Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gone fishing!

I am taking a break from blogging for awhile. I may drop in and post something occasionally, but life is pretty busy for me now. Sorry folks, nothing to see here...move along...

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Endorsement

Time once again for my official endorsement in the race for President of the United States.

After reviewing all the candidates thoroughly, I have come to one conclusion: They all stink.

Let us start with the worst of the lot, Barack Obama. As I have never knowingly voted for a Marxist in my life, I see no reason to start now.

Number two has to be Bob Barr. I discounted him in July after he waffled on Global Warming. I don't mind voting for a third party candidate, but he/she better be PERFECT! Barr is far from perfect.

Finally, there is John McCain. If this ticket were reversed, I would happily take a chance on voting for Sarah Palin, even with her inexperience. She seems driven, and ideologically on the money. Unfortunately, I cannot bring myself to endorse someone whom I wish dead, and that would be the only reason to vote for McCain. He lost me during the debates with all his talk of "bipartisanship", and "reaching across the aisle". If I wanted a Democrat, or a Democratic Party solution, I could have voted for the real one!

That left me in a quandary: I have no one for whom to vote. But then, last week, I saw him: The man who would make the perfect president: Mike Singletary, interim head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

I first arrived at this conclusion while watching his first press conference after his first game as head coach, when the 49ers lost. Singletary was fearless, even sending his starting tight end Vernon Davis to the showers in the middle of the game after Davis mouthed off to him after a penalty.

On top of that, Singletary's raw and honest emotion and integrity was just so refreshing after months of listening to John and Sarah and Barack and Joe:

After watching that, I was ready to throw myself on a grenade for Singletary. Vote for him for president? No problem!

Frankly, all Singletary would have to do is change a few words, and that press conference would make a killer stump speech. He even has the beginnings of a platform in it:
1. We go out and hit people in the mouth.

Good national defense.
2. We are not a charity.

No altruistic government under President Singletary!
3. We execute from the very the very end.

Pro-capital punishment. Good for dealing with terrorists.

On top of this, Mike Singletary is inspirational, in a way that Barack Obama could only dream of being. Note that at no time during that press conference was Singletary using a teleprompter! Truly a man who speaks from the heart.

As for any comparisons to John McCain, Singletary's war record speaks for itself: 10 times sent to the Pro Bowl and won a Super Bowl as a middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears. All while playing under MIKE DITKA! The Vietcong only WISH they had someone who could torture like Ditka!

Singletary even has Bob Barr topped: Singletary has not even been nominated by a party, let alone a third party!

Tough times like we live in now call for tough leadership. We need a president who is not afraid to send Nancy Pelosi to the showers, or hit Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the mouth. This is why I endorse Mike Singletary for President: Change you BETTER believe in!

Friday, October 17, 2008

RIP Levi Stubbs

Levi Stubbs, better known as lead singer of the Four Tops, died today at the age of 72.

While the Four Tops as a group have produced some of the most memorable music in Motown history, Stubbs himself reminds me best of one specific role he did in the movie Little Shop of Horrors:

God rest his soul. But at least dentists everywhere can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Monday, October 13, 2008

NFL Week 6-7 Team Rankings

This NFL season is parity run amok. If the rankings look a little insane, consider that a symptom of this crazy season.

In coming up with these rankings, I had to consider some games as flukes. Frankly, more games than I would want to consider flukes.

Without further ado, here they are, in descending order:


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

NFL Week 5-6 Team Rankings


Giants: Still the undefeated world champs. They deserve their own category, especially after the "can o' whoop ass" they laid on the Hawks.


Redskins: Ever since their loss to the Giants, the Skins have been a different team.


Chargers: Losing to the Broncos and Panthers? Perfectly understandable. But the Dolphins?
Titans: Sure they're undefeated. But the best team the Titans played was the Vikings.
Vikings: A MUCH better team with Gus Frerotte at QB.
Cardinals: Beating the 49ers and the Bills gets them here. I cannot see them any higher than this.
Falcons: Beating the Lions and Chiefs doesn't say much. Beating the Pack in Green Bay is a statement game.
Dolphins: The Wildcat play is a neat gimmick. Emphasis on "gimmick".
Raiders: Enter "Tom the Cable Guy"...
Bengals: Teatering on the brink of "bad".



Wednesday, October 01, 2008

NFL Week 4 Team Rankings & Al Davis

No time for team comments this week, but I do want to comment on the Raiders firing of Lane Kiffin.

It seems easy for everyone to take shots at Al Davis, whose actions have marked him as clearly past his prime as an owner. However, what I heard in that press conference was a guy with a passion for his team from which many owners could learn. How many times do we see owners fly through the league for a few years then walk away with their profits? Not Davis. NEVER Davis. The Raiders are his passion. Even at his age, that passion shows.

Especially when it involves betrayal like he feels that Kiffin did. Davis would literally die for his team, and he expects nothing less from them. In this day and age of people changing jobs like pants, Davis is a leftover from a long ago era when people worked in jobs for their entire lives.

A lot of people say they would never want to work for Davis. While he is demanding, you would also know that he has your back. I cannot imagine anyone in the world I would rather work for.







Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NFL Week 3 Team Rankings


Cowboys: Got to give the Boys their due. They are not only undefeated, but they won 3 games in convincing fashion.


49ers: Granted, beating the Lions is no big deal. But they did beat them the way they were supposed to.
Eagles: They proved they're better than the Steelers.
Steelers: They still have something to prove.
Broncos: The first Cutler's the deepest...
Panthers: The Vikings aren't bad, but the Panthers did not look like the same team out there.
Chargers: Hochulie, no Christmas card...Favre, Christmas card...


Patriots: When you lose to the Dolphins, you drop in the rankings...a LOT! Sorry folks, but the Pats ain't the same without Brady, and it shows.
Colts: This defense is average without Bob Sanders.
Packers: They move up by virtue of their win over the Vikings 2 weeks ago.
Vikings: Nice win over the Panthers. It's still hard to picture Gus Frerotte leading this team to a...nah, couldn't happen.
Ravens: Harbaugh is a better coach than I gave him credit for.
Browns: Losing to the Cowboys and the Steelers is understandable. The Ravens not so much.
Buccaneers: Nice squeaker over Da Bears.
Bears: Da Losers.
Seahawks: I bet they wish they played the Rams every week.
Jets: How many Jets does it take to screw in a light bulb? Only one, unless they use Favre, who can't seem to get it in the right socket.
Saints: Nice try against Denver.
Raiders: Can you imagine if the Raiders went on a winning streak now? Al Davis wouldn't be able to fire Lane Kiffin, and he'd be furious! Ok, so maybe not...
Dolphins: Even though the Patriots were without Brady, it's hard to move the Dolphins too high up. But at least they aren't terrible anymore.


Lions: When the son's owner says he'd fire the GM if he were in charge, that doesn't bode well.
Falcons: You know what I love about Savannah, GA? It's far enough away from Atlanta that I don't have to watch Falcons games.
Rams: Welcome back Trent Green! Now take your spot on the ground behind the center. We'll be delivering your tombstone later.
Chiefs: When you not only lose to the Falcons, but get blown out, you know you're headed for the first pick in the draft.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Palin vs. Obama: Wisdom

Victor Davis Hanson "gets it" on the Palin vs. Obama question:
"The point is this: I think it is much harder for a mother of three or four in an out-of-the-way Alaskan town to get elected to city council and the mayorship, then take on the entire Republican establishment and get elected governor than it is for a Barack Obama to emerge from Chicago politics into the Illinois state house and later Senate. The qualities that allowed a Palin to succeed without the power spouse, the identity politics, the Ivy-League cachet, the fawning New York editors and DC insider-press will ensure she does not implode on the campaign trail--and won't in office either."

Read the entire editorial.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

NFL Week 2 Team Rankings


Patriots: Do you see the pattern here? Solid defense, few mistakes offense, with an occasional big play to keep the opposing defense honest. Matt Cassell may not be the greatest quarterback, but he is clearly good enough to run this team. Tom who?


Panthers: He's ba-ack! Watch out Vikings, you're in for a long day against a well-rested Steve Smith.


