Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Resolutions for Other People - 2008 Edition

For those of you who follow my other website,, I've done New Years Resolutions for Other People for the past couple of years. This year, I'm going to do it on my blog. :-)

The concept is simple. I'm very bad at making and keeping New Years resolutions, so one year I decided to help others by making resolutions for them. (And, yes, I'm using "help others" very loosely here.) If they decide to try to keep my resolutions, it saves them time and might actually do them some good. If they don't, they don't have to endure the guilt of not living up to the resolution. It's a win-win situation all the way around! And I do it...because I CARE, dammit!

So, strap yourselves in and prepare for the 2008 edition of New Years Resolutions for Other People!

- To George W. Bush, I resolve that you get some better people around you so that you can serve out your final year as President without the drama of the past 2-3 years. Half the headaches you had to endure seemed to have come from the people around you and their deeds or misdeeds. If you want to have any chance of salvaging any legacy that isn't written by your political opponents, get better people around you.

- To Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, I resolve that you both start looking for a Plan B. What you two knuckleheads have done in the House and Senate is nothing short of disastrous. When you promised change in the way Congress did things, we didn't think you meant negative change! Get your acts together and LEAD or you two will see yourselves out of the jobs you worked so hard to convince people you deserved.

- To Hillary Clinton, I resolve that you go to Al Gore to learn how to act and seem more human. If there's ever been a candidate more stiff, more scripted, and less appealing as a human being running for President, I haven't seen him or her...and I'm glad of that fact. Drop your guard and let us see the real you. Then, we'll feel a lot more comfortable voting against you because we'll have a legitimate reason.

- To Mitt Romney, I resolve that you let your guard down regarding your faith. Of course people are going to try to malign your faith because they don't understand it, and most Americans don't either. Your speech about faith went a ways towards rectifying that, but not far enough. If we're going to get comfy with your Mormonism, you have to trust us enough to open up and remove the mystery.

- To John Edwards, I resolve that you level with us for a change. I know you're trying to convice voters that you're fighting for the common man, but you made a fortune off hurting big companies with lawsuits. Who do you think got the axe? The people you claim you're fighting for if you become President. You don't need to pretend to channel a dead child to know that's not doing right by your voting base.

- To Ron Paul, I resolve that you spend the next four years paying attention to the Middle East. Some of your ideas make sense to me, but your foreign policy and terrorism approaches leave a lot to be desired. Before you get to have access to "The Button" I want you to get a serious education on what's going on in the Middle East and understand that America isn't to blame for it. They hate us for reasons other than our foreign policy, and the only thing that the extremists will understand is force.

- To Rudy Guiliani, I resolve that you make public amends with your past. The press will be relentless when trying to uncover anything you may have done wrong, from an overdue library book to shady dealings with shadier people. The sooner you exorcise these PR demons, the better you will be, and the more electable you will be.

- To the parents of Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears, I resolve that you stop trying to create stars and start being real parents. You've screwed up two kids so far, and once they realize it, there will be a reckoning you won't be prepared to face unless you face up to what you have done and make amends.

- To Hollywood, I resolve that you get some ideas and talent. Seriously, do we need another "American Pie" sequel? Or another movie based on a TV show? Or another horror film on the verge of being a snuff film? Or another romantic comedy so predictable even Kelly Pickler could figure it out within the first ten minutes? You guys say you're only giving the public what it wants, but remember your box office numbers have been declining in recent years. Gee, there might be a connection!

And finally...

- To the readers of my website and blog, I resolve that you keep me on my toes and call me on the carpet when I screw up. I'm a smart guy, but there are times when I don't see a problem, so I rely on you all to let me know what you think needs to be improved. (And, no, me not writing anymore is not an option.) You know how to contact me, and I will listen, even if I don't take your advice.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Predictions for 2008

As we're within days of a new year, I thought I'd give a few predictions of what we're about to see. I should mention that I'm not a professional prognosticator (or a professional anything, for that matter), so please, no wagering. Not to mention, if I'm right you can marvel at my precognitive skills, and if I'm wrong you can mock me. It's a win-win for everybody!

So, without further ado, here's what I think will happen in 2008.

- Republicans retain the White House and retake the Senate. Democrats retain control of the House due to the sheer number of seats the GOP has to keep and obtain. But the Senate is attainable, thanks in no small part to voter dissatisfaction with Democrat leadership in both houses of Congress.

- President George W. Bush will serve out the remainder of his term, not without controversy, but without a serious impeachment threat. Some will chalk it up to the length of time Bush has been in office, others will chalk it up to Democrat inaction, and others will chalk it up to there being a lack of impeachable offenses.

- Cindy Sheehan will fail in her bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi, but will pull enough votes away from her to make the race competitive. This will further empower the Sheehan Wing of the Democrat Party, further dividing the Democrats.

- Agents Compean and Ramos will be pardoned, if not in 2008, then by no later than the middle of 2009.

- An anti-war movie will win a Best Picture Oscar. And nobody will care.

- Hollywood's box office slump will continue with a summer movie season filled with some big ticket films flopping badly.

- The price of oil will go above $100 a barrel briefly, and then stay in the $90-$100 range.

- President Bush will use his veto power more frequently in his last year in office, which will further cement the notion that Congress is a "do-nothing Congress."

- Due to a combination of talk of the "housing bubble" and the rate of foreclosures, the housing market's lean times will continue. But the hidden truth is that the housing market will continue to make gains, albeit at lower-than-expected levels.

- The surge in Iraq will continue to get positive results, which will get no coverage in the press.

- John Murtha's legal woes will continue and he will have to face the slander charges against him in relation to comments he made about Marines in Haditha. It will hurt him in his reelection bid, but it will not be enough to unseat him.

- The media will try to turn the 2008 election into a referrendum on the Bush Presidency, but it will not be. It will be a referrendum on whether the public trusts Democrats to run the country.

And finally...

- I will finally finish my first book. Whether it gets published...that's a different story. :-)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Before I left on my holiday trip, I wanted to wish all of my readers (even the ones who disagree with me) a Merry Christmas. And for those of you offended by people who say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays," I have a special message.

Merry Frickin' Christmas. Now, shut your pie hole.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Family Affair

I caught a bit of CNN yesterday and they were making a big deal about Hillary Clinton bringing out her mother and Chelsea to campaign with her in New Hampshire. Hearing CNN talk about it, it was the greatest campaign idea ever! (Then again, CNN is the Clinton News Network.)

This campaign cycle, families have taken on much more importance. Usually, families are brought out to introduce a candidate or to stand behind them as the candidate gives a speech, but this time they've actually become key parts of the campaign. Elizabeth Edwards, for example, has come out and made statements on behalf of the campaign that John himself couldn't make because of the impact it would have on his campaign. (Of course, going after Ann Coulter while there were important issues like the war on terrorism is rarely advisable, but what do you expect from a guy who spent $400 of his campaign's money on a hair cut?) Michelle Obama has also made statements on behalf of her husband's campaign, although her comments were against candidates and positions, not against conservative authors and speakers of no real portent to the 2008 election.

Families can also be used as shields against criticism. Bill and Hillary Clintons were masters of this during his Presidency, but lately some Republicans have gotten into the act. Mike Huckabee and Rudy Guiliani have both used their families (Rudy to a lesser extent because his offspring don't much like his new wife) to deflect or blunt statements or allegations made about them. Who could continue such blistering assaults on a candidate when his family is right there behind him, supporting him? (I mean, besides me.)

In some cases, family can even become targets. Pundits have attacked Fred Thompson's wife, Jeri, as being a "trophy wife" because she's much younger and more attractive than Fred. Yet, the same statements aren't being made about Dennis Kucinich's wife, who is equally as young and attractive as Jeri. Then again, that would require the media to pay attention to Kucinich, and we know that ain't happening anytime soon...

It's not unusual for politicians to use members of their families for one reason or another, but you have to wonder how strong the family unit is that would allow itself to be used for political purposes. On the one hand, it can be said that the family is part of the candidate's life, so they should be willing to step up and do whatever is necessary to help the candidate fulfill his or her dreams. On the other, it can also be said that using family members for personal or political purposes dehumanizes the family, turning the members into mere pawns to be moved around as needed. Over time, that has to wear on a family, or at least wear on the family that recognizes what a family is supposed to be. Speaking personally, I know I wouldn't ask my mom, dad, and brothers to defend what I say on a daily basis because a) it would cause a strain on our relationship, b) they may not agree with what I say, and c) they might just tell the truth about me.

It's nice to have your family support you in a particular venture, but when politics and family mix, it can degrade the heart and soul of the latter. And an elected office just ain't worth it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'll Be Outsourcing for Christmas?

I was listening to a recent episode of the Laura Ingraham Show and the subject was Christmas decorating. Apparently, there's a new industry for the on-the-go people who just don't have enough time to put up decorations. They're hiring people to do it. Whether it's making out Christmas cards or stringing up lights, people are hiring a company to take care of the "little details" of this season because they're just too busy.

The hell?????

I understand that some of the people out there who put up more lights than the Vegas Strip might need to prepare a couple of months in advance, but who doesn't have time to write Christmas cards? You don't even have to write a long greeting, either. Just sign the thing and move on. And if you throw in a "year in review" piece, all you have to do is write one and make copies. Not much effort in either case. If you're hiring this out, maybe you should cut back on an activity or two for a day.

Even the people who take the calls for this service don't do everything. If you need help hanging lights, the company will hire out someone else to do the work. That means there's another company making money off this really odd practice. As much of a capitalist as I am, there are some things you shouldn't hire out to have done. Unless you're working every waking hour on curing cancer, AIDS, or the absolute suckiness of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" you can make the time to take care of the holiday "chores."

Decorating the house was always a big day in my house growing up. Putting up the tree, putting on the garland and foil icicles, finding spots for the ornaments, listening to Christmas songs on the stereo. These are memories I wouldn't trade for anything, and they are tasks I would hire anyone else to do in my place. And these are memories you can make with your children or just for yourselves with only a little shuffling of schedules. Christmas isn't about the decorating or the cards; it's about the feelings you bring to the work. Hiring someone to do the holiday chores for you may save you time, but you lose the heart and soul of the holiday.

Still feeling good about your decision to outsource for Christmas?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Michael Moore, Nostra-Dumbass

I was watching a Canadian documentary about Michael Moore titled "Manufacturing Dissent" by Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine, and there was a scene from Moore's 2004 college tour to try to get college students to vote and unseat George W. Bush. (And we all know how well that turned out.) Here is a quote from Moore's speech at Central Michigan University during said tour:

George W. Bush has run out of troops. There is no way he can continue even this war without bringing back the draft and that's exactly what he's going to do if he gets another four years. You're going to be called up. You're going to be called up. You're going to have to go and fight George Bush's war.

Let's see...the surge is working with no draft. George W. Bush has a little over a year left to be President and the draft hasn't been raised as an option by the Bush Administration, only by...New York Congressman Charles Rangel, a Democrat. The war has continued without a draft, and contrary to what Moore and his ilk have said, the war has gone relatively well.

Then again, what would you expect from a man who thought Ralph Nader and Wesley Clark were Presidential?

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Shape of Things to Come?

A year ago, Democrats were confident to the point of cockiness with their election wins. They had control of the House and functional control of the Senate, and they were ready to make a difference. It was going to be a new day in American politics.

With their first year in the Congressional driver's seat almost over, things are not looking good for last year's victors. The Washington Post is reporting that Congressional Democrat leaders are pointing fingers at one another about who's to blame for the collapse of the Democrats' plans. The House is blaming the Senate, the Senate is blaming the House, and everyone's blaming the Republicans. A real change in leadership there.

The lack of progress in Congress is translating into declining approval ratings. Bush may not be lighting things up in the approval ratings, but when you consider Congress has dropped from around the mid-thirty percent range to barely sneaking over 20%, and close to 10% in some polls, it's clear the public may be regretting their Election 2006 decisions. Big talk with little action after the fact doesn't sit well with people. The Democrats promised change and honesty, and they delivered...pointless show investigations and naming post offices. Not a good way to leave a lasting positive impression on history.

After the 2006 elections, Democrats, their followers, and pundits all started talking about the country moving to the left. They've had a chance to pick up some seats here and there, but there were more than a few elections that should give the Democrats a reason to be concerned. One was the governorship of Louisiana. The public may not be that keen on Republicans, but Bobby Jindahl, a young Republican, won the gubernatorial election in what proved to be somewhat shocking to Democrats and their allies, given the electoral makeup in Louisiana. But it really wasn't as shocking as some might think. After the disasterous reign of Kathleen Blanco during Hurricane Katrina, the very way Democrats swept into control of Congress came back to bite them.

But one gubernatorial election does not a trend make, right? Not so fast. This past Tuesday, Republicans ran and won elections for open seats in Ohio and Virginia. Some have tried to write it off as a fait accompli due to the makeup of those respective districts, but if the country truly did distrust Republicans in positions of power, the Democrats should have taken those seats. The fact they didn't should be a matter of concern.

Then, there's the Democrats running for President right now. I'm going to torque off supporters of Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, but there are only three main candidates for the Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. Clinton is polarizing and has been looking more like Wile E. Coyote than a President. Obama has a good heart, but I don't see him convincing enough people that he's ready for the Oval Office. Edwards has been lagging behind Hillary and Obama and hasn't been able to put together a strong message to show how he'd be different from his two main rivals. The Republicans may not be much better in this regard, but remember it's the Democrats who have to take back the White House. All the Republicans have to do is retain it, which may be easier than people think.

With Code Pink targeting Hillary for her support of the Iraq War, Cindy Sheehan mounting a campaign against Nancy Pelosi, and the fringe left starting to make noise to get Democrats to dance to their tune, the Democrats are facing problems from their left flank. But to appease their left flank, they risk alienating their right flank, which helped them take control of Congress in 2006. This political schitzophrenia may be the very thing that keeps the Democrats out of the White House in 2008.

Put simply, the ground is being laid for Election 2008 right now. The Democrats are hoping to ride the Election 2006 results into further success, but the cards aren't there for it to happen right now unless the Democrats take some actions to address the multiple problems they face. Unless they do, they'll fiddle while their 2008 hopes burn.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Christmas Wish

With there being 12 days until Christmas, most people have a lot on their plates between shopping and writing Christmas cards. If I may presume to make a request to add one more thing on your list of things to do, I think you'll find it's for a very good cause.

Ever since I heard the case of Jose Compean and Ignancio Ramos, I have been outraged at the Bush Administration. For those of you unfamiliar with their case, Compean and Ramos were two U. S. Border Patrol Guards who were sent to prison for shooting a known drug dealer sneaking across the border into America. Due to a series of highly questionable events, the drug dealer and lawyers under Federal Attorney Johnny Sutton testified under oath and got Compean and Ramos sent to federal prison. But the part of the case that cannot be overlooked in this miscarriage of justice is the fact that the drug dealer, the attorneys, and Sutton all lied and have been called out on it. Yet, Compean and Ramos still sit in prison for doing their jobs.

This is where my request comes into the picture. If you are so inclined, please send Compean and Ramos Christmas cards if for no other reason than to brighten their days. Whether you agree with President Bush on this issue or not, you have the ability to show the spirit of the season to two men who need a bit of it.

Their addresses are as follows:

Ignacio Ramos #58079-180
FCI Phoenix
Federal Correctional Institution
37910 N. 45th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85086

Jose Compean #58080180
FCI Elkton
PO Box 10
Lisbon, OH 44432

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This Is Your Campaign. This Is Your Campaign on Drugs. Any Questions?

Has the Hillary Clinton campaign lost its ever-lovin' MIND???? Granted, that's assuming they had a mind to lose, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here because something as stupid as what they did today could only take the keen calculating mind of a complete moron.

The national co-chair of Hillary Clinton's campaign, Bill Shaheen, called Barack Obama on the carpet for his past drug use, saying that it could be used against him by the Republicans. Here's what Shaheen said:

It'll be, "When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?" There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome.

Of course, Hillary's people tried to distance themselves from the comment, but you'd have to be a Clintonite to think this wasn't planned out. Let's not forget the fact that Obama has been making great strides towards taking the frontrunner position from Hillary in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, the first three tests en route to the nomination. And with the multiple gaffes from the Hillary campaign in recent weeks, it's a pretty safe bet that Hillary is looking for anything to stop her slide.

But going after Obama's drug use and blaming it on the Republicans? Please. You were on more solid ground when you lashed out at Tim Russert for "playing 'gotcha'" at one of the recent Democrat debates. It was a weak and dirty trick that reeked of desperation. You're a Presidential candidate, for the love of Pete! Start acting like it!

As for Obama, I can't say as I agree with what he did in his past. But I'm leaving it where it belongs: in the past. If it comes out that Obama's tooting on the campaign trail or shooting smack in between campaign stops, then he should be questioned about it. In the meantime, making stupid mistakes in the past shouldn't disqualify someone unless it directly impacts the present.

Like thinking Hillary Clinton is presidential.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Helping People...Into Globalism?

President Bush's plan to help out customers with subprime mortgage loans seemed like a gesture of good will and smart money. Freezing interest rate on some subprime mortgages will certainly help some people, but not everyone. Certainly there will be people who will not be able to make their payments even with the rate freeze. Then what?

Knowing government like I do, it will only be a matter of time before some government type tries to help even more by suggesting another solution, perhaps a federal program to help subprime mortgage customers make payments. And if that doesn't work, there might be another solution and then another solution. Before you know it, there's going to be a call for someone to set up an agency to address this situation.

They won't have to look too far for a model. All they need to do is look to the World Bank.

For the uninitiated, the World Bank's job is to loan or grant money to underdeveloped countries for infrastructure and other important needs. The loans are often low interest and usually don't have to be paid back within a certain timeframe. If the country needs more money, the World Bank can grant or loan more money with few strings attached.

See the pattern here? Both Bush's solution for the subprime mortgage crisis and the World Bank are joined at the hip because of the type of people being helped. Most likely, the people helped by either are not capable of meeting their financial obligations for one reason or another, which makes them prime targets for additional assistance. Each new person on this dole becomes a way for government to expand.

Now, let's say for the sake of argument that a governmental type here decides America can't handle the subprime customers' needs. It's only a slight change of stationary for the subprime mortgage crisis to come under the pervue of the World Bank. That, ladies and gentlemen, would bring us more in line with globalism. If that happens, say goodbye to American sovereignty as we know it.

But hey, at least some subprime mortgage customers get to keep their homes a bit longer, right?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Example #536 of How Government CARES About You

Senator John Kerry is a lot of things. A guy who flip-flops more than an IHOP cook on speed working commission. A Senator from a state that spawned the man-whale that is Ted Kennedy. A political opportunist with a horrible sense of timing.

And now, he's showing his true colors as a football fan. Kerry recently sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell and National Cable & Telecommunications Association President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow regarding the NFL Network showing some high-profile games only on the NFL Network. There's been a lot of finger-pointing about this, but it's nice to see that a powerful and well-known Senator used all of his governmental write a letter.

Before you get on Kerry's bandwagon, let me point out a couple of things to you. First off, this situation has been known for quite some time without Kerry even acknowledging it. But now that the New England Patriots (who, surprise surprise, play in the very state Kerry represents) is on the verge of possibly having a perfect regular season schedule, Kerry all of the sudden CARES! And guess who is having a game broadcast on the NFL Network in the very near future? The New England Patriots!

Pandering for votes so soon, Senator?

Here's the other side of the equation to consider. The NFL Network is a premium network, meaning not everybody will get it. If you have the money and desire to get it, you can. And the NFL is in the business of professional football to make money, and the NFL Network is a way to do that. (An admitted stupid way to make money, I grant you, but a way to make money nonetheless.) In order to make money, you have to offer an attractive product or service, so the NFL Network would have to pick some of their high-profile games for them to make their service attractive.

Now, here's the radical part. They're giving customers...what they want!

As far as who's to blame for the limited number of people who can get the NFL Network, it doesn't matter. If a particular game means that much to you, you can either buy the service or you can go to some place that has. Any sports bar worth its salt will have it, so all you have to do is go there and have a good time. What the people complaining the loudest about the NFL Network don't get is that they have the power to fix the situation if they thought about it instead of whining.

Or getting a waffling Senator from Massachusetts to whine on their behalf.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Right Speech, Wrong Time

I managed to catch some of Mitt Romney's speech today on faith. From what I've heard (and from what I've heard from commentators after the fact), it was a moving, powerful speech, one that should lay to rest any doubts people have about whether Romney's Mormon faith would play a role in his Presidency should he be elected. I was impressed, but one fact bothered me.

This speech should have been given months ago.

Almost since he announced his intention to run for President, Romney's faith has been a point by which he could be attacked, mainly because not enough people know what Mormons believe. That level of ignorance can lead to irrational fear, which can lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations. That, in turn, can lead to distrust, which is fatal to any political campaign.

When Rmoney's faith was attacked by the left and the right, Romney kept quiet. That has two results: 1) it adds to the mystery, and 2) it makes people believe there's something to the criticisms, no matter how absurd they may have been. (Case in point: the "magic underwear" comment that has been overblown and repeated ad nauseum.) The time to diffuse that situation is not a month before the Iowa Caucuses, but at the point of attack.

By waiting as long as he has, Romney has opened himself up to a criticism, one I haven't heard anyone bring up yet: his speech was pure political posturing. No matter how good the speech was, the timing of it smacks of a manufactured event. If Mike Huckabee had been sucking Ron Paul's vapors, would Romney have come out with this speech today? Probably not.

Should he have given this speech? Absolutely. He needed to quiet his critics and speak to how the left in this country has done to make religious faith into something to attack or something to use as a shield for certain candidates. It needed to be said, and Romney was the best man to say it, given his faith. Huckabee couldn't have pulled it off with the same effectiveness as Romney did.

Now, if only he'd done it sooner.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Hannukah Gift

To any Jewish readers of my blog, I wish you a happy Hanukkah. Although I don't share your religion, I have a deep respect for Israel and Judaism.

Part of it is directly connected to my faith. As a Lutheran and a follower of Jesus Christ, my faith wouldn't exist without you. And contrary to what some might claim, I fully acknowledge Jesus was a Jew. How can I not love a people that gave me my Savior?

Part of it is based on Israel's history. Throughout the centuries, Israel has been an underdog, a people who have endured the machinations of those who wanted to wipe them off the face of the Earth. Yet, they've not only survived, but they've thrived. Out of their little corner of the Middle East, they have carved out an existence that is nothing short of miraculous. It's a testament to who they are as a people and their potential to survive in spite of those who would do them harm.

Part of it is what Israel's presence in the Middle East represents. Compared to the other counties and religious factions in that neck of the world. Israel represents an oasis, both literally and figuratively. Israel is proof that a democratic or near-democratic form of government CAN exist in the Middle East. Consider the scientific and technological giants that have come from Israel! That alone should make a fan of Israel out of most people.

I don't always say it, but my actions almost always reflect it. I am a proud supporter and ally of Israel. To some, that makes me a target for hatred, criticism, or worse. So be it. I'll gladly suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism to defend a country and a people I've grown to love and respect.

God bless you, Israel!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Has Bush Just Beaten Iran?

President Bush has done some things that have had me shaking my head in disbelief on more than occasions. Other things, I've been able to see where he was coming from, even when I didn't agree. Yet other things, I think he's been True North while the rest of us have been trying to fold the map.

With the recent National Intelligence Estimate report stating Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and the White House's reaction to it, originally I had one of those WTF moments. What would possess the Bush Administration to give Democrats, faux liberals, and the media ammunition to further criticize the war on terrorism and the Administration as a whole? Granted, they'd do it anyway, but to give them a reason to do it is political suicide.

Or is it?

Regardless of what criticisms I have with George W. Bush, one thing I have always maintained is that he is a "big picture" thinker and he has reasons for what he does. They may not always make sense, but they're his reasons. That's what made me stop short after my initial reaction. Bush took this action for a reason, and after seeing the whole picture, I think it may be his most brilliant strategic move ever.

One aspect of Muslim society is honor. If you shame a Muslim man or question his honor, he takes it very seriously and can get violent as a result. And guess who is a Muslim? President Imadinnerjacket of Iran. He's been running his mouth for the better part of a year or so, saying he wants to wipe Israel off the map and destroy America. One of the ways he intends to do it is by building a nuclear arsenal, as he believes a nuclear war would bring back the 13th Imam. Furthermore, he's said Iran has a right to get nuclear capabilities.

Now, what do you think it does to Imadinnerjacket to have America say Iran stopped any nuclear programs it had in 2003?

Let me put it this way. Imadinnerjacket ain't happy right now. With two moves, George W. Bush has embarassed him in front of the world...and in front of his Islamic allies. Now without the ability to make good on his threats, Imadinnerjacket becomes a joke, even more that he already has been so far. That means he'll have to do something to regain the respect of his Islamic buddies.

Which will prove George W. Bush was right all along about the potential threat Iran is.

There is another way Imadinnerjacket can react, which is to tone down the rhetoric and make sure he doesn't draw attention to himself. Granted, this is a pretty big and most likely unrealistic hope, but it could happen, albeit remotely. If that happens, Iran will become less of a threat.

Which will give George W. Bush another victory, one without firing a shot.

Am I spinning events? Maybe. Am I being unrealistic or overly optimistic? Could be. Am I right? Time and history will be the judges of that. But if I'm right, Bush may have pulled off the biggest win-win situation of his Presidency, and that will go a long way to securing his legacy.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Just Say No to Conspiracy Theories

The hostage situation at a New Hampshire campaign office for Hillary Clinton ended, thankfully, non-violently and the hostage taker is in custody. But even before the standoff was over, something so sad occurred. Without knowing much hard information, people were already claiming the hostage taker was a Republican. Then, Republicans chimed in and said it had to be a Hillary supporter trying to divert attention from her campaign planting supporters at Wednesday's Republican debate.

But here's the truth. The guy was a nutjob whose sanity went south on him a while ago and didn't leave a forwarding address. Not as sexy as the conspiracy theories being tossed about, but a lot closer to the truth.

These days, it seems more and more people are willing to suspend disbelief and put their faith in conspiracy theories. There are a number of reasons why people do this, but the one I think hits closest to home is that it helps to explain those things we can't get our heads around. Think back to all the conspiracy theories that surround 9/11. On a single day, our national psyche was altered, and not everyone was or is prepared to handle it. People search for answers that make sense to them, even if it's to believe some fantastic story about secret shadowy forces setting pawns into motion. As odd as it is to say, conspiracy theories become our security blankets at times. And just like with Linus from "Peanuts," getting us to let go of that security blanket and move on can be a monumental task.

Lately, though, conspiracy theories have gone beyond the usual crackpot notions and into the realm of political rhetoric. Now, anything that happens has the potential to be turned into a conspiracy theory linking groups of people that more often than not don't really go together. Seriously, would the Hillary campaign go out and find a raving lunatic to hold a campaign office hostage? Probably not. Would the Republicans do it? Probably not. Not to mention, there's the time factor to consider. Finding a crazy person in New Hampshire who would be willing to pull off a stunt like that all in around 48 hours' time would be a big feat in and of itself. Plus, there's a huge possibility that it could backfire because the mentally unstable don't think like the rest of us do and, thus, they may not be too keen on following directions.

It may be fun to spin a tale of conspiracy, but remember there are people out there willing to believe anything. What you take as fun, some people will take as gospel. (Case in point: Michael Moore's followers.) And as fun as it is to use conspiracy theories to take jabs at someone from the other side of the political aisle, we need to be careful that it doesn't replace reasoned thought, especially in situations where there are innocent lives at stake. At those points in time, politics should be the last thing on people's minds.

So, take a cue from your ole pal Thomas Lindaman and just say no to conspiracy theories.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Restoring America's Image?

It's time that we lay to rest a campaign line Democrats are using in their attempt to get back into the White House in 2008. The line I'm referring to is "restoring America's image around the world." As much as they like to think President Bush has ruined our image around the world, the fact is...he didn't.

Democrats point to our actions in the Middle East as proof that the world now hates us, but it's hard to overlook the fact that many of the countries they point to as now hating us already did. Many of the Middle Eastern countries already held a healthy contempt for us, if not an out and out hatred of us. Yes, even during the Clinton years when, allegedly, the world loved us. If you trace back Middle Eastern sentiments towards the US over the past couple of decades, you'd find they really didn't dig us that much to begin with, and they felt that way long before George W. Bush was a candidate for President. But their hatred of us has to be because of Bush?

What about the rest of the world? Certainly Bush's foreign policy has to be the cause of things going so bad, right? Not so much. Europe has held a healthy, if unhidden until recently, contempt for America due in part to our economic and social conditions. In Europe, socialism is still practiced and considered to be a serious socio-political system, while America has pretty much regarded it as a joke. Europe's social mores are looser than ours, which tends to make them look on us as being behind the times. Remember their lack of concern over Bill Clinton having a mistress? That's who's calling us socially backwards.

Another element to consider has been the constant flow of Muslims into Europe. Some countries like France have seen Muslim immigration skyrocket within the past decade or so. Certainly this would have an impact on elections which would impact the country's opinion of America. And considering the Muslim rioting in France just within the past 3 years, Muslims aren't afraid to flex their muscle to bring attention to themselves and to get what they want.

What Democrats keep overlooking is that there are some countries around the world who have not given in to the temptation to bash us (such as the former Eastern Bloc nations), and some who have in the past because of our Middle East policies (like France and Germany) have elected pro-America leaders. So, we may be seeing a positive change in world opinion towards us occurring, slowly but certainly. Sure, there will be countries who still hate us, but that's to be expected. Nobody can be loved all the time, and even leaders will find detractors.

But let me leave you with how misguided Democrats' approach to world diplomacy has been in recent years. Remember Kosovo? We went in, deposed their leader, and helped a bunch of poor oppressed people, right?

Not so much. As it turns out, we chose to side with Muslims, which wound up helping al Qaeda's drug trade, didn't solve anything because the "ethnic cleansing" that was going on was still happening under different (read: Muslim) management, and it did nothing to quell the Muslim hatred towards us.

And Democrats want to lecture us about improving our image around the world?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

As Dumb As A Plant

CNN has stepped in it again. After the CNN-sponsored Democrat debate in Las Vegas, conservative bloggers found some of the "undecided voters" asking questions of the candidates were actually Democrat plants. (So much for "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.") This situation left CNN with egg on its face, so what did they do?

They let Democrat plants in the Republican debate last night.

Conservative bloggers have found more than a few Democrat operatives supporting Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards asking questions of the Republican candidates, also under the guise of being "undecided voters." How bad was it? Someone from a previous CNN-YouTube debate wearing an Edwards 08 t-shirt was allowed to ask a question while wearing a shirt that did not note her previous allegiance.

Boy, if you think CNN had egg on its face after the Democrat debate fiasco, they have an entire henhouse on their face right now. Anderson Cooper said in an interview before the debate, in essence, that it wasn't his job to weed out the plants. Then, as soon as he found out there were plants, he said CNN would have reported it had they known. Well, gee, wouldn't you have to be trying to FIND the plants to know they were there, AC?

CNN loves to tout how it's the "most trusted name in cable news." After being caught twice allowing Democrat plants in debates, I think it's time to strip them of that title, if in fact they are the most trusted name in cable news. On the other side, CNN should have an independent investigator look into their practices regarding the debates and find out where the failures occurred. Then, CNN needs to do the right thing and fire those individuals publicly and with full disclosure.

Will it happen? I doubt it. CNN will issue a mea culpa, promise to do better next time, and be allowed to skate. Media critics , both in the mainstream media and in the new media, should not let that happen. At best, CNN showed a lack of oversight in not screening the questioners better. At worst, it's an example of overt media bias.

There will be those who will dismiss the Democrat plant story as no big deal. Let me ask you: would you feel the same way if Fox News had used Republican plants in its Republican debate? And if you say that Fox News already did, I want proof. And if they did, I'll criticize them, too. Any media outlet that actively tries to deceive the public as CNN did deserves to be criticized, regardless of ideological affiliations.

Either way, CNN was dumb for participating in the purposeful deception of the public. One would expect a cable news channel to have higher standards.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pat Buchanan: A Seer, or A Broken Clock?

Pat Buchanan has a new book, Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart, that has been getting attention in conservative circles these days. Buchanan's previous books have also gotten a great buzz because it seems as though Buchanan is on the cutting edge, seeing issues that escape people until they're on top of us.

Yet, I'm not quite so eager to proclaim Buchanan as a forward-thinking conservative as of yet. Back in my youth, I supported Buchanan and worked on his 1996 Presidential campaign. At that time, he was what I considered to be a true conservative message. Small government, lower taxes, morality paramount in the culture, everything my ideological side was hoping to find.

Then, both of us changed. After voting for Bob Dole and being disappointed with Congressional Republicans, I left the GOP for the Libertarian Party in 1998. On the other side, Pat changed, also. He went from being the rock-ribbed conservative I respected into something of a turncoat to conservatism. When he ran as a Reform Party candidate, I listened to his platform and was shocked. The man I admired now sounded a lot less conservative than I remembered.

Since then, I've considered Buchanan to be the male version of Arianna Huffington: only conservative when it suits his needs, and his needs all revolve around whatever will get him the most attention. He may have been right on immigration, but I'm not sure it's because he actually did the homework to come to that conclusion or if it's for some other less noble reason. Plus, it's no secret that he's had serious objections with the Bush Administration, bordering on or even jumping headlong into Bush Derangement Syndrome. At times, he's even sounded like a faux liberal drooler.

That's why I can't completely trust Pat Buchanan, no matter how accurate his "predictions" have been. And that's why I won't read Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart. I simply cannot separate the man who is making the rounds on conservative talk radio and television shows from the man who turned his back on conservatism and continues to do so except when he's hawking a book. And as far as his "predictions" are concerned, there's only one thing I can say.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

The Solution to the Writers' Strike

Television and movies have been at a standstill since writers have gone on strike. It's gotten so bad that "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" has been running reruns of shows from when Jay began hosting. And it still sucks out loud.

Negotiations are going on to try to get writers back on the job, but it's going to have an impact on our favorite shows and films that are still in production. In today's entertainment-fueled society, that could be disasterous if the strike goes on much longer. We need our entertainment and we want it as soon as we can get it.

Television networks are ramping up game shows and reality shows to pick up the slack, but I don't think it's going to work. Sure, there's no need for writers on either show, but reruns, reality shows, and game shows can only take you so far before people get bored. Being the solutions-oriented guy I am, I think I've figured out a way to get us our entertainment fix and save movies and television.

Hire bloggers and online fiction writers to write the shows and movies at least on a temporary basis.

Having been in the blogosphere for about a year now, and having seen some other blogs out there for far longer, I can tell you there are some great writers out there just waiting to be discovered and paid for what they do. Some write smart comedy, some write fantastic prose, some even give insightful commentary that could easily be woven into a drama. And when it comes to great ideas, the fan fiction sites out there showcase some of the creativity that's out there to be tapped.

There is a caveat here, though. If the writers' strike ends soon, the blogger idea goes out the window because there won't be a need for them to help out. But having them out there as a possible resource may be a way to salvage the TV season and save movies that are in the middle of production and aren't completely written or rewritten yet.

There is another reason to consider using online writers: competition tends to create a better product. Within the past few years, we have seen absolute dreck passed off as a "hot new show" or a "must-see movie." Seriously, "Little Man" by the Wayans brothers was a rip-off of an old Warner Brothers cartoon, and, deservedly, it tanked. You may have some bright spots, but most of the entertainment industry these days is just trying to crank out whatever it can, regardless of whether it deserves to see the light of day.

At least some of the problem can be traced back to the writers. Take "The Simpsons" for example. In the 90s, it was truly a never-miss show because the writing was so good and made you laugh even if you disagreed with the sentiment. As time went on, however, the show has declined in quality. What used to be never-miss has become full of misses. There are only so many times you can see the same script idea recycled before you start looking for something else to watch.

Want to change that dynamic? Give the writers competition by farming out some of the writing duties. If they know that they may not have a lock on their jobs, it should fire up their imaginations to come up with better ideas so they would get their scripts approved for air. Then, we might not have to see another season of shows that run for 2 or 3 episodes before getting yanked.

So, if you're listening, Hollywood, give online writers a chance. We may surprise you. And we can't be any worse than the writers on "Baywatch."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fear Me, For I Have the Power to Destroy You?

A couple of items caught my attention on the Drudge Report yesterday, but they have a common theme. One was a story from the UK Daily Mail about women who are having abortions or getting sterilized because they want to battle overpopulation, a problem they feel threatens the planet. One of the women quoted in the story said the following:

Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet. Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population.

And apparently, she was born without a sense of irony. The women in this article remind me of a point I've brought up in terms of the abortion debate. Have you noticed that all of the people who support the "right" to an abortion are alive? They should thank whatever deity they worship that their parents didn't decide to exercise the "right" they advocate.

The other story was from the London Telegraph reporting on two American cosmologists who believe humans are responsible for shortening the life of the universe. I'm not a scientist, but I'll do my best to explain the logic here. The hypothesis/philosophical debate is that the universe changes when we look at something. Using that logic, astronomers may have brought us closer to destruction by observing dark energy. Dark energy, according to the article, is an "anti-gravity force which is thought to be speeding up the expansion of the universe." I'm not so sure about the validity of the idea that looking at something changes it, but I can say that people not looking at something has destroyed the film careers of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

The common theme in both of these stories is the assumption that humans have the power to destroy the planet and, apparently, the universe. As nifty as I am, I know my limitations, and I know I don't have the kind of power the anti-overpopulation women and the cosmologists think I do. And neither do you. As Rush Limbaugh has pointed out, the Earth has the ability to adjust to anything we do. Does this mean we should rush out and start dumping nuclear waste in our backyards? No. But it does mean we shouldn't worry that not recycling is going to cause the Earth to spin hopelessly down a spiral of environmental disaster.

But there is a flip side to the "humans are destroying the planet" idea. Could it be that the same people who think humans destroy the environment...also believe humans can save the environment? It fits with their general belief that if people listened to them, the world would be a better place. And what better way to feed your ego while appearing to be environmentally conscious than to elevate yourself to the level of God? That's why some people think of modern environmentalism as a cult or a religion.

But let me reiterate my main point: we don't have the power to save or destroy the environment on a massive scale. We are a part of the system, not above it, not below it. We're in it. And as such, what we do can be undone by other forces in nature.

Kinda puts your place in the universe in perspective, doesn't it?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year, I heard a story where some schools are telling students that Thanksgiving is a day of mourning because of what our ancestors did to Native Americans. (After the amount of money I've given back to Native Americans in their casinos, I'd say I've more than said I'm sorry.)

But that's not the way we should see Thanksgiving. Sure, American history is full of instances when we haven't exactly treated people with the respect they deserve, but we have the rest of the year to consider that. To me, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect, count our blessings, and give thanks for what we have. In that spirit, I offer the following.

I'm thankful to God for blessing me with my life and my talents.

I'm thankful to the President and our armed forces for protecting our freedoms, even when we don't agree with their mission.

I'm thankful to my family for your love and support over the years.

I'm thankful to my friends for enriching my life in so many ways.

I'm thankful to my readers for their insight and support.

And, yes, I'm thankful to my critics for keeping me honest, and in most cases, keeping me doing what I'm doing.

A time to be mournful? Hardly, when there is so much to be thankful for if you really take the time to think about it.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Crazy Like a Fox, or Dumb As a Bag of Hammers?

I have a special disdain for John Kerry beyond the disdain I have for most Senators. If ever there was someone who lived up to the stereotype of a rich white man utterly disconnected with the world, it's Kerry. This became abundantly clear when he ran for President in 2004 when he tried to fit in with "regular people" and always came off looking awkward at best.

During the 2004 campaign, Kerry's military career and the awards he won were called into question by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. In a series of ads and in the book Unfit for Command, the Swift Boat Vets laid out an argument against Kerry's suitability for President...and Kerry didn't say very much about it, according to Kerry himself, because he felt it would give the Swift Boat Vets credibility.

But now Kerry's fighting back. He recently sent a letter to T. Boone Pickens, who issued a million dollar challenge to anyone who could prove the Swift Boat Vets' claims wrong. Now, Kerry's looking to collect, promising to donate the money to the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

At first blush, I laughed out loud. After all, it's 2007, and Kerry's still trying to argue a point he should have addressed in 2004? He may blame the Swift Boat Vets for his loss and may be trying to clear his name (or as he says it, prevent other candidates from being "Swift Boated"), but there's a time and a place for everything. That Swift Boat sailed a looooooooooooooooong time ago, John.

Then, I stopped to think about the circumstances a bit more. In the midst of a Presidential campaign season, people might overlook the Kerry story for the same reason I did: namely, because we have lives and Kerry was sooooooo 2004. But that works to Kerry's advantage because it becomes a no-lose situation for him. If he proves the Swift Boat Vets didn't tell the truth about him, he gets vindication. If he doesn't, nobody's paying attention close enough for him to be damaged.

The question is whether Kerry's thinking strategically or whether he's just extremely slow on the uptake. Given what I've seen of the man on the campaign trail and in the Senate, I'm guessing the latter. Making strategic blunders was a staple of the Kerry campaign in 2004, and more than a little of this entire escapade is tied to his ego. When you combine ego with desperate stupidity, bad things are sure to happen. Have we learned nothing from the "Gigli" debacle?

In the end, the only one who really cares about this situation is the one who stands to gain the most if it turns out favorably, John Kerry. For him to take on the Swift Boat Vets now is either an exercise in vindication...or an exercise in stupidity.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Brother Can You Spare A Vote?

There's a news story making the rounds that disturbed me on so many levels. A New York University journalism class polled more than 3000 NYU students and found more than half would trade their right to vote for more personal reasons. For many (66%), a year's tuition to NYU would be worth giving up their right to vote. For 20%, all it would take to give up their right to an iPod Touch. And to give up their right to vote forever, 50% would take a cool million dollars.

Oh, but these same students recognize the importance of voting. Ninety percent of the students who would take a million dollars to give up voting forever said voting was important. Even 70% of the students who would take free tuition for their right to vote said one vote can make a difference, out of the 70.5% of students who said one vote can make a difference.

A lot of numbers, to be sure, but all leading up to one big problem for the country: a country of young people who really don't understand the right to vote. Voting isn't and shouldn't be a commodity to be traded for material goods. And remember, I'm a big fan of capitalism, so it takes something pretty important to get me to say something isn't worth giving up for money. To have college age adults simultaneously say voting is important, but not so important that they wouldn't give it up, should be disturbing to every American.

But something tells me many Americans would want to know how they could get in on the action. One of the great losses we've had in recent decades has been the loss of knowledge of, and dare I say respect for, civics, and it turns out that disrespect and ignorance has been passed on to a new generation.

And, no, I don't buy the students when they say voting is important or that a single vote can make a difference...after they're willing to give up their vote for a flipping iPod. It's the height of intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy to say voting is important, but you can't be bothered with it. Maybe the fact you're willing to sell away your right to vote should be a sign that you don't get how important the right to vote is or what sacrifices have been made for you to have it in the first place.

Just remember, some places in this world don't have a vote to sell. Be thankful you have a right to vote in the first place, even if you aren't willing to treat it like the treasure it is.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kids or "Mini-Adults"?

A 10 year old boy who was responsible for setting some of the California wildfires because he was playing with matches will probably not see any legal repercussions due to his age. Prosecutors and legal experts agreed that it would be hard to secure a conviction because of the boy's age, and this seems to be the most compassionate, sensible position they could take on the issue.

Ah, but I have a problem with this decision because other situations have arisen where the age of the offender has not been taken into account. I'm speaking of schools who have punished students as young as six for "sexual harassment" for doing such things as...get this...hugging another student. How we let these predators attend public school is beyond me... (and yes, I'm being sarcastic here).

In none of the cases where schools have punished young children for sexual harassment did age come into play, even though these situations should consider age in their decisions. Children don't really start to notice differences in gender until around the age of the 10 year old boy responsible for some of the California wildfires. So, when they hug or kiss a fellow student on the cheek, it's not really sexual. Yet, the adults infuse the situation with sex and ignore the age of the "offender," which winds up making the adults look overbearing and foolish.

The 10 year old boy, on the other hand, cannot or should not claim ignorance due to age. When you're 10, you should know by then that you shouldn't play with matches. Yet, this concept is being lost in an attempt to look compassionate. Of course, some would dismiss the comparison I've made based on the circumstances, but it cannot be ignored that at their bases there are adults making decisions that directly impact a young life.

And it also cannot be ignored that these adults are using different standards to arrive at their decisions. With the California boy, the 10 year old is "just a child." With the 6 year olds expelled for sexual harassment, they're "little adults." What kind of message does this send to kids? You can play with matches when you're old enough to know better, but don't you dare make an innocent gesture of affection?

No wonder kids are growing up confused.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why the Dems May Be Doomed in 2008

Another Republican, this time Dick Armey, came out this week and painted a rosy picture for Hillary Clinton. Armey joins a growing list of Republicans and conservatives who say Hillary winning the Presidency is a fait accompli. But, I have to wonder if these people are seeing the whole picture. The Democrats are in a weakened state, one that the Republicans can exploit if they're smart enough.

Here are the problems that plague the Democrats right now.

1) Hillary as a front runner is too polarizing. There are very few undecided folks when it comes to Hillary Clinton. Most people love her or hate her. And she's had over a decade on the national scene to reach as many people as possible. Judging by her negatives nationwide, she's not going to be able to pull off a stunt like she did in 1992 by going from strong, independent woman to cover girl for Good Housekeeping. People know who she is...and many people don't like her.

2) The Democrats will fight...themselves? You read that right. The Democrats are in a state of disarray right now, and not just because of the candidates running for President. The party is splintering for a number of reasons: ending the war, impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney, the direction of the country and the party, and so on. And when you have people whose egos are so invested in their politics as the modern left's are, that's going to lead to lost votes.

3) The likability factor. Look up and down the list of Democrat candidates and you'll find a nearly universal trait: they don't appeal to people. Aside from Barack Obama, the Democrats don't really have anyone that people like. Hillary? John Edwards? Too slick. Bill Richardson? Joe Biden? Not exciting enough. Mike Gravel? Too rocky sounding. And the rest of the candidates aren't much better. In politics, a likable candidate can beat a qualified candidate. That's what happened with Al Gore in 2000 and look how he turned out.

4) The blogosphere strikes back! Although the modern left is starting to come around to the power of the online community, it's still dominated by conservatives. That puts any Democrat running for office in a difficult position, as whenever they say or do something the bloggers may not agree with or like, up it goes. And with the blogosphere being the way it is, one story can have legs well beyond what a newspaper or TV news show might. Unless the Democrats can counteract the blogosphere, they're in big trouble.

5) They haven't shown they can lead yet. It's hard to find a leader these days, and within Democrat ranks, it's even more difficult. This is the devastating effect that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid's failures will have on the 2008 election because they're the ones trying to man the fort while some of their big stars are out stumping for votes. With an approval rating anywhere from 11-24%, they need to show they're relevant in 2007 and 2008, and the only way to do that is to lead and let people see that leadership in action.

6) Overconfidence can lead to under-preparing. Since before Election 2006, Democrats have been predicting the GOP's downfall, and for once their predictions came true. Instead of looking at how they won, they started planning the victory party for 2008. Ah, but pride can cometh before a fall, as we saw with Hillary's recent MSNBC debate performance. If the Democrats arent' careful, they might be looking at a defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

There may be other factors involved, but the point is the same. Democrats aren't nearly as strong as we're being lead to believe they are, and as long as Republicans are afraid to test this outh, we'll see more pieces like the one Armey wrote.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Because Some People Have Too Much Time On Their Hands

The following is an IM conversation I had with a faux liberal drooler harassing good people for jollies. The name has not been changed, as it is someone cloning another chatter, and it's screamingly obvious. Enjoy. :-)

Jjetrangerb2O6: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE SON
Jjetrangerb2O6: BELIEVE THAT
AceofSwrds: Yeah, because I've done such a good job hiding who I am... ROFLMAO
Jjetrangerb2O6: CHECKED*
Jjetrangerb2O6: ;-)
AceofSwrds: Oh. Wow. I am...not impressed.
AceofSwrds: Thanks for the traffic. :-)
AceofSwrds: Feel free to post whatever you want. I could care less.
AceofSwrds: After all, I guarantee you will be wrong on much of what you post. :-)Jjetrangerb2O6: OHH NO WE ARE NOT.. WE HAD YOU CHECKED OUT
AceofSwrds: Fine. When's my birthday? :-)
Jjetrangerb2O6: LOLA
ceofSwrds: Should be simple to pull out if you did have me checked out like you claim. :-)AceofSwrds: Tick tock... :-)
AceofSwrds: LOL! Scared to answer a simple question about me? I thought you said you had me checked out! LOL
Jjetrangerb2O6: BYE BYE SHIT STAIN
AceofSwrds: Come on! Answer the question! LOL
AceofSwrds: I see one little cloner who just got BUSTED! LOL
Jjetrangerb2O6: YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHO THIS IS...............
AceofSwrds: Doesn't matter. You have just established you haven't done ANY research on me. :-)
AceofSwrds: That means you've been caught in a lie. :-)
Jjetrangerb2O6: OH YESSS WE HAVE
AceofSwrds: Come on! Answer the question! LOL

Jjetrangerb2O6 signed off at 7:39 P.M.

Now, I'm waiting on them to make good on their threats. And since I am one of the parties of the IM conversation, I am releasing it to the public, fully within the confines of the law.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Tip for Hillary

They say politics make strange bedfellows, and for once, I'm jumping into bed with a figurative sense, of course. During a recent Iowa swing, she stopped in a Maid Rite restaurant and had a good meal on the house. She didn't leave a tip, but her campaign left a $100 tip for a $157 bill. Not a bad tip, really.

Then, it came out today that the waitress who waited on Hillary didn't get a tip and said as much. People who dislike Hillary jumped on this story as "proof" that Hillary doesn't care about the little people. Hillary's defenders said it was much ado about nothing. As you might have guessed, I'm coming down with the latter group. Hillary and her campaign did right by the situation by giving the $100 tip. What happened to it is outside of her influence, so she can't and shouldn't get blowback because of it.

But (and you know there had to be one in this case), Hillary missed a golden opportunity to not only make herself look caring and compassionate, but to erase the memory of last week's MSNBC debate debacle. Imagine the PR buzz that would have occurred if Hillary had given the waitress the $100 tip herself. It may not have been enough to wipe out the memory of her MSNBC debate debacle, but it would have softened the impact of it or at least given her an out afterwards. As it stands, she didn't, and the "no tip from Hillary" story doesn't help her image, regardless of its truthfulness at this point.

So, Hillary, the next time you're in a restaurant, at least offer to tip. It will work wonders for your political image.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

2 Parties, 2 Turning Points

During a campaign season, there are moments when a candidate will rise to the occasion or fall by the side of the road. Rarely will those moments happen to both parties on the same day, but today it did.

For Democrats, the turning point happened with Barack Obama. In an interview with Fox News, Obama noted that Baby Boomers (like Hillary Clinton and most of the other candidates running for the Democrat nomination) are not equipped to handle the problems of today:

There's no doubt that we represent the kind of change Senator Clinton can't deliver on. And part of it's generational. Senator Clinton and others have been fighting some of the same fights since the '60s. It makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done. And I think that's what people hunger for.

By Jove, I think he's got it!

Obama's sentiments have the potential to change Democrat politics for years to come if people are willing to take a hard look at the makeup of the party right now. The people who hold most of the power within the Democrats are Boomers. And under their leadership, the party has experienced a combination of highs and lows, with most of the experiences being lows over the past few years. Democrats need a fresh start, and for better or worse Obama represents that fresh start. And he is right about the Boomers and their inability to address the problems of today. Heck, a good number of them caused the problems in the first place. I hope Democrats take Obama's message to heart.

For the Republicans, the turning point happened with Rudy Giuliani. For the longest time, we've heard how Rudy won't ever win the votes of evangelicals and the Christian right due to his divorces and position on abortion. That changed today when Pat Robertson came out to support Giuliani. Granted, my opinion of Robertson isn't that high to begin with, but the fact that he would come out to support someone who is seen as being morally flawed. What this does is not only destroy the myth that Rudy can't get evangelical votes, but it shows his ability to draw in people from all walks of Republican life. Democrats who thought it would be a cakewalk if Rudy were the GOP nominee now have reason to be concerned.

Two parties, two turning points. And two parties whose worlds may be shaken to their foundations if they realize just how major these turning points are.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Ballad of the Screen Berets

It's funny how and when inspiration can hit you. After dispatching a faux liberal drooler who claimed to have been in the 82nd Airborne (while completely missing the question of when the 82nd actually came into existence), I got to thinking about what motivates those who sit in chatrooms and lie about being in the military. These "screen berets" have become more and more prevalent as the War in Iraq has gone on. More often than not, they're faux liberals trying to pull rank on those of us who support the war effort but did not serve in the military.

So to honor their "service" to this country, I offer the following song, "The Ballad of the Screen Berets" [with all apologies to Robin Moore and SSgt. Barry Sadler, the writers of "The Ballad of the Green Berets."]

Fighting soldiers from the sky
(That's if you believe their lies)
Men who claim to be what they say
But they are just Screen Berets

Chicken wing sauce on their chests
Covering their big man-breasts
One lying man will test today
If folks believe the Screen Beret

Trained to live off Mom and Dad
A paying job not to be had
Men who lie, both night and day
Telling tales of the Screen Berets

Chicken wing sauce on their chests
Covering their big man-breasts
One lying man will test today
If folks believe the Screen Beret

Spouting lies, giving not an inch
In their praise of Kucinich
Hoping for Innaugural Day
When the Dems will praise the Screen Berets

Chicken wing sauce on their chests
Covering their big man-breasts
Afraid of folks who will all day
Expose the lies of the Screen Berets.

Friday, November 2, 2007

My Top 10 Conservatives in America

As promised, here is my list of the top 10 conservatives in America. Again, this ranking isn't how I like them, it's how much power, influence, and potential they have. Here we go!

10) President George W. Bush - This one was a toughie. On the one hand, you can't leave off the most powerful man in the world of a list of top 10 conservatives. On the other, he's not really all that conservative and he hasn't been able to use influence to get what he wants. The tipping point for me on this one is the fact that Bush has set into motion policies and politics that won't be so easily wiped away in 2009 when the new President takes over. Love him or hate him, Bush has already impacted the future, possibly more than we realize.

9) Bobby Jindal - The Governor-Elect of Louisana did something few people thought he could: run as a Republican in post-Katrina Lousiana...and win. It was a race Republicans were predicted to lose by pundits all over the country, but Jindal defied the odds and the critics to become the first Indian-American to run a state. And at 36, he's indicative of the "new breed" of conservatives and Republicans. If Republicans can duplicate Jindal's strategy, they may be able to duplicate his success. Plus, it rips apart the notion that the GOP is a "rich old white man's party." He's not so influential now, but give him time and he may become the blueprint for conservative electoral victories in the future.

8) Newt Gingrich - Gingrich is the intellectual heart and soul of the modern conservative movement. I've listened to him speak and to his book To Renew America, and there is no doubt as to the man's intellectual capacity. His intellectualism gives him a decided edge, but it's his way of seeing the much larger picture that puts him in the top 10. Give him half a chance, and Newt will think circles around you and have you thanking him for it by the time he's through.

7) Dr. Thomas Sowell - With the passing of Milton Friedman, Sowell is now the main voice in favor of a free market economy. I have never heard a more passionate and brilliant defender of capitalism, surpassing even Ayn Rand. And Sowell has influenced so many minds, young and old alike, that he deserves a spot in the top 10 of any list, not just mine.

6) Karl Rove - The mastermind behind George W. Bush's political victories had a bit of a stumble with the 2006 midterm elections, but that doesn't make him dead in the water. On the contrary. His political instincts failed him then, but as any good strategist does, he adapts to the new environment and finds a way to thrive. He may not be the most popular man in the world, but Republicans, including George W. Bush, are still asking him for advice. That's power, my friends.

5) Rick Santorum - The Democrats cheered when they managed to defeat Santorum and take his Senate seat. The problem: he didn't fade away. Santorum is still out there giving speeches, making known his position on national security issues. And he's still a young man, relatively speaking. He will be around for a long time yet, giving the left plenty of headaches for years to come.

4) Glenn Beck - Yes, I know there are a number of you screaming "Fix!" because I happen to like the guy, but hear me out on this one. While other talk radio hosts are busy saying the same things over and over again, Beck does a fantastic job of researching topics in ways most people may not have considered and relating this information to the audience in a way they can understand. What makes Beck so influential is his fearlessness when it comes to controversial subjects. He leads with his gut, and it shows in his work. Keep an eye on Beck. He may surpass Rush Limbaugh by the time he's done.

3) Chief Justice John Roberts - George W. Bush's pick for Chief Justice will definitely have an impact on the world for years to come. With his conservative bonafides in order and presumably a number of years ahead of him in the Supreme Court, Roberts might be one of the few lasting parts of the George W. Bush Presidency.

2) Rupert Murdoch - The owner of News Corp, the parent corporation of Fox News, the New York Post, and now the Wall Street Journal. With Fox News, he gets millions of viewers daily, as the ratings will attest. With the Post, he reaches out to the "common man" newspaper reader by not being as stuffy and elitist as the New York Times. And now with the Journal, Murdoch has instant credibility in the international financial markets since the paper is widely regarded as one of the top financial newspapers in the world. Without a doubt, Rupert Murdoch has left a huge footprint on conservatism.

1) Rush Limbaugh - A staunch conservative, Limbaugh has rules the talk radio airwaves since the 80s and still commands a large audience eager to hear his take on the news of the day. Getting time on Rush's show is like being on "The Tonight Show" when Johnny Carson was hosting. That's when you know you've made it. For that, Rush gets the #1 spot.

My Top 10 Liberals in America

The Daily Telegraph out of the United Kingdom ran a list of the top 100 liberals and conservatives in the US. There were some obvious entries, some surprising entries, and some controversial entries. But I do know a good idea when I see it, so I'm going to do something similar. I don't have the attention span or desire to do 100 liberals and conservatives, so I'll just do 10.

Before I do it, though, let me point out that these are not necessarily my favorite liberals and conservatives. These are the ones I think have the most power, influence, and potential. Let me know what you think.

In the interest of fairness, I will let the liberals go first. :-)

10) Harold Ickes - Hillary may be the candidate running for President, but Ickes is the kingmaker. He cut his teeth in the Clinton White House and is known for being a hard-nosed political force of nature when it comes to Bill and Hillary Clinton. He will do whatever he can to make Hillary a contender. That kind of potential impact on the 2008 race puts him at number 10.

9) Mark Warner - The former Governor of Virginia and current candidate for the US Senate has good looks, decent verbal skills, experience running a government, and a more moderate streak. But the thing that lands him on the list is his youth. He's only 52, which is relatively young in political years. Even if he waits 8 years to run, he will be 60, which would still be young enough to run for President while being old enough to avoid being labled as too green to lead. Watch this man and you will see one of the people who may change Democrat politics as we know them.

8) Michael Moore - Say what you will about his less-than-truthful documentaries, the fact is Moore can bring people from both sides of the aisle together on a subject and make them all agree with him. "Sicko" may not have been as big a movie as "Fahrenheit 911" in terms of box office, but people still relied on what he said about the American health care system to raise concerns. That shows Moore still has power and can use it to move a nation.

7) Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. - Sulzberger, known by many as "Pinch" as a play on his father's nickname "Punch," is the owner and publisher of the New York Times. The print media may be losing readers, but when most of the media outlets in America rely on the Times for what stories to cover and how to cover them, "Pinch" still has an impressive amount of stroke.

6) Bill and Hillary Clinton (tie) - No, this isn't a typo. Bill and Hillary tie for 6th in my list because they rely on each other to give them both credibility. Bill has the looks and the moves, but he lacks credibility with women because of his infidelity. Hillary has instant credibility with women, but lacks the looks and the moves to be an effective leader. In short, for the two of them to have any sort of power, they have to be together in some form. Including on my list.

4) Sen. Joe Lieberman - This is going to be an odd choice to some, but it makes sense in the larger sense of the Senate makeup. Contrary to what the media would have you believe, the Senate has 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and 2 Independents. One of the Independents is Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The other? Joe Lieberman. Sanders tends to side with the Democrats, but Lieberman doesn't always. One vote from Lieberman against the Democrats and there's a deadlock. Forget Harry Reid. The real Senate Majority Leader (or in this case Senate Majority Maker) is Joe Lieberman

3) Marcos Moulitsas Zuniga - You may not know the name, but you know the website. Marcos is the creator of DailyKos, an online community for liberals to gather, exchange ideas, and, oh yeah, blame Bush for everything. The Kos influence was felt in the 2006 elections when they helped to defeat Joe Lieberman in the Democrat primary, and they have the goods to do it again in 2008.

2) Barack Obama - The only thing stopping Obama from being #1 is the fact that he doesn't have the kind of influence yet to change the face of the left. But if he stays in politics and stays true to himself, you will see Democrats and their ideological allies shift in a way that will ultimately end the division in this country and make us all Americans again.

1) George Soros - The man has the means to run the Democrat Party because he can deliver two things they want, need, and love: money and votes. And as the money man behind many groups like Media Matters and, his influence looms large over the modern left. Whether that's positive or negative is yet to be seen in full, but one thing's for certain. Soros will be in the thick of it.

I'll do the top 10 conservatives in the next blog post. See you there!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Empress Has No Clothes

After last night's Democrat debate on MSNBC, two things became abundantly clear. The big one is that Hillary may be vulnerable after all. Her responses to Tim Russert's questions and to the responses given by her opponents can I put this delicately...less than stellar for a front-runner.

If you get a chance, watch her response to Russert's question about New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's proposal to give illegal immigrants drivers licenses. She never really said she supported it. Rather, she gave an evasive answer, saying she thought it was a "good idea." Although Sean Hannity says this is an indication she supports it, I'm giving her a bit more leeway. Having said that, her answer was confusing at the very least, and contradictory in spots. But, more importantly, it made her look weak and evasive, neither one a good quality to have as a President.

To further complicate matters, members of Hillary's campaign and Hillary herself were caught whining about the other candidates taking her to task. Gee, Hill, did you expect everyone to bow down and kiss your backside because you're Hillary Clinton? Maybe you missed the meeting on this, but in a political campaign, your opponents are out to try to beat you. Watching you and your campaign attack Tim Russert and the other candidates for "ganging up" on you may win you some sympathy votes, but it's not exactly the way a President should act in a crisis. You may not agree with President Bush, but he's decisive, and Presidents need to be that way, not waffling and seeking out scapegoats.

But the lowest of the low? Attacking Tim Russert. He didn't make you dodge questions or look peeved. You did that all on your own, Hill. And as a result, you looked a lot less Presidential last night and today. Of course, it may not mean anything in the grand scheme of things. You have the other Democrats in the race eating your dust in the polls, and this little hiccup in your coronation won't turn away the true believers in your midst. But you should know that your weaknesses are showing, and Republicans are watching.

Oh, and the second thing? When Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson start seriously talking about UFOs, it's clear the Democrats really have their fingers on the pulse of the American people...who use supermarket tabloids as their source for news.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sisters Are Doing It TO Themselves

The Sacramento Bee recently reported that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's approval rating has dipped below 30%. On the surface, this isn't that big a deal...except when you consider the poll showing these low numbers was of Californians.

Ouch. From the first woman to be Speaker of the House to the first woman Speaker of the House whose approval ratings may bottom out around the approval rating of toejam. Democrats polled say Pelosi's low approval ratings are due to what they see as a lack of commitment to ending the Iraq War and holding George W. Bush accountable. And Pelosi has blamed the Republicans for holding up legislation, while at the same time claiming the House under her leadership has done so much. A female politician who blames Republicans for things going wrong and takes credit for accomplishments she had a marginal role in.

Sound familiar?

Actually, there is potential that Pelosi's woes could negatively impact Hillary's Presidential hopes. Pelosi isn't exactly a wallflower, and she has made no bones about the fact that she's the first female to be Speaker of the House. In fact, that's pretty much all she talked about for the first couple of months after Election 2006. Yet, after the honeymoon was over and Pelosi was expected to lead, she made some serious mistakes that someone with more experience or common sense would have been able to avoid.

Hillary, whether she knows it, will have to overcome the obstacles Pelosi unwittingly put in her path to the White House. Hillary cannot run on her record of experience because in reality she has none. She can't run on putting Bill back in the White House because he won't be the one making decisions. The best he'll be able to do is offer strategy suggestions, which puts Hillary squarely in the position of having to take a position and stick to it for more than a speech. And Hillary hasn't distinguished herself as a leader.

In short, Hillary is already starting off with negatives that can hurt her campaign, but the biggest hurdle in front of her may be Pelosi showing the world what a woman unprepared for power can...or can' If Hillary has any shot at the White House, either Pelosi's going to have to be a smarter leader or Hillary is going to have to prove why she's not like Pelosi.

A Lot of Hot Air

After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, hurricane forecasters (and faux liberals) predicted that 2006 would be a big year for hurricanes. The faux left jumped up and down and said global warming was causing hurricanes with their usual disregard for facts and logic. And 2006 proved to be...relatively quiet on the hurricane front.

Then, the same crowd predicted 2007 would be a big year for hurricanes, and the same faux liberals blamed global warming. With nine weeks left in hurricane season, 2007 is proving to be...even more quiet than last year.

Well, it's obvious what's happening. Global warming is preventing hurricanes.

Seriously, what is happening is that science and politics are merging in a way that isn't healthy. When you let politics infect science, it taints the results. We saw this with studies conducted by the anti-gun lobby where they considered young adults as old as 22 to be children for the purpose of whipping up hysteria over children being killed by guns in the house.

And who could forget the walking (or should I say limo-riding, jet-flying) contradiction that is Al Gore? Environmental scientists are having to either disavow what Gore says or try to play both sides of the fence to try to appease both sides of the global warming debate. And in the latter case, they look foolish.

Politicians don't get off so easily here, either, mainly because in most cases they're not prepared to discuss the science. Today's political environment is such that if you can't summarize and simplify issues, people won't bother to listen. After all, there's "Survivor: China" and that's much more important than whether the planet is burning up! When you simplify an issue, there is always a risk that you will leave out important details for the interest of time. That doesn't serve to advance the science and winds up making the politician look foolish when people find out that the politician is full of it.

The faux left believes in the separation of church and state. I'd be happy if they'd take up the separation of science and politics.

Special Guest Blog Entry

This is from my good friend Stella Rondo. Enjoy!

Rightly Blaming the Victim

Unless something changes, it appears that all that remains for the coronation of Hillary Clinton as president is placing the crown in her head. I know that thought strikes something akin to nausea, dread, and panic in the hearts of all conservatives, many moderates, and a lot of right-leaning independents. I know it does me.

But here's the bottom line. If Hillary wins this election, it won't be because this Machiavellian she-wolf is so capable. It will be because we conservatives let her win.

What's this, you say? You're blaming the victim?

Yes, I am. The slow erosion of our culture and of our country's basic principles by the left has been no secret over the past number of years. The left is nothing if not predictable. We have always known that they are, in spite of their occasional veers into faux support of the troops and feigned angst at excessive government spending, all for a weakened socialist America. It's WE who have given up the ground in the blind hope that a) maybe they'll like us, b) maybe they'll stop, and c) it really can't happen here.

Well, they won't like us and they won't stop and you better believe it could happen here. And the more conciliatory and timid we act, the more they will take advantage of our weakness.

We keep hearing how America is basically a conservative country. It was just a scant 20 years ago that Ronald Reagan was elected in a landslide, and all that electorate hasn't died off just yet. Even George Bush, as much as he's disappointed conservatives in the past eight years, wasn't beaten by the markedly liberal Kerry just 3 short years ago. So clearly the forces are there that can defeat Hillary.

The problem is that conservatives can be just lousy at the political game. They are not mean enough. They want to be liked too much. They accept the world view of the liberals, entering their Bizarro world of red herrings, non sequiters, and ad hominem rather than rightly attacking the Buick-sized holes in their reasoning.

And they let perfection be the enemy of progress. Already some GOP/conservatives are saying, well, if Rudy/Fred/Mitt is the nominee, I just won't vote! I'll vote third party! I'll write in Ron Paul! I'm certain they forget that very principled stand got us Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Way to go guys! Boy, that showed THEM, didn't it? Enjoying your noseless face, are you?

There is no reason Hillary Clinton's presidency should be a foregone conclusion. She's slick all right, and calculating, and a terrific politician (although I don't know why anyone would think that's an accomplishment.) But she got her power the old fashioned way - she slept with it. Once her Marxist ideas are not obscured by the Vaseline filter of a fawning press in the debates, it shouldn't be that hard to defeat her, even if she's raised a gazillion dollars.

Provided the purist conservatives have decided not to throw in the towel because our guy may not be Reagan Redux. I hope the lesson we learned from 2006 is no matter how much you may yell and scream from the sidelines, if you're not even on the field you can't influence the game.

And THAT's the Bottom Line.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Spy Who Came In From the Cold...With A Book Deal!

After a few blissful moments of being Plame-free, Valerie Plame is back on the scene promoting her new book, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy. During a recent speech to a lecture sponsored by Vermont Woman newspaper, Plame gave what could best be described as contradictory sentiments.

On the one hand, Plame sounded defiant and determined to stay around until she gets to the bottom of who outed her:

They would like nothing more for us to than be silent and go away. We are not going to give them the satisfaction.

Then, she sounded dejected at being in the spotlight:

We have every desire to move beyond this. We do not want to be defined by this. This is an important story...But I want to be able to move on.

Okay, I can overlook the awkward sentence structure of the first quotation, but I can't let the second quotation go by without comment. Maybe it's the $1 million dollar advance talking, but Plame chose to write a book and then do a speaking tour to promote it! She reminds me of the rock stars who work so hard to get noticed and then lament the fact they're noticed. And not unlike those rock stars, she's portraying herself as a victim of fame who is striving to achieve a bigger, more important goal in life.

And just like those self-important rock stars, I consider very little of what Plame has to say to have any intellectual heft. (Yeah, look who's talking...) Seriously, though, the contradictory concepts in her recent speech reinforces my idea that she's not the brains of the operation, but Joe Wilson is. Wilson stands to gain the most from Plame prostituting herself for the "Bush Administration outed me" idea because as long as people are focused on the lie, they don't focus on the facts. And having done some digging of my own, I've found where the facts don't exactly support Wilson and Plame.

I doubt I'd get the chance to ask Valerie Plame a question, but if I did, I would make it a good one.

"Ms. Plame, does the name Aldrich Ames ring a bell? It should, considering he was the one who really outed you as CIA, not the Bush Administration."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I strive to be intellectually and morally honest with you, but there are some times when it's unbelievably difficult. Those are the no-win situations where your heart and your head battle for hours and days on end trying to get to something that resembles a compromise.

I came across one of those situations recently involving Rev. Fred Phelps. For those of you unfamiliar with Rev. Phelps, he heads up the church that goes around and protests the funerals of soldiers who died in the current Iraq War, saying God is punishing America for being permissive of homosexuality. Well, one of the parents of a slain soldier, Albert Snyder, is suing Phelps and his church for invasion of privacy after the church protested at Mr. Snyder's son's funeral.

Phelps and his lawyer are using a free speech defense in the lawsuit, claiming that the protestors were 1000 feet away from the church and down a hill where they wouldn't be visible. Personally, I find Phelps and his church to be utter scumbags on par with Larry Flynt for what they've done and the personal anguish they've caused over an unrelated point. Having said that, Phelps has a legitimate free speech claim to an extent.

That extent, ladies and gentlemen, is a concept in First Amendment law known as "fighting words." There are some statements that are designed to provoke a physical action or an emotional response. These words are called "fighting words" and may or may not qualify as free speech. So, Mr. Snyder should be on stronger ground, right?

Not so much. Mr. Snyder's invasion of privacy suit is on somewhat shaky Constitutional ground in that there is no express right to privacy in the Constitution. Courts have ruled we have a privacy right, but that doesn't mean it's there; it simply means the court believes it to be there. But given that there is a precedent for a "right" to privacy combined with the outlandish antics of the defendant and his followers, Mr. Snyder may be able to win this one.

But it doesn't make me feel any better. If the court rules in Phelps's favor, he will continue unabated and perhaps with even more vigor because a court justified his actions. As a human being, it offends me deeply and I can't abide by his actions or statements. If the court rules in Mr. Snyder's favor, it can be used as a model for how to shut off offensive speech. On the surface this may sound pretty nifty, but it can also be used to silence folks that someone else finds offensive, but you don't. As an advocate of free speech, I can't abide that happening, either. Defend a scumbag, or defend free speech.

Like I said, a no-win situation.