Archive for the ‘Virtues’ Category

Getting Borked – The Origin of Nastiness

October 23rd, 2011 2 comments

Joe Nocera at the NYT had a great little opinion piece, and it resonated with me because I remember the nastiness to which he refers. Especially the lead up to a vote that revealed some vile human beings in our legislature. You expect some nastiness in advocacy groups, but until then, the senate actually was a “collegial round table.” But hey, it’s an anniversary, so let’s celebrate The Nastiness!

On October 23, 1987, “Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court was voted down by the Senate. All but two Democrats voted ‘nay.'” Ain’t it wonderful? 24 years ago today, intellectual midgets in our “collegial” senate torpedoed an intellectual giant. I wanted to bring up Bork for essentially the same reason Joe Nocera did: to highlight where the ugliness started. Just one good paragraph to entice you to go read Joe’s opinion piece… a quick trip that highlights why demorats have no ethical space to bitch about rethuglican obstructionism:

I’ll take it one step further. The Bork fight, in some ways, was the beginning of the end of civil discourse in politics. For years afterward, conservatives seethed at the “systematic demonization” of Bork, recalls Clint Bolick, a longtime conservative legal activist. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution coined the angry verb “to bork,” which meant to destroy a nominee by whatever means necessary. When Republicans borked the Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright less than two years later, there wasn’t a trace of remorse, not after what the Democrats had done to Bork. The anger between Democrats and Republicans, the unwillingness to work together, the profound mistrust — the line from Bork to today’s ugly politics is a straight one.

This article is an excellent counterpoint to the horseshit that shows up at “MediaMatters.” A simple reading of the Wiki article shows MediaMatters to be the liars most people believe them to be. Even with the six Republican moral cowards, Bork would have lost the confirmation.

Why bring this up? Well, one reason that sits like a burr beneath a saddle (not that I feel remotely like this blog is a saddle 😛 ), is having Commander Admin over at AmeriKAZAM call me out. Another reason is that writer over at Ameri… wait, I may have mentioned that already. Oh, and that really sharp dude over at Responsibility – Freedom Demands It, yeah him too. Of course, there is also that mouthy broad over at Mad Conservative – she just kind of compels me to jump back in and keep swinging. The clearest reason for bringing this up though, is a question. Do we continue with civil discourse when confronted with brutish uncivil behavior and speech? Or, should one give the offender the deserved poke in the nose and test the claim of pacifism? Seriously though, where do you go from here? This whole getting borked thing is a festering wound that has only escalated. AmeriKAZAM pokes it with a bundle of sticks, er, a stable of Jon Swifts, but funnier. What do we do if we want to win back our country?

One thing is for certain… it ain’t just writing in a blog. How’s that old saw go? “Ya gotta get off yer apathy and do something.” Time to do something – what’s it gonna be??

I once went to seminary and got one of the M.Div. things, and though most would consider me an apostate, I still have some favorite Bible verses… Here’s what we should do next, from Judges, chapter 15:

Samson Badass

For now, let’s just make asses of them. Let’s go with Joe’s concluding thought:

Today, of course, the court has a conservative majority, and liberal victories are, indeed, being overturned. Interestingly, Bolick says Bork’s beliefs would have made him a restraining force. Theodore Olson, who served as solicitor general under George W. Bush, also pointed out that after Bork, nominees would scarcely acknowledge that they had rich and nuanced judicial philosophies for fear of giving ammunition to the other side. Those philosophies would be unveiled only after they were on the court.

Mostly, though, the point remains this: The next time a liberal asks why Republicans are so intransigent, you might suggest that the answer lies in the mirror.

Cheers you wielders of the sharpened word,
The Skald.

Got a New Warrior Team in the Mix

October 6th, 2011 No comments


Scarecrow Rising

Backfire Satire. Can. You. GET IT?

AmeriKAZAM! is a new entry into both political punditry (but more in the mold of Richard Kahane’s Rules for Radical Conservatives) and Comic Book Reviews… Really, how cool is that? Combining both the comics’ graphics and some biting commentary makes for some fun and enlightening reading. Perhaps you’ll move away from being a SAP (SubParAmerican) and become a participating patriot after a few “boots-to-the-head” commentary. Check out “Making the Stupid Stupider” and spend some time browsing around the new home of Team AK. I think you’ll enjoy it immensely!


