Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year From All Of Us At The Hype

Hi, my name is Joe Leger. That's me in the picture over there - editor of The Straight Hype(TM). You may remember me from such movies as It Was Broken When I Got Here; Doctor, it Burns Where it Shouldn't Burn; and Cilantro, The Misunderstood Herb.

The New Year is upon us, and it is customary here at Hype Central to make an amusing and entertaining list of predictions. This year, however, in the spirit of "Change" that has been the credo of so many misguided North Americans as of late (ugh, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little), I shall make a list of rants that may appear to have no purpose, yet when viewed collectively by future generations, will contain within them a wisdom that defined us in deep and profound ways. So here we go...

Thoughts on the past year and the year to come:

A - Being a child born well into the Age of Reason, I don't easily fall victim to claims of malevolent auras pervading the atmosphere - that was until I read of a near-fatal airborne bovine catastrophe in Turkey. Reports are that diners at a swanky restaurant in Istanbul were nearly flattened into their karniyarik after a cow crashed through the roof of the establishment. Miraculously, no one was injured, but the cow was quite dead. Whether the cow was already on the roof at the time of the incident - and just how it got there in the first place - remains a mystery. Curiously, this appears to be a occurrence that happens with some regularity.

B - Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks.

C - President Elect Obama will discover early in his Presidency that the war in Iraq is slightly more complex than pulling out large number of troops at will and declaring; "You sunk my battleship!"

D - Despite the continual flood of email, subpoenas, and cease and desist letters, Wolfe Blitzer will eventually see the wisdom of auctioning one of his kidneys on Ebay! in my mad "kidney for profit" scheme.

E - Israel will continue to bomb the living be-jeepers out of those who claim that Jews are descended from demons and rats, and will no longer allow radicals who have no interest in peace attack and murder their citizens. The world will continue to blame the Jews for the current situation, and international support will be sympathetic towards Islamic terrorists who wish to annihilate the Israelites. Gee! When has that happened before?

F - The Straight Hype will continue to be an unwavering and unconditional ally of Israel.

G - Best Movies of 2008 -

1 - Gone Baby Gone - A thought provoking and gripping thriller by Ben Affleck (yes, Ben Affleck) whose amazing ensemble cast and gritty reality make up for the film's less then credible ending.

2 - In Bruges - A witty and smart dark comedy starring a newly sober Colin Farrell. A true gem.

3 - Valkyrie - By god, Tom Cruise did it! Over budget and late on delivery, this movie packs a punch, despite lacking badly needed character development.

4 - Persepolis - A funny, warm, yet unflinching look at the horrors of living under the rule of Islamic extremism.

5 - Reservation Road - A little known movie and a personal favourite. Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo are riveting. A must see.

6 - John Adams - Though this is technically an HBO mini-series, it is the finest piece of work I have ever seen. It proudly boasts a stunning cast, an amazing score, and stunning cinematography. Based David McCullough's award winning book, it is probably the most accurate and entertaining look at the Revolutionary period seen through the eyes of John Adams. This was also the lovely miss Claire's favourite oeuvre of the year.

7 - Honourable mentions - Though I was less than impressed with these two offerings, my associate editor, the lovely miss Claire (and almost everyone else) nominates both the "Dark Night" and "Iron Man" as superb examples of comic book adventures brought to the screen. Heath Ledger was electrifying as the Joker, and Robert Downey Jr. was superb as Iron Man (I agree with the latter two statements, but come on! Tony Stark performing open heart surgery in a cave in Afghanistan? This would be less irritating to me if the director wouldn't have continued to blather on about the film's "realism").

H - I really try to be nice. I conscientiously read all of my emails and respond to all questions and comments in a timely and courteous manner. My readers are important to me. They are the lifeblood of this organ. Without you, the Hype would be just another dot-com cargo cult in the wasteland of cyberspace. But somewhere, in between your family outing to the monster truck pull and your appearance on Judge Judy, you email the site and pollute my inbox with the noisy static that crams up the inner workings of your brain. Admittedly, I am a bit of an intellectual tricotteuse. It's one thing to give bitch slaps to liberals, paleo-liberals, and rabid Jacobites, but some of you people somehow manage to fall outside of the ice-cold grip of stereotype. You are the people who think music hit it's apex when Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded "Sweet home Alabama", the kind of folks who declare they'll never visit "Effigy" because it seems someone's always getting hung there. You know who you are. You buy generic soda pop and own a copy of "Wrestlemania III". You think Western Civilization reached an all-new cultural plateau when Garth Brooks broke the mold by tearing down the walls between country and rock, spawning the insipid "Country Rock" genre. I guess we should thank you for demonstrating the perils of alcohol and free Internet access at public libraries.

I - Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" was the most thought provoking, meticulously researched and important books of 2008. It turns 50 years of conventional wisdom on it's head with it's humorous but not overly scathing indictment of the Left's cherished beliefs.

J - Most important of all is that I got engaged to the lovely miss Claire this year. My life is truly blessed.

Happy New Year from the Hype.

Cordially

Joe

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Hype!!

Ahhh, Christmas time! The day when the Great Pumpkin rose out of the pumpkin patch and appeared before Linus, bearing Festivus gifts for all the good progressives of the world, before he ascended 3 days later into the bosom of Gaia to rest up and prepare for next year’s Kwanzaa. I kid of course, but I would hardly be gob-smacked to hear that your children arrived home from school with similar tales from their teachers. After reading an article a month ago about a school teacher who drove an 8 year old girl to tears after calling her father a war criminal for fighting an “illegal” war in Iraq, nothing surprises me anymore. President Bush’s naïve - albeit well intentioned - “No Child Left Behind” policy should have had a provision that stipulated that no child should be left behind to endure humiliation at the hands if her pod-brained teacher, who believes the word “sacrifice” only applies to weeks when she’s feeling a bit pudgy, and has to skip the whipped cream on her Starbucks caramel mochachino.

The funny thing about progressives - as Jonah Goldberg points out in his book, Liberal Fascism - is that they are incapable of coming to terms with the sins of their past, or speaking out against the extreme elements of their movement that alienate them from the rest of thinking, breathing, carbon-based life forms. As Islamic extremists continue to bomb churches, trains, subways, cafes, and even their own Mosques, the progressive elites in this country continue to serve as useful apologists for these monsters, while heaping piles on abuse of President Bush who in their minds is “the real terrorist.” Sigh. While the conservative movement intelligently parsed all the nuances of the Iraq war – even luminaries like the venerable William F Buckley Jr opposed it – no self respecting, right-minded thinker, regardless of how they felt, was so daft as to ever blame the United States - or President Bush - for monstrosities committed in the name of Islam.

The left continues to drive a car with no rear view mirror. It was their very same saints and icons who marched outside the White House with signs denouncing President Roosevelt as a warmonger for sending aid to Churchill. I recently watched footage from the ‘40’s showing throngs of progressives in the same above mentioned rally saying “Hands Off Hitler”. Pearl Harbor finally woke them up, but only for about 5 minutes - as we witnessed after 9/11. I often think some crazed Jihadist could lop off the head of Ted Kennedy and use it as a soccer ball, and the left would still be ringing their hands over what America did to warrant such a thing. Of course, if Ted Kennedy where to lose his head, I don’t think we would notice much of a difference in the Senator.

Anyway, I’m being a curmudgeon on Christmas, but that’s a sacred and honored tradition here at the Hype (Hey! Did you Know that Microsoft spell checks Kwanzaa?).

Christmas is a sacred and wondrous time for me. I have never lost that child-like magic of watching the snow fall and bluster in the wind, the smoke curling from chimneys as you look out the window watching the array of colored lights adorn the neighborhood houses. I love decorating the tree, going to Midnight Mass, and having a big meal with friends and family. The spirit of giving and forgiveness, and everyone is able to forget - if only for a little while - the troubles and challenges of life.

Of course, Christmas isn’t happy for everyone. There are those suffering from illness, alcoholism and drug addiction, and those who have been forgotten by friends and relatives. Let us help and keep all in our hearts during this time, and always. May God bless you and your family over the holiday season and have kindness in your heart for all – even liberals…if you can manage. I realize that’s a tall order.

Cordially

Joe

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Tyranny of the Petticoat

Greetings, dear readers, and a plenary indulgence for a buck and half to all (Sorry, I can't do that. I'm not a Bishop and I don't want to agitate the mentally unstable ghost of Martin Luther into causing any more trouble for us Catholics).

I am about to enter into the sacred bond that John Adams once referred to as "the tyranny of the petticoat," although I've never seen the lovely miss Claire wear a petticoat. Maybe she's saving it for a second trip to colonial Williamsburg to wear during a July 4th costume celebration.

