Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Prayers for Gary Sinise and his family

May his memories be made of times like this
Gary Sinise has announced that his son, Mac, died of cancer this January.  It was after a fire year battle.  He was diagnosed with cancer in the same year Gary's wife was diagnosed.  In one of those 'why this guy God, he's one of the good guys!', you're reminded that it rains on the just and the unjust. 

Gary Sinise is one of those rare 'good guys of Hollywood.'  He's our generation's Bob Hope.  Though I fear that Hope had far more love and appreciation for his devotion to our military than Sinise has.  Keeping himself as far from partisan politics as he can, he nonetheless has devoted himself to our veterans and  to doing everything he can to support them and aid them in their troubles. 

He's best known, of course, for his role in Forrest Gump as the longsuffering Lieutenant Dan.  One of the most memorable performances of the 1990s, and possibly of all time.  He took that role and his identification with the character and turned it into his devotion to our armed forces in the years after the 9/11 attacks.  He hasn't looked back since.

I know.  People experience such tragedies all the time.  Why single this one out?  I guess, again, because he's one of the good guys.  Like the late Roddy McDowall, he's known to be someone who has no enemies in an industry awash with enemies.  And people from all sides of the ever more contentious aisles appear to respect him, as well they should.

So it's always tough when people who have devoted themselves selfishly for the cause of good appear to get hit and hit and hit again with tragedies.  It's times like this that you're inclined to say "Not fair God, why not drop these horrors on someone who has it coming, and I can compose a list pretty quickly.'  Until, again, you realize that's now how it works.  

For just like making the stupid mistake of calling hellfire down on the rich without realizing to some in the world I am rich, the same goes for the good guys and the bad guys.  Whatever I think of others who I feel deserve such trauma in their lives more than Sinise, there are others far better than me who could say the same about me.  But then, that's what makes them far better than me. 

In the end, on this side of heaven, we think of Corrie ten Boom's illustration of this life as a needlepoint  work of art knitted by God.  We see the business end on the rear of the picture - loose ends, dangling threads, knotted confusion.  God sees the beautiful picture on the other side. 

Whether that helps Mr. Sinise, I couldn't say.  He speaks of his son's strong Catholic Faith. Apparently Gary is also Catholic, having entered the Church in 2010.  I pray that faith of theirs will see them through the coming months and years as they deal with one of the worst things a person can experience, and the worst thing a parent can experience.  

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all.  Psalm 34.17-19

Monday, February 26, 2024

Ken Burns is what we call White Noise

That is, just another annoying blip in the noisy static.  Apparently he produced a docuseries called The United States and the Holocaust.  If the interview in this article is any indicator, it is the same old same old for many, especially young, Americans.

That is, he's gracious enough to say the United States wasn't exactly responsible for the Holocaust per se, but then proceeds to explain how the United States and Nazi Germany were practically salt and pepper.  He trots out the Jim Crow era, genocide, Native Americans, slavery and antisemitism charges, applied to one country as easily as to the other.  

Apparently at least one episode focuses on the rift between FDR and antisemite Charles Lindberg.  I asked my son, who recently graduated college, about that.  He told me that those of his peers who even had heard of Lindberg, only knew him as some Nazi hero in our Nazi country, vaguely aware that he did something with flying. 

In keeping with our era of hyper-judgmentalism, the series seems wrapped in the context of 'sure we beat the Nazis, liberated the camps, and allowed thousands to come into our country ... but we didn't do it perfectly enough.'  Not like it would have been if our generation was there!  When you have the track record we have, I suppose arrogance is all that's left. 

The funny part of this interview is that one of the producers seems to think they've really blown the lid off of something.  The person talks about how 'uncomfortable' the real truth of our nation and its role in those events makes people in the audience feel, once they see the production. Really?  That's like saying people will be uncomfortable when they learn the secret that slavery existed in America's past.  That's as much a lack of awareness as you can get.

