Wednesday, August 31, 2005


United Nations of America

That's the new organization I propose. Forget the United Nations.

Where to put the headquarters?

Somewhere out of the way, not close to any big city, so the delegates won't be distracted, so they can actually confer and come up with ways for the civilized world to get along -- without trying to be a global lawmaking or regulatory body, the idea of "international law" being 1., oxymoronic., 2., an insult to national sovereignty and 3., oxymoronic.


Felt, Okla.

Or Gotebo, Okla.

Or Slapout, Okla.!



To be fair ...

UN, others offer help.


(Crickets chirping ...)

The silence of the international community, in response to the plight of our Gulf Coast neighbors, friends and kin, is deafening. Some of the poorest people in the country have had what little they had wrenched from them.

The United Nations response:

Annan expresses sympathy for Hurricane Katrina victims

31 August 2005 – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed his sympathy for victims of Hurricane Katrina in the United States and extended condolences to those affected by the storm.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the Secretary-General said he is deeply saddened by the loss of life and large-scale destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina along the United States Gulf Coast. He also extended condolences to all the victims and their families, it added.

“I hope, in the coming weeks, all will be done to provide support for those who need it,” Mr. Annan said later at a press briefing. “There has to be effective coordination in these efforts. And I think efforts are being made to ensure that assets are in place and effective coordination is organized because without that, it is going to be very, very difficult to get urgent help to all those who need it, and to help them rebuild,” he said in response to a question.

Earlier this week Sálvano Briceño, Director of the Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) called for more systematic prevention and mitigation measures, noting that the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina and recent deadly floods in Central Europe and Switzerland prove that anyone can be affected, any day, anywhere by natural disaster.

He also said that recent weather-rated catastrophes provide an opportune moment for the media to pass the message that it is important for all to be prepared in the future.

Thanks, Kofi!

I have an idea for where to put about 3,400 of the newly homeless: In a newly vacant United Nations headquarters:


Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Gas price check!

Got gas? How much did you pay? Or if you haven't had the heart to fill your tank, what prices are you seeing for regular unleaded where you are?

Note the price, the brand, the when and the city. If you don't want to name your city, put something like "central Oklahoma." If you don't want to do that, comment as anonymous.

I'll start:

$2.75, Citgo, 12:30 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 30, Edmond, Okla.



Times-Picayune evacuates

Y'all, this gives me chills and make my redneck eyes well up.

Newspaper reporters and editors are the Marines of journalism. We all do what we do for one reason: to get the paper out, NO MATTER WHAT.

Today's New Orlean's Times-Picayune newspaper was published on-line only -- a modern marvel. A former boss of mine is an editor there.

The following, posted on the Times-Picayune's Web site just now, tells me, personally, more about how bad it is than anything.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Tuesday, 9:40 a.m.

The Times-Picayune is evacuating it's New Orleans building.

Water continues to rise around our building, as it is throughout the region. We want to evaucate our employees and families while we are still able to safely leave our building.

Our plan is to head across the Mississippi River on the Pontchartrain Expressway to the west bank of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. From there, we'll try to head to Houma.

Our plan, obviously, is to resume providing news to our readers ASAP. Please refer back to this site for continuing information as soon as we are able to provide it.



Redneck prayers aloft ...

So, I get the daily "Citizen Alert" from Focus on the Family, mainly to keep up with the whatever the righties are spinning and pushing on any given day. Usually, it makes my head explode.

But even a half-backslid ol' recoverin' Bapticostalpalean like myself can't find anything to argue with in this editor's note:

Pray for Hurricane Katrina Victims

You probably already have, but we encourage you to pray
for those who are experiencing the impact of hurricane

There are lot of folks who are being given an extended
period of time to do some soul-searching today.

Pray not only that they would be kept safe and in good
health, but also that through this life-altering
experience some might come to realize what is truly
valuable in life, that they might find a new and deeper
love for family, and that they might come to realize there
is a God who loves us and who is watching over us, even in
the midst of the storm.

Amen and amen.


Monday, August 29, 2005


Call me a loser -- sheesh

I don't think they let rednecks live in any of these places, erudite or not! Besides, this makes me sound like more of a mess than I am. Sheesh. (Swiped from poor Russian Violets, who is havin' trouble with one of her feets. I know the feeling!)


#################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### ####################################################
Your personality type is SLUEI
You are social, moody, unstructured, egocentric, and moderately intellectual, and may prefer a city which matches those traits.

The largest representation of your personality type can be found in the these U.S. cities: Reno, Washington DC, Providence, New York City, Denver, Norfolk, Salt Lake City, W. Palm Beach, Baltimore, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Detroit, Albuquerque/Santa Fe and these international countries/regions Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Greece, Argentina, Iceland, Taiwan, China, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Spain, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, Finland

What Places In The World Match Your Personality?
Powered by

prone to addiction, often late, does not think things work out for the best, impatient, discontent, negative, opinionated, acts without thinking, preoccupied with self, easily frustrated, not that interested in others, act at the expense of others, becomes aggressive when they feel hurt, acts wild and crazy, frustrated and angry when people don't live up to expectations, slow to forgive, takes charge, does not behave in way that is acceptable to society, pessimistic, agnostic/atheistic tendencies, not usually happy, not calm in crisis, does not accomplish work on time, spontaneous, not on good terms with everyone, demanding, misbehaved, improper, avoids responsibilities, not willing to let things rest, acts out frustrations on others, has a need to maintain high levels of excitement, rarely prepared, often bored while working, aggressive, asks questions nobody else does, hard to reason with, likes to be the center of attention, acts without planning, retaliatory, asks many questions, quick to correct others, more pleasure seeking than responsible, not hard working, disorganized, loses things, unable to control cravings ...

easily hurt, does not keep emotions under control, envious, quick tempered, can't do anything when they don't feel good, emotional, bitter, attracted to things associated with sadness, has love/hate relationships with most things, sabotages self, more doubt than belief, thinks the world is a dangerous place, searches for identity, fears having no identity, suspicious of others, more past than future, desires security and support, fears being without guidance, familiar with the role of victim, hypersensitive, defensive, dependent on the support and nurturance of others, more feeling than doing, dislikes change, more likely to want a tattoo, can be hurtful, prefers to stick with things they know, wants to feel loved, fears being unwanted or unworthy of love, wants to enhance their self esteem, more likely to have taken anti depressants, prefers instant gratification, has trouble speaking when emotional

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Sunday downside and Katrina

Dang it! This is the downside to takin' off early Friday to get my yard in order: Here I am at my desk at work, with a pretty good lookin' day goin' on outside this stinkin' eighth-floor window. Bah.

Hurricane watchin' -- via TV, thank goodness -- is goin' on at the house.

Speakin' of. The following is what a friend of mine who is an actual geographer is sayin' about Katrina:

Well kids, there things Geographers dream about and/or
have nightmares about. One is on its way.

We have a catagory 5 hurricane headed towards three of
the softest parts of the American belly. If it stays
on course and force these are the senarios that very
well could play out.

1. Port Fourchon oil depot and refinery: 27% of
American domestic production (Gulf of Mexico
platforms) and 13% of foriegn oil production
(tankers)come into the U.S. via this port and
off-shore oil unloading stations. A force 4 or 5
hurricane will simply erase it.

2. New Orleans: Entire city is 15 to 20 feet below
sea/river level and only exist even on a normal day
because of massive pumps that keep it dry by pumping
seepage back over their levees. Lake Pochatrain, North
of the city, will receive the concentrated sea surge
and will flood the city from the North.

3. Atchafalaya River: This river has been trying to
pirate (change the course of) the Mississippi River
for the last 100 years and it is only through massive
cost and effort by the Army Corps of Engineers that it
has not. It almost took the river in 1969 when Camille
came through and Camille was not a direct hit. This
time, with Katrina, it looks like it might succeed.
If so all of the old Mississippi River below it will
be mud flats and swamps, including what's left of Port
Fourchon and New Orleans, and there will be a new
Mississippi River route to the Gulf.

So remember you heard it first from the old
geographer, and go out right now and fill up all of
your gasoline tanks. If any one of the above three
things happens, gasoline will be at least as scarce as
it was in the oil crisis of the 1970's. I don't mean
it will be expensive (it will be), I mean you won't be
able to find it.

Redneck prayers aloft for the Gulf Coast, and the rest of the country, too.


Saturday, August 27, 2005


Prestidigitation .. and racin' as religion

We interrupt the NASCAR High Holy Day, known colloquially as the Bristol Night Race, so high a redneck holy day, in fact, that Bird came home for it! -- read more about the family racin' religion here -- to announce the following:

Ol' ER managed to use two different sets of pruners, his brand-new lopping shears, and a hatchet -- plus some Tangleroot tree salve, a petroleum distillate -- and managed to neither lop off any fingers or toes nor blow hisself up.

The closest he came to injury was in droppin' some limbs on his tennis shoe-clad feet, so clad 'cause he was in a rush and didn't put on his trusty Redwings.

