimony from informants, whether Williams was prejudiced by security measures employed during his trial, whether he was competent to stand trial, whether the prosecutor impermissibly challenged potential jurors on the basis of race, and whether his jury was improperly influenced by Williams’ threats made against them.

There is no need to rehash or second guess the myriad findings of the courts over 24 years of litigation. The possible irregularities in Williams’ trial have been thoroughly and carefully reviewed by the courts, and there is no reason to disturb the judicial decisions that uphold the jury’s findings that he is guilty of these four murders and should pay with his life.

The governor's statement then hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head:

The basis of Williams’ clemency request is not innocence. Rather, the basis of the request is the “personal redemption Stanley Williams has experienced and the positive impact of the message he sends.”4 But Williams’ claim of innocence remains a key factor to evaluating his claim of personal redemption. It is impossible to separate Williams’ claim of innocence from his claim of redemption.

The statement concludes:

Clemency decisions are always difficult. But the constitutional power of the Governor to grant clemency does not stand in isolation. It must be balanced with the Governor’s constitutional duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed. Here, Williams is clearly guilty, and the evidence and clemency materials supporting Williams’ claim of personal redemption are equivocal.

Therefore, based on the totality of circumstances in this case, Williams’ request for
clemency is denied.


DATED: December 12, 2005
Signed: ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

_____________________________________

And that's enough on this.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Holding Decisions Hostage


You're the governor of the State of Fornicalia, Arnold Schwarzenegger. You know that, as of yesterday (Sunday, 12-11-2005), the Fornicalia Supreme Court refused to stay the execution of Stanley Williams. The very last hope for clemency lies in your right hand, should you sign the paper granting same.

You're a registered Republican but the Republicans and, perhaps moreover, conservatives apparently left you hanging in the breeze during your special election in November, and all your initiatives went down in flames. Just when you thought you had the support of your proclaimed party and its electorate, you discovered that support consisted of so much smoke.

You regrouped, conferred, let loose your prior Republican inner circle staffer Patricia Clarey and replaced her with the very Left-leaning Susan Kennedy. You caught flack for that from the Right as well.

Stanley Williams is slated to die at one minute past midnight tonight at San Quentin Prison north of San Francisco, by lethal injection.

You can grant clemency and perhaps pick up some votes for your 2006 re-election from the center, center-Left and far Left. That would be a given.

On the other hand, no clemency request has been granted in Fornicalia since 1967, when Ronald Reagan spared a mentally ill killer.

But if you refused clemency, you stand to alienate your potential centrist (and further) voters and perhaps garner support from the Right -- but will you? You know their recent track record. Is it a given that you will acquire their support instead of their rancor or dismissal?

But wait; there's more:

There is information to the effect that if clemency is not granted, riots may erupt throughout the state, likely in Los Angeles, similar to those that occurred in 1992 following the Simi Valley Rodney King verdict when LA police officers were acquitted.

Robin Toma, executive director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission said, during a news conference at LA city hall:

We picked up information that led us to believe that there were some planned and intentioned acts of violence that could occur in the wake of the decision or the execution planned for Stan "Tookie" Williams.

Toma declined to elaborate on the specifics behind the threats, and sources are unnamed.

How much credence do you give to this information? And isn't this a clear attempt to hold your decision hostage? Do you let thugs, criminals, gangbangers and their sympathizers influence your decision? Or, with this information, do you wait and offer no decision until you've ensured that CDC prison and statewide law enforcement agencies are properly prepared to deal with the potential threats?

I know what I would do. Mr. Williams would be allowed to meet his maker at one past midnight.

What will Governor Schwarzenegger do?

I honestly do not know.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

From the "What I'd Never Want To See Out My Window" Department:

Saturday, December 10, 2005

From Around the Globe and Around Your Block


It's Saturday night and, after this week from Purgatory, I've decided to open Mr. Stolichnaya and mix him with Mr. Squirt and whatever else happens to inhabit my American-manufactured refrigerator -- which is working quite well, thank you.

Therefore, this will be a post from many fronts, to include:

Business From France:
Airbus signed a $10 billion deal to supply 150 A320-series aircraft to six Chinese airlines and said it was extending “industrial co-operation” with China that may include a new assembly line in the country, its first outside Europe.

GM Makes Reappointments:
General Motors said it was discussing a board appointment for a lieutenant of Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire investor who owns almost 10% of the beleaguered carmaker. The likely candidate is Jerome York, a former Chrysler executive. It also appointed Frederick “Fritz” Henderson, who oversaw a restructuring and job-cutting plan as chairman of GM Europe, who will become chief financial officer.

