Friday, December 26, 2008

Ave Maria (Gounod/Bach)

This is my musical gift to my friends this year.

It is a vocal, guitar, string arrangement of Gounod/Bach's Ave Maria.

UPDATE: This is the choral version (lots of voices).

Merry Christmas! I love you all very much.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pickin' At Dads

Christmas is for music. Americana in the back bedroom without prose or professionals. Real folk is real folk. :-)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jon Taplin's America 3.0 Presentation

Below I've embedded the You Tube presentation by Jon Taplin of his ideas on America 3.0. I recommend it for understanding the economic crises and some potential approaches to resolving these crises. I differ with Tap on some of the details.

1. Innovation is bred not invented. It is a cultural change problem to pick the right cultures at the right time and it is a funding issue as to what conditions must be met to receive funding. In my opinion, California is emblematic of the culture of consumerism and politically lacks the will to adjust its own lifestyle enough to warrant massive block grants. In short, if the automakers have to drive to DC with a plan in hand, California's governor will have to do the same and he shouldn't drive a Hummer. Tap is an unconditional cheerleader for the California Culture. I admit the need for lobbying for one's own but do be do be doo.

2. While the ideas of bottom-up open source America Needs A New Operating system are attractive to the geek in me, I am mistrustful of such metaphors in the details. Policies have to see to details or we will quickly devolve into another Spy Vs Spy episode where one power elite is substituted for a power elite. Nothing changes but the flow of wealth among two competing classes at the same level. In short, meet the new boss.

Let me give you one example. Standards are one of the means by which innovation is shared, but too often, covertly or openly, one of the means by which companies dominate and deny the commons what it needs to sustain itself: access to market.

How does that work? Company A receives a PAS standard for a platform with licensable plugins. Company A then requires all companies submitting the information for applying for the license to include relevant standards used to create the plugin. Company B submits required information including the fact that the plugin is based on standards approved by the same standards organization that provided the PAS. Company A rejects the license application renewal for an application that was approved one year prior minus the information about the standard used by the plugin citing that the plugin implements a technology that is competitive with Company A's technology in the same market.

One year earlier, that was Ok. One year later with the additional information, it is not.

That's cynical? It won't happen.

It did in a soon to be famous case where a proprietary specification was allowed to become an international standard. A very powerful company (NO, it wasn't Microsoft) then denied licenses exactly as described.

Before the power and credibility of the White House are dragged into the internal marketing politics of these companies and market cartels, policies must be clearer as to what can be claimed and what recourses third parties have in the face of exclusionary actions. If we are to use Federal power to drive innovation, we must first set policy for the intellectual property, how it is shared or licensed, and we must ensure that the elite cultivar chosen can suitably be rehosted or replanted in cultures different from that of the original. Otherwise we are completing the branded homogenization of America into a mall where only the bigger brands compete.

I have a few other minor quibbles with Tap's presentation, but in the main he has done an excellent job of outlining the history of economic collapse and pointing to reasonable actions. The devil is in the details and that is what we should be discussing.

Do take the time to watch his presentation.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oh Happy Day

When very young, I played at the church coffee house, in the youth choir, and sweated in a too tight tie in an unairconditioned block building that was our church. As the folk-rock movement blended into those sounds, I was a comfortable kid music wise. With the Beatles and the Causes du Jour, I drifted away and then found myself like so many not liking country and not wanting to hang out and sing church music.

I don't think it ironic but strangely twisted that this year I find that in the next week, on Sunday during the traditional service, the choir will perform one of my new choral works (Epiphany), and that night, I'll perform my new contemporary work with the praise band. There are definite pluses. One, church musicians are better trained and nowhere near the level of arrogance of my old nightclub band mates. Two, they work for free so getting three guitars, drums, bass, piano, keyboards and a horn stack with four background screamers (ah, the good old days of the Motown sound) is reasonable without midi. I get to play the 12-string Rickenbacker stopping occasionally to hold my hand over my head and direct the other singers while I close my eyes and do my best Elvis voice with real musicians. Kitsch with class.

So the Byrds Meet Chicago In Memphis is not a bad sound for a praise song (The Gift). They play the arrangement the way I wrote it without complaint, in fact, with a grateful enthusiasm which is a big contrast from the band days. There is my son on horn, my wife leading the screamers, and me up front. Next time I'll write a marimba part for my daughter because asking her to play tambourine after many years of percussion lessons, well, that would be like handling a ukelele to Eric Clapton. He might play it but then he might not tune it first.

In traditional, I get a choir, a wind section with clarinets, flute and french horn, a bass guitar, a classical pianist and a director. They read the contrapuntal parts, comment on the simplicity and young ladies tell me how much they like the part I wrote for their instrument. I am referred to as The Composer instead of the songwriter. All I have to do is watch, listen, then stand up and bow at the end. Big juju.

And for both, the audience is guaranteed.

Next week, as recompense, I will be the "Special Music" at the traditional service, meaning it's just me and a nylon string singing Gounod's Ave Maria in Latin. It's a nice piece because the Ave Maria text fits the Gounod/Bach melody much better than with the Schubert which is a pretty melody but not originally written for the Ave Maria text. It's easy to play and a study in how to use diminished chords to change the tonal center without changing the key. It isn't easy to sing but that's why God gave me a falsetto.

So this is all pretty cool. I get to stretch in every direction but one: I dare not speak for as my daughter tells me and others, "Dad will open his mouth one day and we'll all get thrown out of church." And she's right. My sense of humor has no place in the congregation. "Ya shag one goat, ya know!"

But I'm glad, awfully glad for this week. Maybe it's worth my failure as a performer and after a lifetime of music, only making second rate. At least when I do these gigs, I rate, and at best, it's for a greater glory than my own.

I'm cool with that. Oh happy days.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Dirty Deeds

The scene in Mumbai though terrible is all too familiar to those who live there according to my Indian colleagues. They mourn openly and deeply.

While the pundits analyze and try to make the connections to the usual suspects, I recommend a BBC piece.

As I read some blogs, I find the also familiar comments attempting to tie the attacks back to American foreign policy. Sadly, this makes the critics of those the very people who ensure this attack will be followed by another through providing the exact reactions the killers want and the cycle is guaranteed to continue. I'm not excusing American foreign policy mistakes, but asking if those tieing the attacks to America are completing the attacks?

It’s astonishing to consider an ecosystem of call and response where if they provide the bodies, we’ll provide the reasons. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Power of the Word

All of the best times in my life began with the word, "Yes."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Wounded Bride (from The Book of Hosea)

This was written for a service last Sunday morning taken from the Book of Hosea. As our assistant minister pointed out, the books of the prophets are little read but have a lot to recommend them. Prophets are not soothsayers in the Old Testament. They are reflectors of God's thoughts among us. Hosea was given a particularly tough assignment. I will set this to music eventually, but the piece that follows is appropriate.

