31 August 2007

Gulf Storm Watch - 070831a

Uh, oh. Remember this post from just a few hours ago? Now take a look:


It's now Tropical Depression 6, or "Felix". Whie the NHC has the track forecast westerly, almost following the track "Dean" took a few weeks ago, some of the "spaghetti models" posted here forecasat a more northerly hook, passing between the Yucatan and Cuba.

Stay tuned.

Second Amendment, Meet Checkbook.

OK, I've made up my mind. This will be my next "big boy toy" purchase:


I want a good, proven rifle, and I've always been partial to the HK-91 in 7.62mm NATO (.308). It's been 25 years since I shot one, but the HK is accurate, reliable, with lots of spare parts available, and (if I remember correctly) not too hard on the shoulder.

Why? Two reasons: First, I want to have (and shoot) a big-bore rifle again; and second, private citizens having something like this at home drives the limousine liberal types stark-raving nuts.

Anyone out there have any recent experience with the HK-91? Comments are open.....

What, Me Vote?

According to nola.com, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund offered this rationale for filing suit to stop the recent purge of voting rolls in Louisiana:

"Many of the people were not aware that they were registered to vote elsewhere and intend to return to Louisiana, said defense fund attorney Kristen Clarke."

C. B. Forgotston responds:

"Any person who doesn’t know the state in which they registered to vote is simply too dumb to vote ANYWHERE."

I couldn't agree more. I'm wondering - are the Dems still trying to find a way to make John Breaux eligible for the governor's race?

The Management Speaks....

To: My readers (all 12 of you).

From: Clifford.

Re: Comments.

They are turned on again. Seems the "rant back" e-mail address at the bottom of the page was hard to find. We'll deal with the spam as it appears, but if it gets too much we'll have to find other options.

So comment away, my loyal public.

The Myths Of Katrina - The Gulf Coast Is Suffering From A Lack Of Leadership.

The third and last of ReasonOnline's Myths of Katrina. Myth Three: The Gulf Coast is suffering from a lack of leadership. It's not that the leaders aren't there, they're just not the folks collecting a government paycheck.

Link to Myths One and Two is here.

UPDATE: You know Red Stick Rant readers are an elite bunch ('cause the bunch ain't real big), but did you know you are also better informed, too? You were aware of the ReasonOnline post mentioned above a whole day before the Blogfather himself cared to share it with his readers. All I can say is..... heh.

Defining Poverty Upward.

Having been on Episcopal mission trip to Honduras, I have seen poverty - houses with dirt floors, no running water, three people living under some tin and plastic between two factory buildings, a hole in the ground surrounded by some boards and plastic for a toilet. People making $2.00 a day. Children who can't go to school. That's poverty. This, this is not poverty:

Forty-three percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.


The report is lengthy, but read it all. And remember these things when multi-millionaire lawyer John Edwards starts preaching on his "two Americas" theme. We actually seem to be winning the war on economic poverty. Poverty of the spirit, though, is a whole other fight - and in that we have not been as successful.

Ghosts Of Anbar III.

Michael Yon's latest is up: Ghosts Of Anbar III.

Go here for links to parts I and II.

Gulf Storm Watch 070831

Eastern Caribbean. Maybe nothing; maybe not.


Never hurts to keep checking.

Go Fig-ya!

A little something off the wall to begin the weekend......

The two videos below are from my other hometown, Boston, and the TheGuyFromBoston (tag line - "I got the balls to say what you're thinking") These are DECIDEDLY NOT WORK SAFE!!, so you have duly been warned. (Use headphones...)

TheGuyFromBoston ruminates about the morals of Congress. Or lack thereof. I can't confirm his stats, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least.

TheGuyFromBoston explains how to talk Boston. And why you can't "Pahk Ya Cah In Havaad Yaad". He left out my two favorites, though: "Peabody is pronounced "Pee-bud-ee", and the City of Quincy is pronounced "Quwin-zee", but the President is still John "Qwin-see" Adams. Oh, and I'm and "Aaak-ee-teck". It's wicked pissah!

Hattip: My buddy Karl.

30 August 2007

iPhone: Two Months On.

It’s been just over two months since I got one of Mr. Jobs’ latest playthings, so I think it’s time to do a quick “how-do-I-like-it-so-far” post. (My earlier posts are here, and another here.) For those with A.D.D., here is my conclusion up front: I love it. Go get one.

And I do love it. Besides it’s cooler-than-all-get-out looks (which I keep covered with one of these goofy silicone covers ‘cause I’m a klutz) it’s darn decent phone. Let’s take a look at the features one by one:

OPERATION
Click on, touch screen, go. Couldn’t be simpler. And the screen is excellent, even outside in direct sunlight. The tapping and dragging with your finger really does become second-nature. Even the two–finger double tap or drag versus the one finger variety. The mechanical controls are easy, though the sound/ringer silence switch can be hard to operate with the silicone cover on. Minor issue, really. The keyboard is pretty good once you get used to it. And the “intuition” AI works well. I have come to rely on it, and it makes typing on such a small keyboard workable. The one big “Gurr” annoyance I have is the headphone jack. OK, I know Apple had to go to a smaller diameter jack housing to keep the iPhone as thin as it is, but c’mon guys – an adapter would have been nice for those who have after-market headphones or, like me, plug it in and run it through the audio system in my car. My solution was to whack about 3 millimeters of the plastic off of the bottom part of the jack so it would seat to the correct depth. So far, so good, but it’s not quite what I should have to do to get this to work. My other, all be it minor “Grrr”, is that the phone sometimes gets, well, brain-farts - and freezes up for up to 30 seconds. This especially happens right after you take off the charging stand. If you do a reboot, the problem stops for a while, but it eventually comes back. Syncing the iPhone is as simple as setting in the charging cradle. iTunes does the rest. I’ve had no problems with that so far.

PHONE
As I’ve said before, it's light years better than the Treo. I’ve had only a few dropped calls, and it will even work in most interior spaces. The Treo, on the other hand, would drop a call if you went under a tree branch. Without leaves. I really like the Bluetooth capability, too, which allows the phone to be linked through my car’s audio system for hands-free use.

E-MAIL
This works OK, and seems to sync with our Outlook server at work but for one thing – if you delete an e-mail from the iPhone, it does not delete them on the server when it syncs. Minor problem if you are talking about being away from your desk computer for a few hours or a day, but more than a few days and this can be a real annoyance when you get back to your desk. It may be a setting I do not know about, but for now it is a real pet peeve.

INTERNET
After having that rump browser on the Treo, having (nearly) full-blown Safari in your pocket is great. (“Is that browser in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? Oh, it’s a browser….”) But the ‘Net on the iPhone is Slllloooooooooow with ATT’s EDGE. I mean, slower than dial-up slow. I heard somewhere that there is a major iPhone software upgrade coming in October that will correct some of this (G3, perhaps??). I sure hope so. If you can hook onto a wi-fi network things speed up to tolerable levels. For some reason, Safari on the iPhone will not display Flash or YouTube, which seems very surprising. Especially the YouTube embeds. It’s more annoying than critical, but considering what you pay for the thing…..

IPOD
Oh, wow. Oh…… Wow. And, it works great with the Bose ‘Sounddock’, too. If you set it on ‘Airport’ mode though, the Bose controls don’t seem to work. (Or, is it vice-versa. I can’t remember.)

OTHER GOODIES
I use ‘SMS/Texting’ only because it seems to be the preferred method of communication for my 13-year old daughter. Works OK.
The ‘Calendar’ syncs fine with Outlook, but it has a limited selection for setting alarm times. Sometimes I need to set an alarm for 1:45 before the event. Weird, I know.
‘Photos’ is wonderful. I have every darn family image in my pocket, and I’m going to be a real annoyance at my wife’s family’s next Christmas reunion.
‘Camera’ is OK, but I already have a 4 MP digital in my day-timer for construction photos, so it’s redundant for me.
‘YouTube’ is a waste as far as I am concerned. Bad image quality, craps out constantly, and a lot of videos are “unavailable”. What’s with that?
‘Stocks’ I initially ignored, but I entered some stocks and now watch them daily. Call it voyeuristic capitalism.
After the main four apps, ‘Maps’ is for me THE most useful app on the iPhone. I have used it to get around in all sorts of places and find all sorts of locations in the US since June, and the ability to have the address, phone number and website (if they have one) in one click is nothing short of amazing. There is very little that the iPhone database has not found (it found my old apartment in Florence, Italy, with no trouble). This app could easily put AAA out of the map business. The satellite image feature in ‘Maps’ really impresses folks at dinner parties, but I haven’t found it to be as useful as I initially thought. But it is good for close-in navigation in a strange place.
‘Weather’ is cute, but logging into a dedicated website is much better. Though, knowing what the highs and lows will be in Florence, Italy is kinda neat. Again, great for dinner parties.
‘Clock,’ ‘Calculator,’ and ‘Notes’ are useful and not much to complain about. I do wish the calculator had a ‘Clear Entry’ button along with the 'Clear All' one.
‘Settings’ is a fine control panel; easy to use and simple to set.


