Saturday, October 24, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

I am usually griping about politics here, but my real passion is music, and The Beatles have been my favorite music since about 1965. I remember a neighbor girl coming up the driveway one summer between third and fourth grade, saying to me "I just heard the coolest song... it goes 'Close your eyes and I'll kiss you, tomorrow I'll miss you' you should hear it!" It wasn't long before I heard it. I was hooked. Those songs wrote the soundtrack of the rest of my life.

I found this series of The Beatles in concert. Not lip sync, not overdubs, but the real Beatles playing real instruments.

Check out George playing the solo in "Til There Was You". If it seems odd for a rock & roll band to sing show tunes, remember that the movie The Music Man was a huge hit in 1962, just two years earlier.

The television cameras of that era had a hard time with glare off shiny objects, like the instruments. You'd get a black halo around the bright spots.

In the next video, the three part harmony on "This Boy" is amazing. This is partly why they were considered the best rock band in history. They had chops.

People like to diss on Ringo's drumming, but check out how precise and flashy his playing is on "Please Please Me". He was no slouch. He just wasn't showy.

Here, George nails the solo in "I'm Down". It isn't a hard solo, but it's fun to watch him play it, as well as John massacring the farfisa organ. And of course, Ringo singing the Buck Owens classic "Act Naturally" is a hoot.

On "Help!", Ringo is playing the drums just like he does at the beginning of the movie, where the religious extremists are throwing darts at him... "You Can't Do That" is just fun to watch.

The crowd gets a little overwhelming at Shea Stadium. It's harder to hear the band. I don't know that crowds at rock concerts are any quieter today, but the sound equipment was a lot less powerful. The Beatles were basically just playing through their Vox amps, and a public address system for the vocals, into a stadium full of screaming people.

Paul is in fine form on the vocals in "Baby's in Black", and George's country twang guitar cracks me up. Those songs in 3/4 time are just fun to sing along with in a big crowd.

It's a good rendition of "I'm Down", although John is really cutting up this time. He may have known the audience couldn't hear them. We hear them much better on the soundtrack than the audience could possibly have. The vocals on "Help!" come through better in this concert, than in the previous video.

It's fun to watch them play, after spending all those years listening to their records. It takes me back to a much happier time in my life. The government and I were both much smaller then.

But if you go carryin' pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow...

Another short article from Victor Davis Hanson, advises this:
...interim White House communications director Anita Dunn's praise of Mao Zedong as a "political philosopher" is so unhinged and morally repugnant, that she should hang it up, pronto.
Most offensive to me, is that she was addressing a high school graduation. Where's the outrage? (more...)

(Revolution, The Beatles...)

I Wonder What the Capricious Gods Will Do

Victor Davis Hanson has many concerns about our current government, but here he wonders how business (the engine that creates all of the wealth that Obama wants to redistribute) will cope:
But imagine that you are a small business owner, and just consider—why expand now or rehire? since (a) I have no idea what the new taxes will be; (b) I have no idea about what all these new regulations, cap and trade, card check; etc will cost me; (c) I am beginning to think all this trash talk about bad doctors, insurance companies, the Chamber of Commerce, CEOs, the wealthy, etc. suggests this administration does not like me or what I do; (d) the government is everywhere: Ford now must compete against Government Motors; Banks against government-affiliated Citibank; Blue Cross against the public option; and so on. If I have a business, somewhere down the line there is going to be a government-run rival, sort of like your local can’t go broke PBS station in every avenue of commerce. Why insist on ensuring hustling employees when the rival, overpaid DMV-like work force can’t go broke whatever they do?
Kakistocracy, that's what I'm talking about. Read the entire article...

