Thursday, October 28, 2010

advanced citizenship

Living in perhaps the world's most successful Republic is a responsibility. Those that don't actively participate in the maintenance of freedom don't deserve its protection - even though they will be afforded it by the grace of others.

John Adams may have said it better, "Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual--or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country."

Here are some handy tools for voters:

  1. Voting Rights (Virginia residents)
  2. Polling Place locator (New tool by Google)*
  3. Vote Smart (Tool for getting information and matching you with the best candidate)* 
  4. Local Voter Guides (Find one for your town or create your own)*
  5. Election Hotline (Ask questions and report problems)*
  6. Politifact (Check to see which campaign ads are true or false)*
But to be honest, if you do not know where you stand by now...then you have not been trying very hard.

*Source: The Coffee Party USA

Monday, October 25, 2010

the free market is a hoax

The real fight is not over "letting the market play-out," but over who controls the market through political manipulation - bad government. And just like many things, those who are yelling the loudest about the 'expansion of government' are the one's most benefiting from it.

And they are about to get more control over Congress - every man for himself.

Friday, October 22, 2010

adios juan

Stephen Voss/©2007 NPR
It is no secret that this macaroni is a huge fan of NPR. I donate a few hundred dollars a year to WAMU in Washington, DC. Every weekday morning from 10:00 a.m. until 12 Noon you can find me tuned into The Diane Rehm Show while at work. I find her show to be current, accurate and insightful. With that being said, I think it is a huge mistake for conservative politicians and pundits to go after NPR for firing Juan Williams this week.

Juan is a political commentator and a pretty good one. He is well known for being the liberal shrill on Fox News. He also made a mistake saying what he did on Bill O'Reilly's show on Monday.

We should not discriminate against people because of who they 'appear' to be. The idea that you would be nervous getting on a plane with a Muslim in traditional clothing is ludicrous. Why would you be nervous? You don't think this person has been eye-balled by every TSA agent from the parking lot to his seat on the Airbus? Plus, all the images I saw of the 911 hijackers were of dark-skinned guys wearing blue jeans and t-shirts. (So Juan better not hop on a flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas any Saturday morning, he'd be real uncomfortable.)

Secondly, I'm sure NPR has an internal record on Juan and cause for his dismissal. As a contracted employee, Juan can probably be terminated for anytime and any reason. Just like most non-union employees and contractors.

And cut the crap about political correctness or someone might point out that Juan is only on Fox News because he is that liberal black guy from NPR.

Final Note: Eric Cantor can try all he wants to defund NPR. NPR is no ACORN. Its members are well educated and have incomes above the national average. Plus, NPR gets less than two percent of its funds from Federal coffers. This event will amount to nothing. Politicians will yell and forget because they don't really care about Juan and have an election coming up. Commentators will scream but forget because they don't really care about Juan and have an election coming up. And Juan doesn't care because he just signed for $2 million with Fox News.

And I'm going to dinner, so I'm going to forget real soon too.

UPDATE: Juan addressed his firing on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show on Tuesday. It is easy to tell that Mr. Williams feelings are really hurt. It has also become more obvious this week that NPR's national leadership did not like William's dual role at Fox News. This firing has become a PR problem for NPR, but it will not affect their funding or operation.

And after listening to Juan for an hour, I think he is wrong. You are either a pundit or a journalist. I don't think audiences enjoy those who switch back and forth. I certainly do not.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

hat tip England

You really have to tip your hat to Britain. They are experiencing some of the same problems we are, but their government and people appear to be in a place where they are willing to take drastic measures to try to change the nation's financial outlook. Anyone who says they know whether it will work or not is lying. Make no mistake, this is a big gamble for Britain. The question may finally be answered however; what happens to a nation's economy when the government takes a huge step back in spending and investment?

But one word of warning to those cheering on the cuts but leaving their eyes closed to the hardcore regulations being proposed. Because Britain is making sure everyone shares in the pain of righting the nation's course - even the financial system.

Anything we do in this country must reflect their complete attempt. This means spending cuts or freezes, tax increases and regulations to insure the efforts are balanced evenly across the entire country and economy - rich and poor people as well as public AND private enterprises.

dah' head injuries

NFL Hall of Famer, Washington Redskin Sammy Baugh.
Mike Ditka is on the right track concerning the NFL's problems with head injuries. The football helmet has become a weapon and the players are obviously not using proper tackling techniques during live play. The solution: take the protection of the face mask, even the helmet, away from them. Too many concussions are occurring and today's better medical practices are showing that head injuries have long been a problem in football.