CONCLUSIONS
All things being equal I could have gotten another phone that does almost all of these things almost as well at a lesser cost. No argument there. But the iPhone does them without the “almost” factor, and it does them elegantly, to boot. I am continually amazed how tight the integration is between functions and applications. They really thought this one out. I must say that this is one Apple product that truly seems to have lived up to it’s hype, and one where I’m not regretting having the 1.0 version.

The Myths Of Katrina -"New Orleans" And "The Gulf Coast" Are Synonymous.

The second of RaseonOnline's The Myths of Hurricane Katrina. Myth Number Two: "New Orleans" and "the Gulf Coast" are synonymous.

Here is the first one: Myth Number One: A lack of federal money.

The Episcopal Church (tm) And Their Edifice Complex.

Via Ontario Emperor, I came across this tidbit from the former chaplin of the United States Senate, Dr. Richardson Halverson, when asked where his church is:

"The church where I preach is all over the city. It’s driving buses, serving meals in restaurants, having discussions in the Pentagon, deliberating in the Congress.' He knew exactly where his church was, and he went on and on with his lengthy listing. Then he added, 'Periodically, we get together at a building on Fourth Street, but we don’t spend much time there."

That, to me, is the best description of a church I've heard in a long time. So why is The Episcopal Church (tm) pouring hundreds of thousands into litigation to keep buildings? People may leave, says the The Episcopal Church (tm). They don't seem to care too much about people ("breeders" especially). But a "congregation" must stay. OK, who then is the "congregation"? The rocks and stones themselves?? When there are no more people, does the "congregation" still exist? There are more than a million fewer souls in the US calling themselves Episcopalians than there were 30 years ago, and more than a hundred thousand members have left since 2000 alone. Some entire dioceses are now smaller than your Baptist Church up the street. Is that a growing Church?? You can count all of the "congretations" you want (The Episcopal Church (tm) claims more than 7,000), but if the average congregation is only about 200 members, often elderly and hanging on because of an endowment or financial aid, is that really an accurate picture of our health as a Church?

No, but it makes those who are at the head of this sinking ship feel better. Iceberg? What iceberg?

Declarations, Constitutions; It's All The Same, Right?

From Instapundut - Proof positive that passing a basic civics class is not a requirement for a creative writing degree. An Editor(!) at the new New York Times puts this in print:

"But that’s to care for them as human beings, under that other constitutional right — to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." (emphasis mine)

I suppose that's in the Constitution around the "wall of separation between church and state" right they are always harping about. (Actually, it's in here.)

Another National Piece About New Orleans.

Another New Orleans post is up at ReasonOnline. It covers two points I have been making for a while now.

First, if anybody is ultimately to blame for New Orleans' problems with Katrina, it's the French:

"As one scientist said after Katrina, "A city should never have been built there in the first place."

And second, there is precedent here for how things may well play out - that of Galveston and Houston:

"Historian Douglas Brinkley, writing in The Washington Post, fears the Bush administration is trying to do to New Orleans what was done to Galveston, Texas, after a terrible 1900 hurricane. "Galveston, which had been a thriving port, was essentially abandoned for Houston, transforming that then-sleepy backwater into the financial center for the entire Gulf South," he says. "Galveston devolved into a smallish port-tourist center, one easy to evacuate when hurricanes rear their ugly heads."

Which means, I guess, Baton Rouge has a very bright future.

Two Bits Of Good News.

According to this article from Reuters:

"The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world, a report released on Tuesday said."

That's guns in private hands, not any military weapons. And it seems we like it this way. According to Alphecca, a nationally organized gun-control rally in PC Seattle drew only two participants. Other rallys in other cities had but "dozens", including the one in Washington DC. Only one appears to have had more than 100.

Now you know why the Dems are not publically pushing a new assault-weapons ban.

29 August 2007

The Mayor Gets A Helping Hand.


"OK, Ray, now that I've pulled this out of your ass, maybe you can see things more clearly."

I know, I know. But sometimes these things just write themselves. And after the somberness of today, a little levity is most refreshing.

The Myths of Katrina - A Lack Of Federal Money.

ReasonOnline has posted the first of a series called The Myths of Hurricane Katrina. Myth Number One: A lack of federal money.

Read it all. If you are not already reading ReasonOnline regularly, I recommend it highly.

29 August - Day of Days


The people in each generation - and each place, I suppose - have one day, and one event, which divides their lives. A “before-blank”, and an “after-blank”. For the Greatest Generation, no doubt that was 7 December – Pearl Harbor. For Boomers, 22 November – the day John F. Kennedy was killed – was their day. For everyone down here in southeast Louisiana and on the Mississippi coast, that day is today - 29 August – the Day Katrina hit.

There were lots of events today in New Orleans to “commemerate” the Katrina disaster, complete with speeches, ceremonies, and politicians earnestly trying to look earnest. There were (thankfully) church services galore. In Lakeview alone I counted no less than seven TV vans today, so I guess it’s time for our “tragedy” to get another 15 minutes before Brittany, or Paris, or some congressional sex scandal, gets top billing again. In one sense I am glad the rest of the nation gets reminded that there is still much to be done down here. But I’m also embarrassed by how much remains even to be started, two years later, and by how badly our leaders and government have handled the crisis. This should NOT be a crisis two years down the road. Should this area be whole again by now? No. The damage was too great to heal in that time. But we should expect - no, demand - more from our government than the finger pointing, posturing, buck-passing and excuses we’ve had so far. Where are the road repairs? The infrastructure repairs? The safe streets? What happened to the expensive master plans y’all hyped last year? So much of what’s been done to date has little to do with government efforts, and much to do with the work of individuals - one house or business at a time - or by concerned individuals banding together. The citizens seem to have a can-do attitude, but the government seems to have a can’t-do one. Think I’m kidding? Just try to get a Building Permit problem resolved at City Hall. That’s if you can get someone to even answer the phone. Until the government, and especially the City and State governments, either get on board - or get out of the way - we will be about where we are a year from now. And that, folks, will be the real tragedy.

If you want to do something to “commemorate” today, here are some suggestions: Give blood; pray; send a few dollars to these folks, or these good people; pray; join one the many church mission teams that come down here from all over the country to help clean up and renovate (or buy some supplies for them); pray; or last, but not least – if you live in the City of New Orleans would you please run for Mayor in a couple of years.

UPDATE: Someone suggested folks in New Orleans commorate the day by taking a handgun safety / self-defense course. Considering this number, can't say I blame him.

UPDATE: Or a survival swimming course.......

And Another Quick Note From The Management....

Still very busy here - a project hits the streets tomorrow, and I have a site meeting in New Orleans (of all days!!) to review progress on the demolition of the old State Police Troop B buildings at Veterans Hwy. and West End Boulevard. (I'm the architect for the rebuilding project there.)

Please take a moment today and remember what happened on 29 August 2005. And ask the Lord for His strength - a lot of people down here still need it.

More tonight. Promise. See you then.

28 August 2007

.10 for One.

OK, State Senator Walter Boasso left the Louisiana GOP to run for Governor as a Democrat. His "Cardboard Campaign" has him just now breaking into double digits - and he's leading the Democratic field! Not exactly a smokin' result..... IMHO. And today State Treasurer John Kennedy - one of the few pols in state government generally seen as haveing any competence at all - is leaving the Dems for the GOP.

Don't know about you, but I'll take that trade.

And who do the uber-lefties at DailyKos blame for the switch? The man behind everything that is wrong with the world today (including, I believe, dandruff): Karl Rove. Really. I've never been a conspiracy nut, but I think the Kos Kiddies may be onto something here. When our vacuum cleaner went on the fritz the other day, I swear I saw Rove cheesing it out our back door just before it died. The man must be truly diaboloical. If he is, in fact........ just a man.........!! [queue sinister organ music here]

A Quick Note From The Management.

We're doing a bit of fiddling with the stuff on the right side of the page, so you will notice some changes. First up, Chris Muir's excellent Day By Day is now posted every day. Second we're making changes to the 'ol Blogroll - adding some links, moving some links, and deleting others - over the next few days. Third, we may add some interactive stuff - a poll, perhaps - to keep our audience (all 10 of you) coming back. Fourth, I intend to use the first-person plural a lot more. "We" sounds so much more regal, don't you think?

Today is very busy, so posting will be nonexistent until tonight. See you then.

