Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The 90 Minutes I Will Never Get Back...

Me and my wife have been poking around for a new stroller with bigger wheels to make walks a little easier and found ourselves at "Once Upon A Child", which is a "gently used" children's store. They sell toys, book, clothes, etc., that they have purchased used from folks who have no need of them. The quality of the merchandise is very good, and since my kids grow out of clothes monthly, I like the discount. They also sell brand new merchandise, and we were able to find the stroller we wanted for less than other retailers carrying the same thing, not to mention the owner gave us a 10% off coupon. Nice. Needless to say, I was pleased. Mama got her new jogging stroller and I got to be cheap about it, yes!

Then everything changed...

Mrs. Bullfrog mentioned there was a crafts store around the corner and she wanted to stop in to buy a "few things" to make Christmas decorations. The original plan was for Mama and our daughter to take time together to do this bit of shopping and The Boy and I would go to the park or something. But, here we were, so I conceded.

I have not often ventured into a store like this one, so I don't know if it could be considered "typical", but it had what I have to assume is all a person would need to "make stuff": Baskets, seasonal empty wreaths, cinnamon pine cones, paint, fabric, aisles of ribbon, you get the point. Not to mention I was 1 of maybe 3 guys in the place, which was crawling with women picking over merchandise planning their next project. Of the 3 of "us", 1 was actually carrying a basket and looked pretty happy, while the "other one" and I had been brought by our wives and were making the best of it.

I poked around some and goofed around with my son, trying to keep him from getting squirmy, such is his way when he gets tired of riding around in a shopping cart for too long.

From time to time, wifey would ask questions about this or that "thingamabob" or if I liked a particular gold ribbon more than the next for hanging pine cones on our tree. What she got back was a barely coherent, "Dunno" and/or a shrug of the shoulders. It's not that I really do have an opinion about the gold ribbon and do not want to emasculate myself by sharing, it's really that I have NO OPINION about it. She understands, and doesn't give me grief about it, 1 of the many things I love about my wife.

Then she found some clothy, ribbon-type stuff that needed to be measured and cut by the service department. So she went to the counter and took a number, which put us about 3 people back from the head of the line. I busied myself looking at a computerized sewing machine which was doing some custom embroidery on a blanket or something. It was unattended, so I was intrigued, and my son stopped squirming and asking to be released from the confines of the cart. Bonus.

It was at that point that I got a surprise: The Mrs. handed me her number "60" and asked me to wait and get 2 yards of the ribbon... stuff... I really don't know what it is! It isn't ribbon, but it is long and on a spindle thing... never mind.

I didn't know what to say. I just stared blankly at her while I envisioned what I would look like standing in a crafts store with my son holding a number and a spindle full of "what's-it" asking for "2 yards".

Mama didn't have time to wait for me to think it over, so she handed me everything and said, "I'll be back." and scurried off with our daughter.

So I am standing there in what can only be considered complete disinterest. There is not 1 single thing about this store that I am interested in exploring or purchasing. I made small talk with an older woman who had come to check on the automated embroidery machine after she mentioned she had a grandson about my son's age, which she overestimated at 3. Happens all the time: my son is 50th percentile according to the doctor, but people consistently think he is older.

Anyway, my number was up (I don't think I have ever used that in a literal sense before) and I asked for the lady to cut me off 2 yards and went on my way to find the rest of my family. I found it comforting to be near my wife in such a place as this as I believed it provided an answer to anyone who might ask themselves, "What is he doing in here?"

We spent a little more time looking for the right beads, sequins, felt, and other goodies Mama needed to complete her Christmas decorating plans. After about an hour and a half, we were leaving and I have to be honest, I was exhausted and have vowed never to return to such a place as it holds nothing for me.

That said, the decorations are turning out quite nicely and the kids are having a blast helping out. Thank God for women.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lazy Blogging...

I decided to take a week off before the end of the year, and accidentally scheduled it right after the 4 day Thanksgiving weekend. A stroke of genius, as now I have eleven days away from work (aside from compulsively checking my work email, don't tell the Mrs.!).

So far it has been really relaxing, and although I anticipated having more time to blog than usual, I have found that I only even get online once or twice a day for a few minutes. So I have been checking the blog roll and stopping by, not commenting much. I guess you could call it "Lazy Blogging".

I have been spending most time outdoors with the family as this time of year is ideal for it in the desert valley where we live: cold mornings and afternoons rising to about 70 degrees with very clear blue skies! We had my wife's father over for a couple days, which was a blessing. My son really bonded with "Gampa", a very cool thing to see!

I have been cooking a bit and will probably finally get my BBQ rib recipe up on my recipe blog shortly. I also made some killer bratwurst this week, so I will probably scribble that down as well.

By the way, the picture I chose may imply that I am doing some fishing while on sabbatical. I WISH!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What I Am Thankful For

This time of year for me, and probably most of us, definitely causes me to reflect on my life. Good or bad, I have always been a blessed man and walk in the assurance that I have experienced nothing except that which is from God's own hand.

Above all else, I am thankful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave me life eternal and the opportunity to glorify and enjoy Him forever. He did this for no other reason than it pleased Him to do so.

The biggest blessing in my life today is my beautiful wife, who is easily the best friend I have ever had and who loves me with an unconditional love. She is also an excellent mother, and I leave for work every morning with peace of mind, knowing our children are in the most capable and caring hands.

The 2 children God has blessed us with are 2 of the most amazing little people, and it is a privilege to know them and have the responsibility to lead them to God through my guidance and example. These 3 people are my heart, and I pray that I will learn to serve them better by covering them with God's word, prayer, and my affection.

The body of Christ, which is the church, has been an amazing source of support, encouragement, and accountability wherever we have found ourselves in life, and I praise God for providing this.

Every circumstance in life is a blessing, whether it is character built through difficulty, or rest sought in times of plenty, and I trust the wisdom of The Most High to get me through all of them!

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Interesting Hypothetical

I couldn't resist linking this article from Patterico's Pontifications.

One of the readers there posed a hypothetical alternative to the abortion question that I think is very thought provoking. When the question was asked of a pro-choice supporting woman and a pro-life woman, the reactions were interesting and unexpected.

Here is the hypothetical:

Suppose the technology existed to safely remove a fetus from a womb at any gestational stage for incubation elsewhere until birth. If such “no-death abortion” was available to any woman who wanted it, would most abortion rights supporters stand down?

In the case of the pro-choice female, she was still very much against this form of "safe-abortion".

I would like to know what you all think, but I would also like to echo some rules of discussion posted by Patterico:

I’d appreciate it if you could keep the usual stuff about murder and evil and so forth to a minimum. Like zero. I’m more interested in a dispassionate discussion.

Let's keep comments limited to specific concerns raised by the hypothetical itself and not let the conversation devolve into emotionally charged vitriol. I also reserve the right to moderate if things get out of hand.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Good News! Obama Appears to Be Listening!

It seems as if the reality check that is our economy and the nature of economics itself has caused Obama to go back on his promise to repeal the Bush tax cuts. In all likelihood, he will allow them to expire in 2011 as originally designed by the Bush administration.

From myway via Patterico, here is a quote from a top Obama aid:

Obama's plans, outlined by his transition team on television talk shows, could put aside his campaign pledge to repeal a Bush tax cut for the wealthy. With the downturn in the economy, those tax cuts may remain in place until they are scheduled to die in 2011, said William M. Daley, an economic adviser. "That looks more likely than not," he said.

Okay, so even if they are still pushing the "tax cuts for the rich" angle (and I must be rich, because I remember my tax cut rolling in courtesy of "W"), this still proves that down deep, Obama is a "supply-sider" after all!

Seriously, I am encouraged that Obama isn't blindly keeping keeping all of his rhetorical promises, the reprieve will be nice. This also means, at least for the next couple years, Obama will borrow and spend instead of tax and spend. But we are used to that by now.

Come 2011, I shall batten down the hatches.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Morality and Conscience

We all make decisions every day that impact us in a negative or positive way. These can be financial in the form of how we spend money, social in the form of how we choose to interact with people, or political in the choices we make to be informed about strategic issues and write our representatives, cast our votes, and let our voices be heard. These are just a few of many examples, but all of these decisions have logical consequences that are beneficial or not so beneficial; if I choose to spend my pay check on DVD's, my kids won't have enough to eat, but if I carefully make a budget and stick to it, my family has all we need to get along.

