Friday, July 30, 2010

When are 100 mosques in one city not enough?

When they're located in New York City.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but affixing Freedom of Religion to the First Amendment of the Constitution was never intended by the Founders as a means of excluding our Judeo-Christian principles from either the national landscape or the corridors of power.  And why would they?  Forty-nine of the 56 Founders were born-again Believers, and the other seven were merely unaffiliated deists.

The Framers were neither atheist, nor ag/ignostic, nor humanist, nor pure secularist.  And of course, none were Muslim.  Freedom of Religion was included to ensure that no Christian association (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.) would be shown preference by the government over another, which was explained perfectly -- when kept in its proper context -- by Thomas Jefferson in his "Wall of Separation" letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut some 208 years ago.

Hence, stating that the Religion clause was not inserted into the Constitution to permit an extremist sect to dominate our country should also go without saying, and the notion that a group of Christians made provisions to allow for anything of the sort is among the most inescapably asinine perceptions anyone could suggest, directly or otherwise.

But this is the 21st century.  Asinine has become the norm.

Taking the contention regarding a proposed 13-story, $100 million megamosque set to be located near Ground Zero into account, a story from abroad centering upon a comparable issue is worth a look.  With a subtitle that reads, VOTERS in Australia and Britain have had their fill of out-of-control multiculturalism, a piece in the July 3 edition of The Australian summarized a volatile issue that both mirrors the American landscape and becomes increasingly pervasive by the day:

"[Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard] sympathises with the concern that large-scale immigration and multiculturalism are threatening Australia's core values and identity, a position the Left denounces as bigotry.

"Consequently, Gillard's remarks have produced predictable cries of 'racism' and 'dog-whistling.'  So why has the new Labor leader ventured into this particular cultural minefield?  The explanation is that something tumultuous is happening, not just in Australia but in Britain too, something so unusual that people are stumbling around in a state of stunned disorientation.

"It is that politicians are at last actually taking seriously what their electorates are saying to them about immigration and multiculturalism.  This is that they will no longer put up with a policy which threatens to destroy their country's values and way of life, and will vote accordingly."

That's a bold comment considering these hypersensitive times.  Directly below is another direct statement from former Speaker of the House (and possible Presidential contender) Newt Gingrich:


There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.  The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.

The proposed "Cordoba House" overlooking the World Trade Center site -- where a group of jihadists killed over 3,000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks -- is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites.  For example, most of them don’t understand that "Cordoba House" is a deliberately insulting term.  It refers to Cordoba, Spain -- the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.

Today, some of the Mosque’s backers insist this term is being used to "symbolize interfaith cooperation" when, in fact, every Islamist in the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest.  It is a sign of their contempt for Americans and their confidence in our historic ignorance that they would deliberately insult us this way.

Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for "religious toleration" are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City. Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca.

And they lecture us about tolerance.

If the people behind the Cordoba House were serious about religious toleration, they would be imploring the Saudis, as fellow Muslims, to immediately open up Mecca to all and immediately announce their intention to allow non-Muslim houses of worship in the Kingdom.   They should be asked by the news media if they would be willing to lead such a campaign.

We have not been able to rebuild the World Trade Center in nine years.  Now we are being told a 13 story, $100 million megamosque will be built within a year overlooking the site of the most devastating surprise attack in American history.

Finally where is the money coming from?  The people behind the Cordoba House refuse to reveal all their funding sources.

America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.  Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could.

No mosque.

No self deception.

No surrender.

The time to take a stand is now -- at this site on this issue.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Still leading

If you assumed that Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the top man in the U.S. military, you're wrong.  If you thought the lead guy was perhaps Army Chief of Staff General George Casey, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead or Marine Commandant General James Conway, think again.  I'll explain.

The rank General of the Armies of the United States was first appointed to General John J. Pershing on September 3, 1919.  A lifetime appointment, Pershing held the position until his death on July 15, 1948 and remains the only man to hold this rank during his lifetime.

Under Department of the Army Order 31-3, effective July 4, 1976, George Washington was posthumously appointed General of the Armies of the United States under Public Law 94-479, whereby Congress further specified that Washington would be permanently considered the highest ranking officer in the United States armed forces.

