July 27, 2010

Too Cute: Jewel Does Karaoke

The girl from Homer Ak wows the crowd at the Gas Light Karaoke Bar.

Via: Tigerhawk

Rump Party No More

If there is one sure thing in American politics its that there are no sure things. Following the election of Barack Obama the future of the Republican Party seemed more than a little bleak to most of us. The left-0-sphere was celebrating that the remnants of the GOP as nothing more than a southern Rump party, but as Granddad used to say, "Rave on cat shit... you'll get covered up."

In January 2009 the GOP could only claim 5 states, with 10 states competitive.

Jump ahead to July 2010

In less than two years under the reign of Obama the GOP has picked up 7 states and made 6 more competitive. Note that Gallup swapped the color identification for the solid and leaning states which forces you to do some mental gymnastics to see that 9 solidly Dem states are now in the lean Dem column.

According to a Rassmusen report, "Republican candidates now hold a 10-point lead over Democrats on the generic Congressional ballot. Voters not affiliated with either party prefer the Republican candidate by a 44% to 23% margin," That's quite a reversal of fortunes for a party that was declared dead two years ago.

July 22, 2010

Oshkosh 2010

Our friend Fred from the flatlands of western Iowa forwarded the following video as a reminder that EAA Airventure 2010 starts Monday. The last two years the women that lets me live with her was gracious enough to send me there with a friend for the week. This year we going to make it a family affair and go up for just day to get a little airplane fix and introduce the little Salmon to the world of aviation.

As Fred said in his email "This will get the blood pumping."

Thx Fred.

Photo: Cockpit of a SR 71 Blackbird. Lets see... stick check, rudders-check, throttle-check, little ball thingy that tells you which side is up- check. Hell I could fly that thing.

July 19, 2010

A Couple Items That Should Make You Wonder WTF

Obama dog Bo takes private jet to Maine vacation.

U.S. Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs

DOJ Website Updated

It came to my attention that the Justice Department has revamped its web site and out of curiosity I went back to previous DOJ banners to see just how the new effort stacks up.

The first is from 2001 and as we see it was the government standard issue web page of the times. Plain and purely utilitarian in nature, it was in a way a reflection of then Attorney General John Ashcroft.

America was at war when Alberto Gonzalez stepped into the AG spot in 2005 and this next effort signified the patriotic fervor that had gripped the country. The government by this time threw away the standardized web page templates and hired designers that could personalize the pages to reflect the goals and culture of the administration.
Eighteen months in AG Holder is putting his mark on the DOJ. Visually this stark, white on gloss black motif indicates a strong, aggressive, and uncompromising AG. One online commenter suggested that the new design was the work of Darth Vader.
What sets this design apart from the previous designs however is that it includes a department motto which reads "The common law is the will of Mankind issuing from the Life of the People." In a search for the author I found that The American Spectator was all over this one.
Department of Justice employees say the quote originates from British lawyer, C. Wilfred Jenks, who back in the late 1930s and after World War II was a leading figure in the "international law" movement, which sought to impose a global, common law, and advocated for global workers rights. Jenks was a long-time member of the United Nation's International Labor Organization, and author of a number of globalist tracts, including a set of essays published back in 1958, entitled The Common Law of Mankind.
Most telling: Jenks, as director of the ILO is credited with putting in place the first Soviet senior member of the UN organization, and also with creating an environment that allowed the ILO to give "observer status" to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and to issue anti-Israeli statements, which precipitated efforts by the U.S. Congress to withdraw U.S. membership from the ILO. The U.S. actually did withdraw in the mid-1970s due to the organization's leftist leanings.
"It was Jenks's efforts that helped make the ILO a tool of the socialist and communist movement," says one of the DOJ lawyers. "We used to joke about how fitting it was that this was Janet Reno's favorite quote to use in speeches, and now the Obama folks think it encapsulates out department's mission."
This administration goes to great lengths to deny its socialist leanings but continues to emit these Freudian slips. I suggest that they aren't slips at all but are the administrations passive aggressive means of giving the finger to the portion of the American public that is paying attention.

