31 May, 2010


Sorry I've not been around.  I lost the power cord to my laptop, and I've been very busy with Real Life issues to find the time to post here.  Hopefully I will be able to get back to a more reasonable schedule once the kids are out of school in a few weeks.

Until then, enjoy some film music spectacularly performed by a Japanese organist on an Electone electronic organ (and yes, these do appear to be all the same person):

Memorial Day 2010

Honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Requiscat in Pace.

I'm A Marvel/I'm A DC 100th video

More humor which will fly completely past the non-comics reading majority of you.

23 May, 2010

A little classical music news from Baghdad

"Get rid of me," Saddam Hussein allegedly once warned, "and in short order you'll be hearing Jew composers from New York in Baghdad."

Saddam Hussein was deposed in 2003 and died in 2006, but its taken until this month for that prophecy to become true.

Excite: 13-Year Old Pianist Plays with Iraqi Orchestra
(Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra & pianist Llewellyn Kingman Sanchez Werner performed George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue)

Hat tip: Jay Nordlinger, The Corner

20 May, 2010

Double Standard With Cuba

Big Journalism has an interesting piece on Julia Sweig and her recent book, Inside the Cuban Revolution:

Big Journalism: Regarding Cuba, a Typical MSM Double Standard At Play

16 May, 2010

Think I'm Over-reacting to Our Economic Picture?

Try looking at this, from the Chicago Tribune:

And here's the part that really, really scares me: No country in history has long survived saddled with that much debt. We are literally heading for economic suicide, unless things change very, very quickly.

Hat tip: Doug Ross @ Journal

Compare and Contrast (Blackfive)

From Blackfive:

The US way of handling pirates:

A federal judge has postponed the U.S. trial of six Somali nationals charged with piracy off the coast of Africa to give both sides more time to prepare.

U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson on Thursday pushed back the trial to Oct. 19 from July. The suspects are charged in an April 10 attack on the Navy vessel USS Ashland. The Somalis, who don't speak English, are charged with piracy and related counts and could face life in prison if convicted.

The judge cited the potential for having to deal with classified information, the number of defendants, the language barrier and other hurdles in issuing the delay.

The Russian way of handling pirates:

Ten pirates captured by the Russian navy last week near Somalia were put in an inflatable boat without navigational equipment and cast adrift in the Indian Ocean last Friday. They are now presumed dead, according to Russian officials.

The official told the Russian press that after an hour, radar contact with the boat was lost and the pirates “apparently” had all died. He did not elaborate.


Will the Euro Sink US?

This is not good.

Just as our economy seems to be turning a corner, news is starting to percolate that European gold dealers are out of inventory and panic buying is building. Few people in Europe believe the Greek bailout will solve the problem, as ever increasing debt still looms in many other countries -- including Spain, Portugal, Italy, and even Great Britain. Some are openly questioning whether the Euro can survive. Meanwhile, the Euro is plunging versus both the Dollar and the Yen, raising the specter of inflation. This burgeoning flight to gold may just be the first sign of a building global panic, something which could turn the Great Recession into the first major global depression in 80 years.

Meanwhile, we continue to spend money we don't have, raising our debt to levels that not only our children but our children's children's children will still be paying off.

If I had any money right now, I'd be tempted to join in the gold buying panic.

15 May, 2010

A Hidden History of Evil

We rightly insisted upon total denazification; we rightly excoriate those who now attempt to revive the Nazis’ ideology. But the world exhibits a perilous failure to acknowledge the monstrous history of Communism.

From: A Hidden History of Evil, by Claire Berlinski, The City Journal

Hat Tip: Big Journalism

14 May, 2010

Twitter Watch

Favorite Twitter-meme of the moment: On the day Gordon Brown resigned, several people in the UK wondered if he was going to wake up the next morning in The Village.

Here, here, and here.

Which, of course, gives me an excuse to link to this:

RCP Moves Illinois Senate Race to "Leans Republican"

Real Clear Politics has taken the plunge and moved the Illinois Senate race from "Toss Up" to "Leans Republican".

Real Clear Politics: Senate Race 2010

11 May, 2010

Brown Out

Reports are coming in that Labour's talks with the Liberal-Democrats have collapsed, and that UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will resign in a matter of hours.

FoxNews: Brown to Resign as British Prime Minister, Conservative Set to Take Reins
Daily Telegraph: Gordon Brown prepares to resign as Prime Minister
The Times: Gordon Brown prepares to resign

....and if you really want to be masochistic:

The Guardian:
Gordon Brown to Resign as Prime Minister

Update - Gordon Brown has officially resigned; David Cameron should emerge from Buckingham Palace as the new Prime Minister sometime soon.

Congratulations to David Cameron and the Tories.

08 May, 2010

Hi, I'm a Marvel...and I'm a DC: Iron Man 2 and Jonah Hex

Usual disclaimer. This will only make sense if you are a comics fan.

Mark Kirk Up by 3 Points (R2000/Daily Kos)

Another week, another poll showing Mark Kirk ahead in Illinois. This time its R2000/Daily Kos, which as you can imagine is a very Democratic-leaning pollster. They have Kirk ahead by three points, 41% - 38%. Note that both this poll and the most recent Rasmussen poll peg Giannoulias support as being at 38%, while each poll differs on the level of Kirk's support. Since Rasmussen leans Republican and Daily Kos leans Democrat, I'm guessing that Kirk's true support is actually somewhere between the two, say around 44%. Real Clear Politics still has this race listed as a "Toss Up", but if any more polls come out showing a Kirk with a substantial lead I think its likely RCP and others will start moving this race into the "Leans Republican" column. So the question is becoming, will Giannoulias actually stay in race?

