Monday, March 31, 2008

Sports stuff

I haven't talked sports in a while. Mainly that's because the local teams haven't done much to talk about!

Let's start with my local university team, the TCU Horned Frogs. The football team is a great team coached by a great coach in Gary Patterson. However, The Mighty BCS is geared to "the big boys" - that is, big schools with big bucks - so that smaller schools don't have a chance. Each season to have ANY chance that the BCS Boys will even look their way, TCU has to go undefeated. Once the Frogs get that one loss, then they're out of it.

Some teams can have TWO losses and still have a shot at the national title. This past football season demonstrated most clearly how screwed up the BCS system is. And yet, despite the "changes" that they're going to implement next season, the TCUs of the world are still not going to have a chance to win it all. We need a playoff system in which anyone with enough heart and soul can take it as far as they can go. THAT'S the classic American underdog story that we all know and love so much. The BCS has to go.

We saw an example of how much better a playoff system is with this year's New York Giants team. Little ol' NYGs took on the big boys (including my team, the Dallas Cowboys), and even beat the previously undefeated New England Patriots. See folks, THAT'S an underdog story! THAT is what the college playoff system should be! I would hope that the BCS Boys would be listening, but they're too busy listening to their cash registers to pay attention.

Coming later in the week, more sports reporting, including the baseball season, which just started today.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Campaign new nuggets

The election season just keeps getting interestinger and interestinger. At least from the Democratic side. The only thing left to resolve on the GOP side is who John McCain will choose as his running mate. My suggestion would be for a female candidate of any race, or a male minority candidate as a way to counter the Dems' eventual choice of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. If the GOP is going to go with another white dude, then my suggestion would be Joe Lieberman. If that occurs, then he'd be the first running mate that was on the ticket for both parties.

As for the Dems, there have been more calls for Hillary to step down. However, she currently has no plans to, nor do I think she should step down. She's gotten this far, and she does have a large number of votes - not as high as Obama's of course, but certainly not chump change. I think she - and her supporters - deserve to see how far this would go. Let the voters decide, not the party hacks and bigwigs who are only concerned about wrapping things up in a hurry rather than settling things right.

It's also for that reason that I think the Dems should go ahead and have a re-vote in Florida and Michigan. It wasn't the voters in those respective states that caused the punishment to be laid down on them by the Democratic party, it was the party heads in those states. Thus, the voters in those states should not be punished for the actions of people that they had no control over. And besides, after the 2000 election, the Dems should have a problem "disenfranchishing" any voter - particularly those from Florida. I say let the re-vote happen, or we'll be hearing from Hillary and her supporters about it for years to come if she doesn't get the nod as the presidential candidate for the Dems.

Whoever gets the eventual nod, there is going to be a very large group in the Democratic party that's going to go away very unhappy. However, I think that this could eventually be a good thing. For too long, excessive political correctness has had an iron hold on the party, and it's way past time for it to let go. The party has been buckling under the weight of its own gnat-straining for decades, and their obsessive/compulsive behavior over not offending anybody anywhere has made them into a party of incoherent ramblers that is increasingly out of touch of what allegedly is their power base: the common man.

Once a candidate is nominated, then either the pillar of their black constituency or their feminist constituency is going to be yanked away, which would cause the party to buckle even more under the weight of their gnat-straining - hopefully to the point of collapse. I have been saying for years that the party needs to crash and burn to start over again. In the time that I've kept up with the political scene, I have learned that slow change from within isn't going to change the party in any meaningful way, so the alternative is for a quick and spectacular collapse so that EVERYONE'S eyes will be opened as to just how corrupt the Democratic party is.

In any case, either the black constituency or the feminist constituency will have their eyes opened, and hopefully that group will learn the lessons that I learned long ago: The party needs to start over - desperately. Right now, the party is rife with cronyism, and minute changes to how things are done are not going to accomplish anything meaningful.

And last, the issue of cross-over voting. Some election officials are so certain of crossover voting solely for the sake of altering the election results of the Democratic primary in Ohio that they are threatening to sue. Think about that: They want to sue people for voting! What a lovely way to crush any sense of civic duty to threaten to sue if the voters don't vote the way party officials want them to vote! They blame Rush Limbaugh and his "Operation Chaos: Rush the Vote" for this.

