Saturday, November 28, 2009


No posts these last few days. I'm on holiday in Benton County, Arkansas, where the Ozark Plateau gives way to the Central Lowlands as one move west into Oklahoma. Good company and weather have been spectacular. Warm dry winds, new commercial aviation corridors, new song birds, long-known and loved family. There is much to enjoy here. Expect continued light posting for several days.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Barbie As The Absolute Ultimate Sex Toy

My favorite psychiatrist on the Internet, Dr. Sanity, is supposed to be on hiatus during her move from Michigan to California. Still, the news environment remains rich, giving her every opportunity to post zingers on the cultural wackiness around us. Her observations on Burqa Barbie as a new low in degradation pull the wraps off the psycho-sexuality driving much of the Arab world.

Elections By The Numbers

Here is some excellent number crunching by Jim Geraghty involving key races in suburban counties earlier this month. There are some dramatic shifts in loyalties going on, perhaps the most significant in the last fifty years, and they will impact next year's midterm elections. As we move closer to the election, I expect to see similar work coming from Michael Barone, the dean of American political analysts, and Patrick Ruffini, a younger wired wizard on the rise among conservatives.

High Taxes Continue To Drive Wealthy Out Of Maryland

The Baltimore Sun has another report today about the effect of high taxes on Marylanders with net taxable incomes over $1 million. If you're a tax collector, the 30% decline is worthy of study. Has the recession reduced their incomes or have they abandoned the state for safer tax havens? Maryland faces increasing budget deficits next years and beyond and growing resistance to the state's effort to tax anything and everything. The taxmen had better hope an improving economy restores most of those millionaires to the tax rolls.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Mirror Doesn't Lie

The White House couldn't be pleased about the president's trip to Asia when it looked in Der Spiegel this morning. In a nutshell, he returned to Washington weaker, empty-handed, and looking a lot like Jimmy Carter. For more on the story, read Leslie Gelb's piece at The Daily Beast, and Victor Davis Hanson's take on liberal anger over the tour at National Review Online.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Mind Of The Modern Liberal

Fred Siegel, writing in City Journal, has an interesting history lesson for us in on the origin of modern liberalism in America. I posted this today on the anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy because it reminds us of how liberalism has changed since his passing. His defense of liberty (1961), ". . . we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to insure the survival and the success of liberty," is one we are not likely to hear again from liberalism. Of course, times do change. In those 46 years, my personal political views have moved from the posture of what Siegal calls "the 68ers" to the center-right where I would be happy to support what has become known as the Kennedy Doctrine. That so many of my generation have turned their backs on 1961 to cling to 1968 leaves me quite puzzled.

Photo: President Kennedy authorizes the naval blockade of Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald: An Odd Friendship

Bonnie Greer writes about this unusual friendship in an article at Times Online.

Friday, November 20, 2009

President Bush Goes On Trial In NYC

Mona Charen may have nailed the real reason why Attorney General Eric Holder, wants to try our Guantanamo captives in a civil trial in New York. If she's right, I think this will a fatal political mistake for the Obama administration, the Democrat party, and leftists in general. History tells us you cannot pander to the fringe in American politics and expect to survive. Personally, I'm very happy these folks from the Oval Office on down never took an honest history course. They won't know what hit them come November 2010. Thanks to NRO for the post.

Is The Global Warming Hoax Really Exposed?

It looks that way from reports coming out of The controversial global warming expert responsible for the famous "hockey stick graph" apparently has been exposed through a number of incriminating emails. Over 1000 messages and 79 documents were released. Penn State Professor Michael Mann now has a lot of explaining to do. If his explanation is insufficient, much of the junk science and the international conspiracy promoting it will be revealed and prove beyond reasonable doubt that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is a hoax. Gateway Pundit provides a good summary and several links for the backstory.

UPDATE: The story has reached Fox News and Drudge.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Johnny Mercer: Too Marvelous For Words

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Johnny Mercer, the great American lyricist and sentimental gentleman from Savannah, Georgia. This time last year, I wrote a seven part series on this man whose talent left us with almost 2000 published songs and a host of images in song that continue to entertain us more than thirty years after his passing in 1976. I can't improve on last year's essays, so will link to them in this post for your convenience and enjoyment. They are:

Day One: Mercer's Early Years
Day Two: Hoagy And Hollywood
Day Three: Sense Of Humor
Day Four: The Bread And Butter Songs
Day Five: On Line And Print References
Day Six: Personal Favorites
Day Seven: Cover Artists And Organizations Keep The Music Alive

Hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. There is a new addition for the Mercer reference shelf: The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer, by Kimball, Day, Kreuger, and Davis. This 500 page hardcover was published last month as the seventh volume in Knopf's Complete Lyrics series.

