Friday, April 27, 2007

Separated At Birth?

I feel horrible about this, but the first thing I thought when I saw a picture of Phil Spector (the record producer who's on trial for murder - link) was how much he looks like Lynne Cheney (wife of Dick Cheney).

I'm sorry.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Listen Loud - Listen Proud

The music snobs at Rock and Roll Daily put together a list of the "25 Undisputed Guilty Pleasure Bands."

An inordinately high number of my favorites are on it (Rush, ELO, Journey, ABBA, Foreigner, the Monkees, STYX, Eddie Money, R.E.O, Lionel Richie, Air Supply, Hall and Oates).

I'm surprised that Duran Duran, didn't turn up (since I like them too). Actually, I'm a fan of almost ANYTHING from the '80.

So, Rock and Roll Daily can stuff it! (link)

Rolling Stone’s List of the 25 Undisputed Guilty Pleasure Bands Those of you who proudly listen to Rush at top volume in your car all summer long, (ie thereby displaying the total lack of guilty in your pleasure), take note:? Rush come in at Number One on our official list of the Rock’s Undisputed Guilty Pleasure Bands. Like the rest of the acts on our list (which you helped put together), we love them to death, and can never forgive ourselves. The full list:
1. Rush
2. E.L.O.
3. Journey
5. Chicago
6. Boston
7. Foreigner
8. Bread
9. Bon Jovi
10. New Edition
11. The Monkees
12. Motley Crue
13. STYX
14. Eddie Money
15. Simply Red
16. Kelly Clarkson
17. America
18. Wham
19. R.E.O. Speedwagon
20. Poison
21. Lionel Richie
22. Kansas
23. Air Supply
24. Hall & Oates
25. Britney Spears

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Consensus Is Not Fact

In further celebration of "Earth Day", here's an article from Dr. Timothy Ball, Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project and a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. He was of of the very first Canadians to get a Ph.D. in Climatology.

Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts? (link)
...Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global warming became the
consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.

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Boycott Google

The search engine Google is celebrating "Earth Day" today with a special home page graphic.

I've always been slightly annoyed that Google never puts up special graphics for religious holidays such as Easter, Passover, Ramadan, etc. BUT today they honor the "faith-based" idea of global warming with a picture of melting glacier.

How nice.

From now on I'm ONLY using Yahoo (yeah right, as if...).

Manny Lopez had a great "Earth Day" column in the Detroit News this morning. (link)

In celebration of Earth Day today, I test drove an SUV and pulled my 1966 Mustang out of storage.

I'd have done it earlier, but the frost and snow we've endured since spring started a month ago made it a bit inconvenient to do so -- and that's the truth. Remind me again how imminent the global warming threat is in Michigan.


How about instead Environmental Defense, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace and all the Armageddon activists get together and put their money where their collective mouth is?

Chrysler is for sale. So is Delphi. Buy 'em. Expose the global conspiracy that the Big Three are allegedly part of by taking control of one of these companies and putting these hidden technologies into mass production.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Paper of Record?

On April 11th, Ray Cooper, the Attorney General for North Carolina, declared the three former Duke lacrosse players as "innocent" of rape charges brought against them last year. Cooper went on to state that Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is guilty of "a rush to accuse." (link)

The New York Times published an editorial slamming Don Imus over his Rutger's "joke" directed at another group of "innocent" college athletes, but issued NO correction for the negative story it ran on the Duke players a while back. (link)

An August 25, 2006 Times story concluded: (link)

By disclosing pieces of evidence favorable to the defendants, the defense has created an image of a case heading for the rocks. But an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution in the four months after the accusation yields a more ambiguous picture. It shows that while there are big weaknesses in Mr. Nifong'scase, there is also a body of evidence to support his decision to take the matter to a jury.
In several important areas, the full files, reviewed by The New York Times, contain evidence stronger than that highlighted by the defense.

Exactly what evidence did the Times reporters review that was so convincing? Interesting question, since, as it now turns out, NONE existed.

This story from the so-called "paper of record" was somewhat harmful for the Duke players in the court of public opinion. I ran a fairly broad search on the Times website for some sort of apology, correction, update or mea culpa on this.


