Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Welcome, Athens Politics and Safe As Houses readers! I do appreciate the blogroll. Classic City Cyberspace gets a little bit bigger....

Shameless plugs:

Iffin' y'all are linkin' around in the blawg world, do stop by conservative (and Tennessee fan) DADvocate, center-moving-left and California dreamin' The Great Society and New Orleans lagniappe GulfSails. Just spreadin' the love.

Remember: you might not agree with everything they say, but their ideas (like the ones found on AthPo and SAH) are regular folks doin' the grassroots commentary thing. I think that's a pretty important job.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The baddest man on the planet Earf!

If there was ever any doubt as to which branch of our Armed Forces contains the biggest, baddest, men and women, allow me to remove any remaining shreds of doubt.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Marriage Thread

A states' rights issue? A religious issue? A pandora's box? A civil rights issue? A tax issue? Rights? Responsibilities? Legalities? Divorce? Polygamy? Bigamy? Polyandry? Civil Unions? Marriage?

And! A funny thing happened to me at a wedding this last weekend. More on that later.


Do not forget to wear your beads Monday & Tuesday!

Happy Lundi Gras, Happy Mardi Gras!

And good luck figuring out what to give up for 40 days on Wednesday!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tax Reform Ideas

Since we're throwing around the merits of the Fair Tax and at least Pat is wanting to talk about tax reform, I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on how to best reform our current tax codes both at the state and federal levels. I've included a link to a listing of tax reform and oversight groups. I haven't really looked over the list thoroughly yet but there are at least a few organizations I recognize at first glance. I'm sure the list isn't exhaustive. I'm not sure how tilted the list is on the political spectrum. If I find this link to be bunk or find a better list, I'll repost a link.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Specific Request Thread

This is a not-so-open thread where I request any additional suggestions for the links pages over on the right side of the page. As you can see, "Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics" has been broken up (too many other blogs have explicit lyrics to single out those four). Second Civil War, besides having one of the greatest blog names ever, is now The Great Society. The St Simons Tribune has apparently gone and vanished, so they are eliminated.

But I want new stuff to link to. I'm looking far too often at the same pages for my information, so I want new links to investigate.

Also, we will be taking suggestions for new "Links Sections." I know we have a Tennessee readership, an Atlanta readership and a South Georgia readership. Hell, I live in South Georgia, and we've got more about Athens than any of those other places.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Give us the links and the reasons to read 'em.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Port in the Storm

Yeah, don't think I haven't been reading up on the sale of American shipping control to Dubai and the fact that ol' Dubya is gonna defend this bonkers call with a veto, if necessary.

This may make some sort of financial sense, but any sense it does make is getting blown out of the water by the symbolism of the matter. And to have Chertoff (the guy who got excoriated all last week over not knowing how to respond to a hurricane) go on TV and defend the call by saying he has "assurances," well that makes me even more hesitant to think about this rationally.

Think about it, since September 11, right wing punditry has been drilling into us the need to follow 'common sense' over 'political correctness' wrecking our security measures and now they're calling us 'racist' for balking at this deal? We were the guys and gals trying to point out that there are good Arabs and bad Arabs and making distinctions whilst y'all were waggin' fingers in our faces and say "dirty hippies, look at how those Arabs and Muslims reacted to a cartoon."

Well, enjoy that shoe on the other foot, fellas. You drill Arab = bad into the heads of Americans for long enough and when you sell anything to an Arab country that might have the smallest of tangents in relating to national security, you're going to have problems. Then you sell our shipping industry to Arabs, the shipping industry in our most strategic, valuable and culturally important ports, and you wonder why we hesitate?

An introduction...

Yes, friends, it's time for an introduction for some of you to the wonder that is the Fair Tax Plan. Today, for you, I have an article from one Justin Wong, who writes for the MIT paper, the Tech. His article gives a brief overview of some of the points for the Fair Tax. Intrigued? Hate it? Questions? Go to Fairtax.org and take a look around before you come back. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Music History

Like I said, now that I live in South Georgia, I listen to a heckuva lot of country music these days. One band that always got my ear was this new band, Sugarland. Not because of the music or even the lyrical arrangements, but because the voice of the singer always sounded strangely familiar to me. But that happens when you listen to a lot of good vocalists for a long long time, so I thought nothing of it.

Even when Sugarland showed up with Bon Jovi on CMT's Crossroads (a helluva show, BTW), I watched a little bit. I enjoyed it, but I didn't think much of it. I've seen their videos, didn't really pay that much attention.

Then, tonight, I'm chillin at the house, unwinding from the workweek, surfing channels to end up watching music videos on VH1 Country. Bon Jovi and the Sugarland vocalist I identify as the lead singer and the owner of that hauntingly familiar voice is on my screen. I'm about to turn the channel when the credits appear at the bottom of the screen.

Bon Jovi with Jennifer Nettles.

I fell out of my chair.

No wonder I recognized the voice. When did she grow her hair out and start singin' country? I reckon she's done alright for herself if she's cuttin' videos with the Jersey Boys.

But I just can't help feeling now that Sugarland is a step down from Soul Miner's Daughter, no matter how successful they are. Guess I'll just have to play the albums side by side to make sure.

Killing yourself to live?

Follow up of the Paul-Hackett-Democratic-Hack-Job-Dance-Party.

Some good quotes in here, and some 'insider' information that makes my cold, black, heart quiver with delight.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Gettin' 'er Done in Tennessee

Hat tip to Instapundit for this one, though I disagree on Glenn's conclusion.