Categorized first by rank, then seniority, the men listed below -- which includes three U.S. Presidents -- are, now and always, the senior-most officers in the American military.  If a nation with better leaders has ever existed, I have not seen or heard of it.  Decades, even centuries, after their respective deaths, these men remain tops among the war dogs and I would gladly put them up against anyone:

1. General of the Armies of the United States George Washington
2. Admiral of the Navy George Dewey
2. General of the Armies of the United States John J. Pershing
3. Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy
3. General of the Army George C. Marshall
3. Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King
3. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur
3. Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
3. General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower
3. General of the Army/General of the Air Force Henry H. Arnold
3. Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey
3. General of the Army Omar N. Bradley
4. Admiral David G. Farragut
4. General of the Army Ulysses S. Grant
4. General of the Army William T. Sherman
4. Admiral David D. Porter
4. General of the Army Philip H. Sheridan

Note: Henry Arnold was promoted to General of the Army on December 21, 1944.  The Air Force was established in 1947 and Arnold was made the first, and thus far only, General of the Air Force on May 7, 1949.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday's Quote: Lane does it again

Just for the record, I was born 34 years ago today (5:07 a.m. to be exact) at St. Joseph's hospital in downtown Memphis.  I'm told my mom was in labor for a mere 30 minutes, as opposed to my aunt Judy, who labored with my cousin Angie for a whopping 25 hours.  I'm good like that.

Now considering my lifelong allegiance to the University of Tennessee -- rivaled only by my affection for Ole Miss -- and with the college football season rapidly approaching, I feel that a quote about perhaps the greatest villain in UT history would be in order:

"Unless USC head coach Lane Kiffin was Ulysses S. Grant or William Tecumseh Sherman in a past life, it would be difficult to imagine how the good people of Tennessee could hate him anymore than they already did.  Until now."
-- from the opening to "Lane Kiffin angers everyone in Tennessee (slight return)" by Doug Farrar

You really do suck.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Guilty Pleasures: Proletariat theatre

Decades before professional wrestling grew into the multi-billion dollar conglomerate it is today, the territorial outfits of yesteryear -- a kind of mid-major league system -- such as the AWA, the CWA, and the resulting USWA flourished for generations in heartland areas throughout Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas.  Indeed these men, who ravaged their bodies for next to nothing, were iconic figures to middle Americans that lived vicariously through these heroes of the squared circle who routinely did what few ever dared.

I was parked in front of the television every Saturday morning for God-knows how many years to marvel at 90 minutes of live wrestling from WMC-TV studios at 1960 Union Ave. in midtown Memphis, just a block or two from the Cooper-Young district.  And just as enthralling were highlights from the previous Monday night shows at the Mid-South Coliseum.

Long before the WWE was "Raw" on Monday nights, nothing could hold a candle to what rasslin' fans from the tri-state area witnessed in the same arena that Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, KISS, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, Metallica and a slew of others once performed.

If you're not familiar with the Mid-South Coliseum, that's where Jerry "The King" Lawler pounded Andy Kaufman into unconsciousness (or so it seemed) just two years before the eccentric comedian passed away.  Surely you remember.

Many of the all-time greats came though Memphis with noticeable regularity.  Harley Race, Nick Bockwinkel (above left), Terry Funk, Ken Patera, The Road Warriors (above), the Von Erichs and Rick Martel made their mark in the Bluff City, as did Hulk Hogan, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

Lesser known stars whose place in history is no less diminished include "Handsome" Jimmy Valiant, "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert, "Wildfire" Tommy Rich, Lord Humongous (originally fronted by my 10th grade gym teacher, Mike Stark), The Moondogs, Koko B. Ware and Tracy Smothers.

Others who have their face etched on the Mount Rushmore of local rasslin' lore include Dutch Mantel, "Superstar" Bill Dundee, the Rock 'n' Roll Express, Jeff Jarrett, The Fabulous Ones (right), Austin Idol, and the man who appeared in every main at "The Roundhouse" for over 15 years, Jerry "The King" Lawler (below).

Past-their-prime venues and a lack of appealing talent to even the most loyal and hardcore ultimately led to the demise of heartland-based promotions.  So far reaching was the impact of corporate wrestling (the WWE, who now signs Lawler's paychecks, is the proverbial last man standing) that even the best nostalgia shows are now fortunate to bring in 2,000 fans.