July 15, 2010

The Power of Tea Party Rhetoric

Pundits the world over have been trying to analyze the Tea Party movement and while some have genuinely tried to understand its origins and motives most critiques follow one of two lines. The first, and perhaps most vile, is the writer that starts with the premise that the tea party is a reaction to the election of Barrack Obama and the members are simply crypto-klansmen, end of discussion.

The second is the writer that appears to genuinely want to understand the movement and goes to great lengths to spin a metaphor around a particular trait to come to the conclusion that the tea parties are simply a group of misguided rubes. One recent ABC News piece claimed the Tea Parties in 1773 were wrong about taxes and so they, like their 2010 counterparts, were merely driven by economic self interest. These types of writers get hung up on rhetoric like “taxation without representation” missing the fact that these myths are a means of transmitting larger truths. Perhaps as the line goes some people “just can’t handle the truth” but these critiques always come off sounding petty and condescending.

I don’t know if this is a unique American phenomenon but in times of crisis we invariable return to the rhetoric of the founding. The Anti-Federalists who may have been the first conservatives argued against the new constitution in 1787 for example using the themes of the revolution and Abraham Lincoln again and again reached back to 1776 in that time of crisis. But once the crisis is past we put these symbols safely back in their box.

It’s difficult to pinpoint when the symbolism box was opened this time, while some claim that it was the 2008 Obama election or the 2009 Rick Santelli rant I think the box was opened during the 2006 fight over immigration reform. The Minuteman Project came to life and for the first time in my memory grass roots outrage stopped a piece of legislation in its tracks. It was here that I think most people became aware that something was seriously askew in this country and these fears have only been exacerbated by the ensuing economic and political events.

What is interesting however, is how this rhetoric ties the left into knots. It’s hard to argue the radical position when the opposition has taken the moral high ground of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You can't publicly come out against God, country, and mom’s apple pie without outing your own crypto-socialist tendencies.

So the Lefts only tool in the rhetorical toolbox is the appeal to emotion evidenced by such memorable hits as, “If you don’t go along with the program you will end up wearing your sisters teeth” or as the President of the NAACP recent claim that the Tea Party is the decedent of the White Citizens Council. These arguments are not meant to persuade but to stifle. and in the long run they begin to wear thin with the public.

As people continue to turn away from the Obama movement the only option is to turn up the volume on this demagoguery but they do so at their own peril. As we are seeing this is really a self defeating strategy and one I hope they continue to use so we can put our patriotic rhetoric back in its box as quickly as possible.

July 14, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam: Alaska Happenings

Awww, Johnston-Palin Announce Nuptials. From People Magazine:

You can call me cynical here but I think young Levi seeing his 15 minutes sputtering to an inglorious end has taken to the adage, "Its not your fault if your daddy don't have money. But it is your fault if your wife's daddy don't have money." Just sayin...

Awww Part II, "Birthing a Moose"

One of Those Unique Alaskan Summer Activities

Kenia River Dip Net Season Opens: Photos Here

July 09, 2010

Idiots Are Too Easy To Find

Jay Leno has made a career proving that idiots are easy to find. The old man in this piece proves however that at one time we were able to pass on civic knowledge through the education system. The question is why we have failed to do so in the last 30 years despite ever growing education budgets. Obviously there is little correlation between knowledge and money.

What is disturbing about the trend is that educations prime directive should be to ingrain in the mushy headed little mutants the importance of the social order the majority of Americans hold in esteem. It was Jefferson who said public education was needed so that the next generation could learn the sciences that would propel progress but more importantly would inform every citizen as to those things that threaten their freedom. If I was a conspiratorial right wing nut job I might propose that this dumbing down of American students was an intentional plot to lead the sheeple into the world of 1984.

A teacher friend recently wrote to me that “more civic literacy would allow more people to tell the right wing that their "back to the good old days of the constitution" mantra so popular this time of year is for the most part a lot of hot air.” His contention that more civic education would create less conservatives and not more would make for interesting research but generally speaking idiots are generally not a big concern. Most of them don’t participate in the system and even if they do they are normally able to gather enough reliable information, in the aggregate, to come to a rational decision.

