about "The Best Comic Strip Ever!"

The characters in my strip, set in Africa's Western Rift Valley, are: the Foolish Pride of lions (Leon, the haughty and lethargic King of Beasts; his queen, Leona; and their cub Lionel, an unpromising heir to the throne); Secretary Bird, a liason between the Royal Court and the rest of the animals; cerebral, man-imitating Ape, a reader of the Substandard; peevish Rhinoceros; harmless but senseless Ostrich; Crocodile, resident of the much-frequented Watering Hole, and his dentist, Crocodile Bird; Honey Badger (alias Ratel), the "Meanest Animal in the World", and his one associate, Honeyguide; Mumbo the elephant, a descendant of Jumbo and a butt of jokes about his weight and the size of his ears and nose; Duncan the dung beetle; ill-favored and unwashed Warthog; the craven, henpecked male and shrewish female hyaenas, both of them foul-smelling and perpetually at war vs. the lions; the mistaken-identity-plagued zebras; slow and superannuated Tortoise; Oxpecker, a companion of large herbivores; Hugh the chamaeleon; and walled-up Mrs. Hornbill.

The Best Comic Strip Ever!

If you "click" the present cartoon, whizbang technology will take you to the "The Best Comic Strip Ever!" Archive.



30 December 2010

Uncommon Commentary #143: Doesn't He Feel Guilty Putting His Fellow Drones to Work?

Of all the things that Emperor Nerobama has done, the one that might conceivably be regarded as a credit to him is his permitting drone attacks against militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan; even this, however, is not really a reason for commendation, although the strikes themselves are laudable.  It's not as if our current president came up with the idea for this campaign, which is a CIA operation, and which was ongoing when his predecessor occupied the Oval Office; the number of these assaults has increased under Obombast, but that increase can be attributed merely to the worsening of the situation on the Afghan border since the changing of the guard in the White House, and to the fact that the Bush administration's ultimate success in the counter-insurgency in Iraq has freed intelligence operatives (who identify the drones' targets) to concentrate on the Afghanistan-Pakistan theatre of the struggle versus terrorists.  Besides this, why should presidential authorization even be required for the launching of missiles from a drone?  The US Army Air Force didn't need Franklin Roosevelt's signature on every order for the bombing of Axis countries during World War II, and, as has repeatedly been said, we are now in a war on terror.  A more capable commander-in-chief than either Bush or Obombast would not micro-manage this war from the District of Columbia, but instead delegate power to his commanders in the field.

23 December 2010

Uncommon Commentary #142

Irving Berlin (a Jew) evidently didn't object to calling a certain holiday by its name, for he used that name in his most popular song: White Christmas.  If, seven decades ago (when there was considerably more emphasis on the first syllable of "Christmas" than there is now), it wasn't necessary to pander to the benighted in order to be "inclusive," why should it be now? (The Political-Correctness Police would probably say that people have become more "sensitive" since then, but we haven't; we've simply become afraid to be labeled as insensitive.)

16 December 2010

Miscellaneous Musing #27

We ought to think about death much more often than the average person does, not to be morbid but to remind ourselves of why not to commit sins that will lose for us the real immortality: that of our souls.

09 December 2010

Miscellaneous Musing #26

Why the Hades is our base where all those terrorists are kept nicknamed "Gitmo?"  I can understand the "G," the "t," and the "mo," but what of the "i," which, according to leading experts in orthography, doesn't occur anywhere in "Guantanamo Bay?"  If the place really needs a juvenile colloquial name, I suggest "GBay."

01 December 2010

Disservice to the Service

(The revised edition of this uncommon commentary was posted on 24 February '11.)

25 November 2010

Uncommon Commentary #141

The cover of the latest issue of Newsweek calls Emperor Nerobama "God of All Things" and depicts him with extra arms, in imitation of the Indian idol Shiva.  The subtitle of the illustration reads "Why the Modern Presidency May be [sic; "b" should be capitalized] too [sic; see previous "sic"] Much for One Person to Handle," but is there unintended significance in the fact that Shiva's rôle in Hindu cycles of creation is that of destroyer of the world?

21 November 2010

Uncommon Commentary #140: Do Your Rocking in a Chair!

The older one gets, the more asinine one looks listening to rock and roll, or—even worse—performing it.

14 November 2010

Uncommon Commentary #139: Let's Give a Seat to an Old Lady Instead

Perhaps to prove that the revolt of the masses in his country doesn't mean that he won't be coming up with any more bad ideas, Emperor Nerobama has taken the opportunity of his pointless Asian junket to announce his support for making India a permanent member of the UN Security Council.  It's not clear yet whether he wants India to replace one of the existing five that never yield their seats, or to be added to their number; I might not object to having India take the place of either Russia or mainland China, both of which have demonstrated even less commitment to the cause of world peace (see below), but this won't happen away, because of the way that the council has been constituted.
The term "United Nations," you see, was first used by the World War II Allies while the war was yet going on.  When the organization called the United Nations was planned, it was decided that there would be a body, i.e., the Security Council, charged with enforcing peace.  Five of the states that had fought the Axis (at least ultimately, in the case of the Soviet Union, which had allied itself with Germany in 1939), to wit, the USA, UK, USSR (whose seat was, unilaterally, claimed by post-Communism Russia), China (whose Nationalist government was later "de-recognized" in favor of that of the People's Republic of China), and France, were to be perpetually endowed with seats on this body, whereas other countries would have to take turns serving on it; the reason why two of the countries that have done the most to cause postwar unrest were included in the first category is that Franklin Roosevelt—to whom, interestingly, admirers of our current president have often compared him—was prey to fantasies that Stalin's USSR was one of the good guys and that Chiang Kai-shek's China was a great power.
What this background information shows is that no one, however deserving, is going to be dropped from a permanent place on the Security Council.  As to whether India or any other state ought to be joined to that five to make six, what would be the point?  One reason why the council never accomplishes anything is that, for action to be taken, assent is required of all five of the permanent members; increasing their number to six would only make unanimity harder to achieve.  Furthermore, modern India in particular doesn't merit inclusion in a body that is tasked with the prevention and the ending of conflicts, as this de jure republic and de facto Hindostani empire has been guilty of more military campaigns of aggression than has almost any other over the same period of time.  The Portuguese possessions on the subcontinent, and the princely state of Hyderabad, were both incorporated into the Union of India by force; in regard to the former, it should be noted that when India seized Goa, Daman, and Diu, a UN Security Council resolution to order the withdrawal of Indian troops failed only because of a veto by Soviet Russia, with which country India would sign a defensive alliance in 1971.  In 1982 independent Sikkim was absorbed through a different sort of military action: the conducting of a referendum, the fairness of which historians have challenged, by the Indian Army.  Wars and near-wars versus Pakistan, nearly all of them over Islamic-majority Kashmir, have occurred an amazing nine times; to be fair, Pakistan bears about equal responsibility for provoking the individual crises, although it must be allowed that at least part of Indian Kashmir really should be given to this Moslem neighbor.  In addition to all the preceding, India has voted against our positions at the UN more often than not, which would render US support for India's ambition inexplicable under any president but Obombast.
Proposing to put India on the UN Security Council is at least benign, since, as stated above, the council serves no practical purpose anyway, but it's also benighted.  If any changes are to be made to the council's makeup, they ought to involve not adding but subtracting, that is, amending the charter in order to expel China and Russia (and maybe France).  Only the USA and the UK (and maybe France) would remain as permanent councillors, but they and everyone else ought to withdraw from the UN as a whole anyway—which is a fit subject for another uncommon commentary.