We now return to the Bristol Night Race, where we are happy if Tony Stewart gets some more points.

However, Dr. ER and Bird are Junior fans first. I am a Kevin Harvick fan first, 'cause he got Dale Sr.'s ride, then for Junior, although it's damn close. We also all cheer and holler for Mikey Waldrip.


She says she thinks this guy she has been hangin' with might could be her next main squeeze. Someobdy hold me. The boy is a gen-yoo-wine YANKEE. From Masa-fricking-chusetts! Transferred to Oklahoma State from a community college in LOWELL.

Holy Lincoln Republican, it don't get no more Yankee than that. Somebody say a prayer. I might have to stay up late tonight and read one of my bools about Marse Robert, just to keep from goin' off.

:-) She says the boy, though has done demonstrated some right fine qualities. He looks sorter like Junior from the side, she says. That's for her. And he's done been converted to racin'. That's for me, and her.

But. Lord. Help. Me.


Friday, August 26, 2005


Something *really* important

Between gettin' spider-bit and dang near laid up, bein' down in the mouth in general, PLUS unseasonal heavy rains -- in August? -- my yard work is so far behind, I'm worried that jack-booted homeowners association thugs will be knockin' on my door anytime.

Woo hoo! I'm off for the afternoon, to give my yard a haircut, trim some bushes, pull some weeds -- and try not to keel over in the 100-plus-degree heat index.

It's fixin' to come up yet another dadgum cold front with the usual line of showers. Gotta hurry! The carrot at the end of the stick? Cold beer and hot fried catfish!

If you stand in the street out front, it looks like my part of my side of the street has a mohawk -- 'cause Dough*, who lives on one side, and the Flanderses*, who live on the other, got their cut last evening! (*Names changed).

Must dash! Tata!

Ahem, harrumph. Who the heck was THAT??

I mean, I'm fixin' to get me some gone. Later, taters.


Thursday, August 25, 2005


Iraq Constitution draft

Translated from Arabic
By The Associated Press
Via Newsday

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
"Verily we have honored the children of Adam" (Quran 17:70)
We the sons of Mesopotamia, land of the prophets, resting place of the holy imams, the leaders of civilization and the creators of the alphabet, the cradle of arithmetic: on our land, the first law put in place by mankind was written; in our nation, the most noble era of justice in the politics of nations was laid down; on our soil, the followers of the prophet and the saints prayed, the philosophers and the scientists theorized and the writers and poets created.

Put on a pot of coffee and Read all about it.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Jesus is a liberal




War slogans or descriptions?

I haven't yet decided what to think about this. Y'all help.


By David Pace
Associated Press (still the closest thing to unbiased reporting)

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.

Read all about it, from the Boston Globe (still NOT the closest thing to unbiased reporting).


Southern-fried crow


Now, Venezuela should shut the hell up about prosecutin' the Right Wing Reverend, or somebody should drive down there and kick some ass.

He's a nutjob -- but he's OUR nutjob.

Chavez, admittedly, could use some lessons in speech and press freedom.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservative U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson apologized on Wednesday for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying he spoke in frustration earlier in the week.

Read all about it.


Robertson's pants on fire

So the preacher soon will have ashes. Where is his sackcloth?

From FOX News
Read all about it.



The ones that brung 'em

Excellent story on the immediate fallout of the "Reverend" Robertson's irreverent rambling. As a friend put it: "I'm no theologian, but don't we have a commandment on this?"


Associated Press
(via the Billings Gazette)

WASHINGTON -- There's an old Southern saying that you dance with the one that brung ya, but as the Bush administration found out this week, sometimes you don't want to dance too closely.

Read all about it.


Missionaries in Venezuela

Thanks to the Not Right Not Reverend Pat Robertson, they probably need prayin' for now more than ever, since a supposed evangelical leader is gunning for the president of Venezuela.

That's the most interesting point made in this assessment of the situation from the Los Angeles Times, via the Seattle Times.


By James Gerstenzang
and Larry B. Stammer
Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — Televangelist Pat Robertson's call for the assassination of leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez provoked a storm of criticism yesterday, triggering condemnation from fellow religious leaders and international outrage, while the Bush administration said he was a "private citizen" whose remarks were "inappropriate."

Read all about it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


To hell with Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson is the one who needs shot. The self-important windbag did more damage with this than most of this country's enemies could do. He needs to be censured and his tax-exempt status revoked.

And pilloried, and tarred and feathered and run out on a a rail. And his ass kicked.

Brother in Christ? If so, the Lord needs to bring him home.


VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) — Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested on-air that American operatives assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stop his country from becoming "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

Read all about it.


Me? Percy? No way!

I think I am going to have to go hurl.


Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Monday, August 22, 2005


'Downplay America' -- at Ground Zero!

Another insult to America's heritage at Freedom Center

How International Freedom Center risks fostering anti-U.S. sentiment


A global network of human rights museums is urging the International
Freedom Center to downplay America in its exhibits and programs at
Ground Zero, the Daily News has learned.

The outrageous request is the latest controversy to torment the
Freedom Center, whose leaders have tried to dispel the perception
that it would be a home for America bashers.

"Don't feature America first," the IFC has been advised by the
consortium of 14 "museums of conscience" that quietly has been
consulting with the Freedom Center for the past two years over plans
for the hallowed site. "Think internationally, where America is one
of the many nations of the world."

Those words rang hollow with some 9/11 family members.

"I can't think of a greater insult than to invite museums from other
countries of the world to come and exploit what should be America's
memorial," said Jack Lynch, who helped carry the body of his
firefighter son Michael, 30, out of the rubble.

"If you're going to explore slavery, the Holocaust or women's
rights, you should do it at Chelsea Piers or on the East River
waterfront - anywhere but Ground Zero," said Debra Burlingame, whose
brother Charles, 51, was the pilot of the plane that crashed into the

"After all, it was not slavery that caused the terrorists to attack
us," said Burlingame, who has led the fight to bar the IFC.

Under fire from 9/11 family members and Gov. Pataki, the IFC on July
6 pronounced itself proudly patriotic, vowed never to "blame America"
and said it would celebrate the nation's "leading role in the global
fight for freedom."

In April, however, the Freedom Center said on its Web site and
newsletter that it had "drawn inspiration" and received "important
practical advice" from the International Coalition of Historic Site
Museums of Conscience.

"We have many, many advisers who have given us lots of advice,"
Richard Tofel, Freedom Center president, said last week. "Some of it
we've taken and some of it we haven't - that's the nature of advice."

He said the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and the
Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington had most inspired the IFC's
vision, and that the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in
Illinois was also offering extensive advice.

The firefighters union already has demanded the Freedom Center be
booted from Ground Zero, and state officials have given it until
Sept. 23 to satisfy the objections of family members.

Located in nine countries on five continents, the coalition museums
chronicle apartheid in South Africa, slavery in Senegal, torture in
Argentina, racism in the South and internment of Japanese-Americans
in California, along with other historical horrors.

"No one in the civilized world would ever defend what happened on
9/11," said Sarwar Ali, the coalition's chairman and a trustee of the
Liberation War Museum in Bangladesh.

"But what happened after 9/11 - with restrictions placed on human
rights and the cycle of revenge and the allegations of human rights
abuses in prisons - must also be explored," Ali said in a call from

Coalition members gathered for their annual conference at a
Holocaust site in the Czech Republic in July 2004 - and assailed the
United States for "reasserting its power in an arrogant way," the
conference report shows.

Among its suggestions for the place where the United States was
attacked and nearly 3,000 innocents massacred: "The Freedom Center
must signal its openness to contrary ideas."

Philip Kunhardt, the Freedom Center's editorial director, was in
attendance at a session called Bringing Conscience to Ground Zero and
was given this advice:

n "Help distinguish between American people and the U.S. government
in exhibits ..."

n "Use reports from human rights organizations to examine
contemporary abuse of rights."

n "Involve the United Nations, UNESCO and other international

n "Use the museum as a venue for international meetings, where all
views are welcomed and considered."

At the conference, the coalition also leveled barbs at the IFC: "The
Freedom Center is a caricature of the typical American response to
everything [telling every story from an American viewpoint]."

Members of the coalition also expressed these concerns:

n "It seems that whatever Americans want, Americans get!" the
conference report states. "Is the definition of the 'struggle for
freedom' simply defined by the victors, or also by those engaged in
ongoing struggles? Will Americans really create a balanced vision of

n "The WTC was attacked because it was a symbol of power and
influence. In building the Freedom Tower, the U.S. reasserts its
power in an arrogant way: Does this mean the U.S. will not only build
the biggest building, but also define freedom for the world?"

n "Many nonsecular Muslims may be very skeptical about the intent of
this museum (e.g. the average Bangladeshi condemns the Sept. 11
attacks, yet at the same time feels his/her human rights have been
violated by the U.S.)."

