30 April 2008

Christianity Vs. The Reverend Wright

Now here's what I consider a must-read post by Juliette over at baldilocks. It's got scripture. It's got cultural insight. It's got spiritual authenticity. It's got a powerful portrait of Reverend Wright. Oh, and it contains this step-stopping observation: "My own pastor says that God has special plans for shepherds—pastors—who mislead their flocks."

Check it out here:
View From Under The Bus

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's Text Messages

It's Christmas for voyeurs everywhere. The courts have delivered more Kilpatrick text messages to be unwrapped by all the naughty boys and girls who couldn't quite make Santa's nice list.

Click here to read some text messages concerning the Detroit police department.

Click here to read some text messages about mayoral influence and paranoia.

Click here to read some of the text messages that you actually came here to read, you sicko.

Fat Cash Farmers Where Are you?

We have a family farm in North Dakota that my oldest brother runs. At present they primarily grow three crops: soy beans, sugar beets, and money whine. I don't mind hearing about how the beets and beans are fairing, but I suddenly get a bad phone connection when he starts to whine about the financial struggles of family farms. "What's that? Furnace problems? The bills [crackle] sorry you're [crackle, crackle] you're, you're breaking up." The last thing I want to have is long-distance empathy for an agrarian sibling who used to lock me in the basement when mom and dad were away doing whatever it was that moms and dads did before Dr. Spock straightened them out.

Part of me thinks that he just wants to play it humble. I mean, I read the papers and things can't be that tough. According to the latest reports from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Soybeans value is up 51%, wheat (both winter and summer) value is up 62% and corn is up an astounding 110% since 2002. Humble shmumble, maybe my bro is just holding out on me. I'm sitting here losing hair and sleep in the struggling automotive industry while he's apparently living the high life as a fat cash farmer.

But, of course, that's not how it works. Despite some news reports that farmers are suddenly atop gilded combines due to an increased crop demand from "emerging countries" and the glory of ethanol, the costs of operation are increasing at a faster rate than profits. According to a recent report "costs are up across the board." Fuel costs have more than doubled over the past couple of years. Over the same span fertilizer has gone from $375 a ton to around $880 a ton. And equipment repair costs are up as much as 70%.

On top of the rising price of known variables, there are those annual gambles in farming that would drive Benny Binion to stable bond investments. Too little rain and the crops are at risk (even irrigation can't solve all of the problems since electricity in the air helps to release soil nitrogen). Too much rain and the beans stay green through harvest, reducing their value. Oh, and then there's the whole issue of when you contract. When can you get the best deal for your crops? Should you hold out a little longer and risk the weather? What about crop rotation? And should you invest in corn or other crops which could grow in value due to the scarcity created by your neighbors investing in corn?

So I guess that I should take it easy on my brother and listen when he talks about the economics of farming. Rising crop prices do not equate to rising profits. It is still a rough life and the rest of us need somebody to do it. But if I ever get a chance to trap him in a basement for an hour or so . . . let's just say I hope it's not a capital offence.


A somewhat meandering sidenote on ethanol: is it really a good idea to use food for fuel?

29 April 2008

Shhhh. Don't Say The H-Word

George Carlin had the 7 words that you can't say on television. My Dad had the 2 words you couldn't say in the house without getting a belt welting. And now the political media has proclaimed the 1 word you can't say during the presidential campaign. Shhhh. Don't say the H-Word. It's bad. It'll make people think the wrong thing. It will make you feel all dirty inside. Oh, and that's not all. Using that kind of language just proves that you're base and stupid. Just ask the refined and brilliant Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"Please run and tell my stuck-on-stupid friends that Arabic is a language -- is a language, it is not a religion," he said. "Barack HUSSEIN Obama," he said, emphasizing the Illinois senator's middle name dramatically, "Barack HUSSEIN Obama, Barack HUSSEIN Obama. There are Arabic-speaking Christians, there Arabic-speaking Jews, Arabic-speaking Muslims and Arabic-speaking atheists. Arabic is a language, it is not a religion. Stop trying to scare folks by giving them this Arabic name like it's some disease."
So, don't use the H-word. It doesn't matter if it's Barack's middle name. It doesn't matter if we use presidential middle names all the time like John Quincy Adams, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Richard Milhous Nixon, Ronald Wilson Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, or even "W" himself. No, Barack HUSSEIN Obama's middle name is verboten. Using it is malicious and, and, well . . . naughty to the max.

If you absolutely (and I mean "absolutely") must make some reference to his full name than I suppose it's acceptable to use just the middle initial, which would surprisingly suit the savior status his surly supporters afford him. Barack H. Christ. I like it.

27 April 2008

Dave Bing Drives Against The Mayor Of Detroit

Hall of Fame Point Guard, Dave Bing, brings the ball up court. Years after retiring from the Detroit Pistons to lead a successful Michigan business, he looks as graceful as he did during his peak playing days. He moves across halfcourt and eyes the towering form of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick blocking his path to the basket. He silently mouths his determination.


"[Kilpatrick] has got to do what is best for the city at this point."
With practiced ease Bing passes the dribble between his legs and slides left, surveying the situation.
"He says he's not leaving and he can't be forced out soon."
The legendary Piston guard stutter-steps, fakes to pull up, then drives right.
"Anybody who thinks this is not hurting the city, the region, the state of Michigan has their heads in the sand."
Bing Know his opponent; knows the strength of his defense.

"There are a lot of people who are afraid to speak up, primarily the white business community, because they will be colored a racist because they're coming out against a black man."
But the Hall-of-famer has never backed down, no matter how tough the competition. He has never walked away from a challenge, even when others were ready to give up.
"I don't think race has anything to do with what we're going through."
Dave Bing snaps the ball between his legs again and bursts forward to the basket. He dips his left shoulder and presses in hard, forcing the defender to stumble back as he crosses into the paint.

