Saturday, August 25, 2007


God, Guns, and No Brains

Apparently, Ted Nugent isn't content to selling overwrought hyper-patriotic tomes, or living off the royalties of his one or two hits. Unlike Justice Hugo Black or many libertarians, I don't construe the First Amendment as being so much of a license that one is free to say anything bone-headed about national candidates that one wants. Matt drudged up the video link below for his site the other day. Considering that Nugent is holding what appears to a very powerful firearm (real or replica) and asks the former first lady to "suck on his machine gun" (and he wasn't doing the Hip Hop crotch-grab while shouting it) , I think we can assume Nugent's comments comprise the physical threatening of presidential candidates. Were he to do such a thing to a private citizen with gun in hand, he might be charged with criminal menacing.

Though I support "gun rights" (however both the right and left try to misrepresent the intentions of the Founding Fathers), hunting, and generally deplore welfare state liberalism, never has the word "freedom" sounded so vile coming from the mouth of a chickenhawk piece of shit.

However, it will be interesting to see if the Secret Service investigates this histrionic and puerile screeching of a washed-up rocker, which possibly was an incitement to violence, or if Nugent gets the Jesse Helms slide.

For this week's Retro Record Moment, the only Ted Nugent record that I've ever found even somewhat remotely interesting. I always thought it would have been a great theme song for some
1960s superhero TV show (I think that I recall Cingular using the opening bars for a promotion with the first Spider-Man movie). No matter how he tries to play the "I'm so Clean and Conservative (but not Articulate)" card these days, we all know that the song isn't a reference to transcendental meditation (see Stevie Wonder's mid-1970s albums for that interpretation).

UPDATE: Well, no wonder I like the song so much. Ted Nugent wasn't the author . Also, my memory of six-year-old commercials is pretty good. My all-time favorite commercial, however, used another psychedelic artist for background music.


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Friday, August 24, 2007


Open Thread

Live on in threaded bliss.

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What We Should Learn from the Vick Saga

Surprise, surprise. The player who was the face of the NFL only a year ago, has now become for lack of the better word, the butt of the NFL.

The National Football League has decided to suspend Michael Vick indefinitely. NFL CommishGoodell declared that Vick's actions were "not only illegal but also cruel and reprehensible" and regardless whether he personally placed bets, "your actions in funding the betting and your association with illegal gambling both violate the terms of your NFL player contract and expose you to corrupting influences in derogation of one of the most fundamental responsibilities of an NFL player."

Then Vick came out with yet another confession. Vick admits to killing dogs in his plea bargain. According to The Smoking Gun's website, the following was released from his deal with the Feds:

As part of a plea deal, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback admitted that his Bad Newz Kennels operation wagered money--which he provided--in pit bull fights. However, "Vick did not gamble by placing side bets on any of the fights," according to a "summary of the facts" that was filed today in court. That document, a copy of which you'll find below, also notes that Vick "was aware" that three of his cohorts killed several dogs that performed poorly in test fighting sessions in mid-2002. The summary reports that "Vick did not kill any dogs at this time." Earlier this year, Vick, and two cronies "agreed to the killing of approximately 6-8 dogs" that fared poorly in testing sessions at his Smithfield, Virginia property. Some of the animals were drowned or hanged, and Vick "stipulated" that the animals died via the "collected efforts" of himself, and codefendants Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace.

There you have it... Vick can say adios to his career. My, how the mighty fall.

Let us not over look the real story here: race. It is an issue of race because of the way variant elements within our country's culture look upon animals.

I love dogs, and have always welcomed a dog into my family since I was a little kid. My family currently owns a boxer, who is a light in our lives. But still, a dog is a dog is a dog.

What separates the status of a dog from say a deer? At what one point in our existence did man decree that a dog has a higher place in the chain of animals then a deer? When the "white" man hunts deer, that is not an act of cruelty. Rather, it is a sport, a sport which is used as a way to keep the deer population down.

What of horses? Surely, are not horses are just as a part of our human existence as dogs? Yet, we look down on those who participate in grey hound racing, while we cheer the horses used in the Derby racing. To make things worse, horses that are injured because we raced them, are euthanized, many times right on the race track.

But horses and deer are animals that amuse the "white" man.

What is done to horses and deer is not considered torture. Surely though there are degrees of torture. We do not drown or electrocute the horses, but we do whip them, and force them to race against their will.

As Vick is condemned for committing a federal crime, for torturing an animal that our society has selectively given lawful protection too, let us not forget what some of the more serious sins against human beings that are committed against humanity that go unpunished every day.

