Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Wonder-ful Education

I can only surf through Joanne Jacob's blog when I'm in a really good mood. Most of the time, the articles she posts there point to a truly chaotic future for education in this country, and my poor stomach just can't take it.

Take this whopper, as an example. Peter W. Cookson, Jr., dean of the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education, opines that the entire educational system in Oregon is currently disconnected. K-12 is disconnected from higher education, private education is disconnected from public education, and so forth. He also states, correctly I believe, that education is a life-long experience requiring both formal and informal opportunities. So far, so good.

The rest of the article, however, begins to sound less like a call for educational reform, and more like the rantings of a corporate total quality initiative - all jargon and no substance. He speaks of creating "dynamic partnerships" (but, between whom?) and enabling Oregonians to be "culturally competent" (but, by whose standards?). He calls this a "cooperative model" utilizing all of the state's resources (all of them??). "Accountability," he says "is one of the current buzzwords in education..."

My "natural work team" at the office could have come up with this stuff, and there's not a PhD in the bunch.

Most ironic, however, in this article is his invoking of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, while a great proponent of having an educated citizenry, would likely be quite alarmed at the extent to which modern educators will go to avoid educating anyone.

Jefferson was well educated as a youth, and entered William and Mary's by age seventeen. By the time he left, he was already well on his way to becoming one of the great minds of the eighteenth century. He read law after leaving school and was called to the bar in 1766. I wonder if Mr. Jefferson would qualify in Mr. Cookson's mind as being "culturally competent," or even "accountable."

Of course, no modern call for reform would be complete without the standard NEA plea for quality educators who will stay in the system longer than five years. I'm assuming here that this can only be satisfied by raising everyone's taxes, since money alone will draw new talent into the pool. They certainly can't do anything more with the money they're already receiving, can they?

This kind of talk usually percolates whenever a report surfaces stating that kids are doing poorly on their test scores again. Once that kind of thing gets out, the incriminations run rampant. The reasons will always dwell on one or more of the following points:

a. Class sizes dilute the available face time any individual student can have with a teacher.

b. Standardized tests discriminate against our particular ethnic mix, and are therefore evil.

c. Slimey politicians (usually the conservative ones) are trying to tie educators' hands by limiting their funding and preventing them from teaching kids about (pick your favorite controversial social issue).

Never once will you hear reference to the idea that perhaps, just perhaps, education needs to return to the basics that have been taught for many generations. Until mine, that is.

No, whenever we dare to ask them to raise the bar on a subject like math, educators cry foul and say that we're discriminating against inner-city or immigrant children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and therefore can't keep pace with the other students. We need to level the playing field, they say. This is double-talk for "we can't get anyone interested in math because we've made it so complicated that even we don't get it."

I find it amazing that in the face of faltering test scores, teachers will suddenly go to great lengths to make sure they're preparing their students to take those tests. They seem to instinctively return to the basics that make up the same kind of classical education that Jefferson himself received. Reading (comprehension above all), writing (well-formed and well-reasoned), arithmetic (required in nearly every facet of life whether we care to admit it or not), history (lest we doom ourselves to repeat it), and classical philosophy (studies in reasoned discourse and critical thinking, as opposed to the diluted humanism we teach today). Amazing how the old stand-bys come through when the chips are down.

I wish Mr. Cookson well in his search for a cooperative model. In the meantime, my wife and I will teach our children at home, lest they form what Mr. Jefferson might call "entangling alliances" with public education victims.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Leap Year

I love leap years. Every four years we get an extra day in February. Isn't that wonderful? No one can give us twenty-five hours in a day, but we can get one extra day every four years to help us catch up on some of that stuff we've never been able to finish. Like the linen closet I'm building in our master bath. Really. You wouldn't know to look at it, but I'm building one there. Unfortunately, our extra day this year was taken up with other stuff - probably left over from the previous leap year - so I'll have to wait now until 2008. Sorry, Gorgeous!

Of course, there is a down side to leap year. I'm speaking, of course, about Protest Fever. Protest Fever, like El NiƱo, hits this country more or less every two years. Leap year Protest Fever is worse, of course, because it coincides with some election or other... wait, it'll come to me... Well, anyway, it hits every four years.