Oh yeah...I should also mention she's not a tyrant nor prone to tyrannical outbursts - even while editing, which is a rare feat for editors as a species.

I'm getting married to the lovely Miss Claire on Sept. 18th at the beautiful St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church. She said yes a few days ago and now we are on a collision course toward matrimonial madness. I should admit to this one caveat - I was married before, but it didn't quite take. There are many reasons for this, the primary being that I was always kind, respectful and nice, and she, um, wasn't. Anyway, that's the past. I've been divorced for over 7 years, and my marriage was annulled by the church, so I can re-marry with a Catholic Mass. Getting an annulment was a lot easier than I thought - First, it wasn't expensive; Second, it was quick; Lastly, Tomás de Torquemada wasn't as tough as they make him out to be. I was on the rack for 15 minutes and the guy falls asleep.

I couldn't be happier. We both share a love for American Revolutionary history, National Review, American Politics, lasagna, President John Adams, a belief that toast will one day rise again as the afternoon snack of choice, and of course, each other.

I won't agitate your gag reflex with tales of our mutual love and respect, but I will confess I am the happiest man on the planet. Even happier than that guy who died last year after a truck filled with Twinkies overturned and unloaded their contents, crushing him to death with their sweet, sweet spongy goodness.

Hope you all had a good weekend. The wedding is going to be a small private family affair so you may want to spare yourself (as well as me) the awkwardness of asking if you're invited. But I luvs you all anyway.

Enjoy some Great Big Sea as we head into the week

Cordially

Joe

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Up Close and Personal

Everyone is an editor. I write too many personal humour pieces, and my fans write in to demand more politics. I write too many political pieces and people write in - pitchforks in hand -to demand more humour pieces. Is there no pleasing some people?

Well, I'm at your service. A writer is like a literary prostitute of sorts. You want me to write the first chapter of War and Peace on my belly with blueberry syrup? I'll do it, providing someone has a crumpled up 20 dollar bill to give me for my troubles.

I'm returning to work on December 19th, which is just about right for me. I was starting to get cabin fever from being cooped up in my apartment. One week, I was so overcome with boredom, I began to think I was some deranged version of Gandalf from Lord Of The Rings, and stood in my open apartment door in a tattered bathrobe wielding a golf club yelling "You shall not pass!" to passing strangers. No one took much notice. I live on Main street, and that kind of stuff is pretty much par for the course.

I am presently at my folks in Bathurst relaxing and enjoying life. I miss the lovely miss Claire but I'll be back in Moncton tomorrow.

Planning a trip to Boston in for February with my brother, Claire's sister and their respective partners. Hope to head out to Braintree to check out Peacefield, President John Adams's old haunt. It's one of the Founding Father's residences we haven't yet seen.

Big announcement to make soon, so stay on your toes, like a midget at a urinal.

Take care, my loyal and trusted readers...and those of you who can't be trusted as well.

Here's a little a treat for you!

Cordially

Joe

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Conservatism's Valley Forge

I hear there's a new search engine out there whose environmentalist creators have pledged to plant a tree for every 100 search inquiries entered per person utilizing the service. Great if your into that kind of rubbish, but I would be more inclined to use a search engine that pledges to clear-cut an acre of the rain forest for every fifty searches entered. It's kind of like those great Sumatra coffee beans they grow in soil that has a high content of volcanic ash - some anti globalist do-gooders won't buy the coffee beans because it's picked by 6 year old children under less than perfect conditions; I say it's their tiny hands that make it tasty.
Anyway, on to the subject du jour.

How do they contain themselves? "They" being the Sunday morning pundits who are helping the progressives try and hammer a brittle nail into conservatism's coffin. The truth is that conservatism didn't die on the November 4th, and President-elect Obama's fortunes are not - as we discussed in the last post - a result of the rise of the so-called "moderate" cabal of the American populace. It's a cheap slight of hand parlour trick the media is so good at - creating an issue that didn't exist to begin with and making you think it was there all along. On November 5th, the big question on every news anchor's lips was "What does the Republican party have to do to reach out to moderate voters?" Did you catch that? You might have missed it if you blinked. My question is simple - who decided that the Republican party needs to change their strategy to reach out to moderate voters, or if these so called "moderates" (i.e. liberals) even require reaching out to in the first place? Was there a debate before the debate that even clarified what a "moderate" voter is?

Initiatives to ban gay marriage were on the ballot in 30 states, and these initiatives passed in every one of them. If, as my friend Jonah Goldberg pointed out, white liberals see gay marriage legislation as the single most important civil rights issue of their generation, then it seems that progressive Democrats are in a lot more trouble than the conservative base of the Republican party. The ban on gay marriage even passed in California, which is the Mecca of all things ridiculously liberal.

This is not a trivial matter and conservatives should take heart that the core convictions of Hispanic, African American, and blue collar voters remain steadfastly socially conservative.

I must admit that it would be intellectually dishonest of me to say that many in the conservative movement do not share this opinion - it was even the central theme of the recent Republican Governor's conference. Many prominent Conservatives such as Ross Douthat and Chris Buckley feel that Conservatives should concede that the great welfare state is here to stay, and the movement should work within these parameters to try and shape public policy to reward those -such as in the case of welfare - who are trying to return to work and be less gracious toward those who are using the social safety net as a hammock. Even Rush Limbaugh conceded this almost two decades ago in The Way Things Ought To Be. I say this is conceding defeat, when the opposing army is oblivious to the weakness of their position.

Conservatives, as Goldberg said, should strive to be happy warriors, throwing everything in the conservative arsenal at the Democratic party, and continue not only to be anti-left, but also anti-state.

In the winter of 1777, as Washington's Continental army froze at Valley Forge, soldiers starving and barefooted in the snow, it would have been easy to concede that the end was near. It wasn't until Washington realized that the reason his army was starving in the breadbasket of the nation was because farmers were selling their Summer harvest to the British army stationed in Philadelphia, who payed for food in Sterling pounds, instead of selling their goods to the Army, who were paying the farmers in worthless Continental currency.

Conservatives and the Republican party may be at their own Valley Forge at the moment. We all need to see through the snow and press on undaunted for the glory of the cause.

Enjoy a classic from Blues Traveler as we head into the weekend!

Cordially

Joe

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Ballot Box

Wow! It's been a busy week. My last post tore the lid off my inbox with new fans of the site, and a couple of Euro-dweebs that are perplexed that some blogger up in the cold white north isn't so enthusiastic about President-elect Obama's re-heated Swedish style socialism, the type of government that Alexis De Tocqueville once said endeavours to;



"keep them in perpetual childhood. . . . For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of poverty and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?"


As the voting tallies begin to be broken down, dissected and disseminated by beltway bean counters with giant computer-ma-jiggies, some curious data is rising to the surface confirming my previous assertion that many "new voter" demographic groups show a strange disconnect between who they voted for and what they actually believe in. National Review's Johah Goldberg points out a few telling trends;

"Something interesting happened on Election Day that didn’t get much attention. Bans on gay marriage were on ballots in several states, and they all won. In fact, gay marriage bans have ultimately passed in all 30 of the states in which they were on the ballot.

The ban in California was particularly intriguing. Proposition 8 would have failed in the Golden State if it were up to white voters, who opposed it by a 51-49 ratio. What carried it over the top was enormous support from black voters, with about 70 percent of them backing it. Hispanics also supported the ban by significant, though smaller, margins. In Florida, where a similar ban required a 60 percent margin, Amendment 2 just barely passed, getting 60 percent of the white vote. The cushion came from blacks, who voted 71 percent in favor, and Latinos, who voted 64 percent in favor.

In other words, Obama had some major un-progressive coattails. The tidal wave of black and Hispanic voters who came out to support Obama voted in enormous numbers against what most white liberals consider to be the foremost civil rights issue of the day.

Put aside the substance of the gay marriage debate; what’s fascinating is how these returns expose the underlying weakness, or at least vulnerability, of progressivism."

The media has been prattling on about how the GOP has to do some ideological soul searching, implying that the defeat of Republicans was somehow a repudiation of conservatism and a vote of approval for the progressives. As the data pours in, it is clear it was not. Speaker Nancy Pelosi learned that the hard way two years ago.

Anyway, 1st citizen Obama is ready to take center stage - let our long national nightmare begin.

Cordially

Joe

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gob Smacking Hypocrisy

Sorry if I don't join all of you in a rousing chorus of "Yes We Can". I doubt many people who voted for President Elect Obama can tell me what the hell they think "they're" going to do on a substantive level anyway. I remember a few months ago when Senator Obama was speaking before a jam-packed arena with a chorus of people chanting "Change! Change! Change!" It sounded like someone was being heckled by a thousand pan handlers.