UK Election Results

Congratulations to David Cameron and the UK Conservative Party. While they did fall short in reaching an outright majority in Parliament (they wound up with 306 seats), they did emerge as the largest party and therefore the most likely to be able to form a government. Current Prime Minister Gordon Brown isn't giving up the fight, however -- he's hoping to hobble together a coalition government with the Liberal-Democrats. But even with a Lib-Dem/Labour coalition, there aren't enough votes for an outright majority. A Conservative/Liberal-Democrat coalition, however, would pass a majority mark -- so if Labour cannot make a deal with the Lib-Dems and hold onto power as a "minority government", then perhaps the Conservatives can. In any case, this will be the first time since 1974 that the UK experiences a hung parliament, which basically means everyone is traveling in mostly uncharted waters right now. Good luck to the UK.

And no, I don't ever want to see a Parliamentary-type system here in the United States. There's something to be said for knowing exactly when and how long our elected officials will stay in office.

05 May, 2010

Those Racist Republicans & Tea Partiers

According to the New York Times, a record number of African-Americans -- at least 32 -- are running for Congress in 2010... as Republicans. And a large number them are running with endorsements from the local Tea Parties.

04 May, 2010

Conservatives Likely to Win in the UK

Thursday is the election over in the UK, and according to the Daily Telegraph its looking very good for the Tories:

With momentum building behind the Tories, party strategists believe Mr Cameron is “on the cusp” of being able to form a government by the weekend. The Conservatives are on course to seize at least 103 seats from Labour – 14 shy of the 117 needed to secure an overall majority, the poll shows.
-- The Daily Telegraph: David Cameron needs just 14 more seats

Labour has pretty much imploded, thanks in part to Gordon Brown's "bigoted woman" gaff from last week. What's more, the Labour faithful know it, and are already resigning themselves to the returns on Thursday. Even some of the Labour candidates are now trying to distance themselves from Gordon Brown's wretched record as Prime Minister.

The only bright spot for Labour and Liberal-Democrat supporters is that the Conservatives are only likely to capture a slim majority, not the huge one that Labour enjoyed for most of the last 13 years. There's even the chance that the Tories might fall just a handful of votes short of an outright majority, which would therefore necessitate a coalition government. However, that possibility is starting to look less likely, but is by no means out of the realm of possibility.

Guess we find out in a couple of days.

So, Then... Who is the Party of the Rich?

Popular wisdom states that the Republicans are the party that is supported by the rich while the Democrats are the party of the "poor, common man". Except... if you look at the details, a startling amount of the richest neighborhoods in the country give overwhelmingly to the Democrats, not Republicans:

Johnson locates the oligarchy in the upper reaches of the investment banking profession. What he doesn’t note is that these are overwhelmingly Democratic. There is nothing “curious” about a president’s seeking to arm his most reliable supporters with political power. And when you look at it this way, the intermarriage of financial and executive branch elites could only have happened in the Clinton years, simply because there is not sufficient Republican manpower in New York’s investment banks to permit it. Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Jon Corzine, Timothy Geithner  …  one could make no similar list of partisan Republicans who have made the trek from Wall Street to Washington.
--The Weekly Standard: American Oligarchy, by Christopher Caldwell

Hat Tip: Jonah Goldberg, NRO-The Corner

Election 2010: Republicans Pick Up 8 Senate Seats?

According to Real Clear Politics and their amalgamation of all the polling data across the country, if the election were held today the Republicans would pick up 8 Senate seats and trim the Democratic majority to 51-49.

Real Clear Politics: Senate Race, No Toss-Ups

Looking at their map, I think they are probably right in that it looks unlikely that Republicans will recapture the Senate, since of the remaining Democratic leaning states there would be an uphill fight to turn them Republican (although I think California and Wisconsin are possibilities). But cutting significantly into the Democratic majority would still be a tremendous victory for them.

Happy Star Wars Day!

May the Fourth Be With You!

The Daily Telegraph: Star Wars Day: 'may the fourth be with you', say fans in tribute to cult films

03 May, 2010

Political Violence in America

When was the last time you saw a Tea Party do this?
SANTA CRUZ - A large group of protesters demonstrating at a May Day rally for worker's and immigrant rights downtown broke off into a riot vandalizing about a dozen businesses around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, police said. Many in the group were carrying makeshift torches as they marched, breaking storefront windows and writing "anarchist graffiti" on buildings, according to Capt. Steve Clark. Many businesses sustained multiple broken windows including very large storefront windows at Urban Outfitters and The Rittenhouse building. Police believe at least 15 businesses suffered damage.
-- San Jose Mercury News, Riot breaks out in downtown Santa Cruz; windows broken on dozens of businesses, porch of cafe set on fire

Of course, according to former President Clinton, who is it that threatens to foment political violence in this country?

02 May, 2010

May Day 2010

I had wanted to post something about Glorification of Murderous Ideologies Day (aka, May Day), but sadly it didn't work out. Too much to do at home, and frankly my writing muses have been for crap lately. So instead, I will mark the occasion by referencing some other discussions elsewhere, each of them being far better essays than anything I could ever have produced.

Victims of Communism Day, by Ilya Somin at The Volokh Conspiracy
May Day: The Conspiracy of Silence Around the Romance of Evil, by "flowidealism" at Let A Thousand Nations Bloom
What If Lenin's Stroke Came Five Years Sooner?, by Bryan Caplan at Library of Economics and Liberty

Hat Tip: The Distributed Republic

And here is a link to my earlier post about artist Nikolai Getman, which according to SiteMonitor appears to be the single most viewed post of this blog:

Nikolai Getman and the Soviet Gulag, at The Fortress of If