Buddha Patriot

A Classically Liberal Neoconservative Tibetan Buddhist from the Midwest

Friday, January 26, 2007

American "poverty"

Caught most of "20/20's" pathetic "Waiting_on_the_World_to_Change": "The Hopes, Dreams and Hardships of Children in America's Most Dangerous City" tonight.

I was reminded of the real poverty I observed in the Peoples Republic of China this past summer: the elderly women begging for plastic bottles and spare change, the mud huts under bridges, the farmers living_in_caves (in Xi'an), etc.

I really think that 20/20 would do better highlighting actual poverty in this world like that displayed in the Somali_Documentary_Project.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My first hippy funeral

Survived my first hippy funeral today. The deceased was actually quite an accomplished musician, alternative medicine specialist and all-around swell gal, but definitely an aged hippy. I was pleasantly surprised that none of the mourners pulled a "Paul Wellstone Memorial" on her. However, I think we all could do without a twice recitation of the Native_American_Prayer:

Oh Great Spirit, Whose voice I hear in the wind, Whose breath gives life to the
world, Hear me! I come to you as one of your many children. I am
small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. May I walk in
beauty. Make my eyes behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands
respect the things that you have made, And my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Oh Great Spirit, please free us from all this Leftist touchy-feely pseudo-"multi-cultural" claptrap. And Oh Great Spirit, please send me a free copy of The_Ecological_Indian . . . .

Friday, January 19, 2007

Conflicting accounts of the debt collecting industry on ABC News

. . . .which may actually be proof that ABC has some "fairness and balance", but I do wonder if Nightline's Brian_Ross saw John_Stossel's 20/20 piece coming on the societal benefits of debt collectors and decided to counter it with a hit-piece to be aired following the local news. . .

Of course if people made a half-effort to budget and pay their bills on time, we wouldn't need to worry our silly little heads about such issues.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"The New Pamphleteer"

Heard about a pretty cool concept today on the Hugh_Hewitt_Show about distributing more ideas in pamphlet form, much like they did during the American Revolution and elsewhere.

Hugh was discussing Austin_Bay's Embrace_the_Suck, a compilation of "milspeak (military jargon, acronyms and slang)".

This particularly appeals to me, as I've had much experience canvassing door-to-door, distributing flyers and campaign literature (from across the political spectrum) and posting bills on various college campus bulletin boards. I've also distributed printouts to some like-minded students if I suspect our professor of passing off a bit too much b.s.. I'm a big "get out the info/message" kinda guy.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A word on Ellison's "swearing in" + Hitchens' smackdown

Old news, but I'm one more commentator who didn't care what book freshman Congressman Keith X. Hakim-Ellison-Mohammad chose for his photo-op "swearing-in" ceremony.

Perhaps Michael Medved said it best here on why we shouldn't require members of Congress to swear on the Christian Bible.

Rather, we should be concerned with Keith X. Hakim-Ellison-Mohammad's past affiliations with the (rather unIslamic) Nation_of_Islam, as well as his ongoing cooperation with the Hamas front-group C.A.I.R.. (For more, see Powerline's Scott Johnson's excellent September post Keith_Ellison_for_Dummies.

Tuesday brought us: Jefferson's_Quran:_What_the_founder_really_thought_about_Islam by Christopher_Hitchens:

In the first place, concern over Ellison's political and religious background
has little to do with his formal adherence to Islam. In his student days and
subsequently, he was a supporter of Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, a racist and
crackpot cult organization that is in schism with the Muslim faith and even with
the Sunni orthodoxy now preached by the son of the NOI's popularizer Elijah
Muhammad. Farrakhan's sect explicitly describes a large part of the human
species—the so-called white part—as an invention of the devil and has issued
tirades against the Jews that exceed what even the most fanatical Islamists have
said. Farrakhan himself has boasted of the "punishment" meted out to Malcolm X
by armed gangsters of the NOI (see the brilliant documentary Brother Minister: The
Assassination of Malcolm X
, which catches him in the act of doing this). If
Ellison now wants to use his faith to justify an appeal to pluralism and
inclusiveness and diversity, he needs to repudiate the Nation of Islam, and in
much more unambivalent terms than any I have yet heard from him.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bush speech on the troop surge

Saw the President give his speech tonight (8pm CST) on the telly. I have to say that though I'm not sure of the wisdom of simply adding more troops to Iraq, I did like his speech- delivery, admission of mistakes, and just a smidgen of Churchill's "Blood, Sweat & Tears".

Had no idea that Dick "American soldiers are Nazis/Khmere_Rouge" Durbin would deliver the Democratic response and only caught snippets of it on the 10 o'clock news.

After viewing a brief reaction by Fox's Shepard_Smith, I surfed over to Charlie_Rose.
As he was listing his guests, I did roll my eyes a bit at former Clinton UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, but when he got to Fareed Zakaria, I knew I was done.

I haven't been able to stand Fareed Zakaria ever since he wrote this tripe in the intro to Newsweek's piece on the rise_of_China two years ago:

Americans admire beauty, but they are truly dazzled by bigness. Think of the
Grand Canyon, the California redwoods, Grand Central Terminal, Disney World,
SUVs, the American armed forces, General Electric, the Double Quarter Pounder
(With Cheese) and the Venti Latte. Europeans prefer complexity and
, the Japanese revere minuteness and minimalism. But Americans
like size, preferably supersize.

You get the idea (kind of like an Indian Garrison Keillor). . . . .

Monday, January 08, 2007

"Letters from Iwo Jima" and Buddha Patriot's emotional breakdown

Went to see "Letters from Iwo Jima" tonight at a free preview at Minneapolis' Lagoon Theatre.
This "Iwo Jima" film is Clint Eastwood's follow-up to his "Flags of Our Fathers", this time from the Japanese side of the Battle of Iwo Jima.
A very well done film, though probably not the best movie-going experience for an overly-sensitive, multi-lingual, multi-cultural redneck like myself.
Having associated with all things Japanese for some 16 years or so now, I found myself emotionally associating too closely with the Japanese soldiers in the film, yet half-cheering on the American fighter planes as they strafed the island. It was a disorientating experience, to say the least.
I am quite proud of my late maternal grandfather who served as an Army tech sergeant in the Pacific, though I don't think I could've served myself in that theater of operations.
At any rate, though it seemed that I had undergone a simple emotionally draining movie-experience, after my wife picked me up I found myself sobbing uncontrollably in the car.
While I am damn proud to be a Minnesotan and an American, a good chunk of my soul is grounded in Japanese soil where I hope to live, teach, and possibly retire someday.
Not to say that I buy into this "futility of war" crap. I'm still a firm believer in the righteousness of the Allied cause in WWII, just as I believe that the West had to challenge and defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War. I guess that makes me a "neo-conservative" in 2007. . .

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Great column by Anne Applebaum in Slate

I just read Tuesday's Anne_Applebaum column in Slate about Saddam:

The_Totalitarian_Template :
Saddam's place in the pantheon of modern dictators.

Have to say that I've admired Anne's work ever since I saw her on PBS' News_Hour a couple years ago discussing her book- Gulag , a_history .

One of the readers in Slate's "Fray" objected to this:

Write that Saddam really was an evil man, and you'll be thought an apologist for
George Bush. Write that Saddam's regime resembled Stalin's, and you'll be called
a right-wing ideologue.

...but I have to say that I, too, have encountered this phenomenon on the web and in academia- that we shouldn't say anything bad about the Sudan, China or Iran, because that would only "increase tensions". . .