Monday, November 30, 2015

Vladimir Putin: Leader of the Free World

"When you lead from behind, all you can see are asses, and you cannot see that you are the biggest ass of all"

Walter Russell Mead pins the blame for the Syrian crisis and its bloody, messy fallout directly where it belongs: On President Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry:
Obama’s own policy decisions—allowing Assad to convert peaceful demonstrations into an increasingly ugly civil war, refusing to declare safe havens and no fly zones—were instrumental in creating the Syrian refugee crisis. This crisis is in large part the direct consequence of President Obama’s decision to stand aside and watch Syria burn.

For him to try and use a derisory and symbolic program to allow 10,000 refugees into the United States in order to posture as more caring than those evil Jacksonian rednecks out in the benighted sticks is one of the most cynical, cold-blooded, and nastily divisive moves an American President has made in a long time.
The game is up. President Obama has been "caught out" as the British would say, running a potemkin campaign against ISIS.  If he really wanted to defeat ISIS, he would have cratered major highways connecting Raqqa to the outside world, bombed every oil tanker that moved, and crippled Raqqa's utilities infrastructure.

Obama attacks his most hated enemies...  Americans who disagree with him

Standing there with his proverbial pants down in Turkey, smoke still in the air from the terrorist attacks in France, that petulant, brittle and peevish little man who is our president unleashed his sarcastic anger on...

... not America's enemies, but his American enemies that include all Republicans and at least half of the nation's citizens.

No wonder the west is mired chaos with flames licking at our feet. President Obama and his firebug partner Hillary lit the fuse.

Vladimir Putin Leader of the Free World

Lead from behind = Left behind...
"Russian President Vladimir Putin is now the leader of the Free World against Islamist terrorism, directing the efforts of France and Germany and setting terms for American involvement. Reeling from last week’s massacre in Paris, France lacks both the backbone and the brute force to avenge itself against ISIS, but in alliance with Russia it will make a more than symbolic contribution." (Asia Times)
Dems are Worried...  about themselves...

Stu Rothenberg at Roll Call worries all of these world events will hurt Democrats, while Hillary Clinton has been fingered as the Democrat's Dick Cheney.

President Obama and his band of merry mischief makers have now sown more chaos, spawned more humanitarian crises, and lit more fires than the Bushites,  and Democrats up for reelection next year are escaping the party plantation.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.   ~ Buddha

Sunday, November 29, 2015


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) - A gunman stormed a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday and opened fire with a rifle in an attack that left three people dead and nine others injured, authorities said. (Yahoo News-Reuters)
We don't know the gunman's motives, but let's assume he hated abortion for the abomination that it is, and that his hatred of this evil sprang from his Christianity, and from there he was motived to go to an abortion clinic, and in violation of Thou Shalt Not Murder, start shooting people.

Is this terrorism?

Is Christianity to blame?

What makes this different from Islamic violence?

Do protesters have blood on their hands?
Police declined to discuss the gunman's motivations. But the president of the Rocky Mountains chapter of Planned Parenthood, Vicki Cowart, suggested a climate of rancor surrounding abortion in the United States sets the stage for such violence.
The Colorado Springs clinic has been the target of repeated protests by anti-abortion activists, and in recent years moved to new quarters on the city's northwest side - a facility derided as a "fortress" by critics of Planned Parenthood.
People from my church (among many others) protest at that clinic every Saturday. They protest peacefully, they do not attempt to block the entrance, they do not hinder people coming in and out, they don't scream at them, in fact, they do not even address the customers because they do not in any way want to appear threatening or intimidating. I know the priest that conducts regular masses in front of Planned Parenthood. Father Bill Carmody is a local media personality for his outspoken opposition to abortion.

Is Father Bill to blame for this?

Do the protesters (which sometimes include my wife) share the blame for this?

What additional circumstances or factors would lessen or increase the culpability of anti-abortion protesters and the Christian churches they attend?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Every Morning - J Mascis

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Laughter Makes for a Good Appetite

I don't know about you, but I'm smoking a turkey tomorrow, and then I'll be participating in a pie eating contest.

Here are some corny, stale Thanksgiving riddles I stole off the internet...

What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?
Pumpkin pi

Why do turkeys go gobble, gobble?
Because they never learned their table manners!

What do you get when you cross a turkey with a banjo?
A turkey that can pluck itself! (this one doesn't even make sense, but it had a banjo in it, so I kept it)

And the mustiest, crustiest, oldest and corniest one of all...

Why was the United Nations concerned when the waitress dropped the platter on Thanksgiving?
It meant the fall of Turkey, the ruin of Greece, and the break up of China.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Goodbye Woodrow Wilson?

At Princeton, the Black Justice League takes on an iconic figure of the Democratic Party, an unapologetic progressive, and an avowed racist.

Culminating a yearlong campaign to purge Princeton of Wilson the BJL staged a 32 hr sit-in in the office of the president, and the president of Princeton capitulated.

Was Woodrow Wilson a racist? Undoubtedly! He was even considered a racist by the standards of his own time.  The question therefore becomes is his racism the total sum of his being and accomplishments?  