The most noticeable symptom of PF is a marked increase in hormone levels among nominally adult individuals who develop a sudden urge to go out and protest something. Researchers are frankly puzzled by this behavior because there seems to be little rhyme or reason to the protestors' actions. The lack of reason for a protest, it seems, is inversely proportionate to the vehemence of the protest. If, for example, you walk up to a protestor whose primary argument seems to be that President Bush should be exiled to the Falkland Islands and ask why, the protestor will likely suggest that you perform some extremely inefficient maneuver on your own person. A loud voice and accompanying hand gestures will punctuate this suggestion. This person has PF.

The media, I'm afraid, is of little assistance in helping us understand the fever. Take any given protest you've seen in the news lately and notice who the journalists interview. They always find the organizer of the protest. Of the dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of protestors present, the silly journalists always interview the only person who has given any real thought as to a reason for the protest. The rest are there because they have PF. They don't really care what the protest is about. They know their careers are in jeopardy. They just want an excuse to leave work for the day, hang with other PF victims, and make rude noises in public, all the while hoping against hope that the camera will focus on them so they can continue making hand gestures or waving to Mom.

The irony, of course, is that no one pays any attention to the protestors. No one that cares, anyway. Rational people who live anywhere near the protest will stay home, or, better yet, leave town until the protestors go away. Irrational people, it has already been shown, become protestors. "What am I protesting?" they ask. "You hate President Bush and think he should be replaced by a free-associating lunatic" is the response. "Cool! Count me in!"

Unfortunately, polite society must wait until November for the PF to run its course. The protestors, I guess, just run from protest to protest until then. What they do until PF strikes in another two or four years is still a mystery. Hibernate, probably.

Do me a favor, though. If you see an ex-protestor any time soon, send him my way. I have a bathroom project I need some help with. I'll tell him it's a protest.

"What am I protesting again?"

"You hate Bush and are building this linen closet as a show of solidarity."


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Off the Table?

Drudge alludes to the idea that Kerry's campaign wants to get Vietnam off the table. Can't imagine why, personally. I always thought ANY publicity was (ultimately) good publicity for a public figure.

Still, it has been widely discussed elseblog that Kerry brought it on himself by loudly trumpeting his Vietnam service as one of his primary qualifications to be President and Commander in Chief. Patently ludicrous, then, is the idea that once having done so, he can now indignantly demand to put it all back in the bag and make it go away.

This is where the fantasy worlds that politicians create for themselves collapse into a black hole. They all suffer from it: Even Bush naively assumed that signing the campaign finance rules into law would somehow make 527s go away. Or so he says.

Let's assume, for a moment, that Kerry is successful and actually gets Bush to come right out and tell the Swifties to "cease and desist." He can even say it with a scowl on his face, for effect. He can even throw his hands up and say, "Gee, and it looks like some of my biggest financial backers are also backing the Swifties! Waddayaknow 'bout that!"

Would it make any difference?

No, it wouldn't. The Swifties are driven not by money (at least, not primarily), but rather by a sincere desire to keep Kerry from taking control of the greatest military force on the planet and reducing it to a mumbling shadow of itself. Better still, the Swifties aren't alone.

This is the largest piece of the puzzle that Kerry has yet to comprehend. Or, more likely, yet to acknowledge publicly.

The fact is that now that the story is out, and the facts have been laid bare by so many bloggers, columnists, and pundits on both sides of the debate, there is no possible way that closing your eyes and asking it to go away will be effective. It would be like whacking a hive full of africanized bees with a stick and then pleading with them not to sting you. It won't really do anything for you, and would only make the bees madder. Bottom line: You'll get stung.

So it is with Kerry. No matter what spin he may choose to put on the issue, the issue is out, and will remain out through the election and (probably) beyond. Ask Clinton if anyone still remembers the phrase "I did not have sexual relations with..."

Thanks to the blogosphere, Kerry's missteps will be passed right along; quoted, requoted, linked and relinked, right up to election day. At least. So, unless Kerry really wants to take on the entire conservative portion of the internet, there is no realistic way he can possibly expect this issue to die.

Maybe he can get Bush to drop it officially. I doubt it, but it's possible. But there's no way he can get the rest of us to drop it, except at his feet.

Where it belongs.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A Quickie, Then Back to Lunch

Setting aside for a moment my arguments that modern journalism is 75/25 money/idealism, I offer this somewhat paraphrased challenge to those who would take the Swifties (or any other 527) to task:
"Let the journalist who has never quoted a candidate out of context to fit their story cast the first aspersions at a dissenting opinion."

