Kanye West at the Nobel Peace Prize Awards

October 9th, 2009

December 10, 2009
[Wolfe Press]
OSLO — Leave it to Kanye West to produce one of the most infamous moments in Nobel Peace Prize history before the 2009 awards ceremony was even an hour old. It happened after President Barack Obama’s stunning victory in the Peace Prize category for all of his forthcoming accomplishments, which beat out many other contenders with actual achievements. Just moments after Obama accepted the Prize and began his acceptance speech, West stormed the stage, taking the microphone from Obama to announce that George W. Bush deserved the award.

“Thank you so much!” President Obama began. “I always dreamed about what it would be like to maybe win one of these some day, but I never actually thought it would have happened. I haven’t actually done much yet, so thank you so much for giving me a chance to win a Nobel Peace Prize.”

Before he could continue, West broke in. “Yo Barack, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but W has had one of the best presidencies of all time. One of the best presidencies of all time!” Kanye shouted to a mortified Obama and the speechless audience. And as quickly as he ran onstage — CNN cut away to show the crowd applauding Obama, and when they flashed back to Obama, West already had the mic in his hand — he was off, leaving a shocked Obama in his wake.

“W, Bro, I’m sorry what I said bout Katrina. Dog, you got the dead presidents, all the Benjamins for Africa. Saving from AIDS, HIV – no homo – just homies. They tell me you saved more’n a million, maybe 10 million.”

“There could have been thousands turbans capped on the street after nine-one-one; you made it clear about a religion of peace”

“Muslim street said troops in Holy Places were an affront; you got ‘em to a new front. Street gave you no cred, so you broke bread for an Iftar. Sanctions were capping shorties, millions, so you liberated sixty millions more, unlike Al Gore.”

Everyone at the Oslo Palace Hall looked stunned, as the cameras captured an astonished and horrified George W. Bush still in his seat. Soon after, the audience gave a standing ovation in support of Obama. To add insult to injury, after Kanye handed the microphone back to Obama, his time was up, and CNN cut to a video featuring Bono. Minutes after the incident went down, aides to Norway’s King Harald V were feverishly typing into their phones phone when Bill Clinton came up for a chat. Topic of conversation? What else but West. “Like Bill just said, ‘It’s rock & roll,’ ” Harald V commented to us. “And the applause for [Obama] will be louder.”

According to sources at the Peace Prize ceremony, Obama was seen hysterically crying backstage after Kanye’s outburst, making it convenient that his lecture which immediately followed the acceptance speech, was prerecorded. (Obama gave a reprise performance of his stunning “Hope and Change” mantra.) …

* * *

Note: This is a parody which mimics the wording and structure of portions of a Rolling Stone article concerning Kanye West’s interruption of the MVA speech of Taylor Swift. Far from a violation of copyright, it is protected under fair use.

Yes, I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that George W. Bush’s HIV/AIDS initiative alone would have merited a Nobel Peace Prize had he been a Democratic President. No, I’m not bothered he didn’t get one; too many of these have been given out to dubious political figures of late, and there are strong arguments against a man who, to put it very kindly, aggressively pushed the bounds of anticipatory self-defence.

-wolfe

President Obama wins…

October 9th, 2009

… the Nobel Peace Prize?

I’m speechless. Practically. Assuming of course, that this is true. I just heard from a friend, and sure enough, four minutes ago Reuters moved it over the wires at 5:49 am eastern.

Off the top of my head, TR won it for helping Russia and Japan settle the “short victorious war”. Wilson won it for his work trying to end and settle WW I. His work was a disaster, but that wasn’t known at the time, nor was it obvious. Jimmy Carter won it for working hard to extract a cold peace between Israel and Egypt. Going non-presidential, many more. Perhaps Kissinger for the Vietnam Peace Accords springs to mind as the closest parallel. Accords that were to be profoundly betrayed, yet Kissinger was back then a sort of rock star type figure, an improbably proto-Obama.

Well, congratulations to the President.

And I wouldn’t trust the Nobel Peace Prize committee to manage a barber shop.

-wolfe

You Need to do That, Do You?

October 4th, 2009

Here’s the trailer to 2012, a big budget Hollywood film premiering soon. Presumably before 2013. The hook is that the Mayan calendar doesn’t go beyond 2012, hence the assumption that the world ends then.

I don’t know what you noticed in the first 52 seconds of that trailer, but I’ll tell you what I did. The film needlessly destroyed (I wanted to say raped or butchered, but felt that was too hostile) major Christian artistic symbols.

In the trailer, they chose to destroy the statue of Christ the Redeemer, over Rio de Janeiro.

