Wednesday, December 12, 2007

pay no attention to that man behind the curtain




occasionally, someone in the media has the courage to draw back the veil. one such man is correspondent jonathan mann of cnn, who interviewed al gore after he received the nobel peace prize , which became sorta silly after yasir arafat won it in ’94. kinda like the heisman trophy became in ’97 when peyton manning lost out to charles woodson. anyway - in a post award interview, jonathan mann asked the following, "The Associated Press, among other sources, is reporting that your family home near Nashville, Tennessee, used $1,200 a month in electricity, which is 10 times the average for homes nearby. It's been widely disseminated, and I think that's what he's getting at. Is it true? Are you a little less green than you seem?"

to which al gore replied, “There's a global warming denier group that put out misleading information.”

to which mann parried, “The Associated Press is not that kind of organization.”

to which al gore responded, “No, they reported what that group said. And the -- the -- look, when you try to make a case like this, you are going to have -- you're going to have people try to attack the messenger in order to get at the message. They have not been able to succeed. But the most important element of this is the message. And part of what they -- part of what these deniers try to communicate is that the only way to solve this crisis is for individuals to make changes in their own lives. We've made those changes, many millions of others have, but we have to stop kidding ourselves. This is not a 'me' problem. It's a 'we' problem.”

the italics and bold are mine. i mean, isn’t the main message of conservation individual responsibility? clearly, mann, in totoesque fashion, has pulled back the curtain to reveal al gore for who he truly is - the green equivalent of l. frank baum’s huckster.

but be of good cheer - gore can only pull the wool over the eyes of those of us who have no heart, no courage, or no brains.

Friday, December 07, 2007

more election fodder

on april 16, 1781, samuel adams said in the boston gazette: "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."

it's a weighty task we set forth to accomplish every election cycle, no? but in the information age, opportunities to appraise candidates are not difficult to find.

on december 4, 2007, republican presidential candidate, fred thompson was interviewed by charlie rose. for those of you who are still undecided, this entire interview can be seen on youtube and is well worth your time to see it. the interview appears in six sections on youtube as Charlie Rose the Candidate Fred Thompson 12-04-07, parts 1-6. what impressed me the most was thompson’s discussion of how his federalist leanings (you can read Thompson's own words in a brief article called "talking about federalism" here ) and conservative principles guide his thoughts on things like education, immigration, social security, terrorism, torture, and taxation. i have only included part 6 of the interview below, but would urge readers to view the entire six sections and give me your thoughts.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

hold out for true conservatism


the pool of republican candidates is a weak and unsatisfactory one with no clear top choice. however, there are some candidates,like giuliani and mccain, who simply are not conservative. others though, are putting on the wolves’ clothing and attempting to appear conservative when their past records clearly indicate a pattern of moderate to liberal thinking. mike huckabee’s past record and current thoughts on four issues (illegal immigration, taxes, global warming, and pardons), reveal him as one of the least conservative candidates running in the republican primary. the information provided below was taken from CBS News, the Arkansas Leader, and onenewsnow.com.


ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION


“Huckabee's recent strong stand on immigration, including an intolerance toward companies that employ illegal immigrants, runs counter to the image he crafted in his final years in office. He was battling conservatives within his own party who were pushing for stricter state-level immigration measures.

Huckabee opposed a Republican lawmaker's efforts in 2005 to require proof of legal status when applying for state services that aren't federally mandated and proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Huckabee derided the bill as un-American and un-Christian and said the bill's sponsor drank a different "Jesus juice."

That same year, Huckabee failed in his effort to make children of illegal immigrants eligible for state-funded scholarships and in-state tuition to Arkansas colleges. At the time, Huckabee said he didn't understand the opposition to it.

"It hurts me on a personal as well as a policy level to think that we are still debating issues that I kind of hoped we had put aside in the 1960s, maybe at the latest the '70s, and yet I understand people have deep passions about things usually they don't fully understand," Huckabee said.”


TAX INCREASES

“- Imposed an income tax surcharge of 3 percent on tax liabilities of individuals and domestic and foreign corporations (Act 38, 1st special session of 2003). (It was temporary until revenues improved. The legislature repealed it in 2005.)

