Wednesday, December 27, 2006


One really interesting thing (at least to me) about this Christmas: my mom kinda adopted her bridge partner who has little family around. The partner, probably in her 80s, was invited to spend Christmas with us.

My first thought was, "INTERLOPER!" Then as I got to know the woman, I really liked her. As things progressed, the whole affair came to remind me of any Christmas with my mom's mom, Sweet (that is what her grandkids called her). It was great.

To be so reminded of Sweet was melancholy, but nice.

The "interloper" even broke out her violin and performed Christmas Carol duets with my mom (on the piano). It sounds corny, I know, but it was great.

Thanks, Mom.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bloodcurdlingly (Is that a word?)

I remember thinking my mom was all wet in the 60’s when she told me not to believe that nonsense about it hurting the eggs of bald eagles, but I was naïve. From Human Events, this sickening paragraph:

Bloodcurdlingly, Berlau cites several prominent environmentalist leaders who explained that their opposition to DDT was based on their desire for Third World people to die. For example, Sierra Club Director Michael McCloskey said in 1971 in order to explain his organization’s opposition to DDT, “By using DDT, we reduce mortality rates in underdeveloped countries without the consideration of how to support the increase in populations.” Alexander King, co-founder of the Club of Rome, wrote in 1990, “So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it greatly added to the population problem.” That’s right—prominent and influential environmentalists oppose DDT because it saves human lives.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Beldar apparently blogging again...

I had given up on him after the SCOTUS discussions.

But Beldar is back.

Monday, December 18, 2006

B.C.E. ???

My favorite historian used this term. I don't really object but who decides these things?

The context was immediate:

This catchy sobriquet, however, is only a new name for something very old. In fact, radical transformations in military practice have marked Western history at least since Sparta and Athens squared off in the Peloponnesian war in the 5th century B.C.E.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Don't tell Mama...

I have to admit my knowledge of Harold Ford is primarily limited to what I've seen of him on the evil Fox News Network but that limited knowledge led me to agree with NRO's Larry Kudlow:

If the Democrats really want to embrace a rising star, they need look no further than Harold Ford, the young African American congressman from Tennessee who nearly captured a senate seat last month. Ford appreciates free markets and capitalism. He has boldly crossed party lines to vote to extend the investor tax cuts and expand tax-free savings accounts. He avoids class-warfare platitudes and embraces the Ownership Society. He’s optimistic — Reaganesque. And his pro-growth vision stands in stark contrast to Obama’s nanny-state predilection.

I know he lost (and I admit to Repub. dirty tricks) but I think Tenn. made a mistake.


Hugh Hewitt is really right about the least as far as its "art" goes. It is beautiful. It is a step similar to the one Spielberg took with Saving Private Ryan. The plot and characters though....

Victor Davis Hanson disappoints and then sates...

Victor Davis (or David, as Laura Ingraham says) Hanson irked me then made up for it today:

From today's NRO:

This week Iran hosted an international conference on Holocaust denial. The gathering was as bizarre as a bar out of Star Wars [emph. added], a collection of every crackpot anti-Semite the world over, all there for a scripted, tightly controlled hatefest advertised as a “free” exchange of ideas unknown in Europe.

Jimmy Carter, silent about Iran’s latest promotion for its planned holocaust, is hawking his latest book — in typical fashion, sorta, kinda alleging that the Israelis are like the South Africans in perpetuating an apartheid state, that they are cruel to many Christians, and, as occupiers, are understandably the targets of suicide bombers and other terrorist killers. Sadly, all that shields this wrinkled-browed, lip-biting moralist from complete infamy is sympathy for a man bewildered in his dotage [emph. added].

Would LJ freak?

If we moved to Townhall?

Re: McConnell

Somehow someone "commented" with a unremovable link. At least there is no little trash can to click.

Star Wars Bar Scene

I read it once this morning and then heard it on the radio and I want it stopped. Edict: Thou shalt not invoke the "Star Wars Bar Scene" to describe a motley crew.

RE: Violent crime is up in Houston after Katrina (Part One*)

Aggravated assault up a mere 2%

Auto theft up 11%; I’d have thought that would be much higher with many of the evacuees going from N.O. to Houston (must have auto)

Burglary down 20%

Burglary of auto up 1%

As Michael mentioned, DWI down a staggering, slurring amount (75%?)

RAPE UP 120%! What is that?

Negligent manslaughter too small to take into account

Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter up 23% (how much of that will be old time Houston gang versus new New Orleans gang members and/or NO gang versus NO gang members?)

Drug violations up 16% and

Robbery up 6%

With the exception of the two biggies (rape and murder), I'm guessing there was not much of a per capita increase.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Violent crime is up in Houston after Katrina (Part One*)

I was asked recently if my concerns immediately after Katrina about the New Orleans evacuees coming to Houston had been realized. [Very soon after Katrina I was worried about reports that the crime rate in New Orleans was much higher than in Houston, and predicted that we were going to see increased crime in Houston as the result of our New Orleans neighbors coming to visit. I posted some anecdotal stuff along the same lines here, here, here, and here.]

After looking a bit I found a chart created by Pat Ramsey at Southwestern University that compares crime stats for the eight months before Katrina (Jan-Aug '05) to the same period in 2006. [I'm grateful I found Pat's work because it makes the point and saved me a lot of work, but it seems a better comparison would be the year before (Sept '04-Aug '05) to the year after.]

Look at Pat's chart and you'll see crime was up in most catagories tracked, and significantly up in some (interestingly, burglary and DWI were down).

But, my correspondent wanted to know, was there an increase in the per capita crime rate? In other words, was the increased crime due simply to the fact that there were more people or were the evacuees in fact committing crimes at a greater rate than Houstonians had before Katrina?

To answer that question one needs population numbers: Houston before Katrina and the number of New Orleans refugees. The Census Bureau, in a special project to assess the effects of Katrina, made estimates of the Houston population before and after Katrina. In Part Two, I'll look at those numbers and show that per capita crime rate increased in several catagories.

* I left my analysis of the per capita figures at the office and I'm too lazy to rerun it now. So there's a Part Two. While you wait, chew on this: My correspondent contends that everyone is one bad break away from destitution and criminality (in her case, crack whoring). "There but for the grace of God go I." Discuss.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mitch McConnell

Straps it on: “And as odd as it sounds, some of the high points of my Senate career have been killing things”

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Penn Voters

What were you thinking? OUR LIVES ARE AT STAKE!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Road Trip

Just got back from a trip to help my sister-in-law move. My route was Dallas-El Paso-Las Cruces-Tucson-Phoenix-Flagstaff-Gallup-Gunnison-Denver-Boulder-Dallas. Drove through dust storms, flash floods, temperatures ranging from 103 (Phoenix and in the Texas panhandle) to the 40's (Gunnison). Even had 20+ degree temperature changes within 5 minutes near El Paso and going over Lizard Head Pass in SW Colorado. Saw elk, deer, prairie dogs, antelope, a roadrunner. Was verbally accosted by a Navajo at a gas station in the middle of the Navajo reservation in NW New Mexico ("What are you doing in Navajo country? Why are you here?). Listened to "reservation radio" - they had 2 stations. Both spoke in Navajo, but one played songs in English, but the other played native Navajo music.

With the recent interest in illegal immigration, I was pleased to see a BIG increase (based on my last trip through El Paso - New Mexico - Arizona) in the border patrol presence. Lots of agents in vehicles, helicopters. But they were mostly sitting in cars talking to each other. Had to go through a border checkpoint outside Las Cruces, but the agent just waved everyone through. Not sure what he was looking for.

Kinda reminded me of trips many years ago to Big Bend National Park. Ahh...those were the days.

Minimum Wage

Saw an interesting letter to the editor in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on this subject during our trip up north at the beginning of July. This may not be a new idea, but it was new to me and I like it. A lot.

The writer said that the solution to this problem was to tie increases to the minimum wage to increases in pay that Congress votes to themselves. If they get a raise, the minimum wage goes up as well. The same percentage. God, I love that.

Of course, this will never happen because Congress would have to approve it and pass it. But it makes sense to me, which is another reason it won't happen.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Only because I can't spell. Tell our friend to call me; we've switched home and cell phones and lost the number; I've spent hours trying to find her in WauwatosaMiiniTosagSag that she owes me a few (hours).

Re: LJ

C and I are heading up north to the land of brauts and beer tomorrow for the holiday - get back on the 4th, then on the 6th I'm driving out to Arizona to help my sister-in-law move from Flagstaff to Gunnison, CO. I should be back on the 11th or 12th.

I've never been to Disney World. Only suggestion I would have is hit the most popular rides early (like you haven't figured that out already). On second thought, I do have another...don't go. WAY too crowded, WAY too commercial, WAY too many kids. But then again, that's me and it's a bit late since you're already there.

Have fun :)


1) Where you going? 2) It's "couldn't." 3) In addition to the launch we're spending several days at Disney World. Have you been and if so any suggestions*? Looks like a big complex.

*Behold the power of the Blogger Spellchecker: I typed "suggetions." It gave me about ten possible alternatives, none of them "suggestions."