Best,

.....CLIFFORD

27 August 2007

28 August: Waiting, Watching, and Listening.

Following up on this post from yesterday: Two years ago tomorrow (28 August) we waited for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. All our hurricane prep was done; house battened down, supplies in place, our parents were safe, as were other family from New Orleans. The late reports had the storm was going more easterly toward Mississippi, and that it was not nearly as strong as before. Not a Hurricane Andrew, thank goodness. (Andrew hit Louisiana in 1992, after devastating Florida a few days before.) I sat in the den with the TV on and the curtains partially open so I could watch the wind and the trees (Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! - ed.) As evening fell on the 28th the wind began to pick up, but being 100 miles inland and west of the storm it wasn't that heavy or sustained. Just lots of gusts and rain. We lost power about 8:00pm, which was not surprising since we often loose power in ordinary thunderstorms. (What was surprising was it being off for six days. More on that, later.) The hurricane reports on the radio said about what everyone predicted, but reports of Hurricane Betsy-like flooding in the 9th Ward of New Orleans did start to come in the early morning hours. (Betsy hit New Orleans in 1965. Both my wife and I lived through that one.) Knowing that rumors often fly as fast as the debris during a hurricane, I didn't give the reports much thought. My wife and kids went to bed around midnight; and I finally fell asleep around 4:30am, thinking it was not going to be too bad after all.

(more tomorrow)

No Opus, No Peace!

I saw this over the weekend: Opus held hostage! The Washington Post, that self-appointed bastion of the First Amendment, suddenly gets very worried about offending others - and pulls several 'Opus' comic strips. And who were they worried about offending? Women? Minorities? Democrats? Republicans? Christians? Jews? Zoroastrians? Nope. None of them cut off reporter's heads.

I think you can guess who they're worried about offending. So here is one of the "offending" cartoons, because, well, it's still a free country. Judge for yourself.

Lesson for the Day: Intimidation works only if you let it. Eugene Volokh has some commentary here.

UPDATE: It seems that the 'Opus' cartoon the Sunday before poked fun at Jerry Falwall and beliefs of evangalical Christians, but it did not get pulled. Hmmm. FoxNews has more, and an explanation from the Writers Group about why one was pulled, and one wasn't. It's pretty lame, but go read it for yourself. FWIW, I've been a fan of Berkeley Breathed since his Bloom County days, and even carried a stuffed Opus (complete with mortarboard) as a joke when I graduated college. One sits on my desk even now. I do not always agree with Berkley politically, but the writing is good and Opus is, well, so darn likable.

Ghosts of Anbar, I and II.

Michael Yon has some new posts up, Ghosts of Anbar I, and Ghosts of Anbar II.

Do remember that Michael is an independent journalist. He is not suckling at the teat of some national media sow; he is out there where the story happens, not in an air-condirioned hotel in Baghdad having stringers call it in. He needs your support, dollar-wise, to keep up what he is doing.

Holy Toledo!

Over at Forgotston.com is a link to this op-ed about our fine political leadership here in Louisiana, and how well they've done post-Katrina. If you do not think the nation is laughing at us, note that the op-ed is in an Ohio paper. And it doesn't put all the blame on our leaders - it reminds us that we keep putting them there.

UPDATE: And this article in the British newspsper The Guardian.

Hipster Olympics.

After that last post, here is a little something to lighten the day a bit. It's an update of Monty Python's Twit of the Year sketch and, to double the enjoyment, it makes fun of urbane, trendy, self-absorbed New Yorkers. Enjoy.

Hattip: Instapundut.

26 August 2007

27 August: The Day Of Bridges.

27 August is one of those days that I used to look back upon with fondness. It was the day I started LSU in 1979, crossing both a physical and metaphorical bridge out of New Orleans that I so much wanted to cross. And each year when this day passed I would look back and quietly smile; I’m glad I crossed that bridge.

But now 27 August is different. Two years ago on that day my parents, and my in-laws, left their homes in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans for “a few days” to wait out a hurricane named Katrina. So did lots of other people. They all crossed bridges that day both physical and metaphorical, though none of us had any idea how big those bridges were going to become. While Katrina may have hit on 28 August, this was the day that everything began to change for us.

And how it changed. My in-laws have left New Orleans, never to return. The house they built some 55 years ago was beyond repair and had to come down. They moved elsewhere in Louisiana. They crossed a bridge. My parents, on the other hand, want to go back. As much as I wish at their ages they would pack it in and move out of the City, they are determined to rebuild. They, too, have crossed a bridge. For my father, a judge and retired Marine, it almost as a matter of principle – he says he will NOT be defeated by all of this. While they have made very different decisions, I understand both, and find no fault with either. They both have had to cross bridges that no one should ever have to cross. And they are not alone. Hundreds of thousands in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes have had to struggle across the same bridge. For most, that struggle continues even now, two years later.

So when you hear all of the hooplah on the news about the Katrina anniversary commemorations and speeches this week, remember that the world actually changed for so many days before. With bridges. Crowded bridges. And please remember in your prayers: Carole and John in Lakeview, Earl and Pat from Lakeview, Toby and his family in New Orleans East, all of the good people at the Church of the Annunciation in the Broadmoor neighborhood, Karl and his family near Bayou St. John, Johanna and her family in Lakeview, Frederica and her family from Mid-City, and Tammy and her family in Kenner.

(more tomorrow)

24 August 2007

Laissez Les BANG BANG Rouler.

Unfortunately, when Mayor C. Ray opens his mouth, folks in the rest of America (you know, the place that hasn't done right by him) are listening. And responding. Like this classic from SFGate.com.

Hattip: nola.com.

Compare And Contrast.

The Ontario Emperor has this interesting post about comparing Deadheads, Parrotheads, and..... Claymates.

Claymates?? (I hear most of you asking) Yes, Claymates; as in rabid zealots fans of American Idol singer Clay Aiken. (Think Englebert Humperdink without the testosterone. Or, a latter-day Jim Neighbors).

Since we have every song Jimmy Buffet released, and we have jobs, I guess me and the wife are Parrotheads. Though, Touch of Grey did become my anthem post-Katrina.

Episcopal 'Wiki-gate' Update II.

To follow up on a story I blogged about here, and here: EpiscopalLife Online has this article saying Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori denies any involvement in the editing of Wikipedia entries to erase damaging information about Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison. The story about the doctoring of the Wikipedia entry was first reported by VirtueOnline in May. The person who made the damaging edits, Bishop Bennison's assistant, Barbara Alton, has since said she was acting on her own.

For what it's worth, I take the Presiding Bishop at her word on this one. For all that I may disagree with her on theological grounds (and we disagree om a lot), I see no motive for her in this silliness. She has (pardon the pun) bigger fish to fry right now, and I do I think she is that petty and shallow. The damaging information about Bishop Bennison was already common knowledge and can be found in other sources around the 'Net. (Try Google.) So removing it from Wikipedia would serve no real purpose for the Presiding Bishop. It seems more realistic that Ms. Alton was just very loyal to her employer.

The September 30 deadline, and the US House of Bishops Meeting, are both fast approaching. We have far more important things to worry about as Episcopalians right now.

The "WinPhone".

Gotta love it!



Hattip: Little Green Footballs

23 August 2007

Gulf Storm Watch 070823

All's quiet on the storm front.


But keep checking.

Minding The Gap.

Now that I've erased any shread of my credability with the last two posts, let me try to redeem myself by pointing out this excellent piece by Brad Drell on the generation gap in the movers and shakers in The Episcopal Church (tm). I think he has hit on something here, and it gives me hope that The Episcopal Church (tm) will weather the silliness of the self-absorbed Boomers now in control. Just for the record, I was born in 1959, but I consider myself an "X-er". Much of my foundation was indeed formed by watching the excesses and silliness of the Boomer generation.

Carnival Of The Shirtless European Leaders

From Drudge. Lordy, I hope this isn't a trend....

Vladimir Putin, Russia


Nicolas Sarkozy, France


But if it is a trend, I wouldn't want America, the leader of the Western World, to be caught with it's shirt down, as it were. So I guess our next President will need a different set of, um, qualifications. Like these:



At a minimum, it puts Hillary out of the running.

22 August 2007

Perhaps A Large, Flatulent Badger?

You run across this story about moose belches and moose farts being a huge source of carbon dioxide – maybe even more than cars. You can’t pass it up. You know exactly how you are going to post this, Monty Python and the Holy Grail jokes and all, but you don’t have time - meetings, reviews, designs and all the other stuff you have to do run an architectural practice take precedent. And by the time you get to your blog, some ivory tower lawyer - apparently with too much time on his hands - beat you to it.

Damn academics.

If the moose story is accurate, I bet Frostbite Falls, Minnesota has to spend a fortune in carbon offsets.......

Bishop Richard Gere?

News of a proposal by Presiding Bishop Kathering Jefferts Schori to merge The Episcopal Church (tm) with Buddhism.