The Wounded Bride (from The Book of Hosea)

At morning light
A trumpet blows
Answering the heavens
Dark and thundering skies
Are giving birth
He has torn you
That he may heal you
Strikes you down
That he may bind you
Comes to you in rain
To water Earth

Oh how he loves you
Oh how he loves you
Faithfulness and love abide
Hold to his goodness
Grace and forgiveness
This is the promise made
To the wounded bride

Dew rises from the flowers
First fruit of the tree
Like a bird
Our glory flies away
The door of hope is open wide
In a wilderness of pride
Crying to the mountains
Cover me

Oh how he loves you
Oh how he loves you
Faithfulness and love abide
Hold to his goodness
Grace and forgiveness
This is the promise made
To the wounded bride

len bullard - Nov 15 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be

Charles Cooper at CNet objects to the founder of Word Perfect contributing $1 million in private funds to groups who fought Proposition 8 in California. His argument comes down to "You are a Utah Mormon. Butt out of California's business."

There are two points to make before going further:

1. There is a determined effort to make this a campaign against the Mormons in some quarters even if Charlie is being subtle about that.

2. There is a willful effort to ignore that minority voting, specifically blacks and hispanics, is responsible for the proposition's success. Charlie is ignoring that altogether.

One could say this is demographic gerrymandering without too many reasonable objections. However one argues it, the gay community is once again discovering that the political coalitions it tries to become part of by claiming similar cause have a nasty habit of throwing them under the bus post-election. Caveat emptor.

All of that said, my opinion, FWIW as a heterosexual, is as follows:

1. The root legal problem is granting state authority to church institutions to perform civil unions. ('by the power vested in me by the State of...').

2. The root social problem is conflating a legal union with a sacred union.

The legal way out of this is to enforce separation of church and state by Federal statute. Churches should not have the vested power to perform legal unions (civil ceremonies) and the state does not have the power over performance of sacred unions (marriage). Persons desiring both civil and sacred unions are obligated to obtain them from the authorities entitled. The State is obligated to grant civil unions to those who are breaking no other laws. The church has full discretion over those to whom sacred unions are granted as they are currently (you discover a church is not obligated to perform a heterosexual marriage today if the couple violates the tenets of the church including membership or any other criteria the church imposes).

That part of this argument IS a Federal, not a State concern. Full stop.

As to the acceptance of gay behavior, history gives all the insight you need there. You'll find repeating behaviors that span recorded history and no evidence that the behaviors change in terms of evolutionary development. Do the best you can.

One more question for Charlie. You object to the private contribution of someone outside of your state into an issue which you assert is your State's to decide. Fair enough.

Should a State or other entity such as a company have the right to enforce social issues over other states or entities as a pre-condition of entering into a contract with that state or entity?

That is done now by California and Oregon and companies such as Microsoft.

Is it the same issue and if so, why doesn't that attract your attention?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hang 'em High

I watched some of the ABC interview with William Ayers this morning. It is seldom I've seen such a self-serving bit of misdirection and semantic thuggery: or what it is, lieing.

Ayers skips around the central tenet of blind justice; it is the act not the end that is judged. However high toned his morality in describing his youthful indiscretion, the acts of the Weather Underground are precisely the same as the acts of the 16th Street Church bombers in Birmingham. Those men were brought to justice for a heinous crime. William Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn should be meted out the same. We are a nation of laws, not privilege, and he and his corrupt the very values they espouse.

Hang 'em high.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Circling Coyotes

Jon Taplin and his friends and I go round about some issues political and cultural, but make no mistake, Tap knows his economics. He has a very good blog up today discussing Paulson's new epiphany.

If you have friends who have friends, pass this on.

For the sake of friendship, here are gauzy moments for certain old men who when they were young loved her songs in chevron flight. Love is still the sweet antidote to bitterness because a good wine kept well doesn't become vinegar.

The first is the only Joni Mitchell tune I performed. Simpler, plaintive, and somehow a mirror of my mood then and now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stuck In The Middle With You

As the rage machine keeps firing itself up with old stereotypes and burning new scarecrows, here's a pause for the cause.

The pundits talk about Open Source as a new model for bottom up development of government. It's a bad idea because a) government is top-down by definition even if local and b) government didn't fail, the law did.

Some say we had too many regulations. Some say we didn't have enough. I say it is bad regulations and ineffective proof.

What if to write a new regulation two law makers were required to sit side by side and as one wrote the proposed regulation the other wrote the test that would fail if the regulation failed?

What about pair programming and test-driven design for regulatory law?

Who's That Lady

Today the left wing bloggers who are not attacking Sarah Palin are laying out a strategy to attack the last bastion of conservatism and noObamians: the American South. It seems they need a scarecrow and the white southerners, racists all or so it is blogged, are the new one. They fear a Southern rebellion against the New Boss and a reigniting of conservative philosophy. It isn't happening but it is the devil of their dreams.

It is the hallmark of the inexperienced politico to fight the last war instead of the next one. 2012 will be about The Wrath of Women not so concerned with political power, but who will not consider a declining lifestyle a necessary sacrifice, just an importuning arrogance by a new elite. Wrath isn't an ideology.

Nothing changed. Palin will have a rich vein of resentment to tap in 2012 and Hillary Clinton, who subborned herself to Obama, won't be able to make that trick work. On the other hand, four years is a long time and just as many Democrats fled to the Republicans in 2000 (eg, Senator Shelby), allegiances will be shifting and some unpredictably. The catastrophe of the Obama election for the gay community is but one example of a part of the Obama coalition already feeling the pain of having disregarded the realities of identity politics in the fine print.

The Republican Party will not be revitalized by a surge of the core values of the last 25 years, but a new set of values emerging from a new coalition of voters who find themselves mystified by a wealthy elite of technocrats who insist everyone can't live in the Emerald City but the unworthy can certainly pay taxes to it. If the Republicans want to make a comeback, they need a transparent plan that is neither punitive nor exclusive.

Rome did not fall because it was corrupt; it fell because it failed to produce anything of value except new laws for the provinces.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lady Godiva

It seems the Democrats and the media are determined to provide Governor Sarah Palin with a mighty powerful career in national politics. The pounding continues perhaps because with the election over and no reasonable alternative for placing the rage, Palin is the scarecrow. One of the frequent criticisms is she is a beauty queen. I decided to find out if beauty queens are dumb broads who fade away with their crowns. Here is a short list of women who were beauty queen winners before they went on to other careers:

1. Oprah Winfrey - 1971 Miss Fire Prevention and Miss Black Tennessee

2. Vanessa Williams - Miss America

3. Jeri Ryan - Miss Illinois

4. Halle Berry - Miss Teen All American, Miss Ohio-USA, and first runner-up to Miss USA

5. Diane Sawyer - America Junior Miss

Not a bad start to a much longer list. It seems we place a high value on being able to survive the paegeant process. Good luck, Sarah!

Hayley Westenra

Here is someone new to my listening list: Hayley Westenra. She's a kiwi with a beautiful voice and face.

These selections are evocative for me spiritually and personally. It is a pitch perfect rendition of Ave Maria, and then a piece very few singers attempt: Kate Bush's original smash, Wuthering Heights.

Ave Maria

Wuthering Heights

Friday, November 07, 2008

Message In A Bottle

The blogs and comment lists are still crowded with the Get Even topic. Some are just now realizing that "Change" means Clinton III. I'm onboard with that. Making good use of the experienced in the Democratic Party is smart if the transition is to be smooth.

It will be hard for some to transition out of campaign rhetoric to policy making. Intense emotions are addictive as I said before. The Onion piece was funny because it is both precise and good advice. The more zealous supporters need to accept that the President-elect will be distancing himself from them unless they can start working on a more positive agenda. The Republicans will rail a bit longer but it is expected. Gently and without rancor: Proverbs 16:8 or Superbia ante casu.