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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Paglia in the Spring

For her April Salon column, Camille Paglia answers questions sent in from her readers (link).

I find it hard to argue with most of what she has to say. Highlights below:

George W
Bush's swerve away from his father's preppy patrician style has ended up, as you note, as a hammy caricature of B-movie clichés about the folksy, plain-talking Westerner. His Texas accent has bizarrely gotten more pronounced since he's lived in Washington -- a defense mechanism of reverse snobbery.

I think Bush genuinely wanted to challenge and critique the establishment assumptions of his heritage and Ivy League education, but he lacked the verbal skills to do so. And his problems were compounded by his ineptitude in making top appointments. He got not sound counsel but fantasy and folly from Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney -- whose presence from the start signaled Bush's slack and even masochistic deferral to his father's administration.

"Victory"-- a word constantly on President Bush's hopeful lips -- cannot be achieved in an amorphous insurgency or in a vast land with indefensible borders that is splintered among ancient sects and tribes. There is no distinct enemy, only a welter of saboteurs hiding among the population, whose loyalties cannot be assessed by a foreign force embarrassingly lacking elementary knowledge of local culture and languages. Our troops are being asked to convert, pacify and reconstruct even while waging war and hence are constantly being put in exposed positions where they can be killed or maimed with simple roadside devices.

Gun Control

As a Salon columnist (dating back to the founding of Salon in 1995), I have tried to provide a forum for defenders of the Second Amendment to make their case. The Northeastern major media, which remain heavily liberal, rarely permit these voices to be heard.

I do not own guns and have no interest in them. (Swords, those Homeric and chivalric emblems, have always attracted me more.) But as a libertarian, I read the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights as granting to private citizens the right to bear arms against the potential abuses of a government turned tyrannous. Furthermore, should police authority evaporate after a cataclysm of storm, flood, earthquake or terrorism, citizens have a right to defend their families and property against criminals and looters. If food and water are in short supply over a protracted period, expect predators and violence.

The horrendous problem of illegal guns now rampant among the urban underclass cannot be solved by depriving all American citizens of their Second Amendment rights. Major cities must address their internal problems, which include improving public education and vocational training, creating job-rich public works projects, and instituting on-the-street neighborhood policing. The major media, concentrated in their metropolises, should stop extrapolating their local issues to the nation as a whole.

Global Warming
... I am a skeptic about what is currently called global warming. I have been highly suspicious for years about the political agenda that has slowly accrued around this issue. As a lapsed Catholic, I detest dogma in any area. Too many of my fellow Democrats seem peculiarly credulous at the moment, as if, having ground down organized religion into nonjudgmental, feel-good therapy, they are hungry for visions of apocalypse. From my perspective, virtually all of the major claims about global warming and its causes still remain to be proved.

Climate change, keyed to solar cycles, is built into Earth's system. Cooling and warming will go on forever. Slowly rising sea levels will at some point doubtless flood lower Manhattan and seaside houses everywhere from Cape Cod to Florida -- as happened to Native American encampments on those very shores. Human habitation is always fragile and provisional. People will migrate for the hills, as they have always done.

Who is impious enough to believe that Earth's contours are permanent? Our eyes are simply too slow to see the shift of tectonic plates that has raised the Himalayas and is dangling Los Angeles over an unstable fault.

Ann Coulter

My problem with Ann Coulter is not the subjects she tackles, which are always substantive, but her carelessness of research and argumentation. She has frankly admitted that she now writes her books as if they were e-mails to her friends. I like her boldness and vigor, but I see no excuse for such indifference to craftsmanship.

Ideas, whether of the right or the left, deserve respect. But Coulter increasingly treats them like throwaway lines. The rapier thrust of true wit is not the bump-de-dump of a bad joke. But evidently Coulter can no longer tell the difference.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Grin and Bear It

This is for real. What a hoot. (link)

Nappy Headed Ho Teddy Bear - $17.99

Show Your Support For Imus And Free Speech!! Get your very own "Nappy Headed Ho" Shirts Now! SUPPORT THE I-MAN!!!