- Increased the sales tax by 1/8 of one percent by initiated act (but it was a personal campaign by Huckabee, who campaigned across the state for it and took a celebrated bass boat trip for 4 days down the Arkansas River holding press conferences in each river city to urge passage of the act)

- Increased the sales tax by one-half of 1 percent (Act 1492 of 1999)

- Increased the sales tax by 7/8ths of 1 percent and expand the sales tax to many services previously exempt from the tax (Act 107, 2nd special session of 2003)

- Collected a 2 percent tax on chewing tobacco, cigars, package tobacco, cigarette papers and snuff (Act 434 of 1997)

- Levied an additional excise tax of 7 percent on tobacco (Act 38 of 1st special session of 2003)

- Increased the tax on cigarette and tobacco permits (Act 1337 of 1997)

- Increased the tax on cigarette and tobacco – cigarettes by $1.25 per thousand cigarettes and 2 percent of the manufacturers’ selling price on tobacco products (Act 434 of 1997)

- Increased the tax on cigarettes by 25 cents a pack (Act 38, 1st special session of 2003)

- Levied a 3 percent excise tax on all retail sales of beer (Act 1841 of 2001 and extended by Act 272 of 2003 and Act 2188 of 2005)

- Revived the 4 percent mixed drink tax of 1989 and added a 4 percent tax on private clubs (Act 1274 of 2005)

- Increased the tax on gasoline by 3 cents a gallon (Act 1028 of 1999)

- Increased the tax on diesel by 4 cents a gallon (Act 1028 of 1999) Note: Contrary to what Huckabee has said repeatedly in debates, speeches and TV shows, the 1999 gasoline and diesel taxes were not submitted to the voters and approved by 80 per cent of them. It was never submitted to a vote. It was the governor’s bill and it became law without a vote of the people. What the voters did approve in 1999 was a bond issue for interstate highway reconstruction but it did not involve a tax increase. Existing taxes and federal receipts were pledged to retire the bonds.

- Increased the driver’s license by $6 a person, from $14 to $20 (Act 1500 of 2001)
So which raised taxes more? It is hard to quantify. If you measured the increases in the revenue stream, the Huckabee tax cuts far exceeded Clinton’s but that would be unfair because the economy had grown and the same penny of tax would produce far more under Huckabee.

But if you look at the major taxes, I see the aggregate Huckabee taxes as greater, especially if you deduct the 4 cent gasoline and diesel taxes that Clinton vetoed in 1985 and that the legislature enacted over his veto.

Anyway, the sales tax is the big revenue producer. Both raised it by 1.5 cents on the dollar and both expanded it to cover a myriad of services. Clinton raised motor fuel taxes a little more, Huckabee cigarette taxes a lot more.

A further note: Huckabee claims credit for a major tax cut in 1997, saying it was the first tax cut in Arkansas history (there had been many prior to that) and that he forced the Democratic legislature to curtail its impulse to always raise taxes.

The facts: The omnibus income tax cut bill of 1997 was proposed by Gov. Jim Guy Tucker in the spring of 1996. It had multiple (7) features, all aimed at relief for middle-class families or the elderly. He asked interim legislative committees to expand on his plan. Tucker then resigned before the legislature convened after his conviction on Whitewater-related charges, and Huckabee took office.

At the legislative session that followed, the Democratic caucus of the House (88 of the 100 members) made the Tucker tax cuts its chief program. The bill was introduced with 83 sponsors (all Democrats) and all Democrats voted for it. It was unopposed. Huckabee’s tax cut was to give each taxpayer a check for $25 each fall, saying it would help offset the burden of sales taxes on groceries (the repeal of which he repeatedly opposed). The legislature rejected Huckabee’s plan and passed the Tucker bill. Huckabee signed it into law.

The 94 tax cuts that he said he fathered are similarly misleading. The vast majority of those were the usual exemptions and modifications of various taxes and fees that the legislature enacts every time it meets. They were not a part of Huckabee’s program with a few exceptions. Rather, Democratic legislators sponsored them, usually at the behest of whatever special interest benefited, and Huckabee signed them when they hit his desk. If you did a similar summary of Clinton’s years he could claim probably well over 100 tax cuts. Every Arkansas governor since World War II could claim dozens each.