Meanwhile, a young Senator is taking on a very heavy load given the drop in the market, the jobless numbers, the auto industry implosion, the sabre rattling from Russia and so on.

Change is not the mantra; S.O.S. is.

And for that load, young shoulders may be exactly the right resource.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Onion Strikes Again

Thanks to Rob Koberg for sending this. Much needed laughter.

The Onion Strikes Again!

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Longer Boats Are Coming To Win Us

Day 2 of the sigh of relief from the robocalls and the rage producing commercials. Life is good again.

There are mean streets' moments out there but they will pass.
Barack will bring us together

Actually no. We will bring ourselves together or not at all. Don't lay that on him. He will have enough to do.
I don't want no god on my lawn; just a flower I can help along.

This one was bitter to the bone. There is no magical manna from heaven to change that. We'll get back to our routines and time does the rest. If the Obama supporters want to make that happen faster, now is the time to drop the stoner rhetoric and get focused on the tasks at hand. Time spent on the Great Get Even is time and resources wasted.
Cause the soul of nobody knows how a flower grows

Bottom up systems rely on multiple individuals forming communities and topics of interest to explore problems and come up with the best alternatives. The illusion of the top is the existence of shared values that enable the goals to be selected and shared. If we want this presidency to be about change and restoring our image around the world, pick the one issue for which you have the most passion and knowledge and work with those who share it. Build a longer boat and pick a crew.
Mary dropped her pants by the sand and let a parson come and take her hand

Obama doesn't have a mandate or a landslide. He has a clean win of six points. The good news is that stops a repeat of the Bush/Gore let the lawyers decide it debacle. But be smart and realize that a) 47% thought otherwise b) the Democratic blowout of Congress didn't happen and c) the Republican Party isn't going away. Richard Nixon had a landslide and was roasted within two years.
Cause the soul of nobody knows where the parson goes.

I'm not sure if this is about change as much as getting back to being the country that works together without the demoralizing mind killing fear and paranoia of the last eight years. Look in your hearts and minds and ask if you really do put country first. If you do, drop the partisan rhetoric and pick up an oar and row.
Hold on to the shore or they'll be taking the key from the door

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Miles From Nowhere

It's good to know the endless political commercials are over. It's good to be back to watching programs about UFOs the way a kid watches cartoons. The fun can come back to living without the constant harranguing. There are some people I don't want to see for a few months but then, I don't need to. Life is good.

If there was a real loser by their own hand in the election, it is the mainstream media. Trust in them is now at the same level as Congress.

And that makes what comes next devilishly hard. We are in uncharted waters and blind as a bat.

There are very high expectations for this administration worldwide. It will be best to make the most of those while we can. I don't expect them to last and Obama won with a fragile coalition. No one really knows what he has in mind and he didn't win a filibuster proof Congress. The Democrats are now clearly in the driver's seat but unless their maps are better than what I've seen during the election, we won't know where we are going until we are there.

I've the same advice here as on Taplin's blog: bottom up systems don't work by having a master plan. They work because different people put their hand to different tasks and if they share the right values, the illusion of the top is enough to hold them together.

Otherwise, this moment of drunk exhiliration won't last to Christmas. Find the passion you have and work on that. Some will choose energy, some education, some net neutrality, some world hunger.

Some will make it the full time evisceration of Barack Obama just as the left did to Bush and the right did to the Clinton's.

And that means we go nowhere fast.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Boiling the Barbarian

This election is almost over. No doubt, a lot of people are glad about that.

I didn't support Obama.

I voted for him. I am a Democrat.

I don't like many of his positions, I think his campaign was one of the most mean spirited I've ever seen, and some of his supporters are really ready for Thorazine, but all of that aside, he's our candidate and he will have to step up to the plate now. It is time for a change.

We're a nation of adventurers and gamblers so we roll the dice with Obama and if it comes up snake eyes, we'll try again in four years with Hillary. If we can take eight years of Bush, we can take anything.

From the news:


Wow. Some of you must live in really mean neighborhoods. Here's what is going on in North Alabama:

People started lining up at 5:30 AM. When I got to the polls at 7:20, the lines were long and the cars were parked a mile away. We walked, we talked, we had a good time. In the lines, me and the two black women behind me joked about anyone hesitating inside the polling office (a church) should be immediately taken outside because after two years and a billion dollars, any one who still can't decide is not smart enough to vote.

We voted and headed out to Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, Krispy Kreme and Ben and Jerry's to get our freebies. Now it's back to work and life goes on better than before.

It's a bit of a party down here because everyone is glad it is over and glad to have the right to have our say.

America is Fabulous. Freedom to vote, freedom to be together, and free munchies. It doesn't get better than this.

So put down the bitter butter. You have your moment in the booth and then you have the rest of the day to enjoy it.

Why did I debate his supporters for months on end?

1. It was fun. Because I am a Southern White Male, I've been called names that would mean a fist fight in person. Life in the South is nothing like what the West Coasters make it out to be. After awhile, cultural stereotyping deserves a bit of nose tweaking and toe stomping. Having grown up in a town where only 15% of us were native Southerners and the rest are g---D---- Yankees who call us morons, well it becomes habitual.

Does the phrase "the pleasure of boiling the barbarian" mean anything to you?

2. Only by peering deeply into the darkness do our eyes ever open completely.

But today and for the last nine months, the blacks around me have been walking around with their heads up smiling. Today, I didn't see fear or loathing in their eyes when we joked. There was acceptance.

That can't be anything but good.

Sing it Ray! Let the good feelings wash over you.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Virtue of Selfishness

Obama says about his plans to add to the tax burden:

John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic. You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.

Since the left bloggers have been waging war on objectivism and Ayn Rand in particular, it makes sense that this would surface in Obama's speech. What it reveals is that despite his attempts to portray himself as a centrist, he is what he appears to be: a hard core radical leftist with a socialist philosophy of government and finance.

Obama says he can enrich the individual at the expense of other individuals but that is the oldest con after 'try it, you'll like it'. It only enriches the con man. When done to an eager mark, it is an act of confidence over arrogance. When done to a country simply wanting to be rid of confidence men, it is fraud against justice.

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand -

The extreme objectivist position is that if a government gives to each according to needs and takes according to abilities, a society of incapable needy emerges. Experience shows that is too extreme. What happens is the needy move to the capable and unless the capable take more, they can't give more. This is called the 'free rider' dilemma in web communities. The response is usually to close the lists to real contributors with participation agreements for intellectual property that do not harm the commons but do not enable the commons to be pillaged.

Objectivism isn't wrong. Rand overromanticized her position but behaviorally, it is correct.

Selfishness isn't virtuous but neither is theft by a powerful minority in the name of an undiscriminated majority. It is the supreme confidence game which victimizes the poor and the rich simultaneously for the good of a few who are grabbing for wealth and power. In short, it is piracy, a very democratic institution, which, by the way, is why America is a republic.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Always A Woman

The gals at ABC, Claire and Katy, are discussing with their husbands why men like Sarah Palin. The comments are like those at Taplin's blog: men are obsessed by sex.

It's a cop out as explanations go. Men are obsessed about cars but they don't want them to run the country, just the track. Yes, NASCAR is a metaphor for life.

