Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Return of the Ukulele

Return of the Ukulele

The plucky little instrument with the Hawaiian name has been making an enormous comeback. That’s in no small part thanks to performers like Jake Shimabukuro and the late Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole, whose demonstrations of the ‘ukulele’s astounding versatility have epiphanied audiences’ socks off.

And it’s not just an island phenomenon, notes Toronto filmmaker Tony Coleman in his 2010 documentary The Mighty Uke: The Amazing Comeback of a Musical Underdog, which features Shimabukuro. ‘Ukulele clubs and classes can be found all over the globe.

Nor is this the first time the diminutive instrument has captured the public’s imagination. Over the decades, a surprising array of celebrities has found the humble ‘uke appealing—from Elvis Presley to Arthur Godfrey, from The Cars’ Greg Hawkes to the Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer. All three of the Beatles who played guitar also performed on ‘ukulele. Of course, Hawai‘i’s King David Kalakaua wasn’t only a fan; he knew the correct pronunciation (at least here in the Islands is “oo-koo-lay-lay,” sans the initial “y.”

Kazoos aside, few instruments are as easily mastered as the ‘uke—at least at the basic level. When the accomplished and irreverent ‘Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain played Albert Hall, performing with ‘ukulele in hand and tongue in cheek, so did many in the audience, who had brought their own ‘ukes along.

“Anyone can learn to play a couple of chords,” says a fan in The Mighty ‘Uke. “It’s a people’s instrument.”

For a group of Maui kama‘aina, it’s also a way to preserve an island heritage. Moana Anderson and Honeybun Haynes are among the fourteen members of Honeybun and the Coconuts, an ‘ukulele band that performs at the Pukalani Country Club on Tuesday nights. Their musical coach is Walter Kawae‘aea, protégé of the late, legendary Kahauanu Lake. “What we do has a lot to do with ‘Uncle K,’” says Anderson.

Glenn Beck's Happy Warriors

Wall Street Journal
Washington, D.C.

Jason Riley discusses Glenn Beck's rally at the Lincoln Memorial.
Glenn Beck's Happy Warriors
You probably couldn't have found a more polite crowd at the opera.

Geese Fly-Over at beginning of Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor Rally

Golden Goose is in Peril


We have become a society of narcissistic, self-centered, drug-crazed and apathetic creatures. The time has come when democracy and the forefather’s framework for our society has been trashed...Facebook post by William Heimermann

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Honor of a Great People

Posted at 12:00 pm on August 29, 2010 by Doctor Zero promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.

"We reclaim our honor by turning away from those who believe the great mass of us are beneath their contempt, and compassion is best expressed through domination. They have no power we didn’t give them, which means they have no power we cannot take away. Let us begin."

Be The Best You Can Be Through Prayer


Maui’s foreclosure picture ‘not pretty’ - Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor's Information - The Maui News

Maui’s foreclosure picture ‘not pretty’ - Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor's Information - The Maui News

Tim Hawkins Videos

Moral authority — that’s what the rally was really about.

"Moral authority — that’s what the rally was really about."