"It's about right and wrong."

The ball pops off the wood floor and up, up into his hand as Bing jumps forward, left knee up and right leg long, ball held high.

"It's about accountability."
He shifts the ball from right to left hand, fading slightly away from basket as he finger rolls the ball up between Kilpatrick's flailing arms and off the glass.
"It's about leadership."
Swish. Dave Bing Scores!

You can read more about Dave Bing posting up Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick here in The Detroit News.

26 April 2008

Does The Media Really Have A Liberal Bias?

Ever wonder if there really is a liberal bias in the media? If so, you should check out Freadom Nation's excellent post on the subject.

And if you actually were wondering about a liberal bias in the media, here are a few resources for some other questions that you probably have:

Is Big Bird really yellow?

Is the Pope really Catholic?

Is the Eiffel Tower really in France?

Does a bear really . . . I mean, really?

24 April 2008

The Vampires Have Bested Blade

The wannabe-undead evil familiars couldn't stop him. A hate-filled army of Vampires couldn't stop him. Not even the fanged lord Count Dracula himself could stop him. No, only the most powerful bloodsucking entity ever to stalk the earth could stop the warrior known only as "Blade." And no garlic, no stake nor even light of day can ward off the bitter bite of the IRS.

Wesley Snipes (aka, Blade) has been sentenced to three years in prison on tax charges. Apparently while wielding his sword in defense of witless mortals he willfully failed to pay $2.7 million in back taxes. The IRS parried his attempts to ignore the law, then lunged to his throat with a three-year conviction for which Blade will serve one year of supervised release.

Blade has been bested. Where shall we now turn?

23 April 2008

Toyota Tops GM

They've done it again. The Japanese automaker sold 2.41 million cars in the 1st quarter compared to GM's 2.25 million, for the second year in a row taking an early lead in the industry's race to be number #1.

"We obviously want to win," said Mike DiGiovanni, GM's executive director of global markets and industry analyst. "We'd like to be No. 1 in sales at the end of the year and were going to compete hard for every sale to do that."

That's going to be tougher than finding a virgin in an FLDS compound considering that, as The Detroit News points out:

North American sales, where the U.S. auto industry is struggling with what's expected to be the slowest sales year in more than a decade, were [already] down 10 percent.

You may wonder how all of this is possible when Toyota is the most recalled automotive product in North America, but when it comes to quality perception is reality, as Obamaians demonstrate. Despite their quality woes, Toyota is still perceived as a reliable set of wheels. And it doesn't hurt that the Japanese media supports their manufacturers with an abandon that U.S. journalist would find too icky in an I-love-America sorta way. In fact The Japan Times kicked off the 2008 automotive race by proclaiming that "Toyota aims to rout GM in 2008 sales race" Not just beat GM, but rout them.

All right, Japan, now it's on! You're messing with the Cadillac of cars here.

American Amusement Park To Open In Baghdad

OK, ok, go ahead and point out that Baghdad has some problems. Sure, they have a strained police force, a damaged infrastructure, tension in the streets and a dearth of alcohol. But you know what they really need? That's right, their very own Six Flags!

A California company is working to turn a 50-acre swath of land in Baghdad into an amusement park, complete with rides, a skateboard park, a zoo, a concert theater and a museum, according to a report in the Thursday edition of the Times of London.
Attractions are sure to include a Buried Mine Ride, The Great Devil Drop, BlixKrieg, Tower of Terrorists and everybody's favorite, that wacky Shamu.

22 April 2008

The Bitter Vote Carries Clinton

Exit polls in Pennsylvania showed Clinton hanging on to key voting blocs — women, seniors, whites, union members and lower-income households. The polls showed she was leading in union households by 57 to 42 percent, and among seniors by 60 to 39 percent.
That's right, those bitter gun toting Bible thumpers delivered their message: Barack, you may have some fancy book learnin', but you don't know nuthin' 'bout running a country. The rural Pennsylvanians have given Hillary Clinton her primary victory.

And here's what keeps buzzing around my head. Why do I see Hillary as some kind of Aesopian tortoise? Is it the Clinton mystique that makes me think that she could defy mathematical possibility and actually win this thing?

See Pennsylvania primary coverage here.

Happy Earth Day From George W. Bush

Why is it that no matter what a Republican politician does he can never be seen as environmentally friendly? Here we are on "Earth Day" when the Bush administration released its plans to push fuel economy standards to their highest levels in U.S. history and you would have thought he'd just released his Orcs into Mirkwood with chainsaws. Come on Greenpeace, where's the love? According to reports, the new federal mileage plan is tougher than Gordie Howe on game day.

In the 2011 model year, automakers would be required to post the biggest jump to 27.8 mpg, up 2.5 mpg over the 2010 model year requirements. That equates to 31.2 mpg for passenger cars and 25 mpg for light trucks. By model year 2013, the overall average jumps to 30.5 mpg.

The final two years bring the smallest increase -- just 0.5 mpg in model year 2014 and 0.6 mpg in 2015. Manufacturers will have to meet different overall requirements, based on the footprint, or size, of their vehicle fleets.

What does that mean in real numbers?

Porsche, for example, will have to average 41.3 mpg by the 2015 model year, while Chrysler will have to meet just 33.6 mpg by 2015, based on product plans submitted to NHTSA. The energy bill approved by Congress doubled fines for automaker that don't meet fuel economy requirements.

The bill required NHTSA to set yearly requirements in order to meet a combined industry wide average of 35 mpg by 2020.

