Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Leftist Lion Roars No More

Ted (hic) Kennedy image by Freaking.comFrom Newsday:
"Edward M. Kennedy, the iconic “liberal lion” of the U.S. Senate and reigning patriarch of a legendary family political dynasty, whose advocacy of social issues left an indelible stamp on a half-century of American politics, died of brain cancer Tuesday night at his Cape Cod, Mass., home. He was 77.

Photos: Senator Ted Kennedy through the years

The youngest son in a family of wealth and privilege, Kennedy was a staunch liberal voice in his four decades in the Senate who often rallied his fellow Democrats, but he also built unlikely alliances with Republicans to pass milestone legislation on education, health care, voting rights and the minimum wage."


“Ted” Kennedy, as he was universally called, had his own unsuccessful run for the presidency, a position he seemed destined to hold. He was dogged by scandal after the 1969 drowning death of a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne, a former aide to his brother Robert, in Kennedy’s car in an accident on Chappaquidick Island, Mass.


I'm sure many will rain praise upon the dead Senator. I will not, merely noting his passing.

Make of that what you wish.

Note: I expect Obama, and the rest of the Dems, to use this man's death to promote their Socialist Agenda. It won't surprise me at all to see them use his funeral (as they have used Democrat funerals in the past) as a form of political rally, rather than a dignified ceremony marking this person's death. The socialist programs proposed by the Obama administration, and the Dems, will be touted as a "Tribute" to the 'Great Man' the Leftists touted as the "conscience of the Senate".

Some conscience.

Expect the Leftist myrmidons of the MSM to fall into line. The encomiums of Ted Kennedy will be almost non-stop. This is the enshrinement of a Liberal Saint.

We'll be spoon-fed the 'historic accomplishments' of this man; the failures and abyssal weaknesses will be ignored or glossed over. Obama will see his poll ratings rise.

This is a boon to Obama and the rest of the Socialists in his administration. Not so much for America.

Thomas Lifson notes (emphasis mine):
Ted Kennedy was the poster boy for redemption by liberal politics -- the sense that many on the left have that no matter how badly they behave personally, they have a claim on virtue because they support liberal policies. By mobilizing the power of the state to take money away from some to cater to the needs of others, they suddenly become great humanitarians.

Even the liberals on MSNBC this morning are framing their eulogies in temrs of Teddy's battle with his dark side (and concluding that in the end light won because he got the government to spend a lot more money).

But Ted Kennedy faces a Judge far more powerful than any pundit, or indeed the electorate now. What any other mortal thinks of him now is irrelevant to his fate.

"Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment." - James Taranto

Update: From Michael Graham comes this commentary (read it all):

"[...] Ted Kennedy's family loved him. Many people will sincerely mourn Sen. Kennedy's passing.

All these things are true about Sen. Kennedy.

And so are these:

Sen. Kennedy was wrong about virtually every major public policy issue of his career.


Confederate Yankee has a little to say:
"Ted Kennedy is dead. I will not miss him."

Bookworm Room has some links worth perusing. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Who Was That?

In the late 70s and early 80s I lived in Santa Ana, California - 45 minutes from L.A. - seeking Fame and Fortune as an actor. Mostly I was a janitor, taking acting classes, and so on. Money not being in abundance my Folks would send me a ticket home for Christmas, and friends would drive me to LAX to catch my flight.

I'm not sure what year it was but I remember being in the terminal, waiting for my flight, when a man came down the concourse, heading out of LAX. I recognized his face immediately. Why not? I'd seen him in many TV shows, and in Films, too. But, for the life of me, I could not remember his name!

That alone isn't unusual. I have trouble with names. Faces I remember, but when it comes to hearing a name I always seem to be paying little attention.

Who was that?But I was wishing, at the time, that I did remember his name because I would have liked to step up to this Character Actor and thank him for entertaining me for so many years. It would take seeing a rerun of a Twilight episode to finally 'catch' his name. At that time I owned no computer, so I wasn't hooked up to the infant Internet.

I'll tell you who he was in a moment.