Why?

They chose to showcase the destruction of Michelangelo’s classic painting on the roof of the Sistine Chapel.

Why?

Do you think for a nanosecond they would have chosen to destroy, on film, Islamic Holy places?

No.

I guess we Christians are too wimpy. Well I’m standing up. This is wrong. I don’t want to see crap like this, edited like this.

Any reader of my blog would, I think, agree that I’ve never played the race card or the religion card. I’ve never done a “oh your argument hurts my faith” post. And I never will. I don’t think I’m playing the religion card now — since most of my readers are atheists — in outlining my sorrow, and, yes, anger, at this.

You’re welcome to see this film. I applaud the right of the producers to make this film. It’s constitutionally protected speech that congress — and state governments — can’t [and shouldn’t!] interfere with. Well as one tiny blogger, I interfere. What they are doing verges on malicious. Don’t like it; don’t intend to pay to see it.

You aren’t persuaded? Now imagine everything translated to Islam. People professing Islamic faith have killed hundreds of thousands, some horrifically. I am enraged at the insult to my faith.

Are you a little more persuaded?

So be it.

For us all. Pluralistic, genuinely tolerant societies matter. Liberals used to believe in this kind of thing.
-wolfe

A Different Time, I suppose

October 4th, 2009
Copyright AP. Paul Vathis

Copyright AP. Paul Vathis

And it’s not simply the fault of evil liberals. I intensely disliked Bill Clinton in the late 90’s. I thought he besmirched the office of the Presidency. I thought he was a dishonorable liar. [Like there’s an honorable liar? -ed]. I was a little non-linear on Bill Clinton. but then the levels of hate that rose up around George W. Bush seemed… insane. Yet, in part, they were simply a reaction.

Mea culpa extends only so far. If Dan Quayle had stood up and shouted, Mussolini-style, “He betrayed this country”, I’d have changed the channel. The Democrats have become even crazier than the Republicans. And that’s some degree of crazy.

Just leave it at this. Barack Obama should think seriously about consulting Bill Clinton, and maybe even George H.W. Bush.

Oh and I like fedoras.

-wolfe

A weekend in Ottawa

October 4th, 2009

I feel that this town is like my second home. I spent time as a child here, and I have some acreage (maybe they say hectarage in Metric countries) south of the city. The fiancee and I came here for a nice weekend.

Got some stuff in my Canadian place closed down for the coming winter, took a beautiful (no cane!) bike ride in great weather.

Tidied up all the gardening rubbish, noted a tree that had to come down, beat the bounds with her. (Basically walked around the acreage, looking at things.)

Saw some old friends.

We then went to a gala at the National Arts Centre, conducted by Pinchas Zukerman. I rather like Zukerman’s work; he’s a decent violinist, and as a conductor he does a lovely job with some quite complex works. I particularly like his interpretations of Mahler, though I’m not usually a huge Mahler fan. More baroque, medieval, jazz, a little folk, hiphop and rock. And an unwilling embrace of some country as being not entirely horrible.

Anyway, Mr. Zukerman did a good job; Yo-Yo Ma was visiting and playing very nicely on the cello. Huge respect for Mr. Ma, he does some lovely work. To our absolute astonishment, the Prime Minister of Canada came on after Yo-Yo Ma performed a very nice Chopin Polonaise.

On comes Prime Minister Stephen Harper; he played the piano, singing (!!?) with Mr. Ma accompanying.

To say that this was unexpected was an understatement. Mr Harper is… everyone’s idea of a hockey dad. A decent, honest man, but fairly dull, and seemingly a little pedestrian in his tastes. Indeed, his wife was attending the gala, conspicuously alone. She told reporters her husband was at home with the children, watching Hockey Night in Canada. Perhaps she had a slight smile on her face, for his performance was her idea.

Mr. Harper performed very credibly, certainly better than Ringo Starr, on both the piano and vocals, and received a well-deserved standing ovation:

Possibly the only example I can think of of a G8 leader playing and singing in public, at least with an artist of Yo-Yo Ma’s calibre. Kudos to Mr. Harper for doing it, he could have fallen very flat.

Today we started with church in the little local parish. Weak sermon, magnificent liturgy and very good choir. Oh well, you do what you can do. I’d love to do evensong, but they aren’t doing that this week.

(The final link is the most traditional evensong if you really don’t know what evensong is. The others are tributes… riffs.)

Then on to a magnificent brunch with friends… oh my, She outdid herself. (I am an inconsistent cook; lazy, experimental, at times inspired, but generally lazy). Goat cheese and avocado crepes with lemon. Who knew? Lovely. Bits of garlic, chives from the dying garden, etc. Very nice.

