Saturday, December 25, 2004

One Child

Today, we Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior, our Messiah, the incarnation of God on Earth. He was only one child, whose birth wasn't heralded to all the kings around the world, whose parents were stuck in finding a place to stay as they went home to partake of a tax census. To those of a scholarly mien, this was no significant event, nothing different from anyone else. Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph and Mary would be born into a world that did not know His greatness. He was only one child out of millions. His life, however would contain things that would change the world. His message of peace as the Son of God, the Son of Man, would bring the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to one and all who listened and believed. His death would free us from sin. His memory would inspire thousands to live in imitation of Him or do great deeds in His name to benefit those who were unable to help themselves. Thus, we have our saints. However, Jesus of Nazareth was still only one child out of millions. Insignificant. Had we never known His grace, who knows how the world would have been?

How many other children are in the same situation? Mahatma Gandhi was only one child, and his methods of peaceful protest brought an Empire to its end. I suppose someone else would have been able to do the same thing. Little Mohandas was just one child, just a speck out of millions. Nothing special there.

What of Martin Luther King, Jr? Was he just one insignficant child as well? Mother Teresa? St. Francis of Assisi? Pope John XXIII? Pope John Paul II? This is where I don't get the pro-abortion crowd. For all the evil that humans do to each other, we provide ourselves with the ability to transcend that evil with the birth of each child. We provide another chance to remake the world into something beautiful. Each child brings another helping of human potential, another chance at greatness. Each abortion throws that away. It throws away the one child who could achieve humankind's greatest potetntial.

But it's only one child, isn't it? It's only one more mouth to feed, one more person on the dole, one more future lazy good-for-nothing, right?

There are many things we need to think of at Christmas. Family, friends, and those unable to defend themselves against the evil of the world are just a few of the topics that may weigh heavy upon us. We must keep this in our hearts as we celebrate the birth of the one who has led us from the darkness to the light of God's Grace and Love. We must celebrate all of human life, and rejoice for what it brings us.

We do this by celebrating the birth of one child. Merry Christmas to one and all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Sorry for the long hiatus

The last few weeks have been busy at work, and I've been putting in lots of overtime to help get a project or three finished before year end. So, blogging will most likely be very light until the new year. Please bear with me as I'll have a few posts here and there.

Oh, I also got a new vehicle to replace my old, decrepit 1995 Dodge Neon. I drove that car into the ground; I'm harder on cars than most folks, I guess. I now have a 2005 Hyundai Tucson mini-SUV. The GL model is the most basic, naturally, but it come loaded with so many features that "standard" is still pretty chock-full of useful features. It's solid black, and the largest vehicle I've driven on regular basis. Maybe I should call it "The Argo" or something?

Monday, November 29, 2004

Modern novels worth re-reading?

Hugh Hewitt has posted an interesting essay on looking for modern novels that are worth re-reading. Going under the assumption that the standard novel is a work of prose fiction, I'd have to say that there aren't many modern novels worth picking up in the first place. Even my beloved science-fiction novels aren't really worth re-reading anymore. I'd pick up Tom Wolfe's new book, but it has no reason for me to buy it; I'm simply not interested in the life of a fictional college student. I'm not even interested in how he uses the language to craft his stories, so I can't even get some kind of satisfaction from the technical aspect of his writing.

So, does anyone have an idea out there what is good enough to read, then read again at a later date as far as modern fiction is concerned? I'm open to anything from 1980 to today.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Ukraine parliament calls election invalid


All of this protest over a vote. Why doesn't this happen in the United States? One reason is that candidates here believe in conceding their campaigns, Al Gore notwithstanding. There's a far more important reason why this is going on than the petulance that drives many Democrats. Ukrainians don't want to live in a vassal state of Russia. They remember what happened the last time such things happened. Or would we like to forget Chernobyl? How about the Cold War? Would we like to forget that? Would we like to forget the corruption that a one-party state engenders, or the divide between Party apparatchiks and Party workers in the former Soviet Union? How about the official stifling of dissent within the Soviet Union? Perhaps we should casually gloss these issues over, and let the Russian-backed candidate win.

The Ukrainians have not forgotten these issues, as they live with the consequences of the Soviet regime. They remember the days of central planning and one-party rule, as do the Poles, the Lithuanians, the Latvians, the Estonians... and they wish to be able to determine their nation's path without Russian interference. Many nations in Western Europe have turned blind eyes to the backing that Viktor Yanukovich received from Russia. The Ukrainian people have not been so blind to it. This is where the protesters come in. The European Union has finally noted that new elections are in order, as Ben Bot, Foreign Minister from Holland has agreed that new elections are in order.

For once the European Union and the United States are in agreement. Ukraine needs new elections. This time, perhaps the nations election commission will get it right. Let's do what we can in the United States to support Viktor Yushchenko's election.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I hope that you all got your fill of food, family, and football today.

I know that I'm thankful for many things. Loving parents and good friends are just two things out of many.

I'm thankful to gas station attendants who gave up their holiday to work so we don't have to worry about running out of gas on I-294.

I'm thankful for the utility workers who sat in their trucks today waiting for the call to restore power so that other families could enjoy their day off.

I'm thankful for the police officers and firemen who keep our cities protected so that we may eat in peace.

I'm thankful for all of our military personnel overseas and in the United States, who stand guard over our entire nation, who make the sacrifices necessary to protect our way of life. I thank them for taking over the duties of guarding our nation once my time in the service was done.

Most of all, I thank God Almighty for blessing me by letting me be born in the United States of America, where I can achieve whatever goal I wish. I thank Him for giving me my parents who have never failed to stay by my side, even when I've been most childish. I thank Him for giving me a family who comes together in peace and happiness. I thank Him for my friends, even when their beliefs don't always match mine. I thank Him for life itself.

I hope that your day has been as good as mine.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Dan Rather Retiring in March

In honor of Rather's getting the gentle boot out the door, I shall now regale you with a very stale rendition of Rob Schneider's "The Copier Guy" from Saturday Night Live.













Seriously, though, I'm glad he's leaving. Dan Rather hasn't been a decent reporter since the early 80s. After he got mugged, he got weird. I still don't buy his explanation that he didn't know what he was getting when he received those copies of forged Texas ANG memos. Not double-checking your fact-checkers is something that fictional newscaster Ted Baxter (of Mary Tyler Moore Show fame for you really young kids out there) would do. We expect more from our real newscasters because we place a great trust in them. That great trust is to accurately report what we cannot see for ourselves due to time and distance restraints. With this forged memo scandal, Dan Rather has thrown his entire career into question. "What else has he done to willfully misinform us?" is something we should not have to ask of every single article written by a reporter.

Mind you there's a caveat to willful misinformation. National security issues have to skirt this area on regular occasion. There are times that the public's demand to know, their right to know, and their need to know go in separate directions. That's when willful misinformation is needed. For political campaigns, though, willful misinformation should be provided by the candidate for us to dissect, prove false, and lampoon. It should not be provided by the people who supposedly are trusted to bring us facts in the most objective manner possible.

I think this is why I like talk radio as opposed to television news. At least the biases are more open. It's why we have guys like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Hugh Hewitt. They're willing to admit they have a conservative bias when they talk about the news.

And have you helped switch Hugh's time slot at WIND-AM? See the post below for further details!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Help Switch Hugh's Schedule!

A few weeks ago, WIND-AM changed its format from Spanish-language music to AM talk radio. This allowed us Chicago-area listeners to receive Hugh Hewitt's radio show in its full 3-hour time frame. Previously, the show was only on for one hour on WYLL, a Christian talk station. There's only one little problem. Hugh's show is in its full format, but it's taped. Hugh's usual timeslot is 5pm-8pm Central time. That timeslot is currently filled by Michael Savage's show "Savage Nation." Mr. Savage's show is okay, but it's too intense for an evening drive-time show. Michael Savage has the perfect primetime show and delivery, a pit bull of the radio that can pull listeners away from the television. Hugh's show is entertaining, humorous, and provides quite a lot of good news analysis. It's a better drive time show for those of us leaving work who want a little relaxation with our news.

Please join me in asking the management at WIND-AM to switch timeslots between Hugh's show and Michael Savage's. Chicago needs a drivetime show that can can be both informative and fun for everyone to listen to.

Here's Hugh's site:

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Looks like Illinois residents who defend their home with firearms just got a boost from the state legislature:

The Volokh Conspiracy law-discussion blog

I'm surprised that the Legislature decided to override Ol' Blaggie's veto. I'm happy, though. It will allow another option in defense of one's home.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Alphecca: Weekly Check on the Bias

Jeff Soyer has his weekly check on 2nd Amendment-related stories from around the country. He even has one that pokes fun at "Ol' Blaggie" Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

I hang my head in shame for missing that one. Any chance I get to tweak the gov's vanity is an opportunity missed. Glenn Poshard, why couldn't you have won in 1998? You'd have been more pro-2A than Ol' Blaggie or George Ryan...
NBC tape apparently shows prisoner shot

Maybe you've seen this footage, maybe you haven't. Maybe you only heard the audio, like I did on my way to work this morning while listening to WLS. The Marine in question who shot this wounded terrorist is in the clear as far as I'm concerned. According to the article, the wounded terrorists were treated for their injuries and left in the mosque for a period of 24 hours. That's long enough for someone to arm them, wire them up with explosives, whatever it takes to kill American troops. I'd have done the same thing in that Marine's case. If it's a matter of heading off an ambush or suicide attack and keeping the my unit safe, then I'd shoot first and search the bodies later, too. No, I'm not trying to sound macho or bloodthirsty, and if you come away from this discussion with that impression then the fault is yours for reading too much into it. I would make the same judgment as that Marine, personal consequences be damned.