On the return trip my Mom took me to the Philly airport to catch the return flight. As I waited I saw two different men come down the concourse. One was a muscular, average-height man, surrounded by an entourage. He looked solemn, unapproachable. He I recognized immediately, too. Sylvester Stallone. I thought it funny that he needed to be protected by bigger men than he, and the one would be kind of foolish to even try to approach him. So I just watched him walk by.

A little while later another man ambled by, a big grin on his face, looking like he was enjoying the daylights out of being home. He wore a floor-length leather coat, and not a soul was with him. No entourage at all. I sure as heck recognized him. It was Joe Frazier, former Heavyweight Boxing Champ. And I thought about how he didn't need any bodyguards, and looked utterly at ease in a public setting.

Why didn't I wave to him or speak to him? I don't know. But I thought about that later and was a tad ashamed that I didn't. I had been a fan of Smokin' Joe for a long time. I should have said something, right?

Anyway, that was then. As I said in a recent post, there's a digital TV network that shows old TV shows. In nearly every episode I see faces of actors and actresses I recognize. Many I haven't seen in years. And most are unknown to me, as far as their names. Luckily RTV lets the closing credits scroll so you can read the characters' names (unlike the broadcasters today. Must they squish the credits to the side or to the bottom of the screen to tout another show or commercial? Gimme a break!)

So with access to the Internet I can chase down the names to go with the faces.

And who was that well-regarded character actor from LAX? The one I recognized but could not name?

Do you recognize him?

Edward Andrews - Twilight Zone

It's Edward Andrews.

Edward Andrews

What about these two well-regarded character actors? Both could play the Heavy very well. Both came off as tough.

Simon OaklandRamon Bieri

From his turn in the movie Bullitt, you should easily recognize Simon Oakland. Always enjoyable to watch.

Simon Oakland

This fellow's face may be recognizable to you, but do you have an inkling of his name? I sure didn't. I had to chase it down through a TV series cast list at the IMDB.

Ramon Bieri

It's Ramon Bieri. See? I bet even if the face is familiar you had no clue.

These three fine actors are gone, now, Andrews passing away in 1985 - not long after I saw him, I think. Bieri died in May of 2001. Simon Oakland passed from the stage in 1983.

Are there any great character actors today? A Walter Brennan? A Beulah Bondi? Are there? Would we know the names? Or just the faces?

Faces like Eddie Mayehoff?

Eddie Mayehoff
"As an actor, the husky-voiced entertainer with the elastic face is probably best remembered for his film That's My Boy (1951), in which he played an ex-football star who aggressively prods his awkward, goofball son Junior (played by--who else?--Jerry Lewis) to follow in his athletic shoes. Dean Martin played Jerry's coach in the popular film."

Faces like Paul Ford?

Paul Ford
"Paul Ford (1901 - 1976) was another one of those great character faces (and voices) in movies and on TV.

He specialized in bluster, bravado, befuddlement, bull-headedness, and undoubtedly something else beginning with the letter 'B'."

Do we still look at the image on the screen and ask ourselves, "Who was that?"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Obamacare: Illegal As Hell

One of the true barriers to so-called Obamacare is the most important and basic to American Government: The U.S. Constitution. While many Americans are busy protesting various aspects of the boondoggle known as Obamacare, a lot of us have wondered, now and then, just how this is supposed to work within the Constitutional boundaries our Public Servants are pledged to follow.

An op-ed in the Washington Post, by David Rivkin Jr. and Lee Casey, nails the basic illegality of Obamacare. Read it, if you haven't already.

Bookworm, a lawyer by trade, posts on this, noting Ed Morrissey's dead-on comments regarding Obamacare:
"Most states now require drivers to have auto insurance before issuing drivers licenses, car registrations, or both. However, that doesn't apply here for three reasons. First, that power rests with the individual states, as they are the licensing authorities and not the federal government. Second, driving is not a right but a privilege, which gives access to state-owned roads in exchange for a demonstration of competence and appropriate safety and insurance preparation, so the state can and does set conditions on that privilege (too many, but that's an argument for another day). Third, because the insurance is conditioned on that privilege, it only affects a portion of the populace. The states could not demand universal auto insurance on every man, woman, and child in their state."

