Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's martial musical interlude - March of Cambreadth:

VDH: Where did the Tea-Party anger come from?

The latest from Victor Davis Hanson:
Why is the Angry Public so Angry?

I think we all know why the Tea Party movement arose — and why even the polls do not quite reflect the growing generic anger at incumbents in general, and our elites in particular.

Anger at Everything?

There is a growing sense that government is what I would call a new sort of Versailles — a vast cadre of royal state and federal workers that apparently assumes immunity from the laws of economics that affect everyone else.

In the olden days, we the public sort of expected that the L.A. Unified School District paid the best and got the worst results. We knew that you didn’t show up at the DMV if you could help it. A trip to the emergency room was to descend into Dante’s Inferno. We accepted all that in other words, and went on with our business.

But at some point — perhaps triggered by the radical increase in the public sector under Obama, the militancy of the SEIU, or the staggering debts — the public snapped and has had it with whining union officials and their political enablers who always threaten to cut off police and fire protection if we object that there are too many unproductive, unnecessary, but too highly paid employees at the Social Service office. In short, sometime in the last ten years public employees were directly identified with most of what is now unsustainable in the U.S. The old idea that a public servant gave up a competitive salary for job security was redefined as hitting the jackpot.

The Tea Party is not over

There is another Tea Party theme that those who play by the rules are being had, from both the top and bottom. The Wall Street bailouts and financial help to the big banks smelled of cronyism, made worse by the notion that liberal “reformers” like Obama got more from Big Money than did the usual insider Republican aristocrats. (The continual left-wing trend of wealthy elites is an untold story, but it suggests a sort of noble disdain: “We make so much that we are immune from the hurt of higher taxes, but like expanded entitlements as a sort of penance for our privilege.”)

Emblematic of the anger at both top and bottom was the 2008 meltdown: those who had not played by the rules still got their mortgages, then defaulted, and left the taxpayer with their bills; those who made the loans and profited without risk took the bailout money, and left us with the cleanup. Those in between with underwater mortgages and higher taxes pay the tab.

We are not 19th-century poor

Somehow we forget that we are in the 21st century with our multitude of cell-phones, laptops, no-down-payment new car leases, big-screen TVs, cheap food, and accessible rent that have permeated all society and given the proverbial underclass appurtenances that only the very rich of the 1960s could have dreamed of. Yet the Dickensian rhetoric has only intensified. There is rarely any acknowledgment of the public’s investment in anti-poverty programs or of its efforts to promote social equality. Instead, an overtaxed electorate is constantly reminded of its unfairness and its moral shortcomings. (I just left a multimillion dollar ICU unit in Fresno, where I was visiting a relative. Over a third of the visitors there did not seem to speak English, and so I was impressed by the public generosity that extends such sophisticated care to those who that day seemed largely to have arrived here recently from Mexico. The notion that a visitor to Mexico could walk into such a unit in Mexico City and get instant, free — and quality — care is, well, inconceivable. Yet politicians talk of our heartlessness, not our generosity.) ...
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pain and suffering

Tonight's lawyer commercial:

[Via Bayou Renaissance Man]

How to turn an accident into a catastrophe

Just leave it to the government. From the Financial Post, on the astounding incompetence -- at least we'll call it that for now, because the alternative is something far more sinister -- of President "Kickass" and his administration and the arrogant FedGov flunkies involved in the debacle in the Gulf. The President wants to know whose ass to kick, he should look at the incompetent boobs working for him. After first looking in the mirror, of course. Perhaps he can pencil in some time for that in between vacations, Democrat fundraisers, and his rigorous golfing schedule. Don’t hold your breath.

An excerpt [emphasis added below]:
... Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. "Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour," Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.

To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn't capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana's marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.

The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company's expense. "If there's a country that's experienced with building dikes and managing water, it's the Netherlands," says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer --the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment --unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn't good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million -- if water isn't at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico. ...
Read the whole thing here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fast, in slo-mo

Tonight's fast animals, in slow motion, from the BBC:

Supreme Court holds Second Amendment applies to states, local governments

The Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited opinion in the Chicago gun ban case of McDonald v. Chicago. The Court, in a 5-4 decision, held that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments, not just the federal government.

Read the Court's decision here.

From the Los Angeles Times:
The Supreme Court reversed a ruling upholding Chicago's ban on handguns Monday and extended the reach of the 2nd Amendment as a nationwide protection against laws that infringe on the "right to keep and bear arms."