I'll be the first to admit that the Air Force didn't have much in the way of small unit tactics, even with airbase ground defense training. (What I would do to improve combat training in the Air Force is fodder for future posts.) We did, however, learn to work as a team, and part of that training is to keep your teammates alive and accounted for. If that meant killing a potential yet still-unverified threat to the team, wounded enemy combatant or not, so be it. My teammates would still be alive, and that would allow us to continue our mission.

One thing I have noticed is a lot of people trying to apply a law-enforcement approach ot the situation, where the use of deadly force is a last resort. War is quite different from law enforcement, no matter how many of the same terms may be used by both police and military units. The criteria for using deadly force are quite lower in war than in law enforcement. I haven't seen the terrorists in Iraq follow the Geneva Convention yet, but they seem to get a pass on that. It makes me wonder if the Convention laws were designed in such a manner to cause every move by one of the signatories to that treaty to be viewed as a potential war crime. That's great if you're trying to keep Denmark and Germany from fighting a border war, but it doesn't seem to work against people who will use mosques as staging areas for their attacks.

So, why are we being restrained when our enemy isn't? Following the Geneva Convention to the letter while fighting against a non-signatory group seems like a great way to lose a war. It's going to be very difficult to win a war when we have to agonize over every single soldier's actions. We've been pretty nice as far as conducting warfare is concerned. It may be time to stop being so nice and stop letting our enemies use our laws against us. Am I advocating scorched-earth warfare? No. There has got to be a better way for us to fight the terrorists in Iraq. Cutting and running is out of the question, so let's see what other options we have. Any ideas?

Monday, November 15, 2004

Our top story tonight...

Four Cabinet members have decided to call it quits. Colin Powell is the biggest name of the group, naturally, at Secretary of State. I don't think he always fit in well with the rest of President Bush's war cabinet, but he did bring enough charisma to keep Jacques Chirac out of our hair. He will be missed for being able to do at least that much for the US government. He had a great role in the good cop / bad cop style of diplomacy, being the "thoughful" member of the Bush administration. Basically, you could either surrender nicely to Secretary Powell, or else you'd have to face off with the rest of the administration. It also angered the French government, something I can usually agree with in practice if not in principle. (You're right, I don't care much for the French government. They sure bark a lot, but don't have much bite to back it up.)

With Secretary Powell resigning, President Bush has already tapped Condoleezza Rice as his nominee for Secretary of State. I don't see a single problem with that. She's got the chops for it from her National Security Advisor background, and can play academia-type games of politeness when dealing with diplomats from Continental Europe. I also think she'll be more tenacious in getting better deals for any American political capital spent in the rest of the world. She doesn't seem like she'll back down too often. I hope that's the case.

I also wonder who President Bush will tap for Secretary of Education Rod Paige's replacement as well. Secretary Paige has had to deal with the No Child Left Behind legislation, which still needs a lot more fine-tuning beyond the initial tweaks. I would also like someone who will keep the school voucher issue on the front burner.

Ann Veneman is leaving her post as Secretary of Agriculture. She dealt with a lot of boring issues, as many Midwesterners can attest. I wouldn't mind the next Secretary of Agriculture coming from Illinois, but that's local pride more than anything. Maybe this time we'll get some funding to figure out some way to get more funding for gee-whiz technologies like thermal depolymerization (converting animal carcasses into gasoline without the million-year wait) and biodiesel fuels.

With Spencer Abraham leaving as Secretary of Energy, I hope the next replacement will work to further tighten security at US nuclear power plants and create better security and usage for our current non-nuclear energy sources as well. The next Energy Secretary and Ag Secretary could work together on some of the ideas presented above to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources.

Combine this with John Ashcroft's resignation and his replacement with Alberto Gonzalez, and we've got a pretty hawkish Cabinet line-up for 2005. I like it. The current nominees have the experience to work with President Bush on national security issues. I hope this gives us a stronger United States once the new crew is confirmed.

In other news, the commute to work every day is very tiring, and my desire to not look at a computer screen every time I blink has caused me to post less than I want. I'm still going to post when I can during the week, though.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Yasser Arafat Is Finally Dead

He died in bed, in a Paris hospital. He should have died at the end of a rope. The Black September organization, the Munich Olympics, the failed revolution in Jordan, the murder of Christians and the razing of their villages during the Lebanese civil war, the bombing of the Beirut Marine barracks, allowing his thugs to seize the Church of the Nativity: these are a small sample of the works of his twisted mind. Need I go on with everything he's done to Israel as well, or should I mention his organization's numerous attacks on Americans instead? How about what he's done to his fellow Palestinians, leaving them in fetid refugee camps while he embezzled UN relief funds? This is a "world leader" worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize? All of the accolades given to him were something akin to propitiating sacrifices to old gods: gain favor, avoid wrath. Gain Arafat's favor, and maybe he won't send his terrorists into Europe, just Israel. Thanks to these gifts and praise, Yasser Arafat transformed into a celebrity and governments (including our own) accorded him status as an equal player. He died in comfort, surrounded by friends. His victims had no chance to do the same. If anyone's name should be spoken in damning, irreverent tones, it should be his. If anyone's life should be held up as a more modern example of evil covered by a layer of mealy-mouthed capitulation by his betters, it must be Arafat's.

At least one newspaper columnist agrees with me on Arafat's death, thank goodness. Would that there were more around the world.

Friday, November 05, 2004

So, I manage to score a couple of last-minute tickets to the Beastie Boys concert tonight. A couple of folks from work were unable to make it to the concert, so I invited a friend of mine who is probably even more of a Beasties fan than I am. I'm pretty sure that she has more of their albums than I do. We get to the company skybox and find out... we're the only ones there. Only two guys had bought tickets, couldn't use them, and decided to give them to me.

Amazing show. Absolutely amazing.

Now, you'd think with a group like this that is very liberal, they'd have a lot to say about the recent election. They had almost nothing to say politically-speaking, and what few insults they threw out about the President (maybe three) were half-hearted, almost a sop to the true believers in the crowd. Instead of whining further about it, they did the right thing. They took all that energy and put it into their show. Their DJ was amazing. I haven't seen anyone's hands move across turntables like that in a long time. The lightshow was fantastic. The Beasties performed a little something from every album of theirs, but it still surprised me when they pulled out "Hello Brooklyn." At various points they'd pull out a moveable stage and play instruments. Surprising, maybe to some, but definitely good.

They ended the show with encores of "Intergalatic" and "Sabotage," two of their best tracks. In all, the Beastie Boys played my kind of post-election show. They shut up and sang, putting all else aside but entertaining their fans.0+

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Stick a Fork in This Election

Okay, it's two days after the election and John Kerry hasn't pulled Al Gore's stunt from 2004. Maybe, just maybe, we can trust him to keep his word on this one. John Kerry did the honorable thing here and conceded. There is a caveat to this: doing the honorable thing still doesn't make up for his long record of selling out our armed forces. He poisoned the hearts and minds of the people he once swore to defend against his fellow servicemen. Because of this, I will never consider him worthy to hold office. I suppose he should consider himself lucky that he represents Massachusetts, then.

John Kerry has withdrawn his claim on the Presidency, and George W. Bush has another four years to help us towards an ownership society. We have a war to win against terrorists in Iraq and around the world where we find them. We also have budgets to fix, and with the increases in Republican seats in both the House and Senate, the President must allocate his funds better than in his previous term. We also have terms we must start dictating to some of our wayward friends in Continental Europe, but that's another rant for much, much later.

I know a lot of people aren't happy with this. 48% of those folks who voted would have loved to see President Bush replaced. That's still a minority, though, and that minority will have to reach out to the majority more than the majority will have to reach out to them. As the President said in his press conference this morning, "results matter." Getting 100% consensus is the best option, but if a beneficial result for all can be acheieved without agonizing over it and trying to get everyone to immediately agree, it should be taken. Arguing over processes will do nothing but slow down the actions. Didn't we see that in our 18-month "rush to war?"

Overall, I'm happy with the results of this election. The Republicans expanded their majorities in the House and Senate. George W. Bush is still President. Our nation has bounced back from the mess of 2000. I hope all you folks out there are willing to ride alongside us. Let's keep improving the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A bit of a clarification

Some of you might not get what I meant by this:
Failure to vote is not only a failure to discharge your duty as a citizen, but a failure to make our President, whoever he may be in January, beholden to you.
I'm focusing on the last part, about making our President beholden to us. It's simple. If your preferred candidate wins, your preferred candidate should be more amenable to listening to your advice on certain issues, much like Representatives and Senators. If he loses, then the other guy owes you an explanation of his reasons for doing what he did. A lot of folks don't believe that President Bush gives explanations. He does. The members of the Cabinet do this as well. I think, however, that most of the folks demanding an explanation want to hear what they have already decided is the objective truth. I will be calling for explanations from John Kerry if he gets elected. He will need to defend every decision he makes, and do so before many more cameras than the one that C-SPAN 2 provides.

