Thursday, August 31, 2006

Kids today! Pfagh!

I get e-mail like the one below from time to time. They always make me feel like I should be living in Florida and complaining about kids today. And yes, I know that there's no #6. That is the way the e-mail came to me.


Members of the class of 2010, entering college this fall, were mostly born in 1988. For them: Billy Carter, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, Billy Martin, Andy Gibb, and Secretariat have always been dead.

1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.

2. They have known only two presidents.

3. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.

4. Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.

5. There has always been one Germany.

7. They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.

8. Coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.

9. Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.

10. DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.

11. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.

12. "Google" has always been a verb.

13. Text messaging is their email.

14. Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.

15. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.

16. Madden has always been a game, not a Super Bowl-winning coach.

17. There has never been a "sky hook" in the NBA.

18. Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing religious organizations in the U.S.

19. Reality shows have always been on television.

20. They have always known that "In the criminal justice system the people have been represented by two separate yet equally important groups."

21. They have no idea why we needed to ask, "...Can we all get along?"

22. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.

23. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.

24. Green tea has always been marketed for health purposes.

25. Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers.

26. They have never played the game of state license plates in the car.

27. There have always been live organ donors.

28. They have never put their money in a "Savings & Loan."

29. They have always "dissed" what they don't like.

30. LoJack transmitters have always been finding lost cars.


THOT: A procrastinator's work is never done.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Black & white photo of me looking artsy and stuff

Check this out:

Kinda makes me look artsy and contemplative and stuff, eh? ;-)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Test your Yankee-ness or Rebel-ness speech

This site tests how much your speech favors Damn Yankee speech or Good Ol' Boy Rebel speech.

Just so you know, I live in Texas, and my score came out thus:

"89% Dixie. You still use Confederate money?"

Hey! I'm Hispanic! Aie chihuahua, y'all!

Send me your results and I'll post them here. :-)

Changes in technology

I guess we can consider this entry a "Notes on the Journey to Nerdville" entry.

I was thinking last week that I can't remember the last time I checked out a videocassette of a movie from BlockBuster. Nor a DVD, for that matter. Back in the 80's and 90's, it was practically a weekend requirement to check out a movie or two to watch over the weekend, but now those can be sent to you via NetFlix or other such services. There's still a BlockBuster near me, but I haven't been there in probably years. Most of the time, I just buy the movies that I want to watch rather than rent them.

However, this is not the only change in technology that I've noticed. Whenever I was saving some artwork last week, for some reason I noticed the Save icon. It's of a floppy disk. Here's a Wikipedia entry on floppys. Way, way back, that is what we used to store our info instead of today's flash drives. But the amount of info that a floppy carries compared to your usual flash drive makes the floppy look more than merely stupid. Of course, we didn't know that back then, so we went along merrily with our limited memory floppys. And using big, clunky computers that printed out their documents on tractor feed dot matrix printers. I can see some of you remembering the familiar loud, wrreeeek wreeeek wreeeek wreeeek that dot matrix printers made while printing your documents. Some of you old school geeks may still have your dot matrix printers because you hold on to them like someone else holds on to their childhood teddy bear. ;-)

Anyway, after floppy disks came ZIP drives. While the standard floppy held 1.44 MB of data, ZIP drives held 100 MBs (and later, 250 and 750 MBs). To the computer geek of that time, getting a disk that held nearly 70 times the amount of data that a floppy held was enough to make them stand with eyes and mouth wide open and say "Whoooooooa." However, ZIPs didn't catch on as hoped, and it wasn't as widely circulated as the floppy.

One of the reasons that it didn't catch on was because of flash drives. The flash drive I currently have holds 2 GBs of info - about 20 times the memory of the standard 100 MB ZIP disk, and - are you sitting down? - nearly 1,400 times the space of the old 1.44 MB floppy disk. All that, and in a space much smaller than either the floppy or the ZIP disk. Now THAT should make you stand with eyes and face open as you say "Whoooooooa."

My oldest nephew is currently 9 years old. Who knows what kind of tech that he'll have by the time he goes to college? He may laugh at my 2 gig flash drive and say "You actually used THAT??" Then he'll whip out his watch that works on voice command and tell it to project its holographic image so that he can show how he accesses the Internet with it, and how he saves his data to a virtual server. And then I'll be the one that goes, "Whooooa."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up Aug. 26, 2006

Pluto is demoted
Poor planet Pluto. One minute it was a full-fledged planet with all the rights and responsibilities inherent within, the next minute, it's demoted to a mere "dwarf". What did Pluto ever do to those planet defining people that it had to be publicly humiliated in this way? Was this committee really necessary? They spent all this time and money just to demote poor Pluto? Isn't there a cure for the common cold that they could instead be spending their time on?