There is nothing "new" about the change Obama peddled throughout the campaign trail. Anyone who's actually devoted their education and lives to the study of American politics will remember hearing this stuff before - from FDR and Woodrow Wilson. The change they brought wasn't pretty, and very few care to remember the goon squads that were at the beck and call of President Wilson, to quash those who weren't buying his brand of "yes we can."

That being said, there is no doubt that what happened on Tuesday night was overwhelming, and I congratulate Senator Obama on his win. What I don't get is the gob-smacking hypocrisy of those who are enraged that many people are still very leery of Obama's past, his associates, what he did on the campaign trail, and what he intends to do for the next four years. I and many others have been called "sore losers", and told that we should "get over ourselves".

Really?

Be honest with yourselves. For the past 8 years, how many of you have relentlessly attacked President Bush? How many of you have called him a liar, a moron, an idiot, and a terrorist? How many you even went so far as to implicate him crazy 9/11 conspiracies? All of you.

Now you're crying foul because not all of us are kneeling before your golden boy, and we don't need to rely on loonies like Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann to tell us what to think. You don't like that I am critical, and will continue to be critical for the next 4 years.

"Give him a chance", you cry. Why? I know the bill of goods he's selling, and I'm not buying it.

I'm going to write one more blog piece on Obama's past, then I'm going to move on to examining the "change" he's talked so much about for the past 16 months. I know the territory, I've been there before. I don't copy and paste my arguments from Wikipedia.

Cordially

Joe

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama - The Terrorist Connection

It's here. Election day. The Super bowl for geeks, and my geek flag is flying high. I was going to write a longer piece about those mental deficients we call "swing voters" who have been courted and fawned over by the media for over 3 months now, but I'll make it short and sweet. I always wonder why people who are indecisive and stupid get treated like somber intellectuals by the media. As Jonah Goldberg once said;

"If you wait until the last minute to figure out whom to vote for; if you can't tell the differences between the parties and their candidates (and you're not politically exotic — i.e., an anarchist or a libertarian); if you think voting is like a Chinese menu where you can pick a little from here and a little from there; then the odds are you don't know very much about the political system. You may be a brilliant neurosurgeon, but I know interns who are sharper than you about politics."

He makes a striking point. A lot of my friends have said they were big McCain fans, but have changed their minds recently for a laundry list of reasons I cannot even begin to comprehend. These are two candidates with dramatically different world views. If you are suddenly switching sides and going over to the "The One", it means you've had a life changing epiphany - like a life-long Muslim becoming a Catholic. If a Muslim were to become a Christian, it would mean he came to a realization that all the cherished beliefs he held all his life were wrong. A devout Muslim wouldn't convert because he thinks the local parish priest is "cool" and he believes his Mullah just doesn't seem to be "feeling" the Koran lately. Sadly, it seems some believe that it's just that easy. If that's the case, then you just don't get it and have a simpleton's understanding of politics.

Today is the day Americans are going to make a decision that will effect the country in deep and profound ways. The thought of a President Obama horrifies me. Say goodbye to freedom of speech - many journalists have already paid the price for digging too deep into Obama's past. Say goodbye to the separation of church and state - Obama's religious beliefs called "Black Liberationist Theology" calls for church and state to be as one. He has even alluded to this on the campaign trail. Say goodbye to Supreme Court judges who will interpret the Constitution - Obama will pick judges who will steam roll over the Constitution and create new laws on a whim.
I predict and pray for a McCain win tonight, and given the narrow margins in some of the swing states, I think he may just be able to pull it off. You may think Senator Obama would make a great president. You are wrong. This is not American Idol, or an episode of "The West Wing". This is real life, with grown up consequences.

Recently a tape which Obama has been trying to suppress for over 6 months finally emerged showing him re-assuring Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi that he would be an advocate for the Palestinian cause. Khalidi is a harsh critic of Israel, has made statements supportive of Palestinian terror, and reportedly has worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was involved in anti-Western terrorism and was labelled by the State Department as a terror group. Obama received $6000 dollars for his work with Khalidi, a man who believes Jews are the decedents of apes and rats. Oh, did I mention Obama was a board member of Professor Khalidi's organization along with Bill Ayers?

Say a prayer today for Senator McCain and Governor Palin. God knows what Wilsonian horrors await if tomorrow we wake up to a President Obama.

Take care and enjoy the theme from the brilliant mini-series "John Adams" to get you in the mood for election night!

Cordially

Joe

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Confusing Adventures of Obama and Lunch Bucket Joe

I know, I know. The barbarians at the gate are clamouring with pitchforks in hand, knocking at the doors and rattling the windows, wondering why there are so few updates on the site lately - especially with less than two weeks to go before election day. Am I lazy? Retarded? Well, I must concede a double yes from the confines of my firmly affixed helmet on that one - my family emblem has a painting of a remote control on it. Truth is, recovering from illness can be slow and frustrating, kind of like watching Senator Obama trying to explain his latest revision on diplomacy with rogue states.

Mr. Chicago has gone from one extreme to the other. He began by inviting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to hot cocoa and s'mores to see if he can lay off all that silliness about how "Jews are descended from rats and apes and must be wiped off the face of the earth" - even Hillary Clinton was gob smacked by such naiveté. Since then, Obama has tweaked and fine tuned his position to a new tougher stance - He would still meet any rogue nation but only to tell them that he was not very pleased at all, and may even throw in a few "tsk tsk's" for good measure. The smugness of Senator Obama is at times head spinning. Ramesh Ponnuru, writing in National Review, noted that "Obama gives the impression that their is no problem his glibness cannot solve."

Senator's Obama jumbled answers and weakness in foreign policy led him to choose Senator Joe (lunch bucket) Biden as a running mate. Biden chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and would seem at first glance to be a smart choice. Biden, however, seems to be no better grounded in his foreign policy positions than Senator Obama.

Joe Biden On Iraq.

Joe Biden 1991 - Joe Biden votes against authorization of the Gulf War and speaks passionately against the invasion from the senate floor.

Joe Biden 1993 - Joe Biden supports President Clinton's cruise missile attack on Iraq.

Joe Biden 1998 - Senator Biden states; "Saddam Hussein's ability to produce the most deadly weapons known to mankind...left unchecked, Saddam Hussein would in short order be in a position to threaten and blackmail our regional allies, and troops, and, indeed, our nation".

Joe Biden 2001 - "If we wait for the danger from Saddam to come clear it could be to late."

Joe Biden 2002 - "I do not believe this is a rush to war. I believe it is a march to peace and security."

Joe Biden 2003 - "The choice between war and peace is Saddam's. The choice between relevance and irrelevance is the U.N. Security Council's."

Joe Biden 2004 - "We have been led into the war by a manipulation of intelligence".

Joe Biden 2005 - “I’ve been calling for more troops for over two years, along with John McCain and others subsequent to my saying that."

Joe Biden 2006 - "No number of troops can solve the jihadist movement."

Joe Biden 2006 - "Withdrawing troops would be a huge mistake."

Joe Biden 2007 - "My impression is Obama thinks that if we leave, somehow the Iraqis are going to have an epiphany”.

Joe Biden 2008 -"Whether or not the surge worked is almost irrelevant now. We could tamp this down immediately, shut it down and end all violence "

Hmmm. So this is the decisive foreign policy heft Obama is adding to the ticket? As Wimpy once said; "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

During the Democratic primary debates, Biden bragged about how he and Senator McCain had supported the surge, and revealed in interviews he would gladly run as John McCain's Vice President. I had to bite my lip out of politeness recently when an acquaintance of mine said that he was supporting McCain but switched to Obama after Senator McCain modified his views on immigration. He could not stand the hypocrisy which, oddly enough, seems to be the most venial sin politicians can commit in the eyes of the media. Well, Obama/Biden are just a paragon of consistency, aren't they?

Lots more on deck, as I tackle the myth of the youth vote, and the bizarre fascination that the media has with probably the dumbest voting block politicians have to contend with - the so called "Swing Voters".

Have a great weekend, and enjoy a brilliant song by Hans Zimmer, from a less than spectacular movie.

Cordially

Joe

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Turn in the "Right" Direction!

Good afternoon folks, and it is an especially good afternoon for Tories and small c conservatives everywhere in Canada after Prime Minister Stephen Harper strengthened his minority Government, striking a crushing blow to Canada's self proclaimed "natural ruling party". The Liberal party finished with the worst showing in Canadian electoral history, led by the bumbling overgrown greying Harry Potter, Stephan Dion. Prime Minister Harper managed to hold on to the party's existing ridings, while robbing several Liberal strongholds from incumbent candidates. The media, as expected, are whining and parsing the numbers and the popular vote, but no amount of punditry can undo Prime Minister Harper's decisive victory.

