Japanese Politicians Take Over Friday Linkage

Ichiro Ozawa, possible Prime Minister of Japan, thinks Americans are “simple-minded”. His words reminded me of a description of Americans given by a fictitious Japanese Prime Minister,

They have the most violent culture in the world, yet they worship justice. They venerate making money, but their roots are found in ideals.

While we’re talking about Japanese politicos (real or imagined), Kazutaka Sangen, mayor of Taiji, has spoken out against certain people whose sole desire is to see Japanese whale hunts (like Taiji’s dolphin hunts) end.  His words seem to eliminate any room for discussion,

We will pass down the history of our ancestors to the next generation, preserve it. We have a strong sense of pride about this. So we are not going to change our plans for the town based on the criticism of foreigners.

Game. Set. Match. Way to stick up for multiculturalism Mayor Kazutaka.  Though “foreigners” doesn’t quite do justice to the word which you probably said:  gaijin.

On to the linkage…

About as a heart-warming story as you’re going to read…I understood why Bengals wideout Chad Johnson legally changed his name to Chad Ochocinco (Chad Eight Five), 85 is his number after all. You’d think with how tech-savvy Chad is, he could have plugged in “eighty-five” into Google Translate and found out that the correct Spanish translation is ochenta y cinco, not ochocinco. Oh well, at least he has his own cereal, mistranslated name and all… Mohler demolishes so-called theistic evolution…Jennifer Aniston’s latest offering flops at the box office, big surprise since she seems to want to resurrect the chest-clutching Rachel Green character in every one of her movies… Jim Furyk gets DQ’d from a PGA tournament because his cell phone alarm doesn’t go off, oops…Ever watch that Tea Party Scene in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland? The masterminds who orchestrated it were the March Hare and the Mad Hatter (below). Perhaps that’s what we can call these 2 billionaires who are the masterminds behind the populist Tea Party movement…

[Photo credit:  Disney]

The New Face Of Tyranny

According to Merriam-Webster’s, tyranny is defined as,

oppressive power; especially: oppressive power exerted by government

I know that in these combative and hypersensitive times the word is thrown around by every which side of any political issue. When I think of tyranny I usually think of the “fat, pompous, bad-tempered, old tyrant” from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. However if recent allegations are to be believed this may be the new face of tryanny (well 3 faces but who’s counting?),

Yep, that’s right, a Christian chick band = tyranny. You can read the lurid and oppressive details here.

In summary, Barlow Girl was asked to perform at some concert for the troops. The concert was not mandatory and predictably 80 out of 100 soldiers decided not to attend. I don’t blame them, their music is not in my wheelhouse either. The trouble came when the 80 soldiers were confined to their barracks and (gasp!) ordered to clean it out. They were ordered, imagine that soldiers were ordered to do something, what is the Army coming to?

The soldiers felt they were singled out and dealt with differently because they chose not to attend the proselytizepalooza. Their cries were heard by something called The Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Mikey Weinstein, the group’s president, lauded the courage of these soldiers in reporting such “egregious, unconstitutional religious tyranny”.  That’s rich…

At least they were given the option of not listening to average music crowned by piety-driven falsetto.  Sorry but I think they did these guys a favor, I would have much rather clean the barracks with a toothbrush than watch BG in concert. Like I said, not in my wheelhouse

As for Mr. Weinstein’s um, liberal use of the word “tyranny”, he would be much better served in applying it to actual examples of it.

To paraphrase Tito (below) yet another iteration of a cherished Hollywood stereotype, “Eef cleening barracks ees teeranny, chein mee to dee woll”

The First Fists Open Up Friday Linkage

Three-fourths of the First Family hard at play on the Gulf Coast:

“What coast?  GULF COAST!”

The other fourth? She’s probably too busy focusing on her future presidency (a preview here) and has no time for such trivialities as putt-putt.

Here are the week’s links:


Residents of Sac-town, hide your kids, hide your wife, there are zebras on the loose… Mark Driscoll’s helpful  thoughts on Anne Rice’s departure from the shores of Christianity…  You gotta use Starbucks’ designated size names (Tall, Grande, Venti) or face getting the boot like this prof did…  Ann Coulter?  She’s complicated…  Chicharito made his Man U home debut last Monday and was greeted with “rapturous applause”… A Houston teenager is slain by a tag team consisting of a permanent resident and an undocumented alien, her uncle “would like to see what they’re doing in Arizona done here” so clearly, he must clearly be a racist…This week’s entry into the “Best Illustration of Romans 1:21-24″  sweepstakes.  A contest which unfortunately we have all submitted an entry to…

Putin’s Legend Grows

It is not a secret that I belong to the Vladimir Putin Admiration Society. I have long chronicled the PiM’s daring and virile pursuits, check it out here. Coming face to face with President Reagan, his nation’s sworn enemy, without flinching might just top anything else that Volodya has accomplished, until now…

Putin’s insatiable drive to unseat Sir Winston Churchill as the greatest Prime Minister of all time has taken him into the cockpit of a firefighting plane. His mission? To battle the raging fires which threaten the Rodina.