Aside from the obvious and practical consequences, we are also subject to the tyranny of our own conscience. If an atheist chooses to break God's law by murdering another or stealing his goods, even if he is not caught by the authorities and punished, his own conscience will condemn him! That is not to say that over time, one practicing theft will not grow callous and have an easier time committing the crime.

Conversely, the individual and society as a whole benefits from living according to Biblical principles and listening to their conscience, whether they are trying to glorify God or not.

The Bible explains the role of the conscience this way:

(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)
Romans 2:14,15

I can't help but think of O.J. Simpson who for all intents and purposes did get away with murder by escaping legal consequence. But his life since then reflects a man who is certainly not content and I am inclined to think he carries a very guilty conscience with him wherever he goes and maybe even wishes he had been convicted and been sent to prison to pay for his crimes. As anyone who has violated their conscience knows, it can be terrible.

The fact is our actions have consequences and these consequences apply universally, and we are aware of right and wrong from a very early age. My toddlers remind me daily of this as they demonstrate an awareness of what is sin. In their childish folly, they choose to do what they know is wrong because they simply enjoy it! It is then my job to introduce a consequence that is proportional to the pleasure of that act so they choose not to go that route next time around. This is done in hope that they will choose to avoid much more serious consequences later in life.

Whether you acknowledge a Creator or not or have any belief in a universal literal moral code such as the Bible, this awareness of sin proves that morality exists. As to where the laws come into the picture, this can be treated as a "chicken and egg" problem, as some believe the laws of our land establish a moral code. I don't believe this moral code was created as much as our laws reflect and reinforce existing social taboos that originate in the conscience. That conscience that is created by a very real and all powerful God.

I believe morality is created by God and designed to preserve our precious liberty and this is absolutely universal. So essentially, you are living by the "rules" whether you believe in them or not.

Is The Honeymoon Over Already?

I expected at some point Obama's most liberal supporters would experience a giant collective hang-over; it seemed inevitable after expectations were set so unrealistically high during Obama's campaign. But I anticipated the buyers remorse to set in maybe a few months into next year, after Obama had taken office and had an opportunity to actually do some stuff.

Not surprisingly, Obama's "Clintonesque" cabinet, including the almost certain appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is not helping him win over his base supporters. Add to that the forgiveness of Joe Lieberman by Democrats for what some considered to be a betrayal of the party, namely his support of John McCain's presidential campaign and attendance at the RNC, and the result is some unhappy folks. Some of Obama's most loyal following who were celebrating a future of new hope and a different kind of government on November 4th are already showing signs of having buyers remorse.

From KOS, courtesy of Daniel Harper over at Pajamas:

Kos, from the radically left DailyKos, called the decision to keep Lieberman as chairman of his committee “idiotic.” And, in another post, the radical Left’s standard bearer derided the Democratic Party as being “spineless capitulators” for allowing Lieberman to keep his post.

As Harper suggests, maybe Obama is showing a more moderate, bipartisan side in his treatment of Lieberman. And that would maybe be a good thing, but I am frankly baffled at the possibility of Hillary as Secretary of State. There is no debating whether or not a Clinton addition to Obama' cabinet aligns with the "Change" mantra, but it would at least be understandable and forgivable if Senator Clinton had the pedigree for the job. Her foreign policy credentials are limited to visits to foreign countries as First Lady, where she acted in a nondiplomatic capacity. She certainly is no Condi, that's for sure.

It is anyone's guess what Obama is up to, but it goes without saying he has created quite a bit of drama, especially for someone who has yet to actually assume the office of President. Time will tell whether this let-down will have any political impact.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A New Approach

I have been doing less blogging lately, although I have been reading yours and commenting when time permits. The political arena has quieted some, and aside from the "What exactly WILL Obama do?" projections, there isn't alot politically to talk about.

This has given me time to be a little introspective and re-evaluate my approach to sharing with those who I come into contact with on the blogosphere. My last post, The Right and Wrong Way to Debate reflects this.

It occurs to me I have been caught up in the political hype that has dominated this election year, and have exhausted myself trying to make political, intellectual, and social arguments for or against this issue or another. The truth is, I have a strong Biblical world view and I have been holding back on making an argument purely from this position because for any issue that is important to me, a good social argument can be made. It has been an interesting exercise, and has actually encouraged me in my faith as I see our society and culture, in good times and bad, reminding me that God is on His throne where he belongs and that He is wise and good (more on this in my next post).

As I have painstakingly made my arguments or rebuttals I have found that, when all is said and done, people believe what suits them and aren't likely to be won over by logic. No matter how intellectually sound your argument may be, there is always someone who will have a rebuttal that amounts to, "Well, that's just not fair!", or "I don't like that." What matters is not that you can out argue a person, but what is the basis of your argument.

The Bible explains it this way:

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.
Colossians 2:2-4

What this tells me is I need to stop half-stepping and simply represent the Biblical world view that I am called to.

I feel a bit like Jerry McGuire, writing his memo suggesting, "Fewer clients", because I fear those who turn away because they don't want to risk being "preached to". And indeed I have been rejected before and even endured hostility for sharing what is in the Bible. But I rest in this:

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
Romans 8:15

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me."
Matthew 5:11

In that same Spirit, I have started putting to paper (so to speak) my life story in the form of a separate auto-biographical blog, to be announced later. I started doing this a while ago in another post, "Testimony of Jeremiah Robinson". That is the story of how I came to know God in a personal way, and I was inspired to complete the story by adding the details of my life before Christ and what has happened since my conversion. Not that the story of how I got to where I am today is particularly interesting (although I have some good stories to tell) but because I want to share, with those who are interested in reading, who I really am. In this way, the conversations I have with others in the blogosphere take on a new context and meaning, and by being vulnerable in sharing I hope to encourage others to do the same. This is the same approach I take when building a relationship with someone who is in my life, I try to be as transparent as I can.

As I work on it, it has grown to be fairly lengthy so rather than make one huge post or series pf posts, I decided to have a separate blog where the biography will be split into logical parts. As each chapter is finished, I will provide a link so the interested can have a read.

(Photo: Ron Smid)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Right and Wrong Way to Debate

I think I may have posted something similar to this when I first hit the blogosphere. Ah, I remember it like it was yesterday, I somehow ended up at Church Secretaries blog. Anybody familiar with him? Anyway, Church had posted about something I was interested in, and I inadvertently misunderstood the premise of the argument and replied with what was essentially a classic "straw man". This was responded to with a thorough verbal thrashing about what a straw man was, as well as a detailed synopsis of my ineptness in general. Some condescending things were said, and I had a brief period of disillusionment where I wondered if blogging was really for me.

As you may have noticed, I am not that easily discouraged, and overall I really enjoy blogging as it helps me to express my thoughts and it gives me a chance to explore my own views on (mostly) strategic issues in comparison with those of my fellow bloggers.

Obviously, there are no official rules of blogging in terms of etiquette or what can be discussed, aside from those who make their own blog-specific rules. I personally am pretty loose and don't regulate unless it is SPAM or someone gets too personal. The ONE person I was forced to ban since starting this blog can testify to that.

I even welcome discussion on pretty much anything as I find the process of sharing information to be interesting and a good part of the time edifying as well.

The things that are a bit of a turn-off for me, and that I try to avoid, although not always successfully thanks to my penchant for making a point and having the last word (yes, I am aware, and trying to be better):

1. Keep emotion out of it as much as possible.

Yes, emotions are valid, but my experience has shown me that being overly emotional while making a point about say, legislation, doesn't add much to the exchange; except that it inhibits folks ability to think clearly and gives someone a moment to vent. I am not a mindless drone, and can get pretty wrapped up in issues that are close to my heart, but ultimately, how I "feel" about a particular issue is less valuable than how I came to my conclusions logically.

2. Don't be condescending.

For me, this is a "conversation killer" and is a sure-fire way to get rid of me (make a note). It is a mistake to arrive at someone's blog, read the title or their brief "About Me" blurb, and assume you know everything about them. If you want clarification, just ask, I do it all the time and sometimes people oblige me.

