Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Disney World Here I Come

Gone until the 21st on vacation. I'm sure you'll all survive, though I'm not entirely sure the dog will.

Does Anyone Seriously Think Obama's A 5th Grader?

Because that's what you'd have to assume to think that he really intended to call Sarah Palin a pig.
A. It's a common phrase.
B. He's not an idiot. He already has a female voter problem. Why exacerbate it?
C. He immediately went on to use another similar phrase. Does anyone think that was code for calling Palin a dead fish?

Listen, the attacks on her have been ridiculous, but take them on their merits. Don't try to imply sexism where none exists, or name-calling where it clearly isn't happening. One of McCain's biggest strengths in the last few weeks has been the fact that he and his team seemed to be relaxed, funny, and in control while Obama was jumping around and whining at every imagined slight. Why throw that away?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Because It Can't Be Posted Often Enough

Buttprints In The Sand

One night I had a wondrous dream
One set of footprints there was seen
The footprints of my precious Lord
But mine were not along the shore.

But then some strange prints appeared
I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
Those prints are large and round and neat
"But Lord, they are too big for feet."

"My child," He said in somber tones
"For miles I carried you along
I challenged you to walk in faith
But you refused and made me wait."

"You disobeyed, you would not grow
The walk of faith you would not know
So I got tired, I got fed up
And there I dropped you on your butt."

"Because in life there comes a time
When one must fight and one must climb
When one must rise and take a stand
Or leave their butt prints in the sand."

Original here

Quote To Ponder

"From Burke to Reagan, conservatives have consistently argued that the big answers to the important questions can be found first at home, second at church, third in your neighborhood, and somewhere around 317th in a federal bureaucracy." Jonah Goldberg

In Memory Of The Trees

Where to begin...
1. There is far more crazy on the left than on the right. Seriously.
2. These people go beyond foolish. This is actually immoral. No one can value flora and presumably fauna this highly without correspondingly diminishing the value of human life.
3. On that note, does anyone doubt that every single one of these people supports abortion, and sees nothing wrong or inconsistent with valuing trees more highly than nascent human life?
4. Do you think any one of them realizes that American forests are larger and healthier now than they have been in hundreds of years, or that the native Americans (i.e. pre-industrial Americans) were just as destructive, albeit on a smaller scale due to population differences?
5. Ma'am, with all due respect...no wait, with undying disdain and disrespect...a rock has no life of any kind, much less an incredible one. Twit.
6. Last, but not least, I have NO DOUBT that every one of these people is irreligious. You might find one or two that call themselves "spiritual" (which is, in my experience, a euphemism for saying, "I want the respect that comes from having a religious side, without all the bother of having to conform my life to any standard that transcends my own personal desire), but I'd bet money that most, if not all, wouldn't darken the door of any mainstream religion's building.

Hat tip: Dennis Prager

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sometimes Feminists Say The Sweetest Things

Gloria Steinem compared Sarah Palin to the luminous Phyllis Schlafly. Thank you for the kind words Gloria, but Sarah has a long way to go before she is the equal of that compliment. Although on a minor note of comparison, Schlafly helped work her way through college by modeling, much as a younger Governor Palin worked her way through college in part by participating in beauty pageants. Why is it we conservatives are blessed with most of the smart AND hot women? =)

Convention Thoughts

-Throughout this process, Cindy McCain has stayed in the background relative to the prominent role Michelle Obama has taken. I think last night was an excellent introduction of her to the country.

-However, having said that, she should keep her speeches to a minimum in the future. It doesn't seem to be her element, which I actually find reassuring. I'm tired of political wives who use their husband as a substitute for accomplishment in order to springboard into politics. Besides the obvious example of Hillary, I'm currently represented by one.

-The Palin biopic wasn't quite clear. Is she a maverick or something?

-You know what conventions need more of? The funny hats. Everyone who brought a homemade funny hat should get an award.

-John McCain was certainly John McCain. There were almost as many lines designed to annoy conservatives as there were lines designed to make us happy. He used some humor, but didn't make himself undignified. Sometimes it's easy to forget that, as much as he ticks me off, the man really does have a special love for this country and a firm belief in doing what's right as he sees it. Tonight was a good reminder. John McCain is not flashy or sexy, nor are his speeches, but there should be no doubt that he'd rather go down fighting for what he believes in than survive through compromise. I'm not sure who should be more terrified by the prospect, liberals or conservatives.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Can Anyone See Barack Obama Allowing Something Like This?

