Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year.

See you all next year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Music Post

Still sick and not feeling like entering the foray of politics during this holiday season, so, even though it is after Christmas, I thought I'd share a Christmas song I recorded in my home studio a few weeks ago, and since my blog is musical musings, I thought I'd post on music. If you want to listen to my cover of "Mary Did You Know" go to my company's myspace page. I have a few different artists on there, but mine is the third track listed... and listen to "Mary Did You Know"...just for fun.

Have a happy new year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

I'll post again after the holidays. I need a vacation.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Too bad Guiliani won't run again; we could use a real leader

Not to relive last year's primaries and elections, but McCain/Palin was a terrible idea. Romney or Guiliani, I would've voted for.

Hell, I would've voted for McCain had he not let the GOP trample him after he won the nomination and push him to pick the [disastrous] Palin. He said "Country First" yet he put the party's leadership first. Not something I want in the leader. And then, to make it worse, after he picked Palin, he shoved her under the bus during his campaign. I couldn't have confidence in a man who would pick someone he didn't believe in, and I couldn't have confidence in a vice president who doesn't even have the respect of the guy she's running with.

Guiliani: I would've voted for him. I'm willing to bet a lot of other centrists and moderate/progressive Republicans, not to mention even independents, would've too. He held New York together after 9/11. While Bush was off starting two wars and blaming them both on 9/11, Guiliani was rebuilding New York. He was a true leader.

Too bad he dropped out of the primaries.

And too bad he won't be running for Senator, or Govenor, and will instead remain on the sidelines.

Too bad. He's a real player, and a real leader. I could definitely have confidence in him.


Friday, December 18, 2009

DC Mayor Signs Same-Sex Marriage Law

Washington (CNN) -- The nation's capital city took a major step Friday toward legalizing same-sex marriage.

District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signed a measure recognizing such marriages as legal. The district council overwhelming passed the bill Tuesday, following a similar vote December 1.
Fenty signed the measure at All Souls Church, a Unitarian Universalist house of worship in the northwest part of the district that is known for its diversity and for the welcoming of same-sex couples.

The measure now goes to Congress for a 30-day review period, but it's considered unlikely that the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill would block the bill. By law, Congress has the right to review and overturn laws created by the District of Columbia's council.

If the measure becomes law, the district will join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa in legalizing same-sex marriages. A law legalizing such marriages in New Hampshire takes effect January 1.

Earlier this year, lawmakers in Maine approved a measure legalizing same-sex marriages, but voters in the state last month passed a referendum to overturn the new law. Last week, New York's state Senate defeated a bill that would legalize such marriages. A similar bill stalled last week in New Jersey's state senate.

Tuesday's vote in the nation's capital prompted approval from gay rights groups. The Human Rights Campaign called passage of the legislation "a victory for all D.C. residents."

"The legislation the council passed today reinforces the legal equality and religious freedoms to which all D.C. residents are entitled," the organization's president, Joe Solmonese, said in a written statement.

The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, said "the fight is not over."

"Politicians on the city council are acting as if they have the right through legislation to deprive citizens of D.C. of their core civil right to vote, but we will not let them get away with it," said Brian Brown, the organization's executive director.

"We will go to Congress, we will go to the courts, we will fight for the people's right to vote," he said.

Opposition to the legislation also came from the Catholic Church's Archdiocese of Washington, which has said that the measure could restrict the church's ability to provide charity services, apparently because the church might cut back on services rather than comply with the measure's requirements.

It is inevitable. One day all of the US will have equality in this arena. The US does seem to gravitate towards equality, albeit sometimes after quite awhile.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas and the cultural war

I was reading over at Dave's blog his experience at a Chinese Restaurant. In his post Maybe Some Chow Mein and an Egg Roll, Dave talks about his meal at the "Gourmet" Restaurant Panda express. It does say "Gourmet" on the logo...

So we ordered, ate our wonderfully bland mediocre gourmet food and headed

And there she was. Sitting on the concrete right by the doorway. Maybe 40
years old, dirty, disheveled, and not looking good.

...Living in a somewhat urban setting, you get used to this type of attack.
The homeless/lazy/down on their luck/lookin’ for a buck person. But this
was different.
Because she looked right at me and asked me for some
food. Maybe some chow mein and an egg roll. And she apologized. She said she was

I quickly went inside and ordered her food. A big plate of noodles and her
egg roll, with chicken. And since the guy told me an additional item wouldn’t
cost any more, I decided to treat her to a plate of orange chicken as

As soon as I gave her the food she apologized again and dove into it as if
she hadn’t eaten in a week. Which was quite possibly true.

I really like where he goes next.

