Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Moody Blues countdown: one more day

The set list from the Vegas shows earlier this month was posted at the official Moody Blues fan site. If they keep the same list, we are in for a treat:

Lovely to See You
Tuesday Afternoon
Never Comes the Day
Slide Zone
The Voice
One More Time to Live
I Know You’re Out There Somewhere
Story in Your Eyes

Wildest Dreams
Isn’t Life Strange
The Other Side of Life
December Snow
Higher and Higher
Are You Sitting Comfortably?
Singer in a Rock and Roll Band
Nights in White Satin
Ride My See Saw (Encore)

I'd like to see "English Sunset" added, but if everybody got everything we wanted the concert would last for a couple of days.

Update: Monday night's concert in Denver used the same set list, so apparently they are being consistent, which helps the crew out with the light show which, we hear, is awesome.

A lot of young people are reported attending the concerts. Some of them are probably buying tickets and taking their ancient parents (and we see nothing wrong with that!) but some are obviously young fans themselves.

Strange Times indeed!

'Do as I say, not as I do'

People who live in greenhouse-gas producing houses shouldn't throw stones. Or set themselves up as modern messiahs here to lead us away from global disaster.

Al Gore, the Academy-award winning propogandist for the man-made global warming fear-mongers, is proof in point, as the news focus this week is not so much on his movie, but upon his 10,000 square foot mansion in Nashville's ritzy Belle Meade neighborhood. Seems that Mr. Gore uses more than 10 times the electricity of the average Nashville residence. (Today the ever-enabling Associated Press is trying to provide cover for the former vice-president, saying that he "only" pays $1,200 a month instead of the $1,359 claimed in an independent report, as if it made some huge difference to the rest of us whether Gore is only 90 percent of the energy hog he appears to be!)

The Gore defense? He either has purchased or will purchase "green energy" offsets through special arrangements with utilities.

Now you are probably wondering, what the hell is a green energy offset?

It is an accounting device in which people with money can pay others to do their energy conservation for them, leaving them free to continue with their energy-holic lifestyle. Others on this list of "do as I say, but not as I do" politicians/celebs are Sen. Diane Feinstein and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger, both of California. They buy green energy offsets to cover for their extensive use of private business jets, any one trip of which puts far more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the average citizen does in a year.

Does it really matter?

Only if you believe that people who preach should walk the walk as well as talk the talk. The debate over man-made global warming has reached the point where we are being told that government action is needed to impose lifestyle changes and even tax hikes on all of us in order to "save the planet." Skeptics of the man-made warming theory, by the way, should shut up or face future Nuremberg-style trials. In short, we are supposed to made do with less heat in the winter, less cooling in the summer, more expensive vehicles using more expensive technology (or else walk or ride bikes). We are designated to make the sacrifices necessary. In the meantime, the green intelligensia will continue to use their private jets to fly between their energy-intense homes, drive their gas-guzzling SUVs, because they cannot be inconvenienced in the pursuit of saving the planet.

We have an alternative theory. Perhaps the green gurus ala Al Gore do not really believe in their cause, or we should say they only believe in the eventual political and social results of their cause, which will be the expansion of government into all aspects of private life and the concurrent loss of human freedom, except for the puppet-masters themselves?

A true believer who wishes to lead will do so by example. The only messiah we recognize without qualification, Jesus of Nazareth, preached a less worldly lifestyle and compassion and concern for one's neighbor. He also lived that message. (We suspect that his "carbon footprint" was fairly minimal.) He has credibility. His teachings resonate.

While we do not endorse the Prophet Mohammed, we must admit that he was no hypocrite. He was willing to lead by example - conversion by conquest, multiple wives and concubines, extermination of the infidel, among other things - and his writings paralleled his life. Love him or hate him, Mohammed had credibility, and it should be no surprise that his teachings resonate.

Many politicians have tried to be messiahs over the centuries. All have failed, but few had the resources that today's political elite enjoy, and perhaps it is inevitable that a new political messiah will emerge who will claim to have scientific answers to all of the world's problems. He (or she) will offer himself as the solution to impending doom, if only we will give him our support, our money and our freedom. Obviously Al Gore is not the man. But be alert: somewhere in the future there is someone who will appear to have the political, scientific and spiritual credibility to deprive us of that which is most dear.

It may not be that far off.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Countdown to Moody Blues: 48 hours

Trying not to get too excited about the upcoming Moody Blues concert at the Old Lady on Brady in Tulsa. Trying, but failing.

One of the sons of the Oklahomilist purchased tickets as a birthday present. Since that announcement this entire section of Oklahoma - at least those of us seasoned enough to properly appreciate the Moody Blues - has been slowly but steadily ramping up our excitement level. Didn't think it would happen but there's a real buzz with several radio stations holding contests for tickets to a sold-out show.

Several years ago (late '80s, methinks) the Moody's came to town and played the huge Mabee Center at ORU. There were a lot of technical problems during the show, the sound mix was abysmal, and it was obvious that Justin, John and the gang were not happy campers. For true believers it was still a worthy event, just a bit of a disappointment.

The Brady theatre, however, is much better suited to their style of music and for the intimacy that musicians of their caliber like to establish with audiences. This should be a much better show, though the absence of Ray Thomas will be keenly felt. We've heard that "Legend of a Mind" and a few other standards will not be played, and that is a shame.

