Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ladies & Gentlemen, the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies!

It took an extra thirty-six hours, severe weather and a little extra heat from Brad Lidge to get them here, but here they are indeed -- your 2008 World Champs the Philadelphia Phillies!

And an extra big congrats to "The Ageless Wonder," Jamie Moyer!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Week Out

  • Please note that the 'Essential Campaign Sites' sidebar addition has moved to top-right until election day (November 4th). Take advantage now, it'll be gone November 5th!
  • For the best Bill Sali coverage around, visit the MountainGoat Report: Sali Vote: The Extended Edition, A Week to Go in the 1st CD, VD Minus 6: Today in the 1st CD, and Bill Sali and the Immigration Endorsement.
  • Interesting race for the Minidoka County Prosecutor taking place. Note the incumbent, Nicole Cannon, who evidently leaves "politics out of the prosecutor's office" is the same Nikki Cannon who pressed charges against Dan Luker for desecrating an American flag, promising she'd take the case clear to the U.S. Supreme Court to make her point if need be. The case was dismissed.
  • Congratulations to the unequivocal notion for making Wonkette again! Great post on Lori Otter's contribution to Byron Yankey. That's Republican Lori Otter, wife of Republican governor of Idaho Butch Otter, and Democrat Byron Yankey, running against Rep. Kren appointed by Governor Otter.
  • There are campaign ads during EVERY commercial break here. Risch, LaRocco, Bilyeu, Andersen, and Ruchti, oh and T. Boone Pickens are gracing my television far more frequently than I would like. One in particular from the LaRocco camp is driving me insane. You've seen it, I'm sure. I call it the bobblehead circus. If you haven't seen it, take a look. Ugh.
  • On the topic of campaign commercials, Jim Risch has an ad attacking Larry LaRocco that I find comical. Pointing out LaRocco's background in Congress, his stab at LaRocco says that Larry voted with the "Clintons" on taxes. Sure he did, he was Democrat in the House when Bill Clinton was in the White House. What I find comical? After the last eight years of Bush, President Clinton is looking much better to Republicans and Democrats alike. Risch had to bring Hillary into the mix because she is far less liked by the GOP than Bill. Go figure.
  • There is a guy running for the Idaho House that has signs all over town. They say "Freedom & Prosperity" and his name, Chris Stevens. I must have looked at one of those signs for several minutes wondering what he was getting at with the tagline. So, I sign on to his website and there in bold print it says "Revive Freedom and Prosperity." Not sure what freedoms we are reviving, except for maybe the constitutional ones this President has trampled. Revive is a very important word to add...wonder how much that third word would have cost to be printed on the sign. And if it weren't crystal clear after the bold heading on the site, just below I learn that Chris Stevens has been endorsed by Ron Paul. Oh, how it makes sense now!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Miles of Music No Longer

Miles of Music, my favorite music site for information as well as purchases, has shut down business. This news came on the 10th of October with the following message from Jeff Weiss:
We aren’t throwing in the towel so much as calling a time-out. For now, though, we are closed for business.

We’ve come to a pause in an era. The economy, the credit crunch, the changing way people consume music have all lead us to today.

All existing orders have been cancelled. Orders paid by Paypal are being refunded.

Now is it time to clean up, clean out, and consider the future.

There are many terrific places to purchase music on-line. Please continue supporting independent artists.

It is always sad to see an organization that supports independent artists and the minor labels have to pack it in because there just isn't enough enough money flowing into the industry and these artists. Jeff Weiss mentions the economy and I wonder what the numbers reflect--are people ceasing to purchase music with the economy tanking? Does this closing reflect the iTunes surge? Or are people simply downloading music illegally?

I know that recently the Recording Industry Association of America (
RIAA) has issued several formal complaints to Idaho State University officials about illegal downloading and usage by specific students and accounts on campus. And the Associated Students of Idaho State University (ASISU), the student governing body, has taken necessary steps to warn students as well as educate them on laws and student conduct policies that restrict this type of activity. I've started to see a few posters pop up on campus from this effort.

In the absence of Miles of Music, here's three releases coming to stores near you tomorrow:
Not much by way of independent artists or labels, but without Miles of Music, I'm having a hard time tracking down that information.

A Real Baseball Man

Amid the home run hit by Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton, the surprising athleticism of forty-five year old Jamie Moyer, and Joe Maddon's bold move to play a five-man infield, Atlanta was buzzing with news that many had hoped to not be true.

A real baseball man, Pete Van Wieren, is retiring. The Atlanta Braves announcer is retiring after thirty-three years with the major league organization. There comes an end to all great careers, on the field and off. Braves fans merely hoped Wieren would never leave.

With the death of Skip Caray, Van Wieren's broadcast partner, earlier this year and now Van Wieren's retirement, the voice of Braves baseball may be unrecognizable for the first time since the Braves moved to Atlanta.

I remember listening to Van Wieren on the radio and television all five times the Braves reached the World Series in the 1990s. I remember his excitement in 1995 and his disappointment in 1999. His voice and my Atlanta-loving pain.

As they say, thanks for the memories, Pete.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When It Stopped Being Funny

We have laughed as Tina Fey has mimicked Sarah Palin’s down home demeanor. We cringed as Katie Couric threw her traditional soft ball questions at the Republican nominee for the vice presidency, cringing more at her inability to answer the questions than at Ms. Couric’s lack of journalistic prowess. We’ve discussed Palin’s clothing; whether or not she needs corrective lenses; and, what exactly the phrase “lipstick on a pig” denotes. We found it comical when Matt Damon asked what Palin really does believe about dinosaurs. Unfortunately for the Palin family, we have speculated as to what family planning means in their household with their eldest daughter, still a teen, expecting a child. We sat awestruck as Governor Palin walked out on the debate stage and asked the senior senator from Delaware if she could call him Joe.

And then, in the answer to one highly important question, it ceased being funny.

When asked what she believes to be the role of the Vice President of the United States and whether she agrees with current Vice President Cheney’s interpretation of his office, everything we have said about Sarah Palin in the past months suddenly dissipated. It no longer mattered if her husband was a member of a group that wished to secede from the Union. It no longer mattered if she understood what the Bush Doctrine is. Her answer to one question would erase all that might come later. All of it would no longer matter: The $150,000 the RNC poured into her wardrobe; her cameo on that bastion of liberalism, Saturday Night Live; and, her reference to the friends of Senator Obama as known terrorists.

Her nationally televised interpretation of the United States Constitution as it pertains to the role of the Vice President of the United States was precisely when the candidacy of Sarah Palin stopped being funny.

The exact transcript of this exchange during the 2008 Vice Presidential Debate:

IFILL: Everybody gets extra credit tonight. We're going to move on to the next question. Governor, you said in July that someone would have to explain to you exactly what it is the vice president does every day. You, senator, said, you would not be vice president under any circumstances. Now maybe this was just what was going on at the time. But tell us now, looking forward, what it is you think the vice presidency is worth now.

PALIN: In my comment there, it was a lame attempt at a joke and yours was a lame attempt at a joke, too, I guess, because nobody got it. Of course we know what a vice president does.

