Ahh, for the next week I'll be off on a pleasant trip to spend time with my family and I promised myself: no politics, no salads and no stress. Since I'll be with my family I guess two out of three ain't bad.
So I'm taking some time off from the Khaki Elephant. I'll be back by month's end, so until then . . .
23 May 2008
Ahh, for the next week I'll be off on a pleasant trip to spend time with my family and I promised myself: no politics, no salads and no stress. Since I'll be with my family I guess two out of three ain't bad.
Just when you decided that infomercials and art auctions were the only things worth watching on Saturday night, SNL becomes relevant again. Oh, we're not talking Belushi in a bumblebee suit relevant, but Saturday Night Live is suddenly worth watching. Their political satire has been irreverent, on point and best of all . . . funny.
And without a doubt John McCain is the funniest torture-surviving Vietnam POW they have ever had on stage.
22 May 2008
I'm really disappointed in USA Today's coverage of the California Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. I'm not a regular reader, but I do get the complimentary hotel copies when traveling and spend a little time looking at its colorful pictures while scarfing down a lacquered continental breakfast bagel. And I usual pick one story to read.
The one story that I actually read declared in the headline: Gay couples "ecstatic" over ruling. Since I support gay marriage you may be wondering why that story left me disappointed. Well, I just feel it came up a little short. I mean, after describing San Francisco resident Lauren Patton's friends walking "up to hug her in victory as she parked her bicycle in front of a Starbucks coffee shop" and then painting the image of "raised celebratory glasses of iced coffee" I thought for sure the author, Janet Kornblum, could have worked in a few more powerful homosexual stereotypes into the column. I read the thing several times and never saw a single mention of Xena, Barbara Streisand or the WNBA. It just left me feeling unfulfilled. Come on, Janet, nobody took to the streets to belt out a show tune?
20 May 2008
I've spent years scrubbing myself scabby in disinfecting showers after the mere mention of the name "Clinton," so why do I find myself almost admiring Hillary's tenacious scrap in a fight she's already lost? Sure, she's not mathematically eliminated, but I need to stick with my previous declaration of her defeat rather than remote possibilities from mathematicians who have given us things like: If X^2 + Y^2 = 15, and X * Y = 5, what is X + Y? I mean, really. The fact is that Obama has already won the nomination unless some lethal skeleton clatters from his closet or he does something absolutely stupid, and what are the odds of that happening?
My almost admiration for Hillary surely doesn't come from her policy plans, which are just about as stable as my brother's bowels after a Texas chili contest. No, without a doubt it stems from her street-fighting mentality. I love a fighter and she kicks, bites, screams and just won't stop. And after her ego-pumping Kentucky victory, why should she?
“Tonight we’ve achieved an important victory,” Clinton told an enthusiastic crowd at her victory rally in Louisville, Ky. “It’s not just Kentucky bluegrass that’s music to my ears, it’s the sound of your overwhelming vote of confidence, even in the face of some pretty tough odds.”Ack. Oof. Just threw up in my mouth. Anyway, you can't blame her for the Sally Fields display of enthusiasm, she didn't just beat Obama in the state, she destroyed him by a 2-1 margin.
I've never worn a deerstalker hat, but I suspect that some people are saying this is over because it would require the Super talented Delegates of the Democratic Party to overturn the popular vote for Clinton to get the nomination. But forget about that for today. Let's live in the now. Bask in the moment. Once again the Clinton machine has thrust forward toward a climactic finally, and this time they didn't even use a cigar.
“We’re back. We continue to raise money, we continue to win states. This thing goes on. I don’t know why people are saying this is over,” Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe told FOX News.
19 May 2008
Perhaps the Senator finally understands that there are only 50 U.S. States. Now he just needs to figure out where they are. In discussing his difficulties campaigning in Kentucky, the Senator explained:
"What it says is that I'm not very well known in that part of the country," Obama said. "Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it's not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle."