If you counted all the tax benefits extended to corporations under the incentives enacted by the legislature under Clinton — and they were part of his programs, especially in 1983, 1985 and 1989 — the tax cuts would dwarf those under Huckabee.”


GLOBAL WARMING

“Huckabee has also been riding a wave of support on the campaign trail from evangelical Christians, including some liberal evangelicals who believe human activity is causing global warming. The more than 100 signers of the Evangelical Climate Initiative recently praised Huckabee for "announcing his support for a mandatory cap on global warming pollution" and "recognizing that Americans have a moral obligation to address climate change." He tells OneNewsNow that he wants to "create a greater level of conservation."”

QUESTIONABLE PARDONS


“Governors seldom reduce sentences in other states – and almost never for murderers serving life without parole or for rapists or for habitual drunk drivers, while in Arkansas it's a regular habit with Huckabee.
___ Other governors use their clemency power only rarely, while Huckabee has made it routine. As we've told you before, he has issued more than 700 pardons and commutations during his eight years in office – more than 137 this year alone – and more than his three predecessors combined.
___ Here are the figures for neighboring states since 1996, when Huckabee took office (and keep in mind the population of these states is nearly 20 times ours):
___ >> Louisiana – 213.
___ >> Mississippi – 24.
___ >> Missouri – 79.
___ >> Oklahoma – 178.
___ >> Tennessee – 32.
___ >> Texas – 98 (in-cludes 36 inmates released because they were convicted on drug charges with planted evidence).
___ Total: 624 vs. Huckabee's 703.”

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

in a world full of people only some want to fly, isn't that crazy


there are moments in time that remind us of our passing youth and imminent mortality. this past friday was such a day for me. one of my childhood heroes – evel knievel – made his last jump, from this world into the next.

as a kid, i remember watching his jumps on abc’s wide world of sports, pretending to be evel knievel on my huffy thunder-road bicycle, and wearing out three different ideal evel knievel super stunt cycle sets.

one of the greatest jumps Evel ever made was the lead of faith he made after years of resisting God. as the uk telegraph reports , “Like many American icons whose careers are distinguished by their bad boy behaviour, Knievel later found God. He became a Christian in April, and was honest enough to confess that he had refused for 68 years to convert, because he didn't want to surrender ‘the gold and the gambling and the booze and the women’. But the night before his death, sensing his imminent demise, he telephoned friends to ask them to pray for him, declaring he was ‘ready to be with God’".



i look forward to asking for evel’s autograph when i get to heaven.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

soemtimes folks get it right


often i am too cynical, too jaded. last night my lovely and gracious wife, knowing just how to goad me, informed me that brad pitt was going to make an announcement today on some morning show. my immediate reaction was to guess that he was about to announce his political support for a candidate. my wife and i mulled over the silliness of such announcements on both the part of the announcer as well as the audience members who might be swayed to vote a certain way via celeb endorsements. pat sajak nailed it when he said, “If any group of citizens is uniquely unqualified to tell someone else how to vote, it's those of us who live in the sheltered, privileged arena of celebrityhood. It's one thing to buy an ab machine because Chuck Norris recommends it (he's in good shape, isn't he?) or a grill because George Foreman's name is on it (he's a great guy, so it must be a great grill!), but the idea of choosing the Leader of the Free World based on the advice of someone who lives in the cloistered world of stardom seems a bit loony to me.” however, i must admit i was wrong and quite pleasantly surprised to read that pitt’s announcements had little to do with overt politics; rather, he announced today “(i)n a telephone interview from New Orleans, where he plans to present the designs today, Mr. Pitt said the residents of the (Lower Ninth Ward) had been homeless long enough. ‘They’re coming up on their third Christmas,’ he said. Mr. Pitt said he had been attached to New Orleans for more than a decade. ‘I’ve always had a fondness for this place — it’s like no other,’ he said. ‘Seeing the frustration firsthand made me want to return the kindness this city has shown me.’ Rather than bemoan the slow pace of redevelopment in the Ninth Ward, Mr. Pitt said he decided to address the problem directly by teaming with William McDonough, the green design expert; Graft, a Los Angeles architecture firm; and Cherokee, an investment firm based in Raleigh, N.C., that specializes in sustainable redevelopment.” i work with students everyday who have been effected by Katrina and are indeed still trying to recoup some normalcy in their lives three years later. our campus, which took around a $55 million hit from the storm, has yet to received a satisfactory insurance settlement. as a result, the troubles faced by our institution of higher learning provides us a daily mirror image of what some individuals have faced over the past three years. i would like to take just a moment to thank brad pitt and the countless others who have, over the last few years, put their money, time, and effort (no matter how great or small) into the recovery efforts of gulf coast region.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