BIDEN: They didn't get yours or mine? Which one didn't they get?

PALIN: No, no. Of course, we know what a vice president does. And that's not only to preside over the Senate and will take that position very seriously also. I'm thankful that the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are. John McCain and I have had good conversations about where I would lead with his agenda, and that is energy independence in America and reform of government over all, and then working with families of children with special needs. That's near and dear to my heart also. And in those arenas, John McCain has already tapped me and said, that's where I want you, I want you to lead. And I said, I can't wait to get and there go to work with you.

[Biden’s response omitted for the sake of length, also his response to this first question was irrelevant to what follows.]

IFILL: Governor, you mentioned a moment ago that the Constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?

PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the Office of the Vice President. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation.

And it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as V.P. with McCain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. It is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also.

[Emphasis is mine.]

IFILL: Vice President Cheney's interpretation of the vice presidency?

BIDEN: Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history. The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.

And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.

The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

Yes, Senator Biden, the Constitution is explicit. In fact, Article I of the Constitution states: “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.” The existence of the title of “Vice President” in Article I does not suggest that the Vice President is a legislative being in the same manner that congressmen are, just as the title of “President” appearing within Article I does not suggest the President exists as an operative within both the legislative and executive branches of government. To state otherwise suggests both ignorance toward our oldest governing document and a level of contempt for the rules that have successfully upheld our nation in its young, but challenged existence.

Interestingly enough, the greatest power granted to the Vice President is not one envisioned by or carefully crafted in the first articles of the Constitution by the founding fathers, it is a power reassured and reasserted by an amendment added to the Constitution in 1967. Of equal interest is the fact that the first test of the Twenty-fifth Amendment came with the appointment of a man for the vice presidency who would not only go on to become President of the United States, but would also bring in as his Chief of Staff one Richard Bruce Cheney.

Whatever the consequences of Mr. Cheney’s many attempts for aggrandizement, it cannot be said that Cheney acted blindly with no knowledge of how the Vice President of the United States should behave on a moral, ethical, or constitutional level. His first White House job offered him a front row seat to the operations of a man who not only understood the finer details of the Constitution, but was in many ways a product of those very details. Just as his first oval office boss understood the distinction between the executive branch and the legislative branch, including that distinction as it applies to the vice president, Dick Cheney understood the distinctions.

Cheney’s actions that have harmed the constitutional foundation of this nation were not achieved with innocent abandon. He acknowledged the precedent and knowingly took the step to deceive. Whether Palin innocently suggested what she did with very little knowledge of what is actually outlined by the Constitution or not, she is just as dangerous and potentially detrimental to the Constitution of the United States as Vice President Cheney has been.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Few Days Off

I'm taking a few days off from blogging. Until my return, here is Jon McLaughlin from his newest album OK Now, performing "We All Need Saving."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Fall Classic

The team we have grown to expect unusual comebacks from was unable to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays on their home turf (literally) and due to the Red Sox loss we will in fact see the young Rays in the 2008 World Series.

Having secured their place in the Series by edging out the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Philadelphia Phillies will face the Rays after two days of travel and rest. The games will all be on FOX, all times Eastern:
World Series
Game 1: Wed. Oct. 22 @ Tampa Bay, 8pm
Game 2: Thurs. Oct. 23 @ Tampa Bay, 8pm
Game 3: Fri. Oct. 25 @ Philadelphia, 8pm
Game 4: Sun. Oct. 26 @ Philadelphia, 8 pm
Game 5: Mon. Oct. 27 @ Philadelphia, 8 pm
Game 6: Wed. Oct. 29 @ Tampa Bay, 8 pm
Game 7: Thurs. Oct. 30 @ Tampa Bay, 8 pm
Given that the American League won the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium back in July, the American League contender--the Rays--will have home field advantage. For the first time in awhile, home field advantage may play an even bigger role in the World Series. Assuming that the 2005 World Series was played at Minute Maid Park instead of the Astrodome and the 1995 Series was at Progressive Field, it has been quite some time since a home team's advantage has come on turf. Not only will astroturf play a prominent role in the game, the dome at Tropicana Field will prove to be an obstacle. Perhaps the last time turf played a role in the Series was back in the early 90s--1991 at Minnesota and '92 and '93 at Toronto.

Despite the challenges posed by the location, the Series will bring new excitement to a nation just being introduced to the young Rays and even a few of the young Phils.

Players to watch? I think we know from the ALCS that B.J. Upton deserves special attention. But their entire roster is full of young, fast, talent. Navarro, Pena, Crawford, Longoria, Price, Garza, Kazmir, Balfour. And don't forget the two veterans of the team--Cliff Floyd and Dan Wheeler. The NLCS introduced us to the Flyin' Hawaiian Shane Victorino. He is by no means the stand out of the Phils, but he's fun to watch. Keep an eye on the Big Man, Ryan Howard. Chase Utley is amazing. The young catcher Ruiz has skills behind the plate the Phillies have been lacking in previous seasons. And of course there's the pitching. Lidge. Madson. Moyer. Hamels. Both teams will bring the pitching and both teams will bring the running game. It may just be a matter of who can get the hits.

So, now we wait. Wednesday can't come soon enough!

Intolerance Begets Intolerance

This morning's Idaho State Journal offered a letter to the editor from Monty Ledford. The letter itself caught my eye as it has been awhile since I've read an LTE from Ledford. Ledford's letters are always among the most bizarre and once again he did not disappoint:
Coming Out Day

The National Coming Out Day claims to be recognizing freedom of choice. Is there any attempt to showcase practitioners of polygamy, incest, bisexuality or adultery? (If printed estimates are any indication, those who practice the latter three behaviors are far more numerous than the exclusively homosexual.)

If not, why is the "freedom of choice" label geared to one type of behavior -- homosexuality? I do not question the motives of those who sponsor this event, but the effect is to cultivate a public tolerance for behavior which does not serve the increase of the race, the welfare of society or the health of the personality; one man and one woman for life is the best relationship to nurture human life and build society.