Cowboys: I have to give the Cowboys their due after beating the Eagles. But can they keep it up?
Colts: Their game against the Jags this weekend might be a lot tougher than it looks on paper. Regardless, the Colts should win.
49ers: I think the Lions are going to be led to the slaughter this weekend.
Steelers: In the "Pennsylvania Bowl" this weekend, take the boys from western PA. The Eagles won't put up nearly as many points against the Steelers as they did against the Cowboys.
Broncos: Jay Cutler MAY be the best quarterback in the NFL right now. With the exception of that infamous fumble last Sunday, he played a perfect game.
Chargers: They got Hochulied!


Titans: 2-0 with a quarterback controversy? Jeff Fisher is a master.
Bills: Ok, so their defense is for real.
Jaguars: At 0-2 and sinking.
Texans: I don't think they wanted their bye week this soon. Browns: Too much offense for the Ravens to stop this weekend.
Giants: Bring on the Bungles!
Redskins: BIG win over the Saints. They get a breather with the Cards this week.
Packers: Not enough here to give the Cowboys anything to fear.
Vikings: Exit Jackson, enter Frerotte. Still the same mediocre team. Oh yeah, they beat the Lions. Yawn.
Eagles: They are better than this, but until they can prove it with a strong "W", they stay here.
Bears: Take the Bears to beat the Bucs this weekend.
Seahawks: No brainer over the Lambs on Sunday.
Jets: And they still suck...
Saints: The game between the Saints and the Broncos should be fun to watch, but take the Broncos.
Cardinals: No match for the Skins coming up.
Buccaneers: The Jon Gruden death watch has been postponed until later this season, but it is coming.
Raiders: The Lane Kiffin death watch begins.
Ravens: The Ravens might beat the Browns this week, but don't bet on it.
Bengals: No blocking. No defense. It must be the Bungles!
Lions: The Matt Millen death watch can't start soon enough.


Falcons: I couldn't believe it when I heard the Falcons sold out their game against the Chiefs. Are you people masochists?
Rams: No hope against the Hawks this week.
Dolphins: The Patriots? This week? This game is proof of the need for euthanasia.
Chiefs: You know you are really bad when you lose to a team whose coach and owner are at odds.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NFL Week 1 Team Rankings


Patriots: How can I call the Patriots "elite" without Tom Brady (lost for the season)? Simple: They're undefeated, and they still have the same coach, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Laurence Maroney, and a solid defense. It will be tougher for them to stay up here, but I won't be surprised if they make it to the playoffs, or even the Super Bowl.


Panthers: This team has character, which they showed by not giving up against the Chargers. Considering they did it without their best receiver (Steve Smith) on the field is even more impressive. They are the team to watch.


Cowboys: Their game against the Eagles this coming Monday will tell us more about this team than beating the Browns did last weekend.
Chargers: A good team lost to an excellent team this week.
Colts: I would call the loss to the Bears an aberration, but it's still enough to show the Colts are a lot weaker coming into this year.
49ers: The Cardinals were out for blood after losing to the 49ers twice last season. Expect both teams to return to normal this week.
Steelers: If the Steelers keep playing like they did against the Texans, I have them underrated.

Titans: Even with the Vince Young soap opera this week, Jeff Fisher is a heckuva coach. With Kerry Collins at QB, the Titans might be even better.
Jaguars: When you can't beat a team with a quarterback who quits in the middle of the game, you know you've got problems. With the Jags, those problems are injuries.
Broncos: The Chargers should present a better challenge for the Broncos than the Raiders did.
Texans: This team still has a way to go after that massacre by the Steelers.
Browns: Big game against Pitt this weekend, but I think the Steelers defense will be too much for the Brownies.
Giants: I'm still not sold on the G-men, but it was a solid win over the Skins.
Redskins: On the bright side, they only gave up 16 points. Unfortunately, they only scored 7. Ugly.
Packers: Ok folks, let's not crowd the Aaron Rodgers bandwagon! Seriously, I thought they could win with Rodgers, if he can stay healthy.
Vikings: Can we start laughing at the preseason prognosticators who called for the Vikings in the Super Bowl?
Eagles: Beat the Cowboys, and we'll talk.
Bears: The win over the Colts was a slight fluke, but it did show the Bears defense is for real.
Bills: Beating the Hawks is nice, but I'm not sold.
Seahawks: I may have the Hawks overrated here.
Jets: Bret, don't hurt your arm patting yourself on the back for that win. It was the Dolphins after all.
Saints: Ok, calling Reggie Bush a bust was little harsh last week. He makes a perfectly good wideout. Unfortunately, he's a running back. Cardinals: They might even win again this week at Miami. Imagine, Cardinals 2-0. Don't read too much into it though.
Buccaneers: It's going to be a long year for Bucs fans.
Raiders: On the bright side, they get the Chiefs this week. Hey Al Davis! great move picking up DeAngelo Hall! Here's a little hint: If the Falcons don't want him, he must be REALLY bad!
Ravens: How about that Joe Flacco? Go Blue Hens!
Bengals: The Bungles are back.
Lions: How do you lose to a rebuilding team like Atlanta?


Falcons: Atlanta fans, you're allowed optimism, but don't get overjoyed. It's nice to win 34-21, but two things to remember: First, it was the Lions; and second, Matt Ryan threw the ball 13 times. Let's wait and see if he can win when he puts it up 30 times against a good team.
Rams: Every bit as bad as expected.
Dolphins: When you lose to a mediocre team with a quarterback as old as John McCain, you've got problems.
Chiefs: Amazing how the worst team in the NFL manages to lose by 7 to the best team in the NFL. Don't worry, the Chiefs still suck.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Snarky Transvestites from Planet X (or my preseason NFL rankings)

Now that I have your attention...

With the rest of the world watching Obama's coronation, it seems like an appropriate time to offer my NFL preseason rankings. This is how the teams look going into this year:


Patriots: The only team that comes into this season with an elite ranking. Sure, they lost the Super Bowl, but they still have Brady and Moss and Welker and Maroney and a good offensive line and a decent defense. I don't think they'll go undefeated again, but they are THE team to beat.


Colts: This team just looks ready to break down. If Manning goes down, so do the Colts. But until they do, they have to be considered an excellent team.


49ers: The Cinderalla Niners will shock a lot of people this year, and are my pick for NFC Champ. Frank Gore does his best Marshall Faulk impression, while J.T. O'Sullivan becomes this year's Kurt Warner in Mike Martz's offense. Watch WR Josh Morgan too, who has had a nice preseason as a 6th round pick. If Mike Nolan can get some defense going on this team, they could be scary good.
Cowboys: There is nothing wrong with the Boys. They have the talent. They will be the team to beat in the NFC, but I see them losing in the playoffs again. They have no character, but plenty of characters.
Panthers: If Delhomme stays healthy, this team goes far. Welcome the newest running back sensation, Jonathan Stewart. Like the 49ers, the only question in Carolina is the defense.
Jaguars: With another year under QB David Gerrard's belt, the Jags will challenge the Colts for division dominance.
Chargers: This team is still good. But with OLB Shawne Merriman playing on two torn knee ligaments, expect the defense to take a hit.