By 2015, Ford will have to average 35.5 mpg, GM 34.7 mpg and Toyota 34.6 mpg. On the light-truck side, Toyota has to average 28 mpg by 2015, Ford 28.8 mpg and GM 27.4 mpg.

So the man who liberals believe keeps his bedroll in big oil's bunkhouse has just flipped them an historic political bird. And that's not the only big business Bush is hammering with this green policy. According to a report in The Detroit News:
The 417-page proposal also confirms a Detroit News report today that it will cost automakers $47 billion to comply, including $31 billion for light trucks and $16 billion for passenger cars through 2015.
But the environmental impact will be considerable. According to U.S. Transportation Secretary, Mary Peters, "Americans will conserve 55 billion gallons of fuel during the lifetime of vehicles covered by the regulation, saving $100 billion. The proposal would reduce 521 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas."

Of course, those who keep an open mind toward the President's environmental policies are not shocked to see this proposal come out of his administration since he has previously established rigorous emission requirements for diesel engines in this country. But then, this is the guy who, prior to running for president, owned his Texas ranch that employs solar and geothermal power with a rain-water irrigation system while "environmentalist" Barbara Streisand was providing air-conditioned housing for her livestock. Seems to me that if we really want to clean up the earth it may require cleaning out the political agenda of the environmental movement with the Hoover of truth.

21 April 2008

Obama's Tax Plan Is Straight Out Of Nottingham

Like every Democrat, Barack Obama is presenting his Prince John tax plan as if he were Robin Hood intending to steal from the rich to help the rest of America. The junior senator from Illinois promises to tax the rich to oblivion and “relieve the burden of the middle class.” Given recent comments you might be tempted to think that he was talking about relieving working families from their bitter burden of religion and gun ownership, but stay with me 'cause he was actually talking about their taxes. That's right. Like the pesky outlaw from Sherwood, Obama promises that “if you work hard, your work will be rewarded.” But unlike that green-clad archer, Barack Obama's reward for the working class looks like it's going to be an arrow in the back.

Barack Obama is charmingly dashing when he talks about taxes, but in the last debate with Hillary Clinton he revealed some frightening aspects of his plan. As pointed out on Larry Kudlow's blog,

During the debate, Obama bungled his answers on tax policy, big time. Period. End of sentence. End of story. To my liberal friends in the media, all I can say is: Get over it. Your guy has a very poor grasp of basic economic principles.

So how poor is Obama's grasp on basic economic principles? Try Friar-Tuck-at-a-kegger poor. To continue with Kudlow:

First off, you don’t raise taxes during a recession. That’s a no-brainer. Second, doubling the capital-gains tax rate will affect Americans up and down the income ladder, not just rich hedge-fund managers. In addition, capital-gains tax cuts are self-financing, and they stimulate jobs and the economy. You want to raise budget revenues and spark economic growth? Cut the cap-gains tax rate. That’s what history shows.

And that's not all. According to Larry's blog, the junior senator's assault on the middle class goes beyond hiking the capital-gains tax.

Obama also proposed uncapping the payroll tax, another blunder that will hit people up and down the income ladder . . . By eliminating that cap Obama will be soaking veteran firemen, cops, teachers, and health-service workers, along with a variety of other occupations.

Does this sound like Robin Hood? Hardly. But Prince John would be proud. Very proud.

20 April 2008

Don't Worry, Be Happy, Be Republican

According to a survey performed by the Pew Research Center Republicans are happier than Democrats across all income levels. The survey reported that only 28% of Democrats considered themselves "very happy" while 47% of Republicans rated themselves that high. And apparently this is not a recent phenomena; Republicans have scored a higher "happiness quota" every year since the survey started in 1972.

Columnist George Will has an opinion as to why (go figure):

Begin with a paradox: Conservatives are happier than liberals because they are more pessimistic. Conservatives think the Book of Job got it right ("Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward"), as did Adam Smith ("There is a great deal of ruin in a nation"). Conservatives understand that society in its complexity resembles a giant Calder mobile -- touch it here and things jiggle there, and there, and way over there. Hence conservatives acknowledge the Law of Unintended Consequences, which is: The unintended consequences of bold government undertakings are apt to be larger than, and contrary to, the intended ones.

Conservatives' pessimism is conducive to their happiness in three ways. First, they are rarely surprised -- they are right more often than not about the course of events. Second, when they are wrong, they are happy to be so. Third, because pessimistic conservatives put not their faith in princes -- government -- they accept that happiness is a function of fending for oneself. They believe that happiness is an activity -- it is inseparable from the pursuit of happiness.


Interesting, George. I agree with much of it . . . especially the part at the end that I quick triggered with bold italics. But I think the giddyup in the GOP extends beyond conservatives to moderates as well and can be more completely explained through a series of contrasts between the parties . . . and note that I am writing about the parties as a whole rather than certain individuals within since I would never accuse Ted Kennedy of being a downer:
  • Republicans believe in ideas that are defined by your actions; Democrats believe that actions are irrelevant so long as your intentions were liberal . . er, progressive.
  • Republicans believe that America provides hope to the world; Democrats believe global warming, current terrorist levels, the price of gas and AIDs are primarily our fault.
  • Republicans use an elephants as their symbol; Democrats use a jackass.
  • Republicans think that some morality is absolute; Democrats believe that morality is a cultural construct.
  • Republican President George W. Bush met with the Pope this week; Democratic President Jimmy Carter met with Hamas this week.
  • Republicans believe in individual rights; Democrats believe in group identity.
  • Republicans have had John Wayne, Bo Derek and Chuck Norris; Democrats have had Barbara Streisand, Jane Fonda and Sean Penn.
  • Republicans believe that government is the people's baby; Democrats believe that government is the people's mommy.
  • Republicans believe in self-determination; Democrats believe in the cult of victimhood.
  • Republicans wave flags, own guns and have jobs; Democrats wave protest signs, own designer cats and . . . well, if they have jobs must get a lot of time off to wave those protest signs.
  • Republicans believe that ideological diversity is important; Democrats believe that diversity should only be skin deep.
  • Republicans believe that Democrats are stupid; Democrats believe that Republicans are evil.
  • Republicans believe in class mobility; Democrats believe in class warfare.
  • Republicans believe in the wonderfully unique properties of humanity; Democrats believe that humans are just smart animals with opposable thumbs.
  • Republicans believe that Terrorism is a real threat that we can defeat if we stand firm; Democrats believe that it's not nearly so bad as, say, climate change and shouldn't be discussed in debates since it is obviously just a word the GOP uses to scare up some votes and there aren't really radicals who would kill us if they could, anyway.
  • Republicans believe in the American Dream; Democrats believe Americans have been reamed.