RE: Hey

Wow...I thought my eyes were deceiving me. I check the blog a couple of times a day and for what, 2 months, nothing. And this morning, lo-and-behold, MULTIPLE posts!

As for the subject of flag-burning, let me say this: I never know which is the gramatically correct term..."couldn't care less" or "could care less"? Whichever is, that is how I feel about it.

It's too bad that at least one of my SSJ brothers has deciced that now is the time to get back to blogging. For the next 2 weeks, I will be away from any computers or internet, so I will not be able to voice my opinions or even check the blog. Guess that means I'll have some catching up to do when I get back home.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


"Flash" I think is a radio term meaning something important is about to be said. "Bump," as I understand the blogsphere, connotes something you wrote recently that has been pushed down on your blog by later posts but which you now believe should be top and center.

I started to type that this is neither, but then I looked at my definitions.

If this small small part of the bsphere is to continue, there has to be a reason why. Did we run out of things to say? We never have before. Are we tired of the constant onslaught of partisanship? I think we'd all say yes. Do we just not care anymore? I say no.

Can we let this noble enterprise die a whimpering death? I say never:

To that end, and keeping with the Flash and not so much the Bump, let's revisit the birth of SSJ:

I'm getting a lot of email along these lines: "Love your site! You guys are great! Only place on the web where a couple of 'nuts and a 'bat can duke it out in a civilized fashion. But what's the deal with your name?"

Well. A considered question deserves a considered answer. Here it is:

One day last year, out of the the blue, I got this email from my good and close friend Scooter:

Scooter: Let's start a blog.

I was thrilled (in the old sense of "terrified" [look it up]) and terrified. What in the world would I be able to blog about? I had not had an original idea in twenty years.

Michael: What? I haven't had an original idea in twenty years.
Scooter: You're right, me neither. Forget it.
Michael: OK.
Scooter: OK.
Michael: OK then.
Scooter: But...
Michael: But what?
Scooter: What if we had a site devoted to esoteric economic theory with an occasional pop culture reference AND some hardcore conservative political commentary?
Michael: Gosh, when you put it that way, count me in!!
Michael: We're going to need a name. Punditguys?
Scooter: I don't think so. Overdone.
Michael: How about "Jacks of Spades," y'know like "Ace of Spades?"
Scooter: meh.
Michael: Ok fine.
Scooter: How about something with pajamas? [Ed. note: this was when jammies were hot.]
Michael: I dunno, seems like everyone's doing jammies.
Scooter: I've got it. Not pajamas: smoking jackets. Like Astaire and Cary Grant.
Michael: Yeah I like that. But I dunno. It seems a little . . . gay?
Scooter: Yep.
Michael: Instaguys?
Scooter: Please.
Michael: ...
Scooter: OK. Let's go back to first principles. We've got nothing new to say, right?
Michael: Check.
Scooter: We haven't had an original idea in twenty years.
Michael: Check.
Scooter: Anything we say is going to be derivative of something someone else has already said.
Michael: Check.
Scooter: Dig this: Secondhand Smoking Jackets.
Michael: Ah, "secondhand smoke," secondhand = derivative. Not bad, not bad at all.
Scooter: Grazie.
Michael: AND if we go back to my earlier "Jacks of Spades," we could make it "Secondhand Smoking Jackets of Spades." No, that's just stupid. "Secondhand Smoking Jacks of Spades?" Too long. How about "Secondhand Smoking Jacks?" Which doesn't really make much sense.
Scooter: I kind of like it.
Michael: Eh. I guess we can think about.
Scooter: OK. I've got a site on Blogger for "Secondhand Smoking Jacks."
Michael: What?? I thought we we're going to talk about this some more.
Scooter: I guess not.
Michael: Fine.

My blog brothers: We've had our sabbatical. The times, they are a'changing, and we don't want not to be not on record, or at least I don't. E.g., I've waded in [weighed in?] on the flag thing, have you?


For those of you not steeped in NASA doings that's the next Shuttle mission and it is currently scheduled to launch 3:49 pm EDT July 1. We're fortunate to have one of the astronauts as our friend and neighbor and have been invited to view the launch from the family/friends area. I don't know where that is but it has to be better than where I saw the first launch from*. I never saw an Apollo (i.e. Saturn V) launch (I think T did), which was the most powerful vehicle to ever leave the Earth, but I can say the Shuttle launch I saw was pretty damned impressive, even from the peanut gallery.

*The non-dangling, and correct, being "from which I saw . . ." Can't do it. Which begs the question: What's happened to Michael's stand against the degeneration of grammar and syntax? What, indeed.


How 'bout that flag amendment? I say no.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Getting back on the bicycle...maybe.

I was out-and-about this morning, running errands and decided that after a 2 to 3 week hiatus from any talk radio, it was time to tune in. I've been so apathic lately, regarding anything even remotely political. But, my thinking was, it's been long enough. Time to jump back on that bicycle and see what happens.

Turn on the radio and the Glenn Beck show is on. He is railing against the do-nothing politicians. Both sides. Talk and talk and talk, but never do or fix anything. Immigration...Iraq....fuel prices...scandals...he rants for 10 minutes or so. Listening to it was giving me a headache. so I swtiched over to Air America.

The Rachel Maddow show is on. Her topics? New CIA director....Iraq war...."The Decider's" fish story. Since I agree, at least to some extent, to her views on these subjects, I last about 15 minutes before I get bored and my head starts hurting again. Next stop, Laura Ingraham.

She seems all worked up over an interview Katie Couric had this morning with Joel Osteen, the pastor of the Lakewood mega-church in Houston. After listening for a few minutes, I wasn't quite sure what she was worked up about. Her focus seemed to be (1) that when Katie was quoting Bible verses to Mr. Osteen, she referred to them as "quotes" rather than "passages" and (2) her questions seemed hypocritical, as Katie was asking Mr. Osteen about he reconciled being a pastor while at the same time his church rakes in huge $$ and he just signed a big book deal (larger than Bill Clinton's, as Katie pointed out). Now, I just happened to see this interview while I was doing my 30 minutes on a treadmill at my gym. I'm not a big Katie fan, but her interview broached many more subjects than just money and she seemed informed and respectful of his position. And given the scandals that seem to follow many of these TV evangelists, I thought the line of questions on this subject was fair. Ms. Ingrahams' point appeared to be that Katie had no right to ask him about this, since she herself is quite wealthy. Well, I can think of one big difference...Katie isn't on TV asking people to send her money. Whether she earns what she is paid by NBC and now CBS could be a matter of debate, but if the networks are willing to pay her millions, then more power to her. Somehow I doubt that Ms. Ingraham is hurting financially herself.

I had to turn this off as well, not because I was at my destination, but because I just couldn't take it anymore. So off went the radio and on went the CD player....Roxy Music. My headache went away. And it was obvious that my talk radio hiatus wasn't long enough.

Old rivarly rekindled

This from today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

"Arkansas and Texas have agreed to a two-year, home-and-home football series
beginning in 2008. The Razorbacks visit their former Southwest Conference
rival on Sept. 13, 2008. In 2009, Texas plays in Fayetteville on Sept. 12."

I can't speak for the "tea-sippers", but I can say that ALL Razorback fans will be very excited about this. From another article in the ADG, it appears the game in 2008 will be the first in the expanded, renovated Royal-Memorial Stadium. Hopefully, the UT athletic department will give more tickets to the UA than they did when we played there in 2003. C and I will be there of course (as we were in 2003), and I can only hope the result is the same.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


"Keen" (brand name, not adjective) hiking sandals on sale at REI from the 5th to the 14th. $69.00 as opposed to the usual $90.00.

I abhor the look of sandals but love the comfort. I acknowledge the bad feelings are at least in part due to the fact that I have the planet's ugliest toes. These give me the comfort without exposing the ugly toes.

Best story: some months after I bought my first pair a couple of years ago, I was walking thru the shoe department at a fru-fru department store here in Austin. The department manager came over to me and asked me about my shoes. I told him about them and where I got them. 60 days later this store was carrying them.

LJ, you once gave me a pair of shoes that I wore foe almost 10 years and still'd love these.

True reality TV

So yesterday afternoon I turn on the TV to watch the local news a few minutes before 5 pm (just for the record, the local ABC affiliate). They have broken into the scheduled program for "breaking news" - a Continental Express plane has blown it's 2 tires on the left side on take-off and is circling Bush Intercontinental Airport burning off fuel before it attempts to land. I flipped over to NBC and they are covering it too. CBS as well. So I'm thinking, "wow, this must be a big deal if all three stations are covering it." So if it's a big deal, CNN must be all over this. I turn over and....nope, not CNN. OK, Fox....nope, not them either. So I go back to ABC and they cover this thing for at least 1 hour and 45 minutes (with a break for the national news at 5:30, even though they break in during the commercials to give updates). And of course, no mention of it on the national news. While watching this "drama" unfold, I have several thoughts:

1) Why are the local stations even covering this? It's not a flight that was coming to or leaving Dallas, nor is it American Airlines. So why do they think it's such a big news story for DFW?

2) If all 3 local stations are covering it, why isn't CNN, Fox, etc? I'd be willing to bet if this were happening in NYC, LA, Chicago, they would be all over it. But since it's Houston, it's not worth the air time.

