Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Few Facts

I know I touched on this earlier, but it needs to be revisited for the same reason I visited it in the first place. The media are talking about the Hamas/Israel situation and suggesting that there might be another attempt at a cease fire. Of course, people are hoping this happens, but there are some facts that aren't being covered in the media and, thus, people don't know them.

At least, until now.

- Hamas doesn't want peace with Israel. Let's get this one out of the way first thing. Hamas doesn't want to live in peace with Israel at all. For those of you thinking my bias for Israel has tainted my thinking, let me point out to you that Hamas started attacking Israel immediately upon the expiration of the last cease fire agreement. If Hamas really wanted peace with Israel as badly as some would lead us to believe, why wouldn't they have lobbied to extend the cease fire agreement? Simple. Peaceful coexistence with Israel has never been an option for them. They want Israel destroyed so that they can take "their land."

- Israel doesn't belong to the Palestinians. This is another fact that isn't talked about in the media because, well, it would require them to actually do some research instead of just reading what Hamas's PR department gave them. As it turns out, Palestine isn't where Israel currently sits. Actually, Palestine used to be in and around where Jordan is today. Yet, they're going after Israel's land, oddly enough fueled by the very people who actually have the land where Palestine once was. In the Middle East, Israel truly is an island unto itself against a sea of oppressors.

- Hamas started the aggression again. No, this isn't some childish finger-pointing to try to absolve Israel of blame. As soon as the last cease fire expired, Hamas went right back to the attack as though they had only stopped to reload. Israel retaliated in self-defense. Yet, we're only being allowed to see the second half of that equation in any detail. And what we're seeing, as I pointed out in my previous blog entry, is heavily slanted to make the Palestinians look like the victims. Pretty slick trick if you ask me.

- The notion of equivalent force is not reasonable. There's an idea that has taken root in the Left regarding Israel's attacks on its enemies that it's not fair Israel can strike back with more destructive weapons than Hamas can. Their solution: require Israel to retaliate with equivalent force as with they were attacked. Some solution! It would neuter Israel's ability to counterattack while giving Hamas the ability to keep attacking the way it has without ever having to upgrade. And when you're successful with car bombs and bomb belts in killing civillians, it really doesn't matter that you lack the kind of tech Israel has.

- Hamas has no respect for human life. A brash statement to be certain, but one that has been played out time and time again. Hamas has put civillians in danger by putting their terrorist outposts in the middle of populated areas. They strap bombs to people and let them walk into populated areas of Israel before detonating the bombs. Compare this to Israel, who has consistently been apologetic about civillians being killed and has tried to make the world understand what Hamas is doing, often to no avail. When you look at the facts objectively, there's only one side of this conflict that has any regard for human life, and it's not the side being portrayed as a victim.

Now that you are armed with the facts, you can counteract the bullcrap being spewed forth by the Left and their allies in the media. With enough people, a nation can be educated about the Hamas/Israel situation. Now, I can't force you to do it, but I can ask on behalf of Israel and those who still think the truth matters.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Proof of Media Bias

Conservatives, including yours truly, have complained about how the American media slant their news to favor the Left. After studying them in depth for over 10 years, I can say that the media are biased, but it's not just against Republicans or conservatives. That bias knows no boundaries.

I watched a CNN report of the Israeli rocket attacks against Hamas, and had there not been signs that it was from CNN, you could have sworn the report was written by al Jazeera. The reporter's tone of voice talking about how Israel's attacks were striking civilian areas, combined with little turns of a phrase that would be imperceptable to someone not prepared for it, set a stage where Israel was made to be the aggressor, one that had no regard for civillian casualties.

However, there are elements that were not even mentioned that would have put Israel's actions into a new, and much more honest, perspective. The report mentioned that there had been a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which there was. However, it was Hamas who had been firing rockets into Israel prior to Israel's retaliation. And CNN? They mentioned it late in the report and only in passing. To me, the way CNN handled it was not accidental.

Then, there were the visuals. Pictures of people digging out of the rubble. People bleeding from the attacks. Mass destruction. Combine that with the aforementioned semantic elements, and you're given a certain package of information that, surprise surprise, is out of phase with reality. When they referenced Hamas's rocket attacks, they showed a single Israeli building with a hole in the side of it. Yet, what the report failed to mention is that the Hamas attacks were intentionally fired into residential areas. Furthermore, the counterattacks against Hamas had been fired into residential areas, but only because Hamas intentionally puts their outposts in residential areas so that the possibility of civilian casualties would be increased.

Granted, I am a supporter of Israel, so naturally a slanted report like that CNN produced would upset me. Having said that, you don't need to be a supporter of Israel to sense the reporting wasn't exactly balanced. Expecting the media to be balanced is a pipe dream these days, but that doesn't mean we should accept it as a fait accompli. Instead, we should educate as many people about the Israel/Hamas situation, making sure we do so in an honest, balanced manner. If we don't, we're no better than CNN.

Also, we should let any media outlet who shows a slanted report on this and any other news story know that we won't stand for it. We need to demand honest and fair reporting, and if they won't comply, then we will take our business elsewhere. Just like millions of others who have stopped watching TV and reading print media, oddly enough in part for the same reason, we have choices that will impact the media outlets' bottom lines. When you impact their source of income, you will get their attention, and changes will have to be made. It won't guarantee the media will get the hint (the New York Times readership issues and increased Leftist slant proves that), but if they do, journalism will be better for it.

This is one situation where we can't sit on the sidelines and expect change to happen. At the risk of sounding like Barack Obama, we need to be the agents of change. Then, we can get to a point where a report like the one CNN did about the Israel/Hamas conflict would not even be produced.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A New Look at an Old Story

Yeah, I know I've talked about faith already this week, but it's my blog, so here we go.

As the saying goes, Jesus is the reason for the season, and I wholeheartedly agree. But there's more to the story than just the birth of the Savior. It is also a story of faith rewarded.

Before Jesus was born, there were any number of people who claimed to know who the Messiah was or claimed to be the Messiah. These claims were obviously false, but over time, it would be easy to get skeptical. It would have to take one heck of a leap of faith to believe in a living Messiah at that time.

Then, God set things in motion, first with Mary. Her exact age isn't known, but most likely she was around 13 or 14 years old, not too much older than your typical mallrat today. She was already set to be married to Joseph, and she understood her duties as a wife. Then, on top of that, she was tapped by God to carry the Messiah. That duty would have floored most people, let alone a girl just entering womanhood. Mary had to be strong in faith to shoulder that responsibility.

Joseph was in a similar boat. He was a carpenter with a pregnant wife, a wife that was carrying the Messiah prophesied by his predecessors. And he would have either known of or heard about the false prophets and false Messiahs, so he needed something else to truly understand the gravity of the situation. He needed faith.

What about the three wise men? They were certainly men of great knowledge, so the bar would be set very high for them to believe that the Messiah had come. When they were told of the star in the East, it may have been curiosity that set them on their path, but it was faith that kept their feet on it.

The shepherds who were told by the angels of Jesus's coming were scared, which is understandable. Usually, God doesn't send His people to talk to you about the weather. When He sends angels, it's pretty important. Once the fear had passed, they had to have faith to follow the angels' directions to find their Messiah.

All of these people from the Christmas story, all tied together by an incredible level of faith necessary to play their roles in the birth of man's Savior. Even as a believer, I'm amazed at the amount of faith displayed and wonder if anyone today could duplciate the feat. Whether we can is not important. The Savior being born is what matters. Yet, without strong faith assisting each person involved in that birth, the story would not be the same.

May God fill your hearts with an unwavering faith this Christmas and for years to come. Merry Christmas everybody!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Global Warming? Not So Much...

Remember the 1990s? Grunge, Crystal Pepsi, the height of global warming hysteria thanks to Al Gore. As I sit here typing listening to a weather report telling of subzero temperatures and wind chills, I'm thinking all three of the things I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post have thankfully gone out of fashion.

It's become fashionable to crack jokes about global warming in cold weather (especially considering I do it). It's hard not to make fun of it when it seems every current malady with the world is due to global warming. Rising temperatures. Global warming is to blame. Cooler temperatures? Global warming is to blame. Another Wayans brothers movie? Global warming is to blame. (Okay, maybe that last one isn't linked to global warming so much as it is linked to a studio executive, but you get the idea.)

And for those of us who have a healthy skepticism about global warming, we can expect to hear all sorts of nasty things said about us from people who believe global warming is real and caused by man. We're called "global warming deniers" by Al Gore at best, compared to Nazis at worst, all because we don't agree with them. This is because believing in manmade global warming has become a cult, and not a friendly one that gives you a flower and literature. If you spurn them, they will turn on you, even if you were one of them before your "sin." Coming from an ideological side who says Christians are dumb for believing in God, this is irony writ large.