Texans: I have seen more than a few prognosticators call for a big year from the Texans. While I think they will be better, they have too many guys with injury histories, starting with QB Matt Schaub, and including running backs Ahman Green and Chris Brown. That said, their defense is quite respectable. But they have to show me they can stay healthy if they are to rank any higher than this.
Broncos: This is the year Jay Cutler enters the ranks of elite quarterbacks. The running game should be servicable with Selvin Young. The defense is still a question mark though.
Steelers: The Steelers should be challenged for the division title by the Browns this year. The Steeler defense gives them the edge.
Browns: The best team not to make the playoffs last season should be able to slip in as a wild card this year. If the Steelers slip, the Browns should move in for the division title.
Redskins: Every year they come loaded for bear, and every year they disappoint. This team will surprise, possibly even shooting the Cowboys from the top.
Packers: Without Favre, the Packers aren't bad. The problem here is QB Aaron Rodgers' injury history, plus his attitude.
Vikings: Adrian Peterson starts out strong, then gets hurt. This team's success rides on Peterson's ship.
Giants: No Osi, no Strahan. Welcome back to Earth G-Men.
Eagles: Donovan McNabb's last season will end early with his annual injury. Next year, he goes to Chicago.
Seahawks: This is the most boring team which still manages to win a lot of games. Holmgren is a good coach, but even good coaches can't make filet mignon out of hamburger.
Bills: The Toronto Bills just sounds wrong, much like "Bills win the Super Bowl" sounds wrong.
Bengals: The Bungles should be a little better this year, but they still have no defense.
Jets: You weren't honestly expecting that adding Brett Favre instantly makes this sorry team a playoff contender? After this season, Jet fans will long for the carefree days of Chad Pennington and Herman Edwards.
Titans: QB Vince Young needs to age a little more quickly. In his defense, they haven't exactly given him any receivers. At least he should be able to have a running game (LenDale White and rookie Chris Johnson) to take some pressure off him.
Saints: Reggie Bush = bust (and I don't mean the Canton style either).
Lions: This is the year WR Calvin Johnson breaks out. Unfortunately, the rest of the team is still stuck in neutral.
Buccaneers: This will be Jon Gruden's last year as the Bucs coach (because he will be fired), so expect it to be like a bad "Chuckie" movie.
Bears: If you're Lovie Smith, and when you have to choose between quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman, you walk down to the front office and say, "You're killing me guys!"
Raiders: If you want to have some fun, listen to coach Lane Kiffin's press conference, and try to interpret the subtle messages Kiffin is sending to Al Davis. The sad thing about the whole Kiffin-Davis divorce-in-the-making is that this team isn't that bad. QB Jamarcus Russell should be fun to watch, and Darren McFadden should be a great running back. The defense is decent too. But this team has no chemistry.


Falcons: The Matt Ryan era begins in Atlanta. This team looks like it just might generate some offense, but don't expect miracles. The Falcons have a long way to fly.
Cardinals: Matt "Hollywood" Leinart can't seem to unlodge Kurt Warner from the starting quarterback job, which is a sad commentary on this team's front office. I would tell Cardinal fans to expect a long year, but they should be used to that by now.
Rams: It will take more than one season of rebuilding to revive this team.
Ravens: Quoth the Raven, "Not this year..."
Dolphins: Hey Dolphin fans! Get used to hearing this: "And the punting team comes out..."
Chiefs: Remember that great draft the Chiefs allegedly had? Unfortunately, they didn't get a new coach. This team will actually get worse. If you enjoy watching Herm Edwards blow his stack in press conferences, you will love this season.

Friday, August 22, 2008

R.I.P. Gene Upshaw

The death of Gene Upshaw, a former offensive guard for the Oakland Raiders and current head of the NFL Players Association, comes as a sad shock to me.

For all my fond memories of Upshaw's work on the Raiders offensive line, his greatest legacy will be his work as head of the NFL Players Association, the players union. The collective bargaining agreement(CBA) which Upshaw negotiated with Paul Tagliabue (former NFL Commissioner) stands as arguably the finest union-negotiated agreement of any industry ever, for the simple reason best said by Tagliabue in his statement about Upshaw's death: "[Upshaw] never lost sight of the interests of the game and the big picture."

Unlike other unions, the NFLPA under Upshaw knew that if they killed the league, they get nothing. So the union negotiated for a percentage of income, as opposed to the specific salary demands many unions get. In effect, as the NFL prospered, the players prospered. This can be seen in the NFL's salary cap, which has increased every year of the current CBA, as the NFL's income has increased every year.

If all union leaders were as smart as Upshaw, I would happily support unions in more industries. Unfortunately, I doubt the success of the NFLPA will be remembered by other unions. I just hope the NFLPA remembers it's own success under Upshaw.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Obama and the Nazis

I saw the above Orwellian poster image on the US News and World Report website. Here is the story behind it:

"...if a Los Angeles creative agency gets its way, Sen. Barack Obama will see fans meet him with his own salute like the one above. "Our goal is to see a crowd of 75,000 people at Obama's nomination speech holding their hands above their heads, fingers laced together in support of a new direction for this country, a renewed hope, and acceptance of responsibility for our future," says Rick Husong, owner of The Loyalty Inc. Husong tells me that he got the idea after seeing the famous Obama-Progress poster by artist Shepherd Fairey. "We wanted to get involved some way," he says. So, the agency came up with their own a symbol of hope and progress that also plays off Obama's name. "We thought, 'Let's try and start a movement where even while walking down the street, people would hold up the O and you would know that they were for Obama,' " says Husong.

So Barack gets his own "salute"? Now what historical figure does that remind you of...

Now before all the liberals get their panties in a bunch over me calling Obama a Nazi, consider the following posters from Nazi Germany (with the translations below them):

"No one shall go hungry! No one shall be cold!"

(quote from Hitler)"I ask the German people to strengthen my faith and to lend me its strength so that I will always and everywhere have the strength to fight for its honor and freedom, to work for its economic prosperity, and particularly to strengthen me in my struggles for genuine peace."

"Don't give. Sacrifice."

"Greater Germany: Yes on 10 April."

Sounds an awful lot like "yes we can", doesn't it?

But seriously, I am NOT saying Obama is Hitler. Just that the nature of propaganda hasn't changed much in 70 years. Remember, the key to propaganda is NOT what it says, but rather what it does NOT say. If you look at the Obama poster at the top of this post, what does "sign of progress" tell you? It sounds nice, but means nothing, other than trying to show a correlation between an "Obama salute" and the word "progress". Progress towards what?

Naturally, anyone can go to Obama's website and read his platform to determine what he means by "progress", which is certainly more information than was available during Hitler's rise to power in Germany. So what does Obama mean by "progress"? Let's line him up with Hitler and see:

GOT TO BLAME SOMEBODY: Hitler blamed the Jews, whereas Obama blames the rich and the corporations. It didn't matter that some of the most productive members of German society WERE Jews, just like it doesn't matter that the rich and the corporations ARE the most productive parts of American society.

GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE YOUNG: Hitler had his "Hitler Youth", whereas Obama wants our kids being assimilated in government schools from the day after birth. At least Hitler waited until the kids were 10.

WE NEED A WAR!: At least Hitler gave Germans a "real" war to fight. The best Obama can come up with is an imaginary "Global Warming" foe (now known as "climate change", since we don't REALLY know what the weather will do next week).

Even though Obama has pulled a page from Joseph Goebbels' playbook, at least we can feel safe that Obama is no Hitler. I hope...

(hat tip to the Calvin College website for the Nazi posters)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Et tu Bob?

I was seriously considering voting for Libertarian candidate Bob Barr for president in November. I decided some time ago that I have one litmus test for 2008 presidential candidates: Global Warming. If a candidate supported that hoax, I was not going to vote for them, since obviously they are too stupid to be president. Of Obama, McCain, and Barr, only Barr passed that test.

Until now.

From the LRC Blog:
On the Glenn Beck show, in early June, Barr said, "Global warming is a myth. And yet it`s being used by the environmental folks, by the internationalists. A lot of the pressure is coming from the United Nations and other countries. Some of which, like China, of course, are pushing the Kyoto Protocol. Why? Because they`re exempt. It`s going to saddle us. And what is McCain doing? He`s out there buying into this global warming, carbon emission cap and trade."

Now Barr says, "Former Vice President Al Gore and I have met privately to discuss the issue of global warming, and I was pleased and honored that he invited me to attend the 'We' Campaign event. Global warming is a reality as most every organization that has studied the matter has concluded, whether conservative-leaning, liberal oriented or independent."

He gives the caveat that he is "aware that scientists differ on its causes, impact and remedies" and is "firmly committed to free market solutions and innovations to address this issue; not tax-driven policies."

Sorry Bob, you just lost my vote.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Newt endorses...Favre?!

I love it when someone in the political arena starts spouting football advice. It usually ends up badly (see Limbaugh and McNabb). But this one takes the cake: Newt Gingrich thinks the Green Bay Packers ought to take back Brett Favre, now that he's decided to unretire after finally retiring after threatening to retire after every season since Nixon was President.

Unfortunately, Newt has as much credibility on this issue as Al "I own stock in every alternative energy company" Gore has on Global Warming. Per Newt's own letter, posted on

Paul Lubbers is my son-in-law, but we share more than family ties. He's also a fellow shareholder in the Green Bay Packers. And as responsible shareholders, we – like many of those invested in the Green & Gold - feel compelled to speak out on the turmoil surrounding the return of Brett Favre to the NFL and whether or not he should wear Packer's uniform.
Can you say "vested interest"?

