27 November 2008

Double standards?

First, from FoxNews.com,
The president-elect isn't shy about his penchant for exercise. He begins most mornings with a visit to a gym and frequently discusses his love for sports. Associated Press reporter Deanna Bellandi describes the incoming first couple as "fabulously fit." Back in June, Men's Fitness magazine ranked Obama the candidate as one of the 25 fittest guys in America.

So if this virtue of exercise is praised, how, you ask, have reporters referred to President Bush's workout routine? They have used words such as "obsession," "indulgence" and even "creepy" to describe the President's exercise habit.
Then, closing funny bit from the same show had a clip, I think from Jimmy Kimmel, (sorry, can't find a link) which was a mash of clips showing President elect Obama and President Bush bith, repeatedly saying, "Uhhhh" while talking without notes.

Will Obama be regarded as stupid too?

And then this question from my local paper:
In response to my friend Jacque Lindskoog's letter, now that the war in Iraq is coming to an end (thanks to the success of the surge), will the Peace North group be protesting your President Obama's plan to go into Afghanastan? Just curious.
Me too.

24 November 2008

The Room

I have always liked this piece, and I found the need to print it out and give it to someone yesterday. I think it worth posting.

by Joshua Harris

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files.

They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “Girls I Have Liked.” I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.

A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I Have Betrayed.”

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I Have Told,” “Comfort I Have Given,” “Jokes I Have Laughed At.” Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I’ve Yelled at My Brothers.” Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in My Anger,” “Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.” I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.

I was overwhelmedby the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulledout the file marked “Songs I Have Listened To,” I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked “Lustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

Suddenly I felt an almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: “No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!” In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.

I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.

“No!” I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No, no,” as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.

He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.”

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

(from the book “I Kiss Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris,pp. 104-106)

Arguing from fact, not emotion

On a theological listserv I am on, this exchange took place. I pointed out that all authority comes from God, citing Romans 13:1-2. A colleague responded:

Al-Qaeda claims the same. So has virtually every ruler and government since Austrailopithicus. It's truly refreshing, after eight years of pseudo-religious-nationalistic-imperialism, to have a government-elect that is a bit less presumptuous.

Another colleague wrote this:

Sounds to me like Bush and Al-Qaeda are both right. And since Bush's goals are to institute freedom and Al-Qaeda's goals are to institute world domination of the Muslim religion across the globe, I would say that your assessment of the pseudo-religious-nationalistic-imperialism is 180 degrees out of phase.

And yet a third colleague - whom I would have expected to know better - wrote this:

To claim that Bush’s goals are to institute freedom is to ignore the steady erosion of civil liberties in this country since 2001. The Patriot Act certainly isn’t about instituting freedom. The actions of the last few weeks to allow the Feds to start investigations of people with no need to show cause don’t seem to be about freedom. Warrantless wiretapping. Guantanamo Bay. The consolidation of more and more power in the executive branch. Yes, I am gazing upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

We would be on a very strange spectrum for me to be described as a liberal, but let’s not ignore the shredding of the constitution in the name of security. Let’s not pretend that Bush is above critique.

Well, no one was pretending that Bush is above critique. But AG Michael Mukasey gave a speech last week - well, he tried, anyway - in which he answered the above criticism of the GWOT tactics:

As the end of this Administration draws near, you would expect to hear broad praise for this success at keeping our Nation safe. Instead, I am afraid what we hear is a chorus with a rather more dissonant refrain. Instead of appreciation, or even a fair appraisal, of the Administration’s accomplishments, we have heard relentless criticism of the very policies that have helped keep us safe. We have seen this in the media, we have seen this in the Congress, and we have heard it from the legal academy as well.

In some measure, those criticisms rest on a very dangerous form of amnesia that views the success of our counterterrorism efforts as something that undermines the justification for continuing them. In an odd way, we have become victims of our own success. In the eyes of these critics, if Al Qaeda has not struck our homeland for seven years, then perhaps it never posed much of a threat after all and we didn’t need these counterterrorism policies...