I, myself, lost interest long ago.  Yet "real" or not, the entertainment value of senseless, predetermined violence was always in question, but never in doubt.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Iconic Shot: Political identity

(click to enlarge)
"The Third-Term Panic" by Thomas Nast, originally published in Harper's on November 7, 1874, is the first notable depiction of an elephant as the symbol of the Republican party.  The first known reference to Republicans as the "Grand Old Party" came two years later, and the GOP abbreviation followed in 1884.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A slightly different take on immigration

My extemporaneous inquiry into varying topics led me to uncover a bit of information earlier today about which I had all but forgotten.  Initially saved to a file I discovered while searching for something else, the originator(s) of this piece is unknown, but the subject matter is verifiable nevertheless:

"Confederate leaders ... had their eyes squarely on Brazil — a country of nearly 4 million square miles and more than 8 million people.  Prior to the outbreak of the [Civil] war, U.S. Naval Academy founder Matthew Maury dispatched two Navy officers to the Amazon basin, ostensibly to map the river for shipping.  Instead, they were secretly ... collecting data about separatist movements in the region."

"When the South lost the war, Maury refused to abandon his plans.  He helped 20,000 ex-rebels flee to Brazil, where they established the Confederate colonies of New Texas and Americana. ... Confederados also educated slaves and black freedmen in their new schools.  To their Brazilian neighbors, this practice was considered unusual and even scandalous.  To this day, hundreds of descendants of the Confederados still gather outside Americana to celebrate their shared heritage of rocking chairs and sweet potato pie.  In a strange way, a part of the Old South still survives — thousands of miles below the U.S. border."

Monday, July 19, 2010

I now understand women

I can appreciate the way women think, even when the process doesn't make a great deal of sense (insert joke here).  Indeed few things fascinate more than the female psyche, and Esquire's recent list covering 1,000 thoughts from women of every region, ethnicity and age group has provided an endless source of humor and fascination.  These, along with a bit of commentary from yours truly, are the ones that stuck out most:

"When we are truly angry, we go silent.  That is your opportunity to apologize, or run.  Neither will save you."

"Loading the dishes without being asked — it means more than you know."

"We dig on your hot friends.  They make you look hotter.  We want to flirt with them.  We want them to want us.  We won't actually do anything with them.  But they are an unquestionable asset of yours."
{Adam: Ditto.}

"You have the power to make us feel like the only girl in the room.  Use it wisely (and often)."

"It's not that girls don't like nice guys, it's that we can distinguish between genuinely nice and desperate."
{Adam: Perfectly said.}

"We know our orgasms can be difficult.  Just keep at it."

"Sometimes we think we're in love, and then we see your Facebook profile."  

"Buying us a candy bar is a surprising — and effective — gesture.  Who doesn't like a candy bar?"
{Adam: Women who are crazy.}

"A woman has certain spots that are for touching, squeezing, and pushing.  These do not include her buttons."

"Girls like to whine.  It's a fact."
{Adam: Thanks for the confirmation.  Because, really, I had absolutely no idea.}

"When we say we want to share a dessert, we really mean we want you to have just one bite and offer the rest to us.  We were planning on eating the entire lava cake ourselves anyway, but this way we don't feel guilty."
{Adam: The calculation blows my mind.}

"There are two acceptable forms of hair product for you: undetectable and nonexistent."

"We as women want to be independent, but it would be awesome if you could save us some money by paying for everything."

"Things we feel guilty about loving: breakfast at fast food restaurants, songs by Fergie, sparkly shoes."
{Adam: It's hard to believe that "Fergie" is the same girl that used to be my crush on Kids, Inc. back in fourth grade.}  


"We can tell when the gift was purchased at the last minute.  But we still like it."  

"Some of us may feel the need to make up a reason to walk out on you at a crucial moment, just so you can show us you'll come chasing.  Sorry."
{Adam: So if I get yelled at for running after you, I will assume that's a good thing.}  


"A single rose means more on a random Wednesday than two-dozen mean on Valentine's Day."
 