posted at 9:00 pm on August 28, 2010 by Allahpundit

Mr. Beck made a surprise visit on Friday to a convention held by FreedomWorks, a Tea Party umbrella group, for Tea Party supporters. He received a thunderous welcome from a crowd of about 1,600 in Constitution Hall.
He told the crowd that he had begun planning his march on Washington a year ago, thinking “it was supposed to be political.”
“And then I kind of feel like God dropped a giant sandbag on my head,” he said.
“My role, as I see it, is to wake America up to the backsliding of principles and values and most of all of God,” he said. “We are a country of God. As I look at the problems in our country, quite honestly, I think the hot breath of destruction is breathing on our necks and to fix it politically is a figure that I don’t see anywhere.”
In a way, the rally today mirrored rallies held for then-candidate Barack Obama in 2007 and leading up to the election of 2008. Both this rally and many of Obama’s featured mesmerizing speakers, who chose to inspire audiences by rhetorically empowering them to take matters into their own hands.
While Beck’s rally emphasized belief in God, Obama’s generally emphasized himself as a savior of the American people. This, I believe, was the contrast the talk radio and television personality was trying to achieve. Beck’s rally, and the speakers who addressed the crowd, were continually thanking God and Beck for bringing such an inspiring crowd together…
Only toward the end of the program did Beck refer to Democrats, Republicans, and independents. But it still wasn’t political. It was a unity call, imploring everyone to come together and unite to “restore honor.” It was a post-partisan moment. Similar, in a way, to Obama’s 2004 DNC speech, when the then-state senator from Illinois suggested that we should not remain isolated in a “red America” or a “blue America,” but should come together as the United States of America.
We need to think about the success of Beck’s rally Saturday and ask what it says about the lack of moral authority in this country today. We also need to wonder what it says about us as a culture that so many Americans on a Saturday in August and more than two million a day via Fox News come to Beck and apparently hear something in his hodge-podge of elementary-school history and mishmash of moral platitudes and bromides that they find meaningful.
Moral authority — that’s what the rally was really about. That’s what the bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” at the end of the rally were all about. That’s what all the talk of standing on “hallowed ground” was all about. That’s what the repeated use of words like “honor,” “integrity” and “trust” were all about…
That’s what what was so powerful about November 2008 in Grant Park when Barack Obama took the stage on election night: Millions of Americans thought they were watching someone who brought moral authority to the White House. I know I did.
Sadly, millions now feel Obama has since lost it with too many morning-after flip-flops on moral issues, entertainment TV show appearances, and days on the golf course as the economy struggles.
“Restoration” is a theme he has a gift for: a gift not only of analytical insight but of personal experience with balancing justice and mercy, and distinguishing between self-deception and realistic hope.
And he’s right about this, too: America can’t be set on a better course solely with changes in federal policy. Law and government don’t – can’t – make the people good. They don’t make us eligible for liberty. Our law and government are only as good as we are. It’s the people who have to change. And spiritual revival never looks like something organized by State Department protocol; when people are changing from the inside, there are rallies, hortatory preaching, gabfests, sorrow, joy.
I urge my fellow conservatives not to despise this phenomenon or be disparaging about it. All our futures depend on the character of the people around us. Fear, defensiveness, and moral weakness in the people are the best friends of the tyrant. None of us can resist the siren-call of statist collectivization single-handedly. It is not embarrassing or over-the-top for people to gather in public to affirm that there’s such a thing as good character, and that we can’t do without it. It is meaningful and life-changing to many. It is necessary.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

EDITORIAL: Obama administration indicts America

State Department reports on U.S. human right violations


Move over Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria. The State Department has made it official: The United States violates human rights. In an unprecedented move, the Obama administration submitted a report to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights detailing the progress and problems in dealing with human rights issues in this country. The document is a strange combination of left-wing history and White House talking points.

Full Story on washingtontimes.com

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Destiny of a Free Nation

Posted at 9:40 am on August 14, 2010 by Doctor Zero

In the comments to The Dominion of Liars, itzWicks asks:

The refrain that I hear over and over again at the conclusion of excellent essays such as this (as well as from the well articulated comments that follow on this blog) is sadly the same: “What are we going to do about it? What can be done now?”

That’s a great question. It’s easy to react, analyze, and criticize. It’s natural for a writer to spend much of his time doing so, when the philosophy he opposes holds all the power, and makes all the news. Today’s current events are largely created by the Left.

I write essays like “The Dominion of Liars” because I believe every opportunity should be taken to present the case that statism is fundamentally flawed, from its mistaken premises to its corrupt conclusions. It’s important to couple that prosecution with testimony about the power and virtue of freedom, along with a fair accounting of its dangers.

The scale of the challenge facing us is formidable. Like all fearsome things, it is also exhilarating. In the blood and bile of this dying statist economy, we can see the desperate future of an indentured nation… a truth many of us have refused to see, when displayed in bankrupt socialism around the world. What is the destiny of a free nation?

It will be a future of responsibility. Irresponsibility leads to dependence, which makes demands. It is impossible for anyone to be truly free until they renounce the obligation of others to provide their sustenance. Until then, dependents and providers wear matching sets of chains, and great power resides in the State that decides how long those chains will be. When resources are taken from each according to their means, and given to each according to their needs, the moral authority of those who balance those needs against each other becomes absolute.