3. Be respectful, as if the person you are addressing is across from you.

I think the anonymity provided by the internet is good in that it gives people more courage to be honest who may otherwise be bashful about expression themselves. At the same time, people are also more likely to be vicious or curse someone out because they can do it with little consequence. Keep the venom-filled, hateful vitriol out of it and take a self-defense class or something.

4. The web is virtual, people are not.

The web is a great way to explore, and it is convenient, but the down side is you can forget you are talking to a real person, and full expression is impossible because there is NO body language. Being clear and making no few assumptions outside of what has been stated explicitly is a good rule of thumb.

Other than that, have fun, try to learn and don't let the blogosphere be the extent of your involvement in important issue. Even for the busy, or just lazy person, the web provides alot of tools for you to be actively involved in issues that merit it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Angry Gay, Anti-Prop 8 Mob Attacks Elderly Woman

On election day in my home state of California Proposition 8, which amended the Constitution of California to define marriage as "between a man and a woman", passed overwhelmingly with 52.3% of voters voting "Yes". Ever since then, the gay community and those who sympathize with their assertion that they "deserve" to re-define marriage to include themselves, have taken to the streets in angry, disorganized, aggressive mobs in an attempt to intimidate citizens and our state government.

This is not a peaceful gathering of people who sincerely want to have their voices heard. The video above is an example of selfish rage aimed at anyone who would dare to defy their agenda. The woman in the video had just as much right to be there holding her cross to express her religious views and be a voice of dissent on this important issue. She was calm and polite, even after her sign was aggressively taken from her, thrown to the ground, and trampled by a bunch of guys half her age and twice her size. When she was interviewed by the reporter, she continued to be civil and polite, only asking that she have the freedom to speak her mind.

The icing on the cake was at the end of the video, when the news anchor commented that there was, "Anger and hatred on both sides of this issue". If anyone can show me the mobs taking to the streets after 4 state supreme court justices overturned the will of a majority of California voters back in June when they declared marriage to be a "fundamental right"" and overturning Proposition 22, I will concede that point.

Some advice to the gay mob: don't ask me to peacefully tolerate, or accept, your lifestyle, unless you at least plan to act in similar fashion when I speak out.

69 year old citizen of Palm Springs, CA, Phyllis Burgess, is pressing charges after being encouraged by law enforcement to do so. Good for you, Phyllis.

Hat tip: GreyGhost

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

This blog was inspired by Tao over at A Radical Perspective, who chose to acknowledge the significance of this day and pay homage to those who literally put their lives at risk, partially so we bloggers can have a free exchange of ideas that include critical analysis of our government and it's policies.

I have known and spoken to a few veterans, and am constantly amazed at those who choose to do what they do.

My grandfather served as Chief Damage Control in the Navy and was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. As the story goes, he traded duty with a friend so he could get shore leave at a more ideal time, only to hear later that his friend died during the attack. Had he kept his assigned post, he may have never met my grandmother and I would not be here. He traveled the globe and had some amazing stories to tell.

My father enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Vietnam. He was fortunate enough to be stationed behind friendly lines and is alive today to tell the story.

When I was 10, I had a stepfather who was in the Navy, stationed aboard the U.S.S. Sterett, a cruiser. He took the family on Westpac, and we lived in the Philippines for 2 years, '84-'86. It was an experience I will never forget. We didn't live on the military base, but chose to live in Olongapo City, so we got the "whole experience". This was just a year or 2 before the military lease on the base at Subic Bay expired and we were effectively booted out of country. At the time I was there, the sentiment towards Americans, especially those in the military, was very bad. It is a truly beautiful country full of good people with old fashioned values. Even as a boy, I realized the people there did not enjoy the same liberties enjoyed by Americans, and I remember being extremely happy after completing the 26 hour trip back to the States. I literally wanted to kiss the ground when I stepped off that plane!

I think any citizen who voices a disdain for the U.S. should spend a mandatory 6 months in a 3rd world country; it will give you a new appreciation for the freedom we enjoy and a renewed respect for those who spend and lose their lives on foreign shores protecting those freedoms.

May God bless the United States of America, and our brave men and women in the U.S. armed forces, past, present, and future.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Some More Obama Appointments...

Courtesy of Dick Morris, I have a few more appointments to add to the list:

Obama-Biden Transition Project

  • John Podesta - Co-chairman of the transition team. Formerly White House Chief of Staff under Clinton (1998-2001).

  • Carol Browner - On the advisory board of the transition team. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for both Clinton terms and is the longest-serving administrator in the history of the agency.

  • Federico Pena - Another Transition advisory board member. Served as United States Secretary of Energy under Clinton.

  • Bill Daley - Secretary of Commerce under Clinton, named to Obama's transition advisory board.

  • Larry Summers - Named to Obama Transition Economic Advisory Board. Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton and was President of Harvard University.

  • Susan Rice - Also named to the Obama-Biden Transition Project advisory board, after serving as a senior foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign. Served under Clinton as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs as well as serving on the National Security Council.

  • Michael Froman - Top executive at Citigroup now advising the transition process.

  • Stephanie Cutter - Chief Spokesperson to Obama-Biden Transition Project after serving as senior advisor to the Obama Presidential campaign. She was Deputy Communications Director under Clinton, Associate Administrator for Communications at the E.P.A., Communications Director for Edward M. Kennedy, Communications Director for the DNC, and campaign spokeswoman to the Kerry campaign.

  • Christopher Edley - Dean of U.C. Berkley and former professor to Obama, now serving on the Transition Project advisory board.

  • Maria Echaveste - Wife of Christopher Edley (previous), formerly an advisor to Bill Clinton, and Deputy Chief of Staff. Attended U.C. Berkley and now serves as an advisor to Obama's transition team.

  • Christine Varney - Personnel counsel for Obama-Biden Transition Project. Served as a Federal Trade Commissioner under Clinton as well as Secretary to the Cabinet.

    They all have similar pedigrees: law school, serving under Clinton in some capacity and involved in liberal organizations. Dick Morris noted that this certainly doesn't LOOK like the administration designed for change, it just looks like the Clinton administration "part deux". No matter how you look at it, this team is very partisan and seems to indicate "making nice" with Republicans is not a high priority for Obama. As the Democrats have the power right now in pretty much every regard, an Obama administration certainly isn't obligated to reach out to the GOP, but Obama definitely said he would if he got elected. I suppose time will tell.
  • Thursday, November 06, 2008

    Profiles of Obama's White House: Senior Adviser David Axelrod

    Born: 1955, Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York


  • Graduate of University of Chicago 1977, majored in political science. Interned at the Chicago Tribune during his undergraduate studies.


  • Political consultant based in Chicago, Illinois. He is best known as a top adviser to Barack Obama, first in Obama's 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Illinois and later as chief strategist for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
  • Senior partner of AKP&D Message and Media and was a political writer for the Chicago Tribune. Operates ASK Public Strategies.
  • Supporter of Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool, who helped Axelrod found his firm (under the name Axelrod and Associates).
  • Longtime strategist for Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley and styles himself a "specialist in urban politics."


  • 1977: Hired by the Chicago Tribune
  • 1981: Became the youngest political writer for the Chicago Tribune
  • 1984: Communications director for US Senator Paul Simon; within weeks he was promoted to co-campaign manager.
  • 1985: Formed a political consultancy, Axelrod & Associates.
  • 1987: Worked on the successful reelection campaign of Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor.
  • 2004: Spokesman for the presidential campaign of John Edwards.
  • 2006: Consulted for several campaigns, including for the successful campaigns of Eliot Spitzer in New York's gubernatorial election and for Deval Patrick in Massachusetts's gubernatorial election. Axelrod also served in 2006 as the chief political adviser for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel for the U.S. House of Representatives elections, in which the Democrats gained 31 seats.
  • 2008: Chief strategist and media adviser for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

    Axelrod has early ties with newly appointed Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel as they both worked for Paul Simon in 1984 and both spent their early careers in Chicago.

