Blog de KingShamus

"When an entire nation thirsted to break free from PC…Andrew Breitbart opened a big bar."–Chris Muir

Posts Tagged ‘RIP’

Hugo Chavez Is Dead

Posted by KingShamus on March 5, 2013

Let’s keep it brief.

I snagged this pic from my homie Vermontaigne.  You may know him from media outlets such as the Conservative Commune and his Twitter feed.  Read his blog and follow his tweets.

Posted in Foreign doings, RIP | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Music Monday RIP – “Hysteria” by Def Leppard

Posted by KingShamus on June 4, 2012

I’ll raise a beer in your honor, K. 

Sorry to see you go homeboy.

Def Leppard was my friend’s favorite band.  He especially loved the Hysteria disc.   Even though I couldn’t really do much with them, I always liked this tune. 

I’d like to think that K is jamming out to this in the afterlife.


Posted in Music Monday, RIP | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Memorial Day 2012

Posted by KingShamus on May 28, 2012

Some of our fellow Americans gave their all, and some of them have to carry on in loss forever.

In the run-up to every Memorial Day weekend, for the past several years, a certain photo takes top spot in those most circulated among my fellow military and veteran wives. On blogs, on social media sites, it is shared and “liked” over and over. Taken by the photographer Todd Heisler from his 2005 award-winning series for The Rocky Mountain News, “Jim Comes Home”  — which documents the return and burial of Second Lt. Jim Cathey of the Marines, who lost his life in Iraq — the photo shows his pregnant widow, Katherine, lying on an air mattress in front of his coffin. She’s staring at her laptop, listening to songs that remind her of Jim. Her expression is vacant, her grief almost palpable.

We who live and work and play and dawdle away our time in comfort owe more than we can imagine to the fallen.

It is a debt we can never repay.

God bless the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.

God take special care of those left behind.


Posted in RIP | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Music Monday Hip-Hop — “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” by The Beastie Boys

Posted by KingShamus on May 7, 2012

Born and bred Brooklyn – U.S.A./ They call me Adam Yauch – but I’m M.C.A.

Like a lemon to a lime – a lime to a lemon/ I sip the def ale with all the fly women

Sad news.

The one and only MCA has passed.

Beastie Boys rapper Adam Yauch has died at 47.

The hip hop star, also known as MCA, passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer.

He is survived by his wife Dechen and his 14-year-old daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch.

His publicist released a statement confirming the news this afternoon which read: ‘It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch … passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer.’

Yauch revealed in 2009 that he was undergoing surgery and radiation therapy to treat a tumor in his salivary gland.


Wanna know why the Beastie Boys were a great band?  Here’s an example.

Hypocritical parents, mean-ass teachers and just plain old lame people are the punchline here.  Its this kind of goofball energy that makes ‘Party’ one of the greatest teenager anthems ever written.  As terrific as it is, the best part about the song isn’t what the guys are talking about.  It’s what they’re not talking about that makes it awesome.

Specifically, the Beasties aren’t obsessed with cash money, big pimpin’, flossin’ their ice or pushing weight out on the corner.  Nor are they lamenting their (imaginary) hard knock life in the hood.  Instead, they’re using rap as a platform to talk about something near and dear to their hearts–in this case, partying.

What the Beastie Boys understood very early on is that white musicians can use hip-hop to express themselves as long as they don’t simply copycat the material of black rappers.  This is a lesson too many Caucasian wannabe hippity-hoppers adamantly refused to learn.  Snow, Vanilla Ice and Marky Mark were rightly seen as imitative losers looking to make a quick buck without really understanding the style they were biting.  It took Eminem’s The Slim Shady LP, released thirteen years after the Beasties first appeared on the music scene, for another white rapper to successfully and seamlessly blend the sonic and lyrical trappings of hip-hop with his own personal subject matter.

For the Beasties, the easy part was making a great first rap album.  The tough part was putting together a second disc that surpassed the debut.  Where Licensed To Ill was a reflection of producer Rick Rubin’s heavy metal preoccupations, Paul’s Boutique was a sonic amalgamation of rubbery funk basslines, classic rock radio riffs, the finest Southern California weed available and any wacked-out sample that could be procured.  The resulting album was considered a flop at the time, but has aged to become a cornerstone of old skool rap.  If there was any thought that the Beastie Boys were a novelty act, Paul’s Boutique put that notion to bed.