I hope so.

Today is a very important day, as you should well know. Will our nation stay the course, or will we let other nations determine that course? Will we dictate terms or will we let terms be dictated to us? Will we charge our way through to defeat terrorism, or will we allow it to fester and become a part of our daily lives? These are a few of the questions I asked myself before I voted today.

If you haven't voted yet, find a way to take time off from work to go vote. When you do vote, I urge you to vote for President Bush. He does have the leadership necessary to carry our nation forward. His plans on national defense, national security, and his forward-looking plans for health care and retirement will help our nation remain strong. You may have reservations on his environmental policies, maybe even his gun-control policies, even same-sex marriage. Those issues are inconsequential compared to the other three issues I've laid out.

The US Senate race in Illinois... this is tougher than I'd expected. Do we take Barack Obama's genial style, or Alan Keyes' furious substance? Do we vote for an outsider with whom we agree, or for a local who does not truly represent our interests? Do we vote for a man who preaches in stark terms, who leaves no doubt as to his positions, or for a man who uses nuance to the point of leaving no real idea what he'll do? Who does Illinois need as a Senator more: Cotton Mather or Mister Rogers? Who do we really want? This Senate race will determine what needs to happen within the Illinois Republican Party. Despite his ability to shoot himself in the foot while putting his foot in his mouth, Alan Keyes represents my interests more than Barack Obama. I give my support to our Republican candidate, even though his rhetorical flourishes border on the ludicrous and overly divisive at times.

One word of advice to Mr. Keyes: if you want to really enjoy living in Illinois, I suggest moving to Springfield. That would be a great place to help re-invigorate the Republican party.

Please vote today. You may not agree with the men I endorse for President or US Senator. Failure to vote is not only a failure to discharge your duty as a citizen, but a failure to make our President, whoever he may be in January, beholden to you. Do your duty to your country and your fellow American.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Student Kicked for Wearing GOP Sweatshirt

So, a guy wears a College Republicans sweatshirt, and he gets kicked by a local college professor for this. Then she says she wishes she'd kicked higher and harder. So, the student files charges, the prof writes a letter of apology in return, and hopes that it will end any problems that will occur.

Charge her with assault and fire her for gross misconduct. Pretty simple, right? I don't believe for one minute that her apology was sincere. Professor Spero shouldn't be allowed to get away with this.

I heard about this incident as I was driving to work this morning on WLS. Are there any NPR listeners out there who heard about this on Morning Edition?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Why Bush and Not Kerry? It's personal.

I've decided to post a response to Hugh Hewitt's blog symposium question. The question is an easy one: Why vote for Bush, and what's wrong with Kerry? The difficult part will be doing this in 250 words or less, so I hope that Mr. Hewitt will forgive me if I exceed that limit.

I'll start out with national security issues. John Kerry wants to turn a war into a law-enforcement exercise. This only works if both sides are willing to accept it as such. Our enemies see this as a war, and will keep attacking until they've won. President Bush understands this, and has moved the war outside our borders. In fact, he's moved it right to the terrorists' back yard. Despite what you hear on television, we're winning. The Afghan elections and increasing recruitment of Iraqi National Guard and police forces are testaments to this, and these are just two samples of success. John Kerry wants to wait until there's proof positive that an attack has occurred before responding. That's too late to keep us secure. Mr. Kerry brought up a "global test" as well. What if we can't get other nations to believe that we've been attacked, Senator Kerry? What if we bring proof of an attack and Canada, Germany and France say they don't see a problem? The global test has failed. Combine that with a record of defense voting that borders on a near-outright fear of ever using American troops to do anything to defend us, a record of opposing defending ourselves against regular military attacks (like national missile defense) and a desire to leave out local help in taming North Korea's nuclear plans, and you can see that George W. Bush is the best choice on national defense.

Next, I'll go to domestic issues. Senator Kerry wants to Americans to have the same level of health care that he does. The Senator does realize that his medical care costs around $7700 per year, yes? That comes out to about $641.67 per month. The Senator also realizes that such monthly costs would remove approximately 40 percent of my take-home pay? Will the Senator from Massachusetts kindly pay off my bills in full from his paycheck before asking me to divert 40% of my net salary to health care costs? (My student loan and credit card would thank him.) President Bush has laid out plans to allow me to invest part of my FICA tax to supplement my Social Security benefit. Senator Kerry wants me to hope that my pittance in Social Security will allow me to live for a few months in squalor before I die, I guess. He's done nothing to try to improve the benefit. President Bush has also laid out a plan to set up a health savings account that is independent of my workplace. This will allow me to set aside money for routine doctor's visits, prescriptions, and the like. This will save money for both me and insurance companies, since they can focus on catastrophic coverage instead of daily costs, thus lowering any monthly premiums I may have. I do not want a welfare state, Senator Kerry. I want an ownership society. I spent four years in the Air Force to defend American liberty, and I want as little governmental nosiness in my life as possible. Medical issues are only as public as I wish to make them, and government processing will only open the door to uninvited scrutiny. President Bush's plan may be government-started, but it's more opaque to expenses than Senator Kerry's. Again, as little nosiness as possible. I'm not even going into issues stemming from abortion, embryonic stem-cell research or same-sex marriage. President Bush gets my vote for his forward-thinking, low-cost plans for health and retirement.

Finally, we get to the main reason why I will vote for George W. Bush instead of Senator John Kerry: George W. Bush has never denigrated the roles played by any of my family members who served in the various branches of our armed forces. When John Kerry implied that anyone who did not serve in Vietnam did not truly perform their military service, that denigrated the service of members of my family who served in Europe during the Cold War. That denigrated the service of my family members and family friends who served in the United States during the Cold War. Perhaps I should apologize to Senator Kerry for not being born yet so I could serve in Vietnam. I should also perhaps ask for forgiveness for merely serving in the Air Force during Operation Southern Watch, and during the first major Balkan campaign in 1995, since it wasn't Vietnam. Would that be enough for Senator Kerry? George W. Bush also never said that stopping the spread of Castro-style Communism in the Western Hemisphere was unnecessary, despite its anti-US exhortations. George W. Bush never mollycoddled the Sandinistas, trying to give them an unearned legitimacy like Senator Kerry did.

Most importantly, George W. Bush never tried to go around the chain of command and make nice with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese government. My father and an uncle both served in Vietnam. My father spent 18 months there as part of the US Air Force. My uncle spent 12 months there as part of the US Marine Corps. They returned to the United States only to be spat upon by their fellow citizens, to be insulted because they served in Vietnam. Senator Kerry's involvement with Vietnam Veterans Against the War acted as a fifth column to destroy morale and support for our troops, including the man who would help bring me into this world. Senator Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony exudes a hatred for his fellow servicemen. It was actions like the testimony and "Winter Soldier investigation" that were used to psychologically torture American POWs, making them think they were cut off from the rest of the country. To undermine support for our troops is nothing less than treason. I will not vote for a traitor. I will vote for a man whose service was average long before I will vote for someone who squandered his heroism to aid and abet our enemies. Again, President Bush has my vote.

I owe many things to my mother and father who raised me and the family members who gave me the love and support an extended family can provide. One of the things I can do to pay that debt is to vote for a President who will defend my nation through strength, who will provide a true hand up to self-sufficiency, and who will never forfeit a war of public opinion to our enemies. George W. Bush has my vote. Why? It could be just because of public business issues, but Senator Kerry has alienated me by trying to weaken my nation and insult my family service. That makes it a very personal issue.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Vodkapundit vs. The DNC Fraud Manual

Y'know, I find myself in agreement with Stephen Green of Vodkapundit. It looks like the Democrats are willing to do whatever is illegal and or unethical to beat George W. Bush. My country is too important to have a gaggle of lawyers shouting "Fraud!" at every precinct. Where are the Democrats like Zell Miller, or even Paul Simon of Illinois? Have they been totally supplanted with the schadenfreude-fuelled zealots like James Carville?

Clean up your house, DNC. It's a mess.

Friday, October 08, 2004

What's On Your Nightstand?

Jeff Soyer's question is interesting. For all of you gun-owners out there, do you keep guns in an easily-accessible place while you sleep? If not, is there something else you use forhome defense?

Thanks to Evanston being under a fru-fru handgun ban, I really can't keep a decent defensive weapon nearby. I pretty much make do with a beat-up tonfa and a couple of box-cutters. I guess if the blood loss doesn't kill 'em, the lockjaw will. What I'd LIKE to keep nearby is pretty simple: a revolver in .38 or .357, hollow-point rounds, possibly subsonic if those are legal for non-law enforcement use. I'd like that if only to keep any bullets I fire from passing through my target and possibly annoying a neighbor with the noise. It also might keep shots from passing through walls, floors or the ceiling and into a neighbor's apartment.

However, I guess the eggheads in Evanston wouldn't mind my using a shotgun, rifle or other long arm to defend my home since they have to pay some lip-service to state and federal laws. A shotgun is a bit bulky to use in an apartment, and let's not even talk about firing a rifle. Bulky AND the bullet probably won't lodge in the target. Do said eggheads factor that in? Probably not.