Little wonder Democrats are depressed. If I had such a negative view of my country, my evil opposition in government and my chance to succeed without help I'd, well, I'd have a little trouble turning my frown upside down as well.

If you happen to be a Democrat who doesn't believe in at least half of the things I've assigned to your party above, congratulations! You must be in the "very happy" 28% that broke from the party mold. In fact, you may even be a closet Republican.

19 April 2008

Lets Twist Again With Barack Obama

Chubby Checker never had these moves.


video


Video posted to YouTube by sadfhasdjkh

HT: To the Pirate King for finding it

The Khaki Elephant Endorses Kenneth Cockrel Jr. For Mayor Of Detroit

Oh, wait, is this premature? We still have a mayor there? Well, this is embarrassing.

I guess that I almost missed Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's comment at the "Pancakes and Politics forum" (yes, I know there was a lot of flip-flopping there) that leaving his position now would create chaos for the city of Detroit. Um, as opposed the the sacred stability his misuse of city funds, inappropriate firing of police officers, sex scandal, thug mentality henchmen, racially-charged accusations and verbal assaults has given to the D.

Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for putting the city first.

18 April 2008

Intelligent Design Expelled

I just watched a trailer for the new Ben Stein documentary Expelled at According To Nikki. It takes a little while to get through since Ben talks at about the same pace as Granny runs the 40, but it is worth the time. The documentary is aimed at academia's success in silencing attempts to teach Intelligent Design (formerly known as Creationism) in state-funded classrooms. Apparently, for scientist and professors, dropping a hint that you may think the amoeba needed a nudge to ultimately end up producing Dancing With The Stars will have you packing up your chalk and rulers faster than . . . well, faster than Granny runs the 40. This film should prove interesting for both its content and the contention to follow. Can't wait to see both.

On a somewhat related note, I recently read some interesting posts by Greg Boyd proposing that evolution is the product of both God and the Devil. Sound crazy? Maybe not. Check it out here:

Evolution As Cosmic Warfare

17 April 2008

CARTER Could Hurt The Carter Center

Congressman Joe Knollenberg, a Republican from Michigan, is pushing legislation to block federal funding of the Carter Center due to Jimmy Carter's manic meetings with top Hamas leaders. This bill, the Coordinated American Response to Extreme Radicals (get it, "CARTER" lordy, U.S. Representatives are clever), would stop the flow of cash from tax payer's pockets to Carter's projects.

According to Joe, the Carter Center has received $19 million in federal funding since 2001 and he believes that, in light of recent events, that is no longer acceptable:

"America must speak with one voice against our terrorist enemies. It sends a fundamentally troubling message when an American dignitary is engaged in dialogue with terrorists. My legislation will make sure that taxpayer dollars are not used to support discussions or negotiations with terrorist groups."
This is a tough call because the Carter Center also does a lot of good for those in need. That said, there is no shortage of charitable organizations in this country that could use that money to help others without their leader bucking U.S. policy and playing smoochy face with terrorist organizations.

Stayed tuned. And take a few minutes to write your representative to see where they stand on Joe Knollenberg's bill and Jimmy Carter's personal State Department.

15 April 2008

Understanding Jimmy Carter

I've been wondering why Jimmy Carter insists on embarrassing America, transforming himself before our very eyes from the worst modern-day president to the worst ex-president since . . . since . . . hmm . . . ever. At first I thought it was his quest for the Nobel Peace Prize which, based on recent recipients, holds only two requirements as far as I can tell: be fairly well known and attack American politics and culture with lusty abandon.

Carter has done his best to fulfill those requirements. He supported Yasser Arafat, served as a liaison between Saudi Arabia and the PLO to restore funding for the terrorists, he embraced Saddam Hussein, snuggled with Castro and he even called Kim Jong il an honorable man (shocking the formerly unshockable Bill Clinton). So I figured that he would relax and rest on his "accomplishments." The former President has spit in the eye of his country and won his prize. Why does he continue?

It took Carter's latest trip and his rather large lips literally kissing leaders from Hamas for me to understand that I was simply wrong about his goal. This is not about winning a prize; it's about the man's continual obsession with power and recognition. I can't claim to truly understand it since I have the power of a gerbil's spinning wheel, so I'll turn to those with a greater understanding of such things. The founders of this great country recognized the dangers inherit in power and warned us about those who would be drawn to it and refuse to release it.

An ambitious man, too, when he found himself seated on the summit of his country's honors, when he looked forward to the time at which he must descend from the exalted eminence for ever, and reflected that no exertion of merit on his part could save him from the unwelcome reverse; such a man, in such a situation, would be much more violently tempted to embrace a favorable conjuncture for attempting the prolongation of his power, at every personal hazard, than if he had the probability of answering the same end by doing his duty. (Federalist Papers # 72)
Some folk just cling to power as if it were Titanic debris in a frigid ocean and they lack Leo's good judgement to let go, let go, let go, let go.