I think I've blogged enough for awhile. Got a headache. Meeting coming up. Energy flagging... I am becoming one with my cubicle...

Monday, August 23, 2004

Selects, Frank, and Cholesterol

Ok. So. Is it just me, or is anyone else boycotting anything even looking like McDonalds Chicken Selects?

1. Olympic advertising saturation. Forget poly-unsaturates, folks. The commercials alone are hardening my arteries. You might think, being the Olympics and the fact we're watching them for two-plus weeks, that those companies who were actually able to pony up the HUGE fee to NBC would not let one of those commercials go more than two or three days in a row. Then retire it. Please. I'm begging.

2. Based on their intensive advertising, I can only assume that anyone who actually consumes Chicken Selects becomes schizophrenic with bi-polar disorder. That's certainly the impression I get watching that girl in the flourescent green outfit talking to invisible people in an alternate universe. I haven't seen behavior like that since Sgt. Joe Friday busted Timothy Leary's disciples on Dragnet. And if the other guy worked in my office, he'd have been right at the top of the layoff list. Or paid a visit by a disgruntled postal worker. Under contract.

3. And while we're at it, you might ALSO think that VISA (whose motto, according to Dave Barry is: More Powerful than God) could somehow make sure that Frank Sinatra's voice was synchronized with his image. I mean, sure, Frank was never really synchronized in life. But with all this wonderful technology - you know, stuff that can make even Madonna* look good on occasion - we might be able to make Frank not look like he's doing a bad karaoke.

Color me just another disenfranchised consumer.

* P.S. I was kidding about Madonna. NOTHING can make her look good. I know that. Just checking to see if you have a pulse.

P.P.S And another thing... according to the commercials, I dropped my IQ about 50 points by being a Saturn customer. Caveat: It's NOT a Vue, and I've had it for nearly 8 relatively trouble-free years now. Just FYI.


Ye gods.

The only reason we've been forced to implement campaign finance reform is, quite simply, because we can't trust politicians to keep their coffers clean. I'll buy that. But this is the wrong approach to the problem.

American politics is, has been, and will always be about the free exchange of information (dratted 1st Amendment, anyway) so that we, the people, can be informed and educated about the pressing issues of the day. I realize that it is the money, Stupid. But it is also about the rights of citizens of this country to express their views, even when others disagree with them. Or, perhaps, especially when others disagree with them.

I, for one, don't really give two hoots where the Swifties got the money to write their book and make their ads. No more do I care where the Dems got the wherewithal to snipe at Bush's there/not there tour of duty. Why? Because the bottom line is that I will believe whatever the heck I darn well please to believe, based on my own analysis of the stuff that keeps hitting the election year fans. Period. I won't buy the book because I don't need to. I already distrust Kerry for far more reasons than whether or not he's lying about Vietnam. If Kerry feels slighted, let him sue whomever he cares to sue. He has that right, I suppose.

Wanna know the truth? I'm heartily sick of hearing about the whole did-he-or-didn't-he-go-to-Cambodia-or-shoot-himself-in-some-part-of-his-body schtick. Yesterday's news, boys. Ya made yer points, now get on with it. Tell me OTHER reasons why I shouldn't vote for the turkey.

On the other hand, and more to my original point, I fully respect the rights (and even the needs) of others to follow this story line down to its inevitably murky end. And that's where I happen to disagree - loudly - with Mr. President. If you had nothing to do with it personally, say so. Then keep yer nose out of it. That kind of chilling effect on our right to speak freely (no matter who finances it) will ultimately roll downhill to the Blogosphere - mark my words. Because if, heaven forbid, the Swifties really were guilty of receiving financing from inappropriate sources, a political stretch would make us guilty by association. And, believe me, it wouldn't take much for our enemies to connect the dots and try to make that happen.

None of this, of course, will change my mind. Nothing anyone does or says should ever dampen the desire or the ability of citizens to try to educate their brethren.

Arms or no arms.

Tornado in Lost Angeles?

* sigh *

If only... [Courtesy Drudge]

Such an event might make someone redesign the STINKIN' FEDERAL HIGHWAY SYSTEM through this town.