A Merry Little Nazi Christmas

Building on the destructive and humiliating terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the National Socialist movement in Germany wasted no time in using patriotism and propaganda to remove Christ from Christmas beginning in 1933. World War II, which began with the invasion of Poland in 1939, made them even more determined. The goal was a holiday without Christianity and its Jewish antecedents.

Imagine baking your own swastika cookies for the holidays or decorating the tree with ornaments glorifying Germanic culture. Mail OnLine has the story and additional illustrations here. "Chilling" is a reasonable description.

The article notes that German churches did not protest the attempts to cleanse the holiday, probably out of fear. That should please the ACLU.

Source: Jonah Goldberg, NRO, The Corner

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Very Best Of Hands

I think this song sums up the feelings of lots of Americans today:

Tomorrow, there will be more about the man who wrote this lyric.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunspots In Our Future

Dr. Stuart Clark makes some important observations about anthropogenic global warming (AGP) and sun cycles in his guest column in today's Times Online. Climatologists are eagerly awaiting signs that the current cycle of low sunspot activity is coming to an end. The planet has been cooling these last few years. Will global temperatures increase with the growing number of sunspots expected in the next five to seven years? We shall see. Although science can reconstruct solar history to some extent, astronomers have only had a 150 years to observe such cycles, first described around 1840. Let the correlations begin. I'd say we should have some defensible conclusions either way within a generation.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

To Serve Seniors

The Washington Post reports that the Congressional Budget Office has prepared a report on the impact of the new health care bill on seniors. Adding an estimated 30,000,000 people to the insurance roles will result in enormous increases in costs. The bill calls for reducing Medicare funding by as much as $500,000,000 to "spread the wealth" of new coverage.

That can only mean a reduction in services for older Americans. Will this bill force senior to "renew" years before their time under the old plan? Certainly looks that way. I wonder how many older Democrats expected reduced benefits when they cast their vote for hope and change?

Photo: Last Day, from the film, Logan's Run

Afghanistan In History

Christopher Booker, writing for, tells us why today's conflict in Afghanistan will be very difficult for the West to resolve.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"From Every Kind Of Man Obedience I Expect ...."

By protocol, American presidents don't bow to heads of state, but the message still hasn't reached Obama, as the picture below shows.

Yesterday's bow to Japan's Emperor Akihito elicited this response from Scott Johnson at Powerline:

Obama's breach of protocol is of a piece with his foreign policy. He means to teach Americans to bow before monarchs and tyrants. He embodies the ideological multiculturalism that sets the United States on the same plane as other regimes based on tribal privilege and royal bloodlines. He gives expressive form to the idea that the United States now willingly prostrates itself before the rest of the world. He declares that the United States is a country like any other, only worse, because we have so much for which to apologize.
Read the whole thing here.

Title courtesy of W.S. Gilbert, from The Mikado

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Afternoon White House News Dump

Just when the weekend is on our collective mind, the White House announces another controversial decision. This one brings five Guantanamo detainees/terrorists, including a 9/11 mastermind, to New York City for trial in a civilian court. Here is the story as reported by The Washington Post.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Feds Move Against Iranian Terrorism

We should all sleep better knowing that our government will seize assets of the Alavi Foundation, an "alleged front organization" secretly operated by the Iranian government. The Washington Post reports the story here. Scott Johnson, at Powerline, reports on radical Islam in the Twin Cities area and the possibility of similar actions there. I wonder if his report is a real foretaste or just an interesting coincidence.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My Great Uncle George, standing on the left with his fire brigade in Jacksonville, Florida, served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army in World War I, the Great War. To him, this day was Armistice Day, the day marking the end of that war at the eleventh hour of the eleventh month of 1918. I was ten when he died and didn't know him, but much of what he was as a veteran is present in my house. His portrait hangs just off our foyer. The pocket Bible he carried is in a keepsake cabinet nearby along with his military issue binoculars and a silver-plated swagger stick - a gift from his unit - made from machine gun shells casings and the Seal of the U.S. Army. The last item is one he never saw, but it summarized everything he did as a soldier. That item is the flag that covered his coffin. To my knowledge, it's still in the original triangle fold made the day he was buried over fifty years ago.