If a man's opinion about men's opinions counts, then I know why I like Palin:

She likes men. And she doesn't apologize for it.

She stands up to the media onslaught like a beauty queen and keeps smiling. Every day her media chops get better and yet her personality remains convivial and compassionate.

She is Caribou Barbie and you know what, that's a pretty good example to follow.

In other words, she's normal. After the slutarama starting with Madonna through Pink, or the hobnailed boots approach from Joy Behar, aka, Grandma Grumpy, it is attractive to see a woman act as if being a woman was a good thing but not a special thing.

Chalk it up to minority fatigue. Fifty years of majority-be-guilty has gotten very old.

Give us a woman we can love easily and we will love them forever.

Give us an ordeal and a deal is all it will ever be.

Palin represents something that angers a lot of women: a successful woman, standing proud, staying tough, and holding on to hers by rights without a fight.

When any of you can do that, you'll quit talking about womenomics and start running a country.

Palin may not be your cup of tea but she always a woman to me.

Original Inspiration

There is a text circulating among the Obama supporters that cause them to become weak kneed. It goes as follows:

Rosa sat, so Martin could walk

Martin walked so Barack could run

Barack is running so our children can fly

It is inspiring but not original. Here is the original from Flip Wilson:

"Before this church can do great things for God, it's gotta learn to crawl."

"Let it crawl, Rev" shouts the congregation, "Let it crawl."

"And when it's learned to crawl" the preacher continued, "it's gotta learn to walk."

"Let it walk," the congregation responds loudly, "Let it walk!"

Then, fixing them with his eye, the preacher shouted, "And when it's learned to walk, it's gotta run and we all know a church can't run without money!"

There is a momentary silence, then the congregation responds,

"Let it crawl, Rev, let it crawl!"

The Great Get Even

Some of the right wingers are comparing Obama to Chairman Mao. I don't agree.

What we are seeing is the immaturity of the current electorate in action. The Bush administration is like a starter marriage gone bad for two teen agers. Once they become spiteful, one will choose a new partner with the maximum potential to make the old partner mad. It doesn't matter if the new partner has glaring character flaws to any third party, the slicker the better because revenge is living well in the eye of the party out for revenge.

Obama is the Democrats introducing that revenge, the Great Get Even, to the American public and like a teen-ager out to settle scores, Americans are buying it. It will be six months before they realize just what a horrible mistake they have made. As an old song said, "We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout"

Watch the entertainment as this new couple goes to battling the way they did in the Carter years, unless of course, Obama manages to get his civilian police corp established. Then it will be time to get a passport and get the hell out of Jackson.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Swift Wind Turbine

For those of you interested in the greening of the planet, here is a wind turbine for the home. The Swift produces about 1.5kw at 35 decibels given average winds. So you mileage may vary and it isn't as inexpensive as some would like, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

To make headway against our energy challenges, replacing a 19th century design grid that stores power by keeping it in cirulation on a nationwide system with small local grids that produce power close to the point of consumption is the key idea.

Localize. Localize. Localize.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Close the Barnyard Gate

First, Watergate, Whitewatergate, Travelgate, Cattlegate, Indonesiagate and now Troopergate and WardrobeGate.

Then there was the gate to summarize all of the Clinton gates: TailGate.

I think we've almost covered the barnyard with gates now and the animals are still getting out of the pens.

This should be the year we officially retire this meme. Let's call them scandals, high crimes and misdemenors so someone has to actually file a charge or indict before the innuendo consumes the news cycle for a week.

No video for this. Just a song.

Redistributing the Wealth

Barack Obama, in 2001:

You know, if you look at the victories and failures of the civil-rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be okay, but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

And that hasn’t shifted, and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was because the civil-rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sunday Will Never Be the Same

When I read the blogs from the left coast, I am never surprised that the doomsday suicide cults usually live in California. There is a concerted effort to get together and talk each other into a desperate stupor of demoralization and defeatism. America is never right, the rich are always thieves, and somewhere someone is always plotting to undermine their rights to sex, drugs or bad movies.

I think they are doing it to themselves but I try to avoid going there to check. The weird thing is that the people who have these blogs are richer than most of us.

In all my years, I've never seen anyone held down who worked for the wealth. I've seen artists and faux artists (say producers) do everything to keep a competitor's product off the street through lame critique, and I've seen software vendors dissing other vendors for not being socially progressive then shorting their stock. Still, America remains the destination mall of third world entrepeneurs. It is still the easiest place in the world to start a business or to launch a career.

There is a politics of depression. Some of these wealthy coasters are very good at it but I don't see them slowing down their consumption of energy or trading in their Lamborghinis for Hondas. I realize the cost of living is going up fast and I can't retire, but they are paying off higher mortgages and living in one of the most expensive areas in America in smaller houses. Somehow, I don't get depressed about that.

It seems the best way to make the unthinkable thinkable is to demoralize a nation, and Hairy Anna, Taplin and their friends are getting very good at it. Me, I'd rather read a textbook to learn a skill and make a dime than to get depressed and drop a dime. Things are still good in America and maybe if we just turn off the tube and work on our chops, they always will be. Today is Friday and that's a good day. Monday comes around soon enough.

Sunday will never be the same. Monday always is.

Useful Idiots

I'm not sure what to make of this.

Yuri Bezmenov
Uploaded by onmyway02

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An Essene

A quote from one Alex Bowles expressing a point of view that says it well:

For me, the change we need isn’t about swings from left to right. It’s about moving from the darkness below to the light above. My hope is that we start to worry less about ideology, which has provided cover for all sorts of nefarious agendas, and, instead, start worrying about corruption as such. Until we start naming it directly - and punishing it accordingly - we’ll continue to sink.

Until we get our values right, the ideology doesn't matter, but my experience is that we pick our ideology in accordance with what we value, and then it is easy to tell the light from the dark, the Essene from the Sadducee and Pharisee. I value truth and as Gandhi said, the only way to know truth is through non-violence. As long as we lust for dominion, we violate truth.

Without truth, only darkness has dominion.

Anoushka Shankar

Here is a video for you that is simply breath taking, or breath giving. The artist is Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Ravi Shankar, demonstrating a mastery of sitar that few can claim and even fewer women have demonstrated. This is stunning and will give your day a wonderful respite from the rage and demonizing out there. Turn off the TV, avoid the political blogs, delete those emails your friends and family are sending you full of vitriol, and enjoy the serenity of her playing and marvelous spirit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Feeding the Fire: Part 3

Since there are some things being said that are false on their face:

1. I am a Democrat. I've been a registered Democrat since 1972. I'm not supporting Obama because I don't trust him and my encounters with his supporters prove to me they are neither credible nor honorable. The thuggery is too evident to ignore and means do matter.

2. Sarah Palin is a fine woman. That seems to bother people who can't find anything else to disparage her for. I suspect the Hollywood crowd would like it much better if she didn't have a husband and a good family. Their therapists can't make money off normal people.

3. I notice that when the left gets angry, they go immediately to the topic of sex. I realize they are mammals, but they are also a bit addicted to that subject in their rants, their critiques and their politics. Sex is good but so is housekeeping. It tidies up the spirit. Angry sex is the mean street of power. Don't go there.