Aberdeen, Idaho
Before I can continue, I must provide a shortened background of Monty Ledford. Not mentioned in today's editorial is Ledford's faith. Ledford is the pastor of the First Mennonite Church of Aberdeen. His letters usually warn of the damages of worldliness. However, he will write on whatever social ill appears prominent at that time. He ranges from railing against illegal immigration to any number of government accepted programs. As far as I can tell, Ledford does not believe sex education should be taught in schools, if he believes in public schooling at all. He is constantly harping on the notion that individuals are entirely responsible for their actions and beliefs--that their religion, faith, culture, etc. is not to blame. In fact, back in the 1970s, Ledford was a pastor at the Kempton Mennonite Fellowship in Kempton, Pennsylvania, and he said this back then:
It is intellectual chauvinism to invoke brainwashing as the only explanation of why others are persuaded of an outlook radically differing from one's own. It is intellectual cowardice to charge the Hare Krishna people with brainwashing instead of offering as an alternative a more persuasive world view and lifestyle. And it is an insult to the intelligence of the Hare Krishna converts to maintain that they were mentally coerced into assenting to these teachings instead of admitting that they, as responsible adults, were persuaded to accept them. God's truth should not be enforced or suppressed by Government statute.
Ledford doesn't appear to have much respect for religions other than his own, despite what he once contributed to an online posting regarding a book about the Mormon faith (the author of said book is of no relation to me):
I was fascinated and encouraged by the civil tone and respectful reasoning of all these comments. We cannot go wrong by treating one another as we want to be treated. My maternal ancestors came west to Salt Lake in 1847, but I was not raised LDS–yet my years here as a pastor in southern Idaho have made me appreciate more and more that we don’t have to be enemies or treat one another with contempt and insult–we may theologically have to give and take some hard knocks, but so long as we fight fair and can shake hands after the round we can be friends, and “faithful are the wounds of a friend”.
Maybe I'm missing something, but it appears Mr. Ledford speaks freely from both sides of his mouth. Where is the civility he speaks of? Seems to me he has demonstrated in his letter to the editor published today a great deal of contempt and insult for those he does not agree with. I'm guessing the Mennonite Church of Aberdeen isn't one of the progressive Mennonite branches like the Germantown Mennonite Church. He has stated previously that the illegal immigrants of Bingham County have no business being supported by the county or reaping the rewards of the quality of life there. However, he has also gone on record thanking immigrants for continuing to populate the world:
Thank God for the millions of immigrants in the USA and those couples who affirm the privilege of parenthood. Without them we risk sinking into the birth dearth and decline of Europe. Bringing children into the world is a vote for the future and a mark of hope in God's promises.
Maybe he should have pointed out that he was thanking the legal immigrant in the United States. And perhaps he should have mentioned then that he only supports parenthood for those who come by that gift naturally. Forget the many partners who wish to raise children together, many of whom believe in the same God as Mr. Ledford. Forget the millions of women in the United States who cannot have children of their own and wish to adopt. Is their action then a second-hand "vote for the future and a mark of hope in God's promises"?

The belief statement of the Mennonite church released in 1995 states:
"We believe that God exists and is pleased with all who draw near by faith." All? I'm going to bet that a large number of the illegal immigrants living Mr. Ledford has encountered in Aberdeen are good Catholics--having drawn near to God through faith much of their lives. I would also guess that the people he is railing against in the paper today have a relationship with God and have drawn near in faith.

Maybe Mr. Ledford needs a sign out in front of his church like the folks over at the Redemption Christian Center (in the old Alameda movie theater) have in front of their's that now says, "Vote the Bible. I am God and I approve this message." Except Mr. Ledford might need one that sounds a bit like that great duck-duck-goose game, "I approve of you, and you, and you, but not you."

And they wonder why I find perspectives like that of Mr. Ledford and a majority of religions utterly intolerable...

Smorgasbord Saturday

Yes, a few hours late...

It seems like Saturdays are rolling by quicker than I would like. Far too little is being accomplished around here between those Saturdays. However, Friday night I was out past sundown. First time in over a month. Progress.

Both the Idaho Press-Tribune and the Idaho State Journal are reporting that ISU's retention numbers have been released and one in two college freshman attending Idaho State University return following their first year. I'm not surprised. A few of the reasons I am not surprised is the large number of students attending ISU that are either leaving or returning on LDS missions. A large number of new students at ISU also relocate following their first year--my best estimation is they are leaving for BYU-Idaho and Utah State University. Then there is of course the category of students that either give up on school, decide it isn't for them, or get married and move away or stop seeing a reason to work toward a degree. The reports are citing larger numbers of part-time students as the cause for lower retention rates. I don't know many college freshmen who aren't carrying twelve credits, the required number for full-time enrollment. Strange reasoning if you ask me.

Am I the only one that finds the Al Smith Dinner increasingly irritating? I used to think of the Al Smith Dinner as a last stab at non-partisanship. Doesn't seem that way anymore. Especially with McCain and Obama who seem to enjoy every chance they can get to attack one another. Can this election be over already?

Tried to write something up about the fall baseball classic Thursday night and then the damn Red Sox came from behind, way behind, and beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway. They played in Tampa this evening. The plate umpire got hit in the clavicle and had to leave the game. You don't see that very often. Screwed up the strike zone for the rest of the night. If the Rays won, they were headed to the World Series against the fightin' Phils. If Boston won, it would go to game seven. Sadly, Boston won (tied up the ALCS) and we're going to a game seven instead of straight to the World Series. They'll play game seven tomorrow night (8 pm EST) again on TBS. I would really like to see the Red Sox choke one last time. If game seven is anything like game five, don't miss a minute! You never know what may transpire.

I have considered purchasing a Phillies cap, haven't yet, but hey, there is plenty of time. The '34 Cooperstown hat caught my eye.

A big thank you to the Washington Post for printing this story about Alaska beluga whales being protected as an endangered species. Ever since I read the headline I've had the baby beluga song from my elementary school days stuck in my head! Why we were singing about beluga whales in landlocked Idaho is beyond me. I almost thought it was gone from my head when my kid brother, here for awhile, proved to me that he knows every last word to "Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry. Not even that could erase baby belugas from my brain. I don't know which song would be worse to have stuck in my head...

Despite his inability to help me get this damn song out of my head, the kid brother did introduce me to a new band. New band to me, not a new band to the rest of the world. Avenged Sevenfold, never had heard of them, is a group out of Huntington Beach, California. They're harder than most music I listen to, but they have a great single with a heartbreaking video that I don't mind.

Did anybody catch Oliver Stone's "W." this weekend? I would love to see it, but I'm not up to sitting through a movie in the theater yet. I love Oliver Stone and if Jeb Bush calls it "hooey," it must be worth watching.

Like I said, a few hours late, but a smorgasbord is a smorgasbord before or after midnight.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Like Playing Yale Every Saturday"

From Monday's Nightly News with Brian Williams on NBC. (October 13, 2008)

Kennedy: I wouldn't like to try to pick up my life at 45, 6, or 7 after twenty years of being in politics. That would be a source of concern to me. Many politicians are lawyers and start in something else. I'm not a lawyer. It would be a problem for me to decide.

46 years old. He was only 46 years old.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hey, "Silver-tongued Devil," How's Your Stride?

How about this? Can this grab your attention? This is the transcript from a call this morning on the radio show "Zeb at the Ranch," broadcast every Monday through Thursday on KBAR out of Rupert, Idaho. Target? You guessed it, one Barack Obama:
Caller:You know yesterday he [Obama] was asked about ACORN and you know as well a I do that he was lying and he was literally amoral. He does not have a conscience and so this means nothing to him to lie to you and I... [Zeb interrupts]

Zeb Bell: I was just going to ask you, did you hear his comment to, uh, when he was in a crowd of people and he was asking for their vote? He walked up to one guy and he said "Now, listen, get in people's faces and demand that they vote for me!" It's almost sounding like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Caller: Well you know Hitler was a great orator, he just was louder. See nowadays we don't want to look offensive. See, so we don't, so he is smooth as silk and he is as deceptive as the devil. And he truly is, I think he is evil and he... [Zeb interrupts again]

Zeb Bell: You know something? You just said something, you said something that I think you should really elaborate on because you made a point and I don't care who is offended by it because we're a free speech talk show, we're not talking racism, we're talking politics and we're talking definitely viewpoints of people who are, in my opinion, socialistic and want to change the Constitution of America. You said, basically, he has viewpoints, or inklings, or leanings toward that of the devil. Explain that.