At the core of this debate, science should rule. And what does the science say about man's impact on global warming? That depends on who you ask. Al Gore has a list of scientists who say he's right on the money (even though when confronted with the errors and half-truths in "An Inconvenient Truth" say that Gore is pretty much right in spite of the errors). There is also a growing body of scientists who are trying to put the brakes on the global warming train, and they're being met with open hostility and threats from the scientific community backing Gore's hypothesis. Now, why would a side that says it's right about global warming be so reluctant to have someone challenge them?

Because an honest debate is the last thing they want.

When the facts are laid out on the table, it's clear we don't know how much of an impact we have on global warming, nor are we sure that what we're seeing weather-wise has any correlation with us. With that much uncertainty, caution is necessary. However, the global warming proponents are so convinced of their scientific and intellectual superiority that they throw caution to the wind and expect us to follow their guidance to all sorts of "solutions" that they say will work, but may not. Also, some of the solutions they've devised so far haven't worked at all. You know those new mini fluorescent bulbs that global warming proponents have said would save us so much energy? They don't, and it's actually been proven that the early models can be dangerous to humans.

I think you see why I'm skeptical as to whether the Al Gore side of the global warming debate has their facts in order.

And it seems more and more people are standing up to those who would call them uneducated or worse for not agreeing with Al Gore. Against those odds, the Gore side doesn't stand a chance.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to warm up my car before I leave for church. Global warming, you know.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

In Defense of Faith

A few days ago, I was involved in a discussion when I mentioned my faith in God. Immediately, three of the people in the discussion thought of me less as a semi-rational human being capable of stringing together at least two thoughts and more like a snake-handling, science-hating, semi-troglodytic cretin (which I am, but only on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.) One even said, and I quote, “You’re not scientifically minded.” If he knew how little I dated in high school, he might not have made that statement.

As it often does, this conversation made me think about why I believe. The best place to start on that subject is to see where I've been. There was a time in my life when I very easily could have been the person mocking the Christian, and I'm not proud of that because my lack of faith at the time was borne out of raw negative emotions. As a teenager, I saw people who I felt had strayed from God's Word getting more than they deserved, while I languished in a state of emotional abuse from my peers at school. To my teenaged mind, that wasn't the sign of a loving God, so I left the church. I figured (incorrectly) that God would make things easier on me because I believed, but when that didn't happen, I saw it as a betrayal. For the next 15 years, I was in a state of disbelief over something I didn't understand.

As I got older, my resolve weakened a bit and I was willing to accept God in pieces. Instead of being the hardcore agnostic/athiest I was, I reasoned (again incorrectly) that God and I had an understanding. I would believe in Him on a limited basis and He wouldn't throw too much crap in my direction. But it was like trying to reason with cancer. I didn't know it at the time, but God was setting me up to believe again with a faith stronger than I could have ever imagined.

It was the day after Thanksgiving in 2005. I had taken a break from work and pulled up the Drudge Report on my computer. The top story at the time was about two people who got injured at a WalMart due to people rushing through the entrance to get extra special deals. I felt my heart sink as I read about a woman who had fallen and a young woman who had tried to help her and got stepped on in the process. How could a cheap DVD player be worth more than human decency?

Needless to say, that news story stuck with me throughout the day, leaving me feeling depressed and searching for answers. After discussing it with friends bore no fruit, I ventured into a chatroom that dealt with Christian faith. Someone in the room suggested prayer, and for the first time in a long time, I opened up my heart to God and asked for His help. After the "Amen," I was filled with a great warmth, happiness, and calm. I had come home.

Since then, my faith has been strong and has seen me through some rough times. But perhaps the greatest gift I've received is one of perspective. Insignificant things I used to rant and fret over, like elections and political parties, have become comically trivial because I understand now that God's will is always being done. It may not seem like it to us, but it is. That knowledge gives me an incredible amount of joy and the resolve to face the slings and arrows of those who have an active disdain for my faith for whatever reason. I have some thoughts on this that I may share at a later time, but really it's not that important. What matters ultimately is that I believe and that I glorify God with my life.

After walking in darkness for 20 years, my faith now is strong, and no amount of taunting from those who mock my faith will shake me. Not anymore.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Nothing Personal, Just Business

Judging from the media coverage of the Rod Blagojevich and how reporters are hounding Barack Obama for comment, it may appear that the media have turned the corner and are finally starting to hold Obama's feet to the fire. However, this may not be the case at all. The media still lean left, but there are other factors in play.

There is a central concept in all media outlets: get The Story. Whenever an event happens, reporters rush out to try to cover it and any other potential angles to it that may attract readers/viewers. Normally, this is chalked up to the media becoming a business instead of an information outlet, which is a valid concern. When you put market concerns above a duty to inform, you will compromise the integrity of the profession.

Having said that, there's another side to it that has been known, but never addressed. People today don't rely on traditional media for their news anymore. Readership and viewership have suffered in recent years for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being the very thing I just mentioned about the integrity of journalism being compromised. It's not just market concerns that drive people away. It's also the real and perceived bias of the media. And nothing showed this better than the media's fawning coverage of Barack Obama's ascension.

For months, Barack Obama was The Story. In order to cover The Story, reporters and editors seem to have made a Faustian deal in that they would become PR agents for Obama while deflecting any negative information about the guy until it was much later in the election process. It was a win-win for both sides. Obama was able to avoid having to address some serious questions about his associations and his qualifications while the media received continued access to cover The Story.

But the thing about covering The Story is that eventually something else will become The Story. Right now, Blagojevich is The Story, and the fact that he has a connection to someone who used to be (and in many aspects still is) The Story gives the media a reason to cover both. The media are still Leftists at their core, but their need to cover The Story can at times supercede their ideology, and with the environment being such that the media are struggling to stay relevant to potential consumers, they're covering the Blagojevich story as much as possible looking for new angles to The Story.

The other factor to consider involves objectivity. Yeah, expecting objectivity out of today's media is a pipe dream, but they still rely on the appearance of objectivity as a shield against charges of bias. After the fawning coverage of Obama, in order to maintain the appearance of objectivty, the media will have to start looking for reasons to put Obama in a negative light. The shadowy connections, no matter how tenuous, to Blagojevich gives the media their opportunity to appear objective. Of course, it's an illusion, but it's what the media cling to in order to appear fair-minded.

So, I wouldn't be so sure the media are finally starting to hold Barack Obama accountable after months of being his biggest cheerleaders. In the world of the media, The Story and the illusion of objectivity trump political alliances.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Is the Honeymoon Over for the Left?

After Election Day, Democrats were flying high. They made gains in the House and Senate, and Barack Obama had won the popular vote by a significant margin. Even with a couple of elections still being resolved, it looked clear that Democrats would have no trouble picking up the remaining seats.

Oh, what a difference a month makes. They managed to pick up Ted Stevens' Senate seat, but have since lost to Saxby Chamblis, lost William Jefferson's House seat, and are on the verge of losing Norm Coleman's Senate seat. Ouch.

It goes further than politics, though. This week saw the gay community participating in something similar to the "Day Without A Mexican" protest done in 2007. The idea was that gays would take a day off work and take that time to do community service as a means to try to bring the impact of gays in society into focus. One tiny problem, though. Only a relative handful of gays participated.

These two situations are different, but they're united by the same problem. It's easy to get the Left in a froth for a short time, but when once they've accomplished what they set out to do, participation declines greatly. This is because Leftists are notoriously short-sighted. They pick out a point on the horizon and consider that to be the end all and be all of their journey, even if there's a further point that would be more impressive. That's like climbing most of the way up Mount Everest, planting a flag 10 feet from the summit, and calling it good.

With the recounts in Alaska, Louisiana, and Minnesota and the run-off election in Georgia, Leftists didn't seem to put much energy towards trying to lock down those seats. As a result, Democrats in the Senate fell short of the 60 seat majority they needed to shut down the possibility of a fillibuster, and will now have to rely on moderate to liberal Senate Republicans to do that. And as we've seen out of the Democrat leadership in Congress the past 2 years, compromise isn't something they're good at. That will become a huge stumbling block for Obama in the next 2 years.

There is another impact to the Left not putting forth an effort to lock down their positions as the power players in Washington. The month between Election Day and the recounts/revotes gave people time to cool down from Obama Mania. Other commentators have noted that Obama didn't have much in the line of "coattails" when it came to helping Democrats who were still having to battle for their seats, which doesn't bode well for his ability to help Democrats down the road.

The solution to this would be for the Left to start thinking long-term. Yeah, that'll happen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Question No One's Asking...

Right now, there are a number of questions surrounding Barack Obama and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, not the least of which being "How in the heck do you pronounce 'Blagojevich'?" One of the central ones, though, is whether Obama is caught up in the Blagojevich scandal in any significant way. I can understand why. There are some out there who would love to see Obama get sucked up in the political whirlwinds and never be heard from again. (Now, if there was only some way to get Joe Biden involved somehow...)