"Some call him hothead. Some call him... names that can't be repeated. Some call him...McCain's mother, Roberta McCain, appearing on screen: 'Mama's boy.'"

Sarah Palin Facts

You knew this was coming. Just PLEASE, PLEASE don't tell Dick Cheney! -- crude humor warning

(My personal favorites for each: "Dick Cheney keeps his friends close. They help him stack his enemies like cordwood behind the barn." "The eighth rule of Dick Cheney's White House is ... If this is your first time in the Rose Garden, you have to fight." and "When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.")

We Are Each Our Own Unique And Special Snowflake

If you believe that, raise your hand. Place it directly next to your head. Now slap yourself and repeat, "If everyone is special, no one is." Think of your best skill, talent, or characteristic. Guess what? There are a million other people better at it than you. Now please don't start protesting, "but my mom thinks I'm special". I'm not saying that you may not be special to certain people in your life. But, in the macro, world-wide sense, you simply aren't. If it makes you feel any better, you ARE unique. However, before you take too much pleasure in that, remember, unique is just a kinder substitute for "weird".

Before you get upset and think I'm being harsh, let me explain further. While we are not special to this world, we are all unique and special in the eyes of God. Unlike when we speak of being special in the eyes of the world, there is no irony or contradiction in saying we are special to God. God is infinite, and therefore is able to take infinite pleasure in each of his creations, which he also hand-crafted. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3). "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:13-14) The world however, does not have infinite attention or value to distribute, and so most people will not receive any.

This is a problem because people need to know they are special. We have a hole inside, waiting to be filled with the love and esteem of God. As our society moves further away from Him, people have to try to fill that void somehow. One of my pet peeves is the overuse and dilution of the words "art" and "artist". Just this morning at breakfast, I heard a woman talking to some people about her job. She said, "I'm an interior designer. Well, actually, I'm an artist." No ma'am, you aren't. If anyone who shows the slightest smidgen of creativity in arranging furniture qualifies to be considered an artist, then the terms "art" and "artist" are meaningless. I might as well apply it to my dog when he flings spit in unique patterns on the wall (as an American bulldog, he's jowly, and drools quite a lot). But this woman is searching for the significance that she should be finding in the unique and personal relationship she could have with her creator if she only knew to look for it.

I may never be "somebody" by this world's standards. In fact, the odds are pretty good I won't. And if you're wasting your time reading what I write, the odds are REALLY good that you won't. God's eyes are the only ones guaranteed to always see you as special and to God's heart is the only one that will always have a place just for you. And ironically, his opinion is also the only one that really matters. Take advantage of it. I will.

Convention Thoughts

-I don't think I could ever attend either party's convention without gagging a little bit.

-Will seeing Sarah Palin's daughter last night at the convention finally put an end to rumors that the McCain campaign was blindsided by the pregnancy despite claiming otherwise? What, did the vetting team just think she was playacting with pillows?

-I always thought that the one edge Barack Obama could never lose was the "I have the cutest daughters ever" advantage. Meet Piper Palin. Game. Set. Match.

-Maryland doesn't deserve Michael Steele.

-I say this with all the love of someone who voted for him in the primary, but do you ever get the feeling when Mitt Romney's speaking, that he desperately wishes he had a pie chart and a Powerpoint presentation behind him?

-Despite my issues with him politically, Rudy Giuliani is quite the effective mocker-of-the-other-guy...er. He was insulting, but in a funny way, rather than the angry manner of Democratic attacks on John McCain. I really feel like our guys are having more fun in this race.

-Again, despite my issues with him, the best line of the night was from the Huckster. "And speaking of Gov. Palin, I am so tired of hearing about her lack of experience. I want to tell you folks something. She got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."

-Prior to last night, I thought Palin's best advantage in the debates would be the Rick Lazio effect. Now, I'm a little worried about poor Joe Biden. Prepare for death by a thousand snarky comments. "Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities." Oh snap!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rock You Like A Hurricane

Look at the eye makeup of the women in this video.

Now check out this one.