Well, maybe there's other places to live cheaply in the Chicago area where guns aren't considered evil/ tools of patriachal oppression/ able to steal your soul by looking at it, etc.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

More Mayhem Against GOP Offices

Once again, Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit delivers the goods on this spate of politically-motivated crimes.

I was hoping to follow up on a story I'd heard this morning on WLS about a very horrific, taunting phone call to a Madison, Wisconsin widower whose wife's last request was to "do anything to elect John Kerry." Apparently the caller stated that the deceased would burn in Hell before Kerry was elected. I haven't been able to find anything online about that, not even on the WLS website. Can anyone verify this? It's hearsay at this point, which makes me wonder why anyone would report it without verification. I can't find verification of the call online in any newspapers. If I'm going to be pissed off at one of my own, I'd like for it to be true.

However, after the Bush/Cheney office shooting in Knoxville, Tennessee yesterday, I was hoping that we'd seen a one-time incident.

Now there's news in Orlando, Florida of union members storming GOP offices to intimidate the staff there, where 2 people were injured. Apparently, this attack is part of coordinated "protests" by the AFL-CIO.

Oh, you should also know that Wisconsin Democratic Party Brownshirts activists also stormed a GOP office in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Via Sean Hackbarth's The American Mind)

So, here's what I'm going to ask Democrats. Why aren't you policing yourselves? These incidents cross well beyond any First Amendment rights to free speech or assembly. Eveyone on your side of the fence loves pointing at the anti-homosexual comments made by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and the like, then you ignore us when we repudiate them. Even when we try to find the folks responsible for rumored taunts, it's not enough. These attacks on GOP offices and supporters are not equivalent to "hate speech." They are hate, pure and simple. These are not "attack ads." They are attacks on people who disagree with you politically. Have you been so blinded by your hatred of George W. Bush that you think your only choice is violence? What makes you think that these tactics are going to generate votes for you?

And you call us thugs and fascists?

Democrats, has your party leadership LOST THEIR TINY FUCKING MINDS? (I apologize to readers who may not be used to my swearing, but it's the most appropriate adjective at the moment.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Instapundit notes the crushing of dissent against Republicans

And here I thought conventional wisdom said we Republicans were the brutes who tried to stifle people's rights by intimidation and creating a climate of fear. Let's see. Someone shoots up a Bush/Cheney campaign office (perhaps to serve as a distraction for a bank robbery?) and some other allegedly clever "prankster" decides to use weedkiller to burn a swastika into a Republican's lawn.

Is this what passes among leftists, anarchists and extremist Democrats for reasoned debate with the opposition?

Friday, October 01, 2004

The first debate is over. John Kerry's good on style, but lousy on substance. George Bush is good on substance, but bad on style.

Here's what I took away from it: Kerry talks about a rush to war. 18 months is a rush? Then he talks about under-equipped soldiers. He does realize that was part of the $87 billion bill that he voted for, then voted against, right? He then talks about Iraq being a necessary war, but seems to want other people to do the fighting for him. Maybe he should remember that his friends in France and Germany refused to help in the beginning of this war? I wasn't impressed with his call to action in Darfur, either. He seemed to say we should help, but not really help. Kerry's biggest strength was calling for bilateral nuclear anti-proliferation talks with North Korea. It's good to see Kerry strong on something, but this isn't the right something on which he should be strong. He lost the whole Iraq argument by acting tepid on his record in the war. Kerry has to deal with being an anti-war candidate who turns around votes for war. Overall, he looked pretty weak.

Bush, on the other hand, repeated the Dems' "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" too often. He got flustered, but then he's neither a former debate society darling nor has he had the chance to mug for C-SPAN's cameras for 20 years. He did drive home the idea that Kerry would make a commander-in-chief whose main strategy is summed up as "vacillate." He also showcased his ability to build alliances and international consensus where needed, in talking about the current coalition of the War on Islamofascism and the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program. He brought up missile defense, too. I like the idea of strategic missile defense, but it's a backburner idea and not something to bring up as part of a debate. I think he mentioned it more to show an overall picture of national defense, but it doesn't have the gee-whiz factor it had on September 10, 2001. His biggest strength was showing resolve in the realization that we have lost lots of good soldiers and marines in the current war. He said he wouldn't back down, wouldn't leave until the job is done right. The problem is that he seemed to want to talk before his mind was done formulating the whole thought. I've got a similar problem with that, as my public speaking teacher could probably attest.

George Bush seems like the "regular guy" of the two, and that will resonate with the voters. I hope it resonates in his favor.

Overall, I'm going to give a slight victory to Bush. His speech wasn't polished, but the substance was there. Maybe he's got that gravitas again?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Black Gay Republicans Break with Log Cabin Republicans, Endorse Bush

Okay. This is a small constituency, granted, but the fact that a stereotypical anti-Bush minority of a stereotypical anti-Bush minority is willing to back President Bush says something about his charisma. These guys should distrust him twice as much as anyone else, right?

Can any black conservatives verify that this group exists? If so, please email me with the subject heading "ALBRC Endorsement Verification." I'm already getting tired of my liberal roommates "Both of them?" and "Yeah, but does Bush have the Unicorn vote?" jokes.

(Link found via Instapundit, Polipundit, and The Corner on NRO)

Friday, September 17, 2004

Curiouser and curiouser...

Looks like the Union president of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades has issued a statement regarding the incident in which a IUPAT member ripped up a little girl's Bush-Cheney sign in West Virginia. (link provided through Michelle Malkin)

Looks like my outrage in the post below is justified.
Kerry Supporters vs. Three-Year-Olds

Way to go, Kerry-Edwards supporters in West Virginia! It must have been awfully tough to snatch a Bush-Cheney sign from this little girl. You were SO COURAGEOUS too, tearing it up in front of her and her father. Those Kerry-Edwards supporters deserve some kind of award for harrassing a little girl like that. It really takes a lot of bravery to terrify a little kid.

Link found via Instapundit.

UPDATE: Have we right-leaners been had by one of our own? Lefty Rising Hegemon claims to have proof. I'm still sticking with the story until I find out the gentleman in question is really scamming us. A lot of the news story links given by the writer of Rising Hegemon were sent to him through the posters at the Democratic Underground site, a place not exactly known for reasoned political discourse. So, I still stand by my original outrage until the objective truth is brought to light. Then I'll apologize and retract the statement. It works for CBS, right?

Link to the extra articles found via National Review Online's The Corner

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bookstore clerks conspire to censor "Unfit For Comand?"

Disgusting. That's my best summation. The Borders clerks who wrote this dreck need to find themselves fired. The clerks are taking their political beliefs and trying to prevent the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group (led by John O'Neill) from expressing their own. Don't the lefties in this group usually accuse conservatives like me of doing the same thing on religious grounds? The censorship they're practicing is just as insidious. I've worked in a crappy retail clerk jobs before. In fact, I used to WISH to have the problems that bookstore clerks had. This is mainly due to my having had a job as a liquor store clerk. I know that some of the bile launched at Borders customers in that discussion thread is just venting in order to relieve stress. I haven't seen this much contempt in a long time, though. Damaging books so they can't be sold, sitting on stock (i.e., refusing to put it out on the shelves), even being rude to customers so they'll go elsewhere: these actions are reprehensible. I shall certainly keep an eye on the local Borders store in Evanston for such dirty trickery. I was there last night, and "Unfit For Command" was in the window, prominently dispayed next to Bill Clinton's "My Life."

If you're wondering why I linked through Google, it's easy: I tried going to the original thread URL only to find that the site had been shut down due to bandwidth overuse. I found this thread via another site, Little Green Footballs. Thanks for the info, Charles!

One final thought on this subject: if you're going to disagree with someone's point of view on a subject and think said person to be foolish, why not disseminate his point of view to others so that the folks you're trying to convince can see what you see? That adds far more credibility than "Trust me, he really said this!"

Just ask Dan Rather. (Okay, that was mean of me.)

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Today is a sad day for me. On this day, two things struck at my heart: one as an American, one as a member of a smaller, more tight-knit community. On September 11, 2001, my country was struck by a series of vile terrorist attacks. On September 11, 2003, one of my oldest friends died after a battle with kidney disease. I thought it might be right to say a little something about both.

September 11, 2001 was another Tuesday for me. I got up early to go to work at the Horace Mann office in Springfield, where I temped for a great group of people. I helped take care of various office work until I could land that one permanent job with the state bureaucracy. I figured after a few years of riding the state gravy train, my student loan would be paid off and I could go back to college to get my Masters and Ph.D. I settled into my ersatz cubicle which was really just an empty space where everyone else's filing cabinets and cubicle dividers met the walls of the building. I logged onto the internet, since it was a slow morning and I'd just figured out how to surf while working. I think the first topic of the morning was a new debate of office workers all over Springfield: Krispy Kreme doughnuts were muscling in on local favorite Mel-O-Cream. A true Springfielder will respect Krispy Kremes, but will also know that there's only one true doughnut, Mel-O-Cream. So the debate was going on quite well. One of the underwriters in our office walked out of her cube with the news she'd just heard on WTAX. An aircraft had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. It was just an accident, I said. Sad, but still an accident.

That's when we got word that another plane had struck the other tower.