What Jefferson feared was that in times of stress idiots are susceptible to manipulation and a perfect storm of crisis, charisma, and a complicit media could bring us a Socialist demagogue in chief. The question is, how do we make idiots harder to find so this doesn't happen again.

July 04, 2010

Independance Day and The American's Creed

I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.

The above was written as an entry in a patriotic writing contest by William Tyler Page in 1917. Some of it is obvious to those that have an elementary knowledge of America’s history; the Declaration of Independence and Preamble of the Constitution jump off the page. Other points are more obscure coming from sources such as the Great Seal or the Federalist Papers. The second paragraph is a statement of our obligations as citizens.

This succinct amalgamation of basic beliefs; a mere one hundred words which sum up the essence of us drawn from the foundations of our unique political thought should be, especially today, ingrained in the hearts and minds of everyone that calls themselves an American.

The House of Representatives adopted Mr. Pages work in 1918 and in 1921 he published The Book of the American’s Creed which expands on the tenets found in this creed. At barely 65 pages and 12 short sections it's more pamphlet than book but it is a handy introduction to the truths which we once held as self evident.

July 01, 2010

A Salmon Resurrection

It is hard to believe that nearly three months have passed since the last post. For those that inquired if the Salmon had finally gone belly up I appreciate your concern. Actually, the usual end of semester overload and a recent vacation to the north woods of Michigan put blogging on the back burner for a spell. The sabbatical got to feeling so good that it was going to take something special, stupendous, earth shattering to bring this nearly spawned out blog back to life.

Then yesterday I was gobsmacked by an innovation so special, so stupendous, so earth shattering that I just had to shout it out to the world, and that revelation is…………..
Salmon Flavored Vodka!

Now I haven’t yet had the chance to sample this concoction and despite my motto that the only good salmon is a smoked, blackened, broiled or barbecued salmon there are just some things that don’t necessarily go better with fish; the halibut pizza at Anchorage's "Moose’s Tooth" comes to mind, but who knows, perhaps a dry Salmon Martini (shaken not stirred of course) with a little cream cheese back is just what the world needs in these turbulent times.

Perhaps too, the world needs one more voice from the wilderness, one more innocuous blogger, to comment on not only the absurdities but the wonders of the world we live in. Monday will mark the fourth anniversary of The Salmon and every year I am amazed at the endurance of this little endeavor. In recognition of this mile marker let’s take a little stroll back down memory lane to The Salmon’s very first post.

I've always wanted to see Alaska (July 5,2006)

"I've always wanted to see Alaska", is the the first thing I hear when people find that we used to live in the 49th State. Then of course it is hard to explain how a person could leave such an awe inspiring place. Alaska can be hard, cold, and lonley, but as Robert Service described in his poem "Spell of the Yukon", the land and its people becomes a part of you, that you never totally leave behind.

I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy, I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it --Came out with a fortune last fall,
--Yet somehow life's not what I thought it, And somehow the gold isn't all.
No! There's the land. (Have you seen it?)
It's the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it.
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
Some say it's a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there's some as would trade it For no land on earth -- and I'm one.
You come to get rich (damned good reason);
You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it's been since the beginning;
It seems it will be to the end.
I've stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow That's plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I've watched the big, husky sun wallow In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming, And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I've thought that I surely was dreaming, With the peace o' the world piled on top.
The summer -- no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river, The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness --O God! how I'm stuck on it all.
The winter! the brightness that blinds you,The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you, The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history, The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery, I've bade 'em good-by -- but I can't.
There's a land where the mountains are nameless, And the rivers all run God knows where;

There are lives that are erring and aimless, And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons; There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There's a land -- oh, it beckons and beckons, And I want to go back -- and I will.
They're making my money diminish;I'm sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when I'm skinned to a finish I'll pike to the Yukon again.
I'll fight -- and you bet it's no sham-fight; It's hell! -- but I've been there before;
And it's better than this by a damsite --So me for the Yukon once more.
There's gold, and it's haunting and haunting;
It's luring me on as of old;Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It's the stillness that fills me with peace.
Robert Service