The most curious (and annoying) whining is coming from Quebec, which was handily won by the separatist Bloc Quebecois. Many feel that Harper lost a chance at a majority government in the French province over his stands on the young offender's act and funding for the arts. Let me lay out some facts.

A - Prime Minister Harper feels that 15 year olds who rape and murder people should face prosecution in the adult criminal justice system. The people of Quebec feel we should give young sociopaths milk shakes and hugs.

B - Prime Minister Harper feels that during a time of economic restraint, the funding of crappy Quebec sitcoms is not a priority, especially given his already too generous offer of 45 million dollars in funding. Quebecers feel that the Canadian tax payers should gladly foot the bill for an art industry that mocks Canadian values, traditional values, and even common decency. No one is giving me money to blog; Get a job to support your "passion". At any expense, Quebec artists should cheer up. Listening to them on talk radio today, some have actually called Harper's lack of more robust funding for the arts the "beginning of the Apocalypse". See, now you're all "suffering artists". He did you a favour.

In other news - Senator McCain needs to come out swinging tonight. Senator Obama is vulnerable on many issues, notably the ACORN voter registration scandal, and his ties to Fannie, Freddie, Tony Rezko, and Bill Ayers. The Obama camp has run a disgusting, underhanded campaign, filled with vile personal attacks on both Senator McCain and Governor Palin. It's time to hit and hit hard. Obama stumbles and stutters when caught off guard, and despite what pundits say, people DO respond better to negative campaigning.

John McCain is a man of honour, and his personal code of ethics makes it very difficult for him to take off the gloves. But as James Bowman reminds us in his brilliant book "Honour A History", honour is also about saving face, and Obama's shameful attacks are an affront to Senator McCain's - and Governor Palin's - honour. Time to fight back, Senator. The mood at rallies are showing an angry conservative base waiting to be energized. Time to feed us some red meat.

As for me, I'm on the mend and hope to be back at work by early December, which means I'll be free on Halloween night to egg houses and toilet paper trees. Hope you'll join me.

Enjoy the "video du jour". Change by Tracy Chapman



Cordially

Joe

Monday, September 22, 2008

Paulson's Unpleasant Economic Chemotherapy

Something smells in the basement. It's either really bad meat, or very good cheese. I think Sammy the wonderdog is taking out a colony of mice down there. I don't know if Sammy is killing them out of natural hunting instincts, or she doesn't appreciate that mice and large dogs don't make good playmates. Kind of like when Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife in Of Mice and Men because he strokes her hair too hard, not realizing his own strength. Either way, she's better than a barn cat, and is always happy to see you when you come home. You can't buy that kind of love - well, I guess you can, but you'll eventually need to get some blood tests and penicillin.

The Treasury Department's planned Wall Street bail out spear headed by Secretary Hank Paulson is giving many of us pause. The thought of such a large distribution of Federal money to the private sector at the expense of the taxpayers should cause any conservative to cringe. There are screams coming from both sides of the spectrum for decidedly different reasons, but National Review's Victor David Hanson puts some much needed perspective on the situation.

"In the sudden rush to blame the (supposed) crooks in DC and on Wall Street, we should first take a long look in the mirror. For two decades, we — as in we Americans — expected to buy homes, flip them, and walk away with thousands — without much thought about what might happen to the johnny-come-lately at the bottom of the pyramid when the game was finally up and housing prices cooled or crashed. Walking away from a mortgage on a house with negative equity was "smart;" putting someone in one who had no ability to come up with a down payment, monthly payments, taxes, and maintenance was "fair"; borrowing unduly against equity for cash expenditures was "understandable.

"We deified the masters of hedge funds, derivatives, and subprime mortgages, forgetting that passé oil production, mining, farming, manufacturing, engineering and construction were the real sources of our material wealth.

"We assumed mega-returns on our portfolios, without a thought what Wall Street did to get them, or the effect on others who needed to borrow at such high interest to run their businesses. Ours became a culture that wanted larger cars but less drilling to fuel them, more stuff and more credit from — and more anger at — the Chinese; less taxes but even more government hand-outs; ever more electricity, but fewer icky coal and nuclear plants — and always more health-care, education-care, prescription drug-care, housing-care, and always less care how to pay for it.

"So by all means let us prosecute the lawbreakers, finger-point at the enablers, lecture the stupid, but at least spare us the sanctimonious "they" did this to poor "us." If there were not a Senate Banking Chairman like Chris Dodd without shame cozying up to the creeps at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, or a Richard Fuld playing casino roulette with someone else's money, we would have had to invent them.

"We should argue over the course of Paulson's unpleasant chemotherapy to deal with these symptoms of a metastasizing disease, but let us at least consider what were the catalysts for that deeper cancer."

Keen insight from a brilliant guy.
Enjoy one of my favourite songs, Wave Of Mutilation, by the Pixies, with my apologies for the dumb youtube video.

Cordially

Joe

Friday, September 19, 2008

Faceblah Part Deux - Weekend Greetings

Well over a decade ago, I remember some self-professed "technology expert" from the New York Times - with all the pompous self-righteousness that could only come from someone who worked for the Times - proclaim that the Internet was becoming such an unstoppable force because men love technology and men love porn. It was the sort of statement that perfectly encapsulated the thinking of the left-wing media intelligentsia - A quick witty repartee that rolled nicely off the tongue but offered little in actual substance. Mr. Techno-porn produced no facts, no figures, no fancy schmancy pie-chart graphics that illustrated what percentage of heavy breathers spent more time and money on the Internet in comparison with, say, folks who bought books on Barnes and Nobles, kids researching science projects, or Moms outfitting the family for the perfect fall picture on LL Bean. Nope, just a smug little comment and an "oh my goodness I'm so clever" look on his face, shared by all in the studio at CNN.

Putting dollars, cents, and guys with sticky keyboards aside, a much more irritating trend was emerging on the Internet. It was certainly less disturbing then wondering why your husband always shut down all his browsers every time you entered the room, but it was every bit as annoying - Social networking.

I've written about this before, and I have acquiesced to the caveat that we must give a piece of our soul to the great cyber gods. My once booming website has since become humble blog, which demands constant updating because of the rapid-fire pace of social networking sites and blogs in general. As you know, if you're a fan of constant updating, I may not be your man. Bookmark the site and visit, say, once a week. At least you get quality for your time...Well, depending on whether or not you abide by good taste and proper sleeping habits. Speaking of which, there is Facebook.

If the Internet is cyber-crack for the masses, Facebook is cyber-crack laced with meth. Facebook allows you to see what others have posted, and when and how often they've posted. Judging by a few quick scans, some of my friends don't sleep or go to work. I glanced at a friend's listings, and they posted or sent something out about every 1 to 2 hours for almost 3 days straight. You have to wonder what the hell is going on with someone when you see a post dated 3:31AM saying "Peggy Sue is wondering where everyone is". Here's a hint: Probably sleeping, Peggy. That would be a reasonable guess.

Another amusing thing are the ratings, or rankings, or whatever the heck they're called. Apparently, out of my group of friends, I'm consistently rated "Top Scientist". Really? I have to use my fingers to count. My parents did most of the work on my science projects in junior high, and when they didn't, I would just wrap a bunch of oranges in tin foil and stand in front of the class proclaiming "BEHOLD THE MIGHTY PLANETS", then sit down.

Remember 6 degrees to Kevin Bacon? I was never a fan, but I loved the concept, because it brought back the old fashioned parlour game where people would have to sit together, face to face, and socialize. If you've spent anytime on Facebook, people invite each other to cyber paint ball games and mafia wars, where they've conveniently taken out all the bother of human interaction. When people are out in public, I notice that manners are eroding, and am frequently shocked to see someone pick something up at a convenience store or coffee shop without making the slightest acknowledgement that there is a real person serving them. They simply mutter their orders and don't say another word or make eye contact. I know the coin flips the other way as well, but believe me, the reason the kids behind the counter don't talk to you much at late night burger joints is because most of them are higher than moon bats.

Now - Shut off your computers and go do something really crazy. Make a meal together with your significant other while playing some Brett Dennon, sit down, and....have a conversation.