What I find particularly odd in the attached article above is this statement: " 'I'm of course disappointed that Xena will not be the 10th planet, but I definitely support the IAU in this difficult and courageous decision,' says Brown." Can anyone tell me what was particularly courageous about demoting Pluto? Was the committee afraid of a backlash from native Plutonians who had a vested interest in maintaining their planetary status?

Perhaps the category of "dwarf planet" was meant as a sort of compromise, but it's still a demotion, and I can still imagine the native Plutonians not being particularly happy about this decision. Along with the loss of pride and prestige, now they'll also have to go change their signs to stop saying "Most distant planet in the solar system".

School starts at my workplace
Yep, the university where I work got the ball rolling on the start of its fall semester. I look forward to the starts of semesters. On the one hand, it's kind of sad because students that I had gotten to know and like have graduated and moved on, but then a new batch of students comes in to get to know. The students, for the most part, are a great bunch. Yeah, a few are a bit odd, but fortunately, they're few and far between.

Remember, these kids were high school students just a few months ago, so they're bringing in what they've learned in high school up to college. Not just their high school education, but also their views and attitudes that they considered important to keep and bring to college. The whole experience can be a bit overwhelming, and watching these kids come in with their eyes as wide as saucers is actually kinda funny.

Another thing to watch is the latest in high tech gear and fashions that the new batch of freshmen bring in with them. I don't think there is a kid that doesn't have an iPod and a cellphone nowadays. More and more are also now coming with laptops. These kids are wired like no generation before them. And then there's the fashions. I mentioned earlier in the week about the low hanging baggy pants.

There are too many young ladies with hip-hugger jeans whose thong underwear shows above their pants. I don't care how hot they look, it just doesn't look good to have your underwear showing like that. And mini mini jean skirts are also big this year, as well as cleavage. Okay, I'm honest enough to admit that as a guy, I don't really have that much of a problem with nice looking young ladies dressing to look hot, but at the same time, they shouldn't dress like they're auditioning to be in the next "Girls Gone Wild" video.

As for the guys, basic slob is still in. Wrinkled shirts, wrinkled pants or shorts, wrinkled ball cap, even wrinkled faces if they slept wrong last night. Even their sandals are wrinkled, and don't ask me how they got leather sandals wrinkled, because I don't know - and they probably don't know, either. Judging by how often they come in with wrinkled clothes, my guess is that they save on laundry money by simply turning their clothes inside out once they get too gamey on one side.

Fortunately, I like working here, warts and all.

The Texas Rangers' season is, for all intents and porpoises, over. Blah. I hate this. Every year, it's the same thing: Hot in the first half in the season, then pull a fade in the second half. Fortunately, in the second half is also when football starts to show up, so I'm just going to move this topic to football.

For the Dallas Cowboys, so far, so good. 'Course, it's just preseason, but still, it's nice to see the 'Boys doing well. But I don't think the Cowboys should have gotten Terrell Owens - aka TO. Just from preseason, I can see that he's going to be a distraction, and no team needs that - especially a distraction based on someone's enormous ego. TO claims to be injured - I say let him sit on the sidelines and let him stay there. And if the Boys manage to do well anyway, then he and owner Jerry Jones can stew in their juices as Enormous Ego Man rests his tender hammy. I'm actually looking more forward to college ball, 'cause those kids play because they love to play.

For this football season, I am the commissioner for a fantasy football league, which is a first for me. I decided to set up a league because I got left out last year, and I suffered withdrawl symptoms all season - and I didn't want to go through that again. I'll be keeping you folks up on how I'm doing each week.

Have a great week, folks!

Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm being followed

Whenever I go to my local mall to look up a certain store, I notice that every time, the mall map has an arrow pointing to my exact location and says "You Are Here." And you know what? It's right!

Okay, here's the thing, though. When I go to another directory in another part of the mall, I'll look at the directory again - but guess what? It's still marking my exact location! The arrow is there again, pointing to my new location with the same, big bold letters, "You Are Here."

This can mean only one thing: I'm being followed.

You think I'm crazy, don't you? Well, how do you explain when I go to the lower level and check the directories there, and the arrow is still pointing out my new location with the same bold letters, "You Are Here"?

That's not the only thing, man. Whenever I go to other directories in other parts of the city, that same arrow is still pointing to my exact location, with the same "You Are Here." Oh! And when I was in San Antonio at the airport, I checked out the directory there.

