Saturday, April 29, 2006

Let Eagles Shriek from Lofty Peak...en Ingles

(HT: A Swift Kick and a Band-Aid)

MIAMI — British music producer Adam Kidron says that when he came up with the idea of a Spanish-language version of the U.S. national anthem, he saw it as an ode to the millions of immigrants seeking a better life.
Well there's your problem right there...it stops being a symbol of national unity, and it becomes another instance of a refusal to assimilate.

I caught Hugh Hewitt on-air trying to argue that I can't object unless I stop singing "My Country Tis of Thee", because that song is really "God Save the King" with new lyrics.

Bad argument. New lyrics changed that anthem into something other.

"My Country Tis of Thee" means something in its current form. That meaning isn't altered just because its sounds originally signified something else, any more than Hewitt can be called a Hellenic commie because he's a Republican, from the Latin res publica, which is of course the title of Plato's historic utopian screed...

We'd be just as mad if some English-language choir opened ball games by singing
Ohhhh hey didja spot...
Mr. Kidron, if you love America and want to rewrite some songs, how about coming up with good lyrics for "The Stars and Stripes Forever"...in any language?
Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom's shield and hope.
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with might endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.
Naw...just hum along.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Journeyman Blogging

I'm fiddlin' with the blogroll of the Fightin' Keebees. I had it on my blog but then Tan Horizons seemed to be a directory of links with some commentary tacked on the left margin.

I could shrink the whole sidebar but things began to disappear, such as my archives. I could shrink the text of the Bear Flag League blogroll but not the 101st Fighting Keyboardists.

I'll figure it out when I feel more rested.
If ever.

Gotta get up and go to work in an hour...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Proud to Serve



Thanks to Cap'n Ed, who got sick and tired of being smeared for not sneaking into the Green Berets and still daring to want America to win the war.

It put me in mind of one of my earliest posts...

chicken-hawk: (Sen. Dem.) n. A person who did not perform a combatant MOS while deployed in a combat area as a regular in one of the four main branches of the US military, who advocates American victory in war. Formerly citizen. See also patriot, civic duty, and home-front. Antonym: fifth-columnist, traitor.


The sheer volume of anti-war demagogery lets you forget how repetitive and unoriginal it is. What Gen. Zinni said about Secy. Rumsfeld isn't that new, any more than what Rep. Murtha said is much different from what Sen. Lautenberg was shrieking from the Senate floor two years ago. Supposedly, the sensation is who is now joining the anti-war movement.

Those of us with some horse-sense know that a bad idea remains a bad idea, no matter how many VIPs get on the podium or how big the rally. Sadly, it seems that such horse-sense is lacking in our party these days. The human quality of leadership cannot be farmed out to a War Room for massaging.

Priorities

I guess bouncing Donald Rumsfeld isn't a national priority anymore... perhaps when gas goes back to $3 a gallon.

Or after amnesty gets blown out of the sky by the Republican House. At least some members of our national government feel some sense of duty to maintain American soveriegnity beyond their own tenure in office. Too bad it doesn't extend to most of the Senate or to this President.

My own priorities have shifted to assignments for the paralegal course. I'll blog as time, and my stupid Internet connection, permit.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

California Dreamin'

If the President can visit California and indulge in science fiction, so can I...

Single-buyer petroleum. The federal government will deal direct with OPEC. Quarterly purchases of petroleum for the entire American market. Deployment of our supreme Navy to enforce the sale: either take our money and the tankers go to Long Beach, or do without payment and the tankers go to Long Beach.

That would put a pretty high buffer between the American consumer and the petroleum speculator.

Big Oil buys from Uncle Sam. That would eliminate the need for gas taxes; the government can recoup the revenue up front.

National refinery standard. No more California gas and Texas gas and Florida gas. It would all be American gas and totally interchangeable. The savings from that reform would probably pay the cost of having the strictest ecological standard applied to 100% of American gasoline.

But all that's about as likely as Californians driving less by choice...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Week In Review

Happy Easter!