Newt goes on:
Should Favre have taken some time (like he did the past few years) to rest, recover and reclaim some perspective? Yes. Did he make a bad decision to retire? Also Yes. Should Ted Thompson [the Packer's General Manager] and the Packers welcome him back to Packers family? Absolutely!!
All Newt needs here is a "Dean scream"

But Newt shows his true intentions later. He doesn't want Favre playing for one of the Packer's divisional opponents (which is about as likely as Global Warming, but I digress):

I understand that the Packers have made plans to build the offense around Aaron Rodgers, but plans are made to change. And in this case the Packers should adjust their plans quickly to bring back Favre. Can you imagine Favre as a Viking or even worse a Chicago Bear?
The best response to this was from Josh Alper over at

If you were unsure that a politician was writing this letter, there’s your proof. Who else would argue against a choice of action by stoking up the fear of the least likely potential outcome? I’m surprised he didn’t follow it up with a story about a strong American family he met while campaigning who told him about how they once had an opportunity to allow Brett Favre back onto their team but passed on it. Then the bank foreclosed on their house, the kids got Ricketts and Grandma ended up on food stamps.

...I just had a terrifying vision of Jimmy Carter on a plane to Green Bay to sit down between Favre and [Ted] Thompson which means I’m pretty sure we’ve reached the point of oversaturation for this story.
I should state for the record that I agree with Newt and I am personally in favor of Brett Favre coming out of retirement, and the fact that I picked up Favre on my keeper league team has absolutely NOTHING to do with it!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


When I heard both John McCain's and Barack Obama's plans for "national service", I thought they were both just silly ideas, and I really did not give them much thought until today.

I was over at Robert George's website today, reading his post "Leviathan Is The Slaveholder". The basis of his post was an LA Times editorial by Jonah Goldberg, and the subsequent response by blogger Jeff Fecke over at Blog of the Moderate Left.

Goldberg's point:
For those who don't remember, the 13th Amendment says: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime ... shall exist within the United States."

I guess in Obama's mind it must be a crime to be born or to go to college.

In his speech on national service Wednesday at the University of Colorado, Obama promised that as president he would "set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year."

He would see that these goals are met by, among other things, attaching strings to federal education dollars. If you don't make the kids report for duty, he's essentially telling schools and college kids, you'll lose money you can't afford to lose. In short, he'll make service compulsory by merely compelling schools to make it compulsory.

The point that both Robert George and Jeff Fecke seem to miss in Goldberg's argument is NOT that this is the same thing as slavery. As Goldberg states:
No, national service isn't slavery. But it contributes to a slave mentality, at odds with American tradition. It assumes that work not done for the government isn't really for the "common good."

Note that Obama is NOT suggesting children and teenagers go out and work in a job in the private sector for 50 or 100 hours. No, he wants them to perform national service. MANDATORY national service.

Mind you, I had to do 40 hours of volunteer work when I was in high school. It was a requirement for graduation at the Catholic high school I attended. I had no problem with it, and I HAVE no problem with it. If I send my kids to a Catholic school, or any other private school, and they have similar rules, I will expect my children to abide by them. If my children want to go out and do volunteer work, I will happily support them in their effort.

But if the government wants my children to do mandatory national service, for no other reason than the glorification of the government, THAT is the final straw. At that point, I would not even care if my children graduated from high school. At that point, it becomes a matter of principle.

Frankly, I am fed up with the American propensity, on both the Left and the Right sides of the political spectrum, to glorify all that is government. The people on the Left do it as a means to socialism, while the people on the Right do it because they have forgotten the conservative principles of our Founding Fathers, who had a healthy disrespect for government power (the checks and balances in the Constitution were put there for a reason). In addition, the people on the Right have been cowed into believing they are somehow guilty if they don't go along with the well-intentioned tripe of the Left.

You know the saying about what the road to Hell is paved with? It should end with "liberal ideas".

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Getting gas

I was recently asked what I would do to solve our gas price situation. My solution is to remove the government from the equation.

First, I would enact the FairTax. Granted, this is a more all-encompassing solution to other problems in our over-taxed society, but it would have a marvelous impact on the oil industry. Without burdensome corporate taxes on oil manufacturing, the oil industry would have more funds for exploration, drilling, and refining. On a side note, it would also place the tax burden where the environmentalists claim to want it: on consumption, at the retail level.

Second, I would open ALL federal lands and coastal areas for drilling, with the only exception being historic landmarks and locations with buildings on them. Oil companies would bid on the exploration and drilling leases as they do now.

Third, I would end all federal subsidies for ethanol production. It is a waste of money and energy, that is only creating a food crisis. In addition, it would remove a big disincentive from the oil industry: One of their main excuses for not building more refineries has been the amount of money the government has poured into alternative energy.

Fourth, ease the environmental restrictions on construction of oil wells and refineries. Of course, the oil companies will still have to deal with localities where they build these structures, but at least the federal government will be less of a factor. Specifically, I would eliminate any federal restrictions based on threats to wildlife. Sorry polar bears, but my tank of gas is MORE important than your existance. If you can't survive an oil well being built, then you don't deserve to live.

Fifth, we need significantly more nuclear power plants in this country, therefore public utilities should enjoy the same benefits mentioned above as the oil industry. What does this have to do with oil? Simply put, most of the alternatives to oil will require large amounts of energy to implement, such as hydrogen power. Even if we don't implement these alternatives in the area of transportation, we need more and cleaner power as our routine energy consumption increases.

With all these carrots, if the oil industry can't find a way to bring prices down, THEN government intervention would be necessary. However, I don't think it will come to that. Most of these proposals should lead to immediate relief at the pumps, with future prices dropping even further.

Monday, June 23, 2008

RIP George Carlin

I was saddened to hear of George Carlin's death, because that means a voice of reason has left us. Most people thought of Carlin as a comedian, but he was actually a philosopher delivering his message with humor.

Last year, I posted one of his routines, which was one of the best rants I ever heard against environmentalism and the Global Warming silliness. Below is a video of the same routine (slightly altered) by Carlin:

George, we will miss you, and tell the Big Electron I said hi.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

All the "Fit" that's news to print

My wife's old Grand Caravan developed an oil leak that was worth more than the vehicle itself to fix, so I broke down and bought her a new car: the Honda Fit (picture from

Picture the above car in a dark purple (they called it "blackberry") and that is what my wife's car looks like.

I have to be honest: This is the most fun car I have ever driven. It has a peppy 4-cylinder engine, and turns on a dime (I drove my wife crazy making u-turns at high speeds). But it has one feature which I have never even heard of on a car, which surprises me that Honda does not advertise it more: It has an automatic transmission with an extra "gear" which allows you to upshift and downshift gears from buttons on your steering wheel. What a joy it is to be able to shift gears without having to time the pressing of the clutch!

Did I mention the Ipod auxiliary connection to the stereo?

But now to the practical side: Honda makes the safest and most reliable cars on the road, period. I can feel good about my family being in this car. Also, the gas mileage is SWEET: 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway (with up to 40 mpg highway possible). Not many cars can top that for the price: $18k, fully loaded.

I know I sound like an ad, but here is the downside: There is not much negotiating with a Honda dealer. Their reputation is TOO good. They know if you don't buy it, someone else will. The only haggling to be done is over the value of your trade-in.

The other downside: My wife won't let me drive it.

On the bright side, this was her first new car, so she was giddy as a schoolgirl. Anything that makes the wife that happy is a good thing.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Government at work (6/18/08 edition)

Last week, I gave Canada grief over their lack of free speech rights. Unfortunately, these same limits don't apply to psychics.

A mother drops her autistic daughter off at school, "only to receive a frantic phone call from the school telling her it was urgent she come back right away." This is where the mother's nightmare begins (from
The frightened mother rushed back to the campus and was stunned by what she heard - the principal, vice-principal and her daughter's teacher were all waiting for her in the office, telling her they'd received allegations that Victoria had been the victim of sexual abuse - and that the [Children's Aid Society] had been notified.

How did they come by such startling knowledge? Leduc was incredulous as they poured out their story.