Kunhardt, an ordained Episcopal minister and the writer of the PBS
series "Freedom: A History of Us," mostly listened. He agreed with
some things that were said, disagreeing with others, an observer
said. He didn't return calls.

Tofel said preliminary plans call for an exchange of exhibits with
some coalition museums.

"It is hoped and expected that temporary exhibits at the IFC will
originate at, or travel to, some of the Historic Site Museums of
Conscience - and perhaps vice versa," he said in an E-mail.

Originally published on August 21, 2005


Redneck games

I can NOT b'lieve I didn't know about this. Next year! It ain't but a lil ol' 340-mile drive.

From the Longview (Texas) News-Journal

KILGORE -- The dusty air blew past Scott Baker on Friday as he sat back, lit a cigarette, and took in the sights at this weekend's Redneck Games.

Read all about it.

Here's where rednecks played their games.

In the meantime, there's the Bigfoot Festival in Honobia, OK -- and that ain't but a hard 245-mile drive ...



ER county news: reality check

Here's a lil reminder of how hard it is to run a little bitty town in Oklahoma, let alone a whole dang country that doesn't have a heritage of, like, openness and fairness and such. Or just gettin' along even.

I mean, I think we're attempting an honorable thing in Iraq. But none of us should get our hopes up.

From the Sequoyah County Times

Several Marble City residents are alleging that two agendas were posted for the town's last meeting, violating the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act.

Read all about it.


Sunday, August 21, 2005


'Lens Envy,' or, 'The Eyes Have It'

See great sky photos, and pix from Seattle, at Dr. ER's place!


Saturday, August 20, 2005


"Bovine perfection"

By The Erudite Redneck

In a former life, ol ER was a farm-and-ranch editor. I attended more county stock shows than I can remember.

It was a hoot. Used to write stories about those kids and take pictures of 'em with their cattle and hogs and chickens and turkeys and meat pens (rabbits) and all. I'd put 'em in the paper and mail 5-by-7's of the breed champions and reserve champions, along with their auction buyers.

It beat the hell out of what I do for a living these days, which ain't bad, but it ain't the fun I had back then.

Some of my favorite possessions are old thank-you cards and letters from kiddos who are now grown, sayin' things like, "Thank you, Mr. Redneck, for the picture of my heifer."

I still remember the language that livestock judges routinely use in assessing the quality of whichever critter they were judging at the time.

A good heifer has, for example, is something like "long-bodied with smooth, well laid-in shoulders and a long, narrow head, with tremendous mammary capacity."

A good steer needs to be, oh, maybe "level and square from hooks to pins" and have "structural correctness on feet and legs" and be "trim in the brisket" or some such.

Which is why this little blurb from The Onion cracks me plumb UP:

ELLENDALE, ND — Dickey County Fair livestock judge Bernard Hodelnutt called a heifer named Bessany "the sort of near-divine creation that inspired Zeus Himself to appear in the form of an amorous bull."

"In all my years of cattle judging, I have never beheld such bovine perfection," said Hodelnutt, 52, who first encountered the 2-year-old Brown Swiss at the fairground's stock pavilion Sunday. "My fellow judges and I agree that we are unworthy of assaying such transcendent cowflesh. Our paltry ribbons and trinkets make meager tribute to this demigoddess, who should assume her place beside mighty Taurus in the heavens."

After viewing the animal, Hodelnutt and the other judges cast their rating books and badges into a vat of boiling funnel cakes and cut out their own eyes lest they be fouled by the sight of less graceful beasts.

Hoot! Woot! Moo-t!



Good news from Iraq

By Deroy Murdock
via Pleasant News Daily

" ... it honors neither America's soldiers nor Iraq's selfless patriots to overlook the achievements they share in this new republic. ... "

Read all about it.



I ate a game

By The Erudite Redneck

When Bailey, the po' white trash weinie dog, was little, we would put him in the sun room sometimes, maybe if it was storming or something, 'cause he was afeared to be outside.

He would get lonesome and mad and eat a game. We keep our board games in the sun room stacked on some shelves that the little redneck dog would find a way to climb. He'd drag out a game and tear it to shreds.

After he did this a time or two, any time Bailey did anything naughty, we'd say, "Bailey ate a game!" It entered the family lexicon.

Last week, I ate a game. Dr. ER was in Seattle on business, Bird has already gone back to college -- and I was left all by my lonesome, with a still-sore spider-bitten hoof, feelin' lonesome and depressed and mad.

So, I ate a game.

Until yesterday evening, just before Dr. ER got back home, there wasn't a spot on the kitchen counters or stove top that you could touch without your finger sticking.

Our bedroom and bathroom, usually not in that great of shape anyway, were t-r-a-s-h-e-d.

Mail was piled up in a bigger-than-usual heap in front of my recliner, in the semicircle of books, articles, mail and other stuff we call "ER's Moat."

The yard is out of control. The flowerbeds, too. This office is a pit.

I so totally bachelorized the joint even I'm a little chagrined.

So, today and tomorrow, I'm hoeing this place out.

Books that have sat akimbo for months will be put away -- although I don't know where that will be yet. Articles will be organized or tossed. Clothes, too. There might even be some furniture moving involved before the day is out.

'Cause come Monday, I start pretending I'm back in school. I haven't done s--- all summer, because with no structure imposed on my life, other than work, all I do is go to work, and come home and maybe read, maybe not.

The plan is to be up by 6 a.m. weekdays, here in my home office by 7, work until 9, and be at work-work by 9:30. That's how I managed to do school and work the past three summers, when I had early-morning classes. It is doable.

I have history articles to write, one to do more work on at the behest of the journal reviewers, and a presentation to get together for a conference in November. I have been so uninspired, it's scary.

When you hit rock bottom, some country singer once observed, you have two ways to go: straight up or sideways. A week ago, I hit a bottom of sorts -- and spent all week eating a game.

That game is over. I'm hoeing the house today, getting the yard caught up tomorrow (unless it rains). And I'm heading straight up come Monday.


Friday, August 19, 2005


Freedom Poodles!

Not Freedom Bulldogs.

Not Freedom Greyhounds.

Not Freedom Collies.

Not Freedom Dingos.

Not Freedom Anything Close to Manly Dogs.

Not even Freedom Corgis or Freedom Weinie Dogs!

But Freedom Poodles!




Fairly fair account of Sheehan

From the New Zealand Herald

By Rupert Cornwell

Something strange is taking place deep in the heart of Texas, where the President of the United States is holed up at his Prairie Chapel ranch, a few miles from the town of Crawford.

Read all about it.



Biased un-American bastards!

By The Erudite Redneck

I hate book stores! How dare those buyers and managers decide what I should be able to find on their shelves! Who do they think they are? Who made them God? America is going to hell because of biased bookstores!

I hate automobile manufacturers! The bastards! How dare those engineers and executives decide the kinds of cars and trucks I should be able to find on my local car lots! Who do they think they are? Who made them God? America is going to hell because of biased carmakers!

I hate soft drink makers! What biased jerks! How dare those smirking dopes decide the flavors I should be able to find on the shelves at the grocery stores! Then there’s the conspiracy between the manufacturers and distributors! Who do they think they are? America is going to hell because of biased soft drink makers!

I hate farmers! What assholes! Deciding what crops to grow, without asking ME first! Who do they think they are? Who made them God? America is going to hell because of biased farmers!

I hate electronics makers! How dare they decide what technology lasts and what doesn’t! Who do they think they are? Who made them God? I want my 8-tracks back! America is going to hell because of biased electronics makers!

I hate horticulturists! Whatt arrogant morons! How dare those dirt-loving green-thumbers decide what cultivars make sense in Oklahoma, without asking ME what I think! Hell’s bells! Rutgers is the only tomato variety worth a damn! EVERYBODY knows that! Who do they think they are? Who made them God? America is going to hell because of biased horticulturists!

I hate video stores! What hubris! To decide what I can rent from their stores! Who do they think they are? Who made them God? America is going to hell because of biased video store managers!

I hate restaurants! What a joke! Pathetic losers decide what to put on the menu? Oh my God! Who DO they think they are? Who made them God? America is going to hell because of biased restaurant owners!

I HATE it when people are so thick-headed they can’t formulate a precise argument against who it is exactly they hate in “the media.” I’ve got a belly full of it lately on a couple of righty blogs.

Make. A. Real. Case. And. Be. Specific. Or. Shut. The. Hell. Up.


Thursday, August 18, 2005


Another mother

From Porkopolis (and I'm positive I disagree with his concept of "pork barrel spending," but he makes a good point in this here one post), via Mark's place, 4 Rows back.

Talk about a class act. Carolyn Maupin, mother of Matt Maupin, is a profile in grace, courage and patriotism. She continues to honor her son's sacrifice.

Read all about it.



Heartland opinion on Sheehan

This is from one of my oldest friends, a woman with little kiddos in Arkansas. Unsolicited. She just felt like sending her thoughts to me and a few others.