On Peaceniks and Turncoats

May 27th, 2011 No comments

I’ve a couple of truly worthwhile videos line up here, the kind that should raise an eyebrow, the blood pressure, or more. Now then, I love the arts, but my strongest passion is reserved for my country and countrymen. Moreover, I want to see other peoples enjoy what we too often take for granted, and now, even more often let be taken from us by the soft power of cultural transmogrification. This is an easy six minutes.

Having watched Hitchens and Hanson, please, take the time for Bill Whittle’s video. Follow the suggestion about visiting Amazon for Victor Davis Hanson’s nice little broadside. It’s a short yet stunning read!! Oh, and consider becoming a “Citizen Producer,” it’s worth the price of admission.
Cheers All!!

The Day After Veterans’ Day

November 12th, 2010 4 comments

Sketchbook Pro by Autodesk and a great new tablet 🙂

Sometimes veterans are in the unenviable position of being called a patriot when that word is not quite in vogue. When in fact, many of the self-proclaimed “educated” call these same men and women “jingoists” or worse. I wished to those I know on Facebook – yes… I am on Facebook – and  to those I knew, I wished:

Best of Veterans Day to everyone, but especially to those for whom the holiday is named! I’m proud to say it includes my immediate family (my father and daughters) my extended family (sons-in-law, fathers-in-law, and fellow parents!), and a myriad of friends that extend through all these wonderful patriots! I call them patriots not because our political views are the same, but because despite the differences, they wrote a blank check to their country with their lives.

Strength and Honor, Woodstock.

“Woodstock” is a name some brothers-in-arms call me – a group of motorcycle riding veterans – and those brothers exemplify what is best in our country. We (Spirit Warriors – a group of vets whose mission is service to veterans in need) were honored to participate in Albany, Oregon’s celebration of Veterans’ Day – from the early morning benediction through the parade at midday.  I’m not sure how many motorcycles, or for that matter, how many clubs showed up… but it seemed to number beyond a hundred bikes! Rolling thunder? Louder. As my son-in-law encouraged me, “Ride LOUD pops!” It was definitely that!

In any detachment, squad, battalion or other group, there are few who could truly be called heroes.  I had the pleasure of serving with a no bullshit hero – and the rest of us followed him – and by extension we became brave because we followed him into hell. I like to remember a quote by Mark Twain when I run across those who think, by virtue of their education, that they somehow know better how to characterize a veteran’s service:

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. ~Mark Twain

I suppose I could quote Harry Reid next, you know, his comments about how the war was already lost, not winnable, ad nauseum. Instead, I offer a celebration of Veterans’ Day by a bunch of  young and old vets on motorcycles, and a crowd of Albany’s finest joining in the fun! So here’s a not so professional video of a few moments in the day.

Strength, honor, and courage!

The Skald 😉

P.S. ~that’s my life long honey(aka “Weasel”) on the back of my Harley trying to catch bits on her little video camera!

Update: Switched to YouTube for the video… it provides for HD much easier – hope you like it.

Boycott? Behar? Why Not?

October 29th, 2010 5 comments

Take a look here and here. Finally, take a look at her original post and hit the ABC link… and send a nasty gram that highlights the double-standard so starkly displayed by that… umm, woman. While the management at ABC is not likely to share the values or see the hypocrisy, they are likely to notice a hit to the bottom line. Make it hurt financially if they don’t support fair play.

Cheers all.

I’m Still Breathing!!

October 15th, 2010 1 comment

My Sincerest Apologies

I’m not much of a fan of overly private/personal websites – on the other hand, when one is making excuses for failing at a job… well; offer the “reasons and explanations” prior to failing to meet a deadline! So then, without too much private information, it seems I’ve a chronic medical condition that is a little more challenging than I had anticipated. That’s my excuse for the past weeks. I’ll do my damndest to put up a post to notify before any other hospital stays in the future. Moreover, I’ll also work on trying to figure out the “automatic” posting that I know is possible – but have never tried to accomplish. Despite the excuses, reasons, and explanations I am old enough to feel an apology is in order: You all have my sincerest!