The wine was an astonishingly good ’07 Gamay Noir from Ontario. Apparently the summer of ’07 was very dry and hot in Ontario, which made — for that geographic region — unusually good wine production. Going to see if I can cellar a half case, and it’s rare that I say that. Other than icewine, Canadian wines generally don’t distinguish themselves.

The nieces and nephews are about to arrive (much of the family is together here at this time). Masses of pizza, some beer, more wine, and the kids will all watch the “Ewoks movie” [Return of the Jedi] while the grownups talk.

I’ll be back in the US tomorrow. Wishing you all a very pleasant evening with family and friends, I’ll hoist a glass to my readers.

Best,
-wolfe

Moore on Capitalism

October 2nd, 2009

You can read whatever take you want; I’m going to avoid commenting on the film itself since I haven’t yet seen it. (I have read a number of reviews and I have spoken at length with a friend who saw the film).

According to many reviews, Moore has quite a spin, and lies outright at times. I’m not going to comment on that, I’m simply going to note this:

Michael Moore has finally decided to take up a special program to loose wight.
The Fahrenheit 9/11 director is said to have enrolled on a crash course at a $3,800-a-week celebrity center, as he intends to lose 5.4 kilograms (12 pounds) during the first three weeks.

The 51-year-old activist and film-maker went to Pritikin Longevity Center And Spa in Aventura, Florida, where he is learning to cook healthy meals and will undergo “life re-education”, according to PageSix.com.

Let’s see… $3800/week, 3 weeks, 12 pounds. That’s $11,400 to shed 12 pounds. A hair under $1000 a pound.

Riddle me this. Can anyone describe any economic system ever conceived by the mind of man, other than free market capitalism that would allow anyone — anyone at all — who values his weight loss at $1000/pound to get the kind of treatment Mr. Moore and other celebrities receive at this spa?

Yes, I’m sure Communism allowed party leaders to get similar treatment, and for “free”, no less. But could the average worker get such treatment? At any price? No chance, unless, of course, you’re referring to the black market which was conducted along evil capitalist lines.

I wouldn’t pay $1000 to drop a pound. Neither, probably, would you. Neither would nearly anyone I can think of. But some people, somewhere, will. To them it’s worth it.

And that’s the beauty of free market capitalism; a willing buyer and a willing seller meet at a price point. Even if the transaction makes no sense to us, it makes sense to them.

It’s called freedom. I like it.

-wolfe

Huh?

October 2nd, 2009

Poland backs chemical castration, and criminalizes any attempt to justify paedophilia.

Poland lobbies for the release of Roman Polanski, and Poles and other Europeans condemn a “frightening” America for the arrest of the man who drugged, raped, and sodomized (despite her repeated declaration of “No!”) a girl he knew to be 13.

Does this mean that those lobbying for his release are breaking Polish law?

-wolfe

We’re all dead

October 1st, 2009

Or so says Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara:

“It could be that the 2016 Games are the last Olympics in the history of mankind,” Ishihara told reporters at a Tokyo 2016 press event ahead of the vote.

“Global warming is getting worse. We have to come up with measures without which Olympic Games could not last long.

“Scientists have said we have passed the point of no return,” said Ishihara.

Why do scientists scare politicians like this? Everyone knows politicians are like children… feed them, and give them a nice bed time story.

So. It could be that the games are the last Olympics in history. And it could be that my cousin Tanisha will fly. Wait, she’s a pilot. Scrub that remark.

Look, even taking the Al Gore alarmist extremist Global Warming death predictions seriously (which no sane sober intelligent person should do), we aren’t facing Armageddon. Al Gore-style Global Warming would likely mean the human race could grow considerably more food — if Russia and Canada were willing to do so. It could mean that some of the poorest and smallest countries in the world would face serious flooding — a cost of many billions of dollars, perhaps even a trillion dollars, but not one that we can’t deal with. (The cost to the economy to reduce CO2 emissions would be about 18 trillion dollars… and that’s solely in the West. This assumes reducing emissions would do anything).

Nations such as Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Micronesia might be devastated or completely wiped out. If Al Gore’s extremist predictions are correct (which they are not). But sure, let’s take the worst case.

I know you’re probably saying “who?”. I admit I’d never heard of Kiribati. (formerly the Gilbert Islands; students of 20th century history would instantly recognize the Phoenix Islands — a part of the nation)

This happens. We adapt and move on. It’s very unpleasant — horrible — for those who are dispossessed, but being a big socialist pinko (not) I have no problem with significant foreign aid and relocation assistance, and favourable migration policies for refugees.

