Monday, July 30, 2007

Feeling Funky

America is in a funk. At a time when the global economy, spurred by America's red hot markets, is reaching new heights. Global poverty is shrinking at a pace never seen before in human history. Fabulous technology and miracle medicine is feeding more people and saving more lives this year than last - year after year. Despite what people are led to believe the middle class in America is not so much disappearing as it is moving into the ranks of the wealthy. Yet we are a gloomy bunch. Why?

Michael Barone tries to get to the bottom of our funk in this piece on the Real Clear Politics website. I think he comes close with this paragraph:

It's partly a partisan response: Almost all Democrats are negative about the nation's future. But when one considers that America has not suffered another Sept. 11, and that it has enjoyed a surging and prosperous economy, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that citizens of this most blessed country are registering a verdict that is in tension with reality.

No doubt, Mr. Barone, but it's deeper than that. Since the 2000 election and especially since 2003 we have been treated in the main stream media and the entertainment world to a steady diet of vile pessimism. We are told with a smirk that Bush is Hitler and that we are being spied on and and our speech is being suppressed, our freedoms are literally swirling down the drain. Does anyone remember actor Tim Robbins and his "ill wind"?

Al Gore turned up the heat with his over the top rhetoric about the end of the world as we know it due to catastrophic anthropological global warming - the blame, of course, is solely America's.

Air America spewed a daily dose of self loathing aimed squarely at fat, greedy Americans. While they never had much of an audience Air America was just an over the top version of many CNN, MSNBC and Comedy Central shows that do have audiences in the millions. Add the daily BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) symptoms coming out of the New York Times, the Washington Post and all the other big city newspapers, and is it any wonder Americans don't feel good about the future.

We all know that this so called good economy is only benefiting the rich and the oil companies. Four percent unemployment, low interest rates, booming businesses and a rising stock market are all Republican tricks designed to keep us fat and happy while we are being robbed blind.

When I take a look around I see my contemporaries living better and richer lives than their parents ever dreamed of at our age. And I say it's time to hold our chin up, it's not so bad.

Barone concludes with something we all know to be true because we see them coming here to join us and be like us from all corners of the world:

We've been instructed by many sages that the rest of the world hates us and does not want to follow our example. The [poll] numbers tell us something different.

Feeling funky? Not me, at least not today...


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Illegal Immigration Will Overwhelm...

While the western world focuses on the Middle East and the Persians as the source of the greatest threat to the peace and prosperity it's immigration and particularly illegal immigration that is the poison that kills from the inside out.

I think we all inherently knows this but it's easier to keep the blinders on. The compassion police who use our propensity to feel guilt over our good fortune (and hard work) declare Americans greedy pigs that are using the world's resources while the poor suffer. They use this as club to silence anyone that dares to demand that the government do its job and control our borders. We have city governments that openly defy Federal laws and protect and harbor law breakers from foreign lands. We have fools in Washington - enough said.

Please watch this short video that was sent to me by a friend for a eye opening (make that mind blowing) wake up call. If we don't demand our government do it's job and control our southern border we will lose America. It's already happening...

Immigration Gumballs

This needs to be the #1 issue in the 2008 election.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Glass Half Emtpy for Edwards the Optimist???

In a previous post I chastised John Edwards for being so negative and pessimistic about America. So, I thought I'd visit his website and just see how shitty of a country this really is. Well, I came to find that John is really an optimist and believes we are destined for greater greatness if only we can eliminate poverty.

Unfortunately the main poverty I see John, is the poverty of ideas. Edwards, Obama and Hillary are hell bent on re-trying what failed in the 1960's during Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" experiment. More government handouts and government control of the economic gears will not eliminate poverty. Yes, poverty is a problem - it always has been and always will be, always. Good intentions John, will not end poverty.

Here in a recent speech Edwards claims to be and optimist. He said:

"But most of all, I am optimistic because of you and the millions of people like you. You don't have to look very far or dig very deep to find people determined to make the changes we need. Millions of people are impatient to take control of their own lives and to take the responsibility to get our country back on track."

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Does this mean that HaliBushHitlerBurton has got us under his thumb and we are simply powerless over our own lives? How is it in today's America we are being stopped from taking control over our lives? Edwards offers no hint of an explanation...

He continues:
"Millions of people who know that America is so much more than just a place – America is an idea. And the idea of America – real, fundamental equality – equality of opportunity, equality of culture, equality of respect – equality for all – matters more than ever."

He's right about one thing, America is and should be about the idea of equality of opportunity. But America has never been and should never be about equality of culture or respect. We are not required to respect every law breaking illegal immigrant and his corrupt culture. Respect is earned. Frankly, this statement, John, is hooey.

He repeats his oft heard mantra:
"There are still two Americas here at home, one for the powerful and another one for everyone else."

Now here is the kettle calling the pot black. Edwards is a very rich and powerful man. Having made his money the honest way - he sued for it. He is a trial lawyer and in this nation that is the epitome of power and influence. Fine, any man who runs for high political office is bound to be rich and powerful. But, John, if I may say so, have I not heard endlessly about your middle class dad who worked in a mine? Somehow you made it big starting from such humble beginnings.