"The teacher looked and me and said: 'We have to tell you something. The educational assistant who works with Victoria went to see a psychic last night, and the psychic asked the educational assistant at that particular time if she works with a little girl by the name of "V." And she said 'yes, I do.' And she said, 'well, you need to know that that child is being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26.'"

Now it is bad enough that school officials would report this incident to the Children's Aid Society (the Canadian version of a child protection unit in the U.S.). So you know the story couldn't possibly end here:
The mom, who is divorced and has a new fiancé, adamantly denied the charges, noting her daughter was never exposed to anyone of that age. And fortunately she had proof. The mother was long dissatisfied with the treatment her daughter had received at the school, after they had allegedly lost her on several occasions.

As a result, the already cash strapped mom had spent a considerable sum of money to not only have her child equipped with a GPS unit, but one that provided audio records of everything that was going on around her.

So she had non-stop taped proof that nothing untoward had ever happened to her daughter, and was aghast that the situation had gone this far. But under the Child and Family Services Act, anyone who works with children and has reasonable grounds to suspect a youngster is being harmed, must report it immediately - and the CAS has an obligation to follow up.

The word of a psychic constitutes "reasonable grounds"?

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is taking a month off from Congress to recuperate after her marathon run for the presidency.

She is not expected to return to the Senate until July 7 or July 8 after the Independence Day recess, according to two Democratic sources.

Let me get this straight: You spend 18 months basically on leave from your job in order to run for president, then you get a month off AFTER that?

Maybe I need to run for senate in New York? If only I didn't have to live in New York to do it...oh wait, I forgot about the New York rules where you only have to visit the state occasionally to qualify to run for the senate. Sign me up!

From Financial
[Chris Dodd, the Democratic chairman of the Senate banking committee]on Tuesday admitted he was one of a number of Washington officials who were made members of a VIP programme by a leading mortgage provider but denied he knew this would secure him preferential treatment.

...[Dodd] said he had not asked what Countrywide Financial’s VIP offer entailed and insisted he had not been told that he would receive favourable loan terms.

Sounds like the Democrats have a new version of "don't ask, don't tell".

Friday, June 13, 2008

Phone out of order

Anyone trying to reach me by phone, or expecting a phone call today, I have bad news: My cell phone is out of order.

It started this morning when I woke up and the power was out. I have no candles or flashlights in the place, but Necessity is the mother of invention. Unfortunately, Necessity can also be the mother of bastard accidents.

No light, so naturally I use the light from my cell phone to get around. After I went to the bathroom (and flushed), I reached for the cell phone I had put on the counter next to the toilet. Do I need to tell you where the cell phone ended up?

I took the phone apart, and it is drying now. Hopefully, it should work within the next day. Otherwise I'll be buying a new one.

As for Necessity, she can retain custody of this child. I don't want it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Indiana Jones and my daughter

Prior to the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, my kids took an interest in the series after my son got a set of Indiana Jones Legos.

They watched all the movies for the first time, about 20 years after the last one was made. They loved them. (They haven't seen the new one yet, but I'm hoping to take them next weekend.)

One day, my wife pulled up a screen shot from the new movie on her computer. My 10 year old daughter, looking over my wife's shoulder, saw the picture of Harrison Ford and said, "Eh, it's just an old guy trying to be Indiana Jones."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Government at work (6/11/08 edition)

I enjoyed my last post about the absurdity of government, I figured I would do it again!

You have to love the un mitigated gall of public school districts. They take our tax dollars to educate our children because they can allegedly do it better.

Take the Austin, Texas school district for example (from
[The Austin School District] is fighting a ruling that makes them give out statistical information on how many teachers have a criminal history.

The Attorney General has told the district they have to comply with open records requests to give the information to the media. The district is arguing that releasing information of how many people on each campus came back with a criminal record violates employees’ privacy rights and is not in the public interest.
Why would a public entity which is responsible for our childrens' education be allowed to HIRE people with a criminal history, let alone keep that fact confidential?

Obviously, the eyes of Texas missed this one.

Political correctness is legislated north of the border, as columnist Mark Steyn has found out. The Canadian Human Rights Commission has Steyn on trial for spreading hate in a book excerpt that was printed in Canada's newsweekly Maclean's(from Robert Knight at
A highlighted piece of the case was a comment from an imam, Mullah Krekar, that Steyn drew from an interview in a Norwegian newspaper:

‘“We’re the ones who will change you,’ the cleric said. ‘Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU [European Union] is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children. …Our way of thinking will prove more powerful than yours.’”
Yep, sounds like hate speech to me. The Canadians ought to be trying the imam.

Thanks to President Bush's signature on the Democratic Congress's transportation bill, $45 million of our tax dollars are going to help pay for a MagLev train from Disneyland to Las Vegas. This from the Associated Press:
...the train would use magnetic levitation technology to carry passengers from Disneyland to Las Vegas in well under two hours, traveling at speeds of up to 300 mph.

...The money is the largest cash infusion in the project's nearly 20-year history. It will pay for environmental studies for the first leg of the project.

...The train is meant to ease traffic on increasingly clogged Interstate 15, the main route for the millions of Southern Californians who make the 250-plus-mile drive to Las Vegas each year. There is no train on the route — Amtrak's Desert Wind between Los Angeles and Las Vegas was canceled in 1997 because of low ridership.
Let me get this straight: The last train route between these areas was cancelled due to low ridership 11 years ago, yet this project has been going on for 20 YEARS?!

In other words, those of us who do NOT live in L.A. or Las Vegas need to help pay for a train between one of the Disney Company's (made $1.1 billion net profit last quarter ALONE) primo amusement parks, and all the casinos (I can't even begin to guess where to look for their profits. Too many of them) in Vegas?

Explain to me why does the federal government need to blow my money in order for Los Angelinos to be able to get to Vegas quicker to blow their money?

If you ever needed it, there is the proof our government is truly "goofy".

Friday, June 06, 2008

The purpose of government

Frequently, when I go on an anti-government tirade, I will receive comments like "Would you prefer anarchy?". I should be clearer: I do believe government has a purpose, and that we need it.

The best description of the purpose of government comes from the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution:
...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity
Governments since the beginning of recorded history have carried the burden of resolution dispute. Our legal system is needed for this purpose, and this purpose alone.

People have always had conflicts with other people, ever since the first caveman took a branch to the head of another caveman who angered him. When a justice system fails, it can lead to everything from riots to vigilantism (although there are times when a justice system is put in a no-win situation, and these kinds of things will happen regardless of a court decision).

Once justice has been established, what is left for the government to do to "insure domestic tranquility"?

Alexander Hamilton described the problem best in "The Federalist Papers":
It is impossible to read the history of the petty republics of Greece and Italy without feeling sensations of horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were continually agitated, and at the rapid succession of revolutions by which they were kept in a state of perpetual vibration between the extremes of tyranny and anarchy.
The key, as Hamilton describes it, is to maintain a balance of power between the individual states and the federal government. If one state should descend into anarchy, the other states can prop it up. If one state should take advantage of another, then the other states can mediate the dispute.

In addition, Hamilton (quoting Montesquieu) left an opening for the states against the federal government:
Should abuses creep into one part, they are reformed by those that remain sound. The state may be destroyed on one side, and not on the other; the confederacy may be dissolved, and the confederates preserve their sovereignty.
In essence, you have a natural justice system for the states and the federal government, thereby insuring "domestic tranquility".

If a government cannot defend itself against other governments, it risks becoming a mere vassal to another government, subject to that other government's political sytem and laws.

Obviously, this applies to the military, but it should also include foreign intelligence gathering, as well as counter-intelligence, without which we leave ourselves just as vulnerable to other nations.
If a government does nothing else, it MUST do these things, or else it is pointless.

This is the economic aspect of government, applying to everything from coinage to the regulation of interstate and international trade.

To promote the general welfare, the federal government must provide an economic "level playing field" for all the states. But the key is in the word "promote": If the federal government places too many restrictions on trade, then it is working against trade, and no longer promoting the general welfare.

While this may seem like flowery language, it does serve a point. A government which serves itself is a tyranny, regardless of whether it does so with popular consent. What happens when the consent is no longer popular? In other words, if you hand over your own liberty to the government, you are also handing over the liberties of your children.