3) News anchors are very good when reading their script - get them in a situation like this, and you see how pathetic they are. Asking stupid questions. Asking the same ones over and over and over again. Saying things that make no sense. At one point, the anchor from the ABC affiliate was introducing a local Houston reporter on scene from "our sister affiliate station in Houston, KHOU". Now, I know I've been gone for a few years, but isn't KHOU the CBS station? KTRK is the ABC one. Nice...

4) So the 2 anchors and the 2 "airline experts" are discussing how the plane will land, what should happen, what they don't want to happen, all the while showing all the emergency vehicles getting ready. And just before the plane begins to land, I think to myself..."I wonder if the news people are thinking what I am....I hope 'something' happens. Something dramatic. Because if it all works out OK, we just invested 2+ plus hours into this and for what"? And lo and behold, the plane lands perfectly, hardly any sparks or anything. And I swear you could hear the disappointment in the anchors voices. After a couple of minutes, they went back to regular programming - Wheel of Fortune.

I was trying to decide if I should feel bad or not because I felt a small level of disappointment that it worked out OK. No sparks. No fire. No passengers sliding down out of the plane. Basically a waste of 2 hours. Then again, it was better than most anything on network TV these days. A "true" reality show, without the edited "most dramatic and emontional"....whatever. And that is the true lesson here - that if "true" reality show were on TV, no one would watch them because they would be as boring as hell. At least most of the time. Directors, editors, producers have to create reality to get anyone interested. I'm barely interested these days in true reality - that is why I pass on the TV versions of it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Re: Apathy

Dude, kind of a bummer. Sounds like Savage in one of his moods. Having said that, I'm kind of feeling the same, but for different reasons. I know the Dims are out to lunch, so I'm not troubled by that. It's disappointing to see the Rethugs misfire on the gas prices and spending. I am hopeful we have turned the corner in Iraq, but I wish there were more positive indicators that is the case.

I have an inkling, only, of your frustration re employment and know it's tough. Doors close and open, but sometimes not as fast as we would wish. And with that sappy and completely unhelpful aphorism, I'm done.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The disease that is apathy

The unemployed, when not looking for a job, have plenty of time to think and reflect. On life. On current events. On anything and everything. Perhaps that is why I have caught a disease - the disease of apathy. Day after day I enter the world of the internet and see what is going on in the world and what "people" are saying about said events. That is how one contracts the disease.

Politics - one party says ying, the other says yang. They agree to disagree. Unless the polls show that the public is overwhelmingly for or against something. Then they all say they will fix it. But first, they have to have hearings. Actually, pre-hearings before the hearings. Then they take one of their numerous "breaks" to go home to "hear from their constituents" (i.e. big donors). Then they go back to D.C., posture for the cameras and what happens - nothing. Never. Ever. I've often wondered why polls and stories always say that the voters have HUGE negative feelings about Congress, yet the voters always re-elect the same ones over and over again. I used to think that it was because the incumbents have fixed the election rules so much to their advantage that unless they are caught with an animal and/or a child in some seedy motel (and in some districts, that wouldn't even matter it seems), re-election is almost a given. Now I am convinced that when push comes to shove, by the time election day rolls around, the voters are like me - they don't care. Apathy has taken hold of them. It doesn't matter who gets elected, nothing will change because of it. Politics - right now I don't care anymore.

Bush - he is such a disaster, I'm rapidly getting bored reading and listening to all the haters, spinners, apologists, worshipers, etc. When he speaks, I turn it off. Doesn't make any diference what he says - nothing changes because of it. I see today that he has named a new Spin Master - er, Press Secretary. I care, not really.

Reviewing the headlines on Drudge....Brittany Spears pregnant again. Who cares about that? Did anyone care the first time? Tom Cruise / Katie Holmes...again, who cares about this? Why is this even news. Teri Hatcher suffers eye injury. Ohh, the stock market might crash because of this.
Geesh, I can't read anymore of this. I'm going to check out CNN...

Rumey and Condi make a surprise visit to Iraq. Of course it is a surprise, it's so damn dangerous (even though we are making real progress) that they can't announce it in advance or they might get killed. And of course they will stay in the "green zone". Won't venture out. But it's great over there...uh huh. Secrest not talking to Paula Abdul. So what. Who cares? I even read that now there is going to be a reality show about a realty show (American Idol). Is the best that TV execs can come up with? No wonder I only watch sports on the tube. Drivers running out of gas to save money. What? Gas anyone can do anything about them. It's the same every year. High around Easter, go down a little, high around Memorial Day, go down a little, high around July 4th, go down a little, high around Labor Day (is there a trend here?), then down a little. All it takes is some yahoo oil shiek in some god-forsaken desert country to say "oil", "terrorist", "nukes", "refining capacity" and the oils prices shoot up. Here is the problem in a nutshell - we like big cars. Big SUV's. Big hummers. And nobody is going to tell us what kind of car to drive. Today, as I was driving to the gym, I saw the American gas/oil problem in full view. Sitting at an intersection, there were 10 vehicles waiting for the light to change. All 10 were SUV's (mine included). Of the 10, 8 had only 1 person in them (mine included). There it is. That is the problem. I don't need CNN or Bush or some ExxonMobil executive or some Saudi oil shiek to rail on and on - just go to an intersection and look at the vehicles and how many people are in them.

So I guess the point of this rant is this. I don't care about too much right now. I don't want to watch TV, I don't want to listen to talk radio, I don't want to read papers or surf the web. I have no desire. I'm apathetic. These days, I spend my time 1) sorta looking for a job 2) playing free cell on the computer and 3) watching the NHL play-offs.

I need a life...and something, anything to care about. And quickly.

The Thin White Portuguese

I saw this and thought of you Scooter. HERE is a link to a zip file of songs from the movie "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou", which I admit I liked. I love the Bill Murray understated style of comedy. Anyway...throughout the movie, one of the characters sang Portuguse versions of David Bowie songs. The zip file contains the 11 full version songs he sang snippets of in the film.
Pretty cool stuff.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

William Shatner

I wanted to be on record somewhere that I love this guy whatever he does. Just saw a piece of a lawyer show: he was fabulous.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Begging the fargin question

This week's hall of shame: (1) "Author and conservative comedian Brad Stine;" (2) Mike McDaniel of the Chronic;

and (3), well I don't have one (or do I?). This travesty is so widespread I thought I could get a weekly feature out of it, you know, three (surely not more) violations I saw THIS WEEK. Either I've not been paying attention or ... something. Anyway, I only had two, so I thought I'd cheat and google some news stories for "begs the question."

The result was shocking. Aussies, at least at 9 CDT, 4/24/06, seem to be the worst offenders.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Houston Praised in City Journal

City Journal, in this (warning, about 12 pages in length) article by Nicole Gelinas, compares and contrasts the culture and government of the City of Houston versus those of the City of New Orleans. No contest.

God Bless the People of Houston!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Re: Two-fer and other mundane thoughts

I haven't posted about Raymond and his compensation package because (1) it's beyond shocking (2) I'm not surprised (other than the paltry $1 million "consulting fee" for this year - I mean after all they other stuff, one would think that he would do it for free or they would pay him more than $1 million (3) I'm too pissed off to even try to respond.

On to other items:

* I suspect the blog will take a BIG turn to the right this week. I'll be out-of-touch the majority of the week, so I won't be here to offset the conservative ramblings of Michael and Scooter. Literally going fishing.

* Was curious about the trip to the Bijou - see something not rated G and/or animated?

* Temp here in Dallas is supposed to be in the high 90's tomorrow and Tuesday. A bit early for such high temps - no global warming huh?

* Will probably have to buy my first ever U.S.A. $3 a gallon gas this week. Do I hear $4?

That's all I have. Since it's Easter - peace be with you.

Easter eggs

Interesting story in the Chronic today in which it is claimed that eggs, and in particular red colored eggs, are an early Christian symbol of the crucifixion and resurrection.

Happy Easter

Friday, April 14, 2006

A poem

A night on the town
T says "Woo-hoo"
A bite to eat
Maybe the Bijou

Excuse the rhyme
I'll give it a rest
Have a good time
I wish you the best.

Good Friday and Passover Slackers

I know this is an extreme example of Pot/Kettle/Black but there is a dearth of commentary out there today.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

More on my wordie-ness

Hanson echoing Sowell: words have meaning; why do we bastardize?

Re: Liberal vs. Conservative

It was Reagan who made "liberal" a dirty word. When he won, with the support of the Reagan Dems (Labor being a huge part of that), the liberals became "progressives."

My gripe is that the conservatives are really the liberals in the classic sense of the word.

I know I'm a wordie; I hate that words have become so, so malleable. This drives me nuts.

Now I have to go watch Ann on TV.


Lee R. Raymond retired last year after many years as chairman of Exxon. Like all ex-Exxon employees, he got a generous compensation package. In his case, $398 million.