"Phone calls are hard to come by these days.  Surprise us with a call sometime, instead of a text.  We love hearing your voice."
{Adam: I feel a sudden urge to call a girl named Sarah, just to apologize.}  


"Playing with your neighbor/sister/friend's kids in the park is sexy; asking if we want kids on the first date is not."

"Dirty text messages are encouraged.  But two caveats: Don't make them NC-17 if we're at work — we could get caught, and that would be awkward — and don't send them at 9:05 A.M. when we've just walked through the door.  A day full of sexual anticipation is way harder to bear than a few hours."
{Adam: But you appreciate it more.}


"Women love to take pictures.  Sometimes at annoying moments.  That's a fact you just need to accept."
 
"We suck in our stomach every time you see us naked."
{Adam: Thanks for ruining the fantasy.}
 
"Having some female singers on your iPod counts for more than you can imagine."
{Adam: Good.  I have about 15-20 female artists on my iPod.}
 
"We think of code names for men so we can talk about them in public."
{Adam: That explains a lot.}
 
"We want to break the glass ceiling, but we have no problem continuing to break your bank account.  It's kind of funny, isn't it?"
{Adam: Oh yeah, hilarious.}
 
"Please don’t name the following things: your car, your cell phone, and the other thing."
 
"We’ve given up on expecting you to understand the difference between a beach towel, a guest towel, a rag, and a dishtowel."
{Adam: Good.}
 
"Real men unapologetically like classic rock."
{Adam: Amen, sister.}
 
"ZZ Top was right: Knowing how to rock a suit or dress uniform will noticeably increase your sexiness.  We don't know why, but it works.  Ditto with guitars.  Unless, ironically, you look like ZZ Top."
 
"A little thing about sex: It’s better when you don't ask for it."
 

"You find a girl who truly loves watching or playing every sport as much as you do, there's a chance she also loves girls as much as you do.  Just so you know."
 
"If you're in Vegas and you call us to say you aren't at a strip club, we'll believe you.  If we call you ten minutes later to really make sure you aren't at a strip club and you aren't, we'll love you forever.  And we're sorry for being crazy, but not really."
{Adam: It's okay.  I've yet to receive a genuine, heartfelt apology from a woman in my life.}
 
"Just man up and ask us out.  If we bite your head off, we weren’t worth it.  We’d probably at least grab a coffee with you."
{Adam: So Jamie was right after all.}
 
"Be sure to give us regular updates on the progress of your fantasy football team.  Kidding!"
{Adam: Don't hate the player.  Hate the game.}
 
"We pretty much hate you when you order a salad.  That's what we have girlfriends for.  If you diet, we need to diet.  So, when you order a salad, you're essentially calling us fat."
{Adam: That blows my mind.}
 
"We will love you more if you deny the fact that we are crazy."
{Adam: I'll do my best.}
 
"The girl who had a crush on you in the third grade probably still thinks about you once a week.  Okay, twice."
 
"If you try to use any tips you learned on The Pick-Up Artist, you will be called out for it."
{Adam: That's actually refreshing to know.}
 
"When we see you, we immediately think about what you'll look like with your shirt off.  We’re just too timid to say it."
{Adam: Same here, except for the "timid" part.}
 
"When we tell you you look cute, it also means sexy and hot.  Cute is just the go-to word for that.  Take it seriously."
 
"It's fine if you don't like our friends.  What's really important to us is that they like you."
 
"Warm your hands before touching the goods."
{Adam: And how do you propose I do that without looking like a creep?}
 
"You should be able to read our minds at all times."
 
"When you play with my hair, you're actually making love to me.  Did you know that?"
{Adam: So when someone asks about my sexual history, I can now say that I've been with about 35 women and that I lost my virginity in 10th grade.}
 
"Tears?  They're weapons.  We really don't care half the time."
{Adam: And I'm not at all shocked.}
 
"If she tells you to never call her again and hangs up on the phone with you, there is a fifty percent chance your girlfriend will be waiting near her phone for you to call her."
 
"We might like sex even more than you do."
{Adam: Let me guess, it depends on whether or not you have a headache.}
 
"When we tell you that we want to be friends after you break up with us, it's because we think that at some point we will get naked in front of you and reel you back in."
 
"We love it when you put the seat down."
{Adam: I was trained well.}
 
"You might be embarrassed by the sappy comments we leave on your Facebook page, but that's how we mark our territory."
 