For example, earlier this year, the head of a legal organization that prides itself on what it calls its “nonpartisan approach to the law” gave a speech condemning what he called “the oppressive, relentless, and lawless attack by our own government on the rule of law and our liberty.” According to this person, we live now in a -- “time of repression” where the “word ‘Patriot’ names a statute that stifles liberty,” and where we face “assaults by our government on constitutional rights, the Separation of Powers, and the Geneva Conventions.” You can practically hear the rumble of tanks in the background.

It is interesting—and telling—that even in the published, written version of these remarks by a lawyer, the references and footnotes are not to statutory texts, the Constitution, treaties, or laws. Instead, the author relied on such authorities as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Review of Books. This style of criticism can be called many things—provocative perhaps, or evidence that the author could be regarded by some as well-read —but what it cannot be called is a reasoned legal critique.

Also completely absent from these remarks, and from many remarks like it, is any fair appraisal of the legal issues actually involved or an acknowledgement of the difficulty or novelty of the legal questions confronted by the Administration lawyers who made these decisions. Nor was there any discussion of the atmosphere in which these decisions were made. I was in New York City when the two planes hit the Twin Towers, and I know what it was like to be in the city at that time. But I cannot speak from any experience of my own to what it was like to be a lawyer in the Justice Department at that time. There must have been almost unimaginable pressure, without the academic luxury of endless time for debate. The lawyers called on to make critical legal judgments at that time – and in real time – certainly had no time to consult the New York Review of Books when looking for answers to these difficult and pressing questions.

If we could only get back to arguing facts instead of opinions and feelings ....

21 November 2008

Detroit, bailouts and the future of capitalism

There is a lot of news this week over whether or not to "bail out" the Big Three Detroit auto makers.

The stupidest piece of "news" was played up by FoxNews, who made a big deal out of the fact that the Big 3 CEO's all traveled to Washington by private jet, rather than fly commercial. Yawn. Why should Congress or a news agency that has never run a car company tell a car company how much the time of the CEO is worth?

In the the same vein, Foxnews was quite impressed by an exchange between a congressman who asked if the chairman would be willing to take a salary of $1 per year in exchange for a bailout. (Sorry, no link.) I think the exec should have asked the congressman if, since the federal government is in the hole for trillions of dollars, if he would be willing to take $1 per year.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Rick Wagoner, CEO of GM, makes the case that they have done a lot already, and are on the road to recovery but need short term help. In the same paper, Michael Levine makes the case that bankruptcy is the way to go.

The CEO's, when testifying before Congress, stated that they have not made any bankruptcy contingency plans, because if word leaked out, people would stop buying their cars.

Wrong. This assumes that bankruptcy is a death sentence. I have flown on airlines that have emerged from Chapter 11 Reorganization under bankruptcy law. In 1991 when they Mall of America was opening, Macy's, the giant New York department store chain got permission from their judge to rent space at the Mall as part of their restructuring and growth toward coming out of bankruptcy.

Speaking at the same congressional hearing, the president of the UAW had a gloom and doom prediction:
But United Auto Workers union president Ron Gettelfinger said a bankruptcy could spawn others."If there's a Chapter 11 (for) one of the companies, it will drag at least one other with them, if not all of them. And I do not believe Chapter 11 is where it will end. It will go to liquidation," he said ominously.
That is scare tactic hyperbole. Perhaps what might get liquidated is the UAW, which might not be a bad thing either. If you do not want companies to ship jobs overseas, then you are going to have to give them a competitive work environment here. That does not mean that unions are automatically bad, but, as Levine points out, they are the tip of the iceberg:
GM is contractually required to support thousands of workers in the UAW's "Jobs Bank" program, which guarantees nearly full wages and benefits for workers who lose their jobs due to automation or plant closure. It supports more retirees than current workers. It owns or leases enormous amounts of property for facilities it's not using and probably will never use again, and is obliged to support revenue bonds for municipalities that issued them to build these facilities.
At this point, I find that the two most convincing arguments come from, of all places, the New Orc Times. Mitt Romney, from a car family, son of a Michigan governor, and a successful restructurer of companies, says bankruptcy is the way to go. And David Brooks, also writing in the times, sums it up well:

Not so long ago, corporate giants with names like PanAm, ITT and Montgomery Ward roamed the earth. They faded and were replaced by new companies with names like Microsoft, Southwest Airlines and Target. The U.S. became famous for this pattern of decay and new growth. Over time, American government built a bigger safety net so workers could survive the vicissitudes of this creative destruction — with unemployment insurance and soon, one hopes, health care security. But the government has generally not interfered in the dynamic process itself, which is the source of the country’s prosperity.

But this, apparently, is about to change. Democrats from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi want to grant immortality to General Motors, Chrysler and Ford. They have decided to follow an earlier $25 billion loan with a $50 billion bailout, which would inevitably be followed by more billions later, because if these companies are not permitted to go bankrupt now, they never will be. ...

But the most persuasive experts argue that bankruptcy is the least horrible option. Airline, steel and retail companies have gone through bankruptcy proceedings and adjusted. It would be a less politically tainted process. Government could use that $50 billion — and more — to help the workers who are going to be displaced no matter what.

But the larger principle is over the nature of America’s political system. Is this country going to slide into progressive corporatism, a merger of corporate and federal power that will inevitably stifle competition, empower corporate and federal bureaucrats and protect entrenched interests? Or is the U.S. going to stick with its historic model: Helping workers weather the storms of a dynamic economy, but preserving the dynamism that is the core of the country’s success.

That is a compelling argument to me.

19 November 2008

Is this a coincidence?

These were the two top items on the Foxnews.com page just a few moments ago.

Breaking News >> Dow Drops About 430 Points to Close Under 8,000

Daschle Tapped for HHS

Coincidence? Hmmmmmmm...

11 November 2008

The Gay KK

Best of the Web Today found this story, and seems to have coined the clever little phrase in the title, but Rod 2.0, a black gay blogger and writer, reports on a rally outside the Mormon Temple in LA:
It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple...me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.

Rod goes on to report that two Gay group spokespeople have condemned this sort of scapegoating, but I learned something else I did not know. Way back in 1981, following Reagan's election, People for the American Way was founded by television producer Norman Lear. According to Wikipedia, which admits that this is not a neutral article, it was, ostensibly,
"an energetic advocate for the values and institutions that sustain a diverse democratic society ... threatened by the influence of the radical right and its allies who have risen to political power."[1] Its principal targets have been Religious Right organizations such as Christian Voice (USA), Moral Majority, and Focus on the Family.

How things change. They have now gone radically toward the pro-gay agenda. Their president is an out lesbian mother, and they now include freedom of "sexual orientation" in their values statement. That was completely missing in their founding statement.

And they still claim to desire "freedom to worship", so I wonder if they have condemned those who are protesting outside Mormon churches whose worship requires the condemnation of homosexual practice ... Or if they will condemn Rod 2.0's comparisons of a rally by Black churches in support of Prop 8 to the Nazis:

Using the Nuremberg rallies as an inspiration, or perhaps sporting events in totalitarian societies, three dozen anti-gay, black pastors use hundreds of marching Los Angeles school children to encourage blacks to vote "yes" on Proposition 8.

Steve Lopez at The Los Angeles Times describes the quasi fascist spectacle:

The uniformed children were a nice touch Tuesday at the Crenshaw Christian Center, marching out of school with U.S. flags -- like good little soldiers in a holy war -- to hear ministers preach against the evils of gay marriage. ...

The Yes on 8 banners read: "For Children. For Families. For Our Future."

Apostle Frederick K.C. Price stepped to the microphone. "I believe and teach the Bible," he said, pausing briefly, as if nothing more needed to be said.

