I'm so excited! I am preparing 4-6 posts that are chock full of great commentary, rhetoric and wit.
I'm having trouble finishing all of them. I don't know if spring fever hit me, the nickel-and-dime home improvements consumed me, or the truly new and exciting challenges at work enveloped me. Regardless, my posts are in varying states of completion - from having an outline to tying up loose ends.
Lotsa input...no output.
Is anyone else going through this right now?
Monday, April 30, 2007
I'm so excited! I am preparing 4-6 posts that are chock full of great commentary, rhetoric and wit.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Oops! They did it again, but it wasn't an accident.
If you've been on any moderate to liberal websites lately, or heck, even read any mainstream media articles dealing with congress and the presidential financeer butt-kissing season, you've seen it. Another debate has been hijacked by the changing of terms: "defense" is now "the politics of fear".
I'm not going to link to any of the articles; suffice it to say, you can find them without even trying. I heard news stories on our local talk radio station that mentioned the term yesterday.
What does it mean? That's simple. If you have any gumption to defend yourself, your family or your nation, you are fearful. If you consider protection important - but aren't talking about sex - you are fearful. If you want to "be prepared", as the Boy Scouts say, you are fearful. It is no longer acceptable for you to prepare for the worst but expect the best, or even prepare for the worst but take things as they come. Now, you have to carry yourself as though the best is the only option, and everything else is folly. Otherwise, you are fearful.
I wonder if JFK was engaging in the politics of fear as he addressed the Cuban missile crisis with the Americans. Hmmm.
I wonder if Dennis Kucinich engages in the politics of fear when he takes his bodyguards through the worst parts of Cleveland with him. Hmmm.
I wonder if Jessie Jackson engages in the politics of fear when he talks about blacks defending themselves against the suppressing white racist machine. Hmmm.
So, don't be fooled if you hear "the politics of fear". Rather, be angry, and let everyone know that it is a ruse.
BTW...if you can use the mental exercise, stop by Patriots & Tyrants and help us figure out how to level the playing field for all federal political candidates.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
On three separate occasions over the last three days, I tried writing a post on the Virginia Tech situation. Each time, I couldn't get the right words out. My frustrations with politicians, the press and political advocates all made my blood boil over; I almost wrote things I wouldn't want my kids to read.
Watching academic know-it-alls make a quick transmogrification to ostriches has left me speechless. If you don't know what I mean here, imagine people living in a bubble, evangelizing about how perfect everything is. Then, someone breaks their protective bubble, and they continue to act as if the bubble is still there. You know, it's like they are saying, "Move along, there's nothing to see here, this isn't really happening. One day you'll wake up and see this was all a bad dream." Update, 4/19: my point here was aptly proved tonight by the academics in question.
I've seen Democrats cannibalize their own because not all of their issues are created equal - racism trumps free speech. I've seen Republicans not do anything while their enemies grab the spotlight. I watched the Supreme Court finally declare that murder IS murder, and that a baby half-delivered IS human and does have rights. I watched "moderate" Democrat presidential candidates decry the ruling, even though all but eight Senators voted for the partial birth abortion ban when it was a Senate bill.
Rumor on the local street is that my favorite communist in Democrat's clothing - Dennis Kucinich - is going to propose a bill that is tantamount to obliterating all handgun commerce in the U.S. I'm sure that Rocco, Guido, Ishmael and Mohammed are all shaking in their shoes, as is 50 Cent.
From all looks, the U.S. is going to hell in a handbasket. I said as much myself a couple of days ago.
You get the sense that this is an exponential growth in problems, that everything is spinning out of control. I won't argue with you. I hate it.
What are you doing about it?
What am I doing about it?
First, I am being an American. Not a scared American. Not one that will turn my back when someone who points a gun at me tells me to. I'm being a Proud American. I'm talking to my 10-yo Artist, who is old enough to start understanding this stuff, about what is happening and about what America stands for. Heaven knows, I need to teach her about right and wrong, truth and lies, morals and boundaries, because no one in any public institution will.
Second, I am exercising my rights as succinctly expressed in the Bill of Rights. Yes, all of them that I personally, at this time in my life, can exercise. All of them.