One little problem: The Fed ain't federal

Another day, another disaster. It is revealed that the Federal Reserve is assisting "immigrants" without Social Security numbers - otherwise known as persons who are in the U.S. illegally - to wire money back home through a program, dubbed Directo a Mexico.

In this story the reporter is under the mistaken impression that the Federal Reserve is actually part of the federal government. It is not. The FR, created by congressional legislation in 1913, is barely quasi-federal in that it is a collection of private banks and the regional board members, including the chairman (think Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke) are appointed by the President of the U.S. The bottom line: Congress has no say whatsoever in how the Fed operates, which means that citizens and voters of America also have no voice.

Which is why the Fed feels it can ignore laws, traditions and common sense when it cooperates with the intelligensia (or New World Order, or whoever in hell is pushing for the borderless future) in providing a service that would land anyone else in prison.

This part of the article is instructive:
Directo a Mexico was intended for all Mexicans living in the U.S. It did not specifically exclude those here illegally.

Only immigrants who are in the U.S. legally can get a Social Security number, but any Mexican national can get a consular ID, regardless of legal status.

Not only "any Mexican national," but just about anyone, period. The consular ID program is so rife for corruption and incompetence that there is absolutely no way to determine whether a card holder is a true Mexican national or Osama bin Laden's limo driver on foreign assignment.

Here's another howler:
Philip Martin, chairman of the Comparative Immigration and Integration Program at UC Davis, said remittances sent to Mexico last year were just a fraction of the U.S. economy, $23 billion out of a gross domestic product of more than $13 trillion.

Perhaps he doesn't care if $23 billion gets siphoned out of the American economy this year (and more next year, and more the year after that), but sooner or later that adds up to real money, and it's just a portion of the economic impact of illegal immigration. A good number are not documented and are dealing on a cash only basis.

But the 2006 elections are over and not nearly enough of the good guys won, so hold on to your wallets and your jobs, if you can.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Indian gambling: Unsettling math

The word today is that in 2005 Oklahoma's Indian-owned casinos generated $1.5 billion in revenues, a whopping 40 percent increase over 2004.

That's a lot of gambling money.

Guess how much the State of Oklahoma got for its "piece of the action," as negotiated by Governor Brad "High Stakes" Henry?

A paltry $15 million. The math's pretty simple. That's one percent.

That's the payback Oklahoma citizens get for seeing $1.5 billion disappear down the rat-hole that is legalized gambling. Why the traffic loads around the 90 casinos alone will account for more than $15 million worth of road work, not to mention the bankruptcies, the suicides, the broken marriages, the substance abuse treatment referrals, the children of compulsive gambler parents who will suffer from malnutrition because the milk money is being gambled away.

And the $1.5 billion was in 2005. Undoubtedly 2006 was even bigger, and Oklahoma got another $15 million in guilt money.

Where are the billions of dollars going? We aren't being told, although friends who are registered members of a couple of tribes tell us that they certainly aren't seeing any of the windfall. (In the interest of disclosure, while we ourselves are part Cherokee, we do not have tribal membership. If they ever start making payments, that might have to change!)

The libertarian portion of our nature argues that if people want to ruin their lives by gambling their hard-earned money away, let 'em. ("Everybody has the right to go to hell in his or her own fashion," the ghost of Ayn Rand soothingly coos to us).

But the pragmatic side of us argues forcefully that Oklahoma society cannot thrive when we are siphoning off funds that should be invested in savings, new businesses, infrastructure, etc. We are starving the private enterprise engine of progress by encouraging the darker side of human nature.

Gov. High Stakes is not a dummy. He knows this. Apparently he doesn't care.

But you should.

No Love in the Ryan O'Neal story today

Odd treatment of the Ryan O'Neal assault story today.

Most of the stories focus do not even name O'Neal's son, Griffin, and give his age (which is 42+), thus making it seem as if the elder O'Neal is guilty of child abuse, in addition to firing off a pistol.

Yet at the same time the stories mentioned Griffin's 22-year-old female friend who was "inadvertently" injured during the domestic dispute. A "friend" who was 20 years younger than Griffin. Hmmm ...

We readily admit we know few of the facts of the case, and certainly the news coverage hasn't enlightened us much, which is why we thought a little more research was necessary.

A quick check of the net reveals that Griffin hasn't exactly had a squeaky clean past, having had troubles with substance abuse including being involved in a fatality boating accident in 1986 that ended the life of Gian Carlo Coppola, son of director Francis Ford Coppola. For that Griffin was indicted for manslaughter. How that came out, we do not know.

The radio news we heard this morning was, if anything, even more biased against the 65-year-old Ryan O'Neal. Jokes about his acting ability, the state of his career and his sanity, etc. Seems he's fair game now that he's no longer a hot Hollywood commodity. Why his shooting schedule, or acting ability, should have any bearing on any of this is a mystery.

Back when we were in the daily news business, even celebrity crime news was treated with the same respect that non-celebrity crime news received. Innocent until proven guilty. At least a bit of research into the backgrounds of the people involved. A desire to see basic facts, like ages, published for each person involved.

These standards have been on the decline for some time now. Guess today's treatment of Ryan O'Neal is not so odd afterall. Just wish people would try to be fair and thorough for a change, instead of sensational.