I Am So Tired of The Left Attacking Fox News

Charles Krauthammer has an editorial over on TownHall about the administration's attack on Fox News. I particularly loved this line:
Fox News is no monopoly. It is a singular minority in a sea of liberal media. ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, CNN, MSNBC vs. Fox. The lineup is so unbalanced as to be comical -- and that doesn't even include the other commanding heights of the culture that are firmly, flagrantly liberal: Hollywood, the foundations, the universities, the elite newspapers.
But wait! There's more:
Fox and its viewers (numbering more than CNN's and MSNBC's combined) need no defense. Defend Fox compared to whom? To CNN -- which recently unleashed its fact-checkers on a "Saturday Night Live" skit mildly critical of President Obama, but did no checking of a grotesquely racist remark CNN falsely attributed to Rush Limbaugh?
Fox's hard news really is fair and balanced. Their op-ed personalities lean right. But even on Glenn Beck's craziest days, Fox barely counterbalances MSNBC, let alone the whole army of alphabet networks.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tyranny by Any Other Name...

The Los Angeles Times headline reports "California appears poised to be first to ban power-guzzling big-screen TVs" (full article...).
Reporting from Sacramento - The influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Assn. is fighting what appears to be a losing battle to dissuade California regulators from passing the nation's first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions.
Let's ignore for the time being, the fact that all of the newer flat panel displays use less power per square inch of viewing area than the old CRT-based technology.
"We would not propose TV efficiency standards if we thought there was any evidence in the record that they will hurt the economy," said Commissioner Julia Levin, who has been in charge of the two-year rule-making procedure. "This will actually save consumers money and help the California economy grow and create new clean, sustainable jobs."

Tightening efficiency ratings by using new technology and materials should result in "zero increase in cost to consumers," said Harinder Singh, an Energy Commission staffer on the TV regulation project.
This is exactly the kind of idiocy that I'm talking about. Where is it written that unelected energy commissioners have that kind of power over California citizens? What gives them the right to tell anyone what they can or cannot purchase? If we do not like paying for the electricity to operate a large screen set, we'll look for a more efficient one, or operate it less frequently for shorter periods. Which reminds me... aren't there other appliances that run far more hours per day that would warrant more concern than TV sets?

This is precisely the kind of arbitrary and impertinent claptrap that the founders were concerned about when they set about setting up a government that was the minimum required to get the job done and no more. This is only one rather insignificant ruling in a sea of rulings by legislators, commissioners, bureaucrats, in local, state and federal governments nationwide that adds up to a very oppressive experience. The founders would be appalled.
The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. -- Thomas Jefferson
Since California is not part of the federal government, they are exempt from the US Constitution as long as they do not violate the Bill of Rights. But still... tyranny is tyranny by any other name.

Is Obama Poised to Cede US Sovereignty?

I find this very disturbing. If what Lord Monckton says is correct, then this is more important than any domestic issue, including Cap & Trade or Health Care. Unlike those programs, which may be practically irreversible, this treaty would be completely irreversible.

I do not think Barack Obama considers U.S. sovereignty to be of any importance. On the contrary, I think he sees it as a constraint on his agenda. I sincerely hope that I am wrong about that. I hope Obama takes his oath of office seriously, and that he finds other ways of dealing with the climate change issue. Since I do not subcribe to the Religion of Climate Change, the only element of the climate change issue that I think we need to deal with is the fact that we have some players on the world stage whom we need to politely brush off.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel prize for peace? For doing what, exactly? I am sure that Alfred Nobel never imagined that his prize "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." would be used to influence US politics by awarding it to a sitting president. While not unprecedented, it is of questionable constitutionality.

The Nobel Committee cited Obama's creation of a "new climate in international politics" and his work on nuclear disarmament. I'm not aware of any work on nuclear disarmament thus far that meets or exceeds what past presidents have attempted. Was it the apology tour? Was it pity over the Olympics debacle? Until a president's term in office is over, it is hopelessly premature to present awards like this. We don't have the complete historical record yet. What's more, Barack Obama's ego really does not require any additional stroking. He claims that he is "humbled" by this award. Well, that's a start. A few more like this, and maybe he'll be able to identify with the rest of us mere mortals.