Christians are pretty quick to defend “our” season. We are almost
cataclysmic if stores say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. And heaven
help the person who suggests that maybe for their own religious reasons, they
would rather not participate in the office gift exchange or Christmas

But is it possible that God, just as He was with Israel, is pretty upset
with us? Maybe our version of Christmas has just become another empty burnt

Maybe in the face of our hungry fellow man, whether he is in Darfur,
Indonesia, an abandoned inner city, or down the street from where we live, our
trees, twinkling lights, and rush to get the latest iphone or Wii Fit
gadget are the things that the ancient prophet Amos says God

Last night God broke my heart again. I hate when he does that. And believe
me, it happens over and over. Because I can be a stubborn guy.

I cannot get that woman out of my mind, and yet I am pretty sure God is
okay with that.

Sometimes Christmas can be such a struggle.

I totally agree with Dave here. Even on my own blogroll, I see many that are so concerned with the "cultural war" as Focus on the Family puts it, or the so-called "war on Christmas" that O'Reilly is bemoaning. But I think we lost those battles two generations ago, during the prosperity of the '50s, and it's only gotten worse. We lost the "cultural war" to ourselves.

We shouldn't be worrying about stores saying "happy holidays" vs. Merry Christmas. I don't think Christ would really care, honestly. I think where his heart gets broken is just as Dave mentions: when we are so worried about buying gifts and preserving the tradition of Christmas that we forget that Christ came to SAVE the world. Not to make a really cool excuse to buy each other stuff and make wishlists.

Further reading:
Advent Conspiracy
Heifer International

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Supply side won't save us this time

David Frum has an interesting review on the Frum Forum on Bruce Bartlett's book The New American Economy.

Bruce Bartlett was one of the original supply-siders. He shows that in the 1970's and 80's, three US Presidents (Nixon, Ford, and Carter) had all tried, and failed, to effectively fight the sluggish economy and high inflation of the time.

At the time, most economists were saying that a recession and inflation cancelled each other out and couldn't exist at the same time, even if the reality was disproving the theory.

A small, "dissident" group of economists came up a way to fight non-inflationary growth: supply-side economics. And it worked. "Carter's Recession" as Reagan called it, ended, thanks largely to supply side economics.

But Bartlett argues further that supply-side is not a cure all. It was a cure for the '70s and '80s stagflation. Supply side economics were "...elegantly designed to counter stagflation. Other problems required other solutions. And boy, do America and the world now face other problems: deflation, debt, and the failure of economic growth to translate into rising incomes for most Americans."

I like the way Frum ends his review:

"A free-market economic policy for our time would stress reflation to combat deflation and a payroll tax holiday to spur job creation. It would propose health reforms to control costs and thus boost middle class incomes and slow the rise in government spending. It would, as Bartlett has done, call for consumption taxes to balance the budget and avert the payroll and income tax increases that will otherwise befall.

Such a policy would depart from present conservative orthodoxy. But the supplysiders departed from the conservative orthodoxy of their day, and we admire them for it! We do not honor them by refusing to emulate them."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Boys will be boys, and men will be women.

My friends Kyle, Tristan, and I discuss the subject of men and masculinity quite frequently. I believe that the quote goes from Fight Club, "we are a generation of men raised by women" really describes my generation. We are told to act gentler, kinder, and more reserved. To settle down, be quiet, and be sensitive. Not since the days of the Dandy have men been told more often to act more like, well, women.

A comedian, Mark Gungor, said something along the lines of "Really, if you ask most women to describe their ideal man, listen to them, they'll describe another woman!" saying things like, "You need to be more emotional. You need to be in touch with your feelings. You've got to go shopping!"

I don't think we need to go back to the days where women were second class citizens. Far from it. But I think somewhere along the road to gender equality and suffrage, it was thought that in order to achieve equality for the woman, the man needed to be brought down and made inferior. Masculinity has been made out to be something wrong, something that men need to rise above, or grow out of.

A friend of mine is going through a rough time right now. His girlfriend cannot accept that he likes masculine things, like guns, motorcycles, and such. She thinks of these things as juvenile and sophomoric, without realizing that he is just being who he is supposed to be, who he wants to be; he is being who and what he was made to be: a man.

As much as I don't like product plugs, over at Docker's, their ad campaign sums up so much. I'll repost the text here:


Susannah, over at Get the Big Idea, also posted on this.

Monday, December 7, 2009

GOP Litmus Test Resolution

The Republican National Convention (RNC) has obtained the necessary co-sponsors to bypass the RNC's resolution's committee and eventually vote on the "litmus" test for a candidate to be considered "pure" enough to get the GOP's backing, according to David Frum's forum . Not only is this political suicide for the GOP, it's just plain stupid.

This is the Litmus Test:

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;
(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run health care;
(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation
(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check
(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants
(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges
(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat
(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act
(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion
(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.