OK, so that gives some insight as to why Carter can't bring himself to leave the public eye like most respectable former presidents, but why does he need to continually oppose American interests? Ah, the founders can provide insight there as well.

Men often oppose a thing, merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike. But if they have been consulted, and have happened to disapprove, opposition then becomes, in their estimation, an indispensable duty of self-love. They seem to think themselves bound in honor, and by all the motives of personal infallibility, to defeat the success of what has been resolved upon contrary to their sentiments. Men of upright, benevolent tempers have too many opportunities of remarking, with horror, to what desperate lengths this disposition is sometimes carried, and how often the great interests of society are sacrificed to the vanity, to the conceit, and to the obstinacy of individuals, who have credit enough to make their passions and their caprices interesting to mankind. Perhaps the question now before the public may, in its consequences, afford melancholy proofs of the effects of this despicable frailty, or rather detestable vice, in the human character. (Federalist Papers # 70)
Carter's self-absorption seems to demand that he follow this course. His presidency is treated with the respect of William Shatner's singing career so he feels compelled to "set the record straight." Carter needs to demonstrate that he was always right and the county that failed to support him was wrong. And as a former President, people around the world are willing to listen, especially those who are predisposed to loathe America.

Fortunately our founders decided to give the weak a voice as well. The constitution grants us freedom of speech and it's time to claim our right. I found these links on the Queer Conservative blog that may interest you if you would like to be heard concerning the Georgia screech. You can sign a petition requesting that the U.S. Congress censure Jimmy Carter for his activities here:

Censure Jimmy Carter

You can also contact your your senators here, asking them to denounce Carter's attempt to establish his own State Department.

Everybody Is Republican On Tax Day

I suppose it's a bit like St. Patrick's day, when protestants, catholics and atheists gather together to drink green beer, wear distasteful clothes and dance without moving their arms. Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

Every time April rolls around the water cooler starts to bubble with the heat of discontented taxpayers. Even the most liberal voices can be heard mumbling, "I thought I'd be getting more back" or "This year I claimed . . . " or "By all that is holy on heaven and earth, I owe." When we fill out our tax forms, deep in our heart of hearts every American knows that we could do a better job managing our money than the government. It's not greed (well, most of the time). It's not arrogance (well, some of the time). It's just common sense.

When we plug in our charitable contributions there is an assured satisfaction that those dollars were more effective than what Uncle Sam may have chipped in for the same cause. When we write off certain items we know that we've earned that right to write. When we file for extensions we know that the red tape forcing us to do so is the same red tape that binds the government's effectiveness. On that one day of the year, everyone who is honest with him or herself knows that they could put their money to better use than Uncle Sam. Oh, some liberals may believe that others can't be trusted so we need the heavy tax burden, but when they look in the mirror they know. They know.

Everybody is a Republican on tax day.

Delta & Northwest OK Merger to Form World's Largest Airline

Which can only mean more opportunities for last minute plane repairs, long lines and overbooked flights! And now all this under Altanta's own "Delta" banner!

As a frequent flyer on Northwest (who we NWA hub-dwellers lovingly refer to as "Northworst"), I can't wait to find out where this will take us (which will undoubtedly be different from where it takes our luggage). In fact, I'm flying to LA today and am positively giddy to see the anticipation on my flight attendants' face. Oh, oh, the place we'll go.

14 April 2008

I Hope Kenneth Cockrel Jr. Really Is Shrek

Once again Detroit Councilwoman Monica Conyers displayed the class of leadership that she and her husband have brought to the motor city for years. When she was upset by a ruling from Council President Kenneth Cockrel Jr., she started squealing, "you're not my daddy." Then, in a tantrum the envy of two-year-olds everywhere, called him "Shrek" several times, a pathetic attempted slight at Cockrel's large frame and bald head.

At first I was upset with Conyers. I wondered what right she had to launch shallow attacks at the Detroit Council President in a public debate. I mean, she and her husband, U.S. Congressman John Conyers, have used their power to help turn the D into a national joke, must they continue to embarrass the city and state? Then it struck me that maybe, just maybe, she was right.

I started to think about Shrek's story. He is large and bald, but his primary attribute is heroism. Now, I don't remember every element of the story but I seem to recall that Shrek went on a quest to save a captive princess, I think her name was "Detroit." Along the way, our hero had to best a dragon named Reputation and overcome a hubris-guided tyrant named Kwame. And just after Shrek befriended the dragon and saved Detroit, along comes a wicked Fairy God Mother named Monica who tried to claim power for herself.

In the end, Shrek and Detroit overcame their foes and plotted a path toward happily ever after. Let's hope the D's version of the tale has the same happy ending. Oh, I almost forgot that there was a jackass in the story. Now, who was that?

13 April 2008

Sunday School: The Story Of Our Genesis . . . Literally

I happen to have a long and abiding interest in theology. I guess that's why I studied it at William Tyndale, a non-denominational seminary that has since closed its doors after a rather awkward incident concerning the abuse of government grants . . . but that's another story. Anyway, I've decided to occasionally move outside politics to explore theological and/or Biblical issues on this blog because, well, just because I want to do it. Besides, theology and politics tend to intersect more often than love bugs in June.

One theological firestorm that I admit I've never understood is the ferocity with which some Christians battle over assessing the level of literal interpretation with certain Old Testament stories. I'm sure that a number of my Fundamentalist friends expect me to spend some time dog paddling in the lake of fire for my failure to take a literal interpretation of many of their favorite holy yarns. I've been asked, "what's your problem? Don't you think the Bible is historically accurate?" The fact is that I think there are a number of historical books in the Bible, it's just that books like Genesis are not among them. Nor were they ever intended to be.

