Early Morning Channel Surfing

So it was 4 a.m., the History Channel's documentary about the Sputnik crisis was over and the channel had gone to an infomercial. Time to channel surf. I scrolled through the pages of the guide and at the end of the movie channels, Sundance had a 1960 documentary of the Wisconsin Democratic primary race between Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sen. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota.

Well, 1960 is of interest to me because it is the year I was born, and here was a documentary that showed not just the two candidates, but the society of the time. The documentary took place from March to April 5th, when the primary election was held. It was the same country that I was born into about three weeks later, one that has changed quite a bit in the last few decades. So I flicked it on.

On shows like this one, I'm just as interested in what the places looked like, what the people looked like, what they were wearing, what they were driving. They say that the past is a foreign country, and this one was very alien to the visitor from 2008.

The cars were all from the 1950s, of course; 1960 had just begun, after all. And they were all American-made, with not a foreign car to be seen. Bulbous Detroit iron with lots of chrome and big tailfins, like the recently invented intercontinental ballistic missiles, meant to impress with their bulk alone. And with gasoline almost as cheap as water, who cared about gas mileage?

The men were mostly wearing suits and hats, although at one rally, Humphrey addressed a group of farmers mostly dressed in overalls, talking about farm subsidies (he was in favor of them). The women all were wearing dresses with long skirts. "Cat glasses" were in vogue for the ladies.

Both candidates spent a lot of time glad-handing the locals in the small towns of Wisconsin, signing autographs, shaking hands. The young people seemed particularly enthused by Kennedy. The graphics in the home-made signs in the background at a Humphrey call-in television show looked amateurish compared to the glitzy campaign signs of 2008.

Humphrey was much younger than I remembered him being when he won the Democratic nomination eight years later. Still, he seemed older than Kennedy, who was a youthful 42 years of age at the time. There was also a marked contrast in styles, with Humphrey always wearing a hat when outdoors, as most men still did at the time, while the trendsetting Kennedy was bare-headed to show off his full head of hair. Jackie Kennedy was with him at some of the campaign rallies, and brother Bobby showed up for one memorable cameo. Amazingly, Humphrey and Kennedy were the only ones campaigning in 1960; according to the Wikipedia article on the 1960 U.S. Presidential election:
[Stuart] Symington [of Missouri], [Adlai] Stevenson [of Illinois], and [Lyndon] Johnson [of Texas] all refused to campaign in the presidential primaries, thus limiting their chances of winning the nomination. All three men hoped that the other leading candidates would stumble in the primaries, thus leading the Democratic Convention's delegates to choose them as a "compromise" candidate acceptable to all factions of the party.
How times have changed! Can you imagine a candidate today hoping that everyone else will screw up and the nomination will just fall into his (or her) lap?

I was also surprised that only 14 states and the District of Columbia had primary elections in 1960. How did the other 36 states select which candidate to support? Did the state party bigwigs just get together in a smoke-filled room and say, "Joe Blow is our guy"?

Then there was the campaign music. The Kennedy campaign used "High Hopes" with different lyrics, while the Humphrey campaign chose an altered-lyrics version of "Davy Crockett"; one scene has four guys playing it on accordions. Yeah, it was cheesy, but hey, we're talking about Wisconsin, after all!

It was interesting to see more footage of JFK than I've seen in the past. There are a few clips from iconic speeches and the film from the assassination that we've all seen, but not much of Kennedy behind the scenes just being himself. This documentary had some of that, with some behind-the-scenes Jackie as well. It was endearing and more than a little sad, knowing what was to come later.


Hannity Colmes-less?

I read a short article in this morning's newspaper which said that Alan Colmes is going to be leaving Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes show after twelve years. Whatever shall he do? Wherever shall he go? Colmes has been good at what he does, which is to act as the lefty Democrat to balance out Sean Hannity. The show won't be the same without him after he leaves; who else will be able talk as fast as one of those guys reading the small print in the commercials in order to walk all over what conservative guests are saying? That was usually the best clue that the conservative was making a good point, because Colmes would talk faster and faster.

My guess is that he is getting out now in order to try to capitalize on the current vampire craze. You never see Colmes in the day time... Just sayin'.


Cool Pictures

You might not have heard, but Google has links to the digitized photo archives from Life magazine, including a lot of pictures that were never published. If you go to the Google home page, you can click on the Image search tab and currently, there are links to some possible searches of the Life photo archives, including World's Fairs and Marilyn Monroe. You can also click on the link and see some searches by decades, ranging from the 1860s (U.S. Civil War) through the 1970s. Or you can just do a generic image search and add "source:life" to the search string, and it will look only in the Life archives.

I find the older pictures to be especially fascinating. Seeing President Lincoln standing in front of a tent at Antietam in 1862 or Red Cross founder Clara Barton seated next to an ornate clock, wearing a dress with a hoop skirt several feet in diameter, is a window on another time. The people were like us in many ways, but their lives were very different. Technology changes the way we live, but not who we are.