I sat back down in my chair. My guess was the Chinese. After the attempts at denial-of-service attacks the previous year (September 9, 2000 to be exact) I figured the PRC had lost it and were trying to goad us into war with them. Maybe they wanted a showdown over Taiwan. Maybe they wanted to try to hurt us after the incident with the Navy intelligence-gathering plane in Hainan as well. Then we heard from Osama bin Laden, a guy who was pretty much a staple of late-night tv jokes.

I remember only being able to see red for a few minutes. I started thinking about going back into the Air Force, assuming I could drop about 30 pounds and get back into some kind of shape as a runner. I wanted to go to war with the fools who had struck us with no cause. That idea disappeared when I heard a rumor on the radio that government offices might be attacked simultaneously.

Then I heard about a plane crashing into the Pentagon. So much for the military idea. It disappeared when I realized that my mom was sitting in a government office right then. She worked for a congressman after all. I tried calling her on my cell phone, only to hear that cell service was out of order. So, I kept trying until I heard her voice on the other line. We didn't do much work that day. We just watched and listened to the news as it came in, tried getting onto various newspaper sites to keep updated from the print media. The message was being repeated over and over. Al-Qaeda was claiming responsiblity for this. 19 Arab men flew those planes into their targets. One plane crashed after a group of passengers fought their way into the cockpit.

I went out for lunch, and hit my usual spot, Panini. I think I went with the portobello sandwich, and talked with the owner's daughter about what was happening. She was worried, since her boyfriend had just gone to basic training at Lackland AFB. I did what I could to assure her what would happen while he was training, but it didn't help much. The city was scared, angry, and ready to go to war. Except for the usual gang of apologists, some of whom immediately called for a stop to American war plans. We'd just lost God knows how many people, and there were already a group of aging leftists and other assorted anti-Americans who said we shouldn't retaliate, and instead accept it as penance for our arrogant American ways, for electing George W. Bush as President. Those people still don't get it. They never will. Even after the local women's "peace movement" asked us to end the racist war in Afghanistan (we hadn't even dropped the first bomb on Mazar-e-Sharif when this happened), I still don't know what higher purpose kept me from beating these protesters and their ilk to a pulp.

Looking back, I think it was that I didn't need to pull my dad away from the airport security detail to which he'd been assigned within hours of the attacks. The Springfield Police Department activated every single guy on the force, and set up 12-hour shifts, everyone in uniform. Dad worked in the Mobile Command Post the city had purchased for just such an occasion, and it was transported out to Capital Airport to make airport security that much easier. I didn't see much of him for the next couple of days.

Those days were very worrisome. I was champing at the bit, ready to be called back into service. I wondered if maybe I could hide my allergies to animal dander and see if I could get back in. That wasn't to be. I went to my old church the next night and prayed that we'd unite as one nation and see this through. For a while we did unite, ready to hunt down anyone who would try to take advantage of our pain. We sent troops to Afghanistan, and started making al-Qaeda pay. Saddam Hussein started boasting of his support for terrorist groups who attacked Americans and Israelis. All that got him was a message of "You just stepped in the line of people the United States will take down." He gave the US yet another reason to invade (like we didn't have enough already). He wanted to start something, and hope that the US would never get around to finishing it. We'll do just that. We will fight those who sow terror in God's name, those who justify their murders with chapter and verse from the Koran, those who sully their fellow believers with despicable acts of violence. The war isn't over yet, and we'll stop once we've won. We've lost too many people to terrorists. It's time the terrorists are removed from society.

Two years later, I lost my friend Eric Todd. I'd just spent my first full year in Wheeling when I got the news that Eric's transplanted kidney was failing and that he wouldn't last long. When he died, it was a bit of relief mixed with the sadness, since he'd been fighting this kidney diease all his life.

I met Eric when I was thirteen. He was five. Eric's father and my dad were partners in the Springfield PD, and Eric's father helped my dad make the transfer from being just a regular beat cop to an evidence technician. His father died in an auto accident as he and a fellow officer were coming back home from a football game. My dad had the duty of taking evidence from the accident site to reconstruct what hapened that night. Dad also had to be the one to identify the body. I have no idea how Dad managed to keep doing his job faced with that scene.

After the funeral, my parents did all they could to help Eric's mom through her grief. I tagged along because I doubt my folks wanted to leave me at home all the time. So, I met Eric. Like every five-year-old, his toys were a mess, missing pieces and covered in dirt and sand. He wanted to be a catcher for the Cubs, like his favorite player Jody Davis. I entered teenagerdom with this little bundle of energy shadowing me everywhere I went. I also had that "don't touch my stuff" phase in full effect after Mom decided to grab a bunch of toys I'd been saving as a collection so Eric could play. (Never mind I was trying to design a strategy game with them, toys were meant to have stuff lost in the carpet, I guess.) So, I fell right into the big brother role that Eric needed, and he fell right into the little brother role that I needed. So, we played, wrestled, and he howled any time he didn't get his way with my old toys. Typical sibling stuff, I guess. We'd adopted Eric and his mom into the family. I still call his mom my aunt, even today.

When I enlisted in the Air Force in 1992, there were a lot of questions going around about Eric. He never seemed to grow or age. At 11, he still looked like he was 8. He didn't change much when he hit 12 or 13, or 14. Tests from the doctor's lab work showed he had the same kidney disease that affected Gary Coleman and Emmanuel Lewis. Unfortunately, Eric didn't have a tv show or celebrity status to get help for him. So, we prayed for a miracle or two. We got them. Eric was able to get a couple of kidney transplants, since the first transplant was rejected. From the time he was 14 to the day he died, Eric was on more medicines than I've seen any individual person have prescribed for them. After spending almost a year recuperating, Eric returned to high school and graduated at 19. I hoped he'd be able to at least go to college, but that wouldn't happen. He was told that there was no way to stay healthy and minimize the risk of infection at college, so it looked like he was done for schooling. Eric still didn't give that much thought, turning his thoughts towards trying to make money. Even a few months before he died, Eric looked towards a small business that he could manage with a friend. He wanted to make ghillie suits for the local deer hunters.

His new kidney started to die after that, rejected again. This time, there was nothing science could do for him. He was too weak for dialysis, too frail for another transplant. All we could do was keep him comfortable and watch him die. Here was a young man who had been through two surgeries to extend his life, had to juggle a social life with a strict regimen of medication and infection prevention, and was even greeted by the Pope on the Holy Father's visit to St. Louis. (Eric was Presbyterian, which makes it kind of funny even today. We buried Eric with the rosary given to him by John Paull II.) I had to beg and plead to get to take time off from work for his funeral, but I knew I had to attend it. My boss tried telling me no, but I told her I might be needed as a pall bearer. I wasn't needed after all, but I wasn't going to be prevented from saying goodbye to my little brother.

Eric was buried in a quiet country cemetery, right next to his father. There was a huge police turnout, with many of the law enforcement agencies coming out to pay respects to Eric, his mother, and the memory of his father. It's what cop families do. He had a bagpiper there to play Amazing Grace, an appropriate gesture to Eric's Scottish heritage and his joking "obsession" with bagpipes. I still miss him even after a year. Because of Eric, I started taking adulthood seriously, realizing that I had to set a good example for him to emulate. I think I did that pretty well. He was stubborn and tried to fight for every second of life among us. I like to think that I helped foster that toughness in him, thogh it's probably more his mother and my dad's guidance that did it. I'll still miss watching Spongebob Squarepants with him, playing Goldeneye on his beat-up N64 and generally being a guy hanging out with family.

I think I'll root for the Cubs tomorrow to honor Eric's memory. I think he'll like seeing a Cardinals fan do that for him.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

La Shawn Barber's Corner

Hey kids, LaShawn Barber has moved her site. Go read it and bask in the glory of the new design. It's quite nice.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

"Don't get cocky, kid. We're not out of the woods yet!"

Han Solo is wise, as truer words have never been spoken. Time's post-convention poll had George W. Bush up 52% to John Kerry's 41%. The numbers for Newsweek are similar, and the Gallup organization has a seven-point lead for the President. Even with this bump in the polls, a bump that is apparently unprecedented in its size for an incumbent, Republicans cannot rest on their laurels. President Bush must continue his issue-based charge against Kerry.

Here's what I'd like to see in terms of attacks on Kerry's positions:

Post-Vietnam anti-war activities. This one is the most personal one of mine, as John Kerry's "Winter Soldier" testimony maligned the military contributions of both my father (Air Force) and uncle (Marine Corps), each one having served in Vietnam. As a "peacekeeping" veteran having served after the Gulf War (I was still in high school when it started, but joined the Air Force in 1992), it galls me to see someone equate my family members with war criminals. I've never heard of John Kerry repudiating his 1971 testimony, and it's too late now. John Kerry sold out his brothers-in-arms, and I certainly don't wish to reward him for that act.

Defense votes. The B-1 and B-2 are vital aircraft in the Air Force arsenal, designed to replace the venerable B-52. (All three aircraft are still currently flying, which is a testament to the good engineering of the B-52.) John Kerry voted against these bombers. I guess laying waste to enemy airfields, armored units and supply lines is a bad thing according to John Kerry. Then again, if enemy supply lines were disrupted, he'd never have gotten injured in battle except for self-inflicted shrapnel wounds. Maybe he wants more American soldiers to get killed due to lack of air support? There's also his vote against the MX (now known as Peacekeeper) missile. This nuclear weapons system is a necessary leg in the "nuclear triad" deterrence concept (air-launched nuclear cruise missiles, sub-launched missiles, and ground-based missiles all have advantages and disadvantages to making a first strike, thus preventing an enemy from getting away with a nuclear strike without massive retaliation) and yet Johnny-boy wanted to cut it from the arsenal. Why? The Soviets had a massive advantage in missiles, and this would bring us up even with them. John Kerry wants us to negotiate from a position of weakness, apparently. How humble!