Caller: Well if you have no conscience, see if he had core principles, then he would not change his, he, think about how many things he has changed his mind on, you know. I mean we could go through all them, about meeting with, you know, on preconditions with the leaders of other countries, you know he's changed his mind about that. Taxing now, he says well we can't afford to tax the people. He's lying about the fact that small business only makes $250,000. You know as well as I do that a small business that small is pretty small. And I, uh, I, he's just, he is, he's the silver-tongued devil, man. He is and he's, I think he's even amazed himself and everybody around him. Because I really don't think they ever thought that he'd ever be here, they figured Hillary would be there.

Zeb Bell: I, I'm not going to argue with one thing you said because first of all you have the right to say it, secondarily, I think that basically anybody wants to arbitrate with me they're welcome to on his bent toward socialism. When you start talking about wealth distribution, what are you talking about? You're talking about socialistic values. He's not Robin Hood, by the way, I want to just point that out. Barack Obama is, in so many instances, a man to fear. I fear him on his comments about our Constitution being a living document and it can be changed in a changing world. Those kind of comments, and they are documented and, I mean I have got direct quotes from various books like one of the books, The Audacity of Deceit, written by Brad O'Leary, a very interesting book, goes into his various comments and absolutely shows Obama for what he is. He's a hypocrite and he's a man to be feared.

Caller: Well, like I say, he's got farther than he ever thought he was going to get and now he's beginning to earn his, if you watch him walk, his stride has changed. He's kind of got a cocky attitude.

Zeb Bell: It's arrogancy. Arrogancy.

Caller: You bet and let me tell you he, he, it's a shame because there are so many people that are fooled that are following him that know better and it is so sorry and you know, just one more point and I'll hang up--What, if he gets in and he's, there's four years of whatever the hell they throw at us, what will happen do you think after that? I mean, I think after four years of him he will not get re-elected. [Momentary battling of voices for control of the conversation]

Zeb Bell: I'll tell you what I think, Randy, honesty, and anybody out there including other talk show hosts and whatever can criticize me for this: I think four years of Obama would be the total desecration and destruction of our Constitution that never will come back.

Caller: That's the thing see, how much damage can they do? Senate, House, and, uh, him...

Zeb Bell: Show me the voice! Show me the voice, Randy. If you've got a Democratic controlled Congress with Pelosi and you've got a Democratic controlled Senate and you've got Obama and God help us, what kind of a cabinet he'd put in, you tell me how conservative thought and the value of our Constitution and the value of our families and the value of morality and the value of what made America great, how's that going to survive?

Caller: I don't know. The only thing we can hope for....I don't know Zeb we just have to hope that something miraculous comes around and somehow or another the American people stand up and do what's right even though these polls, you know I don't know that I believe these polls all of the time.

Zeb Bell: I don't either. I think that instead of the word hope, I want to pray. Believe me, I'm praying. I do not want this administration to take, I wouldn't want this administration to be the head of a 4-H club. I have no use for these people. Thank you for your call.

Caller: Hey, when all else fails drop to your knees. Okay, thanks.

Zeb Bell: You got it, man. Thank you.

Now, tell me, which group of voters has a Messiah-complex? Why need we worry about the changing stations and growing influence of Rush Limbaugh when we have our own homegrown hate?

Update (5:34 p.m.): And if this didn't get your attention, the MountainGoat Report has more. Yes, there is more. All from the same show. That's all in one day, folks!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Interrupting the Program

Wednesday Update: Just in case anybody was wondering I survived yesterday, all of these rants included, and after baking enough peanut butter cookies to feed the entire United States military, all is well again. That and my good buddy in Moscow sent me a link to what could possibly be the best website EVER!!

I feel like I should say "we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming..." before this post. Somewhat odd that I wouldn't be posting about racism, hatred, tolerance, or even the myriad of things that happened on this day in history (MLK wins Nobel Prize, Cuban Missile Crisis began, Mr. Khrushchev got the boot, etc.). Just can't.

I spent the weekend attempting to read the comments following the Washington Post story about Rep. John Lewis coming to the defense of Sen. Obama. The comments made me sick. One in particular that called John Lewis the racist in this story. John Lewis for crying out loud. Haven't really let that one go. I also spent the weekend pissed off about snow. Yes, snow. Not that I can't be mad at snow, but I've never been so afraid of snow before. What if I slip? What if whatever they just did to surgically solve my back problems is undone by one fall on the ice? Anxiety about snow is worse than the actual snow. Makes me a little undone. Luckily it is nearly melted away.

And then today, at work, a woman comes in and is looking for information on a woman that was a prominent member of the community. Problem was she didn't know when the woman died so we didn't even have a death date to go with for an obituary search. I started doing some looking after the patron left and what shows up? The obituary, 90th birthday announcement, etc. I go hunting all over four floors of this building and the woman is long gone. I've been there--that place where the research material you need is right there, literally, and you can't seem to get it in your hands to finish your project. Maybe that is why I chased this lady all over the library for nothing. Hopefully she comes back.

I don't know why I cared so much about this lady's research. I'm having research dilemmas of my own. Except mine are the kind where I have all the damn research, tons of it, and no freakin' clue what to do with it. How to frame the question, how to put my research to good use. Just can't seem to.

I make lists. It is what I do. Today's list? Well there's a chart with an accompanying list. All the things that are left to complete in the Stallings Collection. All the things that are currently keeping me from getting the hell out of Pocatello and on with my life. Funny I think of it that way, because I used to think of it more in the sense of this Sister Hazel song.

We can now return to our regular programing...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Consequences of Idleness

"Idleness is sweet, and its consequences are cruel."
-- President John Quincy Adams

Over the weekend, two articles ran in the Washington Post addressing once again the issue of race in the 2008 presidential campaign. The first article ran with tough talking civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis' condemnation of Sen. McCain for "sowing the seeds of hatred and division."

Though I happen to agree with Rep. Lewis in the matter of race permeating the presidential campaigns and respect his public statement on the matter as a man who has encountered racism far more often than most Americans, his comments are where I draw the line between defending Sen. Obama in earnest and defending Sen. Obama in ignorance of all else that deserves our attention.

In June when the blogosphere was buzzing with the not so astonishing news that an Idaho radio host had used a racial slur in a discussion of Sen. Obama and his family, emails fired off to groups such as Idahoans for Obama, the mainstream media took notice, and progressives across the state wanted the radio host and his show yanked from the air. There was an initial push to boycott the sponsors of the radio show and a discussion ensued as to how those who stand for progressive ideals and tolerance could monitor the happenings of the show.