4. No matter who is elected, raising taxes is a bad idea right now. Only a fool fights in a burning house. I've never said anything about Obama's comments on "spreading the wealth around". I don't think it necessary and I'd like to get some of that too. I don't mind doing it the way I always have: work. The economy can't be 'fixed' particularly with more stimulus packages. We have to restore manufacturing and adjust costs. Anyone who tells you the situation is more complicated than a checkbook is part of the problem. It's like weight loss; eat less, do more. The rest just works.

5. The politics of rage depend on getting everyone riled up through frustration. The more calm one tries to be, the more they "get in your face" as Obama told them to do. Leave their signs alone. Ignore their insults. There will be plenty of time for bonfires after the election and lots of leftover tinder. Obama will win if the polls are right. Then we'll see what he's made of. May having be as good as wanting.

6. If Peter Paul and Mary and the Kingston Trio hadn't covered Bobby Zimmerman's songs, he'd be teaching English in a junior college in upstate New Jersey. For my tastes, he is like Hank Williams: I like his songs when other people do them. He had a heckuva good band years ago. They went out on a high note and haven't done anything since. Some people know when to get off stage.

Now is a good time to meditate on shunyata. It calms the spirit and reveals the true nature of reality. Peace.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Feeding the Fire: Part 2

As I thought it might, the first part of this riled the Taplin bloggers. I was told that as a troll, I could only comment on cultural issues or leave.

I said no deal.

I'm disappointed. There are some there who's names I know from the music business and respected, but like John Lennon said, it's not always good to meet your heros.

Oh, I know this creature of yours... Vermithrax Pejorative. Look at these scales, these ridges. When a dragon gets this old, it knows nothing but pain, constant pain. It grows decrepit... crippled... pitiful. Spiteful!

In my past, these were the good guys, but like the dragon in Dragonslayer, with age comes only pain and that makes them spiteful. In all my years on the web and before, I've never encountered a group quite like that. The rage turns any claim they make for their candidate into a shrill scream for justification to hurt their enemies.

Driven by the news media, shows like The View and the speeches of the candidates, the rage is building. I don't know if it can be stopped. The left wing has traditionally been the peace party in this country. Now it is something unrecognizable, a twisted characature of itself spitting back obscenties and intimidating anyone who dares dissent.

I thought Bush was bad. He was just dumb. These are the intellectuals, the elite, the people America lavished its best in education and opportunity on howling at the moon like wolves in blood lust. They are even quoting Dave Winer as a supporter. Dave is familiar with the flame wars and what the RSS zealots did to him should be enough to make him understand a rage machine. I wonder if he approves.

The right is little better. All you have to do is read the blogs, follow the links and you see what this is about. McCain's campaign was pretty docile during the primaries. With the negative campaign and the left in their faces, they've surrendered to the madness too. Now we are in the eye for an eye part of the campaign and nothing good will come of this.

Are either of the candidates worth this? In my opinion, absolutely not.

My love for nonviolence is superior to every other thing mundane or supramundane. It is equaled only by my love for Truth, which is to me synonymous with nonviolence through which and which alone I can see and reach Truth.

....Without ahimsa it is not possible to seek and find Truth... Ahimsa is the means; Truth is the end. Means to be means must always be within our reach, and so ahimsa is our supreme duty. If we take care of the means, we are bound to reach the end sooner or latter. When once we have grasped this point, final victory is beyond question.

Ahimsa is not the goal. Truth is the goal. But we have no means of realizing truth in human relationships except through the practice of ahimsa. - M.K. Gandhi

Monday, October 20, 2008

Feed the Fire

I've had a jolly good time debating the ObamaBots at Jon Taplin's blog. These are the true believers who have made his campaign a raging success. It is noticeable throughout the primaries and now just how much his supporters depend on rage and feed on it. It is a destructive technique for culture in general.

The trick is to frame the opponent in a bad light. Jon and his friends are practiced at this but not terribly skilled. It seems to be a reflex move when they are confused by a reply or contradicted. This is something they share with Obama who is thin skinned when his intellectual superiority is questioned.

The framing of his organization as intellectually superior and all others as inferior ('dumb', 'moron', 'scoundrel') has been their most consistent approach throughout the primaries and beyond. This results in the 'self/other' antipathy that feeds the rage machine. They are doing this deliberately because they are doing it consistently. Means matter when considering a candidate and the means used by the Obama campaign indicate his term in office should he win will be a divisive one with little achieved except to drive divisions deeper into the American psyche.

Don't respond with rage or hurt. It just empties your life into their hell instead of feeding your own fire.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Where Do the Children Play?

Someone asked:

How does one, as CEO, lose billions and make millions?

Fund investors take run up money from the stocks and leave the companies trying to pay off the leverage. If the leverage isn't paid, they break it up into pieces and sell them.

Someone said to me that if I am better off today than I was eight years ago, I should vote Republican. The funny thing is, I am better off. By about 40%. My 401k has taken a beating but I am much better off. Why?

The last company I was working for was bought by a San Francisco-based investment firm. During the previous ten years, we had worked hard to bring our stock value up from about $4 a share to around $30. That is when the Board tossed out our President and replaced him with a fund manager from Wall Street. He brought his Harvard grad buddy in and they began to squeeze the company down to show higher profits on the books theoretically through cost reductions.

It sounds like good business. Why isn't it?

Where we had been careful and scrupulous in our bidding for work, they tossed the safety rules aside and had us pursue work we couldn’t do at prices we couldn’t perform. We won a lot of business that way. So when they began to look for buyers (the plan the board had from the beginning), on paper, we looked like a great buy or so the story went.

The truth was, our money in hand was cash from winning intellectual property lawsuits. The value was the patent portfolio, but the time was running out on that, so the cash in the bank was a lottery ticket we couldn’t play again.

So they squeezed. Result: while we looked good on the books, we had devastated our human capital which is the real engine of a business. There was no way we could perform.

Smart engineers and managers knew it and bailed fast. I was one of those. That company is now having to buy back parts of their contracts as their customers are becoming furious with their underperformance. The investors who bought them don’t care. They were buying the cash on hand and they took it out of the company at purchase.

So how do they do it? They descend on a company like locusts and hollow out the value while polishing the outer shell. It takes a while to notice this and people believe what they are told. This is why XBRL and other technologies are so important to achieving transparency.

Me? I went to work for a company run by sharp immigrants from Mumbai who’s company is also their passion. We stay lean, we stay smart, and we meet our deadlines with good technology. We work hard. We have a good time together. Our products save lives. We are proud of that.

As a result, I am better off. Should I vote Republican? Well, I won't vote Democrat and oddly, I AM a Democrat. Obama cheats and lies to win and just as the story related above, means matter.

Fried Chicken and Watermelon

Fried chicken and watermelon are the new left code words for race in this election. I've bad news for you. Fried chicken and watermelon are straight up southern food on many a table regardless of ethnicity. Add some pinto beans, collards (with fatback of course), corn bread, mashed potatoes and some fresh tomato slices to round it out and you have the meal that my colleagues from the land of the northern aggression would stay an extra day for.

Those of us who lived through the worst of racism in the 60s are innoculated against the attacks from the intellectual left that condescend to tell us what we think and feel to give themselves a smug sense of being superior.