After that, the Boys just kept pressing ahead.  During the early 90’s, the rap trio got back to their punk roots and recorded an album as a three-piece band.  Amazingly, they did this while still retaining a strong hip-hop sensibility.  Records like Check Your Head were marked by experimental ideas and appealing pop singles sitting comfortably together on the same disc.

The other neat feat pulled off by the Beasties was to age as gracefully as possible in a musical genre obsessed with finding the next new thing.  If you were to look back on the group’s discography, it’s hard to find many moments where they consciously tried to jump on the latest hip-hop fads.  Instead, they basically let their muse take them where it led them.  That could mean making an extended shout-out to Buddhist teachings.  Or it could mean filming a parody of cheeseball 70’s cop shows.

Throughout almost their entire career, the Beasties understood their own absurdity.  Were three Jewish kids from New York supposed to become world famous rappers?  Not really, but somehow they made it happen.  Because they didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously, the band could get away with all sorts of transgressions against the hip-hop genre, even as seemingly every other major rap artist was adopting a ghetto-centric humorless demeanor.

As great as the band was, they were not perfect.  After Paul’s Boutique, the group couldn’t seem to make a concise record.  The albums kept getting longer and more sprawling, making the discs uneven and unfocused.  Had they been able to edit themselves, their terrific body of work might’ve reached legendary status.

While the band generally had a good sense of humor, as time went on it seemed like the boys succumbed to the comedian’s worst temptation.  Instead of being funny, they sought validation from their peers.  That led them to stop performing much of their raunchier material or lamely editing their lyrics for ‘adult’ consumption.  For a band who once toured with a 20 foot blow-up dick, the idea of Beastie Boys becoming politically correct was rather deflating.

Having said all that, it’s possible to critique the Beastie Boys while acknowledging their massive presence in modern pop music.  They were innovators.  In a style of music full of limp imitators, over-hyped pretenders and shameless thieves, the group hewed to it’s own path.  As unlikely as it might’ve seemed in 1986, that determination ultimately helped changed the modern music scene.

How does the loss of Adam Yauch affect the future of the group?  Each member played an integral role in the rhymes, beats and visual presentation of Beastie Boys.  If Mike D was the 12 year old playing with matches and Ad-Rock was the 15 year old who couldn’t stop oggling girls, then MCA was the 18 year old headbanger with a fake ID who bought the booze and the smokes to the party.  Unlike the other two Boys, who really did sound like 8th graders, Yauch’s delivery was a sarcastic gravel-throated adult’s voice.  His passing leaves a massive hole in one of the most successful rap groups of all time.  It’s a void that I don’t know can ever be filled.  

Adam “MCA” Yauch — RIP.

Posted in Music Monday, RIP | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Andrew Breitbart–RIP

Posted by KingShamus on March 2, 2012

Horrible horrible horrible news.

With a terrible feeling of pain and loss we announce the passing of Andrew Breitbart.

 Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles.

We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.

Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love.

Say a prayer for Mr. Breitbart’s wife and four children.  Undoubtedly, they are in terrible pain and grief.  We can only hope that in the midst of their mourning they can find some solace in the bosom of their faith and their extended family.

I first read the news over at The Conservatory.  After my initial shock–Wait? What? Only 43 years old? How?–I started to look around and see what his friends and allies had to say. 

Stacy McCain:

 He may have been the greatest genius I’ve ever met, with a keen, intuitive mind. Although he had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder — he had a freewheeling quality about him, and his schedule was quite improvisational – Breitbart was also capable of a laser-like focus on whatever subject captured his interest. There were times you’d be talking to him and, if that spark of passionate interest hit, his luminous blue eyes would glow with an intensity that was almost frightening.

Andrew Malcolm:

You can read elsewhere all about Andrew’s remarkable impact on public communications in this country, helping found Huffington Post and the Drudge Report and then his own developing online empire of Big sites. He was often controversial because his opponents often couldn’t answer his stories online, so they went after the messenger.

Andrew loved it. He was one of the few people you encounter in life who bite at every experience, good and bad. Where does that energy come from? You’d get a late-night call with Andrew excitedly talking up a whole package he was about to post. Might as well listen because you weren’t going to get a word in.