"Jewelry?  I'd prefer a vibrator as a gift, thank you very much."
{Adam: You're more than welcome.}
 
"We are manipulative beasts.  Call us on it from time to time, just not all the time."
{Adam: The first sentence is a given, but the second one is complete crap.}
 
"When we're awake, we're always thinking.  Feel free to ask 'What are you thinking?'  We'll always have an answer."
 
"When we're out together, and we see a tall, leggy model, remember: tall, leggy models are not your type."
{Adam: Yes, actually they are.  And don't disturb me while I'm temporarily fixated.}
 
"We've really got our fingers crossed that beer commercials don't represent real men."
{Adam: It depends upon how much we've had to drink.}
 
"If you seek out our eye contact in a crowded place and we smile back at you, take that as a sign to come talk to us.  Sometimes eye contact can be sexier than anything else."
 
"We're sorry that we sometimes forget to label e-mails NSFW.  But honestly, every now and then we do it on purpose."
{Adam: (female dog)}
 
"There is nothing sexier than following through.  If you say you're going to do something, please do it."
{Adam: Again, my apologies to Sarah, wherever she is.}
 
"Don't try to figure out what will make us happy.  We have been trying to get to the bottom of that mystery since the beginning of time and we have no clue either."
{Adam: Good.  I'll stop asking.}

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday's Quote: A bit of patriotism

This particular version of the Pledge of Allegiance originally aired on The Red Skelton Show over 40 years ago.  Because we clearly have gone backwards as a nation, this rendition of what the Pledge means is best described by the man himself:

Iconic Shot: Last of the Tomcats

(click to enlarge)
"That's right!  Ice... man.  I am dangerous."

Aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, an F-14D Tomcat assigned to Fighter Squadron Three One (VF-31) completes the last ever catapult launch of a Tomcat fighter on July 28, 2006.

Initially deployed in 1974 from the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the F-14 replaced the F-4 Phantom II and was utilized as the Navy's primary maritime air superiority fighter and fleet defense interceptor.  The F-14 was retired by the United States Navy on September 22, 2006 after 32 years of distinguished service.

Photo taken by Nathan Laird
Mass Communication Specialist, 3rd Class, USN

Friday, July 16, 2010

As a fear of being labeled fades...

Just as an entire neighborhood is not ruined by a single bad house, neither is the Tea Party movement impeded by a couple of bad apples.  A quick turn of the mirror shows that groups such as the NAACP have been railing against the Tea Party since its inception, so their self-righteous indignation over a billboard in northern Iowa should come as no surprise.

Every faction of society, without exception, has a kook fringe.  But some have more than others.  Selective outrage is galling and spiritless, especially when it comes against Constitutional advocates.  Tactics of deflection, such as calling an opposing perspective "racist" -- the mother of all fallbacks -- just to keep their own motive(s) from being exposed no longer abates the increasingly veritable dissident.  Indeed it now legitimizes them.

Ideology may have let this mostly Right Wing tiger out of his cage, but all is not lost for the Democrats.  If you remember that Bill Clinton's election in 1992 inspired the Republican Revolution in '94, then fair-minded individuals are also likely to recall the GOP's sloppy handling of hot button issues (term limits, ethics rules, deficit spending) that ultimately played a roll in Clinton's easy re-election.  Though such history is not a certain indicator of things to come, at least in the political arena, the impact of the November midterm elections on Obama's 2012 presidential run is hardly etched in stone as well.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From My Own Camera: The Pyramid

(click to enlarge)
Completed in 1991, this 20,000-seat arena sits on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis.  It measures 321 feet (about 32 stories), has a 5,000-lb. replica of Ramesses the Great overlooking Front St., and is the sixth largest pyramid-shaped structure in the world.

Having sat virtually dormant since the FedEx Forum opened in 2004, Bass Pro Shops recently signed a 55-year lease that will create a megastore along with other retail, restaurant, and office outlets.  A river museum and a plan to revitalize the nearby Pinch District is also said to be in the works.

Iconic Shot: Another piece of northern Europe

While some might contend that I've misused the term iconic to describe a number of the featured pictures, I believe anything at which we marvel, for whatever reason(s), epitomizes the word itself.  So because I'm currently fixated with northern Europe...