Edwards seems to think that he and the thousands upon thousands like him who have made it big in this country were just plain lucky. No, more likely you all educated yourselves and worked really, really hard. Gee, John, I grew up in lower middle class household and after getting an education and working hard I am now doing pretty well - just like all of my siblings, friends and peers.

Yes, there are two America's - the ones who work hard and live wisely and those who freeload while they whine and complain. For those who are truly unfortunate we are a charitable nation with generous programs and fail-safe systems.

Edwards can't help himself:
"Here at home, the country with the most advanced health care in the world, we have more Americans without health care – 47 million – not fewer."

This number is so misleading that it is becoming a joke. Of the so-called 47 million uninsured some 17 million live households with incomes over $50,000 a year. Another 13 million are eligible for government aid programs but have never applied. Millions are young adults who actually choose not to carry insurance. The remaining millions have learned to use the emergency room where they are not denied care. The idea of portable healthcare is a good one, maybe Edwards and I could agree on that. But the idea of forcing a government run single payer system on everyone is pure socialism and it will be a disaster!

And finally, as I can take no more, he says:
"As someone who grew up in the segregated South it hurts me to say that more than 50 years after the Brown decision, we still have two school systems – one for people who live in the right neighborhoods and one for everyone else. And the truth is that opportunity is too often denied to people because of the color of their skin, their ethnic background, their gender, or their sexual preference."

This is simply bullshit. And where it is reality, John, it is you and your liberal cohorts who are standing in the way of school choice and vouchers. In no other area can the example of what a government monopoly produces be more telling than what has happened to education.

Of course, Edward's prescription for what ails us is more government control, not less. These guys complain that HaliBushHitlerBurton is taking away our rights and spying on us. He is torturing our prisoners and poisoning our environment. Yet, the taking of more and more of our money via taxes and throwing it down the government anti-poverty program rat-hole is somehow righteous, visionary and putting us back in control of our lives...

Yes, indeed, Edwards is an optimist, and it's your tax bill that is half-empty...


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Glass Half Empty Candidates

Watching the 2008 presidential campaign progress is like watching a the Snail Darter 500. It's a real slug fest. Pardon me while I yawn... But I do see a recurring theme among the Democrats in particular that fails to give me any warm and fuzzies.

The last major shift in the American political scene was not 2006 but 1994. The republicans took over Congress for the first time in 40 some odd years. But the actual effect of this fundamental shift was negligible - thus the reason for the 2006 results. After some early successes like welfare reform, minor tax reform, block grants and budget balancing the republican congress of late might as well been the democrats they replaced in '94.

The last truly revolutionary shift was 1980 when Reagan won the White House. No need to go into a history lesson, since no one can genuinely argue that things were better under Carter. The real reason Reagan was so successful in his 1980 and '84 campaigns was something called optimism. Reagan was proud of America and saw a future where our best days were ahead and not behind.

Bill Clinton, no political dummy himself, was also selling hope of a better future in his campaigns without resorting to scolding the American citizen. In his rhetorical style he was one who could point to what was wrong and turn it around into a hopeful message of reform and redemption. Perhaps his most memorable quote was "there's nothing that's wrong with America that can't be solved by what is right with America".

Today's democrats, more so than the republicans, continually put down America. Their brand of hope is not that the American people can rise up and meet the challenge of the future but that the government must be the one to fix everything. Government has its role, but more often than not it is better for all of us if it gets out of the way.

John Edwards is particularly egregious. To listen to him you would think America is suffering from the greatest economic depression since 1933. Nothing the man says gives me any hope whatsoever. He is a hypocrite and a walking bumper sticker. Only those who actually hate this country and our very successful economic performance under the current administration's watch could actually vote for this man.

One need not wonder why liberal talk radio is such a flop. No one wants to hear that their country is bad and evil over and over, day in and day out. Sure America has its problems - all countries do. America was born of an idea - the right of the individual (individual, not the government) to his life, his liberty and the pursuit of his happiness. One good idea begets another until a great nation is built. Problems and injustices have occurred and still do, but our system allows for self-correction and that gives us hope for a better future. This sort of stuff you will hear on conservative talk radio airwaves. For the most part Rush Limbaugh, and all the other successful radio talk show hosts, reserve their negativity for socialist ideas that want to collectivize our nation into a European-style nanny state.

Balls to wall capitalism is like a child with his wild optimism and wonderment charging headfirst into the world without the guard rails that come with good parental supervision and guidance. This is how I see the government's role being played in our economic life. You don't raise children with the idea that you will take care of them the cradle to the grave. But that is exactly what Hillary and Edwards and Osama, err I mean, Obama have in store for us if we allow any of these "socialists" into the Oval Office. To them the glass is half empty and only the federal government can top it off.