In person he’d get so excited in an argument that he’d be shouting inches away. You’d raise a hand as if ‘OK, Andrew, I’m right here.’ He’d laugh at himself and lower the volume. Andrew couldn’t stand hypocrisy and lying and hiding.

He also couldn’t stand passivity. Friends would describe some awful thing happening and instead of a hug he’d shake them out of wallowing with, “So?” And you’d stop and think, ‘Yeh, right. So what am I going to do about it to take control back?’

Greg Gutfeld

He was the spiritual leader of the modern conservative, libertarian cause. He was immersed in pop culture and wished to drag the right into the modern world – knowing this is how America speaks to the world. He was the heart of the matter. The fighter. Losing him is like a fiery planet going dark.

Bob Belvedere:

Few people are indispensable to a cause, but Andrew Breitbart was. There is no one else like him around. A good number of commentators have been saying that we should honor him by carrying on his fight using the methods he developed, and they are correct: we must not let his life’s work be in vain because his life’s work was to defeat the malignant forces of the Left and see America restored to the ways of The Founders. However, we have some mighty big shoes to fill, so it will not be easy.

At this crucial juncture in our history, we have been deprived of one of best generals. The long slog just got tougher.


He was an unapologetic conservative, but one who defied the media’s template; pro-civil rights, pro-drug legalization, pro-gay rights, to the point of boycotting CPAC when it barred the gay conservative group GOProud. Other than his mainstream pro-life views (he was, after all, adopted) you would be hard pressed to characterize him as a right winger on social issues…

Plenty will be written about Andrew Breitbart in the next few days, some flattering, some not. As for me, I will drink two beers in his honor tonight, and remember him the way he was last December in Venice – a big, lovable, random, generous, fearless, patriotic grinning goofball surrounded by his family, basking in the coolness of it all.

Ace of Spades:

What was truly charismatic about Breitbart was his never-ending enthusiasm and energy. He spoke fast because he thought fast. He changed topics quickly because he had six or seven plans in mind at any one time.

He actually did things. He was instinctual. Athletes cannot afford the deliberation of thought. They move by instinct and training and muscle memory. They act.

Why did Breitbart sign a lease for a pricey townhouse in DC? Because, he said, “it feels mischievous.” It felt mischievous to establish an Embassy of citizen empowerment in the capital of statist overreach.

He had ten plans a month. He accomplished five of them a month. He acted.

He took over the Weiner press conference because it felt like something he ought to do.

He was brazen. He was bold. The right had no more enthusiastic champion and the left had no more implacable foe.

The Coaltion Of The Swilling:

…I was privileged to sit a mere five rows back from Andrew when he addressed the delegates at Presidency 5 this September. He was mesmerizing from the moment he gamboled out to the podium. What a treat that was and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world in normal circumstances. Who could ever have imagined this day six months later, when dealing with a force of nature like Breitbart?

I can’t. I still can’t.

Sissy Willis:

Like the conspiratorial “dog whistle” of our statist adversaries’ nightmares, Breitbart’s passing was a call-to-arms for the freedom fighters to ratchet up our defense of the Shining City.

Dan Riehl:

What Andrew understood and embraced as a conservative media activist was that, when his name was in the headlines, it was because he was battling for what he most believed in. He also knew that his enemies, the headline writers in many ways, were engaged – and he was fighting. Andrew, like so many of us, lived for that fight. He understood how necessary it was for the right to engage it.

It’s significant that Andrew picked his battlefields as a brave and fearless man. When you are fighting what many conservatives believe to be a biased media in their headlines, you are fighting them on their turf, not retreating, surrendering, or simply musing off in your own little protected, right-leaning corner of the media world.

Andrew Breitbart gave his opponents every advantage by engaging them as he did. And he often beat them.

Amen to all of that. 

Read the rest of every one of those pieces.  You’ll become angry, you’ll get sad, you’ll laugh and be inspired all at once.

Beyond the shock of Andrew Breitbart’s passing, one of the most overwhelming things I take away is the flattening finality of it.  I was a fan of his ‘Big’ websites.  “Righteous Indignation” is one of the best political memoirs of the 21st century.  His twitter-feed was a long hilarious practical joke on the American socialist movement.  Breitbart was like a rolling partisan kegger where the Right could rock out and the Left could buzz off.  It seemed like nothing could stop him or his merry-making ways. 