When you consider some of the more recent Nobel laureates, you begin to detect a pattern of idiocy more than honor: Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and now Barack Obama. It is lunacy to put those people in such company as Lech Walesa and Nelson Mandela. By the way, Lech Walesa is not impressed with this decision.

The Nobel Committee says it sometimes presents the award to encourage laureates, rather than to reward them for their achievements. Barack Obama is the most radical statist, and the most naive diplomat since Jimmy Carter, and perhaps in my entire lifetime. I do not want anyone to encourage him. Many things are already worse than they were during Jimmy Carter's presidency. I don't see a Ronald Reagan standing in the wings this time, to clean up the mess.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Do Not Blame Barack

I found this article Do Not Blame Barack, on The American Thinker. I don't think I have read any Selwyn Duke before, but this is amazing. Here's how he starts out:
Contrary to what my title indicates, I probably judge Barack Obama more harshly than most reading this page. I don't think he is just a misguided ideologue or merely a creature of expediency. I believe, practically speaking, he is an evil man. That is to say, while he is largely ignorant like so many others, he has developed an affinity for evil. He mistakes it for good.

Yet, to be blunt, Obama doesn't alarm me as much as the average American. (more...)
He mistakes it for good... During the election, I could not believe that people were actually being conned by this man. That he was acting like a third world dictator was as plain to me as the nose on my face, but very few people seemed to notice. That was the first time in my life that I ever stood on the Nooksack River bridge in Ferndale to hold a campaign sign, or send money to political causes. I simply could not believe my eyes.

But we cannot blame Barack Obama. We have allowed ourselves to become so corrupted by decadence and hedonism that we seem to have lost the ability to think analytically. This generation has never faced hardship in any meaningful way. We have never had to really earn our liberty, or our security, so we have no idea what it costs, or what it's worth. Easy come, easy go. We owe so much to our founders, and the veterans of many historically significant wars, yet we scarcely even acknowledge it. I fear we will piss away what remaining liberty we have, and the sacrifice by those who came before will go down the toilet. Our children will someday wake up in bondage, but lucky for us, they will have been too poorly educated to fix the blame where it belongs, and we'll get away scot free one more time. I wonder which generation will have the guts to do what our grandparents, our parents, and now we, should have done: throw the statists out and restore our constitutional liberty once more.

However, in order to do that, they must understand what liberty is, and why it's important. The fact that we have elected a majority of statists to congress, and put one in the White House, tells me that we don't know. And if we don't know, how will our children know? How did Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and all the rest figure it out? What motivated them to overthrow their own government? If anyone were to suggest that today, they would be labeled a radical. And yet, if something is important enough... People assure us that because of our founders, violent overthrow is no longer required. We can do it at the ballot box. I pray that is true. I pray that We the People vote intelligently before it's too late.

Oh, and by the way, my answer to Selwyn's question is "Yes, I would give up my Social Security". Decades ago, I came to the cold realization that I'll never see a fraction of what I paid in all those years, let alone dividends. I refuse to steal from the next generation to feed my own selfishness. I can never retire with a clear conscience, and FDR is responsible.

Those Who Ignore History are Doomed to Repeat It

As a historian and classicist, Victor Davis Hanson has a unique perspective on world events and foreign policy. In his article The Past Is Not Quite Past, he leads off with this:
We can learn a lot about our present dilemmas through looking at the past. This month I’m teaching an intensive class on World War II, and again reminded how history is never really history. One lesson: do not judge past decisions by present considerations or post facto wisdom from a Western point of view, but understand them given the knowledge and thinking of the times from an enemy perspective. (more...)
... and concludes with a scathing analysis of Barack Obama's foreign policy. I am not gloating about Barack Obama's poor decisions; I am very worried about them. I hope he learns fast. Faster than the thugocracies around the world who are lining up to take advantage of his naive attitudes.