Saturday, January 29, 2011

Football Run Amok!

Its name is rhabdomyolysis and it can cause damage to cells and kidneys and even kidney failure. It’s an ailment that is caused by stress, in this case inordinate stress to muscle tissue…and it’s entirely preventable, though it requires hospitalization for treatment, perhaps for days.

Thirteen University of Iowa football players incurred the ailment recently and had to be hospitalized. One wonders why these athletes were even susceptible to anything having to do with the sport, especially since the football season has been long terminated (even the plethora of bowl games, most of which involve teams of only average to mediocre ability).

It turns out that the players were introduced (or sentenced) to a seven-week period of off-season strenuous “training” that caused the ailment, which involves the release of muscle fibers into the bloodstream, something hard to imagine, the penetration of the walls of veins and arteries with anything other than external force/instruments. The blood must run through the kidneys in order to be cleansed but the kidneys are designed to handle liquids, not necessarily muscle fibers, so the problem is easily seen.

With the season over, one wonders why the players were still involved even though most of them are on full scholarships. At Iowa, as at most other universities, a winning football team is the next thing to having the best army in the world, and coaches and assistant coaches are hugely overpaid to see that football reigns supreme. The coaches (especially head coaches) make millions per year off the backs of the players but are never assured of employment in the fickle world of sports in which a key player having a broken leg can ruin a season.

Indeed, according to a USA Today article (January 2008, with nothing much changed), “football players in the NCAA's Division I Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) said they spent an average of 44.8 hours a week on their sport — playing games, practicing, training and in the training room — compared with a little less than 40 hours on academics.” In other words, they are slaves to their scholarships and are more like university workmen on overtime than students.

At Iowa, the players had just returned from the holidays and were thrust into the program that demanded inordinate stress on their bodies without their having the time to build their bodies back into shape after the layoff. The result for 13 of them was rhabdomyolysis, entirely preventable by a strength-and-conditioning coach who had been on the scene for 12 years and should have known better. The ailment was not unknown in the sports world, another example of it involving seven members of the University of South Carolina swimming team in 2007.

The Iowa players checked-in to the hospital on a Monday, with five, less than half, being released on the following Friday, an indication of the seriousness of the problem. People undergoing serious surgeries do better than that.

Why did this happen? In 2009, Iowa sported a win-loss record of 10-2, with a conference record of 6-2, very good in the tough Big-Ten conference. In 2010, the team sported a 7-2, 4-1 record going into the last three games and could have been headed to the Rose Bowl, but it lost its last three games by a total of 10 points and wound up with records of 7-5 and 4-4…absolutely miserable…and went to a second-tier bowl, which it won. This was tantamount to Napoleon at Waterloo, absolutely unacceptable.

So, despite the fact that bad luck might have been the major player last fall, as indicated by the final three scores, there might have been the determination that no efforts would be spared in whipping the current/2011 team into shape long before spring football practice gets underway, the better to make it to a major bowl next season. Then comes the summer layoff and perhaps another attack of rhabdomyolysis when the two-a-day practice-regimen starts, the devil take the hindmost. One hopes that common sense will be engaged to nullify that possibility. If lawsuits are introduced, there may be some new believers in the coaching ranks.

Players fainting (sometimes permanently injured) or dying account of heat-strokes during the summer practices are not uncommon, and concussions, especially, are now the order of the day in-season. College football is now a big-money item for the schools, their presidents and athletic directors, coaches and the bottom line. Largely accruing to the Title-Nine legislation concerning women’s sports (financial losers), athletic budgets have to be supported by football and men’s basketball. Men’s baseball is a loser, too, as are all other organized sports, both men’s and women’s.

With the possible exception of baseball, universities and colleges are now the minor leagues of the professional sports world in addition to having an obsession with winning at all costs, thus driving up salaries for coaches who are sometimes blessed with more luck than expertise. It shouldn’t be so. The players…just the expendable items…the meat-market!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Prexy's SOTU Performance

I’ve been reasonably attentive to President Obama’s speeches since his campaign days, feeling such to be necessary in order to express opinions about them and him. State-of-the-Union speeches were characterized last March by SCOTUS Chief John Roberts, who endured Obama’s public humiliation of the SCOTUS during last years SOTU, as like a “pep rally,” but I’ve endured them anyway…until the latest one on the 25th. After enduring the marathon speech last January, I decided to just read the transcript of Obama’s latest SOTU offering, preferring to read a book instead of sitting through it.

The current SOTU speech was also a marathon of sorts and would have been considerably longer if there had been the usual extensive clapping, hurrahs, jumping up and down and general mayhem. One remembers the “Pelosi-in-the-box” of other days when she resembled a jumping-jack, forcing Veep Biden to do the same, with both of them worn to a frazzle by the end of the speech and Pelosi’s face probably susceptible to serious breakage. According to the media, this speech evoked no such outpourings of childish behavior, perhaps not least because the House is now so overwhelmingly republican.