(click to enlarge)
On the shore of the Baltic Sea in the town of Palanga in western Lithuania.

Shot taken by someone identified as "Andrejavus" and released to the public domain under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When sports and ideology collide

Responding to Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, whose open letter about the departure of his franchise's biggest star drew more national attention than he likely anticipated, Jesse Jackson replied by proclaiming that Gilbert's "mean, arrogant and presumptuous" comments placed LeBron James in unnecessary danger, and that he views the 25-year-old Ohio native as a "runaway slave."

Says Jackson, "[Gilbert] speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers... His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality."  Jackson also claims that Gilbert's open letter was an attack on all NBA players and added that he should face a "challenge" from both the league and the players' association.

Gilbert was fined $100,000 on Monday for his comments, though the always fascinating Roland S. Martin -- a new school version of Jesse Jackson -- wondered if the penalty was extensive enough.  Having initially declined to touch upon the matter, NBA commissioner David Stern later criticized both sides for the debacle.

Whether Jackson was attempting to capitalize on a mini-wave of momentum that resulted from another epic snafu by Mel Gibson is debatable, but it seems the ESPN-produced LeBron-a-thon did little to lift the image of the presumed heir apparent to Michael Jordan's throne (currently occupied by Kobe Bryant).  If the round of boos he received from New York Knicks fans at Carmelo Anthony's wedding last Saturday doesn't demonstrate that, the welcome James will undoubtedly endure at each of the Miami Heat's 41 road games will.

Now take this situation in tandem with an overlooked statement made in a recent column by Kansas City Star and FoxSports.com contributor Jason Whitlock about a completely different event:

"The World Cup narrows our view and, more than any other sporting event, baits us to give in to nationalism, jingoism and racism.  It’s not the Olympics.  Not everyone is invited.  And no one pretends the month of World Cup play is a reason to celebrate and respect the world’s numerous cultures.  The World Cup owes much of its popularity to hate.  It’s the anti-Olympics.  It’s an excuse for bigots to mask their biases in sporting patriotism."
-- from "Time to put that 'miracle' on ice"; June 24, 2010

As if he senses that a certain carte blanche on all things racial is about to be lost, Whitlock went more than an extra mile to mischaracterize an international tournament that has been celebrated in practically every nation (except the United States) for 80 years.  Rowdy fanatics notwithstanding, most zealots don't require such a grand forum to express a prejudice that would exist even if the World Cup did not.  But don't tell that to Whitlock unless you care to be labeled a racist.

Keep in mind that Jason Whitlock, who has written several columns expressing a belief that his former high school teammate Jeff George (million-dollar arm, ten-cent head) is still deserving of an NFL tryout, also claims the NCAA went easy on Duke in the national basketball tournament pairings last March because "Duke (and North Carolina to a lesser degree) score higher on the old 'eyeball' test.  Fewer tattoos and more white guys.  I just made many of you uncomfortable.  Sorry.  But it’s a fact. ... Coach K[rzyzewski] and his band of Boys Next Door are the Great White Hopes of Hoops.  Three of Duke’s five starters are white.  Their top two scorers are white."

The Blue (Or is it White?) Devils, for the record, won their fourth national championship soon after Whitlock's column was published.  And it was earned in one of the best title games in recent memory -- television ratings were up 34% from the year before -- against another squad full of "Boys Next Door," the Butler University Bulldogs.

Pity those who place too much worth in how well an individual puts a leather ball through an iron hoop.  Sports are entertainment and little else.  Yet the relevance in these matters is found in a mentality that isn't necessarily mainstream, but is far-reaching nevertheless.

When Boston sports radio personality Fred "Toucher" Toettcher -- as White and seemingly unathletic as they come -- likened Tim Tebow's NFL draft party last April to "some kind of Nazi rally" because the gathering was "so lily-white," it exhibits a hypersensitive and increasingly pervasive disposition that allows the race pimp to dominate and causes the less informed to yield.

