Archive for January, 2012

“I don’t believe there are any constitutional rights issues here,” Carney said when asked at today’s White House briefing about the regulation.
—White House Spokestool and Rodeo Clown Jay Carney on the impending HHS regulation requiring all health-care plans in the United States to pay for sterilization and contraceptives…including those that induce abortions.

Now to be fair, it isn’t like I expected him to say anything else.  When your already part of the administration that approved the larger unconstitutional scheme, you HAVE to take the position that there is nothing unconstitutional about your unconstitutional details.

And predictably, the Catholic Church pushed back….as they should have.  Uncle has been encroaching on the purview of religion in this country for far too long.  But what surprised me was the outrage that came to the fore in Greater Leftardia.

For two days I have read expressions of unfathomable hatred toward religion, informed by astonishing ignorance, and cognitive dissonance that would have caused their declarants screaming nervous breakdowns if presented on any other topic. 

So much hand-wringing over a “woman’s right to choose [to murder her child under the cloak of “privacy”]”, and not a single thought for a religious organization’s “right to choose” not to participate in acts that are repugnant and contrary to every belief that they hold dear.  That is the essence of freedom of conscience, and if you say that there is nothing wrong with this, then there is nothing beyond the reach of the government, because you have surrendered the right to have a belief contrary from that of the government, and the right to live according to it.

For those claiming that the Church’s “open letter” should strip it of its tax exempt status, you have it backwards.  The Government is encroaching on the Church, not the other way around.   The response has been non-violent, and very reasonable. 

And for those who are incensed that the Church would resist being compelled to take part in your most holy of sacraments, the rite of killing your child, it is one thing for you to eagerly embrace evil, it is quite another for you force others to participate.  And the idea that it being “your body” somehow gives you the right to privacy, but that government can tell someone else what they must do with regard to those they assist?  That disconnect is miles away from any logical conclusion.

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For those of you who didn’t know, we had a “weather event” here in the Puget Sound this week. While warmer temperatures and rain mean that the snow is now just white patches on the lawns, driveways, and roofs of homes, the power outages from the tree limbs brought down by the ice still linger. This meant that we had no church this morning. And what it meant to me was that while I was taking care of a bunch of laundry, I watched “This Week with Georgey Demomouthpiece”.

I now understand some things that used to puzzle me, and I saw at least one moment of unvarnished and unspun truth that spoke volumes, and yet made no impact in the discussion the various wags were having on the screen.

First, after listening to these people who live very comfortably in their journolistic bubbles talk about their opinions on what they see as being the decisive events of the last week, the magnitude of the disservice that these people do to the country hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t pity the people who rely on them to help to shape and warp their opinions on politics; I pity the Republic that is being damaged by people who, like good lemmings, have decided that it is imperative that Mitt Romney release his tax returns, but didn’t feel any burning need to delve into the minutia of the current President’s life…little things like his grades, how he made HIS money, his prowess as a consitutional law professor, or what he wrote while on the Harvard Law Review. The longer I watched, the more I understood how the politicians and the talking heads always seem so disconnected. The only people they pay attention to are each other. But when I thought about it, it made sense, in a perverse and twisted way. After all, they all went to “the best” schools, making them uniquely qualified to analyze events through the lenses so carefully fitted on them in those institutions of higher indoctrination. This is why it is an acceptable practice to wishcast when reality doesn’t match the script they carefully wrote, and why it is acceptable to scorn those who do not share their enlightened world view.

As the hour progressed, we were treated to a short bit about the “importance of math” in this campaign that was almost painful in its juvenility. The old guard of alphabet networks has indeed fallen far when they waste airtime on a piece that isn’t worthy of moveon.org or other simplistic leftwing websites and blogs.

And then the inevitable discussion by the panel on “what Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina means”. The Democratic shills from The Nation and ABC were only too happy to offer their meaningless opinions, but then George Will spoke up, and stated that the prospect of Gingrich as the candidate “must horrify the GOP”. The look on his face betrayed the unmistakable fact that the thought of Gingrich as the candidate horrified HIM.

I have my issues with each of the candidates, but whenever I hear a member of the “approved media” talking about them, all I hear is a chasm between those who are reporting the story, and those who will eventually make the story. The disconnect is jarring, and I foresee a time when the little emperors realize that they are only talking to themselves.

That day can’t come fast enough.

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It seems to me that on MLK day, the real story is how far we have come as a nation, and that it shouldn’t be decided by the fact that we have an African American President, AG, Presidential Advisors, Supreme Court Justice, and EPA head, but the fact that so many of them are corrupt, incompetent, mendacious, or otherwise unacceptable.