I relented and tuned in for a few minutes toward the end of the speech and caught, among other things, this gem: “And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.” This was Obama’s recognition of the fact that the vast majority of Americans have no use for Islam and its hate-mongering and fatwas. He should have left the subject alone…for the sake of the Muslims, whom he pointedly implied to also be subjects of hate. Quite uncivil on his part!

In my time of viewing, the applause was perfunctory and in blessedly short bursts, with the president exhibiting little or no passion…simply reading the teleprompter. This was quite unlike his performance at the Tucson memorial service, which Roberts probably also would have characterized as a “pep rally.” Then, the president was animated, seemingly passionate and uninhibited. He was in campaign mode playing upon people’s emotions, but in the SOTU speech he was confronted with cold, hard facts regarding administration policies inordinately repudiated last November by the sea-change in House membership.

At the outset, the president said this: “It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands.” It’s hard to imagine a statement like that in the wake of the weeks-long pounding of the mainstream media (his propaganda arm) since the Tucson massacre on republicans as sanguinary blood-letters, vicious in rhetoric so inflammable that it drove young Loughner (apparently already insane) to murder.

So…whoever wrote the speech didn’t catch that little slip-up but one might hope the president would have. Does he now think contention is good or bad? Who knows? In any case, the Congress-people had made a joke of the whole speech with their “dating” arrangements, pairing avowed enemies as seat-mates apparently never again to be contentious, even though the president…but then he may have just been pulling a John Kerry – being against contentiousness after being for it, or vice versa. So much for civility, the media buzzword for days on end!

The speech involved the usual boilerplate expected of the party in power…much braggadocio abetted by exotic projects on the drawing-boards. Just read the transcript. The term “investment” seems now to have replaced the term “taxes.” In his large section on education, something the feds should avoid completely, Obama said this: “In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice … .” A sharp sixth-grader would have caught that common but unforgivable grammatical error, especially in something as at least allegedly important as a presidential address.

To this reader, this was a simply astounding statement near the end of the effort of more than 7,000 words: “Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.” Egad…there’s that same grammatical error but worse than that is the inference that anyone has ever been denied military service because he/she loves the wrong person! Speechwriting evaluation is not the president’s strong point. He needs another gaggle of writers or – perish the thought – he simply needs to get a grip on both substance and form himself. That’s perhaps the most juvenile thing that could have been said, and in an un-schooled way in the bargain.

I’m glad I dodged the boredom and, indeed, may never bother watching another SOTU speech. I make no claim to being a top policy-wonk or grammarian, either, but then I’m not responsible for SOTU speeches. They deserve better. Perhaps a written one made available to the press and Congress would be the way to go…but radio/TV has changed all of that, an opportunity for campaigning not to be missed. Prior to President Woodrow Wilson (1913-21), SOTU was delivered as a WRITTEN report…there oughtta be a law…

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, January 24, 2011

Math-Teacher Guffey Strikes Again!

A while back, Roger Guffey, a math teacher, expostulated vehemently in an article in the Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky., concerning the proposed “Ark Park,” a for-profit amusement facility planned for northern Kentucky some 35 or so miles north of Lexington. A major issue for him had to do with state tax-breaks but his obvious main purpose was pooh-poohing the uneducated for believing that there ever was a Noah’s Ark, the theme of the park.

Some days later, some scientists with Ph.D’s in the proper field took him to task, whereupon he wrote a letter to the editor to insist that their obvious superior knowledge did not qualify them for disagreeing with him. After all, he was/is a math teacher and may even have a master’s degree, though probably not in anthropology. He noted some statements made or written by a few high-profile people with Ph.D’s (one a Nobel Prize winner) with which he obviously disagrees, which automatically makes them wrong.

President Obama has a doctorate and has even been a law-school professor and has successfully pushed Congress into repealing the DADT military policy. Yet, the top commanders in the military, thinking critically, have said that the repeal is unwarranted and detrimental to military readiness. Using Guffey’s thinking, the president should back away from his doctorate-qualified action, but that will not happen, making Guffey’s paradigm of no practical value. If Guffey agrees with the president, he, ipso facto, destroys his own case. If not, it doesn’t matter. As Bill Clinton might say: What is IS.

Guffey wrote that expecting religion to answer scientific questions is foolhardy, giving as an example the Roman Catholic Church’s original rejection of the notion of a heliocentric universe. Of course, most folks outside the church rejected that notion, too. Using Guffey’s angle in this case, it seems reasonable to assume that one errs in expecting science to answer religious questions such as the origin of things or why people reason and animals operate on instinct, unless, of course, Guffey believes that dogs don’t think critically enough to drive, but uncritically enough to be friendly…or sometimes hostile.

Guffey has the same problem that many intellectuals (whether described as such by self or others) have, to wit, they can’t figure out the origin(s) of the universe and consequently anything else. This frustrates them. It frustrates them that they can’t find the “missing link” that would prove that man evolved from some lower form, maybe the ape, which, using critical thinking, of course, had to evolve from something else – VOILA! – a one-cell organism perhaps in some sort of slime…but where did it (and the slime) come from?