When the former Chiefs linebacker, Derrick Thomas, passed away in 2000, he left behind a great amount of wealth earned from playing football. Most remember him as a great linebacker. But few remember him as a terrible father. The following is Herb London of the Hudson Institute:

Derrick Thomas, the nine-time Pro-Bowl linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, died of a massive blood clot Feb. 8, a little more than two weeks after he was paralyzed in a car accident. There has been an extended period of grieving for the 33-year-old fallen football hero.

One eulogy after another mentioned Thomas' tireless money-raising efforts for a reading club that assisted urban kids with reading deficiency and a variety of other charitable causes. He was a poster boy for the United Way and a recipient of the Boy Scouts' Role Model Award, the Sports Illustrated for Kids Good Sport Award, the President George Bush Point of Light Award, National Football League Man of the Year Award, the Byron "Whizzer" White Humanitarian Award and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Man of the Year Award...

...What Peterson neglected to point out was what kind of decisions Thomas made in the last 15 years. He did not point out that Thomas has seven children with five different women, none of whom was his wife. His children live in Miami, Kansas City and Lawrence, Kan. In praising Thomas's many charitable acts, the eulogies omitted the personal discipline that should accompany bringing life into the world.

Thomas was a surrogate father to many children but was not a father to his own children. He spent Christmas handing out gifts to poor kids, but he wasn't around to offer solace for his own kids. Yet this is the man who was given a trunk-load of awards, praised as a man to be emulated.

Mr. London goes on to state:

However, these are unusual times. In some American subcultures there is status in producing babies, even if they aren't nurtured by their fathers. Professional sport has become a haven for such activity. One National Basketball Association team of 12 players had 32 illegitimate children, and that may be closer to the norm than the league office would like to admit.

In the United States at the moment -- with the rate of illegitimacy leveling off -- two-thirds of the black population and one-quarter of the total population are born out of wedlock. More than 80 percent of those in prison were born as illegitimate children. This is a national disgrace.

Yet, remarkably, Thomas is held up as a model. It is models like Thomas that represent the problem. If elites believe fathering children outside of marriage without responsibility is appropriate, why shouldn't young men searching for ways to assert their manhood adopt the same method? Instead of moral rectitude, elites now offer depravity.

This is far worse of a sin then any amount of dog killing could ever compare too. Players who live as if they are invincible tarnish the lives of those around them. This is not a race issue because white players are just as guilty. Even this past Spring it came out that Tom Brady had fathered an illegitimate child.

As far as I'm concerned, Vick should go to jail because he broke the law. However, there are worse things a person can do, and there are plenty of people with greater sin on their plate then Vick, and they get to play in the NFL, but not Vick.

This is a scenario where a dogs life in many ways is given more weight then a persons life. What of the children that are ignored and left without a father to look after them? What of the mothers that receive little help from the men who took advantage of them? Are these people not more human then dogs? The answer is obvious. Yet this underground problem will remain, and no federal statutes are being used to end this abuse of the human condition.

Perhaps we should reconsider our priority's back to the dignity of a human life.

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Maher-ed For Life

My personal favorite political talk show returns on HBO tonight. That would be "Real Time With Bill Maher." One might not agree with Maher's politics (he's basically a libertarian-leaning atheist). He's anti-Republican, but is hardly a knee-jerk liberal -- especially when it comes to racial and sexual political correctness.

He also has a pretty good panel and invariably gives his Republican and conservative guests time to make their case (and balances the one-on-one guests at the top of the show pretty well). Tonight, Dick Cheney's favorite writer, Stephen Hayes and Arkansas' second-favorite son, Mike Huckabee are in the mix.

Anyway, it's at 11:00 p.m. tonight and then repeats frequently over the next few days.

And, no, this is NOT a paid ad!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007


Bernanke Panky

Quote of the Day: "
Americans buy things they don't need with money they don't have. "

You gotta love a country where sub-prime borrowers are told by the president not to expect a bail-out (unlike others), but if you are an irresponsible high-stakes speculative investor, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve will get the National Printing Presses rolling for you.

I love reading Bill Bonner's contrarian commentaries on America's macroeconomic shenanigans. Like Newsmax's John LeBoutillier on the political front, Mr. Bonner has been a pretty consistent economic handicapper of the ever-evolving miseries of the American people; and, no one explains the free-money mayhem of the Federal Reserve in a straight-forward, no frills manner quite like Bonner and his sidekick, Addison Wiggin (a delightful name worthy of a character in an early 20th Century English novel).

Start here for an insightful introduction to the Ron Paul branch of libertarian economic analysis.

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Everyone Agrees

Even President Bush says Iraq is the new Vietnam!

