For Your Viewing Pleasure

November 24, 2008


It is a time-honored tradition in many households including my own that before, after, and/or during the process of eating turkey and its innumerable accouterments, football must be watched. After the meal, after the dishes, after the genial conversation comes pie and football. And pie.

I am proposing a different course of action this year, however. No change for the turkey, the dishes, the conversation, or the pie. I’m suggesting that rather than watching football, watch a movie. In fact, watch a cheesy move, the cheesier the better. And with that proposal in mind, I have three guilty favorites to recommend for your entertainment:

  • Buckaroo Banzai (aka The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension): a quintessential 80s tale of a rock star / brain surgeon / quantum physicist and his wacky back-up band who accidentally release aliens from the 8th dimension. Hijinks ensue. This engaging classic has an all-star cast including Peter Weller, John Lithgow (in a star turn you’ll never forget), Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, and Christopher Lloyd, as well as a host of other faces you will recognize. Lots of great quotable lines in this movie.
  • Big Trouble in Little China: it was rumored that this was intended to be the sequel to Buckaroo Banzai which got derailed. Whereas Banzai definitely has a sci-fi vibe throughout it, Big Trouble is more mystical, with Kurt Russell starring as swaggering trucker Jack Burton who attempts to help a friend rescue his kidnapped fiancee. This one has lots more action, and is not quite so slyly subtle. Also starring a pre-Sex and the City Kim Cattrall, this is a kung-fu romp through San Francico’s Chinatown.
  • Tremors: an actual monster movie with fantastic subterranean creatures that terrorize and destroy a small town. This one features Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward as Val and Earl, odd job guys with big plans who get trapped in their small town by the heretofore unknown “graboids.” Between the two of them, they have to figure out a way to get the towns’ survivors to safety. The relationship between Val and Earl carries the story; and the supporting characters are hugely entertaining, particularly Michael Gross and Reba McIntyre as survivalist types who have a basement full of guns, ammo, and other little surprises. The graboids are wonderfully low-tech and yet believable.

So forget the football this year. Try a cheesy movie. You can thank me later.


And Another Thing…

November 23, 2008


I write this pursuant to my post of yesterday, in which I remarked on the number of folks on the left calling on Obama to take over, like, now, already.

So now we also have three opinion writers from the New York Times all calling for Bush to step down and let Obama have his chance almost two months early.

Paul Krugman wrote:

“How much can go wrong in the two months before Mr. Obama takes the oath of office? The answer, unfortunately, is: a lot. Consider how much darker the economic picture has grown since the failure of Lehman Brothers, which took place just over two months ago. And the pace of deterioration seems to be accelerating.”

Gail Collins, in a column coyly entitled, “Time for Him to Go”, opined:

“Thanksgiving is next week, and President Bush could make it a really special holiday by resigning.

Seriously. We have an economy that’s crashing and a vacuum at the top. Bush — who is currently on a trip to Peru to meet with Asian leaders who no longer care what he thinks — hasn’t got the clout, or possibly even the energy, to do anything useful. His most recent contribution to resolving the fiscal crisis was lecturing representatives of the world’s most important economies on the glories of free-market capitalism.”

And the latest is Thomas Friedman, who pennedWe Found the W.M.D.”

“If I had my druthers right now we would convene a special session of Congress, amend the Constitution and move up the inauguration from Jan. 20 to Thanksgiving Day. Forget the inaugural balls; we can’t afford them. Forget the grandstands; we don’t need them. Just get me a Supreme Court justice and a Bible, and let’s swear in Barack Obama right now — by choice — with the same haste we did — by necessity — with L.B.J. in the back of Air Force One.”

I’ve got a newsflash for you whiney liberals: you are part of the very reason our country is in the state it is today. You sit there on your loathsome spotty behinds, squeezing bla– oh, sorry, wrong rant. You sit there in your ivory towers which protect you from the humdrum world of the ordinary, and pretend you are not only smarter, but also better than most Americans. This is borne out by the opening paragraph of Friedman’s column:

“So, I have a confession and a suggestion. The confession: I go into restaurants these days, look around at the tables often still crowded with young people, and I have this urge to go from table to table and say: “You don’t know me, but I have to tell you that you shouldn’t be here. You should be saving your money. You should be home eating tuna fish. This financial crisis is so far from over. We are just at the end of the beginning. Please, wrap up that steak in a doggy bag and go home.”

