A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Now and then. . .

. . .even the bed-wettingest of liberals does something that makes so much sense that you just know that there's no way in hell it'll ever pass Congress. Case in point: Barney Frank. I found the article while perusing Lucianne.com; not exactly a hotbed of leftwing sentiment. The discussion indicates at least a modicum of conservative support (some of it mine, of course) for eliminating federal penalties with regard to possession and use of small amounts of marijuana, and I suspect that the support for such a move among conservatives is growing, rather than shrinking.

It would be a good idea for Rep. Frank to contact the CATO Institute, and more specifically, Radley Balko in his effort to push the legislation through Congress, if only to get the details of the tragedy that is the Drug War into the Congressional Record and draw more attention to the unending government encroachment into the lives, liberty and property of American citizens that is taking place under the auspices of protecting them from themselves.

This is one area where I part ways with John McCain, though I will continue to support him simply because I don't believe it is of the highest priority among all the reasons to either support or oppose his candidacy. I also understand that a good number of people oppose the idea of decriminalizing marijuana for very understandable, but wrongheaded reasons.

Mac people are so fanatical. . .

. . .that the unbridled fervor can afflict normally even-tempered gentlemen like Charlie Rose.

Come on, Mac people! Lighten up, wouldja?

One more song. . .

. . .from the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and I'll stop bugging the reader. I'm making a slight transition with the blog to lend a little variety to it by using weekends as an excuse to focus mainly on pop culture, and focusing largely on politics through the week.

So, I'm wandering the internets looking for useful multimedia tools, and I found this nifty music site called Rhapsody which has a small music player that users can embed into blog posts. I chose "I'm Waiting for the Day":
I'm Waiting For The Day by The Beach Boys

It's a classic. . .

. . .from The Onion that I've been meaning to post for a long time.

An inebriated Hitchens is forcibly removed from the Happy Trails trailer park.

I can't even think about that picture without laughing. The story is just as funny.

Friday, March 21, 2008

My Friday evening. . .

. . .parting post comes courtesy of Olbermann Watch, via Jonah Goldberg Mark Hemingway at The Corner.

UPDATE: In my haste to "get the hell outta here", I neglected to link Olbermann Watch. I have since corrected.

Sorry, guys. That's two hits you'll never get back.

: Well, I managed to screw up this post in every conceivable way. It was actually Mark Hemingway who posted the Olbermann link over at The Corner, and not Jonah Goldberg.

Folks, this is why you don't want to buy a car that was manufactured on a Friday.

Some accidents. . .

. . .are just too funny to feel bad about.

For any Blackberry. . .

. . .wielding tech-geek types out there who sometimes have trouble finding a wireless signal for your laptop, here's a way to use your Crackberry as a wireless modem.

I does what I can.

One of the joys. . .

. . .of being a music lover is that, now and then, you get to rediscover one of your longtime favorites and marvel at it all over again. That happened to me last night with the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds". It had probably been a year since the last time I dusted off the CD, and when I put it in, it was almost as though I was listening to it for the first time. Of course, it seems like I go through that same experience every time I hear it, but that doesn't make it any less thrilling. I simply cannot get over how well the music on that album stands up today.

One of the characteristics that make it such an incontrovertible work of genius is the actual recording, which, to my ear, takes a sledgehammer to Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound". Unfortunately, that doesn't come across in this YouTube video, but you do get a hint of the musical complexity that runs through the whole album:

If you don't already own this album, and you are a fan of pop music with any emphasis on the "music" part, then you are required by federal statute to get it. Failure to do so will, I'm afraid, raise serious questions about your patriotism.

Serendipitously, as I was looking around for links to place into this post, I discovered that the surviving members of the band have patched up their decades-old differences. While I doubt that anything could ever bring Brian Wilson back to the apex of his creativity established on "Pet Sounds", it certainly is good to know that the band can look back on the seminal moment in pop music history that they shared without the cloud of animosity hanging over the accomplishment.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Actually, I do. . .