They practice domination by belief in intellect and mystifyingly believe their souls are pure of the disease they so freely accuse the rest of the nation as passing to their children. Because politics swing hard from side to side, just as Bush guaranteed a surge to the left from the right, Obama is guaranteeing a surge to anti-learning, and that will be a far harsher penalty box.

As the twig is bent, people, as the twig is bent.

Obama showed his vulunerability early in the campaign when he patted his opponent on the shoulder condescendingly for being the only 'white guy'. It isn't race. That is his cudgel and all the right can do is avoid it. He showed it in the debate with his smirking when McCain called him out for lieing about his past.

Obama is smugly intellectual and very thin skinned when challenged on it. When told he is wrong, you can see the blood rush to his head. This is the ObamaBot disease that infects his supporters and causes them to rage in the face of opposition.

They picked up on his cue of 'smarter than thou' and it is amplified by the notion that the only way George W. Bush could have been elected President twice was by the so-called "low information voters", a code word for "stupid" ganging up on the smarter and more deserving to judge.

Instead, it is they who should be judged for infecting the country with its most virulent strain of elitism.

If you want to take them down, show them for what they are: insecure and inexperienced pretend intellectuals, or in short smart-butt bigots.

Remember, their ranks are filled with intellectual pretenders trying to look and sound smart. Think about the kid in high school who wore fake glasses.

As for Sarah Palin who has been attacked by both left wing wackos and a wacko media, then mishandled, I say:

Keep reminding them of who you are and what you achieved, Sarah Palin.

You worked your way up from a small town girl all the way to Governor of Alaska. You didn't do that because you were born at the top of the social ladder, went to the best schools, got the highest grades, or were voted most likely. You did it the old fashioned way: you worked your butt off, you made your own luck, and when the time came to step up or step out, you put the elbow to your opponent and stepped forward.

They believe they are smarter like the kid programmer who believes because he can make a circle dance on a screen he should run the company. But it is the person who understands other people, who gets up earlier, who works later and who never quits, never surrenders and never gives quarter that runs the company. The values that made you who you are are the values that made this country the most admired and successful in history: hard work, decency, putting family first, and love of God as realized through helping a neighbor.

Remember that, Governor, and no matter how this election goes, you will still be a winner. Screw the speechwriters. They are not running. Screw the handlers. Their names aren't on the ballot.

Be Sarah. That has always been the winning move.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Thousand Glints of Light Hurt

Many years ago, Richard Nixon came to my hometown to begin his attempt to regain respectability in the face of his impending impeachment. I watched him speak from a tree across the parking lot noting the glints of light from tall buildings on the horizon as my brother and I took turns looking through an old detached rifle scope. When the elderly lady in the pink suit walked beneath the tree and whipped out a small walkie talkie and said, "No, it's just two kids with an old scope." I realized the meaning of those glints of light.

Gary Trudeau published his "Fritters Alabama" strip in Doonesbury about the event depicting one of the most modern cities in the South at that time as two coots in suspenders sitting on a broken down porch thus reinforcing the bigoted stereotypes of the left intellectuals about places they had never been. For me, it was the realization that the radicals of the Sixties that I had admired were in fact more bigoted than the people of my State who had become synonymous with the term during the Wallace years.

And during this campaign, I've seen the results of that undisguised bigotry. Obama supporters claim that their bottom up tactics have upended the Reagan Revolution and are putting the country back on the right path. Except that bottom up approach is not how he is winning.

The Obama campaign is cheating and Obama is lieing.

This election could have been about trust. Instead, it has become about fraud. As a result, an Obama win will be the beginning of a deeper penetration of cynicism and mistrust into the American psyche than even Bush managed ineptly. This time it is being done expertly and there will be hell to pay for it. Worse, anyone who tries to take a closer look and discuss it can see those glints of light and feel the threat from the far left.

The country swung far to the right extreme and now it is swinging just as far to the left. Neither extreme is healthy, so by our own hand, we will pay for our inability to evolve beyond these extremes into a nation moderate in all respects except our willingness to defend the nation. Instead, we have become a nation dedicated to self-abuse.

Good luck out there.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Economics For The New World Order: Argh Matey!

o Marxism: the belief that if I have the scalpel and book I am qualified to do brain surgery.

o Communism: the belief that if I need brain surgery, any surgeon can do the job.

o Socialism: the belief that everyone needs brain surgery.

o Capitalism: the belief that I can sell enough books and scalpels to enough surgeons that I can buy enough insurance to pay for brain surgery whether I need it or not

It is the theory of scarcity or in the new web version, no market where scarcity exists is interesting to an investor.

Except there are two scarcities that are more or less permanent: good ideas and talent. Then there is training but it is resolvable given talent. Good ideas appear to be at a fixed scale so these have become the treasure the pirates set their masts toward.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

One Toke Over The Line

Just as I think the Obama campaign can't get more self-serving, I find yet another nitwit proposal.

We are being asked not to defend ourselves because that is bad for the 'cultural goods' market in California. Jon Taplin, the Annenberg Chair of Communications at USC and movie executive writes in his paper proposing that California become a city-state, "America's aggressive military posture has led to a rise in Anti-Americanism in cultural goods."

Wow. So now we are told that California is to become independent just as Governor Schwarzenegger goes hat in hand to ask for $7 billion dollars from the Federal government because California can't pay its bills due to the astronomical (30%) difference in pay to State employees.

The California entertainment moguls are the same people holding those big private soirees to contribute to Obama's campaign, but we are messin' with their business by fighting global terrorism.

It doesn't get kookier than that. I hope. If it does, it's time put up a fence in Nevada before the crazy people come rolling home. The state that has been one toke over the line for forty years has decided being high is more important than being safe.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oprah Finds Her Groove

Oprah Winfrey is holding a two event to raise money for Obama this weekend. It seems that they just can't get enough money from the grass roots so they are holding another "you can't afford to be here, Reverend" event. In fact, even Obama isn't going but Michelle is.

Meanwhile the market will continue to vote with its feet over the immediate prospect of an Obama presidency like Jack with his magic beans watching the troll come down the beanstalk looking for the magic cow.

"The bucket's going down down down."

Michelle is rumored to say, "Let them eat cake!" and Oprah responds, "Don't you let them anywhere NEAR my cake!"

And the Chinese ambassador says, "Thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart."

And Hillary Clinton? She just sits back sipping her tea smiling that Cheshire Cat smile.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Obama Camp

So you're supporting Obama because he is for change, or maybe because you hate Bush, or maybe because you think nothing can be worse than the last eight years.

Guess again.

Here is what you are supporting.

This one is from Venice California. Obama is going to change it all.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Understanding Economics

I found this on Jon Taplin's blog. Don't ask; just watch. The only difference is today that person in the string vest would be Hispanic.

Class War

If you cast it in the terms a talking head journalist understands, diction, erudition, breath control, pacing, sophistication, Palin lost. That was Rachel Maddow's take.

If you cast it in the terms the average American understands, courage of convictions, honesty, forthrightness, direct approach to the problems, Palin won. That was Greta van Susteren's take.

If you cast it in terms of who understands what a working mother wants to hear regarding taking the fight to the corruption in DC and New York, Palin won. That was the take of the women at the coffee pot this morning.

For the person who had the most distance to cover, Palin clearly won.

Will all that sum up as leadership? That is to be determined.