Cordially

Joe

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sick Leave Blues

I'm off work for two months on the order of my esteemed doctor. It may sound like heaven to most people to get paid to do nothing, but I assure you it's about as stimulating as listening to an audio book of Soylent Green read by Senator Robert Byrd. The first couple of weeks off I watched movies all day long. I usually go through phases where I watch certain directors, but this time, I decided to go by theme, in this case three distinct themes. The first few days I watched tons of movie made about Hitler and the fall of the Third Reich (lots of 'last days in the bunker' sort of stuff). After about the third day of this, I'm pretty sure the owner of the small independent video store began suspecting that I was some kind of neo-Nazi. After my Third Reich phase came my Holocaust phase, renting the usual and some lesser known titles. During this phase I was certain the video store owner was thinking I was trying to atone for my brief stint as a neo-Nazi. The last phase I like to call "pay back time" - I rented movies about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Munich, and The Sword of Gideon.

When I was returning some movies about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, I realized I was looking awful because I'm on lots of very strong medication for my heart and blood pressure and hadn't left the house very often. Thinking I needed to make some explanation for my appearance, I looked up at the poor clerk and said "I'm off work because the doctor says I'm sick". Now, if that clumsily worded excuse wasn't bad enough to freak out the video store dude, I realize he was not looking at me, but at the video cover that depicts a Jewish resistance fighter with one fist thrust in the air, and the other holding a rather imposing looking rifle. Now, I'm guessing at this point he thinks I've gone over the edge and one day am going to smash through the front door of his store with a star of David on my chest and a double barrel shot gun. To make matters worse, I simply left the store without waiting for a response from him, or clarification on my part about what "sick" meant. I imagine the guy now goes through his days white-knuckling it and jumping a mile every time he hears the door open.

Anyway, needless to say, movies are getting boring, and it's hard to blog on politics right now. Though my mind is overflowing, my fingers are finding it hard to clack out the proper words.

I went to 2 hockey games on the weekend featuring the world famous Saint John Sea Dogs who, with grit that would have made the Spartan 300 proud, came back to tie a game against the Bathurst Titans with just 26 seconds left in the 3rd period, going on to win in overtime. The Sea Dogs are off to a promising season and have the full support of everyone here at the Straight Hype - all three of us, for what it's worth. We meet in a phone booth every Friday.

Have a great week everyone. I'll be off to Halifax visiting some friends. I leave you with the sweet sounds of Joe Purdy singing his wonderful song "Suitcase".


Cordially
Joe

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Blogging by Numbers - The Blog to Nowhere!!

My good buddy Ace over at his home base put together a rather interesting list of idle ruminations that I loved. Lately I have lots of time to catch up on the various blogs and Internet sites I find invaluable, as I have been placed on a two month paid medical leave at the behest of my doctor who is struggling to get my diastolic pressure down from its currently alarming numbers. When I use those do it yourself blood pressure machines at the local pharmacy, I like to leave my numbers up on the screen for the person waiting behind me. It's fun to watch their expressions, which are remarkably similar to those youtube videos of people watching 2 Girls 1 Cup for the first time. It's been 4 years and 2 months since I last had a drink, but it seems my body is still dealing with the effects of years of 3 beer breakfasts, and weekend binges that would start on Friday, and stop when I ran out of booze and/or money - usually it was the latter. It's a miracle that aside from high blood pressure, some minor heart and stomach problems, I am otherwise healthy.

Let us begin.

1 - You know what really bugs me? People who quote country music songs under any circumstances when trying to emphasize a point. Like when people say, "Hey, yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery", or "I'm in a hurry to get things done...just like the song says, man". Of all the wonderful axioms and sayings that have been left to us though the ages by philosophers and poets, why do people scrape the bottom of the intellectual barrel and clog up the air with idiot pollution? I am known by my friends and colleagues as a polite and cheery person with a quick wit and self-effacing manner, but I swear to Zeus I'm going to Jap-slap the next person who assaults my ears with red-neck witticisms.

2 - Sarah Palin is the best thing McCain could have done for himself, and the apoplectic response from the left wing bloggers - instantly parroted by the media - have finally awoken the sleeping giant of conservatives, Christian conservatives, and right of center moderates who were going to sleep through this election. This attractive and articulate lady, who last night spoke so touchingly about raising a child with down syndrome, no doubt picked up a large swath of the soccer mom vote as well. Obama, who has sucked up every minute of press attention for the last seven months, is now out of the spotlight. Sarah Palin is tough and smart, and is exactly what McCain needed. A race that once was in doubt now seems to be within reach of John McCain. It is going to be such a sweet sight to watch the podheads over at moveon.org and Code Pink when they hear the words "President Elect, John McCain". These bastards cheered and made the most horrific slanderous comments when the father of modern conservatism, William F Buckley Jr., died. I will spare them no quarter when we send their self appointed messiah packing.

3 - You should really watch The Aura by the late Argentinean director Fabián Bielinsky. It is a smart, suspenseful film, and it is a pity it will be the last film by this talented director, who died tragically young of a heart attack.

4 - I was sorely disappointed by "The Dark Night", though I had high expectations for the film. Heath Ledger was truly amazing, but everything else was just standard popcorn fare. I'll watch it again when the DVD comes out, but I doubt I'll be any more impressed than the first time I saw it.

5 - It makes me sad that Spanish and French films are usually better then most of the stuff spit out of Hollywood's pretentious slop bucket. Example - In Luc Besson's Angel-A, the movie's main character goes to a local Paris police station trying to get himself arrested in an attempt to hide from some nasty loan sharks coming to collect from him. He is refused, and in a fit of frustration exclaims, "I'm an Arab with no papers! What's the problem?"
6 - PS - They're called "comic books", and I refuse to call them "graphic novels" to bow to the pretensions of a few hard core geeks who flunked out of art school.

7 - I'm going to call it quits for today, because I'm not feeling well and this blog isn't going anywhere, or least anywhere interesting or funny. Have a good weekend and enjoy this They Might Be Giants classic, "Older".

Cordially

Joe

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Great Obama Bubble Burst

I remember in my youth, my next door neighbor managed to grow an outrageously gigantic pumpkin. He had been trying for years, and finally - with the proper mix of soil, night protection, and various types of animal feces - he succeeded in growing a pumpkin rivaling the size of a half-ton truck. So massive was this pumpkin that were there any pagans in my small French Acadian neighborhood, they would have stripped naked and danced around the gigantic gourd in the moonlight. Now, he wasn't the type to take his prized overgrown squash on the road and enter it in the local fair to win the coveted blue ribbon - his ambitions lay on the most hallowed of tooth decaying festivals, Halloween.

The pumpkin reached it's full fruition in late September, so it was with some puzzlement that my family saw him sawing a massive hole in the top of the pumpkin and shoveling its guts out before October had even arrived. As the week pressed on, he sawed and chiseled at the thing until he had managed to carve an imposing looking Jack-O-Lantern. He put it on his front yard and lit it with all sorts of mega wattage lights that could have provided sufficient illumination for a Rolling Stones concert. He lit it for a few days, and people drove by and oohed and aahed, but then he abruptly pulled the plug on Mr. Pumpkin until the big night. Unfortunately, by Halloween, when he lit the thing, it looked the melting face of that guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The left eye had rotted away into the nose portion, and the mouth was barely discernible. It looked like a massive tumor was on display on his front lawn. Those who waited with smaller, less imposing pumpkins stole the show. All my neighbor could do was lock himself in his house, drown himself in peach schnapps, and wonder how such a wondrous pumpkin could have turned into such a disaster.

Enter Barack Obama, the disfigured pumpkin on the front lawn, who tonight is facing the beginning of a convention with a highly divided party and a populous who are starting to see the veneer rust off his shiny exterior. As we go to print, Obama's once comfortable lead has disintegrated into a dead heat with McCain, each sharing 37% of the vote. His choice of Joe Biden as a running mate is a tacit admission that he a naif when it comes to foreign policy, and that he desperately needs to shore up the "new democratic" wing of the party that he hopes Biden will be able to capture for him. Senator Biden is also a self-aggrandizing ego-maniac who risks going off message on the campaign trail, creating new messes for Team Obama to sweep up after.

So far this strategy has been disastrous. In a conference call this morning, the Obama camp was unsuccessful at dispelling rumours swirling in the press that Clinton supporters are almost coming to blows with the Obama people over how much time and autonomy Bill and Hillary will be given at the convention. Clinton supporters are protesting outside the convention center in Denver, and delegates are speaking openly to the press that they are still going to cast their vote for Hillary. Convention organizers are quietly speaking to reporters about their fears of a "nightmare scenario" that would entail renegade Hillary supporters causing trouble, and Bill going off message and embarrassing Obama.