Just a word of explanation that posts will be hit and miss for the next couple of weeks. Between coaching baseball, traveling for work, anti-obamamania seizures and a family vacation next week, I've had and will have very little blogging time. Things should be back to normal by month's end . . . assuming I get these seizures under control.
18 May 2008
The California Supreme Court's 4-3 decision that their state constitution allows for gay marriage is sure to make homosexuality a flaming hot issue for the upcoming election season. Given that fact, I suppose I'll throw out my thoughts concerning same-sex marriage while things are heating up. I happen to fully support gay marriage, primarily because I think the arguments against it are prissy, unRepublican nonsense. Here's a few of them to give you a taste of what I mean.
Argument #1: Homosexuality is unnatural
Anybody who has seen two male dogs going at it on the front lawn or has had to pry Buttons off their quaking leg should see the flaw in this argument. When Buttons wants to get his groove on virtually anything will do to satisfy that loving feeling. The same is true of most other critters.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that animals and humans are the same (at least in this case). What I am saying is that one cannot by definition call something "unnatural" when it happens frequently in nature. Yes, God intended heterosexual sex when he commanded his creation to be fruitful and multiply, which I suspect is the only command we have faithfully followed. However, God also created a world where homosexual activity spans the species and is commonly found in nature.
Argument #2: Homosexuality is a sin
Yes, the Bible condemns homosexuality . . . with all the vigor that it condemns women who don't cover their heads in church. The fact is that the Bible hardly mentions homosexuality; the best I can tell is that it's only in there around 6 or 7 times. Compare that to how many times the Good Book condemns gluttony and you may be wondering why so many churches aren't expelling their voluminous preachers for the sin of too many trips to Crispy Creme.
Even when the Bible mentions homosexuality the circumstances tend to cloud the interpretation. For example, homosexuality is condemned in Levitical Law, but I don't know many Christians or Jews who follow all of the precepts there (unless "stoning" doesn't mean what they told me in Sunday School). Then, there is the Sodom story of "sodomy" fame, but if you read that tale closely you'll find it a story about rape. Homosexual rape, but rape just the same which God condemns regardless of sexual orientation. And in the New Testament you'll catch some references to homosexuality in the historical context of temple prostitution, a big no-no to the likes of St. Paul so no wonder he was a bit cranky on the subject.
What is especially striking to me about the Bible's take on homosexuality is that the Old Testament prophets, who were obsessive killjoys when it came to morality, never mentioned it. Perhaps more telling is that Jesus Christ himself didn't have anything to say on the topic. Now, if Jesus was (is), as I believe, the divine incarnation of God then he would have foreseen the social and spiritual turmoil that the homosexuality debate was going to cause in the twenty-first century. So if gays really bothered him, don't you think he might have mentioned it?
Argument #3: Homosexuality is destroying the family
Forgive me, but I'm having trouble understanding how heterosexuals with a divorce rate topping 50% can claim that gays are destroying the family unit. What exactly is it about two people in love who happen to be of the same gender that is ripping the moral fabric of the country? Abusive husbands, sexual predators, incestuous pedophiles, selfish spouses . . . they are destroying the family, not people in love.
Argument #4: We need to stand firm against moral relativism
I certainly agree that true morality is not relative. However, as you can tell from what I've already written, I don't think this is an issue of morality. It is about gay relationships that can be every bit as loving or destructive as their straight counterparts. It is not about unnatural abominations, destruction of the family unit or an unpardonable sin. Since that is the case, we need to be more "Republican" about the matter and diminish the role of government in deciding whether or not gays can be married. Besides, to paraphrase Woody Allen, it would immediately double the chance of every American finding a soul mate in his or her or hiser's pursuit of happiness.
17 May 2008
I generally avoid putting bumper stickers on my car since I have an aversion to buying thoughts from a Walmart end cap then pasting it to my bumper to demonstrate how clever I am. However, this election is so important that I may stray from my long-held practice. I'm thinking about slapping a message to my bumper, but am so out of practice that I can't decide which one to use. Here are my initial candidates . . . Any thoughts?
