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Thursday, September 29, 2005

National Review Celebrates 50 yrs of Buckley

The National Review is planning a big bash to celebrate 50 years. A colleague of mine ran across some material published by Buckley's rag in the fifties that should make them blush with shame (a doubtful but surely enjoyable occasion). See the article in American Renaissance, but also consider the following:

A famous example of the early NR stance on race was an unsigned
editorial of August 24, 1957, titled "Why the South Must Prevail." It
was almost certainly written by Mr. Buckley, since he uses similar
language in his book Up From Liberalism. The editorial argued against giving blacks the vote because it would undermine civilization in the South:

"The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White
community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are
necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it
does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists."

"National Review believes that the South's premises are correct. . . . It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority."

"The South confronts one grave moral challenge. It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve the Negro as a servile class. . . . Let the South never permit itself to do this. So long as it is merely asserting the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races, and so long as it does so by humane and charitable means, the South is in step with civilization, as is the Congress that permits it to function."

The use of certain words (obtrudes) shouts that it was written by Buckley himself. I've been listening to his autobiography (in short doses) and the sense of privilege that obtrudes and exudes is saddening and breathtaking. I fail to understand why we celebrate this guy.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A New Zen and the Art...

Several years ago, I read a wonderful book entitled Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. It became somewhat of a cult classic and while ostensibly the peregrinations of a father and his son, was as much a philosophical meditation on what constitutes quality.

Driver: Six Weeks in an Eighteen-Wheeler by Phillip Wilson reminds me of that earlier book. Wilson, after numerous other careers, decided in his late forties that he'd like to become an over-the-road truck driver. This book is a quasi diary of the six week training period when he is paired with a driver who supposedly has more experience to learn the ropes. The company they work for is a good one, emphasizing safety and it's clear that Wilson has been trained well. One harrowing scene describes the instructor, referred to in the book as Trainer, takes the load 40-ton truck down a steep hill, realizing too late that he has picked the wrong gear. Wilson had warned him at the top that he was doing it wrong. Trainer stands on the brakes, Wilson watching the trailer brakes sending up clouds of smoke in the rear view mirror, fearing death is imminent. They make it down safely, only just, bail out of the cab fearing a fire; fortunately none occurs, but now they are faced with calling the company and requesting a repair to fix brake sets that are now seriously dangerous. Trainer makes a bad decision regarding the call. Wilson uses examples like this to muse on death, life, and recklessness.

I love Wilson's combination of detailed descriptions of how the trucks work, the minutiae of driving one of those rigs, the dangers and the satisfactions, and he has just the right combination of personal musings and philosophy and trip detail. Ultimately, it's a book about quality and interpersonal relationships, much like Pirsig's book.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Reinhold Niebuhr

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. has an interesting essay in the September 18, 2005 issue of the New York Times Book Review. Niebuhr, one of the great religious icons of the twentieth century, has virtually disappeared from public discourse. Schlesinger suggests it may have to do with Niebuhr's disdain for the concept of "national innocence," a belief that can only be described as delusional as it pertains to the United States. "After all, whites coming to these shores were reared in the Calvinist doctrine of sinful humanity, and they killed red men, enslaved black men and later imported yellow men for peon labor -- not much of a background for national innocence."

Niebuhr postulated a duality of human nature that strikes me as almost Manichean: "creative impulses matched by destructive impulses." Humans also suffer from the desire to play God, or at least know what S/he has ordained. Man was basically sinful by nature, an idea I find personally repugnant, but a concept that led Niebuhr to become a strong advocate for democracy. "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary."

He recognized the messianic impulses inherent in American political and social culture, a trend that threatened to "abolish the unfathomable distance between the Almighty and human sinners." Americans have become fanatics who do "what [they] think the Lord would do if only He knew the facts of the case." "There is no greater human presumption than to read the mind of the Almighty, and no more dangerous individual than the one who has convinced himself he is executing the Almighty will."

As both sides of warring camps proclaim to know God's will, it is important to remember what Lincoln said, "The Almighty has His own purposes. "

Then again, maybe it's all just random events and God has already washed His hands of the whole experiment.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Dr. Dobson's latest.

Helping Boys Become Men, and Girls Become Women: Is My Child Becoming Homosexual?

September 8 2005 update:: Since I posted this originally, Dobson's site has removed the link, perhaps because of the firestorm of ridicule it received. The link above is not active. You can see what the basic comment was at the following site: Link

Evidences of gender confusion or doubt in boys ages 40 to 50 may include:

1. Repeatedly needing to rely on daddy to extract from trouble such as avoiding armed conflict in Viet Nam, failing oil companies and insider trading in dealing Harkins stock

2. Lost in Alabama in the past while campaigning

3. Putting of Flight Suit in front of "Mission Accomplished" banner to compensate for guilt for deserting service commitment

4. Walking through WH halls and in public appearances with phony Tex-ass Swagger

5. Uttering "bring ‘em on" in inappropriate circumstances

Focus on your own damn family.