While he was a racist by the standards of his own times, it was also not uncommon by the standards of his own time.  He reversed policies established through reconstruction effectively resegregating the federal government.

He also led the country in WWI, was instrumental in the founding of the League of Nations, supported suffrage, granted citizenship to Puerto Ricans, and laid the groundwork for the subsequent New Deal.  

Do we judge figures from the past with the morals of the present?  Should Wilson be erased from Princeton?  Should the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs be renamed? What do you say?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Intolerant Ultra-Conservatives are a Danger to Western Culture

Liberal democracy is the foundation of western societies--yes the United States is a republic--but we in the western world are liberal democrats.

Our liberal democracy nourishes a diverse political and social biosphere where you can pretty much say and do whatever the hell you damn well please. Our laws provide pretty wide latitude, and I think libs and cons agree we wouldn't want it any other way.

No Anarchy, No Tyranny

We certainly wouldn't want it to tip over into anarchy, which is the extreme end of liberalism.  There are very few small government types who are fans of anarcho-capitalist libertarianism, and very few liberals I know want a no-holds-barred, anything goes culture.

We don't swing hard to the reactionary side either.  Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and a whole host of fundamentalist Christians would like to use the power of the federal government to rein in and roll back a lot of what is going on, but they don't get much traction because there just ain't that many people who agree with them, even among God-fearing Christians who take their faith seriously.

Who are the West's Most Vociferous Conservatives?

Muslims by and large are conservative people and they don't enjoy having their sensibilities offended or their religion mocked. Coming from a culture that respects that, and then moving to the wild, wild west is a shock, causing some to nurse hatred and eventually lash out in violence, but those are a significant but small number of cases, so lets leave that aside for now.

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Can't good, honest liberals see that even the most benign, non-violent pushback from ultra-conservative newcomers nibbles away at our liberty?

Speech codes, accommodations that demand others change how they act and speak, requiring others to tamp down their own religiosity and symbols because they offend, making German butchers take down decorative pigs from their storefronts, etc...  And then liberal nations like France push back against this extreme religiosity with illiberal laws like a hijab ban.

As a society, we here in the US and Europe have already hashed all this out over the centuries and we have reached a fairly stable societal consensus evidenced by the paucity of rioting and violence over such things.

Now come the Muslims...

... and we're having to hash through all this again. I am not attacking Muslims. Other religions have extremists, and get enough of them together in one place, they will agitate much the same, but right here, right now, we are dealing with Muslims, and granted, its a small but noisy sliver.

I don't blame them for being offended, and the vast majority who express their displeasure peacefully are not bad people.

Simply put, many are intolerant of our extreme liberties.  Chafed and inflamed by a nonstop stream of blasphemies and moral libertinism, they agitate those around them as they register their displeasure. That combination of extreme conservatism and noisy intolerance can never be at peace with loose western values and morals. Outside a few isolated cases, Christianity has made that uneasy peace (losing millions through defections in the process), but too many Muslims seem incapable of doing so.

Do we really want to threaten our liberal democracy by bringing in people who, because of their upbringing, see our societal achievement as not only a threat to them personally and a gross blasphemous insult to their faith, but as a very real evil that must be reformed or destroyed?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Mountaintop

Photo: Bob Jagendorf
Can a white man play Martin Luther King?

There has been some controversy surrounding an Ohio University production of Katori Hall's play The Mountaintop and Michael Oatman's casting of a white actor in the role of MLK, actually he dual cast the role using both a black and a white actor.

The play is set in its entirety in room 306 of the Lorraine Motel on the last day in the life of Martin Luther King.

The playwright called the decision "disrespectful".

Katori Hall's reaction

The Washington Post asked "As actors of color increasingly play traditionally white roles, breaking Broadway’s color barriers, should the opposite be true as well? Should a white man be allowed to play a black historical figure as important as Martin Luther King?" 

This comes on the heels Lin-Manual Miranda's successful play Hamilton and it's black and Hispanic cast of America's founding fathers. NYT Review

Is one acceptable and the other not?  Are there limits and should there be limits on the casting of roles based on race?  


Subsequent to my writing this post a performance of Jesus in India has been cancelled after demands by the playwright citing the "ethnic composition of the cast", the cast is white.  The playwright demanded that the university recast the play using an Asian cast, unfortunately Clarion University doesn't have a large Asian student population (less than 1% of the student population), and no Asians auditioned for the play.  The playwright, Lloyd Suh a Korean-American, said that "Clarion was distorting and disrespecting his work and, in doing so, perpetuating hostility against nonwhite performers."

The school had paid Lloyd Suh $500 for the rights to put on the play, a sum that will be refunded, but the school is also out $15,000 in pre-production costs. I certainly hope that the university will sue to recoup those costs, but I doubt it.

Imagine the reaction if a white playwright revoked performance rights for a mixed-race cast claiming that the play was written for white people. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Little Snowflakes

Given yesterdays post, I thought this would be entertaining enlightening.