I mean despite the Democrats’ apparent belief that “content of character” actually means “racial identity of office holder”, it still is a remarkable feat to have convinced so many Americans that this is the case, allowing these people to become a bloodsucking embarrassment to the Republic, and deflect any and all deserved and reasonable criticism of their considerable shortcomings as “racist”, and completely underserving of a fair hearing.

It really is quite remarkable when you think about it, and even while doing a double facepalm about it in the Great Beyond, Dr. King might have to admit that while it isn’t the “progress” he was seeking, it is progress nonetheless.

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If the current crop of candidates running for GOP nomination doesn’t get their act together, they are going to doom us all to another 4 years of Barack Hussein Obama.

Normally, it might be very entertaining process to let these gentlemen act out today’s equivalent of Idiocracy’s favorite television show, “Ow, My Balls!”, but I’m not a fan of suicidal economic and energy policies, flavored with identity politics and an unhealthy dose of envy.  And the sad thing about the candidates’ current fumbling is that even this crowd, yes even the dreaded Luap Nor has a very real shot at unseating the Naked Emperor, who is trying his hardest to get people thinking about anything but his startling incompetence and unwavering dedication to himself and his twisted vision for this country.

Anyone who has studied history understands that you have to have an ego to want the job of President.  And that’s ok.  Confidence is good.  Narcissism is not.  Again, this might normally be a problem, but since this administration has been faithfully served by a fawning press that shouts down any serious criticism with shouts of “RACISM!”, no extravagance is too excessive for King Barack and Queen Michelle.  This, like so many flaws, provided the GOP candidates with an opportunity, but it is one that they have sadly squandered in favor of the motes in their own eyes.

The first, and greatest opportunity that this presidential election has provided the GOP field is the opportunity to offer a stark and clear alternative to the reigning Democratic philosophy that, if carried to its logical conclusion, can only make us either vassals  or wards of a bankrupt state.  As conservatives, we know where the path we are on will take us.  We can point to evidence of this now in the results of government “compassion”.  We are smart enough to illustrate that the “poor” are the biggest victims of the government’s help without making them the villans.  And yet, what are we doing?  Standing by, watching people who have let their own egos blind them to this simple, powerful truth, as they prove themselves unworthy, or more ambitious than focused on what really matters.  What do I mean?  I’m glad you asked.

I don’t like Mitt Romney.  I’ve watched him on the television, I’ve heard him on the radio, and I’ve looked at his record.  The result is that I have both a personal dislike, and a visceral distrust of him.  And that’s bad, because I want to like the guy.  I really do.  But he is someone who has been running for the job for a decade now, and he, and his supporters are playing from the tried and true GOP method of failure, “Its his turn.”  It is the method that got us the grumpy old guy the last time, and Bob Dole before that.  Running for years isn’t the kind of experience that I want our candidate to have, and his record as governor isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.  Entitlement isn’t becoming, but it is especially unbecoming for a party that wants to appeal to those who have identified it as a bug and not a feature of our current predicament.  

 While I understand and appreciate that states, and not the federal government are the places where things like Romneycare should be tried, but at the same time, being a leader is more than “giving people what they want.”  Anyone can be a rubber stamp, but offering alternatives to something that clearly goes in the wrong direction, and convincing people that the alternatives are better, or barring that, clearly saying “NO.” to the wrong direction is the mark of leadership.  But then, it also requires the courage and acceptance of the fact that you might not be re-elected.   I really don’t know why he is doing it, and I can’t figure out what, other than an understanding of economics that the current President lacks, that he thinks he truly offers as an alternative.

Newt Gingrich.  If I had to sum it up, I’d say “A smart guy (no, really, not like the “smart like Spock” Obama) who says and does dumb things.  Gingrich is another candidate who I want to like.  I can see him speaking at a debate or talk show, or hear him on the radio, and be nodding in agreement, right up until I can’t, because he’s made a wild leap, clean off the reservation, and off into the next county.  Whether it is the favorable self-comparisons to Wilson, T.R., or FDR, or more than coincidental revelations that his default answer to every perceived problem is “government”, he doesn’t fail to disappoint.  When he started in on his ridiculous attacks on Romney for his work at Bain Capital, and for (gasp!) firing people, while making money, it eliminated any doubt that Newt is all about Newt (for anyone who slept through his previous self-coronation as the nominee weeks before Iowa).  Add it to his other moments of dumb (cozying on the couch with San Fran Nan, and his years of gushing about man-made global warming), and I don’t care about the divorces.  He’s already shown me where his heart and his mind are, and he still seemed to think that he could fool me into believing that he represented the alternative we need to present to the country at large.