After the radio host backed off of his comments, blaming his guest for perpetuating the hate-filled commentary, the buzz died down. It was apparently no longer an issue, a disgrace to a state not unknown for racially motivated groups and events, and it would take yet another incident with a caller speaking in a racist tone about the messiah complex of Obama for the blogosphere to again take notice.

The renewed interest in the racist remakes spewed from the mouth of Zeb Bell and his callers onto the public airwaves came once again. Unlike the times before when the blogosphere was abuzz, my inbox was not flooded, and only a few commented on how disgusting the radio clip was. Have we become desensitized to the hatred? Or did we simply not take this commentary as seriously as the one that referred to Obama's mother as "trailer trash" and to the Senator as "the negroid Barack Hussein Obama"? Not a single email went out as had before in the case of the racial slur or following the release of Jerome Corsi's book, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality. One new and unusual development occurred--the tables turned and some blamed the community for this brand of racism rather than the man who both fuels it and spreads it throughout that very community.

I find it infuriating that it takes the disparagement of the Democratic nominee for the presidency for people to take notice of the racism and hatred being broadcast in the Magic Valley and Mini-Cassia area.

What is and has been said about Obama on Zeb Bell's show is being said about any number of minorities every time that man goes on the air. His particular brand of hate is not contained by the geographical reach of those airwaves. And the effects of that hate spread like wildfire throughout this state. We cannot simply turn a blind eye because he is broadcasting out of his home in Murtaugh, Idaho. But we do. Many of us turn a blind eye to all he says unless it degrades our precious nominee. We turn a blind eye hoping that those listening will not take violent action. Many of us say he is in a cultural bubble in south central Idaho while hoping against all hope that our children will not be subject to such hatred.

Bell's hatred attacks the most unassuming and innocent among us. He attacks Native Americans, Hispanics, liberals, Japanese-Americans, African-Americans, globalists, and Muslims with an equal amount of hatred and gusto. He will attack a student just as quickly as a teacher. He will pull a weapon on a young man who accidentally drove through his property line fence simply because the young man was Hispanic and what Zeb defines as "a menace to society." He will claim to greatly admire Dr. James Dobson and will bring a man on his show every week who has known ties to Stormfront and David Duke.

He attacks those weakest among us, yet we choose to only defend a man running for president who can very well defend himself. We turn a blind eye to the hatred until Mr. Bell calls Obama the "precursor to the anti-Christ" and insists his white mother had a "fixation" on black men. We turn a blind eye as Mr. Bell revises history to blame Japanese-Americans for their own internment during World War II, yet the moment Mr. Bell claims there will undoubtedly, in an Obama administration, be reparations for the families of African-American slaves prior to the Civil War we react in fury.

To quote a man who has combatted Zeb Bell for far longer than I, Gary Eller: "We all float in the same boat, the USS America, and when anyone is caught knocking a hole in it, only a fool will stand idly by and watch it happen...I don't begrudge the Zeb Bells of the world nearly as much as I do those who stand idly by."

If the blatant blindness occurring while the incidents of hate and intolerance on Zeb Bell's show abound in contrast to the uproar occurring when that same show attacks Barack Obama is any indication of how people, even progressives I identify with, will behave in this country with Barack Obama in the White House, I want nothing to do with an Obama presidency.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Of easy wind and downy flake..."

"...the woods are lovely dark and deep." The only thing I find redeemable about snow is that it makes me think of Robert Frost.

Matthew Shepard, Ten Years

It ain't fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away

-- "Who You'd Be Today", Kenny Chesney

Ten years ago today in a Fort Collins, Colorado hospital, Matthew Shepard died from severe head injuries resulting from a hate-fueled attack. Despite being left battered and bloody, tied to a fence and susceptible to the elements in rural Colorado, Matthew held on for several days.

For eighteen hours, Matthew Shepard was clinging to life as the fence post clinging to his body held him high enough that eventually a passing motorist would see him. Eighteen hours. Those disgusted with his lifestyle, Matthew Shepard was openly gay, would contend that those eighteen hours were his punishment for living his life as he did. In the days that followed they would call him an abomination. The media would descend on his hometown of Laramie, Wyoming and they would be followed by hate mongers of every creed who carried signs quoting the nineteenth chapter of Genesis and shouting words that sting to this day.

I was just a kid, thirteen years old to be exact, and yet it was the second time in my life I was forced to grapple with the weight of mortality. Only three years earlier I, like so many kids across America, was forced to process another act of hate--that of the Oklahoma City bombing. The image of Baylee Almon, who would later die, one of nineteen child casualties as a daycare center within the Murrah building was also hit, would haunt my ten-year old mind for the weeks and even years that followed. And then there was Matthew Shepard.

The death of Matthew Shepard was an entirely different encounter with mortality. This time a young man was killed, singled out, for who he was, who he wanted to be, how he wanted to live. This wasn't about making a statement about a government. This was about hate. Pure hatred and fear, fear that ultimately drove Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney to take the life of Shepard.

I did not believe then and I do not believe now in a vengeful God. Matthew Shepard's death was no more a message or punishment than was Hurricane Katrina. Matthew Shepard's death was the result of ignorance and hatred. Hatred so deeply embedded in the psyche of Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson that it drove them to kill. It is a hatred I have seen in the eyes of others and a hatred I have heard voiced far more often than I ever cared to. Matthew Shepard's death was the result of intolerance, an intolerance that remains today.

It has been ten years since the world was introduced to Matthew Shepard; ten years since his story forced us to address the hatred among us. But after ten years, to quote Judy Shepard, "so much has changed, yet so much remains the same." Ten years and still no federal hate crimes law.

Please join the Matthew Shepard Foundation in replacing hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Smorgasbord Saturday

The New York Times Learning Network is a wonderful source of materials for any number of scenarios. Need to know what happened on this day in history? They have it. Making lesson plans? The Newspaper In Education (NEI) resources are perfect. In fact, my first encounter with the learning network was for a course I took some years ago that had a large number of students in it working toward secondary teaching degrees. A friend of mine (and fellow Braves fan) used a lesson plan incorporating baseball and history. My introduction to the site was made in a history course, but that doesn't mean the site is limited to historical topics. The other night I went to the site to see if I could find some information on how to explain science fiction as a literary genre and stumbled across crossword puzzles. Of course, it is the New York Times! Now I'm hooked...

I don't know what it is about radio personalities these days, but I found a couple more highly despicable comments that went out on the air this week. This time ESPN has the story as it relates to one of the greatest basketball players I've ever seen--Magic Johnson. What did they say? Read it for yourself--they said they thought Magic faked having AIDS.

On a radio-related note, a new site has written up a great commentary on what bringing Rush Limbaugh to KBOI means to Idaho. This is a great new site out of Idaho that I've added to my sidebar that I think everyone should take a look at. Like my chess theme, this guy has a poker theme and it is all relevant to the political happenings of the day. Crazy Game of Poker, go check it out!

Because the bailout is the biggest news in Washington, D.C. these days, aside from the presidential election, a small story in the Washington Post was mostly ignored. A new statue in the town of many statues. Except this one is a long time coming and is indeed a "tall tribute."