Then again, if they employed the same idiots that designed it the last time... Or, for that matter, the same idiots who run traffic planning in Anaheim...

Pipe dream, Woody. Pipe dream.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

No-Fly Kennedy

Lady Malkin refers to Sen. Ted Kennedy's recent travel travails. So get out your violins, folks, and tune up the schmaltz. Another episode of "The Perils of Senator Ted" is about to begin.

Someone pointed out (I'm far too lazy this morning to go find the reference... chalk it up to Anonymous if you like) that anything that delays Ted Kennedy can only work to our collective good. I certainly see nothing to get excited about here.

A week ago I put my son on his return flight home after his summer visit. He lives with his Mom and step-Dad (a good joe, so no jokes from me) in the midwest and has become quite a seasoned traveller over the years. The rule about not allowing unticketed passengers past security has been relaxed this year, and I was able to get a special pass to accompany him to the gate.

At the security checkpoint my son and I placed our things on the conveyer and went through the detectors with no problem at all. My son, who dresses in the manner of your typical garage-band afficcionado, even captured the laughing attention of one of the screeners. The screener pointed him out to one of his colleagues and said that this was the very style he had just been talking about. My son graciously and humorously bantered with them, and we were on our way.

It was the young man immediately behind me that attracted my attention.

He, too, was dressed after the fashion of youth today. Piercings, hair style, tattoos and clothing all spoke of the typical MTV-generation "in your face" attitude. But as I was walking through the detectors and picking up my stuff on the other side, I noticed that this young man had, without being asked, taken off his studded belt and his biker boots, placed them on the conveyer, and waited politely on the other side to see if he would be wanded. The screeners simply smiled at him, indicated that he was free to continue, and the young man went his way.

There was no hint of acrimony in this young man's attitude with the screeners, with whom he was very respectful. Not a trace of belligerence. Just a stolid acceptance of the current reality. In my mind he passed with flying colors.

Of course, not knowing this young man's past, it's entirely possible that on some earlier flight he may well have been profiled and subjected to a more humiliating version of what I witnessed. Even if that were true, however, it certainly hadn't affected his ability to "work the system," and still have a polite - if somewhat inconvenient - travel experience.

I sincerely wonder how such an exalted being as one of the royal Kennedys would have handled this scenario. Aside from his inconvenience at the ticket counter, how would he have reacted had he been asked to remove his belt and shoes and submit to the wand? Call a press conference, no doubt, and deride the Homeland Security department for daring to treat him in this manner.

I wish I could give Senator Kennedy this young man's phone number. He might learn something about being a responsible citizen.

Why I Blog

Rambling thoughts of an overwrought mind in the wee hours of the morning:

I cannot and do not pretend to speak for other bloggers. Including my esteemed brother at Way Off Bass. I simply felt a need tonight to express why I blog.

I am a voter. That makes me an active participant in the very serious business of citizenship. I know only too well that I am not the best-educated of voters in this country. Certainly there are countless other bloggers out there that take copious amounts of time that they probably really don't have to study the issues we face today, form opinions about them, and communicate those opinions to whoever cares to read them.

Still, neither am I ignorant.

I can agree or disagree with these other bloggers. They, in turn, are free to agree or disagree with me. Some may do so vociferously. Others may be gentle about it. Their opinions may or may not have an impact on me. No matter how well researched someone else's opinion may be, I occasionally allow myself to base my own opinion on an emotional response to the issue. There are several issues that (today) I feel will never change my thinking, no matter what arguments I hear or what empirical evidence I may see.

I can join myself to a political party, even if I disagree with that party over their fundraising tactics or their chosen methods of communicating their aims and objectives. I can (and have in the past) write letters to that leadership and compare their collective intelligence to that of a common sponge. The kitchen variety, not the sea creature. They can (and have so far) ignore me.

Those who consider themselves to live at the other end of the political spectrum must be respected as human beings. This is hard for me to do, but I have so chosen. I only denigrate politicians - especially career politicians - because the very act of being elected to office seems to automatically put them out of touch with the common roots of their constituents. In the end, it doesn't really matter if I voted for the idiot or not. A politician is a politician.

(In the days of my wife's pregnancies, people used to ask me if I wanted a boy or a girl. My standard response was, "I don't care as long as it's not a politician." May I never have to eat those words.)