My response: Even if these voters did "crossvote" at the urgings of the big conservative blowhard - so what? Isn't it the right of voters to vote as they please? Rush didn't force those voters to "cross their vote", but it sure as hell looks like Ohio wants to force the voters to vote a certain way! I can think of little else so Orwellian as threatening to sue anyone over how they voted. Plus, if they sue Limbaugh, he's only going to milk it for all it's worth, so why make him a martyr? Bottom line: There is no way that suing voters is going to look good, so Ohio should just drop it. I also encourage both Obama and Clinton to tell Ohio to just drop the matter. All is going to depend upon how dense and short-sighted the Ohio officials are going to be about the matter. We'll soon see.

Stay tuned, folks! There's still more to come!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

First blogging class

I had my first class last night, and was I nervous! I apparently did a good job of hiding it, because I got a few compliments on my patience. I think, though, that answering their questions helped keep me busy, which kept me from thinking about how nervous I was.

What I learned last night, though, is that there is so much to learn! I tried to keep from stating too much to keep from being overwhelming, but this blog site has so much flexibility that I had to think on the fly on what needed to come first. Making your basic post came first, but within the post, there's stuff you can do, and I hadn't even touched on that part yet. At least I told them enough to get them started.

As I was writing my notes this week, it occurred to me that bloggers today have something that even the most famous of writers of the past did not have: A potential audience the size of all of cyberspace. I used a theatrical metaphor: The blog is your stage, and your audience is everyone who has Internet access. Thus, your potential audience can literally run into the millions. As I wrote that note, I thought to myself that for a writer, realizing that concept can be both exciting and frightening.

Well, that's one class down, and three to go! I'll discuss more of what I talked about in my first class on Saturday or Sunday.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blog news - I will be away until Thursday

Sorry I haven't posted much, but there's a good reason for it. On Wednesday, I will be teaching a blogging class. It's for two hours a week for four weeks. This is the first time I've tried something like this, so I'm a little nervous. I think I'm more excited than nervous, though, and I'm looking forward to this.

Anyhow, I've been busy the past few days and I am going to be busy the next couple of days putting stuff together for my class. But at the same time, I want to keep you updated on how the class is going, so if I am a bit sparse in my posts in the coming weeks - well, now you'll know why. :-)

But I will try to keep at least a once-a-week pace, if for no other reason than to keep you updated on the class' progress. It's a paying gig, and if I help someone take up blogging, then that'd be even cooler. If this works out, I may keep on doing this. Stay tuned, folks - more writers may be on the way!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's pastor

The issue of Barack Obama's pastor has been in the news in recent days, due to some video clips of Rev.Jeremiah Wright making some inflammatory remarks during some of his sermons. I'm sure you've seen clips of Rev. Wright's sermons, but if you haven't, go to YouTube and check it out. Probably you'll find it with the search parameters of "Obama" and "Jeremiah" and "sermon". They weren't pleasant, and they were such that you wonder how Obama could sit and listen to these sermons for 20 years.

To help with damage control, Obama made a speech about the issue, and about the racial divide in general. Here's a link to a transcript of what he said. It came out to 8 pages when I printed it out. If you read it, you see that Obama is indeed an eloquent speaker and writer. But eloquence alone isn't going to cut it. Here's why:

Obama is really, really good about hitting all the right notes at the right time, and he tries to cover everybody. He tries, but he's missing someone, and it's someone significant enough that it's enough to keep me from voting for him.

Had Obama been on the prolife side of the abortion debate, I could very much believe that he means what he said in that speech. But not only is he prochoice, he is probably THE most prochoice of all the candidates that are or were running in both parties. What that means is that he's leaving out the unborn in that eloquent speech of his. All the wonder and the glory that he hopes for all of us stops short of helping the unborn, the most helpless and defenseless of us all. If he can't find room in that big ol' tent of his for the unborn, then it undermines the credibility of his claim to want to help everyone.

But then there's more.

There is also the matter that he's a politician. It is the nature of politicians to try to say things that appeal to the broadest amount of people as possible. But not only is he a politician, he's also a politician running for office. That tweaks the need for him to watch what he says and how he says it.

But there's more still.

Not only is he a politician running for office, he's running for the office of President of the United States, the grandest stage of all. That increases the need for him to watch what he says several times over. He HAS to say the right thing at the right time, whether or not he believes what he says. And there's reason to doubt that what he said in his speech was just words. I already mentioned that he's a politician.