From Tominthebox. He's got lots more "theological satire", so stop by for a visit.

Is It 20 October Yet?

Sign Number One that Louisiana Democrats are desperate about the upcoming Governor’s race: This TV ad attacking Bobby Jindal’s religion. Even papers in the target area of the state said it went too far. More here.

Sign Number Two that Louisiana Democrats are desperate about the upcoming Governor’s race: This mayor of a formerly flooded city is seriously toying with putting his hat in the ring for the governors mansion.


EDITORIAL POINT: On the Democratic Party attack ad, one needs to remember that The Roman Catholic Church believes that they are the one true “Catholic” (Universal) Church, with apostolic succession all the way back to St. Peter, and that all other Christian faiths, theologically, fall short. OK, so we differ on points of theology. I am an Anglican, and the Vatican sees my practice as, theologically speaking, heritical, since I am not in communion with the Roman Church. Did Bobby Jindal call for the persecution of members of my Faith, or of other Faiths? No. He stated his Faith’s theology, for goodness sake! Hebrews believe that Jesus Christ was not the Messiah; by the logic of the Louisiana Democratic Party, shouldn’t they be criticized for “insulting” Christian beliefs?

21 August 2007

Progressive Runs Into Reality; Rose-Colored Glasses Shattered.

And Briton Andrew Anthony starts to see. Part II of his commentary is here, and Part III is here.

Read. It. All.

Sadly, This Seems So...... Fitting.

Via Instapundit: A recently stolen handgun once owned by Elvis Presley has been found. In a Porta-Potty.

I know, I know. I'm gonna burn in hell for this one.

And We're Moving On Up, Too.

Finally. Louisiana is ranked in the top 20 in something other than cancer, illiteracy, or murder. My Alma Mater, Louisiana State University (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tiger Athletic Foundation), is ranked Number 13 in this survey.

I swell with pride.

We did beat this guy's 15th ranked school, so that must count for something.

UPDATE: The Emperor of Ontario has responded to my post by lamenting that his school refuses to participate in surveys, including the U.S. News College Survey. Which prompted me, since that U.S. News issue came today, to see how LSU ranked:

Best National Universities (112 ranked): Not there.
Top 50 Public National Universities: Nope.
Best Business Schools: Missed that one.
Best Engineering Programs: Must have been busy that day.

If I may quote the iconoclastic Randy Newman: "College men from LSU, go in dumb, come out dumb, too."

20 August 2007

But He's Getting The Deck Chairs Arranged...

Pop Quiz:

You are on a ship that gets hit by an iceberg. There is confusion, uncertainty and fear as the ship begins to take on water. Who do you want as the captain?

1) Someone who takes control of the situation and fights to save the ship and the lives aboard;

2) Someone who watches the ship sink and blames the loss on the rescuers not showing up with enough life jackets.

If you live in the City of New Orleans, unfortunately, you are stuck with Answer No. 2. To quote Mayor C. Ray directly: "It still important to point out that America still hasn't done right by us..."

With an attitude like that, and with all the local politicos currently involved in corruption scandals, why should America trust anyone down here with a dime? Leadership, or the lack thereof, makes all the difference here. And leadership means taking responsibility. But since the Mayor can not seem to do that, I hereby recommend this song as the new official anthem for the City of New Orleans.

A bit of advice: If Mayor C. Ray wants to know how to successfully run a large Louisiana city, he should call up this guy for some pointers. He's done a pretty darn good job for us, IMHO.

UPDATE: 1.1 million volunteers have been to New Orleans in the last two years to help with the recovery. (And those are just the ones that get reported.) One. Point. One. Million. I think America has done pretty damn good by us. And some people (see above) should be a whole lot more appreciative of that, don't you think? I know I am.

Dean Update V

Damn. Dean's a Category Five. Jamaica got clobbered, but thankfully the loss of life appears small. Yucatan's next. Like I said before: prayers now, and action after. People will be in need of help, so volunteer and/or donate.

And there is something else brewing out in the Atlantic, too.

19 August 2007

THE Unanswered Question.

Right now over the House of Bishops / Deputies Listserv, some folks have their polity all in a bunch over this letter by Archbishop Peter Akinola, the Anglican Primate of Nigeria, where he lays out in detail The Episcopal Church's repeated middle-finger salutes to the rest of the Anglican Communion over issues of human sexuality.

Even after all the years of meetings, communiqu├ęs, conventions, synods, listening processes, and the rest, there is one elemental question that still needs an answer:

Is homosexual practice compatible or incompatible with Scripture?

Either it is, or it isn't.

So I ask you, Louie, Liz, Tom, Nigel, Walter, +Katherine, Executive Committee, Bishops, et. al., can you tell this check-writing-pew-sitter how you would answer that question? Don't dodge around with a bunch of "how-are-we-to-know-the-will-of-God?" silliness. If Scripture is the revealed Word (and therefore will) of God, we know the answer to that question; so let’s drop the circular argument. And no yammering on about polity, canons, conventions, autonomy, listening processes, borders, contexts, conspiracy theories, greater understandings, or the MDG's. I want a simple "I believe homosexual practice is compatible with Scripture," or "I do not believe homosexual practice is compatible with Scripture."



Can't do it, can you?



UPDATE: I just read a post on the HOB/D Listserv that, while I cannot quote or republish, I think requires a response. For all that I may disagree with Louie Crew about over this current issue, he has shown remarkable Christianity in his comments about his opponents (that would be folks like me), and he has earned my respect because of that. Mr. Crew, I am glad you see the doors as always open. I wish I could say the same for many others on your side who post there. (Or many on my side who post elsewhere.)

Episcopal 'Wiki-Gate' Update.

Following up on this post from a few days ago about someone changing the Wikipedia entry on Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison, VirtueOnline says Wikipedia has deleted the account of Barbara Alton for vandalism. Ms. Alton is Bishop Bennison's assistant, and she allegedly deleted information damaging to the Bishop.

VirtueOnline claims Ms. Anton said she made the changes at the direction of Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori. Again, let me state that I hope this latter allegation is not true. I pray it is not true. While I am very critical of +Bp. Schori on theological grounds, I still respect the office she holds and presume in her the highest ethical standards of a Priest in the Church. But if she is involved in such paranoid, petty, and utterly Nixonian actions, then she has violated those standards and should be made to answer as the Canons and Constitution of The Episcopal Church require.

18 August 2007

Hey, Louie - We're Getting Organized!

We just got back from the Baton Rouge Standfirm Commenters Dinner. A typical Cajun dinner - great food, great company, and a great time; with a not-so-typical topic: the future of The Episcopal Church (tm). More later, once I have had time to (urp!) digest both food and discussion.

Dean Update IV

11pm EDT projected track is even more southerly than before. Landfill on the Mexican mainland below 25 degrees North.

Right now, this is a bad storm and is going to do a lot of damage. Pray for those in the path. And start thinking about what you can do to help them once it is all over.

Dean Update III.

At 8am EDT, the NHC track is still projecting Dean to hit Mexico just south of the border. No northward turn yet. This is a nasty storm; pray for those in it's path.

The Basis For Bishop Imam Spong's Theology Revealed.

It seems the British ITV network is making a movie about Jesus Christ:

"There was no manger, Christ is not the Messiah, and the crucifixion never happened. A forthcoming ITV documentary will portray Jesus as Muslims see him.

With the Koran as a main source and drawing on interviews with scholars and historians, the Muslim Jesus explores how Islam honours Christ as a prophet but not as the son of God. According to the Koran the crucifixion was a divine illusion."


How is this different from what this retired Episcopal Bishop has to say about the divinity of Jesus Christ? And since he is the theological mentor of the current leadership of The Episcopal Church (tm), you can now see why this Episcopal priest (and her local Bishop) thought her actions weren't such a big deal.

As they say, when you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything. Maybe this isn't so far off for us 'Piskies.

17 August 2007

Flowers Are Easier, And Work Just As Well.

To take your mind off hurricanes, corruption, and war, just remember that 18 August is 'Bad Poetry Day'. C'mon, guys, admit it. We've all tried our hand at "rhyming profound", thinking we could get laid if we could just channel our inner Shakespeare. And if you were anything like me, it didn't work. I wrote a poem to a girlfriend once, thinking I was pouring out my inner feelings and writing her the "sonnet for the ages". But I never had the nerve to show it to her, and a good thing, too. I found it years later and I was surprised my eyeballs didn't melt, or the pages didn't burst into flames, when I read it. Lordy, was it bad. I mean, beyond Vogon bad. Author Robert Heinlein, who didn't write poetry, postulated that it wasn't murder if you shot a poet who read his own verse in public. If they're 17, I quite agree.

And mark your calendars now, because 31 August is 'National Trail-Mix Day'. Yeah, I can't wait, either.

Dean Update II.