I am sure that there are those who will find fault with my simplistic philosophy. Good. You go vote your conscience, and I assure you I will vote mine.

My conscience will urge me to vote for leaders who (I hope) will do their utmost to protect our freedoms here and, if necessary, abroad. That same conscience will urge me to vote for leaders who understand and will fight for the right of an unborn child to live unless life is simply not an option. I also intend to vote for leaders who will respect and refuse to interfere with my right to teach my own children, for I know far better than any pedigreed "expert" what they need to learn in order to be successful in life. Not success as politicians define it, mind you. Success as defined by those who understand what liberty means, and live it.

I have no profound thoughts to convey in this blog. I used to believe I was capable of profound thinking. Now I believe I'm more capable of profound appreciation for the thoughts of others. In spite of the occasional sarcasm you may witness here, I really do wish to be a moderating voice in the blogosphere. Not a profound one, you understand; just a consistent one.

Do I have an agenda? Certainly. Do I think it will garner much attention? No. Just as the "Christmas in Cambodia" story is dutifully ignored by so-called exponents of truth, my desire is not a popular one, and considered dangerous by most sitting politicians today. All I want is to see a return to the limits placed on government by the heaven-inspired Constitution of the United States. It's a battle that I instinctively feel will not be fought in my lifetime, unless things degenerate at a rate that forces the issue. I pray my children won't have to witness such a thing, but fear that they ultimately will.

As a voter, by definition I am a force to be reckoned with. I blog so that those who agree with me (or, more accurately, I agree with) can consolidate our voting power to make a difference in this or any other election. I refuse to apologize for that, because the other side does it, too. This was brought forcefully to my attention when I took the time to visit the official web sites of the two largest political parties in this country. My findings? Except for the obvious differences in political philosophy, there were no discernible differences in the feel of the sites. Indeed, both parties seem to have learned Hollywood's trick of targeting the youth and ignoring the more mature (read: stodgy) audience. Twenty years ago, I was the target. Now I'm the afterthought. This is the natural order of things.

Yet still I vote. I vote because it is my duty as a citizen. I choose to participate so that I may make my voice - however small - heard.

No one can buy my vote. You may fool me once in awhile and trick me into voting, but even at this age I learn fast. You won't fool me the same way twice.

Want my vote? Earn it. Show me the evidences that would convince the rational being to change its thoughts. Persuade me. Using the language of a rabid fool without employing reason does nothing to remove you from guilt by association. You would still be just a fool. Reasoning discourse stands a far better chance of meriting my vote.

So, to the left and to the right I say: Blog on. Enjoy your constitutionally protected right to express your opinions. Just remember: Not all voters are gullible or malleable. Some of us still need convincing.

You're on the right track. Just don't derail yourselves.

We don't have that kind of time.


Friday, August 20, 2004

Re-media(l) Intent

Way Off Bass ("bass" as in "head-pounding stringed instrument" rather than "large or small-mouth variety of fish") ties into Kerry's new attempt at politically correct censorship, then asks the burning question:

I'm curious, and I'm honestly asking because I don't know the answer: Has the press always been on the side of those who would introduce socialism, nazism, communism, etc. into the world?
The answer, in Dad's words, is "guilty with an explanation, Sir!"

The press exists to make money. Oh, sure, many eons ago they primarily existed to further some cause or other. But most of them now are publicly traded corporations and must, therefore, answer to their investors. Follow me here:

  • Investors buy stock in media organizations because they believe they'll make a return on their investment.
  • Media organizations, therefore, need to sell product in order to justify the huge amounts of capital they're receiving.
  • They know that a certain portion of the population they pander to are well-educated individuals who have formed their opinions over a lifetime of study and experience. Media must avoid these individuals like the plague.
  • Everyone else buys their product.
  • Since those who are not well-informed tend to be, oh, somewhat gullible, they love it when a newspaper or talk show host communicates in such a way as to make that person feel that they really do have their best interests at heart. "So-and-So has far more money than you do. Senator Wadsdough believes So-and-So should share it with you. So do we."
  • This sells.
  • Which, in turn, makes money for the investors.
The Circle of Life continues.

Obvious cynicism and sarcasm aside, don't forget that the primary reasons such things as socialism, communism, and other false religions gained huge followings in the first place was that they sold their audiences a bill of goods: Make them believe that our way of life will make their lives better, but don't EVER let them see the real agenda or they might get wise to us.

