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!