06 November 2010

Uncommon Commentary #138: Does "Economic Food Chain" Mean Something like McDonald's?

On 21 October, Harry Reid said that his constituents are "too far down the economic food chain" to realize that "but for me, we'd be in a worldwide depression."  I considered making a posting about how this arrogant imbecility (the most recent in a breathtaking spate of bizarre comments by our Senate Majority Leader) ought to usher in the close of Reid's career as a public "servant," but I saw little point in doing so, since he then trailed in the polls anyway (albeit by a number of percentage points that was within the margin for error).  Inexplicably, however, the very people that he insults and betrays have re-elected this man, whom non-partisan reform groups routinely cite as one of our most infamous malfeasants.  I'm probably not the only one to feel appalled by this, but most, or perhaps all, other commentators will give a shrug of resignation and pronounce that the will of the people must be hallowed.  I, on the other hand, will speak forthrightly: Nevadans—and not Nevadans alone—have forfeited whatever right to vote that they might have had, and their State ought to revert to the status of a territory, the residents of which have no say in elections to the federal government.
The worst consequence of Reid's return to office would seem to be the fact that it, in conjunction with questionable decisions by other segments of the electorate, denies Republicans a majority in the US Senate to go along with the one that they have attained in the House of Representatives. (The Republican Party has its faults, such as a penchant for worship of "America" and of what we term "democracy," but most of its members sincerely care about the future of their country; the same certainly is not true of the Democrats, who didn't even try honestly to alleviate the first phase of this likely "double-dip" recession, but instead exploited it to try to remake the USA into a leftist paradise.)  In a perverse way, however, Democratic retention of Senate leadership is a blessing, or at least the closest that one can get to a blessing in the USA's no-win political system (see below).  Had Republicans gained control of both houses of the Congress, we might have a repeat of what happened in the 1990's, which I have already mentioned in Dem Dumb Dems: President Clinton's unpopularity during his first two years in office resulted in a Republican midterm legislative landslide, which resulted in economic and other improvements, which resulted in an increase in Clinton's popularity, because the average person is too obtuse to distinguish between something effected by the president and something that merely takes place during his administration.  The Constitutional principle of "separation of powers," which is the reason why the president and the congressional majority so often represent different parties, is, in my not-so-humble opinion, a serious flaw.
Overall, of course, Election Day 2010 was a very good one for the superior of the two major parties.  It's quite a contrast with the 2008 version, which was the most unsatisfactory in US history; it further demonstrates that even when Democrats win they lose—alas, so do we—because then they have to rule, and their corruption and incompetence in doing so inevitably produces a voter backlash.  Is this, though, the best that we can hope for: an unending oscillation between Democrat and Republican, each party in turn—depending on who actually or apparently is in power when things go wrong—being discredited in the public eye?  Opinion surveys have shown for years now that displeasure at the government has reached an all-time high.  If people really desire change, they ought to show that they do so by being receptive to truly new ideas, even if those ideas are for the drastic reform of some things that we deem secularly sacrosanct.

29 October 2010

Uncommon Commentary #137

It's been some time, hasn't it, since we heard anyone refer to President Obombast as "charismatic," "eloquent," or "charming?"

26 October 2010

Uncommon Commentary #136: Quote of the Geek

I've just learned that Emperor Nerobama once said that " America [sic] has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi."  I'd been under the impression that the USA originated from the Thirteen Colonies, long before Gandhi's birth, but whatever the President says must be true.  Correct your history books accordingly.

17 October 2010

Uncommon Commentary #135

The bathyscaphe Alvin must envy Democrats' ability to sink to a new low, which is what they are doing in trying to shift the burden of proof onto the victims of their unsupported allegations in the "foreign money" pseudo-scandal.  They ought to mind the observation made by their fellow leftist, Carl Sagan: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."  (They also ought to be sued for slander.)

11 October 2010

Uncommon Commentary #134: It's Justice, Not Kaplan, that Ought to Be Blind

Tanzanian miner Hussein Abebe sold five crates of dynamite to terrorist Ahmed Ghailani, who is to be tried in a civilian court for conspiring in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya; Abebe was to be, in the words of the prosecution, a "giant witness", but Judge Lewis Kaplan has barred him from testifying, on the grounds that the CIA learned of his existence by using "coercive tactics" against the defendant which allegedly equated to torture.  Given the mendacity of the Left's campaign against Bush Administration "torture," there is plenty of reason to doubt that the interrogative techniques employed by US intelligence really amounted to that; even if they did (and if it were actually unethical to torture someone whose status as a terrorist is beyond question—see here), this would be cause for censuring the government, not for ignoring testimony that has a bearing on the case.
Judge Craplan tried hard to make his ruling sound noble: "The court has not reached this conclusion lightly.  It is acutely aware of the perilous nature of the world in which we live.  But the Constitution is the rock upon which our nation [sic] rests.  We must follow it not only when it is convenient, but when fear and danger beckon in a different direction.  To do less would diminish us and undermine the foundation upon which we stand."  If the US Constitution really forbids us to exercise common sense in a situation such as this, then it's a rock that's in danger of tumbling down the slope that leads to Hell, taking our "nation" with it.
Is this the best that we can expect from the judicial system that Emperor Nerobama's regime wants to put on display for the rest of the world, which is the reason that it has given for bestowing upon foreign terrorists the protections to which they would be entitled if they were US citizens?  Legitimate evidence obtained illegally is still evidence.  Justice ought to be blind, but not deaf, dumb, or brainless.

08 October 2010

Uncommon Commentary #133

The USA's Democratic Party and the UK's Labour ought to be officially proscribed, as the National Socialists ("Nazis") have been in Germany since World War II.

02 October 2010

Uncommon Commentary #132

Whoever has been sending death threats to Wayne Bell, author and publisher of The Tea Party Coloring Book for Kids, is far off the mark in thinking that this book "was designed for politically conservative adults, and not for children"; if Bell had intended a coloring book for "adults," they would be leftists.

30 September 2010

Uncommon Commentary #131: Atheists, Agnostics, and Heretics? P-ew!

A poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has found that believers in various faiths to be found in the spirituality spectrum of the USA are actually more ignorant about religion nowadays than are atheists and agnostics.  Atheists, and agnostics, if the latter are organized, doubtlessly will claim these results as proof that knowledge leads to the spurning of religion, but the truth is more complex.
Columnist Cal Thomas (a Christian) wrote in his 28 September column that the fact that nullifidians scored highest on the survey (correctly answering an average of 20.9 out of 32 multiple-choice questions) doesn't surprise him, for "To reject religion you must understand what you are rejecting."  Thomas ought also to have pointed out the glaring deficiency of the Pew poll, which is that the categories of people surveyed (from highest to lowest rank: "Atheist/Agnostic," "Jewish," "Mormon," "White evangelical Protestant," "White Catholic," "White mainline Protestant," "Nothing in particular," "Black Protestant," and, with a median of only 11.6 correct answers, "Hispanic Catholic") do not distinguish between persons who actually live their professed faith and those who don't take it very seriously.  In the analysis of the survey results, Pew Forum associate director for research Alan Cooperman—who shares Thomas's assessment that atheists do not reject religion without serious consideration—observed that "People with the highest levels of religious commitment – those who say that they attend worship services at least once a week and that religion is very important in their lives – generally demonstrate higher levels of religious knowledge than those with medium or low religious commitment," but he failed to specify how much higher.  Jews as a whole scored only four tenths of one percentage point lower than atheists and agnostics, and so it's completely justifiable to presume (especially given the large number of their brethren who are Jewish in name only) that devout Jews fared far better on this test than did the poll subjects who don't believe in anything; much the same must be true of Mormons, who finished a close third with an average of 20.3 correct answers, and, at least to a lesser extent, of members of Christian denominations "other than" Mormonism (which, sadly, is heterodoxy), the highest mean score for whom was 17.6.  Note also the low performance of the "nothing in particular" [in their heads?] crowd.
Unbelief does not proceed from superior intelligence and wisdom.  It's illogical not to believe in some sort of deity or deities, although the quest for understanding the supernatural does not necessarily produce the concept of a benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent god, which is why we need divine revelation.  Don't invoke the cosmogony of Stephen Hawking, either; the scientific fact that the universe has a beginning argues for the existence of God, Whom theologians, long before the "Big Bang" theory, were already designating by the term First Cause, signifying an uncreated creator.  Truly did the author of Psalm 14, verse 1a, write that "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'"

Uncommon Commentary #130

To follow up on the previous uncommon commentary: I’ve nothing against the TEA parties—except for their invocation of Revolution mythology; the Boston “Tea Party” was an episode of pure vandalism, carried out by a besotted, self-serving mob, and wholly undeserving of its magnification into one of the decisive moments in the reputed struggle of "liberty versus tyranny"—but it is lamentable that the partiers concern themselves exclusively with government spending.  If an election were to come down to a choice between a fiscal conservative who holds un-Christian views on moral matters (i.e., someone like former US Representative Chris Shays), and a socialist who is a true Christian, I would have to vote for the socialist.

28 September 2010

Uncommon Commentary #129

(Big) government is a problem, but not the problem, as if all other problems depended upon it.  The problem is, and always has been, sin.

26 September 2010

Uncommon Commentary #128: And the Average Usan Woman's Girdle Can Be a Temporary Shelter

Have you heard about the "emergency bra?"  This brainchild of I-don't-know-whom is a brassiere that doubles as a pair of oxygen masks.  Apparently the idea is that, when she needs to cover her nose and mouth, a woman who had the foresight to wear this can take it off, separate the cups from one another, and use the straps to secure one of them to her head; the other can be given to someone else.  This presents more than one interesting scenario.
It evidently is possible to remove a brassiere without taking off the garment that one is wearing over it, but, in the panic of an emergency situation, would the average woman take the time to do it that way, or would she simply strip off her outerwear and then do the same with the "emergency bra?"  Will it occur to male pilots to fake a crisis during a commercial flight, and then, snickering, peek through the door that leads from the cabin toward the passenger section, to see whether any of the female passengers have bared their breasts for the sake of saving their lives?
Is there significance in the bright-red color?  That is to say, is it designed to show through a blouse, with the result that someone who lacks a mask will (acting under the same panic that I mentioned in the preceding paragraph) accost a woman, saying "I don't want to die, Lady!  Give me your bra!"  Might men tear off the clothes of women dressed in opaque outfits, in the hope that those women are wearing the "emergency bra?"
Since about half the world's population is male, and the "emergency bra" has two cups apiece, it would seem convenient for all of us if every woman in the world were to wear this item of lingerie.  I suspect, though, that many a woman would feel some discomfort at the prospect of a man's putting over his nose and mouth something that, only a moment earlier, was covering one of her breasts.
Finally, it should be noted that the "emergency bra" has actually won an award.  Since when is there an award for "Weird Invention of the Year?"

05 September 2010

Uncommon Commentary #127: Their "Alarm" Needs Repair

There was a report on Religion and Ethics Newsweekly about alarm on the part of some over (what they perceive as) the increase of "Islamophobia" in the USA.  I don't know whether "Islamophobia" is actually growing (or whether the concept is even valid, since the definition of a phobia is an irrational fear or hatred of something), but, even if it is, I have difficulty getting concerned about it just now.  Anti-Christian sentiment has manifestly been rising for decades; why don't people become "alarmed" over that?

04 September 2010

Uncommon Commentary #126: There's Nothing First-Class About This Private

After a year in the US Army, Private, first class (Pfc.) Nader Obdo has "discovered" that the Koran forbids him to perform his duty as a soldier, and so he is applying for conscientious-objector status.  I don't object to the granting of this to him—so long as he reimburses the government for the cost of his training, housing, equipment, clothing, food, medical care, &c.

31 August 2010

Miscellaneous Musing #25

It's understandable that schoolchildren had the summer off in the days before the invention of air conditioning, but now that it's become standard for a building to be cooled artificially, why don't they attend classes throughout the year?

26 August 2010

Uncommon Commentary #125: Obama, the "Anal" in "Analogy"

On his taxpayer-financed tour of electoral hot spots, during which Emperor Nerobama has sought to "help" his party retain control of the houses of Congress by associating local Democrats with himself—Does he even realize how widely detested he's become, or does he, like other leftists, blame the manifest waning of his popularity on pollsters like Rasmussen?—he has used a metaphor that he, doubtless, considers very clever: he tells voters that we need to keep the car (representing our economy) in D(emocrat) gear in order to drive out of the ditch that our economy is in, and that putting it into R(epublican) gear will only keep us in the ditch.  There is, however, a flaw in his analogy.  As is known to anyone whose automobile has ever gotten stuck, staying in D usually just keeps you spinning your wheels; switching into R is often what needs to be done so that the car can then be moved forward.

07 August 2010

Uncommon Commentary #124

When Emperor Nerobama launched the "Race to the Top," how were we to have known that (to draw a conclusion from, among other things, his Injustice Department's refusal to prosecute Black criminals) this meant that he would be moving race to the top of the political agenda?

30 July 2010

Uncommon Commentary #123

It used to be that the only fems who wore bikinis, miniskirts, &c. were those who knew that they had something to flaunt; now, even ugly ones dress that way.  People haven't merely lost their modesty; they've lost their knowledge of the concept.

23 July 2010

Uncommon Commentary #122

Former USDA official Shirley Sherrod (who deserved to be ousted not for alleged racism but for her left-wing political actions) is indignant not at those who unfairly discharged her but at Andrew Breitbart, who made that infamous video—evidently sent to him by someone else, who had edited it—available online; she has accused him of being "willing to destroy me ... in order to try to destroy the NAACP."  How does she know that he was "willing to destroy" her?  Breitbart has said that "this is not about Shirley Sherrod" and that (to quote a Fox News story) he "posted the clip to show that racism exists at the NAACP, since members in the audience laughed as she told the story"; this explanation is quite credible. (Even the person who sent Breitbart the video clip is not necessarily guilty of malice; if he sought to make the same point about the NAACP that Breitbart did, he would not have needed to exhibit the whole video—if that would even be feasible—but only the part in which the NAACP members demonstrated amusement at Sherrod's relating of how she denied the White farmer as much help as she could have given him.)  Sherrod is treating Breitbart precisely as the Obombast Administration treated her in sacrificing her without hearing her side of the story.