However, consider that he was part of Rev. Wright's congregation for 20 years. A pastor's influence on one's life is not like a local barber or butcher - this person serves a highly critical role that is surpassed only by one's spouse and children. Obama couldn't have sat in the pews for that long and not be affected by what Wright has said - either in a positive way or a negative way. I have no doubt that Wright has good Christian qualities, but some of the sermons he gave shows that he also has a dark side. And the question then becomes: Did that dark side reach out to Obama?

Consider this: Obama won't wear an American flag pin on his lapel, this despite his eloquent speech about being proud to be an American. Why not? My guess that it could be partly because of what Wright had said about this country and the many sins that it has committed. I also love my country, and I also know that it has committed many sins in the past. I also believe that it commits sins today with legalized abortion. But I love my country just the same - enough to wear an American flag pin on my lapel.

That Obama refuses to wear one, even though he is a politician running for the highest office in the land. Remember, it's crucially important that politicians try to do and say things that will reach out to the most people possible. Wearing an American flag lapel pin would be one of those things. You reach more people that way, and it costs very little reputation-wise to pin on one. And yet, he won't do it - despite how important it would be. It costs him more to his reputation to be known for refusing to wear one than actually wearing one would cost. Logically, it just doesn't make sense.

That's enough of a cumulative effect that it makes me wonder just how far apart his views are from mine. Right now, it's already far enough, and he's not getting my vote, because all of the above is enough to make me suspect the sincerity of his words. That is, I highly doubt that he actually believes what he states in his speech. Bottom line, he is a politician saying what he needs to say, and very little else.

Getting back to Rev. Wright, I had forgotten about this, but the Brite Divinity School (located on the campus of Texas Christian University) will be hosting Rev. Wright in an event that is scheduled to award him for his life's work. However, TCU expressed a concern for safety issues, and succeeded in getting the event moved off campus. I think that, since the Brite school had already made those plans, they should have gone ahead as planned. But something must have come up to cause this change, but neither TCU or Brite is talking. We'll just have to wait and see what happens when that time comes. The event is scheduled for the 29th, and I'll let you know if anything happens.

Monday, March 17, 2008

When Holidays Collide...

If you haven't checked a calender lately, today is St. Patrick's Day. AND, Sunday is Easter! It's not often that these two holidays come this close to colliding with each other. At my workplace, we had to decide which holiday we wanted to decorate for. It wasn't long before we decided that we're going to decorate for both holidays!

Note the pics below:

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Easter!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dare to dream!

From an e-mail that I sent to another group of people I know:


Hey, all.

I’ve been in a discussion with others about the pursuit of one’s dreams. I thought of all of you and our time with (our city newspaper's) community columnist panel. I am writing to you all now, because I thought that maybe you can relate to what I’m about to discuss below.

What brought this topic up is the fact that I’ve been writing and drawing for years. My dream is to either be a columnist or an editorial cartoonist for a city newspaper, and preferably both. But the field of column writing and cartooning is difficult to break into unless you are either of a very exceptional talent or you have connections. And yet, despite the fact that very, very few “hit it big”, there are many, many dreamers out there hoping for such success in their respective fields. So the topic of discussion then became “When is it time for the dreamer to stop dreaming?”

Of course, the news biz has struggled in recent years, and is not really looking to hire for such positions from outside its current staff, except by freelance or in a part time/temp (and in our case a couple of years ago – unpaid) way. That limits my options, of course, and the only way I can keep in the practice of writing is by blogging – which I am doing. So, with the odds against me, why do I keep on?

Maybe I’m too stubborn or too stupid to realize that it’s nearly hopeless, but it’s just not in my nature to quit. Plus, success stories HAVE happened, and some of them have happened to people with even more odds against them than I’ve had. In addition to that, I have others – young people, including my nephews and niece – who look up to me and watch what I do. What kind of example would I set by giving up on the dream? I guess I’m saying that I’d rather go down fighting than one day find myself wondering “what might have been” had I kept on just a little longer.

And yet, not everyone gets to be a big rock star. Not everyone gets that role where they get an Oscar. Not everyone gets elected president. Not everyone gets to be the starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. For every Jason Kidd, there are thousands of point guards out there who would love to have his job. But even Jason Kidd had to start somewhere. Maybe it’s not the goal, but the journey. (I’m starting to get philosophical here!).