Hello guys,

There is not much in the world that gets me to excited.

But this air headed women down in Texas has got me

I bout lost my breakfast this morning when I heard her
on the news. She said she was the spark the universe
choose to start this flame..Oh please..

1st her son signed up..Now I know that it is bad that
he had to die..I am sorry for her.

But we do not have a draft any more. He signed up
of his own free will..Not once but twice..No where
does it have a line to sign that says, I want to stay
in Kansas where it is safe. Or I want to go where
I will be killed..

War is not anything new..It was going on in the
Bible and will continue until Gabriel blows his
horn. It is not pleasent, I do not know any one
that says. Oh yea I just love it that we are at
war..Have you seen how many men have died,
with the excitement of a watching a football

This is life it is not pleasant all the time..It is
pretty screwed up most of the time..I am
sorry, but get on with it..

I can not imagine how awfull it must feel to
loose a son.. But trying to find someone to
blame does not bring them back, and it
will not ease your pain..

nuf said..

Bottom line: Cindy Sheehan's son died for a paycheck and whatever personal goals and feelings he might have had. That's what professional soldiers do.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Cindy Sheehan: Unhinged

With "friends" like this, the anti-war-let's-come-home-with-our-tail-between-our-legs bunch needs no enemies!


From the Drudge Report.

Wed Aug 17 2005 21:51:56 ET

"We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!"

So declared Cindy Sheehan earlier this year during a rally at at San Francisco State University.

Sheehan, who is demanding a second meeting with Bush, stated: "We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now."

Sheehan unleashed a foul-mouth tirade on April 27, 2005:

"They’re a bunch of fucking hypocrites! And we need to, we just need to rise up..." Sheehan said of the Bush administration.

"If George Bush believes his rhetoric and his bullshit, that this is a war for freedom and democracy, that he is spreading freedom and democracy, does he think every person he kills makes Iraq more free?"

"The whole world is damaged. Our humanity is damaged. If he thinks that it’s so important for Iraq to have a U.S.-imposed sense of freedom and democracy, then he needs to sign up his two little party-animal girls. They need to go this war."

And you aren’t willing to send your own children, or if you’re not willing to go die yourself, then you bring there rest of our kids home now. It is despicable what they’re doing."



Cat on a hot shingle roof

Bloggy buddy Arse Poetica has a new puppy, and the pix and write-up inspired me to leave a comment of full post proportions. So here it is. :-)

Ya know, I grew up on a real farm, where real cows got real dead, where dogs were meant to chase away predators, where cats were meant to maintain a balance of power with the rats in the haybarn, where rabbits were meat and pigs were bacon on the hoof.

Not that I didn't love animals. But I just saw the reality of animal husbandry. Know what I mean?

But, the older I get (I'm 41, a meat eater and I think the more extreme animal rights groups are domestic terrorists), the more I love my "companion animals," Riker, my stepdog, and Bailey, our adoptee (and I mean those quote marks honestly, not as a swipe at the concept).

Our Riker is gettin' old and creaky, and sometimes snappy. And poor Bailey is gettin' fat and not-that-active, but Dr. ER and I are tryin' to squeeze as much love into them as we can -- and cuttin' down on their feed!

Today, Ice-T, this dang cat that, as Bird (19-year-old stepgal) puts it, "God gave us," 'cause he just showed up in the front sideyard one day with a shoulder injury and plumb eat UP with fleas, was up on the roof freaking out as I was headed to work. I was able to get the sweet lil critter, small forever for its size 'cause it separated from Mama way too quick, and has imprinted on ME, of all people, to get close enough at a low point on a gutter for me to grab him by his nape and sweep him to safety.

I came home at noon in a rush to pick up some meds I'd forgotten, and the critter was on the roof again, just a cryin' and hollerin' and squallin' -- and I simply did not have time to deal with it, and worried about him all day.

He wasn't in his usual place when I got home tonight, and I was so worried it made me ill. I am a big redneck wuss that way.

He finally showed up and was SO glad to see me and his supper! I will let him in in a but, and love on him, and try to talk him into stayin' off the roof, 'cause I know his little pads on his feets are sore from the heat of the shingles, I know he was way thirsty bein' up there all day, and I know he was plumb starved when I put his feed out.

(But I AM STILL fixin' to have some leftover beef flesh for supper!)



ER and steed in Badlands

Here's another pic of the Erudite Redneck hisself, standin' by his trusty steed, eatin' a bologna sammich, Pringles and sweet pickles out of a Dale Earnhardt No. 3 GM-Goodwrench ServicePlus Chevrolet cooler, while Dr. ER takes pictures in the Badlands of South Dakota. :-)


(Guest) Grandma ER

Regular lurker sent this funny via e-mail:

Here's a quote from someone who witnessed a recent interaction
between an elderly woman and an antiwar protester in a Metro station in DC.

"There were protesters on the train platform handing out
pamphlets on the evils of America. I politely declined to take one. An
elderly woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined.
The young protester put her hand on the old woman's shoulder as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice said, 'Ma'am, don't you care about the children of Iraq?'

"The old woman looked up at her and said, 'Honey, my first
husband died in France during World War II, my second husband died in Korea, one of my sons died in Vietnam, a Grandson died in Desert Storm, all so you could have the right to stand here and bad mouth our country. If you touch me again. I'll stick this umbrella up your ass and open it.' "

What we need over there is more war, not less. Reduced expectations!?! How DARE this administration get us IN this predicament, and then not have the cajones to finish the job! More troops are needed, more supplies, more materiel -- or we will suffer a defeat worse than Vietnam.

As I've said before, Republicans so despise government they can't even run a war right. Elect people who respect government, who know how to use it -- and who aren't afraid to do so. You know how to vote. The ass you save might be your own.

What we need in Washington is a right-wing DEMOCRAT hawk! Zell Miller in 2008!



Tuesday, August 16, 2005


The Gospel, in a nutshell

Edward Fudge
Aug 16, 2005

God loved human beings so much that he gave his one-and-only Son to bring our alienated world back to himself (John 3:16). That Son, whom we know as Jesus of Nazareth, also loved us so much that he laid down his life to restore us to healthy relationship with the Father (John 10:17-18). By his life and death, Jesus brought into being an objective reality that did not exist before -- a state of friendship between God and the estranged world. The gospel (which means a "happy announcement") is the good news of this restored relationship between the Creator and his human creatures everywhere. Just as the Father loved us before he gave his Son, the Son restored our friendship with the Father before we heard about it or believed that it was true.

With the gospel announcement comes the promise that all who trust in Jesus will immediately experience the reality of the renewed relationship with God which Jesus has brought into being. Because this seems too simple to be true, Jesus points to God's equally unbelievable promise given long ago to the Israelites in the wilderness (Numbers 21). When the venomous complaining of the rebellious people finally wore out God's patience, God punished them with a plague of poisonous snakes. In mercy, God then instructed Moses to mount a brass snake up on a pole, and to promise the people that every snake-bitten person who looked at that brass snake would live. In that same way, promises Jesus, once he has been lifted up on the cross, whoever believes in him will experience life that is out-of-this-world in quality and that will never end (John 3:14-15).

This story of God's incredible promise to the snake-bitten Israelites provides the setting for the familiar words recorded in John 3:16, which is why verse 16 begins with the connecting word "for." The ancient promise points us to the present promise, as each clause in verse 16 drives us to the clause that follows. "FOR God so loved the world, THAT he gave his only begotten Son, THAT whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." God's love resulted in his giving us Jesus. Jesus' "lifting up" resulted in every believer experiencing eternal life.

The alternative to believing is to disbelieve, to deny that God's happy announcement is true, to reject the reality of Jesus as God's Son and of the restored relationship that Jesus has brought about between God and the human world. Just as believers enjoy eternal life, those who persistently reject God's love will finally perish. The ultimate cause of perishing is rejecting God (notice the "because" in verse 18). Although believing in Jesus in response to the good news results in enjoying eternal life, the ultimate cause of eternal life is not our believing, but the inexplicable, unbounded love of God. Those who experience eternal life must give God all the credit. Those who finally perish must themselves take all the blame.

© 2005 by Edward Fudge. Unlimited permission to copy without altering text or profiteering is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice. For encouragement and spiritual food any time, visit our multimedia website at



ER in the Badlands

A few days ago, some fellow bloggers posted pix of they selves on this here Blogger contraption. Here is one of the Erudite Redneck hisself, surveyin' the Badlands of South Dakota last summer. (Photo by Dr. ER.) :-)



Not-so-tiny bubbles

By The Erudite Redneck

Housing bubble, schmousing bubble. The housing-investment-construction mania enveloping some major markets in this country is a symptom, not the disease itself. What we got on our hands here is a credit bubble.

Housing bubbles will deflate locally -- and despite what the experts say, I think the jury is still out on repercussions nationally. Because housing investment capital -- and I'm talking about single-family housing -- is not local, not any more. Money from all over the country and the world is landing in Oklahoma City, of all places, to snatch up everyday houses in everyday neighborhoods.