Ironically, this last part puts the onus of government on the governed. It is up to YOU to secure the blessings of liberty for yourself, and your children.

But what is "liberty"?
freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
As long as one person's liberty does not impede upon another person's liberty, then that person should be allowed to do whatever they please, within the framework of government as mentioned in the previous sections.

But the key here is that it is up to the individual to utilize their own liberty to keep the government at arm's length.

(NOTE: I could do a whole post on the implications of individual liberty within the framework of government. Suffice it to say that there are many specific situations, as well as subjective views, where individual liberties are called into question, because of the question of whether they impede upon another person's liberties. That is NOT the purpose of this post.)

It is within the framework of all of these items that we must view government actions. Any government action which falls outside of these purposes should be opposed.

When I go on anti-government tirades, it is because I believe a government action has exceeded the government's purpose. Sadly, there are far too many government actions today to which this applies.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Government at work

It can make you laugh at it's absurdities, or angry that you're paying for it, or even cry in frustration, but government is amazing at it's ability to display incompetence, from the highest elected politician, down to it's lowest bureaucrat.

For all this incompetence, one might ask whether we pay politicians too much, or even not enough. Don't worry: They take what they want. As the Fox News documentary “Porked: Earmarks for Profit” shows, at least three U.S. congressmen (two Republicans and one Democrat) managed to get earmarks for either their own or their family's profit.

Here is one example for you from Fox News:
In February 2004, [former Speaker of the House Dennis] Hastert, with partners and through a trust that did not bear his name, bought up 69 acres of land that adjoined his farm some 60 miles outside Chicago. The price was $340,000. In May 2005, Hastert transferred an additional 69 acres from his farm into the trust.

Two months later, Congress passed a spending bill into which Hastert inserted a $207 million earmark to fund the “Prairie Parkway” which, when completed, would run just a few miles from the 138 acres owned by Hastert’s trust.

After President Bush flew to Hastert’s district in August 2005 to sign the bill, Hastert and his partners flipped the land for what appeared to be a multi-million dollar profit.

The issue of man-made Global Warming has been tabled temporarily, thanks to over 31,000 American scientists who have signed a petition which states:
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catostrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate.
So now that we have decided there is NOT a problem which requires immediate attention, what does the U.S. Senate do? They are debating the America's Climate Security Act of 2007, more affectionately called "The Lieberman-Warner Cap and Trade Bill" by the National Center for Public Policy Research.

What will the bill get us?
...Lieberman-Warner would have virtually no effect on the climate, according to Dr. Patrick Michaels, a former president of the American Association of State Climatologists and now senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute: "Say the U.S. actually does what the law says, though no one knows how to. The result is an additional 0.013 degrees (C) of 'prevented' warming," says Michaels.
And the potential cost? (from
According to a study released by the National Association of Manufacturers earlier this year, Lieberman-Warner would cause 1.8 million job losses, as much as a $210 billion gross domestic product reduction and possibly a 33% increase in electricity prices by 2020.

But with all this comes good and bad news. The good news is the Senate will probably not pass it. Even if they do, President Bush has already said he will veto it.

The bad news? Both Barack Obama and John McCain have said they want to institute a similar system.

What can you say about a court clerk working in an understaffed office who refuses to perform a wedding ceremony because she is "too tired"?

I know what I say. This is your government at work.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Income inequality and the NFL

Steven Malanga over at actually makes a solid case for income inequality in society by comparing it to the situation in the NFL (I am only quoting part of the article below. I fully recommend reading the whole thing at the link above. It is short.):
I took a look at the salary structure of the team with the biggest payroll in 2007, the Washington Redskins, who paid $123 million in salaries to 59 players, including those on the practice squad, over the course of the year. That’s a rich pot, but what I found was that the top quintile, or 20 percent, of the roster took home 63 percent of the money, and the top two quintiles earned 85 percent. The Skins’ aren’t an anomaly, even though they are one of the richest teams. The other teams at the top of the salary scale—the Pats and the Saints—devoted 62 percent and 60 percent of salaries, respectively, to a fifth of their players.

It was only slightly different at the bottom. The team with the lowest payroll in 2007, the Super Bowl-winning New York Giants (talk about value for your dollar), paid 59 percent of wages to the top 20 percent, and 78 percent to the richest 40 percent of players.

Malanga goes on to show that numbers for other sports leagues, as well as the U.S. in general, are similar.

One place where Malanga fails in his comparison (even though his conclusions are correct) is in completing his comparison.

In the NFL, how many players are responsible for a team's financial success? The top 40% of the team may see the field most of the time, and may win games and draw fans. But in a market where players can change teams, and do so frequently, the cream will rise to the top of the salary scale, either through free agency or fear thereof by the team.

The real world operates similarly. When a company sees an employee outproducing other employees, a company must quickly recognize this, and reward it, or risk losing the employee to another company which does recognize the employee's abilities.

But where do CEO's fit into this comparison? Truth be told, CEO's tend to be like a starting quarterback. A starting quarterback can have a bad day and the rest of the team can still pull out a win, or even a successful season (do I need to mention Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl?). A bad CEO is similar in that a company can only cover his shortcomings for so long.

On the other hand, if a CEO or a quarterback is REALLY bad, they will actually make their company/team worse. Even in these situations, both will probably make a lot of money in comparison to their workers/teammates, but both will end up getting fired in the end.

In the long run, good CEO's will tend to make more than bad CEO's, just as good quarterbacks will make more than bad quarterbacks. But that doesn't explain why CEO's and quarterbacks should make significantly more than the lowest paid employees or the team's lowest paid players.

For that, you have to look at their impact. If a quarterback is making $10 million per year, and a backup player makes $500,000 per year, should the backup make more at the sacrifice of some of the quarterback's salary? With salary cap considerations, this is the question an NFL team faces. The logical answer is "of course not". The quarterback has a far greater impact on the team's success, so he naturally makes significantly more.

Just like an NFL team, companies have a salary cap: it is called the free market. Specifically, a company which spends more than it can afford on a CEO, regardless of how good the CEO may be, runs the risk of putting itself out of business (although there are times when that can be a good strategic maneuver, but those are exceptional cases).

But what value does a good CEO bring to it's company? The best example of CEO value comes from Roberto Goizueta, former CEO of Coca Cola. While he is best remembered for the "New Coke" debacle, he also was the CEO who introduced Diet Coke. In addition, it should be remembered that Goizueta was not so headstrong he couldn't admit his mistakes, bringing back Coke Classic after New Coke flopped.

My point is the New Coke debacle could have crippled Coca Cola under a more headstrong CEO. Instead, Goizueta brought the company back and made it one of the most profitable companies today. Was Goizueta worth the high salary he was paid? Most certainly (according to Wikipedia, he "[b]ecame the first CEO to gain billionaire status from a company which he did not found"). Instead of costing the company thousands of jobs, he instead allowed it to expand.

Was Goizueta worth a $1 billion more to Coca Cola than their lowest paid worker, who may have done more of the "sweaty" work? Absolutely. Ideas move companies. Anybody can do the manual labor, but not everyone can come up with ideas that make money in the free market.

Certainly there are plenty of examples of CEO's who make more than they deserve. The CEO who made $100 million in a year when their company tanked is almost a cliche. But companies that do that all the time tend to go out of business quickly, unless the CEO is much better than the public realizes. But is that situation so much different than a rookie quarterback who gets a huge contract based on his potential?

Actually, it is. If a rookie quarterback fails, he is the one who gets fired. If a CEO fails, there can be tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of jobs lost due to his incompetance. So who is REALLY more important?

Of course, income inequality isn't about comparing quarterbacks and CEO's. Considering the size of modern corporations, and all the responsibility sitting on the shoulders of CEO's, it would be foolish to pay them "a little more" than their lowest paid worker.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hello Savannah!

Since I've been in Savannah for a month, I figured it is finally time for me to announce it, as well as changing my profile location in the upper right corner of this page.

