Archive for October, 2004

The Greatest Generation Revisited

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

It is time we reevaluate the greatest generation, based not upon what they did during World War Two but upon what they did not do afterward. No one can reasonably question their patriotism, their passion, their willingness to sacrifice for this, the greatest nation in the history of the world, and for the cause of liberty in lands in the grip of tyranny. We can never praise them enough, never be thankful enough, and we can never take their considerable sacrifices for granted. They rose to the occasion. They answered the call of history. They did all that was required of them to win the war. Those who were not required to give the full measure of devotion returned to build homes and cities, to build families and futures. It was in these latter pursuits that the greatest generation was not so great.

Before you brand me a heretic, consider these; pot, LSD, alcoholism, crank, crack, the proliferation of pornography, abortion as a legal birth control method, ever increasing out of wedlock birth rates, the welfare state, political correctness, the overt corruption of the fourth estate, overcrowded prisons, corporate corruption, failing schools, bloated bureaucracies, declining test scores, the hegemony of the Judicial Branch of government, illiteracy, the general decline of morals and civility, the increase in gangs, graffiti, grifters, graft and greed. In short, the wave of corruption cresting over our culture. Did they have anything at all to do with these and any other of society\’s ills? Decide the answer for yourself but I believe they fell asleep at the switch, they dropped the ball after they dropped the bomb. Certainly they had had enough of war, of conflict in general, but that was no excuse for letting their kids walk all over them, for letting the likes of Dr. Spock influence how their brats should be raised, and for allowing the sniveling socialists to take over the public school system and the levers of power in the government and the media. Golf and other games were more important than minding the moral underpinnings of the nation and its culture. Soda and pretzels and beer made for lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, for four seasons per year, for lazy, hazy, crazy decades. Having a car to drive was more important than knowing where we were going. Having a house was more important than having a home. A very large portion of this generation did not understand the principle that no earthly success can compensate for failure in the home.

To be fair, it must be said that not everyone was guilty of familial malfeasance. There were many good parents who said no to their children often enough to give those children something to work for, something to appreciate, and some principles to adhere to. To these wonderful people, I say thank you, thank you, thank you. If not for you, we would have nothing left to fight for. But there were too many who should have known better, who were raised better than that by their own parents. Still, I suppose after putting your life on the line at the battle\’s front and enduring the privations of war, one might come to believe, after coming through it alive, that everything else in life is gravy. Maybe this was the genesis of the entitlement era? But the truth is, one must endure until the end. Overcoming one obstacle in life does not liberate us from all the other obstacles, adversities, and responsibilities that come our way.

This is not a malicious attempt on my part to spit in the eye of the people whose actions, or inactions I now question. I bring this to your attention only as a reminder to the generation now minding the store that we have great and grave responsibilities if we are to correct the wrongs and ills we now recognize, and if we are to leave a worthy and worthwhile culture and country to those who follow. Keeping the faith may not be enough; promoting the faith may be necessary, as well.

The Initiative Problem

Friday, October 29th, 2004

When asked the question, “What kind of government have you given us?� Benjamin Franklin replied, “A Republic madam, if you can keep it.� Have we?

The Initiative process here in California, was created as a way for the public to address issues that elected officials were keen to avoid, and additionally to seek redress of legislative wrongs. There was and is ample good reason for citizens to engage in this kind of activity. There are a host of hot potato political, social, and cultural problems that most elected public servants simply do not wish to deal with. Hot button items such as marriage, taxes, insurance and incumbent intransigence have lead to significant civic participation in the actual function of government. Legislators, legitimately needing to be held to accountable, have paid the price, in time, for the failings of their forbearers and for the systemic arrogance of the ruling class. We always had term limits: we called them elections. Now that the babies have been thrown out with the bath water, and now that we have a musical chair political structure in which embedded and unassailable bureaucrats are more likely to control things than are elected representatives, we really must pause to take stock of a process that yields so many unintended consequences.

The average citizen does not possess the time, the resources or the authority to gather and organize all the information necessary to make law. Still, the current initiative process requires these very things of him or her. Many in authority abuse the process by placing issues on the ballot that should be dealt with forthrightly by properly and popularly elected public servants. The current process enables some to shirk their responsibilities while simultaneously heaping responsibilities on the shoulders of those least able to properly deal with them. The average citizen is asked to work to pay taxes to support the government, and then is asked to step in where \”girlie-men\” fear to tread and, acting as lay legislators, make law based upon 30-60 second spots of emotionally charged advertising. This is no way to run a country, or a state, especially when the judges get into the act, post election, and render the exercise utterly meaningless. There is something that could be done to make this function as intended. I submit the following as a solution.