Two-fer? Big fat "begs the question" in paragraph four.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The "1984" analogies

I knew it was only a matter of time before all the "1984", "newspeak", "Big Brother", etc. rhetoric would start making appearences. This from Thom Hartmann (he waits until the 2nd paragraph):

"In the novel 1984 by George Orwell, the way a seemingly democratic president kept his nation in a continual state of repression was by keeping the nation in a constant state of war. Cynics suggest the lesson wasn’t lost on Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon, who both, they say, extended the Vietnam war so it coincidentally ran over election cycles, knowing that a wartime President’s party is more likely to be reelected and has more power than a President in peacetime..."

Now, what I love about this article isn't just the whole GWB = 1984 anlaogy or the mention of...drum roll please.....the "military-industrial complex". No, the joy for me is the introduction of a whole new CONSPIRACY THEORY. One that I haven't heard before. And here is the jist of it:

"Four years later, there can be no doubt that Bush/Cheney/Rove and the Republican cabal lied us into invading Iraq. Ginning it up just before the 2002 midterm elections was largely done so Republicans could take back the Senate in 2002 after losing it because of Jim Jeffords' defection. The 2003 attack was timed, we now can see, so Bush would improve his chances to win the White House in the election of 2004.

So, too, it appears that Bush is now ginning up a new war just in time for the 2006 midterm elections, and Karl Rove probably has a 2007 continuing war in mind to help swing the 2008 elections (or postpone them)."

Wow, this is just TOO good.

The linked article makes a reference to the ghost-writer for the Bush autobiography "A Charge to Keep", Mickey Herskowitz and some comments GWB made to him in interviews. For a more detailed look at some very interesting insights of our Dear Leader, read this from Russ Baker. Some juicy tidbits:

* In 2003, Bush's father indicated to him that he disagreed with his son's invasion of Iraq.

* Bush admitted that he failed to fulfill his Vietnam-era domestic National Guard service obligation, but claimed that he had been "excused."

* Bush revealed that after he left his Texas National Guard unit in 1972 under murky circumstances, he never piloted a plane again. That casts doubt on the carefully-choreographed moment of Bush emerging in pilot's garb from a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to celebrate "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. The image, instantly telegraphed around the globe, and subsequent hazy White House statements about his capacity in the cockpit, created the impression that a heroic Bush had played a role in landing the craft.

* Bush described his own business ventures as "floundering" before campaign officials insisted on recasting them in a positive light.

Just more fodder for us on the left. But I'm sure that even if the MSM try to run with this, the neocon spin masters will be out in force.

Btw, LJ (useless Masters comment follows)

Congrats to your favorite golfer. I was rooting for the 46 y.o. Couples but Lefty played a splendid round Sunday.

Re: Loneliness and Yesterday's Economic News

Been trying to figure out how to respond to your Econ post. I honestly believe that economics is NOT difficult. The difficulty arises in all the convoluted ways it is addressed. I honestly think that some economists (and certainly some economics journalists) make it more difficult than need be to show off their smarts. Certainly my professors at UT did so. Some journalists simply may not have the wherewithal to address the issues simply.

I think my best approach will be to just address the issues raised rather than try to address them in the context of the DMN article. (I don't know who the author was and I generally love the DMN but that article was certainly all over the place without much in the way of explanations.)

It's really just about cause and effect. I need to figure out how to express it.

More begging the question

From writers who ought to know better: Cal Thomas, Robert Scheer, and (this one hurts) Peggy Noonan.

Is loneliness just a word?

Do you sometimes get the feeling that you're all alone out there? Wondering where everyone went, where everyone is?

Sometimes I do.....

Liberal vs. Conservative

Since I am on the cutting edge, I was all over this several months ago. Here is another perspective from Democractic Underground. A small sample:

"Liberalism" Then and Now

Consider, for example, what the word-meisters of The Right have done to the word "liberal."Webster's Dictionary gives us this traditional definition of "liberal:"

"From the latin, liberalis - of or pertaining to a freeman. Favoring reform
or progress, as in religion, education, etc.; specifically, favoring political
reforms tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual.

However, the right-wing screech merchants of AM radio and cable TV have turned the word "liberal" into an epithet, like a piece of rotten fruit to be hurled at the candidate or political commentator willing to be called a "liberal."

Remember the 2004 GOP ads? "Brie-eating, chardonnay-drinking, latte-sipping, French-speaking, Volvo-driving, New York Times reading, elite liberals." The word connotes "tax and spend," "welfare cheats," bureaucratic interference in "free enterprise," and a weak military. To Ann Coulter, it means nothing less than "treason."

Thus it is no surprise that when pollsters ask the ordinary citizens to describe their political orientation, "conservative" comes out ahead, followed by "moderate," with "liberal" a poor third.And yet, when the same citizens are asked their opinions on Social Security, Medicare, environmental protection, public education, economic justice, racial tolerance, and the separation of church and state, by substantial majorities they endorse the traditional liberal agenda. In short, the American public remains liberal, even though it has been persuaded to despise and reject the word "liberal." And that should be regarded as good news by The Left, for it is the ideology and the program that matter. "Liberal" is merely a word...."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Yesterdays economic news - good news or bad news?

I will admit, I don't understand economics. Especially when it concerns what is or isn't good for the average American. So an article in today's business section of the DMN has me even more confused. My comments are in red...

U.S. companies add 211,00 jobs (this sounds like good news)

Unemployment dips again, (more good news I think); strong report triggers worries on Wall Street (uh oh, that doesn't sound good - must be bad news)

"American employers added 211,00 workers in March, and the unemployment rate matched a four-year low, capping the best first quarter for hiring of any year since 2000 (this is obviously good news). The unemployment rate dipped to 4.7 percent, from 4.8 percent in February, the Labor Department reported Friday (confirmation of good news). 'Let's face it, 211,000 jobs at this stage of the employment cycle is pretty darn good,' said David Wyss, chief economist of Standard and Poor's (an expert agrees that this is good news). The strong employment data triggered a decline in the stock and bond markets (uh oh, I guess it was bad news) as investors fretted that businesses' growing appetite for workers might drive up wages (good news for workers) - and inflation (never good news) - and make it more likely the Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates (ok, I KNOW that high interest rates are not good for anyone, correct?)."

After reading just this part of the article, I have no idea if the news was good or bad. Maybe good for workers (more jobs, growing business, higher wages) but bad for investors (growing business, higher wages, higher inflation). The bottom line appears to be that what is good for investors isn't good for average American. Or, stated another way, low unemployment and more jobs created is bad for Wall Street but good for average Americans. My head is spinning.....I don't know what is good or bad, what economic news I should be happy about or sad about.

Maybe I should just skip the business section from now on and concentrate on easier subjects, such as immigration.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Re: Parque Nacional los Glaciares

Now I have to go. I've got to ski below the Equator.

Last of the Argentina memory road pictures

Damn, I want to go back.

This is looking down the street that the first hotel we stayed at was on. It was in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood. The name of the hotel was Hotel Bobo. Had a great continental breakfast (all homemade pastries).

One of the many glaciers at the Parque Nacional los Glaciares. The little white speck in the lower middle is one of the tour boats. The park is on the Argentina - Chile border. The mountains with snow-covered peaks are in Chile - the ones without are in Argentina.

Looking down the Avenida 9 de Julio, the largest street in the world. 11 lanes each way (there is a median on each side which divides the lanes after the 3rd lane). When the lights changed to cross the street, the furthest we ever made it was to the median on the other side. Lanes, however, don't mean much to drivers in Buenos Aires. We were amazed that there didn't seem to be many traffic accidents, though every time you came to an intersection, you just waited to be hit.

Amen corner

One of the features (I think it is new this year) at the Masters website is "amen corner live". You get to see every shot of just these 3 holes. It's awesome. I've been watching it today. Lots of carnage at #12. Phil (my favorite golfer) is coming up.

Re: Más recordando el pasado acerca de Argentina

The more I look at those pics, especially the Casa Rosada, the more I want to go.

Otoh, if I'd been Juan, I'm not sure how I'd have felt living in The Pink House.

Re: Bush interaction [yesterday] at a Townhall Meeting

For those of you who can't see LJ's video, here is some of the dialogue between the president and Mr. Taylor, courtesy of the Seattle Times:

"While I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water," real-estate broker Harry Taylor told Bush at a town-hall meeting.

"I have never felt more ashamed of nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington."

"I'm not your favorite guy," the president said. "What's your question?"

Taylor didn't have one, but he wasn't finished.

"I feel like, despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration," he told Bush. "And I would hope, from time to time, that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself [emph. mine]."

For all their differences, Bush and Taylor agreed on at least one thing.

"I really appreciate the courtesy of allowing me to speak what I'm saying to you right now," Taylor said near the conclusion of his reprimand. "That is part of what this country's about."

"It is," Bush agreed.

That exchange just astounds me. Now, I've never "hated" a president, especially a sitting president so maybe that is why I don't get this. If LJ or Michael were elected president and sought my advice over an issue I thought either had botched badly, I'd tell him so behind closed doors. To tell him he should be ashamed, though, and in public, that I could not do.

As Hugh Hewitt pointed out yesterday in his coversation with James Lileks (you can read it at Radioblogger), the lovely irony here is that he is so frightened by his leadership that he can say this face to face to der Fuhrer himself without fear:

HH: But there's a lot to say about that exchange. I'm just mulling it over, and isn't it wonderful that we live in a country where someone can get up and slag the President, and then pronounce himself fearful of the times in which we live?

