Saturday, August 11, 2007


The (Un)Official Mitt Romney Family Theme Song

In light of RAG's post this week, I'm surprised that one of my all-time favorite songs from one of my must-have-on-desert-island albums didn't immediately pop up into my thoughts.

Official Video, which I couldn't embed in RT but with better sound and horn section, here. Lyrics for the Non-Gen X ear here. Story behind the song here. Famous example of a father explaining the role of a chickenhawk to his son here.

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Everything Old is True Again


According to Billboard Magazine, Ella Fitzgerald is still a chart-topper:
"Love Letters from Ella" debuted at No. 97 on the Billboard 200 Wednesday, and it also entered the Top Jazz Albums tally at No. 2, behind Michael Buble's "Call Me Irresponsible."

I'm not at all surprised. One of the features of new technology that is probably killing the music business as we know it, is that the consumer is freer to discover music outside of the realm of crappy adolescent warblers and ex-con poseurs found on MTV or BET. Why listen to the latest 50 Cent album (which sounds just like every other hypothalamus-driven, stone-banging, Neanderthalish hip hop album) when you can instantly be transported through time via the magic of I-Tunes, Zune, or even public domain download sites (early recordings out of copyright) to an era where real talent was more ubiquitous?

The wonderful digitized world of Stravinsky conducting his own compositions, Sinatra, the Jazz Charlies Parker and Christian, Woody Guthrie, or even Caruso await you.

Torture yourself no longer with the likes of Wayne Brady era histrionics, and enjoy real elegance, class, and style. She may not still be live, but who needs Memorex?

Tech Geek Note: The latest version of Real Networks' free Real Player media program allows you to easily record streaming video off the 'Net. A lot of videos I cite on RT often get pulled off of YouTube, so the latest Real Player is a great way to record gems that you may not have seen in decades before they disappear into the memory hole again (like my favorite Sid Caesar bit just did on YT).

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Friday, August 10, 2007


Open Thread

Thread's up!

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Rudy Steps In It

Rudy Giuliani admitted today that he "misspoke" when he engaged in a bit of hyperbole Thursday:

The former New York mayor upset some firefighters and police officers when he said Thursday in Cincinnati that he was at ground zero "as often, if not more, than most of the workers."

"I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them," he told reporters at a Los Angeles Dodgers-Cincinnati Reds baseball game.
Time will tell whether this is just a minor stumble or whether this rhetorical overkill has long-term consequences.

It's easy to dismiss criticism on Rudy's 9/11 leadership like that in
this week's Village Voice. The Voice is a well-known paper of the Left and the author Wayne Barrett has written several anti-Rudy books.

Rudy was also able to throw some cold water on the critical video produced last month from the International Association of Fire Fighters, by portraying the attack as rooted in "union" vs. "mayor" labor issues.

But, when the mayor himself makes a statement that is so out of touch with the actual facts, he puts at risk the entire uber-image of "America's Mayor" that has been so carefully put together.

We shall see.

UPDATE: Here's the video of Rudy's comments:

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Needlin' Barry

Baseball had a controversial moment this week, and I chose to not bother commenting on it. However, this story puts Barry Bonds' record-making swing in proper perspective.

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We Ames To Please

Saturday is the "big" Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, where the GOP presidential candidates attempt to show their organizational strength. However, the two big names -- frontrunner Rudy Giuliani and unannounced player Fred Thompson -- aren't participating.

So, what does it all mean? Who survives -- and who bites the dust?

Marc Ambinder and Ryan Sager handicap the field.

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Friday funnies

Too much funny stuff today, so I thought I would lump it all into one post.

First, today's Dilbert:

Second, from
Neal Boortz's website:
Mike forgot his wedding anniversary and his wife was really ticked off at him.

She told him, "Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in under 6 seconds, AND IT BETTER BE THERE."

The next morning, Mike got up really early.

When his wife woke up a couple of hours later, she looked out the window, and sure enough, there was a small gift-wrapped box sitting in the middle of the driveway. Confused, the wife put on her robe, ran out to the driveway, and took the box into the house.

She opened it, and found a brand new bathroom scale.

Mike is not yet well enough to have visitors.

Finally, in the category of "I can't make this stuff up", we have this little bit of actual news from the Times Online:
Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.

Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.