Other comments shamelessly stolen from other critics:

"Goodness! Why all the chitchat about homosexuality? While the Bible tells us that God considers it an abomination, He also thinks the same about eating shellfish. Next time Dr. Dobson has clam chowder, or a shrimp salad, he should remember that God is relatively easy-going about what he puts in his mouth."

"I have seen Dr. Dobson on TV and want to know why when the subject is homosexuality, he never gets up from behind his desk?"

What do you suppose Dobson would say about a guy who wore sandals, wore his hair long, wore robes, and hung around with twelve guys?

"dear america,
I apologize for my pro-life stance. If I had only known.....

Posted by: james' mother at August 12, 2005 10:52 AM"

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Here's what Rumsfield had to say about 2003

"'Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things,' Rumsfeld said. Looting, he added, was not uncommon for countries that experience significant social upheaval. 'Stuff happens,' Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld: There's nothing wrong with a bit of looting 11 Apr 2003 The United States Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has tonight dismissed reports of mass chaos and lawlessness in Iraq as 'exaggerated'. 'The so-called looting is not as bad as some reports have suggested,' he said at a Pentagon briefing. 'Yes, people are ransacking hospitals, burning down buildings and fighting each other in the streets, but it's not that bad. Stuff happens.'"

Remarks by President Bush During Briefing on Hurricane Katrina

Remarks by President Bush During Briefing on Hurricane Katrina: "We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)"

This is all such good fun. Trent Lott gets a new house and Bush gets to giggle. He is soooo out of touch.

Republicans Say Katrina Threatens To Undermine The Party's Long-Term Ambitions... | The Huffington Post

Sad but true that Bush did not even begin to respond until it became apparent that a political hurricane was brewing. As long as it was just a human tragedy he could have cared less.

We need a clean sweep of Congress in 2006, including the Democrats. They have all become way too cozy in Washington collecting money from special interests just to get reelected. Throw them all out.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Cost of the war in Iraq

The cost comparisons are staggering.

I'm all for this/

It's time to replace the word "fuck" with the word "bush" - but, of course, only in negative circumstances.

"Man, I really bushed up and got caught drunk driving."

"You piece of shit motherbusher!"

"That scumbag borrowed my car and got into an accident - now the engine is totally bushed."

"These priests have to stop bushing altar boys."

"The poor guy was raped in prison - some huge motherbusher bushed him in the ass."

SNABU - Situation Normal All Bushed Up

"John Wayne Gacy liked to bush young boys."

"The bushing Bushpigs bush up everything they bushing touch. Three more years of their bushing incompent bush-ups and the country will be totally bushed."

Posted by: MoeLarryAndJesus on September 03, 2005 at 06:16PM

More evidence of Dubya's satanic origins

George Walter BushJr {6 letters in each word} was born July "6th, 194"6", served "6" years as governor of Texas, was the 4"6"th governor of Texas, announced his intentions of seeking presidency in 1999....."666" governor of Texas he denied a plea for clemency from a "black death row female inmate" whom allegedly had repented and found "god"....he laughed and mocked her pleas for mercy on Texas television interview and let her die......but he did communte one death sentence as governor of Texas a serial killer named "Lucas" who allegedly killed 40+ and was unrepentent and a devil whorshiper! As a teenager Bush for fun blew up helpless frogs with firecrackers which experts would say is sign of future "serial killers" This is all available via any biographical research on Bush, now go too the bible and read the description of the "anti-christ" and how he will decieve many, preach peace but make war, lead a massive and all powerful army, and rise too power and bring world catastrophe.....! Is this all coincidence? Maybe but if one thinks Bush leads a compassionate christian movement then one is not reading the facts....and a act of nature/god has shown his true nature and humanity, he and his ilk the anti-christians who have fooled the masses are being slowly exposed, since the bible says if god did not shorten the beasts days mankind might not survive...! Only god knows the truth in this but the bible does say let he that hath wisdom see the signs....!

My compliments to the original anonymous poster.

Pizza and gasoline

Story posted today elswehere:


(Please read my story and think about it before you reply)

I went to a gas station yesterday; it cost me over $40 to top off my little car. Then I turned my head as I heard someone shouting at the gas pump. It was my ex co-worker. I remember he was in charge of the IT department. At that moment, he pressed the intercom button and started ranting to the station attendant. He yelled, “I should have never voted for that oil man in the White House. It’s my American right to get cheap fuel for my vehicle. How am I supposed to work and make a living? I demand lower fuel prices!”