A friend of mine in New Mexico informed me that the Spill Canvas is coming to Pocatello! Their site says they'll be performing at The Icon. I didn't even know about the Icon, had to look it up. Evidently it is a small venue on Main Street. Maybe I should start paying attention and go check it out...

In other music news and also from the realm of things I haven't been paying attention to, there is a group called Ha*Ash, listed as Mexican/American pop on Wikipedia, that has a new single out with Brandi Carlile. "Already Home" either doesn't have an official video yet or I just haven't found it. This is what shows up on youtube and if you'd like the lyrics you can find them via my favorite lyrics search engine Metro Lyrics.

With a win from the Red Sox in the series opener in Tampa Bay, the American League Championship Series between the Sox and Rays is sitting at 1-0. The fighting Phillies are 2-0 in the National League Championship Series. Expected? I'm not sure I saw the Phillies taking the first two. Maybe a split. Then again, I didn't see the support the Phillies would show manager Charlie Manuel following news that his mother had passed away after a heart attack two days earlier. The Manny-driven Dodgers will heat up as they always do. And when they do, you better believe I'll we watching Rafael Furcal. The man had back surgery (quite similar to my own) in July and he's now playing in the NLCS. Insane! Whatever the standings, it is what it is and it's October. Bring on the baseball!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Idaho Radio News: Check Your "White Liberal Guilt" at the Door

*Editor's Note: The following post contains material that will (and should) offend some readers. Said material is not the property or creation of me and though not mine, I apologize for the offensive commentary contained here. The offensive material has been lifted from another Idaho site to make a point about racism and hatred in Idaho.

The decision by the administrators of Idaho Radio News to solidify their comment policy went unnoticed by most. Claiming to have the "inside scoop on Idaho's radio industry," Idaho Radio News concentrates mostly on the Boise market and has been operating at the hands of Don Day since 2003. The timing and catalyst for the new comment policy in question is interesting, to say the least. In late September a reader posted an "out-of bounds comment" entirely in Spanish. Non-English comments will no longer be tolerated. In addition to non-English comments, the lesser rule now forbids inflammatory comments.

In response to the announcement of the new comment policy, one reader noted that his comments to another reader in Spanish were intended to articulate his irritation with said reader for spouting offensive commentary on "whites or anglos" that would be offensive to other "broad-minded latinos." This reader wasn't the catalyst for the new comment policy and the original comment in question was removed. The reader goes on to say in his response to the new comment policy that "latinos don't have a corner on the market as it concerns "OUR" latin-american culture."

In one single comment, we are privy to one of the most common underlying tensions residing in rural Idaho, the tension that exists between the Hispanic/Latino community and the white community. Whatever the original, inflammatory, non-English comment was, you can be sure that very rhetoric had been used before on the Idaho Radio News site and without the response of a new comment policy.

Remember in June when the entire Idaho progressive blogosphere was up in arms regarding racist statements broadcast on Rupert-based KBAR by radio host Zeb Bell? Those statements, degrading Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, were met with equally offensive comments from readers of Idaho Radio News who likened the situation to an earlier racially-fueled situation stemming from the desecration of a Mexican flag at Minico High School. A comment from the Minico controversy published unfiltered at Idaho Radio News:
Roger W. Morgan
on May 15th, 2008 at 5:16 p.m.

Just try this “innocent” little stunt in Mexico. Then tell us all about racism. For the record, you can not intimidate me in any way shape or form, by using that term as an expression of my viewpoint. If it is racism and you want to class it as such….be my guest and I will wear your label proudly.

We have had enough, paying for all their babies and medical expenses!!! They get it all for free!! We have had enough of this pandering to them as if they are so mistreated and abused….If that is so then go back to Mexico. SPEAK THE DAMN LANGUAGE!!! ASSIMILATE AND BECOME AMERICANS!!!!

My wife retired from teaching. She would tell her Mexican students that they really needed to learn ENGLISH. Their response??? verbatim it was this “F**** You we are not Americans, we are Mexicans. YOU NEED TO LEARN TO SPEAK MEXICAN.”

Talk to me about this innocent little thingy. Where do they get that idea???? FROM THEIR HOMES!!! Your white liberal guilt is really showing!!!

When wisely countered by the radio host involved in the Minico controversy who mentioned that Mr. Morgan may need some sensitivity training, he had this to say:
Let me give you a true story in SENSITIVITY AND GOODNESS. Let’s change the names and places, but the story is true. The Mendoza family does this scam each and every year. When time comes for field work to start here in Idaho, they leave McAllen Texas. Before leaving however they stop into the local welfare office and claim they are destitute. They have six children, or at least claim that many. The local welfare office gives them $1000 dollars. Of they go headed north. Upon arriving in Salt Lake City, it is a stop at the local welfare office, and claim they are destitute….another $1000 dollars to “help them out.” Then they arrive in lets pick a town, Emmett. First stop, the local welfare office where you guessed it….another $1000….to “help them out.”

So….we paid them $3000 dollars to come up here and work??? Gosh, I guess we all need some more sensitivity training.

I could go on and on. These hard working misunderstood people, who have destroyed Nampa and Caldwell. Oh I like this one….they are all just PEACE LOVING PEOPLE….and all the drive by shootings are simply a figment of our imagination. All the gang graffiti is really white AMERICANS trying to mistreat these poor misunderstood people.


In this case, Mr. Morgan was not asked to dial it down a notch. He embraced the label of racist and continued spewing hate and misinformation (all emphasis is that of Mr. Morgan):
You and all your ilk are the damn racists. You see everything in skin color. I see everything in CULTURE. You want to “HELP” the poor Mexican…and by your idea of HELP you are in fact enabling them to continue being the way they are. TELL THEM THE DAMN TRUTH. Here is a start, how about STOP MILKING THE WELFARE SYSTEM. Another start….TURN IN THOSE YOU KNOW WHO YOU KNOW ARE MAKING ILLEGAL IDENTIFICATIONS. Oh here is another one….STAND AND PUT YOUR HAND OVER YOUR HEART WHEN THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IS PLAYED….THIS IS THE COUNTRY THAT FEEDS YOU AND PAYS YOU TO RAISE ALL YOUR DAMN WELFARE BABIES SO SHOW SOME RESPECT.

Is it because Mr. Morgan's inflammatory and disgusting rant about Hispanics was in English that it remained on the site? I doubt it. Was it because Mr. Morgan's rant didn't defame any one person? Of course not, his rant was a defamation of an entire community. Was it because his comments were not riddled in profanity that it was allowed to remain on the site? Right.

If you can stomach the hatred, Mr. Morgan's comments in their entirety are still in the archives of the Idaho Radio News site. And if they weren't, you can surely believe that his brand of hatred remains in the smallest Idaho towns with or without the largest populations of Hispanics/Latinos. Keep in mind, Mr. Morgan is not ranting about the Hispanics in Rupert, Idaho. He's ranting about the Hispanic communities in or around Boise. This isn't an issue, a tension, limited to rural southeastern Idaho. It never has been.