And here, because it’s so much better than I have on hand, is another great video by Andrew Klavan. ENJOY!

Categories: Culture, Philosophy, Tidbits, Video, Virtues Tags:

Courage, Ebony, and Ivory

July 26th, 2010 8 comments

The courage to get it right?

Last year, during black history month, Eric Holder, our first black AG, called us “a nation of cowards” when it comes to discussing race. That was the single phrase seized on by many in the media, on both the right and the left, and it was the phrase used to praise or denigrate Holder’s speech and the current state of racial affairs in the United States. The speech itself was lengthy and only somewhat nuanced, but there was a lot more there than most people were willing to discuss – black or white… or any other color for that matter. Let me use a part of the same sentence where the offending phrase was found: I believe that “in too many ways,” Eric Holder was right. Whether you agree with him or not, I’d urge you to listen to the entire speech in context, or of course, read the text of the speech – much faster results.

Part of his point is that while Americans have moved to the point of working, lunching, and attending functions together, on weekends, we pretty much self segregate… and that isn’t good in his view. I am more sanguine about our progress than Holder, but I do believe he is right about our general unwillingness to discuss racial matters in an open and honest manner. Lots of reasons for that little problem, but I’d like to open up this can of worms… because “in too many ways,” not many people are willing to expose themselves to the consequences Holder so blithely suggests we all should risk.

I had several people at work try to dissuade me from heading in this direction (I often bounce some of my more controversial ideas off of several folks I know), but I thought, “Hey, screw it. This blog has had me on the carpet more than once.” And, as some of you know, I have often argued that courage is a thing to value.

Rather than throw a rant on why I think the AG is full of it, I’ll just throw out a few facts, a few statistical certainties, and wait for the charges to fly. Keep in mind here, that I am NOT offering explanations at this point, nor am I making any allegations or interpretations of the facts I’ll be laying out. I’d really like to hear what you have to say – providing you can keep the conversation civil, accurate to the best of your ability (in other words, be prepared to back it up), and really aimed at affording all of us the opportunity to get a better grasp of the realities involved.

In addition to the Bureau of Justice Statistics site, you can also find some of this information at Heather Mac Donald’s Weekly Standard article, Excusing the Oakland Rioters: Looting is not a form of civil rights protest, and the city of New York’s crime statistics.

  • Blacks commit nearly 6,000 murders annually (most of whom are black), and whites & Hispanics commit a little more than 5,300 murders a year (most of whom are white or Hispanic). Whites & Hispanics comprise about 81% of the population, while blacks comprise about 13% of the population. Since the US has just over 300,000,000 people, the math is pretty straight forward. Blacks murder almost 154 people per 100,000 of their own population. Whites & Hispanics murder almost 2.2 people per 100,000. The murder rate for blacks is 70 times higher than the murder rate for whites and Hispanics.
  • The 73rd precinct in New York is mostly black, and “the per capita rate of shootings there is 81 times higher than in the mostly white 68th precinct…”
  • The police stop rate of vehicles in the 73rd precinct is 15 times higher than in the 68th precinct.
  • In New York City, blacks “commit 80 percent of all shootings, whites 1.4 percent, though blacks are 23 percent of the population, and whites 35 percent.”
  • At the beginning of 2009, there were nearly 1800 whites on death row and there were just over 1300 blacks on death row (both the white and black numbers include some Hispanics).
  • During 2008, there were 20 white and 17 black people executed.

As I said earlier, at this point I’m not trying to explain these numbers, nor will I offer any interpretations of the meaning in these numbers. I’ve got questions about these and other numbers. Why are these kinds of numbers rarely if ever mentioned when discussing race in America? Especially on the “big three” news stations, PBS, NPR, CNN when their prolific little series on race air on national television? For the elites that are concerned with the brutality of the police and their unnecessary taking of black lives, why are they not equally concerned with the unnecessary taking of black lives in the inner city? Why don’t these victims get the same care and concern from our nation’s elite, the media, and the professoriate? Especially when they are so obviously more numerous?? Why doesn’t the unnecessary taking of white lives by the police rate the same air time and outrage?