You guessed it! "You Are Here"!

I have no idea why someone has such an interest in me that they need to keep up with my location at all times, but it has me looking over my shoulder...

Watch yourselves, dudes and dudettes. Big Brother is watching you.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dallas to ban saggy pants

No doubt, you've seen them. Those young kids - skinny as a rail, walking around with pants several sizes too large, and their pants hanging down so low that their underwear shows.

Well, Dallas is going to try to do something about that.

But can it be done? How will this law be enforced? That remains to be seen.

For my part, I'm tired of seeing these sloppy kids walking around. Bad enough that many of them smoke and drink and have tattoos over most of their bodies, but to add those sloppy appearances on top of that goes a long way in explaining why the U.S. is not one of the top nations in education.

Granted, the youth have always dressed in such a way as to offend their elders, which basically makes this a rite of passage of sorts. But still - these baggy pants are too much! Yeah, yeah, yeah...they're "expressing their creativity" and so forth, but there's better ways of doing that without showing your skivvies to the world.

I suppose it could be worse - but flashing "plumber's cleavage" is not the fashion trend that I expected to catch on with the youth. Still, I wonder how the city of Dallas is going to enforce such a law. We'll have to wait and see. Or rather, we'll have to wait and hope NOT to see. ;-)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Andrew Young's racist remarks

I must comment on this story before more time passes. Former mayor of Atlanta and also former ambassador Andrew Young got into hot water over some remarks he made that were perceived as racist. Here's an excerpt from the attached article:

"Well, I think they should; they ran the `mom and pop' stores out of my neighborhood," the paper quoted Young as saying. "But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs; very few black people own these stores."

Very interesting, eh? What's especially interesting is the uproar over other anti-Semitic remarks that Mel Gibson made about a couple of weeks ago. The difference between Young and Gibson is that Gibson was drunk at the time. What's Young's excuse, and why aren't they giving him an even harder time over his remarks than what they gave Gibson?

Understand that what Gibson said was indeed offensive, and he deserves the grief he got for saying them. But the man was drunk! Young made his statements while stone sober, so one can surmise that, since he said them while in possession of all his mental faculties, then he must really feel that way about Jews. Gibson, meanwhile, may indeed feel that way about Jews, but until he got drunk, he had the good sense to keep his anti-Semitic attitudes to himself.

So again, why isn't there an even greater uproar over Young's remarks? It's not because the media has a liberal bias; nor is it that they tend to frown upon public expressions of faith. Nah, they wouldn't do that, for it would be petty. It couldn't be that.

Added to this is that Young is a former ambassador, so such stupid, thoughtless comments are inexcusable. Ambassadors, like few other occupations, train to learn how to say the right thing at the right time, and even more importantly, they train to learn what NOT to say - and they train especially to not say those things at the wrong time. Political correctness, in other words, is their second language, and anti-Semitic (and other comments that he made) are definitely not in the "Ambassador's Handbook of Proper Speech and Behavior".

If Gibson deserved grief over his remarks even though he was drunk (and he DID deserve grief), then Young deserves even more grief for saying his offense comments while sober, and also because he happens to be a former ambassador. If the media is going to go after Gibson, then they should at least be consistent and go after Young as well with equal -and actually greater- gusto.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up August 19, 2006

Today's Weekend Wrap-up is about an e-mail that I received earlier this week. This actually is the third or fourth time that I got this e-mail (or something a lot like it), and while its message certainly makes me reminiscent of that earlier time, I'm always curious about something after I've read it. That observation will follow below:
Subject: TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets; and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because...... WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were nolawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them! Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good. And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Now look at that line that says, "...before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good." You know what generation of lawyers and government MADE those laws that 'regulated our lives for our own good'? The very generation that is being spoken of so wistfully in the e-mail above! So it begs the question: If their childhood was so wonderful, why are they so bound and determined to deny those very freedoms to today's children?

Either their own childhoods weren't as rosy as painted above, or they aspire to be petty tyrants that want to deny everyone else the fun that they themselves enjoyed. Let's explore this a little more. The generation being spoken of here is mostly baby boomers (BBs from here on). Consider the timeframe when many of these BBs grew up. We're talking mostly the 60's, 70's, and 80s.

So what went on in those decades? In short: "free love" "open marriages" "experimental" drug use, "quickie" and "no-fault" divorces, among other things. Other things that, in essence, allowed BBs to continue the free and unregulated childhoods into adulthood. But our lives in childhood can't continue into adulthood. At some point, we must grow up. The BBs' usual response to that: "No, we don't."