09-11 Report In:
The members of the federal commission set up to investigate the September 11th attacks issued a final report on the American government's response to their recommendations. Although some progress has been made, the members gave a grade “F” in areas such as pre-screening airline passengers and providing cash to cities most at risk.

Much Ado About Nothing:
Federal air marshals shot and killed a man at Miami airport who said he had a bomb and ran from an aircraft. No bomb was found. It is the first case of a shooting incident involving an air marshal since September 11th 2001.

Those underpaid Air Marshals deserve an award. Do I sense a forthcoming "Today's Hero" post?

The Bookie On Tookie:
Slated to die this coming Tuesday, December 13th, Stanley "Tookie" Williams (see photo above) can possibly acquire clemency from Fornicalia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger -- a fellow bodybuilder. Williams murdered 4 people in 1979, though his appeal says he had nothing to do with any of that. He was asleep on his bunk. He was in the next county at the time. He was tending to the needs of Karmalite nuns on that day. He was helping darker hued gradeschool children cross the intersection of Walk and Don't Walk. He was serving lunch to South Central indigents at the Salvation Army.

Bulls**t.

Here's what he was doing on a couple of days, because I guess he was bored and had nothing else pressing in his DayMinder:

On February 27th, 1979:
Once inside the storage room of the 7-11, Williams, at gunpoint, ordered Owens to "lay down, motherfucker." Williams then chambered a round into the shotgun. Williams then fired the round into the security monitor. Williams then chambered a second round and fired the round into Owens' back as he lay face down on the floor of the storage room. Williams then fired again into Owens' back. (TT 2162).

Albert Lewis Owens died. But we don't hear about him, do we?

Once back in Los Angeles, Williams asked if anyone wanted to get something to eat. When Sims asked Williams why he shot Owens, Williams said he "didn't want to leave any witnesses." Williams also said he killed Owens "because he was white and he was killing all white people." (TT 2189, 2193).

Murder number one.

But wait; there's more.

On March 11th, 1979:
Williams murdered three members of the Yang family at their motel in Los Angeles, for some very salient and important reasons.

At approximately 5:00 a.m. on March 11, 1979, Stanley Williams entered the Brookhaven Motel at 10411 South Vermont Avenue. (Trial Ttranscript (TT) 1411).

After entering the public lobby area, Williams broke down the door that led to the private office.

Once inside the private office, Williams, using his shotgun, killed 76-year-old Yen-I Yang; Williams also killed Yang's wife, 63-year-old Tsai-Shai Yang; lastly, Williams killed Yang's daughter, 43-year-old Yee-Chen Lin. Williams then removed the currency from the cash register and fled the location.

Son Robert Yang entered the motel office he found his mother, his sister, and his father had all been shot. (TT 1412-1413). Robert observed that the cash register was open and money was missing. (TT 1414). It was later determined that the robbery of the Brookhaven Motel and the murder of the three members of the Yang family netted Stanley Williams approximately $100.

Responding to the call, two Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies entered, and saw Yen-I Yang lying on a sofa. He was "soaked with blood," "gasping for air, and making gurgling noises." (TT 1501).

They also saw the bloodied body of Tsai-Shai Yang. She was making "gurgling noises" and "gasping for air," with "her knees drawn up under her, and her face down on the floor," as if she had been forced to bow down before being killed. (TT 1502). Lastly, the deputies found the body of Yee-Chen Lin lying on the hallway floor.

According to the forensic pathologist, Yen-I Yang suffered two shotgun wounds. One shotgun wound was to his left arm and abdomen. This wound shredded Yen-I's left arm, fractured his ribs, and shattered his spleen, right kidney, bowel and large vessels. The other shotgun wound was to the lower left chest. This wound also fractured ribs and shattered the spleen, right kidney, bowel and large vessels.

The first person was killed to commit the robbery. The others were killed because Williams wanted no witnesses.

In the meantime he has written 9 books. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He regrets founding the Crips street gang.

He has always maintained his innocence and claims he received an unfair trial, in part, because he was convicted by an all-white jury.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the crime that you were convicted of? Are you guilty of that crime?

STANLEY TOOKIE WILLIAMS: No, I am not culpable of those crimes. I have been stating that fact from the incipient, from the moment of my arrest. False arrest.

AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think the jury found you guilty?

STANLEY TOOKIE WILLIAMS: Oh, it was quite easy. It was a paradigm of racism. We are talking about prosecutorial misconduct. We are talking about exclusion of exculpatory evidence. We are talking about I.A.C., which is ineffective assistance of counsel. We are talking about biased jury selection, which results in an all-white jury. We’re talking about involuntary psychotherapic druggings, the misuse of jailhouse and government informants.

