Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jack and Meg at the Aragon Ballroom

The White Stripes have announced some U.S. tour dates in support of their upcoming album. They will play September 4 (Tuesday) and 5 at the Aragon Ballroom. No word yet on when tickets go on sale or on the opening act. Jack White is done carousing with the Raconteurs for the time being as Icky Thump is scheduled for release on June 19. I feel like each of their albums is better than the last and can't wait for both the concerts (I hope to go to both) and the album. Let me know if you can handle this much rock and would like to go.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Democrats and 9/11

I was surprised by a recent Rasmussen poll. The scientific poll asked 800 likely voters several questions about 9/11 and the war in Iraq. Among respondents identifying themselves as Democrats, 35% believe that President Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance, 26% are unsure and 39% say he did not know. So, 61% of Democrats believe that Bush may have known about the 9/11 attacks ahead of time, which would mean that our government was complicit in the attacks! I believe three individuals are most to blame: Howard Dean, Michael Moore, and Rosie O'Donnell. All three advanced this absurd theory. In case you belong to this group of people, please read the rebuttal of all these 9/11 conspiracies from Popular Mechanics.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

No Time Lines For Defeat

The Dems finally acknowledged that they can't force a U.S. defeat to the terrorists in Iraq. They will no longer press for a time line for troop withdrawal in exchange for the funds the troops need. They do not have the votes to override a Bush veto and they don't have the guts to withhold funding from the troops. This is a victory for the U.S. and the Iraqi people as we will continue to the fight the central battle in the global war on terrorism. Bob Kerrey, former Democratic senator and member of the 9/11 Commission makes a strong argument today in Opinion Journal for continuing the fight:

"The key question for Congress is whether or not Iraq has become the primary battleground against the same radical Islamists who declared war on the U.S. in the 1990s and who have carried out a series of terrorist operations including 9/11. The answer is emphatically "yes." This does not mean that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11; he was not. Nor does it mean that the war to overthrow him was justified--though I believe it was. It only means that a unilateral withdrawal from Iraq would hand Osama bin Laden a substantial psychological victory."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kings of Leon

I saw the Kings of Leon at the Riviera Theatre last night with Rudi. Easily one of the best shows I've ever seen. They did not leave the rock at home. They brought it with them, blazing through a 2 hour set, covering most of "Youth and Young Manhood" and a good chunk of "Aha Shake Heartbreak," and the new one "Because of the Times." The opening bands were the Features (really good) and Snowden (sucky). The Kings of Leon, if you aren't familiar, are a indie/southern rock band from Tennessee made up of 3 brothers and their cousin. I highly recommend all their albums, but would probably start with their debut, "Youth and Young Manhood."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Global Warming Update

Every hurricane, ice berg or warm breeze nowadays is attributed to global warming. However, in April the average temperature was only 51.7 F, -.3 degrees cooler than average for the last century. We should all immediately buy Hummers, fly private planes and jack up the AC if we want to avoid an ice age that will surely wreck havoc across the globe. I'd say we only have about 5 years to act, or else the planet is doomed. Seriously, more and more prominent climate scientists (thanks, Drudge Report) are changing their tune and rejecting the doom and gloom prophesies, while the nut jobs at Greenpeace build an ark. As I've stated before, I strongly support conservation and investment in technologies that will lower our carbon dioxide emissions. However, global warming is not a crisis (see my previos posts) and the extreme solutions (Kyoto Protocol, insane taxation, limiting the number of children you can have) offered to solve this non-crisis would have horrible effects on our economy and the welfare of the developing world while doing next to nothing to cool the planet. Obama and Hillary have joined other Dems in the Senate to propose a new $366 billion a year global warming tax, which would average $4,500 for a family of four and would increase over time. Awesome.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bad News For People Who Love Bad News

The mainstream media's reporting of Operation Iraqi Freedom reminds me of the album from Modest Mouse - "Good News For People Who Love Bad News." Is it any wonder that support for the war has deteriorated when the public is barraged by bad news day in and day out without any report of progress in Iraq, the potential benefits of a free Iraq, and the potential chaos that will ensue if we fail in Iraq? The media's failure to report any of this is not due to ignorance, but to a purposeful attempt to shape public opinion. I don't expect them to ignore the bad news and the challenges, but they do have an obligation to report fairly. Gerd Schroeder is a Major in the US Army. He has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and offers examples of the media's malpractice in American Thinker: "The Missing Context in Media Reporting on Iraq." He also makes the point that President Bush has not done an adequate job of putting the successes in context for the American people.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Biggest Loss of Their Life

I was at the United Center last night for the Pistons big comeback win to go up 3-0 on the Bulls. The fans were as loud as can be for, oh, about two and a half quarters. Down 55-38 half way through the third, Tayshaun Prince and Chauncey Billups lead them back to within 1 to end the quarter. In the end, Ben Gordon summed it up: "It's the biggest loss of everybody's life because it's the last game," Gordon said. "We had a 19-point lead and they chipped away at it. It's tough to lose like that." But it sure is fun to win like that!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sharpton Slip