The 5-4 decision appears to void the 1982 ordinance, one of the nation's strictest, which barred city residents from having handguns for their own use, even at home.

The ruling has both local and national implications. ...
Good news to start the week.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - Indigo Girls' Closer to Fine:

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Tonight's sports video:

From the video's description:
Western Oregon Sara Tucholsky hit her first career HR with the help from Central Washington - ultimate sportsmanship. She tore her ACL running back to 1st as she missed it initially. Ump she if didn't run the bases by herself, the HR wouldn't count. If her teammates touched her, it would be void.
The opposing team saw her pain and did the unexpected, they picked her up and helped her touch each base.
Central Washington lost the game, 4-2
Sportsmanship at its best.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Copier security

Tonight's electronic security risk, from a CBS news story:

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Tonight's space-saving furniture:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mr. Roboto

Tonight's robo-dance video:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude -- The Corrs Breathless:

Like rats leaving a sinking ship

Oh, oh. Via Karl Denninger we learn that Obambam's budget director and Chief of Staff might be looking for a little Hope and Change of their own:

Bloomberg: Obama’s Budget Director Orszag Plans to Leave Cabinet Position

UK Telegraph: Rahm Emanuel expected to quit White House

And apparently Rolling Stone has an interview with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the guy in charge of Afghanistan, and his top aides, who were, shall we say, less than admiring in their comments about the Marxist-in-Chief.

Fox News: White House: 'All Options on the Table' for Response to McChrystal's Remarks in Profile

Washington Post: Obama leaving options open on firing McChrystal, Gibbs says

You don't become a general (or admiral) without also being a savvy politician. I find it hard to believe that McChrystal didn't know exactly what he was doing and saying, knowing full well that it would be reported in the article. I guess he would rather be out of a job than preside over defeat in Afghanistan. Which says a lot about how the war over there is going.

Monday, June 21, 2010

If at first you don't succeed ...

Tonight's motivational speaker fail:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - the band Show of Hands performs their song Roots:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

No arms, no legs, no worries

Tonight's overcoming adversity video -- Nick Vujicic has no arms, and no legs:

Nick Vujicic's DVD is available here: No Arms, No Legs, No Worries: Youth Version

His forthcoming book:

Friday, June 18, 2010


Tonight's close call:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Till there's only one left

Tonight's commercial:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's 1980's musical interlude -- Journey's Don't Stop Believing:

And a Glee version:


Prezzie Obambam appears to be losing the commited Lefties, including Jon Stewart:

Excuses, excuses

Today's the-buck-doesn't-stop-here poster (click on image for larger version):

[From No Sheeples Here]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hey, wait for me!

Tonight's mountain biking video:

With Liberty and Justice for some

From the Weekly Standard, comes this piece by Jennifer Rubin on the Black Panther voter intimidation case. An excerpt:
... The trial team, which also included attorneys Robert Popper and Spencer Fisher, conducted its investigation and on January 8, 2009, filed suit against the NBPP. As the Panthers did not respond to the lawsuit, the department had a slam-dunk victory.

The trial team was poised to enter a default judgment in late April 2009. An order for a default of judgment was drafted and sent to the voting section management. On the morning of April 29, the acting deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, Steven Rosenbaum, sent an email to Coates about the case. It was the first indication by any department official that something was amiss. “I have serious doubts about the merits of the motion for entry of a default judgment and the request for injunctive relief,” Rosenbaum, an Obama appointee, wrote. “Most significantly, this case raises serious First Amendment issues, but the papers make no mention of the First Amendment.” Rosenbaum asked Coates a series of questions—whether “the defendants make any statements threatening physical harm to voters or persons aiding voters,” for example, and what was the “factual predicate for enjoining the Party, as opposed to individual defendants”—which indicated that he was not familiar with the case and had not read the detailed memorandum accompanying the draft order.

The trial team was surprised by the email and answered Rosenbaum point by point in a response sent that same evening. They corrected his misstatements and explained in answer to his First Amendment concerns, “We are not seeking to enjoin the making of those (or any) statements. We plan to introduce them as evidence to show that what happened in Philadelphia on Election Day was planned and announced in advance by the central authority of the NBPP, and was a NBPP initiative.” They pointed out that dressing in military garb did not raise First Amendment concerns when “used with the brandishing of a weapon to intimidate people going to the polling station.” They concluded: “We strongly believe that this is one of the clearest violations of Section 11(b) [of the Voting Rights Act] the Department has come across. There is never a good reason to bring a billy club to a polling station. If the conduct of these men, which was video recorded and broadcast nationally, does not violate Section 11(b), the statute will have little meaning going forward.”