But he went on to quote Genesis, saying marriage is that which occurs between a man and a woman. To veer from that course, he suggested, would "jeopardize our children's future."

I wonder if he is familiar with the Gay Nazis and how he feels about them ....

08 November 2008

More on the Loony (Socialist) Left

It turns out that the Socialists have been in power in Washington for a long time. The Wall Street Journal details a few of them, but the one I think is scariest, because it represents a real threat that some people might think sounds good is this one:
George Miller. Some Democrats are starting to target the tax subsidies for 401(k)s and other private retirement options. Mr. Miller, who heads the House Education and Labor Committee, calls them "a big failure" and recently held a hearing to ponder alternatives, including nationalizing pensions and replacing them with special bonds administered by Social Security. The proposal has also caught the eye of Jim McDermott, who chairs the relevant Ways and Means subcommittee. Mr. Obama won big with his promise of tax cuts for the middle class, which doesn't square with attacks on middle-class nest eggs.

It seems they had a hearing last month, and part of the strategy sounds like this:

House Democrats Contemplate Abolishing 401(k) Tax Breaks
Powerful House Democrats are eyeing proposals to overhaul the nation’s $3 trillion 401(k) system, including the elimination of most of the $80 billion in annual tax breaks that 401(k) investors receive.

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-California, and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, are looking at redirecting those tax breaks to a new system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute.

A plan by Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic-policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, contains elements that are being considered. She testified last week before Miller’s Education and Labor Committee on her proposal.

At that hearing, the director of the Congressional Budget Office, Peter Orszag, testified that some $2 trillion in retirement savings has been lost over the past 15 months.

Under Ghilarducci’s plan, all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration. The money in turn would be invested in special government bonds that would pay 3 percent a year, adjusted for inflation.

The current system of providing tax breaks on 401(k) contributions and earnings would be eliminated.

“I want to stop the federal subsidy of 401(k)s,” Ghilarducci said in an interview. “401(k)s can continue to exist, but they won’t have the benefit of the subsidy of the tax break.”

Under the current 401(k) system, investors are charged relatively high retail fees, Ghilarducci said.

“I want to spend our nation’s dollar for retirement security better. Everybody would now be covered” if the plan were adopted, Ghilarducci said.

She has been in contact with Miller and McDermott about her plan, and they are interested in pursuing it, she said.

“This [plan] certainly is intriguing,” said Mike DeCesare, press secretary for McDermott.

“That is part of the discussion,” he said.

While Miller stopped short of calling for Ghilarducci’s plan at the hearing last week, he was clearly against continuing tax breaks as they currently exist.

So now, instead of my 401(k) funding investment business at my discretion, is in fact going to fund more government expansion, because instead of buying stocks or bonds, I'm going to buy treasury certificates which pay a whopping 3%.

I'm telling ya, it's all about control.

07 November 2008

2 good things to say about Rahm Emanuel

I shall endeavor to be fair, so let me say two things that I have heard that sound better about President-elect Obama's choice of Rep Emanuel for chief of staff.

First, it was pointed out last night on Special Report with Brit Hume of FoxNews by, I believe, Charles Krauthammer, that the coming battle between the Obama administration and Congress is not Democrats versus Republicans; it is the Obama administration versus the hard left wing of the Democratic Party in Congress. If he is going to have a successful presidency, Obama is going to have to resist Moveon and the labor unions and Barney Frank, et al. Rahm Emanuel is a centrist at heart, even if he is one of the most partisan attack dogs in Congress. The Politico points out:

Although Emanuel is undeniably a partisan fighter, his selection is not an ideological statement. The Chicago Democrat does not share the reflexively liberal views of many of his House colleagues. In the Clinton years, he helped pass the North American Free Trade Agreement and pushed for anti-crime and other centrist measures.

Second, the selection of Emanuel seems to be a positive sign to Israel. He had dual citizenship until it was 18, and was a civilian volunteer with the IDF during the 1991 Gulf War.