Guffey is an “Eve person.” Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden in order to become as powerful as God when approached by a snake-oil salesman, according to Genesis, and swallowed the bait, succumbing to the scam. She got ripped-off. Guffey believes that science, if given enough time, will discover how the universe came to be, thus actually becoming as powerful as the original creator…if there was a creator or a force or a ground of being or a cosmic explosion or fill in the blank!

BUT, Guffey doesn’t believe the Genesis episode happened, or that Noah was a person or the Ark was a boat or that there was a Tower of Babel (the parallel ancient symbol of the result of today’s science). So…he simply insists that all of that Genesis creation-stuff was MYTH and that people who disagree, especially the errant Ph.D’s, are as dumb as a gourd. In his original article, he described them thusly: “misunderstanding of evolution by people who get their opinions from Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.” That puts a whole other aspect to his rant…very revealing, mixing personal animus with science.

This is Guffey’s last substantive paragraph: “The Ark Park will generate a few low-paying jobs, but it will scare away scientifically based firms with higher-paying jobs because it feeds our [Kentuckians’] image as a bunch of illiterate Bible-thumpers.” This is essentially what Obama called the Christians as he attacked Pennsylvania in 2008. It’s hard to imagine either arrogance or ignorance as profound as this…arrogance because of the superciliousness toward people who simply disagree with Guffey and ignorance because he actually believes a business would give a fig about what people believe religiously as long as the business climate, including tax-incentives, is right.

I take no issue with the theory of evolution and I don’t believe in the seven 24-hour days of creation, a postulate clearly allowed in scripture. I draw the line at claiming that mankind evolved from…whatever. I believe God created the being made in his image spontaneously and complete, in an instant. I also take no issue with folks who disagree with me. Not a one of us has any idea of what happened in any time-period 6,000 or more years ago.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, January 21, 2011


There is the old saying, “Vanity, vanity, thy name is woman.” One invites universal condemnation from women and liberals when dredging up something as politically incorrect as that but the phrase didn’t originate here. Some have attributed it to Shakespeare but actually he seems to have used “frailty” instead of “vanity,” which would put him in even greater risk of life and limb today, when the fair sex is threatening the loopy Congress if it or the prexy or maybe even Biden doesn’t put the gals into combat. Defense Secretary Gates would probably go for it since he came to his job from the halls of academia, where common sense is nonexistent.

All of that as an intro to the new saying: “Civility, civility, thy name is democrat!” President Obama’s approval ratings have been a problem lately, meaning that he needed for a crisis not to be wasted in behalf of improving his image, translated “chances of success in 2012.” It’s never too early to start on the campaign trail, and…well, the prexy actually has never left the campaign trail started in 2006, but that’s a whole other story. He himself has indicated a new push and has already been stationing the campaign lapdogs in their proper environs, with fund-raising the main priority, as proven by the guest list at the huge state dinner for China’s Hu the other evening. It was “black tie,” so Hu showed his deep respect for the prexy by wearing a blue tie sans a tuxedo, opting for a business suit instead.

The rescuing crisis not to be wasted, of course, was the “Tucson Massacre,” created by Jared Loughner. Starting with or perhaps by the remarks by the on-scene sheriff before he even knew anything much about what happened, the consensus developed among the prexy’s pals was that Loughner was driven to slaughter by mean-spirited republicans like Limbaugh and Beck and (gasp) Palin, so the whole gang came up with the notion of civility as the cure-all for everything from rape to murder to even mean-spiritedly insisting that policemen act stupidly…then quietly discarded the latter for obvious reasons.

Homeland Security Boss Napolitano actually had already set the tone when she erased gruesome-sounding “terrorism” from department verbiage last year and replaced it with the gentler “man-caused disaster.” Murder is recognizably bad but a disaster can be just any old harmless thing like a flood, for instance. Who gets exercised about a flood, especially when it’s in the next state? The prexy’s guys didn’t pick up on that then – bailouts and TARPs being on everyone’s mind – but then, of course, there was no crisis connected to her stroke of genius at that time, so the opportunity actually was not wasted.

As it turned out, Loughner apparently was neither a conservative nor a listener to talk radio. He just happened to be crazy or mean or both, and the sheriff with the big mouth admitted later that the law enforcement folks were quite familiar with Loughner, as were the policepersons on the college campus from which he had been expelled during the fall semester for doing scary things and told not to attempt a return until he’d been confirmed by the proper authority as not being crazy.

That didn’t stop the campaigning for a return of civility, however, as if there had ever been much, to start with. A bit of research into political language back in the days of the founders and even through the nineteenth century (a little milder in the 20th, perhaps) reveals that political speech today amounts to a church-sermon by comparison. Indeed, not long ago, Senate Majority Leader Reid declared publicly that then President Bush was both a loser and a liar. Nobody thought about civility then – especially the democrats – and just figured “business as usual.”