The trial team assumed that Rosenbaum was simply confused about the applicable law. The notion that this was a problematic case would have been outlandish. With video evidence, multiple witnesses, and clear case law, it was one the easiest cases on which any of the trial team attorneys—who had more than 75 years of collective experience—had worked.

After sending the response, Coates and Robert Popper met with Rosenbaum and the then acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, Loretta King. People familiar with the discussions describe “two days of shouting.” The trial team now knew that DoJ political appointees were serious about undermining the case by using whatever arguments they could dream up, including First Amendment concerns. The team prepared a detailed memo dated May 6 explaining the factual and legal basis for the case. In 13 pages, the attorneys meticulously analyzed the law and the facts and rebutted any notion that the First Amendment could insulate the Panthers. The memo made clear that Rosenbaum’s and King’s arguments for dismissing the case were spurious. Rosenbaum and King, for example, argued that legal precedent involving protestors at abortion clinics would undermine the case. The trial team pointed out, however, that these cases were either inapplicable or actually supported the issuance of an injunction when there was a significant government interest (such as the protection of voting rights) at stake.


While the interference by political appointees in the NBPP case has been egregious, there is a critical issue with implications far beyond this single case: Whether the attorneys who populate the civil rights division of the Justice Department believe that civil rights laws exist only to protect minorities from discrimination and intimidation by whites. In a farewell address to his colleagues before his reassignment to a U.S. attorney’s office, Coates spoke about this widespread sentiment and why it was antithetical to the department’s mission to seek equal enforcement of federal laws.

Former voting rights attorneys confirm that the belief is omnipresent in the Justice Department. DoJ attorneys openly criticized the Panther case, objecting not to any lack of evidence or to the legal arguments but to the notion that any discrimination case should be filed against black defendants. There are instances of attorneys refusing to work on cases against minority defendants. ...

[emphasis added in bold above]
Read it all here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

North Carolinians, meet one of your "public servants"

Today's just-a-humble-public-servant video, North Carolina Democrat Congressman Bob Etheridge shows how he deals with questions from mere commoners:

Red Light runners

Tonight's traffic signals non-compliance video, or why it's always a good idea to make sure the cross traffic is actually stopped before you proceed through that intersection:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cars and freedom

Tonight's auto commercial [hat tip: Tom O.]:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

All for a good drink

Tonight's humor:
A guy walks into a bar and says “What's the best kind of scotch that you've got?”

The bartender says “I have the finest scotch in the world! It’s very expensive, though, and costs about $1,000 dollars a glass, but you have to do some special tasks first to show you're qualified before you are allowed to have a glass of it”.

The guy asks, “What do I have to do?”

The bartender replies, “well, In addition to the $1,000, there is a woman upstairs who has never had an orgasm in her entire life, and there is a Silverback gorilla out back that has a very serious back problem. If you can give the woman an orgasm, and cure the gorilla of its back problem, you can have the scotch.”

The guy says “You’ve got a deal!” And with that, he places 1,000 dollars on the table and triumphantly strides out back. He's out there for almost an hour, and the people in the bar can hear grunting, groaning, and the sounds of the intense physical strain of the man trying to cure the gorilla.

After almost an hour of wrestling with the animal, the man comes back into the bar, his shirt ripped to shreds and covered in bruises.

“All right!!!” he says, “Now, where’s that woman with the back problem?”


Friday, June 11, 2010

Pop 101

Tonight's population videos:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Walking on water

Tonight's walking-on-water video:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An iPad in every kitchen (cabinet)

Tonight's Apple iPad use:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Tonight's not-an-Olympic-sport video - Danny Strasser skateboards down Olympic bobsled tracks:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Get out of there!

Tonight's movie line compilation:

Following the road to ruin

Today's political vide-O parody:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First wave at Omaha Beach

From The Atlantic, comes this 1960 account, by U.S. Army historian General S.L.A. Marshall, of the horrors and heroism of D-Day:
UNLIKE what happens to other great battles, the passing of the years and the retelling of the story have softened the horror of Omaha Beach on D Day.

This fluke of history is doubly ironic since no other decisive battle has ever been so thoroughly reported for the official record. While the troops were still fighting in Normandy, what had happened to each unit in the landing had become known through the eyewitness testimony of all survivors. It was this research by the field historians which first determined where each company had hit the beach and by what route it had moved inland. Owing to the fact that every unit save one had been mislanded, it took this work to show the troops where they had fought.