hooked on reading worked for me


probably the single most powerful influence that set the course of my life was growing up in a household of readers. both my parents read and read to me. as a minister, my father’s professional tools were not wrenches or calipers, but paper and ink. my mother’s background was in education. a family of modest means, we did not have lots of extravagances. but there was always money for books. as a professional educator myself, i’ve been to about 15 years worth of meetings where folks hash out the problems of the educational system in the united states, looking for the silver bullet that is going to stamp out ignorance. new math, phonics, direct instruction, technology in the classroom, experiential learning. and most importantly, more money.

however, despite years of trying new classroom management skill and curriculum strategies coupled with millions of wasted dollars, a recent report from the national endowment for the arts, reveals that “Americans — particularly young Americans — appear to be reading less for fun, and as that happens, their reading test scores are declining. At the same time, performance in other academic disciplines like math and science is dipping for students whose access to books is limited, and employers are rating workers deficient in basic writing skills.”

this certainly should come as no surprise. what is shocking is that the national endowment for the arts’ findings lifts the veil which hides two dirty little secrets that have derailed progress in american education. the report states that “In seeking to detail the consequences of a decline in reading, the study showed that reading appeared to correlate with other academic achievement. In examining the average 2005 math scores of 12th graders who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books, an analysis of federal Education Department statistics found that those students scored much lower than those who lived in homes with more than 100 books. Although some of those results could be attributed to income gaps, Mr. Iyengar noted that students who lived in homes with more than 100 books but whose parents only completed high school scored higher on math tests than those students whose parents held college degrees (and were therefore likely to earn higher incomes) but who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books.” this finding reveals that the silver bullet which will solve the educational crisis in america is not a technique or money. instead, the solution resides at home. if parents would simply take the responsibility and the time to read to their kids and instill the love of reading for readings sake, i contend quality in america’s classrooms would rise as would test scores across the board.

Friday, November 16, 2007

more silliness from the benchmounts



one of the major battle cries from the left is the call for tolerance and openness in all things and for all people. the double standard of this notion coming from the left becomes almost humorous if looked at by objective, logical observers.

example one: most "enlightened" folks in hollywood claim to be open minded, but apparently if you’re a conservative, you have to remain, ahemm, “in the closet” about your political leanings for fear of how it will affect your marketability in the television and film industry. as
andrew breitbart, co-author of Hollywood, Interrupted, points out, actors “learn very quickly, if they know what's good for them, to donate to the Democratic Party. If they were to donate to the Republican Party, they would be exposed to career-ending ridicule, period.”
wow. that right there is openmindedness to the point of being edgy, no?

example two: in light of ongoing drought conditions in georgia, the governor led lawmakers in a prayer for rain. an organization called (get this now) the atlanta free thought society protested . you’re kidding me, right? the FREE THOUGHT SOCIETY protested!??? how does that work in a logical world?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

10 Things That Should Be Brought Back Into Vogue





10. The right to tackle NFL quarterbacks.

9. Attention to detail no matter what the endeavor.

8. Basketball as a non-contact sport.

7. Studying more than 20 minutes for a major exam.

6. Men who act like men and women who act like ladies.

5. $1.00 a gallon gas.

4. The concept of shame.

3. Pocket watches.

2. Reading.

1. The straight razor shave.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

hail mary, full of grace . . .