It has been a fairly happy Easter with happy endings to most troubles I had at the start of the week. I hadn't realized it had been this long since my last entry, so I'll try to catch up.

Saturday, April 8
I don't really remember much of this day beyond hotel drama which I will call Black Ops. Black Ops always have a lesson, usually for other people. Today's lesson: the 270-lbs man knows better than your absent friend whether it's his truck you're rummaging through.

Sunday, April 9
While at the house I overheard my mother making plans to take a 4-day weekend and visit my ailing grandmother. My mom is usually very strict about showing up for work, and when I heard my aunt was heading out from PA as well, alarms went off.

I hadn't seen my grandmother in over ten years, since her health and the cost of visiting Humboldt Bay got in the way. By adding Friday to my scheduled days off, furious calls back and forth, and maxing out my credit cards during three hours of internet research, I had a round-trip lined up.

Monday, April 10
A day like a Dashiell Hammett novel.

I'm told that all fish in distress emit chemicals of fear and pain that sharks can sense through the pores of their skin from up to a mile away. Perhaps human weirdos have the same ability to sense fatigue in hotel clerks. All I know is, when I work beyond 9 hours they come to me sure as bear to spawning salmon.

My relief called off thirty minutes into the next shift. Nobody else could take it. The manager called off sick. It was up to me, on four hours sleep, to do a double.

Black Ops...Black Ops Lesson for the Day: like I told the 270-lbs man, if she actually could take down the owner and the clerk she could stay here forever; it's the failed attempt that got her booted.

Punched out 17.75 hours after punching in, got a quart of beer and a sandwich for the present and 12 cans of Mountain Dew for later. Snoozed in a vacant room for five hours and started another 8-hour shift.

Tuesday, April 11
Punched out on time, got another quart of beer and returned to my comped room for another forced snooze. Woke after three hours, and left to get more sleep at home.

Couldn't. Probably a lesson here about turning yourself into a Miller High Life/Moutain Dew/Venti-Americano cocktail.

Punched in eleven hours after I woke up, for another full shift. I fortified myself with another twelve cans of the Dew. My luck that nobody tried to buy a room or book a reservation; it would have been interesting.

Wednesday, April 12
Punched out and drove home to pack. Kept awake at the wheel by slapping the back of my neck, hard. Somehow I packed the right ratio of shoes and socks and underwear and shirts and pants and my paralegal reading and my boarding passes and toiletries. All fit nicely into my 1997 UCR duffle, one of the great unexpected values of my life. Drove to the house and let The Yell Sr. do the driving to the airport.

The engines on the wing of a Boeing 737 wiggle.

My outfit of blue jeans and blue shoes and blue socks and a blue shirt and a blue tie and a blue sweater and my LA Dodgers cap on the streets of downtown San Francisco drew no comment at all, possibly because I was the only schmuck in the Bay Area without a poncho or umbrella. More probably, they didn't dare notice.

I sat across from very loud people whose disgust with Greyhound, its drivers, and its timetable, grows more intolerable each week that they use it.

Thursday, April 13
Woke early to be conveyed to see Grandma by my uncle. She was in a great deal of pain from unexplained internal bleeding. Whenever her saline drip lost flow she would spasm and writhe. That happened three times in two hours I visited. She was very happy to see me though.

My uncle, a lifelong Democrat and lumber union activist, argued politics with me. We found some common ground but failed to agree on just how wrong President Bush's immigration plans, and the modern environmental lunatic fringe, could be. (Not that either of us thought they were right, you understand.)

I spent a few hours talking with Grandma's husband Dan, a TSgt in the 8th Army Air Force. I hadn't realized that battle stars affected their pay; or that they were compelled to tote their assigned sidearm outside of their bunks for fear of German paratroops. Dan was lucky to be assigned the Colt .45; some poor joes had to tote a Thompson to the latrine. Dan hates the .45 Colt for this reason, which is ironic since my friends would gladly pay to be permitted to wear a Colt into the john. (I suspect some of them do so without authorization, but I welcome a sense of mystery on the subject and all related topics.)