JL: Well, you don't know whether or not he was taken out in the parking lot.

HH: We don't. He might never have gotten home.

JL: No, he's gone to that secret camp where Susan Sarandon's been for the last 18 months.

Finally, I would not take James' bet:

JL: ...I will bet you $1,000 dollars that that man has at least 16 bumper stickers on the back of his car.

This can't possibly be true, can it?

From Tony Snow in today's JWR:

Since the immigration "reforms" of 1986, the number of jobs in the United States has risen a net total of 44 million. The standard of living in the nation has grown to the point that the average welfare recipient has more creature comforts (homes, computers, televisions, cars, air conditioners, etc.) than the average citizen of France.

I wish he'd cited his source. I do think his overall point, if not all his arguments, is correct. Seems like every 20 years or so this blows up, we realize there is not much we can do, and then it goes away. The difference this time, of course, is 9/11.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Re: Bush interaction today at a Townhall Meeting

Courtesy of CNN, HERE is the video that Scooter references.

Bush interaction today at a Townhall Meeting

Just heard an amazing exchange between the president and an audience member in which the audience member lambasted (admittedly very politely seemingly sincerely) the administration in general and the president in particular. At one point he said something to the effect of never being more ashamed and more frightened by an administration.

Bush took it all in stride and with his usual good wit and grace. Jovial at first and then turning very serious in refusing to apologize for the phone tapping procedures and offering the best, most succinct, justification of the procedures I've heard to date.

I'll try to poke around and find the sound somewhere and post a link. I'm sure it can't be too hard to find...but for now I'm off to my favorite local music venue: The Cactus Cafe.

Re: SSJ number one and two...

Michael, when you do a post about "Steyn + Demographics" searches showing up No. 1, does that mean you search for the quote on google and then an SSJ link is the first to show in the search?

A pet peeve

So I'm driving around this morning (mother-in-law is still here) and was listening to Laura Ingram. She has a habit (one that I have heard on the radio before, but she takes it to a whole new level) of saying:

"Next on the show, Senator (any Republican Senator other than McCain) to talk about (whatever). We're a big fan of his/hers...."

"I watched the PBS special about Bob Dylan. We don't care for his politics, but we're a huge fan of his music..."

"Did you catch (use any Democratic politican) on (CNN/Today Show/msm news) yesterday. I mean, come on, it's just anti-Bush, anti-American, anit-troops and we aren't buying what they are selling. We just can't handle anymore sofball interviews with (Wolf, Matt, Katie, any White House correspondant) fawning all over (said Democrat)."

The we stuff drives me insane. Who is the "we"? Her and her lap-dog studio hacks? Her and her listeners (which makes the assumption that they are ALL in lock-step with her)?

I know this..if she continues, then we'll have to stop listening to her (the little that we do).

Más recordando el pasado acerca de Argentina

The Casa Rosada. The window on the 2nd floor, 2nd to the right of the arch, is the "Evita balcony".

The La Boca neighborhood. On the weekends, it is an arts/craft/tourist area. However, it is also one of the very few neighborhoods that is NOT recommended to be in at night. In fact, even during the day, it is advised to stay in the about 4 square block "tourist area".

A dog walker leaving a "dog park". Most of the parks (and Buenos Aires has TONS of them) have fenced areas for dogs. Argentine's love dogs, especially big dogs. So you see the dog walkers walking dogs everywhere. Most of the walkers have between 5-10 dogs. They walk them twice a day. Doesn't seem to be a difficult job. No poop cleaning and when you get to the park, you either let the dogs run around doing whatever or you tie their leashes to the fence. Then you visit with your fellow walkers or go somewhere for 30 minutes or so. Seems like EASY money to me.

Ann on DeLay, Earle and Austin

"To finally get some grand jury to hand up an indictment, Earle had to empanel six grand juries in Austin, Texas, which is like the Upper West Side with more attractive people."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Re: DeLay

Byron York has an interesting column up today. In it, DeLay claims that his polling showed he had a only a 50-50 chance of winning. I thought for sure that he had gotten wind that he was in trouble over Abramoff, but DeLay is emphatic that he is not. He also claims he turned over everything he had on Abramoff to Justice even though they hadn't asked for it. I think most conclude that the Earle indictment will fail. So it may well be that this was simply a case of a seasoned pol reading the tea leaves and getting out while the getting is good. No doubt it's a plus for the Repubs not having him as a whipping boy for the Dems and their "culture of corruption" nonsense.

DeLay...What can you say?

Found this today on DU, regarding the reasons for DeLays' resignation. Here is a portion:

"DeLay was determined to hang on to his seat at least through the primary, said Carl Forti, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. That was because he considered his three Republican challengers gadflies and traitors and he was determined to try to block them from succeeding him. ...An additional impetus for putting off the resignation until now was suggested by John Feehery, a former aide to DeLay and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). "He needed to raise money for the defense fund. That was the bottom line," Feehery said. "He wanted to make sure he could take care of himself in the court of law." Under federal campaign rules, any reelection money a lawmaker raises can be used to pay legal fees stemming from official duties".

Gee, what a class act Tom is!

And so I don't get accused of "strained or deliberate misreading of the source material about Republican leaders or well-known conservative commentators...", HERE is a link to the entire article from the Washington Post.

Good riddance Tom...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dennis Prager...

nicely points out the how we are different. I can cite this with authority because I was once a lib.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The most popular search that lands hits SSJ...

Is something Scooter wrote about Judas and Mary and Damon. I also get some Bart Whitakers. Scooter gets the remainder because he blogs on esoteric and, apparently to some, interesting things. Scooter, I'll note that its not economics that is attracting your audience, its the " offbeat" (and I guess by that I mean your other interests) or local things. The Whitaker hits tend to confirm local may "sell," but I'm not going to do it unless its really worthy. I thought my Whitaker story was important because of the message I found (that apparently no one else had) that he had left for the brother he killed (link here, just kidding, look it up) and the Katrina stuff, which I could have owned (from the very first day of this blog in the Astrodome), but lost interest in.

So what? Local and different makes traffic; Maybe, slightly. Never big blog-money traffic. I'm happy to send smoke signals to my blog-Injuns in the outposts. If you think differently, I'm ready to completely abandon my previously strongly-held beliefs for whatever you think.

UDPDATE: Having given this a moments thought, and without any input from my brothers, I realized that a lot of what I said in the final paragraph is just wrong. I've been thinking about LJ's Argentinian stuff and Scooter's "other" stuff and I realize that what they are doing is exactly what we ought to do; that's our "good stuff."*

* The fact that I have no "good stuff" has absolutely no bearing on what I wrote previously and is quite beside the point.

UPDATE 2: Send me a smoke signal occasionally.


Wal-mart meteorologist

Number five on Google.

SSJ number one and two...

on Google for "steyn+demographics." You'd think Steyn himself would beat us, since he knows a bit more that we on the topic. Well, you'd be wrong.

Richard B. Cheney

I've noticed, LJ, that you've studiously avoided criticizing our vice-president. Could THIS be the reason?

Re: DU morning bile

I started to do a full-on fisking of this thing, but I'm not up to it, so just a couple of observations. It appears to me that the criticisms here fall into three groups: (A) lambasting, and appropriately so, unknown/unelected persons and/or fringe characters who identify themselves as Republicans; (B) strained or deliberate misreading of the source material about Republican leaders or well-known conservative commentators (with a sub-category of anything that can remotely be put into the Bush-lied-people-died meme); and (C) gratuitous mocking of unflattering photos.

Now for your scorecard: A: 1, 6 (in part: Freepers, Imus producer), and 10. B: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9. C: 3* and 9. Couldn't get through 7 so I'm not sure what that's all about.

I would note that my criticism of DU falls squarely in Category A (Democrat version). Thus it is meaningless and a waste of time. Note that this differs, in so many ways, from a criticism I might have about Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, Hillary, Jackson and others (SJL and McKinney I consider fringe so I won't insult you with that) based on what they actually said.

* I like that DU thinks this a bad thing. I loved the video. Somebody put together a piece that mixed the Bush video with the Little Pony video with HIGHlarious results. Oh, here it is. Watch it if you dare, LJ, and then tell me you're sad that JK/LP lost.

Great Monday morning reading

Grab your morning coffee and enjoy this from the Democratic Underground. Just try not to have said coffee blow through your nose when you start laughing. I just love Republican idiots.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

One year anniversary

A year ago this Friday C and I left for our trip to Argentina. We still talk about the trip and how much we want to go back. Ah, the memories:

This is the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the largest in the world. One of our Argentine friends recently told us that the glacier had a major break not too long ago. I can only imagine what that would be like to witness.

This is a view of the "supporters" area at Estadio El Monumental, home to River Plate football (soccer) club. This is also the national stadium. Notice the people sitting on the top of the stadium - a very common occurrence. Most of the banners are either (1) names of neighborhoods or (2) bands (notice the U2 banner in the lower middle). The stories one hears about the passion and fervor of South American football fans and matches is very true.