now that i have a daughter, i often think of my formative years. rarely, however, do i have visceral moments where time truly seems to bend and place melts away from the here and now in favor of somewhere almost forgotten. but last night as i sat in at the north endzone, shooting pool and drinking cold coors and watching the dallas cowboys, one of those moments happened. i don’t really want this blog entry to be about what feels like just the beginnings of the legend of tony romo story. but the cowboys of the aikman era were so dominant that there was rarely a moment when hope of what might be possible factored into my emotional spectrum. last night, though, as the game against buffalo wore on, and romo seemed to implode with every passing moment, my vision began to narrow. the hard edges of the pool tables began to become part of a dali-esque painting. the barstool’s ridiculously tall, rigid frame began to feel more and more like a black-vinyl sofa my folks owned in the 1970’s. the patrons blurred from sight. the 52 inch television broadcast in all its hi-def of glory, morphed into a 13 inch black and white with no remote control. with 20 seconds left and the cowboys trailing 24-22, for just an instant, i was a kid again. and for a moment, a single fleeting moment, reality bent, and i turned to say to my father, “we can still win this game.” for a brief second, i was back at my parent's house watching football with my dad, rooting for one of captain comeback’s 23 come-from-behind fourth quarter wins (incredibly, 17 of those came within the last two minutes of the game). of course, when i turned to dad, he was not there because he was back in dallas watching the game with a neighbor while i was in a mississippi sports bar re-entering reality. regardless of how the season ends up, it was a priceless moment for me. and i just want to say thanks to my dad for loving football. and for loving the cowboys. and for loving me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

divining the paradoxes


i get kinda squirmy on sunday mornings when politics creeps into worship via the pulpit. it makes me even more uncomfortable than when some of my colleagues attempt to indoctrinate students from their position of power in the classroom. i don’t much care for an agenda from either point of view, left or right, being foisted on a congregation. this goes double when the opinions are buttressed with very little or no real Biblical basis or contextualization. an open discussion of debatable political points of view might be more productive in a small group Bible study where a chance exists for a legitimate exchange of ideas between those who struggle together toward a workable truth. often, from the pulpit, there seems to be no struggle, just an agenda not unlike what might be presented by al frankin or rush limbaugh. should we not at least struggle in our examination of the paradox of a text which tells us on the one hand that those who make peace are blessed (matthew 5:9), while clearly asserting, on the other hand, the certainty that there is a time to kill (ecclesiastes 3:3)? can we be so quick to ignore the fact that the same savior who asks us to turn the other cheek (matthew 5:39) also instructed his own disciples to buy a sword if they did not have one (luke 22:36)? is it not possible to objectively examine paul’s claim that governing authorities do not bear the sword in vain, but are God’s servants and agents of wrath to bring punishments to wrongdoers? the level of civil discourse in the public sphere is shrill and grating enough on its own. there is a place in the church for political debate, no question. but must it be on the most hallowed of days during the most sacred of hours when we gather together as one body to worship?

Friday, August 17, 2007

$7.25 > $5.15


in case you haven’t noticed, congress in all its wisdom increased the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over the next two years. the first increase raised the current minimum wage rate to $5.85. george miller, democrat – calif, and the bill’s author, gushed about those who will “benefit” from higher wages - "Today we finally release them from being frozen in time, stuck at that wage level when their gas prices are higher, their education prices are higher, when their medical costs are higher." it amazes me that he (and the others who passed this asinine increase) doesn't really get how economics works. who does he think is going to fund the increase? certainly the employers are not going to take a hit at the profit margin. instead, prices of goods and services will increase. here are two examples from my personal life. many sundays after church, my lovely and beautiful wife, my daughter, and i frequent ci ci’s pizza. we go so often that i know what to write the check for before we get there. two adult buffets and two drinks prior to congressional meddling ran about $12.00. the week after congressional jackassery, the cost increased to just over $13.00. in the second example, my daughter’s day care bill before was roughly $400.00 a month. now, it runs $460.00. democrats claim the minimum-wage increase will lift the income of 13 million workers . so – if such shifts in goods and services across the board affect my life-style, i can’t help but doubt how much the minimum wage increase will actually help those 13 million workers who will also face rising prices of goods and services.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

what a babe!