And BBs continued to not grow up, and lived their free, unregulated lives with the bills for that free living being paid by their children now, and later, their grandchildren. Their desire for their freedom and to keep having their fun at everyone else's expense extends not only to denying fun to later generations, but also denying the existence of some of those later generations - namely, through legalized abortions. While some of those who have had abortions did so because of "dire circumstances", many had them because these people simply wanted to bail out of their responsibilities; in other words, they didn't want to stop having their fun.

I can already see some of my regular readers shaking their heads in disagreement. :-)

But what I say here is based what I have seen for myself. Very few people I know are still in their first marriage. Many are in their second marriage or more, and they have had kids from different spouses. Understand that I'm not at all saying that a person should stay in a bad marriage (the usual response to bringing up this particular point), but that a person needs to be more patient and selective when it comes to deciding whom they will choose to marry.

You have your fun before marriage and before you have kids. Once you're married, you take care of your marriage, and of any children that follow. Then you fit in the fun where you can. Having fun can't come at the expense of your marriage, and it certainly can't come at the expense of your kids. It's been tried ad nauseum these past few decades, and it's been proven over and over again that this concept of "fun before responsibility" is a grand and colossal failure. The longer we keep denying that, the more that our kids and our grandkids will pay for our stubbornness.

While it's certainly pleasing to think about the old days, it's now way past time to grow up, folks, and leave the funtime to our kids - where it belongs. We need to grow up before our great-grandkids start paying for our stubbornness.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lieberman leads in new polls

This article reports that Joe Lieberman is leading Ned Lamont in the most recent polls in Connecticut. Not being from Connecticut, I hadn't given thought to how the rest of the state would respond to Lieberman's candidacy. I had hoped that Lieberman would win, but I hadn't considered his chances of actually winning. Based on what's being said in this article, Lieberman actually has a pretty good chance.

The Democrats will not see the errors of their ways, of course - and if Lieberman wins, they won't congratulate him on a hard fought race; mostly likely, they'll simply brand him a traitor. Which will show once again that the Democratic party of the past is dead and gone and has been replaced with a cadre of hard left power mongers and their panting sycophants. If I hadn't lost faith in political parties a long time ago, then I'd be disappointed by the Dems' behavior in recent years.

I wish I knew what alternative I could present to counter the cliqueishness of political parties, but they look like they're going to be a part of our political system for some time to come. Perhaps those bloggers that helped Ned Lamont win the Democratic primary have some answers to that, seeing as how they had the power to affect elections. Okay, since I'm a blogger myself, I'll see what I can do to affect that kind of needed change. ;-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Guidance vs. manipulation re: young people

This blog entry derives from yesterday's blog entry. I still feel sorry for that poor girl. Why is there no one to provide guidance for this girl? I then thought of my own situation, in which I work in a university and deal with a lot of young people ranging in age from thier late teens to early 20's. What do I do to provide guidance for them? I gave that some thought, and I concluded that I needed to give this more thought. However, I like to encourage commentary and discussion from others, so I posted the entry below in a website that I frequent. Then I thought, "Hey, this would be good for my blog, too!" So below is my post from that other website. Feel free to e-mail me directly, or to post commentary.


I'm in my 40's, but in my head I often feel like I'm in my 20's. And yet, there are times that I feel my age.

I don't want to lose the ability to talk to the "young people". By "young people", I mean basically folks in their late teens thru their mid 20's - in other words, people who are no longer children, but who are still to a degree impressionable. There's so much out there that is bad for them that I don't know where to begin.

When I talk to them, I don't want to come off as some sort of prude; but at the same time, I don't want to be a "best friend" in the way that some parents try to be "best friends" with their children rather than be their parents. As the person who's moved beyond the impressionable young adult age, it's important that I keep that distinction between young adult and --er, not so young adult.

Young people in their late teens and early 20's have already got a lot of their views set, but they can still be swayed by charismatic or persuasive types who may or may not have their best interests in mind. This is why the colleges and universities have become such a battleground.

I want to help the young people I talk to, because I work around a lot of them at the university where I am employed. Bottom line, I don't want to tell them what to think or what to believe - I want them to know HOW to think about what to believe. There's enough people in their lives that want to "upload" their belief systems or ways of thinking into their brains without me adding to the mix. I think that, for them, it's better in the long run if I help them learn how to discern what's told to them instead of them just accepting what's told to them.

So with that, let me ask both "young people" and those who help them what you suggest to do.

If you are around a lot of young people yourself, what do you do when you talk to them? Do you try to strike a balance between guiding them and manipulating them? What would you say IS that line between guidance and manipulation?

