Thursday, August 30, 2007

Death sentence commuted!

Wow! I did it! Foster's death sentence was commuted! Apparently Gov. Perry couldn't deny the wisdom of my words!

Man, I'm good! It's scary! :-O

Column in the Fort Worth Weekly

Okay, time for the big reveal! Here is a link to my column in this week's Fort Worth Weekly. If you happen to live in or near Fort Worth, look for the FWW in nearby newsstands.

And do let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Captions for famous paintings

I'm going to take the suggestion in the cartoon below and make captions for famous paintings. Look for them in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, if you have some captions for famous paintings, drop me a line and I'll post them. This is probably as close to an art museum that many of you will get! ;-)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Now for the news

Alright, now to tell you my news: Later this week, one of my columns is going to be published in my local newspaper! It might be as soon as Wednesday, but it'll probably be up on Thursday. Either way, I'll post the link here when it's up. And you'll have to wait to see what it's about.

In the meantime, watch this video clip of "America!" from the movie, West Side Story. It's from the early 1960's, and yet some of it is relevant to today. And not all of us speak in thick Spanish accents, by the way...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Exciting news may be coming as early as tomorrow

I can't tell you yet what that exciting news is. Just be patient.

If this works out in the way I hope it does, then it'll be worth the wait.

Either way, I'll let you know what it is, but I want to tell you ESPECIALLY if it works out the way I hope. Pray that it does!

In the meantime, enjoy this video clip of "Make 'em Laugh!" It always made me laugh. ;-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Texas Rangers score 30 runs in a game

This is something that you see only once a century. The Texas Rangers scored 30 runs in a game last night. I saw most of the game, and it was just unbelievable. As happy as I was for the Rangers - especially as a long-suffering fan - I also felt sorry for the Orioles. I can't imagine what it felt like to watch your team get battered on a level not seen for 110 years.

However, some of my local sports fans agreed with me that if it had been the YANKEES who scored all those runs, it would have been the lead story for not just the sports networks, but the news networks as well. East Coast bias thing and all that.

And this was just the first game of a double-header! The Rangers won the second game as well. Boy, I bet the Orioles were glad when the Rangers left town!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Finally! My liberal views

Sorry for the delay in posting this, but after much thought, there are really only two views that I hold that today would qualify as “liberal”: My opposition to the death penalty, and the outrageous pay that CEOs get. Being in favor of free speech and the freedom of worship and expression used to be considered liberal views, but nowadays liberals have proven to be just as bad as they say conservatives are on those issues. Anyway, on to one of my liberal views.

The death penalty

I thought about the following question the other day when discussing the issue of the death penalty: Why don’t we have public beheadings anymore? Or drawing and quartering? There’s also crushing by boulders or by elephants. And of course, the classic hangings, electric chair, and firing squads.

Why don’t we do any of that anymore? Yes, it is still done in other countries, but why don’t we do that here, since we allow the death penalty? Oh, I see! It’s too barbaric! That’s why we now do the lethal injection thing – because it’s more humane!

No death penalty supporter has been able to answer the following question in a good way: Humane as compared to what? Isn’t the person strapped in the gurney just as dead afterwards as those who were executed in the other ways?

Some people who know that I’m Catholic also know that the Catholic Church allows for the death penalty, but what they don’t often know is that it is allowed only when there is no other way to stop someone from doing harm. If there are alternatives to stopping a criminal from committing crimes, then that alternative is to be used instead, and we have that alternative in the locking of them away for life. That’s what the late Pope John Paul II had advocated.

Don’t the other methods of execution make you squeamish – to say the least? Notice how we’ve gone from the more barbaric and ghoulish methods of execution of the past to those of more recent times that are considered "more humane”. This reflects the changing public perceptions of execution. As our sense and definition of humanity has grown and developed, then our acceptance of the death penalty has diminished. We still have the death penalty, of course, but we don’t do the more violent methods of execution that existed in the past.

I don't think that, among current death penalty supporters, any of them would accept a return of French Revolution-style public beheadings, nor would they be in favor of such gruesome executions as drawing and quartering. Not only are such methods barbaric, but it would also make "their side" of the debate look bad. That's why executions are now hidden away from public view - so that the actual acts themselves won't disturb anyone’s consciences.

So why even hang onto a death penalty? Part of it is because those that lost a loved one to a violent crime want the satisfaction of seeing their loved one's murderer brought to justice for their crime. In truth, I can understand that desire. If I lost a loved one to a violent crime, I have to admit that I might feel the same way. I also have to admit that I honestly don't know how I'd react in such a situation.

But I hope that I can at least accept that putting my loved one's murderer to death won't bring my loved one back. And any satisfaction of seeing that murderer brought to justice would only be momentary. In other words, by desiring a violent death of the murderer of my loved one, I am giving in to my emotions.

Justice based on intense emotions has a way of becoming less about justice and more about surrendering ourselves to our darker emotions. Giving in to our darker emotions has a way of turning us into the very things that we despise. Desiring justice for an evil done is not only right, it's also completely natural and expected, but there are limits to how much justice can be done and still be called justice.