I'm not sure what's scarier, the thought that someone in the 80's saw that eye makeup and said, "Wow, now there's a great idea I need to steal" or the fact that someday people will be looking back and laughing at us. Or wanting to kill us as revenge...

Palin On The Ticket, Part 2

Well, now that we've discussed all of the political ramifications of the pick, it's on to the policy ramifications. Is she up to the job? Unfortunately, many conservatives (though fortunately not all) seem to be so enamored with Palin herself, and the impact her pick may have on the election outcome that they are satisfied to simply note, "She's as experienced as Obama" and leave it at that. What are we, liberal Democrats? That response merely begs a new question. Is HE qualified to be president?

Leaving Obama alone for a moment, let's focus on Palin. Her political background consists of: 4 years on a city council, 6 years as a mayor, an unsuccessful insurgent campaign for Lt. Governor, a year on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and slightly less than two years as a governor (it will be just over two if she takes office in January, but these last couple of months will be part-time at best). Her background is impressive, but if it doesn't immediately overwhelm you as qualification for the vice-presidency, you aren't alone.

I've been trying to think this through as honestly as possible. Obviously, the required jobs of the vice-presidency are few and far between. He presides over the Senate and takes office if the president is incapacitated or killed. Presiding over the Senate isn't a job of significance. A trained monkey can do it, and still be one of the Senate's most intellectual members, so let's put that job aside for a moment. Other than that, the VP's portfolio is as much, or as little, as the president wants to give them.

Since her job is customized, the only real question is what happens if, God forbid, John McCain died during his term. Can she take over? I think she can. After all, her experience as an executive isn't exactly trivial. She has run, for about two years, a state that has 15,000 public employees and a multi-billion dollar budget. During that time she has had to occupy a negotiating table with representatives from foreign governments, deal with both urban and rural issues, make high-level political appointments, and negotiate with a legislature. She also has to be briefed on certain national defense issues due to Alaska's unique geography. Are there areas, such as foreign policy, where she is lacking in experience? Of course, but how many of our recent presidents have had this experience prior to taking office?

The big problem with her relatively light resume (I think) is that she doesn't have enough of a background to make it CLEAR that she can handle the job. Say what you will about Joe Biden or John McCain on policy, they have a track record that proves they are at least competent. Obama and Palin don't. Therefore it becomes a judgement call. Do they satisy you? I can't honestly say that I think either is incapable of doing the job, but I also can't ridicule anyone who does.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Reverend or Doctor?

I saw this mentioned over at The Corner, and it's a question I've struggled with before as well. Should one preface the name Martin Luther King Jr. with the title "Doctor" or "Reverend"? To me, being a pastor is a much more noble and prestigious achievement than merely earning a PhD. Also, the general rule of thumb in the case of a person with multiple titles is that the most appropriate one for the situation is used. For example, in the case of Condoleeza Rice, a Cabinet Secretary and a PhD, in an academic setting it would be more appropriate to call her "Doctor Rice" whereas in a political setting you might call her "Secretary Rice". This would seem to back calling MLK "reverend" as it was his position as a pastor that lead to his involvement in the civil rights struggle, not any work as an academic. However, given the controversy surrounding the awarding of his PhD, I've always worried that breaking with convention and calling him "Reverend" might be misinterpreted as some sort of slight. The compromise that I've heard before, "The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King" sounds far too unwieldy. Multiple titles and three names is just too much to squeeze in to any one's name in casual use.

Stay Classy "Reverend" Wright

Being a two-bit race-hustler just isn't as easy as it used to be. You really have to work to get attention these days.

TOLEDO, Ohio - The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s fiery ex-pastor, re-emerged yesterday with a crude reference about race and sex in the White House.
“This ordinary boy [Obama] just might be the first president in the history of the United States to have a black woman sleeping at 1600 Pennsylvania legally,” Wright said, referring to Michelle Obama, in a sermon at the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston.

Bully For Obama

He says "back off" on Palin's daughter.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Palin On The Ticket

Ok, so far the only thing I've posted about the Palin VP news was a quick impression about identity politics. Now it's time for something a little more substantial.