Ron Paul.  While I think he has some decent economic ideas, he’s clearly failed to grok a simple but fundamental lesson: Isolationism kills.  And he is so eager to go down that road that he thinks that the single most destructive tool ever built by man is simply an expression of sovereignty for one of the most unhinged and belligerent powers in the world today.   That said, I think he is actually honest about why he’s in the race.  However, his followers have an excessively fanatical dedication to him in more than enough supply to make up for the excessive love of self he seems to lack.  And anyone who has ever been told “You just don’t understand.  Ron Paul is the only one who can save this country!!!!11!!!!” knows it. 

John Huntsman.  What makes a man accept an appointment as ambassador from a President who is hostile to every conservative principle that we can state?  What makes that same President offer it in the first place.  Seriously, the talk isn’t impressive, and the walk isn’t there at all.  Throw in some odd advertisements that say some odd things about the candidate, and the best thing I can say is that his daughters will be invited to all the best parties thrown by the Republican Party Reptiles at the convention, but he stands no chance of mounting a serious challenge to his former boss…and I think he knows it.   You can tell me I’m wrong in 4 to 8 years, but this is about him making it his turn in the next election, or the one after that.  Been there, done that, not interested.

Rick Perry.  I love his platform.  I sincerely believe that he is serious about making government smaller, not larger.  He also inherited an economy from George W. Bush, but since he had no incompetence to distract us from, he doesn’t complain.  He just grows jobs.  Did he mess up with Guardasil?  Yep.  Does he know it?  Yep.  However, I think that he also had an expectation that this just belonged to him.  If that wasn’t the case, then he ran a phenomenally bad campaign when he got into it.  That said, he’s done so poorly up to now, I think that he’s probably done.

Rick Santorum.  I admit that I like Rick.  Yes, it is because I am also a social conservative, which means that I also am not likely to believe the sillier stories that people are likely to tell about him.  I believe that he also understands the threats to our country, and not just our culture.  But some of his negative attacks have smacked of desperation.  I think that his message can resonate.  I think that Iowa  proved that.  Romney certainly didn’t expect what happened.  Newt had no idea it was going to happen.  But I think that the temptation to believe that HE had to do this drove some of those attacks.  And that strikes me as silly, because the only person in this race who should be desperate is Barack Hussein Obama, because he can’t run on his record.  That leaves him with the race card, class warfare, and trying to smear whoever he faces in the general election.

In closing,

Mitt: I don’t trust you.  And I’m not the only one.   If you can’t close the deal after this many years, you aren’t going to.  If you gave a damn about the future of this country, you’d thank your supporters, and step back out of the limelight.

Newt: I would love for you to debate the President.  I think that would show the world that on the subject of intellect, he’s all hat and no cattle.  I don’t care about your divorces.  I’m not looking for someone to date; I’m looking for someone who can cogently identify the things that are broken in Washington D.C.,  speak clearly and honestly about them, present a plan that is simple enough for Democrats to understand, and execute it.  And you come so close, only to lose it on the starting premise.  Government does not and should not be the starting point in proposing solutions.  The worst of it is, I think that you mean well, and that is simply your previous government service conditioning you, which is probably why you thought it appropriate and intelligent to criticize the other unacceptable candidate for his private sector experience.

Ron Paul:  Retire already.  Texas is a big state, big enough to contain your brand of insanity, and not be overly burdened by having to admit when asked that you are from there.  Besides, your supporters are more annoying and condescending than even the Obamafaithful, and as this season progresses, they flirt with the prospect of injury by continuing to try to tell me how I just don’t understand about you.

Rick Perry:  I love you man, and in a very non-homo way.  But being right doesn’t mean that you can take the votes for granted.  You have to want it, and you have to work for it.  You didn’t bring your “A” game, and that is why you’re on track to not be the President next year, which is too bad, because I would have loved to hear the whining from the gun fearing wussies of the self-appointed cognoscenti about you being armed, and them not having the courage to call you “stupid” like they did through 8 years of George W. Bush.

Rick Santorum:  You don’t quit, and I admire that.  You have yet to disappoint me by saying something excessively stupid, and therefore I think that you must understand what further success in the primaries will mean for you.  I’m sure that Dan Savage’s attack is just a taste of what kind of character attacks you can expect for trying to have some character and expect the same for us moving forward.  It won’t be easy, and if the media even suspects that you have a serious shot at the nomination, Colmes’ and Robinson’s remarks will seem like the bleeding edge of a very, very large spear tip.   Keep on the message, please.

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For every solution, we have the Federal Government.

