Friday, May 21, 2010

More on Detroit

Another Paul W. Smith-inspired post.  Yesterday, Paul W was talking with someone from the Detroit Institute of Arts about how bad it's getting financially for them, and how even their large donors are not giving as much, and the how the State of Michigan used to give them millions of dollars annually, but this year only gave them $10,000 (yes, ten thousand dollars), and how they were afraid that they would have to cut back or eliminate programs and/or exhibits.  But their latest idea to keep themselves funded was to get what they need from the taxpayers through a millage.

That's right.  Here in Michigan roads are crumbling, companies are failing, people are out of work long-term, but the people of Metro Detroit need to cough up even more money to subsidize an art museum.  They don't need that food.  They don't need that electricity.  They don't need water or gas for their homes.  But to these artsy-fartsy folks, they absolutely need an art museum.  This on top of the zoo they already support with their tax dollars!

Let me be clear - the Arts are a big part of my life, and always have been.  I understand and appreciate their importance to the soul of man.  But let me be just as clear on this:  they are not important enough that I want to be taxed for them.  They are not important enough that anyone should be taxed for them.  There is no constitutional basis for imposing any kind of tax for art museums!  Art museums are not a function of the government.  Police, Fire, sewers, roads, bridges - those are the things that government is responsible for.

And the worst part of it was that Paul W was supportive.  Shame on you, Paul.

To them, it's a 1300-year war

Why do the muslims hate us?

To hear the Obamaites (and even some Conservatives) tell it, it's because of our nation's unflagging support (until Jan. 2009) of Israel.  Or maybe our exploitation of them for their oil (how many petro-dollars have poured into thier little third-world stinkhole countries in the last 50 years again?)

What they don't seem to understand (probably because we don't teach history in the government schools any more) is that to the muslims this war has been going on since the seventh century AD, and that the whole world must come under the political and religious domination of Islam.

The government schools will tell you that the Crusades were a terrible thing that Christians should be ashamed of ever participating in or having associated with our faith.  While there were certainly atrocities committed in the name of Christ, what nobody ever talks about is why there were Crusades in the first place:  muslim expansion into eastern and southern Europe.  They never tell you that Spain was once invaded and mostly conquered by the muslims.  They never tell you it was invading muslims that Vlad the Impaler was impaling.  And do you ever hear about any of the atrocities committed by the muslims as they conquered their way toward Europe?

So let's not fool ourselves by thinking that if we leave them alone, they will leave us alone.  That may well be true for us, but their own religious and cultural history tells us what they will do.  This means you Ron Paul.  This means you, Chuck Baldwin.  This means you Obama (spit).

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Day I met Ernie Harwell

I woke up this morning to the sad news that baseball broadcaster extraordinaire Ernie Harwell passed away last night from bile duct cancer, at age 92.

For those who didn't grow up or get to experience listening to Mr. Harwell on the radio, it would be hard to describe the bond that exists between him and us, even though most of us never met the man. He represents warm summer days, the smell of hot dogs and cigarette smoke in the air, and the greenest grass you ever saw as you walk into old Tiger Stadium. You sit with him in your back yard with a beer and good friends, or as you're doing yard work, or as you lay in bed after midnight listening to the late game on the west coast. Your mind's eye can see Tram and Lou turning that double play, Al Kaline hauling one in at the warning track, Lolich mowing down the Cards three times, or Gibby taking Goose Gossage deep. Or the man from Onstead catching the foul ball. Ernie is baseball - the joys, the trials, the hopes, the dreams, and the memories of summers past - for all of us who had the privilege of listening to him over the years. He is the connection to Cobb and Stengel and DiMaggio and Williams and Robinson and all the names large and small from the history of baseball, because he knew them all, and had stories for each of them.

A few years back, after he had retired from broadcasting, Ernie came to my building as part of his work with Blue Cross. He was signing autographs and posing for pictures and talking with his fans. I had brought a copy of his book "Tuned to Baseball" and I hoped to ask him to autograph it, but I began to get cold feet about going up there. What do you say to a legend? How do you strike up a conversation with a man like him, like it's nothing at all? I almost didn't go, but my friend down the hall, Eddie, kicked my butt about it, and told me how much I would regret it if I didn't go up there. So I did. I screwed up my courage and went up to the room he was in.

There were quite a few people there, and there was Ernie standing behind a table with Blue Cross "stuff" on it, signing baseballs and whatever else was handed to him. My first thought on seeing him in person was what a tiny man he was. He seemed to be about 5'-6", and might have weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. Not at all what I expected. But the big smile and the warmth you could feel even through the radio were there. When it was my turn I handed him my book, and he said "Wow - that's an old one" as he signed the inside flyleaf. I don't even remember what I said to him beyond telling him my name and thanking him for the autograph. I shook his hand and went back down to work. And that was it.

I told Eddie this morning how glad I was that he didn't let me off the hook when I was about to chicken out, because I got to meet Ernie instead of regretting for the rest of my life that I chickened out and didn't go.

So Godspeed, Mr. Harwell. I hope to meet you again when I get to heaven, and hopefully I won't be so tongue-tied then! Until that day, you have a place in the hearts and memories of a great multitude, who today are grateful for all that you gave us as we remember your life.

Thanks, Ernie.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Why Detroit will continue to FAIL

Once again The Paul W. Smith Show provides fodder for this blog. (I really need to meet Paul W. one of these days to thank him for all this stuff.)

Paul was interviewing Mayor Dave Bing this morning about the shooting death of a Detroit police officer, and Mayor Bing was doing a commendable job of talking about what happened with the class and dignity he is renowned for. If he would have stopped there I would have nothing but praise for him in performing this most difficult of mayoral duties. But then he veered off into the hackneyed liberal blame-speech that does nothing but make inanimate objects responsible for the problems Detroit faces. It was the old "we need to get handguns off the street" line.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if Mayor Bing feels the need to trot out these foolish old arguments, it merely reveals him as another in the line of "same old thing" politicians that have driven Detroit into the mess it's in over the last half-century or more. His worship of the usurper Barack Obama (also on display in this interview) merely adds more evidence that supports my contention.

To Mayor Bing (one more time): Inanimate objects do not cause crime. Inanimate objects do not commit crimes. People commit crimes. People use knives, fists, baseball bats, wood chippers, rocks, bricks, and tire irons to kill people - not just guns. They have been doing so for the six millenia of human history, and they will continue to do so as long as this world continues to exist.

To the People of Detroit: as long as you continue to elect clueless individuals to lead your city, you will never recover. Remember the common definition for insanity: doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

Finally, as the son of a Police officer, tragic events like this mornings shooting always hit home with me, and my heart and my prayers go out to the family of the slain officer. News reports indicate the officer leaves behind a wife and 10 year old son. I never thought about my dad going off to work one day and never coming home when I was a kid, but this young man gets to live with that reality for the rest of his life. If you are the praying sort, please remember this family before God today.