I looked at his vehicle and it was the same Ford F-350, 4-Door, 4-Wheel Drive, Dual Rear Wheel, Super-Truck he bought about two years ago. I remember he told me that he needed a powerful truck to pull his RV trailer every summer and I remember that he actually did pull his RV, but only once or twice a year. I know having worked with him that he drove his dinosaur of a gas guzzler to work every day.

I was kind of scared to approach my friend, but I decided this might be a good time to share a little story I put together regarding oil consumption. I walked over and started chatting with my old buddy. Then I brought up my little story and he agreed to listen.

Pizza and Gasoline

Let’s imagine that gasoline was pizza. Ok, now let’s say that one day it became fashionable, cool, or macho for people to buy a large pizza and eat only one slice and throw the rest away. The new trend developed into a status symbol because it showed that you had plenty of disposable income. However, many of the trend followers would charge the pizza bill to their credit card in order to keep up with the Joneses.

Now imagine that if a family of five went to the pizzeria, they would order five large pizzas, one large pizza for each family member. Each member would eat only one slice from his pizza and throw the rest away. If anyone wanted a second slice they would have to order a second pizza. Now imagine this wastefulness compounded by the fact that over half of the pizza customers followed this new wasteful tradition. Can you imagine how long it would take for your pizza order to be ready not to mention all the extra waste?

Of course, there was still the 45 percent of the customer base that refused to follow the new trend, but they were looked down upon by the majority and often referred to as “DAMN TREE HUGGERS”.

Then I asked my friend, “How would you solve the pizza problem in my little scenario?”

My friend rebuked me by shouting, “I WOULD DRILL FOR MORE PIZZA! THAT’S THE AMERICAN WAY! ”

Then he climbed up and into the cab of his Luxury Mega Pickup and sped off into the city. I was still standing by the gas pump that he had just drained. I looked at the display and it read, One Hundred Five Dollars and Thirty Seven Cents.

Country’s Service Stations Running Out Of Gas…

President Bush calls for Americans to conserve gasoline

Posted by: pedro on September 03, 2005 at 05:06PM

Flip Flop I'm Satisfied /I'm Not Satisfied

Interestiing post to

What does it mean to be satisfied by the response but not satisfied by the result?

Does that have ANY MEANING AT ALL?

Let's say you're in business. You're manufacturing something and a problem comes up. Your man in charge has a response and the result is disaster.

So you say you're satisfied with the response but not satisfied with the result.

What does that MEAN ... except that whoever says that should be fired???

Posted by: rewinn on September 03, 2005 at 04:01PM

Halliburton Watch

When the jokes started circulating on the Internet about Halliburton being awarded no-bid contracts to begin rebuilding after Katrina, I laughed and thought no one could be that stupid - then I ran across this site. And guess what....

Friday, September 02, 2005

Open Letter from The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Absolutely wonderful satire.

Failure of Leadership

Watching the president the other night talk about a "temporary disruption," it became clear to me that he has no context in which to understand the depth of the human tragedy that occurred in Louisiana and Mississippi, nor any idea what to do about it. Remember, his comments were many days after the event and seemed to relate more to the price of gas that saving lives.

We are witnessing incompetence of the highest order of magnitude. A true leader would have declared a national emergency, requisitioned boats, busses, trains (except that he has gutted Amtrak -- but I suppose boxcars would have worked, too -- trucks, whatever, to haul supplies down there and bring people out on the way back. If the news media can move through town, then rescue workers ought to be able to also. Had the president acted quickly and decisively, the frustrations that lead to looting would have been greatly reduced.

When I hear about workers unable to communicate with each other because cell phones don't work and telephones are inoperable, my jaw drops. We have an extensive network of amateur radio operators who specialize in providing services in just this kind of emergency. Why weren't they mobilized by the president. How about military communications; surely they don't rely on cell phones to move troops around a battlefield. Why were the military's communications skills employed? No one appears to be in charge.

I could have personally driven to Louisiana and back from Illinois three times in the time it took for the president to realize even that we have a "temporary disruption." Surely, Mr. President, you can't be that callous and indifferent. If this were Law and Order, you would have been charged with depraved indifference.

It's also time to promote conservation, if only temporarily. Why don't we have some public statements about driving less on Labor Day to relieve pressure on supplies, even if they are temporary? Another failure to provide moral leadership, or, at worst, a complete lack of understanding.

If this had happened to Crawford Texas, you can bet the response would have been different. God forbid anything should prevent Bush from getting to his vacation spot.

The failure of leadership that has become so apparent is appalling.

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