I think we're looking at a train wreck that will make the savings-and-loan crisis look like a dry run for greed. It'll be bigger than the political parties. Whoever has control of Congress will have to do something, once again, to save us from ourselves.

Perfect timing, y'all -- y'all who decided to make bankruptcy tougher than ever. Hoo boy. Better build some more bridges, 'cause we're going to need 'em to put the homeless under.

Here's something I wrote in summer 2001. It's not about housing. It's about bubbles. It would behoove anyone to listen to the old man, Galbraith. It's a historiographical book view of some of Galbraith's works.


John Kenneth Galbraith committed an act of investigative and explanatory journalism with The Great Crash 1929, his seminal account of the speculative excess that led to the crash on Wall Street and the beginnings of the decade-long Great Depression. Galbraith puts events and, more important, prevailing thought in context in the straightforward manner of a seasoned newsman. It’s no wonder. For sources, Galbraith drew heavily on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other general and financial press of the time. The Great Crash, continuously available since first published in 1954, is no shrill siren; like many of Galbraith’s works, it is meant as a cautionary tale, a history of irrational action and stubborn inaction, an explanation of steps and missteps leading to the crash, presented with hope – but not much -- that mistakes can be avoided next time.

There will be a “next time,” Galbraith writes -- in The Great Crash and in other works in which he addresses, even in passing, speculative episodes. These include Economics in Perspective – A Critical History, his 1987 history of Western economic thought; A Short History of Financial Euphoria, a short 1990 work where the predictable recurrence of speculation is his theme; and even Name Dropping – From FDR On, published in 1999, his little diary of reminiscences from his own government service. This article will explore complementary themes in each work, especially as they amplify Galbraith’s historical narrative and interpretations of the stock market crash of 1929.

Galbraith’s framework for explaining the 1929 stock market crash, other devaluations of securities, currency, tulip bulbs – and all other results of speculative “insanity,” as he calls it time and again – hangs on a few commonalities:

All participants in the leveraging-buying frenzy believe that there is something new in the world, whether a new product, such as Holland’s tulips during the Tulipomania of the 1630s, or a new financial instrument, such as the leveraged buy-outs and “merger mania” that precipitated the crash of October 1987. Participants as well as bystanders trust what they perceive as a particular genius at work on the part of leading decision-makers. This supposed genius is associated directly with the accumulation of wealth, which draws more investors who attain a measure of their own wealth, which fuels speculation even further. A crash is inevitable, when doubt appears, followed by anger directed at the leading “brilliance,” soul-searching by those drawn in, and intense scrutiny of the supposed new financial instruments and practices. 1

In The Great Crash, Galbraith constructs the following framework to explain the stock market crash: The “something new” was the institution of leverage, the holding of common stock controlling enterprises with huge debt loads. He points particularly to the development of investment trusts created not to conduct business, but for the singular purpose of holding stock, often in other investment trusts. Such a financial structure speeds the accumulation of wealth as speculation proceeds, and reverses just as fast when the speculative spell is broken. The “genius” that drew so many investors to stocks during the 1920s was the supposed and largely untested “wisdom” of bankers of the day, made more alluring by the booming economy of the 1920s in general. The crash of Oct. 29, 1929, was followed by congressional investigation, castigation of leading financial decision-makers and Wall Street cheerleaders and eventual governmental reform of the stock markets. 2

Understanding Galbraith’s view of speculation, particularly the American brand, and government’s response, requires an introduction to his theories of economics and history – and some of his thoughts on the development of economic thought in the United States.

Galbraith’s grand theory of economics is tied up in government – that alone set him and his mentor, John Maynard Keynes, apart from the classical economists who prevailed in the early part of the 20th century -- and is spelled out in Economics in Perspective: “The separation of economics from politics and political motivation is a sterile thing. It is also a cover for the reality of economic power and motivation. And it is a prime source of misjudgment and error in economic policy.” 3 Throughout his works is this idea, whether spelled out or not: Government can, and should, act to smooth out the rough edges of economic life, particularly the excesses of capitalism’s near worship of the “free market.” Galbraith, a Canadian whose earliest memories include his family’s reading of the Toronto Globe, “the bible of the committed Liberals of Ontario,”4 has always been an unabashed yet pragmatic liberal. The thread extends from his youth to his graduate school days in the early 1930s at the University of California at Berkeley; to his service in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration, which started in 1934 in the Department of Agriculture and culminated during World War II in the executive Office of Price Administration; to his service in Germany as a director of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey under President Harry Truman; to service with Truman’s State Department, when he had charge of German, Japanese, Austrian and South Korean economic affairs in the years just after the war; to his later service as American Ambassador to India under President John F. Kennedy; to State Department service under President Lyndon B. Johnson; and throughout his long academic and writing career. 5

Galbraith’s grand theory of economic history is spelled out as plainly as his view of economics alone. It, too, is tied up in government:

It is sufficiently clear that economics does not exist apart from context – apart from the contemporary economic and political life that gives it form or the interests, implicit or explicit, that shape it to their need. Economic ideas, as Keynes averred, do guide policy. But the ideas are also the offspring of policy and of the interests which it serves. The long reach of history establishes another truth. That is the way change in economic life and institutions bears on all economic thought. Economics is not, as often believed, concerned with perfecting a final and unchanging system. It is in a constant and often reluctant accommodation to change. Failure to recognize this is a formula for obsolescence and for accumulating error. Of this, too, the history tells. 6

It is the very lack of context for economics in early American history – economics as a studied discipline, not as a practical framework for exchanging resources – that Galbraith uses to explain the nation’s leaders’ almost religious reverence for classical economic ideas after the turn of the 19th century – and which they clung to almost as fervently the first years after the crash of 1929. Galbraith asserts that for the first 152 years of the nation’s existence, not even classical economic ideas – Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” directing competition and the interplay of supply and demand7 -- held much sway in the everyday affairs of Americans, not even in the universities. There was instead “an ardent discussion of a range of eminently practical economic topics,” he wrote in Economics in Perspective. “These included the tariff, monopoly, the social behavior and defense of the very rich, and most urgently of all … the diverse questions pertaining to money.” 8 No sooner had American universities established professorships in economics, at the end of the 19th century – with studies derived largely from British classical orthodoxy – did American academics start to rethink classical economics as the only discipline of economic study. A few were watching the development of the welfare state in Germany, and later in Britain.9 Dissenters from classical orthodoxy remained outside the mainstream of American economic thought, however, even when classical economists simply stood aside after the stock market crash of 1929, expecting the crisis to work itself out, and through the presidency of Herbert Hoover. Then, of course, came FDR and his “New Deal,” which welcomed any pragmatic approach to dealing with the calamity.10

The financial catastrophe only started with the stock market crash, which, removed from the effects of the Great Depression that followed, has meaning only for people interested in the workings of the financial markets themselves. It is the Depression, then, that provides the underlying importance of Galbraith’s meticulous financial history in The Great Crash. The effect of the Depression, after all, was on all Americans, not just those participating in the financial markets. Historian Jonathan Hughes puts human faces on the economic legacy of the crash:

The Great Depression was a time when hamburgers were two for 5 cents, and people could not afford to buy them; when men would work for 10 cents an hour, and employers could not profit from their labor; when the (surviving) banks were filled with idle reserves and borrowing did not occur, although interest rates were below 1 percent per annum; when agricultural produce rotted in the fields, and people went hungry.

How the United States got to such a state is the story of The Great Crash, a story with themes repeated in all his writing about speculation. But not even Galbraith pretends that knowledge of the facts alone provide any protection from their recurrence.

The Great Crash has sort of an hourglass feel: broad themes at both ends and narrow, detailed reporting in the middle.

On the broad first end, Galbraith writes about the general economic mood of the country in the 1920s, especially the proneness of people who had money to seize upon ways to get more fast – a “get rich quick” mentality. He points to land speculation in mid-1920s Florida as a harbinger of future “speculative make-believe.” He details the New York Federal Reserve Banks’ creation of “easy money” by lowering the discount rate from 4 to 3.5 percent in 1927 in response to pleas from Europe to ease strain there, a helplessness caused by Britain’s return to the gold standard in 1925. This creation of money for investment, and for loaning for investment, did not lead directly to the crash, Galbraith writes, but it certainly exacerbated the trend. Galbraith outlines the role of “big men” in business, those, like John J. Raskob, a director of General Motors and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, one of the “genius” business leaders of the time, whose off-hand remarks could move millions of investment dollars. Galbraith explains the attraction of buying stocks on margin: Margin buyers get full title to the stock, minus the burden of actually paying for them, by leaving them as collateral with the broker for the loan that paid for them.