14 May 2008
13 May 2008
The Detroit City Council has spoken . . . again. Is anybody listening?
The council voted on yet another resolution concerning embattled but still nattily dressed Mayor Kwami Kilpatrick. This time the threat is twofold: 1) A request for Gov. Jennifer Granholm to use her I-can't-believe-it-exists executive authority to remove a Michigan mayor from his elected position and B) Start their own I-can't-believe-it-doesn't-exist-yet process to oust Kilpatrick. But will any of this really work? As reported in The Detroit News:
“I think it places additional pressure on the mayor to consider making a move, ” said Council President Ken Cockrel Jr., who would become mayor if Kilpatrick is forced from office. “The only way I see the mayor going out is probably if some deal is cut between him and the prosecutor or if he’s forced out in some way.”By now any regular reader of this blog and every sentient creature in metro Detroit knows about the mayor's "eight felony charges for perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and misconduct." They also know that Kenneth Cockrel and the rest of the council (well, some of the rest of the council) may have the best intentions but are essentially as impotent as mules after a gold rush bender when it comes to actually removing the mayor. That means we turn to the Governor.
The governor is tight-lipped most of the time these days . . . well, except when she vetoes partial-birth abortion bills or jibber jabbers about why we need to raise taxes in order to lure businesses back to Michigan with glittering promises of spending more to make less. But in this case I hope the Gov remains tight-lipped. It's not out of any support for Mayor Kilpatrick, who I think is treating the city with Faustian nonchalance. Rather, I don't like the thought of the state's executive branch removing an elected official, any elected official, from his position. It's a frightening concept if one buys into slippery slope conspiracy theories. And while I'm not usually in that crowd, let's just say that I don't want to test my intellectual Skully resolve when it comes to Jennifer Granholm.
[Governor] Granholm’s office was tight-lipped today about the council’s request. Granholm can’t review the matter until she receives a sworn statement from one or more council members accusing Kilpatrick of misconduct. Council’s attorney, Bill Goodman, said it would be a week before he submits the request.
12 May 2008
I spent some time watching the Pope's visit to the States and found two storylines fun and fascinating. First, there was the way that Mother Theresa's "Missionaries of Charity" jumped up and down like pre-teens at a Hannah Montana concert as the German Papa passed their way. Praise God for Tivo and the chance to play that image over and over. Second was the Vegas feel to the pundits discussing which pro-choice politicians would step forward to take communion. (I won $50 bucks when Giuliani rushed the alter to beat the spread.) And while the Missionaries of Charity have gone back to help the needy, the abortion-kind Catholic politicians are facing revived demands from the church to either drop their pro-choice stance or drop that communion cup.
As reported in the fluffy but colorful USA Today, Catholic Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City has drawn Christ's blood in the battle with a request that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius back off from the Eucharist.
The archbishop said Sebelius should not take Communion until she has "acknowledged the error of her past positions, made a worthy sacramental confession and taken the necessary steps for amendment of her life," including "a public repudiation of her ... support of laws and policies sanctioning abortion."
Now, I have to confess that the abortion issue is not a deal-breaker for me. I understand that there are those who believe that abortion is the murder of an innocent life. I also know that there are those who are not sure when life begins and decide to err on the side of the woman's rights. Like many Americans, I hate the fact that current laws seem to consider abortion an "oops, I forgot my condom" fix, but I'm not ready to march in front of a clinic and harass young women who are making the most difficult decision of their lives. The Archbishop, however, has to answer to an even higher authority.
"The spiritually lethal message, communicated by our governor, as well as many other high profile Catholics in public life, has been in effect: 'The church's teaching on abortion is optional!'" Naumann writes.
In other words, abortion is not an issue you can ignore as a cafeteria Catholic. It revolves around the church's teachings on conception and its fundamental moral objectives concerning the sanctity of life. If you cannot accept this element of Catholicism, how can you in good conscience accept the church's offering of transformed wine that signifies life itself?