. . .remember how the rest of the joke from yesterday's post goes.

A guy walks into a bar, sits down and says, "Give me ten shots of your best Scotch."

The bartender looks at him, notices that he looks rather run-down and dejected, and says, "Ten shots? Are you sure about that?"

The guy looks up, and says, "Yeah. I'm sure. Just line 'em up right here in front of me."

The bartender shakes his head, sets up ten shotglasses in a row, and fills each one. To his amazement, the guy begins slamming them back, one right after the other, as fast as his hands can move.

"Whoa! Whoa, man! What's your hurry? That's eighteen-year-old Scotch!"

The man pauses, looks up at him, and said, "Well, you'd be in a hurry, too, if you had what I have."

The bartender, somewhat taken aback, averts his eyes for a moment, looks up and says, "Aww, man. That's rough. Not trying to be nosy, or anything, but what do you have?"

The man looks up and says, "A dollar thirty five."

Well, I never. . .

. . .would have caught this little slip a mere three weeks ago. And, to be honest, I don't find it all that offensive, considering the fact that I've probably referred to myself as a "typical white guy" a million times in my life. But, the fact is that thanks to Sen. Obama and Rev. Wright this conversation has been forced on us like Bill Clinton at a National Cosmetology Association convention.

H/T: Jonah @ The Corner

I'll say one thing for Wright. . .

. . .he's certainly managed to bring about the long talked-about but never-initiated "dialogue on race" that liberals have been promising America for the past 50 years. Apparently, the liberal idea of "dialogue" amounts to lecturing, scolding and moral preening before the slack-jawed lummoxes residing between our shining coasts.

The most essential element of any dialogue is for each side to be able to view the point of contention from the other's perspective. In order to facilitate this, I've provided a couple of links that should help.

Stuff White People Like

Anything Black


Quote of the Day

"The thrill is gone." -- America's leg, March 20, 2008

You're an idiot. . .

. . .if you don't read this excoriation of Andrew Sullivan at Ace of Spades. The graphics alone make it the greatest blog post since Lincoln.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

From the comments section. . .

. . .of my post on John McWhorter:
Everyone is complaining about Rev Wright's words? Yes the tone and words may not be correct but was he telling lies?
Have the black community brought drugs into this country? No! they don't have the resources. Don't listen to the sound bites but the complete sermon.
Listen to the complete sermon about fidelity.

Let's tell the truth.

This is the sort of idiocy that Wright seeks to legitimize, and why Obama is so thoroughly embarrassed by his association right now. And to cap it off by trying to say that everything has been taken out of context based on a few sound bites is utterly ludicrous. By way of demonstration:

A guy walks into a bar, sits down and says, "Give me ten shots of your best Scotch."

I forget how the rest of the joke goes, but your mother's a whore.

Look, it's easy to get mad about someone calling your mom a whore, but it really was a funny joke and you really need to get over it.

Care for life. . .

. . .do not fun.

Perhaps someone can tell me. . .

. . .just what the hell is wrong with this woman?

If I could say one thing to Madonna, it would be, "Listen, you haggard bag of crap. You're TOO OLD! Gay guys don't even think you're hot anymore! If they say otherwise, it's because they want to be one of your dancers."

Looks like somebody. . .

. . .was a little late in getting the memo.

In the Obama campaign's defense, it should be pointed out that they never had the Aryan Brotherhood's endorsement, and probably would have rejected it if offered.


Some 527 group. . .

. . .needs to put on its video-splicing shoes and get to work on this wonderful chunk of inspiration from Mark Steyn:

'God damn America.' Just words.

'US government created Aids, supplied drugs to our community.' Just words.

'US of KKKA.' Just words.

'What we are doing is the same thing al-Qaeda is doing.' Just words.

'Until now, I was never proud of my country.' Just words from my wife.

It's not the gotcha. . .