In order to be considered for political backing by the GOP, a candidate must sign off on 8 out of 10 of this list. The rationale for this? They are invoking the spirit of Reagan, albeit misguidedly, by saying that since he said that “that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent,” the resolution will embody that spirit of Reagan and cut off all Republicans who don't fit at least 8 out of 10 items from the resolution.

I don't know about that. Reagan constantly talked about the "big-tent party." This doesn't seem like a big tent. This seems like an eight out of ten pup tent to me.

Oops, looks like I only score 7 of 10 (I'll leave it to you to guess which 7). I guess I can't be a Republican anymore. But wait...I'm a moderate, with pretty common views for my generation. Oh well. Guess the GOP doesn't need Generation X and Y.

This just doesn't make sense at all. Before, I've blogged about building a moderate part (here, here, here, here, and here) of the GOP, much like the Democrats have their blue dogs and their DLC (Democratic Leadership Committee) to balance the far-left. We need a Red-Dog or RLC (Republican Leadership Committee) type organization to balance the Republican National Convention, especially if they pass this suicidal GOP litmus test.

If there is a candidate that Progressive Republicans could support, that we believe could bring embody the GOP's spirit and win again, but doesn't meet the RNC's 8 of 10 lunacy, the Progressive Republican organization should be able to rally behind said candidate and provide backing and support. Why should we let the far-right drive the party into obscurity?

Let's not only defeat the resolution, but let's make sure similar resolutions are not only circumvented, but defeated as well. There are more of us, and we want a winning GOP again. Not some pure minority that just spouts off items from a ten item list.

Tea Party Movement beginning to fracture

CNN-It emerged in anger and it threatens to split in anger.
One major group in the Tea Party movement -- named after the famous Boston Tea Party -- is set to host its first convention in February, with former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin as its keynote speaker.

But there are fractures in the movement that threaten its future. And if history's any guide, such movements tend to flame out.

The Tea Party movement erupted on April 15 -- tax day -- over criticism of President Obama's economic policies and what organizers called big government out of control. The movement, made up of local, state and national groups, continues to protest what it considers fiscally unsound policies.

And the movement is well funded. Action groups like FreedomWorks -- chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey -- helped organize and fund its April 15 rally in Washington.
Other groups, including Americans for Prosperity, Tea Party Nation and Tea Party Patriots, are also vying for the helm of the movement, and it's creating what some are calling "competitive chaos."

Some Tea Partiers have voiced anger and concern over whether the powerful groups are "astroturfing'' what is supposed to be a grass-roots coalition -- the idea that the movement is being organized by old-fashioned GOP bigwigs to promote their agenda.

Donna Klink, of the Golden Triangle Tea Party-Texas, said in a post on the Tea Party Patriots Web site that the chaos needs to be addressed.
"We must craft a simple coalition message that we can all agree on. ... We should all remember the simple principles of 'Strength in Numbers' and 'United We Stand, Divided We Fall,' " she wrote.

Klink added that individual Tea Party groups can keep their own identity and beliefs while "still reaching out to and working with other groups that share common goals."
"We MUST stop this battle within and fight together," she insists.
The factions, however, have said they are only trying to engage citizens in fiscal conservatism -- and disagreements are inevitable...

...While anger over economic issues sparked the movement, it has come to represent anger in general -- from anger over health care reform to just anger against politicians, like Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

At rallies over the summer and fall, crowds carried signs portraying Obama as Hitler and likening his policies to those of Nazi Germany. In one case, heavy criticism forced a Tea Party group in Danville, Virginia, to cancel a bonfire in which an effigy of Pelosi was to be burned.
And there's the threat that fringe members will taint the public's perception of the movement.

"The Tea Party combines the best elements of civic activism with some of the worst elements of fringe extremism," said GOP strategist and CNN contributor John Feehery in a commentary. "While most Tea Party activists are genuinely concerned about the future of the country, some others see conspiracies around every corner and use unacceptable rhetoric to communicate their displeasure with the president."

Steinhauser noted that the fringe elements only make up a small part of the movement and should not come to represent the cause....

...That issue is similar to what other populist movements in the U.S. have faced over time.
Jon Avlon, author of "Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics," has said that history shows that Tea Party-esque movements and "demagogues rise when the economy turns south."

"They specialize in blaming others for the troubles with wild accusations. It's a time-honored formulation, a powerful narcotic for the nervous and dispossessed, with violent side effects," he wrote in a commentary.

The populist movement started in the 19th century. The Populist Party later emerged, made up largely of farmers, and coalesced around opposition to the gold standard as currency.
Its ties to the free-silver movement, among other things, failed to resonate with a broader base of Americans -- especially urbanites in populous states.

Later in the 20th century, populist anger rose up during the Great Depression, focused on big business's role in the 1929 stock market crash and its subsequent effect on American society. And in the late 1960s, populist anger was geared against big government.
"But now we've got both -- anger at big business and big government," said Avlon, a columnist for The "It's a perfect political storm, primed for a return to pitchfork politics. ... The fringe is blurring with the base, creating leverage on the party leadership."