Whatever the motivation behind the decision to reassess their comment policy, Idaho Radio News is far too late. The tide of racism and hatred infiltrated that site long before a reader decided to post an insult written in Spanish. In fact, the most inflammatory, insulting, and offensive comments contained there are not written in any non-English language.

Skillfully Done, Mr. Simpson

In a time when we expect campaign sites to tell us absolutely everything we need to know about the candidate and their positions, I find it rather odd that Congressman Mike Simpson's campaign site directs its visitors to Wikipedia for more information on the Congressman.

Once the reader hits Wikipedia, if you're interested in Congressman Simpson's personal life this is what it says to offer:
Simpson is an avid painter, specializing in water colors. An annual campaign
fund raiser is held at which his prints are sold.

I guess I was expecting something along the lines of the Congressman has (x) number of children and his wife is named Kathy.

I also found this little blurb about his professional title quite comical:
While Simpson is a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.), he does not use the honorific "Dr." while serving in Congress, preferring to be referred to as Congressman or Mr. Simpson.

This is important how? He is in some way humble? Wouldn't have guessed that by the Wikipedia statement that he didn't face real challengers in 2002 and 2004.

Oh, and Congressman Simpson has a blog. Evidently he only finds Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats handling of the budget, the primary election, and nuclear energy important enough to grace his blog. And since June he hasn't felt any need to actively campaign via the site. Come to think of it, I don't know how actively he is campaigning right now at all.

And if the current climate in Washington wasn't tense enough in the final administrative days of the lamest of lame ducks, Congressman Simpson has that photo of him with President Bush and the two Idaho spuds (no, I don't mean Otter & Craig). There he is, grinning ear to ear flanked by President Bush and the rest of the Idaho delegation including Senator Widestance. Way to win points with the voters--two guys that just aren't too popular these days as your buddies.

Way to go, Congressman.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sali Is Scary, No Really

When you were a kid did you ever play the 'which would you rather' game? You know, would you rather eat a worm or kiss a pig? That sort of mindless questioning that kids seem to be skilled at continuing on long car rides and even longer sleepovers.

I've made an adjustment to the game in response to this article from the Politico. My game? Who scares me more--today's most obvious targets being Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska and Congressman Bill Sali of Idaho's first congressional district.

Who scares me more, Palin or Sali?

What a tossup. When asked what was the turning point in his life, what did Bill Sali say? A fourth-grade book report that he blew off and received a failing grade for. Seriously.

The fact that he didn't turn the report in doesn't scare me so much as the acknowledgment he makes that it was a turning point. Turning point toward what, Mr. Sali? On a much larger (and more important scale) are those pesky FEC reports you can't seem to turn in on time or with any amount of honesty. It seems to me a turning point is supposed to be life altering. Mr. Sali, you're still playing the same games you were in the fourth grade, except now it isn't the class you're failing, it's your constituents you are failing at every turn.

What do Bill Sali and Sarah Palin have in common? An inability to tell the truth and learn from their mistakes. Doesn't make much difference who is scarier.

Monday, October 6, 2008

October, Round Two

Now to the League Championships...

After a potentially game saving play by Mark Teixeira to steal a hit and a winning run from his former Braves teammate Mark Kotsay, Jed Lowrie hit a single that allowed Jason Bay to score, winning the game and the first round against the Angels for the Boston Red Sox.

Following a few days off, here's the lineup and schedule for the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox (3-1 win over the Angels) and the Tampa Bay Rays (3-1 win over the White Sox) as well as the National League Championship Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers (3-0 sweep of the Cubs) and the Philadelphia Phillies (3-1 win over the Brewers):

American League Championship Series
(Televised on TBS, all times Eastern)

Game 1: Friday October 10th, Boston @ Tampa Bay, 8 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday October 11th, Boston @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Game 3: Monday October 13th, Tampa Bay @ Boston, 4 p.m.
Game 4: Tuesday October 14th, Tampa Bay @ Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5: Thursday October 16th, Tampa Bay @ Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6: Saturday October 18th, Boston @ Tampa Bay, 4 p.m.
Game 7: Sunday October 19th, Boston @ Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.

National League Championship Series
(Televised on FOX, all times Eastern)

Game 1: Thursday October 9th, LA @ Philly, 8 p.m.
Game 2: Friday October 10th, LA @ Philly, 4 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday October 12th, Philly @ LA, 8 p.m.
Game 4: Monday October 13th, Philly @ LA, 8 p.m.
Game 5: Wednesday October 15th, Philly @ LA 8 p.m.
Game 6: Friday October 17th, LA @ Philly 8 p.m.
Game 7: Saturday October 18th, LA @ Philly 8 p.m.

Predictions now? I sure as hell hope the Rays stomp the Red Sox. And, my initial alliances should leave me rooting for Philly. However, wouldn't a World Series between Boston and the Manny-driven Dodgers be entertaining?

Bradford to Speak at November In Dallas Conference

Great news:
For Immediate Release
Monday, October 6, 2008

JFK Lancer Publications & Productions
Contact: Debra Conway

Rex Bradford is a computer game developer whose interest in the JFK assassination and technology experience led him to develop the History Matters web site. Bradford is Senior Analyst & Archivist at the Mary Ferrell Foundation and creator of the electronic archive of JFK documents.

The Mary Ferrell Foundation Archive is the largest searchable electronic archive of information relating to the assassinations of the 1960s and their larger historical context, including over 1,000,000 pages of declassified government documents.

Rex Bradford will be presenting information outlining the various types of records available and highlighting the newest available collections including: FBI HSCA Subject Files, Daily Logs of FBI Director Hoover, FBI Files on the Hosty Note and the LAPD Report to HSCA -An undated report from the Los Angeles Police Dept. to the House Assassinations Committee, supplying information on possible connections between the JFK and RFK murders.
History Matters, not to be confused with the History Matters project at George Mason, can be accessed here. JFK Lancer can be accessed here or via my sidebar.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Conspiracy Theories Abound

I couldn't help but laugh at this article by editor of the Twin Falls Times-News, James Wright. Why? There is the initial claim by one Magic Valley man that Barack Obama is not an American citizen therefore ineligible to be President of the United States. But it gets better when Wright takes on the very problem with conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists for that matter:
The beauty in any and all conspiracy theories is that it's almost impossible to prove that something did not happen, and any evidence that punches holes in the theory is easily dismissed as part of a coverup promoted by an ever-growing circle of conspirators.
He's right, the answer to all logic is that whatever the information or intelligence it must be part of the coverup. Having met my fair share of conspiracy theorists I have to agree with the frustrations of Mr. Wright. I also laughed uncontrollably at this:
Some time ago I had a call from a perfectly sincere woman who wanted to pass on her theory that the CIA and NASA conspired to fake the deaths of Marilyn Monroe (a known Mossad agent code-named Norma Jean) and JFK so they could secretly live out the rest of their days on a desert island where Marilyn gave birth to their love child, thus sparing the nation the embarrassment of learning about the president's philandering.

Interesting theory, I said, but you have to acknowledge that there's not a shred of evidence to support it.