Maybe its the suddenness of it that makes this so tough to take.  Breitbart wasn’t supposed to go this way.  He was supposed to be our gleeful prankster for decades to come.  The roastmaster general wasn’t supposed to be taken seemingly in the blink of an eye.    

Breitbart’s time in the spotlight might’ve been tragically cut short but it was certainly not poorly spent.  In a way, his career trajectory is reminiscent of a Hall of Fame baseball star.  The Major Leagues typically elect two kinds of players into their most hallowed pantheon.  The first type is the guy who play for many years.  He may not be an overwhelming presence in the sport, but he does well enough and last long enough to have fairly large statistics by the time he retires.  The second type is the man who doesn’t play for very long, but makes up for it by his sheer overwhelming dominance.  Andrew Breitbart has become the Right’s supernova, their short-lived hot-burning star.

Gaze in wonder at the innumerable enemies that Breitbart cultivated over the years.  In life, they couldn’t stop giving him ammunition.  In death, he has given the Left a glorious opportunity to beclown themselves.  Breitbart probably would’ve had a great laugh over that irony.

For every liberal who commented on Breitbart’s passing with dignity, there were many many more who took the low road.  Matt Taibbi, Matt Yglesias and a vast horde of  internet lefties all happily danced on Breitbart’s casket.  While it’s hard to read so much bile, the hate on the progressive side is a reminder that their constant calls for ratcheting down political rhetoric is just a cheap ploy to censor their ideological foes on the Right.

The fact that Andrew Breitbart made such strident classless enemies is amazing.  What is even more astounding is how Breitbart used the hate thrown at him as fuel for his fights.  Many people will tell you that they enjoy being targeted by the Progressive Church of Latter-Day Stalinists.  Often, that brave sentiment will melt in the face of a full-frontal assault from liberal media.  Not since William F. Buckley have we seen a man who not only sought out spectacular clashes with the Left, but who did it with such joy.  All he did was laugh at the multitudes of angry liberals and their constant raaaaacist!/sexist!/homophobe! bleats, then turn the hate back on them. 

Which is what we on the Right should always do.  For too long, many conservatives played the media’s game by their rules.  This meant a lot of mewling when a liberal accused them of bigotry or greed or some other doubleplusungood thoughtcrime.  Breitbart thought that kind of defensiveness was absurd and would always lead to defeat.  Instead, he realized that conservatives had to take back the culture before the Right would ever achieve lasting political victories.

That is the greatest lesson we can learn from Andrew Breitbart’s boisterous inspiring life. Breitbart was a warrior in the best sense of the term. His patriotic fervor and unabashed love of the great American experiment was something to behold.  The best way we can honor his memory is to remain focused on changing our culture back to one that respects individual liberty in general and the values of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in particular.  It was his life’s work and it should be ours as well.

RIP Andrew Breitbart.

Gone far too soon.

UPDATE I:  John Carey from the great Sentry Journal has a remembrance of the man.

Andrew Breitbart once referred to himself as a recovering liberal. As for me I saw him as a conservative champion who embarked on a journey to expose the lies of the left. He was a great American. Rest in peace.

Liberty forever, freedom for all.

As I said in the comments section of John’s post, ‘Liberty forever, freedom for all’ would be a fitting motto for Andrew Breitbart’s life.

UPDATE II:  Zilla of the Resistance’s Potluck blog had this to say.

We also have the people on the right who have already are out with the conspiracy theories that he was murdered. Some of the accused are George Soros, President Obama, The CIA (apparently they invented a some sort of dart that gives people heart attacks without leaving a trace except a red spot where the dart hits them), and lest we forget Bill Ayers.

What is being lost in all of this is his family. He has four young children who are dealing with the loss of their beloved daddy. From all the accounts I have ever heard from people who really knew him, he was a very happily married man and a doting father. This is a devastating loss for them.

There will be an autopsy. His father in law has made a public statement that he had a history of heart problems. I personally knew two people who died very young from natural causes. Both under the age of 40. Someone I have known since elementary school has heart problems so severe he can longer work. These issues started in his late 20′s. These things do happen to young people.