16 July 2010

Uncommon Commentary #121

I don't know how the story got started that it's nearly impossible to subdue Afghanistan.  The Afghans have actually been defeated by just about everyone who conquered in that part of the world: Persians, Greeks and Macedonians, Turks, Arabs, Mongols, British—multiple times by some of these.

09 July 2010

Uncommon Commentary #120: Slick Words for a Sick Byrd

In his eulogy of Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, Bill Clinton said that "He once had a fleeting association with [the] Ku Klux Klan, and what does that mean?  I [sic] tell you what it means.  He was a country boy from [the] hills and hollows of West Virginia.  He was trying to get elected.  And maybe he did something he shouldn't have done and he spent the rest of his life making it up."  Presumably this Rhodes scholar meant not "making it up" but "making up for it," but let me begin my assessment of the Failed President's funeral oration. (I refer to the words of Clinton; our current Failed President also said something ridiculously disingenuous about Byrd, replete with cloying pseudo-patriotism, but his remarks are outside the scope of this uncommon commentary.)
1.            What Clinton calls a "fleeting association" with the KKK began in the early 1940's, when Byrd founded a chapter of that organization by recruiting 150 new members, who (unanimously) made him their "Exalted Cyclops" or leader of said chapter; the title seems accidentally appropriate for so monstrous a man who became so powerful a member of the US Senate.  Byrd would later say that he ended his membership "after about a year," but as late as 1946 or 1947 he wrote to a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan that "The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state [sic] in the nation [sic]."
2.            What does Dirty Byrd's having been a country boy, and his "trying to get elected," have to do with his having been a Klansman?  Was Clinton slandering rural West Virginians, by saying that Byrd's environs made him a bigot? Or that racism was so pervasive in the people's hearts and in public debate that he had to pretend to be one in order to get their votes?  There's something wrong with this alibi, anyway: When Byrd joined the Ku Klux Klan, he was under 25 years of age, and thus wasn't even old enough to stand for public office.  Indeed, Byrd said that he never considered a future in politics until a KKK official told him that he had a talent for leadership, and that this happened at age 23 or 24, hence, in 1940 or 1941.  Furthermore, in 1952, when he began his career of corruption by campaigning successfully for a seat in the US House of Representatives, he told the electorate that his participation in the KKK was a thing of the past.
3.            What did Clinton mean, "maybe" (Byrd "did something he shouldn't have done")?
4.            How did Byrd make up for the wrong that he had done: by becoming the congressional "King of Pork?"
It seems to me that it wasn't Byrd but Clinton who was "making it up," that is to say, fabricating offensive nonsense to disguise the reality of the late Senator's failed life.

08 July 2010

Uncommon Commentary #119

Emperor Nerobama really is unbelievable.  Now, we learn from NASA Administrator Bolden, in statements confirmed by the Oval Office, that his boss wants the agency to do three things: "re-inspire children to want to get into science and math," "expand our international [sic] relationships," and "engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good [sic] about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering."  Doesn't "explore space" belong on this list?  Planetary scientist and former astronaut Tom Jones has written of the NASA:
Its shuttle program will end early next year, and the space agency has no clear, approved plan to build the shuttle’s successor….  Due to inattention and lack of funding by our policy-makers, American [sic] astronauts next year will be forced to reach the Station via Russian rockets, at least through 2015….  Once the shuttle retires, [the] NASA doesn’t know when U.S. rockets will again launch astronauts from Cape Canaveral, or whether those rockets will be privately run, or government-owned, like the shuttle….  Even less certain are the means for [the] NASA to reach deep space, … and when American [sic] explorers might be ready for such a journey.
As you know if you read The Heavens That Interest Me Number Only Seven, I consider penetration of the cosmos to be largely a waste; if we're even going to have a NASA, though, it ought to serve the purpose for which it was originally intended.

01 July 2010

Uncommon Commentary #118

I wonder whether Christopher Hitchens, author of an infamous atheist book, realizes that his first name is religious (meaning "messiah-bearer").

24 June 2010

Uncommon Commentary #117: Taking Exception to Exceptionalism

Although I consider myself a Domanist rather than a "conservative," I do align with nearly all positions that are considered "conservative"; I must, however, totally reject "American [sic] exceptionalism," which phrase I had never heard until quite recently, and which I would like to never hear again.
I've never heard or seen this concept defined, but the idea seems to be that (the United States of) "America" is radically different from every other country in the world.  Culturally, the USA is one of the most unexceptional places on Earth, being almost undistinguishable from its northern neighbor. (In fact, Canucks generally view themselves and Yanks as fellow North Americans—one might perhaps designate them together by my coinage, "Yankanucks"—and regard the US-Canadian border, which people have crossed in both directions for generations, as an inconvenience.)  An indignant patriot, if forgetful of the fact that we have jettisoned our own "melting pot" ideology in favor of its antithesis, "diversity is our strength," might retort that our status as a "nation of immigrants" sets us apart from others.  In reality, other New World destinations, especially Canada, have shared in the waves of immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere, and even Old World countries like Great Britain often have more ethnic heterogeneity than people on this side of the Atlantic Ocean realize.  It should be noted further that some things thought of by us as quintessentially "American" really are of foreign origin; for instance, the cowboy hat was developed in Canada, and baseball is basically the same as "rounders," a game played by British children.  In centuries long past we might have evolved into a unique civilization, but, because of such forces of globalization as mass media and international commerce, the peoples of the world are growing closer together rather than farther apart.
Attendance at houses of worship reportedly is higher in the USA than in almost any other heavily industrialized land, but, if one were to ignore that statistic and base one's assessment of our piety on statistics related to moral issues, one would have no reason to conclude that religious belief is more characteristic of our country than of the nations of Europe, with which we are always being contrasted.  At the beginning of the 1990's, for instance, 420 abortions were induced every day in the United Kingdom; in the USA, at the same time, the number was 4400.  Adjusting for the fact that the US had some 4½ times the population of the UK, an unborn child was well over twice as likely to be murdered here in the USA as in that supposedly more secular European state.  Even worse, churchgoers reportedly are no less likely than anyone else to become foeticides. (This doesn't necessarily mean that we are in more moral jeopardy than is the average Western polity.  We're all in the same boat, and it's going down; whether the bow, i.e., the Americas, or the stern, i.e., Europe, sinks first is of little consequence.)  The one distinction between us and Europeans in this category, therefore, apparently is that we are hypocrites; Europeans at least admit that they are no longer religious, whereas we Yanks say "Lord, Lord" but don't do as He tells us.
Yanks have a reputation (at least in some circles) for favoring smaller, less-paternal government than do Europeans, Canadians, &c., but this is not quite deserved.  First of all, this distinction, cosmetic as it may be anyway (see below), dates only to the period just after World War II, when many nations imitated the reforms made by the National Socialists ("Nazis") in Germany; in fact, during the 1930's, because of the great expansion of Uncle Sam's rôle that occurred under President F. D. Roosevelt, we were actually more socialistic than countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, the latter of which had, since the mid-Nineteenth Century, been the world's leading advocate and practitioner of free trade, quite unlike the USA.  Second, even before Obama ascended the throne, the US government was far larger and more overweening than perhaps the typical person knew; the combination of State and federal taxes already put a greater burden on businesses in our economy than in any other save that of Japan, and per-capita government spending was higher (even after accounting for price differences) here than anywhere else except Luxembourg, Qatar, Norway, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and France.  Indeed, the ostensibly communist People's Republic of China is more truly capitalist and laissez-faire than the USA these days.  Third, opposition to a planned economy and so forth is far from universal in Yankeedom, and this has been the case for as long as Jeffersonians have liked to think of us as the champion of free markets.
Perhaps at least some of the "exceptionalists" are stuck in the past (which, admittedly, is a better place to be stuck than the present, now that we've become the Obama Nation).  Having been founded on a political instead of an ethnic basis, the USA had a stronger claim to singularity when it was new—but what about Switzerland and the Austrian empire?
Our civilization is not exceptional even in deeming itself exceptional, assuming that this is even majority sentiment.  The classical Greeks, for example, felt the same way, but they, as the devisors of logic, philosophy, science, and theatre, had far better cause than we do for thinking thus. (And the opinion was not limited to themselves; it used to be thought that the ancient Greeks must have been a unique race, so much greater were their accomplishments than those of any other people.)  The Jews of Old Testament times vaunted themselves as a chosen people in a promised land, but, according to the Word of God, they were.
Naturally, the content of the preceding paragraphs doesn't prove that the USA is identical to any other state, even to Canada.  This is probably the one country (at least so far) to which people believe they have some sort of God-given right to emigrate, legally or otherwise—but don't you think that when "America" is pronounced "exceptional," this is meant in a good way?  The truth is that self-congratulation, whether the self is an individual or a personification like Uncle Sam, is to be avoided.  The New Testament and the Church Fathers tell us that we are only sojourners in this world, and that our true home—our true country—lies in Heaven; Heaven may be a difficult place to come home to, if one has dwelt chauvinistically on how special one considers one's homeland to be.