Our plush bear is a cutie in his own message-bearing t-shirt and festive red ribbon. He’s a great gift for Valentine’s Day, baby showers, birthdays, get well-wishes, a pair of wedding bears, or any reason you dream up. Put a smile on someone’s face. Just grin and bear it! Soft plush fur 11 inches tall Red bow and t-shirt included.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Jason Whitlock on Imus

Of all the blather regarding the Imus firing (the execs at MSNBC look like a bunch of spineless cowards) Jason Whitlock, of the Kansas City Star, has one of the most insightful perspectives:

Here's a sample:

I’m no Don Imus apologist. He and his tiny companion Mike Lupica blasted me after I fell out with ESPN. Imus is a hack.

But, in my view, he didn’t do anything outside the norm for shock jocks and comedians. He also offered an apology. That should’ve been the end of this whole affair. Instead, it’s only the beginning. It’s an opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$.

I watched the Rutgers news conference and was ashamed.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for eight minutes in 1963 at the March on Washington. At the time, black people could be lynched and denied fundamental rights with little thought. With the comments of a talk-show host most of her players had never heard of before last week serving as her excuse, Vivian Stringer rambled on for 30 minutes about the amazing season her team had.

Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that the comments of a man with virtually no connection to the sports world ruined Rutgers’ wonderful season. Had a broadcaster with credibility and a platform in the sports world uttered the words Imus did, I could understand a level of outrage. But an hourlong press conference over a man who has already apologized, already been suspended and is already insignificant is just plain intellectually dishonest. This is opportunism. This is a distraction.

In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?

I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?

When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imus in the Moanin...

If there's anything worse than a personality who refuses to apologize for making a controversial remark (like Ann Coulter or Bill Maher who don't even understand why some people MAY be upset), it's when a celebrity is so clearly desperate to save their career that they grovel on the national stage for redemption.

This is the case with Don Imus.

It's fine and proper for Imus to meet with the Rutgers University women's basketball team and apologize. He should have JUST done that. But for him to beg forgiveness from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson the way he has is pathetic. The new name for his show should be "I-WUSS in the Morning."

Frankly, I don't understand why politicians and journalists have fawned all over Imus anyway. His show is marginally funny (despite all of the in-studio yukking), his ratings have never been respectable, and he's been making ill-informed, stupid, derogatory remarks against people for years.

I'm fine with his two week suspension. True be told, were he to be fired, I wouldn't miss his show at all. Imus and Keith Olbermann's shows are the bookends of mediocrity in the MSNBC lineup. I say, lose both of them and put Chris Matthews on in the morning and Joe Scarborough at night (or vice versa).

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hitchens on Iraq

Christopher Hitchens (no right-winger) strongly defends his suport of the Iraq war on it's the fourth anniversary.

So, Mr. Hitchens, Weren't You Wrong About Iraq?

Selected passages below:

Should it not have been known by Western intelligence that Iraq had no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction?

The entire record of UNSCOM until that date had shown a determination on the part of the Iraqi dictatorship to build dummy facilities to deceive inspectors, to refuse to allow scientists to be interviewed without coercion, to conceal chemical and biological deposits, and to search the black market for materiel that would breach the sanctions. The defection of Saddam Hussein's sons-in-law, the Kamel brothers, had shown that this policy was even more systematic than had even been suspected. Moreover, Iraq did not account for—has in fact never accounted for—a number of the items that it admitted under pressure to possessing after the Kamel defection. We still do not know what happened to this weaponry. This is partly why all Western intelligence agencies, including French and German ones quite uninfluenced by Ahmad Chalabi, believed that Iraq had actual or latent programs for the production of WMD. Would it have been preferable to accept Saddam Hussein's word for it and to allow him the chance to re-equip once more once the sanctions had further decayed?


Was the terror connection not exaggerated?

Not by much. The Bush administration never claimed that Iraq had any hand in the events of Sept. 11, 2001. But it did point out, at different times, that Saddam had scted as a host and patron to every other terrorist gang in the region, most recently including the most militant Islamist ones. And this has never been contested by anybody. The action was undertaken not to punish the last attack—that had been done in Afghanistan—but to forestall the next one.


So, you seriously mean to say that we would not be living in a better or safer world if the coalition forces had turned around and sailed or flown home in the spring of 2003?

That's exactly what I mean to say.

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