At this point, I'm withholding judgment on Obama for two reasons. First, we don't know enough of the facts to make an informed judgment. Just because I don't like the guy doesn't give me licence to throw out an accusation that may or may not pan out. And having been at the receiving end of a few
of such accusations in my life, it's the least I, and we, can do until the facts do come out.

Second, there's a bigger question to be asked. Granted, "Is Obama involved" is a pretty big question, but it pales in comparison to the next logical question. If Obama is involved in some way, can it be proven? Chicago politics is notorious for being dirtier than a drunk Courtney Love mud wrestling Jenna Jameson at Larry Flynt's house. (I was going to say " a pig" in Jenna's place, but if you've seen her lately...). A part of that political environment is what Ronald Reagan called "plausible deniability." With something like this, I guarantee someone is going to take a fall so that others can remain standing. In order to protect one of their own,
Blagojevich may take the hit. That's the Chicago way.

As this story unfolds, we will see how many layers there are to it. As much fun as it is to say "Impeach Obama," let's hold off on the calls and emails to the House Judiciary Committee until the facts are known. Even if he appears to be guilty as sin, Obama may be able to skate away if the connections aren't strong enough to support the accusations.

Monday, December 1, 2008

When the NFL Meets the NRA

I'm going to delve into the sports pages for this entry because there's a bigger political point that can be made. New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress turned himself in to the New York Police Department after he accidentally shot himself in the leg with a handgun he owned and was carrying with him to a nightclub on Friday. In New York City, it is illegal to carry and discharge a gun, and on the surface it's a great idea. Having been to the Big Apple a couple of times, I can tell you it's mile-a-minute action. Throw in a few angry and armed people and you have yourself the possibility of a gun fight in the streets on an hourly basis like at a tourist trap version of the OK Corral.

But that's the thing about gun laws: they only work when people follow them. The fact that New York City has restrictive gun laws didn't stop Burress from having one on his person in New York City. Nor does it stop criminals, who tend to have a healthy disdain for laws in the first place. Funny how that works out, huh? With Burress's actions, we have yet another example of how gun control laws, no matter how strict, cannot overcome human nature. If someone wants to do something and believes he or she can get away with it, he or she will do it.

And that's been one argument the National Rifle Association and its supporters have been saying for a long time. Contrary to popular myth, the NRA doesn't want there to be gunfights on every street like in the myth of the Old West. Instead, they want gun owners to be allowed to carry a gun if they so choose, but do so responsibly. Although Burress's actions could be used to make the argument that gun ownership by irresponsible people is dangerous (which it is), the stronger message is that restrictive gun laws don't work all that well.

Regardless of how you feel about guns personally, it's time we be honest about the effectiveness of gun laws. Banning assault rifles or requiring 7 day waiting periods may make people feel better, but they don't work on anyone who isn't law-abiding in the first place. All they do is make it more likely that the law-abiding will become victims of the lawless. Maybe it's me, but that seems backwards. With yet another failure of gun laws on the books, in newspapers and magazines, and on TV, radio, and the Internet, it's getting harder for the pro-gun control side to make the point that more gun laws will equal less gun-related crimes.

In fact, one could say it's become a task of Giant proportions.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Rosie Live"? Not So Much

The public has spoken about "Rosie Live", the NBC variety show hosted by Rosie O'Donnell, and the word isn't good. Critics and fans alike have panned the show as being boring and painful to watch. Even people who normally support whatever Rosie does weren't thrilled. The ratings for "Rosie Live" equaled that of a show on ABC...that was just canceled.

I must admit that I didn't watch "Rosie Live" because I had something important to do and I just couldn't get away. I think I was scratching myself at the time. I don't remember, but I do remember it was pretty important at the time. This, of course, means I can't comment on the show itself except from what I was able to glean from reviews of the show. And what I read wasn't impressive. Whether it was tasteless sight gags involving Rosie putting a microphone in her cleavage, references to her sexual preference, or the occasional subtle rant against Donald Trump and Republicans, Rosie forgot the first rule of the variety show: the star of the show isn't always the focus of attention.

One of the questions this arouses is whether America wants a prime time variety show these days. Personally, I think we do, especially in these economic times. With shows like "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent" still popular with the viewing public, it's a no-brainer. If a variety show is done right and is family-friendly, I think it would be a ratings smash.

Ah, but there's the rub. A variety show done well, like "The Carol Burnette Show", doesn't need gimmicks to make it work because the work is evident in what is produced. The minute a variety show has to resort to gimmicks to try to get viewers, you might as well slap a pair of water skis on it because it's about to jump the shark.

With the ratings being so low that I could have tied them and I didn't even have a show on at the time, NBC may consider pulling "Rosie Live." If it was a one-shot show to see if people would respond favorably, I would suggest they retool it to make it more like a traditional variety show. If that involves Rosie taking a role behind the scenes more, I think it could work. But if they put on another show like the first "Rosie Live", I guarantee the ratings won't move very far.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year because it gives us all an opportunity to do something we don't usually have time to do: eat turkey while watching a LOT of football. Seriously, it's a time to give thanks for the good things in our lives. That's something we don't always do today when we're thinking about the food, football, and floats, but we should. And so I don't look like a total hypocrite, I'll tell you a few things that I'm thankful for this and every year in no specific order (well, except for the first one).

- My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me (and all of us) a second chance
- My family for giving me the best support system I could dream of
- My friends for being like a second family to me
- My church for treating a searching soul like a long lost friend
- My government, even when I don't always agree with it, for trying to keep this country working
- My employer for providing strong leadership closer to home
- The American Armed Forces for keeping us safe abroad
- Law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and medical professionals for keeping us safe at home
- My readers for allowing me to share my views with them without them getting a restraining order
- My thoughtful critics of my work for keeping me on my toes
- My thoughtless critics of my work for giving me constant sources of laughter

As you travel or spend time with family and/or friends today, take a moment to count the blessings you have and give thanks for them.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Change You Can Deceive In

When Barack Obama came onto the Presidential scene, he promised that if he was elected he would change the way Washington did business. Yet, when you see a good number of the picks he's made for his Cabinet, it looks like not much has changed. There are a number of familiar faces from the Clinton Administration, like Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, who are returning to the halls of power.

I have a question. How in the heck is this change?

I know how the Obama supporters have tried to spin it. First, they say the change is in how things are done in Washington. They're claiming that bringing in former Clinton staffers will alter the environment in government. The problem? These are the same people who contributed to the current environment in government. Take Emmanuel for example. He's been compared to former House Whip Tom Delay, and with a nickname like "The Hammer," it's a pretty good bet Delay didn't get that nickname for his tact and diplomacy. And what did Obama rail against during the campaign? The negativity of government. Putting Emmanuel as Chief of Staff won't end the negativity, and given his track record in the Clinton Administration, it may continue it or even expand it.

Second, the Obama supporters have said that the reason he's bringing in so many former Clinton staffers is to negate the criticism that Obama was inexperienced. This is valid to a point. Obama isn't as experienced in the intricacies of the Presidency yet, so surrounding himself with experienced people. However, does that require him to choose people from the Clinton Administration? Granted, they have experience in the day-to-day operations of the White House, but there are others with similar experience that could have done the job with only a slight learning curve. And with some high level positions like Secretary of State, a Clinton staffer would not be a requirement. Yet, he's going back to the Clinton well.

This begs the question as to why. If change was the heart of Obama's Presidential hopes, why stick to people who don't represent it? At the risk of sounding like a partisan hack (as some of my critics have accused me of being), I think I have an answer. Obama needs people who he knows will be loyal to him as he lies to the American people. Let's face facts here. There is no way Obama will be able to deliver on all of his promises, so he's going to need people who can stroke the press and keep the American people from figuring out that Obama lied to them. Who better than members of Bill Clinton's Administration?

There is already a backlash against this approach, however. Obama supporters are starting to question the decision to bring back so many former Clinton staffers because they don't see the change that Obama promised. They're right to think that. Obama talked a great game when it came to change, but he's failing to deliver. And when you've sold a bill of goods like Obama has, it's only a matter of time before people start to realize they've been had.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why Hillary Would NOT Make a Good Secretary of State

It's the hottest rumor in Washington, DC, right now, and sure enough it involves a Clinton. This time, it's not Bill at the center of it, however. It's Hillary, who has been tapped to be Barack Obama's Secretary of State. If she accepts, she will be the third woman ever to hold that position and the third out of four Secretaries of State to be a woman. On the one hand, it certainly shows that we've evolved as a country. But is Hillary a good candidate for this important position?

If you read the title of this blog, you'd know where I stand on this.

