And then CBS spoiled it all by showing the video of her getting off the plane. I expected her to come running off the plane in a brown leather jacket and fedora, bullwhip at her side, pistol in hand in case she had to deal with a scimitar-waving terrorist. Instead, she and Chelsea walked sedately down the stairway and shook hands with dignitaries. I was expecting Hillariana Jones and the Last Crusade and all I got was a re-run of The Queen. Most disappointing.
I guess in this case, the fact that she was the First Lady at the time made it more difficult for her to pad her resume and get away with it, since foreign trips by the President's wife are newsworthy enough that the media actually cover them. If she had just been a garden-variety senator at the time, the networks probably wouldn't have had cameras on her to blow holes in her story. Much like the Girls Gone Wild people saying, "What do we have in the archives for this Eliot Spitzer hooker Ashley Dupre?" the networks were able to say, "What do we have in the archives for this First Lady Bosnia trip?" And in both cases, they struck gold.
With the growing ubiquity of video cameras and sites like YouTube, etc., it's going to become ever more difficult for politicians to lie and get away with it. I think that's a good thing for America, even if it's not so good for politicians.
SCENE I: A California Democratic Party office
[John Smith, a middle-aged Caucasian male, enters the room, and is greeted by precinct organizer Emily Lopez-Fong, a persun of diversity]
Emily: Good morning. May I help you?
John: Yes. My name is John Smith, and I would like to be a delegate for Hillary Clinton at the convention in Denver.
Emily: Hmmm... That might be difficult. Have you read about our affirmative action goals?
John: No, I haven't. Are those like quotas?
Emily: No, no! Quotas are prohibited! These are only goals.
John: What would happen if a state delegation fails to meet the goals?
Emily: We don't know; all we heard was Chairman Dean saying something about "Room 101." Anyway, let me go over the groups we are trying to empower. Are you Hispanic/Latino, African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander or Native American? We have goals of 26%, 16%, 9% and 1% for each of those respective groups.
John: No, I'm afraid I'm not.
Emily: That narrows it down a bit. Are you gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered? We have a 12% goal for those groups.
John: No, but sometimes I feel like I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body...
Emily: I'm sorry, Mr. Smith, but while we in the Democratic Party empathize with those who suffer from gender dysphoria, that group isn't among those in our affirmative action goals. You could suggest it to the Democratic National Committee for 2012, though. Are you under age 30?
John: No, I'm over 40.
Emily: Well, then you don't qualify under the 10% goal for the youth vote, then. Are you disabled in any way? That's another 10% goal group.
John: No, I'm healthy as a horse.
Emily: I'm sorry, Mr. Smith, but we've already met our goals for healthy, middle-aged heterosexual white males for Senator Clinton's delegation. Now, we could use you for Senator Obama's delegation, since we're having trouble finding people from your demographic group for him...
John: No, I want to support Hillary!
Emily: Well, would you be willing to get something amputated? Then you'd qualify as disabled and we'd meet our goal...
SCENE II: The Democratic National Convention, Denver
[In the center of the California delegation, we see John Smith, who is now missing his right arm, holding up a sign that says "I Gave My Right Arm To Support Hillary Clinton!"]
"Some get the knife, some get the gun,
"And some get to die in their sleep,
"At the age of a hundred-and-one."
-- Warren Zevon, "Life'll Kill Ya," Life'll Kill Ya, 2000
You may have seen the story about the unfortunate woman from Michigan who died in the Florida Keys the other day when she was out boating with her family and an eagle ray jumped out of the water, hitting her in the face and killing both the woman and the ray. It's like a lot of the crazy ways that people get killed when they're unlucky enough to be in just the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. In this case, it was a matter of physics: A person moving through the water at 25 miles per hour and having her face suddenly come into contact with a 75 pound object is going to die immediately from blunt force trauma to her head. Judy Kay Zagorski, 55, had no chance, because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Multiple skull fractures, brain injury, death. Or as we said back in my military days: "S.O.L. -- Shit Outta Luck."