10 June 2010

Uncommon Commentary #116: To Heck with Hel-en

In an Eddie Cantor film, there was a gag about a Yank telling an American Indian: "If you don't like this country, go back where you came from."  I bring up this joke in order to illustrate how "journalist" Helen Thomas's remark that the Israelis (who, as the Israelites, already occupied the Holy Land in the Second Millennium BC) should "go back home, to Poland or Germany," in addition to being hateful, was also strikingly stupid.

07 June 2010

Miscellaneous Musing #24

The division of mankind into two complementary parts is probably an oversimplification; I refer not to the sexes, but to leaders and followers.  The practice of categorizing everyone as either a leader or a follower rests on the assumption that everyone is part of the crowd, but some of us don't really care to be part of the crowd except under certain circumstances. (I, for instance, am quite content that someone else be in charge of things so long as they are done to my satisfaction; if they're not to my satisfaction, I want to take over, and do those things myself.)

04 June 2010

Uncommon Commentary #115

The fact that British Petroleum (BP) is a foreign company is insufficent reason for concluding (as have some sources of opinion) that this firm doesn't care about the petroleum leak, so long as it affects our territorial waters.  BP is in business to make money, and it obviously doesn't make any off petroleum that gushes into the Gulf of Mexico.

28 May 2010

Uncommon Commentary #114

Emperor Nerobama has reportedly thrown a fit over the petroleum leak in the Gulf of Mexico, and said to his aides, "Just plug the damn hole."  I wonder if anyone has ever told him the same thing, in reference to his mouth.

25 May 2010

Uncommon Commentary #113: Profiling a Country in Jeopardy

Aside from the very fact that our country is ruled by ORP (Obama, Reid, and Pelosi), there's perhaps no better illustration of how much trouble we are in than the unbelievable uproar over the new Arizona law that makes illegal immigration a State crime—it was, of course, already a federal crime—and authorizes police to require persons to whom they've had to speak for some other reason (such as a traffic violation), and whom they reasonably (v.i.) suspect of being illegal aliens, to produce proof (which federal law has, since the 1940's, required to be carried) of legal residency; the policeman also must call the coldline—I mean, hotline—of the ICE (department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement), which has the duty of determining whether the suspect is in the country licitly. (Or at least it had, before the ICE, along with seemingly every other organ of government, became a partisan tool of the Obama administration.)  The State statute expressly prohibits the screening of suspects based only on ethnicity; as I have noted previously on the Doman Domain, "racial" profiling is a bogus issue anyway.  "Reasonable suspicion" is a concept that's been defined in courts.  As you can tell, therefore, there is nothing very new or draconian about this piece of legislation; were one to base one's assessment of it on the outcry against it, though, one might guess that it instructs patrolmen to abduct and devour the babies of illegal aliens.
Presumably, not every protestor is aware of the truth about this law, but adults ought to know enough to examine the facts of an issue before bursting forth with so hysterical and indignant an overreaction as we are now witnessing. (Further, it's likely that much of the ignorance is wilful; that the demonstrators and other foes don't even want to know the truth of the situation, lest it interfere with their self-righteous minding of others' business.)
The boycotts and other actions of opposition to the legislation, most of which are taking place outside Arizona, hark back to the 1990 furor over that same State's rejection of making (Dr.) Martin Luther King (Jr.) Day a State holiday; that phenomenon sank to its lowest depth when the University of Virginia proclaimed that its "football" team (which had yet to receive an invitation to any postseason event) would not play in the Fiesta Bowl, even if the site of that game should be moved from Tempe (a suburb of Phoenix) to somewhere like New Mexico. (The Virginia team was at or near the top of the rankings at the time of the pretentious annunciation, but faded over the rest of the season; it's tempting to think that the decline in gridiron fortunes was divine punishment for the university's judgmentalism.)  Is it, then, just a dysfunctional State that's to blame for all the controversy?  No; it's 50 dysfunctional States and a dysfunctional District of Columbia, under a dysfunctional federal government voted into power by a dysfunctional electorate.  Terrorists, for whom our porous border with Mexico is an obvious place of entry into the USA, must shake their heads in disbelief when they think that a country whose people are so deeply divided on such a "no-brainer" as opposing illegal immigration would even try to oppose them.

15 May 2010

Miscellaneous Musing #23

I'm not suggesting that people hang the effigy of Emperor Nerobama, but you must admit that it's rather odd that so many buildings in this country display a picture of George Washington instead of one of the sitting president.  This is the equivalent of living in the UK and having a portrait not of Elizabeth II but of Egbert of Wessex, the first person to be recognized as king of all England.

04 May 2010

Uncommon Commentary #112

We human beings voluntarily engage in many activities that we know to be unhealthy, such as overimbibing, wearing high-heeled shoes, playing violent sports, having sexual intercourse out of wedlock, and fighting wars; why single out those who smoke tobacco?

30 April 2010

Miscellaneous Musing #22

A principle of good storytelling is that every word counts; since the depiction of sexual intercourse does not advance the plot of a fictional work, it qualifies as pornography.  Do you realize, then, just how much pornography (and lack of narrative quality) there is in what now passes as mainstream entertainment?