Message to Rudy, Mitt and Fred sell hope not fear. Sell hope that we will beat Islamic fascism with our greatness as a nation of freedom loving people and not fear that they are lurking around every dark corner. The only thing that can defeat these sadistic and nihilistic terrorists is hope.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

REVIEW: Shooter (movie) Point of Impact (book)

First off the book is a genuine 5 star effort by Stephen Hunter. Everyone I have talked to who read the book just loves Bob the Nailer. Bobby Lee Swagger is an ex-military sniper who was the best in the game. Wounded and destined for a life in pain he retreats to the hills to live quietly and alone but for a loyal dog and his arsenal of guns. When a secret quasi-government agency employs a profiler to find the right man for a set-up of epic proportion Swagger unwittingly takes the bait.

"Point of Impact" is a gripping page turner with a great sense of pacing and just enough (relevant) plot lines to keep it interesting without burdening the reader with fluff and filler.

I didn't get the sense that the author was trying to make any deep personal political statements via the hero, Bobby Lee Swagger. Using a tried and true plot point of the secret out of control entity tied to the shadow government as the primary villain was just good fun. In fact, it is one of the rare novels with which I haven't any quibbles - at all. It comes highly recommended by yours truly and hundreds of reviewers at where it received a unequivocal 5 star rating!

The movie version, which was renamed "Shooter" (probably as not to confuse audiences with a title that could be construed as a Steven Segal flick) gets an A for effort and a D for execution. The screenplay tried valiantly to touch on the most important plot points. Unfortunately the movie failed more often than not to convey the true nature of Bob the Nailer, and frankly, all the other characters too. Wahlberg is a decent enough actor but was badly miscast - or simply failed to capture the calm and grace of Swagger as written in the book. Danny Glover, who stinks in anything without Mel Gibson, was just terrible as the principal antagonist.

This movie deserved to be a long 3 hour epic instead of the typical bang, bang action thriller. This is not to say the novel wasn't an action thriller, it was. But it was anything but typical.

If you don't read the book and see this movie please don't let that convince you that Bob the Nailer is just another action hero. Swagger is a complex character who could have been a bitter man, but never lost the sense of his place in the big picture when he chose to simply fade away. The one thing you should take away from the movie and the book is that you don't want to mess with a man like Bob the Nailer!


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hunkering Down...

Been spending time at the hospital lately. First, my eldest sister had a heart attack. We all think she is going to be OK (even though this was her second) if she can learn to reduce the effect of the stress this crazy-ass life throws at us. She is home now... I'm going to call her tomorrow.

My wife just had surgery on Tuesday. There was a tumor involved and female parts too... There appears to be no cancer!!! She is out of the hospital now and with the help of pain medication and her dear mother and father she will come home in a few days.

Going to be hot this weekend - could be Global Warming - or it could be July in the northern hemisphere. It's a toss up.

Take care all. Hope to be blogging soon.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

BWCA 2007

I can report that the BWCA is all it's cracked up to be. We took a decidedly easy trip this year with only one 79 rod portage to Lake Isabella where our first campsite awaited. It's a large lake and with a fully loaded canoe against a strong headwind there were some hairy moments. My son is a relatively inexperienced paddler - not that I am any sort of expert.

We had very good weather all in all. The first night it was windy, really windy and cool, with a little light rain. After that it was beautiful. Fourth of July morning found the lake mirror smooth with a light fog that softened the distant shore. The mood was transcendental, asserting the primacy of the spiritual over the material and empirical. In other words - the reflections (as seen in the photo below) were simply breathtaking.

The infamous bugs were never overwhelming, but generous amounts of 98% DEET (Deep Woods Off) generally did the trick. About the third day, which is always the case, the black flies arrived. No one is quite sure why it takes the flies 3 days, but there may indeed be a direct correlation to the "stank" emitted by our bug spray encrusted bodies. Nevertheless I have been in far worse mosquito situations than this.

While we prepared for a visit from members of the local black bear population none came. Instead we were witness to a wide variety of wildlife everyday we were there. Among the denizens of the large island on Lake Isabella were the common loon, bald eagle, osprey, snowshoe hare, gyrfalcon, white tail deer, sea gulls, box turtle, common merganser, northern shrike, raven, crow, fox squirrel, several unidentified warblers and woodlands hawks and the ever present turkey vulture. It's not like we saw these animals spread out throughout the six days - we saw all of them, everyday!

It's unfortunate that rarely did I have a camera at the ready. Only if the object of desire stayed put for any length of time would I be able to snap a picture. Birds were particularly uncooperative, but remarkably the flowers could be counted on to hold a pose!

I admit that by day six I was ready for a hot shower and some non-freeze dried food. This is not to say the food was unpalatable, not at all. Our guide(s) - my brother and his wife - fixed up some mighty fine grub, mighty fine... We also had not one but two fish-fries, walleye and northern pike, they were both delicious.

I must say how impressed I was by the commitment of every member of our party (12 of us) to the zero impact policy. We were always aware of the trash we produced and dealt with immediately as to not let, let's say, the wind, carry it away while we assured ourselves we would "deal" with it later. While it's impossible not to have an affect on the environment we really tried to make our stay a temporary one and ensure that we didn't spoil it for the next group.

And what Boundary Waters trip would be complete with out a spectacular sunset ...