And even if the ray had been slightly lower and hit her in the chest instead of the head, she still probably would have been killed, since the blunt trauma would likely have shattered her rib cage and cause cardiac arrest. When you hit an object of that mass at that velocity, there are no good outcomes. Sometimes, you're just screwed, no matter what you do.
We all carry within ourselves the seeds of our own destruction. Most of us will die from heart disease, cancer, pneumonia, or various other organ malfunctions, if accidents or homicide don't get us first. We are all mortal, and our genetic makeup and our lifestyle choices will probably determine the cause of our eventual demise. If you're fortunate, you'll go fast. If not, you'll linger, and you'll envy the people like Ms. Zagorski who check out quickly.
In Warren's case, he got one of the "awful, awful diseases": Mesothelioma. He died on September 7, 2003. But I commend his music to you, my friends. He's gone, but the music lives on. And you could listen to a whole lot worse. If you're unfamiliar with his work, start with this: Genius. If you like it, consider going more in-depth. I have to say, I liked his version of "Raspberry Beret" (with the Hindu Love Gods) even better than Prince's. But that's just me; you'll have to make up your own mind about that.
So what was this obscure CD? Something on a vintage indie label? Well, no. It was Folkways: A Vision Shared - A Tribute To Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly from 1988 on CBS Records. The lists of artists is a veritable musical Who's Who: Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, U2, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Little Richard with Fishbone, Arlo Guthrie, Brian Wilson, Pete Seeger, Taj Mahal, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and two tracks from Bruce Springsteen, "Vigilante Man" and "I Ain't Got No Home."
As anyone who is familiar with Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly would know, the songs are heavy with social commentary on Depression-Era America. It was a hard time, and the songs reflect it. Much of the music is spare and acoustic, with the songs "Jesus Christ" by U2 and the incandescent version of "Rock Island Line" by Little Richard with Fishbone being notable exceptions. The latter song is worth the price of the disc all by itself.
It is out of print, alas, but is available through Amazon.com via third-party sellers.
Sex-For-Gas Offer Ends In Stabbing
MESA, Ariz. -- An east Valley woman who bartered sex for gas money ended up stabbing her victim while partially severing her finger, Maricopa County sheriff's deputies said.In another version of the story, however, the man tells a very different tale:
Kelli Still, 43, was arrested by deputies, transported to the Fourth Avenue Jail and charged with aggravated assault with a weapon.
With gas prices soaring, Still bartered oral sex for gas money with a male acquaintance over the weekend, deputies said.
The encounter did not result in a contractual sex act but an aggravated assault when the woman pulled out a pair of scissors and began attacking the man, according to deputies.
Michael Hamilton suffered numerous stab wounds to the face and chest, sheriff's investigators said.
Still also suffered wounds from the scissor attack, deputies said.When authorities arrived at the residence in Mesa, both people were covered in blood.
Still told deputies the fight was a result of a sex-for-gas contract gone bad.
Hamilton disputes the deputies’ account of the assault. He has visible stab wounds under his right eye and on the back of his head. Hamilton says he did not know Still. He added that she appeared at the house, let herself in and grabbed his wallet. She emerged from the house a pair of scissors in her hand and a fight ensued. Puddles of blood remain visible on his driveway.Hmmm... I would guess that her version of the story is closer to the truth, and that he made some kind of crude comment about how unattractive she was, which brought on the attack with the scissors. Some times you're better off celibate.
So what sort of salacious story do we have today? Well, another New York governor has admitted to having an affair, and his wife has admitted to affairs of her own as well. Who? Why, the freshly-minted Governor David Paterson, who was only sworn into office at 1 p.m. yesterday afternoon. Seems that Gov. Paterson and his wife were having marital problems several years back and separated for a while. During that time, well, hey, people have needs! Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, etc. But knowing that the story would come out eventually, they just came out and admitted their past missteps, figuring that doing it themselves preemptively would defuse the story. And hey, everybody's doing it, right?