No wonder the constituencies of socialist America regard their political elite as saints, compared to the captains of industry. The system demands such faith from its subjects. If politicians are selfish and corrupt, and their bureaucrats are blinded by dogma, who would trust them to fairly and logically ration subsidies and benefits? Look around you, and learn beyond question that they are selfish and corrupt. There is no brilliant design behind “stimulus” spending, ObamaCare, the massive federal budget, or central industrial policy. They were born in the filth of insider deals and payoffs, ideology and greed.

The destiny of a free nation lies in overthrowing its aristocracy. We have no need of a privileged class that makes plans to increase trillion-dollar deficits in between rounds of golf and lavish Spanish vacations. It makes no sense to submit to commands from the same people who deliver endless loads of “unexpected” bad news about the economy. We must decisively reject the feckless greed of a Party that demands billions more in revenue to fund a budget they haven’t even written. Over two hundred years after our Founders wrote about the transcendent nature of freedom, we are still struggling with the enormous idea that it must be applied universally.

Reaching our destiny will require courage. We are the grandchildren of revolutionaries, both natural-born and adopted through immigration. Together we are a family of builders, investors, explorers, and warriors. The American posture is not a frightened crouch. To discover what we are capable of, we must reject the vision of a hopeless future, where timid clients line up at government offices to receive benefits they cannot be trusted to create or purchase themselves.

Granting the State power over an industry is a concession that it can only be managed through force and compulsion, which are the State’s only resources. Freedom is the rejection of compulsion, isn’t it? Your choices are to be free, or be cared for… and keep in mind that the promises of those who promise to care for you can only be funded by taxing the labor of those who choose freedom. Ask yourself how a system that devours itself to survive could end anywhere other than where Barack Obama has taken us.

Our future will grow from the energetic courtship of ideas. The statist suppresses ideas which challenge his ideology. Note well how much effort the various organisms of the Left put into shouting people down, and burying dangerous ideas. Watch them blink in confusion as reality defies their ideology. Examine their rhetorical toolbox, and you’ll find nothing but the blunt instruments of class and racial insults. The acolytes of Big Government offer nothing but lists of things free people supposedly cannot achieve. We are foolish to allow those with such limited imaginations to tell us what is impossible.

The exercise of freedom through capitalism demands ready access to reliable information. A consumer isn’t making a “free” choice when he’s suckered by a con artist… or when the true prices of goods and services are obscured by a multi-layered veil of subsidies and mandates. Money is a medium of exchange for the value of your labor. When money is devalued, prices are hidden, and income is siphoned away through the raw power of government, your time is being confiscated. Free people seek employment, not servitude.

A destiny of freedom will also be one of accountability. We have been drenched in the proof that Big Government exists to shield its masters from accountability. Every disaster born from government “partnership” with the private sector, from subprime mortgages to offshore oil spills, has ended with the political “partners” skipping away to even greater heights of power.

We require no further lessons in morality from a political class that throws extravagant parties for its successful criminals, to help them deal with the pain of their wrist slaps. The elite of a monster government have too many interests to conduct their duties honorably. We must express our absolute intolerance for wild deficit spending – the ultimate evasion of accountability, in which the cost of buying votes is pushed over a rapidly-approaching horizon.

The American people must choose between control and stagnation, or risk and growth. No one can impose prosperity. We will find it together, when we rid ourselves of mandatory “benefits” that crush small entrepreneurs. We cannot hand over a vast portion of the private sector to government control, and expect the remainder to flourish. Through our intelligence and industry, we each carry answers to the needs of our fellow citizens. We can require them to earn our business through competition, or seize our labor through compulsion. Choose the former, or suffer through the horrible extremes of the latter. It never works, and it’s an idea that takes a lot of people with it when it dies.

Responsibility, courage, imagination, and accountability: these are both the destiny of a free nation, and the tools required to achieve it. You will find scant evidence of any of these things in the arrogant, greedy, sanctimonious, and corrupt beast dying of consumption in our national and state capitols. Embrace these virtues, all at once… show people how each is related to the other, and how they blend into the antithesis of the failed super-State. I believe they will rediscover the strength to dismantle this broken system, and reclaim the freedom represented by the trillions of dollars it has consumed. The answer does not lie in a grand central plan. It will be found after such plans have been shredded.

It won’t be easy, and success is not guaranteed… but haven’t we learned, halfway through this exhausted Presidency, that nothing great is achieved without vision, effort, and risk?