At 11pm EDT, the NHC track is projected to be more southerly, hitting Mexico just south of the border. While South Louisiana is looking more and more in the clear this time, parts of Haiti are going to get hammered, and Jamaica is right in it's path. Pray for them. They will need it.

As an FYI, here is your one-stop, more-info-than-you'll-ever-need hurricane website: Golden Triangle Weather Page. This website could give weather junkies an overdose, but I'd definitely bookmark it.

Hattip: My dear wife.

Dean Update Ia.

In response to Glenn Reynolds' question about New Orleans: "Not yet."

The majority of the models, including this one, show a westward track - and I'm willing to go with those until I see something different - and I live down here. We should always be prepared for a hit here in Louisiana (they have already activated some emergency preparedness agencies as a precaution, and we're rechecking our home hurricane supplies), but let's not go looking for trouble.

You May Let The Puns Fly At Will.

A member of the Louisiana National Guard offers a most unique inducement to enlist. At a baseball game.

Two Alexandria mothers got more than they bargained for during Wednesday’s Alexandria Aces game – commotion coming from a bathroom stall, a “thong panty” discarded on the floor and a woman’s feet and legs “swinging back and forth.”

And now a Pineville man faces an obscenity charge and a National Guard member faces discipline by a military court after the two were caught having sex in a bathroom stall during the game, according to Alexandria Police.

The 18-year-old Colfax woman and members of her National Guard unit were at the Aces game as part of a recruitment effort.


They sure didn't have signing bonuses like that when I joined up. (And since when did a "thong panty" become authorized uniform wear??)

Stating The Obvious.

New crime stats are in for New Orleans. It's up a..... wee bit. But unlike the Mayor, Chief Reily doesn't think it's a good thing.

Dean Update.

National Hurricane Center forecast now has Hurricane Dean heading on a bit more northerly track, but still not turning northward.



UPDATE: 5pm EDT forecast track about where it was before. Landfall near Texas / Mexico order.

Believing Is Seeing.

Michael Yon links to this piece on that iconic Abu Ghraib image.

Read it all.

They say God is in the details; which may explain why most mainstream journalists don't believe in God anymore.

UPDATE: Mr. Sitemeter says this post has attracted a few visits from folks using a New York Times address. Welcome aboard, boys and girls! And just for the record (since folks say you are the paper of record) I'm not wearing pajamas as I write this.

Rollin' On The River. (Union Only, Please.)

Remember all that talk about the Democratic Party controlled Congress cleaning out the special interests? Well, I guess they missed a few. And one of them may cost the Mississippi River one of it's last, great icons - the Delta Queen.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..........

16 August 2007

How Red Are Your Sox?

It's mid-August. The All-Star game is a memory. And who do you think is (still) on top of the AL East? If you said these guys, you'd be right. And five games ahead of Satan's overpaid minions, too.

Not A Good Day.

For the painful experience file: Thursdays are never a good day to have a root canal. Come to think of it, neither is any other day.
I need a milk shake.
And some Advil.

Uh-oh.

A hurricane in the eastern Caribbean. Hurricane Dean, and he's predicted to grow into a Cat 4 storm. Post-Katrina, this gets your undivided attention if you live in South Louisiana. The NOAA projections say it's going west and south of us, but still.........

Are you ready? Really ready?

15 August 2007

Michael Yon in Bali.

Michael Yon e-mailed with a new post, but this time from Bali, Indonesia. He deserves it.

An Episcopal Wiki-gate?

I don't think this is news to most of you, but Wikipedia is not the most reliable information resource there is. (Duh. It's written by zillions of contributors!) To prove the point, Wired Magazine now has a post up about entries that have been purposely altered for one reason or another. And Little Green Footballs has identified the origins of some of the people doing the altering. Mostly these are sophomoric attempts to make an opposing view or person look bad; the digital equivalent of spray painting a penis on the billboard of a political opponent. Not only is it sad that such immature things take place, the origin of the some of the perpetrators are eye opening.

But it was the alleged doctoring of the Wikipedia entry concerning Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison that caught my attention. According to the Wired post, which linked to this post on VirtueOnline from last May, the Bishop's entry was doctored to remove damaging facts and alligations against him, and in particular a sex scandal involving his brother, also a priest. The latter scandal was much discussed on the traditionalist websites (Bishop Bennison is no friend of traditionalist Episcopalians). The Wikipedia listing of edits and re-edits to Bishop Bennison's entry is rather long. And the person who changed the original post is, according to the VirtueOnline post, the Bishop's executive assistant, Barbara Alton. They also claim Ms. Alton changed the Wikipedia entry following a directive by Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori.

This is the first I've heard of any of this. I know nothing of VirtueOnline, other than a couple of references to them on StandFirm - and one of those is criticizing VirtueOnline for getting something wrong. I checked several of the other traditionalist/orthodox websites, and could find no reference to this incident, or VirtueOnline. (Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough.) But if it pans out that Presiding Bishop Schori did direct the entry be altered to delete information that could damage the image of the Episcopal Church, what would that say about her character, integrity, and her ability to pastorally lead this Church? I may have my sincere disagreements with Bishop Schori - and I have taken her to task on several occasions - but I pray what VirtueOnline reported about her is not true. Theological differences are one thing; trying to erase damaging allegations is quite another.

Has anyone else heard about this incident? If so, drop me an e-mail and bring me up to speed. I am interested in finding out what's going on.

I Think You Missed A Step.

As if it was needed.... More proof that the Mainstream Media doesn't let a few facts get in the way of a good story, or they're complete idiots. Or both. Below is an AFP image currently on Yahoo, showing an Iraqi woman holding two unfired 5.56mm cartridges with a caption saying that they hit her house during a raid by the good guys.


The Autonomist has more here.

UPDATE: Blackfive has noted that our cartridge-holding lady seems to have appeared before in several other images, often by the same photographer. Hmmm. Can you say "PROPAGANDA"? I knew you could.

UPDATE: Over at Confederate Yankee they are questioning the type of ammunition the woman is holding, noting that is doesn't look like the current M855 5.56mm round (which has a 62 grain bullet), but rather the older M193 round which has a smaller (55 grain) bullet, which is still used in many 5.56mm civilian loads. I have shot 5.56mm for almost 30 years as both soldier and civilian, and from the looks of it it doesn't seem to be current military ammo. (There was a lot of M193 still in the system when I was in the Guard in the late 90's - see here for more on the differences between the two rounds) That said, I am hesitant to believe that the bad guys would to go to all the effort to get some civilian rounds imported for an on-the-fly photo-op, as the folks at Confederate Yankee suggest. I think it is real, but older issue stuff. How did the woman get them? Cant' say for sure. They could be duds cycled out, or taken out of a dropped magazine, or....... It still doesn't change the issue that this photo was clearly a staged event, and that those "bullets" never hit anything other than the ground.

14 August 2007

Whale Security - 1; United States Security - 0.

This falls into one of those "you've got to be kidding" categories, but unfortunately they're not: According to this Strategypage.com report, the Natural Resources Defense Council has obtained a court injunction barring the US Navy from using active sonar off the California coast through 2009. No more sub hunting. No more ASW exercises. No more training. And this is not the first time the NRDC has interfered with training exercises - they recently sued over an exercise off Hawaii. (I mean, like, dude, who would ever attack Hawaii?.....)

A few whales will sleep secure in the knowledge that all that noise is gone. So will a few of our enemies.

Episcopalians: Always On The Cutting Edge.

A Dutch Bishop is calling for Christians to start praying to Allah. Really. Doesn't he know The Episcopal Church (tm) beat him to the punch? Nobody can out "New Thing" us 'Piskies.

Got Honesty?

From this article, the best description of public ethics in Louisiana. Ever.

“It’s just brazen down here,” James Bernazzani, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s special agent in charge, said at a news conference after Mr. Thomas entered his plea.

In Louisiana they skim the cream, steal the milk, hijack the bottle and look for the cow,” said Mr. Bernazzani, who noted that his district ranked second in the nation in public corruption convictions and indictments — despite its relatively small population.

How I Spent My Lunch Hour.

An excellent Bloggingheads.tv discussion on the Second and First Amendments with Eugene Volokh and Jack Balkin. Lots of legalese. They cover gun rights and the Fairness Doctrine, among other things.

Yes, I know. I need a life.

"Thank You For Flying..."

For your morning smile, Brad Drell posts some amusing airline cabin announcements.
I particularly liked the "Captain Kangaroo" comment.

Three Marks On the Horizon

Michael Yon as a new post up.
As usual, read it all.

13 August 2007

Ray Nagin And Beyond The Pale - Scene One

With the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina nearly upon us, we at Red Stick Rant thought it was a good time to reprise a little something our friend, we'll call him "C. Mortar", originally had published in "Red Shtick Magazine" in June 2006. 'Ol C has graciously allowed us to post it here as long as we don't reveal details of his short-lived marriage to Brittany Spears.