Finally, in closing this post, remember, please keep the comments and email civil, and as important, let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt about our honesty and earnestness in seeking out the truth. I’ll be using the replies to guide some of my follow up posts – posts aimed more at our nation’s intellectuals than at everyday Americans.

Cheers – all of you!

The Skald’s Saturday Songs #1

June 11th, 2010 2 comments

I was out of commission for most of the time yesterday… So I’m sitting in bed with my laptop, my nifty new MacBook Pro! I took care of a little personal business, listened to some old and new music, and pretty much moaned the day away. I figured I’d take another shot at sharing a little music, and these songs still capture my interest. Enjoy some old stuff and at least one newish song 😉

Cheers All!

Update: Well, for crying out loud… IT’S FRIDAY!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones
Categories: Fun, Music, Virtues Tags:

Intellectuals, Graduates, and ummm

June 10th, 2010 6 comments

This post was initially headed in the direction of parsing a little history around the word intellectual. It just didn’t come together as a single post, and I am not great at separating a long post into constituent parts – so the beginning of my posts on men of letters as they were once called, will begin next week. On the other hand, during the course of my research (actually, I was avoiding the work and watching PJTV’s Bill Whittle), I ran across a video by a guy over at PJTV that gave a graduation commencement address that is unlikely to be heard. You might have heard of this guy; his name is Bill Whittle.

My generation was pampered beyond good sense, we were molly coddled and told a pack of lies – all with good intentions – “yes, you’re a special, unique, creative little soul…” and as a consequence, I wonder if we have failed our own children by placing notions of self-esteem above both common sense and reality. Have we done our children a disservice? Bill Whittle’s recent serving of Afterburner: Graduation Nation, really hits the mark. It’s another installment that is worth the ten minutes it takes to watch it, and it strikes at least tangentially on my topic of intellectuals…

Part of what has motivated me to write a series on intellectuals is in response to current “experts,” both within and without our current administration, speaking ex cathedra on matters us common folk simply wouldn’t understand. Online, print, and video articles seem to have taken up this topic with a certain verve. I’ve also just about finished a couple of books that have seriously sparked my interest and curiosity. The first is Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, and Technicians by Tevi Troy. The second is by an author whom I greatly admire, Thomas Sowell, and his newest book is Intellectuals and Society.

I often find it depressing that many will use “quotable quotes” from books or movies without understanding both the author’s intent and the context of quotation. I have been guilty of this on too many occasions, and I understand the desire. For example, in keeping with the subject on both counts, a common Thomas Jefferson quote used throughout the media from blogs to movies is: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” This is from a letter written to William Smith while Jefferson was in Paris, dated November 13, 1787. A more complete quote that reveals some of the context is illuminating:

What country before ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure. Link to the letter

Changes the tenor of the quote just a little bit, hey? I was honored by my oldest daughter when she called one day and said, “Dad, you’ve got to watch The Rock! You’re the Ed Harris character. Get it. Watch it.” So I got it. I watched it. And was flattered beyond measure – and yet hoped that I was more like the Michael Biehn or Sean Connery character. Now I’m not so sure, and I think my daughter had a better insight into her old man than, well, the old man did. Ed Harris uses Jefferson’s line (only a part) in protest of lying and uncaring government. He and Sean Connery’s characters were thinkers, men of letters, intellectuals. Where have our intellectuals gone wrong? As a teaser for what’s to come, I’ll share something out of Thomas Sowell’s preface to his book:

Distinguished professors, gifted poets, and influential journalists summoned their talents to convince all who would listen that modern tyrants were liberators and that their unconscionable crimes were noble, when seen in the proper perspective. Whoever takes it upon himself to write an honest intellectual history of the twentieth-century Europe will need a strong stomach.

But he will need something more. He will need to overcome his disgust long enough to ponder the roots of this strange and puzzling phenomenon. ~Professor M. Lilla, Columbia University, in his book The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics

Certainly the defense of both Mao and Lenin by our last few crops of intellectuals is confusing… considering that together they have killed their millions, in fact, more than all of America’s war casualties on both sides. A strong stomach indeed.

So family, friends, and readers all, remember, though I gave up religion for lent, I still find wonderful verses in the bible – as I still read it. Remember I Corinthians 9:24-27:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

Remember to watch the video! Click a picture or the link at the top of the post.