If you're a young person yourself, what kind of older person has helped you before? Would you know the difference between someone who's really trying to be a help from someone who's trying to manipulate you into a certain way of thinking?

Thanks in advance for any of your comments and observations.

Monday, August 14, 2006

UK: Girl, 11, to become youngest mother

In this article is a story about an 11 year old girl who's about to become the UK's youngest mother.

Yes, that's right. She's pregnant.

Not only that, she smokes 20 cigarettes a day and drinks. At 11! What kind of child lives like an adult more than twice her age? She has had no childhood, and the blame can only go to the parents - or rather, the mother, since she's the one caring for the 11 year old. There's very little else I can say that isn't said in the article or in the commentary underneath it, so I suggest reading it for yourselves.

The only good thing I see from this is that people can still be shocked by this, judging by the commentary that the article's gotten so far. That we still have a sense to be shocked with says that we haven't completely eliminated our morals in our society - but they are certainly very ill. Many of the commentators wonder what kind of mother could let her 11 year old go around smoking, drinking, and having sex? For all we know, the mother herself may not have had a normal life herself - but surely someone in this family's life knew about this situation?

I'm just dumbfounded by all this. This deserves more commentary, but quite frankly I am at a loss as to what else to say. If I can get it sorted out, I'll post more.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

McCain-Lieberman party?

McCain-Lieberman party?

In a column by David Brooks (New York Times, Aug. 10, 2006), he offers the possibility of a ticket of John McCain and Joe Lieberman – alluding, of course, to these two politicians’ status as mavericks of their respective parties. Much of what Brooks offers is very interesting and, if pulled off, could certainly be the kind of draw for the average American as H. Ross Perot could have been way back in 1992. Brooks is trying to draw out the best of both parties while leaving the worst of both parties within their respective parties.

Again, this is all very intriguing in paper and in theory, but pulling it off is another matter. I believe that it can be done – but it’s going to take some very skilled and talented people to pull it off, because McCain and Lieberman’s reps as mavericks won’t be enough to sustain such an effort. I certainly support such an endeavor and I wish it well, because Brooks’ statements go along a lot with what I’ve been saying myself.

However, I will have to take a “wait and see” attitude toward this ticket. After all, when you take two separate bags of nuts and mix them together, you still end up with a bag of nuts. Remember, McCain and Lieberman ARE politicians, and politicians have the tendency toward jumping in front of parades rather than actually leading them.

And if I come across as snide or pessimistic, it’s because I’ve been let down before with Perot and the Reform Party. For this ticket to have any chance of succeeding, it MUST learn from the mistakes of the Reform Party. They must NOT try to be all things to all people, which was the Reform Party’s mistake. No tent can ever be that big. Brooks’ suggestions toward a party platform are a good start.

Anyone trying to organize such a party will need to really study the Reform Party to find out what it did right, and most importantly, what it did wrong. It must be its own party, and not merely the “anti-Democrat” or the “anti-GOP” party. Movements based on negatives have a way of collapsing. This new party must offer hope, not more rhetoric.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Go, Joe, Go!

Joe Lieberman may have lost the primary, but he is not out of the race. As he said before, if he lost the primary, then he'll submit himself as an independent. In fact, after he conceded the race to Ned Lamont, that's exactly what he did. And I hope he wins.

In the news story above, Lieberman had this to say: "I'm going forward. I'm going forward because I'm fed up with all the partisanship in Washington that stops us from getting anything done." I couldn't agree more, which is why I hope he wins. As I said Monday, I can't be a liberal Democratic supporter any longer - mainly because nowadays being a liberal Democrat means shutting off your mind and turning into a sycophant. The Democrats have changed, and not for the better.

You know what this makes me think of? 1992. Back then, H. Ross Perot had tapped into that American frustration with the two party system and how they generally generate a lot of heat without actually getting anything done. His appeal had been such that both the Dems and the GOP were actually concerned that he might have a shot at winning. However, Perot waffled on whether he'd run, and by the time he decided to do it, a lot of the steam had gone out - too much, in truth - and it killed his chances of winning.

Fast forward to today. I sincerely believe that, if Joe Lieberman does not win his Senate seat back, then he should run as an independent in the 2008 Presidential race. It won't be easy, for sure, but I believe that he would be able to tap into that frustration much like Perot did in 1992. However, unlike Perot, Lieberman has experience as a pol in Washington. And, if he plays his cards right, I think Lieberman would have a chance in '08.