________________________________________________________


Yeah right. I was asleep on my bunk at the time. How many times have I heard that? Williams denies all. Yet he proffers an account of nothing.

Sorry bucko. You're as vapid as the incipient air escaping your 51-year-old lungs, and you're about to meet your maker.

BABAGOI.

New To the Honorary BloZep Blogroll!


With each new link in my blogroll to the right, I like to introduce these sites and formally welcome them to the Bloviating Zeppelin blogsite.

Such is it with my newest member, Texas Fred!

Texas Fred was kind enough to place me on his blogroll so, without further ado, I introduce Texas Fred and give him a hearty BloZep "welcome aboard!"

Texas Fred's website, entitled "And THAT is MY Opinion," is labeled "News and Comments from my Conservative and Highly Opinionated Point of View."

He writes: "Welcome to my Blog. . .Comments are moderated with Halo Scan. . .Trolls will be SHOT, survivors will be shot AGAIN."

Yeah baby! MY kinda blog philosophy!

Hailing from Rowlett, Texas, Fred lists his favorite movies as A Few Good Men, Full Metal Jacket, the Godfather Trilogy, The Right Stuff and Apocalypse Now. His favorite authors include James Clavell, Dale Brown, W.E.B. Griffin and Leon Uris. Now this is a guy I could share a few beers with! One of my absolute all-time classic favorite books is Clavell's Shogun!

Once again, a hearty "welcome aboard" to Texas Fred and, please, visit his website!

Excelsior!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Today's Hero


So there I was.

Wondering about my next post, searching the internet, when I happened upon a San Jose Mercury News article about an heretofore unknown Congressman, at least to me. I read to the end and thought: no one knows this. No one has heard his words. This Sam Johnson guy is a hero. And I thought: I already have a negative award, the Moonbat of the Week; why not a positive award: Today's Hero?

So:

The award goes to:

Congressman Sam Johnson, (R), Texas (3rd District), is an incredibly-decorated Air Force veteran of 29 years who flew 50 F-86 missions in the Korean War, flew 26 combat missions in the F-4, was shot down over North Vietnam in 1966, spent 7 years as a POW in the "Hanoi Hilton," 42 months in solitary confinement, and was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legions Of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, one Bronze Star with Valor, two Purple Hearts and many other decorations.

Already a hero.

But in response to our presence in Iraq and in direct counterpoint to John "Moonbat" Murtha, on November 18th Congressman Johnson said:

“Mr. Speaker – I rise today on behalf of the American men and women in uniform – and their families.

“I spent 29 years in the Air Force – served in Korea and Vietnam… and spent seven years as a POW in Vietnam – more than half of that time in solitary confinement.

“I know what it’s like to be far from home – serving your country – risking your life – and hearing that America doesn’t care about you… Your Congress doesn’t care about you. Your Congress just cut all funding for your war. They’re packing up and going home – and leaving you here.

“When I was a POW, I was scared to death when our Congress talked about pulling the plug that I would be left there forever.

“I know what it does to morale – I know what it does to the mission – and so help me God, I will never, ever let our nation make those mistakes again. Never.

“Our men and women in uniform need our full support. They need to know that when they’re in Iraq driving from Camp Blue Diamond to Camp Victory that the Congress is behind them – to give them the best armored trucks they can drive, the best weapons they can fire, and the best ammunition they can use.

“They need to have full faith that a few nay-sayers in Washington won’t cut and run – and leave them high and dry. They need to know these things because that’s mandatory for mission success and troop morale.

“America – and the Congress – must stand behind our men and women in uniform because they stand up for us every minute of every day!

“Any talk – even so much as a murmur – of leaving now– just emboldens the enemy and weakens the resolve of our of troops in the field. That’s dangerous! If you don’t believe me – check out Al Jazeera. This story is on the front page. We can’t do that to our fellow Americans over there.


Just a plain, home-grown American Hero.

Today's Hero.

Our New School Atmosphere


Unfortunately, rather self-explanatory.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Your ACLU At Work


Your American Civil Liberties Union at work:

A group of atheists in Salt Lake City is taking on the State of Utah and the Utah Highway Patrol over the law enforcement agency's use of crosses on roadways to memorialize troopers killed in the line of duty.

The lawsuit has triggered a debate about whether a cross is an appropriate way of honoring troopers killed in the line of duty.

The American atheists filing the lawsuit said they respect the sacrifices the troopers have made, but they are offended by the used of what they call a religious symbol to honor them.

"Government should not endorse religion in general, nor should a government endorse a particular religion," attorney Brain Barnard said. "For a Jew to look at it, for a Muslim to look at it, for a Buddhist to look at it, they are not going to say that's a neutral symbol."

