A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

For those who may not know. . .

. . .the full story of John McCain's time as a prisoner of war, here's a link to the story as he told it in 1973 to US News & World Report. It's fairly long, but highly recommended. I would even go so far as to suggest printing it out and making copies for friends, neighbors and family members who may not know the full extent of his character and perseverance.

It truly is a humbling read.

Why on earth. . .

Skip shy the rickshaw. . .

. . .if you must, but I refuse to play carrots and footstools while my government hurls shingles and lox.

Judge for yourself.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The tragic irony. . .

. . .when a person like William F. Buckley dies is that, in all the sadness that comes from knowing that one of my heroes has passed, I now have the wonderfully satisfying opportunity to learn so much more about him than I ever would have known if he were alive. And, of all the things I've learned about this singular presence in America's culture these past two days, the most gratifying is how truly beloved he was.

I watched Charlie Rose when I got home last night, which is something I don't always do, though I've never purposely avoided the show. It's just that I watch very little television these days, and don't keep up with broadcast schedules, so I simply never know what's going to be on when I hit the button. The final segment, when the retrospective was over and Mr. Rose said his last goodbye was one of the more moving television moments I've witnessed in years. The change in his voice at the end of his salute was an unmistakable expression of real loss that snatched away my breath as though I were Mr. Rose, himself.

But, through the expressions of loss by the vast circle of friends now paying tribute to his life, I can't help but feel a little joy at all the wonderful things I'm getting to read about this all-too-rare human being who always seemed more like a distant icon to me. It's one thing to know that Bill Buckley had a wonderful, sharp and incisive sense of humor, which is apparent to anyone who has seen through his work. It's something else, though, to find out just how much a person of good humor he was.

The impact he had on the lives of so many was self-evident through his work and all that stemmed from it. But, until he passed, I had no inkling as to how many lives and hearts he had touched in his time. It's not something you expect to hear of a man whose smile was once compared to a switchblade.

Heaven will welcome William F. Buckley in the same way the William F. Buckley welcomed the people who came into his world. These links, courtesy of The Corner, should give the reader some idea of just how welcoming a presence he was.

NOTE: Added some text that was unintentionally omitted in original posting.

Of all the stupid things. . .

. . .for people to get indignant about in this election, it's the fact that people have a right to say Barack Hussein Obama rather than simply Barack Obama, or Sen. Obama, or simply Obama when referring to the probable Democrat nominee. Karl Rove advised GOP state executive directors to refrain from using his middle name recently, according to Marc Ambinder in a blog post at The Atlantic. In response, some folks apparently feel they're being "stabbed in the back" and other melodramatic terms that puling bellyachers like to employ when someone dares to do something that doesn't fit into their pinhole vision of conservatism. Here are a few representatively cranky responses to Mr. Rove's advice, culled from Lucianne.com - where they are, thankfully, in the minority:
flaming sword:

His name is Barack HUSSEIN Obama.

Period, end of conversation.

Don't dare threaten Americans that we have to be so PC as to eliminate the part of his legal name that's offensive. To us? To him?

This was the topic on a talk show I heard on the way home. It got loud and heated.

He is what he is.
got of irony:

Cunningham did EXACTLY what John Sidney McCain's handlers told him to do. They asked for red meat and he delivered. I think this backstabbing is cowardless and proves John Sidney McCain will chose political expediency over the hard choice every time.


Was his mother a bigot for naming him Hussein? NO!
Then lay off the bigot talk about the use of his legal given name. The bottom line is he does have ties to radical Islam and was educated in Muslim schools. Do we really want the uncertainty of his ties to be overlooked as he is contmplated as a potential President of the United States of America? Our nation has been attacked by Muslims periodically for the past 30 years; the last of which resulted in more deaths than those at Pearl Harbor!
The use of the man's middle name is a suitable reminder in these uncertain times of our Nation's history.

Tough toenails if you don't like it!

I suppose I can understand the anguish on behalf of these poor, put-upon souls. I can distinctly remember the exquisite humiliation I felt when I was called onto the carpet by my elementary school principal for repeatedly calling one of my fellow students by his middle name, which happened to be Oscar. "Where's your trashcan, Oscar? Oh-oh! Oscar's getting a little "grouchy"! What are you gonna do, hit me with an old banana peel, Oscar?" You know, that sort of thing.

