Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday's Quote: Confidence, despite the insolvency

c/o Business Insider (via David Silver)
You know the overall political climate is in rough shape when people suddenly become nostalgic for the good ol' days of Clinton – who, like it or not, was the last to balance the budget – when the federal deficit was about $9 trillion less than it is now.  In fact Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) was on the Congressional floor last Friday night begging his Democrat counterparts for a course of action to bring the practically endless spending debate to a beneficial close.

Instead, 10-term Rep. James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) was busy goading President Obama to invoke an obscure clause from the Constitution stating that the government's debt "shall not be questioned."  Never mind that Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, on which Clyburn hopelessly camped, was a Civil War measure that retains no bearing on the current debt.  Implying otherwise, of course, would be racist.

Appearing all but deadlocked on a bevy of issues, the two warring factions – Donkeys and Elephants – arrived at an 11th hour agreement just as I was arranging to publish this post.  While both sides will claim victory, it's clear that Obama needed this settlement to curtail his diminishing approval rating among the electorate, which was in danger of dropping into the high 30s – once unthinkable – for the first time.

That's Bush country.

Although our current President is struggling, his defeat in 2012 is not imminent.  At present, conflicting poll data shows Obama losing to a "generic" GOP contender, but edging past all presently declared candidates, the latter of which appears to assert that many voters are longing for a certain kind of challenger who has yet to make himself known.

Whatever the next 12 months may bring, we can be certain the nauseam of sociopolitical partisanship will reach a fever pitch that is likely stretch far beyond the coming election season.  Indeed the drama that culminated with tonight's budget deal is only the tip of the iceberg.


"In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant."
– Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), French general and statesman

"Truth is not determined by majority vote."
– spoken by many; most recently attributed to Douglas Gwyn, a Quaker pastor and author

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy."
– Sir Ernest Benn (1875-1954), British writer and political publicist

"If God had been a liberal, we wouldn't have had the Ten Commandments; we'd have the Ten Suggestions."
– Sir Malcolm Bradbury (1932-2000), English author and academic

Thursday, July 28, 2011

From My Own Camera: The flood

Last May, a weather front that stretched from Texas to Ohio blitzed the heartland with far more rain than initially expected.  Though Memphis received much of the media attention despite relatively minimal damage, lesser known towns like Dyersburg in northwest Tennessee ended up completely awash.

The Mississippi River crested at 47.97 feet here in Memphis, barely missing the all-time record set back in 1937.  Below are some of the pictures I took once the water receded enough for authorities to reopen Riverside Drive.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Iconic Shot: God bless America

Our flag embodies what makes our nation great.  Britney Spears, in this pic, is just Exhibit A:

Original source unknown

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy birthday... to me

I entered the world 35 years ago today.  So to commemorate this marvelous occasion, here's a pic from way back during the poor ol' days when I lived in the Raleigh neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee.

I was a cute kid.  Still am.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday's Quote: The not-so-changing face of terrorism

c/o The Telegraph
Rejoice, oh ye fervent disciples of the Left.  Now you can stop disregarding the thousands of post-9/11 terrorist assaults executed globally in the name of Islam – while referring to the otherwise diminutive number of "Christian terrorists" (for the sake of tolerance) who infamously shelled abortion clinics – and re-focus your crosshairs directly upon the first guerrilla strike by a non-Muslim since Timothy McVeigh blasted the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City 16 years ago.

As you have heard by now, a 32-year-old Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik carried out a dual shooting/bomb attack in Oslo, Norway last Friday, killing 77 people and injuring 96 more.  Aligned with a group known as Nordisk, a 22,000-member forum that emphasizes political terrorism (similar to the Weather Underground), Breivik is said to have been driven by a desperate animosity for "cultural Marxists."  He is also believed to desire a "crusade" against the spread of Islam, according to the Swedish magazine Expo.

Difficult to grasp as it may be for some, Breivik is not the only one fraught with such anxieties; by no means.  I don't like Marxism in any form.  Most people don't.  I am likewise opposed to the spread of Islam, or any other dogma so fierce and/or peculiarly sensitive in scale, as the unquestionable chasm among other social and religious philosophies make Muslims in large numbers enormously incompatible with most societies on the planet.  Anyone who contests such a position simply isn't paying attention.

The difference is that Breivik now epitomizes that poor soul – we all know the type – who neglected to understand the full gravity of his extremist measures even after he opened fire on a Labour Party youth camp two days ago.  Fatefully the actions of this young Norwegian will, in due course, enliven the consortium of cultural amalgamation to which he is so vehemently opposed.

Because of his exploits, Breivik is now a lasting poster child whose memory will be invoked at will by multicultural partisans whenever immigration concerns arise, thus granting Breivik's unwelcome masses an easier transition into his part of the world than he ever dreamed possible.

Perhaps overlooked amid the slew of still-developing news stories are the numerous reports that mention Breivik's blonde hair and blue eyes – an apparent overture to the fact that a non-Arab committed these vicious acts of aggression.  It is certainly notable, of course, considering that none of the terrorists with whom the world has become so familiar over the past decade look nothing like a typical Scandinavian.