And last, even death penalty supporters should be frightened by the prospect of the state having that much control over our lives - that they can even end it if it suits their needs. It seems to me that the less control that the state has over the ending of our lives, the better for us all. That's because the state has a funny way of desiring more of what we choose to give it. And when I say "funny", I don't mean "funny ha-ha".

Coming next, my other liberal view.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Soda or Pop?

What do you call a carbonated soft drink? Is it soda or pop, or something else?

It depends upon where you live.

Friday, August 17, 2007

$1 mil to send two 19-cent washers

You gotta wonder who the heck is running the budget over in D.C. Read this.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A couple of editorial cartoons

Today I have a couple of editorial cartoons that I got by e-mail. I also know that I've yet to post any of my liberal views. I'll get to that this weekend. In the meantime, enjoy!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Socialized medicine

Someone asked me of my opinion of socialized medicine. Of course, I gave it. ;-)

I think that the concept of socialized medicine is like the t-shirt that says, "One Size Fits All". Of course, we all know that that's impossible; otherwise that same shirt would fit anyone from a 3 year old toddler to a 6 foot 7, 350 lb. man. Socialized medicine is the very same way: It assumes that one national health plan can work for everybody. Usually, countries like Canada, France, England, and Cuba are cited.

However, I think that a federal health program (FHP from here on) - aka socialized medicine - would fail, because it assumes that what works in Rhode Island will work in Texas, and we all know that Rhode Island and Texas couldn't be more different - so why would we assume that that Rhode Islanders and Texans can wear the same "One Size Fits All" t-shirt? This idea only benefits those that favor an Orwellian "Big Brother" concept in which all power is concentrated in a few hands. The U.S. was partially founded to keep power FROM being concentrated in a few hands.

This does not mean, though, that I am against the idea of health insurance for all. The problem with a FHP is that it's thinking too big. Socialized medicine ideally should not go beyond the state level. This is because the states have a better idea of what its citizens need in the way of health coverage than the federal government does. So if New York and California want socialized medicine and all the trappings, then let the citizens of those respective states pay for it. If Texas or Michigan want to let private HMOs handle it, then so be it. They could require, though, that the private HMOs cover EVERYBODY.

Thus, each state can be free to experiment with different health insurance programs to see what works best. This is much, much better than an imposed FHP in which ALL states must bear the burden of any flaws of whatever FHP that the federal government decides to adopt. With state-level programs, only those respective states would suffer the flaws of their respective programs.

But there would still be a role for the federal government: They can play the role of watchdog, ready to come down, for instance, on private HMOs when they fail to live up to promises, or a state when it falters on its insurance programs. In essence, the feds can be a sort of referee. In order for any of this to happen, though, we all really need to pressure our representatives into looking in that direction. Not an easy task, to be sure, but at it's said - nothing worthwhile comes easy.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hillary and cleavage again!

I wasn't planning to comment on this particular topic again, but someone sent me this YouTube video clip. Basically, it's spoofing the now familiar image of Hillary Clinton and her now famous cleavage, but in the way that I presented it in my edtoon before. See, Jimmy Kimmel got that idea from me!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Interesting debate format for Democrats

Yesterday, the Democrats debated in a different format than is usually used. Rather than all of them standing on a stage, they each took a turn and spoke individually with the panel (which included Melissa Ethridge) for about 15 minutes. This is certainly an interesting format, and I think that there are pluses and minuses to its use.

This format is a plus because the candidate must face the questioners alone, which eliminates grandstanding in front of the other candidates, because the other candidates aren't there. Thus, the candidate will sink or swim according to their own abilities, which can help a candidate bolster their campaign with a strong showing.

The minus is evident in this particular debate, which was sponsored by gay rights groups. It's not that gay rights groups were sponsoring it - it could have been any special interest group - but that ... well, look at the situation going on here. You're a Democrat running for office, and a group representing gay rights says that they would like you to debate in a new format. You know that the other candidates will have been asked, so it's not like you can refuse a request from one of your party's core constituency.

So there's the pressure to appear because you belong to the party that's inclined to support gay issues. But on top of that is this new format of each candidate appearing individually. What's wrong with it? Well, it's the fact that it's in front of a group of people that is very passionate about their cause. In other words, what else are you going to say in front of these people other than what that particular group wants to hear? They might as well have put the candidate in a dark room tied to a chair with a single light overhead and a gun pointed to his or her head, because that's the kind of pressure that this particular format puts on the candidate when it's done by a special interest group (again, this is regardless of the special interest group).

Of the eight Democratic candidates for president, six appeared. Again, gay rights groups are one of the core constituencies of the Democratic party, so unless a given Democratic candidate's campaign is pretty much a lost cause anyway, then the candidate can't really refuse when asked to appear. This whole set-up, then, is basically a grilling session that is rigged to intimidate a candidate into compliance. Either the candidates comply and say what they special interest group wants to hear, or they will say bad things about the candidate.