This is about the race for U.S. Senate in Tennessee, so I hope we hear from Ruby and DADvocate for some on-the-ground insight.

I always wonder why a Democrat who acts reasonable is "running to the right," as Glenn suggests. Metro Pulse echoes this sentiment, and is the link that Glenn provides.

The positions Ford Jr. has on the campaign trail are as follows (quoting from Metro Pulse):
Ford said he supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, he is against partial birth abortion, he argues we have to stay in Iraq until we get the job done and he says he was encouraged on his most recent of four visits to the war zone. He wants to end pork barrel spending and balance the budget by making every department cut spending, and he wants to reform the tax code.

That don't sound like a right wing point of view to this liberal. That sounds like Jr.'s tapping into a piece the American Consensus.

I'm going to file this in the 'most of us Americans really agree on a lot more than you think' folder. None of those positions are the exclusive territory of the right wing, no matter how much the right says about them.

-The Second Amendment is part of the Constitution, and is far more important to us on the left now after the Ashcroft/Gonzales justice department and NSA eveasdropping. Oh yeah, and the fact that the Administration won't do anything about criminals coming across our nation's southern border.

-Find me any person in this country who thinks Partial-Birth Abortion is a good idea, or any woman who enjoys getting one, and they will be the first I've met. Ever. Safe, private, rare. I already explained my position on that, and remain abstinate to do my part in keeping 'em rare. (Cause the most Republican men I know like their cake and eat it too...)

-Finishing the job in Iraq is the only sensible option (but ol' Dubya has lost his war powers privilages from now on...)

-Pork barrel spending is a bigger drain on our middle class tax base than any entitlement program, and helps only the status quo - and the status quo should not be helped.

-The last folks who balanced our budget were Democrats and Libertarians from Georgia who were masquerading as Republicans.

-Our tax code sucks. Find me one person who thinks current U.S. Tax Code is a good idea, and you'll be showing me a Tax Lawyer. Now, I ain't a big fan of Boortz, I ain't a big fan of Forbes, but at leas they're comin' up with ideas. Republicans have been in control of the U.S. House for 12 years, and they haven't been able to open the book on tax code. Do I need to repeat the definition of insanity?

-Social Security and Medicare are going to face very serious problems in the future if Baby Boomers continue to live and my generation can only get crappy service industry jobs.

Jr. seems to be just one example of how Southern Democrats and Liberals don't share all the same ideas as our 'Northern' and 'Western' brethren who get all the airtime. 48% of the voters in 2004 didn't vote for Kerry, they voted against ol' Dubya & co. (Imagine if we'da had a real Presidential candidate, instead of a really tall Yankee Oompa Loompa.)

I'm really glad to see a Democrat running for Senate saying these types of things. I hope that the Democratic leadership doesn't ask him to leave the Senate race in favor of a more liberal, less known candidate (like they did in Ohio). I hope, when he gets elected, that he actually believes in many of those things, and better yet, works with other Democrats (and the really real Republicans who howl at this administration's largesse) to make them reality. What really gets my hackles up is that right punditry is saying that Jr. is just saying all of those things to get elected.

Well, I guess right punditry would know: The current U.S. House, U.S. Senate, Presidency and Judiciary sure don't seem to be delivering....

Where's the outrage?

Seriously. Do we all remember the near bloodletting after Rush Limbaugh made his comments regarding Donovan McNabb's quarterbacking ability? Why has there been no MSM outcry over Bryant Gumbel's comments on the Winter Olympics? Where's Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton, and the rest? Why isn't Jimmy Carter involved yet?

Oh? They're not interested? They're not coming to chastise Bryant for his insipid and biased commentary? Bryant Gumbel is going to get a free pass on this? Yeah, I thought so.

Oh, and just for kicks, imagine if Rush Limbaugh made a similar comment about the NBA finals, or perhaps told people to ignore the NFL, and wait for hockey season, because of a disproportionate number of black athletes compared to white athletes. Think that might knock Dick Cheney's hunting story off the front page?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Willie's new/old song and the Urban Cowboy

Willie Nelson recently recorded a gay cowboy song and released as an iTunes-only track. I imagine the song was released to cash in on the popularity of "Brokeback Mountain" but it was recorded about a year ago. As it turns out, the song was written in 1981 by Texas-born singer-songwriter Ned Sublette in 1981. He was inspired by the "Urban Cowboy" trend at the time. It makes since considering a lot of the fashion trends picked up by the Urban Cowboy theme originated in gay bars in New York. Yeah, that larger-than-life feather you wore in your hat back in the early 80's was an idea that came from New York City.

I was just a kid during that craze but I actually lived in Dallas, TX at the time. I have a pretty funny story to tell about that. I went to my first circus with my Mom and Dad and we went out for pizza after that. We went to Forum Mall in Arlington, TX. It was right across the highway from a pretty popular country music bar called "Cowboys." So we were sitting at a table in the pizza place in the mall when some folks getting ready for a big night of drinking and dancing came in decked out in their urban cowboy digs. Being a young lad who just went to the circus, I took one look at them, pointed, and shouted, "Look Daddy, clowns!" Mom and Dad tried to calm me down but I kept pointing and shouting "Clowns! Look, clowns!" My parents were embarrassed but not as embarrassed as the faux-cowboys and their gigantic feathers and fake chaps. At one point during my clown shouting, my Father whispered to me, "I know, son. I know."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Speaking of shooting accidents, I'll scoop this one before SAWB grabs hold of it and won't let go:

Democrats shoot selves in face. That's right, the perfect candidate for the Democratic Party, Paul Hackett, an Iraqi war veteran, a Marine and a guy with rabid support from the center to the left, who was adored by even the MSM, who had perhaps the most name recognition in the state of Ohio after OSU Buckeye's coach Jim Tressel, was told by the Democratic leadership they'd rather have someone else run for the Senate.