20 April 2010

Uncommon Commentary #111: Born out of Gridlock

On Ash Wednesday, a formerly prestigious newspaper that's published in New York ran a front-page story titled "Party Gridlock in Washington Feeds New Fear of a Debt Crisis."  It's unclear why what the paper calls "gridlock" should contribute to fear of a "debt crisis" (as if we weren't undergoing such a crisis already), especially since it might help to prevent Democrats from burdening the country with spending programs that would balloon the national debt; the lurid headline, though, exemplifies one of the many annoying characteristics of leftists, which is that they whine about "gridlock" whenever things aren't going their way.  During Clinton's presidency, even before public disgust at his incompetence and corruption resulted in the loss of his party's majority in each house of the US Congress, the Left was condemning Republicans with this same word; an observer who didn't know how our political system is intended to operate might have thought that some sort of gentlemen's agreement bound the opposition not to oppose bills favored by the chief executive, even if those bills would, should they be enacted into law, have a detrimental effect on the country.  Now, however, things are even worse; the same blowhards are complaining of "party gridlock" even when Democrats have majorities of 37 seats (236-199) in the US House of Representatives and 18 (59-41) in the Senate!  What the ruling party seems to not understand (or, more likely, to understand but to not care about) is that when you hold that many more seats than the opposition does, and you're still unable to run the USA in the way that you want without resorting to disingenuous tactics like budget-wreckin'ciliation, your agenda must be really unpopular.
In a way, the Leftists are right to say that "the system is broken" (although, as explained above, they are right for the wrong reason); one of the prime reasons why our government hardly ever gets anything done is that the president and one or both of the legislative majorities are so often of mutually antagonistic parties.  Nonetheless, lack of change is preferable to change for the worse. (Or, at least, it usually is; very often, lamentably, under our system, the only way to discredit a party in the eyes of the voters is to allow it to discredit itself through misgovernance, as the Democrats currently are.)

15 April 2010

Uncommon Commentary #110: Obama Goes Non-Ballistic

Most of the current dissatisfaction with Emperor Nerobama has resulted from his foisting upon us the unpopular, unconstitutional, unmanageable, and unwholesome ObamaCareless; for now, though, let's forget about that—I'm sure that most of my readers would like to be able to forget about that forever—because our President's worst legacy might actually be in the field of not domestic but foreign policy.  Take, for example, his recent pronouncement that the USA will not use nuclear weapons even if attacked by such weapons, unless the attack should be made by so-called rogue states like Iran or North Korea. (I say "so-called" because "rogue state" implies the status of an outsider in regard to the world order.  I think that it's questionable whether a "world order," as opposed to a world disorder, truly exists; the countries of the "international community" seem to share little other than an indifference toward everything except making money and clamoring for more "rights.")
President Obombast's declaration is notable in more than one way.  First, he seems to take it for granted that Iran and North Korea will become nuclear powers, if indeed the latter does not already qualify (as Kim Jong Il's regime says that it does).  I must charitably assume that his motivation in making his statement was not to acknowledge that his mishandling of international relations is helping to make such an outcome inevitable, but, rather, to dissuade the polities in question from becoming nuclear powers, for fear of atomic retaliation by the USA; even if that's the case, though, hasn't he betrayed a lack of confidence in his own policy of "engagement?"
Second, and more importantly: In the 65 years that have gone by since the two-ever uses of nuclear weapons, the threat of employing the US atomic stockpile has served the purpose of helping to deter foreign attack upon the USA (and upon our allies).  Has it not occurred to Obama that this very purpose is what he now publicly denies it will serve, with, he says, the two exceptions mentioned above?  I can only hope that Russia, the People's Republic of China, and other non-"rogue states" have learned that what our President says bears no relation to what he does, so that our shrinking and obsolescent nuclear arsenal can maintain whatever credibility it yet retains as a deterrent.  Only God knows how Obama would actually react to an atomic assault upon this country; my guess is that, like Stalin in the wake of the Axis invasion of the USSR, he would fall into a coma-like state, as a result of his inability to reconcile the fact of the disaster with his belief in himself as a sort of secular messiah.

22 March 2010

Uncommon Commentary #109: Slaughtering the Rule of Law

The Dumbocrats in the House of Reprehensives chose not to pass the Senate's version of ObamaCareless using an underhanded method; not, of course, because they had qualms about again violating the promise of Nancy Pilosi (see the list of domanisms) that this would be "the most ethical Congress ever," but simply because she and the bizarrely-named Steny Hoyer felt confident that they had the votes to further the Left's anti-crusade for bureaucratized medicine without resorting here to something Democratic but undemocratic, and that to forego violating the spirit of the US Constitution in this instance would somehow be a "public-relations coup."  I'm disappointed with the leftists; since one of the chief objections to adoption of the Senate bill was its provision for federal funding of foeticide (induced abortion), I thought that it would be verbally appropriate for them to overcome that obstacle by means of the "Slaughter rule."

Uncommon Commentary #108

I've just found out that Emperor Nerobama actually did get one thing right in 2009; he picked the Tar Heels to win that year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.  This does not, however, mean that he's a whiz in that respect any more than in any other, since he may have picked them only because he's a fellow heel.

15 March 2010

Miscellaneous Musing #21

Even a mediocre film from the golden era of cinema (which came to an end ca. 1966) is usually more entertaining than a critically acclaimed one made nowadays.

08 March 2010

Miscellaneous Musing #20

As an historian, I think one can argue that the purchase of Alaska was indeed "Seward's folly."  The investment has repaid itself many times over, thanks to the discovery there of both gold and petroleum (and Sarah Palin), but in 1867 no one knew that the future State contained those resources; furthermore, this transaction meant that the USA, still under a century old, gobbled up thousands-more square miles of faraway territory without having the resources to defend or even adequately govern the area.

02 March 2010

Uncommon Commentary #107: Dem Dumb Dems

The election of a Republican to the US Senate from Massachusetts is rightly being heralded as an indication of the turn of the political tide—I can't help observing that it's been eight years since the most recent Republican landslide (2002, for those of you educated in a public school) and that the previous one occurred eight years before then (1994)—but those of us who yearn for good government ought not to become so euphoric as those who term the vote a "revolution."  The rapid reversal of Democratic fortunes is another of the wild oscillations between the major parties that we've seen over the past two decades, and it may not be the last.  Anyway, the current economic improvement (which will probably end next year), in conjunction with the short memories of the voters, means that there may not be a landslide this fall.
Furthermore, although I'd like to see Republicans retake both chambers of the Congress, I don't want it to happen in the upcoming round of elections, which unlikely to happen anyway because of the 18-seat disparity in the Senate.  Recall what happened in the 1990's.  The best thing that could have happened was for Republicans to control the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Oval Office simultaneously for at least four years.  The second-best thing was that the Democrats would control all three for the same period, and inevitably discredit themselves through their inability or unwillingness to govern capably.  The worst that could have happened is what did happen: Republicans gained a majority in each house of the Congress, and made improvements that included the only kind about which people ultimately care (viz., strengthening of the economy), but, because the average voter is unable to distinguish between something effected by the President and something that merely happens during his term in office, a Democrat usurped the credit. (The circumstances are somewhat different now; Obama is a stronger, though no better, leader than Clinton, whose very status as a political cipher facilitated the Republican legislative dynamism to which I referred in the previous sentence.)
Finally, it ought to be admitted that this is no occasion to go sing Yankee Doodle Dandy.  If it's true that, to quote Sen. Scott Brown, "people aren't stupid" (I would say "benighted"), why did they elect Obama and so forth to begin with?

23 February 2010

Uncommon Commentary #106: UC #105 Follow-Up

Rarely does one of my posted postulations receive confirmation so quickly as has Uncommon Commentary #105, which arrived at the Doman Domain on Sunday; when I got home from church on that same day, I found a Connecticut Post front-page story titled "Global Warming Threat on the Rise."  Given that 1) world temperatures have remained flat for more than a decade; 2) electronic-mails "hacked" from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit have shown leading proponents of the anthropogenic-global-warming theory to be self-serving, ruthless liars; 3) the UN's 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is being revealed to contain so many errors that it would earn a failing grade in a high-school science class; and 4) as if to add an exclamation mark to the refutation of the "scientific" assertions, many parts of our country have seen record amounts of snowfall in the past few weeks, I would have expected the media to at least wait for a heat wave before running another article like that.

