Friday, January 09, 2004

If It Weren't for Cigarettes, No One Would Ever Die

I usually try to avoid watching television due to the fact that it tends to make me somewhat apoplectic. But it was a slow Friday evening and (in addition to the IPTV program I commented on below) I saw a PSA by the "Just Eliminate Lies" people.

In it, teenagers in open caskets talked about how the evil tobacco companies kill 1,200 people a day in this country. Very dramatic, the clean, young faces staring back from the grave.

The message? I guess it's: Don't smoke and you'll never end up dead in a casket. I suppose that's more effective than: Hey, if you choose to smoke, there's a reasonable chance that you'll a nasty maglignancy and die from lung cancer at 45. However, there's also a better chance that you'll just ding your cardio vascular system and die at 70... instead of 73.

Have you ever noticed that when the public service people talk about "deaths caused by (fill in the vice)", that the unspoken supposition is that the people who die from (fill in the vice) would have never died had they not indulged in (fill in the vice). Longevity is everything. With a diet of brown rice, kale, tofu and green tea and you'll live to be 95... and be begging for death at 60.

Iowa Public Television - Raising Us Out of the Mire

IPTV had a restrospective on this evening featuring some of Iowa's most beloved animals. Included were a two headed pig - freakish and nauseating yet adorable at the same time. My heart was truly warmed when I learned that the family had had many offers from carnivals for the malformed piggie. Nuh-uh... we're not partin' with him. Two years later, dead (of natural causes).

Next... Rusty, a two legged dog that got around very well with half his limbs. Very inspirational... until he got run over by the neighbors truck and had another leg crushed. Two years later, after a gazillion dollars of surgery and treatment, he died too...

Finally, a dog that does ballroom dancing (or the canine equivalent...) and tours the senior home circuit. Not dead yet, but those dog years go fast.

Thank God for Public Television. Thirty-five dollars a year (not to mention your tax money) gets you the best lower-middle brow "edificatainment" in the corn belt.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Calling Mr. Orkent... Mr. Orkent...? Anybody home...?

The New York Times, in the guise of a piece on a Mesopotamian Art exhibit, repeats the lie:

Until last year, few Americans felt drawn to museum shows featuring Mesopotamian antiquities. But the looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad in April focused new attention on this ancient civilization, and its glories are now the subject of two lavish shows.

Emphasis mine...

It's enough to make one paranoid. Just when that mendacious meme about the "looting" of the Baghdad Museum had just about lived its life - WHAM - the Times has to pump new breath into it.

Am I losing it? Has my world view changed THAT MUCH? Has the Times changed radically in the last few years?

I remember when the Times on the Web was my primary source for in-depth coverage on just about everything. Now, they seem to have as much credibility and objectivity as Fidel Castro's "Gramma".
Iowahawk - Peace Elusive in Strife-Torn Midwest

Decorah, IA - Long-simmering tensions in the volatile Midwest erupted into violence yesterday, as Lutheran extremists from the shadowy Uff Da group claimed responsibility for the early morning egging of Doug's Dairy Freeze and igniting a bag of dog excrement that claimed the left shoe of Decorah Mayor Harold Zander.

In a taped statement broadcast during the Morning Soybean Report on radio station KOEL in nearby Oelwein, an Uff Da spokesman identified only as 'Commandante Greg' said that "the infidels have desecrated the Holy Land and now they have paid for their heresy," adding that "God is pretty great, you betcha."

And it just gets funnier from here. Go forth ye infidels and read the whole thing.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

BBC Asks for Input, Ignores Same

This is not exactly breaking news, but I've been pondering my response before posting.

The British Broadcasting Company recently ventured into the wild and wooly world of democracy by referendum. Well... not really, they held a "Listener's Law" poll to suggest legislation that a MP would champion in the British Parliament.

Be careful what you ask for...

Mr Pound's reaction was provoked by the news that the winner of Today's "Listeners' Law" poll was a plan to allow homeowners "to use any means to defend their home from intruders" - a prospect that could see householders free to kill burglars, without question.

Gawd... the HORROR!!!

...26,000 votes later, the winning proposal was denounced as a "ludicrous, brutal, unworkable blood-stained piece of legislation" - by Stephen Pound, the very MP whose job it is to try to push it through Parliament.