But first, he needs to take care of this year. Even if he wins his Senate seat as an independent (and I hope he does), I still think he should consider running in '08. All I can say is:

Go, Joe, Go!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Reuters pulls doctored photo

Reuters had to perform the embarrassing act of admitting that one of their photos was doctored, and pulled it from their website. Another such embarrassing episode happened in 2004, when CBS had to recant the news report of military documents that were critical of George W. Bush when he was in the service. The document was spotted as fake within hours, due largely to the fact that the type was perfectly aligned - which was not consistent with typewriters of the time, but rather that of one of today's computers.

Fortunately, acts such as these are very infrequent, and the vast majority of editors do their job like they're supposed to and catch most of the problematic reports and photos. However, some do slip by, as demonstrated in '04 and yesterday. It is said that the only commodity that journalists sell is the truth. So when bad things like this happen, how they react to it makes all the difference in the world as to the kind of trust and respect that its readers will give it.

In '04, it took CBS two weeks and a lot of denials before they owned up to the fake documents. Especially pathetic was Dan Rather's excuse saying, in essence, "While the documents are fake, it's based on the truth." While Rather might have genuinely believed that, it still came across as a desperate act of ass-covering.

Reuters took the right path and simply owned up to it right away and put it behind them. That's the second time in recent days that we have witnessed the right way of dealing with potential scandal. Last week, Mel Gibson dealt with his problematic (to say the least) statements by apologizing for them right away, and then doing so again with more emphasis rather than letting this issue fester for a week or longer before replying.

There's a lesson in all this: When caught red-handed, just own up to it. Performing desperate acts of ass-covering only makes you look worse. Kudos to Reuters for dealing with this right off the bat.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up 8-5-2006

(NOTE: For some reason, I couldn't get the Weekend Wrap-up to load up Saturday. My apologies on its tardiness.)


The title of this week’s Weekend Wrap-up is: Why I’m no longer a liberal Democrat.

Mel Gibson

This week started out looking like Mel Gibson was going to be raked over hot coals by his critics for the rest of the year due to his anti-Semitic comments that he made while under the influence of alcohol. Those comments were the sort of comments that his critics had hoped that he’d make leading up to the release of his 2004 movie, “The Passion of the Christ”.

Since Mel didn’t do that during that time, his critics instead went after his Holocaust-denying Traditionalist Catholic dad. “Sins of the father” and all that. But picking on an old man didn’t look good; nor did it necessarily mean that just because Mel’s dad held these anti-Semitic views that Mel also held those views. Granted, Mel was most likely raised under those ideas, but Mel, like any of us, is also capable of growing beyond the lessons of his father. But I digest…

Now we come to events of this week, and Mel finally showed his true colors during a traffic stop for speeding. Well, if you can count what a person says while under the influence of alcohol as showing their true colors. And that’s the issue here: Was Mel really speaking his mind when he said those alcohol-pried anti-Semitic remarks? I suppose we’ll never know.

However, Mel did apologize—and he apologized again, the second time with feeling. It must have been just enough, for the news reports on Mel stopped for almost two days. Had it NOT been enough, the media barrage would not only have continued unabated, it would have intensified with headlines like, “Mel’s apology fall flat”. Later in the week, the reports returned, mainly to mention a film clip of him taken that night a little before the pullover.

I think Michael Medved pretty much says here what I feel about this whole situation. The man apologized, now I say give him the chance to back up those words with action. But his critics no doubt are not going to rest for long, for they still haven’t forgiven him for making The Passion,
and they likely never will. In their eyes, he'll always be on "permanent probation".

Joe Lieberman

This coming week is the state of Connecticut’s primary, and we’ll soon know if Joe Lieberman is going to be the Democratic nominee during November’s election. He faces a serious challenge from Ned Lamont, who is calling Lieberman out on his stand in favor of the war. Lieberman has been a loyal Democrat during his 18-year career. I’ve heard him referred to as “the last JFK Democrat”, and I’m inclined to agree.

This infighting among the Dems in Connecticut has become a microcosm of what the Dem party is on the national scale: divided between the old school “JFK Democrats” and the current intolerant left-wing power-mongers who wear velvet gloves over their iron fists. It’s because of those shortsighted power-mongers that I no longer consider myself a Democratic supporter.

It’s a bit disturbing that most prominent Democrats will only say “I will support the winner of the primary” rather than come out in support of Lieberman. Their lack of support says all that needs to be said of what they think of him. However, I got an interesting insight of what’s in the collective mind of the Dems earlier this week with a Google search. From that search on Google News, I saw that many Democrats are worried about the outcome and the potential fallout from the results of the primaries – especially if Lieberman loses.