...and the tale of the rotting Pumpkin gets even more interesting. At a non-televised test poll, conducted by Frank Luntz among Democrats and undecideds, when asked to describe Obama, they used words like "scary”, “new”, “terrifying”, “unknown”, “inexperienced”, “unaffordable” , and even “apocalypse” - when card carrying Democrats use a word more fitting to describe a Mad Max movie, you know you're in trouble. When these same people where asked to use words that best described what they thought of McCain, they said things like “dependable”, “strong”, “patriot”, “veteran”, “experienced”, “honest”, “older”, and “integrity”.

The McCain camp took full advantage of the situation and released a litany of ads showing a former Hillary supporter who has never voted Republican before throwing away her "Hillary 08" sign, and proudly displaying her new "McCain '08" sign. All of this is mixed with clips of Hillary Clinton taken from the campaign trail describing what a disaster it would be to vote for Obama. Hillary later took a moment to disassociate herself from the ads, but it was half-hearted at best.

And then, there is the litany of shady characters and friends of Obama.

1 - Tony Rezko - Tony Rezko is a former real estate broker and political fund raiser. In 2003 Rezko helped raise $14 Million for Obama's senate campaign. In 2005 Rezko helped Obama to secure a $1.5 million house, a suspicious $300,000 below the market value. In 2008, Rezko was found guilty of 16 charges of using his influence to demand kickbacks from companies wanting to do business in the state. Rezko was a close associate of Senator Obama, which means the Senator is either extremely corrupt, or extremely naive - either answer screams that he is unfit to serve as President.

2- Bill Ayers - Bill Ayers is someone Obama has claimed as a friend and mentor, and coincidentally, is one of his next door neighbors. Ayers was the co-founder of the violent terrorist group "The Weatherman", responsible for a litany of atrocities in the 1960's including the bombings of of the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972, and the New York City Police Headquarters in 1970. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Ayers admitted that a bomb destined for a nearby military base accidentally exploded, killing 3 of the group's members. In 2001 he claimed he regretted that he did not inflict more damage on the Pentagon the day he bombed it. No wonder Obama says he is willing to meet with any leader from a terrorist nation. He has lots of practice at home.

3 - The Reverend Jeremiah Wright - Here is another one of Obama's former friends and mentors, and was the Senator's Pastor for close to two decades. Reverend Wright likes to rant on about the evils of Israel, jump up and down like a crazed Eddie Murphy character screaming "God Damn America", and - like Adolf Hitler - is a proponent of Eugenics, believing the brains of white and black people work differently. Obama continued to defend the Reverend, claiming the quotes had been taken out of context, until Wright appeared at a National Press Club event where he clearly asserted that these where indeed his core beliefs for the last 20 years, and it would have been impossible for Obama not to have known that as a regular parishioner. If my priest began to preach that raccoons were messengers from God, and that deceased pets from his childhood came to visit him at night with advice from the Big Guy, I would be out of the door quicker than you can say; "That guy is nuttier that squirrel shit".

4- Obama's Own Massive Ego - There's little doubt left in my mind that once inspirational junior Senator from Illinois developed a Messianic complex somewhere along the campaign trail. On June 3rd Obama sent pundits into fits of bowel loosening laughter when he proclaimed;

"...generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal...This was the moment - this was the time..."

Quite the fella this Obama guy. Jonah Goldberg retorted;

"The Barack Obama I know is going to make the ocean levels sink -- cats and dogs are going to sleep together...Obama's workers are not supposed to talk about the issues, they're supposed to talk about how they...'came to Obama' -- like how some people say they came to Jesus"

Obama is in trouble. The Senator road the waves of his celebrity appeal, but the cracks are starting to show, and people are asking if the "change" Obama keeps talking about is just more of the same old re-hashed expensive Jimmy Carter liberalism. The so-called "Skinny kid with the funny name" is starting to resemble the giant rotting pumpkin that once adorned my neighbor's lawn. Those who had sufficient alcohol and Gravol to endure day one of the Democratic convention last night got a bizarrely sedated snooze fest. The only highlight was watching creepy looking old ladies wearing so much make up I wondered if they were drag queens from the San Fransisco delegation, weeping over Michelle Obama's tough times on the South Side.

Anyway, there it is. The much awaited Obama piece. To be fair to Obama fans, I've included an Obama quote that will lift your spirits;

"The world will not help, the people must help themselves. Its own strength is the source of life. That strength the Almighty has given us to use; that in it and through it, we may wage the battle of our life. The others in the past years have not had the blessing of the Almighty - of Him who in the last resort, whatever man may do, holds in His hands the final decision. Lord God, let us never hesitate or play the coward"

Did that inspire you? Oh wait, that wasn't a quote from Obama. That was a quote from Adolf Hitler.

Cordially
Joe

Friday, August 15, 2008

Watergate Whiners

Scientists claim addictive behaviors are caused by deficiencies in the pleasure centers of the brain. Though my sub-par marks in high school chemistry have forever branded me really bad science guy, I can cautiously assume that folks much wiser than I have determined that deficiencies in the pleasure centers (stop giggling) differ from your garden variety cases of clinical depression. This means, after careful analysis by really bad science guy, that there is a certain cause and effect to the phenomenon known as the addictive personality. Clinically depressed Bob just can't motivate himself to get out of bed and plant some roses. Addictive personality Bill has no problems planting the roses, but feels it just isn't the same without a pint of vodka and a bottle of Vicodin. Fair enough.

...And so, the 34th anniversary coverage of Watergate began (If you're wondering where I'm going with this, that makes two of us).

34 years ago, a politician lied. No kidding, this actually happened. A member of this elite group of morally unflappable guardians of civic virtue actually stood in front of the naive, doe-eyed masses and said something that wasn't exactly the truth. Apparently, if very important pundits with really great teeth are to be believed, this was the darkest day in American History; 57% of Americans agree, though only 14% admit to actually knowing anything about it. It's a very dark and important day because those who made their careers on it say so. Without the myth of Watergate, there would be no bubble gum news outfits like CNN, no Geraldo Rivieras, no 60 Minutes, and certainly no sitcoms about spunky female reporters who stick it to the patriarchy.

Watergate anniversaries are always difficult times to remain sober for anyone who doesn't eat things off the floors of public washrooms. Watergate is the most overblown scandal since Bob Dole popped Viagra to celebrate his 70th birthday. The media suffers from an acute case of addictive punditry. Not content to lie in bed in a state of lethargic contemplation, they want to party until last call, or until it's time to put Bob Woodward back into cryogenic stasis. The pleasure center of their collective brain is malfunctioning, and only hour-long documentaries about the day we lost our innocence will cure them.

To buy into the traditional media version of Watergate, one must first suspend all rational thought and believe two rather astounding assertions:

1) Before Watergate, Americans trusted their Government and its institutions.

Please. This must be the only day in history where the media forgets the 60's ever happened. Remember the 60's? You know, hippies, massive protests, taking it to the streets, don't trust anyone over 30? A movement that was sparked by mass disenfranchisement with government? The Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in American history, was a direct result of vehement dissatisfaction over the policies of the Lincoln Administration. Mistrust in government was a staple of American culture long before Nixon famously waved the V-sign from the open door of Air Force One. From Hollywood's flirtation with communism to the divisive fight for racial equality in the 60's, Americans have never been fond of Government.

2) Watergate was the gravest abuse of power in American history.

I wonder how much media attention will be given this month to the 64th anniversary of the day FDR completed the unlawful round up and detainment 120,000 Japanese-American citizens from the Pacific Coast? How about when Bobby Kennedy, the Patron Saint of American civil rights, bugged the offices of Martin Luther King Jr. (Ironically, this also required a group of fellows to break into an office in the dead of night)?

Despite the litany of allegations damning Nixon, only one small piece of evidence ties Nixon to the Watergate cover-up - a recording of Nixon brainstorming with Chief-of-Staff H. R. Haldeman in the wake of the arrest of the Watergate burglars. In the scratchy recording, Nixon advises Haldeman to have Deputy CIA Director Vernon Walters call FBI Director Pat Gray and request: ''We wish, for the good of the country, (that you) don't look any further into this case."

For all the talk of extortion, bribery, and strong-arm FBI tactics, that one statement is the evidentiary extent of Nixon's culpability.

Yet, on go the Watergate anniversary festivities, set to the endless drum beat of somber editorials dripping with inane metaphors. Nixon is hardly history's worst villain, though Watergate will forever be the epitaph of his legacy. He was a pensive bureaucrat, with a penchant for big government solutions at the slightest hint of a problem. He was plagued by insecurity, despite his astonishing intellect, and the role of president hung ill on his shoulders. He is fondly remembered by his staff for his graciousness and warmth. He knew the name of every cook and chauffeur, and was generous with his time and money to their families. He was a consummate author, penning over 2 dozen books and hundreds of articles in his lifetime. Every president from Reagan to Clinton sought out his advice in the midst of their most dire foreign policy crises.