Even if I never reach my goals, I still learned lessons along the way, including finding out that I can do it. I can write columns and stories that get published and are enjoyed by others. I can draw cartoons that make people laugh and think. The talent IS there. That knowledge alone is comforting in that it tells me that I wasn’t wasting my time by practicing writing and drawing. And if I can teach my nephews and niece to not make the same mistakes I did, then maybe I can help them achieve THEIR dreams.

Maybe that’s what my journey is about. If I can at least do that for them, then it will make my own efforts and struggles worth the trip. And so, I press on, but I do it for them, and for others who look up to me. I do it for those who have supported me, and have wished and prayed for my success. It’s for all those people that I press on, and it’s my hope that one day I can give them the happy news of my success. But if it never happens, at least they’ll know that I tried. So the answer to the question of “When is it time for the dreamer to stop dreaming” is: Never. Go down swinging, but learn to pick your fights.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Campaign notes: Geraldine Ferraro

Geraldine Ferraro's remarks demonstrate that one can have a ton of experience in being a politician, and yet still screw up once in a while. The controversial statement is thus:

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position, and if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Thing is, even if it's true, she should have known better than to say something like that. There was no way that her statement was going to be taken in the manner that it was given. She was more upset that her candidate, Hillary Clinton, isn't doing well in her campaign than expressing a racist statement, so in truth Ferraro was basically venting frustration. And she apparently forgot that Obama is half white.

Odd thing is, when Obama first began his campaign, various pundits pondered as to whether he would be "black enough" for black voters (not this pundit, though, who thought the whole idea of "being black enough" as rather silly). Now apparently he's too black for Ferraro! She did the right thing in resigning her role as a fundraiser, but the damage may already be done. It certainly didn't help Hillary, who needs all the help she can get right now. Time will tell what effect this has on her campaign.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Topic for March 2008: Journalism and the free press

My dream is to work for a city newspaper either as a columnist or as an editorial cartoonist, and preferably both. I love journalism, mainly because of the impact and influence that it can have on our society. Most of the time, that impact is positive, but sometimes it is negative. It all depends upon how it's done. Done right, and even the so-called "powers that be" have to stand and take notice. Done wrong, and it will be a long time before that media outlet will regain lost readership or viewership.

So during the course of the month, I shall be commenting on the journalism field and the freedom of the press. I shall also discuss why I love the field, and why it's a love that won't die despite the increased difficulty of breaking into the field. By the end of the month, I hope you'll see why we need a free press now more than ever.

Stay tuned, folks. More to come.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What a ride! Clinton takes 3 out of 4 states.

In all my years of existence, I don't think I've ever seen a wilder Texas primary/caucus. It was pretty cool - or at least as cool as such political events get.

If you've been living in a cave or otherwise disconnected from the outside world the past 24 hours, Hillary Clinton took 3 out of the 4 states with primaries yesterday, including the two big states of Ohio and Texas. Despite these victories, Barack Obama still has the lead.

Earlier today, Hillary hinted that she'd be willing to share the ticket - provided that she is the top. Obama replied that he still has the lead in delegates. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I don't think they'll share the ticket, because it would mean that one would be "subservient" to the other, and their egos are too big to accept stepping down for the other.

Meanwhile, remember when I said that the campaign between Hillary and Obama is a battle of who holds the stronger "victim card"? Well, today NYTimes columnist Maureen Dowd said basically the same thing! Since that site requires that you register, the title of the column is "Duel of Historical Guilts (NYTimes, March 5, 2008)". Ha! I love it when I'm right! I already beat you to the punch, Maureen! >:-D

Just a quick note, folks - I will be away until Sunday, trying to finish a column that I've been working on for a while. It's about the freedom of the press, and why it's important for our country. I'll fill you in on Sunday.

See ya!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Today is primary/caucus day in Texas! Go vote!

Today is Super Tuesday Jr.! After today, we should pretty much have the GOP candidate locked up. As for the Dems, I'm pulling for a Hillary sweep so that the Dems can continue to fight it out, perhaps all the way to their convention this summer. There's certain issues that the Dems need to hammer out and settle, and if this thing ends too soon, then they'll never get to that point. The main issue to settle is: How prominent a place should they have for political correctness (PC from here on)?