The initiative process stays the same as it is in every respect excepting these simple changes. Legislators would be prohibited from placing an initiative on the ballot. Any other citizen or group of citizens, including the Governor, would be permitted to place initiatives on the ballot following the current procedures for such. Upon the passage of an initiative at election time, the measure in question is referred immediately to the legislature where it must be taken up by both the Assembly and Senate within 90 days. The measure must be studied by the appropriate committees and then voted on by the entire body of the Assembly and the entire body of the Senate within an addtional 90 days. Failure to fully act upon the initiative within the 180 day time frame would automatically result in an immediate termination of legislators\’ salaries until the initiative was properly acted upon. Lost pay would be irrevocably unrecoverable.

This would return to us our Republic and would allow us to keep it.

Night of the Hunter

Thursday, October 21st, 2004

Posing in a camo-cloth coat (I thought the cloth coat was a Republican thing) and a 12 gauge over and under, does not make a man a hunter or a supporter of the Second Amendment. It just makes him dangerous.

Bush Wins!

Wednesday, October 20th, 2004

Regardless of what the polls would have us believe, Bush wins by a substantial margin. The only thing keeping Kerry close is the complicity and duplicity of the main-stream media and their slanted polling questions. The only hope Kerry has of winning is massive voter fraud. Here\’s why. Bush will keep all the white guys (and then some) who voted for him last time. He will add a significant number of blacks over his 2000 totals for a variety of good reasons (security, faith, same sex marriage, Rice, Powell, etc). His Hispanic total will also be higher than last time for the same or similar reasons. The most impressive figure however is the female vote which went by a large margin to Gore and to Clinton before him. Kerry does not exude the same appeal, but whether nor not Kerry wins the majority of female votes (and that is doubtful), Bush still picks up additional votes from among the fairer sex. Add it up. Bush wins big! Of course, the race was already decided when Gore was chased off by the Clintons and Hillary decided to wait until 2008. The Clintons have not helped Kerry and they never had any intention of doing so. Does the word sabotage come to mind? And then there\’s Kerry. He has more self-inflicted wounds during this campaign than from his days in Vietnam. It\’s probably because he\’s been at this a little longer than 4 months. What gaffe will he expose himself to before it\’s all over? Does the word Hari-Kerry come to mind? The only serious question remaining is how many Republican seats will be gained in the US Senate? Hopefully enough to muzzle Schumer, Leahy, Kennedy, Feinstein, and their fellow obstructionists on the Judiciary Committee.

If you can read this—–

Wednesday, October 20th, 2004

—–then this is probably not the post literate age.

The post-literate age has arrived and surprise; we still have to read! The advent of television had caused some to believe and assert that we were at the doorway to a new epoch in which print would be replaced by the dull blue glow emanating from the box that framed Philo Farnsworth’s electronic furrows. For a time, this outcome seemed inevitable. Why invest time translating the printed word into pictures in our heads when someone else was eager to do it for us? We laughed when Chauncey Gardner insisted he could not read, but we all new what he meant when he said “I like to watch.�

For twenty minutes a day the CBS Evening News spoon fed us the views of its editors\’ choosing with a closing dose of “that’s the way it isâ€?. Well, if that’s the way it was, that’s the way it is! Walter did his homework, didn’t he? Why should we question the most trusted man in America? Was there any real reason for us to dirty our fingers turning the pages of the New York Times? But something happened that few had imagined. The computer monitor began competing with the TV set for our time and attention, first with games, then with the internet; interactive TV! But interestingly, in addition to the pretty pictures, much of what we found was written; news, email, dictionaries, encyclopedias, newspapers!!—–and the newest thing in print, the blog; journalism for the masses, print for the populists, Gutenberg graffiti. What would McCluhan say? If print media is hot and video, cold, then what is the internet? One thing is certain, regardless of the temperature, or the temperament conveyed, print remains an important part of our future.

Hey do you remember—–?

Tuesday, October 19th, 2004

——they call me Al (brother can you bear a slime)

Al Gore continues to show us how fortunate we are to have George Bush as president. The intensity of his bilious hostility is matched only by the irony of his errant sense of timing. He chose the coldest day in 50 years to deliver his much anticipated address on the subject of global warming. He aligned himself with the ill-fated Howard Dean campaign just days before the Dean Machine careened off the trail. He “passed� on this presidential race when he could have throttled the other jockeys with relative ease. If fatally flawed John Kerry has the most remote of chances to win, Al would have had an excellent opportunity to become the president in 2004. He did, after all, win the popular vote in 2000. What was he thinking? What is he thinking? His ill-considered and venomous displays of hatred toward the sitting president in this time of war are very telling. His shrill and cynical pronouncements simply do not match the mood of the majority or reach the moral high ground held by the incumbant. He obviously does not possess the temperament to be the President, and he never did. His judgement is nearly as bad as his timing. Though Al’s timing is poor (perhaps the result of a negative algorerythm?), ours’ is certainly better. Al wasn’t president on 9-11. Somebody really must love us up there.