. . .they were hoping for, but the left did their damnedest to make it so. When John McCain was speaking to reporters on his tour of the Mideast, he made the "unforgivable gaffe" of stating that Iran is guilty of training al Qaeda. Standing at his side, Sen. Joe Lieberman quickly "corrected" him, causing him to "clarify" that Iran is guilty of training extremists in general, but not "specifically" al Qaeda.

It turns out that the true "gaffe" here was in McCain's relenting to Sen. Lieberman's pullback. A quick perusal of Powerline and the link to Tom Joscelyn's summary makes it pretty clear that John McCain knows of which he speaks, and that the yuk-yukking stooges at the AP and the Democrats and leftists who feed at their trough were doing what they do best: lying.

John McWhorter. . .

. . .is a solid thinker and writer as far as I can tell. Though, I admit, I haven't read enough of his work to say so with any authority. In fact, I'm not even sure that I have the credentials to make that judgment. I'll leave that to others to decide and give my opinion anyway, since that doesn't require credentials of any kind.

Reading his piece in the New York Sun today, I have to confess to having a little trouble picking up what he was putting down. But, as I drew closer to the end, it struck me as a fairly uncritical way of saying that, indeed, it is a black thing, and I wouldn't understand.

The key to me was the following passage:
"If this is just political hardball, I get it. But I sense more to it. America prides itself on being ready for a black president lately. Well, in hearing Reverend Wright's agitprop as performance rather than hate speech, Barack Obama is black indeed — in a way other than the uninteresting one of melanin. Yet I see this as irrelevant to how he would run the country."

The passage indicates that one of the things that determines a person's "blackness" is whether or not that person perceives the language and tone of Jeremiah Wright's sermons as largely "schtick" or raw vitriol intended to incite anger and hatred among his parishioners toward their government and whites in general.

He seems to conclude that Obama's ability to discern the difference is part of what makes him truly "black", and that his own ability to do the same permits him to continue to support the idea of an Obama presidency. He also seems to conclude that whether or not America at large can draw that distinction will decide whether or not it will ever have a black president.

My only answer to that would be to say that Americans of every hue are perfectly capable of drawing that distinction, though not all. And, many of those who can draw the distinction aren't willing to do so for one simple reason: that even if it is pure showmanship, there are some performances that need to be decried, and Barack Obama's failure to do so when confronted with the performance is a sign that, when faced with the choice of standing up for the honor of the country he seeks to lead, or acquiescing to pressures placed upon him by his community to maintain his authenticity, he's left a lot of room for doubt as to which path he'll choose.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I have to admit to. . .

. . .a certain amount of apprehension over the degree of disgust I'm experiencing in the wake of the Obama/Wright controversy. When matters of race come up in ways that stir such outrage, you have to pause for a moment and consider whether or not you're getting caught up in your own strain of identity politics. So, I have to ask myself, "Am I angry because I'm a white guy who would be treated entirely differently if I were in Barack Obama's position, or am I angry because the things that Wright said were so patently offensive that there's no other way to feel about them?"

Predictably, I suppose, I've come to the conclusion that it's a little bit of both. After all, had a white person said things analogous to what Wright has said, I doubt seriously that I would have been angered at all by them. More likely, I would have resorted to ridicule, which is considerably more effective in rebutting those kinds of idiotic sentiments, and a lot less toxic to the system.

So, what is it about the fact that a black man said these things that bothered me so much? I think a good bit of it is reflected in my previous post, where I expressed my indignation at the lack of leadership that Obama has shown throughout this debacle. Reading over it a second (and third) time, I can see a certain amount of whining that it's not fair that people like Wright can feel comfortable in saying such things, while any white guy would have been called to account for it long ago.

Not that it isn't true, but the fact is, too much whining about side-issue injustices invites ridicule -- usually justified. After all, the things that Jeremiah Wright has said from the pulpit are wrong in any context, and the fact that liberals and Obama supporters are doing their best doesn't make them any less so. And, they'd be wrong whether or not these people would be defending a white person who expressed similar sentiments. So, as far as that's concerned, it seems that I fell prey to All About Me Syndrome.