Andrew Breitbart tried to shine a bright light on the truth. He firmly believed in it. To honor his memory we owe him and his family some time to process this loss. To respect the fact that he has young children. There will be plenty of time after the coroners determine the true cause of death to talk about what happened. Today should be about honoring a man who stood up for what he believed in. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, as human beings, we owe his family the time to mourn their loss with dignity and respect. Above all, we owe Breitbart the truth, not theories that have no basis in fact.

She’s right.  Conspiracy theories just have no place here.  Lets all take a break.  Mourn the man and pray for his family.  Wild speculation about his death right now is unseemly. 

UPDATE III:  Maggie posts this great video.

I want my legacy to be that they know that they screwed with the wrong guy….I am at war with anybody telling you that you don’t have the right to be a free man.

Face it.  The man just understood the fight against progressivism as well or better than anybody else on the Right.

UPDATE IV:  Chris Muir nails it.


UPDATE V:  No One Of Any Import has some important thoughts.

Well. As a typical average nobody, can I just say? It’s awesome when a bigger voice speaks for you. And that’s what Andrew Breitbart did. When nobody-ol’-me attended the Code Red anti-Obamacare rally, and promptly got accused of terrible racism, what good would my little tiny voice have done?

Not much. Enter Andrew Breitbart, who offered $100,000 to anyone who could provide evidence of this supposed outburst of racism. Of course, no such evidence existed. Because it was a lie.

Andrew Breitbart helped us to feel comfortable with calling out the lie. Most of us have a hard time even believing that folks want to lie about our beliefs and motives. Many of us want to help “The Left” to understand us. We want to assume the best from people. Maybe they misheard. Maybe they misunderstood.

Andrew Breitbart helped us to remember that many people don’t mishear or misunderstand. They hate us. They do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. They do not deserve respect.

Amen, sister.

Posted in RIP | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Music Monday R.I.P. – “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston

Posted by KingShamus on February 13, 2012



It can be argued that Whitney Houston was the most important vocal artist of the last 50 years.   The woman sold something like 120 million albums worldwide.  That doesn’t include her singles or her videos.  Over one hundred twenty million records sold in a career that spanned just 24 years.  From that perspective alone, her record is simply astounding.     

Check out the breadth of her influence.  How many singers have said they were inspired by Houston?  Just about any pop vocalist you’ve listened to since the mid-80’s.   Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Anita Baker, Celine Dion, Nelly Furtado, Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson are just a few of the performers that have cited Whitney Houston as a career influence.

Most amazing is how her success changed the way popular music sounded.  Houston’s naturally powerful soprano was augmented by gymnastic gospel-infused vocal runs that seemed effortless.  Her mentor Clive Davis paired Whitney’s one in a billion voice with uptempo accessible numbers and expertly crafted ballads.  The result was a seemingly never-ending stream of mega-platinum hits and rafts of weak imitators.

We don’t know just yet what took Whitney Houston away from this world, but we do know that her last few years have been marked by alcoholism and drug abuse.  Addiction is always a tragedy.  When someone as talented and blessed as Whitney Houston appears to have succumbed to substances, its a terrifying mystery.  What kind of hole in Houston’s life could only be filled by drugs?

Ms. Houston leaves behind millions of adoring fans.  And a daughter who appears to have difficulties of her own. 


Posted in Music Monday, RIP | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Amy Winehouse-RIP

Posted by KingShamus on July 24, 2011

In life, there are flowers that bloom quick and fade even quicker.

Troubled Grammy winner Amy Winehouse, with a trademark beehive hairdo, crazy cat-eye makeup and soulful voice, came out of nowhere to set the music world on fire in 2006 with her hit album, “Back to Black.”

The talented British singer seemed destined for superstardom, backed by catchy tunes such as “Rehab,” but her meteoric rise was just as quickly cut short by her crippling addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Despite repeated attempts at a comeback over the past few years, she was never able to regain the magic, and ultimately her talent went to waste.

Winehouse was found dead by her bodyguard in her London apartment yesterday at 4 p.m. London time of an apparent drug overdose.

She was 27.


It’s amazing how fame affects some people.  Winehouse was a star in England after her debut album Frank dropped.  It wasn’t until Back To Black sold 10 million copies–in the era of massive pirated music downloading–that she became a worldwide star.  But just as she became one of the most recognized musicians on the planet, she seemed to slide into self-destruction.