Somebody needs to tell Andy Skurka about that study:
Andy Skurka is walking. Everyday, all day. In rain, snow, and scorching heat. And nothing can slow him down -- not cougars, bears or snakes. Not blisters or burning muscles. Since setting out from the Grand Canyon on April 9, Skurka has covered 3,653 miles … and he's only halfway home.

Andy Skurka's "GoLite on the Planet" walk has reached the halfway point. The nearly 7,000 mile odyssey -- roughly the distance from Los Angeles to Istanbul, Turkey -- is an effort to provide a first-hand look at the damage global warming is having on America's National Parks and wilderness areas.

Andy, stop! You're killing the planet!

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Thursday, August 09, 2007


Queer Eye For An Open Thread

Proving that we listen to our audience here at RT, we start something new tonight. This evening is the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning (did I forget anything?) Democratic presidential debate (or "forum") co-sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign and LOGO cable channel.

I will not be watching it. Not because I wish to dis members of the GLBTQ community; it's just that I have prior commitments -- and I'm already debated out. To show my equal opportunity dismissing, I also missed the You Tube debate (though that was because my of my Luddite non-cable Dad), last Sunday's "This Week" GOP debate and the union debate this Tuesday. I'm somewhat sorry that I'll be missing tonight's show because my friend Jonathan Capehart (once of the New York Daily News, now of The Washington Post) is moderating the event.

Anyway, those interested in checking out tonight's festivities, you can either watch it on LOGO (check local cable listings) or view it online here.

And then, comment away!

UPDATE: Ryan Sager never gets "debated out." He has the wrap-up of the forum.

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Summer Distractions, Cont'd

Bruce Bartlett discusses his current favorite summer TV series on cable (which are becoming increasingly popular), "Mad Men" (about the 60's-era advertising industry), particularly the creators' attention to detail.

I have to agree; it is a good show.

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Is Mitt Romney An Idiot -- Or Just Weird?

RT has, generally speaking, tended to ignore the Mitt Romney campaign (aside from Madscribe's little mash note a few days ago). Nothing personal (in fact, a friend of mine is one of his spokesmen). But with Ron Paul, Hillary, Barack, Rudy and Fred (and the occasional John McCain), there's only so much time to focus on the presidential candidates. (We even overlooked stories on Romney's pre-Michael Vick dog incident a couple decades ago.).

But, this one's a bit too good to pass up. Romney was asked recently about why none of his son's are in the military. This is, frankly, one of those de rigeur "gotcha" questions that most pro Iraq War politicians should have figured out how to answer by now. Instead, Romney gave a response that was, well,
kinda dumb, as Salon enjoyed pointing out:

"One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president."

Romney noted that one of his sons is driving around Iowa in an R.V. to help spread the Romney message. Which is like driving a Humvee through Baghdad , only different.
So, this response started a nice hullaballoo around the 'Net. Not surprisingly, the left side of the blogosphere is eating it up. However, also not surprisingly, Romney cheerleader/biographer/***kisser Hugh Hewitt is blaming the controversy ONLY on "lefty bloggers".

Filling in for Andrew Sullivan, right-of-center blogger Professor Stephen Bainbridge
puts things in perspective:

Lefty bloggers? Me? Liz Mair, who called it just plain stupid? James Joyner, who said it might "be the dumbest answer ever by a presidential candidate" and also rejected the Romney camp's spin by explaining that "the longer version is more harmful to Romney than the AP story"? Steve Benen, who quotes the Romney spin and then says "Romney still believes driving a Winnebago and writing for a campaign blog is “showing support for our,” on par with serving in the military"? Jim Geraghty, who says "Romney seems a little off-key" and says the Romney spin "leaves me a little cold"? Sorry, but trying to spin this as a lefty tempest in a teapot simply won't work.
Yeah, Professor, put me on your list or right-of-center bloggers who think the former governor of Massachusetts has this too-cute-by-half aspect to his character that inevitably causes him to put his foot in his mouth.

UPDATE: One of Josh Marshall's readers delivers a viciously witty quip (Saving Private Ryan fans will get the reference).

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Guess It's Not Too Early...

Get those candidate info cards in order: Primary day is just weeks away -- like, this year:

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson will announce that he is moving its primary date ahead of Florida’s Jan. 29 vote, to reclaim his state party’s “first in the South” presidential-nominating banner. But he will do so in New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation primary. And he will be joined by New Hampshire’s longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who alone has the power to set that state’s date for both parties, now tentatively Jan. 22.