What a sanctimonious load of crap. “You poor bastiches had better get home and eat tuna fish because you’re so stupid you don’t know that (in a dire tone) Worse. Is. Yet. To. Come.”

Yes, your smugness will protect you from the fall-out, and your superior intelligence will allow you and your friends to save us all from our stupid restaurant-steak-eating selves, and turn us into good little dolphin-safe tuna-consuming peons who look rapturously at our betters and march in lockstep, singing paeans to The One and his acolytes.

If any of you had written responsible articles, not just about the financial problems we’re having, but about the Iraq War, about President Bush, about the need for keeping classified information CLASSIFIED, about Obama’s past and current associates and donors, about, oh, any number of things, or better yet, all of the above, why then the few people who still read your trashy rag might have been better informed about what’s really going on in the world today.

They might have learned how best to help, rather than whinging about how a sitting President is so ineffective that he should simply step down. Well, I’ve got news for you all: you may not have caused some of the problems we’re facing today, but you damn well contributed to them and in many cases exacerbated them.

So in short, here’s a memo to the New York Times: Shut. The. Hell. Up.


P.S. to Thomas Friedman: if you really think there’s no difference between a vice-president assuming the presidency after the assassination of his predecessor and a peaceful transfer of power at the constitutionally-appointed time, then you’re an even bigger idiot than I thought, and you deserve every particle of scorn that is or will be heaped on you.

H/T Confederate Yankee, HotAir

Be Careful What You Wish For

November 23, 2008


UPDATE: Courtesy of HotAir, I, too, missed the Gail Collins editorial in yesterday’s New York Times. As I was saying…

Since the election, I have noticed a number of sites discussing whether it would be good for the country if President-elect Obama would simply take the reins and start his tenure as POTUS immediately. The opinions of those having this discussion seem to be a resounding “YES!”

In the New York Times, Paul Krugman probably doesn’t know better:

“How much can go wrong in the two months before Mr. Obama takes the oath of office? The answer, unfortunately, is: a lot. Consider how much darker the economic picture has grown since the failure of Lehman Brothers, which took place just over two months ago. And the pace of deterioration seems to be accelerating.”

USA Today quotes sitting Senator Christopher Dodd, who really should:

“The Obama team has to step up. In the minds of the people, this is the Obama administration. I don’t think we can wait until January 20.”

On his blog, CNN bloviator Jack Cafferty asks his few readers: “How can President Bush be most helpful to President-elect Obama in making the transition?” The majority response was stated variously as:

“Ummmmm. Oh wait. I know this one: Leave. Leave Now! Don’t bother packing, we will send you your clothes.”

“Bush needs to clean the bathroom, transfer the power bills to his new address and, oh, don’t forget to turn in your mailbox keys. See ya!”

“I can’t imagine President Bush doing anything positive, besides trying to lock up an agreement with the Iraqis to keep Obama from pulling troops out, I got a feeling he’s going to leave a lot of planted legislative bombs behind just to be annoying.”

“By not waiting until January 20, 2009 to leave office. Today would be just fine.”

And life just wouldn’t be as sweet if we couldn’t hear NPR‘s opinion:

“Moving up the inauguration date to Jan. 20 may have sufficed for President Franklin Roosevelt. Maybe it’s time to consider yet another change — inaugurating our president, say, on Nov. 10.”

It is pathetic that the Democratic party is quaking in terror of what a sitting president will do before leaving office after eight arduous years of service to his nation. Can you say, “Projection?”

Perhaps if the Clintons hadn’t left such a nasty example behind them as they left the White House in 2001; if the Left hadn’t raised Obama to the level of a god; if voters had demanded more information from the Fourth Estate about the candidates; if the fringe element of the Left hadn’t been embraced as the future of the party!