The amazing thing, when you think about it, is how brief our "modern" period really has been. Automobiles, for instance, have only been around and in common use for about a century. My father is 70 years old, and has been around for about 70% of the era of the car. His father was born in 1911, at a time when the horse was still the main mode of transportation for most people; if they were going to travel long distances, it would be by train. Within his lifetime, Man walked on the Moon and sent probes to other planets in the solar system, most people owned automobiles and had flown on airplanes for long-distance trips.

And yet, our photographic archives only go back a century and a half. We have photographs of Lincoln and all subsequent American presidents, but if you want to see what George Washington looked like, you have to depend on the skills of portrait artists. So if you, like me, find the old pictures interesting, feel free to sift through those vintage images of the past.


Every Silver Cloud...

This morning, while driving into town to get my car serviced, I saw that the price of gasoline at some stations had dropped below $2.00 per gallon. Considering that less than three months ago, we saw gasoline at $4.00 per gallon, it seems so cheap that it's like it's almost free. My advice is to enjoy this while we can, because it probably won't last.

To continue the mangled figure of speech in the title, every silver cloud has a dark lining. While we all celebrate the fact that we're going to be sending less money to countries that don't like us much as long as gasoline is cheap by recent historical standards, we should look at the flip side: Those same countries that derive much of their income from oil sales, such as Iran, Russia and Venezuela, will be having less money coming into their coffers. Combine that with the worldwide economic downturn and there could be a rather dangerous situation if one of those unfriendly regimes gets into a desperate financial situation.

On the other hand, if the repo guys show up in Iran to take back the centrifuges that the mullahs can no longer afford to pay for, well, that would be pretty good.


Not All Racists Wear White Sheets

Sometimes they wear "Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks." (via Instapundit)
A number of Rod 2.0 and Jasmyne Cannick readers report being subjected to taunts, threats and racist abuse at last night's marriage equality rally in Los Angeles.

Geoffrey, a student at UCLA and regular Rod 2.0 reader, joined the massive protest outside the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Westwood. Geoffrey was called the n-word at least twice.

It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU N-----, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a F-----, I will call you a n-----. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple...me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the n-----s better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.
I read this disturbing story and thought about it for a while. It seems that even among the groups that have been most in favor of teaching "tolerance," the lesson still hasn't sunk in for everyone. "Tolerance" for thee, but not for me. But it didn't take long for me to figure out why these people felt so much anger against black voters. Let me explain:

The current incarnation of the Democrat party is based on identity group politics. Various minority groups who believe that they are "victims" of America's society have banded together to act in concert, believing that they will be stronger together than separately. This is the lesson of the fasces: Each of the sticks can be easily broken, but when you bundle them together, they are unbreakable.

The anger among the gays against the blacks who voted against same-sex marriage in California is because they see those voters as having unbundled themselves from the fasces for their own convenience: They welshed on the unwritten agreement that Democrats vote together as a group, "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." Sure, they're mad at the Mormons and Catholics and fundamentalist Christians and Republicans who voted for Prop 8, but most of those people were not their allies in the Democrat party in the first place. With blacks, however, it's different: "Hey, I scratched your back, I voted for Obama! And now you don't support me?" No wonder there was such incoherent anger.


Trouble In Paradise?

Already? Apparently.

Obama campaign workers angry over unpaid wages
Indianapolis - Lines were long and tempers flared Wednesday not to vote but to get paid for canvassing for Barack Obama. Several hundred people are still waiting to get their pay for last-minute campaigning. Police were called to the Obama campaign office on North Meridian Street downtown to control the crowd.

The line was long and the crowd was angry at times.

"I want my money today! It's my money. I want it right now!" yelled one former campaign worker.

This illustrates the problems that President Obama will have with his supporters. They have very high expectations built up. They want what they have coming to them, and they "want it right now!" Patience may be a virtue, but it's not one of theirs.

Some people weren't satisfied with filling out a claim form for money they felt was still due to them.

"They say that they gonna call you or they going to mail it to you, but I don't know. We'll see what happens," said Antron Grose.

"Talking about they'll mail it to us. I ain't worried about that, man. They're not going to mail nothin'," said Martin.

For people who canvassed for and elected a man running on "Hope," they certainly seem lacking in it.


And Yet...

Bill Whittle speaks eloquently for me at National Review Online:

When he is inaugurated, President Obama will be my president. He cannot be otherwise. I will disagree with him at just about every turn, in all likelihood, and that is my right and duty as an American. However, in an emergency he will have my unqualified support, and I will always wish him wisdom and hope that he may do what is best for this great country of ours. I do not wish — I do not ever wish — to see my country suffer so that I may gain political leverage. If at this same time four years from now, President Obama has acted in such a way as to make us safer, and more prosperous and free, it will be my greatest pleasure to admit I was wrong about the man. I look forward to that day. I hope to see it come to pass.

Amen, brother. Amen.

Dems: Blacks vs. Gays?

I saw from a post at NRO's "The Corner" that California's Proposition 8, which would ban gay marriage in that state, is winning by a 52-48 margin with 92% of precincts reporting. California is one of three states in the country where gay marriage was legalized by the courts. It seems that white voters voted against the amendment by a 53-47 margin, but black voters (who were 10% of the electorate on that issue) voted for it by a 70-30 margin.