I'll begin in the beginning. I've always found the creation story fun to think about since there is such a broad range of interpretations. Naturally, there are those who don't give a fig leaf about it because they think it's all silly nonsense. One of their favorite tactics is to point out the discrepancies between Genesis chapters 1 and 2, commenting that the Good Book can't even keep it together for two chapters. Others take the opposite extreme, proposing that the Creation story should be taken absolutely literal, with six twenty-four hour days of transcendent toil followed by generations of human failure. Some will even go so far as to claim that the poetic reference "and the evening and the morning were the [first] day" tagged to the end of each day proves that they were 24-hour periods, conveniently ignoring the fact that the "great light" that defines our 24-hour cycle (i.e., the sun) wasn't created until the fourth day.

Now I happen to believe in the creation story, but I don't believe it was intended to provide a play-by-play of what happened after God broke the heavenly huddle and decided to get busy. I mean, am I really to believe that God created everything in only six days when all of science points to an ancient, evolving planet? And if you think that's fast, somehow Adam was able to name all of the world's animals on day six. And what about that Adam and his lovely wife Eve. Were they really the first couple and we're all inbred cousins or were they simply an artistic representation of humanity's beginning? After all, "Adam" is Hebrew for "humanity."

Let's keep going. We all know Adam and Eve had a couple of kids and that the mean one (Cain) decided to off the divine daddy's boy (Abel) so he was kicked out of the garden and somehow found a wife . . . where did Cain's wife come from? No wait, he wasn't kick out of the Garden because Adam and Eve had already been booted for eating fruit, which is a part of the tale that most of us have probably always found suspicious. I mean, as Jim Gaffigan put it, would you really give up paradise for an apple? Maybe if it were pie or perhaps a deep dish of lip-licking strawberry shortcake.

That brings me to Satan. How did he find his way to the stage in this drama? We read in Revelation 12 that he was cast out of Heaven along with some other nasties, one of whom would eventually set Linda Blair's head spinning, but there is no mention of his crash to Earth in Genesis. God creates the world, sticks his dust-born children in Eden and suddenly Satan is there slithering around and offering knowledge. Which just raises another question in my mind, did the author of Genesis really expect his readers to believe that there had been a time when snakes talked to naked people in gardens?

So no, I don't believe the story was ever supposed to be taken literally, but I don't understand why that should infuriate some fellow Christians. Or, worse yet, make them believe that I am somehow diluting the message of the Scriptures. The fact is that whether you take the Genesis story literally or figuratively you will still end up with the same message from God. From this tale of creation we learn about our relationship with God and our relationship with the rest of His handiwork. We discover that:

  • God created us
  • We are earthly creatures and commanded to serve as custodians of our world and its inhabitants
  • There is temptation in our lives
  • We are weak creatures and, left to our own devices, we will fail
  • Redemption comes through God

There are a number of stories that we could discuss in this same vein. Was there really a Noah who collected every animal, two-by-two, for a giant sleepover on a big boat? I don't know, but it doesn't matter. That story teaches us that God keeps his promises, which is a truth we should reflect on every time we see a rainbow. Did Jonah actually get swallowed by a big fish? No idea, but it's a whale of a tale to explain that God gives us second chances. Did Samson whack an army of Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey only to become harmless as a kitten after his haircut? Don't ask me, but his saga sends the message that finding true strength requires reliance on God.

While there are certainly historical facts in the Bible, I believe it is clear that God loves a good story and uses them to teach us spiritual truth. Jesus carried on that tradition with his parables. The fact that some of them may just be stories does not diminish their potency, rather, it increases their accessibility.

12 April 2008

A Must Read: "How To Post Like A Liberal"

I just stumbled across this "old" post on the Catnaps blog. Unlike most things written in 2006, this one remains as solid as Jimmy Carter's commitment to embarrassing America.

It's really worth a read!

How To Post Like a Liberal

If The Khaki Elephant Posted A Quote Of The Day

It would be this. OK, this isn't a recent quote, but it still tickles my fancy . . . and that's saying something since my fancy is in a hard to reach place that isn't cleaned very often.

We've finally given liberals a war against fundamentalism, and they don't want to fight it. They would, except it would put them on the same side as the United States
~ Ann Coulter

11 April 2008

Barack Obama Continues To Reveal Himself

At first we didn't know much about the junior senator from Illinois. Like Mary-Kate and Ashley, he's been a cute and charismatic enigma. We were a bit concerned about his extraordinarily liberal senate record, but he talks like a centrist so we could ignore it. We worried a bit that he married a woman who crooned during his campaign success that "for the first time" in her adult lifetime she was really proud of her country, but she's easy on the eyes so we could forgive. We shuddered a bit that he spent 20 years under a spiritual advisor and quasi-uncle who apparently loathes white America, but Obama gave one humdinger of a race speech so he must not have agreed. We flinched a bit when we discovered his friendly relationship with William Ayers, a notorious terrorist from the Weather Underground, but the media hasn't made much of it so why should we? We rubbed our temples a bit when he referred to his Caucasian grandmother as a "typical white person" but, hey, that's family so we'll let it slide. After all, this guy is funny, smart and attractive so he must have a heart of gold, right?

Well, today we learned that Senator Obama swung a few more pearls that may shed additional light on the true color of his heart. At a San Francisco fundraiser Obama decided to provide some insight for his listeners concerning small town Pennsylvanians.

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

The reaction from the McCain campaign has been swift. Steve Schmidt, an advisor for the Republican nominee, said that Obama's words were a "remarkable statement and extremely revealing...It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking. It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans."

