Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thanks For Showing Up, Jess

In a stunning move that surprised no one who knows Jesse Jackson, Jackson and other civil rights leaders and African-American figures held a press conference Monday announcing that they would urge people to stop using the n-word. And Lord knows we were all waiting to see what African-Americans felt about the n-word.

Actually, there is some debate. Some, like Jackson, Maxine Waters, and comedian Paul Mooney (I don't know who he is, either.) say it should no longer be used. Others, like a good number of rappers today, use the n-word like some people use the word "lederhosen." Of course, those people happen to be polka groupies, but you get the point.

Then, just as you think there's an issue that I might actually agree with Jackson on, he goes and suggests the n-word has no protection under the First Amendment. In the immortal words of Alex Trebec and Glenn Beck, "Ooooh. Sor-ray."

As hateful and mean as that word can be, government need not get involved. Maybe you have been shaking down businesses too much to notice, Jess, but we're doing just fine without government intervention. See, most people in this country don't use the n-word anymore because we've come to understand that it really has no place in our vocabularies. Those who do use it tend to be people we don't want to emulate.

Not to mention, the owner of the comedy club where Michael Richards did his racist rant, Jaime Masada, said he would ban any comedian who uses hateful words like the n-word. And without a single bureaucrat telling Masada to do it.That's a smart businessman, one who has imposed a private standard to those who want to work at his club. And if the comedians who want to work there are smart, they'll play ball.

Although it's nice to see you finally come down on one side or the other regarding the n-word, Jess, it's really not necessary, and you're at least a couple of decades too late. We've evolved beyond the need for such a word, and we didn't need a civil rights leader and his merry band of race hustlers to help us.

Besides, Jess, if we started making speech we didn't like illegal, how long would it be before you landed in jail next to Howard Stern?

Is Reaganism Dead?

New York Senator Charles Schumer stopped by the New York Daily News recently and sat down for an interview. Among the comments he made, he crowed about what he saw was the death of the ideals of Ronald Reagan. Here are a couple of his comments for your review:

We're in better shape than [Republicans] are, because they don't realize that Reaganomics is dead, that the Reagan philosophy is dead.... We realize that New Deal democracy, which is still our paradigm, which is sort of appeal to each group...that doesn't work anymore.

The old Reagan theory which dominated --- which is, "Government is bad, it's out of touch, chop off its hands as soon as it moves." --- is over.

Hmm...and it doesn't sound like he's too sad about it.

Some would say Schumer has a point, given the recent election results and how Republicans in power have strayed away from Reagan's principles of smaller government. But let's take a closer look at the facts.

I've seen many Republicans who are upset with the spending the Republican-controlled Congress did on more pork than a high rise pig farm. I've seen more than a few Republicans and conservatives question some of the actions taken on behalf of national security. I've seen Republicans and conservatives support a war in the Middle East to bring safety to the world, in spite of the criticisms of people like Schumer. I've seen Republicans and conservatives support tax cuts, which has been proven to stimulate the economy more than raising taxes does.

And what did Reagan do?

- tried to rein in Congressional spending
- did his best to strike a balance between national security and personal freedom
- take on the Soviet Union and win, thus taking out a nuclear superpower and making the world safer in spite of the Democrats saying Reagan would "destroy the world"
- cut taxes, which stimulated the economy

Hmm...sounds to me like Reaganism and Reaganomics are still alive and well and living in the hearts and souls of Republicans and conservatives. And let's not forget that Democrats proclaimed the death of Reaganism when Bill Clinton was elected. Then, we had George W. Bush, who tried to fit the Reagan mold as best he could and succeeded far more often than Schumer would care to admit.

Maybe Schumer should be more concerned about his own party's factionalization, which really could destroy the Democrats as we know them, before writing eulogies for concepts he disagrees with and most likely doesn't understand.

Nah. That would require more sense than sanctimony.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Response to President Ahmadinejad

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

I read your letter to my country with interest. Finally, I had a chance to read your ideas in your own words, not filtered through the American media. And let me tell you, you left me with a profound conclusion.

Sir, you're an idiot.

Do you honestly believe Americans buy your lies? Sure, some of us aren't the sharpest bowling balls on the Christmas tree, but we aren't all Paris Hilton. Some of us actually pay attention to what you're doing in Iran and the world. We're paying attention to what you said at the United Nations and elsewhere. And we know when you're pulling our legs...or some other body part.

Your letter is full of half-truths and lies. You don't want peace for the Palestinians. You don't want peace in the Middle East. You don't even want to work with us. All you want is Israel and the United States either under your heel or six feet underground. And I will do everything in my power to ensure that doesn't happen.

Taking your letter as a whole, it's clear to me that you don't think very highly of Americans and think that a few nice words to us will persuade us to follow your lead and demand we ask President George W. Bush to step down or to have the Democrats impeach him. I hate to break this to you, Sparky, but it's a little tougher to get a President impeached than to have some leader with a funny last name wish out loud for it to happen.

And as far as us demanding Bush step down? That's not going to happen because we just don't care enough to demand it. We're too busy enjoying Starbucks, SUVs, and Internet porn, three things I don't think you have in your country. Something else to consider: most Americans today don't vote and don't care to pay attention to politics. You think we'll dance to your tune because you wrote some meaningless platitudes? Think again. Most of us won't even get off the couch for you, sir.

So, next time you think about writing a letter to the American people trying to convince us that you're a great guy and that it's America and Israel making you look bad, don't. Whatever it is you're selling, we aren't buying. After all, you hung out with Hugo Chavez, and he's hung out with Cindy Sheehan. That makes you only slightly removed from a complete freak.

And Sheehan's even worse.

Now, with all due respect, President Ahmadinejad: SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE!


Thomas Lindaman

Newt's Right about Free Speech

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich raised eyebrows recently when he said we will have to review our concept of free speech in the post-9/11 world to curtail terrorist activities. Gingrich specfically cited the use of the Internet and other methods of speech used to recruit potential terrorists, and said a "different set of rules" may be needed to address these recruiting efforts.

Naturally, this has the faux left up in arms. How DARE he suggest curtailing freedom of speech in any way! I'll tell you how.

Because he's exactly right.

We've gotten into this mindset that freedom of speech is absolute; all you need to do is claim that whatever you're doing is free speech and, thus, protected by the First Amendment. The problem is that not all speech qualifies for this protection. You can't use the First Amendment to protect you if you use your speech to cause physical injury to someone (i.e. yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater). You can't use the First Amendment as a shield if you purposely and maliciously defame someone (i.e. slander and libel).

And you can't use your speech to advocate or assist in destroying America. That's called treason, kids, and it isn't protected under the First Amendment. The people who want to kill us have taken advantage of our freedoms to set up shop and act in ways that, if unchecked, will hurt us in the long run. Sure, they'll claim "Islamophobia" or "racism" or seek out legal representation to fight for their "rights" and expect us to sit back and let it happen. And more often than not, we will because we're afraid of offending them or being labled a hateful person.

But that fear should not stop us from doing what we have to do to protect our country. After all, if we lose our country because we are too permissive of those who would do us harm, we won't have to worry about the loss of rights because it will have already happened.

Gingrich's statement about re-examining free speech during the war on terrorism is a harsh truth that we have to consider. Of course, political opponents will try to twist his words into something they're not (Remember the flap over "wither on the vine"?), but it's with a purpose. They know Newt is right, so they create a strawman argument to knock down, thus taking people's attentions off the heart of what Newt said and his intentions. He isn't suggesting curtailing free speech to help create a Big Brother-type environment; he's doing it to protect the country. That's more than I can say about the people who will be coming forward to go after him.

So, think carefully before you go off on Newt for this idea. The rights you save may be your own.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The American Legal System at Work, Ladies and Gentlemen

Is it just me, or has the legal system in this country gone more to the dogs than Pavlov? Here's a list of cases I've come across in recent weeks.

- A federal judge has ordered the Treasury Department to come up with new currency because the current paper money allegedly discriminates against the visually impaired.

- A couple is suing Starbucks because their daughter got burned by hot chocolate. (I've commented on this one in more detail in a previous entry, but it bears repeating in this entry.)

- A man accused of having sex with a dead deer has a lawyer arguing that there was no crime committed because the deer ceased being an animal under the law because it was dead.

- Audience members who were targeted by Michael Richards during his now-infamous rant at a comedy club have sought legal representation from Gloria Allred to try to get Richards to apologize or get more serious punishment should a retired judge order it.

And these are just the higher profile ones. I'm sure there are others that are equally as inane, and all are putting a drain on our legal system. Do you think judges like sitting at the bench listening to two people whose legal knowledge could fit on one side of a gnat's Post-It Note, or giving a jury of 12 people who most likely don't want to be there instructions that will be forgotten two minutes after they go into separate chambers to deliberate?

The biggest problem facing our legal system today is, oddly enough, the lawyers who are part of it. The Constitution may guarantee us the right to counsel, but we've taken that right and run with it into areas that would make the Founding Fathers cringe. You know, if they were still alive and stuff. Lawyers are able to turn minor incidents of stupidity into major payoffs for their clients, which means they get paid big bucks while creating legal precedent that other lawyers can use in their own cases that are equally frivilous.

I'm not saying all lawyers are like that. A good number of them do strive to help people and not try to make the quick buck. Unfortunately, these lawyers aren't the ones people go to when they want to sue a chain saw manufacturer because the chain saw that cut off their hands didn't have a warning label saying "Do Not Juggle While Running If You're Clumsier Than Inspector Clouseau." People who want to play the Jurisprudence Lotto will seek out the ones selling the winning tickets. And that means they'll look to hucksters before they'll even glance in Atticus Finch's direction.

I know expecting sanity out of the American legal system is like expecting competence in Congress, but I think we can fix this. Next time you do something and some Johnny Cochran wannabe tells you "Let's sue! We could make a mint!" do something for me.

Tell him or her to hit the bricks because they're not in it for you or for the law. They're in it for the fat paycheck they'll get if they win.

A Couple of Housecleaning Items

After having this blog for nearly a week, I'm already looking to make a few changes to the site. And I'm giving you, my loyal fans, a chance to voice your opinion. (No, getting someone else to write my blog for me isn't an option.)

Instead, I'm looking at ways to jazz up the site a bit. For example, something I thought of was to change the tagline of the site every month. (For those of you playing along at home, the tagline of the site right now is "Politics, Pop Culture, and Social Commentary, Now With 25% Less Fat!") Color schemes, photos, girls dancing on tables, I'll listen to any suggestions you have and consider them as seriously as I consider my breakfast options in the morning. (For the record, Cap'n Crunch and red wine...not as tasty as one might think.)

So, get suggesting, my fans! I'll be expecting the ones and ones of emails from you soon!

Monday, November 27, 2006

...And the Sun Is Really, Really Hot

You might want to brace yourself for the information I'm about to give you. It may not be suitable for young children, the easily offended, or people with heart conditions. Viewer discretion is advised.

John not likable.

A recent poll of 20 political figures, including people thinking about running for President, showed Kerry came in 20th out of 20 in likability. I know, it shocked me, too. But, we can get through this together. We just need courage, the kind of courage Kerry showed in his days and days in Vietnam...

Okay, even I can't stay that sarcastic for that long. Is anyone really surprised by this? Kerry isn't exactly oozing with charisma. But he is oozing with something else: an eltist attitude that can't be shut off, even when he's trying to appeal to average people like you and me. Whether it's looking completely dorky windsurfing or telling a "botched joke" where he insulted our soldiers, he simply doesn't know how to connect with people outside of his circles. Al Gore had the same problem and we all know how he turned out.

And if Kerry's poor showing in the likability poll wasn't bad enough, check out this quote by Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute ( the people who did the likability poll):

This is bad news for Kerry. Americans know who he is, and have pretty much decided they don't like him.

Yeah. And the sun is really, really hot.

Think This Will Be Front Page News?

Remember how former Vice President and self-professed creator of the Internet Al Gore predicted this year would be a bad one for hurricanes because of global warming? Well, hurricane season ends Thursday, and we saw a whopping FIVE hurricanes. And not a one of them reached Category 4 or 5 for the first time since 1997. In other words, Gore was wrong.

And people take him seriously as an environmentally-minded politician?

For those of us who have paid attention, it's not that surprising. Gore's reputation as an intellectual is more smoke and mirrors than facts and reason. I decided to read his first book Earth in the Balance and make notes in the margins with all the questions I had, using a little more than a high school education in science. By the time I got through the first chapter, I had more questions than Gore could provide. But he had the "we're all gonna die" rhetoric cranked up to 11.

Then, Gore returned to the scene with An Inconvenient Truth, a book and documentary about global warming. I like good science fiction as much as anyone, but I just couldn't plop down the money to see Gore's film in the theaters, mainly because I knew what it would be like: more "we're gonna die" rhetoric cloaked in half-truths and ominous predictions by impressive-sounding scientists who agree with Gore.

Yet, for all of Gore's alleged scientific credibility on the matter, he was wrong with his hurricane predictions. And I'm not talking about a little off. I'm talking five Cat 3 or weaker hurricanes in this past year after predicting a spike in the number of strong hurricanes.

Ouch. Sucks to be wrong, doesn't it, Al?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hot Chocolate = Cold Cash?

There are times when I wonder if the human race is doomed. Here's another example.

According to, an Indianapolis couple is suing Starbucks for serving their young daughter hot chocolate that caused serious burns after it was accidentally spilled on her while she was in a car seat. According to the mother (whose name I won't give out to avoid giving them any type of advertising for their action), the skin on the daughter's leg "was falling off of her."

Okay, I'm no doctor, but that raised a HUGE red flag with me. Since when does hot chocolate, or any hot liquid this side of, oh, molten lava, cause skin to fall off someone's body? I did a little digging on a website from the U. S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health and found this information on the various degrees of burns.

First degree burns cause pain, redness, and swelling.

Okay, so we know it's not a first degree burn. What about second degree?

Second degree burns cause the symptoms of first degree burns while also causing blistering.

Hmmm... strike two. One more shot...

Third degree burns cause white or blackened skin that may be numb.

Well...close, but not quite. And for me to sign off on the possibility of a third degree burn, I'd have to see photographs of the burn area to believe hot chocolate was capable of being that hot.

Personally, I think the suit is a combination of a mother's overstatement of the injury and a lawyer's coaxing saying, "We can win this one! At the very least, we can get you a nice settlement. Starbucks won't mind losing some money to make this go away and make you whole."

Or make you A hole, if you know what I mean.

By way of full disclosure, I do enjoy Starbucks coffee every now and again, and I do know they tend to serve their drinks on the hot side. Having said that, the mother bears some responsibility for putting her daughter in a position where the hot chocolate could be spilled. If the hot chocolate was that hot (and the heat should have been felt by the mother if she handed the drink to her daughter just by touching the cup), then the mother's actions created the environment where the burn could happen. In cases like that, the company should only bear minimal responsibility for the situation. The rest goes squarely on the mother.

But knowing who's manning juries these days, I wouldn't be surprised if the family gets enough money to buy a Starbucks outright. Until then, let me leave you with a warning.

Hot chocolate is called hot chocolate for a reason: BECAUSE IT'S FLIPPING HOT!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Re-birth Day to Me!

This weekend marks a big anniversary for me. It marks my first anniversary back at God's side after 20 years of wandering aimlessly with my faith. Without going into too much detail, I came to realize a year ago that I had let human character flaws get between my God and me, but I didn't quite know how to find my way back. At times like that, we sometimes need a good hard spiritual shake to get us to see the path clearly. (Is it just me, or does it sound like I was comparing faith to an Etch-A-Sketch?)

For me, the shake was the story of a pregnant woman and a teenage girl who tried to help her after the former was knocked down at a WalMart on the day after Thanksgiving. As the pregnant woman fell, people were stepping on or around her on their way to shop for whatever item they thought they needed. A teenage girl stepped in to try to help the woman up, but she got knocked down and trampled until others helped her. Last I knew, both were okay, but after I heard about it, I wasn't. Something about that whole situation bothered me to the point of tears. Then, a thought came to me: I needed God's help with this. After some prompting from a great group of people I met online, I finally got off my duff and went to church seeking answers to my spiritual questions.

Since then, I've found a great church with an amazing group of people with whom I am proud to associate. But it was never about meeting new people or me feeling good. I went back to church with the purpose of reconnecting with God because it was something I needed to do, and I have not regretted it since. I cannot tell you how much my life has improved since I reopened my eyes to God's grace.

As those of you who know me know, music is a big part of my life. One of the artists that "spoke" to me during my return to Christian faith is contemporary Christian artist Jeremy Camp. I highly recommend the CD I listened to as I restarted my journey with God, "Restored," because it seemed to come into my life at just the right time and helped to strengthen my resolve.

In closing (and I'm sure a good number of you are happy I'm finally wrapping up this rant), let me leave you with a simple instruction. If you have something that's hanging over your head that you don't know if you can handle yourself, talk to God in whichever denomination you feel comfortable. He's always there and He's always ready to listen. All you have to do is pray to Him to get the conversation started.

Since When Is 49 out of 100 Seats a Majority?

I have to clear the air about something that's been bugging me lately. The Democrats and their pals in the media are saying about the makeup of the Senate (And I'm not talking about the makeup being used to make Robert Byrd look like a living human being, either!) that Democrats hold a majority in the Senate. After Election Day, the Democrats had won 49 seats, Republicans had won 49 seats, and 2 Independents (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut) had won seats. Sanders is an avowed socialist, so more than likely he'd vote with the Democrats. And Lieberman tends to vote Democrat 90% of the time, so it's easy to think the Democrats have 51 seats.

Let me make this perfectly clear: Independents are NOT Democrats by default

But I can understand why the Democrats and the media are acting like they have 51 votes. It's to rub it in the face of Republicans and give the American people the impression that they're in control of Congress. The fact is they're not. They are going to have a hard time governing to keep their base happy because not everyone with a D behind their names is a Nancy Pelosi clone. Let's not forget many Democrats who won did so by appealing to the moderate to conservative voters. Now that they're in office, those voters are going to be expecting the people they voted into office to act on their promises.

With the Senate, Joe Lieberman won't vote straight ticket Democrat because he sees his former party as going in the wrong direction on many issues. Plus, there's that whole kicking him out of the party and labeling him everything from a traitor to a Republican to contend with... Anyway, the 49-49-2 split gives Lieberman the ability to make or break a Democrat proposal in the Senate. After all, when there is a 50-50 tie in the Senate, guess who gets the tie-breaking vote.

That's right. Vice President Dick Cheney.

Kinda takes the blush away from the Democrats' "victory" in the Senate race, doesn't it?

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Plea for Sanity on "Green Friday"

Today is "Green Friday" (also called "Black Friday") because of all the post-Thanksgiving sales that are going on. People will be mobbing stores and malls trying to get a great deal on holiday presents or just personal items. Having seen the chaos that accompanies "Green Friday" the past two years and the pre-Green Friday chaos that accompanied the release of the PlayStation 3, I have one thing to say. No gift is so important that you have to knock down somebody or trample them to get it. You may think it's the "perfect gift," but the holidays aren't about "the perfect gift." They're about reconnecting with those things that mean the most to you: family, friends, your faith. And if you believe material goods are more important than those things, you have more serious problems than finding "the perfect gift." I'm as much of a capitalist as anyone, but even capitalism can't replicate the feeling of peace, love, and good will towards men that the holidays create naturally. Just show some of that today, wouldya?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

O.J. Runs Out of Juice

With all the problems out there in the world today (international terrorism, the situation in Darfur, the possibility that Paris Hilton will put out a second CD), I'm more than a little perplexed by the recently-concluded controversy over O. J. Simpson's book If I Did It and the TV interview Fox was going to run to promote it. It's not just because I think Fox and Judith Regan, the publisher of the book, were wrong to try to resurrect the double murder Simpson is accused of.

It's because it's O. J. Freaking Simpson.

Seriously, who in their right minds would spend even two minutes listening to this guy right now? The problem is...far too many people would. We're a society that loves to see the famous screw up. Would we give two craps about Michael Richards these days if it hadn't been for his racist tirade on stage at a comedy club? For a while, I thought he was part of the Federal Witness Relocation Program after "The Michael Richards Show" stunk up the airwaves so badly.

And the O. J. book/interview is no different. We're so wrapped up in his celebrity (or alleged celebrity these days) that we fall prey to our baser instincts before our minds can slap us up-side the head and say, "Hey, you goober, there are more important things than this dirtbag out there." Ask yourself this question. If the roles were reversed and O. J. Simpson had a choice between watching your interview where you kinda-sorta confess to a double murder and a TiVo'ed episode of "Deal or No Deal," what do you think he'd watch?

That's right. "Deal or No Deal." Why? Because you simply aren't as interesting as Howie Mandell and those briefcase models.

Fortunately, Fox head honcho Rupert Murdoch pulled the plug on the whole interview and most of the copies of If I Did It have been recalled to be destroyed. But that doesn't change the fact that Americans spent far too much time thinking about O. J. Simpson and not enough time on the really important issues. Simpson is a shiny object that distracts us...and our society has ADD. So, the next time some celebrity does something that puts them in the news in a bad way, take a moment to think about whether it's worth your time to bother with it. If you don't think it is, ignore it and move on. If you think it is, go for it. Immerse yourself in the story. Just try not to get in front of me in the mall, okay?

Coming Soon to a Cyberspace Near You...

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the blogosphere, the guy who has only had a cell phone for under 2 years is getting his own blog. (And if I get brave enough, I might get a MySpace about five years.) It's not that I fear technology; I actually embrace it by and large. I'm just a little slow getting to the point where I think I can actually justify getting an upgrade.

I will be making some changes to this blog, so don't be shocked if you come here and see different stuff than you did last time. Fortunately, I don't think too many people will have that problem...because I'm pretty sure not many people will be reading this thing.

To paraphrase Casey Kasem, until next time, keep your feet on the ground and your head on top of your neck!