    Interestingly, he specializes in campaigning specifically for black politicians. As reported by the New York Times, he was criticized by Reverend Jeremiah Wright for "while he was expert at promoting black candidates with white voters, he did not know much about relating to the black community...They're spiriting him away from people in the African-American community. David doesn't know the African-American church scene."

    He has a reputation for being cool-headed and having a knack for diffusing things.

    Obviously, by his resume, he is a smart guy and a quick read. So far, it appears Obama is surrounding himself with sharp people.
  • Profiles of Obama's White House: Press Secretary Robert Gibbs

    Born: March 29, 1971


  • Political consultant.


  • 1989 graduate of Auburn High School in Auburn, Alabama and graduated cum laude from North Carolina State University with a degree in political science.


  • Served as communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and in general has specialized as a political consultant for Senate campaigns.
  • 2004: Press secretary of Democratic candidate John Kerry. After leaving the campaign in reaction to the firing of Jim Jordan, Gibbs became spokesman for Americans for Jobs, Health Care and Progressive Values, a Democratic group formed to stop the 2004 presidential campaign of Howard Dean.
  • 2008: Communications director for U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
  • Profiles of Obama's White House: Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel

    As part of my commitment to do what I can as a citizen to keep the upcoming administration accountable, I am doing a little research into the appointments Obama is making to his cabinet. I will do a short profile on each appointment as they are made official, starting with Rahm Emmanuel, who accepted the position of White House Chief of Staff earlier today:

    Born: November 29, 1959. Retained Israeli citizenship up until 1991.


    Before accepting the position of Chief of Staff, Emmanuel served as a Democratic member of the House of Representatives since 2003, representing Illinois's 5th congressional district which covers much of the north side of Chicago and parts of suburban Cook County. He was the 4th ranking Democrat in the House, behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Leader Steny Hoyer and Whip Jim Clyburn.


  • Began his political career with the now defunct public interest and consumer rights organization Illinois Public Action.
  • 1984: Worked for Democrat Paul Simon's election to the U.S. Senate.
  • 1988: National campaign director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • 1989: Senior advisor and chief fundraiser for Richard M. Daley's victorious campaign for Mayor of Chicago.
  • Served then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton's Presidential campaign as finance committee director, and was instrumental in Clinton's win in 1992.
  • 1993 - 1998: Senior advisor to Clinton as Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy. He was a leading strategist in the unsuccessful White House efforts to institute universal healthcare and many other Clinton initiatives.
  • 1999 - 2002: Accepted a high paid position at Dresdner Kleinwort investment bank in Chicago.
  • 2005: Named the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • 2006: Received praise for his stewardship of the DCCC during the highly successful 2006 election cycle.


  • Ways and Means - Chief tax-writing committee of the United States House of Representatives. This Committee has jurisdiction over all taxation, tariffs and other revenue-raising measures, as well as a number of other programs including:
    -Social Security
    -Unemployment benefits
    -Enforcement of child support laws
    -Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal welfare program
    -Foster care and adoption programs

    Political Views

  • Indicated his support of President Bush's position on Iraq, but said he believed the president needed to better articulate his position to the American people.
  • Believes in affordable and available healthcare for all Americans.
  • Has maintained a 100% pro-choice voting record.
  • Depending on who you ask, Emmanuel is either pro-Israel or pro-Palestine, but from what I have read, he seems most vocal in support of Israel.


  • An article from 2006 raised speculation regarding a possible connection between Emanuel's Congressional election success and convicted former Chicago water department boss Don Tomczak.
  • USA Today reported in late January 2007 that Emanuel failed to disclose that he was an officer of a family charity, a violation of law requiring members of Congress to report non-profit leadership roles.

    It has been said of Emmanuel that he is far from partisan and that this is a sign that Obama does not intend to act in a bipartisan fashion. My only response to that is: he really is not obligated to do any such thing considering the majority his party has. Rahm also has a reputation for being a "pit bull" and some of his bio (courtesy of Wikipedia) confirms he can be tenacious. Obama has commented that he can, "Get things done", so I suppose that was the appeal; not that Emmanuel makes nice but that he is effective. Whether Obama really will reach across the aisle and include Republicans remains to be seen.

    (Source: Wikipedia)
  • Will Obama Move to the Center?

    I know, it sounds almost rhetorical, but there seems to be 2 schools of thought on the subject of just how liberal the Barack Obama administration will be:

    Some are saying he will be forced by the economic mess to at least delay his multi-billion dollar initiatives because he wouldn't dare raise taxes on businesses (which will be necessary to pay for them) at a critical time such as we find ourselves in. Obviously raising taxes on businesses now would exacerbate our economic crisis, and I would like to think Presient-elect Obama is smart enough to see the writing on the wall; the stock market volatility, retail numbers in the tank, predictions about historically high unemployment, etc, and take a more moderate approach.

    Another argument is that Obama will have no choice but to do the bidding of a Democratic congress with almost filibuster-proof control. Dick Morris compares Obama's situation to the dilemma President Clinton faced while in office.

    When Clinton was elected in 1992, the Democrats in control of Congress gave him a clear message: Either you govern within the four walls of the Democratic caucus or you won’t get our support.

    Clinton, faced with being ineffectual as President, was forced to comply.

    Moderate initiatives like welfare reform were scrapped, the Congress passed tax hikes and legislation became festooned with liberal amendments. Faced with the need to round up every last vote in the Senate and House Democratic caucuses, Clinton had no choice but to load up conservative bills like an anti-crime measure with liberal pork...

    This seems to me to be the more realistic viewpoint. Even if Obama seeks to take a more moderate or centrist appraoch and ride out the economic crisis, that choice may not be his to make.

    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    Is Gay Marriage a Civil Rights Issue?

    Arizona, Florida, and my home state of California all had marriage amendments that sought to protect traditional marriage by limiting it's definition to a man and a woman. I have spoken at length about the danger of loosening this definition in the name of accommodating those who seek to do so on a purely political or emotional basis, so I won't belabor that point here.

    The votes are in and all 3 states passed their ballot measures (gasp! even Kalee-foor-neea!). So marriage is safe in these states, at least for now...

    In listening to Rush Limbaugh, I picked up some interesting data on the voters who passed these measures broken down by race. Keep in mind when you read these numbers that the homosexual lobby has always sought to paint their community as the "new minority" and are constantly trying to draw comparisons between their struggle for "equal rights" and the civil rights struggle of blacks in the 1960's.

    Voting "Yes" to strictly define marriage:


    Whites: 51%
    Blacks: 70%


    Whites: 60%
    Blacks: 71%


    Whites/Hispanics: 55%
    Blacks: Yet to tally, but somewhat safe to assume similar results as other 2 states

    Effectively, these amendments to protect traditional marriage would not have passed without the black vote. Ironically, if Obama had not been on the ballot, the black vote may not have generated the numbers necessary to pass these amendments. The very community that the homosexual lobby wants so badly to be identified with has spoken loud and clear about whether they feel Gay Marriage is a civil rights issue or not.

    And so it shall be...

    Shock and Awe

    Wow, I was in my living room last night, kiddies freshly bathed and tucked in, ready for a late night of listening to the totals roll in. I was not prepared for the utter lack of suspense and voter mandate that was to usher in our next President elect. The people of America have certainly spoken, and loudly.


    Congratulations to President elect Barack Obama for running an effective campaign and captivating the hearts of millions of Americans with his message of a new kind of administration. The same congratulations goes out to his wife Michelle, who obviously was an outstanding source of encouragement and support. As for the Obama girls, it will be cool to see kids running around on the White House lawn. You said many time during your campaign that you wanted to, "Get to work for the American people", well here is your chance. Serve.


    It has already been said, and will likely be said many times more, that the historic nature of this event cannot and should not be ignored. We have just made a black man President of the United States of America for the 1st time in our history, and the reaction I saw and heard from people of all colors and walks of life last night on the news shows that this significance is certainly felt by all.

    A Class Act

    Senator John McCain made a concession speech that reflected his patriotism and class, and I am certain he has many years left in him working for America in the Senate. His refusal to really go negative was downright frustrating at times, but in the end I think he valued his integrity more than the win, which is admirable.