On the downside, was also on the board of Freddie Mac during the scandal plagued era of 2001. Hopefully he has learned something.

06 November 2008

I used to have a gay housemate

I used to have a gay housemate, who was also a martial arts instructor. The notion of gay rights riots in Los Angeles and San Francisco last night reminds me of something Murph told me was a common question he got at parties with other gay men:
How can you be gay and beat people up?

What I'd like for Christmas

Really, wouldn't that be an awesome thing if he did that?

Headline writer needed

How did he survive the first fatal jump?

Skydiver Dies in Second Fatal Jump at Virginia Airport in 2 Months

Fault lines in the Democratic Party

The press likes to make much of divisions in the Republican Party, but there are also significant fault lines in the Democratic Party. Why else would there be a political term "Reagan Democrat?"

This story points out another significant fault line.

California's black and Latino voters, who turned out in droves for Barack Obama, provided key support for a state ban on same-sex marriage. Christian, married and older voters also helped give the measure the winning edge, according to exit polls for The Associated Press.

Proposition 8 overturns a May California Supreme Court decision legalizing gay nuptials and rewrites the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Exit poll data showed seven in 10 black voters and more than half of Latino voters backed the ballot initiative, while whites and Asians were split.

Though blacks and Latinos combined make up less than one-third of California's electorate, their opposition to same-sex marriage appeared to tip the balance. Both groups decisively backed Obama regardless of their position on the initiative.
The question is, can the Republicans exploit this fault line. It has long been pointed out that the black middle class and Hispanics are actually socially conservative. How the Democrats, who are historically the party of racism, manage to steal those voting blocks away from the Republicans is one of the more amazing scam jobs of the 20th century.

Really stupid stuff, parts 683 & 684

I know it seems like I have skipped some numbers since the last really stupid stuff post I made was part 2. Truth is that we have just come through an election season, and I lost count of how much stupid stuff I have heard.

One of the best was a CNN radio reporter who, it seemed, ended every report on the stock market roller coaster in September and October with the comment, "and so the uncertainty continues."


When has the future ever been certain? And no, saying "odds are that the sun will rise tomorrow" is not certainty.

But FoxNews normally knows better than this kind of stupidity. Check out this headline and the stunning opening and closing paragraphs of this brief story:

Conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck Supporting Barack Obama

The View's conservative cutie Elisabeth Hasselbeck stunned viewers today by throwing her support behind president-elect Barack Obama.

Executive Producer Barbara Walters asked Hasselbeck, who campaigned with John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin, how she felt after seeing McCain/Palin go down to defeat on election night.

Hasselbeck said her daughter Grace, 3, had asked her who won and who lost the election. "No one lost," Hasselbeck said she told her child. "Seriously, today is a victory for this country."

Hasselbeck said the massive voter turnout and the excitement of the presidential contest inspired her. "I will get in a long line of supporters … for this president," she said.

Only a moron or un-American partisan or a bigot would say anything else.

I'm not as famous as Hasselback, and I haven't been called a cutie in a long time, so it probably won't make Fox news, but let me say this: it is a significant event in American history, and good for the country that we have elected a black president. It demonstrates that we have overcome structural and systemic racism in this country. And even though I would have preferred a different black president, come January 20, Barack Obama will be my president, and I will support him as my president. Even as I anticipate disagreeing with him vigorously, and probably working against him in the next election, I will support him as president

05 November 2008

Palin in 2012?

I have a suggestion for Gov. Palin. If she wants to be taken seriously as a candidate in 2012, she may have a perfect opportunity to round out her resume.

The leaders of both parties of the Senate have indicated that if Stevens wins re-election, they will boot him at the time of his sentencing, which takes place in late January.