But what does it matter? Every August 9th is Nixon bashing day. I'm staying home from the party - call me in the morning.

Cordially
Joe

Friday, August 08, 2008

Rush X 20

Most conservatives in their mid-thirties (yeah, that's me) cut their teeth on Rush Limbaugh. Despite the ever present National Review standing athwart history, and the Reagan years still fresh in mind, the left continued to have a stranglehold on the language and nuances on the overall public discussion. Not that lively discussion wasn't readily available to political junkies and policy wonks on shows like Crossfire and William F Buckley's much missed Firing Line. Outside these circles however, the words and ideas of what it meant to be a conservative, and the means to articulate and define your beliefs in public discourse, were largely missing. Democrats had the same old talking points that had remained unchanged since the party was hijacked by the extreme left in the mid-60's, and conservatives often fired back with the same tired old lines about their adversaries being "pinko-hippies", or resorted to religious come-backs that only served to re-enforce existing stereotypes, be it fair or not.

Then 20 years ago, a plump, cigar chomping man who was completely unapologetic about his conservatism arrived on the scene. It started with the radio show, then a short lived TV show, and then, of course, the book that changed everything...The Way Things Ought To Be. The book was revolutionary in the sense that it challenged all the iron clad assertions of the left in language that was accessible to anyone without being dumbed down. The book provided ammunition for the long suffering conservative middle class who had lacked the language and time to fight the good fight on the verbal front. The book was an immediate #1 best seller, and tore down the left's sacred cows of environmentalism, animal rights, socialism, and political correctness. Suddenly smug liberals spouting on about the ever looming environmental crisis if we didn't mend our gluttonous Western ways were smacked in the face with the question;

"Really? Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines spewed forth more than a thousand times the amount of ozone-depleting chemicals in one eruption than all the fluorocarbons manufactured by wicked, diabolical and insensitive corporations in history.... Mankind can't possibly equal the output of even one eruption from Pinatubo, much less 4 billion years' worth of them, so how can we destroy ozone?"

As William F Buckley wrote, it was "...a jolt of champagne!", and liberals were absolutely apoplectic. President Bill Clinton threw a famous temper tantrum over Limbaugh's almost daily beratement of him, and Congress even went so far as to try to muzzle him by passing an ominous sounding bill called the "fairness doctrine". All failed, and for almost 2 decades the left has tried to emulate Limbaugh's success, but have never even come close.

As a young conservative, I knew in my heart my cherished beliefs were right, but with the steady wave of liberal messages cunningly slithering their way into popular culture, it was easy to begin to assume that things like environmentalism were just readily accepted facts, instead of scare mongering being pandered about by agenda-driven special interests groups. Rush tore the roof off the liberal hen house, and things were never the same again.

I have to admit that I haven't listened to Rush in years, though I do read the occasional transcripts from his show. Limbaugh provided me with the foundation to move on to a meatier, more intellectual style of conservatism. I moved on to James Bowman, read National Review with a renewed vigour, discovered Mark Steyn and Jonah Goldberg, and gained an assurance about my ideals and beliefs that grew in the fertile soil of Rush Limbaugh's radio show and books.

Congratulations on 20 years of excellence in broadcasting, Rush. You changed things forever, and may you continue to do so for another 20 years.

Cordially

Joe

Sunday, July 27, 2008

ZIP IT!!!

I am not an anti-social person by any stretch of the imagination. The restraining order against me greatly prohibits my contact with others, but when the restrictions are relaxed, I am a great guy to be around. Anyone one who knows me is aware that good manners and etiquette are one of the most important values I hold dear -and manners, as I define them, is being polite to people, especially when the other person is making it very hard to do so. Politeness is artificial good humor, as Jefferson once said. Manners are the last remaining vestige of what historians refer to as the western honour culture, and anyone who has recently received rotten customer service at the local burger joint by the green haired, multi-pierced kid behind the counter knows exactly what I'm talking about. Keeping this in mind, there are people with whom I find it difficult to hold to my own personal code of ethics - I call them bus buddies.

Bus buddies are people who lack basic social skills who sit next to you on a bus, plane, train, or shuttle. They - like people who overshare the details of their usightly skin conditions - also lack something that I call the verbal filter. The verbal filter is that little stop sign we all possess that prevents us from making inappropriate comments during day to day conversation.

Example: Say you're in the middle of a job interview, and your potential employer asks you what negative qualities you posses. Now, maybe you like to start off your morning downing jello shooters and mowing your lawn in the nude. For most of us, our personal filter would clamp our tongue shut before we volunteered that information and were promptly escorted from the building by security. Some people don't have - or choose not to use - their own personal information filter.

Bus buddies are the dread of every frequent flyer, and I seem to attract them the way Barney Frank attracts muscle bound Italian boys.

Claire and I flew on a major American airline carrier - I lose the term "airline" loosely because it seemed more like a school bus with wings. Claire was seated to the right of me, and my bus buddy was waiting to pounce on the left. Something creeped me out about the guy, and the moment I made eye contact, I found out why. For the next 3 hours he shot questions at me like he was skeet shooting at a clay pigeon - "Whatchya reading?", "What's it about?", "Where did you get your tattoo?", "Did you see the new Batman movie?", "Do you wish you had a motorcycle like Batman?"

I am a patient person, but I felt like weeping.

Anyway, I should take a breather to re-examine the old gratitude meter. I got to go to Miami and spend time in paradise with the lovely miss Claire and her folks. It can get hectic out there. Always take a moment during the day to think of your kids, or your loved ones, and realize just how lucky you are.

Cordially

Joe

Friday, July 18, 2008

Meet Me in Miami

It's 1:20am Thursday morning, and the lovely Miss Claire and I are preparing to jump in the car to take a 5:00am flight out of Halifax with a stop over in Newark, then off to Miami - the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort and Club in Miami to be exact. Those of you who are regular readers know I am not a heat person, so while I am thrilled, I am not exactly looking forward to the oppressive molten lava heat of Florida. I can't wait to go to a little spot called "La Hacienda" for Cuban sandwiches with black beans and yellow rice. Apart from that, the trip will comprise of the compulsory pilgrimage to West Palm Beach where I can horrify the locals with my impressive Canadian body mass index, brought about by countless weekends sitting on my ass and stuffing dill pickle chips down my gullet. My family crest has a picture of a remote control on it - we are more familiar with the words nap and fried shrimp than we are with words like jog and move it will ya?

Anyway, in regards to the last post.

Do you feel a little dirty? Like you've been used? Like the time uncle Larry sat you on his lap at Christmas time and, through his gin soaked breath, told you the joke about how milk and cookies aren't the only things that Santa chews on when he comes down the chimney? You didn't quite get the joke, but you that felt something very wrong had just transpired. When you went to bed you made sure you locked the door - a habit you still fastidiously re-enact to this day. Well, you should feel a little dirty, because I did use you. My last blog post, though every word was heartfelt, was meant to be inflammatory. I could have called it "the problem with Canada", or as my fellow blogger and former economic editor is fond of saying, "Cuba North", but I purposely named the article "I Don't Want to be Canadian Anymore", thinking that my knee jerk liberal-minded countrymen would fly into a unified spasmatic fit of sputtering outrage, staging a protest outside my super fly downtown apartment after they had politely asked for a permit from the proper municipal authorities - instead I got silence.

Well, not exactly silence. Not the type of silence you get from your wife when she finds out you came home so drunk you wrote your name in piss on the new white shag carpeting. Not that of silence. Instead, I got agreement (which to me is a political type of pseudo-silence). I would casually bring up the article in conversation and instead getting of Jap-slapped, I got suggestions of other things I should have added to the list....and these people aren't exactly card carrying members of the vast right wing conspiracy. Most of them are liberal with some libertarian leanings who feel that our judiciary and busy body bureaucrats are overstepping their grounds. I was rather relieved there are more people out there who seem to realize that the jack-booted thought police are running amuck on freight train heading toward a personal opinion near you.

Sorry I have to cut this short, but we really have to get going. See you on the way back, and please be patient - the Obama piece is coming.

Have a good weekend. In case I didn't mention it...we'll be in Miami...suckers.

Cordially

Joe

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I Don't Want to be Canadian Anymore

Before you begin pecking furiously away at your keyboards like a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters, please take a breath - and please refrain from being so clichéd and unoriginal as to send an email or post a comment filled with righteous indignation telling me that if I don't like it here, I should move somewhere else. I get a dozen of them a month, and your sputtering outrage will be more yawn-inducing than watching an E-Canada interview with a bottle of maple syrup.