As for Obama, I think we know less about him than some of his most vocal critics believe, and much more about him than his apologists would ever admit. For instance, contrary to what many of his critics insist, I don't believe that we can infer from the fact that Obama has such close ties to Wright that he is a black nationalist in the guise of a mainstream politician. While it's possible that he is, I don't think one can assume it based on what we know.

At the same time, the notion perpetuated by Obama's biggest supporters -- that he somehow transcends racial politics and represents a whole new paradigm -- has been exploded to bits by his reactions both when the problem presented itself, and when public scrutiny forced him to address it. For a man whose campaign proposes to transform American politics by elevating it from its current status as a cynical sleazefest, Obama has displayed a distinct lack of principle. It's difficult to escape the conclusion that he is little more than a gold plated version of the same old Chicago-style machine politician.

When he had an opportunity to confront the vile lies being inflicted upon his community as they were being spoken by one of its spiritual leaders, he chose silence. And, when presented with the opportunity not only disassociate himself from those lies, but to rebut them, invoke the truth and express the need for others to do the same, he chose to evade the core issue, subordinate its importance to his sense of solidarity with his community and use his grandmother's fear to minimize his pastor's anger, ignorance and demagoguery.

Some make the case that it's not Obama's duty to bring an end to the racial divisions that afflict America, and I think that's a fair statement. It could be that the media are responsible for that construct, and that to expect Obama to deliver on something that he never promised and can't deliver is grossly unfair. However, I do believe that he has benefited from the public's perception of him as The Healer of those old wounds, and that he didn't mind the media painting him as such, so long as it garnered him the support he needed.

As nicely crafted and delivered. . .

. . .as it was, Obama's speech came up short. It contained the required acknowledgments, though it made a rather unfair comparison between Geraldine Ferraro and Jeremiah Wright that I think undermined their premise. Still, the actual substance of the speech was very good, and something America could use a lot more of.

Where the speech fell short is the fact that it simply wasn't delivered directly to the audience that needed to hear it most. Since the issue fully erupted from the pulpit of a black nationalist church, that is where it should have been delivered, and where it should be repeated over and over again.

There is no shortage of self-flagellation among whites over the issue. On any given evening, your typical white political junkie can find all manner of opportunities to hear the litany of evils that our society continues to perpetuate on the various minority communities in our nation. A quick trip through the channels on your typical cable provider will bring forth a practically limitless number of opportunities for whites to bathe in the guilt of past generations and the shame that the current one bears for not bathing deeply enough in it.

While it's refreshing to hear the acknowledgment that blacks are partly responsible for the divisions that set the people of America at odds, it's not something that many whites haven't been saying for years. And, while it's nice to hear a prominent, respected black man recognize that some whites have legitimate gripes with regard to the racial polarization in our nation, it simply doesn't go far enough. To walk away from the issue at this point would amount to nothing more than kicking it down the road.

White Americans sit down to a heart-to-heart on race every time they turn on a TV. We chide ourselves for our insensitivity at every turn. We dive into our self-mockery with abandon and participate in the ridicule of our own ignorance with glee. We heap scorn on one another for our failures, and derision for our lack of charity.

This is not a matter of "disowning" a pastor who embodies the good and bad of the community he represents. It's a matter of willingness to correct him and those who say similar things when they say them, and not when you're under the pressure of national campaign. It's about telling the Jeremiah Wrights of the world and his apologists right then and there that what they're doing is wrong, and not waiting until you find yourself sharing the harsh light of public scrutiny in a national campaign to do it. It's about reminding their followers that, though they may not be happy with the rate of progress, America is trying.

The only way that this chasm will ever be bridged is for people like Barack Obama to go where they can make a difference. Go to college campuses, black churches, BET, urban radio stations, block parties, Emancipation Day and Martin Luther King Day and Juneteenth celebrations, and Freaknik to make that speech. Wherever blacks are likely to hear the opposite of what Obama said today is where Obama needs to say it. That's where the anger and bitterness is perpetuated, and that's where it needs to be addressed.