I also attended a match at the home of Boca Juniors (the most popular team in Argentina and the VERY bitter rivals of River). They play at Estadio Alberto J. Armando (know affectionately as "La Bombonera", the chocolate box). A much rowdier crowd and a much larger police presence. A trip to see "los xeneises" playing at La Bombonera is a MUST for any soccer fan.

I would recommend Argentina to anyone wanting a fantastic vacation or experience. With the exchange rate, it is a SUPER bargain for Americans. You don't have to know Spanish to get around (though they appreciate the effort), they have a wonderful subway system, the people are very nice and friendly, they have the best ice cream I have ever eaten and if you like beef, you will be in heaven.

Re: Ugh

I have been having just a wonderful time with my mother-in-law, thus why I haven't been able to pull myself away from the good times and post. Don't know what Scooter's excuse is - perhaps Condi made a "surprise" trip to Austin this weekend.


Seems a bit moribund here.
I'll go. I've read some interesting historical fiction recently, and I recommend them: Pillars of the Earth, and The Alienist.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Re: fish, am I ?

No, I don't think you are a fish.

Friday, March 31, 2006

What am I, a fish?

Nope, not gonnna take the bait.

Re: Hewitt and Lileks and the SecDef

Scooter is too modest to say so, but he was the one who sent Lileks a photo of said desk, which Lileks then ran in the Bleat. [I don't think one can search the Bleat, otherwise I'd find the right day. Maybe Scooter has that day's Bleat framed and hanging on his wall and can point me to it.]

Hewitt far behind the curve...

Mentioned SecDef's "stand-up desk" tonight. Lileks and I have been all over that.

Re: Airplanes

Have you seen Pushing Tin?

Re: Airplanes

I grew up very close to Love Field in Dallas, some might say deafeningly close. Could tell the time of day by the landing times of those hideously brightly colored Braniffs. (Remember those?) I was north of the airport so it was landings only for me from my house.

Anyway, as for the fascination, there was a restaurant built out at Love, not in the terminal just out on its own, with one of its entire walls made of glass...just so folks could go out and enjoy a meal watching, pretty nearby, the jets landing and taking off. It is long gone now and was pretty pricey in the 60s so we didn't often go, but I loved it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Re: Immigration

Yes, I read your post. Thanks.

When you're sitting in a car, watching planes and talking to yourself, it all comes together. When you try to write it, it all falls apart.

Morality, economics, compassion, empathy, patriotism, legal issues, fear, racism...the pieces of the whole puzzle just go on and on. It reminds me of trying to understand how to "fix" the economy. What is good for one sector is bad for another. Today's economic indicator (which could be good or bad) is offset by tomorrow's (which is the direct opposite of the previous days). In the end, it's all so complicated and intermingled that 99.9% of the people just throw up their hands and say..."whatever".

That is where I am (almost) on this issue. It's so complicated and there isn't an easy solution and any steps to get to a solution will cause just as many negative effects as positive ones.

Airplanes (2)

Even if you know why they can fly (and I do, Bernoulii, etc.) , it's still the most exciting thing I know to watch a monster plane take off. The second most exciting thing is to see these beasts land.


LJ, I'm sensing from you what I feel. I'm overwhelmed. I'm assume you've read what I said about you and your excellent post.


This is so easy for me. I cannot not watch an airplane take off or land. I've taken dates to the old Hooks Airfield [Update: Hooks is not right but I can't recall the name. It was on Westheimer.] in Houston and IAH and my ex-wife to the edge (and it was the the edge) of the old Austin aiport to watch planes take off and land. More later.

More on immigration...maybe

The mother-in-law is visiting us for 10 days, so I needed to get out of the house this afternoon. Not to give away TOO much personal info, I decided to make the short drive over to the DFW airport observation area and watch planes. And think.

After the day-long back and forth about immigration, that subject was still on my mind.

(And I've been trying to write this post for an hour and am not able to articulate in writing the questions and points I've been thinking about most of today. I've gone through 4 drafts and am getting a bit frustrated.)

So I'm saying now, to h*ll with it.

Why do people like to watch airplanes take-off and land? After about, oh 3 or 4, it sorta loses it's appeal. Is it the "hoping for a crash" thing (ala car races)? And I wasn't alone - there were about 5 or 6 vehicles there. It wasn't a nice day (very windy and cloudy). Are that many mother-in-laws visiting at a given time????


Not read the book. Occasionally look at the website. Most of my understanding comes from Goldberg's criticisms. My admittedly shallow impression is that crunchies (1) live in the city, (2) enjoy tasty and preferably "natural" food and (3) go to church. Uh, ok. Used to live in the city (don't anymore because I have a child who needs to play outside and go to a school that's rated better than "satisfactory"); have never considered eating dinner a "rite" and enjoy an occasional double cheeseburger; and go to church. Goldberg argues they are cons who have made a lifestyle choice, AND, by labeling themselves differently, denigrate "traditional" cons, and I think I agree.

Re: predestination

Speaking of which. There are lots of related topics you and I are interested in. (to dangle, etc) Here or somewhere else? You still have Scooterblog.

But I have "crunchy" inclinations, certainly...

...I was a boy scout.

Re: tomato

Then you fit nicely into my [that is to say your] predetermined ideological niche. [Burn's voice] "Excellent."

Tomatoes: My Bad

I blew it. I added that parenthetical later in the wrong place and have since moved it. I'm not Crunchy.

Re: tomatoes

You are a Crunchy if you like "old style" tomatoes. You're not a Crunchy if you find them and refuse to pay for them. As usual, Scooter, you defy categorization.

Re: immigration issues

Very interesting discussion here. At this point, have only two observations, one about myself and one about LJ.

I am so ambivalent about this subject. On one hand, on the other hand, and on, well, several other gripping hands. I've never found persuasive the Michael Savage "they're destroying our country" nonsense. Really? I live in Houston and I expect we have a large population of illegals. Do I pay higher taxes to support some of them? I don't know, but probably. Are they a crime problem? Not that I can tell. [Although the experience in California sounds like it might be different.] Are they destroying the fabric of Houston civilization? No.

On one of several other (gripping and otherwise) hands, should they jump to the front of the line to be legal? That doesn't seem fair to the people who have played by the rules. Are they taking jobs from Americans? GWB doesn't seem to think so. There was a pretty big fight on NRO today about JAWD today, indicating the complexity of these questions. (Scooter can weigh in on the economic considerations re when Americans will do a job vis-a-vis an illegal.)

LJ's response may have surprised Scooter, but it didn't me. Although he's ostensibly a lefty, he has a legacy of patriotism and a right/wrong default that he received from his father. Those combined (not to psychoanalyze too closely) inform LJ's views. And I can't disagree with a thing he said here.

Tomatoes and Immigration

Warning: Useless post.

One the arguments I've heard used this week from those wanting to "ship them all home" goes like this:

"Oh yeah, well, in the 50's under Ike they said if we sent them all home there'd be no one to pick the tomatoes. Well we got around that, we developed machines to pick the tomatoes."

I guess the argument is that we got around the labor shortage by technology.

BUT, my response to that is this, sure we machine pick tomatoes now but we also had to develop tomatoes that could withstand the much rougher treatment that these machines give the tomatoes. Accordingly, I HATE the cheap store-bought tomatoes . One has to spring for the "organic, hand-picked" types to get anything remotely edible...which I hate to do on general principles (guess I'm no Crunchy-con). Any tomato on a fast-food hamburger, for instance, is like a piece of cardboard.

Granted, I'm too young to recall store-boughts before they became machine picked, but I've heard they used to be much better.

Got my tomatoes in the ground in January thanks to our mild winter. The fruit are just starting to redden.

Re: Girlfriend

Absolutely agree with you on the cultural and economic side as she wrote, just not on the patriotic side. Acknowledging that the vast majority of those who are here aren't going anywhere, why not inculcate them with the stuff she listed so that we don't see the kind of c--p we saw at those "impromptu" demonstrations over the weekend.

They (and I mean the ones coming for good reasons) get that "job that no American wants to do," their kids learn valley speak, but no one teaches them that Washington never lied (of course, don't really mean that last one...but the stuff from her article, the patriotic stuff). It is hard enough to get that stuff into native kids given the state of our schools.

Aside: Every Thursday at my Lions Meeting, we start by singing the first verse of America and saying the pledge...I know I'm a dork but I appreciated that today.

Re: Girlfriend

I believe we have gone WAY out of our way to welcome them to our church - that is why we are where we are.

Re: Girlfriend

I don't think she meant to lay the absolute blame on us though I see how you could read it that way.

There is a Barry Levinson movie (I forget the name) about immigrants who come to Baltimore and a generation or two later the families have gone from being wallpaper hangers to successful businessmen. I think I recall a scene where the immigrants step of the boat to red, white and blue bunting and fireworks. I think that's the feel she's going for.

Given the overall tone of the column, to me what she said was more like gently chiding church members who don't proactively walk up to the visitors on Sunday and introduce themselves and welcome them.

Of course if I go to a new church (or move to another country), I have the responsibility to assimilate and participate, it's just nice if someone comes over, shakes my hand and tells me a little about the church.