over the forth of july week, i had a delightful trip to big d to visit my parents, my sister and brother-in-law and the nephews. one of the multiple highlights was to babe’s fried chicken house which is quite possibly the best fried chicken establishment in the free world. at babe’s you can clamber on and off a zebra striped fire-engine or peruse the walls which are adorned with jackalopes, zebra striped swordfish, license plates, and quaint quotes of local color. or you can simply watch in amazement at the bustle of the crowd while you wait for a seat. at babe’s, you can order one of three meats – fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, or fried catfish. after you order your meat, everyone at the table is served all-you-care-to-eat salad (which has the best vinegar dressing ever), black-eyed peas, cream-style corn, mashed potatoes, and biscuits with your choice of white gravy, honey, or sorghum syrup. while you wait for the meat to arrive, if you’re lucky, the hokie-pokie will come on the juke box and the waitresses and whoever else wants to join in will put various body parts in and out and, well, you know the rest. you can always tell which folks are eating at babe’s for the first time - their eyes look like five-year-olds on christmas morning and their mouths hang open exposing salavating tongues sorta like the dog on turner and hootch. no matter how old you are, you can’t help but smile in wonder and delight when the meat arrives. the golden goodness is piled high in an impressive, heavenly fried array of breasts, thighs, wings, and fillets. i’m pretty sure meal time in heaven will be sorta like going to babe’s, only no one will be counting calories or fat grams since we won’t have earthly bodies to worry about anyway. that said, i know the folks in washington are always looking for ways to spread democracy around the globe and i’m pretty sure that if we were to put a couple of babe’s fried chicken houses in say, iraq and afghanistan, and maybe one in the un building, the world would be a better place. maybe not everyone would convert to democracy, but i’m pretty sure most folks could come to some sort of consensus over the best fried chicken this side of heaven.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

God bless america; happy 4th!

environmental shark jumpings



ok, so it’s no secret that i like to call b*!# s!%@ on the folks who want to redistribute wealth via global warming and green theory. but come on . . . at what point is enough, enough? when are logical, reasonable folks going to realize that the wool is being pulled over our eyes. according to an australian newspaper article, entitled “Human Greed Takes Lion’s Share of Solar Energy,” humans are using too much . . . (drum roll please) . . . SUN. according to the article, “The human dominance of this natural resource is affecting other species, reducing the amount of energy available to them by almost 10 per cent, scientists report.” please, God, somebody put me out of my misery with the environmental movement already. or, at the very least, let this be the work of some brilliantly satirical modern day john swift. as for myself, i’m going to oil up like a greased pig and go cut the grass. during the middle of the day. with my gasoline powered yard implements.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

it ain't easy being green


the card to the right reads: "By the authority of all the saints, and in mercy towards you, I absolve you from all sins and misdeeds and remit all punishments for ten days."

no surprises here, but for those of you who still have your heads in the sand, beware the ongoing scams that are the carbon off-set programs coming to a town near you. just as johann tetzel absolved folks who bought indulgences through the church in the 16th century, so too will the green movement of the 21st century provide a “get out of jail free card” for those of you who want to do your part to save the earth. but remember tetzel’s little jingle: “as soon as a coin in coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” the modern day equivalent would be something like, “as soon as check to off-set company you pay, the earth will live another day.” again – it’s not that i’m against being green. clean air and water are great and worthy of pursuing. but i gotta cry b#@! s$*! on scamming folks out of their money. as fiona harvey and stephen fidler so astutely note in the finacial times in an article titled "industry caught in carbon 'smokescreen'", so called carbon off-sets often “yield few if any benefits” while “making big profits from carbon trading for very small expenditure.” and you thought big oil was bad. if you are curious and not faint of heart follow the money trail. what you will find is that big green is every bit as money loving as you thought the oil industry is. and, as a supply side capitalist who thinks america is a great country where those with imaginations should be able to profit from their creativity, i hope the carbon off-set folks make a ton of money from those who claim to be pro environment and don’t put their money where their mouths are. beware - communism and wealth redistribution is creeping into our society via the green movement.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

cultural shark jumpings


in the past months, the issue of global warming has reached a fever pitch, beginning with the oscar nomination/win of al gore’s fantasy film, inconvenient truth and continuing through the recent publication of sports illustrated’s “green” issue. incredibly, folks continue to fall for the chicken littles who claim know the pulse of the earth in spite of the fact that a mere forty years ago, these same groups claimed that man was responsible for the fast encroaching ice age. articles published by time magazine in 1974 and twenty years later in 1994 illustrate the absurdity of those who claim to know how the earth works and what exactly man’s impact has on a creation that was here eons before us and will continue to spin on its axis long after we’ve gone the way of the ivory billed wood pecker. oh, wait - that’s right - those things are not really extinct after all.