"But that's his real name!" I said in my defense. Of course, the principal wasn't buying it. It seems that, not long before that, I had obliquely referred to him by his first name. One of the other students asked him if he wanted to have any kids, and he said he didn't. I, being the inveterate wiseguy, chimed in with, "I can just see a bunch of little 'Haskells' running around". I was immediately sent out to the hall on that one, and duly dressed down for being disrespectful.

But, what was wrong with me taunting Oscar? That was his real name, after all. It's not like he was an authority figure, as was the case with my grade school principal.

Eventually, as I grew older, it slowly occurred to me that running around calling people by their middle names for comic effect, or derision, or whatever reason, when they go by another name is, quite simply, being a jerk. And, if you want to have very many friends, being a jerk isn't the way to go about it. Even people who aren't targeted by the namecalling frown upon that sort of thing when they hear you doing it to others.

I'm not sure exactly when this all finally dawned on me. It seems to have happened without any kind of epiphany. As best I can figure, it was simply part of a maturation process that began between grade school and middle school.

The unfortunate thing in all of this is that people who vote are, by definition, people who should have undergone that social metamorphosis, assuming they're not psycho-socially stunted. So, assuming that most voters have in fact developed into fully functional adults with normal social lives and relationships with their fellow human beings, they're probably going to frown on that kind of namecalling, just like most high schoolers. At least I hope so.

So, when John McCain steps forward to disassociate himself from that sort of thing, it seems to me that the prudent reaction would be to give him credit for being a grownup, rather than fold your arms and pout about having political correctness "shoved down your throat" or being "stabbed in the back" or being "thrown under the bus". Besides, in all the columns and books I've ever read, and all the television programs I've ever watched featuring William F. Buckley, I don't recall him making the case that, in order to be a true conservative, one must be willing to participate in the mockery of others' names, regardless of how it might appear to voters.

But, hey. I'm no Buckley. It could be the case that the conservative mission has changed, and that we are now charged with standing athwart common polity, yelling Hussein!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bill Cunningham. . .

. . .is certainly no stranger to idiocy. It apparently spills over into his sports analysis as much as his politics.

There's no shortage of legitimate ways to mock Obama. Schoolyard taunts aren't one of them. And, if he wants to support Hillary because John McCain is rightfully embarrassed by his childish behavior, it's just more evidence on the pile that the man is given to childish behavior.

What's so depressing about it is the number of conservatives who have decided to take umbrage at Cunningham's being "thrown under the bus." Bill Cunningham has every right to be an unmitigated dullard. But that doesn't trump John McCain's duty to disassociate himself from that kind of stupidity.

William F. Buckley, Jr.
1925 - 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I must concur. . .

. . .with David Freddoso regarding Thomas Cheplick's suggestion over at American Spectator. Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin would certainly energize Republican voters. Especially those of us who grew up watching Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" video.

Also, she's totally conservative and stuff.

What to make of this. . .

. . .superhuman ability of Obama's to travel through time and change historical events in order to ensure that his wife can, for the first time in her adult life, be proud of America? It truly is a magnificent capability, and one that could potentially be used for the betterment of all of mankind.

I just have to wonder, though, why he hasn't exploited this power to enhance his voting record in the Illinois Senate by tidying up some of those "present" votes. If he has this ability and hasn't shown the presence of mind to put some meat on his rather skeletal legislative record, I have to question his political acuity.

I suppose it could be that he was doing other, more life-affirming things. Scott Bakula always seemed to focus on the small stuff in Quantum Leap. And, it does seem that the small things always had a pretty big impact on the course of history.

And, like Bakula's character on the show, Obama seems to have materialized out of nowhere. It could be that thirty years ago, he was just a nameless, underpaid shipyard worker who happened to run into Lech Walesa on his way through the gate and said, "You know, this whole 'from each according to his abilities' thing isn't really working out for me. But, who am I? A mere welder with an empty lunch box. There is nothing I can do."

Then, when an inspired Walesa climbed on top of the shipyard wall, there was a flash of light and Obama vanished, only to rematerialize a key adviser to President Eisenhower. It could be that, sensing the growing strife in the South, he advised the president to make a bold, bipartisan move by calling upon John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert to serve as his outreach directors to the civil rights community.

It just dawned on me that I may have to go into hiding. It could be that I know and have said too much already. But, given what has already transpired in the life of Barack Obama, how can we be sure that the show, Quantum Leap, isn't based on him and that his entire nomination is the product of a top secret government program to maintain the course of history and finally make the daughter of a working class black family from Chicago proud of her country?