Still one can't help but to anticipate that Breivik's particular brand of ethnicity will, at some point, be used by Muslim sympathizers to somehow deflect from the tragic commonality of events all too familiar.  Because in the end, the bloodshed caused by a handful of self-identifying Right Wingers will always pale in comparison to the most historically menacing of all aggressors.


"When you clash with the unbelieving Infidels in battle (fighting Jihad in Allah's Cause), smite their necks until you overpower them, killing and wounding many of them.  At length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind them firmly, making (them) captives.  Thereafter either generosity or ransom (them based upon what benefits Islam) until the war lays down its burdens.  Thus are you commanded by Allah to continue carrying out Jihad against the unbelieving infidels until they submit to Islam."
– Qur'an: 47:4

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just Thinking Out Loud: Ronnie

There are a variety of reasons why our 40th President remains so well-regarded among a considerable majority of the American populace some 22 years after his second term ended.  In fact the central reason may have something to do with eight men in particular – the four who occupied The White House before Reagan, and the four who arrived after he left office – who have been major embarrassments in their own unique ways.

Ronald Reagan wasn't perfect.  The man himself, in the name of humility and truth, would be the first to admit it.  But when compared to Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush (Sr. & Jr.), Clinton and Obama, his performance was practically through the roof.

Perhaps it isn't terribly difficult to shine when sandwiched between such gross mediocrity, but don't mistake this as hero worship.  Instead, consider it simply a comparative indictment of the ineptitude and near-perpetual scandal that has impacted the highest levels of our national leadership for entirely too long.  Reagan, no doubt, would be less than thrilled.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On the fashion tip

c/o The San Francisco Examiner
Better known for his trademark beard, San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Brian Wilson showed off his fashion sense with a spandex "tuxedo" at the 19th annual ESPY awards in Los Angeles six days ago.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday's Quote: When conspiracy theories cease being theoretical

Whether it's through a picture, a quote, or an audio/video clip of some kind, I sometimes find it better to have the pros do the talking for me.  So for today's Quote, I have radio host Michael Savage offer a quick four-minute lecture about one of the more unexpected elements in Obama's massive heath care overhaul (with evidence).  You just might be shocked:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Guilty Pleasures: A guy named RJ

c/o AV Club

Despite my protests to what this once-remarkable network has become, there is one program that sticks out amid the slew of trash for which MTV has become so closely identified.  This is not to say that The Hard Times of RJ Berger is good, clean family fun.  To be sure, the routine scenarios that stem from domestic absurdity and sex crazed foolishness are in abundance.  But RJ's story is somewhat different because it goes well beyond youthful indiscretions and the inevitable lessons learned of which we've seen aplenty on television and in movies for decades now.

Despite the initially unexpected little-guy-with-a-huge-penis backstory – by which many guys only wish they were so horribly burdened – RJ is generally levelheaded and manages to remain composed amid even the most ruthless nonsense.  You find yourself cheering for the guy.  You want him to finish on top.  You want him to pound the bully into unconsciousness.  And you absolutely want him to end up with the prettiest girl in school – who, on the show, is his tormentor's main squeeze, and, in reality, looks somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 years-old.

The show might be worth the time if you get a chance.

Editorial Sketch of the Week: No escaping the carnage

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The definition of overreacting

Locals claim they don't understand why Memphis gets such a bad rap. . .

Original source unknown

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday's Quote: Even if they're not perfect . . .

c/o's Teddy Roosevelt gallery
There was a time, not that long ago, when a man could speak of his hero without having to also concern himself with making the immediate transition to defend his exemplar of choice in lieu of those who grudgingly object.  As if the belligerent is on some sort of mission, such disputes have become more common amid this often stomach-turning age of antipathy.  Still the irony comes, by and large, when such individuals reveal his/her own personal group of idols, most of whom ordinarily represent the antithesis of those who personify the spirit of Americana.

Here's an example from my own personal set of esteemed paradigms:

Theodore Roosevelt was our 26th President.  But unlike most of the 18 men who followed, the man who disliked being called "Teddy" was considerably more than a politician.  Descended from two uncles who served in the Confederate army, Roosevelt was a northerner by birth and a devoted student of natural history from his adolescence who grew from a frail youngster into the definition of masculinity.

Both an author and a soldier, Roosevelt became more famously identified as a "Rough Rider" and a "Bull Moose."  Likewise a Judo brown belt under Yamashita Yoshiaki and a steadfast supporter of the Boy Scouts – now considered prejudiced in the eyes of some – who pursued "the strenuous life" almost to his dying day, each notable achievement in his life of public service was indicative of the Big Stick diplomacy he advocated that ultimately etched his countenance alongside Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln on Mount Rushmore.

Though it's easy to forget that he is the first American to win a Nobel Prize, even fewer seem to recall that Roosevelt once spoke for a full 90 minutes after he was shot – literally shot in the chest earlier that same day – by a would-be assassin.  To paraphrase the man himself, it takes a lot more than a silly little bullet to kill a Bull Moose.