Perhaps then the Democrats would understand that this honorable man, our current president, will do his best to bring his duly elected successor up to speed on everything he needs to know, will graciously and gracefully hand over power at the appointed time, will wish Obama well in his endeavors, and will actually mean it.

However, aside from the fact that the Electoral College hasn’t even met yet, and that little matter of the 20th amendment, wouldn’t it be hilarious if Pres. Bush actually granted the wish of these nuts and resigned, and let Vice-president Cheney have the reins for a month?

Leftists, be careful what you wish for…


Suicide on Web and No One Intervenes…

November 22, 2008

Yeah, it’s worse than you imagine. A 19 year old commits suicide on the Web, and no one intervenes.

We’ve been down this road before… In 1964, Catherine Genovese was raped and stabbed to death over a period of 35 minutes in an alleyway, and the vile attack was witnessed by anywhere from 12 to 38 people who basically didn’t want to get involved.

Now this… A Web-based suicide, and nobody did a thing to intervene for “several hours”? Why do I have the feeling that something far more insidious than “not wanting to get involved” is afoot? My guess is that we’re now talking the “voyeur ‘id‘ gone wild“.

Look… I’m no prince. Not by a far shot. But it seems to me that in order to at least be a viable member of our society, you should have some shards of the following personal traits:

  • A tiny bit of intestinal fortitude. (So what if you get fooled by a hoax. At least have the guts to do the right thing.)
  • It only takes a wisp of character/decency/empathy to ‘fess up and think, “Geeze, I wonder if Biggs is actually killing himself?”
  • Common sense is good. When people start talking about suicide, you ought to think twice.

Like I said… I’m no prince. But somewhere in the thin shadow of my soul lies the barely-warm embers of guts, decency, and common sense. And if I’d tuned in to Abraham Biggs’ live stream, I would have picked up the phone and called someone for help. Anyone.

America, where are you?

Alan Speakman

BREAKING: Hillary Accepts SecState Post

November 21, 2008

Well, at least it’s not John Kerry. From FoxNews.


Friday Round-up: 11/21/08

November 21, 2008


Adieu, Jay Tea. After nearly five years, Wizbang blogger Jay Tea is leaving to take a post at Commentary magazine. As a fellow New Englander and a regular Wizbang reader for nearly five years myself, I’ll miss his insight and his skewed sense of humor. I guess this means I have to add yet another blog to my daily reading list…

Woo hoo! Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit actually opened his comments last night. Apparently it amazed everyone else as much as it amazed me! Comments are now closed, but it was very cool for a while.

Keep and bear: Not in California. Pajamas Media’s Bob Owens reports on an Orange County Sherrif who has instituted a new policy that could revoke upwards of hundreds of legally approved concealed carry permits. I guess the sherrif doesn’t much approve of the Second Amendment…

Speaking of guns, Bob Owens also reports from his own site, Confederate Yankee, that guns sales are, well, booming since Obama was elected; and it looks like gun shops are running out of stock. So do your Christmas shopping early, before all the good stuff is gone!

And speaking of Christmas and good stuff, check out the gorgeous hand-made jewelry at Bamboo. The artists there are amazing. If you can’t find something lovely for someone special, you’re just not trying.

And have a great weekend!


NIC Global Trends 2025 Report

November 21, 2008


The “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World” report is the forth in a series prepared by the National Intelligence Council and the Office Of The Director Of National Intelligence (as well as both national and international “experts”). This was just released today (11/20/08) and can be downloaded here. It consists of seven chapters, 100 pages, and is 34 MB in PDF format. (The PDF itself contains 120 pages.) In a way this report is a rather bizarre read – It’s made up of current stats, and projected future stats, but also of various scenarios. Obviously, any one chapter or even a single page of the NIC report could fuel umpteen rants – this is tremendously meaty material. But at first glance, here’s some of the stuff that jumped out at me. We have to start somewhere.