According to Mortar, he was asked to write a movie script about New Orleans after Katrina. He based it on Monty Python and the Holy Grail (OK, he utterly ripped it off), but didn't get through more than three scenes before John Cleese found out and threatened to personally "go all Fawlty" on him if he didn't stop. So, with much acknowledgement (and extreme bowing, groveling, and infinite “We’re not worthys!”) to Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, and John Cleese, here are those first three scenes from:



RAY NAGIN AND BEYOND THE PALE



SCENE ONE – “How’d You Get the Ride?”


[SETTING: Lakeview, near the break in the 17th Street Canal after the waters receded. Homeowners up on their roof nailing down tarps.]

[opening music]
[wind rushing by]
[sound of brakes and car stopping, doors opening, engine shutting down]
[music ends as car horn sounds]

MAYOR C. RAY: [to homeowner] Yo there!

HOMEOWNER #1: Wadda you want?

MAYOR C. RAY: I’m Mayor C. Ray, of the Chocolate City. Leader of the Rebuilding; Criticizer of Governors; Planner of the Future….. The Top Dog in all Orleans Parish!

HOMEOWNER #1: My ass.

MAYOR C. RAY: I am. And this is my trusty assistant Chief Compass. We have driven the length and breadth of this Parish in search of returning homeowners who will support my plans for the future of this city. I must speak with you and your family!

HOMEOWNER #1: What? Driven on these streets?

MAYOR C. RAY: Yes.

HOMEOWNER #1: In a Cadillac?

MAYOR C. RAY: What?

HOMEOWNER #1: You just got out of a Cadillac!

MAYOR C. RAY: So? It is an Escalade. We have driven since the flood waters first receded; through Gentilly, through……

HOMEOWNER #1: Where’d you get the Cadillac?

MAYOR C. RAY: Um, the Chief borrowed it. From a dealer.

HOMEOWNER #1: Borrowed it? In Gentilly?

MAYOR C. RAY: What do you mean?

HOMEOWNER #1: Gentilly was under six feet of water, and that Cadillac is brand new!

MAYOR C. RAY: Many resident’s bass boats rose with the waters, and many folks belongings were lifted up by the flooding, so some things survived to be used later.

HOMEOWNER #1: Are you suggesting that Cadillacs float?

MAYOR C. RAY: Not at all. It could have been in a garage.

HOMEOWNER #1: What? There are no Cadillac dealers in Gentilly.

MAYOR C. RAY: It could have been out of the water on a car carrier that was on it’s way to the dealer.

HOMEOWNER #1: It ain't a question of how it stayed out of the water, it’s a question of possible criminal activity. This City doesn’t have the cash to buy stop signs, and yet you’re wizzing around in an expensive ride.

MAYOR C. RAY: It doesn’t matter. Now, will you go and tell your family that Mayor Ray of the Chocolate City is outside?!

HOMEOWNER #1: Listen; if we have to live in a trailer and wait 4 months to get a building permit, then it seems fair to question how you got such a pricey set of wheels.

MAYOR C. RAY: Please!

HOMEOWNER #1: Am I right?

MAYOR C. RAY: I’m not interested!

HOMEOWNER #2: It could have been donated by someone.

HOMEOWNER #1: [to Homeowner #2] Oh, yeah, a donation, maybe; but you don’t just “borrow” something as expensive as that - that’s my point.

HOMEOWNER #2: Oh, yeah, I agree with that.

MAYOR C. RAY: Will you and your family support my plans for the future of this city?!?

HOMEOWNER #1: [to Homeowner #2] And why would anyone who’s still here with that kind of a vehicle donate it to the City?

HOMEOWNER #2: Oh, yeah.

HOMEOWNER #1: So it had to be “borrowed” some other way. I don’t like the sound of it.

[sounds of car doors closing]
[sound of engine starting]

HOMEOWNER #2: Wait a minute! What if two people got together to donate it?

HOMEOWNER #1: No, that would be too much paperwork – and there are no Notaries open yet in Orleans Parish.

HOMEOWNER #2: Simple! They could have gone over to a Notary in Jefferson Parish!

HOMEOWNER #1: And registered it with a Metairie address?

HOMEOWNER #2: Well, why not?

[sound of car driving away]


SCENE ENDS

Ray Nagin And Beyond The Pale - Scene Two

SCENE TWO – “Let’s see your Dead!”


[SETTING: Near the Superdome. TV news crew wandering in knee-deep flood waters.]


FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: [shouting] Let’s see your dead!

[slosh]

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: [shouting] Let’s see your dead!

[slosh]

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: [shouting] Let’s see your dead!

[slosh]

TV CAMERAMAN: Hey, I think there’s one over there!

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: Great! Go get some footage!

TV CAMERAMAN: Man, I smell a Peabody for sure!

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: [shouting] Let’s see your dead!

[slosh]

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: [shouting] Let’s see your dead!

[slosh]

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: [shouting] Let’s see your dead!

[slosh]

MAN: Hey buddy, here’s one you can see.

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: Great! Did you know him?

MAN: Yeah. Its my uncle.

UNCLE: I’m not dead.

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: He says he’s not dead.

MAN: He is.

UNCLE: I ain't.

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: He’s not?

MAN: Well, he will be soon. He’s very sick.

UNCLE: I’m getting better!

MAN: No you ain't. You’ll be as dead as a cat in a minute.

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: Look, we can’t film him like that. He won’t stay still.

UNCLE: I don’t want to be on TV.

MAN: Oh, don’t be such a putz. Ya sista wants to see you on the TV.

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: Sorry, but we can’t film him like that. There’s no drama. It won’t make the evening news.

UNCLE: I feel fine.

MAN: Can you do us a favor?

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: Sorry, I can’t . There are bloggers out there who would catch it. Look what they did to Dan Rather about those fake files.

MAN: Well, can you hang around for a few minutes? He won’t be long.

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY:: No, we’ve got to get over to the Convention Center. Chief Compass says that there are hundreds of dead there, and we hear Geraldo Rivera is already on the way.

MAN: When will you be back by here?

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: Thursday.

UNCLE: I want to go by my mom'n'nems.

MAN: Look you ain’t fooling no one, y’know. [to TV Personality] My Mama really wants to see us on the TV tonight. Is there anything you can do?

UNCLE: [singing] I want an MRE…. I want an MRE…..I want …….

[Famous TV Personality swings heavy microphone and hits Uncle] [WHUMP!]

MAN: Oh, thanks, very much.

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: Not at all. We’re just objective observers, here to report the truth.

[Cadillac Escalade drives by]

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: Who was that?

MAN: I dunno. Must be de Mayor.

FAMOUS TV PERSONALITY: Why?

MAN: He’s got shit all over him.


SCENE ENDS

Ray Nagin And Beyond The Pale - Scene Three

SCENE THREE - “Gaddamn Yat!”


[SETTING: Suburban street in New Orleans East, after the flood waters have gone.]

[thud]
[music]
[thud thud thud]
[music stops]
[Mayor C. Ray approaches]

MAYOR C. RAY: Old woman!

VIC: Man!

MAYOR C. RAY: Man. Whatever. Who lives in that house over there?

VIC: I'm thoity-seven.

MAYOR C. RAY: I-- what?

VIC: I'm thoity-seven. I ain’t old.

MAYOR C. RAY: Well, I can't just call you 'Man'.

VIC: Well, you ‘cudda said ‘Vic’.

MAYOR C. RAY: Well, I didn't know you were called 'Vic'.

VIC: Well, ya didn’ botha askin’ now, did ya?

MAYOR C. RAY: I did say 'sorry' about the 'old woman', but with a respirator on you looked.....

VIC: What I don like is dat ya automatically treats me like some ‘kinda inferia.

MAYOR C. RAY: Well, I am Mayor!

VIC: Oh, Mayor, well, das reel nice. And how d'you get dat, eh? By exploitin’ the divisions in this City! By hangin’ on to outdated racial dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our community. If they was evah going to be any progress wit the--

[woman digging through trash pile at the street comes into view]

NAT’LEE: Vic, deys some lovely things of ours ta salvage down heah. [to C. Ray] Oh! How d'you do?

MAYOR C. RAY: How do you do, mah’m. I am Ray, Mayor of the Chocolate City. Who lives in that house?

NAT’LEE: Mayah of de what?

MAYOR C. RAY: The Chocolate City.

NAT’LEE: I ain't nevah hoid of da Chocolate City. Is dat like Al Scrummmooza’s ‘ol ‘Seafood City’?

MAYOR C. RAY: No, no, no. The Chocolate City is right here. We are all citizens of the Chocolate City, and I am your Mayor.