One should take the opportunity, if possible, to bet that President Obama will make civility the foundation of his state-of-the-union address (hopefully three-fourths shorter than last year’s). One shouldn’t be surprised if his campaign slogan becomes REMEMBER TUCSON…sorta like remembering the Alamo and Pearl Harbor. To exhibit its collective silliness, some members of Congress have agreed to sit side-by-side with their opposite numbers (instead of on opposite sides of the aisle) in a sort of Rodney King “can’t we all just get along” attitude. There will for sure be warm-fuzzy hugs all around as the solons express their conviction that the hoi polloi is too dumb to figure out this charade.

Ah…CIVILITY…democrat is thy name. You have become the rallying cry against all those meanies who insist upon driving the Loughners of this cruel world into spasms of murderous chaos, usually by just telling the truth. Just like at the Tucson memorial service that the prez turned into a campaign event, there might even be free T-shirts for those who are ready to fight and scream and holler and whoop for CIVILITY!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

IMAGE Is Everything!

Dear President Obama,

First, a word of congratulations on your eulogy in the Tucson memorial service! Slated for a 20-minute delivery, you managed to turn it into a 35-minute exercise in eloquence, with the notable uniqueness of having people practically dancing in the aisles. Allow me to introduce myself as the CEO of the Institute for Modifying All Governmental Entities (IMAGE, for short). With all due respect, it’s the business of IMAGE to help a client appear to the public as the entity the client desires, not necessarily the entity he/she is. For instance, IMAGE would have helped Al Gore recently retain his image as the Jolly Green Giant, savior of the world, instead of appearing as a massage-proponent with a masseuse-addiction, but – alas – he declined our offer.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the subject of civility is front-and-center these days, after the mainstream media, your propaganda arm, accused talk-show hosts of causing the Tucson massacre, never mind that an insane person actually did the deed and apparently had never heard of Rush Limbaugh. Since you’ve made rather uncivil remarks during your tenure, such as when you accused policemen of acting stupidly, IMAGE has an arm that can help you be more civil in the future. The Council for Interdicting Venality, Inhibiting Libel, and Introducing Togetherness Yin/Yang, known in Washington by its acronym CIVILITY, is designed to help clients avoid slurs and racial remarks, such as your allusion while campaigning to the “typical white person” or your description of Pennsylvanians as Bible-thumping, gun-grasping bounty-hunters of illegal Mexicans.

CIVILITY will help you not be accused of venal mean-spiritedness, such as when you put out a directive last year to discover whose asses to kick concerning the BP oil-spill, not to mention possible libeling of people in both management and government, including your own energy department. The matter of introducing togetherness speaks for itself and involves when to shake hands, hug, back-pat, etc., and is enhanced by the Chinese yin/yang, very important these days since the Chinese own much of the nation. Rodney King of “can’t we all just get along” fame heads this department.

Since you’ve been accused of taking the country into socialism and since your opponents, especially Sarah Palin, targeted specific democrat candidates for defeat last year, the IMAGE agency designed to help you capitalize on these issues is called the Council for Ruling-Out Socialist Status and Hegemony Actuating Individual Righteousness, or CROSSHAIR, for short. This agency will help you explain the takeovers of banks and auto companies and mortgage-lending establishments and the health industry as not socialistic but in the best spirit of entrepreneurship, with the government as the greatest entrepreneur of them all, since it can print money and confiscate wages.

Righteousness and socialism seem to most folks not to jive, since there’s a freedom issue involved, as well as greed. CROSSHAIR will help prepare your teleprompters with biblical quotes, snappy one-liners, and sermonic utterances (with margin suggestions directing when to laugh, weep, etc.) such that in the upcoming state-of-the-union address you will appear as a saint. Caution: Whether you use CIVILITY or not, do NOT imply that the Supreme Court doesn’t own a full deck, as you did last year, notwithstanding your law-school professorship. The great unwashed hoi polloi does not appreciate your intellect in this matter and still sees the court as the last bastion of freedom, never mind your two appointees, who may not have found the bathrooms yet in the Justice Building.

Finally and obviously respecting your ability to speechify, the IMAGE agency that can help you with making your daily or twice- or thrice-daily speech-schedule effective, is the Bureau for Lying Altruistically and Testifying in Harmonious Erroneous Rhetoric, or BLATHER, for short. It’s been noticeable lately that your facial expressions do not comport with your claim that millions of jobs are at hand. That lie to the hoi polloi is justified in making everyone feel good – a solemn responsibility for any president – but you need to look more earnest so that folks won’t think you’re…well, lying. The same is true about the Gitmo-closing and the change of withdrawal-date from Afghanistan to 2014 instead of this year.

Erroneous rhetoric is just part of the job, as you know, but it must be used in a way to create harmony between the various factions and between them and yourself. BLATHER will help with this, especially as the campaigns get underway and folks are reminded that you promised to raise electricity rates out of sight in your last campaign. That formed a discord of immense proportions but folks weren’t paying attention then, just hating Bush instead. They are paying attention now, as evidenced last November and by both Conrad and Lieberman already throwing in the towel for 2012. You have to learn how to make them eat the unbelievable and like it. You can depend on CIVILITY to do the job.