He was, understandably, displeased.

I am too. Hey, HR readers on the center left, when the Republicans are able to keep control of the government in 2006, despite all their awful decisions and their scandal plauged issues: this will be exhibit "A."

Mainstream Democrats and status quo party activists are already planning their own victory laps for 2006 based on America's disillusionment with Republicans. You know what else? Last year in August, Tennessee's football team was ranked #3 in the preseason polls. How did that work out for them come November? (My apologies to DADvocate for bringing up the sore spot, at least y'all got Basketball, right?)

At least there are others on my side of the aisle expressing outrage as well over the Hackett thing.

Kos hopes the outrage in Left Blogosphere "will send notice to the establishment that we're not ideologically hard-left. Otherwise, Brown would've been the consensus choice being more liberal than Hackett."

Further in this train of thought (and from the same Kos post) MyDD points to this as a symptom of the growing civil war within the American left (the post is rather verbose, so I bring you the good parts):
I would like to think that the furor surrounding Hackett's withdrawal from the Ohio Senate race that has been expressed over the past day on Dailykos, MyDD and other sites has gone a long way toward finally convincing a large number of journalists and members of centrist Democratic organizations that what the progressive netroots and blogosphere want from the Democratic party is not simply a hard push to the left.
The real reason so many people are upset that Hackett left the race has less to do with ideology than it has to do with the ongoing class war within the world of progressive activists.
You won't see many complaints about Brown not being progressive enough in the comments of these and other similar diaries at Dailykos that have been popping over the last sixteen hours. You will, however, see a lot of complaints about insider power plays, about the ineptness of "DC Democrats" in picking candidates who can win elections, and about the anti-democratic nature of the Democratic Party itself.
The anger is also coming from blame for the continued failures of the progressive movement over the past twelve years. The activist working class blames the activist elite for our losses since 1994. They frequently don't trust the decisions the elite makes, especially when the elite does not consult with them when making decisions. Considering the recent track record of progressive in the political arena, can anyone really blame them?

The anger is also coming from being taken for granted. The activist working class does not work in the world of politics. They do not derive their income form politics, but they do spend their income and their free time on politics. When people whoa re running the show keep losing, the activist working class sees its hard earned money and precious little free time go to waste. The anger comes form people growing tired of offering their resources to leaders who seem to be making nothing but bad decisions that lead to defeat. They feel as though they are expected to keep giving, as though the resources they are offering aren't previous to them.

(bold enabled for emphasis - HR)

I hope no one needs clarification on who the 'activist elite' are.

Monday, February 13, 2006


....back in the Crescent City, Mardi Gras season will not be stopped. The other night, the French Quarter was crazy with the antics of the tonge in ..uh.. cheek Krewe du Vieux. This particular Krewe is an iconoclastic, satiric group that is an equal opportunity offender.

Any guesses who the targets of mockery were this year in New Orleans?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

They nominated Michael Brown to be the Grandmarshal of the event, he was nowhere to be found, so they went with a giant empty gold chair with a sign "out to dinner" on it. That seems to have been their 'tame' float.

This year, their antics even made the AP wire. The fact that so many of the media are actually staying in French Quarter hotels may have had something to do with this. Then again, so could the topic of discussion. My first thought is that I'm jealous someone's getting to write off living in and reporting on the antics of New Orleans' French Quarter during Mardi Gras and call it a "journalistic carreer." My second is that I could still do a better job.

My third is that I already know of someone who does, and he is actually a part of the Krewe Du Vieux. Ladies and gentlemen, the report from inside the parade. Wow, he linked to the same AP wire. And he provides pics of the parade from NOLA. And, just to be sure you know what you are looking at (don't click if you are easily offended by crudeness): here's the list of Krewe du Vieux float themes.

Excuse me, ma'am...

...did I leave my badge underneath your bed?

I am going to Hell on scholarship.

Disclaimer: my Pops worked undercover for years. He also teaches classes and gives lectures on what officers of the law can and cannot do when making an arrest or a case. I know many, many officers of the law in both my personal and professional life, and have good relationships with many of them.

I also talk a great deal of trash, and many of these friends, not to mention my Pops, will be hearing from me on this particular issue. You guessed the Latin: ad nauseum.

So, in the spirit of Valentines day, as well as in the spirit of living in a fine nation where the rule of law is respected, I give you this link. And, once you read it, it will bring a smile to your face every time you hear an officer of the law say,

"Sorry, ma'am, I'm just doing my job."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Atlanta traffic on blast

Even rebellious youth hate Big Momma Government. Proving that the best way to fight the machine sometimes is to do exactly as they tell you.

(Oh yeah, turn the volume down if you listen to this at work...language is typical college age youth.)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Because its Friday 2...

And my rear end is home sick.

That's right, folks. For the first time in over ten years, I have strep. So I'm on that forced vacation we like to call 'quarantine.' Gives me a chance to go back and blog about stuff I've been meaning to, but haven't had time on the lunchbreak to do.