If both were to move their dates up, that likely would force Iowa — always protective of its party caucuses as the first nominating contests of any kind — to consider moving its date from next Jan. 14 into pre-Christmas December.

Hey, the way things are going, we could start voting for president this November!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Our Man In Baghdad

My friend Capt. Dan McSweeney of the United States Marine Corps, following his May graduation from Columbia U.'s School of International Public Affairs (SIPA) is spending his summer in Iraq (he previously spent time over there in 2003 as part of the 24th MEU), helping provide communications assistance for General David Petraeus.

This is Dan (at the Marine Corps Birthday Bash a couple years back).

Anyway, he has provided a few entries to SIPA's blog, The Morningside Post.

Depending on your perspective, you might find them interesting or just blatant government-sanctioned propaganda. I find them the former.

Read them
here, here, here and here.

Stay well, pal.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Casey At The Bat

Speaking of radio...

Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, talk show hosts Casey Lartigue and Eliot Morgan get bounced off their black-oriented public affairs satellite radio show for
exposing "Memorandum 46", a fake document that has become an accepted "truth" for conspiracy theorists in black America.

It's a great story, but a sad one too -- for Casey and Eliot, obviously, but for the many black Americans that seem to desperately want to believe that they are the victims of multiple conspiracies.

I would say that Lartique and Morgan might have been better received if they conceded the extent to which many black urban legends have, ahem, "roots" in some true despicable historical events.

The AIDS myth, for example, echoes back to the syphilis experimentation on black men at Tuskegee University.

Those historical events certainly don't excuse the visceral rejection of any and all evidence that undermines the urban legends -- or demonizing those who would try to bring some light to history.

Casey's blog has more info on Memorandum 46 and the controversy.

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Don't Call It A Comeback...

...he's been here for years!

The I-man plots his return -- with legal/quasi-philosophical weapons in tow:

Even without actually filing the suit (a step he still hasn’t taken), Garbus scored several points. First, he repositioned Imus as a victim, not a villain (Imus wasn’t the bad guy here; the suits who fired him without cause were). He also staked out the legal high ground in the CBS contract dispute, should the matter ever come before a court. The nappy-headed-hos comment, Garbus says, was clearly a joke, not a slur, and in no way falls into the category of prohibited speech. Firing Imus for the remark, he argues, didn’t just violate the terms of his contract—it was unconstitutional. Essentially, Garbus is deploying the Lenny Bruce defense. “Bruce had a joke where a couple of guys are sitting around playing poker,” Garbus remembers. “One guy said, ‘What do you have?’ and the other says, ‘I got two kikes, a wop, and a chink,’ and the other guy says, ‘Oh, I have three niggers, a dago, and a so-and-so.’ And he kept throwing out the words. He said, ‘If I use it in this context, you understand it’s a joke.’ He said that words don’t have any meaning. It’s the meanings that you impart to them.”

And what was the meaning of Imus’s comments? Before he was fired, Garbus says, Imus was saying ho on the air a lot, actually; not just about the Rutgers women but about his wife, Deirdre, a committed environmentalist he dubbed “the Green Ho.” It was like Lenny saying nigger, Garbus argues, because he was making it clear that there are people out there who use that word all the time, unironically—in Lenny’s case white racists, and in Imus’s case the hip-hop crowd. According to Garbus, when Imus said “nappy-headed hos,” he was being ironic—goofing on the pleasure white society gets from co-opting the lexicon of the black world. It’s a highbrow variation of how Imus’s producer-sidekick, Bernie McGuirk, who said hos right before Imus did on the air that April morning, explained the whole thing on Hannity & Colmes: “You know, we’re trying to be—or I was trying to be—cool.”

That argument, of course, doesn’t wash with everyone. In our discussion, Garbus brings up the book Nigger, by Randall Kennedy, the Harvard law professor, that explicates the different connotations of the word, depending on the context. He calls it a wonderful book. Unfortunately for Garbus, during the Imus controversy in April, Kennedy told Reuters that he found Imus’s comments “terrible and reprehensible … ‘Nappy-headed’ could be used in a variety of ways, it can be said lovingly or in a complimentary way, but Don Imus said it to express casual contempt.”

Garbus clearly doesn’t see it that way. “Nappy-headed hos is not nigger,” he says. “As I said, it depends on the context in which you say it. And that was Bruce’s point: It depends on how you say it and when you say it.”