on other culture war fronts, al sharpton et al continue the crucifixion of don imus for his asinine statements in much the same way trent lott was strung up several years back for his statements at strom thurmond’s birthday gig. and yet, the black community and the media at large (with the notable exception of bill cosby) refuse to target a hip-hop and rap culture that largely degrades females and the black community. nelly, for the most part, gets a pass when he swipes a credit card through a woman’s butt cheeks in his video, tip drill. there is little backlash over snoop dogg’s depiction of leashed black women in where my dogs at?. for those of you who jumped on the msnbc fire imus bandwagon and who claim to be disgusted by imus’s statements, take two simple actions. #1 - turn him off of your radios and televisions; #2 – be consistent in your criticism of those who are flippant about issues of race and gender.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

another sign that america is soft




i’m pretty stoked about the new movie 300. i can’t wait to see it. i’m pretty sure on my birthday, my lovely and gracious wife is going to take me to the show and suffer through this testosterone laden movie. the movie is based on a graphic novel, which was based on a movie, which was based on the historical battle of thermopolis, where the 300 spartans took on a million persians in a three day battle. inevitably, the spartans were all killed. wow. gives me goose bumps just thinking about such sacrifice in the face of such odds. to switch gears a bit – i often see sports as a microcosm of life. and in light of the defeat of the spartans, it sickens me to see such goofiness as what has become known as the 50 point rule in connecticut. you see, in that great state, it has now become too uncomfortable to beat your opponent by more than 50 points in high school football. if you do so, even with your third and fourth string players, running the ball every offensive down and playing the prevent on defense the entire game, the coach of the winning team is suspended for the next game. thank goodness this rule was not in place in 1916 when john heisman coached his georgia tech team to a 222-0 score against cumberland. and what’s up with the new rule in washington state that bans booing at high school sporting events? officials claim that if booing is outlawed, a more welcoming environment on the courts and fields will be fostered. are you kidding me? first amendment issues aside, how in the world can you regulate something like this? and what does this teach our youth about society? well, let me assure you that those 300 spartans at thermopolis did not give a rat’s behind whether or not the persians felt welcome in their house, and i’m pretty sure the persians were not at all concerned about running up the score. . . in fact, if they had been, they probably would have lost outright. all this is to say, that america is soft. war is ugly, but the stakes are too high to pussyfoot around. either go in and win it decisively and out right, without question (the persians did and the islamic extremists would if they could) – or get out. after all – if we can’t even handle our kids getting booed or losing a game by 50 in a high school sporting event, we should not be surprised that our society can’t stomach the difficulties that make up the essence and realities of war.

Monday, February 05, 2007

e pluribus unum?


early last month an article in the Dallas Morning News caught my eye. Pizza Patron, a pizzeria that "caters heavily to Latinos," began taking pesos as payment. although i do have my opinions on our nation’s apparent open border policies, as a business decision, i assumed that i could not care any less whether or not an establishment wanted to take the time and effort necessary to convert pesos to dollars or euros or vice versa or whatever. it did not really effect me in south mississippi. boy, was i mistaken. last saturday, my daughter and i followed our weekend ritual, frequenting the local shipley’s donuts (which i must say beats the socks off krispi kremes). we got our usual - one plain cake doughnut for her, one chocolate glazed cream filled for me, and change for the coke machine and the newspaper stand. as i tried to purchase a diet coke from the machine (yes, i realize the paradox of eating doughnuts with sugar-free beverages . . . hey, i pick my battles, ok?), one of my quarters kept getting kicked out through the coin return slot. now, at 8:00am on a saturday, i’m not the sharpest joker in the room; repeatedly, i kept futilely sticking the quarter back into the slot, each time jamming it with a tad more force and a bit more frustration, thinking if i could spin the coin just right, the quarter would fall on through and my diet coke would be dispensed to me in a timely fashion. only after about the twentieth attempt did i actually take a moment to look at the quarter. my first thought was, "gee, that’s one of them new finagled jobs. wonder what state it’s from." my second thought was, "that’s the most bizarre depiction of george washington i’ve ever seen. i think he’s wearin’ a do rag and mardi gras beads." and then i realized it was not even a quarter. it was a peso with the likeness not of our founding father, but of jose ma morelos, warrior priest (i had to look that up later). i immediately tried to exchange the peso for a quarter at the registar. you can imagine how that went over in south mississippi. probably would’ve been a whole other story at the Pizza Patron in dallas.