As much as I value these mementos of George's life, they cannot surpass the value of his service in defense of family, nation, and faith. Whether you know today as Armistice Day or Veterans Day, take some time to remember and thank the men and women who have served to keep freedom alive both here and abroad.

Diversity Incident Boiling At The Naval Academy

Powerline (Scott Johnson) is reporting on a disturbing discrimination issue involving the Naval Academy's color guard and its appearance at the World Series on October 29. It seems the guard would have been "performing while white and male," so administrators replaced two of them on October 28 with a white female and a male of Pakistani descent as a person of color. This attempt at diversity backfired when the Pakistani forgot his shoes and cover and had to be replaced by one of the original guard members. It gets better.

The color guard at Annapolis is a competitive, extracurricular activity for which members compete. In other words, they earn rank. The incident has created anger and frustration among the middies and the alumni. The Academy administrations attempt at a cover up, including a gag order, and contradictory written statements is testimony to what Mother always told you: tell the truth. Be sure to follow all the links in Johnson's post so you can enjoy the comedy as it builds, and understand the sad reality that a multi-culti diversity policy poses for our military.

Environmental Mythology And The Evil White Christian Capitalist

In 1983, the environmental historian, William Cronon, published a seminal book on American Indians and colonist in New England and their relationship to the land. Most prior scholarship accepted and reinforced the idea that Indians were dependent on the "wilderness" in which they lived. Cronon's work introduced a far different picture of the Indian as an active shaper of the American landscape. Although the mythology of the "noble savage" living harmoniously with the Earth Mother is still very much alive, a generation of new studies confirms it wasn't so. Unfortunately, much of the environmental movement will never accept this premise as its membership is largely composed of leftist ideologues hellbent on crushing the free world. Believe me, I know because I worked with some of them.

This morning, a post on Moonbattery links to highlights from an article on the pre-Columbian Americas written by Charles G. Mann and published in The Atlantic in 2002. It shows readers how far the new scholarship has come in a generation by exposing a full range of myths about Indians and Europeans alike. There is a link to the full article in the first paragraph. Be sure to read all of it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vatican Conference Addresses Extraterrestrial Life And Its Implications For The Church

I'd call this the Galileo Effect. Have to give them credit for long-range planning. It's only a matter of time before we find life - or it finds us - elsewhere in this universe.

Multi-Culti Political Correctness And Our "Don't Ask, Don't Kill" Policy In The Military

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley blames the Fort Hood assault on our love of guns. President Obama says it's a matter of cracking over stress. The state-run media talking heads provide deep cover for the counter intuitive blather from the leftists about the "alleged" gunman, the "suspect" Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a "purported" Muslim.

Thanks to the British journalists, we're getting an ever clearer picture that this event was closely linked to radical Islam. Unfortunately, our love of multiculturalism and political correctness has prevented us from seeing what has become a dangerous reality. That this policy infects our military has likely led to the killing and wounding of fifty American soldiers and civilians inside a domestic military base. Even policies have tipping points, and I believe we're rapidly approaching one that will realign our thinking about the PC insanity swirling about us. Perhaps most of us could have lived reasonably with "Don't ask, don't tell," but there is no way we can tolerate "Don't ask, don't kill." For more on the Fort Hood story, read this at Blue Crab Boulevard, this and this at Gateway Pundit, and this from Victor Davis Hanson at NRO.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Berlin Wall Comes Down: 11-9-1989

Scott Johnson channeled my thoughts perfectly in his post on the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago today. It would be impossible for me to add to it, so I'll simply supply a link here.

Johnson uses Peter Robinson's recollection of the event for the body of his post. Robinson is a key player in the story as he wrote the famous "tear down this wall" speech for his president. Readers already know of my great respect for Robinson. If you have not read his memoir, How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, please add it to your reading list.

Essential Transparency From The Foreign Press

William Katz (Urgent Agenda) makes note of superb reporting - and essential reading - on American politics by Tony Harnden at

Friday, November 6, 2009

Obama's "In Other News" Style

Several news sources, including Chicago's NBC affiliate, have picked up on yesterday's presidential public relations disaster AKA the President's statement on the Fort Hood shooting. I saw that statement live. It was another horrible reaffirmation that the White House is filled with clueless handlers. The President has surrounded himself with people who either do not understand their responsibilities or don't know how to carry them out. An experienced leader would know how to address an emergency issue. Unfortunately, we don't have experienced leadership in the White House at this time. One would expect such a "leader" to surround himself with experienced staffers to insure at least the appearance of competence and professionalism. Neither competence nor professionalism was apparent in yesterday's statement. What kind of staff would let President Obama ramble on for two minutes about an Interior Department conference before addressing the killing and wounding of over thirty American soldiers at a domestic military base? The news types and bloggers are ranging it from insensitive to disgusting to amateurish. I'll leave it at "clueless" for the staff. There's an old government saying that says the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing. It was too obvious yesterday.