Some pressure makes pipes burst and some pressure makes diamonds.  There are folks who can exist in the spotlight and handle it.  They might be moral wrecks with wrecked relationships, terrible health and dicey careers, but they can at least survive.  Tragically, it seems like Amy Winehouse just could not.

“Rehab” is almost too easy to post in this case.  Winehouse’s catalogue had more than it’s share of sadness.  “You Know I’m No Good”, with its painful self-loathing and somber melancholy, seems less obvious but more appropriate given the circumstances.


More:  CG Hill has a better obituary for the late great Amy Winehouse.

“Rehab” was eventually released to great acclaim and big sales. We all know what happened after that. An extremely-unfortunate remark by yours truly in the summer of ’09:“Let’s hope she makes it past 27.”

Which she didn’t. Damn.

Damn is right.

Posted in RIP | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Leslie Nielsen-RIP

Posted by KingShamus on November 28, 2010

Good night, funny-man.

Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen, who most famously achieved global success in comedy movies such as “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun,” has died aged 84, Manitoba radio station CJOB reported Sunday.

His death was first reported in unconfirmed messages on Twitter late Sunday that suggested the actor had died in the hospital after suffering from pneumonia.

His nephew Doug Nielson, told CJOB that Leslie had been in the hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for 12 days and that with family and friends by his side at 5:30pm Sunday “he just fell asleep and passed away.”

Born in Regina, Canada, Leslie Nielsen appeared in more than 100 movies and hundreds of television shows over the course of his career.

The man was a brilliant comic talent.  Here’s a taste.

If you have not seen “Airplane!” or the Naked Gun flicks, get them now.  You will not regret it.  There is a reason the guy basically had four movies–at least–written for him.

After you’ve watched “Airplane” a few times, you’ll notice how the movie kicks it into high gear once Nielsen shows up.  The opening 20 minutes is pretty funny, but Nielsen’s dead-pan delivery of the most ridiculous lines turns an better-than-average spoof movie into a classic.  I couldn’t find the clip, but watch for the scene where Nielsen’s Dr. Rumack discusses the passengers with Captain Ouevre (Peter Graves).  The sharp delivery and interplay between the two veteran actors is laugh out loud funny.

As for the Naked Gun trilogy, each one has moments of absolute genius.  More importantly, it is impossible to see another actor in the Frank Drebin role.  Nielsen completely owned the part.  The ‘lovable yet stupid cop’ character has been done more than a few times in movie history, but Nielsen infused Drebin with a comedic timing that hasn’t been seen before or since.


Posted in RIP | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Senator Robert Byrd-RIP

Posted by KingShamus on June 28, 2010


Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the longest-serving senator in American history, died Monday at the age of 92, a spokesman for the family said.

Byrd, a Democrat who served in the U.S. Senate since 1959, had been plagued by health problems in recent years and was confined to a wheelchair. He had skipped several votes in Congress in the past months. 

Jesse Jacobs, a family spokesman, said Byrd died peacefully at about 3 a.m. at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va. 

So ends the life of Robert C. Byrd.

As Ted Kennedy was a symbol of the moral rot within the modern Democratic Party, the career of Robert Byrd is a manifestation of a distinctly American type of political corrosion.  Much is made of the fact that Byrd was the longest serving member of the Senate in US history.  Why is that such a magnificent accomplishment?  It only means he was able to win a bunch of popularity contests over the years.  If Sauron-the head bad guy from Lord of The Rings-gave away $3.3 billlion in other people’s money to West Virginia, he’d be awfully popular with the voters as well.

You know who else polls really well, year after year, without fail?  Santa Claus.  Why?  Because he gives away free toys and all you have to do is behave yourself and you get a first class ticket on the Christmas gravy train.  Unlike jolly ol’ Saint Nick, Robert Byrd’s porky generosity came directly from the US taxpayers.  It’s quite easy to be Mister Awesomely Popular when there is never some federally subsidized boondoggle you’ll say no to. 