Lieberman has already said that if he loses the primary, then he’ll run as an independent. If he wins, it could look really bad for the Democrats, for they will have been on record of having gone against one of their own. It will be bad because it will show that they are not at all the “party of tolerance” like they claim to be, but rather a party as intolerant as they claim the GOP to be.

And for what? One issue: the war. All of Lieberman’s previous works on the behalf of the party means nothing now. His largely liberal track record is now considered erased and rewritten with “Bush backing right wing war supporter”. And – horror of horrors – Lieberman’s been on (gasp!) Sean Hannity’s show! Several times! Why, he’s chummy with a right wing nutjob!

The Dems right now are so hard-line and intolerant that anyone speaking with one of – “them” – will have that action held against them later. As they are doing to Joe Lieberman now. You know what’s funny about all this? Had Mel Gibson been treating Joe Lieberman the way his own party is doing right now, Mel’s critics would be offering that as proof of Mel’s anti-Semitism!

Fidel Castro

I’ll never understand the left wing’s fascination with Fidel Castro. Castro does not allow free speech, free expression, or a free press in Cuba. His style of leadership is that of a tyrant. What’s to like about that from a liberal standpoint? Castro is the last of the old, old school of Soviet style Communism, which is why some of the left hold him in high regard.

Back in Communism’s heyday, many on the left considered it the solution to the world’s problems. Its collectivist style of government in which the government gathered all the country’s power and material goods and redistributed them among its citizens was seen as the height of evolutionary development in systems of government. But Communism in the Soviet Union didn’t make it out of the century that it started in. That fact alone makes Communism a failure. Why it failed is a topic for another discussion, and all we need to know here now is that it failed, and that it failed rather quickly from the perspective of world history.

Which brings us back to why Castro holds such fascination with the left wing. No doubt this suggests that these lefties still harbor a world run under a Communist system – this despite that Soviet Communism died out, and that Communism in China isn’t like what it was in Russia. And this is also despite the fact that Communism in Cuba is a failure as well. Cuba is not a worker’s Utopia, but rather a prison for its citizens, who are denied contact with the outside world.

I suppose if you want to keep a population in check, it’s best to keep them ignorant of how well they could really have it. If they knew what Castro had been denying them all this time, they might run Castro out of the country and into the ocean. Nope, it’s best to keep them in the dark, and deny them what little hope they could have for a better life. If such a life of utter drudgery under a totalitarian government is what the lefties consider the height of evolutionary development of systems of government, then just leave me to my misery in the U.S.

Finally, an editorial cartoon!

And speaking of Castro, below is my first edtoon in ages. Just for you folks, I even colorized it. I mean to be more productive in that regard, but work on stuff for my website plus recent events in my life have left me with less time than I thought. Plus, at times that I had thought of an edtoon, the news event had already passed and the edtoon wasn’t as funny. Thing is, I really love doing edtoons. I’ll try harder to put out more on a consistent basis. In the meantime, enjoy!

Have a great week, folks!

Friday, August 04, 2006

HMOs explained

From an e-mail that I received:

MEDICAL INSURANCE EXPLAINED (Research done by the AARP Legal Department)

Q. What does HMO stand for?

A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, "HEY MOE." Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Larry, of the Three Stooges, who discovered that a patient could be made to forget the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eye.


Q. I just joined an HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want?

A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors in the plan. The doctors basically fall into two categories--those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer participating in the plan. But don't worry, the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half-day's drive away and a diploma from a third world country.

>---- ---------------------------------------

Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?

A. No. Only those you need.


Q. Can I get coverage for my preexisting conditions?

A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.


Q What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?

A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.


Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand. I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach ache. What should I do?

A. Poke yourself in the eye.


Q. What if I'm away from home and I get sick?

A. You really shouldn't do that.


Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can handle my problem Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right in his office?

A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $20 co-payment, there's no harm in giving it a shot.


Q. Will health care be different in the next century?

A. No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My liberal and conservative views

Someone asked me about which issues I am liberal on and which I am conservative on. Fair enuff. That would at least give you good folks a better feel for my thinking, that there is a certain madness to my methods.

Issues that I am a bleedin’ heart libbrul on:

1.) CEOs that get whopping pay raises while their employees get pay cuts.

Little else gets my inner tree-hugger going than hearing about the sinful amounts of pay that some CEOs and other execs get; especially when their companies are in financial dire straits. The usual pitiful excuses that they try to offer up to explain the pay dichotomy between themselves and their employees just comes across to my ears as "blahblahblah." How many of their employees' retirement plans could just one of their golden parachutes finance? Okay, I'm already getting worked up - I better stop!