Hoping to hear from you soon,

I.M. Reverself, CEO

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Football - Blood Sport?

Football is a physical game featuring the violent collisions of mortal-on-mortal, with the barest padding, etc., to soften the blows. Most noticeably missing from the uniforms of yesteryear are the hip-pads designed to protect the pelvic bones and the sacrum. Most noticeably added in recent years but missing in yesteryear are the face-masks that protect against broken noses, eye-sockets and the like. The space-helmets of today make those of yesteryear appear to be little more than berets by comparison. Yet, brain concussions are simply accepted as inevitable, just part of the game.

The entire nature of the game has changed, as well, not least because it has been damned by the profit motive, the love of money being the root of all evil, as the gospel-writer would have it, meaning that anything goes, whether according to the rules or not. It has also been damned by the introduction of taunting, teasing, celebrating that’s vulgar, mugging for the crowd, and all-around foolishness that bespeaks a bush-league mentality that’s even below playground ethics.

Though one is politically incorrect for mentioning this, it nevertheless is true that the vulgarities were introduced for the most part as huge numbers of black players – exceptionally fine athletes – made the teams and actually now comprise the majority of players. They strut, skip and swagger as if what they do is actually important – now joined by the white players, too – when the 18-year-old eating sand and dodging bullets on foreign soil is worth more in a minute than they are in a year…and eminently braver, too.

The game was once played for the sport of it, at least in public schools and colleges all the time and in the pro leagues at one time. In the 1920s, players often didn’t even wear helmets. The reason was simply that tackles were made from the waist down, as was blocking, the idea being to relocate the opponent, not to kill him. The body-slam, particularly with a helmet-to-helmet feature, is the method of choice today, the motive being to completely incapacitate the opponent, especially his brain. The result can be seen in the myriad articles in the media today regarding the long-term effects of the brain concussions.

Sports pages are as notable today for their daily listing of injuries, often season- or career-ending, as for the accounts of the games. This puts football in the same milieu as boxing, in which the goal is to beat the opponent’s brains out…even if to do so kills him, a sort of legalized murder. This has turned the “sport” into a brutish exercise, crude and uncivilized. Boxers are glorified, when actually they’re just sadistic thugs. Linebackers receive the same acclaim as they operate on the same thuggish level. Their chief aim is to maim the quarterback no matter the fine or any other discipline imposed.

The most defining feature currently seems to be the constant on-field fights, especially during the college bowl games and the professional playoffs and championship games. There’s big money involved so tempers flare. The college guys are trying to make it into the pro mayhem, while the pros are simply aiming at the mega-bucks accruing to staying in the playoff hunt as long as possible. The XLIV Super Bowl winners/losers last February, for instance, made $83,000 and $42,000, respectively. The average base salary in the NFL is $990,000 but a huge number of players make millions, while the average salary was nearly $1.8 million in 2009. The fines mean little to the millionaires.

Occasionally, the league owners and honchos make noises about making football safer through the rules-route but they don’t follow through…just like in pro hockey, where the fighting is probably thought to attract spectators as much as the game. The honchos in the auto-racing industry do nothing to stop the drivers from wrecking each other when the situation calls for drastic action. These sports-gurus figure that fans love the mayhem, the devil take the hindmost…a little blood is always an attention-getter, with a lot of blood even better. A concussion is an absolute godsend, especially in a dull game.

This is from ESPN-NFL, 13 December: “The NFL's data shows 154 concussions -- from practices or games -- were reported from the start of the preseason through the eighth week of the 2010 regular season. That's an increase of 21 percent over the 127 concussions through the eighth week of the 2009 season, and a 34 percent jump from the 115 reported over the same span in 2008.” That would mean about 308 for the season or some 19 or so per week. How seriously does anyone take the NFL honchos?

Steroid-use hasn’t helped, of course, but that’s a whole other story. The sport has been degraded by personnel, leaders, player-foolishness and viciousness, the lack of meaningful discipline and a total misreading of a public that still would be interested in the game if the approach of yesteryear were re-instituted.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wellstone Funeral Redux

I tuned in via TV on 12 January to the Tucson ceremonies just as Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano rose to speak, though the term pep rally might be about as appropriate a description, made that way, of course, since it was held in an athletic gymnasium and therefore inordinately attended by college students whose minds are sometimes on vacation, no matter where their bodies are. They were accustomed to screaming at ballgames, so why not a bit of screaming for anything held in the gym?

Imagine my amazement when all Napolitano did (and very appropriately) was read a long Old Testament passage from Isaiah, only to be followed by Attorney General Holder, who read a long New Testament passage from the writings of the apostle Paul. Neither said anything else. These were top echelon government officials reading from the Bible on a government-owned campus, so one wonders how long it will take for the politically-correct-mongers to scream “violation of First Amendment rights.” There was not a word about Allah, for instance, or the god Nihilism, for the atheists. The scripture-reading identified the service as a funeral, but that didn’t matter.