Per Best of the Web Today,

  • Alaska: Despite his conviction last month of seven corruption counts, Ted Stevens holds a 48.06% to 46.54% lead over Democrat Mark Begich, with 435 out of 438 precincts counted. That is less than a 4,000-vote margin with some 40,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted, but absentees tend to vote GOP. If Stevens leaves the Senate on account of his convictions, a special election would be held within months to fill out his term; state law is unclear as to whether the governor, Republican Sarah Palin, would have the authority to appoint someone to fill the seat in the interim
So how does Sarah Palin fill out her resume? Name herself to Stevens' Senate seat when the Senate kicks him out in January. Puts her on the national stage and give her a place from which to run 4 or 8 years hence.

Besides, from Washington DC she can see a truly foreign land: Delaware!

UPDATE: My bad. Turns out she cannot appoint herself. She has to call for a special election. But she could run .....

An historic day

I do think that is says something remarkable about the USA that we elected Obama ... and I mean that in a good way. Perhaps the New Orc Times put it best:

Obama Is Elected President as Racial Barrier Falls

So I will brook no more crap from anyone about structural or systemic racism in this country. It is demonstrably untrue.

There will still be individual bigotry and incidents of discrimination (always has been, always will be) but the systemic racism charge has been undone.

The real question now is: can a bunch of back bench bombthrowers step up and lead? It is harder than it looks. Much easier to criticize and complain than to put forth programs for others to criticize.

This country is slightly right of center. That means Obama, who owes huge debts to the far left is going to have to tack to the center if he is going to successfully lead. THere is no history to support the conclusion that he is going to do this.

If he is going to govern from the middle, he will need moderate Republicans. That means he will have to do what he promised: reach across the aisle. Apparent choice of Rahm Emanuel, one of the most vicious attack dogs on the Democratic side of the aisle, as his chief of staff does not bode well for that.

In fact, such a high profile chief of staff as Emanuel almost makes one think of the old who's really running things questions that arose during the Reagan administration ...

04 November 2008

This says it all

An amazing piece of investigative journalism

The New Orc Times has dug deep and discovered a group of very bad men, at of all places, Guantánamo Bay! No, they're not even talking about the guards. Suddenly, now that Barack Obama might be president, they have come to believe that the people George Bush has called terrorists are, in fact, bad guys.

Speculating on an Obama victory, the Wall Street Journal opines:

As we learned under FDR (internment camps), LBJ (spying on political enemies) and Bill Clinton (rendition to Arab regimes), liberals aren't as punctilious about civil liberties when liberals run the government. Who knows, maybe Guantanamo's false reputation as a gulag will be rehabilitated too.
As Arsenio Hall used to say, things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmmm."

An honorable man and a dis-honorable one

In 1972, the North Vietnamese attempted to invade the South with 20,000 men. Standing in their way were 600 South Vietnamese Marines and an American Marine named John Ripley.
In a videotaped interview with the U.S. Naval Institute for its Americans at War program, Ripley said he and about 600 South Vietnamese were ordered to "hold and die" against 20,000 North Vietnamese soldiers with about 200 tanks.

"I'll never forget that order, 'hold and die'," Ripley said. The only way to stop the enormous force with their tiny force was to destroy the bridge, he said.

"The idea that I would be able to even finish the job before the enemy got me was ludicrous," Ripley said. "When you know you're not going to make it, a wonderful thing happens: You stop being cluttered by the feeling that you're going to save your butt."

Ripley crawled under the bridge under heavy gunfire, rigging 500 pounds of explosives that brought the twins spans down, said John Miller, a former Marine adviser in Vietnam and the author of "The Bridge at Dong Ha," which details the battle.

Ripley was willing to make the sacrifice necessary to save the lives of our allies.

Three years later, fresh from victory in the fall elections, the antiwar left in Congress decided to abandon our allies. They

"voted to cut off all funding for US troops in Southeast Asia, and in 1975 even voted to deny re-supply (even medical supplies) to our South Vietnamese allies after our troops came home."

John Ripley, an honorable man and a hero, died last week.

One of those dishonorable men who abandoned our allies to the Communists and their re- education camps may very well be elected vice president today.

What a moron!

