The Personal and Political Ramblings of one guy in Texas.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Heart of Redness 

Iowahawk has posted this hilarious send-up of "Heart of Darkness" (younger folks should think of it as a send-up of the movie "Apocalypse Now". It wouldn't take much to write one going the other way I know, but c'mon its funny. Almost as funny as the NYT's periodic "conservatives in the mist" articles, which this parody was inspired by.

Here's a sample:

"You Dionne?" said the hulking man in the Carhhardt jacket. "I'm Epstein, from the Sociology Department."

Epstein was the legendary University of Iowa sociologist who knew the west Red Country better than any man in civilization. He knew their language, their mores, their favorite NASCAR drivers. It was rumored that he had even lived among them for a time, but my editors at the Post warned me not to speak to him of it.

We poured over maps and discussed logistics until 7:45, when Epstein called for us to adjourn.

"There's a faculty panel symposium on Cuban health care over at Schaffer Auditorium," he said. "I suggest we attend, because there won't be any more where we're headed."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Why Do You Hate America? And if You Don't, Why Is It So Easy To Make It Look Like You Do? 

Left-liberals really get their knickers in a knot when people impugn their patriotism. And I don't blame them. Some of them, anyway. For example, we may disagree on nearly everything about how to deal with America's problems, but the Southpaw guys and I are both on the side of America. We have flags and we have no problems blowing the living crap out of anyone who thinks they want a piece of us (I'm simplifying a bit here, but you get the basic idea). But in my opinion, too many others of the Left/Liberals have dug their own whole on this issue.

I know someone who isn't a hater of America, not one of those International Answer types, but who is a left-liberal. Maybe they even consider themselves a full-on Leftie, but those definitions can get slippery. Anyway, I was with this person at a Tae Kwon Do event and it opened with the National Anthem.

Okay, it was slightly odd to have the Anthem, but not that odd. Dang near every sporting event in the United States opens with the national anthem. My friend about freaked out. "What does this have to do with karate?" she fumed.

Think about this for a second. The event was totally non-political and non-governmental. It was a karate graduation, being put on by a private institution. There had not been (nor was there to be) a word about the election. There wasn't an opening prayer, either. But this person got worked up over the playing of the national anthem.

Say what you will about Falwell and his ilk (and you have to say it, since much is unprintable) you do not doubt that they love America. They wave the flag, say the pledge, and aside from times when they blame our ills on gay rights, are all-out boosters of America. Many people (including me) would not like their fully-realized vision of America, but they manage to sound like they love it, and this is enough for most folks to cut them a little slack.

Too often, the Left's criticisms don't sound that way. Their crazy's don't like America, and a large number of the non-crazy's are uncomfortable with many of the things that show that they do.

For example, Katha Pollitt, (whom I have ridiculed before) wrote this article about the flag-waving soon after 9/11. Here's a snippet: "The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war." If Pollitt didn't exist, right-wingers would have to invent her. But she does, and she isn't the only one by a long stretch.

If there is one thing about the vast mass of Americans, it is that they love their country. If Left-Liberalism cannot come to grips with its ambivalence towards the tropes of America (the flag, the anthem, etc.), they will always be trying to ski uphill.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Last Thursday, we saw one of the more cynical bits of political farce of the 2004 election, in an election that did not lack for cynicism or farce. After Boxer and Conyers did their bit to throw mud on the election, mud which isn't going to make elections in the future any better, but simply serves to validate their loonier constituents and maybe even make things worse in terms of believable election results, its beginning to look like the situation in Washington state is going to get interesting.

Its an odd twist of fate the my blog is read mostly by my left-leaning friends, but lets make use of that. Consider this:

If, after a very, very, very close election, a democrat had won narrowly, but after three recounts (two of which still had the Dem out front) it was decided that a Republican had won narrowly, after a Republican dominated county had found uncounted ballots (twice!) plus ballots that had been "improperly" invalidated and it was learned that there were more votes than voters…would you then write an article talking about how it was great that every vote had been counted?

Somehow I think you would be a tad -- just a tad, mind you -- suspicious. You probably wouldn't write an article like this.

Unrelated item that deserves at least a brief comment: It seems that a columnist was paid $240,000 to write nice things about Bush's education reform. What the Hell? This is outrageous! Talk about stupid. Is it even legal? It would be nice if someone got fired over this.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Yes, I'm Alive 

Just haven't had a whole to say that wouldn't take a lot more time than I was willing to put into it. Here are a couple of short takes.

Apparently California has a new law restricting the age of those who can use tanning salons. Those under fourteen are prohibited, 14-18 need parental approval. But you can't require parental notification of an underage abortion without all hell breaking loose. Jeez, I always wondered if it was easier it for kids to get an abortion than a tattoo. Now I know about tanning, at least in Cali.

In the past, I observed that at least one good thing that might come of a Kerry presidency would be a return to good posting from Josh Marshall. Alas, that is not the case. Take this for example. It one of the worst things I've seen him write. It pretty breath-taking in its partisan nature and general ignoring of reality. Just removing the Bush sucks boilerplate jammed in there would shorten its length by 25% (I checked).

Then there some of his assumptions. First, there's the debt issue. Yeah, we ran up debt, and yeah, under Bush we've run up a lot more, but most of that would have happened in any case.
The real problems were the end of the internet bubble and the economic slowdown, which put paid to everyones rosy expectations. But Josh ignores that. Also, he ignores the fact that the debt was spent. The SS surplus (and the bubble) was why we had a brief period of balances and surpluses under Clinton. What we have is a big IOU from one side of the government to the other. The people and institutions holding those government IOUs (bonds) can only be paid back out of general revenues, there's no big was of cash to be pulled out of Uncle Sam's mattress.

He also seems to be arguing that this debt is going to be defaulted on in some way. What? No-one has suggested this. Its a nutty point, and seems only to exist in some bizarre place he likes to drag his anti-Bush rhetoric from. Its the paying off of this debt that is the problem! He drags in the specter of bilking low and middle-income people, totally ignoring the fact that wealthy people get ridiculous payoffs from SS (ridiculous that they even exist).

Josh keeps pounding the "evil Republicans want to abolish Social Security" (and thus starve old people and kick their dogs) mantra, but has anyone said that its going to be abolished? Changed, changed perhaps big-time, but ended totally? And changed in a way thats going to kick Grandma out into the street? Granted, its easier to speculate in the absence of a concrete proposal from the administration, but this is nothing more than fear-mongering. Once upon a time, Marshall avoided this sort of thing, but he's drunk the koolaid.

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