This one is more about the Cartoon Craziness. I guess we'll keep talking about it until folks stop acting out of control. For those of you tired of this line of discussion, don't miss SAWB's music post. (If it garners enough response, we may finally have to start up that Hurricane Radio Music & Art page I've talked about for a year...)

One thing I like about the Internet in general and the blogosphere specifically is the double edged sword. While it can give voice to absolute madness on the one hand, you can pick up on so many more opinions and stories than you would be able to just by watching "real journalists."

I made a comment a while back that the crazies have picked a fight with this one that they just can't win. Christopher Hitchens makes this bittersweet point by saying:
The prohibition on picturing the prophet—who was only another male mammal—is apparently absolute. So is the prohibition on pork or alcohol or, in some Muslim societies, music or dancing. Very well then, let a good Muslim abstain rigorously from all these. But if he claims the right to make me abstain as well, he offers the clearest possible warning and proof of an aggressive intent. This current uneasy coexistence is only an interlude, he seems to say. For the moment, all I can do is claim to possess absolute truth and demand absolute immunity from criticism. But in the future, you will do what I say and you will do it on pain of death.

I refuse to be spoken to in that tone of voice, which as it happens I chance to find "offensive." ( By the way, hasn't the word "offensive" become really offensive lately?) The innate human revulsion against desecration is much older than any monotheism: Its most powerful expression is in the Antigone of Sophocles. It belongs to civilization. I am not asking for the right to slaughter a pig in a synagogue or mosque or to relieve myself on a "holy" book. But I will not be told I can't eat pork, and I will not respect those who burn books on a regular basis. I, too, have strong convictions and beliefs and value the Enlightenment above any priesthood or any sacred fetish-object. It is revolting to me to breathe the same air as wafts from the exhalations of the madrasahs, or the reeking fumes of the suicide-murderers, or the sermons of Billy Graham and Joseph Ratzinger. But these same principles of mine also prevent me from wreaking random violence on the nearest church, or kidnapping a Muslim at random and holding him hostage, or violating diplomatic immunity by attacking the embassy or the envoys of even the most despotic Islamic state, or making a moronic spectacle of myself threatening blood and fire to faraway individuals who may have hurt my feelings.
I went on Crossfire at one point, to debate some spokesman for outraged faith, and said that we on our side would happily debate the propriety of using holy writ for literary and artistic purposes. But that we would not exchange a word until the person on the other side of the podium had put away his gun. (The menacing Muslim bigmouth on the other side refused to forswear state-sponsored suborning of assassination, and was of course backed up by the Catholic bigot Pat Buchanan.)
While I don't agree with many items in this selection, I have emboldened the important point. We in the West are a rebellious sort, and don't like being told what to do. That is why we have such a history of offending what is sacred.

Because of that history, we have learned long and diffiuclt lessons on how to react when others take such delight in ticking us off. Not to say what we have is perfect: we still have religious leaders who try to ban Huckleberry Finn from high schools and drive steamrollers over SAWB's favorite metal albums, we wage 'wars' on Christmas and Halloween, our most hypersensitive get red in the face trying to define the line between 'political correctness' and 'polite company,' and some of us still have problems acting classy even at funerals. But these battles, and our outrage, are often expressed less by attacking one another with sticks and stones, and more about attacking one another by nasty name calling.

While that doesn't make for much 'polite conversation,' it is a darn sight better than rioting in the streets.

At any rate, as I also said before in my apparently notorious letter, I'm waiting to hear from the millions of reasonable Muslims around the world on this cartoon crisis. And here we have an example of how important free speech, the internet and the blogosphere really are: massive self exploratory media. While there are a fair number of apologists, there are still plenty of jems.

Though DADvocate thinks he advocates appeasement, I see that Reza Aslan reminds us of two things: 1) that the correct way to express outrage is through words (fight free speech with free speech), and 2) that the cartoons as well as the reaction to them, are different sides of the same coin:
the Muslims who have resorted to violence in response to this offense are merely reaffirming the stereotypes advanced by the cartoons. Likewise, the Europeans who point to the Muslim reaction as proof that, in the words of the popular Dutch blogger Mike Tidmus, "Islam probably has no place in Europe," have reaffirmed the stereotype of Europeans as aggressively anti-Islamic. It is this common attitude among Europeans that has led to the marginalization of Muslim communities there, which in turn has fed the isolationism and destructive behavior of European Muslims, which has then reinforced European prejudices against Islam. It is a Gordian knot that has become almost impossible to untangle.

And that is why as a Muslim American I am enraged by the publication of these cartoons. Not because they offend my prophet or my religion, but because they fly in the face of the tireless efforts of so many civic and religious leaders—both Muslim and non-Muslim—to promote unity and assimilation rather than hatred and discord; because they play into the hands of those who preach extremism; because they are fodder for the clash-of-civilizations mentality that pits East against West.
I am forced to agree with him here. In the days of my longhaired, iconoclastic youth, I would strike out at anything sacred and do things just for shock value. While I sometimes slip back into old roles, I have found that doing things just to provoke a reaction oftentimes win you more enemies than friends.

And here's an exhaustive roundup, especially of what Muslim blogs are saying about the thing. (Hat tip to Clicked.)