In over 60 years, various surveys and scholars have yet to rank TR lower than seventh all-time among the elite fraternity of men who have held the highest office in the land.  A devout Christian, Roosevelt's brand of progressivism differs noticeably from the kind employed by liberal Democrats today.  In fact most contemporary progressives would object (as I do) to the picture of Roosevelt above, as there is rarely a legitimate reason to kill a vulnerable animal in the wild.

Imperfections notwithstanding, the best of those who shaped our exceptional nation remain worthy of acclaim because of what they exemplify and inspire.  Those who object only succeed in exposing their own biases held in the deepest recesses of their misguided convictions.


"They wouldn't be heroes if they were infallible, in fact they wouldn't be heroes if they weren't miserable wretched dogs, the pariahs of the earth, besides which the only reason to build up an idol is to tear it down again."
– Lester Bangs (1948-1982), music critic, journalist and author

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On This Day in History

1456 – Better late than never (I guess): A retrial verdict acquits Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after she was unjustly burned at the stake.  She was finally canonized by the Catholic church 453 years later in 1909.

1928 – Sliced bread is sold for the first time by the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri.  So when someone says you're the greatest thing since sliced bread, they're really saying that you're the best thing to come along in the past 83 years.

1940 – Richard Starkey – better known as Ringo Starr, or as I prefer it, the luckiest man who ever lived – was born in Liverpool, England.

1954 – Elvis Presley made his radio debut when WHBQ in Memphis played "That's Alright Mama," his first recording for Sun Records.  Formerly an R&B station, WHBQ became a sports-themed station in the late '80s that currently boasts one of the worst morning rush hour shows among any of the major radio markets.  Believe me on that one.

1985 – Boris Becker, at age 17, became the youngest player ever to win Wimbledon.  He did it again the following year en route to six career major championships along with an impressive 38-3 record in Davis Cup competition.  He remains one of my all-time favorites.

Information obtained via Wikipedia and confirmed, with revisions, through various sources. 

It's probably true (even if you won't admit it)

Original source unknown

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Just Thinking Out Loud: So which is it?

Some three years ago, Barack Obama made headlines by referencing "bitter" people who "cling to guns…" as a means of expressing their frustration with the changing world – a position frequently held by the Left to exhibit the supposed backwardness of their challengers on the opposite side of the aisle.

Just yesterday, amid the 4th of July – which was also his daughter Malia's 13th birthday – President Obama stated that he's not worried about his daughters growing up as teenagers because "…I understand teenage-hood is complicated.  I should also point out that I have men with guns that surround them, often."

It would be easy to make too much of his statement and/or take it out of context altogether.  But the Left's stance on weapons of any kind has always been clear.  So if nothing else, this demonstrates just another difference between candidate Obama and President Obama.  And yet, strangely enough, we still don't know what he thinks about much of anything.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th

With battles having broken out some 15 months earlier, the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on this day, 235 years ago, formally announcing the thirteen American colonies' intention to separate from the British Empire, thus becoming a soverign and autonomous nation.

This is the flag of the Culpeper Minutemen, a militia group formed in northern Virginia at the outset of the Revolution in 1775.  Remembered for their trademark phrases "Liberty or Death" & "Don't Tread on Me" – terms that remain pertinent to this day – these indomitable patriots fought with distinction as they helped turn the tide amid the early days of the War.  In remembrance of men like these, I fly this flag in their honor.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday's Quote: More from Chesterton

c/o Loving the Church
Similar to my rediscovered interest in George Orwell, I have found that a master like Gilbert Keith Chesterton never fails to contribute a bit of profound wisdom to any subject or debate.  So on the eve of the 4th of July . . .

"The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal.  There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man."
– from 'What I Saw In America' [1922]

And for you atheists . . .

"Science finds facts in nature, but Science is not Nature; because Science has co-ordinated ideas, interpretations and analyses; and can say of Nature what Nature cannot say for itself.  The Faith finds its facts and problems in humanity, even heathen humanity; because it brings to it principles of life and order and understanding, and comprehends humanity as humanity cannot comprehend itself."
– from 'The Resurrection of Rome' [1930]

Friday, July 1, 2011

Just Thinking Out Loud: Mentertainment

A number of toilet-themed shows and a lawsuit from a self-absorbed movie director (of the same name) notwithstanding, Spike – formerly Spike TV and, before that, The Nashville Network – has unexpectedly grown into an almost respectable entertainment outlet.  Supported by a couple of CSI spinoffs and the ever-growing Ultimate Fighting Championship franchise, network heads might have a juggernaut on their hands if they didn't appear to believe that viewers were obsessed with the enormously ridiculous MANswers and the Star Wars double-trilogy.

Indeed, Spike could very well go beyond expectations if they ever stop pandering to the lowest common denominator of what most men supposedly want.  But fret not feminists, because they probably won't.  That's just not what men do.