Folks, we could be living an Emmy Award winning episode in America's history. I hope I live to see the broadcast.

On a lighter note. . .

. . .one of my favorite South Park sequences of all time is "Fightin' 'Round the World with Russell Crowe". Somehow, I've never gotten tired of it.

Being South Park, there is some coarse language. So, if you can handle that, enjoy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A walking, talking hope machine. . .

. . .has apparently transformed into a walking, talking time machine.

I just received an email from a friend pointing out some discrepancies in a Barack Obama speech at Selma, Alabama.

It seems hard to imagine how the story as related by Sen. Obama could be true, considering the fact that he was born on August 4, 1961. The marches in Selma, Alabama didn't begin until March 7, 1965. Also, his birth date would indicate that he was conceived in late 1960. This would seem to preclude the notion that Obama's grandfather was inspired by the words of John and Robert Kennedy to send Barack Obama, Sr. on a plane to America in an airlift they instituted in order to bring young African men to our shores. If there were any inspiring words and airlifts, they would have had to be uttered and instituted by Dwight Eisenhower, just as my email indicates.

So, here we have a candidate who has an incredible ability to connect with audiences, and manipulate the space-time continuum. I really don't know how the hell you beat that.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, emailer!

UPDATE: Welcome Moonbattery vistitors! The link is very much appreciated, and anything that helps get the word out about Obama's historical revisionism is helpful.

The Rightwing Nuthouse. . .

. . .has the best take I've read on the idiotic attempt by the Clinton machine to tar Obama as a crypto-Islamist. It really is one of the most absolutely mindless political moves I've seen in a long time, and the rush to exploit it among some conservatives is a source of embarrassment.

But is it new? Of course not. It's been a staple of certain corners of the right blogosphere from birth. However, it gained a certain degree of "respectability" in another shameful incident that happened two years ago, almost to the day: the collapse of the Dubai Ports World deal. Of course, the full ramifications of allowing this sort of howling yahoo-ism to dictate policy wasn't known until Rowan Scarborough uncovered it in the process of writing his book, "Sabotage: America's Enemies Within the CIA".

Now, we've reached the point where this kind of hyperventilating, paranoiac raving among some conservatives could cost us much more than "just" a valuable opportunity to gain intelligence in some of the world's most crucial and sensitive fronts in the struggle against radical Islamic terrorism. It could cost us a hard-won victory in the seminal front in that struggle in which we've invested so much of the best of America and her resources.

Obama will shrug this off publicly. But, behind the scenes, he will wield this to his advantage in much the same way that the Clintons wielded the "mysterious deaths" lists. And, it won't matter that this particular bit of nastiness was placed before the public by his rival Democrat. So was "The Infamous Willie Horton" ad, and the Democrats have used that to great effect for a couple of decades now.

The American electorate can be broken down into two groups: (1) Those who believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim who has pulled the wool over the unblinking media eye and will never vote for him, and (2) People who have heard those suspicions and rejected them. The former is a rather small but vocal group. The latter is a rather large group who, for the most part, finds the former to be a disturbingly ridiculous coterie of mouth-breathers.

The problem that group one faces is that, as time goes on, there will be some who move from Group 1 to Group 2, and there will be virtually none who will gravitate the other way.

H/T -- Lucianne.com

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It takes a hell of a lot. . .

. . .to make me sympathetic to Ralph Nader, but watching the recent PBS documentary, An Unreasonable Man, managed to do it. The way the left turned against him after the 2000 elections and throughout the 2004 elections is one of the more shameful things I've witnessed in politics.

While I can't think of a single area in which I agree with Ralph Nader, the fact of the matter is that he is the very embodiment of all that the Democrats supposedly stand for. In 2000, there were a lot of high profile liberals, particularly in Hollywood, who believed as much and they proudly supported him in his bid.

However, when it turned out they could plausibly blame him for Al Gore's loss that year, they gleefully turned on him as if he were a child molester in the penitentiary's general population. People who, just four years prior, had spoken of him in the most glowing of terms were suddenly spitting his name out of their mouths as if it were rancid tofu.

To say the least, I'm gratified by his decision to stick it to them once again, and I hope he uses it as an opportunity to highlight the hypocrisy of his erstwhile supporters in Hollywood who so readily sold their souls to John F. Kerry, Inc. in the 2004 election.

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