First, don't get me wrong: PC has its uses and its place, and one of those places is indeed in politics. One of the natures of politics is to get even disparate groups talking to each other. However, when used by the Dems, it has been a hammer to use against those who they disagree with. For instance, the Dems say that we must support legalized abortion because it is a woman's right to choose, and anyone who disagrees with it is opposed to women having rights.

There are, of course, other examples that are just as bad, but there's no need to elaborate on each and every example. Suffice it to say that it is Dems who use PC like a club. The GOP does this as well, but to a lesser extent and over fewer issues. The reason that it is a largely Democrat activity is because the Dems are the party with "institutionalized victims' groups" or "permanent victims' groups". Those terms deserve more elaboration, but I'll do that later, and not at this time. I think you can figure that out yourself enough for now; as I've digressed far enough from my topic, and it's time to get back to it.

Getting back to my topic, I hope that Hillary sweeps the states today, or at least picks up Texas, because then it would mean that the Dems would have to slug it out a little longer. Then the Dems would have to continue to slug it out over which PC value they value more. Hopefully in the process, they will realize that by holding on to PC so dearly, they have been handicapping themselves all along. It's like trying to run a 100 yard dash with a cast on one foot when your foot is perfectly healthy. Hopefully they'll also learn that running with a cast on your foot when your foot is perfectly healthy will not only slow you down, it might even damage your foot or ankle. That's what the Dems have been in recent decades: Hobbling with a deliberately self-inflicted ankle injury.

So far nothing has been able to shake the Dems from the hold that PC has on them, and it's my view that it will take a catastrophic shake-down before they are able to see it. I'm hoping that this election proves to be that very shake-down. But if Hillary is swept today, then the opportunity for a catastrophic shake-down slips away, and the Dems will go on hobbling with a cast on their foot when their foot is perfectly healthy. Stay tuned, folks....

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Revealed! Liberal bias in the media!

A recent Washington Post story discussed a Saturday Night Live skit starring "Fauxbama", who is an actor spoofing Barack Obama. Below is the video that is referred to in the article:

Yesterday, these two skits took place on SNL, one of which included Hillary herself:

This was the first time I've watched anything related to SNL in years. For me, it hasn't been the same since the old days when it had John Belushi et al. However, I watched these skits, because it states something that has been repeatedly denied: There is a bias in the media.

I've said before on this very blog that there is a left-wing bias in the media, and often which is almost as bad as shown on the SNL skits presented here. However, it didn't become obvious to the left-wingers until recent months, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were getting neck-and-neck, and the left-wingers had to decide whether they were going to support the race card or the gender card. Race and gender, of course, are the two historical "victim" groups that have been the bread-and-butter of the Democratic party.

However, in this election season, the Dems had the painful choice of deciding between representatives of each of those victims' groups. You couldn't have asked them to make a more painful decision as this, because they had to decide which of their victims' groups was more "entitled" to have their first representative on the ballot. You might as well have asked a parent to decide between twin children.

Thus, with such a backdrop, it was bound to happen that one group of supporters was going to complain about the coverage of their candidate, and right now, it is the supporters of Hillary Clinton. For my part, I think that this can eventually become a good thing, because it will mean that at least half of the usually blind left-wingers will have their eyes opened on just how ubiquitous the bias is in media coverage.

For a pundit such as myself, I am having a field day enjoying all this, because it's all unprecedented. I'm enjoying it so much that come Tuesday, when the primaries come to Texas, I just may vote for Hillary just so that this can go on - hopefully all the way to the Democratic convention. If it gets to that point, then, my friends, you will see fireworks in the convention room the likes of which haven't been seen for decades. Let's hope it comes to that, because I promise you that it will be something to watch.

I've mentioned before that, whichever candidate wins, he or she should ask the other to be his or her running mate. That would be the ideal, but I doubt it would happen, because it would mean that one of the candidates is going to be "subservient" to the other - and I can't see either Clinton or Obama willingly step aside for the other.

If indeed the losing candidate is not offered or refuses to become the running mate of the winning candidate, then I think that John McCain (the presumed GOP candidate) should ask the losing candidate to join his ticket instead. It will probably get cold in hell before such a scenario plays out, but oh, what fun it would be if it does!

Stay tuned, folks! Come Wednesday morning, we'll see how things go from here on!