The disappointment was the utter predictability of each network's reaction. The candidate they are in the tank for, they still are.

But here's the kicker: sophistication is telling people losing their homes they are the reason for the credit crunch because they bought what they could not afford while the sophisticate telling them that is eating fish eggs at $330 an ounce. Gore and Kerry didn't get that.

The fat guy down front with five kids and a job teetering on layoff and the single mom raising a family don't either.

This election is a class war.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Loose Conversations: Fifty Foot Veronica

"One more thing, Truman was a Democrat, so what is your point?"

Truman was a haberdasher first, and considered for the ticket only because FDR thought him incapable of being a power player. No one thought him capable of stepping in and FDR knew he was himself, unlikely to make it.

He did it anyway.

Brad sez: "There is simply no possible way that a liberal, country-loving Democrat can understand those of you who helped elect W into office twice and we are almost paranoid that you will do it to us again."

I get that. I was a Democrat of the same bent. Then I read about Barack and realized there are deeper dangers than even W.

One is an arrogant self-confidence that if people don't vote for the man, somehow they are stupid.

Two is watching the left so afraid of losing that they become the right but worse. If you become that which frightens you, you lose anyway.

That breaks all deals.

@nat sez" It has been amateur night in the white house for 8 years. Clown season is over."

Clowns? Bush and Cheney? Only if you watch Tripping the Rift, Nat.

You offer us a bean counter who can't not smirk or get irritated when confronted.

We offer a point guard who can play through the pain.

I'll take Six over Chode or Bobo anyday. Are you guys afraid of a fifty foot Veronica?

Mary's Season

It is a beautiful Sunday. I found these and think them clever.

Ave Maria - Schubert (Bocelli)

Ave Maria - Gounod (Bocelli)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

On Orbit and Walking: Congratulations to China!

An outcome of the focus in America on the elections was the Chinese did not get the coverage deserved for their outstanding accomplishments in space this week. They put a crew of three in orbit and their first spacewalk was successful.

Space buffs like me who grew up in the town that built the Saturn V and watched the improbable success of the American space program understand the exhiliration the Chinese people must feel.

Congratulations from the home of the Saturn V!! Well done!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Something From The Americans

i love Presidential debates. These are where the real election season starts. As debates go, it was better than some, but a snoozer at the start. Obama seemed nervous going in and McCain seemed feeble. It got better.

Two moments:

1. Lessons from the war: Obama has it right. The critical decision is to go. Then he blows it. The critical American value lost was non-preemption. Our not being a first strike nation regardless of our power was the value we prized and for which we are admired. The lesson is the Bush Doctrine while tactical is not strategic. Instead, Obama talked about the effect on the economy and my wife muttered, "Bean Counter!" and the list he followed with followed that line of thinking.

He had a choice to make points on values but left them on the table for money. McCain was able to recover with the "not the decision the next President has to make. When to leave and what to leave behind are" which is exactly right and a smart way to get out of answering the question.

2. "I looked into Putin's eyes and I saw three letters, a K and a G and a B".
Classic straight talk McCain. Funny and understandable.

A wash except in style points. McCain looked old but deeply passionate about what he cared about. Obama looked young but easily irritated.

McCain wins this one but not by a knockout.

So on this most American night, something from the Americans.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Life's A Long Song

Sitting here waiting for the Boss to call and tell us how the demo is going, Southern breeze blowing windy and warm outside, I remember the night Jethro Tull came to play and the lords of our local civic center pulled the power plug on them promptly at 11PM in the middle of a flute solo.

I ran into Jeffery Hammond-Hammond in the parking lot walking back to the hotel. Boy was HE pissed.

"They pulled the f**** plug on us. How can you live in the sh**hole of a town??"

"ummm.... I understand. It's home."

"But what a rotten pissy thing to do!!!"

"Yeah I agree. Want to get high?"

"THOSE BARSTARDS!!!! ummm.... what... oh yeh"

Watching this election accompanied by the economic tsunami pouring over our shores as predicted, being personally pummeled on other blogs because I defend McCain and Palin and refuse to toss in with The One, I am somehow upbeat. I don't know if it's the cancer diagnosis that left me feeling every day above ground is a good one, or just my own curmudgeonly obstinacy, or that sense that neither of the parties has much moral high ground to retreat to and the mainstream media is going down in the suckage, but I just don't feel the terror and panic I see in the faces on the boob tube.

They tripped over the economy and now their acts are just short wonks whacking away at strings without amplification and all I hear is the shrill flute noises of their anger and rage at being left on stage in the dark with an audience filing out to continue their parties elsewhere.

Life's a long song.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Undisputed Truth

2008: The year when sexism trumped racism because holding women down is what men do to stay on top and keeping other women out is what women do to stay on bottom.

One Tin Soldier

History might repeat itself, but never the same way. Thus purpose and revisionism conspire to create the delicious ironies of history.

William Ayers put Barack Obama in charge of ACORN. The Board of Elections in Cuyahoga County, Ohio and the .S. Attorney’s office in Michigan accused ACORN’s paid workers of submitting fraudulent registration cards.

But wait, there are more recent heart warming associations.

This week, Barack attends a do at the Standard Club ballroom last night, where he raised about $1 million for the Obama Victory Fund. That’s ok. Not the grassroots image, but no one buys that anyway. Then he was off to the $28,500 a plate “Greeks for Obama” Victory fete where he lavishes a two minute meaty praise on Alexi Giannoulias.

What do the ChiTown papers have to say about Alexi?

He is a “man who has long been dogged by charges that the bank his family owns helped finance a Chicago crime figure” and “who became Illinois state treasurer” in 2006 after Sen. Barack Obama vouched for him”. Alexi then “pledged to raise $100,000 for Obama.”

The September 5, 2007, Chicago fundraiser was omitted from Obama’s public schedule and the event was closed to the press,” Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“Before he promised to raise funds for Obama, Giannoulias bankrolled Michael ‘Jaws’ Giorango, a Chicagoan twice convicted of bookmaking and promoting prostitution.

“Giannoulias is so tainted by reputed mob links that several top Illinois Dems, including the state’s speaker of the House and party chairman, refused to endorse him even after he won the Democratic nomination with Obama’s help.

“Giannoulias was the bank’s vice president and chief loan officer for most of the more than $15 million in loans,”. The Obama campaign disputed any suggestion that Obama is tarnished by the association.”

The phrase that comes to mind is ‘lay down with dogs’.

Now consider this: the left has been aching for the Great Get Even ever since the 1972 election when a man with known mob associates, banking improprieties and a campaign willing to ratf*** its opponents won by 60+ per cent. Two years later, he was resigning in disgrace.

So in this election, the left presents a man with mob associates, strong links to the financial crisis and a campaign using illegal registrations.

Barack Obama isn't Jimmy Carter. He's Richard Nixon.

The irony of that is delicious.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Gift

Craig Carodine asked me to write something for the church contemporary Christmas program. The theme of the program is The Gift.

My contribution is HERE. Not fancy but fun. Sorry about the cheesy midi. This stuff takes about fourteen musicians to record right.

The lyrics follow.

The Gift

Moses reached out with a mighty hand
Holy Father won't you part the sea?
With the water before us
And the Pharoah behind
There's not an awful lot of desert between
Jehovah looked down with a mighty grin
Like the ocean rolling out from the shore
And when the gift was given
It reached down from Heaven
Saying, "Pharoah, let my people go!"