From that roundup, I was able to focus in on this specific selection, aptly entitled "WWMD?"
So, therefore, how could it be that Muslims today - who claim to love the the Prophet (pbuh) deeply and follow his example - reacted in such an ugly manner to the publication of cartoons that depict him in a negative manner? I mean, gunfire at an EU office? Threatening Europeans and churches? Beating up employees of Arla Foods? Is this what Muhammad (pbuh) would do?

Absolutely not. There are so many other - more dignified, more truly Muslim - ways to lodge a protest against the cartoons. Muslims could have had a silent vigil in from the Danish embassy, instead of pelting the embassy with eggs. Muslims could have written the newspaper - with polite, non-hateful, non-threatening language - and told it that this is wrong. Muslims could have taken the opportunity to show the world the true face of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) - the face we know and love - to contrast the ugly face that was printed by the Danish newspaper. There are so many ways to disagree without being violently disagreeable. Muslims, sadly, failed to do so, and that is offensive in and of itself.

(Bold emphasised by me -HR)
There are plenty of others who are saying similar things, and many of you should go and take a look. Apparently I do have more to go on than patience and faith alone. Again, the lesson: the only way to fight the classlessness and crudeness enabled by free speech is with tempered, sensible and well reasoned speech in response. Think of this every time you see only the bad news on the MSM.

Tags: Cartoon Outrage

Because it's Friday...

And since we've been talking about music for the last couple days, I feel the need to present you some of the crazy stuff I've been listening to, and forcing upon paT whenever he drags up to town.

First off - found these guys last night thanks to the magic of Pandora. I present you with DragonForce.

Patsbrother may want to not click that link, as it contains so much metal, his head may well explode.

Next, a couple of my current favorites - From Finland, Children of Bodom, and from the Great White North, 3 Inches of Blood

Take a look, if you dare. And please, link what you've got grooving now in the comments.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Convenient outrage...

As with most news stories, the good parts don't come out until a week or two after the initial blowup. It appears that those hated, blasphemous, horrible cartoons that were published in a Danish newspaper, were actually published in an Egyptian newspaper FOUR MONTHS AGO.

Perhaps this will bump the appeasement crowd over in Europe into the realm of wanting to shut down these riots, rather than apologise for them. Naaaaah, what am I saying. The European appeasement culture has already won this round. Don't expect the MSM to give this end of the story any legs, as riots ending aren't exactly good press.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The sad, sad state of music today.

So SAWB linked us to Drudge Report in his latest post. While there, I saw something so depressing that it almost made me want to cry. Barry Manilow is poised to take the #1 spot on the Billboard charts this week. The saddest part is that he's doing it with an album of cover songs called ‘Love Songs of the 50’s’. How bad is today's music that Barry Manilow of all people can cover songs that are least 47 years old and come in #1 on the charts?

Here is my take on the situation. Feel free to make your own comments:

There is a serious lack of diversity in today's music. I've felt for a while now that the horrible-to-me genre of adult contemporary died out almost completely while there was still a pretty big audience for it. All of this positioning every album to garner the most mainstream popularity possible is really cutting off viable but non-mainstream opportunities for the larger record labels.

And it's not helping that the already established genres have watered down or even in some cases changing entirely. Using the example of Avril Lavignesjdgkasghj, she claims to be "punk." Maybe I've missed something but if she hung out around really real punk rockers, they'd probably beat her, and each other for that matter, senseless. The only difference is that they would enjoy it and she would not. I don't know what punk means nowadays, but I remember punk rockers who kill their girlfriends on heorin binges and stuff them under the sinks of hotel bathrooms and punk rockers who take pieces of a broken bottle that someone threw at them onstage and use the glass to cut their arms and throw the blood out into the audience. I just can't see this girl doing that kind of thing or even going somewhere where that sort of thing happens. If wearing dark eyeliner or listening to Green Day nowadays make you "punk," it's no wonder the really real punk rockers have left the genre entirely for recording industry purposes. The same can be said (though usually to a MUCH smaller degree) in most genres today. Where do you classify Beastie Boys? Are they rap? They used to be but not really anymore.

The music industry is in trouble and they don't even seem to really know why. They can blame their plight on pirating if they'd like but if a has-been covering songs twice as old as their target audience can sell more records than their new showcase talent, I have to think there's more to it than that.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

You can't spell class without ass...

Wow. This may be a new low. Using the funeral of the wife of a man who stumped for equal rights, and civil liberties, to take potshots at the sitting President, who, oh yeah, happens to be in attendance.

Keep up the good work, guys. You're just guaranteeing years and years and years of majority rule for the right side in the Federal government...

What an American Liberal would say to the Muslims of the World

(if they were listening to me...)


Seriously, finding the right words here is more than difficult. It is hard to know what to say. I mean, of all the things to get upset about, a cartoon is what sets your world afire? After all the blasphemy and heresy and murder and idolatry already committed by man in the name of God – and in the names of his beloved prophets Moses, Jesus and Mohammed – you fly off the handle because of cartoons. Not just any cartoons, but tasteless, classless, badly drawn cartoons in a second rate newspaper published in Denmark.

If you are afraid this is a graven image, and that this is idolatrous, remember that those sins are on the heads of the sinners. The classless illustrators of these pictures knew exactly what they were doing, and they knew exactly how you would react. That reaction is what they wanted. They are the same people who, in my country, paint a vision of Jesus in a glass of urine. They are the same people who will rip apart photographs of our religious leaders on television.