“I’m going in, cover me Porkins!”

Using the finely honed accuracy which served him well in his trek to save the Siberian tiger, Putin doused the burning inferno with some earth juice scoring a “direct hit”.

I did not appreciate the AP writer’s attempt to dismiss Putin’s heroism,

The stunt was classic Putin. In past years, he has copiloted a fighter jet, ridden a horse bare-chested in Siberia and descended to the bottom of Lake Baikal in a mini-sub. Just last month he drove a Harley Davidson motorcycle to a biker rally.

Stunt? Stunt?!?! Really? This is who the man is, a man on a quest to cure the world’s ills. To make this world a better place one tank of water at a time, all for the benefit of us the little people.

Shame on you AP journo for your nay saying.

Oh, that these United States had such a figure at the top!

You know if a piece of the Russian coastline suffered the same fate as the Gulf, Putin be the first one down there personally plugging the hole until BP or Lukoil could get their act together and cap it.

Long live Volodya!

No Putin post on this blog ends until I give a shout out to Animotion’s greatest hit

(Photo credit: AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)

AIDS Activists “Pine” For Dubya?

Remember this sign that appeared in Minnesota a few months ago?


(Photo Credit: Bob Collins/Minnesota Public Radio)

The “culprits” behind it were a group of small business owners who “feel Washington is against them”.

But is it possible that some AIDS activists share the sentiment espoused in the billboard?

Speaking of 43, his fellow Republicans are worried about the potential negative impact of his soon-to-be-published memoirs.

One prominent conservative compared the Bushies’ public-relations savvy to LeBron James.

Ouch…

Spain Wins The World Cup In Spite Of Debilitating Nike Ad

Truth be told, before yesterday the first part of the title was as absurd as “The Red Sox win the World Series” would have been 10 years ago or even “Longhorns top the Sooners” during the early naughts.

Spain’s National Team, La Furia Roja, had a knack for falling flat on their collective face World Cup after World Cup. This all changed yesterday to be sure, after La Furia Roja defeated the Netherlands, who have now lost 3 World Cup Finals (’74, ’78, 10), 1-0.

I believe however that the breakthrough which culminated yesterday began in Euro 2008, which the Spanish won by besting Germany by the same score they beat the Dutch yesterday. That tournament set them on a course of excellence, winning 35 matches in a row until they shockingly lost to the U.S. at the 2009 Confederations Cup held in South Africa.

They then proceeded to breeze through World Cup qualifiers, becoming a favorite to take home the hardware in South Africa entering as the #2 squad in the world according to FIFA. In their first World Cup match, La Furia Roja fell to the Swiss, prompting echoes of “Different World Cup, same old Spain”.

Spaniards readied themselves for another World Cup collapse by their beloved team, blame was sent down bizarre avenues.

Yet, here we are July 12, 2010 and the FIFA World Cup trophy will call Spain home for at least the next 4 years.

A more remarkable feat may be that Spain won despite three of their players’ involvement in Nike Soccer’s “Write the Future” ad (watch it here).

An ad made before the start of the World Cup featuring England’s Wayne Rooney, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Italya’s Fabio Cannavaro, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, France’s Franck Ribéry, Brazil’s Robinho and Ronaldinho. To say that the campaign was a poor prognosticator of World Cup success is a vast understatement, a rundown:

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A Hapsburg, LeBron and Martha Stewart Walk Into A Bar…

Carles Puyol (right) who looks like he just stepped out of a Hapsburg family portrait, heads Spain into the World Cup Final. As a descendant of the Hapsburg’s, Puyol will be looking for some payback by cracking some skulls against the Netherlands on Sunday

My guess is that since LeBron James missed not having a signing day presser coming out of high school, he’s making up for lost time with “The Decision”. Great column on the LeBron “saga” that  mercifully ends tonight.

When the folks at NASA aren’t trying to reach out to the Muslim world, they’re conducting valuable research.

Forget Wife Swap, how ’bout an old-fashioned spy swap? Makes me want to re-read The Cardinal of the Kremlin.

So now these “elites” will become embittered and “cling to martini glasses or environmentalism or antipathy towards people who don’t think like them or anti-American sentiment or anti-capitalism sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Right POTUS?

Unbelievable pictures of Monterrey in the aftermath of Hurricane Alex.

Holy poncho Batman! Martha Stewart had lengua, easily the most underrated “cut” of beef.

Caught this on PBS last night, I might or might not have almost shed a tear because of Jackie’s courage in the face of such bitter hatred.