No news from Connecticut, Pennsylvania or any other northeastern states yet, but hey, it's only Tuesday. And now that the ball's back in New Jersey's court, hey, anything could happen!
I checked a friend's blog yesterday afternoon to see if she had posted anything new (she hadn't). However, I did note that there was a new comment on a two-week-old post, so I read it. My friend has another blog in which she writes about books, and the comment was somewhat related to that:
Well, I gave that last line the same treatment a major league baseball player would give a hanging slider over the middle of the plate:
Hey, just an FYI...looks like we're getting dissed...
Book readers of the world...unite! ;)Posted by zonker at March 13, 2008 08:37 AM
Upper deck grand slam. Goodbye, Mr. Spalding!
"You have nothing to lose but your Barnes & Noble, Borders and Waldenbooks!"
Sorry, comrades, couldn't resist!Posted by Clyde at March 13, 2008 02:59 PM
Unfortunately, Ms. Ferraro doesn't understand the Democrat politics of victimhood as well as she should. If Obama was a woman of color, the nomination would already be sewn up, because then both blacks AND women would be voting for him (or in this hypothetical case, her).
You see, the politics of victimhood assigns people to one of two groups: Victims and oppressors. Victimhood is cumulative: The more victim groups one belongs to, the greater one's personal victimhood and the greater the merit that accrues to that person (and the amount of restitution that is owed to that person by oppressor groups, and by association, the government).
The big debate within Democrat circles is over which group has the claim to greater victimhood: Blacks or women. If either candidate was a member of both of those groups, there would be no argument, and having won the victimhood sweepstakes, the candidate would sweep to coronation in Denver. But since Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton can only lay claim to one victim group each, the race remains close.
So who are the victims and who are the oppressors?
Blacks, Hispanics, Asians
Speakers of other languages
Muslims, Other non-Western religions, Atheists
* - Note that Jews who support Israel are not considered to be victims and are, instead, oppressors.
And then I read a story at Gateway Pundit that topped the Spitzer mess: Another Prostitution Ring Busted... Tehran Police Chief Caught in Bed With 6 Hookers
Dude! Six prostitutes! Eliot Spitzer has nothing on him! Either he has superhuman stamina or his eyes were bigger than his stomach... or other applicable organ. I won't make any off-color comments having to do with "Persian carpets," much as I might like to.
I suspect it looked something like this:
As a prosecutor, Gov. Spitzer was known to be a self-righteous sanctimonious crusader against fraud, corruption and vice, making many enemies in the process. Now, we learn that under his squeaky clean facade, he was involved in the same sort of activities that he had prosecuted with such relish. And while people may forgive a man for getting caught paying for sexual favors, they won't forgive hypocrisy of this magnitude.
Gov. Spitzer apparently felt that the law didn't apply to him, or that at the very least, that he was so smart that he wouldn't get caught. Unfortunately for him, the large amounts of money he was moving, which fell just short of the $10,000 level required to be reported by banks to the government, still managed to draw the attention of the bank, the IRS and the FBI. It was then only a matter of time until the dark secrets came to light.
I don't feel sorry for Gov. Spitzer. He brought this on himself, and the harsh way that he treated other people is going to rebound on him in this matter. I did feel sorry for his wife, Silda, at yesterday's press conference, though. I saw her standing stone-faced at his side and I really felt kind of bad about what her husband had put her through. She certainly didn't deserve to be put in that situation. It's always the cuckolded spouse (usually the wife, although sometimes the husband) and the children that are the innocent victims in a case like this.
One thing's for sure: That was some very expensive extra-marital activity. He managed to dicker (oops, perhaps that's the wrong word) the rate down from $5500 to $4300, but still, it turned out to be no bargain. There's a lot of schadenfreude on the streets of New York today among Gov. Spitzer's enemies. The moralistic crusader is shown to be a hypocrite, a whited sepulcher hiding interior corruption.
The Medford Mail-Tribune chose a most unfortunate picture of Ms. Paré Miller (see link) to illustrate their story. Then again, smiling pictures are so bourgeois!