I'm not buying the statements of players, pundits and fans that the league is overly concerned with the issue. New studies are showing that these 'minor' brain injuries have real problems for players now and later in life. Retired pros have testified about their disabilities and their warnings need to be heeded.

As for the complaint that a crack-down on these head-leading hits will change the way the game is played; yes it will. That is the point.

Update: The NFL has released the video it sent to players and coaches on Wednesday with explanations and examples of bad and good hits.

Friday, October 15, 2010

eric cantor the wimp

Yeap, Eric is a wimp.
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-7th, said this morning that people know where he stands on issues and that he won't debate his opponents and give them a "platform for a food fight."
"My positions are well-known as far as the issues in Washington and the issues facing the people of this state and this country right now," Cantor, a 10-year incumbent and outspoken critic of the Obama administration, said in a meeting with the Times-Dispatch editorial board.
"I am part of the opposition nationally to what's been going on," he said. "I don't think there's any question about where I stand."
Cantor refuses to debate his opponents, Democrat Rick Waugh, a Louisa County social worker; and Floyd Bayne of Chesterfield County, an independent conservative who has tea-party backing.
Waugh has put out a "wanted" poster on Cantor calling him a "chicken." He has hired someone to walk around in a chicken suit to make that point.
The problem, Cantor said today, is that his opponents "have put forth no substance whatsoever."
"They're not talking about their vision for the way we should take this country, all they're doing is engaging in demonstrations and theatrics and really what they're about is a food fight," he said. "And I'm not interested in giving them a platform for a food fight."
Is he going to win re-election? Most likely. Does he have an obligation to participate in a debate? Yes he does. It's called defending your policies and opinions. If you can't do that live and in living color, then your opinions carry very little weight. Plus, I think he may be a little bit afraid of Bayne. I would be.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

you have to earn it

Jon Stewart and Eric Cantor had a discussion this week about Cantor's new book. Does it amaze only me that politicians and pundits continue to sit down with the team at Comedy Central and think they can push their usual bullshit? Cantor gets ripped by Stewart in front of a pro-Stewart crowd. It was predictable. 

Cantor does reveal a true Republican characteristic though. The idea that successful people are only successful because they have worked hard and the unsuccessful just have not earned anything with their actions.
Money quote, "That’s what America’s about. It’s about providing an even playing field for opportunity, not the government sitting here saying, ‘This person here’s too successful, this one’s not, I’m gonna take from this one and give to that one.’ That’s the principle. It’s earned success."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

thanks andrew

The Daily Dish turned ten this week. I started reading Andrew during the Kerry/Bush presidential campaign. I have read his blog every day since. It is a level of journalism that exists in very few places today. He is honest and egoless. He is not afraid to change his mind and you can tell has a good heart. Also, The Daily Dish is not just Andrew, but it is all his readers. He makes room for all of us.

I encourage everyone to take a look at his work. You'll be a better person for it and you will be joining a family. (Take a listen to Andrew with Charlie Rose last night.)
Photo: Trey Ratcliffe

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Krystal Ball

The 1st District of Virginia has once again found itself without a good Democratic candidate. At this point I'm not seeing any reason not to vote for the incumbent Rob Wittman. His record has been a patchwork of supporting environmental issues, voting the party line against Obama and a few pathetic attempts to support our military bases. Fortunately for Wittman, the Democrats have nominated Krystal Ball for their ticket.

Ball (a person I have knowledge of by a three degree separation) has recently made the news because she has had the nerve to enjoy herself. Photos have surfaced on the Internet that presented a campaign speed bump. Ball and her team then demonstrated that they are not ready for primetime by mismanaging their response to the photos. In reality, the photos are much-ado-about-nothing and should have been handled as such. No one cares that Ball was twenty and liked to have fun with her friends and dressed like a sexy santa.

Beyond my disappointment in the Democrats' candidate and that candidate's poor showing, Ball has opened a window into future political campaigns for me. Ball is in her early thirties and part of a generation whose recent youth was surrounded by digital cameras. I have a sneaking suspicion that every political candidate 35 and under is going to face this same predicament sooner or later. Guess what? Don't handle it the way Ball did.

Candidates are gong to have to embrace their youthful experiences; keg-stands, Rudolph dildo-noses and everything else. They need to remember to mimic the Clinton/Obama model when they did not deny drug use. Social media has made the world more transparent and virtually impossible to hide public actions (even private). Everyone needs to get serious about their online brand or face problems like Ball. Friends, family and employers can now see it all. We better live like we know that.