Years ago, when I used to comment on the Huffington Post, I ran into people who believed that the whole of the Holocaust was an American conspiracy, as was the entire war.  By then (c. 2004ish), it wasn't uncommon to run into people online who believed the Nazis were lifted up by the American Military Industrial complex for the sole purpose of inciting a war that the US could then exploit, and use to subjugate the world to our racist, imperialist ways. Compared to them, the saner ones back then dismissed such thinking, being content with the notion that America was no better than the Nazis, and didn't really lift them up as much as inspire them (the old 'the Nazis became racist when they studied the Confederacy' storyline).  

That was almost 20 years ago.  Does Mr. Burns really think people like that have gone away as opposed to multiplied exponentially?  Does he really believe they will be uncomfortable with his documentary?  About the only thing that will make them uncomfortable is his insistence that the US isn't solely responsible for the Holocaust.  That might bother them a bit. 

I don't think we realize just how post-Western, and by extension post-American, we already are.  Harkening back to my oldest son, he said a cool 1/3 of his classmates can barely distinguish between the Swastika and the Stars and Stripes.  Had I not seen examples myself of such thinking over the years, I'd almost be inclined to think he exaggerates.  But I have.  

And we have those useful fools like Burns, a historian I've traditionally enjoyed, to thank.  Because instead of seeing the bleeding obvious, they think they are bravely facing the fan club by exclusively focusing on the negative, endlessly criticizing, and so blurring the line between Nazis and America.  

BTW, all of this is made possible by the Left effectively elevating Western-based racism as the only, all defining, most evil, unpardonable sin in the world. And that goes for anything we thought we did well, like win the Second World War.  This is aided by the fact that by now, about 75% of our recollection of WWII is focused on the Holocaust, primarily as it effected Jewish (and sometimes homosexual) victims; about 10% focused on the Japanese interment camps* in the US, another 10% recalling the use of the Atomic Bombs, over 4% (but growing) the segregation in the US military in WWII, and a shrinking less than 1% on D-Day.   

For most youngsters today, that was WWII. The tens of millions of others killed barely make a drop in the bucket where focus is concerned.  The soldiers?  Except for some minority groups, they are barely mentioned at this point.  I subscribe the the National Veterans Memorial and Museum updates.  It's been many moons since a white male veteran was showcased.   You could be forgiven for not knowing white men ever served in our military if you got your info from that museum.  

But then, when mentioned at all, it's increasingly the fact that they were likely racists in their own white supremacist army.  Hence Burns can acknowledge 'a little heroism' from that time, but those were mere specks of light in the overall darkness that is, and always has been, America.  When that's your narrative, it's not hard for young people to conclude the Soviets might have been the good guys all along. 

*In December 2021, I saw on the news that some Asian American activists are wanting 'Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day' to be replaced by the anniversary of the Japanese Internment camps.  Sort of how Juneteenth will assuredly never be used to replace July 4th.  Again, we're seeing the utter destruction of the West and America, and it's likely a bit too late to stop it.  Thanks go brilliant thinkers like Burns. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Our very Catholic president speaks


In case you're wondering or even care, the Catholic Church technically teaches against IVF.  Just what that means today is open to debate.  Obviously President Biden has expressed his opinion. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

This is a thing to watch

Apparently a couple in Indiana had their son taken away because he insisted he was a girl and they didn't comply.  You know the gist, he wanted to be called a girl and she or a million genders and what have you.  Apparently he was taken away from the parents pending an investigation into allegations of abuse.  Those were cleared.  Nonetheless, the child was still kept from the parents because, well, you can't have parents insisting their biological boy isn't a girl.  This is from on high from our 21st Century experts after all.  

This is what it's about of course.  To divide and tyrannize.  I give it about twenty years.  The complete end of freedom and democratic governance that is.  I will be in my seventies, and my sons - all four of them - well into adulthood and families and whatnot.  Whether it can be stopped at this time, it's hard to say.

I think conservatives fell for the old conservative v. liberal template and that has cost us big time. As my son said from his chats in college, most Young Republicans are so-so on the abortion thing. many aren't terribly religious, most have absolutely no problem with gay marriage, and some were even warming to the whole post-gender thing.  Why? Because they're conservative, that's why. That means they are merely conserving the conservativism of their day that they are familiar with.  

Let's face it, there aren't too many conservatives out there marching in protest or upturning the order to stop this.  Many of the secular variety don't seem to care.  The old Rush Limbaugh approach of calling down hellfire on something like the Gay Rights Movement, then partying with Elton John at your wedding because, well, you're rich, he's rich, and there you go.  That's what these youngsters have seen.  And that's from the resistance.

So those appalled at this had best figure a new way to frame things.  The old 'Right/Left' dichotomy isn't working.  On the Left's side, it has been used to frame everything as 'Team Jesus/Nazi'.   On the Right, it means conserving the latest version of whatever happens to be what enough conservatives embrace or at least shrug their shoulders about.  It's going to take digging into the depths of many generations of madness to get back to the roots of what went wrong if there is any hope in salvaging things. 

Meanwhile, don't be shocked if in five years children declaring themselves aardvarks and taken by the state from their non-affirming parents is a normal as assumptions of rigged sports competitions are today. Because there is one thing that is true as true can be - slippery slope might be a logical fallacy, but it's also a historical fact. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Because it is not climate

That's why.  

So yesterday we were supposed to have a dusting of snow.  The temperatures would drop, some mix of rain and snow, perhaps a little dusting.  And that was that.  As late as yesterday morning's weather forecasts on the morning news.  Yet this is what it looked like this morning: 

Not exactly a dusting.  And because we weren't ready, much of the prep work hadn't been done.  My sons noted that they didn't issue any type of travel advisory until after the evening news, when the majority of the snow had passed.   

This morning, however, the weather forecaster did address the staggering fail when it came to the forecast.  Which is only one of many  in recent months.  We've noticed that it does seem they have been missing the forecasts more than usual over the last year or so. 

The meteorologist said, at the end of the day, it's weather.  Weather is complicated and not always easy to predict. Plus it's based on models.  Models provide many things, but it isn't some magical spell.  In this case, only one model showed anything close to what happened.  All other models showed what all of the local stations predicted.  A light snowfall if anything at all. 

I had to chuckle.  After all, much of the climate change narrative is based on models.  But apparently those models predicting what the entire global climate will be in a hundred years are just spot on perfect in their accuracy.  As opposed to models that predict the daily weather in a given location.  How can we predict what will happen outside our windows later today?  It isn't like predicting the entire planet's climate a hundred years from now!  Apparently that's as easy as pie. 

Always remember: A forecast of 79 degrees means excessive heat watch.  Modern meteorology in a nutshell

Anyone know anything about Creative Minority Report?

Apparently it hasn't been reachable for several days.  I don't personally know much about it.  But a reader was curious since he wasn't able to reach the site.  I tried and couldn't either.  So any info would be appreciated. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Goodbye GetReligion

And God bless you. 

GetReligion is no more.  Terry Mattingly, journalist and journalism professor and founder of the site, has called it quits.  I didn't visit it like I used to.  In fact, in later years I seldom visited at all.  

A big issue I had in the olden days was the premise.  Beyond looking at how religious stories were covered in the print media, the premise of the site was that journalism is truly the noble profession.   No matter how bad the mauling of a story, the contributors and Mr. Mattingly would insist most reporters and press rooms were filled with honest journalists just following the facts wherever they go.  Which  accounted for the website's most common question: Why do these press rooms keep making the same mistakes over and over again? 

When I pointed out why, for instance, the NYT always erred on one side, which was the same as the Los Angeles Times, or Chicago Tribune, or New Yorker, I often got smacked down, including by Mr. Mattingly himself.  I mean, I understood.  He was  journalist.  You don't want to admit the truth about selling cars if you're a car salesman (though my dad, who sold cars a few times in his younger days, was more than happy to do so - the Hollywood meme is true, when a salesman goes to 'talk about a better deal', they're just shooting the breeze).  But still. Over the years, the denial of the obvious just got under my skin. 

I don't know what happened and when, but looking at this announcement of the site's finish, it seems he has come around to admitting the obvious.  Leaning heavily on 'both sides are guilty', he appears to concede that journalism in the classic sense is no more.  Or at least a rare breed.  He appears to concede that news agencies are basically about furthering their goals and narratives full stop.  Journalists, therefore, are to find only that which aids the cause, and ignore or attack that which does not. 

Now, the above is my paraphrase.  But I don't see in that lengthy post, or the final one, anything to suggest otherwise. It's not that he wasn't aware of what was happening in the day.  He knew there were stories whose errors or choices were clearly bias driven.  He just maintained that it was the exception to the rule.  It looks, from what I can tell, that he concedes it is now the rule. 

Despite its foibles, I appreciated Mr. Mattingly and the staff over the years.  I learned much about the nitty-gritty of journalism.  For instance, they taught me to ignore headlines, because headlines are often written by some editor, not the reporter who got the story. And they are the part of a story most easily able to drive an agenda at the expense of the facts.  

One story I recall them focusing on as an example was a story where the headline read 'Mitt Romney Defends Mormon Faith.'  That was back when the press was trying to hamstring Romney by pitting his Mormonism against the religious conversative base of the GOP.  The problem with the headline?  The only time Mormonism was mentioned at all in the entire article was one sentence that read 'When asked to defend his Mormon faith, Mitt Romney responded that he is running for president, not pastor.' 

That still sticks in my mind.  The good folks at GetReligion were brutal at times in eviscerating the press for the obvious, as in that case.  Mostly it did this when it pertained to religion news, but not always.  During the Proposition 8 whirlwind back in the day, they conceded that, even out of the sphere of religion, the press had taken on the part of marketing and propaganda organ for the Left rather than coming close to being objective. 

Nonetheless, for the longest time, they would circle around and insist that journalism was still the pure faith, and most news rooms and journalists were simply wanting to find the truth and report accordingly.  What happened, and when it happened, I don't know.  And I don't want to put words in Mr. Mattingly's mouth or assume more than he might have intended.  But it isn't hard to read the announcement, or subsequent posts, and not conclude that at least to some degree he has finally conceded what so many have known.  That the press has devolved beyond merely advancing agendas despite the truth, to actively suppressing and even attacking the truth in service of its agendas.  

Monday, February 12, 2024

Sometimes the Internet is almost worth it

As in this link.  Follow it and see what I mean.  It's a cutaway of a Boeing  B-17 showing particular areas within the plane.  Click on one of the circles, and a new page opens.  The page is a 360 degree photo layout that lets you see what that area of the plane would look like if you were in it. 

For the record, my uncle who flew in one in the war was a radio-gunner.  This model B-17, however, is before they added an extra machine gun to the window over his station.  It's odd how Spartan the interior was.  Not made for luxury flying.  It was freezing cold up there.   And the only thing to break the miserable conditions was antiaircraft fire and enemy planes.  

A sort of grit some have today, but so many more had back then. 

As a bonus, here is another site that walks you through what the duties of each station in the plane were and a little about the part each played in the overall mission.  Sort of a 'what to look for in your crew' spin.  I wonder if my uncle was a talented photographer. 

The crews loved their planes, partly because the planes could take a horrific beating and still make it home

Friday, February 9, 2024

And two days later


Often considered one of the seminal events of the 20th Century, The Beatles performed for the first time in the US on The Ed Sullivan Show.  I often wonder what my grandpa thought, since my mom says he was a huge Ed Sullivan fan, and never missed the show. 

By the time they arrived, they were already the number one act in America, per the American music charts.  No big deal today.  In 1964, however, before modern global tech, it was a huge deal.  Their appearance that night would net the largest television audience to date.  A full 40% of the US population tuned in that night (to put it in perspective, we would need a show with 132 million viewers to match it today).  

The next day, almost everything in pop culture and music changed.  The BBC once commented on the impact of The Beatles on a generation.  It was pointed out that something similar had happened in America after Pearl Harbor.  The next day after the attack, Americans by the thousands rushed out to join the military.  The day after their appearance on Ed Sullivan saw a spike in sales for not just records, but for musical instruments as well.  Record stores and music stores reported surges in sales over the following weeks.  And the hysteria didn't end in America or England, but swept across the world by the end of the year.  

And yet this was merely a smidgen of what was to come.  The exact reason for the Beatles' impact has never quite been pinpointed.  Historians, sociologists, psychologists and others have tried to figure it out over the decades.  Nobody has ever quite found the answer.  But as was pointed out on the anniversary of their Abbey Road album, it's impossible not so see the seismic shift in social and cultural trends in the years following the Beatles' global ascension.  And not just in music, but fashion, language, attitudes, film, you name it.  For better or worse, they made their mark in history far beyond the massive impact they had on the world of modern music. And in many ways it all began on Feb 9, 1964, with their appearance on Ed Sullivan.

Reporting after the event.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Enough said

Special counsel worried jurors would see Biden 'as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory'

Special counsel Robert Hur wrote that he was concerned jurors would not believe that Joe Biden “willfully” kept classified documents, and that was one of the reasons why he does not think the president should face charges.

“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Hur writes.

“Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him – by then a former president well into his eighties – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”

Hur wrote that: “Mr. Biden’s memory was significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017, and in his interview with our office in 2023. And his cooperation with our investigation, including by reporting to the government that the Afghanistan documents were in his Delaware garage, will likely convince some jurors that he made an innocent mistake, rather than acting willfully – that is, with intent to break the law – as the statute requires.”

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

It was sixty years ago today

The Beatles taught the World to play.   Or at least arrived in America to do so.  This is the 60th anniversary of what many consider one of the landmark moments of the last century.   The Beatles arrived in America to play on the Ed Sullivan Show.  That performance, before a then record setting 40% of the US population, was a pivotal moment in not just American culture, but culture as a whole.  Within a year or so, the cultural landscape of America, England and much of the free world would begin to look very, very different.  For better or more likely worse. 

I mused on that in a series I did on Beatles albums here.  As I said, I am a fan of the Beatles' music.  But as a student of history, I have always been fascinated by the monstrously out of proportion influence they had on the direction of culture in general.  This doesn't include their unmatched impact on the world of music and the modern recording industry.  Their social influence is enough to be wondered at.  

It's also interesting to watch old interviews with them and compare it to the corporate media's round the clock infomercial approach to the latest corporate generated hysterics (yes, I'm thinking this year of Taylor Swift/NFL Corp.).  Note that the press certainly jumped on the Beatlemania train.  Yet they were not above trying to jab them or pull the rug out if they could.  The famous dig by a reporter at the airport, asking if they would get haircuts while in America (their hair being a catalyst for the youth rebellion to follow).  And, of course, George Harrison's response that 'he had one yesterday.'  Playful, but the press was willing to go after them if it could, even at the height of their fame.  Compare to today where most stories about the latest endorsed hysteria is like a marketing promoter or advertiser rather than a journalist.  A reminder at just how many things have changed over the years and sometimes we don't even realize it. 

Feb 7, 1964: From British to Global phenomenon

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

You only thought rape was a non-negotiable

What would Gloria say?
So Law & Order.  I saw this mentioned on a few sites and more or less ignored it.  It's Law & Order after all.  One of those 'issue dramas' that have all the objectivity of a Branch Davidian Bible study. 

But I kept seeing people jump on this, even in a national press outlet or two (like Newsweek), so I thought I would look into it.  Yes, the initial 'hysteria' was correct.  The gist of the episode is that a white woman is raped by a black teen, but is praised for realizing she still has the privilege and the black man, a victim in his own right, will pay for life while she'll be free with her privilege.  

Eventually, the woman's lesbian lover explains she's inconsolable over the racism of our criminal justice system, knowing  that the black man will never get a fair trial.  Because she is white, she realizes that a little therapy on her part - therapy for the whole violently raped thing - will be all she needs. Then back to being okay with her white privilege.  But the victimized black man will forever be a victim of our racist system of racist justice in our racist country. In the end, she does identify the man, but a plea deal is reached and the DA commends the man for taking responsibility for his actions after he apologizes for the little rape thing.   

FWIW, it's the  'she'll more or less get over it with some therapy' that appears to be the source of the outrage.  We have, after all, accepted that all such 'sexual crimes' are unforgivable on this side of heaven.  That to be raped or sexually abused is a life changing, permanent wound that will never truly heal.  Oh, with therapy and counseling you can manage the trauma, but you will carry the scars for life.  But now?  Eh.  Apparently it depends on your skin color. 

The Leftist dichotomy of oppressed versus oppressor is almost the civil religion of 21st Century America.  In the 1970s, there were no real criminals, only victims of our oppressive and unjust society.  Then feminists  said no way. Maybe muggers and mass murderers are victims, but show me a rapist and I'll show you someone who should be branded for life as a sex pervert.  Eventually, any sex crimes were added to the list, and we accepted that there could be a never ending list of sex based crimes that are worthy of a lifetime of being branded human scum.

But since the Obama years, the Left did a hard turn and tweaked that little standard and has now, effectively, made unforgivable sins only apply based on group identity (see the leftwing reaction to the October 7 massacre of Israeli Jews for a non-sex based example).  With almost no pushback, a not insignificant part of our nation - Christian leaders included - have accepted that the importance of all culpability and absolution, and apparently even suffering, derives from one's group identity.    

The Left isn't giving up, as this episode makes clear.  The message is as obvious as you can get it - if you're a white woman raped by a black man, then lying there on your back being raped, you still have the privilege.  Go get some therapy and fuhgeddaboudit.

In 2020, during the BLM protests, my sons were in college.  In one of the college forums, apparently some professor somewhere in Ohio stepped in it.  At the time, the case of Reagan Tokes came up.  She was a beautiful young college girl who was kidnapped and brutally raped and murdered.  The man who allegedly killed her was a convict who should have been behind bars, but owing to the injustices of our system, was put on a dumbed down house arrest style setup shoddily enforced.    

For some reason, that case came up during the peaceful protests of 2020. And the professor - who I cannot remember - said that the word 'rape' should not be used when describing such an action by a black man against a white woman.  Not that it was good what he did to Miss Tokes.  It was horrible.  It was tragic.  But the fact is, she still had the privilege owing to her skin color, even as her last breaths were being choked out of her. 

Let's just say the forum conversations were pretty intense, with almost all expressing outrage at such a notion.  I don't know if the professor ever apologized or not.  There were many things to think of back then.  So universal was the outrage, however, that I didn't really bother with it.  Just some wacked out professor being a modern professor on the internet, and everyone was rightly upset.  All was right with the world. 

But that was so 2020.  Now, we have a major Hollywood production saying basically the same thing.  White women gotta take it because privilege and systemic racist injustice and all.  Group A - you get what you have coming.  Group B?  Anything you do is excusable because of oppression or freedom fighting.  And note, the actress is quite white.   Remember that every totalitarian revolution has to have its fair share of Boxers willing to head off to the glue factory for the cause. 

If you think it won't get worse, consider the LGBTQ community and Chik fil A.  Over a decade ago, some local politicians in Boston and Chicago floated banning the restaurant from their jurisdictions because of the owner's views on homosexuality.  Yet LGBTQ activists roared in protest.  No way.  That's not what they are about!   I remember even the Huffpost jumped up and down and threw a yellow flag on the idea of government actors punishing a business because of religious beliefs.  

A decade later, however, and it was LGBTQ protesters calling for various agencies, government or otherwise, to ban. punish, censor or in any way ruin  Chik fil A over its previous owner's beliefs (and with plenty of the national press's help by way of being free advertisers for Popeye's Chicken, CfA's chief competitor).  And what of those lofty principles of religious freedom only a few years earlier?  The joy of progress.  That was so yesterday's principles.   

Things progress and devolve in history.  If you think this development regarding white women and rape will be confined to a TV show, think again.  Four years ago the overwhelming response to a professor's notion that white women can't be "raped" by black men, because the white woman still has the power, was overwhelming outrage from all sides that I saw.  Now it's Hollywood getting in on the act and saying 'not so fast'. In another dozen years, white women being told to deal with it if they're raped by a black man might just be the nicest thing that will apply to the situation.