True

Sunday, October 17th, 2004

For decades we have endured an endless and unnecessary debate over the primacy of science over religion, or the other way around, as if they were mutually exclusive viewpoints. They are not. No one can reasonably argue that true science and true religion are not ultimately the same. The fact that we do not yet know for certain what “true� science and “true� religion are, should not distract us from the indisputable fact that both are in pursuit of the same goal; to explain man, his circumstance, and his purpose. That we have not yet arrived at a consensus should not be a surprise to anyone; there is much to know and understand before claims of absolute proof can be made. Until then, supporters of science and religion have only their respective faiths to rely upon. Yes, science requires faith. Theories are only expressions of faith in the absence of absolute proof. All experiments are begun with faith that a certain outcome will result. Scientists require every bit as much faith as anyone. Faith is belief in something in the absence of proof. The discussion of the relevance of faith in religion is, of course, altogether unnecessary.

Isaac Newton is arguably the most important scientist in history. He had a friend who regularly engaged him in a discussion about the existence of an organizing force in the universe. His friend was of the unshakable opinion that the world appeared out of the void by some accident of fate. In response, Newton constructed a model of the solar system and placed it upon his desk. Upon his next visit, his friend was impressed by this piece of work and asked Newton where he acquired it. Newton replied that it had simply, mysteriously appeared on his desk. Naturally his friend expressed grave doubt that something like this could just appear, but Newton insisted that it had just miraculously done so. The man persisted in his assertion that this could not be, that someone had to have constructed it. At this point, Newton grasped his friend’s shoulders and looked him in the eye and asked, “How is it that you cannot accept that this small and insignificant thing cannot be created by accident out of the ether, while still insisting that our world and indeed the universe, far more vast and complicated, came about in just that fashion?� Not all scientists question the existence of God.

A wise religious leader once commented that whatever is true is part of religion. No one would question that whatever is true is part of science. We are approaching the day, and quickly, when most of the world will confess that science and religion are not mutually exclusive, as we have erroneously been led to believe. Modern physics has only recently discovered what the Apostle Paul already knew 2000 year ago; “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.� -Hebrews 11:3.

Keep the faith.

The Perversity Factor

Saturday, October 16th, 2004

O’Reilly’s plight leads us to an interesting and long-overdue conversation on the subject of perversity. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that he is guilty of having phone sex with an attractive younger woman, are questions about his tele-erotic predilections legitimate in light of current cultural demands for tolerance? If bath house homo-eroticism and rest stop trysts with complete strangers are acceptable if not encouraged, if premarital and extramarital sex in the city is acceptable in the country, if oral sex in the Oval office is not sex, and if it is, it is a personal, private matter, if condom-on-the-cucumber practice is okay for Ohio 5th graders, shouldn\’t we cut O’Reilly some slack? If what he has done (sexual harassment issues temporarily set aside) is wrong, inappropriate or perverse, aren\’t these other behaviors, as well? The current culture is short on consistency and long on hypocrisy, but we can blame this on the perverse piousness of political correctness.

Type One and Type Two

Friday, October 15th, 2004

As a life-long Independent, I offer the following observations. There are two kinds of Democrats; the FDR, older, New Deal types who faced the old Axis of evil, who remain true to the party by tradition, who believe strongly in America and democratic ideals. Type Two are the Democrats who have hijacked the party to exercise their socialist, internationalist agenda, who don’t believe strongly in America and are committed to forcing their agenda upon Americans by any means, even other than democratic (please refer to judicial activism). Most old, Type One Democrats don’t even know that Type Two exists and they will blindly vote for the Type Two candidates. Type Ones are also likely to be non-church-going members of the Catholic or Jewish faith who hold to their memberships by tradition rather than by faith, but still have some fix on what’s right and what’s wrong. Most of these people are retired. Type Two types are likely to be agnostic or atheists for whom any kind of moral code represents a hindrance to be overcome. Most Type Twos are living off trust funds established by their parents or grandparents, or they are engaged in an industry (entertainment, union management, legal, or political) that pays them far more than they know they are worth. Some of the old Democrats, like Zell Miller and Ed Koch, recognize what has happened to their party and will vote for Republican candidates.

There are also two types of Republicans; those who are conservative at the core, who hold to principles reflective of America’s Constitutional heritage and a strong sense of morality emanating from a firm religious foundation, whose words and deeds largely comport with their stated values. Most of these people regularly attend church, work hard, and are too busy with work and family to be effective partisan activists. Type Two Republicans (otherwise known as RINO’s) are Type Two Democrats, with an extra fiscal chromosome, who know they will not get elected if they run as Democrats. Most of these people (notably, Mayor Bloomberg, Arnold, Susan Collins, Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, to name a few) are employed in the political structure.