  • “The rapidly changing international order at a time of growing geopolitical challenges increases the likelihood of discontinuities, shocks, and surprises. No single outcome seems preordained: the Western model of economic liberalism, democracy, and secularism, for example, which many assumed to be inevitable, may lose its luster—at least in the medium term. – Pg 3.
  • India’s GDP will exceed Italy’s, France’s, Germany’s, and Japan’s in the years 2014, 2017, 2021, and 2026 respectively. China’s GDP will exceed the UK’s this year, Germany’s in 2010, Japan’s in 2015, and the U.S’s in 2036. – Pg 6 chart.
  • “In terms of size, speed, and directional flow, the global shift in relative wealth and economic power now under way—roughly from West to East—is without precedent in modern history. This shift derives from two key sources. First, sustained increases in oil and commodity prices have generated windfall profits for the Gulf states and Russia.. Second, relatively low labor costs combined with certain government policies have shifted the locus of manufacturing and some service industries to Asia.” – Pg 7.
  • “World population is projected to grow by about 1.2 billion between 2009 and 2025—from 6.8 billion to around 8 billion people. Although the global population increase is substantial—with concomitant effects on resources—the rate of growth will be slower than it was, down from levels that added 2.4 billion persons between 1980 and today. Demographers project that Asia and Africa will account for most of the population growth out to 2025 while less than 3 percent of the growth will occur in the “West”— Europe, Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.” – Pg 19.
  • “Western Europe’s Muslim population currently totals between 15 and 18 million. The largest
    proportions of Muslims—between 6 and 8 percent—are in France (5 million) and the
    Netherlands (nearly 1 million), followed by countries with 4 to 6 percent: Germany (3.5 million),
    Denmark (300,000), Austria (500,000), and Switzerland (350,000). The UK and Italy also have
    relatively large Muslim populations, 1.8 million and 1 million respectively, though constituting
    less overall proportions (3 percent and 1.7 percent respectively). If current patterns of
    immigration and Muslim residents’ above-average fertility continue, Western Europe could have
    25 to 30 million Muslims by 2025.”
    – Pg 25.
  • The following chart from pg 28 is interesting if nothing else…


  • “Few countries are poised to have more impact on the world over the next 15-20 years than China. If current trends persist, by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading military power. It could also be the largest importer of natural resources and an even greater polluter than it is now.” - Pg 29.
  • “Historically, people who become accustomed to rising living standards react angrily when their expectations are no longer met, and few people have had grounds for such high expectations as do
    the Chinese.”
    - Pg 30.
  • Page 43 deals with energy sources… Rather chilling…


  • “For those terrorist groups active in 2025, the diffusion of technologies and scientific knowledge will place some of the world’s most dangerous capabilities within their reach.” – Pg 68.
  • On a positive note, support for terrorist networks in the Muslim world appears to be declining. To succeed, terrorist groups need a large number of passive supporters who sympathize with terrorists’ objectives. Reducing those numbers is key to lessening the appeal within societies. Analysis of terrorists’ communications among themselves indicates they see themselves in a “losing” battle with Western materialistic values. Surveys and analysis of jihadist websites indicate growing popular dissatisfaction with civilian casualties—particularly of fellow Muslims—caused by terrorist actions.” – Pg 70.
  • “The United States will have greater impact on how the international system evolves over the next 15-20 years than any other international actor, but it will have less power in a multipolar world than it has enjoyed for many decades. Owing to the relative decline of its economic, and to a lesser extent, military power, the US will no longer have the same flexibility in choosing among as many policy options. We believe that US interest and willingness to play a leadership role also may be more constrained as the economic, military, and opportunity costs of being the world’s leader are reassessed by American voters. Economic and opportunity costs in particular may cause the US public to favor new tradeoffs.” – Pg 93.

As I said in the beginning, this post is just a snippet of what’s in the new NIC document, and it makes for truly astounding reading. Look forward to ranting with you about this one for some time to come.

Alan Speakman

Some Dare Call It Hubris

November 20, 2008


I understand the occasional need for important people (read CEOs of huge companies and the like) to be able to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, to have face-to-face contact with peers. I really do. Corporate jets are a part of corporate life and will be for some time to come.