21 February 2010

Uncommon Commentary #105

The USAF's Project Blue Book offered perfectly rational explanations for everything that people thought that they had witnessed at Roswell in the 1940's.  So far as I'm concerned, the case is closed, but the fact that this revelation has had no noticeable effect on what can be called Roswell's alien industry leads me to suspect that, Weathergate notwithstanding, global-warming mania is a monster that will not die.

19 February 2010

Uncommon Commentary #104: The Heads of Hollywood Have Heads of Holly Wood (or Some Kind of Wood, Anyway)

I can think of a much better target for populist furor than bankers who receive bonuses: the Hollywood crowd.  Some film actors and actresses actually get paid upwards of $25 million for a single motion picture; even the wealthiest of bankers (who, unlike the former, have real jobs, and play an important rôle in the functioning of our economy) are paupers by that standard.  The Tinseltown elite are, moreover, objectionable in additional ways.  Their behavior (both personal and on-screen) scandalizes people whose morals have a basis in religion, and not just in this country; offense at our popular culture, as epitomized in Hollywood films, is believed to be one of the factors that motivate Islamic terrorism against the USA.  They embrace every crackpot left-wing cause that comes along, and they further the same in the most obnoxious ways possible. (They don't even practice what they and their fellow leftists preach, for they seek to get themselves exempted from the tax-the-rich policies that they say they favor.)
Shall we, then, see the "Beautiful People" become the new object of the obloquy that is currently directed at capitalists?  Not likely, for that obloquy has been incited by the leftist-dominated media and Obama administration, which will never do anything to antagonize their fellow travellers.  Anyway, people in our fallen world probably need celebrities at whom they can gawk, and about whose real or purported exploits they can read in People magazine or The National Enquirer.  When I rule the world, by contrast, things will be quite different; Hollywood will be razed, and symbolically sown with salt. (This doesn't mean that I think that our cinematic industry has never served a valid purpose; I enjoy most films made in the days when they generally upheld Christian values, but that era ended in the mid-1960's, at the same time when so many other good things died out.)

16 February 2010

Uncommon Commentary #103: Obombast Needs a "Dialogue" Coach

Obama's policy of disregarding Iran's dissidents for the sake of "engaging" Ahmadinejad's regime is reminiscent of the elder Bush's policy toward Gorbachev's USSR.  The effect of perestroika and of glasnost (which, incidentally, means not "openness" but "publicity") may have been to hasten the demise of the Soviet Union (which was ultimately inescapable so long as the state remained burdened by its leftist economic system), but the purpose had been to save it; Bush, though aware of the CIA's assessment that the USSR was heading for collapse, supported the reforms and the country in which they were taking place, as if Soviet "communism with a human face" were preferable to no Soviet communism.
It's questionable whether Iran's government will collapse because of popular dissatisfaction, but if we are to "dialogue" with anyone in that nation, it ought to be not with the ruling despots but with those who are striving to undo the effects of the 1979 revolution, and who, as potential post-Ahmadinejad leaders, want to know whether our talk of "human rights" means anything.

14 February 2010

Uncommon Commentary #102

Can you identify the author of this quote?
There is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.  And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favour of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
It was said by Abraham Lincoln.  This doesn't mean that you have to agree with it, as I, being a Christian, certainly don't, but it ought to interest those who have assumed that the Great Emancipator would have approved of the enthronement—I mean, election—of Obama.

13 February 2010

Uncommon Commentary #101

It's hypocritical to speak well of a vile person, e.g., corrupt politician John Murtha, simply because he's now dead.  The tragedy of someone like Murtha is not the fact that he died—death, after all, happens to everyone—but, rather, the fact that he lived the way he did.

12 February 2010

Uncommon Commentary #100!

The bastardizing of 25 December into a generic "Holiday" is lamentably familiar to us, but we probably don't think much about the fact that a like fate seems to have befallen 14 February.  St. Valentine's Day (the feast day of, as I've heard, a man whom the pagans executed for performing weddings at a time when Roman soldiers were not permitted to marry) has degenerated into simply "Valentine's Day" (a secular celebration of love, and often also of what's euphemistically called lovemaking.)

09 February 2010

Bowls, Polls, Field Goals (&c.) Addendum

Had I known about the ending of the NFC Championship, I would have had something to add to Bowls, Polls, Field Goals (&c).  The NFL's provision for overtime is for "sudden death," viz., whoever scores first wins the game, and if no one scores, the game ends in a tie anyway (which makes the system rather pointless), save in the playoffs.  Sin City scored on the opening possession of overtime, thus effectively winning the game (and going on to win the Hyperbowle) because of a coin toss.  Sudden death is a fit fate for whoever came up with this rule.