This guy is a complete moron. He stole political yard signs and then wrote this on the Puffington Host:

"yanking out the signs and running like a scared rabbit back to my idling car was one of the single-most exhilarating and empowering political acts that I have ever done."

St Olaf College has fired him.

On this same subject, I wrote the following to our local newspaper last month.

A true story. In the spring of 1976, the small city I lived in was off the beaten path, so the one time a presidential candidate came to town, three of us, all high school juniors, cut class and went out to the airport to see some history, no matter who it was. The candidate got off the plane, gave a brief speech and came down the fence line shaking hands. When he took my hand, I said, "Governor, I disagree with almost everything you say, but I would die to defend your right to say it."

Looking me in the eye from his wheelchair, George Wallace shook my hand and drawled, "Well, thank you, son."

Because I still hold that principle, two of the letters in last week's Record troubled me much; not the letters that debated issues with a previous letter-writers, or those that advocated for or criticized a candidate. That is debate. This is America, and that is what we do.

No, the first troubling letter was one which addressed a previous correspondent and told him that he "should be seen and not heard." In other words, 'since I disagree with you, shut up!' The second troubling letter described the stealing of political yard signs.

Both the be-seen-and-not-heard letter, and the vandalism described in the other letter, are attempts to silence someone's political speech. This is the sort of thing one expects in Mugabe's Zimbabwe and Putin's Russia. Every citizen ought to reject such political bullying as unAmerican.

So go ahead and campaign if it suits you. By all means study the issues and, if you are legally entitled, vote for the candidate of your choice..

And then, a couple weeks after the election, take down the signs and peel off the bumper stickers. You do not have to, because that is also is protected speech. But in my opinion, whether you are bragging that your guy won, or complaining that your side lost, leaving up such signs make you look small. You see, after the election is the time for all of us to come together and support the president, whoever it is.

Note that I did not say "agree with the president" or support all of his policies. There is a place for on-going protest, letter writing and working for their defeat in the next election, but the incessant ridicule, by both major parties, of our elected leaders over the last 16 years demeans us as a people and weakens us as a nation.

So I propose that we covenant to participate in this process, treating each other and the candidates with respect. And when one of them has been elected through the constitutional process, whether it is Bob Barr or Cynthia McKinney, or one of those lesser known guys, let us then pray for and support OUR president.

Tony Stoutenburg

03 November 2008

Snow blankets London for Global Warming debate

That is the headline on this story.

But I think my buddy Scott gets it right:

Some people might say that Global Warming is also Global Climate Change. No, it's called seasons, we learned about those in kindergarten.

Sharing vs Selfishness

Obama makes two Straw Man arguments in this clip.

The first is that his choice to share with others is "communistic." Sharing is not communistic. Demanding (and forcing by law) another person to share what belongs to them is. It is the latter thing that Obama proposes.

The second is this: he accuses the Right of being selfish because we think there should be lower taxes and less government. Not true. As John Stossel reported:

[T]he idea that liberals give more is a myth. Of the top 25 states where people give an above-average percentage of their income, all but one (Maryland) were red -- conservative -- states in the last presidential election."When you look at the data," says Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks, "it turns out the conservatives give about 30 percent more. And incidentally, conservative-headed families make slightly less money." Researching his book, "Who Really Cares", Brooks found that the conservative/liberal difference goes beyond money: "The people who give one thing tend to be the people who give everything in America. You find that people who believe it's the government's job to make incomes more equal, are far less likely to give their money away."Conservatives are even 18 percent more likely to donate blood.

I have always said that the left is populated by a lot of apparently self centered people. Now there is statistical evidence.

It's about control

More evidence that the Democratic Party's stealth neo-socialist agenda is really about controlling every aspect of American life.

1. In Arizona, they are voting on a proposition which simply says:
"no law shall be passed that restricts a person's freedom of choice of private heath care systems or private plans of any type." Also: "No law shall interfere with a person's right to pay directly for lawful medical services . . ."
Who could oppose such a simple law? Well, the Wall Street Journal tells us:

Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano argues that Proposition 101 would limit future health-care reform options. Eric Novack, a physician and the chairman of Proposition 101, responds, "The only option that our initiative rules out is a mandatory single-payer system." Single-payer health-care systems, as in Canada, make it illegal in most cases for people to go outside the government's system and contract for their own medical services. Arizona's proposition forbids those kinds of restrictions.

Defenders of a government-run system, Barack Obama among them, insist they have no intention of limiting patient rights to choose health plans and doctors. That is belied, however, by the strong opposition to the Arizona initiative. The Democratic leader of the Arizona state House, Phil Lopes, is trying to pass a single-payer bill which states explicitly: "A person shall not provide private health insurance to a beneficiary for health care that is covered by the health security plan . . . ."

It's all about control.

2. On another front, Barack Obama's website has a tax cut calculator. According to this tool, John McCain will cut my taxes by $322. The Obamessiah will cut my taxes $1670.

But don't go spending that tax cut just yet. Obama has a scheme for capping carbon emissions that involves Draconian fees, which will be passed on to the consumers. The latest evidence for this comes from January 08 interview with a San Francisco newspaper editorial board.

Remember, gentle readers, that coal provides 50% of our electricity currently. Expansion of coal fired plants and nuclear power (which Obama opposes) are the only way any reasonable analyst can see forward to ridding ourselves of dependence on foreign energy sources.

Obama has said that he is for clean coal. I guess he's so much for clean coal that he doesn't want anyone to actually burn it.

Slow down, people

The Obama campaign is trying to lower people's expectations. This probably has to do with the fact that he has raised them so very high by simply talking in vague generalities like "Hope" and "Change." It also has to do with the fact that Obama came to the forefront of the Democratic race by appealing to the most whacked out, Kool-Aid drinking wing of the Democratic Party.

It has him needing to attempt to smooth his supporters about-to-be-ruffled feathers with statements like this:
“The first hundred days are going to be important, but it’s probably going to be the first thousand days that makes the difference,” he said. He has also been reminding crowds in recent days how “hard” it will be to achieve his goals, and that it will take time. “I won’t stand here and pretend any of this will be easy,” Obama told a Florida rally , citing “the cost of the economic crisis, and the war in Iraq”.
I certainly hope he manages to lower the expectations of the rest of his supporters, unless this woman's expectations are real:

I wonder. Will Obama be a president for all the people, or only for those who vote for him. Because I would certainly like to not have to worry about paying my mortgage or putting gas in my car. Maybe I should vote for Obama; if I help him, he'll help me.

Lord, help us all!

Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?

It is widely reported that Barack Obama has an economic plan that strongly resembles Marxist socialism. It seems that some of his supporters also support Marxist Leninist socialism. And some of them are in his campaign.

First,Florida TV anchor Barbara West gets to the root issue: rather than just asking the surface question about Obama's plans, puts them in historical context, referencing Karl Marx. For that, and for asking questions about ACORN, which Biden spun, her station has been blacklisted by the Obama camp. Apparently, it is a bad thing to question the Obamessiah's ideas.

Then, Joe the Plumber asks Sen. Obama a simple question. Obama gives an honest answer... perhaps too honest, because he reveals his socialist tendencies, "wanting to spread the wealth around." The result? Ohio public officials, at least some of whom are Obama supporters, have begun using state records searches to find mud to smear Joe with.

That is, for all intents and purposes, Leninism: socialism + intimidation.

It gets worse. Now we have an Obama supporter and radio talk show host, who also writes for the Huffington Post, caught on the air asking for someone to kill Joe the Plumber. (Warning, vulgar language on this clip.)

The problem with socialism is that it begins as a means of controlling the economy. Since it does not work, in order to keep it around, its proponents are required to control the marketplace of ideas. How'd you do that? You restrict access to the media that disagrees with you, you use government organs to intimidate those who question you, and you kill those who will not shut up.

This is what his supporters see as Barack Obama's America.

Be afraid.