11 May 2008
Dan Quayle was considered a functioning idiot for misspelling "potato" (which was actually misspelled on the card he was provided). So what should we think of Barack Obama's insight concerning the States of the Union? Sounds like somebody should have been taking some extra night classes at Columbia.
H/T to the Pirate King for this one.
10 May 2008
I've been struggling all week over what to give Jenna Bush as a wedding gift. Today she is joined with Henry Hager in Holy matrimony and indecision has kept me waiting until the last minute to send a token of my best wishes. To be fair, and I always like to be fair to myself, just what was I supposed to send to a woman who seems to have everything? She is marrying a Republican, she is from a family of means, her father is the leader of the free world and she's pretty easy on the eyes. My usual musical card and Best Buy gift certificate just didn't seem to fit the bill. Well, after much thought and consideration I have finally settled on a couple of things which I hope they will appreciate.
Jenna and Henry,
My first gift is heartfelt hope for your happiness through this sacred Apache wedding prayer.
Now you will feel no rain,My second gift to you is appropriate for any occasion and I'm sure you will love it, love it, love it. So enjoy this picture of Cha-Ka the Pakuni.
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place
To enter into the days of your togetherness
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
Congratulations, Jenna and Henry!
08 May 2008
What would a day in Detroit be like without another Mayoral controversy? Perhaps like a day in Chicago, or Cleveland, or Indy. Well, all I can say is thank God we don't have their boring run-of-the-mill big city politics and their ho-hum humming cities of economic growth. *Yawn*. No, instead give me a mayor who race baits, mismanages city funds and dresses in drag.
The Hill recently reported that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick appeared in a play while he was in Middle School dressed as a women. According to reports, that's him below, fourth from the left in that sexy red dress with the plunging neckline.
What's really interesting about this story is not that the mayor dressed as a girl while he was a kid performing in Dwight Rich Middle School's production of "Little Annie." I mean, what guy hasn't at least once slipped on a soft silky dress just to feel its liberating comfort lovingly caress every curve of his body? Um, I mean, metaphorically. But what is really interesting is how vehemently the mayor's office denied the "allegation" and attacked the media for suggesting such a thing, despite the fact that the Kilpatrick attended the school at the time of the picture, his name was on the playbill, and several people from the school remember him in the play. His press secretary, Denise Tolliver, went so far as to say, "I know what he looked like as a child. This is not the mayor."
Twenty-four hours after flatly denying that he was in the play, Kilpatrick changed his mind. As The Detroit News reports:
Kilpatrick says he still doesn't remember appearing in the play, but does not argue with the recollections of director Michael Crabb, who was his favorite teacher. Crabb told Kilpatrick in a telephone call today that the mayor and other student athletes donned dresses to play Annie's mothers, Kilpatrick said. Kilpatrick said he and the other jocks then ran off the stage once they realized they were not getting any reward money. The bit lasted about two minutes, Kilpatrick said.
"I don't remember this at all," the mayor said, noting he called an old schoolmate who told him "If Mike Crabb said it then it definitely happened."
Kilpatrick said his mother and sister did not remember him donning a dress for the bit, but said he is certain he did not shave his legs for the role.
Luckily for all of us, the mayor clarified the whole leg-shaving concern. But the real question is why he denied his part in the play in the first place, only to later provide the Lilliputian response that he had just forgotten. It seems such a silly issue to try to cover up so why do it? Is it because his administration is so prone to denial that it auto-sprays from their lips like rotten milk after an accidental sip? Is it because the mayor thought it would ruin his gangsta image? Is it because red isn't his color?
Whatever the reason it's just another troubling response from the Manoogian Mansion that makes me about as comfortable as Sean Penn taking an IQ test.
Labels: Kwame Kilpatrick
07 May 2008
I just made it home from an exhausting business trip to New York and was going to lay off blogging for a couple of days to catch up on a few minor things like sleep and more sleep after taking a shower with soap that wasn't supplied by a hotel with the obvious intent of sanding off seven layers of skin. But while waiting for my flight from LaGuardia I heard a couple of TSA controllers speculating about Hillary's chances for a comeback with a confident, "Not for nuttin' but I thinks she could do it," and I felt the urge to write something about her continuing struggle no matter how incoherent it will seem in the morning.