03 February 2010

Uncommon Commentary #99: Bowls, Polls, Field Goals (&c.), Part II

Do you recall how, at the beginning of Bowls, Polls, Field Goals, (&c.), I wrote that the reasons why I no longer watch the game that we in the Usa call "football" were "not necessarily limited to" what followed?  Here are more of them.
  1. Showboating is pervasive in "football," to the irritation of nearly everyone.  This unsportsmanlike conduct ought to be penalized accordingly, yet neither the NCAA nor the NFL makes any discernible effort at such enforcement.
  2. In the second half of NFL matchups, the clock stops with two minutes remaining to play and upon the attainment of a first down thereafter.  The reason is to facilitate come-from-behind efforts, and thus make the endings of games more dramatic than they would be minus this artificiality.  It reminds me of Democrats' approach to economic matters.
  3. Teams ought not to be allowed to play in domed stadiums, which magnify sound, thus giving the home team an unfair advantage.  This is true even when crowd noise is not being used intentionally as a weapon versus the visitor, as it often is, in violation of the spirit of the game.
  4. Only quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers ever win the Heisman Trophy anymore, and even these recipients are so often undeserving that they could be mistaken for Nobel Peace Prize laureates.  The hyperbole associated with it is well-known.  Why aren't people similarly obsessed with the Maxwell Award, which is also given to the player who's deemed best?
  5. The gridiron these days seems to have no more imagination than the Government does.  The uniforms of NFL teams all seem to have some combination of blue and silver; thanks in no small part to the influence of totalitarianism lite (see the list of Domanisms) or political correctness, people think that just about the only nicknames now available for a team are ones that invoke either animals or natural phenomena such as storms.
  6. The Baltimore Ravens are really the Cleveland Browns under an assumed name.  They ought to move back to Cleveland to replace the impostors, who ought to move to Indianapolis to replace the Colts, who ought to move back to Baltimore.  Since New York also has the Giants, who long antedate the Jets, the latter ought to go to Los Angeles or to some other city that doesn't have a franchise.
  7. The NFL tries to enforce what it calls parity, by giving the best teams the strongest schedules and the worst teams the weakest ones.  This has the desired but undesirable effect of punishing success and rewarding lack of the same—think of it as Affirmative Action for losing teams—and thus making many season win-loss records misleading, and it often does so cumulatively, since schedule strength is based on the previous year's results.  In 1999 the Titans went 13-3 before the postseason, but won only three games against opponents that had a winning record: two versus the 14-2 Jaguars and one versus the 13-3 Rams, neither of whom had beaten any winning teams.
  8. It's not just how many games that you lose in "college football," but when you lose them that's important.  1965 saw Michigan State, Arkansas, and Nebraska all go 10-1; which team finished #1 in the final AP poll?  9-1-1 Alabama.  Why?  Michigan State, Arkansas, and Nebraska each lost their bowl, whereas Alabama, the highest-ranked non-undefeated team at the conclusion of the regular season, won theirs, and there's an unwritten rule that you can't be voted champion if you end the season with a loss, even if you've had a better year overall than has anyone else.  The 1993 season saw a new wrinkle: Florida State and Notre Dame each finished with one loss, but, because Notre Dame's defeat came in the final contest before bowls, Florida State was chosen as "national champion," despite losing to Notre Dame.
  9. The NFL has twice as many teams as it did 40 years ago.  It ought to undo its 1970 merger with the AFL, and allocate to that league the 10 old-AFL teams as well as the five expansion franchises that we’ve seen since then; the NFL would thus have the Giants, Browns, Packers, Bears, '49ers, Steelers, Saints, Vikings, Colts, Falcons, Rams, Lions, Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles, and Cardinals, and the AFL would have everyone else.  The league champions would still play another in the Hyperbowle (see the list of Domanisms), just as they did after the 1966-1969 seasons, and as the winners of the American and National League pennants meet in the World Series.
  10. The "prevent defense" is generally used in a situation where your team leads by more than a touchdown late in the game.  It has its basis in the assumption that you can afford to allow your opponent to score so long as it's not a quick score, which would give them time to score again; since the game clock stops when a pass falls incomplete, but not when a completion is made, you should therefore allow them to complete all except deep passes, so that, if they score, they'll have used too much precious time in order to do so.  This might be logical if not for the possibility that the team that has just narrowed your lead will execute a successful onside kick, which will give them immediate possession of the ball and good field position.  I've seen no statistics on the subject, but the chance of this happening is probably equal to or greater than that of the team's scoring a touchdown in just a few plays.  It's bad enough to see your team give up a score for no reason when they have a substantial lead, but some coaches use this defense even when the opponent is within a touchdown or less of victory.  In a game that I watched in 1993 or '4, Green Bay, ahead 13-12 with under two minutes to play, began playing the prevent defense; Minnesota went right down the field, and kicked a winning field goal. (I wonder whether the New England Idiots won in the same way versus the St. Louis Lambs in the Hyperbowle, which game I didn't see.)  At least the name "prevent defense" seems apt, since prevent (successful) defense is what it often does.

01 February 2010

Uncommon Commentary #98

Obama said recently that he would rather be "a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president."  This quote is incomplete, since he gave no opinion on being the worst president to serve any number of terms.

29 January 2010

Uncommon Commentary #97: It Ought to be Spelled "Wreckonciliation"

The Republican upset in Massachusetts is welcome news, but I don't see how it means what many have said it means, namely, that Health Scare (see the list of Domanisms) can be pronounced "dead."  The Senate and House bills, after all, have both already passed their respective chambers, and so all that remains to be done is to reconcile these evil non-identical twins into a single piece of legislation for Emperor Nerobama to sign into law.  Since I used the word "reconcile" in the previous sentence, this is a suitable opportunity to point out that Senate Democrats could make use of Budget Reconciliation to modify the Senate’s Health Scare with a mere 51 votes—really only 50, since Biden would cast the deciding vote in the event of a deadlock.  Moreover, Budget Wreckonciliation won’t even be necessary if the House of Reprehensives accepts the senatorial bill in its present form.  Anyway, even before the election, Democrats were whispering that, should the unthinkable happen, they would delay Mr. Brown's swearing-in long enough so that Kennedy's temporary replacement could vote for the final version of Health Scare. (Well, what do you expect in the Obama Nation: optimism?)

22 January 2010

Uncommon Commentary #96

Just as after "9/11," celebrities of popular "culture"—now there's an oxymoron—have taken to telethons to urge everyone (else) to send money, this time to Haiti.  It seems to me that their message is being sent to the wrong audience; they ought to exhort not working people but each other, since they're probably richer than all the members of their audience combined.

16 January 2010

Uncommon Commentary #95

One of the worst characteristics of the US form of government is that when a presidential administration turns out to be inept and malfeasant, we have to wait four years for a chance to get rid of it.  The parliamentary system has flaws of its own, but at least it allows for the vote of "no confidence" that sorely needs to be expressed regarding Obama-Reid-Pelosi.

08 January 2010

Uncommon Commentary #94: The Audacity of a Dope

You can imagine how I regret not having read Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope, especially now that I've learned that in this tome our future President likens the British Empire to the USSR—I would have expected that to be a compliment from him—as well as to South Africa during the era of apartheid, even though that policy of racial separation was generally opposed by South Africans of British ancestry. (Indeed, Afrikaaner racism had been a source of friction between Briton and Boer ever since the former arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, in the late Eighteenth Century.)  Furthermore, in the Comparatively Good Old Days before he became the (mis)leader of what used to be known as the Free World, it was said that Obama holds a strong grudge against our closest ally for her history of empire-building.
Has it not occurred to Obama that his own country is a product of colonialism, that of the British and also our own (as practiced, post-Independence, in lands previously occupied by American Indians or Hispanics)?  That the extension of British rule meant the extension of civilization, from which his father's side of the family benefitted?  That British paramountcy not only extended but also improved civilization, since it was primarily British might that put an end to both piracy and the slave trade, and which provided protection that great numbers of missionaries needed in order to bring the Gospel to peoples who knew only superstition?  That, early on in World War II, the Colonies, Protectorates, and Dominions aided the motherland in defending the rest of the world from the Axis?  That the dissolution of said empire opened a door for such tyrants as Idi Amin and Kwame Nkrumah (and Obama)?  That the problem of India's and Pakistan's both having nuclear arms arose because Great Britain no longer rules the Indian subcontinent?  With all due respect to our President—that, is, none—I would say that the British Empire had less in common with the Soviet Union than does the USA now that it's an Obama nation.
Being an author, I'm interested in psychology, and so I'm curious as to the motives for Emperor Nerobama's Anglophobia.  I discern several possibilities, not necessarily in this order of probability:  1) Obama minimizes the value of our longstanding alliances, and so the United Kingdom, as our oldest real friend (as opposed to France, which might once have claimed this title), in his perverse logic, deserves the most belittling.  2) Expressing indignation at (others') imperialism, and at the supposedly tyrannical governance of the Thirteen Colonies, is a Usan (see the list of Domanisms) tradition.  3) Since Great Britain, more than any other state, epitomized capitalism, imperialism, and Western Civilization in the Nineteenth Century, she is a special target for hate by leftists like Obama.  4) Obama has an Œdipus complex, and his mother had an Anglo-Saxon name: Dunham! (This would also explain why he speaks of himself as if he were entirely of Kenyan descent, although he's just as much White as he is Black; why he was willing, in that "major speech on race," to tell the country that his still-living White grandmother was racially prejudiced; and maybe why he brusquely instructed the UK to take back the bust of Sir Winston Churchill, who also had a White Yank for a mother, which was made a gift to President Bush in 2001.)  On the other hand, it may be that 5) He just feels that he needs another way to be wrong; if so, he needn't have concerned himself.