Ashland High School senior Colette Paré Miller will show her abstract paintings of the male and female genitalia at tonight's First Friday art walk, but they will be in a separate room and manned by a monitor to make sure children can't see them.
Saying they were not appropriate for students to view, Ashland School District officials insisted the large abstract works should be away from the public viewing area of student art at the Briscoe Art Wing in the former Briscoe Elementary School, which the district leases out to artists.
"When I painted them in class, there was as positive reaction. People thought they were beautiful," said Miller. "I don't think they are pornographic. They have all those colors. I didn't do them to scare anyone, but I did want to paint something controversial. I wanted people to be able to understand that a taboo subject can be presented in a beautiful way."Miller said her approach to the paintings is inspired by the American artist Georgia O'Keefe and is intended to "make people freak out in a beautiful way with subject matter they're obviously not comfortable with." She didn't think small children, if they did recognize the abstract images, would "have a problem" with it — and that while such art might be a problem in other places, "I thought Ashland would be encouraging, because it's open to all art forms and creativity."
There were three pages of comments about the article, and my favorite was the one that said something to the effect of "What's the difference between art and porn? A government grant." Or perhaps it's just flaccid vs. tumescent (the article doesn't note the state of the abstractions).
One thing's for sure: Ms. Paré Miller has learned that taboo subjects create controversy, and controversy draws attention, and in the end, it doesn't matter what people say about you as long as they are talking about you and spelling your name right.
A gunman in Thailand shot-dead eight neighbours, including his brother-in-law, after tiring of their karaoke versions of popular songs, including John Denver’s "Country Roads."
Weenus Chumkamnerd, 52, put his gun to the head of a respected female doctor and seven of her guests as they partied at her home in Songkhla Province, South Thailand.
"When I began shooting nobody pleaded for his life because they were all drunk," he said after his arrest.
He said he was so furious with their awful singing that he did not notice he had murdered his own brother-in-law.
"I warned these people about their noisy karaoke parties. I said if they carried on I would go down and shoot them. I had told them if I couldn’t talk sense into them I would come back and finish them off," he added.
Mr Chumkamnerd, who works as a rubber tapper, was arrested after going on the run after his killing spree in the town of Hat Yai, near the Malaysian border.
Hey, if you were a 52-year-old guy named Weenus who worked as a rubber tapper, you'd probably be ready to blow up, too.
And you thought Simon Cowell was a tough judge!
Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.) returned to the diversity question. "You brought 10 staff people with you," he said, "all white males. . . . But I hope you've got more diversity in your staff than is reflected here. Please reassure me that is the case."I guess that it wouldn't have been good for Chertoff to follow the example of Reagan-era Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt (no relation, I'm sure, to Congressman Watt of North Carolina), who famously lost his job after noting the diversity of his staff by saying, "I have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent."
"I think that is definitely the case," Chertoff said.
"Okay," Watt said, and appeared to begin moving to another question.
But Chertoff continued: "I wouldn't assume that the ethnic background of everybody behind me is self-evident."
Watt replied: "I wouldn't assume the ethnic background of everybody behind you is self-evident, but I think I know an African American when I see one. . . . If anyone wants to stand up and volunteer and tell me they are an African American, I hope they will do that right now."
No one stood. Some in the audience began laughing.
"If anybody is a female that's sitting back there and wants to stand up and volunteer to tell me that," Watt continued, "I hope they will do that right now. And I want the record to show clearly that nobody stood up to volunteer in either one of those categories.
"So if you want to make that point and be cute about it," Watt said, "let me be explicit about it. . . . If we are going to do law enforcement in this country . . . we need to understand that there is an element of diversity in our country that is not represented here."
No, that wouldn't have gone over well at all.
The WaPo article continues:
"She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything." Though Power had tried to withdraw the remark, it occurred during an on-the-record interview."That is off the record." Unfortunately, just slipping that in after a faux pas in an on-the-record interview doesn't make it "off-the-record."