As reported by Fox, the former first lady still has no intention of finishing second in this race.
“I landed in New Hampshire on a Thursday night down 9 points, and I won on Tuesday,” she said. “You can turn elections in a day. You can turn them in a week if you know what it takes to actually win. I believe I know with your help, that is exactly what we’re going to do.”Forget the fact that the New Hampshire primary happened around the same time Republicans were preparing for Giuliani's coronation. And forget that Obama just pummeled her in North Carolina and was surprisingly close Indiana. And don't even think about the fact that several new Super talented Delegates moved into the Obama camp after Tuesday's results. Hillary is convinced that “It is a new day. It is a new state. It is a new election.” God bless the little engine that could, but it may be time to admit that Mrs. Clinton's choo-choo has run out of chug-chug.
Until Tuesday I still thought that the ole Clinton magic might keep her in the race long enough to pull a political Houdini and win the nomination, but North Carolina was a punch in the stomach that absolutely ruptured her chances. And worst of all, I now have a bitter taste in my mouth from agreeing with Ted Kennedy.
Of course, it still benefits McCain for the race to continue so I hope Hillary keeps trying to climb that mountain. But I can't delude myself any longer. Barack Obama will be the nominee.
“It’s effectively a Barack Obama nomination,” said Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. “I don’t see any possibility of altering or changing that inevitable fact … I respect her decision, but it doesn’t take away from the obvious, an increasingly obvious, fact that this nomination belongs to Barack Obama now.”
06 May 2008
I've spent months complaining that Obama never talks about the issues. Oh, he can give a pretty TelePromted speech that would make Cyrano blush, but what does all this talk about "change" really mean when there's never any substance to explain what he means by "change." And we all understand that he is for the future, which apparently means that those who don't support him are against it, but what future is he striving to reach?
Of course, every once in a while Obama slips up and provides some insight into his political agenda. And every time he does we understand why he tends to avoid specifics since the details tend to make him look about as savvy as Wile E Coyote. Take, for example, his plan to tax oil. Now this plan makes about as much sense as anything else unpacked from an Acme box. According to Bloomberg.com
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal for a windfall profits tax on oil companies could cost $15 billion a year at last year's profit levels, a campaign adviser said. The plan would target profit from the biggest oil companies by taxing each barrel of oil costing more than $80.And why should a president levy this particular tax?
Ah, yes, of course! It's the old liberal mantra. Because big oil is greedy. Because big oil is rich. Because big oil would react like any company and pass along the cost of the tax to employees, retirement plan investors and the consumers . . . oh, wait, Barack probably has thought that far ahead. But rest assured it would happen. And why would big oil pass along the cost? Because they're not as powerful or profitable as the liberal mantra would have you believe.
"The profits right now are so remarkable that one could trim them 10 percent or
so, which would turn out to be somewhere in the $15 billion range,'' said Jason Grumet, an adviser to the Obama campaign.
To understand the full picture, check out the post Obama, Big Oil and fun with charts on the Q and O Blog. I couldn't give the article full justice so I suggested you read it in its entirety (besides, there really are some pretty charts there). But just in case you're looking for some highlights in simply digestible bullet-point form, The Khaki Elephant as always, is here for you. These are some of the key observations from the charts:
- Only 11% of oil reserves are held by independent oil companies.
- The companies that Obama would like to see hit have a relatively small potion of the reserves (ExxonMobil 0.62%, Chevron 0.50% & ConocoPhillips 0.51%)
- As far as profits, Oil was not the big-boy on the block as they were outstripped by beverages, apparel, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, electronics/appliances, computers equipment, chemicals and machinery while finishing just above furniture (just wait, Maytag, Barack could be gunning for you and that slacker repairman next).