As for the president, I am far more concerned that, in his mind, a conference took priority over mass murder. The true colors are revealed more and more each day and Americans cannot be pleased with what they see.

When you click on the links, be sure to watch the video. The state-run media is already editing out the first two minutes of the statement to cover up the President's bizarre performance.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gram Parsons: Some Say He Was A Star

Gram Parsons spent his brief musical life searching for what he called "cosmic American music," a sound emerging out of gospel, R&B, country and rock traditions. He was born on this day in 1946 into a wealthy Florida family, a circumstance that encouraged both his exploration of music and the drug abuse that killed him in 1973 (September 17). Parsons performed with The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers before attempting a rocky solo career that went nowhere until he met a young singer in Washington, D.C. Her name was Emmylou Harris. Parsons soon partnered with Harris and they went on to produce some of the finest sounds from the early fusion days of country and folk-rock. With his passing, one of American music's greatest inventors was stilled, but others, including Emmylou, would use his inventions and adapt them over the next forty years into the country rock music we know today.

Here is some music to help you understand the history. The first recording is a Gram Parsons-Bob Buchanan song that appeared on The Byrds album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, released in 1968. The Byrds went deep into classic country here and introduced Parsons to a rock audience.

Here's a Parsons,Chris Hillman song, dating from 1969 and the days of The Flying Burrito Brothers. Parsons can be identified by his marijuana leaf Nudie suit.

And here is Parsons with Harris performing their song, In the Hour of Darkness, from the album, Grievous Angel, released four months after his death. The text and comments with the video give you some insight into the lyric.

For a Gram Parsons bio, visit this link. For a longer immersion in the world and music of Parsons, go to David Meyer's 2008 biography.

Parsons's body met with a notable and very illegal cremation in the hills of Joshua Tree National Park. For the story, go here. Room 8 at the Joshua Tree Inn, the location of his death, is now a shrine to Gram Parsons. Here is a post from some recent visitors.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Societal Regression

The good doctor blogging as Shrinkwrapped evaluates societal regression and its potential in the United States during these unsettled times.

Rasmussen Won Big In Last Night's Elections

Most of the political punditry today is still focused on the candidates as winners and losers. Moonbattery notes that there was a big winner yesterday who wasn't on the ballot. That winner is independent pollster, Scott Rasmussen, president and founder of Rasmussen Reports. Moonbattery notes, "he was the only pollster to call New Jersey accurately." The post links to an interesting Slate commentary on winners and losers, leading off with details on the Rasmussen polls.

It is amazing that their last poll prior to the New Jersey election called it 46-43-8 (Christie-Corzine-Daggett). Actual result was 49-45-6. This pollster - not always on the mark, but far ahead of the pollster pack - is doing something right and bears careful watching.

Pay Raises Count As "Saved" Jobs

Never in my lifetime have words coming out of my country's government lost so much meaning. If you have a working brain cell, you can see straight through this deception. It leads me to believe this administration holds its citizens in complete contempt. Here are the details as reported by Hot Air. Note that Chicago officials are reporting that stimulus money saved more jobs than exist. Madness.

Monday, November 2, 2009

More Detroit: Potential For The Urban Prairie

Check out this post from The Urbanophile for some cutting edge ideas on the future of Detroit. Even if you don't care about urban studies, you''ll enjoy the graphics. All of this comes by way of a brief opinion piece by Michael Barone - a Detroit native - in the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential column. If this is your subject, be sure to link to the other Urbanophile columns he mentions.

Source: Instapundit

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"What A Delightful Culture:"

John Hinderaker at PowerLine reminds us again why peace is not a process. A sample:

This one shows a guy with a fake rocket surrounded by a group in burial clothes. I take it that the latter is the usual celebration of death via mass murder bombing.

Halloween 2009

The evening quiet sits over our house on the ridge in the woods.

The fireplace coals bear a white ash blanket telling us they're ready to be put to bed for the night.

We had thirty little goblins, critters, and assorted characters brave the wind and rain to visit our door for treats. Simply a perfect Halloween. The OTR house hopes you had one as well.

These postcards, all dated 1910, are from the family archives