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.