UPDATE: Don't you hate it when you write up a blog post only to find that others (like Victor Davis Hanson) have said much the same thing, only much better?

A scant eight years ago. . .

. . .the press was in full garment rending mode over the fact that George W. Bush had deigned to speak at Bob Jones University. At the time, the consensus among the mainstream media outlets was that by appearing there, then-candidate Bush was lending credibility to bigotry and hatred, and that to do so was in essence a tacit approval of all the things that America has striven to overcome in the name of racial and religious tolerance and harmony.

Right Wing News has a nice sampling of headlines and snippets of commentary that Bush's visit elicited from the press at the time, and puts it all nicely in context. Do check it out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

And the scrubbing has begun. . .

. . .in earnest, according to Greg Pollowitz, over at NRO's Media Blog. It seems various videos related to Rev. Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ are fast disappearing from YouTube. Somebody obviously doesn't want this stuff around come November.

When it comes down to it. . .

. . .there's not a dime's worth of difference between Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Dave Chappelle's character, Clayton Bigsby.

WARNING: Contains material that may be as offensive as that contained in Rev. Wright's sermons.

Newsbusters.org. . .

. . .has a rather interesting exchange between CBS's Russ Mitchell and Rev. Calvin Butts, III from the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. I particularly liked this part:
MITCHELL: Black congregants are reluctant, are they not, to criticize their pastor in public, even when the pastor says something as strong, as controversial as what Reverend Wright said?

BUTTS: That's right. I'm very surprised at any congregant who would denounce his or her pastor.

So, you see, we're being told, "It's a black thing. You wouldn't understand."

That's exactly what is going to be Obama's problem from here on out. On one hand, he's telling America that it is time that we move beyond the divisions that have set Americans apart from one another for far too long, and that he is the man to move us beyond them. At the same time, those who choose to defend his failure to decry the very divisions he supposedly laments when they're perpetuated by his pastor are telling us, "Look. You mind your own business. This is who we are, and this is who we're always going to be. If you're expecting us to be conciliatory in this quest for reconciliation, I'm afraid you're going to be sorely disappointed."

As an average white guy who has often found himself shaking his head at the shameful ugliness expressed by some whites toward blacks, and bewildered at the sense of grievance that some whites harbor over the idea that racially divisive sentiments should be shunned, I'm beginning to get the sense that I've been conned. How am I supposed to believe that there is any real desire to heal the wounds of the past when men like Jeremiah Wright use their positions of authority to keep them open and bleeding?

Can Barack Obama, Calvin Butts, or Jeremiah Wright please explain to me how it is that I'm not a chump?

As I pointed out. . .

. . .in my previous post, and Ross Douthat makes crystal clear in his response to Ezra Klein, Barack Obama's supporters are being forced to resort to the most idiotic justifications imaginable. What's more troubling, however, is that in Klein's case, he isn't even being forced to do it. Given the fact that Obama has now rejected Wright's sentiments, Klein is effectively left standing pants-down in the glaring light of his of his own foolishness.

Stanley Kurtz does a wonderful job of highlighting the kind of sophistry that the left will use to comfort itself in the days ahead, over at The Corner. It really is a thing of beauty to anyone who has encountered one of those types who tend to frequent the comments sections of liberal bulletin boards on the Web and UseNet, posting lengthy condescensions of right wingers filled with passages lifted directly from the books their philosophy professors required them to purchase for the class, but that the bookstore wouldn't buy back at the end of the semester.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Even the Spitzer scandal. . .

. . .has a silver lining. With all the publicity surrounding "Kristen's" MySpace page, I decided to have a look at some of the pages that weren't getting all the attention. And, as if life followed the script of some second-rate romantic comedy, it seems I have found the woman I've been waiting for all my life.

Thank you Eliot Spitzer. Thank you internets. Most of all, thank you Foreigner.


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