So far, here are some of the things I love about Savannah:

1. Traffic! As in there is none! Compared to the Atlanta area, Savannah is...well, a drive in the park.
2. The food! I am talking FRESH seafood! There's a restaurant called The Oyster Bar near me, where I had the BEST steamed shrimp I've ever eaten. There's also a greek/italian place called Basil's Pizza and Deli, which makes the best pizza I ever had, not to mention a damn fine greek sausage with peppers and onions and orzo.
3. The beach! A nice ten minute drive from me.
4. The ghettos! Ok, this part surprised me, but Savannah has the nicest looking run-down section of any town I've ever been to. The houses are gorgeous! (even if they are VERY old)
5. 6 Gb DSL! Yes, you can get this most anywhere, but I like it. I gave up tv for this during the move, and it's worth it. (I confess, I'm waiting for NFL preseason before I get the cable hooked up.)
6. My job! (I discussed this previously)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tom Coburn and the Republican Problem

In an opinion piece at, Tom Coburn nails the Republican problem:
Voters are tired of buying a GOP package and finding a big-government liberal agenda inside. What we need is not new advertising, but truth in advertising.

...The fruit of these efforts is not the hoped-for Republican governing majority, but the real prospect of a filibuster-proof Democrat majority in 2009. While the K Street Project decimated our brand as the party of reform and limited government, compassionate conservatism convinced the American people to elect the party that was truly skilled at activist government: the Democrats.
Coburn even goes on to explain why "compassionate conservatism" is neither compassionate nor conservative:
Compassionate conservatism's next step – its implicit claim that charity or compassion translates into a particular style of activist government involving massive spending increases and entitlement expansion – was its undoing. Common sense and the Scriptures show that true giving and compassion require sacrifice by the giver. This is why Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell his possessions, not his neighbor's possessions. Spending other people's money is not compassionate.
A valid point to George Bush (as well as those who use religion to defend their socialism), who probably isn't listening any more than the rest of the Republicans.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Not-so-great Political Debate

Have you noticed that on practically EVERY campaign issue between Republicans and Democrats, there is no longer a question of WHETHER government intervention is needed. It is now only a question of how much government intervention.

Even when politicians use the buzz words "free market", it is usually followed up with some government program. Take John McCain's global warming solution. He says we need a free market solution in one breath, while in the very next breath he calls for a "cap and trade" carbon emissions system. And don't even ask about Barack Obama's solution, which offers just about every environmental government program imaginable, short of having "carbon emissions police" carrying CO2 detection devices, breaking into private homes in the middle of the night (although check back next week. Obama might change his mind).

Consider taxes. Do we need an income tax system where we have to report to the government every detail of how we, as individuals, make money? Do we need tax breaks for every special interest lobbyist in D.C.? No one in either party asks whether we should eliminate the income tax for an alternative form of revenue collection (i.e. the FairTax). No one in either party talks about eliminating corporate taxes, even though it would revive the U.S. manufacturing sector. McCain's idea to cut the corporate rate from 35% to 25% is a nice start, but that should be the argument from the Left, not the Right.

Look at healthcare. We got this problem when the government gave companies tax breaks for providing health insurance to employees. Now we have a large segment of the population which expects someone else to pay for their healthcare costs. But nobody asks if we should completely remove government's role from the healthcare issue.

Of course, we cannot forget high gas prices. Nearly every aspect of the high prices can be traced to government actions:
1. Gas taxes which account for more government revenue than oil companies make net profits from the sale of gas.
2. The devaluation of the dollar, which leads to higher prices when we buy gas from overseas.
3. The government's refusal to allow drilling for oil in places like Alaska and off the coasts of Florida and California.
4. The government's support of the biofuel industry (which has also led to higher food prices). Unfortunately, oil companies have no incentive to build new refineries in the U.S. when they see the government supporting an industry which could take a large chunk of their market share in the near future. Why build a refinery which will take 20+ years to see a profit when you may not need it in 20 years? In addition, our insufficient refinery capacity for our oil consumption forces the oil companies to order oil from overseas refineries (also adding to our cost).
5. Whether you agree or disagree, environmental regulations add to the cost. Everything from drilling for oil to refining oil has environmental regulations on it. These costs are all passed along to the consumer.

Aside from numbers 1 and 3 above, no one asks about the other three government interventions. And the taxes are only mentioned in McCain's absurd "summer gas tax holiday" (why not a year-round gas tax holiday?).

This is NOT to suggest getting government out of these issues is the only way, or even a good way. Rather, it begs the question of WHY the possibility is NOT even part of the political debate. Why would politicians ignore it? Unfortunately, this is a question that answers itself. Politicians from both parties can see that their own power rests in the expansion of government. The more government expands, the more power they have over the people.

Even people who think we need more government (i.e. liberals and socialists) would look at the period earlier this decade when the Republicans controlled the White House and the Congress in disgust. But they would happily give the Democrats that kind of control, even though we could expect the same levels of unchecked corruption?

The great irony is that socialism was descended from a political theory, Marxism, which was born from a healthy distrust of aristocratic European government's abuses of power. The even greater irony is that the anti-establishment leftists of the 1960's have become the modern day Democrats who LIKE the idea of more government.

"That government is best which governs not at all" - Henry David Thoreau

How did we go from a society with a healthy disrespect for government power, as exemplified by millenia of monarchical abuse of power, to one where we happily hand over the keys to our lives to government, without even asking "why?"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ayn Rand, Phyllis Schlafly, and a ditsy coed

I have been reading Atlas Shrugged for awhile now (I know I am past page 400). While I am nowhere near done with it, I must admit that Ayn Rand has the liberals in her book portrayed perfectly. They do everything for altruistic reasons, regardless of how stupid or how many people inevitably end up getting hurt by their actions.

I mention this because I was reading an interview over on the Fox News website today between Laura Ingraham and Jill Strominger, a Washington University student who was one of many students and faculty who protested against Phyllis Schafly's receipt of an honorary degree there (by standing up and turning their backs to the stage):
LAURA INGRAHAM: ...Which conservative, which prominent conservative do you think would deserve an honorary degree at Washington University? Why don't you name a few?

JILL STROMINGER, PROTESTER, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, I absolutely think that's not the issue, Laura.

INGRAHAM: Now what is the issue? And I just ask the questions, Jill. Stay with me here. We only have a few minutes.

You turned your back on one of the leading lights of the conservative movement. Phyllis Schlafly is a pioneer. Whether you agree with her or not, she changed the way people think about politics in this country, period. So I'm asking you: If she is not someone who legitimately should receive an honorary degree, which conservative do you think should?

STROMINGER: Well, I mean, there are many fabulous choices, like Colin Powell. But the issue...

INGRAHAM: He wouldn't qualify as a pioneering conservative. He's a great man though.

STROMINGER: Laura, you're completely mischaracterizing, you know, what happened and what we were standing against, which is actually part of the reason that we chose to protest Schlafly.

Our problem was less her specific viewpoints but more the way that she expresses herself. The way that she mischaracterizes her opponents and how her style of debate changed the debate in such a way that it led people to be oppressed.

INGRAHAM: Jill, do you or do you not believe in free speech on college campus?

STROMINGER: I absolutely believe in free speech, but there's a difference.

James Taggert or Lillian Reardon could not have said it better than Strominger, who would have fit perfectly into Rand's novel. But I haven't gotten to a part in Atlas Shrugged that includes ditsy liberal coeds.

I still want to know who has been led to be oppressed because of Phyllis Schlafly's "style of debate"? And how does one lead people to be oppressed in the first place? "Please, come here. I'm in the mood to oppress someone today, and you look like a jolly good candidate!"

Seriously, I watched the interview afterwards, and Strominger was clearly nervous (and not very Media savvy). Laura Ingraham had her for lunch.

But even with that consideration, Strominger showed where liberal arguments fall apart. I question whether Strominger even knows who Schlafly is, other than Strominger knows Schlafly is a conservative. But for most liberals, that is all they need to hear. Much like a KKK member only needs to know someone is black to hate them, liberals only need to know a person is conservative to hate them.

Liberals tend to be two-dimensional characters in our society, much like the antagonists in Atlas Shrugged. For both, there is what they feel, and what they do. What they think is irrelevant, since reason never enters their mind.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The not-so-gay marriage post

(This post is dedicated to Myrhaf. He inspired me, but not in the way he intended.)

Why do we have marriage at all?

What do WE gain as individuals, or as couples, from the state sanctioning our relationships?