Foreign affairs. Seeing that Mr. Kerry wants the United States to negotiate from a position of weakness, I'm pretty sure he'd also like to give the nations of the world who are offended by our very existence a great big fuzzy hug and then debase himself by groveling for forgiveness. So very humble! Even John Edwards thinks that giving nuclear fuel to oil-rich Iran will keep the mullahs from developing a nuclear weapons system. That worked GREAT in 1994 with North Korea, didn't it?

Economic issues. You know that 5.4% unemployment rate that is being touted as a killer to Bush's economic credibility? It's that same as it was in 1996. It's come back down to that percentage after rounds of layoffs for the past eight years. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been added in the past few months, recovering from the damage of the Sept. 11 attacks. The President wants to stay the course with further tax cuts and making some tax cuts permanent. He also has floated a plan to help current workers invest for their retirement as well as create personal accounts for health care. These ideas are more than what Mr. Kerry has offered, as Mr. Kerry is taking a cue from Ross Perot's "I'll let you know once I'm elected" strategy. It might be good to note that John Kerry has voted 98 times for tax increases. Perhaps this is his strategy for covering government expenses? President Bush has also attempted to restructure education spending with his No Child Left Behind Act. What has Mr. Kerry done in his Senate career to further public education? Voted to raise taxes?

I know that ripping on opponents isn't Dubya's style. It takes too much time from actually doing business. The President has a good message and these are some key points to use to refute John Kerry's claim on the Presidency. I hope he'll keep these in mind.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

New York Newsday: Text of Sen. Zell Miller's RNC speech

This speech reminds me how Democrats once were in Illinois: distinguished rivals. They were rivals on some issues, but willing to come together on others. Few things have stayed the same since my childhood. The Democrats need to look at guys like Senator Miller and determine if they're willing to have others him in the party.

Where are the conservative Democrats? Where are the Democrats who aren't afraid to be one of the party's dissenters? Where are the Democrats who are pro-life, pro- Second Amendment, even pro-Israel? Where are the Democrats who understand that some evils cannot be cured by heartfelt wishes and diplomacy, who understand that survival and security are foundations to freedom? Where are the Democrats who are willing to compromise with their Republican counterparts when the situation demands it, to stand firm on their principles and compelling reasons when their counterparts are wrong, and to accede to their counterparts' wishes when they have been proven wrong? Where are the conservative Democrats who would say "stop" when government spending goes beyond its means? Where are they?

Those conservatives cannot have all fled to the Republican party. Zell Miller cannot be the only one raging against a machine that has become a socialist party in the making. He cannot be the only dissenter left in their party. He cannot be the only counterpart to Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, three Republicans who don't always toe the party line on issues like abortion, federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, same-sex marriage, even marijuana use in Schwarzenegger's case. The Dems need balance, and only Zell Miller is making an effort to provide it.

This convention is showing how the Republican party is trying to reach the center from the right. Have there been major speeches at the convention from the likes of Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell, or Pat Robertson? No. It's not 1992 any more, and their fiery rhetoric has no cause to be taken seriously. (Alan Keyes is finding this out as he makes one outrageous statement after another. I have a theory about his real purpose here in Illinois, but that'll be for a later post.) Religion plays only one part in the party, and the other groups are finding their voices. The Republicans' tent has a lot more space in it than the tv news will tell you.

Back to Zell Miller for a moment. His desire to not leave the Democratic party is nothing short of amazing considering his blistering critique of John Kerry's defense policy. He is a true believer in his party's ideals, and lambasted the men and women who have stolen his party. Senator Miller is tenacious in this aspect of party-based politics, and he deserves respect for not bolting and abandoning his party during their shift to the left. The Senate will lose a good man once he leaves. I only hope there are others like him left in his party.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

In the interest of equal time and fear of being smashed, Song of the Suburbs presents...


Hello friends on internet! Hulk here! Hulk talk to you today about politics. Hulk hear old joke about politics being old Greek word meaning "many bloodsucking insects," but Hulk not get it. Hulk smash puny political science professor who not tell Hulk how to get elected King of America! Puny professor say "No, Hulk! America have no king! Please not hit puny professor no more!" or something like that. Hulk not sure what professor say after that. Hulk chased out of university by Army! Stupid Army always on Hulk's case! BAH! Hulk just want learn politics! That so difficult to understand? Oh, where was Hulk just now? HAH! Hulk remember now! Hulk talk politics!

Okay, Hulk know that presidential race VERY important in 2004. To Hulk, come down to two main issues. Defense spending and school vouchers. HA! Hulk fool you! Hulk only care about defense spending! Hulk like defense spending, think it very important to have strong military force. If Hulk elected, Hulk promise to increase size of military forces by fity kajillion percent. Hulk also add more gama bombs to arsenal, tell Iran to shove nuclear fuel up mullah's turbans. Something like that. Hulk make sure to not allocate funds to General "Thunderbolt" Ross, that for sure! Ha! Hulk kill Hulk with jokes! Killing no laughing matter, though. Hulk understand foreign policy. Foreign countries say "Rargh! Foreign leaders not like America! Hope America smashed for impudence!" Now, Hulk like a good smash every now and then, but saying America need smashing like saying income tax is fun thing to pay! Hulk hate taxes! HULK SMASH TAXES! HULK DESTROY PUNY IRS!!! HULK-- wait, Hulk not done yet. Hulk summarize by say Hulk increase size and force projection capability of armed forces. What that? Hulk not run for President? Hulk not on ballot?

Hulk go have a good cry now.

Okay, Hulk back!

Now, Hulk talk domestic policy. Hulk understand need for sound environmental policy. Hulk not understand why Green Party only look out for trees and not Hulk. Hulk green, too! Hulk go to Green Party treehouse fort, er, headquarters and say "Puny Greens not green at all! All pink, tan or brown! Need Hulk to help image!" Puny man at Green headquarters say not need Hulk help. Hulk say Hulk lead Green Party now. Puny policy wonk say "Green Party already have leader!" Hulk smash puny policy wonk and search for Leader. How hard it to find Leader? Leader green like Hulk, but has big green forehead and snazzy mustache! Hulk want snazzy mustache too! Hulk like word "snazzy!" Make hulk feel snazzy! HULK SNAZZY!!! Rargh! Hulk forget what Hulk talk about!

Hulk also watching Senate race in Illinois carefully. Hulk not understand why Alan Keyes having meltdown and being loudmouth. Keyes not talk policy, just answer questions with questions.

This very confusing for Hulk.

Hulk not hear about Obama, but if Obama not in Hulk face, Hulk not smash. Also, Hulk think Illinoisan should serve Illinois. Keyes not Illinoisan. Hulk think Illinois Republicans not look to center of party for candidates. Oberweis good, and want keep green cards rare. Hulk not mind being rare. Make Hulk stand out! McKenna nice puny human, good with business. Hulk also think Republican state senators like Wendell Jones and Larry Bomke make good US senators. They understand politics better, and decent guys to boot. Hulk dig that.

In all, politics too tough for Hulk. Hulk go smash supervillains like Doctor Doom and Michelin Man to save America. Hulk good at smashing.


Uhm, yeah. A few random thoughts from the Hulk. Note: This is the only time I'll let superheroes borrow my blog...
I caught the tail end of a conversation between Rush Limbaugh and President Bush while going out to pick up some lunch today. Dubya sounded as relaxed as possible for being in the middle of a campaign. Rush hit him with questions on Iraq: what's the link between Iraq and the broader war on terror? Why are we still there? What are future plans in regards to the war? The President answered them all succinctly and with clear answers. They're answers we've heard before: Iraq as safe harbor for terror groups, Saddam Hussein as patron to terrorists such as Abu Nidal (the leader of the Achille Lauro hijacking and murderer of American Leon Klinghoffer), use of chemical weapons on the Kurds, invasion of neighboring nations, sponsoring terrorist actions in Palestine, and constant violation of United Nations rsolutions. The song is the same, because there's no need to change any lyrics. I was also informed that 75% of al-Qaeda leaders have been captured or killed. Good on us.

On the domestic front, President Bush told Rush to wait for his convention speech for his answer. He did, however, talk about the reforms to Social Security and health care that will be crucial for a more modern society where moving from job to job is a reality. Those reforms have been discussed a bit by Congress and need to be implemented. The income tax reductions, a major facet of Dubya's 2000 campaign, still appear as both an accomplishment and a stepping stone to greater reductions. I'd like to see something about gay rights and civil unions, but that's likely asking too much for this term. Like the faith-based initiatives that allowed reliious charities further access to cure social maladies, a nod of agreement to the civil unions issue would show the compassionate side of conservative thought.