It would’ve taken real leadership for Senator Byrd to tell his constituents that they can’t have their cake (paid for by the other 49 states) and eat it too.  He probably wouldn’t have every left-wing douche fighting to fellate him for the last 50 years.  He might’ve lost an election and have to go back into private life.  He might not have been able to create a Senatorial fiefdom based on patronage and barely concealed graft.  Then again, he might instead be remembered as a responsible steward of taxpayer money.  It’s not nearly as sexy as ‘longest sitting Senator evah‘, but it would be a far more respectable legacy.

Let us not forget the overarching American concern over racism and Robert Byrd’s role in the evolution of racial policies in the nation.  The Senator was a former member of the KKK, but continued to kiss their asses for years after he allegedly left the group.

The ex-Klansman allegedly ended his ties with the group in 1943. He may have stopped paying dues, but he continued to pay homage to the KKK. Republicans in West Virginia discovered a letter Sen. Byrd had written to the Imperial Wizard of the KKK three years after he says he abandoned the group. He wrote: “The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia” and “in every state in the Union.”

…The ex-Klansman vowed never to fight “with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”

Although he later denounced the Ku Klux Klan, his renunciation didn’t stop him from fillibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  He also had a habit of opposing black Supreme Court nominations; both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas got the thumbs down from Senator Byrd.  Only in the soft-bigoted topsy-turvy bizarro world of the American progressive movement can a man with that kind of record of blatant racism rise to become the ‘conscience of the Senate’.  The fact that such a rancorous bigot could soar to the heights of political grandeur is a testament the ‘power for power’s sake’ mentality within the contemporary Left.

There will always be racists.  There will forever be pockets of bigotry in America…and within our own hearts.  People are flawed and unfortunately racism is one of mankind’s unwashable sins.  Hatemongers will be with us in one form or another till the end of time.  But we don’t have to elevate racist dickbags like Senator Byrd to the pinnacle of American political life.

Having said all that, surely Byrd’s family is mourning the loss of a towering figure in their lives.  It is said that the Senator was a devoted family man and a born again Christian.  These things do not erase his public legacy.  But they are yet another sign that people are complicated creatures, capable of magnanimity, generosity and love or cruelty, selfishness and hate. 

It should also be noted that the Senator was ailing for quite some time.  It is hoped that with his passing from this world, Mr. Byrd finds the comfort and grace of his Creator.

Rest In Peace.

AWESOME UPDATE:  If you are not charitably inclined towards Senator Byrd…and I cannot say I blame you…take a spin over to Feed Your ADHD.  Snarky Basterd’s byline?  Hell.

Satan, [Ted] Kennedy’s rival for control of Hell, welcomed Byrd to his kingdom of filth.

“It is with great honor that I bestow the title of KKK Grand Dragon on Senator Byrd,” Satan said. “Only a true Democrat – and we’re all Democrats down here in Hell – could have uttered the great statements he has made over the years.”

Check that stuff out, yo.

ANOTHER AWESOME UPDATE:  Nick Gillespie has a nice cold shower for the Byrd-o-philes.  Oooof.

But it’s Byrd’s status as the Babe Ruth of pork-barrel spending and taxpayer-funded narcissism that is his real legacy and the one we should never forget or forgive. Here lies a man who pushed his home state to build a statue of him in defiance of a rule that such honorees be dead for 50 years.

Back in 2006, Citizens Against Government Waste called Byrd the “Emperor Palpatine of Pork” and gave him their lifetime achievement award

STILL ANOTHER AWESOME UPDATE:  Ed Driscoll has a nice take down.

President Obama’s potential words of praise to a racial demagogue far worse than even Rev. Wright himself should be especially interesting to watch.

ONE MORE AWESOME UPDATE: Greg at Rhymes With Right has a suggestion for Robert Byrd’s memorial.

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Corey Haim, RIP

Posted by KingShamus on March 10, 2010

I guess that Lost Boys sequel is not getting the greenlight.

Actor Corey Haim died this morning of an apparent overdose — possibly accidental — according to LAPD. He was 38.

Police tell us they were called to St. Joseph’s hospital in Burbank, CA shortly before 4 AM PT to investigate.

Haim shot to fame in the 80s — when he co-starred in a number of films, including “The Lost Boys” with Corey Feldman.

Haim reportedly suffered a drug-induced stroke in 2001 and was rushed to UCLA Medical Center.
Haim also reportedly was in and out of rehab 15 times, but cleaned up in 2004 after moving to Toronto.