Uncle Dick took me to lunch at the marina in Eureka, where I sampled my first oysters. They are the zucchini of the sea! I dislike zucchini.

After I woke myself snoring, we agreed to adjourn for the afternoon, and after another visit to Grandma, met up with my two cousins. Big Louie's is the place for pizza if you're in Eureka--you'll recognize it as the building with the lights on at 9pm. I recommend the NorthCoast organic porter, which is smooth as root beer and very dangerous.

While I slept, the alternate night auditor decided that her last week would end a little sooner than scheduled, and my poor coworkers had to split the graveyard three ways.

Friday, April 14
On the bus I sat next to a very nice Oakland native named Shandrelle, and a lady from Maryland who let us all know that everything is totally screwed by Bush, the Catholics, the Jews, and the corporations. I don't see how you can be angry that there's too much farmland being given to suburbs and that there's not enough housing to go around, but she was. The three of us got off the bus at Oakland, since Shandrelle pointed out that we could just travel BART from Oakland to Oakland International instead of riding into San Francisco and crossing the Bay. Shandrelle saw us off at the BART and I carried bags for the Gauche Crusader for another half-hour. It was Good Friday, after all.

I was sporting the Dodger blue again. No comments from anybody. I saw a weightlifter in the orange-and-black SF cap whose black Tee bore the orange motto DODGERS SUCK.
He didn't see me.
He didn't hear me.
He didn't feel his girl nudge him and point at me.
He passed three feet away from my grinning puss, totally oblivious.

Bet you thought I was joking about nobody daring to notice me on Wednesday?

I hit SoCal about 10pm and got my things and hit the hotel, ready to roll for the bulk of graveyard after a short nap. Of course I'd be fine. No problem. Easier for me than anybody else.

They couldn't wake me and they had to work it themselves anyhow.

Saturday April 15
Got up at noon and slept most of the day.

Black Ops Lesson of the Day: after you beg a hotel clerk to save you from the carload of vatos you challenged, you can't intimidate him with mad-dog glares.

Sunday April 16
Got word that our regular day clerk is back from a month's leave, ending any real danger of double-shifts or turnarounds.

Got word that Grandma's bleeding has been stopped and she's off the cruel hoses and back at home.

Sat down in church for an imminent Spanish-language service; realized I was too tired to grapple with a Mass in a language I don't speak. I left-patting my pockets furiously as cover--and tried to find night services anywhere before stumbling to the 9am English service. Thank God I snapped fully awake during the readings and even sang clearly.

Had two three-hour naps during the day and started work comfortably.

This was Easter when I started and I'll just post it before I start my audit.

Black Ops Lesson for the Day: if you want to buy the room that your pals were thrown out of yesterday, rehearse your lies in the parking lot first.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Extremism is...

Solving problems.

If you propose a political solution to a problem...if you have a plan for action by government that will make the problem go away...so that the problem isn't significant within the forseeable future...you are an extremist.

Moderate, mainstream political thought is about managing problems. Acknowledging the problem can't be solved, but can be handled appropriately.

E.g: Illegal immigration. Social Security insolvency. Government pork. Corporate bribes to Congress. Foriegn terrorism. Nuclear proliferation. Ballot box fraud. Smog...

I'd like to hear somebody give an example of some national problem we agree can be eradicated within ten years, without losing our sense of proportion, violating our values, playing to the fringe, etc. etc. etc.

Anybody?

Please?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Runner Seeking Sponsors

Andy Nevis, the High School Conservative, has a worthy appeal for a sponsor in the Boston ALS run.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Center-Right Shuffle: Immigration

From Hugh Hewitt today:
After a morning spent plugging Painting the Map Red on a half dozen radio talk shows from Connecticut to New Mexico, and Oregon to Florida, I am reposting my thoughts on the immigration debate from earlier this morning. I feel like Jeremiah, as I do predict this situation in the book, but I don't want to end up as prescient as the prophet. Wake up, GOP: The immigration debate could kill the party's prospects in the fall.