In the narrow middle, Galbraith refines his history to a day-by-day, hour-by- hour – at times, to-the-minute -- account of events on Wall Street immediately before the crash and immediately after. In plain language – especially accessible for an economist, a trait present in all his works -- he reduces the nut of the debacle to a few tight pages:

Monday, October 21, was a very poor day. Sales totaled 6,091,870, the third greatest volume in history … Tuesday brought a somewhat shaky gain. … By Wednesday, October 23, the effect of this cheer was somehow dissipated. Instead of further gains there were heavy losses. … Thursday, October 24, is the first of the days which history – such as it is on the subject – identifies with the panic of 1929. Measured by disorder, fright and confusion, it deserves to be so regarded. That day 12,894,650 shares changed hands, many of them at prices which shattered the dreams and the hopes of those who had owned them. … At twelve-thirty the officials of the New York Stock Exchange closed the visitors gallery on the wild scenes below... It was eight and a half minutes past seven that night before the ticker finished recording the day’s misfortunes. … On Friday and Saturday trading continued heavy – just under six million on Friday and over two million at the short session on Saturday. Prices, on the whole, were steady … Monday, October 28, was the first day on which this process of climax and anticlimax ad infinitum began to reveal itself. It was another terrible day. … On this day there was no recovery. … Tuesday, October 29, was the most devastating day in the history of the New York stock market, and it may have been the most devastating day in the history of markets.12

Galbraith then returns to broad themes. He relies on vital statistics from the Bureau of the Census to bust the myth that the crash caused a rise in suicide among the financial elite and as well as the everyday investor – the image of the despondent trader perched on the ledge of a Wall Street investment house. He does note several suicides of prominent men of the day: J.J. Riordan, well-known New York banker and Democrat; investor-swindler Ivar Kruger; the head of Rochester Gas and Electric Co., who took gas; “another martyr (who) dipped himself in gasoline and touched himself off.”13 Galbraith details the “most spectacular embezzlement of the period,” the looting of Union Industrial Bank of Flint, Mich., estimated at $3,592,000.14. He explains “short selling” – borrowing shares of a declining stock, selling them, then buying them back at a lower price to repay the lender that provided the original stock and pocketing the difference -- which takes advantage of falling stock prices and pushes them down further.15 He waxes eloquent on general themes surrounding the people involved, not merely their financial instruments:

Far more important than the rate of interest and the supply of credit is the mood. Speculation on a large scale requires a pervasive sense of confidence and optimism and conviction that ordinary people were meant to be rich. People must also have faith in the good intentions and even in the benevolence of others, for it is by the agency of others that they will get rich. … Finally, a speculative outbreak has a greater or less immunizing effect. The ensuing collapse automatically destroys the very mood speculation requires. It follows that an outbreak of speculation provides a reasonable assurance that another outbreak will not immediately occur. With time and the dimming of memory, the immunity wears off. A recurrence becomes possible.16

Galbraith demonstrates the recurrence of speculation in A Short History of Financial Euphoria. The tiny book is one example after another: the wild and bizarre speculation in tulip bulbs in 1630s Holland; John Law’s scheme in 1671-1620, via his Banque Royale, to pay off France’s government debts by selling shares in nonexistent gold investments in Louisiana; the London-based South Sea Company, a joint stock company operating a century later, selling shares in the future of treasures to come from foreign trade but that never materialized, this to pay England’s government debts; and the speculative booms and busts in the American experience, culminating, of course, with a short history of the stock market crash of 1929. In Economics in Perspective, Galbraith provides the broadest context for understanding any financial undertaking within a nation’s wider economy: the underlying philosophies of creating and trading resources, especially means of exchange, particularly money. The book is sweeping in its approach, but Galbraith gives detailed attention to the influences on and left by the leading economic thinkers in Western history. In Name Dropping, Galbraith has fun recalling his personal encounters with some of the most prominent political leaders, economic policy makers and economists of the 20th century – but his underlying ideas about economics and government are ever present, draped, as always, in dry wit. “The universal cause of poverty is a shortage of money among those experiencing it,” he writes in a chapter on his experiences with President Johnson’s War On Poverty. “The obvious – indeed, the only relevant – cure is money, a safety net protecting all from deprivation.”17

Galbraith’s histories of economics, particularly his thinking on the booms and busts of speculation, are relative today, as modern-day financial wizards try to make sense of the crash of technology-related stocks in 2000, especially the nosedive in the Nasdaq, and the effect on the rest of the economy. The long lens of history is the future. But some modern descendents of economic players from the past are present.

That a “bubble” – inflated speculation -- supported the extraordinary rise in technology stocks in the late 1990s is clear. Each of Galbraith’s commonalities was present. The “something new,” of course, was the Internet and the advent of dot-com companies. Only recently, after the bubble burst, has the general public’s fascination begun to moderate. There were “new” financial instruments, as well, which, as Galbraith points out, turn out not to be so new, really, after all. Telecommunications equipment providers such as Lucent, Cisco and Nortel, fearful of losing future consumers of their own next advances, extended generous financing terms to high-tech start-ups. “Telecom start-ups and dot-coms without earnings or credit histories managed to obtain significant credit from their equipment suppliers on terms they could never have obtained from a bank,” Mark Shapiro and Kevin Buehler wrote recently in “Manager’s Journal,” a regular feature in the Wall Street Journal. Shapiro and Buehler even noted the old nature of the “new” way of financing: “Such loans were in effect a discount on the price of equipment.”18

Their default caused a ripple effect similar to the collapse of the joint-stock companies of old and the holding companies of the 1920s. Today, Lucent and other telecommunications suppliers are still working through the effect of the high-tech crash by, among other things, laying off thousands of workers, extending the effects of the crash to everyday people and to the economy in general. Another “new” financial instrument is the 401(k) retirement plan and other employee investment plans, which enable people to send money to the market by payroll deduction, which encourages investment by making it less painful to turn loose of it. Noting that 37 million Americans are enrolled in 401(k) plans, financial columnist Jane Bryant Quinn explained the effects of the vehicle during the high-tech boom: “Many of us actually started to think we knew what we were doing. … Retirement plan investors have grown steadily more aggressive – tilting more of their money toward stocks. The higher stocks rose, the more money people invested there. … The people in charge of corporate plans grew just as excited about stocks as their employees. They added mutual funds to their plans, and not conservative ones. By last year, workers were ‘diversifying’ among growth funds, aggressive growth funds and even technology funds – all of them invested in high tech, to some degree.”19

The publicly perceived “wisdom” accorded industrial and financial leaders in the 1920s was heaped upon the Steve Cases, Bill Gateses and Michael Dells – the technological whiz kids of the 1990s – until very recently. The final stages of the 1990s high-tech bubble is still playing out. Galbraith probably nods knowingly when he sees modern expressions of denial similar to those of leading pundits of the 1920s. They are in today’s newspapers and talk shows. “What went wrong with the dot-coms?” Jack Anderson and Douglas Cohn wondered in a recent newspaper column. “Some analysts equate the dot-com mania with the Tulip Bubble and other famous irrational boom-and-bust scenarios of history. But there is a difference. Those other situations were either out-and-out frauds, or they were unsupported by rational facts. These theories do not describe the Internet and the dot-com boom-and-bust.”20 They don’t even mention the stock market crash of 1929. Galbraith might point out that tulips did have a rational purpose – people did enjoy their beauty if they actually planted the bulbs; that there was underlying value to many of the stocks traded on Wall Street in the 1920s; and there were actual voyages ventured to discover riches in the New World. Anderson and Cohn contradict their own assertion by describing what happened in the 1990s as dot-com “mania.” Galbraith would call it “insanity.” The high-tech thinkers of the 1990s already are being held in lower regard. The news magazines are peppered with tales of investors either angry at dot-com promoters and themselves, or laughing at their gullibility and the entire episode. Some can laugh because while billions of dollars in equity was lost, economic safety nets exist today that didn’t in 1929. The stock market is still generally regarded as overvalued, which means there still is room for it to fall. Whether the government investigates the dot-com bubble, and whether the public’s anger and nervous laughter turns to outright recrimination – the last of the general commonalities Galbraith finds in all speculative episodes -- will depend on how far the economy falls.

Galbraith ends A Short History of Financial Euphoria by asserting what he has come to know about speculation and admitting what no one can know in a short summary that is expressed in some ways in all of his writings on the subject. The 110-page essay reads as if it were written after the 2000 technology crash; it wasn’t. He penned it a decade ago.

… when a mood of excitement pervades a market or surrounds an investment prospect, when there is a claim of unique opportunity based on special foresight, all sensible people should circle the wagons; it is the time for caution. Perhaps, indeed, there is opportunity. Maybe there is that treasure on the floor of the Red Sea. A rich history provides proof, however, that, as often or more often, there is only delusion and self-delusion. … When will come the next great speculative episode, and in what venue will it recur – real estate, securities markets, art, antique automobiles? To these there are no answers; no one knows, and anyone who presumes to answer does not know he doesn’t know. But one thing is certain: there will be another of these episodes and yet more beyond. Fools, as it has long been said, are indeed separated, soon or eventually, from their money. So, alas, are those who, responding to a general mood of optimism, are captured by a sense of their own financial acumen. Thus it has been for centuries; thus in the long future it will also be.21


1. John Kenneth Galbraith, A Short History of Financial Euphoria, (Knoxville, Tenn., Larger Agenda Series, 1990; reprint, New York: Viking Penguin, 1993), 19-22.