Schmidt's observations are true, but incomplete when taken in the growing context of Obama's known life and associates. His wife seems obsessed with race. His pastor seems obsessed with race. And it seems that Barack Obama may be as well. What does his statement above have to do with race? Stay with me for a moment longer. Close your eyes. No, really, close them. Wait don't close them, you won't be able to read. Just close your mind's eye. Now, try to picture a person. This person lives in a small Midwestern town. He (or she) is very religious and owns a few guns. This person doesn't like immigrants and thinks foreigners are stealing our jobs. He (or she) is bitter, angry and can't stand people who aren't like him (or her) Now, what does this person look like? (See, isn't this fun?) Is this person a cracker? Perhaps . . . oh, I don't know . . . a redneck? Another typical white person?

His followers claim that he transcends race. As Barack Obama continues to reveal himself, his life and words seem to tell a different story.

10 April 2008

The NAACP Presents: The Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Just when Barack Obama thought it might be safe to focus on quieting his wife's political banter, his spiritual mentor decides to make another public appearance as the keynote speaker at an NAACP fund raiser. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright will be in Detroit on April 27 to deliver what promises to be another blog-erific take on the American condition. I, for one, can't wait, since there is nothing that cures a spat of political writer's block like Rev. Wright at the podium.

Detroit Branch president, The Rev. Wendell Anthony, explained that the decision to invite Wright is intended to spark discussion.

"Rev. Wright has challenged the nation, challenged our comfort zone and stimulated nation-wide discussions on the issues of how we must move forward together as both a nation and a people. We look forward to his participation here in the city of Detroit."
Oh, I'm sure at least Barack Obama's comfort zone will be challenged in the anticipatory days leading up to the event . . . and perhaps for many days afterward. Jeremiah Wright does not seem the type to set aside his convictions for the expediency of politically correct dialogue. You know, I think I may be beginning to like this guy.

TIGERS WIN! TIGERS WIN! TIGERS WIN!

After an 0-7 start, the second highest paid team in Major League Baseball chalked up their first win, defeating the BoSox 7-2. Gee, I guess the Motorcity Kitties are starting to purr.

09 April 2008

Michelle Obama's Thesis . . . Again And Again

Regardless of what you think of "Dubya," it would be difficult to argue that Laura Bush has done anything to damage his political career. She has been supportive, stayed involved with charitable endeavors and remained clear of political minefields that could prove embarrassing for her spouse . . . the one who was actually elected. I think we now have clear indication that Michelle Obama will not afford her husband the same luxury.

Mrs. Barack Obama seems to seek the soapbox, celebrating any opportunity to deliver her Princeton thesis over and over. And whenever conversation turns to those she sees as different from herself, she puffs and preaches like they're star-bellied sneetches. Now, given the fact that her husband is running for President and soured Seussian images of America may not be in their best interest, why is Michelle Obama so relentless in pressing her world view? Perhaps Mychal Massie's WorldNetDaily commentary can provide some insight:

Michelle Obama's Inner Demons

For additional comments on Massie's commentary, check out Booker Rising.

Shocking Development For Geoffrey Fieger

Earlier today, high-profile trial lawyer Geoffrey Fieger's high-profile trial lawyer Gerry Spence revealed to a shocked audience that "scores of jurors expressed extreme dislike, animus and bias toward Mr. Fieger." Before going on to explain that fish enjoy water and Mount Everest is really, really tall, Spence quoted potential jurors who, when speaking of Fieger, claim "it's difficult to listen to him -- [he's] arrogant, very abrasive, a pit bull probably guilty.''

Geoffrey Fieger is perhaps best known for his successful defense of Dr. "death" Jack Kevorkian and his failed gubernatorial run as Michigan's '98 Democratic nominee. Some may also know him from frequent television appearances on FOX (often with Greta Van Susteren), his bad hair, million dollar lawsuits, and little brother who is a member of The Knack.

Ooh my little pretty one, pretty one.
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona?
Ooh you make my motor run, my motor run.
Gun it comin' off the line Sharona.
Never gonna stop, give it up. Such a dirty mind.
Always get it up for the touch of the younger kind.
My my my i yi woo. M M M My Sharona...

Great song. Where was I? Oh, Geoffrey's concern over the jury pool stems from the upcoming trial over allegations that he and his law partner, Ven Johnson, made $127,000 in illegal campaign donations to the 2004 presidential campaign of Democrat John Edwards by reimbursing people connected to their law firm who would agree to donate maximum individual campaign contributions. Fieger is also charged with obstruction of justice. Apparently there is no law on the Michigan books for stupidity in supporting a John Edwards presidential campaign.

Based on questionnaires sent out to some 250 potential jurors, Fieger's defense is requesting a change of venue to a place where Fieger is less well known and thus jurors are less predisposed to despise him. Perhaps a place where nobody has heard of trial lawyers. It will be up to U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman to decide if there can be a fair trial in metro Detroit or if a fair trial is even necessary. So, if you're reading this blog Judge Borman . . .

When you gonna give it to me, give it to me.
It is just a matter of time your Honor.
Is it just destiny, destiny?
Or is it just a game in my mind, your Honor?

Ah, some days it's good to be alive

07 April 2008

Elephant Euthanized

Good Lord, when I first spotted this story I thought they were coming for me. And just before I swore off blogging about Kwame Kilpatrick I actually read the article.

Winky the elephant euthanized by caregivers

Winky, one of two aging Asian elephants that left the Detroit Zoo in April 2005, was euthanized today at the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif. She was 56 and suffered from severe arthritis for years.

