Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Monday, February 06, 2006
Happy Birthday, Ronnie
Mitch at Shot In The Dark has a nice write-up.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
State Of The Union Address 2006
1) I liked Bush's rhetoric aimed at Iran. I only hope he (and our congress and our country) is prepared to do more than talk if necessary. There is one thing I wish he would have said when addressing Iran. I wish he would have looked right into the camera and said, "We made sure Saddam Hussein would never be able to obtain nuclear weapons. And, Mr. Ahmadinejad, we can do the same thing for you."
2) The Democrats came off looking like total jackasses. The key moment which so clearly and succintly demonstrated the current character of the Democratic party was when Bush said, "This congress did nothing to save Social Security." As soon as he said that, the Democrats went wild with applause. I could almost hear their cheers: "Yay! We did nothing! We refused to fix a problem! Woo-hoo!! Three cheers for obstructionism!!" In fact, that was the only time Hillary wasn't scowling. Which brings me to my third point.
3) Hillary showed her true nature on national TV. Cold. Condescending. Rude. Two instances really struck me.
3a) During Bush's defense/rationale of the domestic intelligence program, he pointed out that other Presidents have done the same thing (yes, that includes Clinton). About that time they cut to Hillary again. She just had this little scowl/smirk look on her face and was shaking her head as if to say, "Oh, you silly little Republican. Bill could do that because he's a Democrat. Do you really expect the same rules apply to you?"
3b) Bush made a humorous remark about the baby boomers reaching retirement. "And that includes two of my dad's favorite people. Me and President Clinton." Of course, just about everyone else laughed or at least chuckled. But Hillary? She just kept that little scowl on her face. She couldn't even crack a polite little smile or make a half-hearted attempt at a chuckle. (But a thought hit me in the shower this morning. Maybe she thought Bush was talking about HER, not her husband and that it was a reference to her age and you know how sensitive women get about that!).
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Stick a fork in me...
Thanks to those of you who visited my blog and to those of you who linked to me (especially you, Liberal Larry). I may be back later. I may not.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Batman & The War On Terror
There are some lessons that can be learned from this movie in dealing with terrorist and terrorism. Ducard at one point tells Bruce Wayne, "Criminals thrive on the indulgence of society's understanding." Just replace "criminals" with "terrorists" and that statement rings very true. Later, Bruce's childhood friend turned DA asks Bruce, "What chance does Gotham have, when the good people do nothing?" Maybe it's just me, but I hear the echo of Ronald Reagan's declaration, "Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" in her question.
I haven't seen War Of The Worlds yet, but after reading .this quote, I don't know if I even want to:
"You can read our movie several ways," says screenwriter David Koepp. "It could be straight 9/11 paranoia. Or it could be about how U.S. military interventionism abroad is doomed by insurgency, just the way an alien invasion might be."
Of course, I doubt Steven "Saving Private Ryan" & "Band Of Brothers" Spielberg probably doesn't share Koepp's view, so I may see it anyway. But at this point it will probably be DVD.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Scotty takes his final voyage
Monday, July 11, 2005
|You Are 87% American|
Tough and independent, you think big.
You love everything about the US, wrong or right.
And anyone who criticizes your home better not do it in front of you!
I'd have to disagree. I am 100% American and damned proud of it. As for the poll, I didn't like how a few questions or the possible answers were phrased. For instance:
3. You would rather eat...
- Something at the Olive Garden, Applebee's, or Red Lobster
- A gourmet French meal of escargot (snails) and tete de veau (cow's head)
- A home cooked meal of pasta and meatballs
Personally, I'd rather have a hamburger that I cooked myself than any of the above. Does food get any more American than a hamburger? I guess the restaurants mentioned have burgers on their menu, but it deserves an entry all its own.
14. How do you feel about the war in Iraq?
- It might have been a mistake but we should finish the job
- We should be bombing the hell out of North Korea and Iran too
- It's disgusting and embarrassing
I don't think it was a mistake, so the first answer doesn't apply. But I also don't think we should be "bombing the hell out of North Korea and Iran too." Maybe it will come to that point eventually (hopefully not), but right now there are other ways to handle North Korea and Iran. The only mistake in invading Iraq was that we took too long to do it. (Sure, there have been mistakes in the way it's been carried out, but that doesn't make the overall invasion a mistake.)
15. And flag burning?
- It's un-American, but probably protected under freedom of speech
- It should be banned in a Constitutional amendment
- Sometimes it's necessary to make a point
I chose the first answer, but I would take the word "probably" out. There is no "probably" about it - it is protected freedom of speech. Don't get me wrong, I take issue with anybody who would burn the American flag, but I would also defend their freedom of speech. The freedom to protest and criticize our own government - even in such disgusting ways - is one of the many things that make America the greatest country in the history of mankind. Anyone who burns the flag is bottom-dwelling scum who should have a boot put up their ass, but it should be MY boot, not the government's. The government already wants to take away your gun. Now the Supreme Court says the government can take away your land (which is made easier if you don't have a gun). If a flag-burning ban is put into law, how long until other forms of protesting the government are outlawed? And how long after that until everything that makes America great is gone?