Tear me up in the comments 😀

Cheers all

On Being Fearful of the Truth

June 3rd, 2010 6 comments

Stretching Truth

I answer, that it is assuming very much more. There is the greatest difference between presuming an opinion to be true, because, with every opportunity for contesting it, it has not been refuted, and assuming its truth for the purpose of not permitting its refutation. Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action: and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right. ~J.S. Mill in “On Liberty”

I am a huge fan of John Stuart Mill –  despite the fact that he pretty much loathed conservatives. Classical liberals are the kind I like –  the ones that believed truth was ultimately subversive. But here, Mill is responding to the contention that it is essentially proper to “forbid bad men to pervert society by the propagation of opinions which we regard as false and pernicious.” He defended free speech because he believed that truth would ultimately prevail, and that the market place of ideas is necessary because absolute certainty can rarely be found. Building that market place is a hard thing to do, maintaining that market place in the face of political ideology is a fearsome chore.

Why am I entertaining an entry like this? I’m hoping it’s close to a self-evident truth –  ask yourself why our current administration is so rabidly opposed to using words like terrorist, radical Islam, Jihadist, etc. Or for that matter, why policy wonks, politicians, and university administrators and department heads would tie research funds (any funding for that matter) to ideological purity? What in the world happened to Karl Popper’s notion of empirical falsification? Why are social scientists so loathe to actually seek contradictory evidence to a pet theory? I would suggest that it’s simply a matter of the left wanting to squelch honest debate and reasonable inquiry.

From a Spanish language newspaper, La Vanguardia, Woody Allen said, “it would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.” Ok, that’s a nut case movie director… How about MSNBC’s Chris Matthews? You know, the guy that just won’t get off of Obama’s leg? “Why doesn’t the president go in there, nationalize an industry and get the job done for the people?” asks Matthews on Monday’s  Hardball. I don’t even feel like chasing down the New York Times editorial that suggested we should be more like China…

Why am I entertaining an entry like this? Because an online buddy sent me a flier that concerned the education of government workers about race. Why are blacks “over-represented” in prisons? Is the use of the death penalty discriminating against blacks? Is it possible that some test scores for advancing firemen actually reflected preparation for the test rather than discrimination against people of color? Is the received wisdom actually true? Or has the truth been squelched for the purpose of not permitting its refutation? Perhaps.

…the logic of validation in the social sciences is identical to that of the other sciences.

But you wouldn’t know this from social sciences as it is, by and large, practiced today… and while there is no doubt some good work being done in each of the social sciences, the general state of attempts to understand human behavior has degenerated to the point that it is far from clear that we are better off for their existence.

There are many reasons for this, but primary is the massive infusion of political ideology into the social sciences. Nearly all of the essays included here concern issues for which ideological desire has replaced curiosity as the prime mover.  ~Steven Goldberg in “Fads and Fallacies in the Social Sciences

White Devil

Think about some of these and prepare to challenge your own assumptions about the received wisdom you walk around with each day. Let us see if the facts are worth finding. Let us see if we can search out the truth for the purpose of action. And to challenge some of the received wisdom of the day, here’s another video from Zonation over at PJTV concerning Blanco Diablo: Fear & Loathing & Hatred & Racism in Arizona. As usual, PJTV won’t let me embed their video, but take a trip over and watch Zo –  it’s a great bit of mockumentary.

And speaking of those white devils, there was a great article in The Weekly Standard a bit ago about “The Critical Trio” –  the chuckle heads from the Frankfort School –  that were pretty much opposed to “tolerance, democracy, and free speech.” I’ll close this bit of rant with his most excellent closing:

It is, perhaps, even more striking to observe the degree to which the group’s key thesis—the notion that the freedoms and prosperity offered by the United States and other advanced industrial societies are meaningless because they lack spiritual depth or, as Marcuse put it, are “one-dimensional”—has been taken up not by scholars eager to publish books about “late capitalism” but by true believers determined to destroy what some of them call “the Great Satan.”~James Seaton inThe Weekly Standard

Is it Open for Discussion?

Categories: Culture, Government, Philosophy, Virtues Tags:
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