The affair was planned, one presumes, to be a solemn occasion. After all, six people were killed by Jared Loughner and this was supposedly a memorial to them. Instead (at least when the president spoke), it was turned into more of a campaign rally, putting one in mind of the funeral for Senator Wellstone after he and his wife and daughter, among others, were killed in a plane-crash in 2002 while campaigning for reelection in Minnesota. That circus was displayed on C-Span, and many folks believe it cost Wellstone’s substitute, Walter Mondale, the election. The scenes are still on the Internet and it’s worth a look just to see Senator Harkin doing his version of the “Dean Scream,” made famous later in Iowa in 2004. Then-Governor and Mrs. Ventura walked out.

This is not to say the president was not eloquent or that he invited the reaction, but does anyone remember anything like the constant clapping, screaming, and rising and sitting during the president’s speech in November 2009 at Ft. Hood, where 13 people were massacred by Major Hasan? Was the difference simply that in Tucson older adolescents had no idea what was happening, while at Ft. Hood adults were in mourning? Or was something else in play?

The president, between the episodes of unseemly outbursts, went to some lengths to speak passionately of the victims very personally, as well as about the survivors, and about all their families. If he had left it at that (and surely understanding what was happening), he would have done well. That was not to be. One wonders if he gloried in the moment.

Perhaps because his liberal base (especially folks in the mainline media such as NBC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, NY Times) had castigated conservatives (think Palin, Limbaugh, Beck) for having driven Loughner, an obvious madman, to performing his murders, Obama thought he had to address the subject of civility, never mind that after the BP oil-spill he had mentioned his search for “asses to kick,” and earlier had accused Boston-area policemen of “acting stupidly” when they were only doing their jobs. Ironically, it has been determined that Loughner paid no attention to the newsies/commentators/talking-heads.

Or, there was the case of Shirley Sherrod, a Georgia state official who was falsely accused of racism and on orders from Washington was forced to pull her car off the road last summer and submit her resignation on her Blackberry, a fine example of civility. Again ironically, the polls taken since the murders have indicated that a significant majority of citizens have paid little heed to the politically correct crowd that panders in behalf of Obama. They just figure rightly that a psycho was loose on that day and that civility was not an issue.

One hopes that the funeral was not actually planned as a rally of some sort, but is mindful that the president is putting together his campaign team for 2012. With one sentence, he could have stopped the chaos and reminded all the folks why they were there…but he didn’t. That just about says it all. The democrats danced on Wellstone’s grave in 2002. Did the same thing happen in Tucson with regard to those who had died?

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And the Beat Goes On!

Americans usually go overboard concerning everything from words to gifts to honors to…whatever… whenever an “event” takes place. Media coverage is the reason. Imagine what would have happened in this country when Lincoln was assassinated if cable 24/7 had been available! The telegraph was the fastest thing going and the preparing of pictures, rudimentary as they were, took an inordinate time to process. Printing was done by hand entirely. Transportation essentially meant the horse. Look at the difference between that “event” and the “events” of today – instant accounting of everything in real time, with pictures, movies available immediately, with the first reports inevitably in egregious error.

The Arizona shootings took place on the eighth and represented a sad “event” of profound impact. Add in the injured high-profile Congressperson, and news concerning her far outstripped news about those who died, notwithstanding that one was a federal judge. Coverage has been 24/7, even though the same ground has been plowed over and over. The main difference: celebrity!

Current America seems not to realize that death and trauma are just as inevitable as taxes. In the aftermath of 9/11, hundreds of millions of tax dollars were awarded to survivors of victims, notwithstanding that many of those who died undoubtedly had insurance policies and assets that left their families quite well-off. It was as if John Doe in Peoria was responsible for the deaths, though no such thing happened in 1995 in Oklahoma City regarding those who died in the Murrah Building bombing carried out by Timothy McVeigh.

This doesn’t mean that government shouldn’t help in cases in which help is needed, regardless of expense, such as with the firemen and policemen (and their families), but the precedent has been set in the 9/11 case so that those involved in the next tragedy will demand justifiably that they be treated the same way. To see the difference concerning culpability, consider the Ft. Hood massacre of November 2009, which happened on government property and was perpetrated by a government employee, Major Hasan, who hasn’t been tried yet.

The supposed gravity of 08 January can be seen in the fact that the network biggies – NBC’s Brian Williams, CBS’s Katie Couric, and ABC’s Diane Sawyer had to broadcast from Tucson, no matter that hundreds of their own capable people had already been on the scene, covered it thoroughly and had already interviewed over and over anybody and everybody who had anything to say, even if just an opinion…and it became ultra-politicized in the process. The presiding sheriff preached a sermon on TV and later argued with Fox’s Megan Kelley about hate speech, never mind that the shooter was demonstrably proven to be a crazy guy sort of like the shooter at Virginia Tech (33 dead) in 2007.

Of course, it’s been the cable networks that have had all the better of the reporting since they could just cancel all their programming and devote every hour by every personality to the Tucson massacre. The public has been given an accounting (or non-accounting) of just how many bone fragments have been in Representative Giffords’ brain practically on the hour, for instance. One remembers the day-long caterwauling hysterics of Fox’s Shepard Smith and Geraldo in New Orleans days after Katrina hit there in 2005. Superficiality has its place.