As the aforementioned Jason Whitlock wrote, I just made many of you uncomfortable.  Sorry.  But it’s a fact.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday's Quote: NASA & Islam

The story about the current White House occupant's charge for NASA to "reach out to the Muslim world... to help them feel good about their historic contributions to science" fascinates more than I can express.  So I'll have a leading Conservative voice do the talking for me:

"It might just be that Muslim self-confidence is more dangerous to us than imagined Muslim feelings of inadequacy.  But in any case, solicitude about the feelings of individuals cannot comprise a foreign policy.  Muslim nations, like other nations, are motivated by advantage and influenced by perceptions of strength and weakness."
-- from Mona Charen's "NASA's Muslim Outreach"; July 7, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Just Thinking Out Loud: Goin' south

Even in regard to self-given monikers, a "King" is best defined by what he does when he isn't holding court, and a "King" never defects to the realm of another monarch to co-rule.  Just ask Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and now, officially, Kobe Bryant.  Have a listen to Metallica's "King Nothing" if any further reference is required.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A little bit of sexism (and a whole lot of truth)

A short story called "The Husband Store" was recently brought to my attention.  The author is unknown, and although he or she is clearly an epic thinker, I have taken the liberty of cleaning it up just a bit.  Enjoy --

A store that sells new husbands has opened in New York City.  Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

You may visit this store only once.  There are six floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights.  The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building.

So a woman -- we'll call her Herodias -- goes to the Husband Store to find a man.  On the first floor the sign reads: Floor 1 - These Men Have Jobs.

Herodias is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads: Floor 2 - These Men Have Jobs & Love Kids.

"That's nice," she thinks, "but I want more."  So Herodias continues upward.

The third floor sign reads: Floor 3 - These Men Have Jobs, Love Kids, & Are Extremely Good Looking.

"Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.

Herodias goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads: Floor 4 - These Men Have Jobs, Love Kids, Are Extremely Good Looking & Help With Housework.

"Oh, mercy me!" she exclaims, "I can hardly stand it!"

Still, Herodias goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads: Floor 5 - These Men Have Jobs, Love Kids, Are Extremely Good Looking, Help with Housework, & Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

She is tempted to stay, but goes to the sixth floor anyway, where the sign reads: Floor 6 - You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor.  There are no men on this floor.  This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please.  Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.

To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opened a New Wives store just across the street.  The first floor has Wives that Love Sex.  The second floor has Wives that Love Sex, Have Money & Like Beer.  The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just Thinking Out Loud: A different path

With all four branches of the military represented in my immediate family, the affinity I have felt since childhood for the Navy exceeds all others.  Following in the footsteps of my grandfather (a Captain) and my mother (a Lieutenant Commander) almost certainly would have been a good move.  At the very least, a tour or two would have kept me from ending up at The Place Where Hope Goes to Die.

(F-bomb.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"The Promise"

Open Letters Monthly, an online review of literature and the arts, recently featured a piece on a new book by Jonathan Alter called The Promise: President Obama, Year One (Simon & Schuster).  Because the critique focused more on the Tea Party movement than book itself, I felt that another rebuttal would be in order:

"The Tea Party could not have lasted this long, simply put, if the movement was based upon vacuous rhetoric and hate (or any variant thereof).  Indeed, what galvanizes those who aren’t fans of 'The Chosen One' has been building since before Obama became a presidential contender, which is further inflamed by two factors: 1) the GOP abandoning its base in order to 'reach out' to the coveted swing vote Moderates, and 2) the end result of the Left’s influence in the House, Senate, and media.

You cheer for Obama because he’s 'historic.'  You love the fact that America is bold enough to elect a handsome Black man with a booming voice and a studious charisma that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.  But the reality is that he is just another politician whose invincibility has dissolved because his far Left marrow has been shown beyond a shadow of any doubt.  So while the Left focuses on Obama’s race to stir our emotions, the Right will focus upon mindset and philosophy, which are what matter the most."
-- 5 July 2010 at 3:44 pm

Monday, July 5, 2010

Vegas gets it

Steve Wynn has some words for the bureaucrats in Washington, DC.  Have a listen:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday's Quote(s): Why this day is special

Our Nation turns 234 years old today.  Before the quotes, I want to share some background about the Founders, including their trials and tribulations, which I originally collected, as I recall, from several different sources and fellow compatriots about two years ago:

Most of the Constitutional delegates were natives of the Thirteen Colonies, but nine were born elsewhere.  Pierce Butler, Thomas Fitzsimons, James McHenry, and William Paterson were born in Ireland.  William Richardson Davie and Robert Morris were from England.  James Wilson and John Witherspoon were sons of Scotland, and Alexander Hamilton was a native of the West Indies.