The President delivered this message as usual; a quick stutter here and there, a stutter that shows that his mind is moving far faster than his speech. It was a delivery similar to Jimmy Stewart's little stutter, and made him seem very human, very close to the people he serves. He also brought out his genial side, asking about Rush's health, asking the listeners to send prayers Rush's way to help him in his personal life. In all, it was a good interview.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Field Museum - Secrets of the Forbidden City

So, Isaac, Gretchen and I went to the Field Museum to see this exhibit. Honestly, I wish I'd gone sooner and more often. There's a lot of amazing stuff to see. There are displays of the emperor's daily robes, ceremonial armor and weapons, the various swords and knives having overly-poetic names. This was pretty typical for weapons of the time. You can definitely tell which sword was for actual defense and which were for ceremonial duties only. A lot of the blades had jade hilts, which I'd think would crack easily if the weapons were used in a real fight. There were also lots of plates and dinnerware, each set denoting who was allowed to eat from it.

The impressive parts of the exhibit included Qianlong's throne room. Yes, you read that right. They brought the imperial throne to the Field Museum along with the items that would have been in the throne room as well. What I noticed was the emperor's nod to tradition, with many of the numerous censers, sacrificial wine cups and daily-use goblets having three legs on the bottom of each vessel. This is something that can be traced back to early Chinese history, including the semi-mythical Shang dynasty.

The scrolls and paintings by various artists from China showed the power that the Emperor wielded, as well as his place in nature: he ruled mankind, but had no significance compared to the mountains, streams and sky. There were also paintings by Giuseppe Castiglione, a Jesuit priest who traveled to China to spread the word of God. His paintings were extremely realistic compared to the ink-brush paintings of China. Those paintings were on display, large silk scrolls with the pictures of Qianlong, his first wife (out of 26 I think), and scenes of the Emperor at home with his children. The last one is probably idealized, since the emperor of China would have almost no time to devote to his family due to the business of runing the country. The paintings are beautiful. What is quite amusing is the Buddhist mandala that the emperor commissioned from Catiglione.

The books that were on display were beautiful, though I wish I could have read more of them than what I did. My knowledge of Mandarin is fading and I need to brush up on it so I don't forget anything. The emperor was a skilled poet in the traditional Chinese styles, and some of his poems were on display.

The exhibit also shows Qianlong's reverence to the various religions of the country. There were various stupa used for meditation among the Tibetan sects of Buddhism, numerous idols of Chinese and Tibetan gods, even the Manchu gods of Qianlong's heritage. In addition, the Chinese government allowed the museum to show Qianlong's memorial tablet made after he died. The throne and tablet matched beautifully. Also of note was the Buddhist stupa commissioned by Qianlong's son Hongzheng. Hongzheng loved his mother so much that declared his mother an Empress after her death. This was more a gesture of grief than anything else, as the emperor would hold all of the power. Hongzheng's mother was merely the first wife, nothing else. She could wield no political power. So, the term Empress is used in some amount of error in the exhibit.

What I really wanted to see, though was the lute used by Qianlong when he was at court. I'd heard it was made in the Ming dynasty, and saw that it was described as having been made during the early Qing dynasty instead. You can see the Ming stylings in the carving of the wood, and its simple lacquering contrasts with the beautiful cloissone ceremonial lutes used in worship of the Manchu deities. I still think the emperor's lute may be a Ming-era instrument, though. It looks very simple compared to the other items found throughout the exhibit.

This exhibit is worth the admission price. It will close on the 16th of September. Go see this exhibit.

Friday, August 20, 2004

One More Thing! as Uncle says...

I'll be at GenCon in Indianapolis this weekend, so there won't be any posting to the blog over the weekend. Just so you know.

Toby McDaniel Column for 08/20/04

Read the second part in the column titled "HEADS UP!" about Governor Blagojevich's remarks about where he'd like to house the steer he won at the State Fair auction. Well, since the Executive Mansion is currently unoccupied, the governor joked about moving the steer there.

Yeah, thanks a frickin' lot, Blaggie. Tell us how you really feel about Springfield. I hope that more Springfielders feel the same way about you next election season. Contempt for the folks living outside the Chicago area is a great way to get them on your side.

At least we'd have someone more qualified to balance the state budget residing at 4th and Jackson again.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

"This is not about Oprah"

No, it's not about Oprah at all. It's about the fallout caused by Oprah. Ms. Winfrey served on a jury in a local murder case, which she should do; it is our duty as citizens to serve on juries when called. Celebrity status should not shield you, nor should your day-to-day life be a barrier to service, barring extraneous circumstances like moving, family emergencies and other similar situations. I am glad that Oprah served, showing that even celebrities are not immune to their responsibilities as citizens.

I am not pleased, however, about Oprah's offhand comment about doing a show that brings in her fellow jurors. This has the potential to ruin the right to privacy of the victim's family as well as that of the convicted man. Even the most innocent slip-up by a juror could endanger the appeals process for Dion Coleman. Is Ms. Winfrey willing to sacrifice the future of another human being for a ratings spike? I hope that she'll reconsider her plans. What goes on in the jurors' chambers needs to stay there for the sake of confidentiality.

A trial, even one such as this, should remain in the courts' purview of what does and does not get released after a verdict is handed down. Oprah and her fellow jurors need to take a step back and determine what effect their public discussion couyld have on this man's future. Oprah Winfrey is a very influential woman, and this is one instance where she should curtail her influence for the sake of another's life.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

One more thing:

I do realize I haven't been posting like a madman lately. Now that I live with roommates, I do have to be more sociable with the folks around me. I also have a longer commute every day, so I'm rather tired once I get home. I will post more often, though. I think I can find some "me time" every couple of nights to get some blogging in. So, stay tuned.
Keyes likens abortion to terrorism

Okay, now I'm officially wondering what the hell the leadership of my party was smoking when they offered Alan Keyes the job. I'll give him points for honesty that abortion is a terrible thing. I'll give him credit for saying that the culture that has sprung up around the abortion industry needs to be eliminated and replaced with something better. You may consider abortion to be a type of terrorism or an infringement on the rights of the unborn, but you do not under ANY circumstances use the imagery of what happened on September 11, 2001 to draw a parallel between the killing of the unborn and the war we face against Islamofascism. That is a slap in the face of the 3000 people who died in New York and Virginia. (Yes, the Pentagon is on the other side of the Potomac, so I'm being a bit pedantic with that.)

I am becoming less and less enthused at the thought of Alan Keyes' campaign. President Bush needs someone who can keep his issues straight and not try to run everything together. Mr. Keyes is doing a horrible job of it so far.

On the other hand, President Bush has been doing a better job with his message. John Kerry will raise taxes on more than just "the rich." The less money I have to send to the feds, the better.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Thompson snubs Keyes

Oh, this isn't good for Alan Keyes. When a former governor won't support your campaign, you have a problem. Thompson's name still carries weight in the Illinois Republican party, and he would be able to do a lot to mobilize the centrists among the party faithful. This election just got tougher for Mr. Keyes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Downtown Downers Grove evacuated after pipe bomb found

Downers Grove is too nice of a town for this stuff to happen. My guess is that it's a local who was ticked off at the village government, but I can't figure out a specific motive. If it's some "peace activist" trying to "raise awareness" about domestic security, there are lots of better ways to do that than building an improvised explosive device and putting lives in danger. I have to give credit where it's due: the public works employee who found this reacted calmly and quickly to the discovery and the village government's safety procedures worked well.

On a personal note, I have family members who live in Downers Grove. While no one was injured, the potential for damage and deaths was there. I hope for quick arrests and a full explanation of motive. I'm almost of a mind to make the punishment for this hinge on the explanation. The more trivial a motive, the worse penalty that should be handled down. God forbid we hear "I was bored" or "I thought this would be cool." Something like that the guy ought to get jail time and a public beating by the folks whom he endangered. That may sound barbaric, but it could work nicely. Of course, whoever did this will be getting some nice federal prison time and all the hell that entails. I'm not saying there's a link to groups outside DuPage County, but if there is, we can point to another success in the War on Terror.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Keyes promises Republicans he'll run

So, Alan Keyes is willing to run for US Senate here in Illinois? This is going to be an uphill battle for Keyes, who already has two strikes against him. Mr. Keyes is a former Presidential candidate who was unable to gain any serious amount of votes in the 2000 primaries, which shows that he has difficulty in getting his message out on a national level. On top of that, he's literally an outsider: Mr. Keyes is from Maryland. I know everyone can point to Hillary Clinton as a successful case of carpetbagging as she is a former Chicagoan-turned-Arkansan-turned-New Yorker, but will it work for Alan Keyes? He's been quoted before as saying that he wouldn't do the same thing as Senator Clinton, but now he's considering it. Much like Lucy Ricardo, he's got some 'splainin' to do about his change of heart.

I pose this question: How is Mr. Keyes going to get his message out to the state in plenty of time to make an impact on the November 2 election? We're less than 3 months away. Will the Illinois GOP be able to fund enough commercials, print ads and internet presence to properly back him? The party has been pretty weak since George Ryan's ruinous escapades in office.

Mr. Keyes' conservative credentials are definitely in order, so he'll be able to mobilize a good portion of Republican loyalists. He supports school choice and vouchers, which ought to resonate with black voters. His stance on the Second Amendment is pretty safe, too. He's also pro-life, which is a must for anyone who wants to seriously run as a Replublican candidate. I think this is one of the reasons why John Borling fared so poorly in the primaries. He did get the nod from outgoing Senator Peter Fitzgerald, so any animosity between Keyes, the GOP and the Senator is either well-hidden or ameliorated.