2. John Kenneth Galbraith, The Great Crash 1929, (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1954; reprint, 1988), xiv-xvi.

3. John Kenneth Galbraith, Economics in Perspective – A Critical History, (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1987), 299.

4. John Kenneth Galbraith, Name-Dropping – From FDR On, (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1999), 9.

5. Ibid., passim. Galbraith intersperses highlights of his government service and other professional involvements throughout this small book of reminiscences.

6. Galbraith, Economics in Perspective, 299-300.

7. “Each person out for self-betterment, with no thought of others, is faced with a host of similarly motivated persons. As a result, each market actor, in buying or selling, is forced to meet the prices offered by competitors. … The pressures of the marketplace direct the selfish activities of individuals as if by an Invisible Hand (to use Smith’s wonderful phrase) into socially responsible paths. Thus the workings of the competitive system transmute self-regarding behavior into socially useful outcomes. The Invisible Hand – the words that describe the overall process – keeps society on track, assuring that it produces the goods and services it needs.” Robert L. Heilbroner, and Lester C. Thurow, Economics Explained, (New York, Simon & Schuster, Updated Touchstone Edition, 1987), 27-28.

8. Galbraith, Economics in Perspective, 156.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid., 195.

11. Jonathan Hughes, American Economic History, 2d ed, (Glenview, Ill., and London, Scott, Foresman and Company, 1987), 446.

12. Galbraith, The Great Crash, 96-100, 104-105, 109.

13. Ibid., 130-131.

14. Ibid., 134.

15. Ibid., 148.

16. Ibid., 169-171.

17. Galbraith, Name-Dropping, 153-154.

18. Mark Shapiro and Kevin Buehler, “Manager’s Journal: Vendors Pay the Price for Bad Loans,” Wall Street Journal, 25 June 2001, sec. A, p. 18.

19. Jane Bryant Quinn, “Capital Gains: Rethink Your 401(k) – Now; Your stock-bubble money is gone; Time to look at your retirement strategy from scratch,” Newsweek, 23 July 2001, 49.

20. Jack Anderson and Douglas Cohn, “A rebirth in the Internet,” Edmond (Okla.) Sun, 17 July 2001, p. 6.

21. Galbraith, A Short History, 109-110.



Back on my hoss

Man, that was a tough spell.

Time to cowboy up now.


Monday, August 15, 2005


Bah! Nighttime

You kids keep it quiet! I'm goin' to bed! Grump, grump, grump. Grrr.


Snack time!


All I need's a robe ...

Ahhhh ...


Gummable vittles

To go with my buttermilk.


Eh? What's that ye say?

Care to play, sonny?


Added to the ER wetbar

New drink mix.


Ah 1 and a 2 ah ...

Just bring me a bowl of mush and leave me be in my recliner. Somebody bring me a throw.



Choice of old farts everywhere

Y'all kids keep it down out there!

Dadgum whippersnappers.

Just fill up my glass ... and leave me be.





Just pass me the jug.


Sunday, August 14, 2005


Bird flies again

Yesterday, Dr. and I hauled Bird and all her belongings back to Oklahoma State. Took all three vehicles.

Fortunately, Bird had some strappin' lad of a friend to help her carry her stuff to the fourth floor of Bennett Hall. Would've taken all day with Dr. ER's bad back and my own sore hoof.

Eh. I tooled around Stillwater some afterward. To Willie's Saloon, on the Strip, to George's Stables, on Elm Street. Bought an OSU trinket at one of the college shops.

Sad times again, for ol' ER. In some ways, it's worse this time than last year. Last year, I had my own grad school stuff to keep me occupied. And the novelty of Bird's starting college for thre first time then kept me from goin' over the edge.

This time, it really feels like goodbye, in a different kind of way, and there's nothing to keep me from going from sad to worse.

Don't have the heart to dwell on it today. Here's some of what I wrote last year. Just take away the freshness of the experience then, add a layer of lonesomeness to it, and you'll get a taste of what I'm feelin' this weekend.

Twenty years ago. Make that 21 now.

Baby Bird.


Parentin' -- Erudite Redneck-style.

Between this and the row of pill bottles in the kitchen -- a new cholesterol medicine, and antibiotics for my sore hoof, and some other things -- it is official:

I have so past the crest of the hill, it ain't even funny.

Mid-life crisis dead ahead.


Saturday, August 13, 2005


Lieutenant Brad

Put a real face on the war. Read about Lieutenant Brad.


Friday, August 12, 2005


Decadron phosphate

Any of y'all nursin' types -- and I know at least two of ya are out there, :-) -- want to boil this down to brass tacks for me, I'd be much obliged. This is what I got shot with in the buttock: Decadron phosphate.



"ER the Cable Guy"

*New and Improved! Now with link to facts about the brown recluse spider!* (Thanks to regular commenter Nick Toper)

So, Larry the Cable Guy -- redneck comedian extraordinaire; makes Foxworthy look like the Hushpuppy-wearin' suburban Atlantan he is -- has this joke that goes somethin' like this here:

"My horse broke his leg. So I shot it. Now it has a broke leg and a gunshot wound."

Call me ER the Cable Guy.

I went to the doctor today with a sore foot. Got an injection. Now I have a sore foot and a pain in the ass!

Whew! Been 25-30 years since I got a shot to the hindquarters! Hurt plumb through to the front. Felt like a hot wire wigglin' around in there.

But it was a wash, discomfortwise. In the process, a cute freckle-faced nursin' gal from South Carolina had to touch my heiny. My inner Joey Triviani(sp? from "Friends") said: "How YOU doin'?"

Got two different kinds of dope outta the deal. Including one used to treat leprosy -- I kid you not.

I was right about it bein' a brown recluse bite. Doc said it was a textbook case. He took one look at it and said, "Oh, that looks very angry," and whipped out a scrip pad and strarted writin' them up as he dispatched sweet-thing from South Carolina to get some gauze and dead-skin removal devices and such.

Gotta go back a week from today.

Here's y'all some advice: Don't go gettin' bit by a dang brown recluse, a.k.a. fiddleback spider. My backside still smarts, three hours after gettin' poked.


Thursday, August 11, 2005


Overheard in the ER household X

By The Erudite Redneck

This one will take some setting up.

Y'all know my right hind leg has been hurtin' all week. Been soakin' it some in a ... well, a foot soaker from Walgreen's. Just a little soap and warm water a few times yesterday and the day before. The tub is right there by my recliner, which is next to the NASCAR tire in the front room.

I'm back at work today. Headin' to my regular doc's tomorrow. I've concluded that it was a brown recluse that got me. My hoof is all red, and ain't gettin' any unredder, and where the critter bit me, necrosis has set in -- which basically mean "toe rot."

The antibiotics, I guess, are keepin' it from gettin' any worse, but they're apparently not strong enough to actually beat back the infection, hence the trip to the doc's tomorrow.

So, there's you some background.

This morning, Dr. ER was still in bed, I had limped into our bedroom from the front room couch, where I've been sackin' out to keep my hoof elevated, and Bird had let the hounds, Riker, the handsome, regal, well-trained and sophisticated Pembroke Welsh corgi, and Bailey, the po' white trash supposedly registered but dummer'n-a'stump weinie dog, in the house to get 'em ready to go to the vet's for annual shots.

The critters were plumb thrilled to be in the house, especially with all their peeps, at such an unusual time. The whole famn damily was in the bedroom: Dr. ER still in bed, me sittin' on the edge of it, very carefully puttin' on a sock, Bird standin' there, fixin' to put the leashes on the dogs, which are both hoppin' and jumpin' and waggin' and smilin' and carryin' on, trying to jump up on the bed and all.

Riker knows better, but he's 10 now and we let him slide when he forgets his manners and upbringing. Bailey has no couth whatsoever. I swear, it's like havin' a canine Jethro Bodine sittin' at the supper table, thinkin' he's in somebody else's billy-ard room, a-wonderin' where our pot-passers are.

Amid the commotion, we suddenly realize that Bailey has vacated the immediate environs, and is somewhere else in the house without adult human supervision, which is always, always a bad thing. He is a tard. I've been meanin' to build him his very own short yellow doghouse, if you know what I mean and I know you do.

Me: "Where's Bailey? I bet he's in there drinkin' my foot water!"

Dr. ER, who has an aversion to ALL things podiatractic, GASPS and WHEEZES, trying to balance her desire to LAUGH with her compulsion to HURL.