Re: My real girlfriend

Scooter, I have a question for you and your girlfriend:

Whose responsibility is it to assimilate - the immigrant (whether legal or illegal) or the country they are coming into?

I'm sorry, but I believe it's the immigrants responsibility. If I were moving to another country, it would be MY responsibility - not the countries or the people to assimilate me. I should make the effort. I should try to fit in. Be proud of my heritage, of course. In the privacy of my home, speak my language and teach it to my children, sure. But not to expect or demand everyone and everything in the public domain (schools, health-care, voting ballots, driver's license tests, etc.) to be in my native language.

What I got from her column was that it is my fault. I totally disagree.

My real girlfriend...

...has hit another home run. Move over Condi; Peggy's back.

Today's column on Medal of Honor Winners, Patriotism, Immigration and History put a genuine lump in my throat.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Re: Re: Immigration Question (Part 2) [Update]

As I suspected, LJ the Moonbat and Scooter the Wingnut are in almost entire agreement here. We've just got to figure out how to do it.

It will be costly. LJ, this paleo-con couldn't have said it better.

Update: I suppose I wouldn't have said "exploiting" for all the Sowell/Williams/Capitalism reasons I've stolen before.

Re: Another question

No, I cannot read any drafts other than my own. I had no idea that you and Mike could read mine. Rather unfair, don't you think?

Part of Answering my own Immigration Question

Historically, I've been pretty, traditionally, left on this issue because I believe that the vast majority of illegal aliens are here for a good reason...making their lives better here or the lives of their loved ones better THERE. (I readily acknowledge that my Capitalist underpinnings are screaming at me that if Mexico had a freer market, 99% of this problem would go "feelings" are getting away with me here.)

For that reason, I'm FOR giving that vast majority of illegal aliens (let's call them what they are) AMNESTY (or whatever other term one cares to give it) provided they are at least willing to give lip service to becoming a citizen if that is his or her goal and we can track to ensure that the lip service is followed up. If citizenship not the stated goal, then the tracking even more important.

So, part of my benevolent dictatorship's fiat would include that.

Another question

I have not yet succumbed to the temptation to view LJ's or Michael's "drafts." LJ, I don't know if you have that ability. Heck, since I haven't tried, I don't know if I do.

having said that, can we agree not to view?

Re: Re: Immigration Question (Part 1)


I have no idea why CNN would call it that...unless what the committee's approval was of something different...or blended. I haven't been able to keep up. That's why I wanted to remove all the political stuff from my question.

But you're right about your post "the overall problem with politics, talk-radio, right v left, etc." On the other hand, that is a "problem" I'm not willing to give up. Politics, like capitalism, is about competition....products, services or ideas. I'm not willing to give up the freedom to speak even if it leads to such a problem however much I'd prefer civility and cool logic. I want the most free Marketplace of Ideas we can get even if it's painful. The best idea should win. If, on occasion, it does not as it might not here, show me the better system.

For the more specifics of your post: The right's "base" will not support McCain's/Kennedy's bill. I don't get Medved in the PPA (People's Republic of Austin) and I'm actually surprised that he'd support Kennedy/McCain/McCain/Kennedy...unless it is just from the practical/pragmatic aspect of those already here (the dreaded "amnesty" issue).

At first I thought that the more interesting bit of your post was why Medved would call it the McCain bill...unless it was to embarrass McCain. That was before I realized that you said Medved supported it.

Now, breaking my own rule of the question:

If we did put up the "WALL," can you imagine the EPA impact reports that would be required? "There are bears returning to Big Bend, Mr. INS/Homeland Security Guy, how can you put up a wall here?"

Hint as to the answer of my own question: If he's wearing a gang tat, send him back.

Re: Immigration Question (Part 2)

Now Scooter, to answer your question:

I only wish it were as simple as waving a wand. But, in the LJ utopia, (1) the criminal element would be sent back to wherever they came from; (2) the current immigration laws would be strictly enforced; (3) very strict penalties for employers who hire illegal aliens; (4) very strict penalties for those who bring them over and are caught; (5) after a background check, any illegals who come forward voluntarily will be given green-cards and any who have been in the U.S. over a certain period (and I don't know what period I would come up with...3 years, 5 years, 8 years..I have no idea) would be granted citizenship if they want it, provided they are able to read/write/speak English (which also would become the official language of the country). For those that do not come forward and we then find them, back they go.

We can't send 11 (low estimate) to 30 (high estimate) million people back home, so we need to do something to get them paying more than just sales tax here. And I don't blame them for coming - I blame us for allowing it to get to this point, I blame employers for exploiting them, and I blame their countries (Mexico in particular) for not getting their own economic house in order and promoting illegal immigration to the U.S.

Re: Immigration Question (Part 1)

Before I answer your question, just a comment about what I heard on the radio today. This, to me, points out the overall problem with politics, talk-radio, right v left, etc.

So I'm listening to Air America and on the Ed Schultz show, he is interviewing Senator Ted Kennedy about the immigration bill. Ed calls it "the Kennedy-McCain bill". After I get bored listening to Ted drone on and on and on, I turn the dial over to Michael Medved. Lo and behold, he is talking about the same subject. In fact, he supports "the McCain" bill". Hmm, no mention of Ted Kennedy. I guess that means it is a slightly different version of the one Ed and Ted were discussing. I get home and log onto, to check the latest news and I see an article about the immigration bill. I read it and CNN is calling it "the Judiciary Committee bill". The article states that McCain supports this one. Wow...maybe there are 3 bills and McCane supports 2 of them? I wonder what the differences are???

After reading several sites, I'm getting the impression that in fact, they are one in the same. So why are they being called by 3 different names?? I get why AAR wanted to include Kennedy in the name and I get why Medved wanted to exclude Kennedy by name - what I don't get is why CNN mentions neither.

Immigration Question


If you were the benevolent dictator of our fair land, what would you do about the current hot topic? Forget about political strategies and implementation problems. If you could wave your scepter and make it happen, what would the end result be?

Lots of activity...

My magnum opus is already far down in the posts.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Damnit Johnson

I know your doing it just to get under my skin but please stop with the "beg the question." I'll trade you something. What do you want?

Re: The Dennis The Peasant Blogging System...

I've been wondering why Michael hasn't updated us on the next installments. Perhaps this is the reason (from part 4)....

"Lie About Your Career – I’m sure you’ve acquired some pretty interesting anecdotes while working as an Assistant Manager on the night shift at the Sioux City Taco Bell, but that’s not the sort of thing that brings profits from the blogosphere. You have two choices in approaching your pseudo-career. Here they are:

1. Be as elliptical as possible about what you actually do, thereby ensuring that you aren’t providing enough information for you readers to come to the conclusion that you work the night shift at a Taco Bell. Or anything else, for that matter. If today’s big adventure was accidently dropping a case of taco shells into the toilet in the employee bathroom, write it up as something like... Today was a toughie. One of my biggest commodities positions took a sharp drop. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it coming and couldn’t unload it before it crashed. It’s going to take some time to clean this one up... See what I mean? Based on that, absolutely nobody could be really sure of what you actually do for a living.

2. Pretend you’re a lawyer. Lawyers think they sit on the left shoulder of God, can’t shut up, and usually don’t have the faintest idea of what they are talking about. You can say all the stupid sort of shit you normally would, and all you have to do is pepper it with a few things like... I can’t believe they gave Alito a ‘well qualified’. Never would have happened if I’d been on the committee – or – You know, if any of the Assistant Attorney Generals had any balls, they’d RICO Bush and Cheney.

That’s all it takes. Just drop a comment here and there, and you can have your readership believing just about anything about what you “do for a living”.

Hmm...this begs the question - are Michael and Scooter REALLY lawyers????

L'affaire de Condi

LJ, your comments are well taken. She's got no track record and, as Scooter points out, she's pro-choice and pro-affirmative action, both anathema (I wanted to use something else because I, and others, overuse that word but when I tried to find a substitute I couldn't so until Scooter finds something there it is) to the base.* There's no doubt her appeal is directly related to the probability of a Hillary nomination. Having said that, I don't think anyone who is serious thinks she's qualified. If you believe what she says, and I do, she doesn't either.

There's more here. There's a group of conservatives who can't stand the fact that black voters don't get that they've been abused and are being used by the Dems. I became convinced that this is true reading, among other things, Mona Charon's book (I plug this so often I should get some sort of royalty. This book addresses the good intentions of libs (that failed), rather than painting them as America-hating crazies).

[I've rewritten several endings to this, none satisfactory. eom]

* I was doing long and pointless parentheticals LONG before I knew Lileks existed. Of course now that I've seen Lileks, I bow (and scrape) to the master.

Re: The love affair with Condi

Interesting that you should blame the White House / Bush for the out-of-control spending. YOUR Senate leader, Dr. Frist, blames others:

"The Democrat alternative to Republican efforts to restrain spending is clear: Continue to spend beyond our means, mortgaging our children's future by saddling them with a debt of $8 trillion … and continue to ratchet up taxes to pay for their fiscal irresponsibility, stifling the American economy."

Pot to kettle.