The predictable finger-pointing by the lib-left has been vicious, the predictable slamming of talk-radio being operative, the insistence being that the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was driven to his assassinations by the likes of Limbaugh or Glen Beck…or even Sarah Palin. Apparently, John Hinckley, Jr., Reagan’s would-be assassin, another crazy person still institutionalized, has been forgotten. Has everybody forgotten Sirhan B. Sirhan, who killed Bobby Kennedy, and Sara Jane Moore and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, both of whom tried to kill President Gerald Ford in 1975? Were they the products of hate-speech by republicans? Of course not! They were either crazy or mean or both. Moore has been paroled after serving more than 30 years but the other two are still sweating incarceration.

The usual “gun availability thing” has been beaten to death again by the politically correct, notwithstanding that any bystander with a gun could have killed Loughner before he wreaked his total havoc, especially if he had been able to get off his second clip. One wonders if the “elitist” self-appointed intellectuals will ever understand that crazy people exist and that they always will. Nah…too sanguinary an approach for the civilized!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Captain's Folly!

The latest bombshell connected to the lewdness of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” welcoming homosexuals with open arms (no suggestiveness intended) into the military concerns the skipper of the USS Enterprise, a U.S. Navy state-of-the-art aircraft carrier. Captain Owen Honors, when he was the ship’s executive officer (second-in-command) a few years ago, hosted a lurid closed-circuit ship-wide TV presentation featuring himself, among others, participating in sexually oriented episodes that even included (gasp) unflattering allusions to…yep…homosexuals.

This probably would have raised no eyebrows except for those allusions (common in even the smallest military units) and, of course, the fact that women are assigned to ships of the line…so, there’s probably been some gender-harassment of some kind included, especially since women apparently in the shower were a part of the production, as were men in the shower. The video has been made public and is on the Internet, maybe even without the editing that at least some of the media employ or will employ.

The top field-commanders made it clear to the Senators that they wanted no part of the repeal but the democrats own the Congress, notwithstanding that some repubs helped pass the repeal. This is “enlightenment time” for the progressives, as exhibited the other day on ABC’s Good Morning America, when Vice President Biden made it plain that same-sex marriage as an official national phenomenon is virtually inevitable, even though President Obama hasn’t made up his mind about that and most states either legislatively or constitutionally or both, not to mention the U.S. government in the 1998 Marriage Act, ban it.

The same-sex marriage-thing will be moot for at least the next two years since the republicans own the House and have cloture control of the Senate. Obama, however, is hot-to-trot by issuing executive orders these days so there’s no telling what he might attempt in the realization that Congress would kill him in this matter, Biden’s wisdom, qualified and quantified by jobs-as-a-three-letter-word, notwithstanding.

The DADT matter is yet another imposition on the military in the interest of social engineering, never mind that the military is the farthest thing from a democracy, the obeying of orders being the operative tool, not who is or is not offended, favored, dis-favored, or anything else. The example of the captain and his subordinates regarding their attitude toward homosexuals is instructive. The homosexuals may be legal but they will not be welcomed; indeed, they could even be in danger. The Big E is about to be deployed but Captain Honors will not command since top-down condemnation of homosexuals will surely make the LGBT outfit into a pressure-cooker for him to be well-done.

This is not the first time the military has been used as a sociological guinea pig. During the Carter administration (another democrat president) in 1977, gender-integrated boot camps came on line as a socializing project and so wrecked the system that it was sacked in 1982 early in Reagan’s eight-year tenure. By that time, fighting men had become so flabby that they were not battlefield-ready.

Boot camp integration came back during the Clinton years in the 90s (administrative orders) for nearly all of the services but the Marines, who would have no part of it. In 2002 after an extensive study, this monstrosity was soundly thrashed. Just plain common sense would have militated against throwing hormone-driven young people intimately together, not to mention the inequities in physical strength and endurance and the inordinate softening of rigid requirements consequent to making the rigors possible for women.

The “Tail-hook Scandal” of 1991 comes to mind when men and women officers of the Navy got together for the annual non-duty drunken orgy. Later in 1992, one of the women tearfully cried “Rape,” although probably few if any seriously considered it so. Result: Thirty-nine male officers were punished. The ladies got off. Not long after, the Navy determined to make up for it by ordering the qualification of two women as carrier pilots. The first one died attempting to land on a carrier and the second was washed out as unable to handle an F-14, thus engendering all sorts of accusations, studies, etc. The accounts of other shipboard behavior of gender-integrated sailors are lurid and plenteous.

Women have to be evacuated from ships by the time of their twentieth week of pregnancy or sooner, assuming that ships on patrol are always in combat mode (Dept. of the Navy, June 2007). In any case, has anyone ever heard of a maternity ward and day-care on a ship? And then there’s postpartum time, with all the reassigning of doable duties and down time simply to be expected with regard to the whole matter.