His Gift His Gift is Given (repeat)

Shadrack stood in the fiery furnace
Shouting, "King on your worldly throne
For as warm as it is
I'd rather be with my friends
In the company of all I adore
There's a Heaven above you
There's a Hell below you
What you think about that, I don't know,
But when the gift is given
It rains down from Heaven
To the fire on the valley below.

His Gift His Gift is Given (repeat)

Oooooh His Gift is greater than the power of the sun and the sea
Oooooh His Gift is promised to the people that they shall be free
Oooooh His Gift is strong enough to last for eternity
Oooooh His Gift is given by the man from Galilee!

Jesus stood on a hill in Canaan
Looking out at their beautiful souls
They had come to hear about the gifts of God
His joy His peace His love
Come as children to my Father's house
For his love is as great as my own
And when my gift is given
It will reach right up to Heaven
Praying, "Father let your blessings flow"

When The Gift is given
God reaches down from Heaven
Giving Peace
Blessed Peace
Lord Your Peace!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hacking Sarah

No reason to get excited
The thief he kindly spoke
For there are many here among us
Who think that life is but a joke
'All Along The Watchtower - Bob Dylan'

A message I received following the hacking of Sarah Palin's email:

What worries me though, is always the possibility that something underhanded could also be taking place, and everyone is rushing to get their stories straight, and cover things up, and that it will be two years from now, just like with Watergate, before we find out who lies at the end of the money trail.

Trust but verify.

This release has all the signs of an amateur and a kid. So I believe the story out of Tennessee.

Think about this: Obama's camp is a coalition of forces that hate each other only slightly less than they hate the Republicans. That's been the Democratic Party for years, but this time Obama's message has stirred up a hornet's nest of accusations of racism sexism, ageism and the other isms. On top of that, the millenials are out for themselves and Obama is the golden path.

That is a LOT of rage, anger, whoopee and hurrah. This cranks up the mammal brain. It's called endorphin addiction. It results in oxytocin going to the brain, the so-called 'pleasure' hormone. The rage is making them feel good. It affects all of us and if you stir up enough of it, you can drive an election like cattle to the slaughter house. This was the trick of George Wallace, Huey Long and yes, George W. Bush. All you have to do then is play multiplication by division, such as playing the evangelicals against the hispanics, thus the double message out of the Obama camp last week.

Along the way, this activity causes the fringes to become active. People feel empowered and they take rash actions because they are trapped in that endorphin/oxytocin cycle. So kids toss rocks at cops and the technically trained hack web sites. It's not different from what we did in the 60s.

Don't attribute to malice that which may be simple stupidity, the sign says.

There is one thing to watch out for. Endorphin-addiction is just like any other. Once the rage is removed, the body is still hungry for it and tries to get the same high, so it will transfer the addiction to another substance or cause. When done to large groups of people, post event, they start to mill around like cattle looking for fresh grass and a watering hole. That makes them easily led.

Note that the feminist movement followed hard on the heels of the anti-war movement that followed hard on the heels of the civil rights movement. Once these things are spun up, it's hard to stop them and easy to direct them. Thus in the early 70s, we saw those posters that said "Beware leaders regardless of their calling cause."

Dampen the paranoia. My guess is this was just a kid with connections and some simple social hacking chops. It's a lesson to any of you using Yahoo and Google Gmail. It isn't secure and it is harvested for fun and profit.

That's the Web. Let the buyer beware.

You've Got To Serve Somebody

This week:

o Federal crime. Emails hacked. Obama supporters only disappointed that dirt wasn't found. Guess what? There isn't any. Palin is a good egg.

o CBC columnist Heather Mallick says Palin's look is that of a "toned-down porn actress." husband is Todd a "roughneck," son Track is "terrified," and pregnant teenage daughter Bristol is a "pramface," boyfriend is a 'ratboy', her supporters, "white trash", Alaska as a “frontier state full of drunks and crazy people.” and "Canada's ugly stepchild".

Meanwhile, Obama says nothing as usual and goes camping with celebrity advisors until Pelosi sends him instructions while the American economy melts like cheese on a flame-broiled burger.

This isn't that complicated. We've been ripped off and we want

1. Our money back.

2. Heads on pikes in front of the White House.

Get a clue.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Chinese Menu Party

Want to join the Chinese Menu Party? In our party, you get to choose one from column a and one from column b. So now an Obama/Palin ticket is a winner, and you can still get Hillary with the fortune cookie.

People want to say this is the people against the rich Republicans. This is actually two parties of the rich spending half a billion dollars to capture the larger half of 10% of the voters who will turn into pumpkins the day after the votes are confirmed.

Oh sinner man, where ya gonna run to.

Monday, September 15, 2008

If This Train's Going To Hell, Get the Best Seats

Ok, yeah, it's all going to hell. Greed. The usual suspects. Left screaming at right; right screaming at left. Chains rattling. Doors Creaking! Piggy banks breaking! BoogeyMan at the back door!


Here's the thing: if you've been around awhile, you've seen this before. In 1974, the economic chickens of a long war without raising taxes to pay for it came a roostin'. Oh what shall we do?

We stayed home. We watched TV with friends on Saturday night with lots of snacks. We played in the parks. We rode our bikes. We went to free concerts. We staged free concerts. Our Dads worked on the cars of our friends. Our friends painted the houses of our Dads. We slowed down.

It was drab. It was glorious. WE made do.

America only changes when her back is against the wall and now is such a time. WE took out the loans. WE bought the SUVs. WE voted for the (insert your favorite demon here)s!

It can be terrible for the ambitious social mavens to have to dance to a folk singer instead of a rock band, or listen to a recording instead of going to an opera, or cook with neighbors instead of being served by strangers...

But it can also be the best times of your life. Go out and see what you can find.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Pray for the people in Galveston and Houston. Please.

3.99 per gallon @ J&W Market in Hazel Green. Limit $20 or roughly 5 gallons.

What can we do?

1. Full-car policy: on Sunday, call your neighbors who attend your church. Work out a carpool with them. Heck, pick up the Baptists too if their church is on the way.

2. Going to a high-school football game tonight? Same thing. Going to Sam's to get groceries? Same thing.

3. If you are thinking about complaining, imagine you are in a car packed with your family, the dog and two of your neighbors heading out of Houston right now and paying the same amount for gas and still limited to 5 gallons per stop.

4. We are a city of some of the best engineers in the world. Start a Get Off Gasoline Club and hold contests for the most novel workable ways to cut down on consumption.

5. Turn off the AC in your car at night and open the windows. 4/40 worked for our grandfathers and our fathers and it will work for us. Make the wind blown look trendy.

Adapt. It's the American Way!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Obama: Too Good to Be Black?

If there is any sea change in the current election, it is that for the first time, no one is running for sainthood. All of the candidates have public flaws. One is an adulterer, one is a former coke head, one is a loudmouth and the other shoots Bullwinkle's relatives and skins them.

You mean we are finally prepared to elect real human beings?

Wow! That is new.

On the humor front from the real culture wars, The Onion is still finding and exploiting those inconsistencies that are the mothers of our befuddlement.

Portrayal Of Obama As Elitist Hailed As Step Forward For African Americans

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