Third, I am raising my family by setting the example for them. Outsiders need not apply. I will gladly refute each and every point made over the airwaves. I will not turn off the TV or radio and act as though these problems don't exist. They do, and we need to talk about them in our household. Academics raise their children in a bubble; Proud Americans do not.
Fourth, I am setting active, strong, peaceful resistance to the status quo. I am not ranting for the sake of expending my hot air. I am making my voice heard within my sphere of influence, albeit a small one for now. I am checking under each rock, looking into the sky, listening closely. I am, as I explain to the Artist, being aware of my surroundings. This means knowing what scenarios I am walking into, what the goal is, the options for achieving victory or success, and the exit strategies. Sports teams fight for victory. So do politicians and businesses. I do, too.
I am a Proud American. I will stand up for myself, my family and my rights. If you won't, then get out of my way.
Turn this thing around
I will not go quietly
I will not back down
I will not go quietly
I Will Not Go Quietly, Don Henley
Monday, April 16, 2007
I am labeling last week "The Week of the Dichotomy". What are the dichotomies so far?
- Imus vs. Nifong
- Rutgers vs. Duke
- "Free" speech vs. bought speech
- Free markets vs. controlled litigation
My previous attempt (not Patriots & Tyrants), to which I have essentially pulled all my support, taught me the fifth dichotomy. I have never seen civility so skillfully used as a way to stop people from making well-founded points. I have seen right-leaning commentors use facts and true events to poke holes in left-leaning contributors' arguments, only to be told that those examples don't serve the intended purpose of the post. I have seen people use sarcasm and satire to prove a point - myself included - only to be lambasted for being outside the bounds of good taste. I've seen good people so thoroughly convinced that their points were wrong because they were not made "civilly", that they ended up apologizing for speaking the truth.
Don't get me wrong, more civility is needed in everyday life. Civility may have stopped the Imus situation from occurring, it would stop a lot of false political grandstanding, it would remove a lot of bad music from the airwaves and the internet, and it would lead to heightened respect for each other. However, when it is used as a tool for censorship, it is dangerous.
Friday, April 13, 2007
I have a couple more thoughts on the latest brouhaha at PBS, regarding the moderate Muslim piece that they refuse to air, even though it cost $700,000 of taxpayer funds to create.
First, PBS is indicating that the documentary does not follow "journalism standards". What? PBS was the one that approved the creation of the piece. They would have known what the intended result of the piece was before they approved its production, and they have been in regular review with the producers about the content of the show.
Second, PBS shoved a piece of the documentary in front of representatives of the Nation of Islam, asking for their opinion. That's like asking the cat if I should leave the birdcage open when I leave the house. How's that for following "journalism standards?" On queue, Nation of Islam threatened litigation if the piece aired. Money talks; so does extortion. I get really frustrated when true news is quashed via threatened lawsuits and settlements out of court. It's all about the money, the loss of money, audience (i.e. money), and reputation (i.e. money).
Third, PBS won't air this piece for fear of offending portions of the Muslim population. Fox probably would. Why? Are their journalistic standards lower? No. Do they have chutzpah? Maybe. Do they understand the mantra of business, "Find a need, and fill it"? If you answered "yes", then you win first prize. The purpose of business is to turn a profit; the best way to do that is to offer a good or service that no one else does. And this is where liberals and the left-leaning media fall short. They refuse to recognize that news is not news, it is big business. It is an industry. It's goal is to turn a profit. Conservative shows do that very well, thank you very much. Why? Because some enterprising media moguls found a need and filled it. Fox followed the rules of the open market; CNN doesn't like it. Gee, I wonder why? Could it be because of lost market share?
So, while the word about situations like the PBS fiasco are only "outed" on conservative leaning websites and talk shows, libs complain about the veracity of Fox, blogs, and right leaning commentators. Unfortunately, the story of well-meaning, moderate Muslims is not told, but needs to be.