Nathan Gonzalez of the Rothenberg Political Report said that in order for Tea Party activism to blossom into a lasting movement, it "has to exhibit some real influence that goes beyond a set of rallies."
He said that while there's the risk of fading away -- based on the divisions within the movement -- it has growth potential.

"There's certainly a risk of dying out [like many populist movements] but there's the potential for having some staying power as well," he said. "If they become larger or more organized there's a potential to have more influence. It depends on how they're able to harness the energy that's there now and translate that into future success."

And part of that organization could come from having a face to associate with the Tea Party name.
Palin, Fox News' Glenn Beck and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, have emerged as Tea Party darlings.
Gonzalez said the Tea Partiers need to have a one person to identify with their message -- much in the way Obama became identified with "change" in the 2008 presidential election.

If the Tea Party movement wants to develop into a political party or force, Gonzalez added, it should take the lessons of the populists and other third-party movements to heart.
"I think if a third party wants to take off, there has to be a face with it. And Ross Perot was a good example of that in 1992 and 1996. It's become more difficult [with this movement]."

Watching the tea-party movement, I've seen some things that are worth protesting. But I've also seen the fringe there; those that call Obama a Hitler/Socialist/Fascist etc...I liked that they were protesting fiscal irresponsibility. But I really wish those same people would hold accountable those they hold up as heroes. For example, both Bush and Palin were extremely fiscally irresponsible while they were in charge of their respective states. Bush caused the worst deficit ever (Obama's hasn't hit yet, so it doesn't really count as the worst-yet), and Palin's bridge to nowhere was a disaster (yes, she started the bridge to nowhere, she was for it before she was against it, it was in fact her baby).

What I hope to see if this movement takes hold and becomes a third party, as the commentary above postulates, is true fiscal responsibility [read: fiscal conservatism]. Until then, it's just another populist movement destined to fizzle out.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Conservative Bible

Really people? C'mon! New politically conservative version of the bible being written...

I seriously cannot understand the utter idiocy of some people. Not only does the religious right try to read conservative politics into texts that are 2,000 years old and older, but they are now trying to actually write these biases into the text...this is just as bad as when liberal scholars have tried to rewrite the bible in gender-neutral terms (i.e. God as the "Father-Mother" in places where "father" appeared before).

"Professors are the most liberal group of people in the world, and it's professors who are doing the popular modern translations of the Bible," said Andy Schlafly, founder of, the project's online home.
Experts who have devoted their careers to unraveling the ancient texts of the Scriptures, many in long-extinct languages, are predictably skeptical about a project by amateur translators.
"This is not making scripture understandable to people today, it's reworking scripture to support a particular political or social agenda," said Timothy Paul Jones, a professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., who calls himself a theological conservative.

Religious publishers already provide an alphabet soup of Bible translations for a range of theological outlooks, from the King James Version (KJV) to the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and beyond. The most widely used traditional translations were overseen by scholars who are considered the best minds in conservative Christianity.
"The phrase 'theological conservative' does not mean that someone is politically conservative," said Schlafly, who lives in Far Hills, N.J.

This liberal slanting, Schlafly argues, ranges from changing gendered language — Jesus calling his disciples to be "fishers of people" rather than "fishers of men" — to more subtle choices, like the 2001 English Standard Version of the Bible, which uses "comrade" and "laborer" more often than the conservative-friendly "volunteer."


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama to send 30,000 troops

Washington (CNN) - President Obama is sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and is ordering military officials to get the reinforcements there within six months, White House officials told CNN Tuesday.

The president, whom Republicans had accused of "dithering" over the decision, came to the conclusion that the deployment needs to be accelerated to knock back the Taliban, the officials said.

The push for a speedy deployment surprised some observers, because White House officials who defended Obama's slow pace of coming to a decision had said the Pentagon wouldn't be able to get new troops to Afghanistan that quickly anyway.

Asked to explain that seeming contradiction, a White House official told CNN: "The president is saying this has to happen, so the military will make it happen."


I'm glad the president finally made a decision on Afghanistan. I mind that he took time to make the decision, that way he makes a sound one. What I do mind is that Obama was voted into office to change things, to be something different. And mostly what I've seen this last [almost] year has been a lot of political pandering. Decisions based more on polls and opinion than on actually doing what needs to be done. I'd rather have a President who makes decisions I don't agree with, but whom I trust is making those decisions because he believes they are the right ones, not because a poll told him to.

Obama needs to step up his game. I believe he is, and I hope the next three years are years of decisions from the man. He needs to do what he promised and make it happen. Once this healthcare debate is over, he needs to make those policies and decisions that will define his presidency. I just hope we don't look back at Obama as the president of polls.