Now for the reasons why...

- Does she actually have foreign policy experience? Sure, she's been First Lady and has had Bill's ear on a number of policy initiatives, but that's not the same thing as having actual foreign policy experience. And, no matter how smart she may be, you can't get that kind of experience through osmosis. If Obama wants to get the world to like us again, he'll need someone who can navagate the tricky diplomatic seas. And when you consider Obama thinks Joe Biden has foreign policy experience, I'm thinking his standards are pretty low.

- Women haven't had that great a track record yet. Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice have come before Hillary in this venture, and neither one has been particularly impressive. Albright got tricked by Kim Jong Il, for the love of Pete! And Rice? She's been inconsistent at best. Sometimes she acts like she gets the big picture, and sometimes she doesn't. Granted, going from failure to kinda successful is an improvement, but it would put Hillary in a tough spot where failure or near-success isn't an option. She's going to have to succeed to erase the past.

- The Bill Factor. There's no doubt that Bill Clinton is charismatic. Hillary...not so much. Bill is beloved around the world, which would be helpful to an extent. It might get her foot in the door with some world leaders, but it won't make them all play ball. Eventually, Hillary will have to step up and do something without Bill's influence or utilize it in a way that would not make it look like she was using Bill to make up for any shortcomings she might have. Unless he's going to tag along on every diplomatic junket, Hillary might not be able to use Bill's past to better her future.

- How will this fly with Muslim nations? As Albright and Rice would most likely attest, women aren't seen as highly in Muslim countries as they are here. What we consider to be a big stride for women's rights is considered laughable, even disrespectful, in Muslim countries. Imagine putting Hillary in that kind of environment. Hillary doesn't like to be disrespected or lied to, and Muslims won't respect her and will lie to her more than Bill did. Yeah, that'll end well.

- She's a Clinton. In my years of following politics, I have yet to find two more political people than Bill and Hillary Clinton. If you think Hillary's going to turn that side of her personality off, I have a bridge to sell you. And let me tell you, it won't be cheap. Hillary and Obama went at each other hard and heavy during the primaries, and things were said that I guarantee Bill and Hillary remember. They're not the kind to forgive and forget. Just ask Dick Morris. It wouldn't be outside of the realm of possibility that Hillary would undercut Obama if it would mean she got what she wanted. And that's not a good thing for a Secretary of State.

In short, I would hope Obama would think through this decision a bit more if for no other reason than to make good on his promise to restore America's image around the world. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State would not do that, I'm afraid.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Bailout Scam

There's been a lot of talk about Bailout Mania that has infected Washington, DC. It seems like everybody is holding their hands out for federal money to shore up problems they've been ignoring for quite some time. For all we know, Carrot Top might be asking for a bailout of his act.

Conservatives have teed off on the bailouts, but not too many have tapped into the real problem with the corporate bailouts. And as you might expect, I'm going to point it out. I know economics can be as exciting as watching Al Gore, but this is important to understand why the Washington bailouts won't work.

When you have a capitalist system like ours, the relationship between a consumer and a producer is at the heart of it. The two are expected to keep each other in check so neither one takes advantage of the other. But the current situation is one where both sides aren't exactly playing honestly. Consumers are in a position where they want to buy as much as they can without having the financial means to buy what they want. Producers are in a position where they are trying to hide losses to appear financially strong and viable. When you have something this dishonest, the system is going to break down.

And when it breaks down, people suffer.

Now, imagine if that relationship gets further altered by the government stepping in and infusing te producers with money, but doesn't do anything for the consumers. That removes the element of risk, which also removes an incentive for the producers to do anything differently. If there's no risk for failure due to being able to rely on government to bail you out, what's the incentive to change and improve the relationship between consumer and producer? For those of you who don't know and for the Democrats reading this, there is no incentive anymore. Government's attempts to "fix" the problem have wound up ripping apart the fabric of our economy. And in the immortal words of Egon Spengler, that would be bad.

Now that we have the auto industry and several banks asking for handouts, we've opened Pandora's box and let out everyone who has made a bad financial decision looking to get some green from the government. Of course, government itself doesn't have any money...until we give it to them in the form of taxes. As long as producers keep lining up for our money, they'll keep being artificially propped up, while the consumers keep extending themselves out further. And once the consumers get to a point where they can't buy any more, those producers will fail. The bailouts only delay the inevitable and reward incompetence.

And in the end, it will destroy both producers and consumers.

The current economic situation is like a leaky boat. If you keep bailing water out of the bottom of it without fixing the holes, you're wasting time and energy while not making headway in getting the water out of the boat. Throwing good money at companies that have made bad financial decisions won't suddenly make them fiscally responsible. All it will teach them is what they need to do to get more money from government. In fact, the only people more fiscally irresponsible than some of the nozzleheads who are begging for bailout money are the morons in Washington who think the bailouts help.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Simple Request

I have a simple request, one that will make America a lot better overnight if enough people do it.

Can we stop calling people not involved with the performance of rock music "rock stars"? Seriously, it's getting on my nerves more than "Gigli: The Musical."

Here's what I mean. Washington insiders are calling former Clinton Administration staffer John Podesta a "rock star" because he's working on Barack Obama's transition team. Have you seen a picture of this guy? He makes Pee Wee Herman look like George Clooney, for the love of Pete! Calling him a "rock star" is seriously devaluing the term. Well, except for Bon Jovi.

When you really think about it, calling someone a "rock star" in today's culture is damning with false praise. We're a celebrity-obsessed culture. We consider any celebrity sighting to be a major news event, so why wouldn't we start elevating people to "rock star" status over relatively mundane things? After all, it strokes our egos and we don't have to get off our duffs to do anything worthy of real praise.

So, in the name of all that is sane, stop calling people "rock stars" if they aren't rock stars. It's pathetic, it's getting boring, and it's nothing that requires any real effort to earn it.

Not to mention, I haven't been called a "rock star" yet.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unite Behind Obama?

Hearing some Obama supporters talk, now that he's President-Elect, Republicans and conservatives need to stop the partisanship and unite behind him to heal the country. That's a nice sentiment, one I'd normally agree with, but there are a few things that are presenting me from jumping on the bandwagon.

- After spending close to 2 years talking about trying to get past the politics of the past, in his first press conference since Election Day, Barack Obama took a swipe at Nancy Reagan, saying she held seances at the White House. One tiny problem: she didn't. What she's alleged to have done is consult astrologers to help make decisions. Last time I checked, astrology didn't involve dead spirits. Ah, but Obama called Nancy Reagan to apologize, so everything's okay, right? Well, when you consider that Obama's attempt at a bad ad libbed joke was being covered by an international press corps and Obama's apology was by phone...not so much.

- California voters approved a gay marriage ban on the same day they voted for Obama. ABC News reported of a Los Angeles protest against the gay marriage ban and interviewed one of the gay protestors who said that church groups "bought Californians' rights" because they spent so much to get the ban approved. How can I put this delicately? THERE IS NO RIGHT TO MARRIAGE! The people spoke, and they voted for the ban. But because the vote didn't come out the way some people wanted, we have to challenge the will of the people (but not when it goes the way they want it to)?

- Rahm Emanuel was named to be Obama's Chief of Staff. To the average person, Emanuel is an unknown entity, but to people who have followed politics, he's the Tom Delay of the Left. He has a scorched earth approach to politics and he doesn't care who gets hurt. Unity between Democrats and Republicans? I'm going to go out on a limb and say Emanuel probably doesn't agree with that.

- Obama came out with an idea that would mandate the American people to do community service. He's just changed his website to make it non-mandatory, but the point is already made: you will submit. Speaking personally, I volunteer for two non-profit organizations, as I'm sure many others do. These activities take time, but it's for causes I support, so I don't mind it. Government-mandated community service I mind because it removes an important element of true charity: the ability to choose. No word yet on whether this non-mandatory mandatory community service will apply to Washington politicians...

So conservatives and Republicans have to unite behind Obama now that he's President-Elect? I have one thing to say to Democrats, Leftists, and even Republicans who say this.

When Obama shows me that he's serious about uniting the country by telling his own side to unite to heal the country, then I'll unite behind him. But the way it looks right now, it's just words.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We Hold On

I know there are a lot of conservatives out there who are still feeling down about the results of the elections on Tuesday. At times like these, sometimes the right song will help. Looking through my CD collection, I came across a song from the Canadian rock trio Rush that fits.

From their CD "Snakes and Arrows" I humbly present "We Hold On."

How many times
Do we tire of all the little battles
Threaten to call it quits
Tempted to cut and run
How many times
Do we weather out the stormy evenings
Long to slam the front door
Drive away into the setting sun

Keep going on till dawn
How many times must another line be drawn
We could be down and gone
But we hold on

How many times
Do we chaff against the repetition
Straining against the faith
Measured out in coffee breaks
How many times
Do we swallow our ambition
Long to give up the same old way
Find another road to take

Keep going on till dawn
How many times must another line be drawn
We could be down and gone
But we hold on

Keep holding on so long
Cause theres a chance that we might not be so wrong
We could be down and gone
But we hold on

How many times
Do we wonder if it's even worth it
Theres got to be some other way
Way to get me through the day

Keep going on till dawn
How many times must another line be drawn
We could be down and gone
But we hold on

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Few Words...

I'm going to let the multitude of other conservative bloggers, columnists, and commentators ponder over the "what went wrong" question. I'm pretty much past that and am ready to accept Barack Obama as President-Elect. But before I do, I have a few words.

To Barack Obama, I wish you the best of luck. I didn't vote for you, and if the choice came up again, I still wouldn't. Having said that, you're about to enter the toughest job you'll ever have. If you're true to your word, you will unite this country. If not, you will have a lot of people who will not follow you, even if you're right.

To Joe Biden, you'd better be hitting your knees tonight and thanking God for bringing you as close to the Oval Office as you will ever get.

To John McCain, words cannot express how disappointed I am for you and in you. You ran a bad campaign by trying to be a good guy. The Left treated you like they treated any Republican, and you didn't even try to fight back as hard as you could have. I respect your sacrifices for this country and your service, but as a politician, you, sir, are a wuss. Next time you're up for reelection, retire.

To Sarah Palin, you were a breath of fresh air in this campaign. You were funny, honest, articulate, showed you had more brains than your media critics, and handled yourself with grace against some outrageous crap. I don't blame you if you decide not to run for President in 2012. America right now isn't worthy of you.

To Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, you both dodged a bullet yesterday. If the American voters were even one-tenth as aware as they should be, you two would be out of your jobs, and rightly so. But you won't have to worry about that just yet. But if Obama does poorly, you'll be out of excuses, and hopefully out of jobs.

To John Murtha, you should be in leg irons, not in the House. In spite of everything you've said that would have ruined a normal politician most years, you won. But your luck won't hold out forever, and I think you'll find a few legal problems in your future stemming from your stupid comments about the Haditha Marines.

To the Democrats for McCain, you guys and gals are the heart and soul of the old Democratic Party. Unfortunately, you're also going to be targeted by the Leftist scum who have taken over your party. You will be treated like Joe Lieberman, Zell Miller, and any other Democrat who dared to think for themselves and not drink the Kool Aid. But, for the sake of your party and this country, hang tough.

To the Republicans for Obama, sorry, kids, but I'm going to have to revoke your membership in the Republican Party. A good number of people who voted for Obama got sucked in by his "hope" and "change" talk. You should have known better. And by the way, it's people like you who gave us McCain.

To the mainstream media, you can remove your lips from Obama's ass now. And you owe us an apology for being in Obama's back pocket since it prevented you from doing your jobs. Oh, except when it came to Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. You guys were all over that crap.

To our allies around the world, we're sorry. I hope Obama doesn't screw up too badly when he tries to "restore America's image around the world," but I can't guarantee he won't.

And finally...

To the American people, in a year, I'll bet you'll be asking for a mulligan for electing Obama. Sorry, but there are no "do-overs" in Presidential politics. You bought him, you're stuck with him.

Friday, October 31, 2008

You Lost Me at "Hello"

This weekend is going to be big for many Americans who are unsure of who to support in the upcoming election. As they sit down to decide, they will look at a number of factors and ask serious questions to try to flesh out an answer. As a commentator, I may be one of the people some undecided voters look to for answers. (If so, I'm sorry.)

For a while, I considered voting for Barack Obama. From listening to an audiobook version of The Audacity of Hope, I believed he was the kind of Democrat I'd been waiting for for a long time. He was smart, articulate, wanted to bridge the partisan gap, and maybe, just maybe, make the country better.

Then, the wheels fell off my Obama support wagon. Why? Here's but a few reasons that you should keep in mind if you're still not sure who to vote for on Tuesday.

1) He and many his supporters have gotten cocky about how allegedly intellectually and morally superior they are because they're voting for Obama. That's a good way to turn off voters.
2) Obama has played the race card and has lied about what Republicans would say about him. McCain and Palin haven't mentioned race once, and McCain has even defended Obama on the stump. But Obama still plays the race card against them.
3) You can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps. William Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, and a multitude of other questionable connections say a lot about Obama, and none of it good.
4) He does not have a grasp on the war on terrorism, given that he dismissed the threat Iran poses to us because "it's a tiny little country." Let me remind you, Senator, that al Qaeda struck us without having any country whatsoever.
5) Much has been made of Obama's educational background, but not much is known about it. What we do know of it, such as his "professorship" at the University of Chicago, has been distorted by his campaign and his supporters. For people who have bashed George W. Bush's intelligence to follow someone with such shaky educational accomplishments says a lot.
6) The choice of Joe Biden as Vice President because of his alleged foreign policy experience (like the much maligned "three state Iraq" idea) shows that Obama really doesn't understand foreign policy at all.
7) After watching his campaign speeches and performance at the debates, it's clear Obama doesn't think well off the cuff. As President, not everything can be loaded into a teleprompter and read. He will have to make decisions with little to no prep time, and I have no confidence in his ability to do that.
8) "Hope" and "change" are not reasons to vote for someone. The Democrats ran on change in 2006 to win control of Congress, and things did change...for the worst.
9) Obama's tax plan makes no sense. He says 95% of Americans will get a tax cut in one form or another, but that already includes 40% of Americans who don't pay any taxes whatsoever, while maintaining or, most likely, increasing the taxes of the top 5%. That's not a good way to do business.
10) ACORN has been found guilty of voter fraud in the past and have been caught trying to commit voter fraud in this election. And who gave them $800,000? Obama/Biden.
11) Obama/Biden and the supporters of the ticket have an unhealthy disdain for average Americans. Just look at what they've done to try to malign Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber by digging into their histories for anything that could be used for political fodder. And I'm not talking about the usual digging either. What Obama has allowed to happen with silent sanction is nothing short of an invasion of privacy, all because Palin and Joe aren't on his side.

And finally...

12) For all of the questions that have arisen about Obama, he hasn't provided many answers. Maybe it's me, but I don't think that's a good way to make people trust that you're ready for leadership.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's Deja Vu All Over Again!

Tonight, Barack Obama had his campaign show (as I'm not sure "infomercial" is quite the word for what it was). I caught a bit of it because, well, I have other things to keep me occupied, but I was reminded of something while watching it.

Quick quiz. Who was the last Presidential candidate to spend money for airtime on prime time TV? If you said "Ross Perot" you would be correct. Perot's three prime time specials were innovative for the time, but they didn't really garner the kind of support necessary to win. Granted, he was running as a third party candidate, he had suspended his campaign and then restarted it, and, oh yeah, he was nuts, so it's not a perfect comparison. However, there were enough similarities in my mind to make the connection. Fortunately for Obama, very few voters today remember the Perot specials. And, also, fortunately for Obama, he didn't rely on charts and graphs to make his point.

Will it be effective in swaying those remaining unsure voters? Probably not. To be quite honest, I didn't see it as anything but Obama showing off how much money he could spend and what he could get major networks to do merely because he wanted to do it. This has the potential to backfire on Obama, especially if it comes off as elitist or if the viewership wasn't there to support doing it. We may never find out for sure, but there is one thing I do know for sure.

Some ideas just shouldn't be recycled.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Get Over It?

Barack Obama's buddy, William Ayers, came out recently at a Manhattan panel discussion and made some pretty outlandish comments. (Personally, the very fact he's out in public is pretty outlandish, too, but that's neither here nor there.) He said he was tired of being used for political fodder by John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Much like Obama has been about Ayers, Ayers is pretty dismissive about his past. But that doesn't mean we should be. Contrary to the spin the Obama folks have been putting out there, it's clear that Obama and Ayers weren't just casual acquaintances. They're tight, at least ideologically speaking. When you're that close to someone, it becomes very easy to overlook that person's less savory side. I experienced this when I supported Pat Buchanan in 1996. I was so enamored with his rock-ribbed conservative message (at that time) that I ignored his anti-Semitic side. Only after I stepped away did I see the full picture.

Right now, Obama isn't stepping away from Ayers, and Ayers isn't stepping away from himself. Yet, they both need to take that step and really see Ayers's past for what it is: rife with anti-American sentiments and acts of violence against the very country Obama hopes to run soon. The very fact that neither Obama nor Ayers found anything wrong with what the latter did until the former ran for President should scare us all.

But let's take the general sentiment of Ayers's comments into consideration. He doesn't appreciate being made into a political issue in this election? Well, Mr. Ayers, I have a not-so-modest proposition for you. I promise to leave you alone forever if you meet the following condition.

You bring back to life every single person the Weather Underground murdered.

If you can do that, I'll be happy to leave you alone. If not, you're fair game, sir.

Your move, Mr. Ayers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The 5% Solution

There has been a lot made about Barack Obama's plan to give 95% of Americans a tax cut if he's elected President. There are a number of problems with this proposal, but there's one that hasn't been considered at length yet.

Let's say for the sake of argument that Obama wins and gets his tax cut proposal through Congress. That would mean that the top 5% would see their taxes increased, and the funds from that going to people who didn't earn the money being given to them. At some point, the rich may ask themselves whether it's worth the cost to stay here. If they try to move their funds overseas, the Obama plan would tax them for doing it. That leaves them another option: getting out of the economy.

Granted, most of the 5% being taxes might not choose this option, but imagine how much money would be out of circulation if even 5% of that top 5% were to opt out of the economy. They could cash out, find a place to live (if they don't already have one), and simply live off their fortunes. Without that tax money, the government would find itself in a financial struggle.

Let's also remember that the Obama tax plan would raise taxes on corporations. Simple economics tells us that the corporations would most likely pass the higher taxes onto their customers, which would increase the prices of everything. But the damage goes further than that.

Take WalMart, for example. With higher taxes causing higher prices, some of WalMart's customers may not be able to afford the goods and services they provide. That causes a loss of business, which causes WalMart to lose money. To recoup the costs, WalMart would either need to raise prices to make up for the lost revenue or drop costs in the hopes of making up for it in volume. But if there isn't the money to buy up the volume necessary to make up for the lost revenue, they will be forced to raise prices, which will drive customers away. And the vicious circle continues until WalMart goes out of business or until the tax laws are changed.

Once the top 5% of people and corporations are gone, a new 5% gets elevated and the cycle begins anew. How many times do you think it would take before the government reaches a point where taxing the top 5% no longer sustains it financially? And what happens if the dollar takes another nosedive?

Before you vote, I want you to really think about the implications of Obama's tax plan as stated. Don't be dazzled by the prospect of being one of the 95% that he promises will get a tax cut because that money you'll get comes at a price, one that could mean the destruction of the American economy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Sign of Things to Come?

One was a shoe-in to win the biggest prize. Money, strong support, and an unstoppable approach to the game. That one had it all going for it. Victory was a foregone conclusion.

The other wasn't given a chance from the outset. It was deemed to be outgunned when put against the first one because it lacked quite a few of the weapons the other one had. Defeat was a foregone conclusion.

Sound familiar? It should, but not for the reason you think. Baseball fans might already know who the particulars were in the situations I described. The first group was the Boston Red Sox and the second group was the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston was presumed to win the World Series again because it had quite a few benefits on its side. On paper, Tampa Bay had no chance. Yet, who is playing for the championship right now?

Tampa Bay.

With all the talk about how Obama/Biden is a shoe-in to win and how McCain/Palin has no chance to win, just remember there were a lot of people thinking the Red Sox were a lock to win, and they lost to the underdogs.

To quote a former baseball great, Yogi Berra, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

Well, either Berra or Starship.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quick HIts

A few of the news items that caught my eye...

- Joe Biden made a speech today where he said if Barack Obama wins, he would be tested with an international incident within the first six months that would require him to make unpopular choices. This can be read one of two ways. The first is the one everyone on the Right seems to be jumping on: that Biden doesn't think Obama is ready to be President. The other is a bit darker. If Obama wins and pushes through an agenda that is as socialist as we fear, there will be revolt in America. As the world's most powerful country, any attempt at revolt would be seen as an international incident. And to put down that revolt would require President Obama to suspend some of the rights we enjoy now, most likely. Could Biden have been tipping his hand a bit? We'll hopefully never have to find out.

- Everybody has been talking about how well Sarah Palin did on "Saturday Night Live" so I figured I'd throw in my two cents' worth. She did a fine job and showed she can poke fun at herself while allowing others of a more Leftist bent to do the same. What got me was how Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey never could look Palin in the eyes, almost as if they pretended she wasn't really there. Palin showed people she was genuine and able to laugh at herself...while at least two of her co-stars didn't even have the courage to look her in the eyes.

- Is it just me, or does the Obama campaign have no concept of how to effectively counter-punch after John McCain delivers a political haymaker? When McCain started talking about William Ayers, Obama came back with...Charles Keating. When McCain started talking about ACORN, Obama...pretty much stayed quiet. When McCain and Palin started hitting back harder than they were giving, Obama...talked about the need for civility (while conveniently forgetting everything his supporters have said and done). And now when McCain is making the big push towards Election Day, Obama...gets Colin Powell's endorsement, which holds very little weight within conservative and independent circles anymore. Not that I mind Obama being inept in this department, but I have to point it out.

- Speaking of the Obama camp being inept, they have horribly mishandled the "Joe the Plumber" situation. While Obama has tried to talk up Joe and address his concerns, the other Joe (that is Biden) has been ripping him apart as phoney. And other Obama surrogates in the media have done to Joe what they did to Sarah Palin when she was announced to be McCain's running mate. What unites Palin and Joe is that they represent the average American or at least give off the image of the average American. By attacking them, Obama's supporters have the potential to drive working class people away from the ticket. And when the race is as close as it has become in recent weeks, every lost vote becomes that much more devastating to Obama.

- The latest Oliver Stone movie "W" came out last week to decent box office numbers. Ah, but what the media aren't telling you is that overall, it's in 4th place after its opening weekend. When you consider the bulk of the movies that directly or indirectly criticize President Bush have failed at the box office, I have little doubt "W" will meet a similar fate. But it begs the question of why Hollywood keeps putting out movies that will fail. (I mean, aside from anything done by the Wayans brothers.) My conclusion is that they just don't get it. Movies entertain the audience, not lecture them about how they should feel about political figures or issues. If you really want to teach us something, make it entertaining and we'll pick up on the message.

And finally...

- The closer it's getting to Election Day, the more the Obama supporters are trying to convince you that the election is over and all that needs to happen is for the American people to vote for Obama's Presidency to be a fait accompli. Of course, this doesn't work for me because it tells me the Obama campaign and its supporters are running scared. Let's not forget Obama didn't exactly burn up the last few primaries and never got the required number of delegates until the Democratic National Convention. Also, Obama's connection to ACORN and their repeated voter fraud should be cause for concern. If Obama is such a superior candidate, he should already be up by double digits or at the very least high single digits. Yet, consistently, he's been leading with numbers close to or within the margin of error of media polling. Karl Rove was right: Obama has not closed the sale, and with the election being days away, having supporters proclaim the election is over before the votes are tallies isn't a sign of confidence; it's a sign of arrogance.

And that never plays well in Des Moines.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Law of Unintended Consequences

General Colin Powell came out and announced that he was supporting Barack Obama for President. This announcement sent shockwaves through the political world because it was presumed that Powell would back John McCain. Personally, I wasn't all that surprised by it because Powell has never really been a Republican stallwart, even though he served under George W. Bush as Secretary of State. Say what you will about him, he wasn't really all that Republican.

But here's something interesting to note, if you haven't already. Remember a couple of years ago when the Left was screaming for Powell's head because he "lied" before the UN about the WMDs in Iraq? I remember seeing his name among those who would be prosecuted for war crimes in more than a few Leftist delusional rants. It wasn't so long ago that they were questioning his honor and patriotism for going along with the "failed Bush strategy."

Apparently, that's all been washed away because Powell backed Obama.

Not so fast, Lefties. You've made a cottage industry out of bashing Bush for his alleged ineptitude in Iraq and blamed Powell for being in on it. By patting him on the back for endorsing Obama, you have pretty much signed off on the Bush Doctrine as practiced in Iraq. And let's not overlook the fact that Obama himself has said there would not be an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq if he's elected President. Therefore, there are going to be plenty of opportunities for you newly-minted neocons to step up and serve your country.

After all, aren't you the same folks who tell conservatives who back the war in Iraq to enlist?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Second Thoughts on the Last Presidential Debate

With the final Presidential debate of this election over, it's time to wrap up this series of blog posts about them.

- The media said John McCain needed a "game-changer" in this debate to try to erase the deficit in the polls, but I don't buy that. As I've stated before, McCain has won his previous two debates and Sarah Palin won hers. With Barack Obama not being known this election year as a finisher and with the scandals swirling around him, Obama needed the "game-changer" because he wasn't putting McCain away with what he was doing. Sure, some polls have Obama ahead by double digits, but I don't think those polls are as accurate as some think they are. Obama needed a win last night to give credence to the polls his supporters cling to as proof that the election is over.

- From the outset, McCain went on the offensive, and it looked like he liked it. A few times, NBC (and possibly other networks) showed a split screen of the facial reactions of one candidate while the other was speaking. McCain was smiling and mugging for the camera for a good portion of the night, but when he spoke, you could tell he was quite comfortable being the aggressor.

- How did Obama react to being on the defensive? Not nearly as well. In the previous Presidential debates, Obama never quite got rolling and relied heavily on inserting his talking points into his responses, regardless of whether the talking points matched the questions asked. This may have satisfied Obama's supporters and independents who weren't paying attention, but to people who paid attention, he looked like he couldn't adapt to the situation. Not too Presidential, Senator Obama.

- The star of last night's debate was Joe the Plumber. Both candidates mentioned the man who Obama talked to on a rope line and told Obama would "spread the wealth" if elected President. This was a dumb comment by Obama, and thanks to the advent of video sharing websites like YouTube, it became nationally-known. But, it should be pointed out that no matter how Obama tried to spin his comment, he lost Joe the Plumber's vote that day by not being as compassionate to the middle and lower classes as he says he is on the stump.

- In the three debates, Obama relied on a lot of talking points, but none was more annoying to me than when he started off a number of his responses to McCain by saying, "There's a lot to cover" or words to that effect when McCain brought up many of Obama's contradictions and questionable tactics. Of course there was a lot to cover, Senator. You've spun quite a few tales!

- The John Lewis comments comparing McCain and Palin to segregationists were an issue. McCain pressed Obama to denounce his and other comments made by his surrogates, but Obama tried to turn the tables by saying Sarah Palin had made some questionable comments about him. He even went so far as to comment about some of the comments made at McCain rallies like "terrorist," "socialist," and "kill him." But what Obama didn't mention was that McCain has denounced such rhetoric, often at the point at which such rhetoric was uttered, while Obama has only released statements from his campaign. In other words, Obama holds Sarah Palin to a higher standard of behavior than he holds himself.

- Another annoying tendency of Obama is that he kept bringing up Bush and his "failed economic policies of the last 8 years." McCain took that on with a great line. "Senator, I'm not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago." It's comments like these that will stick with voters. And when McCain pointed out that things were pretty good economically until Democrats took control of Congress, that's the one-two punch that should resonate with voters.

- Joe Biden made an appearance at the debate last night. No, he wasn't on stage, but his foreign policy expertise came into question. Obama said he believed Biden had the foreign policy gravitas and would rely on it, but McCain rightly pointed out that Biden's foreign policy initiatives, such as the three state Iraq idea, weren't that great. To political junkies like me, it's these little things most people would pass over that shape the quality of the ticket. And if Obama is relying on Biden for foreign policy, we'll be in deep trouble if the two of them win.

- Along with Biden, William Ayers and ACORN reared their ugly heads in the Presidential debate. McCain was right to bring them up so Obama could explain away their connections to him. And Obama fumbled. He tried to downplay Ayers's past as a domestic terrorist and openly lied about his ties to ACORN as simply one of a lawyer-client relationship in 1995. With the reporting done on both stories, anybody who paid attention and was being intellectually honest would know he not just lied about their clear connections to him, but that he failed to convince people that those connections were as innocent as he made them out to be.

- I do need to bring up the job Bob Schieffer did as moderator last night. I put him somewhere between Tom Brokaw and Gwen Ifill. He did a good job for the most part keeping things on an even keel, but there were times when he let a little partisanship slip to try to help Obama. Overall, I thought Schieffer was fair and allowed each candidate time to speak without letting the emotions and the politics of the moment get too heated.

So, who won? Would McCain make a clean sweep of it, or would Obama finally get a win? I'll be accused of partisanship, but I've been accused of worse, so...

Get out the broom, Senator McCain, because you swept Obama. When it came down to it, Obama kept doing what he was doing in spite of the fact it really didn't work, and McCain took his message directly to the country. Obama came off as smug, not mentally flexible, and completely dismissive of the people he needed to connect with last night. McCain, at times, looked disdainful of Obama, but when he was on and answering questions, he was making the best case he could for himself, and it was good enough to win.

Whether it will be enough to win the election will be seen.

Hang on, kids! We're in for a bumpy three weeks!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Anger Management

As Election Day gets closer, political candidates bring out their rhetorical big guns. In the case of McCain/Palin, they're hitting on Barack Obama's questionable decisions, including his ties to domestic terrorist William Ayers. This, of course, has given Obama and his media buddies a chance to paint McCain/Palin as "going negative" and even "being angry." Their proof? People at McCain and Palin rallies yelling "Hang him" and "terrorist" and booing when McCain and Palin try to keep things civil. Maybe it's me, but I'm not sure McCain/Palin can be called "angry" when they're the ones trying to keep the focus on issues instead of personal attacks.

Is there anger on the Right? Absolutely, but it's not nearly as widespread as some would have you believe. The real source of anger in this election year has been the very people talking about angry the Right is. In my years of following politics, I have never seen the level of anger by one side as I've seen coming from the people supporting Obama. Some of it is passive aggressive, some of it is overt, but all of it is anger directed at a surrogate for George W. Bush: the Republican Party. Obama supporters still haven't gotten past George W. Bush winning two elections, and it's caused them to turn angry and mean. If you doubt me, look at the stories that came out about Sarah Palin and her family within the first two or three weeks of being named as McCain's running mate. Look at how they've maligned John McCain's service to this country, as well as his age.

What you'll find is that none of these attacks are focused on any real policy matters, but instead focus on the personal. This tells me that Obama's supporters know how weak a candidate he is, so instead of trying to help their candidate get stronger, they focus on tearing down his opponent. Granted, this has caused some McCain/Palin supporters to respond in kind, but most of the time, their supporters have kept things civil, and more importantly, factual. Sticking to the facts acts like a jeweler's cloth and exposes the flaws of the opposition, and that scares and angers Obama's supporters even more.

Calling McCain/Palin angry is misinformation at its finest. If anything, McCain/Palin has erred on the side of civility more often than not. On the other hand, Obama/Biden has tapped into the anger of the Left and allowed its supporters to act on their behalf to slander the candidates, personally attack anyone who doesn't agree with them, and commit acts of vandalism, theft, and fraud.

So, who are the angry ones here?

George Soros: Activist Investor

A friend of mine tipped me to a story that should get everyone thinking. Former CEO of Sovereign Bancorp Jay Sidhu said that he was forced out of his job by "activist investors" who ultimately lead to the demise of Sovereign Bancorp by trying to make as much money as possible for themselves with no concern for the long-term consequences. Regardless of whether you think he's telling the truth about his situation, he does bring up an interesting concept, that of businesspeople giving in to the dark side of capitalism for short-term gains.

From where I sit, the Big Kahuna of activist investors has to be George Soros. Soros is known in political circles as a big donor to Leftist causes, including Media Matters and His economic writings tend to also suggest Leftist solutions to economic issues, and people on Wall Street listen to him. But what may not be as known is how intertwined the two are.

Soros emigrated to this country with a healthy disdain for capitalism. After learning economics, he's used his knowledge to advance his wealth at the expense of others. In a move that put Soros on the map, he nearly caused the collapse of the British pound because he sold it short. His actions almost took down the British banking system, and it made him a ton of money.

As the former Soviet Union was struggling with new political and economic freedom, Soros made another play against the ruble. This caused massive economic upheaval (as well as helped his ideological allies who still view communism as pretty nifty), and it made Soros a lot of money. He repeated this pattern in Indonesia with the same results. Soros is so hated in Indonesia that he would be arrested if he sets foot in the country.

And what does he do with all the money he made off his unethical economic practices? He promotes Leftist organizations, while at the same time preaching of the virtues of what he calls an "Open Society." Seems pretty inocuous, right? Once you dig into the concepts of the "Open Society," you'll notice it looks and sounds a lot like communism or socialism. And of the political factions in America, which one do you think would be the most willing to accept millions of dollars as well as the concepts of the "Open Society"?

Three guesses, and the first two are "Democrats."

But you don't have to take my word for it. Research "Open Society" and "George Soros" on your favorite search engine and read Soros's words for yourselves.

Put simply, George Soros is the worst kind of activist investor. The fact he's still highly regarded on Wall Street should give us all pause to think.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

There's been a lot made out of ACORN and its attempts to falsify voter registration records, mainly from the Right. The Left has been trying to downplay the implications of ACORN's actions, playing the "it's a right to vote" card to the "it's not really voter fraud" card. But it's the latter argument that I'm going to address right now because it's the most dishonest.

On the surface, ACORN appears to have a point. All some members of the organization or the people working for them have done is fill out or have others fill out voter registration cards that don't match up with eligible voters in different states. Surely that can't really be considered voter fraud, right?

Not so much. The fake voter registration is the first step of the scam. Once these folks are on the voter rolls, they can then request...absentee ballots. Then, these same illegally registered voters could have the absentee ballots mailed to...oh I don't know...ACORN. Then, ACORN could fill out the absentee ballots and mail them in to be counted. And if the election officials aren't thorough and spot the problems, those votes will get counted, illegally.

And three guesses who benefits the most from such an enterprise.

So, don't buy into the notion that the only thing ACORN did wrong was sign up people who weren't eligible to vote. It was only the first phase of their plan to steal an election for a man they're allied with, Barack Obama.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Afterthoughts on the Second Presidential Debate

Two men, one debate, and one blog post from me on the debate.

- Did Barack Obama answer more than 2 or 3 questions directly? From the opening question to the last question, I noticed he talked a lot, but rarely addressed the question asked of him. This made him look defensive. And the fact that he used every question to launch into a pre-programmed talking point from a stump speech made him look like he was afraid to think on his feet. You might be able to get away with changing the questions in Toastmasters, but in a Presidential debate, you actually need to talk about the subjects presented.

- The town hall format worked in John McCain's benefit. From the outset, he got up, walked over near the person who asked the question (when it wasn't someone from online), and talked to them. Obama didn't initially, but then did it after McCain did. From a public speaking standpoint, such a move made McCain seem more interested in the audience, like he was trying to make a personal connection with them. His tone of voice also aided this. While Obama was talking at the audience, McCain was talking to the audience.

- For the most part, Tom Brokaw kept a tight leash on the candidates, letting them talk and reminding them of the rules. And when Brokaw showed a little leniency to Obama by letting him respond to one of McCain's responses, he showed leniency to McCain to allow him time to respond to Obama's response. Gwen Ifill could learn a thing or fifty on debate moderation from Brokaw.

- Speaking of rules, did you notice the number of times Obama wanted to break the rules of the debate by asking to respond to McCain's statements? The candidates agreed to the rules, and after being admonished a couple of times for going over, McCain really tried to follow the rules, but Obama didn't. And, rightly so, Obama got shut down most of the time. Not a good sign for Obama.

- Obama made some big blunders last night, but one of the biggest ones was focusing so much on George W. Bush. By focusing on the past, he allowed himself to be mired in the past without giving much time to talk about what he was going to do to fix the situations he blamed on Bush. As easy as it is for Leftists to do, not everything can be blamed on George W. Bush. You guys were just as guilty as Bush, if not more so on economic issues.

- Once again, Obama tried to paint the subprime mortgage and bank failures on the lack of regulation promoted by President Bush. But we've seen the facts, and the lack of regulation was promoted by Democrats like Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, and others. And who called for tighter controls on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? George W. Bush and John McCain. So, Senator, just how is it Bush's fault that the Democrats in Congress rejected regulation?

- Just where are the news networks finding these "independent voters" they poll after the debates? Many of them gave the nod to Obama as winning the debate because they felt he answered the questions. The only way you could make that statement is if you weren't paying attention or if you were in the tank for Obama.

- I listened to Sean Hannity and a number of conservative friends of mine about how McCain needed a knockout punch last night in order to win, but that's not quite right. Remember, there is one more debate, and if McCain went out loaded for bear in this debate, what would he do for the third debate? Repeating the same lines from the previous debate won't help him win, as we saw from Obama. Instead, I think McCain's using Muhammad Ali's "rope-a-dope" strategy, letting Obama hit McCain for a while before McCain gets started. This strategy seems to work because Obama's first two debates have been weak, so he didn't land too many rhetorical punches before getting tired. This leaves McCain with an opportunity to not just nail Obama on his plans, but to introduce a primary campaign concept: Obama's judgment is not good for the country.

As far as who I gave the nod to, this one was easy. John McCain ran away with the debate. He put Barack Obama on the defensive from the outset and Obama floundered as a result. This was not Obama's best showing, and we'll see whether it hurts him in the polls. By my scorecard, the Obama/Biden ticket is 0 for 3 in debates, which means the media will have to figure out a way to turn an embarrassing loss into a near victory before the next debate.

Three down, one to go.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama Asks for the Wrong Discussion

The last month of a campaign always brings out the big guns as candidates jockey for position going into an election. This election is no different. With both John McCain and Sarah Palin bringing back the ties between Barack Obama and William Ayers, Obama has been on the defensive. His initial response was to say he was "ready for a character discussion." Then, his campaign launched into McCain's connection to the Keating Five scandal.

Ah, but the issue isn't about character, Senator. The issue is about judgment.

The William Ayers situation is proving troublesome to the Obama campaign because they thought they dealt with these claims during the Democratic primaries. The problem with that conclusion, however, is that the lack of media attention does not mean the issue goes away. With the media being in the Obama camp, they simply didn't bother to do the legwork, but the issue remains. When Hillary Clinton tried to make the Obama-Ayers connection, it wasn't followed up on to determine whether the connection was real. The most they did was to "fact check" it on a cursory level, which worked best for Obama.

Now that the McCain/Palin ticket has resurrected the Ayers story, Obama is left having to play defense yet again, but against a more aggressive candidate, one with more to gain from discussing Ayers than what Clinton had. And one who can build on the Clinton gambit to establish a real question about whether Obama can lead.

That's why Obama wants to take the attention away from the judgment issue and more into the realm of character. Obama can talk up his character and, compared to some of the things McCain has done in the past, he would win that discussion. But on questions of judgment, he's going to lose because of the multiple questionable decisions he's made during his life, of which his connection to Ayers is just one. Once voters consider the Ayers situation, they might reconsider Obama's connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Franklin Raines, Jim Johnson, Jamie Gorelick, Tony Rezko, and others that the media have not covered as extensively as they have with questionable connections involving McCain/Palin. Then, these voters might wonder why Obama has made so many bad or questionable decisions over his life.

And that's not a discussion Obama wants.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

An Open Letter to the State of Michigan

Normally, I don't gear my blog posts to a specific audience, but this one has to be written. If you're not from Michigan, hopefully you can take something out of this one and prevent what happened in Michigan earlier this week.

Dear Michigan,

How are you? How are the kids? Haven't heard from you in a while, so I figured I'd drop a line.

Listen, the real reason I'm writing is to set you straight on something. John McCain pulled up stakes and left Michigan earlier this week because he was no longer competitive against Barack Obama. Given how the state has leaned leftward in recent years, I'm sure a good number of you there think it's a good thing McCain's leaving. After all, why would you want someone who would follow the previous 8 years of economic policy, which have been disastrous for you?

Well, you might want to take a look at what got you here, and contrary to what you've been lead to believe, it's not George W. Bush at fault here. Sure, some of the things he's done nationally haven't been so economically sound, but he's not the one with his fingers in your wallets. He's no more responsible for the unemployment and tightened finances in your state than I am.

In fact, all you need to do is look to your capitol at your Governor, Jennifer Granholm, for the person most responsible for the economic woes you have. When jobs were getting scarce and your state's economy was tanking, she signed bills into law that increased your taxes. And it didn't help. Recently, she signed into law a requirement that 10% of your state's energy come from renewable sources. She's promising it will create jobs, but even if it does, the problem will still exist. The higher taxes are making it harder for people to be hired and to live on what they earn from the jobs they have. It's not Bush who signed those higher taxes into law; it's Granholm.

And have you checked with your unions lately? What have they done to help you in these tough economic times? Aren't they supposed to be fighting for you against the big corporations? Let me let you in on a little secret. They're not fighting for you nearly as much as you think they are. Right now, they're more about making sure their jobs are secure and keeping Democrats elected than they are about making sure you're represented at the workplace. Ask yourselves what unions have done for you in the past, oh, 20-30 years. They may have gotten you some things, like a bit more money in the retirement fund or a bump up on the insurance plan, but those are small things compared to what's needed now. An extra buck towards dental insurance doesn't mean that much when you're struggling to make ends meet.

Look at your Congressional representation. By my count, all but 52 of your Representatives and neither of your Senators are Democrats. What are they doing to help Michigan right now? I know that Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow have been attacking George W. Bush for one thing or another and demanding he be held accountable, but who is keeping them accountable for their actions or lack of them? How many Representatives agree with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's tactics to marginalize the Republicans as they tried to pass a bill that would have removed the Congressional ban on offshore drilling, an act that would have made gas more affordable and would have created jobs more than what Granholm suggested?

But it's easier to blame Bush than it is to dig a little deeper and find the ones truly responsible for the economic situation. And thanks to your unwillingness to consider John McCain, your chance to break the cycle and make a break for a different future has gone with him. Instead, you're solidly behind Barack Obama, a Democrat who has promised great things if he's elected. Just like, I'm sure, Granholm, the unions, and the Democrats you've put into political office have. But before you pull that lever for Obama, ask yourselves one question.

What has voting Democrat consistently actually delivered for you?

From where I sit, not a hell of a lot.


Thomas Lindaman