From the WaPoo, we have this lovely sign of the apocalypse:

Employers are facing more uncertainty in the wake of a letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warning them that requiring a high school diploma from a job applicant might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Now the story points out that the letter does not have the force of law, and is meant to be taken as a “suggestion”. However, anyone who has ever had to deal with a regulatory agency knows that today’s suggestion is tomorrow’s mandate. And since this idiotic suggestion opens up a whole new avenue of enforcement opportunities (i.e. new budgetary considerations), I fear we can expect this coming soon to an employment application near you.

Also from the article:

The “informal discussion letter” from the EEOC said an employer’s requirement of a high school diploma, long a standard criterion for screening potential employees, must be “job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.” The letter was posted on the commission’s website on Dec. 2.

Now, on one hand, I’m trying to think of what job you could perform without reading skills or math skills. I mean, even the person running the fryer at Mickey D’s has to know how long to set the timer for, right? And a basic knowledge of chemistry made slow days as a stock clerk infinitely more interesting. (Bombs, anyone?  You couldn’t bowl with frozen turkeys and two liter bottles of soda all the time.)

But then, on the other hand, I think of the misspellings we see on fast food signs, or the time when we had that “special” person making our customer service experience a memorable one, courtesy of a public education system that will, when pressed, admit that it doesn’t even do as well as it used to (when our grandparents had to learn LATIN and actually read the hardcore literature prior to a successful matriculation, and now we’re lucky when the kids get out knowing where their own state is located on a map).  I know, I know.  These dedicated experts will always tell us that the answer is to pay teachers more, but I find myself less and less convinced by that reasoning. (And before my friends who are teachers decide to jump down my throat, yes, I understand that there have been other developments changing how you do your jobs, and expecting much more from you than should be expected, but in an age where so much knowledge is literally at our fingertips, how can you be in any way complacent with the almost constant dumbing down of your charges?)

It may be endy, but it certainly isn’t funny.  When government is the only employer, then it will be appropriate for the government to dictate what the minimum requirements for employment will be.

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Telling the story of an icon can be a daunting prospect, and while some might find the proposition that a comic-book hero can be an icon to be hyperbole, I would respectfully disagree. While the short story has long been considered an “American” contribution to literature, I think that as comic books came into their own in the 20th Century, they embodied a form of storytelling that was uniquely American as well, and in terms of mytholigical significance in American society, there are those characters that occupy the loftiest heights in this rich pantheon of characters. Captain America is one of those characters, second only to Superman in terms of what he has meant to generations of boys in this country.

For me, Captain America is the character on the cover above, as drawn by one of his two-creators, Jack Kirby, during the 1960s, known to comic book collectors as the “Silver Age” of comics. Having spent as much as my youth as I did seeking out the 60s and 70s Marvel and DC comics, I consider myself a bit better acquainted with the mythology than most, which means that I set the bar very high for these modern film adaptations of the characters. Some times I’ve been disappointed (The Incredible Hulk), sometimes I’ve been underwhelmed (Ghost Rider), sometimes I’ve felt cheated (The Fantastic Four…yes, Jessica Alba in a skin tight suit was fun, but over all, I wanted a story.), and then there have been the times they got it right (Iron Man, Thor). I can say that they impressed me this time.

First, there is the matter of casting. I wasn’t sure that Chris Evans was the right choice for the star-spangled Avenger, and without the magic of CGI animation making him a 98-pound weakling, he wouldn’t have been. I also realized that the rewrite of Nick Fury in the movies would create an issue with Howling Commandos, but seeing Dum Dum Dugan (played by Neal McDonough) on the screen was like seeing an old friend.  Likewise, Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine and Tommy Lee Jones as the grumpy senior officer in charge of the Super Soldier Project was inspired. 

While the screenwriters did make some changes to the story (a Bucky who knew Cap before the war, and who was the same age and bigger than the pre-experiment Steve Rogers, a Red Skull who was head of Hydra during the war and more loyal to himself than Hitler, how Bucky died, and how Cap took his 70 year nap), they were deftly handled, and as a fan, I found I was not offended by them.

As the story unfolded, I found myself impressed with how the story drew me in, and how it showed the clear difference between good and evil, as represented by Cap, the former little guy who would not abuse the great power he’d been given, and the Red Skull, a bully made stronger by the early incarnation of the Super Soldier Serum.  Cap became an inspiration to anyone who’d seen him in action.  The Skull inspired fear through his cruelty and sheer brute force.  And as Cap gained the respect of those who knew him, his legend grew, where the Skull was a shadowy figure to a world that never knew the extent of the threat that he posed to them. 

At its heart, this film is the comic book brought to life, showing the spirit of a skinny kid who never let the bullies beat his spirit, even as they sometimes brutalized him physically, and sometimes won by using his head instead of his body.

I only regret that Jack Kirby never got to see it.

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