Oh Say, Can't You See Him?

Sports and patriotic gestures go together like mom, apple pie and the flag, right?

Well, one reporter is causing controversy by pointing out that NBA star, Brandon Roy, who plays for the Portland Blazers, morphs into the invisible man when the national anthem is sung.

Writes John Canzano in the Oregonian, "For two seasons now, Roy leaves the court before 'The Star Spangled Banner' is performed. He waits out of sight, in the arena tunnel, and has a quiet moment of prayer while his teammates stand and honor America together."

I've been to my fair share of athletic contests, as you probably have, where this long-standing American ritual - the singing of the national anthem - takes place. With few exceptions, most people eagerly stand, place their hands on their chests, and look at the flag in the gym/stadium/field. Even when the words to the song are comically mangled by the performer, folks remain respectful.

So, Roy's decision to not stand with his teammates is atypical, as is his explanation. Typically, the arguments against participating in the national anthem and/or not pledging allegiance to Old Glory are the following:

1) the libertarian one which views these gestures as coerced patriotism and eschews the mixing of sport and state;

2) the religious one which approves of pledging allegiance to God or a god, not to a country;

3) the anti-military one where the the flag is seen as a "symbol of oppression."

As we become an increasingly balkanized nation and we struggle to find common ground, these collective patriotic gestures become even more meaningful, less rote, to some. Myself included.

However, this line from the Oregonian article left me cold: "... I worry that the statement he's (Brandon Roy) making is one of individualism."

Reporter Canzano, that is the epitome of Soviet-style thinking.

Oh say, let Trail Blazer Roy have his moment of peace in peace.

Update: Wrote a longer piece - newsfeed/commentary - on this issue. Now that I learned the NBA has specific rules of conduct, regarding the anthem, I tweaked my opinion. Here it is.


Happy Thanksgiving


Obsessed with Otherworldly Creatures

The Twi-hards have voted with their wallets, designer handbags, and credit cards.

This was the weekend they had been waiting for - for nearly a year - the weekend that New Moon (the sequel to Twilight) came to a theater near you.

The kitschy movie, featuring ancient vampires, teen-aged werewolves, and a love triangle, easily broke the opening-day box office record previously held by The Dark Knight, as well as other records.

Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward Cullen, the lead male character, is a Brit. RPattz's previous claim to fame was a minor role in one of the Harry Potter movies. Today, this pretty man-child is a bigger draw than DiCaprio.

So, apparently, there is one immigrant and some 'aliens' that a wide swath of the masses (especially of the female gender) are intensely interested in.

Bread and Circus - 1

Serious issues of the day - 0


The Clothesline Becomes a Political Symbol

Carin Froehlich is a domestic goddess who is mounting a silent (but effective) rebellion on behalf of property rights and energy-saving measures.

She deserves a golden clothespin for her efforts.

And to those spoiled snobs who dub her laundry habits as "trailer trash" - shame on you! Electric and gas dryers are a scarce commodity in the majority of the developing world, so most people do what Carin has been doing for years to get their clothing dry - hang them outdoors!

I'm guessing that Pennsylvania (where Carin lives) is also the most clothesline-friendly state in the union given the high percentage of Amish women who reside in PA and who don't utilize electric appliances.

Here's my newsfeed about her crusade against her busybody neighbors.

Update: A nifty photo of Carin doing her laundry thing. The American flags are a nice touch!

Update: Wrote a column-column for the Belgrade News about Carin's quest.

Words aren't cheap, after all

There's a doctor in the House.

To be precise, in the U.S. Senate.

That'd be Dr. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma).

He, of course, has opinions/facts on the ReidHealthCare Bill:

"(The) Senate bill has 2,074 pages and weighs 20.8 pounds

A true cost of $2.5 trillion, that comes out to $1.2 billion per page.

A true cost of $2.5 trillion, that comes out to $6.8 million per word."


A Word About American-Style English

In My Fair Lady, the musical, Professor Henry Higgins famously said: "There even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven't used it for years."

Teehee, and, ouch, given our country's ongoing, never-ending struggle to maintain a national language.

Here's an article I wrote about that very topic.

Update: Cuban-American Eddie Garcia on why he supports making English the official language.


Lou Dobbs' Still Truckin'

My latest column about the mental midgets who went after Lou Dobbs is here. I had included Alinsky Rule #13 ("Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.") in the intro., but it got edited.

Dobbs was interviewed by Bill O'Reilly last night - civil, informative exchange.

Mr. D discussed CNN's decision to move away from advocacy/opinion news shows (obligatory eye-rolling gesture from the jokemeisters who call it the Communist News Network). Take a look and a listen:

Wish She'd Gone Rogue With Univision

Mrs. Todd Palin, national punchline and pop culture phenom, is back in the spotlight promoting her Lynn Vincent-written bestseller. (Stylistically-speaking, LV was a good choice to ghostwrite the book. Lynn interviewed me once, and I was impressed with her cordial manner and her end product.)

