Thomas Sowell: "Does any of this sound like America?"


In this column America’s smartest, wisest pundit/professor, Thomas Sowell, (who happens to be black) recoils in horror at what is being wrought by America’s first black president.

I’ve been calling Obama’s program for our country “decline by design.” Here, Sowell calls it “Dismantling America.” An excerpt:

Among the people appointed as czars by President Obama have been people who have praised enemy dictators like Mao, who have seen the public schools as places to promote sexual practices contrary to the values of most Americans, to a captive audience of children.

Those who say that the Obama administration should have investigated those people more thoroughly before appointing them are missing the point completely. Why should we assume that Barack Obama didn’t know what such people were like, when he has been associating with precisely these kinds of people for decades before he reached the White House?

Nothing is more consistent with his lifelong patterns than putting such people in government– people who reject American values, resent Americans in general and successful Americans in particular, as well as resenting America’s influence in the world.

By all means, read the whole thing.

Weekend Roadtrip

Mrs. Blather and I headed down to Waco on Friday evening in order to get an early start Saturday with homecoming festivities at Baylor University with Female Offspring Unit #1.

The doin’s were big because this was Baylor’s 100th homecoming event. 100 years seems pretty impressive until you learn that Baylor was actually founded 164 years ago (it was the Republic of Texas’ first chartered university) I guess 64 years slipped by before someone thought to stage an annual homecoming event.

We were excited to attend our first Baylor football game–the opponent, 14th ranked Oklahoma State. I had purchased tickets online a few days earlier. We dressed out in full green and gold Baylor spirit gear. We arrived at the stadium a little late and found that our seats were in the middle of this section:


I had chosen the “best available” option on seats. We were three green shirts in the middle of a sea of orange.

After the game, we grabbed a quick meal at barbecue place that is very popular with the locals – – Viteks. There I had one of the most aptly named dishes I’ve ever encountered. Behold, the “Gut Pack”:


It’s a combination of frito’s, cheese, brisket, diced sausage, beans, pickles, onions and jalepenos.

It. Was. Awesome.

Later, as my gut attempted to process what I had packed into it, we watched FOU #1 perform with her sorority sisters their 1st place winning production number at the annual Pigskin Review.

Soviet Propaganda


There is an interesting little collection of Soviet propaganda posters and political cartoons at this site. The poster above is a fine, Depression-era example. The headline reads: “Same year, but different weather.” The thermometers are respectively labeled, “Soviet Industrial Rate” and “American Industrial Rate.”

On the dark, stormy American side we have a sickly, evil banker with sterotypically Jewish features. Oh, but how sunny and robust things are over on the Soviet side! (But did the artist slip in a little “truth in advertising” as a subtle protest? Take a closer look at the figures on the thermometers. The American rate is 22% compared to the Soviet rate of 20%.)

Irony alert: In 21st Century capitalist America, Michael Moore gets wildly rich producing propaganda arguments on film like the ones on these posters.

Mark Steyn is On Fire

If Mark Steyn writes a simple grocery list, it’s likely to be a more enlightening and entertaining read than 98% of what you’ll find in mainstream papers. But his column yesterday, titled “Right Turn on Main Street,” is a masterwork of opinion journalism.

Here are a few tidbits.

On the “Tea Party” protests:

Why do the protestors get it? The Obama project is not difficult to understand. It’s been accomplished in many other parts of the western world: If you expand the dependent class and the government class, you can build a permanent governing coalition, and stick the beleaguered band in the middle with the tab.

On the demoralizing effect of big government:

At a certain point, why bother? As fast as you climb the ladder, you’ll be taxed and regulated down the chute back to the bottom rung. You’ll be frantically peddling the treadmill seven days a week so that the statist succubus squatting on your head can sluice the fruits of your labors to Barney Frank and the new “green jobs” czar and whichever less hooker-friendly “community organizer” racket picks up the slack from Acorn, as well as to untold millions of bureaucrats micro-regulating you till your pips squeak while they enjoy vacations and benefits you’ll never get. Who needs it? If you have to work, work for the government: You can’t be fired and you can retire in your early 50s. But running your own business is for chumps.

On the uniquely American appetite for “liberty:”

In the wake of the economic meltdown last fall, there were protests from Iceland to Bulgaria, with mobs all demanding the same thing of their rulers: Why didn’t you the government do more for me? This is the only country in the developed world where hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets to tell the state: I can do just fine if you’d only get the hell out of my life – or at least confine yourself to constitutional responsibilities.

Please do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

Our Girl in Kenya


This picture above is of our Graycie, blowing soothing air onto the face of an AIDS orphan at the King’s Kids Village orphanage in Nairobi where she’s been working the past few months.

Due the the challenges of chronic water shortages, power outages and limited internet access there, we haven’t been able to communicate much. Her mother is getting pretty desperate to hear her voice. But everything we do hear indicates that she is blissfully, exhaustedly, dustily happy.

She’ll be home in about a month. A wise friend encouraged us to help prepare her for some reverse culture shock when she gets back. Others who have spent time living amid desperate need have reacted with shock and disgust at the levels of comfort, abundance, waste and ingratitude they find back home.

It will be good to have her home for the holidays. Then comes the decision about what to do this spring. I’m putting my money on her going back to Kenya for another tour of duty before starting college in the fall.