In other news, did you hear the other morning that Massachusetts police shot and killed a pit bull that was fiercely attacking its owner? Word on the street is that the local dog community is planning a flash mob in front of the police station. After all, the dog didn't brandish a firearm at the policemen, and the dogs see no reason why their canine friend was shot.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
I don't know how else to say it: this week, a little more than half over, has magnified many of the things wrong with the progression of our country. I am not a pessimist; I am a realist with optimistic tendencies. What I have heard on the news this week, though, has turned my stomach, culminating in a passioned rant to Marie about the state of things. (Thank you, Marie, for tolerating me during my rant.)
I could write for weeks on the problems of the country based on just a few events that coincidentally occurrend during the same week, and practically simultaneously through the same news cycle. How anyone from any party, race, creed or sex could spin them into a national "positive" is beyond me, and I don't believe it will happen.
Unless you've had your head buried in the sand, you've heard of the following:
- Don Imus was first fired from MSNBC, and then from CBS radio, for stupid comments he made about the Rutgers women's basketball team.
- The rape case against three former Duke lacrosse players was dropped, and the Attorney General called them "innocent". He didn't say "not guilty"; he said "innocent".
I can't possibly get out all the thoughts I'd like to here; I would use too many words I choose not to say in front of my kids, and generally refrain from saying in public. I will do my best, though.
- What Imus said was stupid. He deserved to be reprimanded at worst. But whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones..."? Today, Oprah is making the basketball players out to be sniveling losers, all so the general public can feel sorry for them. She has 100% discounted the exceptional efforts it took for Rutgers to make the NCAA women's basketball championship, and subordinated those achivements to approximately a dozen words said by one person once. Shame on you, Oprah. I thought you were all about achievement. So much for that.
- What Nifong did, with willing accomplices on the left, in the media (oh, I repeat myself), and among the black leadership (oops, I repeated myself again), was reprehensible. He ruined the lives of three young men.
- I'm waiting for the outcry from the media, demanding that the 87 Duke professors, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson apologize publicy to the three Duke students for what they said. The double standard is so evident I don't know how these people can live with themselves. The Duke professors should be fired, and Sharpton and Jackson should be sued for slander.
- If you'll notice, the more legitimate "wrong" was done to the Duke students, not the Rutgers students. No lives were ruined, or names defamed in the Imus issue. The Duke students have to rebuild their lives. But...
- The Duke students will pick up themselves by their bootstraps, build up from where they are, and deal with it. They will bear their scarlet letter. The Rutgers basketball team will make more radio and TV appearances and milk it for all its worth, yet they will bear no scars. That's my prediction. Why? Because that's how it is already playing out. Why change formulas that work?
- The black leadership AND the Rutgers leadership should be ashamed of themselves for manipulating the Rutgers basketball team the way it has. The black leadership tried to do the same thing to Tiger Woods several years ago, but he refused to fall for it.
- The Imus incident and the PBS incident set horrible precedent: they prove that small-group extortion works successfully to quell free speech. Just think, "we" let black leadership get away with this regularly, yet the worst they will do is try it again next time. We are setting precedent for groups like CAIR and others that represent extreme Islam to get away with it while physically imposing their will upon us as well.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Happy 5th birthday to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, also known as the McCain-Feingold bill. Knowing all the hubbub about the bill, and knowing that folks inside the beltway are singing its praises five years later, Scott and I chose to address this issue first.
Please stop by and add your two cents, or fifty, or ninety-nine...come along for the ride.
Monday, April 09, 2007
I, the blogger formerly known as Quipper, recently had an epiphany. Politically, I realized that not many of my thoughts were accurate. I was misled in my dealings with people on political fronts, and started to learn the error in my ways.
I have chosen to become more liberal in my thoughts and feelings. Let me explain:
- I learned that I really am smarter than most other people. While this is a trait that is becoming of me, I have not been forthcoming of it with you. I apologize for being so simple-minded and meek. I promise I will not make this mistake again.
- Knowing that I am smarter than most other people, I must use that knowledge to change people. Even if they don't like it, I must do it. It is for the good of America. It is a sacrifice that I must make.
- Knowing that I must do this, I must be willing to forsake my priniciples to make a better America. I must start here by becoming wealthy beyond my greatest expectations, regardless of who I have to manipulate and what I have to do to become so. Only when my wealth matches my wisdom will I become respected as an icon.
- Once I have this wealth, I must determine how to gain for myself every modern convenience regardless of ongoing cost to myself, my foundations, advocacy groups, and the crusades I espouse. Otherwise, how will the media ever recognize me as an icon? Remember, I must do this for the good of all Americans.
- After gaining this wealth and all my required conveniences - 25,000 sq ft houses, 3-4 SUVs, a motor vehicle entourage, etc. - I must be able to convincingly rationalize my need for all of them. I must rationalize in a way that traces back to my "poor" (not really), destitute (not even close), miserable (not) upbringing, so that all those people that are not as smart as me actually end up empathizing with me and justifying these needs for myself.
- Once I've handled this, I need to sacrifice my family, everything I've learned and everything I've taught my children, in order to teach people the error of their ways. Yes, it's true...I must campaign for political office on the national stage as a liberal Democrat. This means I must become diligent in asking for money from people who shouldn't provide it, so that I can help them change the way they live because I can help them more than they can help themselves.
- Finally, to ensure that everyone understands how my view of the issues affects them, I will only speak to the most dire outcomes of every issue; to speak of probable or likely outcomes would not raise enough of an outcry to make a difference.
Oh, I know many of you are complaining already. But that's just because you don't understand what can be done with carbon credits. Yes, because I will be filthy rich, I will have many more carbon credits than you do. And, if I really need more because my lifestyle expends vastly more CO2 than the average American does, I don't need to curb my lifestyle but only need to purchase more carbon credits.
Please don't see this as hypocrisy. Remember, I am allowing myself to be penalized for extending my emission of CO2 beyond what is permitted. For the good of the country. It shouldn't matter to you that my egregious, almost vulgar, creation of CO2 in one month is beyond what you would expend for an entire year, and that my emissions and use of carbon credits don't help solve the (theorized) global warming problem at all. I feel good about being penalized for expending more CO2 than you do. And I feel good knowing that I can help make poor people richer by buying their unneeded carbon credits from them because they can't afford to make use of them. You should be happy to do the same, and give up your carbon credits to those of us willing to make the supreme sacrifice for this great country. It will diminish your power and influence, but it will be for the good of the poor.
See, everyone gets what they want in the end. I just hope you understand that I am doing this for the good of our children and grandchildren.
p.s. To fully understand how much I am giving up of myself, you must know that I should principally align myself with the Green party. Alas, that party is marginalized and its candidates are considered unelectable. Hence, I will register as a Democrat. Please forgive me for doing what is best for the country.
Isn't it interesting that carbon credits are a liberal way of letting the liberal rich get richer, while still doing nothing for the poor and middle class? And it doesn't really do diddly for the purported global warming problem, because your most egregious offenders will continue to be your most egregious offenders, and like with tax law, there will be loopholes that they can use to avoid compliance.
Talk about the utmost in hypocrisy.
(Finally, I'm starting to distrust Wiki; it seems like it's trending left on a number of issues, instead of simply reporting arguments.)
Sunday, April 08, 2007
My wife referred me to Scribbit's blog post - okay, her kids' blog post - about Superman vs. Spiderman. It's a great post and makes for fun reading; point #1, which compares Lois Lane to Mary Jane, is a hoot...
...which brings me to my contribution here. In real life, I wear glasses. I need them for driving among other things, like staring at a computer screen for 8-10 hours per day. When I'm gigging, though, I don't. Co-workers attending my gigs often comment afterwards that I look completely different than I do at work. They think I muss my hair differently (I don't) and dress differently (I don't - my gig "outfit" is usually my Friday work attire). The big differences are that I don't wear my glasses, I'm standing behind a mic, and "hiding" behind a bass guitar.
Now that you've heard that, I have to tell you about my own Clark Kent moment, which happened at our gig this past Friday night.
Our drummer has most of his gear set up by the time I get to the venue. The other four band members arrive after I do; that's not intentional, it just works out that way. While the drummer and I were setting up on Friday night, a couple ladies at the bar - they were enjoying the tail-end of happy hour, dressed in business attire, and sober by all outward appearances - asked me what type of music we played. I explained it to them, gave them some examples, and satisfied their curiosity. I then went on my way, and continued my setup.
About twenty minutes later, I went to look around the bar and the dining area, but was not wearing my glasses at the time. Before going back to the stage area, I stopped by the bar to ask for a glass of water. (Watch out, you have no idea how wacky 2-3 glasses of that stuff can make me.) After I asked for my drink, one of the previously mentioned ladies asked me if I also played with the band. I said yes, and left it at that. She next said that we looked like brothers. Huh? I apologized for not understanding, and asked what she meant. She explained that I looked just like the other guy....
Trying not to bust out laughing, I explained to her that I was the other guy, but that I took off my glasses.
Yeah, she was a bit embarrassed. And, yes, this is a true story. I guess I'll cut Lois Lane some slack. :-)
BTW...those two ladies liked the music. They stayed and danced through the second set, which ended around 11:30pm. And that, my friends, is what we get paid to do...keep 'em on the dance floor.
Friday, April 06, 2007
As a number of you know, I've been bantering back and forth with people on a number of different politically oriented sites lately. One principle that rears its ugly head frequently is the thought that diplomacy is the only option for resolving conflict. My post isn't about arguing that point or not. It's about my intense need to, when seeing a problem, fix it.
The problem: why do academics, at least the ones that I know, believe that force is never an option, but diplomacy is the only option?
I thought about this over the last couple of weeks, and I have a theory. I only have a theory because of my experience with homeschooling our daughter for five years now, and for starting it with my son last year.
In educating my children, I cannot fail them; I have to succeed. The options are simple, teaching methods either succeed or fail for the student. To that extent, I will try a method of education until deeming that it either works or doesn't work. If it fails, I find another method. Failure is not an option, the education process MUST continue.
This is not bad. I believe that each parent, whether they homeschool their children or not, would want the same thing. If one method of educating their children doesn't work, then try other methods until one is found that does work. Press on, because failure is not an option, at least in terms of the required subjects.
Applying education to diplomacy
So, how do I see this principle applied to diplomacy by academics? I believe many academics see diplomacy as the only option, and it MUST work. Much like they have to succeed to their fullest extent in teaching their students, they are on the same course with conflict resolution. After all, I don't believe it's a long jump to say that some conflicts exist because of a lack of education or understanding. So, why not look for different methods of educating people in order to resolve a conflict?
Does that make sense?
Where does it fall short? I believe this concept falls short in three areas:
1. Many conflicts do not - or should not - have an infinite life. In many situations, time is of the essence. This is not a power play or a fabricated urgency. Whereas education and diplomacy will take as long as necessary in some situations, there are other situations where expecting ongoing participation and completion of process are unrealistic or inappropriate.
2. Point #1 indicates that, if diplomacy doesn't work in a given period of time, then another option must be used. I'm not saying physical force is needed, but I am saying that stronger measures than "understanding my opponent" must be used.
3. Call me a cynic, but I believe that many folks who want "understanding" really don't want it; rather, they want to be understood. So, diplomacy really becomes a subtle form of manipulation, a way for the primary party to impose their ideas on the secondary party. I mean, isn't that what education is - imposing what's important to me onto someone else? I think this is an effective strategy for a party having a minority opinion; it may be their only hope for obtaining their desired outcome.
Through my puzzle solving attempts, I have come to believe there is a time and place for education. It is definitely needed in the classroom, wherever that classroom might be. However, I do not believe that the war room is a classroom. There are certain times and places where diplomacy is not the only option, and at other times when it is not even a viable option.
If we are truly open to resolving conflicts, then it is inappropriate to believe that diplomacy is always the only option.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
A liberal poem:
You can't have war!
It doesn't work
especially to protect your oil interests.
You must do something else.
ANWR's not the answer
although nothing really lives there.
Get away from oil
Ethanol is good.
But we need to feed the world first
so send your crops to Africa.
Solar works well; well, some of the time.
The nuclear option
It's not clean,
Even though it's green.
But don't really get rid of gasoline,
because we like the tax.
Now that you understand us,
go fix your problem!