2.) The death penalty.

This practice belongs in the Middle Ages. If we can lock these guys away for the rest of their lives with a career of making license plates ahead of them, then I say do it. There’s enough barbarity in our society today (legalized abortion and the starvation death of Terri Schiavo) without adding the death penalty in the mix. Whoops, too late, it's already in the mix.

3.) The war in Iraq.

I covered this topic last week. See details there.

Issues that I am a hardhead (or is it “hardline”?) conservative on:

1.) Legalized abortion.

It is an absolute conflict in logic that a society that claims to be the most educated and enlightened in human history can allow something as barbaric as legalized abortion. There’s so much wrong with it that I don’t know where to begin! The way I see the issue of legalized abortion: the innocent unborn are charged with the "crime" of an inconvenient existence, and the sentence is execution.

2.) Tuition vouchers.

Despite the arguments about vouchers taking funds away from the public school system, or that they violate the church/state line, or that they draw away the best and the brightest, leaving all the "problem children" in public schools (among other arguments, all of which can be refuted - and for which I just might do in a separate blog entry), I still believe that it is the best plan to come along to help the poor get a better education as well as offer an alternative to public schools. But the "right to choose" apparently applies only to the abortion issue (By the way, the very first column that got reprinted in a major city newspaper was on this very issue).

3.) Public celebrations of Christmas

I can't believe that so many public institutions have gone to the lengths that they have to keep from saying "Merry Christmas". It's as if that, for that month of the year, they forget that we all have the freedoms of speech, expression, and religion. This should not even be an issue - especially not the issue that it's become.

Issues that don't fit neatly one one side of the aisle or the other

1.) Immigration

I am for securing our borders, but against making English the official language of the U.S. Since it is impossible to send everyone back to the country of their origin, I believe that we should reach out to those illegals and take steps to make them legal. We should return the bad ones, of course, but many of the illegals contribute to our society - but they are here illegally, and that must be resolved. This issue is very complex (and complicated by the fact that illegals come here because there's work for them here by companies that hire them), and it won't be resolved anytime soon. Sure you could punish the hiring companies, but as long as these companies can get cheap labor, they'll keep trying to hire illegals.

2.) Stem cell research

I support all stem cell research that does not involve embryos. Embryonic stem cell research has produced zero results, while the non-controversial stem cells have worked in almost all the ways that supporters of embryonic stem cell research wished embryonic stem cells would work. Thus, I think it's a waste of research money to spend any more funds toward the controversial stem cells that won't ever get us anything.

3.) Free speech and free expression

Normally this would be considered a liberal issue, but in recent years liberals have shown themselves to be just as intolerant of the free speech of others when those others happen to harbor views that conflict with their own views. That’s hypocrisy, folks. For example, the brouhaha over Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” in 2004. Hypocrisy was coming out of the liberals’ ears! See, it’s behavior such as this that I can’t fully align myself with the left wing.

4.) Legalized euthanasia

I put this here, although now it might start becoming a conservative issue, because many liberals are euphemistically referring to this as “the right to die”. Ack. Not good. We all die sometime, there’s no way around that. But legalized euthanasia is basically a de facto death penalty for those considered having “lives not worth living”. Does that phrase sound familiar? It’s from Nazism! It’s couched in terms of sympathy and compassion, but this issue is rife with the possibility of abuse, and besides, anything that Nazis supported can’t be good.

There are other issues that I could list here, of course, but this at least is a start. Perhaps I’ll post another such list later.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mel's drunken ramblings

I'll be commenting more on this during Saturday's Weekend Wrap-up, but at first glance, it seems that Mel Gibson said some unkind things while in a drunken stupor. There's still no solid confirmation on this yet, so it's hard to know what really happened, and it's why I'm waiting until Saturday to say much more on this issue.

I have noticed a lot of headlines saying in essence "Is Mel's career over?" Dang, it's a bit early to go there, donchathink??? However, I do have to say that if we are going to be held accountable for all the things we say during a drunken stupor, then we're ALL in trouble!

Mel Gibson himself owned up to the words he was alleged to have spoken, and he is doing the right thing in not simply apologizing, but trying to make amends. Also, some Jewish folks seem to be accepting his apology, though some doubt his sincerity. That's to be understood, and hopefully, Mel's actions will match his apology to their satisfaction. He did right to try to fix this right away instead of letting it sit for several days and giving the appearance of equivocating on his response. I'll keep an eye on this story and how it develops, and comment further on Saturday as planned.