NAT’LEE: I didn' know we had no Mayah no more. I hoid dat he moved ta Dallas or som'tin.

VIC: You foolin’ y'self, Nat’lee. We livin’ in a dictatorship! A self-perpetuatin’ autocracy in which the races --

NAT’LEE: Oh, there you go, bringin’ race into it again.

VIC: Thas what it's all about anymoe. If only people would stop seeing colla as--

MAYOR C. RAY: Please! Please, you people. I’m in a hurry. I’m on CNN at 5. Who lives in that house?

NAT’LEE: We did.

MAYOR C. RAY: And when are you moving back?

NAT’LEE: We ain’t.. We livin by his mom-n-nem now. On de Nort Shore.

MAYOR C. RAY: What?

VIC: Like she said. We ain’t coming back. We getting our stuff n clearin out. We had it. We had to wait weeks to get back in heah. And when we did, we come back an we find de place all looted. Dem cops, dey jus drive by. Nobody can say when the lights is comin back on. Nobody can say…

MAYOR C. RAY: Yes.

VIC: ...when da wata is goin to be toined on. Where we supposed ta make our groceries?

MAYOR C. RAY: Yes, I see.

VIC: When we supposed ta get some Road Home monies? Where we…

MAYOR C. RAY: Be quiet!

VIC: …we supposed ta live while the house gets fixed? How we…

MAYOR C. RAY: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!

NAT’LEE: Order, eh? Who do you think you are, Dawlin'?

MAYOR C. RAY: I am your Mayor!

NAT’LEE: Well, I didn vote f’ya las Novemba.

MAYOR C. RAY: There wasn’t an election last November.

NAT’LEE: Well, why you still de Mayah, den?

[angelic singing]

MAYOR C. RAY: The Secretary of State, …his arm clutching a copy of the State Constitution, held forth from the bosom of the State Capitol and read aloud a Finding - that it was impossible to hold the election at that time and that I, C. Ray, was to remain as Chief Executive!

[angelic singing stops]

MAYOR C. RAY: That is why I am still your Mayor.

VIC: Listen. Politicians standin on de steps of da State Capitol handin out press releases ain’t no way to get a laeda fo dis City. Ya need to ask de peoples heah, not some redneck in Baton Rouge!

MAYOR C. RAY: Be quiet!

VIC: Ya can’t have all dis powah jus 'cause some Coonass up rivah says ya still can!

MAYOR C. RAY: Shut up!

VIC: I mean, if I went aroun sayin I was de King ‘a Carnival jus cause a friend a mine stood at St. Charles and Canal an said I was, they’a take me down to da House-a-D!

MAYOR C. RAY: Shut up, Goddamnit! Shut up!

VIC: Ah, now we see de reel Mayah comin out!

MAYOR C. RAY: Shut up!

VIC: Oh! De real potty-mouth Ray! What? Ya think ya on the Gawlin' Robinette Show?

MAYOR C. RAY: You…. You.... Gaddamn Yat!

VIC: Oh, what a give-away. Did ya hear dat? Did ya heah dat, Nat’lee? Wez jus "Goddamn Yats!" Tha’s what I'm talkin about. Yeah, you rite! Did you heah him talkin trash to me, Nat? You hoid it, didn ya?

SCENE ENDS

Anglican Report 34.

A new Anglican Report is up.




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Kevin and Bill Discuss:

ACN Council Meeting
Bp Duncan
Archbishop Venables
Ephram Radner
and much much more

The Big Guy Is Coming To Town

According to the Diocese of Louisiana newsletter, The Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and (depending upon who you talk to) the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, will preach at an Ecumenical worship service on Thursday, 20 September 2007, at 7:30 p.m. at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Dr. Williams will be in the Crescent City to meet with The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops to find a way to paper over resolve the Current Unpleasantness in the Anglican Communion.

If you want to attend you may register online at www.archbishopvisitsnola.org or by telephone at 504.262.6012. Please see the link for registration times, as they are staggered in three phases. Members of congregations in the Diocese of Louisiana may register starting 13 August.

UPDATE: The link works now, and I've already signed up. If you want more than one reservation, you will have to enter each person seperately.

What's In A Title?

According to this story in the Baton Rouge Advocate, our current Governor, Kathleen Blanco, is considering writing a book after she leaves office. Seeing a golden opportunity to assist our Chief Executive, the nice folks at Louisiana News Link / Louisiana Political News Service are holding a contest to help her choose a title. (scroll down a bit on their site) Yeah, like I could resist that; so here are my suggestions so far:

"Does This Budget Make Me Look Fat? The Kathleen Blanco Story"

"Profiles in Discourage"

"Gone With The Wind II"

"How To Be Happy At 49 (Out Of 50)"

"You Might Be Governor If……."

"At Least I’m Not Ray Nagin"

"The Peter Kathleen Principle"

You, too, can send your suggestions. E-mail them to politicaleditor6@hotmail.com, and they will post the ten best in their newsletter next week.

UPDATE: A few more:

"I Have Always Relied On The Kindness Of Strangers"

"Disaster, She Wrote"

"A Trailer In Every Yard"

"STELLLLY!!"

"How To Try Without Really Suceeding"

One with a REALLY, REALLY obscure reference: "Trout Fishing In Lakeview"

12 August 2007

Ride With Pride. Or Else.

Four heterosexual San Diego Fireman were ordered by their Department to ride in a local gay pride parade. According to statements from the four, they were subject to taunts, harassment, advances and insults during the ride. The local fire chief, who allegedly directed that fireman be in the parade, has since apologized.

I’m not a betting man, but if I were I’d put my money on these four being excoriated for even raising an objection, and smeared with charges of “bigot”, “homophobe” and the like until they drop their complaints.

11 August 2007

Mayor Swings Sword, Injures Foot. Swings Again, Injures Other Foot.

C. Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, has done it again. He said – and I am not making this up – that the phenomenal murder rate in New Orleans can be a good thing. Really. Let’s hear what 'ol C. Ray had to say:

"Do I worry about it? Somewhat. It's not good for us, but it also keeps the New Orleans brand out there, and it keeps people thinking about our needs and what we need to bring this community back. So it is kind of a two-edged sword.”

Wow. He only worries “somewhat” about the uncontrolled killing in the City? That’s a comfort. Last time I heard, he was blaming it all on rap videos. And what exactly is the “New Orleans brand”, anyway? These days it seems to be, "New Orleans: Proud to put a cap in your ass". I do not know weather to call him incompetent or delusional; but since C. Ray seems to think a majority of Louisianaians might want to call him Governor, I’m going with both.

Remember that the majority of those dying are mostly poor, young, minority males with low educational backgrounds who have turned to drugs and crime in order to survive. Had a white elected official said what C. Ray did about the current situation, Jesse Jackson and/or Al Sharpton would have been down here faster than you can say "photo-op". So why does Mayor C. Ray get a pass?

Also on the subject of effective City governance, New Orleans City Councilman Oliver Thomas has been has been indicted on corruption charges. It appears he will plead guilty.

And they still wonder why the Feds don’t trust 'em with a nickel. At the rate things are going folks, you’d better get land in Ascension Parish and Livingston Parish while you can.

UPDATE: Oliver Thomas has resigned after pleading guilty.

I'm Back. Twenty And Counting.

Just got back from a getaway with the wife. Our 20th anniversary was the other day, so I surprised her with a few days of sun, sand, and pampering (and no kids) at a resort on Alabama’s Gulf Shores. Very relaxing for us both. Funny thing we realized – of all our friends in high school and college, only four other couples we know of made it to 20 years still married. Maybe I was just naive – or typically male - but I never realized just how big a deal this is in our day and age. When we got married I just assumed it would happen. I mean, we did say “until death do us part…”, so I figured that if I was still breathing 20 years later we’d still be married. I did promise. Before God. So what’s the big deal?

A marriage making it this far today – and making it this far still wanting to be married to the same person - that’s what’s a big deal. I have no statistics on how many marriages last 20 years, but I figure that the number is quite small nowadays. Damn, I am blessed. Very, very blessed.

08 August 2007

Now THAT'S A Platform.

Since we are compelled by the media these days to choose our Presidential candidates more than a year before we, well, choose our Presidential candidates, let me throw in my choice: For the record, I am a Fred Thompson fan. Rudy is OK, but he strikes me as too much a "government is the answer" conservative (and we already got one of those...). And Mitt is from Massachusetts. I used to live in the Bay State, so I know what "conservative" means to them. End of story. The others running for the GOP nod are all ankle biters; except for Ron Paul, who who takes "biting" to a whole new level, if you know what I mean.... This image from Frank J I think sums up Fred's platform pretty well:


I can't argue with that.

It's Still 755 To Me.

Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants broke Hank Aaron's home run record last night. There was much rejoicing, but I wasn't one of them. Aaron got to 755 by skill and athletic energy. Bonds allegedly had, um, help, which to me taints his achievement. The reason I like baseball is because it is still a sport of honor, and baseball has not winked at those who dishonor the institution in the past (see "Black Sox", Pete Rose, etc.). To let this new record stand is to call that honor into question. I'm sorry, Barry, but I can't rejoice with you. I really want to, but......

On a happier note, a certain team we know and love is STILL on top of the AL East, and STILL five games ahead of Satan's highly-paid minions.

07 August 2007

Bishop Pope Leaves The Episcopal Church.

The theological cleansing continues. According to a post at the House of Bishops / Deputies Listserv, Bishop Clarence Pope, former Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth and currently Bishop-in-residence at my church, is leaving The Episcopal Church (tm) for the Roman Catholic Church.

When the Current Unpleasantness hits this close to home, it's time to reassess everything. I mean, I KNOW this man. I have not always agreed with him (e.g., women's ordination), but on the whole his leaving is a real loss for The Episcopal Church (tm) in general, and the traditionalists in particular. I bet that they're popping champagne this morning at 815 2nd Avenue, though.

UPDATE: It appears true. Though, as the post reminds us, this is not the first time Bishop Pope has "swum the Tiber."

Score One (UPDATE: No, Two!) For The Good Guys.

A video from Iraq. The "Surge" seems to be working, and there's a lot more of this kind of thing going on than the Mainstream Media admits. Michael Yon has updates: Bread and a Circus, Part II of II.

UPDATE: Here is a link to more videos on YouTube from Coalition Forces. Why don't we see more of this in the Mainstream Media? Oh yeah, I forgot - we're not supposed to win......

UPDATE: And what does the Mainstream Media think about or troops? The New Republic, a lefty-ish mag read by the Hillary Clinton types, published several stories by a soldier detailing first-hand accounts of some less-than-honorable conduct by our troops. You've probably heard about those already. But what you didn't hear is that his stories just didn't check out, and were found to be exaggerations and outright falsehoods. I'll bet my bottom dollar that the truth will not be trumpeted as loudly as the initial stories. Like I said, we're not supposed to win. To the press, we're the bad guys.

UPDATE: Via Instapundit, it seems at least some of the Mainstream Media is noticing success in Iraq. And more on the New Republic / fake stories scandal here.

06 August 2007

Blogger Calls My Readers Diseased Wombats! Or, Something Like That.

A few days ago, I linked to a nice fellow who claims to be the Emperor of Ontario, California. Leaving aside the ego necessary to make such a claim, I decided to mention him here on my little site. I even suggested my readers go over to his site and participate in his presidential straw pole - which pitted the Ontario Emperor against a stick. Of course, we here at Red Stick Rant are partial to the stick vote in general, and specifically to any stick willing to run for President. Literally all of my readers participated, showing once again the power of "Stickmates" in the national political process. (Final tally is Stick, 10 votes; Ontario Emperor, 1 vote. Which I'm guessing is his mom.)

And how does the Emperor repay our willingness to be a part of his democratic process? By claiming that I, your humble blogger, participated in a scheme of "unparalleled negative campaigning"!!!!!!!! HA! I say again, HA! I feel so soiled and unclean now. Even after my weekly shower. So, Mr. Emperor of funky-California-town-with-Frank-Ghery-buildings, I demand we settle this like men. I would suggest pistols at dawn, but I know that California has all those girly-man gun control laws. Therefore, I suggest we do something more, I don't know.... West Coast: I suggest we pummel each other with over-ripe, organically grown avocados - to the death, or until one of us makes a decent guacamole.

What say you, Emperor??

05 August 2007

And Just Who Are These Anglicans, Anyway?

While over at Brad Drell's site I came upon this post, which includes links to a series of articles on Anglicanism written by Dr. Cheryl White, a professor at LSU-Shreveport. The articles are lengthy, detailed, and I recommend them all to anyone interested in Anglican history and theology.

04 August 2007

Communion On A Stick????

There it is again. Someone in Johnston, Iowa, got to my little site yesterday by Googling "communion on a stick". Really. This is the third time in two weeks someone has landed here using that phrase. I Googled it, too, and all I got was links to my site. Like I said before, I'm no theological expert, but..............

Anybody know what's going on?

03 August 2007

"Unpleasantness Fatigue" In Our Time.

Of late, I haven’t blogged much about the Current Unpleasantness in The Episcopal Church ™. There is a reason: I am tired of it. But I read a post today on the Bishops / Deputies Listserv that seems to confirm my worst fears for the future of my church. In short, if the type of thinking I read is representative, the current leadership of The Episcopal Church ™ is utterly out of touch with reality.

Right now, there is a debate going on at the Bishops / Deputies Listserv over Islamic extremism and how the Church should respond. OK, fine. We need to have that debate. (Actually we should have had it years ago - Christians are murdered every day in the name of Allah just for, well, being Christian. See Darfur, Palestine, Thailand, the Phillipines...etc.) But here is what floored me: One poster - a priest, I believe - actually defended as a positive thing Neville Chamberlain and his appeasement of Adolph Hitler in the late 1930’s. He basically said Chamberlain’s appeasement got a bum rap, because any other choice at the time would have lead to war, violence, and innocents dying. (He was also able to work in a "Bush-is-as-bad-as-Bin-Laden" swipe, and loop in homosexuality, too.)

So appeasement worked? Oh, really?

This is why I get so frustrated with Boomers. Poor kids, they truly believe history began with the Viet Nam War. So let's recap a bit, shall we? (It gets complicated, Boomers, so pop an Ensure, put on some Peter, Paul & Mary, and try and keep up.) In March 1936, an ambitious German fellow named Adolph Hitler (remember him?), in violation of all treaty agreements, re-militarized the Rhineland area of Germany after the French occupiers pulled out. The French at the time had the largest army in the world. Germany’s forces were less than half their size, and with little modern equipment yet. But Hitler gambled that the pacifist streak in France and the UK would block any belligerent move by France if Germany moved in. He was right. But he was also well aware of his weak position both militarily and politically – he even told his commanders to pull back if French troops moved in to oppose them. But the French did nothing. Herr Hitler became wildly popular at home and was emboldened by his success. So in the spring of 1938 Herr Hitler annexed Austria into a “Greater Germany”, and then began demanding the ethnic German areas of Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland. France and the UK, thinking they could avoid a war, wanted to could cut a deal with Herr Hitler. So in September 1938, Neville Chamberlain agreed to give him what he wanted (the Sudetenland) if he would promise no more expansions. Hitler, astonished, agreed. This was the famous Munich Agreement. (“Peace in our time” and all that. Note that no one from the Czech government was there to agree to their land being given away. Appeasement is easy when what you are giving away isn’t even yours….). Herr Hitler occupied the Sudetenland immediately, and (oops!) all of Czechoslovakia a few months later. In less than a year after the signing the Munich Agreement, Germany invaded Poland. And 40 million died in the next five years after that. So much for avoiding all that war, violence, and innocents dying.

So let's think this through – if France had moved a couple of divisions back into the Rhineland in 1936 and forced Herr Hitler to pull back, where would we be? Would some fighting have broken out? Perhaps. Would hundreds, or maybe a few thousand, have died? Perhaps. But Hitler would have been shown early on as militarily weak and not invincible. He may well have been overthrown by his generals. And a few thousand lost would have been far better than the 40 million that were lost, don’t you think? That difference is the cost of Appeasement.

Appeasement gave Germany two things: It gave her time to build up her military, and it confirmed their sense that the Western Powers believed more in “peace” than in their principals and sovereignty; and would quickly trade the latter in order to get the former. Even after Britain and France did declare war on Germany, they did little to actually prosecute hostilities until the Germans invaded France in the spring of 1940.

So what does this have to do with the thread that originally set my teeth on edge? First, how easy it is to forget. And we forget the lessons of history at our peril. Second, there are truly evil people in the world. And right now we are at war with a whole lot of ‘em. These people will not be as equally reasonable as you are, no matter how much you want them to be. They hate you. They hate me. They hate our very way of life. If it benefits them (as it did Herr Hitler), they may play along with you for a time, but they are not really interested in “dialogue,” or “understanding,” or “compassion,” or “relationships.” (And they don’t give a damn about the Millennium Development Goals!) They see such things as a sign of weakness, not strength. The only relationship they want is for us to be either under their spell, under their thumb, or under the ground. Sometimes, the only way to deal with such folks is harshly. It is unfortunate, but true. As Christians, I believe we have to wrestle with this reality, and decide where the line is between turning the other cheek and turning into sheep.

As for me, my Christian faith is not a suicide pact, and I believe the time for defending our freedom and our faith is now. We were attacked. Again and again. I would far rather have this fight at the gates of Baghdad now, than at the gates of Vienna in 20 years.