NASCAR And Mr. Obama

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Posted on : 9/03/2011 09:38:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

The Intertubes have been all atwitter over the apparent snub of Mr. Obama by five of NASCAR's best drivers.


NASCAR said Thursday that five drivers – Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart – will not be attending the White House visit due to "schedule conflicts."
Star-divide
They must be very busy people. Regardless of one's political views, the president is still the president – and an opportunity to speak with the leader of the free world is a rare and special one.
I'm not so sure that a snub was intended.  As is frequently the case, an instant response is not necessarily the best response.  Some of those accused of snubbing Mr. Obama have been there before and would like to go back again.  They really do have events schedules months in advance that cannot be changed.

Some media outlets reported that Kurt Busch wouldn't be going to the White House, either. Not so. His team rescheduled an important photo shoot for next year's merchandise and marketing campaigns, a session that must be done by the end of the month to get everything ready before the team heads to Daytona for the start of the 2012 season.

"All along, it was my intention to go," Busch said. "Who's going to turn down an opportunity to go to the White House? For me, it's an honor and a privilege. I have met both Bush and Obama. To be a Chase driver and go to the White House, that's an important visit. You might not make the Chase every year and miss out on those opportunities."
 Jeff Burton, scheduled to attend from the beginning of this kerfuffle, had an interesting thought.

Burton said all the debate about NASCAR's visit to the White House symbolizes a larger divide within the country.

"Ten years ago, after 9-11, this country was unified. This country was together," he said. "Today, we're sitting here talking as if someone, for political reasons, is going or not going to the White House. And we wonder why this country is in trouble. We can point the finger and blame all the people in Washington. Well, maybe we need to look in the damn mirror a little bit. Really. It's our country."

Calvin And Hobbes Mashups

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Posted on : 9/03/2011 04:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Forever Geek has a set of twenty mashups of Calvin and Hobbes with various themes.  One of the more ironic was "John Calvin & Thomas Hobbes".

My personal favorite?

This one...



It doesn't hurt that I'm reading that series right now.  Although I foolishly started with the second book.  It took nearly half the book before I could get into it.

Bea Authur

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Posted on : 9/02/2011 11:40:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Reportedly, her last public appearance/performance.  A reading of great literature.


"Great" being liberally defined.

"Liberally" being used in the original, non-political sense.

Quoting Heinlein

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Posted on : 9/01/2011 10:01:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

The first in a series of posts presenting the wisdom or of Robert A. Heinlein.

I am not going to talk about religious beliefs, but about matters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them.

I believe in my neighbors.

I know their faults and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults. Take Father Michael down our road a piece --I'm not of his creed, but I know the goodness and charity and lovingkindness that shine in his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike; if I'm in trouble, I'll go to him. My next-door neighbor is a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat. No fee -- no prospect of a fee. I believe in Doc.

I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door in our town say, 'I'm hungry,' and you will be fed. Our town is no exception; I've found the same ready charity everywhere. For the one who says, 'To heck with you -- I got mine,' there are a hundred, a thousand, who will say, 'Sure, pal, sit down.'

I know that, despite all warnings against hitchhikers, I can step to the highway, thumb for a ride and in a few minutes a car or a truck will stop and someone will say, 'Climb in, Mac. How how far you going?'

I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime, yet for every criminal there are 10,000 honest decent kindly men. If it were not so, no child would live to grow up, business could not go on from day to day. Decency is not news; it is buried in the obituaries --but it is a force stronger than crime.

I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses...in the tedious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land.

I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.

I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed alderman there are hundreds of politicians, low paid or not paid at all, doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the thirteen colonies.

I believe in Rodger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River.

I believe in -- I am proud to belong to -- the United States. Despite shortcomings, from lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.

And finally, I believe in my whole race. Yellow, white, black, red, brown --in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability....and goodness.....of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth, that we always make it just by the skin of our teeth --but that we will always make it....survive....endure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching, oversize brain case and the opposable thumb, this animal barely up from the apes, will endure --will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets, to the stars, and beyond, carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage --and his noble essential decency.

This I believe with all my heart. 

- This I Believe, Robert Heinlein, for the Edward R. Murrow project of the same name.

Me too.  Although I would include the Mekong Delta, the Euphrates, and the Arghandab as appropriate substitutes for the Yalu.

NYTimes Identifies Media Bias...

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Posted on : 8/31/2011 07:19:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,


...and says "fine by us!"

Shocking news via the NYTimes.  MSNBC is a bastion of leftist opinion.  And not much else.


And that may be the problem with Mr. Sharpton’s cable news pulpit: what he means to say is in lockstep with every other MSNBC evening program, making the stretch between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. a nonstop lecture on liberal values and what is wrong with the Republican Party.

...

There is almost no real debate on any of these evening shows: a conservative is brought on and put on the spot, then in a different segment two people who agree with the host on a given issue answer the host’s questions, usually, with words like "you’re so right."

...

And in the evening at least, MSNBC is less a news provider than a carousel of liberal opinion - potential conflicts of interest are swept aside in the swirl of excitable guests.


Emphasis added.

Aaaaand then they start covering for him.