But that’s not the point. The point is simply that Al Gore is a hysterical exaggerator and Shintaro Ishihara is coming off as a deluded lunatic. [The link is biased to the right, but note the NY Times quote].

I had originally thought that the IPCC had it about right. I believed there was a 50-70% chance that the earth was warming, and a 50-70% chance that warming was anthropogenic [woman-made] via CO2 emissions.

I no longer believe this. I’m not sure what the long-term [say over the next 1000 years] climate trend is, though I suspect it is one of cooler temperatures. My view that mankind is making the earth’s temperature warmer via CO2 emissions … I now think that’s about a 20% chance, down from 50-70%.

I think it’s sensible, as a precautionary measure, to reduce emissions that aren’t things like oxygen and water. Nitrates are probably pretty cool too; after all, we have to pee and poop. But pumping out radioactives into the air, as coal plants do, yeah that’s pretty bad.

I’d like to see every coal plant there is gradually shut down over the next generation — unless we actually achieve “clean coal” technology, whatever that may be. Those plants pump vile toxins into the air; I don’t especially want to breath them. This has nothing to do with CO2, and everything to do with wanting clean air.

Nuclear is fine by me, though we really should go ahead and select a disposal site. I suggest Harry Reid’s front yard. Hydro’s good too, though does have issues with land disposition, scale, and mercury. Solar… iffy, though I think solar concentrators have a shot in certain areas. Wind, sure, but that’s very limited. There may be also micro-turbulence issues that ultimately contribute to global warming. Who knew?

Gas? Yep, but that dreaded CO2 and it leaves Europe in the clutches of Russia. Geothermal, nice idea, good in certain areas, like wind. Solar Power Satellites beaming power? My favourite idea. Make it so, but we’re a ways off. Mainly need cheap transport to geosynch, and to deal with whiny environmentalists re: beaming power to earth.

Or power everything off cow farts.

Look the point is this: we are a fabulously inventive species; we can figure out what to do. Unleash the free market, laissez les bon temps roulez, and we’ll cope.

We shall not die but live.

-wolfe

Update: Corrected spelling of Vanuatu.

Down to the River

September 22nd, 2009

I don’t know this world that he describes at all. Not by color, not by education, not by work, not by time. Oh, I worked on farms, in a factory, but I was never connected to a farming community, a factory community the way he implies. And I was always expected to progress; to work hard; to save, fall in debt and get a post-secondary education.

And I can only imagine the walloping that would have taken place if I’d gotten a girl pregnant when I was 17. (when I graduated high school).

For my lefty friends, a lovely version of Bruce Springsteen’s The River:

And a version that includes a nice story:

“Me and my dad used to go at it all the time… over almost anything”.

Yeah.

But it was amazing. Between 17 and 21, it was astonishing how much my Dad learned.

-wolfe

Evolution on the Campus

September 22nd, 2009

A brief recap for those who’ve been sleeping. I’m Christian, I think Intelligent Design is a very interesting conceptual attempt to explain where we came from. I tend to buy into some aspects of it in a big picture way.

ID is not a scientific theory and should never be taught as such. It doesn’t compete with evolution in the marketplace of scientific ideas; it can’t. The only proper place of ID theory in a science class would be to show why it isn’t science: it doesn’t make clearly falsifiable predictions; it doesn’t conform to the scientific method.

Evolution is an elegant theory that has been repeatedly challenged and has only needed very minor corrections (e.g. punctuated equilibrium) to remain a robust and viable scientific theory. It is my considered opinion and view that evolution explains how we came to be. Not why, but certainly how.

First off, here’s a quick hit on five critical things to know about evolution. I will paraphrase (and do them out of order, with the most important ones — to me — last).
-evolution isn’t instant;
-we may well not recognize it when it’s happening;
-a million years is a long, long time. And evolution has been running for a lot longer than that.
-evolution executes in parallel.
-a horrible solution is better than a dead solution.

The last seems obvious, yet is quite subtle. Even if all the answers are very bad, the one that doesn’t result in death is good enough to live on… and evolve, change. This doesn’t require gigantic leaps; it does require progress, even if only minor.

The second last is the other interesting aspect. A standard criticism by creationists of evolution is the question of the formation of the eye. I readily concede that a brilliantly complex device with separate components that can process movement, detect shapes, and recognize colors (all three are separate in the eye and in optic processing) might well … evolve in parallel.

In any event, there’s the background. The discussion will follow… time permitting -/.

-wolfe