I'm not 87% American. I'm 100% American - it's the US Government that is only 87% American, and I fear that rating is falling.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Happy July 4th
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness - That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundations on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Logan Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, is doing something about it that I really like. He's trying to make one of the Supreme Court Justices face the consequences of his decision.
Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.
Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.
On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.
Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.
The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."
Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.
"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."
Clements' plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise investment capital for the project. Clements hopes that regular customers of the hotel might include supporters of the Institute For Justice and participants in the Free State Project among others.
I don't know about you, but I love this idea! And I hope that every Justice who voted along with Souter in this case gets the same treatment.
Hat tip to Capistrano.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
I made the local news
UPDATE (6/29/05): Here's one of the better pictures that was taken of us. This was as we were lined up waiting for the parade to get going. Notice the grin on my son's face - he had a blast.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
As reported by CNN:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- -- The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development.
The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.
As a result, cities have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes to generate tax revenue.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a key swing vote on many cases before the court, issued a stinging dissent. She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers.
The lower courts had been divided on the issue, with many allowing a taking only if it eliminates blight.
"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."
She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Personally, I would argue that even the elimination of "blight" is not justification for the government to seize private property.
Where does this government intrusion into civilian lives end? If the government can take your gun, silence your religion, and seize your property, is this still America?
Monday, June 20, 2005
Yes, I'm questioning their patriotism
First, we have Senator Richard Durbin comparing our soldiers to Nazis.
"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control," he said, "you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."
I'm going to give his voters some benefit of the doubt and assume he's not totally ignorant of history. I assume he realizes that over 2 million people were murdered in Pol Pot's Cambodia. Around 20 million people were killed by the Nazis. And over 60 million by the Soviets. [source - doesn't include war dead] And Senator Durbin thinks a few hundred terrorists (or suspected terrorists) being detained at Guantanamo Bay is comparable? Terrorists (remember, these are the guys who would be actively engaged in waging a violent and bloody war against American citizens if they weren't detained) who's detainment includes carefully prepared meals, who are given brand new copies of the Qur'an (purchased with your tax dollars) and for whom "torture" includes being forced to listen to Christina Aguilera are compared to over 80 million innocent civilians murdered by communist and fascist dictators. I'm not an Aguilera fan either, but how about a little perspective here? Durbin's remarks are not just idiotic and an insult to our servicemen who are defending his right to make such comments. They're anti-American, and he should be called out on it.
Then we have House Democrats, again using your tax dollars, staging a mock impeachment inquiry as an "anti-war" rally. Witnesses testified about Bush's lies and high crimes and repeated conspiracy theories.
The session took an awkward turn when witness Ray McGovern, a former intelligence analyst, declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration "neocons" so "the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world." He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation," McGovern said. "The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic."
Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who prompted the question by wondering whether the true war motive was Iraq's threat to Israel, thanked McGovern for his "candid answer."
At Democratic headquarters, where an overflow crowd watched the hearing on television, activists handed out documents repeating two accusations -- that an Israeli company had warning of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that there was an "insider trading scam" on 9/11 -- that previously has been used to suggest Israel was behind the attacks.
The event organizer, Democrats.com, distributed stickers saying "Bush lied/100,000 people died." One man's T-shirt proclaimed, "Whether you like Bush or not, he's still an incompetent liar," while a large poster of Uncle Sam announced: "Got kids? I want yours for cannon fodder."
These people claim to be "anti-war" but being against war is one thing. At this point, it's not about being for or against a war - it's about being for or against our success in the Middle East. And obviously they're against it despite what failure there would mean. If they were truely anti-war, they would be behind America's objectives 100%. Our objective is the spread of Democracy in the middle east. How would that benefit the "anti-war" crowd? I think this chart says it all:
And the last example for today is the hijacking of the 9/11 memorial. Instead of a memorial of what happened that day and instead of a tribute to those brave fire fighters, policemen, and every day Joes who gave their lives trying to save others, the extreme liberals driving the Democrat party are turning the memorial into a "What America did to deserve this" retrospective.
Debra Burlingame, sister of the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon and a member of the board of directors of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation has an article discussing this.
The World Trade Center Memorial Cultural Complex will be an imposing edifice wedged in the place where the Twin Towers once stood. It will serve as the primary "gateway" to the underground area where the names of the lost are chiseled into concrete. The organizers of its principal tenant, the International Freedom Center (IFC), have stated that they intend to take us on "a journey through the history of freedom"--but do not be fooled into thinking that their idea of freedom is the same as that of those Marines. To the IFC's organizers, it is not only history's triumphs that illuminate, but also its failures. The public will have come to see 9/11 but will be given a high-tech, multimedia tutorial about man's inhumanity to man, from Native American genocide to the lynchings and cross-burnings of the Jim Crow South, from the Third Reich's Final Solution to the Soviet gulags and beyond. This is a history all should know and learn, but dispensing it over the ashes of Ground Zero is like creating a Museum of Tolerance over the sunken graves of the USS Arizona.