Others complain that nowadays Mr. Sharpton is a little too cozy with the powers that be: last year, Comcast enlisted Mr. Sharpton to help lobby for its bid to buy NBC Universal, which owns MSNBC. Both Mr. Sharpton and Comcast deny any quid pro quo, and it’s hard to believe Mr. Sharpton’s support would be worth the risk to ratings - besides, back then he was untried, and MSNBC had no vacancies.

More important, in a cable universe in which former Gov. Eliot Spitzer can get his own cable show on CNN (however briefly) some two years after having to leave office because he hired prostitutes, it’s hard to quibble over Mr. Sharpton’s reputation 20 years ago.


I'm not sure which part is more shocking.  That the NYTimes would publish anything suggesting that MSNBC is biased, or that they conclude the story by papering over Mr. Sharpton's many faults.

Perhaps it is the oblique suggestion that Mr. Sharpton do the electric slide.

Any low frequency hum that you hear may be safely ignored.  It's just my head spinning.

This Promises To Be Good

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Posted on : 8/31/2011 07:03:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,



One of my favorite strips is Sinfest.  His take on religion is one of the most thought provoking that I have every seen.  And I am a reformed Christian/modern skeptic!

Our New Religion

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Posted on : 8/30/2011 06:53:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Environmentalism.

Via the National Review comes this story from the NYTimes about how schools "encourage" students and parents to use reusable lunch packing materials.

I am all for using reusable materials.  I am not so hot on recycling because it is a pain in the ass where I live.  We do use the reusable plastic/fiber shopping bags in lieu of the "plastic or paper" conundrum.

And schools do have a role to play when it comes to reinforcing morals.

However, morality begins and ends at home.  If mom and/or dad decide that plastic baggies and paper bags are what you get, then it is up to the schools to adapt.  Not the parents.

Perhaps they should consider having one bin for food, one for plastic, and one for paper so that little Timmy and Tammy can practice recycling at school and skip the sermons.

'Cause..yeah....it has become a religion in some corners of the country.

Demotivator - Bailouts

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Posted on : 8/29/2011 11:15:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,



For more

Book Recommendation - Desert Spear

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Posted on : 8/28/2011 08:16:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

 I picked up "The Warded Man" by Peter Brett some time ago.  It was one of those deals where you buy so many books and you get one free.  Not wanting to waste a free book....well, there you go.

"The Desert Spear" is the second book in what promises to be a five book series.  We met Jardir in "The Warded Man".  We learn his story in "The Desert Spear".

Jardir is a prince of the desert; sworn to lead his men as they kill the demons that rise from the earth each night while the women and children are kept safe deep within the city.  We follow his life from his beginning as a son of a father that had died without honor.  His tenacity and drive let him excel in the combat school where boys are sorted into either men that fight demons or khaffit; an honor less class held in the same low esteem as women and children.

Protected...not a protector...as is Jardir.

And now Jardir leads his people to invade the people of the north-lands seeking to unite humanity against the demons in the coming final conflict.

After his duplicity in the first book, I was unsurprised to find that I liked Jardir less after reading more about him in the second book.  I was surprised to find that I also liked him more.

Read the first book...then read this one.


Raiding The Music Makers

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Posted on : 8/28/2011 10:26:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

It was recently reported that federal agents have raided the Gibson guitar company.  This is the second such raid.  The purported justification for the raids is that it is against Indian (the ones in Asia, not in North America) law for Indian wood to be harvested and not finished by an Indian.  Importing unfinished wood from India is a violation of their laws and as a result, it is also a violation of the amended Lacey Act.

The Lacey Act makes it a federal crime to import wood in a manner that is not compliant with the laws of the exporting country.

It was also reported that the government of India did not initiate a complaint with the U.S. government.  Federal agents were acting of their own volition.

Ordinarily, I would chalk this episode up to the sort of predictable lunacy that results from our leviathan federal  government.  Granting government agents power to enforce vague or poorly written laws inevitably results in some agent somewhere doing something really, really stupid.

Like raiding an American manufacturing company and seizing their inventory without any complaint from the country of origin of a legally imported material.

If Gibson had openly purchased the wood from Indian companies and exported it in an open and documented fashion, then the government of India had an opportunity to stop the process on their side of the ocean.  The fact that they did nothing to halt the shipment suggests that their enforcement policies differ from their laws in some way.  In any case, the government of India made their choice.  Who are our government agents to suggest that the purchase and exportation of the wood was in violation Indian law if Indian government agents permitted the purchase and exportation to move forward?

Unless Gibson smuggled the wood out of India, I don't see the problem.  This is not a rare species of wood.  The importation of the wood did not create any environmental risk in the United States.

So why do such a thing?  Aren't we focused on creating (or 'saving') American jobs?

Ordinarily I am loathe to turn to a cynical explanation.  Via Instapundit:

UPDATE: What a coincidence! CEO of Gibson Guitar a Republican Donor. And their Democratic-donating competitor, Martin, uses the same wood but wasn’t raided. Well, when you’ve got a President who jokes about tax audits as revenge for a personal slight, it’s hard not to be suspicious, isn’t it?
Rather Nixonian behavior if you ask me.  And most certainly disappointing.

The next time someone suggests that we can't eliminate any federal jobs, I will promptly remind them of this episode of government gone wild.