Type One\’s from both parties represent a substantial majority of each and are less likely, by reason of economics, time, priorities and inclination, to be actively involved in poliltics. Type Two\’s of each party represent a small fraction of their respective number but as they have the means and therefore the time, their influence significantly excedes their relative small numbers.

The Last Word

Friday, October 15th, 2004

If you were on your deathbed, yet retained the ability to think and communicate coherently, what would you give your child or children as a last piece of counsel or advice? This is a question every parent should ponder and preferably long before exiting through death’s door. If the advice is good enough to offer as a last word, it is probably worth mentioning much earlier, especially if it is sound and well considered. “Last tag!� is a line best reserved for the last moment, but much that is right and proper could and should be shared with our children as early as possible, conditioned by our understanding and their maturity. But if you were to leave something unsaid until the bitter end, what would it be? Would it be directed specifically for the benefit, edification, and encouragement of your son or daughter, or would it be in the form of a comeuppance or a warning to the child who has shown a propensity for a bad habit or trait? It is well for us to consider these questions today. Then ask yourself this question. What behavior would I be trying to modify if I waited until my death to utter these words to my son? “Integrity, integrity, integrity.�

Stem Cell Debate

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

Legitimate moral issues have been raised about some types of stem cell research. These issues should be openly debated by all interested parties. A larger moral issue emerges in the current presidential race; the manner in which stem cell research is being used politically. Making campaign promises of miracle cures to the already over-afflicted is a deeply insensitive and overtly narcissistic act. Using the plight of the paralyzed and the death of Christopher Reeve to further their personal political ambitions makes both Edwards and Kerry appear even more ghoulish than normal. Kerry’s wan and waxen Botox visage gives the candidate an archetypical undertaker overtone that would certainly incline the discerning toward this conclusion. Judging from past and present behavior, neither he nor Edwards would ever hesitate to use another’s pain to gain some personal advantage. This distortion of the legitimate debate over the many issues raised by stem cell research resurrects the image of medicine show quackery and willing shill accomplices that resulted in the observation that there is a sucker born every minute. This is less of a criticism of the sucker and more of an indictment against those that would further wound the wounded. Again it is abundantly obvious to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that Liberals are driven by agenda rather than principle; motivated more by the aquisition of might than the quest for right.

Orators and Politicians

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004

There is a great debate about who is winning the debates. Some claim that both Kerry and Edwards won their respective debates against Bush and Cheney on technical merits. Judging by the rules of competitive debating, such points could justifiably be made. But let us put this into perspective. If oratorical skill was the most highly desirable characteristic of a leader, then we need to rethink our assessments of Adolf Hitler.

Much Ado About Nothing

Friday, October 1st, 2004

For the past 2 weeks, the media has whipped an army of political enthusiasts into a near frenzy of anticipation for the great partisan battle; the Presidential debate. The event even attracted more than the usual number of disinterested. One talking head even compared the pre-debate environment to a heavyweight title match. Many claimed it was make it or break it time. Almost everyone agreed that this would be a very telling moment, almost everyone. The trio on stage, however, did not appear to be onboard with any of this. Our Alpha waves were barely rippled as both candidates labored under the constraints placed upon them by handlers and PC instincts.

President Bush appeared bushed from his long day of consoling weather weary Floridians. Senator Kerry appeared rested from his trip to the manicurist but Kerry, even with sharpened nails, is dull.

Did we learn anything new? Perhaps the two candidate\’s positions relative to the nuclear bunker buster was the most interesting contrast (one candidate recognizing that a nuclear nemesis will not be building his arsenal above ground while the other openly stated \”be my guest\”), but apart from that we didn\’t recognize any newly acquired stances or newly devised strategies. There were no new ideas, and no new rhetorical highlights to regale.

The bottom line for me is this; as tired as he was, President Bush had little difficulty holding his own. Relying on principle provides proper support in times of stress, and debating is stressful. His character and core came through. Kerry, on the other hand, started out with a lie about using the word \”lied\” in previous references to his opponent. His \”new ideas\” were never articulated. His claims about being consistent were as empty as his suit. He has built his platform on shifting sands and has needed all the skills he developed atop surf and snow boards to keep from being inundated in the wake of his own waffling. One must conclude that this election is not about Bush vs. Kerry. It is about Bush supporters vs. Bush haters. This political campaign is the current battleground in the simmering culture war, not a contest between two men or two leadership styles.

The one thing this debate accomplished was to ensure that the two future debates would garner far fewer viewers. Those who will tune in have already committed their loyalties and will, like sport\’s fans, only be watching to cheer or jeer. Unlike a sporting contest, however, there is no final score to indicate a clear winner. Everyone can claim to have won without fear of contradiction, until November 3.