How they fought and what they suffered were also determined in detail during the field research. As published today, the map data showing where the troops came ashore check exactly with the work done in the field; but the accompanying narrative describing their ordeal is a sanitized version of the original field notes.

This happened because the Army historians who wrote the first official book about Omaha Beach, basing it on the field notes, did a calculated job of sifting and weighting the material. So saying does not imply that their judgment was wrong. Normandy was an American victory; it was their duty to trace the twists and turns of fortune by which success was won. But to follow that rule slights the story of Omaha as an epic human tragedy which in the early hours bordered on total disaster. On this two-division front landing, only six rifle companies were relatively effective as units. They did better than others mainly because they had the luck to touch down on a less deadly section of the beach. Three times that number were shattered or foundered before they could start to fight. Several contributed not a man or bullet to the battle for the high ground. But their ordeal has gone unmarked because its detail was largely ignored by history in the first place. The worst-fated companies were overlooked, the more wretched personal experiences were toned down, and disproportionate attention was paid to the little element of courageous success in a situation which was largely characterized by tragic failure.

The official accounts which came later took their cue from this secondary source instead of searching the original documents. Even such an otherwise splendid and popular book on the great adventure as Cornelius Ryan's The Longest Day misses the essence of the Omaha story.

In everything that has been written about Omaha until now, there is less blood and iron than in the original field notes covering any battalion landing in the first wave. Doubt it? Then let's follow along with Able and Baker companies, 116th Infantry, 29th Division. Their story is lifted from my fading Normandy notebook, which covers the landing of every Omaha company.

ABLE Company riding the tide in seven Higgins boats is still five thousand yards from the beach when first taken under artillery fire. The shells fall short. At one thousand yards, Boat No. 5 is hit dead on and foundered. Six men drown before help arrives. Second Lieutenant Edward Gearing and twenty others paddle around until picked up by naval craft, thereby missing the fight at the shore line. It's their lucky day. The other six boats ride unscathed to within one hundred yards of the shore, where a shell into Boat No. 3 kills two men. Another dozen drown, taking to the water as the boat sinks. That leaves five boats. ...

Read the rest here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Taco Town

Tonight's commercial parody, courtesy Saturday Night Live:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Nuit Blanche

Tonight's short film:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What caliber for zombies?

Tonight's tongue-in-cheek video - Zombie caliber advice:

Never give up your weapons

From David Deming, writing over at American Thinker, comes this history lesson:
History demonstrates that destruction awaits those who attempt to placate their enemies by surrendering their weapons. In 149 BC, half a million citizens of Carthage tried to appease Rome by turning over their armaments. But instead of buying peace, they only facilitated their own destruction. Ninety percent of the Carthaginians were killed, and the city of Carthage was razed. Those who survived were sold into slavery, and Carthaginian civilization was forever wiped from the face of the earth. The story of how the Carthaginians sealed their fate by delivering their weapons into the hands of their enemy is chronicled in my book, Science and Technology in World History, Vol. 1.

Carthage was founded on the shores of North Africa by Phoenicians in the 9th century BC. It was the center of a powerful and ancient empire, and as the power of Rome grew, it was inevitable that the Romans and Carthaginians would come into conflict.


Once the hostages had been surrendered, the Carthaginian ambassadors expected peace. But the Romans had a new demand. They insisted that the Carthaginians surrender all of their weapons. The Roman Consul Censorinus explained, "If you are sincerely desirous of peace, why do you need any arms?" He continued, "Bring all your weapons and engines of war, both public and private, and deliver them to us." Oblivious to the Roman maxim, "If you want peace, prepare for war," the Carthaginians obsequiously complied. They turned over armor for two hundred thousand men, javelins, darts, and two thousand catapults. Appian said that it was an "unparalleled spectacle to behold the vast number of loaded wagons."

Having complied with the Roman request to surrender their weapons, the Carthaginian ambassadors foolishly thought they had bought peace by disarming themselves. The consul Censorinus praised the Carthaginians for having the wisdom to comply with the Romans' first two requirements. But there was yet another new demand. "Yield Carthage to us, and betake yourselves where you like within your own territory at a distance of at least ten miles from the sea, for we are resolved to raze your city to the ground." ...
Read it here. Never surrender your weapons. They, and your will to use them, are your only hope to remain free.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Lamp

Tonight's commercial:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A hop, skip, and a jump ...

Tonight's gymnastic display, by Damien Walters: