Categories
Funny and/or Strange Photo I Like Uncategorized

Dukakis Still Drives Old Tank Everywhere

Since we’re slogging knee deep through a year of ridiculous campaigners, I thought I’d roll out this post on a serious candidate’s most ridiculous moment. And all ye gods, goddesses and l’il baby godlets, please bless The Onion,   from whence this came.

700

 

 

 

Image from…”a campaign stop for Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis: a ride in a 68-ton M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. The visit, meant to bolster the candidate’s credibility as a future commander-in-chief, would go down as one of the worst campaign backfires in history.”

 

Categories
meme

Monday/Memeday: You May Be High

I love this one–one of my favorite memes of all time, probably because I love Johnny Cash.
ade0f0a2b444e8cba18e08eef697a773

Categories
Commentary Quote

Wednesday Words: Theodore Roosevelt

flat550x550075fThe United States does not have a choice as to whether or not it will or will not play a great part in the world. Fate has made that choice for us. The only question is whether we will play the part well or badly.

— Theodore Roosevelt

If you read me regularly, you know that I’m a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt, the “last great Republican” who, arguably, was more responsible than any other single person for the grand switch that turned the Republican Party–the power brokers of which regarded TR as a class traitor– towards corporatism, and headed the Democratic Party, in word if not deed, towards populism.  That’s how the party of Lincoln became the party of Nixon.  The evolution of the Democratic Party is a little more complex, largely due to it’s entanglement in race politics of the south.

In simplest terms, the millionaire President, disgusted by his party’s betrayal of his populist legacy, ran for election under the canopy of a third party, the Bull Moose Party, drawing many of the most moderate Republicans with him.  Democrat Woodrow Wilson easily defeated the fragmented opposition.  Following the election, the Bull Moose supporters either joined the Democrats or, chastened, skulked back to the Republicans.

like-a-boss-e1350189178780_6As  flawed as any man, Roosevelt was not only an idealist, but an iconoclast–a leader with no fear of doing what he felt was right (even when that “right” meant invading Cuba pretty much because it was convenient, and seemed like fun).  He was not afraid to embrace the disdain of his peers, and a stubborn son of a bitch in just about every sense of the word.  I started thinking about him yesterday, when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie–a candidate with much of the oratorical bluster but none of the substance, conviction, or verity and integrity of TR– declared himself as the 14th candidate for the Republican Presidential Nomination.

It occurred to me then, that across just the two major parties there are now sixteen hopefuls running for possible election, and if the vote was held today I’d have to defer. What has become of our country that we have so few viable leaders.  What does is say that Bill Clinton, with his severely questionable personal choices, shines in comparison to to the ineffective and unremarkable George W. Bush?  That even while Barack OBama has accomplished a few things domestically, his management of our middle east entanglements falls somewhere between naive, inept, and highly questionable (drone kills, kill lists, domestic surveillance….), and his most notable accomplishments have occurred not by gathering popular support, but by fiat and litigation–all of it timed to fall after he was free of the possibility of political fallout?  To be blunt, he waited until things were safe before he extended himself. Roosevelt would have pushed in his first term.

*Beginning Today, Wednesday Word of Wisdom will be called, simply, Wednesday Words–making for less unwieldy titles and more flexibility in the type or tenor of quotes I include.

Categories
Commentary Journal Quote

War Is Cruelty, And You Cannot Refine It

Excuse me a moment while I alienate all the southerners reading this blog….

Sherman_sea_1868

This is General William Tecumseh Sherman on scenic horse ride through Georgia–I got in a bit of a kerfluffle with a southern stranger on Pinterest last year after I 86c237077812f258c8a367c7e5c7f7depinned the image to the right on the photo saving site, along with a favorite Sherman quote, one I find continually compelling, particularly in light of the penchant for many passionate southerners to look back on the history of the time through the rose tinted glasses of “northern aggression” and all that revisionist bullshit.  If nothing else Sherman reminds us that the South started the war.

“You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace.”

I have no love of the man, whose reasoned barbarism in the civil war was surpassed by his cruelty in the “Indian Wars” that followed–but I found the woman attacking me to be intolerable.

Linda Ricker • 39 weeks ago

“If you had ANY idea whatsoever of what he and his men did to many southern families and their children, you would NOT admire this man at all! He and his men were nothing shy of satan himself! He and his men raped women while their husbands were off fighting. They raped and molested the children while they made the mothers watch. They stole our things and shipped them up North via railways and rivers and the ocean. War is horrible enough, but he and his men made it HELL!”

Junk Chuck • 39 weeks ago

“…because slavery wasn’t cruel? Approximately 10 million captive slaves were killed in bondage in North America, another 1.2-2 million died en route, and as many as 6 million died as an indirect result of the slave trade in Africa. I contend that the numbers of enslaved families were far greater, and the crimes perpetrated upon them far more heinous than the experience of the average southern family. I understand that southern history books teach differently, but Master raped and molested far more efficiently, and far frequently, than did the soldiers in Sherman’s armies. I’m sorry your things were stolen and shipped north–maybe your ancestors shouldn’t have stolen people’s children and sold them. I never see that goddamned rebel flag, the emblem of hate and murder and greed and racism (not a signet of some misguided idea of idyllic, romanticized “southern pride”) that I don’t feel sick to my stomach. The glorious south perpetrated feudalistic genocide and got what was coming to them.”

$(KGrHqFHJEQFC1Y23KpSBQ3ceq6Do!~~60_1The glorification of southern slave culture is something that piques my ire with a singular, venomous sting.  A bunch of Nazis get together to celebrate old times, and we’re convening international tribunals, but we’re perfectly fine with these “rebel” yahoos?  I’m posting this after spending half an hour on the highway recently behind a diesel 4×4 riding crazy huge rims and bearing the following bumper stickers. (These are the the same images, though not on the vehicle in question–I found them readily enough on the internet.)
welfare

 obamidt-300x225dontrenigin2012Now, what I find so–I guess “amusing” isn’t the word, maybe “ironic” or humorously contradictory, is this connection between self-styled conservatives and the iconography of southern rebellion.  The rebel flag is, at it’s basest, a symbol of contempt for America and American ideals, and while our constitution thankfully protects the rights of rednecks and idiots to spit on and disdain those ideals, it could be argued that embracing the confederate flag–the flag of a nation that is NOT the USA I might add–is, at best, an act of anti-patriotism.  Isn’t that just the kind of thing about which conservatives are so often foaming at the mouth?  Remember “Freedom fries?”  Lapel pins?  Just recently President Obama was criticized for carrying a cup of coffee in one hand and saluting the Marine guard as he stepped from his helicopter as being insufficiently patriotic.

321dog4296 AP05042204298 bush_barney_salute finger

Opps!  Wrong photos.

Yeh, I couldn’t resist that, even though it dilutes and distracts from my argument.  What I’d like to see, next time Obama steps off the chopper, is him dramatically throwing his styrofoam cup to the ground, then fervently salute the Marines before grabbing them on the shoulders and kissing them, one after the other, euro-style, first on one cheek then the other.  Of course, he’d then not only have all the usual trolls riding him, but the Sierra Club would be all over his ass for the litter.

MJZ598The point is this: how can people be so damned touchy about patriotism at one moment, then turn around and…well, what am I saying?  We’re humans, after all, wreathed in complexity and contradiction, glorious reminders of the…no, not that, either–because it’s all a perfect plan, right?  Aren’t inconsistencies at odds with the intelligent design that’s been fine-tuning us for every one of the 3,000 years or so that there has been life on Earth?  So, no–I don’t get it.

france_alsace_flag_sticker-rf27429c58b524fbe8ba5dac2d09b238c_v9waf_8byvr_324
And you thought they didn’t make these!

I learned not so long ago that “you’re either for us or against us.” I can deal with that.  I can get behind that.  My earliest relatives arrived here in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century from England, Scotland, and Alsace, and as far as I know none of them ever looked back. I certainly don’t fly an Alsatian flag on my lawn, or stick one on the bumper of my ILUV (impractically large utility vehicle).  Of course, given the proud martial history of Alsace, I’m not sure it would intimidate anyone, but oh, the beer….

The other thing that occurs to me is that the glorious armies of the Confederate States of America totally and unequivocally got their asses handed to them on a plate…and yes, perhaps they didn’t run, but only because they were left to stumble home shoeless, starving, bloody and broken.  Indeed, the fact that southern cultures exists at all is owed to the decision, made by the Northern leadership, to try to repair the nation rather than treat the south as, perhaps, it should have been treated: as the hostile, former homeland of a conquered and bitter enemy–like the way Israel treats Palestine. I mean, if you’re not going to be grateful….

N370
No.

Just remember, this juxtoposition is inherently flawed.  The two flags, and two mindsets, are incompatible.  One cannot have it both ways–the two are mutally exclusive.  Or, as a not all that wise woman liked to say, “America, love it or leave it.”

Categories
Commentary Poetry

War Poems For National Poetry Month: David Kreiger, Greeting Bush In Baghdad

Greeting Bush in Baghdad by David Krieger

“This is a farewell kiss, you dog.”
— Muntader al-Zaidi

You are a guest in my country, unwanted
surely, but still a guest.

You stand before us waiting for praise,
but how can we praise you?

You come after your planes have rained
death on our cities.

Your soldiers broke down our doors,
humiliated our men, disgraced our women.

We are not a frontier town and you are not
our marshal.

You are a torturer.  We know you force water
down the throats of our prisoners.

We have seen the pictures of our naked prisoners
threatened by your snarling dogs.

You are a maker of widows and orphans,
a most unwelcome guest.

I have only this for you, my left shoe that I hurl
at your lost and smirking face,

and my right shoe that I throw at your face
of no remorse.

Why a “War Poem?”  It’s a long month–this is just the first ‘theme’ in celebration of National Poetry Month, but here’s the explanation:

https://oldroadapples.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/war-poems-for-national-poetry-month-wilfred-owen-dulce-et-decorum-est/

Categories
Uncategorized

The President Needs a Make-Over

While I was devoting considerable energies into not nodding off during the State of The Union Address last night, Mrs. Junk remarked on how odd it was to see President Obama’s suddenly graying hair.  As a guy who has seen Obama Grayhis own hair take a sudden flight towards white–I’ll be in Santa country by the time I’m 55–I have to say he carries it well.  He’s a handsome guy, after all, and he’s got a lot on his mind.  Not only that, he’s certainly in good company. Until my own hair changed from brown to salt & pepper to–uh–just plain salty (like my personality, I guess), I have to admit that I suspected s conspiracy of Presidents.  As candidates, it goes to figure, Clinton Graypotential leaders want to appear youthful, energetic, virile, powerful and vigorous; so it goes without saying that coloring one’s hair is a simple part of a campaign not unlike wearing good suits and attractive ties.  Once in office, however, the cultivated image of choice shifts to one of wisdom, maturity, and leadership–candidates are cast as agents of change, but Presidents are leaders.  The are diplomats who set the tone for george-w-bush-58e91e6f1fa9866bnational discourse and international relations.  Even the simplest of men, those who bore leadership as if it was no greater burden than a sack of children’s toys, have aged under the weight of responsibility and the pressure of constant scrutiny.  Was I wrong to suspect that Presidents in office intentionally let their hair go gray?  That some possibly even hasten the process via artificial means?  I suspect I’m on to something–but I also think that these guys are missing the boat.  Ronald Reagan, that canny old player, appeared to RonaldReaganmoisten his hair with waxy black shoe polish right up to his last days in office, even as he muttered “I do not recall” to inquiry after inquiry into the despicable conduct that took place on his watch–and people loved him for it.  Why did folks love Reagan?  Not because he denied any problems America faced with the same fervor he denied knowledge of the FonzIran-Contra Arms For Hostages deals, and not because he reminded many of us of our doddering old grandfathers.  Reagan was beloved because he had the same hair as The Fonz.  When Reagan was elected, who was the reigning cultural icon?  It Arthur “Fonzi” Fonzarelli.  When Reagan won reelection in 1984, American was sadly saying goodbye to that same shark-jumping icon when a wave of nostalgia carried the incumbent back for another four-year term.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

So, clearly what President Obama needs is a celebrity make-over, and the perfect celebrity has never been more clear–we need someone who is highly intelligent and articulate, someone who works as hard as Obama, and we need someone cool–if the truth is to be told, Obama needs a little help here: he’s a bit of a policy geek, and those cigarettes don’t make him seem any cooler, despite what years of Marlboro ads have said to the contrary. He gets points for playing basketball, but not enough to compensate for his wonkishness.  On the subject of his rumored, rabid fanaticism for Star Trek I plead the fifth amendment and the right to not risk self-incrimination.

I’ve found a guy who is smart, articulate, wildly talented, supremely hard-working, and unquestionably cool.  His name is ?uestLove and President Obama should assume his style immediately. questlove

Screen_shot_2010-11-15_at_9.08.26_PM
“Hey, Questlove–I need an update–who’s your stylist?”

Not only would it be a serious upgrade in terms of both style and cool, but there would be added tactical advantages in dealing with the primarily southern, lilly-white conservative seed at the heart of Republican stubbornness, for example–that tall and proud hair is going to scare the bejesus out the closet crackers who let their backwardsassed racism foul progress.  On the international circuit, do we really think a bully like Vladamir “Mad Vlad” Putin is going to give a giant like Questlove–easily 7 feet tall with the hair factored in–and backtalk whatsoever?  I don’t think so–and Obama is another tall guy, so all he needs to do it thicken up, add 150 pounds, and voila….

If I was any good at computer graphics, I’d mock up a cut and paste job of Questlove’s hair on Obama, but I’m afraid we’re just going to have to wait for the inevitable since, now that I’ve loosed this cat from it’s sack, there’s no way this isn’t going to happen.  In the mean time, please enjoy the video link.

Categories
Uncategorized

Johnny Cash Cake Meme

Some internet memes resonate better than a tuning fork.

ade0f0a2b444e8cba18e08eef697a773