But there is a time and a place to use them. And there is most definitely a time and a place not to use them. That time and place would have been Tuesday in Washington DC, where the CEOs of Ford, GM, and Chrysler went begging, hats metaphorically in hand, for $25 billion of our money to keep their failing businesses afloat. All very well and good. But they came begging in high style. Each CEO flew from Detroit to Washington DC in one of their company’s coroprate jets. It has been calculated that these trips cost each company up to $20,000.

Rick Waggoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford, and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler all argue that corporate jets are used for security purposes (and are non-negotiable). I’m not sure how dangerous commercial air travel is, but if they were afraid of arriving late for their star turns, they could have caught earlier flights.

If these CEOs can’t see the affront to the taxpayers in their chosen method of travel, if they are still in a “business as usual” mode, then perhaps those businesses need new leadership that can not only run a business effectively, but also have the common sense to think about how their actions will be perceived by the rest of the country.

In the meantime, I say let them fail or succeed on their own. A good first step when they all get home might be to auction off those jets on eBay.


A “Perfect Storm” Brewing In Our Culture

November 20, 2008


Hey, I won’t mince words… It seems that three influences are driving our culture into a maelstrom of freakish proportions. (Before you read further, rent and view “The Perfect Storm” if you haven’t already done so. Or read the book.) Anyway, those three catastrophic influences are:

  • The “liberalization” of our society over the last 50 years… And I’m not suggesting movements towards common sense are wrong. Racism has to go because it’s unfair and just plain dumb. Ditto for sexism. And hopefully someday soon, ditto for homosexual bias. But no matter what, admit that this country has simply become more liberal over the last 50 years, and not all of liberalism has been good. There are countless benchmarks that clearly indicate that many aspects of liberalism have failed miserably. (I was going to document “sanctuary cities” being unfair to legal immigrants and Bill Clinton lying about using Monica as his own “Whoop-Tee-Doo Machine”… But why bother? Either you get it or you don’t.) Just consider this: “Between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, the number of Americans with genital herpes infection increased by 30 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. – Science Daily Yeah… Not all things are perfect in Liberal City.
  • The second catastrophic influence is as old as our country is – that of political cronyism, power brokering, greed, and ineptitude. Look at Long, McNamara, Daley, Rumsfeld, etc. Now, in 2008, Obama is leading the parade. Forget about his associations with the bottom feeders that are Wright and Ayers… Obama is simply an old-time Chicago politicain, and if you don’t get that, you need to be wearing a bib and eating apple sauce.
  • The last catastrophe is that of an electronically super-saturated media that is 70% liberal. They are shovel feeding liberalism to the masses. Sorry, but there’s no doubt about it.

So where do we go from here? I don’t know… I really don’t know… But there’s a maelstrom brewing on three converging fronts: new liberalism, old politics, and new high-tech liberal agenda dispersion.

Looks like a perfect storm to me.

Alan Speakman

Knollenberg Claims Tax Money Is Not Citizens’ Money

November 19, 2008

Yesterday Neil Cavuto was interviewing Congressman Joe Knollenberg (R – MI). Cavuto was pressing Joe hard on why we needed a “Big Three” auto bailout. At one point, Cavuto started to push the issue that if we use tax dollars to bail out big auto, then who’s next. Here’s what followed:

Cavuto: “Where do we draw the line with our money?

Knollenberg: “It is not your money.”

You can watch the entire embarrassing interview here. (Better yet, don’t watch the interview… It is simply too painful.)

There are times when the arrogance of politicians is simply stunning. (Bill Clinton’s questioning the definition of “is” is a great example.) And just when you thought that those stubristic, bloated, power-grubbing, rich, selfish, elitist, sniveling, condescending, back-slapping, back-stabbing, flip-flopping, conniving, slimy, raging idiots could blunder no farther, we have Knollenberg. So tax dollars ain’t our money Joe? And your little campaign is nothing more than a ploy to keep “UAW” (the Almighty God of Michigan) happy? Whatever!

Never before have so selfish few done so much to the detriment of so many. (Apologies to The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill.)

H/T Michelle Malkin, Hot Air

Alan Speakman


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