Morrissey goes on to dismantle the Constitutionality of the Obamacare proposals and possible end-arounds that Statists may also attempt.

Americans have become placid in their acceptance of un-Constitutional Federal hand-outs, from Social Security to the Department of Education. Despite the fact that the Constitution had two purposes - create a Federal Government and describe how it works, and sharply fence in that Federal Government's powers - almost from the beginning of this Republic our elected Representatives have striven to expand Federal power (and their own, of course) and buy votes through welfare-type legislation. Any transfer of wealth (except those which are allowed under the Constitution of The U.S. or its States), of any kind, from the person or persons who own that wealth, to another person or persons who have not earned it, is a form of welfare. It is also not legal under the Constitution for the Federal Government to enact such transfers. Not without the express consent of those whose wealth is being taken.

You can argue all you wish that things like Social Security provide a safety net for those Americans who need help. That is well and good. But the Feds have no moral or legal authority to force the American public to pay for such things. If government lawyers and accountants wish to provide free help in setting up private foundations, etc. which act in the manner of Social Security, Welfare, et al, then let them do so. That's their right as Free Americans. To allow the Federal Government to step in and mandate such things is illegal.

But, as I said, we've become accepting of such things. And that attitude leads inexorably to such un-Constitutional proposals as so-called Obamacare.

Remember the brouhaha over FEMA and the reaction to Hurricane Katrina's aftermath? FEMA, had it existed as solely a private concern, may have acted with the speed and efficiency of Wal-Mart. Remember how that private - and politically vilified, by the Left - company had water, ice, and foodstuffs, flowing into the area within hours? Our ponderous and inefficient government could not act as swiftly. Nor was it legally permitted to do so, within Constitutional boundaries, save for activating the National Guard to provide protection while rescue and rebuilding began.

Yes, the Federal Government has money to spare, and the manpower to act. But the money is taken from us, by force. If a billion dollars are wasted or corruptly misappropriated, the Feds may or may not respond. But we are the ones whose money is lost. The manpower is also not entirely Constitutional, save for the Armed Forces. All those bureaucrats, apparatchiks, and minor functionaries, are simply the bastard children of a bloated, un-Constitutional Federal Government.

Obama is supposed to be a Constitutional Scholar, former Lecturer, and all-around smart cookie. But his very public gaffes and faux understanding of things Biblical, Historical, and Social reveal none of these supposed smarts. And his proposals regarding a universal Health Care system are far outside the limits imposed by the Constitution. As he well knows. As do the Leftists who infest the Government at all levels.

“Constitution? We don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution!”

Argue the merits, or lack thereof, of individual aspects of the Obamacare proposal boondoggle all you want (Dr. Rosenbloom has a very good article at American Thinker). But at the end of the day recognize that this is not simply unsustainable economically, but utterly illegal. Illegal as Hell!

Obamacare must not be allowed to pass in any way, shape, or form. And any elected Representative who votes for it, or its constituent parts, should be voted out of office at the earliest possible moment.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Project 2996: Join Us!

We're approaching the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our Nation. Dale C. Roe, who inaugurated the tribute project to the victims of those attacks - Project 2996 - has moved to a new site at Wordpress, and has put out a call for folks to sign up again. Time is short, but this should be a labor of love to the innocent victims of Islamism on our home soil.

My original tribute blog remains up, alive, and waiting for visitors and comments. It's called simply, "2,996: Gary H. Lee". You'll find some images of Gary, and family, with some biographical information, tributes from friends and co-workers, and memories from family and friends.

If you have the time, please head over to Dale's new site, sign up, and get to creating a tribute to one of those lost to the hatred of the Islamists. We must not forget the victims of 9/11, we dare not. The media and our political class seem as eager as ever to forget them. So do your own part in ensuring we never forget the victims of 9/11.

Join me at Project 2996, won't you?

Update 8/20/09:

I've been assigned Paul James Battaglia. The blog is completed and will be opened on September 11, 2009. Paul was 22 when he was lost in World Trade Center Tower One.

Please sign up and join the project.