"Winky's death was not unexpected, but it is heartbreaking nonetheless," said Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director Ron Kagan in a prepared statement. "We are comforted to know that her quality of life for the past three years was as good as it possibly could have been, and we're grateful to the staff at PAWS for the excellent care she received and the environment she retired to." (The Detroit News -- Monday, April 7, 2008 )


Better you than me, Winky

Michigan State Is A Riot

The other Big Ten university in Michigan held a party this weekend that ended with fights, vandalism, arrests and perpetuity in the everlasting world of YouTube. The Detroit News described a scene where:

Partygoers threw beer bottles, women were flashing their breasts to the crowd and some tore down an apartment complex stop sign. Others in the crowd chanted "tear gas us." Police initially used smoke grenades and other devices that make loud noises and emit bright flashes of light to break up the huge crowd. Then they used tear gas.

How refreshing to see that Michigan's uniformed finest were able to fulfill the crowd's lust for tear gas even while under riot duress. And how refreshing to see that, once again, MSU's uninformed finest made so many of us proud . . . proud that we're not Michigan State Alumni.

Sparty On!

video

WILX Video of Cedar Fest 2008 Michigan State University

06 April 2008

Charlton Heston (1924 - 2008)

Rest With God


"I've played three presidents, three saints and two geniuses - and that's probably enough for any man."

"Society mends its wounds. And that's invariably true in all the tragedies, in the comedies as well. And certainly in the histories."

"Political correctness is tyranny with manners."

"The trouble with movies as a business is that it's an art, and the trouble with movies as art is that it's a business."

"If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys - subjects bound to the British crown."

"You can spend a lifetime, and, if you're honest with yourself, never once was your work perfect."

"From my cold, dead hands."

"Mr. Clinton, sir, America didn't trust you with our health-care system. America didn't trust you with the military. America doesn't trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don't trust you with our guns."

"You do not define the First Amendment. It defines you. And it is bigger than you. That's how freedom works. It also demands you do your homework."

"It's been quite a ride. I loved every minute of it."

05 April 2008

Judge Orders Christine Beatty To Wear A Tether

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's former chief of staff and receiver of the same, Christine Beatty, was ordered to wear a tether after Chief Magistrate Steve Lockhart learned that she had been planning a trip out of town. The magistrate explained that, "when this country was formed and we threw the British out, we also threw out the British system of royalty." And to prove that everyone is equal in the eyes of Michigan law, he barred Beatty from leaving the state and ordered her to pay for the electronic tether intended to track her movements. There was no mention of a muzzle requirement.

The mayor, on the other hand, is still allowed to roam tether-free, giving him continuous opportunities to represent. Could be there's another saucy health spa in the future. If nothing else, we can count on Mayor Kilpatrick keeping Detroit close to the front page.

High Tax Protectionism vs. Our "Fabulous Economy"

The economic rhetoric of Obama and Clinton flat out give me the willies. I understand that they will say anything to get elected, from "ducking sniper fire" to directing racial fires, but when it comes to their comments on how to stimulate the slowing economy I'm afraid they actually believe what they're saying. Ending tax cuts? Restricting NAFTA? Delivering protectionist tariffs? In short, bringing the strategies of Herbert Hoover into the twenty-first century . . . and we all know where that took the us.

While we are not on the brink of economic disaster as the DNC wants you to believe, there is no doubt that the difference in profitability between real estate and curbside lemonade stands has been shrinking. But what does that really mean to this country and its inhabitants? Not much in the long run. While cruising the TigerHawk blog I read his entry on John Wixted's piece concerning the country's economy. It mirrors my optimism so here it is for your reading pleasure:

America's Economy is Still Fabulous

In short, we're not on the verge of another great depression . . . well, um, so long as we prevent the Democrat's intended return to Hoover. If that happens, grab the canned goods, secure a cross and find some shelter 'cause all bets are off. Lord, that rhetoric is intoxicating.

03 April 2008

Hanoi Jane Endorses Obama

Of course, this is an interesting development that raises lots of questions. It's just that none of those questions are as interesting to me as this one:

What are the odds that she was sitting on the same anti-aircraft gun that shot down John McCain when this picture was taken?


02 April 2008

Wally Bronner (1927 - 2008)

Rest With God


The beloved founder of the world's largest Christmas store, located in the Bavarian-style village of Frankenmuth, Michigan, finally lost his battle with Cancer.

"You want to know the truth? The truth is no decorations are needed at all at Christmas. What's really needed at Christmas is that we decorate our hearts. We get so busy with all of our preparations that we forget that this is such an important time of year to stop and take time to reflect on our lives, our faith, our world. What matters most to me? Helping people to decorate their hearts with peace and love."

"My hobby of signs, displays, and decorations developed into a full-time business, and I never went to work. Since I never went to work, I don't have to think of retirement, and I'll continue the hobby, God-willing, but only on days that end in 'y'."

“Our dear family in prayer agreed to the reality that our living Lord and Savior, the Christ of CHRISTmas is ready receive me into his heavenly kingdom.”

01 April 2008

Life Ain't No Picnic

There's weird and then there's this:

Man Faces Charges for Having Sex With Picnic Table

Ohio police have arrested a man who was caught on tape allegedly having sex with a picnic table. Art Price Jr., 40, of Bellevue, Ohio, was arrested after a neighbor videotaped him engaged sexually with the metal table, according to a report on FOX19.com.

Price was seen on four separate occasions, always between 10:30 a.m. and noon, having sex with the picnic table, Bellevue Police Capt. Matt Johnson told the TV station. "The first video we had, he was completely nude," Johnson said, noting the table in question had a hole in the middle intended to hold an umbrella.

Price, a married father of three school-age kids, faces felony counts of public indecency because his house is near an elementary school, according to the report.
Friday, March 28, 2008 (Fox News)
I know one thing, the next time I head to the park I'm taking a tablecloth.