And that’s your point in this lawsuit, I ask—context is everything?

“Context is a great deal of it,” he says. “I don’t know if it’s everything.”

I thought Imus should be suspended, didn't think he should have been fired, but didn't shed any tears seeing him leave. Similarly, indifference would be reaction his return.


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Monday, August 06, 2007


The New "Obama Girl" "Giuliani Girl" !

Gotta love those family values!

Of course, Obama doesn't win the primary, what happens then?

Once you go Barack, you never go back!

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Unbearable Being of Whiteness

Same old, same old...our wonderful Republican Party:

"It's mostly white. More male than female...It's not very diverse."

Oh, wait. My mistake. That wasn't a description of the GOP; it's a description of the make-up of the Democratic activist YearlyKos confab -- by one of the main organizers!

Well, if Kos' long-term plan was to create a mirror image of the conservative movement's, I'd say they are succeeding.

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Sliding Down The Fire Pole

In an example of cutting off one's uh, hose, to spite one's face, the New York Fire Department declared last week that firefighters in the future would be banned from posing for the charity "Calendar of Heroes." The reason, the cover boy of the 2008 edition appeared in a racy "Guys Gone Wild" video a few years back.

Michael Biserta can't be discliplined by the FDNY because he joined the department after swinging his apparently ample goods in front of an all-female camera crew in a video by the same folks who produce the very popular "Girls Gone Wild" DVD series.

The Biserta clip has now "popped up" on a number of gay sites (Google and ye shall find), causing the department some embarrassment. So now, FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta declared that the Bravest can't appear in any more calendars -- thus ending a very popular moneymaker, the proceeds of which go to the purchase of firefighting equipment.

It's ridiculous. The other firefighters haven't done anything wrong; there haven't been any incidents such as this previously. The calendars are fun and go to a good cause: Last year's edition brought in over $150,000; of course, expect the current one to become a big collector's item.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007


Arresting Development

Yeah, a black man in New York who can say he survived an encounter with The Police -- and came away with a smile on his face! (Yeah, yeah, cheap shot, I know, but I wasn't reaching for my wallet, so it's OK!)

Seriously, I saw Sting, Stewart and Andy at Madison Square Garden Friday night and had a great time. Of course, the tickets were ridiculously overpriced, but the band was very tight! I would have to say that time has been least kind to drummer Stewart Copeland, which is interesting since guitarist Andy Summers at 64(!!) is the group's oldest member!

It struck me as I was leaving that seeing The Police on their reunion tour, 21 years after they formally broke up is the chronological equivalent of mythically seeing The Beatles back on tour -- in

My personal highlight was this song (clip taken from the Boston show), the unofficial anthem of my college freshman class (well, for some of us, anyway):

My only disappointment was that they didn't play this song live (off of my favorite Police album, Ghost In The Machine):

UPDATE: Of course, when it comes to "Demolition Man", one can't ignore one of the rare examples where a cover artist just completely stole the song from the original and made it their own. This is one of those cases. Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Grace Jones:


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They Grow Up So Fast!!!

Imagine a parent going out of town for a couple of day only to return home and find out one of the kids had moved out on his own.

Well, that's how I feel.

Somehow, while I was heading back from the West Coast, my long-time stalker fan and commenter, "Rob" from the great state of Ohio, decided to make his own mark on the blog world! Seriously, Rob started communicating with me some seven years ago when I was a regular contributor to the early National Review Online site (I think I saved a few of Rob's e-mails)! I always enjoyed reading Rob's stuff; even though he was on the left, he felt it important to engage folks on the major conservative site in a manner above you-psycho-fascists-need-to-be-executed-right-now. Then, Rob became an early member of the RT cross-ideological "regular irregulars" in the Comments section.

And now, he's taken the next step.

Madscribe mentioned it yesterday in in his "Retro Record" post, but as the blog proprietor, I wanted to make it official: Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Rodak Riffs!

Rob seems to be leading with his intellectual/philosophical (and musical) side on RR, but I have a feeling that some of the acerbic political viewpoints that we've all come to know and love will slip in at some point. (
And, how nice -- he used a very familiar blog template!)

Congrats, Rob. "Dad" is very proud (Oh, and I assume that this means that, unlike when I asked last summer, you might now be more open to guest-blogging here at RT at some point in the future)!


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