The Perfect Choice

Here’s pretty a much a verbatim transcript of a conversation I had this morning:

Friend: I guess you heard that President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Me: Huh?

Friend: Obama. He won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Me: Wha…?

Friend: Obama. Peace Prize.

Me: Good one.

Friend: Seriously.

Me: You’re making that up.

Friend: Nope.

Me: Dude, you’re totally making that up.

Of course he wasn’t. And here John Podhoretz explians why it was the pefect choice:

He is an American president queasy about the projection of American power. He is an American president who rejects the notion of American exceptionalism. He is an American president eagerly in pursuit of legitimacy to be granted him not by those who voted for him but by those who do not cast a vote and who chafe at American leadership. It is his devout wish that America become one of many nations, influencing the world indirectly or not influencing it at all, rather than “the indispensable nation,” as Madeleine Albright characterized it. He is the encapsulation, the representative, the wish fulfillment, the very embodiment, of the multilateralist impulse. He is, almost literally, a dream come true for the sorts of people who treasure and value the Nobel Peace Prize.

And Now for Something Completely Different

. . . sort of.

A while back I promised a new feature here at BWR — a webcast. Well, the first installment is complete (if by “complete” one means it has a beginning; a big fat, mess of a middle; and something that feels like an end.) But first, a disclaimer storm . . .

The audio on this effort stinks with a true and mighty stench-osity. It suffers from multiple ailments, including, the fact that my home office is a high-ceilinged echo chamber; I don’t know how to use the microphone I bought; and allergies are making my voice sound like Harvey Firestein without the gay lisp.

It runs 16 minutes. Keep your expectations low. Either these will get better or I’ll stop doing them.

Dinner with Living History

As the ancient Hopi Indian sages used to say: Much travel means meager bloggage. Sorry.

On Friday, I delivered the eulogy at Poppa George’s home-going service and said a few words at graveside.  As I mentioned on Twitter, there are far worse duties one can be assigned than to a provide a voice of tribute to a man who lived well; saw more than the psalmist’s “three score and ten”; loved God, and is now a resident of heaven.

Drove home on Saturday, leaving the spousal unit in Oklahoma City to support her mother in transition. Cared for sick child over the weekend and tried to catch up on work.

On Tuesday, I drove up to the ancestral homestead in eastern Oklahoma so I could drive my mom to a doctor’s appointment Wednesday morning. (Dad isn’t supposed to be driving any more.) And I was overdue for a visit anyway, even though this was going to be a very short one.

On Tuesday evening, Mom was supposed to be fasting, so Dad and I went to town for dinner with one of his best friends–a gentleman who lives about a quarter-mile up the road. Dad, who turned 80 back in June, is the young whipper-snapper of the duo. My other dinner companion on this evening turned 90 last month.

He is Dr. J.N. Baker, one of the most distinguished and respected living Oklahomans. He is also one of the finest men it’s ever been my privilege to know.

“Dr. Baker,” as everyone in little Wilburton, Oklahoma has known him for the last five decades, was the President of Eastern Oklahoma A&M back when my father was hired to be the head of the biology department there in the mid-60s. To many other Oklahomans, he was “Major General Baker,” the former commanding officer of the legendary 45th Infantry Division–the “Thunderbirds.”


Dr. Baker had served in both World War II and the Korean conflict. Later in the 50s, while still commanding the 45th which, by that time, had been repositioned as the Oklahoma National Guard, he became the Dean of Student Affairs at Oklahoma State University (then Oklahoma A&M).

Dr. Baker may be the most others-oriented person I’ve ever known. Even at 90, he is a serving, giving force of nature. His treasured wife, Helen, died a few years back after several years of blindness and declining health. In that season he cared for her, attended to her, and doted on her at a level that was a wonder and inspiration to everyone who witnessed it.

When, on many occasions, someone would remark to him about how heroic he was in his efforts, he would wave off the compliment. “She took care of me for more than 60 years. The least I can do is take care of her now.” When she passed away, my mom and dad started looking after him. Now, that they’re struggling, he’s looking after them.

In a recent conversation with Dr. Baker, I discovered a fascinating little bit of detail worthy of a Paul Harvey, “The Rest of the Story.”

In 1958, Oklahoma State University had no “official” mascot. Since about 1924, they were officially the Oklahoma State “Cowboys,” but no mascot had ever been formally adopted. There was an unofficial mascot however. Back in 1923 a group of OSU students had caught of glimpse of this guy leading an Armistice Day parade:


It was Frank Eaton, the legendary gunfighter and lawman who at one time was known as “the fastest gun in the Indian territory.” After the parade the students approached Eaton and asked his permission to use his likeness to represent the “Cowboy” of Oklahoma State University. He agreed and a caricature was produced. Over the years that caricature has evolved into this:


After 1924, the Pistol Pete character started appearing on countless shirts, stickers and signs associated with Oklahoma A&M, but Pete still wasn’t the official mascot of the school. That’s where my dinner companion, Dr. Baker comes in.

In 1958 a group of students approached him about the need for a sideline mascot character for football games as other schools had. Dr. Baker took steps to make Pete official and started figuring out how best to make the cowpoke manifest in a bigger-than-life way on sidelines. He ultimately found a company in Dallas that made paper-mache’ heads; sent them a photo of Frank Eaton and a drawing of the most widely used caricature; and this guy was born:


And now you know, “the rest of the story.”