Or has the potential to be!

Consensus at last!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007


More "Vick"-timization?

Respect for dogs well-noted, a columnist with a black newspaper puts the Vick saga in context.

Oh, and, yes, black folks have long memories; we sympathize with those awful Bull Connor days with the
hoses and the police dogs ("payback is a bitch"), but for the local NAACP to continue going to bat for Vick is a lose-lose situation.

Trust me on this.

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One Stone Overturned

New York's state government was judged the country's most dysfunctional -- three years ago -- by a non-partisan think tank.

It was hoped that the election of Eliot Spitzer last November would change that.

It has.

It's gone from dysfunctional to demented.

In the latest installment, GOP consultant Roger Stone was canned today by the state Senate Republican Election Campaign Committee after it was revealed that he was behind an abusive "anonymous" phone call to Gov. Spitzer's elderly father, Bernard, a real estate magnate. Stone, a long-time GOP operative was hired earlier this summer to provide strategic assistance to Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno in his ever-evolving political war with the governor. That war, of course, has produced multiple investigations connected to Spitzer's use of State Police in an apparent smear job of Bruno.

RT readers will also recall that Stone was at least tangentially connected to mysterious e-mails that were sent around to various journalists around the state. The e-mails were traced to a former(?) associate of Stone's called Michael Caputo -- who denied a connection to Stone. (One quick way to decrease the size of one's in-box -- after my few postings on the various e-mails, I suddenly stopped receiving them in both of my e-mail accounts.)

"Mess" doesn't begin to describe what has become of New York state politics over the last few weeks.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The Fire This Time

Two more names to the roster of firefighters who lost their lives because of 9/11. New York continues to mourn Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino who died Saturday responding to a fire in the set-for-demolition Deutsche Bank building at Ground Zero. The duo basically suffocated as they ran out of air in a building that had been insulated in polyurethane after it was deemed unuseable -- and a condemned health hazard after being covered with debris from the collapsing Twin Towers.

Tactical questions on this tragedy center around why the ground standpipe had no water pressure.

However, there may be even greater anger over the broad policy fiasco that led to this building still standing six years after 9/11. The Post's story on the contractors issue. Our editorial looks at both tactics and policy. My colleague Steve Cuozzo weighs in. The Daily News has some of the audio from inside the building.

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Worst joke of the day

At the exact same time, there are two 35 year old men on opposite sides of the earth.

One is walking a tight rope between two skyscrapers.

The other is getting oral sex from an 85 year old toothless woman.

They are both thinking the exact same thing: Don’t look down.

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Power & The Passion

Steve Clemons is a good friend, but it's fun to see an otherwise very smart guy have such a capacity for understatement when it comes to things slightly more run-of-the-mill than intricate foreign policy. Steve has been attending a conference Down Under for a few days:

I'm not very culturally literate, and it took my table partner at the ongoing Australian American Leadership Dialogue to tell me that the erudite, bald-headed guy speaking eloquently and convincingly about sensible strategies to confront climate change was a former lead singer of the group Midnight Oil, Peter Garrett.
"a former lead singer of the group Midnight Oil"? Oh, Steve!

That's like saying that Mick Jagger is a singer with the Rolling Stones! Garrett was one of the most dynamic frontmen in rock and Midnight Oil was also one of the most explicitly political bands ever. Even better, they could match the earnestness with powerful music and tuneful lyrics. One of the reasons, they seemed better than the usual American brand of entertainers dabbling in politics is that, left-wing point of view aside, they seemed to know their stuff (admittedly, my own knowledge of Australian politics and policy was severely limited).

They started in the late '70s, but their international high point was the late-80s and early '90s, with great songs like "
Beds Are Burning", "The Dead Heart", "Blue Sky Mine" (a song that still has resonance today given the mine collapses in Utah and China) and perhaps my favorite, "Forgotten Years":

I caught the Oils in a farewell tour a couple of years ago. They still could bring it; Garrett was at his manic best.

Anyway, it looks like Garrett is taking his passion to where he believes it may actually have impact. We'll find out if he can marry the power and the passion:

P.S. Oh, the Aussie election may actually hinge on how voter react to the Labor leader's visit to a Manhattan strip club -- courtesy of the editor of a certain well-known tabloid!

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Monday, August 20, 2007


Hope Springs Eternal

Arkansas boys hang together.

Another point that could be made about Clinton: Like Reagan and unlike either the incumbent president OR the woman who hopes to succeed him, he didn't get a special hand-up into the political elite by birth or marriage.

He did it the "modern" old-fashioned way: He earned it.

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