Read the full article, then contact your congress person, sign the online petition, and let's take back Ground Zero.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Revenge Of The Sith
I'll most likely never again get to stand in line with a few hundred other Star Wars fans--many carrying toy light sabers, a handful dressed as characters from the movie (a couple of those in GOOD costumes)--to see a new Star Wars movie. So this being the last new Star Wars movie I'll ever see in the theatre, there was no way I was not going to see as soon as it was released. So, although I had to be at work early and stay at work late the next day, I went to the midnight opening showing.
As I write this, it's been around 8 hours since the movie ended and I'm still soaking it in. I still haven't decided what I really think about it. I'll probably have to see it again. There are spoilers below, so if you haven't seen the movie yet you may not want to read beyond this point.
It was a heavy and sometimes intense film. It was without a doubt better than Phantom Menace or Attack Of The Clones. But I'll start with the things I didn't like or the flaws I thought were evident.
The major flaw in my mind was that the story was rushed. Anakin seemed to give in fully to the Dark Side at the drop of a hat. The leap from just sulking about the Jedi Council not giving him enough responsibility to killing them seems to happen way too fast and without sufficient justification. Anakin flirts with the Dark Side to obtain the power of saving his wife and unborn child (he doesn't know she's having twins). But moments later, he's slaughtering children and dreaming of ruling the galaxy.
In A New Hope, when Obi Wan tells Luke that "a young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights" I've always pictured a very lengthy hunt and extermination process lasting years and involving many fierce battles. That process itself could have taken a whole movie, but in Revenge of the Sith, it appears to happen in a matter of minutes. The entire Jedi force is taken out with suprising ease and swiftness.
There are many other smaller flaws, most not worth even mentioning. The lightsaber battle between Mace Windu and Chancellor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidius) was jarring in its editing. The CGI Palpatine jumping and flipping around intercut with the stiff movements of the actor Ian McDiarmid was more distracting than anything. They may have gone a tad overboard with R2D2's actions in the opening sequence, but I liked it anyway. Hayden Christensen's acting was no better than before and Natalie Portman actually did a worse job than in the previous films.
But more important than the flaws or where Sith may have failed, is what this movie does for the entire epic. The most important task it achieves, in my opinion, is uniting the two trilogies. Actually, I don't think it's fair to view the movies as two sets of trilogies anymore. Sith does such a great job of leading into A New Hope that this is now one huge 6 movie epic of a story. Prior to last night, I would have recommended to someone who's never seen the movies to start with the original trilogy first, then watch from Phantom Menace on. But now, that's not logical at all. Although it's been titled Episode IV: A New Hope for many years, now it really is chapter 4 of the story.
There were some really great individual moments in the film. Anakin's turn to the Dark Side, rushed though it is, is chilling at times. Particularly when he enters a room full of Jedi "younglings." Aware that the temple is under attack and something really bad is happening, they look to him for comfort and guidance. He responds by drawing his lightsaber.
Yoda's battle with Palpatine is brilliant, especially Yoda's entrance to the confrontation. It felt much more true to the character than his spasmodic flipping and jumping in Clones. Likewise, the showdown between Obi-Wan and Anakin is also dramatic. And the results of both battles is very emotional. Yoda crawling through pipes to escape Palpatine--you can feel the weight on his shoulders when he says, "Failed I have." Initially, Obi-Wan appears determined to do what he must to stop Anakin. But as the battle drags on, his heartbreak becomes appearant and your heart breaks with his as he screams at Anakin, "You were the chosen one! You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them! You were to bring balance to the force, not leave it in chaos!" But you also feel for Anakin. His legs severed by Obi Wan, laying there as flames and hatred engulf him, your heart goes out to him. It's very dark and gruesome and you wish Obi-Wan would at least show him a little mercy and respect and end his suffering. But he just walks away leaving him there to burn.
Another chilling moment is the final step in Anakin's evolution into Darth Vader. Like the Frankenstein monster, Anakan is pieced together with cybernetic parts by Palpatine. The last time we see Anakin's face, it is full of fear and realization of what he's done. But as the helmet is attached, Anakin is gone. The look of fear is replaced by the cold steady breathing and Darth Vader is fully realized.
There really is a lot more to say about this film, but I will leave the rest to better reviewers than me. Although Empire is still the best of the film series, I think Sith will stand the test of time better than some of the others. Although at this point I'm pretty sure I liked it, I really need to see it a couple more times to decide just how much.