Wikipedia has this somewhat overly simplistic answer:
A marriage, by definition, bestows rights and obligations on the married parties, and sometimes on relatives as a consequence. These may include:

*giving a husband/wife or his/her family control over a spouse’s sexual services, labor, and/or property.
*giving a husband/wife responsibility for a spouse’s debts.
*giving a husband/wife visitation rights when his/her spouse is incarcerated or hospitalized.
*giving a husband/wife control over his/her spouse’s affairs when the spouse is incapacitated.
*establishing the second legal guardian of a parent’s child.
*establishing a joint fund of property for the benefit of children.
*establishing a relationship between the families of the spouses.

Mind you, all of these things can be obtained or done outside of marriage, although admittedly some of them are more expensive than others. But based on this list, one could easily conclude the purpose of marriage was to save some hefty legal fees.

(Of course, anyone who has been through a divorce knows they get you on the back-end with the legal fees.)

So basically marriage is kind of a no-brainer for any couple, regardless of their sexual orientation. If you completely trust someone, why not marry them? The practicality of marriage extends beyond the answer of "love".

But marriage is NOT just a contract between two people: The state sanctions it. Because of the legal arrangements involved, the institution of marriage is a three-way deal: you, your spouse, and WE THE PEOPLE!

So what benefit do "WE THE PEOPLE" gain from the sanctioning of "love"? If I am going to be paying taxes to keep your marriage license filed as well as a whole bunch of other legal freebies, not to mention your tax breaks, what's in it for me?

If you tell me your "happiness", I'll call you naive on the subject of marriage. Anyway, I am NOT paying money to the government to support your happiness. Get your own.

Now if you tell me you are going to have children, or adopt children, THEN you have my blessing (and my tax dollars). Your children are not only your future, but also the future of our country. Love them, and raise them well.

Unfortunately, that brings us to the issue of gay marriage (the ultimate oxymoron). My answer on this question is similar: If a homosexual couple already has a child from a previous relationship, or if they will adopt a child, or if they want to be artificially inseminated, then I have no problem with them getting married.

Otherwise, they are no different than a heterosexual couple living together. Have your jollies, then move on. But DON'T ask me to sanction your relationship!

This brings us to the question of how is the government supposed to ascertain the intentions of marrying couples. It is quite simple really: When a man and a woman get married, what are the odds of procreation occurring? Now compare those odds with those of a man and a man, or a woman and a woman?

Many years ago, when this issue first came up, I asked a simple question: Would you give a blind man a driver's license? Then why on earth would you give a homosexual couple a marriage license?!

This whole issue is about asking for rights, with none of the responsibilities. When the homosexual community shows me they are serious about the responsibilities of marriage, specifically procreation or raising children, THEN I will support them politically.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Syllogism of the day

If money is the root of all evil, and we should give money to poor people, wouldn't that make poor people evil?

Monday, April 28, 2008

You can quote me on that

Yesterday on my blog, I did a simple post reviewing the NFL draft. Today, I get a voicemail from a friend I used to work with telling me I was quoted in the USAToday.

My initial reaction: Say what?!

So after work, I picked up a USAToday, and darned if they didn't quote me in an aricle about the allegedly "winning" Kansas City Chiefs draft:
A dissenting voice belongs to Ed McGonigal (an Oakland Raiders fan) of the Politics and Pigskins blog. "I am putting the Chiefs in the losers category for now," he writes, "only because they got a lot of players with question marks. Even their top pick, defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, was probably the most questionable among the top 10 picks in the draft."
While my little blog appreciates the free publicity, I probably should add something to what I said about the Chiefs draft, since what I said was more of a summary of my opinions of what a lot of teams did.

First off, I am an unashamed Oakland Raiders fan, which the USAToday quote correctly states. However, when it comes to AFC West teams, I don't really hate the Chiefs. Truth be told, I kind of liked them when Dick Vermeil was there. I grew up with Vermeil's Eagles, so I have always been a fan of his.

Then when the Chiefs hired Herm Edwards as head coach, I was overjoyed, after Edward's less than auspicious years with the Jets. I knew the Chiefs were going downhill soon, so I didn't really need to worry about them too much in the AFC West. It is hard to hate, or even dislike, the pitiful.

I far more despise the Broncos. If the Raiders beat the Broncos twice in a season, it's a good year (even if the Raiders go 2-14).

So when I wrote my little blurb about the Chiefs, I was NOT doing it out of spite for a division rival. I was merely going through the various teams and seeing how they did after three rounds.

But there is a final aspect to my comments which I did not mention: Herm Edwards has never developed a potential Hall-of-Famer in his coaching career, let alone a Super Bowl contender. How can anyone be enthusiastic about a team's draft when the head coach has NEVER shown any ability to develop talent?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

NFL Draft Review

This year's NFL draft is not a deep one in terms of talent. But there are gems here, and winners and losers among the drafters.

RAIDERS: Of all the offensive skill position players in the draft, there was only one "sure thing": RB Darren McFadden. I was downright giddy when my Raiders got him. There is the argument the Raiders didn't need another running back, with Justin Fargas, Michael Bush, and Dominic Rhodes already there. But McFadden is a special back, the kind who makes your offensive line better just because he is so good. And fast.

FALCONS: My hometown Falcons did well, getting the top quarterback in the draft, Matt Ryan, and an offensive lineman for him, Sam Baker. Add in linebacker Curtis Lofton, and things look good for the future of this franchise. However, cornerback Chevis Jackson is a little slow and small for his position.

DOLPHINS: Say what you will, but when you go 1-15, there are offensive line problems. Adding the top offensive lineman in the draft, Jake Long, makes perfect sense. And let's not forget quarterback Chad Henne and two defensive linemen, Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford.

BEARS: There were a lot of needs on the Bears, and they filled a few of them. Tackle Chris Williams, running back Matt Forte, and wide receiver Earl Bennett, may all end up starting right away, considering the lack of quality ahead of them.

COLTS: Even without a first round pick, the Colts got some quality prospects in center Mike Pollak and linebacker (although I think he'd make a better safety) Philip Wheeler. Especially Wheeler, who has a good motor.

JETS: Even though tight end Dustin Keller has some question marks (great receiver, so-so blocking skills), the Jets definitely got a good one in defensive lineman Vernon Gholston.

PACKERS: Like the Colts, no first round picks here, but they got some quality prospects anyway. Getting quarterback Brian Brohm in the second round was a steal.

PATRIOTS: When I see two linebackers going to a team coached by Bill Belichick, I know I am looking at two potential all-pros. Belichick spends more time with his linebackers than any other position, and his defenses show it. Even though the Pats linebackers were all studs last year, they are also OLD. Adding youth to this experienced corps of linebackers makes the Patriots scary.

In addition, the Pats picked up a super-speedy corner in Terrence Wheatley. Expect to hear his name a lot over the next few years.

STEELERS: Even though running back Rashard Mendenhall is the big name of the Steelers draft, I like the guys they got in the second and third rounds better: WR Limas Sweed and DE Bruce Davis. Davis may end up getting switched to linebacker and will be a project because of it, but he has a good motor and attitude. Sweed is another solid prospect.

RAVENS: Think the Ravens learned from the mistake of letting quarterback Derek Anderson go? They went and drafted an Anderson clone in Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco. That said, Delaware quarterbacks have rarely excelled in the NFL, with Rich Gannon being the only exception, and it took Gannon many years to become an outstanding quarterback. In spite of the fact the scouts have become enamored with him, and I personally wish him well as a Delaware grad myself, I predict Flacco becomes a journeyman quarterback who may or may not find success in the NFL. If he does, it will take longer than the Ravens want to wait, and it will be with another team (similar to Rich Gannon).

The rest of the Ravens draft has question marks, although Tom Zbikowski might turn out to be a quality safety.

BROWNS: No picks until the fourth round? It is not like this team doesn't need help.

CHIEFS: I am putting the Chiefs in the losers category for now, only because they got a lot of players with question marks. Even their top pick, defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, was probably the most questionable among the top 10 picks in the draft.

As for the other five players the Chiefs got in the first three rounds, the scouts are calling them "quality" picks, but I still see "wait and see" picks.

What I saw of the rest of the NFL was a bunch of question marks in this draft, which was the weakest draft I have seen in many years.