Personally, I'd still rather have a local guy like Jim Oberweis or Andy McKenna as the candidate, and here are my reasons. They're both from Illinois, each man has a vested interest in making the state successful as their businesses depend on it, and they were both in the primaries. Mr. Keyes was not someone who appeared on the primary election ballots.

I'll wait to hear Mr. Keyes' message before I pass complete judgment, but it doesn't look good for the pundit from Maryland. If his message truly impresses me, I may be able to hold my nose and vote for an outsider. If not, things are going to look bad for the Illinois GOP for a few more years.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Still packing. I'm actually kind of glad this is the week I'm moving. It's kept me from being glued to the tv screen watching the Democrats' convention. The speech by Barack Obama wasn't all that. Much like Clinton speeches, it was a lot of words that said very little. I am glad that the Dems are trying to take guys like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson out of the limelight, though. Obama isn't as adversarial as the two elder Democrats. Despite his assurances, I think he's too close to the various Chicago machines to be of any use to his non-Chicago area constituents.

I'm still hoping for someone to show up on the Republican side of the ballot this year. Come on, [i]somebody[/i] do this so I don't have to!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Sorry for the light blogging recently, folks. This is my last week in the lovely town of Wheeling, and I'm putting the finishing touches on packing everything up for the big move. After two years here, I'm heading to another suburb around that which is Chicago. It'll be strange to be able to go into the city on weekends without having to wait an hour for a train, or having to drive to a CTA stop.

What will I miss from Wheeling, Buffalo Grove and the Northwest Suburbs? Quite a bit actually. I'll miss immediate access to Hanabi, one of the best sushi restaurants in the suburbs. The Continental Restaurant will also go on my "remember to eat here" list. Access to a Dominick's within walking distance will also be missed. There's a Jewel near my new place, but they just don't have the grocery selection that Dominick's does. Hero Headquarters, my local comic book shop, will still be on my list of stops since it's on the way home every Wednesday night. Games Plus will now be "out in the far 'burbs" where it was just a 20-minute drive. And of course, I am no longer just a few miles away from Mitsuwa Marketplace, with its lovely selection of Japanese food stalls and manga. Now it will be a trek to get my fix of okonomiyaki!

I do know that there will be benefits to living in Evanston besides immediate access to Chicago. This is where the adventure of moving to a new place becomes something exciting. Now I'll have new places to explore, new things to see, and more reason not to drive to ACen. The train will make that much easier.

I'm excited, but I do realize that I'm going to miss a lot about this part of the Northwest Suburbs. It'll still be a fine adventure, though.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Moving out and not messing around

I took over a majority of my books to the new apartment in Evanston yesterday. I am very grateful to my friends who were able to help me box stuff up and transport it over in their cars. It turned what could have been an all-day event into one trip.

I also found a CD that I've been looking for in my apartment since I moved here in 2002. That album? "Twilight" by bôa. This band's claim to fame in the US is pretty minor, as they did the opening theme music for an anime series called Serial Experiments Lain. The anime is psychologically confusing at best, but the opening theme, called "duvet" is really beautiful. Jasmine Rodgers has a beautiful voice, and the band compliments her voice wonderfuly. Steve Rodgers does the vocals on "One Day" and the song sounds like something that Squeeze could have done in the early 80s. Even after having missed out on hearing the album for two years, I still enjoy it. It's just wonderful rock. If any of you Chicagoans out there listen to WXRT, the kind of rock they play on that station is similar to bôa's style. My snap judgment: buy the album. It's worth a listen or twenty.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004 : Ditka Says He Won't Run for U.S. Senate

What's that? My Magic 8-ball was right? Well, what do you know.

Mr. Ditka has a lot of other things going on in his life, such as his marriage, his restaurant, Levitra spokesman, and football commentator. I really doubted that he'd want to take a pay cut. He'd be a great guy for the job, but if he doesn't want it, no one can force him to take the nomination.

At this point, maybe we Republicans should look closer at Jim Oberweis. Yes, "racist ice cream" criticisms and all. There isn't anything wrong with his platform on illegal immigration, since he basically wants people to follow the rules set forth by the federal government. He did come in second, and hopefully he could generate the cash and the media interest again.

I'd still like Andy McKenna to have a shot, but the party needs a rallying point. This is where McKenna's low-key approach is a disadvantage. The Illinois Republican Committee needs to give up any dislike they may have of Jim Oberweis and give him the nod. I don't really want to see a blank space on the ballot for Republicans this year.
News From The Associated Press - Senate Scuttles Gay Marriage Amendment

All I can say is this: good. The Federal Marriage Amendment has been defeated for the moment, which shows that the constitutional system is working. Same-sex marriage is still something that is best left to individual state legislatures. Federal marriage laws are already on the books thanks to IRS regulations, and we don't need any more federal laws determining what constitutes a marriage. This is one case where the principle of federalism should reign supreme. Let each state make its own laws and apply them.

Should the FMA come back, it will most likely get defeated again. How many times has the flag-burning amendment been defeated now? The FMA is a loser of a bill, and I doubt there are many congressmen who want to attach their names to a loser over and over again.
The New York Times > Washington > Senate Report: How Niger Uranium Story Defied Wide Skepticism -- Registration required.

In this case, it looks like the CIA is to blame for not following up on information given to it. Instead of going and corroborating intelligence information, they guessed that documents dealing with the sale of uranium to Iraq were probably fake. The sad part is that it's now too late to try to find out what happened. Instead of sending out field agents to investigate the situation, the CIA sent a former ambassador and a defense attache. Doing that is much like sending a music teacher to teach calculus. Sure, the teacher might have some idea on how to teach a class full of students, but will be at a loss to dig deeper into the subject. Joe Wilson and the unnamed attache may have had some idea on how to interview people, but they couldn't dig deeper into the situation. Even more alarming is that the CIA waited a month to send anyone in to investigate reports that uranium was ready to be shipped. For a group that acts like it's always on the ball, they sure dropped it this time.

The worst part of it is Joe Wilson. He squandered his investigation time by staying in a hotel and interviewing people beside a swimming pool. Then to make things worse, he lied about his wife's involvement in getting him the job:
Instead of assigning a trained intelligence officer to the Niger case, though, the C.I.A. sent a former American ambassador, Joseph Wilson, to talk to former Niger officials. His wife, Valerie Plame, was an officer in the counterproliferation division, and she had suggested that he be sent to Niger, according to the Senate report.

That finding contradicts previous statements by Mr. Wilson, who publicly criticized the Bush administration last year for using the Niger evidence to help justify the war in Iraq. After his wife's identity as a C.I.A. officer was leaked to the news media, Mr. Wilson said she had not played a role in his assignment, and argued that her C.I.A. employment had been disclosed to punish him. The F.B.I. is investigating the source of the leak about Ms. Plame, which was classified information.
Wilson lied, his story died.

Then to make things even worse, the CIA decided to give over documents about the potential uranium sale to the International Atomic Energy Agency (yes, the same group that is doing so well in determining whether or not Iran has nuclear weapons yet) for verification. Oddly enough, CIA analysts accepted the IAEA's judgment at face value according to this story. "Trust, but verify" is apparently as dead as the man who first uttered those words.

So, what have we got here? We have a lack of proper agents going out and doing intelligence-gathering. We have a group of people who want to see President Bush eat those sixteen words of his 2003 State of the Union Address, words which have been turning more and more believeable. Even if Iraq didn't get any uranium ore, trying to purchase it during UN sanctions is bad enough. The case for war is strengthened again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Da Coach in Da Senate?

Looks like Mr. Ditka is going to make a decision by the end of the week. My guess that he won't do it still stands. I still think he's got what it takes to handle stupid press tricks.

And the S-T guys SO modified my title from yesterday.


Monday, July 12, 2004

Da Coach for Senate?

Mike Ditka as a US Senator? I don't know if he'd be willing to take a pay cut. Also, is he willing to shift out of an executive mindset to do the consensus-building that is necessary for support of Senate bills? I'll be surprised if the GOP can snag him. One thing I can say he is qualified for is taking abuse from both supporters and opponents. Being head coach of a football team puts you in a serious spotlight for criticism, abuse, and taking responsibility for decisions. He can at least handle his critics. If he does so in a typically Ditka style, he'll make a lot of enemies in the press. I think his competitive nature demands some kind of opposition, so just maybe he could make it work.

So, we've got a plea to get Mike Ditka to run for Peter Fitzgerald's Senate seat. Will he do it? My Magic 8-Ball says "highly unlikely."

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Go figure: Adults tired of bar scene relish 'game night'

Interesting to say the least. Fewer people just wanting to sit around and drink to get drunk, and more people wanting to actually do something else while socializing.

And they said playing role-playing games was a bad thing... now everyone else is trying to get in on it without looking like geeks. Too late.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

12 people interested in GOP Senate nod

And of course, no one is saying who's in the running. Maybe I should have thrown my hat in the ring? At least we know that there's a definite interest in getting a replacement candidate for Jack Ryan. I also hope that there's no allegations of a freaky sex life that any of the candidates are trying to hide.

Jack Ryan can take a small comfort that he's made history. How many other guys do you know of who have been dropped from a ticket because of allegations that he enjoyed having sex with his wife?