[Photo Credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images Europe]

America: The World’s “Dictator”

At the Nigerian stop of his gringo-bashing tour, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the following before a packed house at the Iranian embassy in Ajuba,

They [America] are the self-proclaimed leaders and everybody should know that self-proclaimed leadership is dictatorship

In other words, America, I’m assuming he’s talking about the government not the people, is the world’s dictator due to the influence she has over vast swathes of the planet. Whether this influence/power translates into a dictatorship I can’t say, but I know that in Latin America most people would agree with the world’s most controversial engineer (below).


Curse the West and their decadent haircuts


Fact: Historically speaking, the U.S. has ill treated her neighbors to the south.

This has led to many of my fellow Spanish-speakers to view the U.S.A as a bully (justifiably so) who doesn’t let ethics/common decency get in the way of getting what she wants. That my countrymen and distant cousins further south elect individuals such as this election cycle after election cycle is another story.

It is important to note that nation-states don’t act based on altruism but rather on what’s best for them or the people in power of the nation-state. In a nation such as America, it is supposed to be “We the People” who, through the voting booth, hold the power.

As we all know, that is an illusion for elected officials here in this great nation are as corrupt and egotistical as anywhere else in the world. Most of the time, they don’t really give a rip about “We the People” but when they do it is for the express purpose of getting re-elected to posts that remind one of the lords of the manors of old. American elected officials are just better at mollifying the narod and through the press hoodwinking them into thinking that they enact laws that are in the best interest of the common good.

All that said, if there is going to be a World Wide Leader not named ESPN, and there has to be given human nature, John Lennon’s idealistic drivel notwithstanding, who would you rather have in that position than the United States of America?

The Soviets certainly weren’t up to the task, the Chinese might just bump America from the throne, but do we really want that, given China’s atrocious record in dealing with dissent?

For all of her past and present flaws, America has been a force for stability in this fallen world. Yes, she has acted in self-interest, but more often than not her self-preserving actions have been for the betterment of the world, her rescue of Western Europe during World War II might have been her finest moment. For all of Western Europe’s anti-Americanism, I wonder if they stop to think that a Nazi regime would be more favorable?

Ironically enough, many confuse the current American system to that of the Nazis. Such historical shortsightedness merits little or no commentary.

America has a form of government (totalitarian democracy), which is far from perfect, seems to be the best practical form of government under our fallen circumstances.

The inadequacies of the system just go to show how fallen this world really is.

Kabul: The New Live Music Capital Of The World

Look out Austin, you might have an usurper to your “Live Music Capital of the World” throne in the form of Kabul, yep, that Kabul.

At least judging by the enthusiasm and moxie of bands such as “Kabul Dreams”.  Check out their YouTube page here unless you think the Taliban’s ideology is just peachy keen.

They are profiled in the following story,

We’re the Tali-band! Afghan rockers challenge hardliners to a duel… with electric guitars

Bands such as this would have been jailed under Taliban rule, no doubt for using corrupt Western practices to pollute their religious utopia. In fact, when the Taliban were in power,

Playing musical instruments was banned. Singing was allowed, but only songs praising Allah or the Taliban.

Gee, that sounds like a lot of churches here in the States, not to mention universities, looking at you Bob Jones. Same tune, different key.

As for the music that is making the rounds in Afghanistan,

Rock music has made inroads since the fall of the Taliban. A smattering of music shops sell pirated CDs of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and other bands. Indian and Pakistani groups also are popular among the youth.

What? No one’s thought of slipping The (now disbanded) Afghan Whigs in to the mix? Or  at least Mr. Mister (below)


♫Take, these broken Whigs…♫

[Photo Credit: Tonymix's Blog]

Totalitarian Democracy

I became fascinated by the small island nation of Iceland in large part to Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising. A tome which probably doesn’t resonate with people who didn’t live during the Cold War, but which is a captivating and thrilling read.

I hope to visit the country at some point in my life, at least to see how they do Mexican food there…


Tabasco’s, a Mexican restaurant in Reykjavik (Photo Credit: Funofthefair)

One of Clancy’s subplots focuses on Iceland, it’s takeover by a Soviet Air Guards division and inevitable (Clancy is American after all) liberation by NATO forces led by U.S. Marines aided by a scrawny Air Force weatherman and his merry band.

So naturally, when I ran across the following article, Is Iceland a Totalitarian State?, I decided to check it out,

  1. Because it’s about Iceland
  2. Totalitarian __________ and Iceland seem incongruous

Needless to say, the article was eye-opening for it’s description of how a seemingly free, liberal even and democratic society can be anything but. And also for its relevancy to the way America is governed.

An excerpt,

Totalitarianism is a political system in which the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life. J.L. Talmon used the term “totalitarian democracy” to refer to a system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government.

It has a certain ring of familiarity to it, no?

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