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Friday, July 30, 2010

Gimme that old-time (Islamic) religion

Reuters reports that Hamas, the rulers of the Gaza Strip, have banned lingerie shops from displaying any women's underwear they believe is "immodest". At the same time, they claim they have no intention of imposing Islamic law on Gaza.

Of course they don't. And they have some bridges to sell, too, very cheap.

As recently as the 1970s, in many Islamic countries, lingerie was openly sold, along with Western products of all types. Of course, that was before the rise of the radical Islamics, who seem to fear and despise women -- and everyone else who isn't them.

No doubt, radical Islam is a serious threat to freedom. But one could make the case that any Islamist who takes his faith seriously is a radical.

Many, perhaps even most, Moslems do not take their religion to heart. It's something they grew up with, and observe pro forma, just as unobservant Christians only show up at church at Christmas and Easter.

Those who really study the Koran, though, learn that it tells them they can lie, cheat, steal, rape, and murder in order to futher the cause of Islam. Any who are skeptical of that assertion are invited to read the Koran for themselves.

Some have even been convined to blow themselves up in order to get 72 virgins. These poor saps will be disappointed to discover that, as the demons torture them in Hell, the virgins will REMAIN virgins.

As we shake our heads in amusement at the antics of such weird-beards, we need to remember that their brand of insanity is nearly as dangerous as socialism. Actually, it's quite similar, only with more robes and beheadings.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

No freedom of information

Fox News was recently told by the SEC that they no longer need to honor Freedom of Information requests. Of course, this is one of the provisions of the hastily passed financial regulation legislation. A provision that, like many others yet to be revealed, was hidden in the umpteen-hundreds of pages of small type.

No doubt the Obama administration will extend this stance to FOIA requests on anything relating to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Wall Street, SEIU, ACORN, or any other crony whose activities cannot stand the light of exposure.

Don't expect a similar attitude regarding the Administration's "enemies list", though.

Wedding jitters

The National Enquirer states that Chelsea Clinton is near collapse from worry that her future husband will cheat on her. Good heavens, wherever could she have gotten that idea?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Early voting

The Beau-mate and I exercised the franchise today. Early voting extends thru the end of this week, and rather than waiting until Friday, the wife expressed a desire to vote today.

Her political evolution continues. From a clueless lefty, she's developed into a thoughtful and committed conservative, Hannity fan, culture warrior and budding gun owner. I couldn't be more proud.

In previous elections, she's been content to wait until election day. This time, though, she was eager to cast a vote for one of the gubernatorial underdogs. She doesn't trust Mr. Moneybags as governor. He's been a decent city mayor, but his family ties to "social moderates" (a code for RINOs), and an apparent lack of any real ideology, disturb her. I have to agree.

If he does get the nomination, he's a likely winner over his Dem opponent. In that eventuality, the conservatives and libertarians in Tennessee will need to watch him very closely.

Ed Markey, geography expert

Congressman Ed Markey (Dem, Mass), commenting on BP's reassignment of Tony Hayward, said that "People on the Gulf of Mexico and the United States applaud this action".

The Gulf of Mexico AND the United States?

Mr. Markey has long been known for his astounding grasp of geopolitical affairs (insert sarcastic expression here), but this statement leaves us uncertain of his exact meaning. Was he referring to:

A) the "Gulf of Mexico" as a separate political entity? By now, no doubt many in the Gulf states would prefer that to be the case.

B) the "Gulf" as part of Mexico? This seems the most likely explanation, given Ed's political leanings and the worldview of a typical Northeastern leftist. But I believe another alternative is the better explanation.

C) the "Gulf" -- that is, the actual expanse of ocean -- as a distinct and sovereign nation. Shrimp, dolphins, and other creatures constitute the citizenry, who vote Democrat (of course), while those nasty redneck fishermen and oilmen are exploiters who exist only to destroy the pristine environment. And, incidentally, to deliver seafood and gasoline to Massachusetts.

Perhaps a letter to Mr. Markey congratulating him on his tireless efforts to protect the Gulf, possibly signed by King Neptune, would make him feel rewarded for his courage in speaking out.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More heatstroke, plus capitalism in action

Today the Beau-mate and I did something we had never done. We visited the Grainger County Tomato Festival, one of those great little celebrations of localism that dot the hills almost every weekend. We both grew up within few dozen miles of Rutledge, where it's held, but, like those Parisians who never visit the Eiffel Tower, we never bothered to patronize it.

We found a crowd of cheerful visitors and vendors amid a display of antique farm equipment, classic cars, produce, cannons, books, handicrafts, and food. Lots and lots of food, all the way from fajitas in a basket to corn roasted in its own shuck. Despite the combined heat-and-humidity index of roughly 1,500 degrees F, the school grounds were lively. While my wife browsed jellies, candles, soaps, and clothing (all of it, as nearly as I could tell, made in-state), we found the smartest people in a 50-mile radius.

These folks were selling those neckcloths that are soaked to produce a cooling evaporation, and their booth was busier than a liquor store in a coal mining town on Saturday night. They even provided a barrel of chilled water for their customers to baptize their purchases.

All too soon, the heat took its toll on us, as we found ourselves wishing for a shady, old-fashioned verandah with wicker chairs and ceiling fans turning slowly.
We would have sat at ease, the Beau-mate in her lightest silks, I in my airest linens and Panama hat, sipping gin fizzes. Every few minutes, I would exclaim "Beastly humidity, eh, wot?" in my best Colonel Blimpie voice.

Alas, the supply of available verandahs approached zero. We were forced to flee to air-conditioned relief, leaving a shining example of the free market baking in the July sunshine.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Shirley Sherrod: racist or classist?

No doubt Beaumont's legions of readers are familiar with the Shirley Sherrod debacle. After the initial video, the firing, the extended video, the apologies, and the media hand-wringing, many seem to feel that the issue was just a tragic misunderstanding.

Not so fast.

True, Ms. Sherrod is on record saying that she realized that her racist reaction to the white farmer's plight was morally wrong, and that the real struggle was rich versus poor.

The sorry truth is that class warfare and racism have enjoyed a long and close association in some black political circles. Classism is a prominent feature of "liberation theology", as Jeremiah Wright preached to our President for twenty-three years. (I highly recommend Mr. Wright's sermons available on the Web, to experience the real flavor of the worldview of his -- and many other -- such churches).

It's true that racism is detrimental to freedom and prosperity. It's also true of classism. Both separate "our group" from "those bastards over there". Both encourage resentment, polarization, and ultimately violence. Considering the effects of either on society, the question becomes: Is there really a practical difference between the two?

Conversations with the spouse, Part 1

Recently, your host was dining with his wife at one of Knoxville's fine burrito establishments. The Beau-mate waxed enthusiastic about a friend's new car. How much she liked the color, the interior, how her children liked it, etc. She paused, said "St. Augustine", and fell silent. Foolishly, Beaumont plunged into the conversational gap.

ME: Do you mean the person, or the town?

HER: The person?

ME: Well, yes. He's one of the early fathers of Christianity. His writings, like "Confessions" and "On The Trinity", are classics and studied by Christians of all denominations. To be fair, we don't usually refer to him as "Saint" Augustine, since we're Protestants.

HER: What does that have to do with Christina driving to Florida?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Consequences of being inconsiderate

Yesterday, Knoxville hosted one stop for the "Get Motivated" tour, featuring Lou Holtz, Pat Summitt, Rudy Giuliani, et al. I waited too long to get a ticket (apparently they sold out early), but the Beau-mate was attending through her place of business. She was thrilled to go, being a fan of several of the speakers.

Last week, the company was told that all the seats in the venue were filled, so my wife and her co-workers would have to watch a video feed of the event at a satellite location. The Beau-mate decided reluctantly to attend anyway, despite not being able to see the speakers "live". Then she left for a couple of well-deserved vacation days.

When Wednesday morning dawned, the traffic reports were discouraging. Thousands of vehicles were backed up for miles around Knoxville's Civic Coliseum. Facing a thirty-mile trip to sit in a traffic jam, the Beau-mate decided to forego the conference, and drove to the office. Upon arrival, she everyone else gone, except for the person who had originally been the cheerleader for her company's attendance.

"Did you decide not to go?" my wife asked.

"Oh no...I thought I had a meeting today but I don't....mumble mumble"

"I'm surprised the others wanted to go just to watch it on video."

"Ohe no...we found out we had tickets to the live event after all...I put a note in your mailbox about it....."

"But you knew I was on vacation. Why didn't you call me?"

"(Indistinguishable mumbling)"

I have been urging the Beau-mate to take up shooting as a hobby. Until yesterday, she had not shown much interest in it.

Roy Rogers, Steven Tyler, and psychotic spaniels

My apologies for the very long blogging hiatus. Travel, family issues, general busyness, and heat stroke tend to interfere with regular posting. Well...I didn't really have heatstroke, but came close a few times. Incredibly enough, during this ridiculously hot summer, the Beaumont has heard very little bleating about "global warming".

At any rate, like Roy and Steve, I'm back in the saddle again, steering my horse toward daily posting.

One striking observation I've made over the past month involves an elderly relatives's cocker spaniel. Lucy is, in my experience, typical of her breed: sweet-natured, hyperactive, empty-headed, and generally just bonkers. When someone comes to visit, she wags her stubby tail so vigorously that she literally vibrates. If that visitor brings a dog, she'll bounce off walls, furniture, and people in her delight. Eventually she'll bang her head, thus rearranging the few brain cells remaining, followed by a soulful gaze full of surprise and dismay toward her owner, as if to say, "Why did you do that to me?"

Sound like anybody you know?