Since Sarah of Wasilla may return to the national political stage, and since the U.S. is desperately in need of straight-talking, tough-love leadership, it's worthwhile to revisit a portion of her Univision (the Spanish-language TV station) interview dealing with immigration. It was classic, unscripted, no-teleprompter Palin - all over the place and (unintentionally) hilarious. She was also clueless about the trans-national gangs, drunk drivers, jihadists, and all the rest of the motley crew which are the fruits of our inferior interior enforcement policies.

Here's Sarah (nice jacket!) with Jorge Ramos (nice suit!) and 2 questions from the interview:

Q: Do you then favor an amnesty for the 12 million undocumented immigrants?

A: No, I do not. Not total amnesty. You know, people have got to follow the rules. We have got to make sure that there is equal opportunity and those who are here legally should be first in line for services being provided and those opportunities that this great country provides.

Q: So you support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?

A: I do because I understand why people would want to be in America. To seek the safety and prosperity, the opportunities, the health that is here. It is so important that yes, people follow the rules so that people can be treated equally and fairly in this country.

Maybe it sounded better in Spanish.

P.S. The full Univision interview is here.


Border, The Movie

This award-winning documentary, which deals with the harsh realities of life on or near the US-Mexico border is, if nothing else, inclusive: "From the mouths of besieged ranchers, local law enforcement, the Minutemen, the ACLU, political leaders and illegal immigrants themselves, comes a searing portrait that does not flinch from the truth. This is a front row seat on a failed policy gone completely out of control."

Consider donating a copy to your local library.


CNN Won't Be the Same Without Lou

It's "Roberto Lovato Gets His Smug On" day.

This partisan hack is gloating and taking the credit for causing a patriot who has been sticking up for the marginalized American worker (for many years) for losing his job! (Yes, I know he abruptly quit, but I think the circumstances/special interest groups' pressure forced his hand.)

Lovato is affliated with the "New America Media" which is financed by the powerful Carnegie Foundation and several other left-leaning foundations which are eager to ingratiate themselves with herd-mentality "journalists" who have mastered the art of the put down, as opposed to doing the hard work of investigative reporting.

Some grass roots effort.

No offense to John King, husband of CNN's Dana Bash, (cozy, huh?) but I hope his show bombs.

New America = Censorship

P.S. The classy Eugene Katz Award, given to Mr. Dobbs for his excellent coverage on immigration, remains well-deserved.

Update: This column's headline turned out to be prophetc.

Update: Larry says it well: "To advocate freedom of speech but applaud its denial strikes me as hypocritical."

Texas-Style Health Care Reform

The Dutchers update on the very ill Baby Anne Marie is indeed extraordinary. It's hard not to tear up reading their account of what transpired in a Dallas hospital room on November 11.

And what an amazing 'cast' surrounds this precious little girl and her persevering parents - the brilliant doctors, the caring nurses, and the praying/tweeting/facebooking family and friends.

The 'Starving Artist' Needs to Go on a Diet

The Middle American News, November 2009 issue, featured a long list of the funds being distributed by those vibrant patrons of the arts - the U.S. Congress.
Here's a tiny sample of MAN's small sample which listed only about 40 bohemian entities (there's oodles more) who are proudly on the dole:

$50,000 for the Idaho Shakespeare Festival of Boise
$50,000 for the Illusion Theater & School of Minneapolis
$50,000 for the International Accordian Festival of San Antonio
$50,000 for the Mural Project of Brooklyn
$50,000 for the Headwaters Dance Company of Missoula
$50,000 for Grupo de Artistas Latinoamericanos de Washington, D.C.
$50,000 for Jacob's Pillow Dane of Becket (MA)
$50,000 for Friends of a Studio in the Woods, New Orleans

You get the idea.

Let's see if I get the idea: The national unemployment rate is now 22%, yet we enthusiastically continue to subsidize the fiddler to fiddle while Rome burns.

Makes perfect sense.


Ruby the Dog Finds Her Man

(Tuck this one away in the "Is this a great country of what?" mental file.)

It's no secret that Americans are unabashed animal lovers. The U.S. has millions of dedicated pet owners, as well as countless volunteers that raise money for shelters. Even in a tough economy, there are decent citizens who spontaneously rescue needy critters.

Like this fella - Gary DeNicola. He gallantly helped out a helpless doggie, and then received a shock.

But Gary continues doing the good deed, although it's became a more daunting endeavor than he envisioned. Awww. His neighbors are pretty neighborly, too.

"A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast." Proverbs 12:10


Angelina Jolie's Father Rocked the House

Actor Jon Voight's very political, very on-point, very outstanding speech at the anti-PelosiCare, held in Washington, D.C. yesterday, is here. John Ratzenberger, host of Made in America, also spoke and also hit a home run.

Sign from the rally

Disclaimer: Appreciating Mr. Voight's public stand on this issue doesn't change the fact that I think some of this "artistic" choices leave much to be desired. Midnight Cowboy comes to mind.


The 2009 World Series Champs

Since this blog is named in honor of Mr. Roberto Faith Castillo, who also happens to be a huge New York Yankees fan, I offer an enthusiastic tip of the baseball cap to the Bronx Bombers for last night's win.