Posted in RIP | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Jack Murtha-RIP

Posted by KingShamus on February 8, 2010

Congressman John Murtha has passed away.  Condolences to his family.

I prefer to remember him at his finest moment:  Smearing innocent Marines to score a cheap political hit against George W. Bush.


Posted in RIP | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Howard Zinn-RIP

Posted by KingShamus on January 27, 2010

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon…sorry, Maaaaaaaaaaattt Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaymonnnn…are crying in their cribs tonight.  How do you like them apples?

Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and whose books, such as “A People’s History of the United States,” inspired young and old to rethink the way textbooks present the American experience, died today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling. He was 87.

His daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn of Lexington, said he suffered a heart attack.

“He’s made an amazing contribution to American intellectual and moral culture,” Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist and MIT professor, said tonight. “He’s changed the conscience of America in a highly constructive way. I really can’t think of anyone I can compare him to in this respect.”

 Chomsky added that Dr. Zinn’s writings “simply changed perspective and understanding for a whole generation. He opened up approaches to history that were novel and highly significant. Both by his actions, and his writings for 50 years, he played a powerful role in helping and in many ways inspiring the Civil rights movement and the anti-war movement.”

Because the man has passed, I’ll say that he is of a generation of people who truly believed in the socialist project as well as the toxicity of the American nation.  As such, he represents the intellectual zeitgeist of his times.  In many ways, that’s the highest compliment one can give a person.

In the end though, he also represents the rise of the spoiled tenured radical, spongeing off the richness of the American capitalist system while decrying much of the nation’s history.  He also became a darling of the Hollywood kool kid krowd, bringing his brand of snobbish leftism to countless petulant entertainers.  All of this is a stain on his legacy.  A smart person like this should’ve been able to steer himself off of this intellectual coarse.  He instead chose not to.


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Brittany Murphy-RIP

Posted by KingShamus on December 20, 2009

Whoa.  That was unexpected.

Brittany Murphy died early this morning after she went into full cardiac arrest and could not be revived, multiple sources tell TMZ.

She was 32…

UPDATE 3:11 PM ET — Sources tell TMZ Brittany Murphy’s mom discovered her unconscious in the shower. We’re told when paramedics arrived, they quickly determined Murphy was in full cardiac arrest and immediately administered CPR. They continued CPR in route to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center — several miles away — and Murphy was unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

We’re told the LA County Coroner’s is picking up Murphy’s body from Cedars later today and will launch an investigation.

The weird thing is yesterday I was sitting around wondering what happened to this woman.  I hadn’t seen her in anything in a while.   

A sad end for a beautiful young actress.  RIP.

Posted in RIP | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Irving Kristol-RIP

Posted by KingShamus on September 21, 2009

Vaya Con Dios, Neocon Warrior.

First, though, it’s important to remember that what made Kristol Kristol was the sophistication of his commentary. Editors and TV producers today reward timely patter, but reject philosophy as tendentious. As a result it’s easier to remember a columnist or TV anchor’s hairline than what he said.

Kristol’s comments, by contrast, stood out so much that they obscured the man. Many are reconnecting Kristol with his most famous remark, that a neoconservative is a “liberal mugged by reality.” Many of us know the quote without remembering the author.

Second came Kristol’s prophesies. Today both Democrats and Republicans are intensely concerned about a problem perceived as new: the interest-group nation, in which competing teams vie to see what they can get in terms of subsidy from Washington. This competition seems to drive all of us now, whether the fight is over a corporate tax break, the earned income tax credit, or a break we get when we turn in our clunker.

Kristol anticipated a nation on the take in a New York Times article, “From the Land of the Free to the Big PX.” He summed up: “The people see the government as a mechanism for the satisfaction of their desires and appetites; the government inches delicately along the lines of least resistance, seeing the people as a congeries of blocs to be appeased, cajoled, or stimulated, as the occasion prescribes.”

I’d say the conservative movement-not just the neo-cons-owe Irving Kristol a great deal of gratitude. 


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Patrick Swayze: RIP

Posted by KingShamus on September 14, 2009

Sad to see him go.  RIP, dude.

I’ll leave you with two clips from some ridiculously great movies.

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