Under such duress, nothing that a candidate says can be reliable. "Do you support gay rights, Mr Obama?" "Do you support civil unions, Mrs. Clinton?" Are they supposed to say, "Hell no!"? Hell, no! If they did, then these gay rights groups will raise such a ruckus that they'll be run out of the party - and both the gay rights groups AND the candidates know this. Which is why the candidates' replies will be what these groups want to hear.

These same gay rights groups offered to do the same for the GOP candidates. Not surprisingly, they refused. And they would have been stupid to have accepted, because they would have been roasted alive by either the gay rights groups for saying the wrong things (which is going to occur). OR, in the scenario in which a GOP candidate appears AND says everything that they gay rights groups want to hear, then that same candidate will be roasted alive by party members. So basically, it's a no-win situation for any GOP member to accept such an invitation.

Now suppose the National Rifle Association held such a one-on-one debate, and Charlton Heston is the moderator. What GOP candidate could refuse such an invitation? In turn, what Democratic candidate could accept such an invitation? Thus, you can see that this format of one-on-one is a sham when sponsored by a special interest group.

The best way to do this format is by the same groups that normally hosts such debates. Then the candidate can answer a variety of questions, and the temptation to tailor their responses to their audience is lessened considerably. I think that at least one of the usual debates could prove VERY helpful if done in this format. So in summary, I say that the one-on-one format is a good idea, but hosted by a special interest group is a bad idea.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Quick note

Hey, folks.

I have some stuff to take care of, and I probably won't be posting until Friday. Just wanted to let you know.


John A.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up 8-4-2007

And now the return of the Weekend Wrap-up!

Mother cuts son's allowance
First off the gates is this story of a woman who is fed up with her son's misbehavior, so she cut his allowance and took away his keys and dragged him off the the local police station so that they could talk some sense into him! So how old is this guy? 17? 18?

Nope. Higher.
23? 24?

Higher still.
30? 35?

Higher still.
No way! 40? 50?

Try 61!

He must be some sort of "trust fund" baby. ;-)

Dating outside your race
I may comment more on the attached article later. I find the topic very interesting. Anyway, read this article and see what you think of it. Then think about your own experiences or of those you know.

I am an ar-teest!
Being an artist apparently means never having to say that you're sorry. ;-)

In what can only be called clueless in this post-9/11 age, an artist in a replica of a submarine based on a 200 year old design, floated too close to the Queen Mary II. No, the Queen Mary is an ocean liner. You're thinking of Queen Elizabeth II, who is the current queen of England. Ha, sorry, I couldn't resist.

Anyway, the poor dumb yutz was hauled away, no doubt to be lectured by his mother, who most likely will cut his allowance.

New chic space suit to come soon
After 40 years, NASA astronauts may get a new look for their "Michelin Man" space suits that they have been wearing since the advent of the space program. This article did not provide any pics, but it said that the new suit would weigh 40 lbs, which sounds like a lot until you hear how much the old suits weigh: 300 lbs! You may wonder how astronauts get around in something so heavy. Think! In space the suit is weightless! However, it is very bulky, and the new suits will help them move around a lot better. I just hope that they don't start decorating them like those NASCAR outfits....

China troubles
What is it with China lately? We've been getting TONS (literally!) of their defective crap! We should send it all back, get refunds, and buy from other countries instead until China straightens out. This will work, because China is going to be hosting the Olympics next year, and they want to avoid bad publicity like the plague. We should be all over this making China bend over backwards to make amends. How often do we get a Communist country to roll over and beg for us? I hope our government has some balls for once to do the right thing. We don't deserve the kind of junk we've been getting, and we shouldn't put up with it. Right now, the candidates for president of both parties should be on this issue like lawyers on ambulances!

Editorial Statement for August 2007: My liberal views
For this month - but not starting today - I'm going to list the views in which I'm a ranting looney lefty liberal. Next month I'll list my views in which I'm a radical right wing nut job. And the month after that, I'll list the views in which I am neither looney liberal or whacko conservative. So during the course of the month, watch for my blog entries in which I have in the title: "Editorial Statement for August 2007: My liberal views", and in that entry, I'll list a view in which I favor the left wing. I thought that this would help you good folks out there to know better how I think, and why.

After that, hopefully you'll see why I can't be totally a liberal or totally a conservative - and why I can't be moderate at all (defined as "being in between the two viewpoints"), because like I say on my profile, I take stands rather than try to find the middle ground. Then maybe you good folks will learn how to define your own views, and you'll see that you are probably a lot more like me than you are like Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh. By the way, I'd still like to see a Smackdown! match between those two.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Another example of the evil nature of squirrels

I've said it before: squirrels are evil. Here's the latest example of this.

Also, I'm sorry that I haven't posted lately, but the past few days have been rather busy for me. I'll try to make it up to you all tomorrow (or Sunday) with the first "Weekend Wrap-up" that I've had in months. Oh, and I'll also post my "Editorial Statment of the Month", since we're now into August.

First I do the first editorial cartoon that I've done in months, and now the Weekend Wrap-up! What a week I'm having Oy vey!