Obviously, there are two main areas to consider in a vice-presidential pick. One is whether the pick is good politics, the other is whether it is good policy. I'll discuss each in turn, but here's a disclaimer before I proceed. Despite what my initial reaction may have lead people to believe, I REALLY like governor Palin. She and her husband seem like truly good and impressive people. Actually, my feelings towards them as people are very similar to how I felt about Obama prior to all the revelations we've since been party to. Obviously we have big differences in terms of our politics, but on just a personal level I liked, and wanted to like, the Senator. I even feel like, if she lives up to the hype, Palin may end up being the transformative type of politician that people initially saw Obama as. Of course, she has a long way to go, and may yet endure Quaylification at the hands of the media, so take that for what it's worth.

Now, on to the politics of the pick. In short, I think this is where McCain really scored. The rumor is that his campaign has received over $10 million since the announcement. While we have yet to see what, if any impact this will have on the race, the smart money seems to be that McCain has brought out the enthusiasm his campaign previously lacked. This may not be the same as a shift in actual votes, but it is vital in terms of word-of-mouth, GOTV efforts, volunteering, etc.

It would also seem to be a smart way to score additional points with several new demographics, chiefly the soccer/security moms. If this mythical demographic really voted for Clinton, and then Bush, their votes would seem to be based more on impressions than issues. While having a woman on the ticket won't impress the hardcore feminists that comprise Hillary's most devoted supporters, it might sway some of these soccer moms who loved her husband and were eager to get a chance to vote for a woman. When you add in to the mix that the woman in question has a very red-state collection of interests, a good-looking man's man of a husband, a son in Iraq, a touching story about keeping a disabled child, a union background, and started her political career in the PTA, you can see the potential for a shift among several voting blocks.

McCain has now also closed the likability gap. While he can be likable in a "crusty old coot" way, he's hard to identify with. So much of his story and persona is larger than life, from his years as a POW, to his oft-discussed temper. Obama, despite a certain professorial arrogance that he can display, comes across as a nice guy with a cute family. Biden, who now stands a serious risk of coming off as overbearing and even mean in a debate, did not do Obama any favors in this arena, despite what many Washington reporters like to think. Too many times he comes off as either clownish or arrogant. Not a particularly good spectrum to swing through.

Lastly, I think that McCain has opened up a whole new world of possibilities as far as subject areas where his campaign can now go on the offensive. While McCain has always been a social conservative, there have been times where he has seemed uncomfortable talking about those values, especially when the focus is on so-called "women's issues". Palin obviously won't have to worry about being perceived as a stuffy old white guy on these topics. She can also speak convincingly on energy issues and drilling, can talk to union members, and can identify more easily with working families.

The only political disadvantage to Palin is of course, the question of experience. McCain has been beating that particular drum often in this campaign. Both sides will go back and forth. Is it better to have 20 months of service as a governor, or slightly less time as a senator before involving oneself in a presidential campaign? Does the time Obama has served in the Senate since announcing his candidacy really count as experience, since he isn't doing much real Senate work? What about Palin's time as a mayor? Worthwhile experience? If so, is it more or less valuable than time in the state legislature? I think though, that there are two arguments that will potentially break through all of the noise and sophistry about who is more inexperienced. The first, and most obvious is that Palin is running for VP, not president. Although the Obama camp will try to blur this distinction with mentions of McCain's advanced age, the bottom line is that Obama will be inexperienced from day 1. Palin may be inexperienced, but will she still be on day 1,502, if something happens to John McCain?

The second argument that might break through the noise is to compare accomplishment rather than experience. Governor Palin unseated a sitting governor in her primary, then defeated a popular former governor in the general election. Barack Obama faced a crowded primary field without serious opposition, and then only had to beat a late replacement who wasn't even a resident of the state in the general election. In her first run for mayor Palin also beat a sitting incumbent, whereas Obama simply got all his primary opposition disqualified before coasting to general election victory in a safe district. Once in office, Palin championed a natural gas pipeline, took on the Bush administration over it's decision to list the polar bear as an endangered species, passed ethics reform, and killed the "bridge to nowhere". She has lived the post-partisanship that Obama talks about, taking on her state party's chairman and the state attorney general, forcing both men to resign. She has also endorsed her Lt. Governor's bid to unseat Alaska's corrupt congressman Don Young, and has openly challenged Senator Ted Stevens to come clean over the federal investigation into his financial dealings. What has Obama done that is in any way comparable?

(To be continued...)