There are many things I love about my country. I'm grateful that we've finally elected a solid conservative government (note the small "c") who realize the importance of lowering the tax burden on middle class Canadians and corporations, re-vitalizing our long neglected military, mending fences with our American neighbours, and affirming with a clear voice our unwavering commitment to the security of Israel from Islamic extremists like Hamas. The late Liberal government refused to label Hamas a terrorist group until they had blown up enough children to make even John Wayne Gacy squeamish - well, if the great state of Illinois hadn't given him the juice back in '94. The bravery of our soldiers in Afghanistan makes my heart swell with pride, and I believe that we have just about the friendliest folks on the planet. Yet, despite all of this, there are troubling trends occurring in my country. Trends that cause me to pause, finding myself contemplating the impossible: I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

1- The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal: Recently, Dean Steacy, the principal "anti-hate" investigator of the Human Rights Tribunal, said the following; "Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value." Our Government is eroding our right to express individual opinion - I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

2- The Alberta Human Rights Commission: The Commission recently ruled that Pastor Stephan Boissoin could no longer speak about certain of his views at the pulpit, privately, or even in a personal email. His crime? Writing a letter to the editor of his local paper that offended someone he didn't even know - I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

3 - Madam Justice Suzanne Tessier of the Quebec Superior Court: Justice Tessier allowed a 12 year old to sue her father after he decided to not to allow her to participate in a school trip as punishment for continuing to visit an internet dating site on which she was posting pictures of herself. Justice Tessier ruled that the father had no right to discipline his daughter and forced him to allow her to go on the trip in her written decision. Our government and our courts are now infringing on parental rights - I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

4 - Blame America First: In a recent CanWest News Services poll, over 40% of Canadians described Americans as "evil". In Quebec, the number clocked in at an astounding 64%. I have to admit this causes no small amount of cognitive dissonance considering most Canadians blather on about how tolerant we are. After 9/11, former Prime Minister Jean Chretien had the audacity to imply that the 3000 people who were butchered by the Taliban had it coming - I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

5 - The Persecution of Mark Steyn: McLean's magazine recently printed an exerpt from Mark Steyn's brilliant book "America Alone", in which he warns of the rising number of honor killings occurring in our own country and the United states by radical Islamic extremists. Enter stage left - The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Mark Steyn is now being dragged before the committee for offending the sensibilities of a few people who seem to think that killing your daughter for wearing make-up is just fine and dandy. This may lead Mr. Steyn's illuminating and humorous book being banned in Canada. We are now becoming a country that is stripping away freedom of the press and banning books - I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

I can only imagine the can of worms I have opened with this column. I can already see my inbox dripping with outrage and maple syrup. If we don't wake up to what's happening in our own back yard, you may no longer have the privilege of writing in to tell me what a royal ass muncher you think I am. But that's ok...If you're really upset, you can always send a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. They'll shut me down in no time.

In the end, it's of little consecquence. If Obama is elected President, the cradle of liberty will be little more than a carbon copy of our fascist government, and then I'll have no place left to move to anyway.

Anyway, while you're lowering your blood pressure, enjoy the latest from the beautiful Regina Spector, singing The Call.

Cordially

Joe

Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekend Inferno

First off, thank you all for the concern you've expressed over my illness, but really, it was nothing serious. I have not come down with dyspepsia, shingles, or the avian flu. I didn't travel anywhere where you have to boil your water, and I didn't lay a sloppy one on the passenger next to me on a flight back from China. It was a run of the mill case of the flu, so please don't be concerned, and stop sending wreaths to my house - they're starting to rot.

Ever rip the backside of your jeans on casual day at work? I did. I felt a draft. It was the first sign. The second sign, aside from the ear piercing rip, was that some of my colleagues were seeing a lot more of me then they would have cared to. I had to zip off to the store to get a new pair of jeans, which I needed anyway. That's the thing with a favourite pair of jeans - you tend to wear them until they rip like thunder, or blow away like dandelion spores. Not pleasant. Anyway, you may now call me "thunderpants" if you would like.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm working on an Obama piece, but I want it to be air tight, like Barney's Frank's bloated ass, or that lady at the bus stop whose feet are swollen because she's retaining too much water. What makes Obama's past disturbing are not the rodents that are coming out of the woodwork, but the collective and radical beliefs they all hold. Obama seems to be on a daily filibuster express where he's constantly dissociating himself from segregationists, people who still believe in eugenics, and creepy slum lords who are now in the slammer. The Senator from Illinois keeps throwing his hands in the air claiming; "I didn't know these people held these repugnant views". As my new piece will point out, to believe that, the Senator would have to be extremely naive and/or stupid, or a back stabbing liar and con artist. Whether you check box A or B, it casts serious doubt on his fitness to be Commander in Chief. He's also getting sloppy on the stump, and reports are surfacing that he's useless without a teleprompter or prepared remarks. McCain is starting to go in for the kill, and the media have been strangely distancing themselves from their beloved golden boy, which leads me to believe they're sitting on something they're reluctant to throw at him...for now.

Anyway, I've got company coming, and the lovely Miss Claire and I have to get ready to be the half-assed hosts we're famously known for - but before you hit the X, enjoy the hypnotic Regina Spektor singing Samson from her latest album "Begin to Hope"

Have a good weekend.

Cordially

Joe

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Blogging by Numbers - The Blog Before the Blogs

As you are now aware, my chest puffing about the site not going dark during my state to state quest through the cradle of liberty was indeed just chest puffing. I can blame it on some essential accessories we forgot to bring, the hectic travel schedule, our near-death battle with an army of pots and pans ninja robots, and the unfortunate incident involving missing the Jersey turnpike 3 times. Truth be told, while these are all legitimate considerations, in the end, we were on vacation and sometimes you have to leave behind the gadgets, laptops, cell phones, blackberries, and all the other whirly gigs that seem forever fused to our persons. Let the blogging by numbers begin!

1 - I sincerely apologize to those who where checking the site regularly for pictures of Claire and I standing with silly grins in front of all of your marvellous and iconic landmarks, but we'll have those for you soon. No one likes to look at other people's vacation pictures anyway. Isn't that on the list of people's top ten pet peeves? Right up there with people who display wood carvings of Dale Earnhardt in their living room, and people who start off letters to the editor with the preface "I don't usually write letters to the editor, but...".

2 - Anyway, lots of things have happened on the political landscape while we were away. It looks like Jonah Goldberg's allusion to smiley faced fascism may be coming to America sooner than you think - and it's name is Barack Obama. If the pixie dust hasn't cleared from your eyes yet, and you've yet to see that Obama's promise of "change" is really just re-hashed 1960's radicalism, you need a bitch slap. And then there's the litany of criminals, eugenics spouting anti-Semitic pastors, and murdering ex-terrorists that Obama has to distance himself from everyday. These were all his dearest friends and closest associates until very recently. All hold radical views, his wife being among the list. We all have a nut or two in our intimate group we call friends; However, few of us have such low moral standards as to call anti-Semites, segregationists, con-artists, and murders best buddies. We'll get to that a little later on this week.

3 - I will write about the trip. The kindness and hospitality of Americans is something that I will forever remember - the quaint little diners and corner stores run by Koreans and other immigrants, with beautiful oriental streamers hanging from the walls, all adorned with American flags at the tail end, signs next to the menus that proclaimed "support our troops", and men and woman so proud that they had sliced out a little piece of America for themselves, that were grateful for every day; The desk where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence; The love and reverence of the people restoring President Madison's home. All are a testament to the beauty and freedom that is America and the American people.

4 - Looks like the New Brunswick Liberal party is finally getting something right, if they are to be believed. Finance minister Victor Boudraeu is talking about lowering the corporate income tax rate to anywhere from 13% to 5%. Such a move - inspired no doubt by consultations with Frank McKenna - would be a boon to the economy and much needed dose of common sense in an otherwise directionless and incompetent administration. Don't hold your breath.

5 - CNN rarely astounds me, but today, during a round table with Wolfe Blitzer about whether or not John McCain's war experience and subsequent captivity as a POW was an asset to the McCain camp over the war on terror, CNN's resident drunken glue sniffer, Jack Cafferty, had the following to say; "Yeah, but what have you done for me lately?" The arrogance and pettiness of this statement is astounding. John McCain is a decorated Vietnam veteran who spent 5 and half years in Vietnam POW camp, refusing to go - despite several opportunities - until every other man in his unit was let go first. Jack Cafferty's claim to fame is leaving the scene of an accident after hitting a cyclist with his car. Now that's courage. To quote Tucker Carlson, Mr Cafferty, you are a drunk and a retard and you'd probably be a wife beater if you had better aim.

Cordially

Joe