Al Sharpton has become judge and jury of anyone uttering less than PC remarks about African-Americans as we saw in the Imus debacle. However, which is more offensive - what Imus said about the Rutgers womens basketball team or what Sharpton said recently about Mitt Romney? Sharpton said "As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don't worry, that's a temporary situation." As Justin Hart writes in American Thinker, Sharpton argues that a non-Christian candidate doesn't believe in God and has no place in politics. How would these comments be recieved had a conservative made them and replaced a Mormon candidate with a Jewish one, or gasp! a Muslim candidate? The hypocrisy is stunning, as is the media bias. Whether you're Ted Kennedy (Chappaquiddick) or Sharpton (Tawana Brawley) it's amazing what you can get away with, as long as you're a liberal.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Campus Fever

For the Calvin Alumni out there, check out my brother Nate's very funny video about life inside the Calvin bubble. Nate is a junior at Calvin and entered the video in a contest where contestants were given a theme, a required prop, and a required line of dialogue. Oh, and the video had to be completed in 24 hours. Here's the link in case it's not playing properly:

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Landlord

Enjoy the hilarity from Will Ferrell, unless you're offended by swearing, alcoholic children.
The Landlord

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ben Gibbard Rocks the Metro

Sarah and I were at the Metro in Wrigleyville to take in a great show: solo performances by David Bazan (pictured below from Pedro the Lion) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie, Postal Service). Oh, and Johnathan Rice. Pedro the Lion (now defunct) is one of my favorite bands and David played a lot of Pedro songs, as well as songs from his new EP and a cover of Bob Dylan's "The Man In Me." Unfortunately, most of the crowd was only there for Ben and talked loudly throughout Bazan's acoustic set, which really annoyed me. Ben Gibbard was so good, playing an hour and a half long set featuring mainly Death Cab and Postal Service songs. While sitting at the piano, he announced he was going to play a cover from a "relatively obscure band from my hometown [Seattle]" and then launched into "All Apologies" by Nirvana. He had a great time with the crowd, telling funny stories and handling the incessant requests with grace. I was happy to see his interactions with the crowd because I had heard he can be an elitist snob (from Mancow) but he seemed to be nothing of the sort. Apparently David and Ben are good friends. Their lyrics definitely come from very different perspectives on faith. Bazan is a Christian and often sings about the highs and lows of Christian faith with refreshing honesty, as on "Secrets of an Easy Yoke: "could someone please tell me the story of sinners ransomed from the fall? I still have never seen you, and some days I don't love you at all." Ben, on the other hand appears to be agnostic. In Death Cab's wildly popular "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," he gives insight into what I find to be a very depressing view:
In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles brusied by a lady in black
And I held my toungue as she told me "Son fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

If heaven and hell decide/That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you/When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
I highly recommend both of these artists. Must haves are Pedro the Lion - It's Hard to Find a Friend and the Postal Service - Give Up. Also check out Death Cab For Cutie - Plans, Transatlanticism, and Photo Album.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Attention Bulls Fans

The Baby Bulls will be visiting the Detroit Pistons on Saturday to kick off their 2nd round, 7 game series. The Pistons will certainly thrash Chicago's lousy excuse for a basketball team (actually they've been playing quite well and may even force a close game or two). Bulls fans, I'd like to direct you to the following piece from the Onion: "You Will Suffer Humiliation When The Sports Team From My Area Defeats the Sports Team From Your Area."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Romney Wins

The GOP candidates (minus Fred Thompson) had their first debate tonight. Mitt Romney (my current favorite, although I'm interested in Thompson) seemed to come out on top, despite ridiculous questions from the MSNBC moderators. Examples: "What do you dislike most about America?" (to Romney), “Thousands of reputable scientists have concluded, with almost certainty, that human activity is responsible for the warming of the Earth. Do you believe global warming exists?” (Huckabee), “Will you work to protect women's rights, as in fair wages and reproductive choice?” (Tancredo), “Bradley Winter of New York would like to know if there's anything you learned, or regret, during your time as Mayor in your dealings with the African-American community?” (Giuliani), as well as questions meant to embarrass the candidates (the difference between Shia/Sunni, how many dead in Iraq, etc.). The unscientific poll on Drudge has Romney winning the debate with 34% over Giuliani's 21% and McCain's 6%. Peggy Noonan at WSJ gives the advantage to Romney and thinks Giuliani bombed. Romney comes off as the most intelligent and polished and is certainly more conservative than Giuliani and McCain. Romney's obstacles are convincing the right of his pro-life turnaround and the whole Mormonism thing. Giuliani, as he showed by wavering tonight on whether or not the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade, rejects deeply held beliefs of much of the base. I admit that being a Mormon is a big negative, but I still believe Romney has the strength, character, experience, intelligence, and charisma to be a great president and spokesman for the conservative movement. Check out Romney's website for more information.