"You just look at her and think: ergh. But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."
But the funniest part was yet to come. Ms. Power apologized by saying:
"These comments do not reflect my feelings about Sen. Clinton, whose leadership and public service I have long admired.”Puh-leeze! If those comments do not reflect her feelings about Sen. Clinton, then why did she make them? The truth is that she said exactly what she felt about Sen. Clinton, and she is not alone in those feelings. Does she really expect anyone to believe that she said something in an unguarded moment that she didn't really think? Come on, Samantha! I was born at night, but not LAST night!
UPDATE 03/07/2008 7:47 p.m.: Make that "ex-campaign adviser," as Ms. Power resigned her position today. Having read some of her foreign policy views, I'm not sad to see her go, not that I was going to vote for her candidate anyway.
If I was running Israel, I would obliterate a square mile of Gaza with artillery for every rocket fired into Israel, with a small amount of warning given of the location to be destroyed so that the noncombatants could flee, if they chose to do so. And I'd keep blowing up a square mile of Gaza for each rocket fired until either the rockets stopped coming or Gaza was nothing but rubble. There aren't that many square miles of Gaza anyway, so it wouldn't take too long for the Palestinians to get the point.
Unfortunately, the Israelis are far too soft-hearted to do something like that, so they'll keep taking casualties from rockets being fired by Palestinian terrorists. Sometimes, you have to say, "If it comes down to either us or them surviving, I'm picking us. To hell with them." And it's much easier to say that about terrorists and their enablers.
You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.
And don't even get me started about the foolishness of Condi Rice flitting around the Middle East trying to keep the "peace process" going. Newsflash, Secretary Rice: THERE IS NO "PEACE PROCESS" BECAUSE THERE IS NO DESIRE FOR "PEACE" FROM THE PALESTINIANS. Israel cannot make "peace" with a neighbor whose citizens repeatedly commit terrorist acts. And if they have to give Gaza the "Carthage treatment," well, there are still plenty of Palestinians in the West Bank. It's not like they're an endangered species or anything like that.
The picture was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, at a distance of 142 million kilometers (88 million miles) from Earth. Be sure to click on the picture to see the larger version of the picture.
The article answers one burning question for us, anyway: When do people go from being informed to being ignorant? The answer appears to be "somewhere between 5th grade and high school," since the youngsters are able to run rings around adults on shows like "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" but by the time they reach high school, they know next-to-nothing about history or literature.
As Goldstein notes:
The test posed a series of questions whose answers even the slowest-witted high-schoolers might reasonably be expected to know. But only one question (Who gave the "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963?, Page 3), yielded the correct response on a near-unanimous basis (97 percent). Only 61 percent knew what the Renaissance was (Page 2), and only half knew why the Federalist papers were written (Page 3). Fewer than half knew when the Civil War was fought (see below). And this test was multiple-choice!The Slate article has five pages worth of the questions, with the answers marked. Well, what kind of a challenge is that? If you want to find out if you're smarter than a high schooler, here is the link to the test from Common Core (.pdf file).
Note: I thought #11 was a trick question, as the guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press are indeed in the Bill of Rights, but since that is a part of the Constitution, I think that both of those answers should be considered correct. The only one that I wouldn't have known the answer for was the Ralph Ellison book, which I never read. I probably still could have guessed the right answer by eliminating others like Soul On Ice. I'll give myself credit for 32 of 33.
The polls give Hillary the edge in Ohio but Obama a very slight edge in Texas. It's unlikely that Hillary will be able to make huge gains in her delegate deficit, though, since the way the delegates are assigned is somewhat arcane. It's possible that she could win the popular vote in Texas and still get fewer delegates than Obama.
My guess: The polls are close to accurate, Hillary gets a split in the two states, gains a few delegates and decides to soldier on through the Pennsylvania primary, saying that the failure of Obama to get landslide victories in both states shows that there is still some uncertainty out there about who the Democrats want to represent their party in November. If Hillary loses both Ohio and Texas, then I think she's toast.