Me: "Bird! Get in there and watch him! If his breath smells like white tea and ginger, AND FEET, that's what he's in to!"

See, the only soft soap in the house when I needed some for hoof-soakin' purposes was some sissified, fancy-ass girly squeeze-pump thing. I used up a whole dang bunch of redneck points by soakin' my poor foot in the stuff.

Poor Bailey, who is as redneck a dog as you will ever meet, did too! He'll probably come prancin' up to the back door at suppertime tonight wantin' to see a menu, wonderin' what the appetizer special is and orderin' a dadgum bottle of Pellegrino!


Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Suggested telemarketer greeting

I might get to try something today, if I can keep my cool. I just screamed at a telemarketer so hard my throat hurts.

Me: "Hello."

Telemarketer, with unmistakable telemarketing sounds in background: "Hi, how ya doing?"

Me, shouting: "Well, who the hell are you?"

Telemarketer, shouting: "Rick, with (my head almost exploded; I can't remember what he said now).

Me: "Aiiiigggggghhhhhhhhh!"

Here's what I want to try:

Me: "Yes. This telephone call is being recorded as part of the discovery process in a class-action lawsuit against telemarketers. Please state your name, the city and state or country from which you are calling, the company you work for, your supervisor's name, and your telephone number. Then continue reading your script."

What. Pains. In. The. Butt.



They toed me there'd be bad days

One more day here at the casa, foot soaked every few hours, all salved up otherwise, and I'll be all right, I reckon.

What. A. Pain. How humbling that a big ol' thing like myself can be brought low by such a tiny critter. Thanks for all the well wishings, by the way.

Bird did haul me to the workplace -- truck's in the shop -- long enough for me to get some work to bring home, so no more lollygagging. The Western Channel, however, IS on for background noise.

Sigh. Now I have to come up with something half-way intelligent to write for work -- not that NOT havin' anything intelligent to say has ever slowed me down before. ;-)



ER: an "ardent rightwinger"?

A lurker who is a friend of my wife told her he was readin' this blog last night and asked her, afterward, if I was an "ardent rightwinger," based on same.

Do what?

Could be that he saw that I mentioned the president the other day without cursing him, that I dare admire things rural and Southern, as I have been doin' since Friday with my unabashed love for all things "Dukes of Hazzard," or the mere fact that the other day I put up an image of the Stars and Bars, the national flag of the Confederacy.

None of which makes me either liberal or conservative, let along leftwing or rightwing. If I were rich, I'd be ecccentric But I'm not, so I'm just odd, or "hard to classify."

For the record, again: Conservative Democrat.

And, I'm an ardent contrarian. But y'all, please weigh in with yer own thoughts.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005


An untoed story

Yet ANOTHER trip to the ER (emergency room) last night!

Some kind of insect or spider or other critter bit me smack-dab between the second and third tow on my right hind leg, and it swoll up fierce, left red streaks up my leg and has me dadgum near crippled!

ER's second trip this summer to the ER! First one here, recall, due to my own carelessness. This critter just got me and got me bad.

So, I'm home today, self-medicating, as it were, with scrip antibiotics, Neosporin, No Man's Land Beef Jerky (straight from the Oklahoma Panhandle), and healthy amounts of Western Channel and Sci-Fi Channel.

Dang it. I was just at the point at work where I just had to work at normal pace. Grrr. The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get these days.



Fury of an erudite NASCAR fan scorned

Dr. ER so kicked this ass of a moron newspaper columnist, y'all all have to see it. He's an idgit.

Read all about it.


Monday, August 08, 2005


Halito, Chim Achukma?

I am gettin' off my erudite yet lethargic, post-grad-school butt and am going to take a Choctaw language class next month.

That's "Hello, how are you?" in the headline.

Next up: How do ya say "fixin' to" in Choctaw?

This ain't just for fun. It will satisfy a language requirement if I ever decide to go for a Ph.D.

My master's thesis had to do with the editorial comments and opinion expressed in two Choctaw newspapers published in 1849-1852, recall.

The papers, the Choctaw Telegragh and the Choctaw Intelligencer, were bilingual. I studied the heck out of the English stuff. My aim is to be able to go back and study the Choctaw columns, and see how they differed.

Step 1. Get off erudite but lethargic butt. Check.

2. Call about the class. Check.

3. Show up and enroll on first day of class. That's in September.

Oh boy, oh boy oh boy. Now I have somethin' to look forward to! :-)

Go here for more Choctaw words.



Them Duke boys crash "Wedding"!

All y'all uppity, smart-alecky Yankee types just eat our redneck dust.


Dukes Come Out Smellin' Like Daisies

Read all about it.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


I am Bo Duke

Thanks to regular lurker and commenter Nick Toper for this link!


Bo Duke
You are Bo Duke. You are caring and carefree. You
suffer from the "Peter Pan Syndrome"
and it doesn't look like you'll be growing up
anytime soon.

What Dukes of Hazzard Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, August 06, 2005


ER's take on "The Dukes of Hazzard"

General Lee speakin' ...

Source for photo

By The Erudite Redneck

Would you look at this gorgeous hunk of muscle car? I am not kiddin' when I say I went to ogle that vehicle as much as to admire Jessica Simpson's own chassis.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that "the critics" are panning "The Dukes of Hazzard." Most professional "critics" either know nothing of the subculture that was attracted to the original series, or its modern remnants and latter-day disciples, who will quietly, given a little time, probably make this flick a surprise success.

It's the same cohort of the population that kept CBS producing the likes of "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Green Acres" and such, before the Big Eye was blinded by urbanized TV execs having their heads so far up their asses they could no longer see.

The specific substrata of American human bean I'm talkin' about is the generally Southern (but not always) bunch that can laugh at itself. They are either in the country, from the country, or one generation removed -- and damn ANYbody who is not one of us, who laughs AT us.

Call us rural. Call us country. Call us redneck. But don't call us stupid. Some of us are right smart.

Random redneck observations:

Jessica Simpson is a total, total babe.

Jessica Simpson is as hot as a firecracker and as sweet as sweet tea. Nobody is saying she will win any awards for serious acting. But she can accurately depict the somewhat caricaturized role called for in this flick, and she can convincingly deliver the lines you would expect such a character to say. That's "acting." So all y'all squallin' and hollerin' about how she cain't act, y'all just hush yo mouths.

Jessica Simpson is a total, total babe.

Sadly, they used up nother 23 '69 Dodge Chargers in the filming of this movie -- this is on top of the some 300 destroyed in the making of the series back in the day. I think it was damn near worth it. Modern cinematography and, I imagine, smaller and more versatile video cameras gave viewers vantage points for the chases that the '70s-'80s series directors could only dream of.

Jessica Simpson is a total, total babe.

Willie Nelson was made for his role as Uncle Jesse. There is one scene that plays off his well-known proclivity for a certain herb, and I swear he had to have been stoned when they filmed it. Not that I've ever seen the effects of marijuana up close. Ahem. He also randomly shouts silly jokes, about half of which are funny. And this one, which is great: "Know why divorce is so expensive? ... 'Cause IT'S WORTH IT!" I love it.

Jessica Simpson is a total, total babe.

Burt Reynolds should not have been led in from the pasture for this. He's through. He's done. Just throw him some oats every mornin' and make sure his trough has water in it and leave him alone. One critic said Danny Davito(sp?) is perhaps the only actor who might could've done the character of Boss Hogg justice. I agree. In any case, Burt Reynolds' depiction was lame, his character almost pathetically wan.

Jessica Simpson is a total, total babe.

Lots of flaming crossbow action, some tossing of full moonshine jars as Molatov cocktails, a fair amount of general mayhem -- which made me think, even amid the revelry in the THEEayter: Dubya should have never declared war on "terrorism." Because the tools and acts so described are only terrorism in the hands of our enemies. Suicide bombers excepted. Next time the cause of justice requires fiery crossbows, homemade bombs made out of flammable liquids, and makeshift plastic explosives, we are gonna wish the president had just declared war on our enemies and left it at that.

Jessica Simpson is a total, total babe.

Gratuitous pseudo "blackface" scene is balanced by gratuitous pseudo "hate-whity" scenes.

Jessica Simpson is a total, total babe.

Small roles by Barry Corbin, Joe Don Baker and A.J. Foyt IV were pleasant surprises.

Did I mention that Jessica Simpson is a total, total babe? Two or three times when she appeared -- on the 70-by-30-foot screen, the largest in Oklahoma -- many of the men in the audience involuntarily sighed, "ohhh." I kid you not. Fair amount of laughter in the seats, too. Not constant. But enough, I'll bet, to satisfy most.

"The Dukes of Hazzard" is a fun, fun flick. And I will go see it at the THEEayter at least one more time. That car. That girl. The silliness of it all -- the throwback feel of it. Made me smile and laugh out loud.

Note that I did not mention plot. Plot is NOT the reason people will like this film. It's all characters. And that car. And a bunch of one-liners. And that's why the professional critics didn't get it.


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