If God considers that idolatry, if God considers that blasphemy, He will punish them in His own time and in His own way in the sweet hereafter. Sometimes a sin will go unpunished by the laws of man; we all know this. We must have faith and trust that God knows what he is doing, and that sometimes we are not privy to His plans. That is the mystery of faith.

At every turn of the day, our faith – Jewish, Christian, Muslim – is tested. In my country, we celebrate these tests of faith with the freedom of speech. Even in my country, that is a fight every day.

Each day we hear things we disagree with. Each day we hear things that make us angry. Each day we see things that we would rather not see. Each day we are tested by temptation to stray from the paths of righteousness. Sometimes we falter, many of us have and many of us will do so again. But because we have the freedom to falter within the laws of man, when we can rise up and live out the laws of God and faith and justice, and then it is a triumph that means so much more. That is the nature of redemption, of which all the prophets spoke.

My faith in God does not require anyone else to agree with me. My faith is not shaken when someone says hateful things, lives a cursed life or curses God in front of me. I am saddened by them, to be sure. I am sometimes offended by the things that they say and do. Sometimes my blood boils at the things they do. But God calls me to something higher. God calls me to do more than just loose my temper or throw rocks or set fires.

God calls me to live a life that is worthy of Him.

For every rock I want to throw, God tells me instead to hand bread to the hungry, to clothe the unclothed, to ease the suffering of the sick.

Are there no Muslims who are hungry tonight?

If you are afraid that these Danish illustrations are an affront to Islam, Mohammed and Muslims in general, you would be correct. There are a great many thousands in my country, and in the countries of the West, who despise you and your faith. You must learn to live without their respect.

These thousands of the West think you are a civilization of murderers, bigots, tyrants, and bullies. These thousands of the West have openly advocated genocide against your civilizations from the heights of punditry all the way down to students in college classes. These thousands of the West think the world would be better off with less Muslims in it. These thousands do not want you in the West; they hate your religion, they hate the fashion of your clothing, they hate your countries, they hate your leaders, they hate your grievances, they even hate your diet.

You have given them plenty of reason to feel this way.

Remember how angry you were when you first saw those Danish cartoons? Do you remember how your blood boiled up, and you wanted to go out and hit something?

That is how it feels in my country when you burn one of our flags.

That is how it feels in my country when Muslims drag the naked, butchered bodies of my countrymen through the streets of Mogadishu.

That is how it feels in my country when Muslims parade my countrymen’s daughters and sons, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers in front of video cameras and hack their heads off with swords.

That is how it feels in my country every time a Muslim flies a plane into one of our buildings.

That is how it feels in my country when Muslims dance with joy and hand out candy because Muslims killed thousands of my countrymen.

Those thousands of the West who despise you and your faith wanted to kill all of you the next morning before breakfast. They would have done it. They could have done it, too. You know this. Only one thing stops them: the millions in the West who will not let them.

But you must understand that for all those thousands of the West who despise you, there are millions of us who make the distinction between those Muslims who follow God and his prophets, and those Muslims who kill in the name of God and his prophets. There are millions of us who make the distinction, and there are millions of us who know the difference.

But that, too, is becoming a test of our faith. It is becoming a test of our faith in you. The only times we see you, you are burning things. The only times we see you, you are throwing rocks. The only times we see you, you are making our blood boil.

We millions of the West know that there are, in turn, millions of Muslims who are feeding the hungry instead of throwing rocks. Clothing the destitute instead of burning things. Healing the sick instead of killing.

We millions of the West know there is a fight in the East for the soul of Islam. We millions of the West spend hours each day defending the faith of Islam to those thousands here who despise you. We know there are millions of Muslims who have culture, we know there are millions of Muslims who seek a better place in life, we know there are millions of Muslims who want to live in peace and prosperity with the West.

We know this because the same ugly things we see in your history today, we saw in our own history yesterday. We were able to overcome, and we are waiting on you to do the same.

But we don’t see you and we don’t hear you.

All you leave us to go on is patience.

All you leave us to go on is faith.

Monday, February 06, 2006

More peaceful peacities from the religion of peace...

I'm waiting for someone, somewhere, to begin the crackdown. In the same breath, I'm wondering what the next move by the Peaceful Followers of the Religion of Peace is going to be? Come on guys, surprise me. I really can't wait.

God forbid they ever read Ziggy...

Religion of peace, my ass.

Ok boys and girls, let's put down the appeasement pipe for a minute, and take a look at what is happening here. Muslims all over Europe and Asia are rioting. Why, you may ask, well, silly, because some political cartoonist in Europe somewhere drew a cartoon lampooning the prophet Mohammed. It seems that these people get a mite perturbed when someone dares to lampoon the martyr culture of Islam as it exists now, especially when you put a bomb in the turban of the great prophet Mohammed.

Let's take a page from the High Priest of the Church of the Painful Truth hisself, Neal Boortz, shall we?

  • Muslims fly commercial airliners into buildings in New York City. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslim officials block the exit where school girls are trying to escape a burning building because their faces were exposed. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslims cut off the heads of three teenaged girls on their way to school in Indonesia. A Christian school. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslims murder teachers trying to teach Muslim children in Iraq. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslims murder over 80 tourists with car bombs outside cafes and hotels in Egypt. No Muslim outrage.
  • A Muslim attacks a missionary children's school in India. Kills six. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslims slaughter hundreds of children and teachers in Beslan, Russia. Muslims shoot children in the back. No Muslim outrage.
  • Let's go way back. Muslims kidnap and kill athletes at the Munich Summer Olympics. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslims fire rocket-propelled grenades into schools full of children in Israel. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslims murder more than 50 commuters in attacks on London subways and busses. Over 700 are injured. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslims massacre dozens of innocents at a Passover Seder. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslims murder innocent vacationers in Bali. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslim newspapers publish anti-Semitic cartoons. No Muslim outrage
  • Muslims are involved, on one side or the other, in almost every one of the 125+ shooting wars around the world. No Muslim outrage.
  • Muslims beat the charred bodies of Western civilians with their shoes, then hang them from a bridge. No Muslim outrage.
  • Newspapers in Denmark and Norway publish cartoons depicting Mohammed. Muslims are outraged.