Captain Honors was wrong, notwithstanding his outstanding duty achievements. His commander at the time was also wrong in allowing Honors’ shenanigans, assuming he knew about them ahead of time. If he didn’t, he shouldn’t have been in command. It’s doubtful that Honors would have pulled this garbage without permission, understanding in his rank, time, and place the chain-of-command requirements.

At bottom, though, is the insane social tinkering by silly presidents and Congress-people, most of whom, it seems, wouldn’t know a salute from an obscene gesture, that goes on with the fighting forces that are trained to break things and kill people, not latch on to the “can’t we all just get along” tripe purveyed by the political correctness crowd.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, January 01, 2011

DNC Memorandum #21

From the office of the chairman, 01 January 2011

***Congratulations to all staffers who volunteered freely in various offices of the Congress in the interest of making the lame-duck session a huge success. As a result, the DNC is setting-up a new monthly award to go along with its other award, known as the “Pin the Elephant Tail to the Wall Award” for the best suggestion on how to spin any public statement by a republican into a lie. The new award will be called the “Do Ask, Do Tell Award” and will be awarded to the staffer who most convincingly makes homosexual behavior the norm, no matter the creed (or none) or the ethnicity. Caution: The case must be made in writing or in a traditional speech but never as a show-and-tell exercise…not even in San Francisco. Also, any staffer who participates in a Gay Pride Parade is not to in any way indicate his/her/its connection to the DNC.

***The new approach to be taken in seminars regarding the health-care and other laws is that of executive order as applied under the laws, which means that most anything goes, at least as long as the proper attorney general is in place, such as now. The key-word is “regulation,” and the key White House go-to- person is Cass Sunstein, the Regulatory Czar. The so-called “death panels” have been officially okayed through executive order, the main element of which is that physicians will now be paid under Medicare to suggest once-a-year to old codgers who have been hanging around too long that the time has come for them to do their patriotic duty. Mr. Sunstein’s department will make the rules for the doctors, lest some of them forget and suggest a Cat-Scan, MRI, or other expensive procedure, including such things as the installing of new knees or repairing various organs. Since doctors might have to make home-visits to carry out the plan, they will be paid an appropriate fee for their time and all expenses – not bad if the patient has moved to Florida. The rumor is $500-per-hour, plane fare and hotel/beach costs.

***The appeal has been made by the White House for suggestions regarding the state-of-the-union address to be made soon. Recognizing the latest figures comparing U.S. public-school efforts to those of other nations, the speech is to be couched in terms premised on or under the sixth-grade reading level. Things not to be mentioned are the unemployment rate, death panels, bonuses allowed the Wall Street operatives by the president, the November election-catastrophe, and the president’s smoking, said lately by Press Secretary Glibs…make that Gibbs (little joke there) to be non-existent, meaning that Marlboros remain in force. Things to be mentioned are obesity, the first lady’s diets (at least the ones for others), republican insensitivities to the old, the homeless, global warming (do not refer to Cancun), and any good cause such as health-care. Be very innovative but terms like “ogre” or “troll” are not acceptable. Also, the president has decided not to berate the SCOTUS this year, since Justice Alito’s head-shaking last year hurt the president in November because huge population-segments, as shown by the polls, figured the president spoke in error. In any case, former law professors from Chicago are automatically suspect, especially if they express opinions or do not first consult presidential confidant and Chicago law professor Bernardine Dohrn of Weather Underground fame.

***The Senate probably will not take up the energy problem in the new Congress since the House, which had already approved the so-called cap-and-trade bill in 2009 without reading it, was rather overwhelmingly captured by the republicans in November, meaning that the subject has become moot. The president, having already promised in 2008 to make electricity costs skyrocket in order to save the earth from manmade global warming, has not given up the effort to make that happen. He made his play (as they say in the Western movies) at Copenhagen last year and Cancun this year (folks nearly froze) with the result amounting to zilch. The White House has requested a red/yellow/black/white paper explaining the need for the U.S. to pay hard cash to third-world and fourth-world countries to compensate them for making them too hot. They will be submitted to Van Jones, San Francisco’s most highly acclaimed communist, former White House functionary (czar for turning the world green) and now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, for evaluation. The winner will get to use a Zapino electric scooter for a month, good for 30 miles per charge unless traffic is heavy, in which case a pair of roller skates is stored by the batteries.

***Take heart at the beginning of the New Year. Vice President Biden has already made it plain that the rich WILL get soaked two years from now when the dems take back the House and hold the Senate (ABC’s Good Morning, America). He also indicated that it’s only a matter of time until same-sex marriage is approved, so the homosexual vote is practically guaranteed. The Marriage Act of 1998 presents a problem, not to mention the majority of state constitutions, but executive order is now the ruling factor and states-rights mean nothing to the progressives now running the government, so look for innovative actions concerning the introduction/approval of bigamy and incest as post-modern sophisticated social engineering takes hold. The nation has been back-woodsy for too long and now must catch-up with the rest of the civilized world.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark