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.

An Article of Faith

I was listening to an episode of the Laura Ingraham Show featuring Dan Barker, a former preacher who turned to atheism and current host of Freethought Radio on Air America. Barker was featured in a segment with Dinesh D'Souza, author of What's So Great About Christianity, on the subject of faith. As you can guess, Barker's position was not exactly friendly towards Christianity. Hearing Barker talk about how he "grew up" after he rejected Christianity and how he professed the superiority of reason and logic (which he claimed proves the Bible wrong) brought back some painful memories.

When I was young and stupid, I took Barker's position. Boy, did I ever! I was arrogant and thought God couldn't possibly exist because I believed He didn't touch my life in any way in spite of years of faithful service in my youth. I fell out of faith later in my teens after a particularly rough year and felt my youthful intellect was superior to God. As I got older, I found God never really left me, even during those tough times. What happened was that my understanding of God didn't grow up as I did.

When I opened my heart to God again, I reexamined my faith and came to terms with my past. The "I'm smarter than God" attitude fell away and was replaced with humility and respect for God's works. Instead of thinking facts and reason were at odds with faith, I found that they work in concert with faith. Opening up my heart opened up my life, and things continue to get better every day.

Barker's comments brought back a lot of memories, not all of them good. I am ashamed of the way I used to be, but without it, I would not have been able to find redemption now. I think one of the big areas where atheists fail is in not questioning their lack of faith. I firmly believe that in order to be comfortable with your life philosophy, you must question it from time to time. I didn't, and it's clear Barker hasn't yet.

Another area where atheists fall is when they become arrogant with their lack of faith. I've known atheists and agnostics over the years, and most are regular folks who respectfully disagree with people of faith. But there are those, like Barker and Michael Newdow, who have made it a holy crusade (ironically enough) to "prove" Christianity wrong. They place their faith (ironically enough again) in facts and logic, according to them. Yet, facts and logic can fail if one has incomplete or inaccurate information. But try telling that to someone like Barker. He's too busy proclaiming his superiority to Christians...setting himself up as a...god.

Irony abounds with the arrogant atheist front, doesn't it?

Listen, I have no problem with you if you question your faith in God or if you out and out reject God. That's your call, and you're welcome to it. But don't try to come off as though you're superior to me because I happen to believe in God. I've been down the "I'm smarter than Christians" road and it lead to a dead end for me. If it doesn't for you, great. But if you want me to respect your lack of faith, respect my abundance of faith.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pride Cometh Before The Fall (of 2008)

Reuters ran an interesting article on October 24th about Democrats possibly being overconfident about the 2008 elections. The story references the recent election of Massachusetts Democrat Niki Tsongas over Republican Jim Ogonowski by 51-45% in a special congressional election. It may have been a victory, but Democrat strategists were expecting the margin of victory to be much wider than it was. But that's not quieting the "Democrats are gonna win" talk coming from politicians and grassroots Democrats.

I've said for a while now that the Democrats are ignoring a problem coming from their left flank. People who would normally be marching right beside them, like Cindy Sheehan, the Daily Kos-monauts, and the MoveOn crowd, are starting to demand action from Democrats to impeach Bush and Cheney and to end the Iraq War, among other things. Democrats, being politicians and, thus, wanting to hold onto what power they have, aren't so keen on wading hip-deep in the Soros-controlled waters. Naturally, this gets the "freak left" as I call them upset. After all, MoveOn said they bought and paid for the Democrats, and they're going to start demanding a return on their "investment."

Of course, pandering to the Soros folks doesn't appeal to the more mainstream Democrats. They may want to end the War on Iraq, but they're not looking for an immediate pullout. They may want to hold Bush and Cheney accountable, but not impeach them. That's going to create friction, which will in turn create fissures in the Democrat Party. That means the party is going to have to walk an exceptionally fine line to not alienate voters. If they want to keep the power they have, they will need every vote they can get by trying to please as many voters as possible. The problem with that, however, is that it's next to impossible to do, even with the promise of Bill Clinton being back in the White House as a selling point.

Plus, Politico had a story about Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi being at odds with one another over national security issues. Granted, Politico called Hillary an "authentic hawk," but the overall point remains. If such a division exists, even if it's a slight division at this point, it can grow if not addressed and resolved. If that wasn't bad enough, people to the left of Hillary are starting a PAC to stop her from winning the Democrat nomination.

If taken separately, the Democrats wouldn't have much to worry about. Put together, it signals a bad trend for Democrats at a time when they're in a relatively good spot politically. And the longer they ignore the potential problem of a challenge from the left, the easier it becomes for their dreams of taking back the White House to go up in smoke.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Quick Constitutional Lesson

Whenever people get together to talk about politics, sooner or later the topic will have a connection to the U. S. Constitution. (Wonder why. I guess it's because it's only one of the most important documents in our history...) Unfortunately, too few people have taken the time to read and understand what the Constitution actually says. Granted, some of it is tough to get the first couple of times through, but for the most part it's pretty easy to understand if you're willing to put in the effort to do it.

Unfortunately, some of the people who don't want to put in any work on it happen to be in the media. David Lightman of the McClatchy Newspapers wrote an article/opinion piece titled "Bush is the biggest spender since LBJ." This sentiment matches what the faux left says about President George W. Bush and how he's "spending us into debt." Nice rhetoric, but there's a teensy little snag in it.

Yep, you guessed it. The Constitution.

I quote from Article I, Section 8, first clause:

The Congress shall have power To lay and collect taxes, duties, imports and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imports and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States... [emphasis mine]

There are other clauses from Article I, Section 8, that mention Congress paying for something, but you get the picture from the first clause. When looking at Article II, which deals with the powers of the Executive Branch, you find...nothing relating to the spending of money. In other words, the President doesn't spend the money; Congress does. Blaming Bush for the rising debt is like blaming your boss for you spending your paycheck on sloe gin and fast women.

Got it? Good.

Class dismissed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stark's Raving Mad!

When it comes to the House Democrats, I've come to realize two things. One, John Murtha always looks mad. And, two, they're not that swift on the uptake. After the MoveOn "Betray-Us" ad fiasco blew up in their faces and how the Senate Democrats got smacked around by Rush Limbaugh, you would think the Democrats would have had a huddle and told people to take a break and let the heat die down.

Enter California Representative Pete Stark. During a speech concerning President Bush's veto of funding for the SCHIP program, Stark made the following comment:

You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement.

Nevermind the fact that Bush would be out of the White House by the time the children Stark talked about would be of age to join the military. Nevermind the fact that the "innocent people" Stark is talking about may not be as innocent as he thinks they are. The very fact he suggested the President enjoys soldiers dying in Iraq is at best ignorant, at worst slanderous.

I've seen the President consoling the families of the slain. You may not like him, you may not like his politics, you may not like the way he's run the Presidency, but you had better recognize that George W. Bush is a human being and he cares. No President takes war lightly, and no President takes joy at soldiers dying. To suggest otherwise is partisanship at its lowest.

As a result of Stark's comments, House Minority Leader John Boehner and other House Republicans sought to get Start censured. By a vote of 196-173 today, that vote failed. Out of the House Democrats, only five broke with their party and voted for censure. Some might call the censure motion partisan, and they would have a point, but it's about time that someone stepped up and tried to put a stop to the kind of crap people like Stark have been allowed to get away with under the cloak of dissent. If you disagree with the President, fine. But a lot of what passes for dissent is nothing more than slander wrapped in the First Amendment and the American flag.

Stark apologized for his comments about Bush, saying, "I hope that with this apology I will become as insignificant as I should be." Personally, Representative Stark, I hope you do, too. And you will have earned your one-way ticket to obscurity by using vile and spiteful rhetoric to try to score points for your side. Yes, Representative Stark, you do deserve to become insignificant because you've shown America that you're not fit to be a Representative.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Politicizing Tragedy

Within the past couple of years, whenever there was a hurricane or some other natural disaster that hit in the "Red States," some members of the faux left took it upon themselves to proclaim "God is punishing the Red States for electing Bush." On the one hand, it's nice to see the faux left acknowledge God's existence after trying to drive it from the public square, but on the other it's a cop-out. Natural disasters happen, and trying to inject politics into them shows very little respect for the victims.

Now that southern California is enduring wildfires, it's easy for conservatives to give into the temptation to rub the faux left's rhetoric in their faces. But I urge you not to, no matter how much you want to because it sets a bad precedent and continues the cycle of hate. There are plenty of people, Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, who are enduring a nightmare right now, either having to evacuate and rebuild or worry about loved ones in the middle of the inferno.

At times like that, politics has no place.

What makes America such a wonder of the world is the fact that we have nearly limitless compassion in times of tragedy, at home and around the world. But that compassion gets undercut by politics, greed, and deceit from people of low morals. Fighting our baser instincts is key here, folks.

If you're a conservative who can't resist the urge to pull the "God is punishing California" card, know that you'll get some major pushback from me. Believe me, if God wanted to punish California, He could do it with something a lot worse than a wildfire.

And if you're a liberal or faux liberal who want to use the wildfires to bash Bush for global warming, remember these could be your family and friends having to rebuild their lives, and I don't think global warming will be that damn relevant to a family that sees their house and all their belongings go up in flames.

We may be a country divided along bitter ideological lines right now, but we shouldn't be. Close down the politicial bickering and open your hearts for a change. Then maybe, just maybe, we can take the first steps to being a UNITED States of America again.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Anatomy of a Conservative Smackdown

By now, you've heard the news of Rush Limbaugh making history with an eBay bid of $2.1 million for the letter sent by 41 Senate Democrats asking Clear Channel to demand Limbaugh apologize over his "phony soldiers" comment, of which Rush has said he will match. Beyond the wonderful outpouring of generosity, the flap over Rush's statement is instructive because it shows how Rush was able to turn the tables on the Democrats yet again, and how conservatives can do the same when faux liberals come after them.

1) Refute the charge early and often. From the moment the faux left targeted him, Rush didn't let his critics define what he said. He went back and explained it, even adding in context that someone who only heard part of the conversation wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Then, he repeated it to anyone who would listen. By doing that, he refuted the charge and started turning the scandal in his favor.

2) Test your opponent's mettle. After taking command of the situation, Rush took the next step and put the letter Harry Reid and 40 other Senate Democrats signed up on eBay. Then, he went a step further and said he would match the winning verified bid. And then he challenged the Democrats who signed the letter to match his bid. Three steps, one moment that puts the Democrats on the spot. To date, the Democrats have not said whether they would rise to Rush's challenge. And I don't think we will.

3) Let your opponent make the mistakes. While Rush was promoting his charitable giving idea, Democrats tried to regain the momentum by attacking the "phony soldiers" comment more. When that didn't work, they got quiet. And after the bidding was over, Harry Reid came out and praised Rush's generosity. All three moves were mistakes in my view. First, you rehash something that was suitably debunked, so nobody else was paying attention. Second, when you realize nobody else was paying attention, you stop talking altogether, which gave Rush additional credibility especially after he issued the challenge to the 41 Senate Democrats to match his matching bid. And Reid's comments? Total damage control moment. And don't be surprised if nobody, not even Reid himself, buys it.

Put simply, Rush turned a potentially bad PR situation into a winning PR and politicial situation. And once again Democrats are left wondering how they got beaten again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

In-Fighting, Out of Line

As you may know, my opinion of Congress over the past few years has been pretty low. Didn't matter if it was a Republican or a Democrat-led Congress, I got sick of politicians doing exactly the wrong things for the country and then blaming the other side for the faults.

When Democrats came into power in Congress in 2006, there was a part of me hoping they would change the dynamic and make good on their promises to clean house and be a Congress of the people. Have they?

I believe The Who put it best: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Since Democrats have taken control of the House and control by procedure only in the Senate, they've been very busy...blaming everyond but themselves for their failures. House Democrats from Nancy Pelosi on down have blamed Senate Democrats for their lack of action on several House bills that have been passed up to them and their failure to curtail President Bush's directives. On the other hand, Senate Democrats have criticized House Democrats for not understanding the procedural differences between the House and Senate and for gumming up the works by opposing measures that would have governed security groups like Blackwater. And both sides are crowing about what legislatives successes they've had as opposed to the other body of Congress.

But there is one thing they agree on: the Republicans are to blame for slowing things down.

I know a thing or two about leadership, and there are some things good leaders don't do. Laying blame on others for failures is one of them, and right now, Congressional Democrats are proving that they're no better than the Republicans before them were at leading. With critical issues on our plates right now and not so far down the road (like Social Security reform, alternate energy, and, oh yeah, those Muslim extremists around the world who want to kill us), we need people in office who care more about doing right by the country than by themselves. I am utterly ashamed of both major parties for not only taking part in this disgraceful act of selfishness, but for keeping it going for as long as it has. For once in your lives, live up to your responsibility of representing the people of your districts and your nation.

Democrats, stop blaming Republicans for your failures. You have the power and the ability to compromise, but you aren't doing it. Instead, you're looking and sounding like spoiled brats fighting over a toy. You're supposed to be the leaders, so start leading!

Republicans, I know you think it's cute to beat the Democrats at their own game with procedural tricks, but it's time to start reaching across the aisle. In the House, there are conservative Democrats looking for opportunities to break with their party and do right by their constitutents. This is your opportunity to do the same. Start working with these people and come up with some real bipartisanship for a change.

Then, maybe your approval ratings won't dip into single digits.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Err America Lives Up to Its Nickname

One of the biggest faults I find with talk radio most often is that the hosts resort to overly simplistic explanations for what's going on in the world. For the right, the hosts blame everything on liberals and liberalism. On the left, the hosts blame everything on conservatives and conservatism. Sometimes they're right, but most of the time they're wrong.

And boy was Air America's Jon Elliot wrong.

After Air America host Randi Rhodes fell in Manhattan, Elliot went on the air Monday and...blamed conservatives.

Is this an attempt by the right wing hate machine to silence one of our own? Are we threatening them? Are they afraid we're winning? Are they trying to silence intimidate us?

I don't even have a radio show and I'm beating Air America in the ratings, so it's not fear. But go on left-wing blogs and websites after the incident and you couldn't convince the majority of the posters that it wasn't a conservative hit job.

At least, until the NYPD, Rhodes's lawyer, and Air America said it wasn't a mugging, but rather an accident (or as Air America called it, an "incident"). Oops.

To his credit, Elliot apologized for his faulty reporting of the situation...kinda. In a written statement, Elliot said the following.

I shouldn't have speculated based on hearsay that Randi Rhodes had been mugged and that it may have been an attack from a right wing hate machine. I apologize for jumping to conclusions based on an emotional reaction.

Wellllll...I'm not sure that's gonna cut it. Are there conservative whack-jobs out there that would do something like this to Rhodes or any Air America host? Absolutely. But more often than not, conservatives don't do something like that and when it happens, they're some of the first people to chastise the whack-jobs. And when you consider New York City is lacking in the conservative population, which in turn limits the conservative whack-job population, it's highly unlikely that it was a "right wing hate machine" that made Rhodes fall.

But it's pretty damn easy to accuse them of it if you're an Air America host, isn't it?

After staying pretty much under the radar for a while, an incident like this can only hurt them in the short run and the long run. In the short run, jumping to conclusions in the post-Nifong era that don't pan out makes them look foolish and untrustworthy. In the long run, it doesn't get much better. They're already in a ratings hole and with Don Imus coming back, it puts more pressure on Air America to perform. Given their track record so far, that's a Yao Ming-sized order.

And all because someone tried to make political something that wasn't.

No wonder I call them Err America.

The Return of the I-Man

Yep, you read that right. Don Imus is coming back to broadcast radio as of December 3, 2007, and on the nation's biggest radio station, WABC out of New York City. Fans are excited, foes are silent, and Media Matters and Henry Waxman's Senate folks will have something to do.

I'm of two minds on Imus's return. On the one hand, I feel strongly that he should have never been forced off the radio in the first place. Behind all the bluster about the "nappy-headed hos" comment was the machinations of race-hustlers who care more about getting paid then fighting racism. The Rutgers women's basketball team played a role in the plan by claiming to be victims. I said it then and I'll say it now: If these women were so scarred by the comments of Don Imus, the real world will eat them alive. Was the comment in good taste? No. Was it worth getting Imus fired? Nope. And was it worth demeaning the incredible season the Rutgers women's basketball team had just to get on television and maybe make some money off the deal? Absolutely not.

On the other side, Imus's return may also signal a return to something I dislike as much as the aforementioned race hustlers: the coarsening of the culture. Imus's gimmick is that he is edgy and that you never know what he'll say at any given moment. He's done that throughout his career and it's worked well for him, but does it enhance the culture in some way? Not from where I sit. Imus's shtick doesn't elevate, inspire, or motivate in any way. As much of a free speech advocate as I am, I also recognize the power of words and do my best to use my words carefully. The First Amendment gives us the right to free speech, but it also gives us the duty to use that right responsibly. Imus, unfortunately, doesn't.

Although Imus getting fired was a travesty, his return may not be the best thing for the country, either. Fortunately, we have the power to alter the impact of Imus's return with a simple act.

Turn off the radio if he offends.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Campaign Slogans I'd Like to See

With the 2008 Presidential election a little over a year away, we're seeing the candidates trying to promote themselves to us in the hopes of getting our votes. But something is missing: campaign slogans. I don't see too many slogans out there, and the ones that are out there aren't memorable. So, in the interest of livening up the process, I've written some campaign slogans. Enjoy!

Hillary Clinton: Because we've never had a President who knew how to cackle like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Barack Obama: If ya smelllllllll....what cookin'!

John Edwards: He knows the importance of conditioner. He knows how to lead America.

Joseph Biden: It's morning in America.

Bill Richardson: He's Hispanic! And he's Hispanic!

Christopher Dodd: Because you can't spell "doddering old fool" without Dodd.

Dennis Kucinich: With someone who looks this weird, he has to be smart!

Mike Gravel: Get a piece of this rock!

Mitt Romney: He has better hair than John Edwards.

Rudy Giuliani: He's the crossdressing man for the job!

Fred Thompson: Vote for me or I'll just glare at you for a really long time until you're creeped out.

Mike Huckabee: You like Applebee's? You'll love Huckabee!

John McCain: Still crazy after all these years.

Sam Brownback: I'll secure this country from illegal immigrants.

Duncan Hunter: No. I'll secure this country from illegal immigrants.

Tom Tancredo: Hey! Illegal immigration is my issue!

Ron Paul: Two first names as a name makes him twice the man of anyone else!

A Lawyer on the Edge...and the Law School That Loves Her

Remember Lynne Stewart? If you don't or if you've never heard of her, Stewart is a classic example of someone who let politics get in the way of common sense.

Stewart was a lawyer who represented the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing, Omar Abdel Rahman, more commonly known as "The Blink Sheik." During the process, she apparently got a variation of the "Stockholm Syndrome" and started relaying messages from Rahman to his terrorist buddies. One tiny problem with that: it's illegal to do. After Stewart was caught, she was disbarred, convicted, and sentenced to 2 years in prison.

Fast forward to today. Stewart has been asked to participate in a legal ethics conference at Hofstra University Law School to talk about "lawyers over the edge" as it's being billed by the university. A representative from Hofstra defended their decision to have Stewart appear saying that she represents a cautionary tale of what can happen when the lawyer-client relationship gets too personal. Of course, that doesn't require them to actually have her appear, but hey, why let logic get in the way of getting a known criminal and disbarred lawyer to show up for a conference and generate publicity?

That's what's at the heart of Hofstra's decision: publicity. By bringing in Stewart, they're bringing national attention (and outrage) to the conference and the university. That will invariably bring in the potential of students and their parents' money. But before the administrators start patting themselves on the back for a PR coup, let me remind you of something Stewart has said:

Institutions that perpetuate capitalism and institutions of government have to be attacked.

Oh, did I mention Stewart is an avowed socialist?

And if Hofstra is using Stewart for publicity, that would make them a target. It's hard to tell which of the particulars in this situation is more guilty of rampant stupidity: Stewart for willingly helping a terrorist, or Hofstra for setting themselves up to be attacked by Stewart and her cohorts by using her to promote their conference.

Well, in the interest of fairness, I'm going to be nice and call them both dumbasses.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What Do the Nobel Committee and Imadinnerjacket Have In Common?

President Imadinnerjacket of Iran is famous (or should we say infamous) for his believe that the Holocaust may not have happened. Whenever he's asked about it, he usually gives a vague answer that suggests that Jews weren't slaughtered in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. Anybody with a shred of honesty and intelligence knows he's so full of baloney, Muslim cannibals can't eat him and stay true to Allah.

But now we might have another group as odious as Imadinnerjacket. You might know them better as the Nobel Prize Committee. When they handed out the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore for...well, for agreeing with the faux left's preconceived ideas about global warming, they overlooked another nominee, one who some, including your humble blogger, would say deserved the prize more than Gore.

Her name is Irena Sendler. During World War II, she helped save the lives of 2500 Jewish children from becoming victims of the Nazi concentration camps. If anyone did more to advance humanitarian efforts and peace, the very core values of what the Nobel Peace Prize is supposed to represent, I haven't seen one nominated this year.

Yet, who gets the Peace Prize? Al Gore, because he parrots the faux liberal line on global warming independent of those pesky things we like to call facts.

Does this mean the Nobel Committee is anti-Semitic? Maybe, maybe not. I can't speak for them because a) I don't know them well enough to speak for them, and b) I'm not Norwegian. But it doesn't speak well for them that they would let politics blind them to a real champion for peace.

An Inconvenient Nobel Winner

It was bound to happen, and it was pulled off with the grace of Joe Cocker dancing The Nutcracker Suite. Al Gore begged off a campaign appearance for a Democrat to fly overseas to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Even Stevie Wonder could have seen this coming, what with the politicization of the Nobel Committee in the past few years. But, Gore might just have his sights on one more prize: the Presidency of the United States.

Yes, I know Gore's denied it, but remember he's the guy who took the initiative in the creation of the Internet (which was already in existence by the time he was in Congress), so we have to at least consider the possibility that he's bluffing. Combine that with the groundswell of support for Gore among Democrats not happy with the current crop of Democrat candidates, as well as the notion that Gore was robbed in 2000, and the fire may reignite. And if you've ever seen Al Gore fired can't tell the difference from when he's calm.

Regardless, Gore has time to consider his next move, and his entrance into the race would hurt just about every Democrat candidate. The lower tier candidates would get swallowed up like Gore swallows up a Twinkie. And considering all but Hillary, Barack Obama, and John Edwards are lower tier candidates, he could break through into the upper echelon relatively quickly, picking up supporters from the lower tier candidates with ease. Edwards is teetering on the verge of being irrelevant, so Gore's entry pushes him out of the top three. With Gore being the new anti-Hillary and Obama not sounding all that Presidential these days, Gore could overtake Obama and take a number of Obama supporters with him.

That leaves Hillary. The history between the Clintons and the Gores makes the Hatfields and McCoys look positively chummy. Bill Clinton used Gore to deflect criticism from his lack of a military record and did nothing to help him in 2000, partially because Gore didn't want his help, and partially because Bill had campaign volunteers with Hillary's Senate run to hit on. Hillary and Gore jockeyed for position during the Clinton years for Bill's ear, and Hillary usually won. (Fortunately, they had conceded control of other parts of Clinton's body early on, as Monica can attest.)

The Hillary-Gore matchup would be a dream for Democrats because either way, they can't lose. With either candidate, they get someone who will spend a lot of money on pet causes and weaken America. What's not to like with either one if you're a modern Democrat? And if Gore doesn't win the nomination or doesn't want to take on Hillary directly, he could always run as a third party candidate and undercut her that way.

In either case, Al Gore becomes an inconvenient alternative to Hillary.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jimmy Carter: Toothless Pitbull for the Left

Former President Jimmy Carter is not what you would call a friend to the Bush Administration. In recent years, Carter has been highly critical of everything Bush has done, regardless of whether it actually did any good. Lately, Carter's been teeing off on Vice President Dick Cheney, saying he's been a disaster as VP. Of course, given Carter's past and present, I'd say he's an expert on all things disastrous, but even experts can be wrong.

This got me wondering why Carter went from being a quiet humanitarian to a public moonbat. Part of it is how Democrats treat losers, and let me tell you, it's not well. When a Democrat fails, the modern party barely recognizes they exist, only dragging them out on special occasions. Need proof? Anyone heard from Michael Dukakis or Walter Mondale recently? Carter was pretty much persona non grata in Democrat circles after getting his butt handed to him by Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Then came Bill Clinton. With Clinton calling on Carter for high profile gigs and advice, Carter had a second chance, and he wasn't about to let it go unused. And since the modern left is all about hating Bush, he latched onto it and hasn't let go since.

At the heart of Carter's Bush-hate is a combination of Bush's support of Israel and Carter's knowledge that he wasn't that great a President. Carter's hatred of Jews is legendary, almost as legendary as his blunders as President. Some, like the botched attempt to rescue our Iranian hostages and stagflation, are well-known. Others, like his complete capitulation to the Soviet Union and overseeing crooked elections while promising everything was fine, aren't, or aren't remembered that much anymore. But to someone like Carter, each failure weighs on his psyche, so he projects his anger onto people like President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

It may give him an outlet for his anger, but it doesn't heal it. That's where the Democrats are failing Carter the most. Instead of giving him the help he needs to get past his failings, Democrats use Carter as an attack dog and then defend him as a statesman and humanitarian. Maybe it's me, but I don't think you can be that much of a statesman or a humanitarian with hate in your heart.

Put simply, not much of what Carter says these days can be taken seriously because it's not coming from an intellectual or moral core. The only things Carter's drawing on are hate and personal embarrassment, and neither one adds any weight to his arguments. It may get him fans on the faux left, but it will leave him empty and, thus, more susceptible to the hate and personal embarrassment within.

And it only gets more depressing from there, kids.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Did Fred Flop?

Yesterday's Republican debate on MSNBC had some fireworks between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, but the one man people focused on was Fred Thompson. How would he do in his first debate? Judging from some of the comments I've seen from both sides of the aisle...not so well.

I'll admit Fred's on my short list of Presidential candidates, but after yesterday's performance, he may not be on too many people's short lists. He didn't look or sound as Presidential as he has in the past or as he can sound. He sounded flat, tired, not at all like a leader. To some, this was the sign that Fred didn't have what it takes to run for the President. To others, it was excusable because it was his first real debate.

To me, it was not a good way to get people interested in Fred. With his later entry into the race, Thompson's learning curve is a lot steeper than the others'. Commentators said he had to really impress people out of the gate or else he'd be in trouble. I tend to agree, but there's another part of the situation that isn't getting discussed: that's not Fred's style. He's more laid back than his opponents, and that can, at times, come off as being tired and flat to some.

Having said that, I think Fred needs to punch up his stump speeches and make his personal appearances memorable and enjoyable. When you're having to ask people ot applaud for you, that's a problem, especially if you're a top-tier candidate. It's time for Fred to either put his whole heart into running, or drop out and thank pepole for considering him in the first place. And after he put moderator Chris Matthews in his place, it's safe to say Fred has at least some fire in the belly. So, it's a matter of bringing out that fire to energize Republicans. I hope he does that or else he'll pull down Ron Paul-style numbers and be tossed out of the race.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Did Hillary Clinton Have Her "Dean Moment"?

It was looking like Howard Dean was going to cruise to the Democrat nomination for President in 2004. He had a lot of money in the bank, supporters out the wazoo, and favorable press.

That is, until he came to Iowa right before the caucuses.

One older gentleman, one question, and one video camera, and before you could say "YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" Howard Dean was caught on camera losing his temper and yelling at an old man. And the dreams of Howard Dean and his supporters went the way of "Gigli II."

Now, Hillary Clinton has been involved in a situation that is not unlike the "Dean Moment" described above. Hillary was at an event and took a question from an older gentleman inquring about her vote that, to him, sounded like she gave President Bush the power to attack Iran. After an explanation, Hillary had what could be seen as her "Dean Moment" when she suggested the man might have been a plant or just reading a question someone else had written, as, according to Hillary, she had been asked that same question over the past couple of days.

Regardless of whether he was a plant, Hillary was not at her best in handling the situation. After her initial reaction, she was apologetic, but the damage, such as it was, had already been done. Sean Hannity said it was a "meltdown" and the Hillary camp has tried to downplay it as nothing major, but I'm not convinced either one is right. Hillary didn't go off like Dean, but she didn't exactly keep her cool, either. The truth of the situation is probably somewhere in between.

So, Hillary won't see her campaign support dwindle too much after this, but it's not a good sign for someone who is supposed to be politically savvy as people say Hillary is. A situation like this, like her odd laugh with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, can come back to haunt her. Will it? I don't think so. The only one who could really make hay out of it would be Barack Obama, and he's not desperate enough yet to pull something like this. John Edwards? He's jockeying for a possible spot as Hillary's VP. And the others lack the star power to generate the heat necessary to make it anything more than a blip on the screen.

In short, Hillary dodged a bullet, but she can't keep making dumb mistakes like this or like what her campaign spokesman Terry McAuliffe did when he told two Obama supporters Hillary has Iowa "in the bag." They would do well to remember Howard Dean's fateful trip to Iowa in 2004 and seek to avoid any more "Dean Moments."

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Mastermind Behind Media Matters

With the recent controversies involving Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, the faux liberal group Media Matters has gotten some exposure as the ones responsible for exposing the aforementioned conservative talk show hosts. Their purpose, as stated on their website, is "comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." To some, they're a godsend, but before you jump on their bandwagon (if you're inclined to do so, that is), it's necessary to look at one of the particulars, David Brock.

David Brock is the conservative-turned-liberal who was responsible for two of the most popular and controversial books of the 90s, The Real Anita Hill and The Seduction of Hillary Rodham. Since his conversion, he has written two more books, Blinded By the Right and The Republican Noise Machine. When he came out with the first two books, the faux left attacked Brock as a liar. With the last two books, they praised him without hesitation because, well, they have no sense of intellectual consistency.

Or maybe it's because he was always just like the faux left. I've read almost all of Brock's books, save The Republican Noise Machine, and I came away from the first two wondering why he was praised by conservatives. Certainly, his politics were in question because the "hit pieces" he wrote on Anita Hill and Hillary Clinton were...soft. To me, he was always hedging his bets, saying things that would ensure book sales while at the same time giving himself an out in case he made a decision to jump ship. This bothered me.

At least until I read Blinded By the Right. In that book, Brock not only admits he's a liar, but that the only reason he became a Republican was because he was being contrarian. And while he was a Republican, he would say and do anything to draw attention to himself. Now, he's "seen the light" and switched sides...and still saying and doing anything to draw attention to himself and, now, to Media Matters.

I've had the opportunity to review a few incidents reported on Media Matters involving Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and I would be remiss if I didn't point out how Brock's intellectual dishonesty is rampant throughout the website. Instead of "monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media," they're guilty of creating, analyzing, and dispensing misinformation about conservatives. Most often, they take statements out of context, twist the actual statement so it means something that wasn't stated or intended, and then rail against their twisted interpretation. Some of the things Media Matters has said about Beck alone have been out and out dishonest, considering I actually heard the shows they "quote" and knew what Beck was driving at from the outset.

But Media Matters isn't trying to be accurate. They're trying to be a one-stop-shop for faux liberals who already believe conservative media lie to produce "proof" of their beliefs. But any proof with a heart of dishonesty doesn't help the cause. If Brock honestly chronicled the foibles of conservative media and their moments of misinformation, I would be fine with that. But he doesn't. Instead, he's resorting to the kind of misinformation that he allegedly is trying to beat back with Media Matters.

Then again, that is how Brock rolls.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Prescription for Stupidity

President Bush vetoed a bill that would have given children health insurance today. Of course, this got Senate Democrats and some Senate Republicans upset because, well, they wanted to spend money on this. (And considering next year is an election year, there's no way there could be politics involved in this decision, right?)

I can understand why the Democrats want this program, but the Republicans? They've gotten way off the reservation on this one, and it's time for someone to say it. If this is the Republican Party of today, count me out.

Most troubling about this plan is the fact no one seems to have read the Constitution. Nowhere in there does it give the federal government the power to create a federal health insurance program. Not even if you completely twist every Article, every Amendment, and every single word written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay. You would have to invent it out of whole cloth for it to be there.

So, why are people, especially Democrats and Republicans, so keen on it? More control over the people...and the people's money. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people willing to give up their responsibility to make their lives a little easier. And what greater responsibility is there for adults than to take care of their children?

That's the heart of the entire push for the government to provide health insurance for children, and it's designed to tug at your heart while someone tugs at your wallet. But the numbers and the emotional appeals are hard to overcome. There are millions of children without health insurance right now. Who wouldn't be moved by that?

Well, me, for one.

The big question nobody's asking whenever this is brought up is "Where are the parents?" It's getting way too easy for parents to pawn off their responsibility to their children and to society on government because they're either too lazy or irresponsible to do it themselves. And when you're dealing with something this big, you can't afford to let Big Brother be Big Babysitter because you don't want to see the bill for their "services." And don't be surprised if they eat everything in your refrigerator to boot, or in the case of William Jefferson, put $90,000 in your freezer.

Some Republicans said Bush vetoing the bill was a big mistake, one that they will "correct" by overriding the veto. Bush said he vetoed the bill because it would give insurance to families making up to $89,000 a year, so the funds would go to people who need it the least. I happen to think Bush was right to veto it, but not for the reason he gave. My reason: government has no business in the insurance game.

Think about it this way. Remember your last trip to the DMV? Imagine turning your local health insurance provider into the DMV. Now, do you get it?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Rush to Judgement?

Rush Limbaugh is the king of modern talk radio. That makes him an instant target of both conservative talk radio hosts and the faux left. The former group try to beat him in the ratings, while the latter group can't, so they resort to the next best thing in their eyes: character assassination. For the most part, they've been unsuccessful in making anything stick, which makes the faux left more desperate and angry.

The most recent assault on Limbaugh came after a comment he made on his show last week. During a call, Rush made reference to "phony soldiers" in the following exchange.

CALLER 2: Yeah, and, you know what --
LIMBAUGH: "Save the -- keep the troops safe" or whatever. I -- it's not possible, intellectually, to follow these people.
CALLER 2: No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.
LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.
CALLER 2: The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq. They understand their sacrifice, and they're willing to sacrifice for their country.

Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog group headed up by David Brock, jumped on "phony soldiers" to make it sound like Limbaugh attacked all soldiers. Rush shot back by saying his comments were taken out of context and that he was referring to anti-war activists claiming to be veterans, such as Jesse MacBeth. That wasn't good enough for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his fellow Senate Democrats, 41 all total who sent a letter to Clear Channel Communications demanding that its president "publicly repudiate these comments that call into question ('antiwar soldiers') service and sacrifice, and ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize for his comments."

I'm going to catch heck for this, but I have to say it. Neither side is completely honest in this situation. Rush tried to do a little after-the-fact spinning to defend himself by adding in the MacBeth reference. Regardless of whether he's right, the fact that he didn't clarify that at the time he made the statement, which opened the door for Media Matters and Harry Reid to jump on his comment and distort them. As someone who has been taken out of context a lot, he should have known better and either clarified his statement at the time he made it or chosen a different turn of a phrase.

Now, before you faux liberals start cheering, you're no better than Limbaugh. What Brock and Media Matters did was nothing short of pure intellectual dishonesty. Then again, it's par for the course for them, since they've made a cottage industry out of taking comments from conservative media figures out of context, twisting what was said, and then bashing the "real" message. That's the essence of a strawman argument, and it reflects an utter weakness in the argument of the person or people making it.

That brings us to Harry Reid. Political opportunism is the least of your "crimes" here, sir. Not only did you perpetuate the Media Matters lie, but you did so in a particularly cowardly way. You didn't go in front of the public to make your case; you stood in the well of the Senate where no one could challenge you. So far, I haven't heard whether you would meet Limbaugh's challenge to repeat your lies to his face, and I doubt we ever will.

As far as the other Senate Democrats who signed the letter condemning Rush, not one of you has a moral leg to stand on. Not only were you in on the lie, but you didn't even have Reid's courage to stand up, even in an echo chamber like the Senate, and voice your disapproval. And considering that it was signed by four Democrats running for President (Clinton, Obama, Dodd, and Biden), this shows me that you are afraid that what you say won't be appreciated by your fellow Americans, who I'm told kinda like talk radio and Rush in particular. Leaders aren't afraid of bad press, but you Democrats wouldn't know about that, considering you have no real leaders in your party.

In short, both sides of the latest Limbaugh controversy aren't being completely truthful. Not that they care, really. The faux left will say and do anything to discredit a conservative, and there are more than a few conservatives who would twist the truth to get one-up on the left. But some of us long for a day when both sides can once again make arguments based on truth and logic, not half-truths and emotional outbursts. Let's hope that day comes soon.

Another Special Guest Blogger

Another friend of mine (yes, I have more than 1) has a few things to say, so I'm giving her space. Enjoy this entry from my friend Stella Rondo.

This morning I was wasting time on my computer. As I often do when I have a few minutes to kill, I played an online game. This particular game consisted of popping a grid of about 130 balloons in such a way as to get rid of them all, and win big prizes as a result. Well ok, only if I popped about 6 quadrillion of them would I get anything resembling a prize, but the carrot was there regardless.

As in many such game rooms, there was a small open chat window in the right hand corner. This window contained a running dialog between the other people who were also sitting on a Saturday morning popping balloons rather than out, say, finding a cure for cancer. The "conversation" went something like this:

LuschusLips: "how old r u?"
Bookie2000: "32. thass old."
ClydeP123: "your only as old as you feel"
Bookie2000: "any hot girls in here?"
LuschusLips: "Im hot and horny, wanna chat?"

Yes, I realize these denizens of the internet would have given Shaw a run for his money. And it didn't get much better than that. I watched it out of the corner of my eye for some time. And then I thought: You're sitting in a chat room on a Saturday morning popping a grid of virtual balloons. Just how hot can you be?

And then I thought further: I now know one of the real consequences of the internet. It's to give the crazy an air of legitimacy they otherwise would not have had.

Consider that premise. In years past, if you were crazy (oh sorry, not PC enough? OK, let's say terminally odd), the only way people knew about it was if they had face to face dealings with you. And, if you were on the odd side, that side would tend to show itself rather quickly. You might exhibit your oddness by staring fixedly at the person to whom you were speaking, or twitching, or darting your eyes furtively at everyone around you, or drooling, or never combing your hair or bathing, or not speaking in complete sentences, or speaking in metaphors so mixed they might have come out of Ronco's Veg-O-Blender.

But on the internet, no one sees any of that. They certainly can't see the drooling or the twitching eyes. They can't smell the considerable body odor. And speaking in incomplete sentences and muddy metaphors seems almost de rigueur. I suspect many of these same people are sitting at the local library computer, chatting with a passionate intensity that would astonish Yeats, without fear of anyone hauling them off and locking them up for being a danger to themselves or society.

So no wonder some people - those who have limited social graces, manners, wit, or coherence - no wonder the internet is so captivating. Where else can you chat with a horny girl without her ever finding out what a real loser you are? Where else can you make dire pronouncements about the impending doom of mankind for a mass audience? Where else can you compare Bush to Hitler and actually have people take you seriously?

In years past, the crazy who were not hospitalized were often found in big city parks or street corners, ranting at no one in particular and shaking their fists at the heavens. On the internet, they can be celebrated, catered to, and like the Wizard of Oz, imagined to be far more important and powerful than they really are. It almost makes you wonder - which comes first? Being crazy and using the internet, or using the internet and making yourself crazy because there's nothing to check your ridiculous impulses?

And let's be honest. If that girl in the chat room was really that hot and horny, why is she sitting in a chat room popping balloons? Are we to believe that she comes in just to pop on-line balloons as a respite from her never ending whirl of parties, photo shoots, and dates with Richard Branson?

I am hoping that any of my good readers who have created on-line personae for themselves that are remarkably unlike who they are in real life, are starting to feel pretty stupid by now. You are? Good. I intended for you too. Now log off and go outside and play.

As for myself, I have about 35 balloons left.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Gods and Morons

There are some things in modern politics that simply boggle my mind. One of them is Dennis Kucinich. Another is the "religious right" and the power people think they have over the Republican Party. Recently, a group of well-known religious conservatives floated the idea of supporting a third party candidate if the Democrat and the Republican candidates do not represent their views.

I used to think people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson held a sizable chunk of the Republican vote and could sway an election with their words and deeds. Part of that perception was and still is fueled by one source.

The faux left.

In truth, the "religious right" holds the same political stroke as the pro-abortion side: in volume, not size. This isn't to say religious Republicans and religious conservatives don't have power, but they aren't the ones who are in front of the cameras talking about a third party movement. The religious conservatives I know and respect have one thing in common: deeply held values.

Yet, when we look at some of the so-called leaders of the "religious right," we see...a facade. And this "we'll take our votes and go home" move is proof of it. How do I know? Because they've pulled this crap in the past, and the "religious right" didn't follow through on their threats. And, no, the 2006 election results do not prove that the "religious right" has more stroke than I give them credit for. There were a lot of people who stayed home to protest the GOP going soft, but conspicuous by their absence was...the "religious right." And the reason? Because 2006 was an off-year election, so fewer people would pay attention to them.

Upon hearing the news of the "religious right" thinking of going third party, the faux left cheered, but they really shouldn't. In truth, the people they and the media consider to be the "religious right" don't number that many. The way to look at it is like this. A group of 10 people would have a lot of influence over a larger group of 11-20. But the more people you add to that larger group, the less influence the 10 has.

In essence, the "religious right" that the media identify as such is that group of 10. They can influence smaller elections, but the higher up the political food chain they go, they lose influence because they're not the only ones in the game currying favor. Should the "religious right" make good on their threat (and I have no reason to believe they will), it won't impact the Republicans that much. There's another reason the faux left shouldn't be cheering this, but that's a blog for another time.

Suffice it to say, the "religious right" are not using their heads in this situation if they really do decide to look at a third party candidate. It may not grease the wheels for Hillary to get into the White House, but it will leave them looking extremely foolish and petty, and will leave the religious Republicans and religious conservatives doing what they usually do whenever one of their alleged leaders says or does something stupid.

They disavow them and FAST.