The Founding Fathers had strong educational backgrounds.  Some, like Benjamin Franklin, were largely self-taught or learned through apprenticeship.  Others had obtained instruction from private tutors or at academies.  About half of the men had attended or graduated from college in the Colonies or Great Britain, and some held medical degrees or advanced training in theology.

Some of the Founding Fathers were anti-clerical or vocal about their opposition to organized religion, such as Thomas Jefferson (who created the "Jefferson Bible"), and Benjamin Franklin.  Yet other notable founders, such as Patrick Henry, were strong proponents of traditional religion.

While some of the delegates had no religious affiliation, most were Protestant, except Charles Carroll, Daniel Carroll, and Thomas Fitzsimons, who were Roman Catholic.  Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were members of the Church of England (Episcopalian, post-Revolution), eight were Presbyterian, seven were Congregationalist, two were Lutheran, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodist, totaling 49 of the 56 representatives.

These men signed the Declaration of Independence fully aware of the consequences if captured.  Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy.  He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.  He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding.  His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.  The home of Thomas Nelson, Jr. was used by British General Charles Cornwallis as his headquarters. It was destroyed at the Battle of Yorktown, and Nelson ultimately died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis also saw his home and properties destroyed.  The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months of her incarceration.  John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.  Their 13 children were forced to flee for their lives, and his possessions were laid to waste.  For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

In total, five of the Signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.  Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.  Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.  Nine of the Signers even died from wounds or hardships that resulted from the Revolutionary War.

The Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for so much that we take for granted today.  May we always be inspired to maintain our society in their honor.

"Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), 34th President of the United States, General of the Army (five-star) of the United States and Supreme Allied Commander (Europe) during World War II

"Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty."
-- Louis Brandeis (1856-1941), Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and namesake of both Brandeis University & the University of Louisville's School of Law

"We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls."
-- Robert J. McCracken (1904-1973), Scottish Baptist minister, author, and professor of theology who cited "the chasm between Christian principle and Christian practice"

"It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you."
-- Author unknown

"It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism."
-- J. Horace McFarland (1859-1948), environmental conservationist

"The United States is the only country with a known birthday."
-- James G. Blaine (1830-1893), Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Senator from Maine, two-time Secretary of State, and leader of the Republican "Half-Breeds"

"What is the essence of America?  Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom 'to' and freedom 'from'."
-- Marilyn vos Savant (1946-), columnist, author, lecturer, and playwright who was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for three years as having the "Highest IQ."  She has written her "Ask Marilyn" column in Parade magazine since 1986.

"My God!  How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!"
-- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), third President of the United States, first U.S. Secretary of State, second Governor of Virginia, Delegate to the Second Continental Congress and the Congress of the Confederation, founder of the University of Virginia, and principal author of the Declaration of Independence

“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government... [is] staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
-- George Washington (1732-1799), first President of the United States, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, overseer of the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution, and the "Father of Our Country"

Iconic Shot: A piece of northern Europe

(click to enlarge)
The village of Reine in Lofoten, Norway
© Petr ┼ámerkl

Saturday, July 3, 2010

On This Day In History: How 'bout some war...

1775 – Having been unanimously voted commander-in-chief of the Continental army by Congress several weeks prior, George Washington arrives in Cambridge, Massachusetts to take command of the army he would lead to victory eight grueling years later.

1778 – British and Iroquois forces kill 360 people in the Wyoming Valley massacre amid the American Revolution.  Some of the raiders hunted the fleeing Patriots before torturing to death upwards of forty who had already surrendered.

1863 – The final day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the War Between the States culminates with Pickett's Charge.  That didn't go well.

1898 – Amid the waining days of the Spanish-American War, the Spanish fleet is destroyed by the United States Navy in Santiago, Cuba.  Victory would be secured the next month.

1913 – Confederate veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913 reenact Pickett's Charge.  Upon reaching the High Watermark of the Confederacy, the Southerners were met by the outstretched hands of friendship from their northern counterparts.  I've seen footage from the event, and it's very touching.