Hey, just because a crook breaks into your home... while you and your family are there, there's no cause for alarm. He's probably just going to take your stuff and leave. Just relax... submit... and let the constabulary and the courts take care of it. "Property is theft" anyway... right? That burglar is really just an oppressed, misguided and misunderstood, disadvantaged person. Sure, he shouldn't be breaking into people's houses. But, we must do everything we can to rehabilitate him. We OWE it to him.

YOU owe it to him. Relax... Submit... Sleep... Under no circumstanced do anything to bring the wrath and ridicule of the enlightened few upon your head.

"The people have spoken," the Labour MP replied to the programme, "... the bastards.

"Mr Pound told The Independent: "We are going to have to re-evaluate the listenership of Radio 4. I would have expected this result if there had been a poll in The Sun. Do we really want a law that says you can slaughter anyone who climbs in your window?"

And that's just how simple it all is. The class system is alive and well in Europe. Granted, for the most part, it's not about bloodlines. It's about "right thinking" elites leading the people to the utopian promised land. Hey... if you lose your life and your family to a home intruder, that's a small price to pay to bring about utopia... right?

"...there were suspicions the vote may have been hijacked by supporters of Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who was jailed for shooting a burglar.

Tony Martin went to jail for shooting a pair of goblins who had broken into his remote farmhouse and were stealing his property. He's become something of a folk hero in rural Great Britain where property and violent crime are rising in the face of ever more draconian gun control.

Don't worry sheeple. We'll take care of you. Just because we've disarmed you and violent crime is on the rise... this is just a temporary blip on the road to Utopia. If you and your family have to lose their possessions or die... well... think of it as patriotic sacrifice.

Mr Pound will go through the motions of presenting the Bill to Parliament but hoped he would fail. He said it was "the sort of idea somebody comes up with in a bar on a Saturday night between 'string 'em all up' and 'send 'em all all home'".

Mr. Pound, this is not about the ravings of a lynch mob about to hang an innocent man.

This is about the sanctity of a person's home and the security of one's loved ones.

This is about deterring home invasion by making it "prohibitively expensive" for the criminal.

This is about turning back the postmodern, topsy-turvy world in which criminals are victims and victims of crime are sent to jail for defending their homes.

On this side of the pond, this is about never... NEVER letting this moral relativistic madness slink into this country.

Ombudsman...? Nah... Public Editor...? Nah... Apologist Spin Weasel...? Well... yah!

Daniel Okrent finally comments on last year's politically motivated quote doctoring perpetrated by Krugman and Dowd.

In the months before I started in this job, two instances of Times columnists' truncating or eliding quotations made some readers apoplectic. I'm trying to stay away from issues that arose before I started here, except insofar as they relate to running stories, so I'll leave further discussion of those incidents to critics, polemicists and the columnists' loved ones. But deciding when a quote begins and when it ends is something that nearly every writer faces in nearly every story, and there are no firm rules to follow.

That's it...? Oh... I get it. It's Public Editor in the current sense of Public Health, Public Safety and Public Television.

Well, Mr. Okrent, your credibility almost lasted a couple of months. You have pissed away a chance to bring the Gray Lady back to planet Earth and proven yourself nothing but Mr. Sulzberger's lapdog.

Henceforth, you are cursed with "Peanuts Teacher Syndrome". Everything you say will sound like a muted trumpet going "wha-wha wha-wha-wha".

You blew it Danny boy.
The Collapse of Liberalism

What have been the features of this creed that has dominated political life? In our time liberalism has come to mean dependence on the powers of central government to solve nearly all problems. This has stemmed from a view of man holding that any evil he displays is merely the rest of his environment, and that his innate good will be released by the simple step of giving him ample money, housing and other worldly goods. Thus, the liberal creed has come to demand an almost religious "commitment" to using the government to uplift the poor; not so much as a way to help the unfortunate, but as the answer to all the problems of mankind.

Robert Bartley in The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 14, 1968. Reprinted on Opinion Journal on January 2, 2002.

Wow... the clarity of thought and guts to write this in 1968. Mr. Bartley passed away last December 10th. Not knowing his work, I did not know what the hubbub was about. I get it. I plan to find more of his work and read it.