Re: the Love Affair with Condi

I agree with LJ about most of the folks following the two reasons you cited electability with women and African fact, I cited those same two reasons in my Re: Condi v. Hillary (more on) (update) post. Mostly I'd be for her because I believe she has the same foreign policy views as W.

I did mention earlier that she's pro choice but I think that if she espoused the originalist view of judicial nominees, she'd get a pass on that from the base. I also think she has a pro affirmative action position. I'm not too concerned about either of those (or most non-economic domestic issues). Immigration is the hot button today (interesting blend of domestic and foreign policy) and maybe will still be in November, but it might wane by '08 especially if some congressional band-aid is put on it and nothing catastrophic happens. It shouldn't wane but it might. I don't know where she stands on that one.

I think most have learned (even some dems like Bill) that the single best thing the executive can do for the economy is GET OUT OF THE WAY and keep some kind of lid on, if not reducing, taxes. I don't think Senator Clinton has learned that, nor any of the last dozen or so dem contenders. (And for the record, my biggest Bush disappointment has been his inability to stop spending like a drunken sailor. Deficits are overblown as an issue as the Reagan recovery showed but are still problematic....Bush has been an utter failure on domestic spending.) Difficult to imagine the strength of today's US economy if Bush had held down domestic spending to merely Clintonian levels.)

Much like the Dem's view of the last election (anybody but Bush), I fear that may be where the GOP may have to go in '08 if the junior senator from NY is the opponent. Sadly, as the dems learned, that is no way to run a campaign.

The love affair (and I don't mean just on this blog) with Condi

Can either of you explain to me the love affair the right has with her? I will admit I don't watch the Sunday news shows very often, so if she is on them saying something other than comments on foreign policy, I have no idea where she stands on any other issue(s). Social Security, Medicare, immigration, the deficit, education, etc. She doesn't have a voting record. And any statement she makes she could back-track on, saying she was just stating the administration's view, not hers. And to be fair, I've never understood the left's affection for Hilllary either. And this was even before she became a Senator. I can tell you right now that if they are the nominees in '08, I may not even vote.

I have a theory. The right loves her because she is the only person who they think can beat Hillary. Not not because of issues or policy, but because (1) the female vote - because she is more "likeable" than Hillary and (2) the African-American vote.

Now, to sound intelligent, all the voters interviewed in exit polls will give different reasons for voting for her, but in the end, there will only be 2. And the right-wing press will do the same, spinning it as once again, America identifying with the ideals of the Republican party, but in reality that will have nothing to do with it.

And, on a final note, as someone with "no dog in this fight", Condi is not (imho) an attractive woman.

Monday, March 27, 2006

JesusH on a postage stamp!

There's lonely, then there's CONDI lonely. Good G-d man, get ahold of yourself.

Not ill...just lonely (eom)


Not to mention the classical piano and Russian speaking voting blocs...Landslide.

Editor's Note (Condi edition)

Michael and LJ have just learned that Scooter is ill. We are merging on his location to take him to the appropriate facility. Stand by.


To be really shallow, I've never thought much of her hairstyle either, but yesterday she looked HOT.


I'm sorry Scooter, she's not pretty, let's not pretend she is. And hie thee to a dentist, woman. There, I said it.

Re: Condi

Don't understand most of your last paragraph. What do you mean "alleviating her pro-life stance among the base?"

UPDATE: Of course, Scooter meant "pro-choice:" as he has corrected in his post.

Re: Condi v. Hillary (more on) (update)

Nullifying the single women's vote, electrifying the African-American'd be a slaughter of Reaganesque proportions.

Not to mention the very shallow looks vote. She's never looked more beautiful than she did on Wallace's program spite of the tooth gap.

Embarrassingly, Wallace played a clip of her when she appeared on his show last December following the Iraqi election, SHE APPEARED TO BE WEARING THE SAME OUTFIT! Someone really ought to be taking care of that. [Update: I realize that last comment was very SRRlike, I apologize to my reader.]

Re: Gore in 2008 (Really Condi) [update]

I think she'd kill Hillary but I really think she's not interested...especially after seeing the daily beating taken by her boss.

Dick Morris seems to think (hope) she'd win.

Yesterday on Chris Wallace she seemed to be genuinely not wanting to run.

As to Rovian machinations, if it could be made to seem that she were really "answering the call," that could go a long way to alleviating her pro-choice ( initially said pro-life, sorry about that...thanks Michael) stance among the base, especially if she were to embrace judicial originalism and Bush the Younger were to get another member on the bench.

Gore in 2008

Is he really out? Could he beat Hillary? He would certainly run left of her; are there enough true lefties out there to get him the nomination? And would he have a chance against Allen, Romney or McCain? (Like I know those are the likely nominees. What a horse race. Don't count out Giuliani or Huckabee.) McCain has a lot of ass-kissing (presidential and otherwise) to do if he thinks the delegates will nominate him, but he's started the process. Allen is smart and smooth. Romney, despite the fact that he's Mormon, seems to be appealing to the religious right.

Of course, everything is off the table if Condi can be persuaded. Scooter: I welcome your view here: Is she not really interested, or is this a Rove machination? Assuming it's not, could she be persuaded? Would she beat Hillary? How badly?

Victor Davis Hanson's Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power

Victor Davis Hanson's Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power is a great look at the rise of the West's "style" of military culture and why it has been, to this point at least, essentially undefeatable (ok, maybe not a word).

It starts in the preface with a look at the march of the 10,000 back to Greece following the battle at Cunaxa and ends in the epilogue with a rather gloomy portrait of the future with genuine battles of West v. West (battles/wars that have generally produced the most brutal and horrific results).

The key elements of the brutal way Western cultures wage war include:

Relatively free soldiers, at least compared to the non-West.
Decisive or Shock Battle intended to obliterate the opposition.
Citizen soldiers.
Landed soldiers.
Technology and Appreciation of Reason (scientific method).
The Economy that can produce the Decisive or Shock Battle (my favorite chapter is entitled The Market--or Capitalism Kills...about the Battle of Lepanto in 1571).
The Discipline of Western soldiering.
(and the seemingly opposite of the foregoing Discipline) Individualism of same.
Finally, the Dissent and Self-Critique of the so-called loss of Tet.

There are great reviews at the amazon site so I won't try to give a real review here (a problem with reading a book five years following its publication.

Rather, I'll just excerpt a few passages that piqued my interest and made me want to read more of the author's work.

The first:

The great hatred of capitalism the hearts of the oppressed, ancient and modern, I think, stems not merely from the ensuing vast inequality of wealth, and the often unfair and arbitrary nature of who profits and who suffers, but from the silent acknowledgment that under a free market economy the many victims of the greed of the few are still better off than those under the utopian socialism of the well-intended. It is a hard thing for the poor to acknowledge benefits from their rich moral inferiors who never so intended it. (pp. 271-2; Lepanto)

It will come as no surprise to my reader that such a passage would be one of my favorites. It comes from the Capitalism Kills chapter.

The second:

For good or evil, few Westerners believe that a sacred cow is more important than a human, that the emperor is superior to the individual person, that a religious pilgrimage is the fulfillment of a human's life, that in war a suicidal charge is often required for an individual's excellency, or that a combatant must risk his or her life to save the emperor's picture. (p. 387; Midway)

The third:

How odd that the institutions that can thwart the daily battle progress of Western arms can also ensure the ultimate triumph of its cause. If the Western commitment to self-critique in part caused the American defeat in Vietnam, then that institution was also paramount in the explosion of Western global influence in the decades after the war--even as the enormous and often bellicose Vietnamese army fought for a regime increasingly despised at home, shunned abroad, and bankrupt economically and morally. (p. 439; Tet)

The fourth:

Buying and selling is a human trait, but the abstract protection of private property, the institutionalization of interest and investment, and the understanding of market are not. Capitalism is more than the sale of goods, more than the existence of money, and more than the presence of the bazaar. Rather, it is a peculiar Western practice that acknowledges the self-interest of man and channels that greed to the production of vast amounts of goods and services through free markets and institutionalized guarantees of personal profit, free exchange, deposited capital, and private property. (p. 445; Epilogue)

And finally:

Nope, can't reproduce that one...the last paragraph of the book...that's VDH's. You should read it.

I wish this reader had been more able to resolve the conflict between Discipline of Western infantry (including the ability to fight and march in what had always seemed ridiculous rows of infantry shooting, kneeling and reloading that we see in the movies of the Revolutionary War...that just seem nuts to me though it makes much more sense to me in its origins of the phalanxes after reading Gates of Fire) and the Individualism of the pilots that led to victory at Midaway.

Though not excerpted, my favorite chapters (probably because I had so little knowledge of their subjects) were about the battles at Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) by Cortes and the Conquistadors and Rorke's Drift by the British over the Zulus.

I have tried to diligently reproduce VDH's paragraphs but my typing ability is less than stellar.
To the extent of any errors, I accept full responsibility. [Note: I've been up since 5:00 so I reserve the right to make extensive edits. Dang, big post, but at least none of the thoughts were original.]

“Impeccably Multicultural”

While Mark Steyn was a day late and a dollar short in his Abdul Rahman Sun-Times piece yesterday, his column did contain this gem:

In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" -- the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

''You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."