    What's Next

    For conservatives, my hope is that our representation will take this loss for what it is: a wake up call. The basic fact of the matter is, you cannot continue to call yourselves conservatives while at the same time spend like crazy, leave our borders wide open to terrorists, and in general NOT act conservative. One of my local Republican representatives went on last night with his reaction and said exactly what needed to be said: conservatives need to get back to traditional conservative values as demonstrated by Ronald Reagan. You all have 4 years to make some serious changes; GET TO WORK!

    Marriage Safe in California!

    Proposition 8, which added an amendment to the Constitution of California defining marriage as between one man and one woman, passed with flying colors with basically 54% of the voters voting "Yes". To be honest, I was more concerned about this issue than all other ballot issues, or even who would become President. I was astounded by the number of people in the media that were holding out hope that the proposition would be struck down. The votes for "Yes" lead in the count all night, but news folks kept saying, "It isn't over yet, there are still votes to be counted." This would seem reasonable enough, except they had no problem calling other propositions that were not as close. Even the Mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, got on and said he would find it hard to believe Californians would pass such a measure that would "deny rights to people."

    That was the nature of the "No On 8" campaign; generalize and reduce marriage to a pronouncement of love and not a means for society to continue to exist through healthy relationships that naturally result in children. I know that is wrong, and it looks like most California voters agree with me.

    I am sure this is not over, as the homosexual lobby will not give up and are well financed. For now, the people have spoken.

    As for me...

    I will continue to watch the administration closely and keep calling and writing my representatives to make sure my voice is heard. You should do the same. I find comfort in the fact that ultimately it is God who appoints leaders over us, and that His wisdom is far above my own.

    Saturday, October 18, 2008

    For some who read this, the phrase, "None of the Above" may bring back memories of the 1985 Richard Pryor movie, "Brewster's Millions" (okay, just me then?). Of course, I am actually talking about the upcoming election and my intent to vote 3rd party. As I don't expect a 3rd party candidate to actually prevail over either of the 2 major party candidates, "None of the Above" is appropriate.

    What insanity is this? You might ask. Aren't you effectively wasting a vote by not voting for a candidate who has a real chance of winning? I also understand that, to some, this may seem like a protest vote only made to make a statement, and not in good conscience. I made the point before that it is impossible to "waste a vote" as long as your vote is cast based on your understanding of the issues and your candidate's ability to represent you on those issues, and I will not belabor that here.

    The purpose of this article is to further explore the concept of voting 3rd party and my rationale for doing so. I will start by exploring the alternatives:

    A Vote for Barack Obama

    I would like to be clear that Barack Obama represents possibly the opposite of everything I look for in a candidate for President. He is a family man, and I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is doing what he feels is best for his country. His stance on the issues that are important to me (no matter which side he is on at present) do not represent mine at all. He is running his campaign on the premise that Big Government needs to step in to cure the ills of society, because the "unwashed masses" do not have the will or the know-how to do so for themselves. His views generally reflect a basic lack of faith in the American people. Despite his statements that, "We are who we have been looking for", he seems to be more interested in getting "we" to vote for his administration so they can step in and socialize everything. This is tantamount to limiting the liberties of Americans, not protecting it. Barack Obama's worldview flies in the face of the vision of our founding fathers which are described in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. These men saw the damage that absolute government control could do, and sought to limit government instead, leaving the administration to focus on protecting the liberties of it's citizens, nothing more

    A Vote for John McCain

    While John McCain is a fine individual as well and has served his country admirably during his time in the military and as a Senator, he is not anywhere near conservative enough to be compared with the likes of Ronald Reagan, as much as those in denial and McCain himself would like us to think so. No matter how many times McCain squeezes out the phrase, "My friends" he in no way reminds me of Reagan, and in fact I resent the fact that he thinks anyone would be taken in by it. Reviewing his voting record makes him soft on some key issues as well. The most glaring to me is his historically weak stance on illegal immigration. He has consistently voted for softer borders, and in 2006 supported a bill basically granting amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens. While he has more recently taken a harder line on this issue with tough talk about securing our borders, he still makes statements alluding to his belief that amnesty is fair and the best thing for America. This is significant because this reveals a little about his worldview, which apparently holds less respect for our country's sovereignty as I believe it should. His choice of Sarah Palin for V.P. certainly peaked my interest for a time, but what is exciting about McCain's campaign is Sarah Palin, not John McCain, who is running for the highest office in the United States.

    In recent history, like before the primaries, John McCain was far from the favorite in conservative circles and I think many breathed a sigh of relief when his campaign lost it's viability and he seemed done this go around. Those reservations many held about McCain still hold true today. This man has not changed in the last 8 months, so while many may think I am foolish for voting 3rd party, the worst I can be accused of is holding to my principles.

    You may have picked up a bitter tone in my description of McCain, and I think the reason for that is, while he may be more Conservative than Obama and arguably the lesser of 2 evils, he is less genuine than Obama. Shocked? Please allow me to explain. With Obama, you get what you ask for, everything is on the table. People who support Obama do so because they hold to the same beliefs that he does, that the government has a responsibility to rescue us from ourselves and act as a "nanny" for Americans. Conservatives will not vote for him because they know exactly where he is coming from and what he intends to do and disagree with him. The problem with McCain is, we really have no idea what to expect from his proposed administration because what he says today is not consistent with what he has done while in the Senate, nor is it consistent with what he was saying before the primaries. Add to that the utter failure of many self-described conservatives in the administration to demonstrate any real level of conservative principle and you can call me fed up.

    With all of the talk of party loyalty and the fear of the Republican Party falling out of power, I would like to take some time to explore what a McCain administration would do to conservatism and the Republican Party vs. 4 years of an Obama administration.

    Conservatives have endorsed McCain, not because of his record, or because they are confident in his ability to promote conservative views so much as because he has the right label and the only alternative is Obama. If he is elected, McCain, a "maverick" with a reputation for reaching across the aisle, will likely be a very effective President; not because he will have any real influence over what is likely to be a filibuster-proof, overwhelmingly Democratic Congress. On the contrary, he will agree with them more than disagree and tons of legislation designed to support a very liberal agenda will pass. When these policies fail, and they will, McCain and Republicans will catch the blame and 2012 could become very interesting for Hillary or even Obama again, who will be able to talk about how "look where 12 years of a Republican President has gotten you".

    An Obama administration will set out to do exactly what we could expect. Ultra-liberal policies the likes we have not seen since the Carter administration. We will all get taxed to death as we sit and watch just how ineffective and disastrous the socialist utopian dream really is. Just like the Carter 4 years ushered in 8 years of Reagan conservatism, these events would likely do the same. Americans will get exactly what they asked for in Obama and I predict they will decide it isn't all it was cut out to be.

    So I argue that, while 4 years of McCain would not only be a violation of conscience, it would also hurt the conservative cause more than help, while an Obama administration would force conservative citizens and representatives to wake up and demand proper representation rather than settling for the lesser of 2 evils.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    Platform of the Constitution Party

    In reviewing the platform set forth by the Constitution Party, I realize it reflects exactly what the name of the party implies: a purely constitutional form of government as established by our founding fathers.

    Here are some key excerpts that make this party appealing to me, a more complete list can be found here:

    Sanctity of Life

    The Preamble of the Constitution states a purpose of the Constitution to be to:
    "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity".
    We declare the unalienable right of Life to be secured by our Constitution "to ourselves and our Posterity". Our posterity includes children born and future generations yet unborn. Any legalization of the termination of innocent life of the born or unborn is a direct violation of our unalienable right to life.


    The Congress of these United States has become an overpaid, overstaffed, self-serving institution. It confiscates taxpayer funds to finance exorbitant and unconstitutionally determined salaries, pensions, and perks. Most members of Congress have become more accountable to the Washington establishment than to the people in their home districts. Both houses of Congress are all too often unresponsive and irresponsible, arrogantly placing themselves above the very laws they enact, and beyond the control of the citizens they have sworn to represent and serve.

    We seek to abolish Congressional pensions.

    It is time for the American people to renew effective supervision of their public servants, to restore right standards and to take back the government. Congress must once again be accountable to the people and obedient to the Constitution, repealing all laws that delegate legislative powers to regulatory agencies, bureaucracies, private organizations, the Federal Reserve Board, international agencies, the President, and the judiciary.