Dead children. Dead tourists. Dead teachers. Dead doctors and nurses. Death, destruction and mayhem around the world at the hands of Muslims .. no Muslim outrage ... but publish a cartoon depicting Mohammed with a bomb in his turban and all hell breaks loose.

Get the picture? No? Allow me to draw it a bit more clearly for you.
The publication of these cartoons of Mohammed are not the reason for the rioting and violence. They are the excuse. Islamic protesters burned down the Danish consulate in Beirut in response to those cartoons making fun of Islam. Riots are ongoing, cars are being overturned and at least one person is dead in Afghanistan. Pakistan is boycotting prescription drugs from companies based in countries where the cartoons were published.

This is absolutely insane. What we are witnessing is the ultimate conclusion to militant political correctness. Many leftists would excuse this behavior...because these Muslims are "offended." Know this: in the world of liberals, there is no greater crime known to man than offending Muslims. The more violent radical Islamists become the more the politically correct elements make excuses for them.

This religion is rapidly getting out of control. Muslims can murder 200 school children and their parents, shooting kids in the back, in Chechnya and the Muslim world hardly pauses a moment to notice. Let someone draw a cartoon of their so-called "prophet" and they start burning embassies and looking for Europeans to kidnap or murder. The more our Western leaders make excuses for their behavior, the bolder they become. These Muslims torching embassies and rioting around the world are not what we might consider highly educated. They have little or no understanding of Western culture and the concept of freedom of the press is entirely beyond the grasp of most of them. They believe that anything printed in any newspaper constitutes the official opinion of that country's government.

These riots and demonstrations are not about those cartoons, they are about freedom. One protestor was seen carrying a sign that said Freedom go hell. To these Islamic jihadist criminals freedom is an enemy. A religion that says you must either convert, kill or enslave those who don't believe as you is not a religion that would embrace freedom. Whether the politically correct like it or not, this is a religion that is anathema to our way of life and the liberties we hold dear.

There was another sign being carried by these Islamic rioters. It said "Europe. Take some lessons from 9/11." I sure I don't have to explain the threat implicit in that sign. Actually, this is a good thing. I wish the Islamic radicals would wave more of those "Europe. Take some lessons from 9/11" signs. The train bombings in Spain and the subway bombings in London apparently weren't enough. Maybe these riots will convince the Euro-snobs that Islamic fanatics and their myrmidons pose as much a threat to them, perhaps more of a threat, as they do to the people of the United States.

I'm sick of the lip service that keeps getting paid to the non-Muslim world about how Islam is a religion of Peace. Unfortunately, I'm guessing it's going to take something drastic, say, the oft-bandied suitcase nuke, to get the world to wake up and realize that while some Muslims don't agree with the reactionary hatred and fire that is being spewed, they are being roundly drowned out by the chanting, protesting, and violence of the rest.

I'll leave you with a comment from a story linked on Fark.com last week, regarding the embassy burnings.

For the record, I'm not a big fan of Boortz. I scroll right past the Bush apologism. His Fair Tax plan sounds intriguing, but I'm hardly the economist so I have no idea how effective it would be. I check out his website mainly for his Farkish links that he has on the bottom. The muslim outrage bit really struck me because it's something that has been troubled me for some time. Yes, muslims spoke out condemning the 9/11 attacks, but the real anger only surfaces over a cartoon, or over a book that may or may not have been flushed down a toilet.

The wife of one of my best friends is a muslim from Indonesia. She is a sweet, friendly person and I have nothing against her. However, she sees a clip of masked terrorists sawing the head off of Nick Berg while screaming "Allahu Ackbar" while Nick dies a painful, gurgling death, it doesn't bother her. She rewatches the clip where the name of the Muslim God is invoked to celebrate death, pain and horror and she doesn't flinch. On the other hand, she watches Team America. She gets riled over the fact that "Muhommed" and "Allah" are invoked in mock-Arabic gibberish. She stormed out of the room saying, "I'm not watching this farking movie."

It's kinda touchy because she's the wife of a friend, but I can't help but notice how she took more offense to a couple of jokers and their puppet movie than a pack of masked thugs sawing some guy's head off. And that is symptomatic of what I see with the muslim community at large. Their religion has been highjacked by the extremists. They don't like it but their outrage only truly surfaces when some westerner does somethng that is an affront to their religion.

From the "Just Let it Go" Department...

Tabloids, Royalty, Conspiracy Thoeries, Oh my!

So apparently some "New Witnesses" claim that former Princes Diana's car crash was caused by a laser-wielding mortorcycling British seret agent. Actaully, the "witnesses" just claim the laser and motorcycle parts. The rabid conspiracy theorists at the Daily Express claim the British secret agent was involved. I forget my MI's so I don't remember which one the motorcyclist would be.