Monday, January 29, 2007

sos, different election cycle


one of the things that most disturbs me about politics is the lack of genuineness on the part of the players involved on the national stage. it does not matter which party or which candidate, but the level of disingenuousness is irksome, at best. for example, you can’t be a conservative and think spending beyond one’s means is healthy. as a conservative, i think the republicans have squandered the last decade in this area and have given away the farm, so i’m not really talking about sides here in this post. but, when a candidate’s major mantra is about “two americas,” i can’t help but think of the striking insincerity of owning a 28,000 square foot home on 102 acres. it seems that john edwards has whole-heartedly embraced the notion reagan set forth when he said of the republicans, “We’re the party that wants to see an American in which people can still get rich.” welcome aboard, johnny boy.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

what country do you think this is?


i live in a growing hamlet in south mississippi. over the past decade our small “town” has been experiencing the pains that come along with that growth. the major concern for most of us is the amount of crime that has affected our fair city, especially in the last year. we had a 145% (not a misprint) increase in the murder rate, and felonies over-all jumped from 1,743 to 2,178. just this last week, there was a shoot-out one block down and three streets over from my home. last year there was a shot fired in the street immediately in front of my own home. the police department appears to be impotent, and the system seems broken. a gentleman was killed in a parking lot last year in front of his daughter while just this week, a grad jury refused to indict the suspect even though witnesses saw the suspect strike the victim in the head with brass knuckles. speculation is that the local police botched the investigation and did not gather enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. in fact, he was never even arrested. what bugs me is that the police chief cited in both print and television media outlets that one of the three main reasons crime is up is because of “insufficient vigilance on the part of citizens. many of the crimes during 2006 were crimes of opportunity, Wynn said, adding that people need to take precautions to avoid being targets for thieves.” so let me get this straight - i’m supposed to make sure no one shoots someone else? this is a personal slap in the face as i have, on multiple occasions, implored the chief and his department to investigate and shut down the drug traffic in my neighborhood. i have pointed out dealers, suppliers, and buyers to the local police, but have been told repeatedly that the police can not do anything unless they see the activity for themselves. the police have a standing invitation to use my front porch as a surveillance post at their convenience. they have yet to take me up on the offer. and yet, in a city such as this, the city council has, in its wisdom, decided to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. a line from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off keeps echoing through my head - “What country do you think this is?” i mean we can’t keep the murder rate down or the drug traffic off our streets, but we’re going to attempt to ban a legal substance from being used in establishments which are owned by tax-paying citizens? makes me want to cuss. and fire up a fine imported fatty right in front of the police department. which has an ash-tray just outside its lobby. which is well within the distance one must not be occupying while smoking.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

you gonna eat that last piece of bacon?


sadly, football season is drawing to a close. the tigers didn’t do too shabbily, and did what they could to prove to the collegiate world that the SEC is the best conference in college football, bar none (just a foot note here . . . the tigers were the only team to beat those national championship gators this season). the ‘boys, on the other hand, just about drove me slap insane. for those of you keeping score at home, he who shall not be named led the league in dropped passes. is this like babe ruth leading the league in strikeouts? somehow i think not. i hope the era of the big tuna in big d is not over, but who knows what the off season mind of j. j. might dream up. the pearl river bunch managed to make it to the national championship game at the juco level but alas, victory eluded them (unfortunately for some both on the field and in the classroom). sometimes i wish, ever so briefly, that i had been born without the gene that makes one give a flying hoot about sports. it would make life so much more simple on fall and winter weekends. but then again, life would not be nearly as much fun with out gridiron competition. so - with that said - let’s look to the future. predictions: #1 - the tuna will stay, as will he who shall not be named, tony romo will rebound and go on to become one of the more stable qbs dallas has had since aikman. #2 - the hire of nick saban will prove not to be the salvation of crimson tide football, but will serve as a model of american appetite for sport over academics. #3 - sometime in the next five years, pro qbs will be required to wear flags and/or, as terry bradshaw has mentioned elsewhere, dresses. #4 - my classroom will continue to be woefully under-equipped while the sports budget of my academic institution continues to grow and be supplemented by alumni.