    We call for the maintenance of a strong, state-of-the-art military on land, sea, in the air, and in space. We urge the executive and legislative branches to continue to provide for the modernization of our armed forces, in keeping with advancing technologies and a constantly changing world situation. We call for the deployment of a fully-operational strategic defense system as soon as possible.

    We believe that all defense expenditures should be directly related to the protection of our nation, and that every item of expenditure must be carefully reviewed to eliminate foreign aid, waste, fraud, theft, inefficiency, and excess profits from all defense contracts and military expenditures.


    Because control over education is now being relegated to departments other than the Department of Education, we clarify that no federal agency, department, board, or other entity may exercise jurisdiction over any aspect of children's upbringing. Education, training, and discipline of children are properly placed in the domain of their parents.

    We support the unimpeded right of parents to provide for the education of their children in the manner they deem best, including home, private or religious. We oppose all legislation from any level of government that would interfere with or restrict that liberty. We support equitable tax relief for families whose children do not attend government schools.

    So that parents need not defy the law by refusing to send their children to schools of which they disapprove, compulsory attendance laws should be repealed.

    Election Reform

    To encourage free and fair elections, all candidates must be treated equally. We call for an end to designated "Major Party" status that gives an unfair advantage to some candidates by providing ballot access and taxpayer dollars, while requiring others for the same office to gather petition signatures or meet other, more stringent criteria.

    We call for a repeal of all federal campaign finance laws (i.e. McCain-Feingold) due to their violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


    We stand against so-called "sexual orientation" and "hate crime" statutes that attempt to legitimize inappropriate sexual behavior and to stifle public resistance to its expression. We oppose government funding of "partner" benefits for unmarried individuals. Finally, we oppose any legal recognition of homosexual unions.

    We recognize that parents have the fundamental right and responsibility to nurture, educate, and discipline their children. We oppose the assumption of any of these responsibilities by any governmental agency without the express delegation of the parents or legal due process. We affirm the value of the father and the mother in the home, and we oppose efforts to legalize adoption of children by homosexual singles or couples.

    Gun Control

    We emphasize that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have them. In such circumstances, the peaceful citizen's protection against the criminal would be seriously jeopardized.

    We call for the repeal of all federal firearms legislation, beginning with Federal Firearms Act of 1968.

    We call for the rescinding of all executive orders, the prohibition of any future executive orders, and the prohibition of treaty ratification which would in any way limit the right to keep and bear arms.


    We affirm the integrity of the international borders of these United States and the Constitutional authority and duty of the federal government to guard and to protect those borders, including the regulation of the numbers and of the qualifications of immigrants into the country.

    We oppose the provision of welfare subsidies and other taxpayer-supported benefits to illegal aliens, and reject the practice of bestowing U.S. citizenship on children born to illegal alien parents while in this country.

    We oppose any extension of amnesty to illegal aliens. We call for the use of U.S. troops to protect the states against invasion.

    Religious Freedom

    Our Constitution grants no authority to the federal government either to grant or deny the religious expressions of the people in any place. Both the First and Tenth Amendments forbid such tyranny.

    We call upon all branches of government to cease their attacks on the religious liberties of the people and the states, regardless of the forum in which these liberties are exercised.

    State Sovereignty

    The federal government has no authority to mandate policies relating to state education, natural resources, transportation, private business, housing, and health care, ad infinitum.

    We call upon the states to reclaim their legitimate role in federal affairs and legislation (See Amendment 10 United States Constitution) and thus cause the federal government to divest itself of operations not authorized by the Constitution and extract the federal government from such enterprises, whether or not they compete with private enterprise.


    Charity, and provision of welfare to those in need, is not a Constitutional responsibility of the federal government. Under no circumstances should the taxpayers of these United States be obligated, under penalty of law through forced taxation, to assume the cost of providing welfare for other citizens. Neither should taxpayers be indentured to subsidize welfare for persons who enter these United States illegally.

    On the "Wasted Vote"

    "Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -- John Quincy Adams

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Politically Exhausted

    I am officially nearing exhaustion in hearing about this election. Don't get me wrong, I believe politics is important as it impacts Americans in a very real way. I remember when I was 18 I was eager to register and exercise my new right to vote and did so as soon as I was able. That year was when George Bush 41 was running for re-election against Bill Clinton. I rode my bike to my polling place and cast my 1st vote ever for none other than Ross Perot. I think I mainly made that choice based on the opinions of people close to me as I really had no idea what was going on in politics at that time.

    My interest in politics didn't really peak until much later. Before I really started paying close attention to the issues and understanding where I stood in my political views, I was a registered Democrat (because my family are all Democrats) and I would base most of my political debate on popular talking points or whatever the MSM had to offer on the issues. I have always enjoyed a good exchange, call it a debate or an argument, I have always been "game" to get into it.

    Once I really began to look more objectively at the issues, and also around the time when I became a Christian, it became obvious to me that I was better represented by the Republican Party. I was very zealous, if still not terribly well-informed, and went after those claiming to be Democrats with enthusiasm, thinking they must be fools for ascribing to a party that promotes such ignorant and irrational policies. For a good while I clung to the Republican Party and my conservative views with veracity. It defined me in a way, calling myself "Conservative" and the feeling that I had made the "right choice".

    Another shift has happened since then. In the last few years as I have watched a Republican controlled Congress and Executive branch in action, in the few issues that are most important to me, there has been either no progress or backwards progress and, more and more, the Republican Party has represented my personal worldview in word only. My confidence in the GOP has eroded over the past few years as the line between Republican and Democrat have become more blurry. My disillusionment peaked in 2006, as I was utterly frustrated at the inability of either party to speak for me, and I voted for all 3rd party candidates in that election. I had broken away from the party line and chose each candidate based on their record and how closely their views matched my own. It was the 1st time I had refused to play "the game" of politics and voted my conscience, and I am glad I did it.

    The conscience can be a terrible thing, especially when it is violated. This is something I learned in a very vivid way after voting to oust California Governor Grey Davis and replaced him with the utter disaster that is running California into the ground as we speak. I chose what was politically expedient over what I believed was right, and I have regretted it ever since. Every time the "Governator" does something idiotic I shake my head at him, and then at myself for helping make it possible.

    The next time I cast my vote was in the recent primaries, in preparation for the 2008 General Election happening in just a few weeks. After reviewing the candidates, I cast my vote for Ron Paul on the Republican ticket. Men like Ron Paul, Alan Keyes and Chuck Baldwin are laughed at and disrespected by BOTH parties for having the "audacity" to even show up to run for office. These are men who intentionally go against the status quo because they hold personal principles and character above "winning". Alan Keyes was publicly disrespected by pretty much every other Republican candidate during the primaries, which hastened my disillusionment as I watched men of my party openly disrespecting a good and decent man who did not act in fear, but spoke from the heart about how far he believed this country has strayed from her roots. The Ron Paul's and Alan Keyes' of this country are Christians 1st and patriots 2nd. I think politicians may play a distant 3rd if I had to guess; but it is clear they have priorities like my own so as a matter of conscience I am obligated to support them, even if they cannot win. They represent the principles of a Constitutional form of government that we have long strayed from, and that I believe we need to return to.

    This all may come off as a little idealistic to many, but what better way to be when choosing the person who will very soon be running the free world, and at such times as we find ourselves in now? Shouldn't we ask for excellence in the person who makes decisions and has influence that will profoundly affect our lives? The Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannity's of the world have dished out the "lesser of 2 evils" time after time, and where has that gotten us? It has led the GOP to put up a man like John McCain who, in the primaries, was scoffed at and ridiculed for the same maverick tendencies for which he is now being embraced and held out as the best the party has to offer? Despicable. I refuse to play the game this time around and further sear my conscience by voting for such a man whose only appeal, apparently, is that he is NOT Barrack Obama. I refuse to vote "against Obama" by voting for John McCain, as this is the same backwards logic conservatives ridiculed John Kerry supporters for when they vowed, "No more W" in 2004.