Chapter Nine of the new book anticipated the internal knock-down the GOP now finds itself engaged in, a fight that can still be called off and the damage repaired if party leadership moves to the only position that makes sense: immediate authorization of a serious border security initiative built upon the construction of the 700 miles of fencing authorized by the House and a comprehensive regularization program for the 11 million illegal aliens already in the country, though not one including citizenship for decades.

The details are in the book, but the danger of continued intraparty battling is expressed by Bill Kristol --though not in terms likely to reduce the heat-- in this week's WeeklyStandard, where he concludes:

Most Republican officeholders know that the political--and moral--cost of turning the GOP into an anti-immigration, Know Nothing party would be very great. It could easily dash Republican hopes of becoming a long-term governing party. How many Republicans will have the courage to stand up and prevent the yahoos from driving the party off a cliff?

Kristol isn't the only one warning the GOP that November, 2006 could see the return of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Newt Gingrich is making the same prediction.

Time for Senators Frist and McConnell, Speaker Hastert and Majority Leader Boehner, and the president's senior team to huddle, agree, and execute the end game on border security/immigration reform.

Any plan that includes the fencing and serious approrpiation towards continued vigilance against the possibility of a Beslan hapening in Phoenix or San Diego or anywhere inthe southwest satisfies 75% of the voters concerned about the issue.

Any plan that doesn't reward lawbreaking with citizenship satisfies the vast majority of the rest.

The Democrats can't filibuster such a plan.

So, get it done. If Jack Kelly, Hedgehog and I can all see the obvious, why can't D.C. pols?

Or prepare to welcome Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid.

Ever notice how much of the center-right political thought is just redefining conservative goals more narrowly, and smearing anybody outside the new focus as "extremist"?

Or how its focus is always strictly election results?

Or how America is always in imminent peril, and this peril can only be averted by the right result in an upcoming election?

What's the real problem with illegal immigration? I say it's millions of people on the wrong side of the border who dispute the moral authority of the US over its territory and economy, who will not comply with our immigration or employment laws where inconvenient, and are angrily clogging the streets demanding an end to the threat of serious enforcement.

The "obvious" solution does nothing about that problem. It's about pushing something, anything, through Congress and hoping the voters keep it down until the next election.

Instead of moving people, the GOP will move dirt and rocks.
Instead of enforcing compliance, we will "maintain vigilance".
Instead of making anybody do anything, we'll offer them reams of new paperwork so that they will become "regularized": we will acknowledge that they're here, pretend it is just temporary, and refuse to shove them out.

This will fail, because they don't recognize our authority to demand valid driver's licenses, let alone regulate residency and employment. But the Smart Set doesn't really care about solving problems. It's in CYA mode.

The plan needs time to work, we'll be told. We'll also be told that because a bad plan was enacted as the Party Line going into the election, the victory is a mandate to dodge solutions.

"The voters weighed the issue and they heard Candidate X. Candidate X won on the obvious plan. Let Candidate X do it his way, the voter's way."

Sound familiar?

We'll solve illegal immigration when we do three things:
Boost work visas tenfold, and guarantee citizenship to any applicant who can't be disqualified within five years.

Back up physical barriers to border-hopping laborers, with sweeps of their urban destinations. Detain. Deport.

Six-figure fines--per employee- for deliberate employers of illegal aliens.

But actually caring about solutions marks me as a loon.

I do feel smeared by Kristol's quote and I resent Hewitt's repeat of it. Anybody who wants citizenship to take "decades" has no pulpit from which to scream "Know-Nothing"!

And we should feel pretty good that America's imminent peril can be staved off by elections. As opposed to WW2, where we had to fight like Hell.

You know, the biggest barrier to long-term Republican domination--as proposed by the center-right--isn't angry Democrats? It's savvy Republicans.