In my opinion, this has absolutely nothing to do with people's sensitivities and everything to do with making as forceful a statement as possible because religion is inexorably linked with judgmentalism, the Right wing, conservatism and the like. The Left is determined to remove religion completely from sight, period. The start is at the governmental level. Once that is accomplished, well, the level will change. Trust me on this.

Are you offended when you see a cross honoring those who have fallen in the line of duty, either soldiers or law officers?

Do the logical extension: what about Arlington Cemetary?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Moonbat of the Week Award



And the award goes to:

Our first two-time recipient, Congressman John P. "Jack" Murtha.

Murtha is a retired Marine Colonel and deserves respect for serving in the Marines in the early 1950's, for re-enlisting in 1966 and serving in Vietnam, earning a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry. My respect, however, ends there.

First, Murtha advocated an entire pullout from Iraq and, for having done so, earned my previous Moonbat Award.

Now, speaking before a civic group in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on Thursday, December 1st, Murtha said that most U.S. troops will leave Iraq within a year because the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth."

I'm sorry, but that's simply a flat-out lie.

Our armed services are the best equipped they've ever been, better than in Vietnam, Korea or World War II. You would expect that, would you not?

We are making progress in Iraq. Progress you don't hear about. Did you know there are:

- 120 Iraqi Army and Police combat battalions
- Batallions are comprised of between 350 and 800 Iraqi forces
- 80 Iraqi battalions are fighting side-by-side with coalition forces
- 40 others are taking the lead in the fight
- 90 square miles of Baghdad province turned over to Iraqi security forces
- Over a dozen bases in Iraq handed over to the Iraqi government
- Iraq has now six basic police academies, and one in Jordan
- They produce over 3,500 new police officers every ten weeks

And this isn't even taking into account the December 15th elections.

We are in Iraq. We should not leave, unless we don't mind dumping millions of people back into a confusing and dangerous maelstrom and creating an horrendous vacuum -- which would be filled only by the most powerfully treacherous of killers; i.e., read: terrorists.

Let me distill it down even further, Mr. Murtha: "withdrawing" troops from Iraq on a timetable palatable to yourself or other defeatists would not only be tactically beyond stupid, it would be, in a word:

Surrender.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Stay the Course: News From the Left?

We should get out of Iraq.

Bush lied; people died.

There were no WMD in Iraq.

2,000 + soldiers have died for nothing.

Iraq is worse off now than under Saddam Hussein.

The United States would be safer had we done nothing following 09-11-2001.

Islam is a religion of peace as are all its worshipers.

The war is all about oil profits.

Halliburton is profiting from the war in Iraq and Vice President Cheney is behind its war profiteering. Halliburton is running the Presidency and the nation.

______________________


Sound like Talking Points from the Left?

Of course it does.

Joseph Goebbels said it best: "a lie, repeated often and forcibly, gains the legitimacy of truth."

But wait; there's more. Support recently comes from sides least expected: two venues representing the Democrats and the Left, Joe Lieberman and The Economist, believe that we need to continue on our current military path in Iraq.

First, Joe Lieberman wrote in last Tuesday's 11-29 Wall Street Journal:

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.

There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing. And Sunni candidates are actively campaigning for seats in the National Assembly. People are working their way toward a functioning society and economy in the midst of a very brutal, inhumane, sustained terrorist war against the civilian population and the Iraqi and American military there to protect it.

The cover of the 11-26 - 12-02-2006 edition of The Economist declares in bold white letters at the bottom: "Why America must stay," over a photo of a soldier behind sandbags in Iraq.

How can this be? And why would a left-leaning, Eurocentric, British publication print such tripe -- unless there were something more than a semblance of a grain of truth?

To wit:

Mr (John) Murtha and millions of others maintain that America is doing more harm than good in Iraq, and that the troops should therefore come home. This newspaper strongly disagrees. In our opinion it would be disastrous for America to retreat hastily from Iraq. Yet it is also well past time for George Bush to spell out to the American people much more clearly and honestly than he has hitherto done why their sons and daughters fighting in Iraq should remain in harm's way.

Every reasonable person should be able to agree on two things about America's presence in Iraq. First, if the Iraqi government formally asks the troops to leave, they should do so. Second, the argument about whether America should quit Iraq is not the same as the one about whether it should have gone there in the first place.
It must be about the future.

_________________________________

Bestill my quaking heart that anyone from the Left should admit what lawyers commonly call "facts in evidence."

The Economist further admits:

The cost to America of staying in Iraq may be high, but the cost of retreat would be higher. By fleeing, America would not buy itself peace.