What is the fallout going to be if Prop 8 passes because of the overwhelming black turnout for Barack Obama? Blacks and gays are two of the Democrats' most reliable constituencies, and yet here are the black voters raining on the gay voters' parade. This may be a microcosm of some of the conflicting interests of Democrat constituencies in the days and weeks to come. There will be some sharp elbows and sharp knives as the Dems fight among themselves for the spoils of victory.


A few comments about yesterday's election results and predictions for the future, before my freedom of speech gets redefined and banned as hate speech:

Last night's theme music was R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)."

Well, America, you've decided to give the keys to the liquor cabinet and the Ferrari to your teenager. Figuratively speaking, of course. I hope your insurance premiums are paid up.

Prediction #1: 2009 will be the Summer of Obummer. The term "Obummer!" will enter the national lexicon as President Obama does things that will disappoint or anger those who voted for him.

"My electric bill doubled last month after Obama signed the Cap-and-Trade Laws!"
"Obummer, man!"

"My kid has to do 100 hours of community service in the Obama Youth!"
"That's an Obummer!"

"I lost my job when Obama raised the taxes on my boss and he had to cut back on personnel."
"Wow, what an Obummer!"

"Obama said I was going to get a tax cut, but now my taxes are going up even more than under Bush!"

Prediction #2: By May Day, which will mark the end of Obama's first hundred days, his popularity will fall below 50% and will never go back over that mark for the rest of his presidency, unless there is a terrorist attack that causes the nation to rally around him temporarily.

Prediction #3: Campaign finance reform is dead. No presidential candidate will ever again take public financing.

Prediction #4: I saw Jesse Jackson crying at the Obama victory speech last night. It wasn't "smiling-through-the-tears" crying, though. He looked like his dog had just died. I think the reason why he didn't look happy was that people like him and Al Sharpton are out of a job. The era of the race huckster is over.

If a black man can be elected president in this country, then nobody can blame his or her own failure to succeed on racial discrimination. That crutch is gone for good, even though many will still bitterly cling to it.

Prediction #5: Vice President Joe Biden will be an endless source of amusement over the next four years.


38 Minutes

That's how long it took me to get through the line and vote this morning after the polls opened at 7:00 a.m. I got there a few minutes before that, and there were about forty people in front of me. It went a lot quicker than that line at the Sarah Palin rally!

Anyway, I've done my civic duty. I hope that you do yours as well, and think well and hard about the choices in front of you. It seems like every four years, we hear that it's the most important election of our lifetime. That may or may not be true, but it is certain that the choice America makes today will take us down one of two very different roads. I believe that a McCain presidency would at the very least do America no harm. I cannot say that about an Obama presidency. But that is a choice that the rest of you will all have to make for yourselves.


Throw Us Off the Campaign Plane, Will You?

The other day, the Obama campaign threw the reporters of three newspapers that endorsed John McCain (The New York Post, the Washington Times and the Dallas Morning News) off Obama Force One in order to make room for Jet and Essence and a documentary crew. Just a coincidence, the Obama campaign told us. Not payback, oh no. The Messiah wouldn't do something like that!

Today, the New York Post strikes back:

OBAMA 2012: FOUR YEARS LATER by Jonah Goldberg

OBAMA 2012: A TERM OF FI$CAL PAIN by Nicole Gelinas


If you think an Obama administration is going to be all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, with everyone getting tax cuts and a pony, you won't want to read those articles. If you're a little skeptical and still undecided... Well, it's your time, and your choice.

Recycled Sip Endorses McCain-Palin

I'm sure that shocks you.

For me, it's not a difficult choice. We know who John McCain is. If elected, he would be a competent president for the next four years. And I like Sarah Palin; I don't buy into all the crap that the MSM has tried to spoon-feed us about her being an idiotic rube. McCain was not my first choice in the primaries, or my second choice, but I'll vote for him as being far preferable to the alternative.

However, at this point, unless the polls are completely off (a distinct possibility), the American people are about to elect a man that we know next to nothing about, and who the MSM has not investigated or vetted; indeed, they have deliberately closed their eyes and avoided reporting anything that might have kept him from being nominated by the Democrats.

Barack Obama is a man whose resume is thin and whose hubris is colossal. He associates with far more unsavory characters than the average politician, and all of them are far left wing extremists, which tells us a lot about his character. CHARACTER MATTERS! I think that he is a very dangerous man. If America elects Barack Obama, there will be buyer's remorse very, very quickly.

America is not a socialist nation, but socialism is what we will get for the next four years from Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of their party. And you don't get a mulligan on this one if you screw it up. The next president will probably name at least two Supreme Court Justices, as well as numerous federal judges on lower courts, and those Justices will likely be on the court for decades. Obama would likely damage our country for four years, but the damage caused by his appointments could last far longer.

You have been warned. Choose wisely. And if you choose Obama, be prepared to hear "I told you so!" from me for the next four years as our country spirals down into disaster.