    I am endorsing Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party in the General Election. Chuck is a family man and Christian pastor who was supporting Ron Paul before Ron left the race. The Constitution Party is right on all of the issues that are important to me: abortion, immigration, liberty, marriage, the right to bear arms, small government and every other issue that I believe we should not compromise in protecting.

    Call it a "wasted vote" if you like, but I believe there is no such thing as long as the person casting their vote can do so with a clear conscience.

    Wednesday, October 01, 2008

    Stand and Fight, or Lose

    I am confused by John McCain's behavior regarding this whole economic bailout fiasco. The $700 billion dollar package failed, and well it should have as it would have been a huge step towards socializing our financial system. America has prospered partly because we have a free market economy and I believe too much over sight by the government would undermine that. The financial companies took a gamble by making junk loans, partly because the Fed forced them via an affirmative action like policy which required a certain number of mid to low-income recipients on their books, and I think also due in part to the housing market bubble making them a bit too aggressive.

    However we got here, whether you want to put all the blame on one institution, party, individual, etc, we need to do what is right going forward. To me, "right" is letting the market self-correct. This has already started to happen: one of the warnings we had a couple weeks ago was that banks would start to falter, and that would mean the beginning of "the end". Well, the first part of the scenario has indeed happened, as evidenced by Washington Mutual (speaking of junk loans) failing. How did the market react? J.P. Morgan Chase stepped in and purchased them, which should have zero impact to the customers (like me) of WAMU. All WAMU assets are now secured by Chase Bank and the FDIC, so all is well. So the market has so far adjusted for this, and I believe it will continue to do so as companies in trouble continue to get bought out by companies with the capital to do so. Consumers so far seem less affected by all of this activity in terms of their confidence in the market. Whether this is due to complacency or just blind trust in the market is debatable, I suppose.

    I also believe John McCain trusts the free market, which is why I am befuddled by his statements of late that the bailout is the way to go. He put his campaign on "pause" and vowed to go to DC and do his part as Republican leadership to get a deal done. Good start, and the polls showed that Americans, the same ones who 2 to 1 are against shouldering the burden of failed financial institutions who used bad business practices, agreed and supported him. He then claimed "victory" before the actual vote tool place and looked inept as it did not pass as expected.

    Legislators are now working on bailout II, and plan to vote again Thursday. Now is McCain's opportunity to side with the American people and conservative principles and work to pass the Republican's answer to this, which would mean loans and insurance to hurting companies that would bolster consumer confidence and still keep responsibility where it belongs. John McCain should be familiar with the notion of standing and fighting according to principle, given his military background and reputation as a "maverick".

    I believe the alternative to this is to agree with the Democrats and Obama, which is basically to disagree with the American people, which could be the beginning of "the end" for the McCain campaign for President.

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Charlie Gibson: Proving the MSM is On It's Way to Extinction

    I caught most of the ABC News September 11th interview of Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin and was extremely annoyed at how disrespectful and condescending anchorman Charlie Gibson was toward her. He was talking to her like she was a naive, 14 year old girl who needed a little of his "wisdom". His questions were tough, which is understandable, but the interviewer did a terrible job of keeping his own opinion out of the discussion. He cut her off several times, continually tried to get her to admit that she was "terrified" at the prospect of being V.P. and not up to the challenge; while she is clearly confident in her abilities, but says she is "humbled" by it all. I don't know about you, but that is exactly the response I want from a person in her position: a willingness to pursue a challenge for the greater good, while understanding the heaviness of the responsibility.

    The full transcript of the interview is linked below (courtesy of NewsBusters) and it shows how what you ultimately saw on television was edited not just for brevity, but to paint Sarah Palin in a particular light.

    GIBSON: Governor, let me start by asking you a question that I asked John McCain about you, and it is really the central question. Can you look the country in the eye and say “I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just vice president, but perhaps president of the United States of America?”

    PALIN: I do, Charlie, and on January 20, when John McCain and I are sworn in, if we are so privileged to be elected to serve this country, will be ready. I’m ready.

    GIBSON: And you didn’t say to yourself, “Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I — will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?”

    PALIN: I didn’t hesitate, no.

    GIBSON: Didn’t that take some hubris?

    Here, Charlie rails on the notion that the Governor of Alaska is in over her head, and that it takes "hubris" for her to act with confidence under the circumstances. Now, "hubris" is one of those 50 cent words I don't use every day, but it implies not just confidence, but such confidence that acts in ignorance and ultimately leads to humiliation, whether intentional or not. Gibson is strongly implying she is unprepared, but too arrogant to know any better.

    GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

    PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

    GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be?

    PALIN: His world view.

    GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

    PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that’s the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

    GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

    It should be noted here that Gibson obviously doesn't have the grasp of the Bush doctrine that he thinks he does. Charles Krauthammer deals with this gaff by Gibson in a Washington Post article (link below). What I would like to ask Charles Gibson is, did it take "hubris" for you to ask a question such as this, given that your own understanding of the issue is apparently incorrect?

    Palin's answer:

    Note: Bolded text is what was omitted by ABC in the final televised interview.

    PALIN: I agree that a president’s job, when they swear in their oath to uphold our Constitution, their top priority is to defend the United States of America.

    I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people.

    GIBSON: Do we have a right to anticipatory self-defense? Do we have a right to make a preemptive strike again another country if we feel that country might strike us?

    PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.

    What is of particular interest is the portion of this segment that ABC chose to leave on the cutting room floor. By removing Sarah's assertion that is the President's obligation, not just prerogative, to defend Americans, while leaving the more general statement that we have a right to defend ourselves, it paints Sarah Palin as some gun-toting war-monger.

    The arrogance of Charlie Gibson is palpable. To presume to have a better grasp of the duties of public office than Sarah Palin when he has spent his life writing the news, while she has spent hers in public office making news and bringing real change to the city and state she presided over in an executive capacity.

    I think ABC is showing their true colors, arrogantly assuming most people will never go beyond their skillfully edited OP/ED piece that could have been a bit of good reporting. Had it not been for the risk of highlighting Sarah Palin's integrity on important issues, the American people may have seen the whole interview.

    Gibson has a similar sit-down with Obama earlier in the year, and here is how the questions asked of the two compare:

    The following comment illustrates the difference between how Gibson interviewed Obama and Palin:

    cedarford:A woman at a Hillary website (nom de plume - Nancy Kallitechnis) posted what she found reviewing Gibsons questions to Obama compared to the questions he later asked the VP nominee Palin:

    The following is a breakdown of the questions asked of the nominees:

    Obama interview:

    How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
    How does it feel to “win”?
    How does your family feel about your “winning” breaking a glass ceiling?
    Who will be your VP?
    Should you choose Hillary Clinton as VP?
    Will you accept public finance?
    What issues is your campaign about?
    Will you visit Iraq?
    Will you debate McCain at a town hall?
    What did you think of your competitor’s [Clinton] speech?

    Palin interview:

    Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking? Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
    Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job?
    Questions about foreign policy
    -territorial integrity of Georgia
    -allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO
    -NATO treaty
    -Iranian nuclear threat
    -what to do if Israel attacks Iran
    -Al Qaeda motivations
    -the Bush Doctrine
    -attacking terrorists harbored by Pakistan
    Is America fighting a holy war? [misquoted Palin]

    Gibson, an experienced interviewer and anchorman, treats Obama like a golf buddy, but badgers Sarah Palin to death and spouts left wing opinionate drivel. How's that for balanced reporting?

    Guess what MSM? The average person (like myself) is getting more informed by the day thanks to this whole "Internet" thing, so not only are you not the only game in town, but your absolute left-leaning bias is showing big time, and I sincerely hope it destroys you as people grow in their distaste of your approach to "reporting".

    Hat Tip:

    Full transcript of the interview(bolded text shows comments that were edited out):
    mark LEVIN Show

    Bush Doctrine:
    Washington Post

    Sunday, September 07, 2008

    McCain vs. Obama: Vive la Difference?

    It has been suggested to me more than once that there is not alot of real difference between John McCain and Barack Obama. If you think of McCain's liberal leanings, this is easily conceivable, but it occurred to me that the real telling would be in doing a direct comparison of their voting records while in the Senate. Man, talk about some serious, time consuming research! Fortunately, thanks to the Internet, someone else thought if it before me and already did the hard task of chasing down the data and presenting it. I believe the person credited with the research (bottom of article) may be an Obama supporter, but his presentation was pretty balanced.