Even ignoring the argument that shining a laser into an intoxicated chauffer's eyes is a terrible way to try to cause a crash (and not a certain way to ensure a fatality), this conspiracy theory doesn't even make sense on the surface. At least the fake moon landing theory looks decent on the surface until you dig deeper into the theory and realize it's mostly garbage. (Then again, it's also fun to read up on the fake moon landing theory and claim to believe it in conversation because the arguments are generally good enough that most people don't know exactly how to shoot it down.)

Apparently, this whole conspiracy hinges on Diana embarrasing the royal family by being pregnant with a child who has a Muslim father at the time of her death. To avoid embarrasment, they decide to off Diana. If they were so concerned about Diana embarrasing them, why not just off her while she was still married to Prince Charles? Then he would be free to remarry whoever he likes (cough... cough... Camilla) without the embarrasment of a divorce hanging over his head.

To be fair, it is important to point out that Daily Express aren't the only ones revisiting this tragedy. Back in Ferbuary of 2005, British police officers closed the scene of the accident for eight hours to re-investigage and geta 3-D model. (Source: http://alcoholism.about.com/od/diana/a/diana020516.htm) Just let it go, guys.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Solomon, Where Art Thou?

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the Fight for the Holy Land since I was in grammar school. I’ve gone through a Pro-Israeli phase and an Anti-Zionist phase, and I’ve heard all the ridiculous arguments on both sides. Right now, I’ve settled into a American-Centered phase and I’m not seeing any good guys running the show. I want to see them, but it is hard. I pray for the everyday-folks who live there, who just want to be able to get a pizza or a beer or coffee without getting shot at or blown up. I see teeming millions of Jews, Christians and Muslims held hostage by a small group of lunatics with heavy weapons and holy books.

We (the West) have called on the Palestinians and Hamas to "recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace." Since the 26th, when Hamas won their landslide victory, we have not heard much from the right other than 'the sky is falling.' Christopher Hitchens went so far as to call the Palestinians suicide voters. SAWB predicts "Maybe it's just me, but ifin I were a betting man, I'd be wagering that this little tiff between Israel and Palestine is going to explode here sooner rather than later." Dante has wondered if Israel’s plan all along has been to goad the Palestinians into "actual military combat."

I think terms like this really demonstrate how little the actual facts on the ground matter. Let us go over them, just to be clear. Israel is not going anywhere. They are millions of people who live there now, who have tanks and guns and planes with big bombs. Hamas’ recognition is only important symbolically. The important thing is that Hamas keep the nominal ceasefire going with the Israelis. The Palestinians are not going anywhere. They are millions of people who live there, they have guns and rockets and people willing to kill themselves to stop Israel. The West’s recognition is only important symbolically. The important thing is the nominal amount of money the West sends to prop up the Palestinians.

All those people live closer together than I live to Athens, Georgia.

It is a very difficult thing to ignore someone pointing a real gun at you. (So I’ve heard.)

Suicide voters are a far sight better than suicide bombers.

The 'tiff' between Israel and Palestine explodes, on average, every 7 hours.

Israel has already engaged the Palestinians in "actual military combat." The Israelis won big. Real big. That’s how we got to this point in the first place.

And that’s really the big daddy, right there. What’s Israel going to do, take over Palestine, again? That worked so well for the last 40 years that we want to do it all over? Talk about suicide.

Lost in Translation yet? You’re about to be.

Today, we got an open letter from Hamas. It is a strange letter, obviously written by someone who doesn’t know the West very well, but who is trying. In my opinion, there are three big parts of this:
"My message to the West—to America, to Europe, to everybody—is this: Hamas wants peace. We hate bloodshed and killing. We don't want to fight. There is a verse in the Qur'an that says whoever kills one soul kills all souls. And whoever brings life to people brings life to a nation. Our problem is with the Israeli occupation."

"Our weapons are the only guarantee of our existence. If a proper Palestinian state were established, then all the militias would melt inside the Palestinian Army."

"We would be happy to work under the Irish model. But is Israel prepared to respect our political wing? Is Israel ready for such a formula?"

(Bold added for emphasis, HR)

Thing is, I’ve never heard anything like this from any Palestinian reported in a major American news outlet. Look at that for a minute. Believe it or not as you choose, but it just does not sound like the usual propaganda to me.

Meanwhile, back in Israel, there is strife brewing between those who want peace and security and rule of law, and those who want only war. This may give you a clue as to whom the real enemies of peace are: The fight was on in Amona.

"The confrontation at Amona, one of dozens of illegal outposts established since the 1990s, began Wednesday morning, after Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a final appeal by the settlers. The court ordered nine houses in Amona, built on private Palestinian land, to be demolished. The remainder of the outpost, inhabited by about 35 families living in cramped trailer homes, was not yet being cleared."

"Amona is one of dozens of outposts set up by settlers in the past decade to prevent the creation of a future Palestinian state."

"However, since the launch of the road map in 2003, the evacuation of outposts has been bogged down in legal maneuvering, and a government report said Israel was not doing enough to meet its commitments. Some government ministries were even funneling state funds to the outposts."

(Bold added for emphasis. HR.)

I applaud Israel for doing what needs to be done. I think Ariel Sharon broke his own heart to do what is right. When he became Prime Minister, I cussed up a storm becaue all I could see was his past. But the fight for peace rages on in the here and now, where unlikely heroes rise. Wake up, Ariel. Wake up.

Wake up, Hamas. Please.