- The average breakdown of what a consumer pays at the pump for gas is 58% for the crude, 17% for refining, 15% for taxes, 10% for retailing with around 8.3% profit . . . less than most industries.
So "Big Oil" is not the profit slut that we've all been warned to avoid, but there is some profit. So when Obama attacks "big oil" who is he really attacking? Who is going to pay? Broken down by percentage, here's who owns these independent oil companies:
- 29% Mutual funds and other firms
- 27% Pension funds
- 23% Investors
- 14% IRAs
- 5% Institutional investors
- 1.5% Corporate insiders
So, it's not really a fat white guy with a fat black cigar who is going to pay for Obama's proposed tax on oil. It's fat (and skinny) folk of every color who have a retirement plan. It's fat (and skinny) folk of every color who curse and spit as they shove the gas pump nozzle into the tank as if it were Uncle Sam's arse. It's you and me, brothers and sisters. We're the ones Obama wants to tax.
UPDATE: Here's another post at the Pondering Penguin on the topic that is well worth the read:
I always knew that I had it in me!
Created by OnePlusYou
And here I was thinking about trying to lose weight and get in shape. I can't do that. I need to think about the cannibals.
Labels: Strange Stories
02 May 2008
How many more reasons do we need to loathe the United Nations. Oh, they have a pretty flag and I just love what they do with soft blue hues, but these cats make Grey Davis seem financially competent.
So it's not enough that the UN Barney Fifes every police action that they undertake, now their food to the needy task force is rife with either negligence, corruption or both. You see, it was just yesterday that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the International Herald Tribune that the World Food Program (WFP) had only $18 million on hand and were in sore need of some fat cash . . . in fact, some $775 million in fat cash to cover rising costs. And if we don't give, the world will stay "locked in crisis."
Just weeks before it announced the onset of a global food crisis and the urgent need for donors to provide at least $775 million in additional funding, the World Food Program was sitting on a cash and near-cash stockpile of more than $1.22 billion.
His inspiring words would probably breathe many into action if not for an audit of WFP funds that was endorsed by the WFP’s executive director, Josette Sheeran. This audit tells the story of a $400 million increase over last year's WFP cash reserves, not a tale of declining funds. This audit claims that the organization should have around $1.22 billion on hand, not the $18 million the Secretary-General claims. It seems as though somebody in UN accounting may have moved a decimal point or two.
In the end you may be wondering why it matters. Is any amount of money too much when it comes to feeding the poor? Maybe not, unless you consider Ban Ki-moon's ominous promise on handling this issue.
To coordinate this work [of collecting funds], I will set up and chair a UN Task Force on the Global Food Crisis. I will leave no stone unturned to focus political will at the July meeting of the G8 nations in Japan and the high-level FAO conference on food security in Rome in early June. [emphasis added]
OK, maybe I'm being glass-half-empty on this one, but do we really want this guy as the chair of a task force on the global food crisis when he just missed the current fund level by around $1 billion? Color me cynical (which I take to be reddish-green) but after the UN's Food for Oil debacle do we really trust them to handle any important cash under any circumstances?
Labels: The United Nations
01 May 2008
Edward Brooke (R-Mass) was the first African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote. On Tuesday he will become the first African American Senator to have his sexual indiscretions outed on Oprah by Barbara Walters. And if that isn't enough to get you dialed in to the O next week, Walters will also confide that she was the object of Brooke's affair.
According to reports, Babs will reveal that she and the senator had an affair that lasted several years during the 70s while he was speaking with a voice that would give moderate Republicans hope and she was speaking with a lisp that would give SNL comedy gold.
''I was certainly involved,'' Walters said. ''He was exciting. He was brilliant. It was exciting times in Washington.''Yes, I'll bet D.C. was exciting once this rising pair caught a case of jungle fever.
So why did the power couple finally end it? Because they knew it was a mistake? To preserve their families? Out of respect for God's sacrament? Because it was wrong? Nope, they were just worried about their careers. They may have forsaken much, but at least they clung to their priorities.
Labels: Strange Stories