Mr Zarqawi and his fellow fanatics have promised to hound America around the globe. Driving America out of Iraq would grant militant Islam a huge victory.

Arabs who want to modernise their region would know that they could not count on America to stand by its friends. If such reasoning sounds negative—America must stay because the consequences of leaving would be too awful—treat that as a sad reflection of how Mr Bush's vision for the Middle East has soured. The road ahead looks bloody and costly. But this is not the time to retreat.

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You must be kidding me -- how totally bizarre is this? But there is even more, involving a major American politician in a way that she could not in any way have envisioned:

Even Hillary Clinton is not supporting a pullout of troops, much to the chagrin of Cindy Sheehan:

"I think she is a political animal who believes she has to be a war hawk to keep up with the big boys," Sheehan writes in an open letter posted on anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore's website. "I would love to support Hillary for president if she would come out against the travesty in Iraq. But I don't think she can speak out against the occupation, because she supports it. I will not make the mistake of supporting another pro-war Democrat for president again: As I won't support a pro-war Republican."

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I feel a Moonbat Award coming on. . .

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Arnold Goes Centrist-Left

Here's how it went down in Fornicalia:

On October 7th, 2003, Fornicalia's first-ever gubernatorial recall election was held in an attempt to remove what I considered to be the emptiest of empty political suits, then-Governor Gray Davis. Election results were confirmed and certified on November 14th. Davis became the first governor in Fornicalia history to be recalled, and only the second in the entire history of the United States to be recalled.

Directly from the recall petition: [Governor Davis's actions were a] "gross mismanagement of California Finances by overspending taxpayers' money, threatening public safety by cutting funds to local governments, failing to account for the exorbitant cost of the energy, and failing in general to deal with the state's major problems until they get to the crisis stage."

Davis was so terribly ineffectual that even the sluggish, sloth-like and left-leaning blue electorate recognized his incompetence and voted him out. That in and of itself was one helluva statement.

After having announced his candidacy on the Jay Leno show, and saying he would make a sincere attempt to reduce the influence of special interests, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected by a large margin out of 135 candidates -- essentially, a so-called mandate from the masses.

The results (top 12 candidates) were:

NAME - PARTY - VOTES - PERCENTILE OF VOTE

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rep, 4,203,596, 48.6
Cruz M. Bustamante, Dem, 2,723,768, 31.5
Tom McClintock, Rep, 1,160,182, 13.5
Peter Miguel Camejo, Grn, 242,169, 2.8
Arianna Huffington, Ind, 47,486, 0.6
Peter V. Ueberroth, Rep, 25,125, 0.3
Larry Flynt, Dem, 17,446, 0.3
Gary Coleman, Ind, 14,235, 0.2
George B. Schwartzman, Ind, 12,370, 0.2
Mary Cook, Ind, 11,174, 0.2
Bruce Martin Margolin, Dem, 9,177, 0.2
Bill Simon, Rep, 8,904, 0.2

With this mandate, Gov. Schwarzenegger repealed, within 24 hours it seemed, an incredibly unpopular vehicle license fee and overturned legislation that would have granted driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. He linked both parties to overhaul the workers' compensation system, renegotiated gambling compacts with the state's Indian tribes (not the most popular of measures), and linked both sides with a $15 billion borrowing measure that, some say, merely delayed the proverbial paying of the budgetary piper. He also vetoed gay marriage. All this in roughly one year.

He then went out on a limb and pushed for our November special election containing quite a number of excellent propositions that, in my estimation, would have placed our state firmly back on the path of normality -- and was rewarded with a resounding electoral kick in the teeth.

Arnold did an amazing thing for a politician: he took a huge, huge step, an extraordinary step, and pushed for propositions that would have helped the greater masses, yielded budgetary control, and (as Arnold is wont to say) "all those things."

I was fearing he would go centrist; now he certainly has and perhaps even centrist-left:

Susan Kennedy, a former head of the California branch of the National Abortion Rights Action League, a long-time gay rights activist (she married her partner Vicki Marti in 1999) was named yesterday to replace Patricia Clarey, the former aide to Republican Governor Pete Wilson.

Kennedy has, incidentally, joined Daniel Zingale as the second former Davis aide to join Schwarzenegger's staff in (coincidentally?) the past month.

Arnold essentially tried to do too much too soon, created enemies and gored the oxen of too many two-faced, hypocritical voters -- who happen to need oxen-holing.

So I suppose it shouldn't shock us to discover, with a 2006 re-election campaign looming, he's going for more bang for his buck.

He already knows he won't get it from the Right.