"Yes," she responded emphatically, "isn't it suspicious that there's no proof?"
Yes, these people really exist. Yes, they really believe it. No, I'm not one of them. This entire notion of Obama not being an American has been floating about for awhile. I suppose if there is any truth to the skepticism surrounding his birthplace there is probably an equal amount surrounding the birthplace of Senator McCain. Level the playing field, of course at the Constitution's expense, but really this isn't about who is and isn't eligible to be President, it's about the fear people like this man in Magic Valley harbor at the prospect of either of these candidates leading the free world.

Maybe that's what all conspiracy theories are--the manifestation of fear.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Smorgasbord Saturday

After the showdown between Grant Balfour and Orlando Cabrera in Florida Thursday and then Kazmir hitting Cabrera in his first at bat Friday, I've been thinking about potential punches. Who are the most likely hot-headed players that could potentially throw a few punches this post-season? If the Red Sox continue to dominate the Angels and the Rays do the same to the White Sox, the ALCS could see a rematch of the Coco Crisp debacle from earlier this season. Remember when Manny and Youk got into that fight in the Boston dugout? If the Red Sox dominated the Angels, beat the Rays, and made it to the World Series against a Dodgers team that over-powered the Cubs and beat the Phillies, we could see a meeting of Manny and Youk again. This time Manny is much more hated by the Boston Red Sox first baseman. This time Terry Francona might not intervene. Other notable hot heads: Jason Kendall (Brewers), Navarro (Rays), Zambrano (Cubs), Fielder (Brewers), Derrek Lee (Cubs), and we can't forget the managers Lou Pinella (Cubs), Mike Scioscia (Angels), and Ozzie Guillen (White Sox).

Right now as the Phillies take on the Brew Crew at Miller Park, all of the postseason series are sitting 2-0. I'm disappointed in the Angels, irritated with the Cubs (though not surprised), understanding of both the White Sox and Brewers who had to work extra hard to get into the playoffs and could very well be exhausted. That's where things stand.

Sara at f-words has a post up that says what I've been waiting to hear. Taking on John McCain's "plan" for rural health care, she wants to know how exercise will solve all health problems. I signed on to the website for my health insurance carrier recently to see what percentage of my recent surgery and prior as well as current sessions of physical therapy will cost me and to my frustration there was a note under coverage informing me that patients who participate in a continuous exercise plan are less likely to eventually require surgeries, therapies, etc. So, my question for my health insurance company? How am I supposed to walk, run, bike, swim, whatever, if I can't walk? That was me prior to surgery--I couldn't stand up for more than ten minutes without losing feeling in my legs and I couldn't sit for more than a half hour without experiencing steady pain. Walking, running, biking, all out of the question. And now? Now it takes everything I've got to roll out of my bed, lift myself up while stabilizing my spine, and then standing up. Walking I can do. Sitting, not so much. And physical therapy has wiped me out this week. Exercise alone is the answer? Right.

The Idaho News Corral ("Where influential Idahoans go to be in the know") is online and running. The site seems to have a little too much marketing and advertisement, but overall the service being offered is fairly decent. It is a little bit like the Idaho Reader service offered by the Statesman, but broader and published several times daily. Want it sent to you? Idaho News Corral does that too. You can sign up for a daily brief delivered to your inbox. You can also submit press releases to them easily online.

Mitch Pileggi is popping up everywhere. Who? The Skin Man, aka Walter Skinner, aka Assistant Director of the FBI on the X-Files. I saw him Sunday on Brothers & Sisters as Kevin's boss. I've seen him repeatedly in the commercials for the new Greg Kinnear flick about, of all things, wiper blades. He played Bill Daley in the HBO made for tv film about the 2000 Florida voting mess. Made a cameo as Walter Skinner in the new X-Files movie. And, he has evidently been on Stargate: Atlantis for the past three years. As Pileggi said to the SyFy Portal recently about being typecast or only recognized as Skinner, "it can be a bit of an irritation sometimes." Next up for Pileggi: A guest role on Criminal Minds.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has a new film online that outlines the past, present and future of the Fairness Doctrine. This news from the latest installment of the blogger updates I receive via email from CEI, updates I am continuously impressed with. Have a few minutes? Go watch it.

That's it for this rainy Saturday.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

DFA Takes On Risch

*Editor's note: Yes, I'm a few days slow posting this, but better late than never...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Contact: Daniel I. Medress
Office: (802) 651-3200, ext. 148
Cell: (213) 814-8663

Risch Not Popular with Newspapers, Fellow Republicans

BURLINGTON, VT -- During Jim Risch’s 37 years as a politician, he has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Some have been bold enough to say so out loud, despite Risch’s power and reputation for abusing it.

Following Risch’s victory in the primary race for Lieutenant Governor in 2002, sitting Lieutenant Governor Jack Riggs called Risch a “career politician” and told Boise TV station KTVB that he questioned Risch’s honesty. He also noted that Risch had been beaten in his home county. “He did not win Ada County, where people know him,” Riggs said. “I think that’s a good perception.”

Fellow candidate Larry Eastland agreed with Riggs, and had his own explanation for why Risch won. “It wasn’t just the dollars. It was a combination of the dollars and deceptive advertising the dollar bought. It’s deceptive for a downtown Boise trial lawyer who spent 30 years earning his money as a trial lawyer, who has a ranch as a tax write-off, to spend huge amounts of money calling himself a rancher,” Eastland said.

The state’s largest newspaper has also found itself on the wrong side of Risch. Calling him a “shoot from the hip type” and “a hard-edged lawmaker who inspires fear,” the Idaho Statesman concluded that Risch “made his reputation as an iron-fisted leader in the (state) Senate.”

During the primary in 2002, the Statesman’s editorial page said of Risch, “He claims to have ‘mellowed,’ but has never erased his image as an autocratic bully. And his willingness to do anything in the name of politics . . . leaves us worried.”

In the current campaign, several newspapers have taken Risch to task for being less than honest is describing the tax shift he authored as acting Governor. “The tax overhaul . . . is doing no favors for working-class Idahoans,” the Statesman wrote. “For Risch to air television ads saying he delivered ‘the largest tax cut in state history’ is an act of political cynicism.” The paper concluded that “This says a lot . . . about the way the lieutenant governor might approach tax and economic decisions facing Idaho’s next U.S. Senator.”

In a piece titled “Robin Hood in Reverse,” the Idaho Falls Post Register said Risch was “distorting” his tax shift. “The big winners were businesses, which got a $60 million tax break. The losers were individuals, who ended up paying $10 million more.” Noting Risch’s ads touting his “tax cut,” the paper concluded, “and you wonder why people get cynical about politics.”

Private economists have also taken Risch to task for his deception. Former Idaho Chief Economist Richard Slaughter wrote in the Idaho Statesman that what Risch did was a tax shift, not a tax cut, and that ordinary Idahoans paid more in increased sales tax than they saved in property tax.

“The result of shifting from property tax to sales tax is that wage earners now pay twice the tax on groceries and other necessities as before, while businesses and organizations favored by Risch are totally exempt.” He concluded, “You remember the old saw, ‘figures don’t lie, but..."