    These are organized issue by issue, and in no particular importance:


    • 2007 Immigration Act - McCain and Obama both voted for it (right before it failed).
      A bill prohibiting illegal aliens convicted of aggravated felonies, domestic violence, stalking, violation of protection orders, crimes against children, or crimes relating to illegal purchase or sale of firearms, from gaining legal status - McCain and Obama both voted against it.

    • Obama sponsored a bill that would raise the level of family sponsored immigrants from 226,000 to 567,000 - McCain voted against this.

    • The following one is just confusing. I guess I don't understand politics:

      Amendment that declared English to be the common language of the U.S. - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"
      Amendment making English the national language of the U.S. - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"
      Amendment making English the unifying language - McCain and Obama voted "Yes"

    • Triple-layered fencing along the Southern U.S. border - Both voted "Yes"
    • Double-layered fencing - both voted "No".

      The Constitution

    • Amendment against flag desecration - McCain: "Yes", Obama (and Hillary): "No"

    • Resolution criticizing for bashing General Petraeus - McCain: "Yes", Obama: did not vote (interesting)

    • Senate pay raises - Both "No" (only 6 voted "Yes")

    • Amendment opposing criticism of the U.S. military - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"

    • Bill granting Habeas Corpus rights to U.S. detainees - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"

    • Same sex marriage amendment - both voted against this.


    • Allow an amendment vote to increase government financial aid to Katrina victims by providing food, bankruptcy relief and tax help - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"

    • Congressional commission to study what went wrong with Katrina - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"


    • Congressional committee to study how contracts were to be handed out in Iraq and Afghanistan - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"

    • Additional $50 billion to fund Iraq - both voted "Yes"


    • Alito & Roberts - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"

    • Gonzalez - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"

    • Condoleeza Rice - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"


    • Bill limiting farm subsidies for married couples to $250,000 - cosponsored by McCain and Obama

    • Economic stimulus - McCain: "Yes", Obama: did not vote

    • Sunset of the estate tax - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"

    • Increase debt limit to 8.97 trillion dollars - both voted against this

    • Extend pay as you go until 2011 - both voted "Yes"

    • Temporary crude oil profits tax - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"


    • Ethics bill - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes" (although he wasn't a cosponsor of the bill he touts it as his most important achievements)


    • Drilling in ANWR - both voted "No"

    • Carbon and mercury limits - both voted "Yes"


    • Pell Grant increase - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"


    • $500 million to help vets deal with PSTD and substance abuse - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"

      Free Trade

    • CAFTA - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"
    • Free Trade agreement with Oman: both voted in support

      Stem Cells

    • Embryonic stem cell research - both voted "Yes"


    They seem to agree on immigration, gay marriage, stem cells, and the environment, while differing on Supreme Court justices, taxes, Iraq, trade, and ethics.

    As a strong proponent of Pro Life, I find McCain's soft stance on embryonic stem cell research particularly disconcerting, and I find it ironic that those who would consider McCain the "lesser of 2 evils" would do so partly based on Obama's very liberal stance on abortion. If respect for life is what moves you to be against abortion, there can be no reason for you to simultaneously support embryonic stem cell research. I suppose you could argue that their difference on appointing Supreme Court justices makes the Pro Life argument a mute point.

    Add to that his voting record on protecting the institution of marriage and a historical soft stance on immigration, and I develop serious reservations about putting McCain at the helm even at the off chance it would usher in a Palin administration in 4 years. Add to my distaste that he is a certifiable "Global Warming Believer". The question to me is: can we afford 4 years of McCain, and more importantly, can I live with myself every day knowing I pulled the lever for him?

    This coming from a Californian who is still regretful of putting the "Governator" in office; what an absolute disaster he has turned out to be.

    Hat tip: Joe Rivett at

    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Has McCain Changed His Tune, or Can We Still Call Him, "The Maverick"?

    Needless to say, Conservatives have been absolutely unified and indeed electrified by the addition of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket. I watched her speech and was impressed by how real she is when speaking to the American people, and I think this is primarily her appeal. Add to that what seems like a genuine conservative streak, a willingness to challenge the "status-quo" and the novelty of being a female and you end up with someone who has turned the McCain campaign completely around.

    This speaks to McCain's political savvy and his willingness to surprise us; before his V.P. pick was official, I am of the impression that many secretly wished he would choose Palin, but publicly predicted otherwise because they weren't sure he had it in him. The consensus now seems to be that McCain has cemented his status as a "Maverick" by his choice of V.P., and maybe that is true.

    Let me start by saying my motive here is not to rain on the veritable "Love Fest" that characterizes the Republican party as of the last 7 days. Alot of long-time conservatives are saying they haven't seen the party this energized since the early 90's, and others are even reminded of the conservative revolution brought by Reagan. This is good for politics; to have people passionately involved in the process, and having discussions about why their candidate is better. I believe firmly that people being informed and invested in the political process can only result in good for the country. This is why our political system works as it does, because through dissent and debate, and sharing information (true information) the best candidate wins.

    A month ago it was not clear to me which candidate would best represent me. I was, and still am, certain that Obama's "big government" socialist utopian vision for America was completely against my sensibilities as a believer in a constitutional form of government. The men who founded this Republic were wise and knew how to best strike a balance between governing a nation while protecting the liberties of those they governed, and I think that formula can still work today. That said, I was as depressed as anyone to have the choices we had for President.

    Every time the word "Maverick" is used to describe to McCain I get a little nervous, as I am reminded of what made him a maverick to begin with. Through his years in the Senate, he earned the reputation as the Republican who was willing to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats to get legislation passed. Now, I don't share the same distaste for bi-partisanship as some, and under the circumstances, it is the only way conservatives in Washington can get things done. As long as it is ultimately good for the country, I don't care who authors legislation. But, this was the main gripe conservatives had about McCain when he pulled ahead as the Republican nominee, and he was painted as a "traitor" by many not only for working with Democrats but more specifically for legislation that was promoted by him that was decidedly unrepresentative of traditional conservative values.

    While I am as enchanted as the next person by Sarah Palin, as a person who analyzes EVERYTHING (maybe too much, my wife can tell you), I have to ask the question: Has John McCain changed since the time, not long ago, when his base was begrudgingly vowing to "hold their noses" and pull the lever for the "not-quite-conservative" Republican candidate for President?

    Sarah Palin's conservative values are evident in her record in public life and in what is apparent about her personal life, but I can't say the same thing about McCain.

    My wife and I discuss politics often, and recently she asked the question, "People write speeches for politicians, and they always say what is necessary to get elected: How do we know what they are really about?" This is not just a good question, it is THE question. When Obama, the young Senator from Illinois, announced his intent to campaign for the Democratic Party nomination, the only way we could measure his ability to act as President was by looking at his record. And indeed the Right has constantly criticized the Democratic nominee on the grounds that his record was not only short, but what record there is doesn't amount to much that proves he is ready for the job. It is painfully obvious that Democrats have caught "Obama Fever" for the same reason they were behind Kerry; because they think Obama can win.

    What has always separated conservatives and liberals is principle. When those on the left were rooting for Kerry because they didn't want another Bush term, we accused them of running a "negative campaign" and thought less of them because they had no real reason for supporting John Kerry except political expediency and fear of the alternative. I frowned and shook my head when I saw bumper stickers urging people to vote Kerry because "A Vote for Kerry is a Vote Against Bush". How pathetic.

    If we are honest, fair, and genuinely desire the best representation, we are obligated to hold McCain to the same scrutiny as we hold his opponent to. So we are again forced to step back and go beyond the McCain of late and use his record to get a true measure of the man who desires to be our President. And, we have an ethical obligation not to be accused of the same acts we have condemned others for.

    I am glad at least for the political stir Palin has caused and for the wind being knocked out of the Obama campaign, but for me, the jury is still out on whether the McCain/Palin ticket is the best representation of my values as a Christian conservative. Palin is an exciting choice for VP, but we need to bear in mind she is not running for President, McCain is.