Media may know all too well what the real agendas are. But, since reporting on those agendas validates them, media becomes instantly unpopular. Sales of their products will plummet and the investors will take back their cash.

The Circle of Life comes to a grinding halt.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

It's Really About the Money

My younger (there's nothing "little" about either one of us! ;->) brother and Dr. Shackleford (mypetjawa) are having a little mini-debate in which they agree to disagree on a few points. The basic premise is that both of them support Bush, but for slightly varying reasons. My two cents:

Modern politics is really about the money. As it was explained to me in one of my rare appearances in a high school civics class, the difference between "Republican" and "Democrat" is "money." In other words, if you want your money to support social programs that create huge, bloated bureaucracies, you're likely to be a Democrat. Conversely, if you'd rather have your money support tax relief for the wealthy and wasteful defense programs that create huge, bloated bureaucracies, you're likely to be a Republican.

The funny thing is, the social talking points that Cam and Rusty hit upon really have nothing to do with whether one is a Rep, Dem, Lib, or other. True, liberals tend to be Dems, tend to support abortion, and would love to have a legalized puff of a roll-yer-own joint. Equally true would be that conservatives tend to be Reps, tend to eschew abortion in most (if not all) of its forms, and would love to see marriage between a man and a woman remain sacrosanct in this country.

But these things are not, and never have been, universally true.

I think the first taste of this truth I got was a brief conversation with Dad a few years before he died, probably early on in his retirement. I was taking a history class at the local college, and we were to debate the issue of gun control in class. Since I was the lone conservative old-fogey voice in a class of 30 or so young adults, it naturally fell to me to argue against gun control. Take the NRA position, in other words.

When I discussed this with Dad one night, however, I was shocked to learn that my dyed-in-the-wool, hard-line conservative Republican father was actually leaning in favor of taking away the handguns. This caught me completely off guard. In previous conversations on such issues (and such conversations were preciously rare), Dad had always come across as toeing the party line.

It didn't happen right away, but I've since begun to understand where Dad was coming from. His perspective as a man of years showed how opinions can evolve over time based on our experiences. Having witnessed decades of war, crime, intolerance, and terrorism on local and global scales, he had finally decided that perhaps, just perhaps, the anti-gun lobbyists had a point. Maybe there really is some merit to removing handguns from the world consciousness. Maybe things would calm down a bit if we could do that. Sure would make the world a bit easier on my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. This, I think, was probably his train of thought.

Let's face it guys: When it comes to socio-political issues like abortion, legalizing of drugs and/or prostitution, and even gay marriage, the man we place in the Oval Office has relatively little to do with how this country will ultimately position itself. Congress or state legislators have more direct control over these issues. A President can only appoint himself as a spokesman for or against a cause, and can only legislate by exercising his power of veto. Even then, he can be overridden.

It is really only as Commander In Chief that the President can get directly involved in how a conflict is resolved. Otherwise, for all intents and purposes, the President becomes little more than a figurehead. Can he still lead by example? Certainly, and he should. Witness the "example" of Clinton and his amoral approach to defining "sexual relations." That kind of "leadership" this country doesn't need. In the long run, money simply cannot buy the kind of leadership needed to fill our current vacuum.

The bottom line? We need political leaders who are less about the money (and where it's spent), and more about exemplifying the kinds of qualities that can truly make this country great: Integrity; honesty; prudence; virtue.

So where are we gonna get that kind of money?

As Dave Would Say...

Those Terrorist You-Know-Whats!

Hat tip to Dr. Rusty (mypetjawa) for this story. I've never trusted cats. Now I know why. This whole time they've been nothing less than sleeper agents for Al Qaeda!

And, yes, I forwarded the link to Dave's blog. So, I'm sure, have thousands of others.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Vote, but Tip Your Monitor

From Captain's Quarters comes this disturbing story. Non-citizens demanding the right to vote in local elections. Terrific. See my over-joyed comment on his page.

Then, surfing on over to Drudge, there's this little tidbit. Now we have international monitors watching our elections? I think I was most disturbed to find that they've already been here. They monitored our Cirque du Eleccion here in California last fall when the Governator took the field from a host of misfits. I'm sure that just impressed the socks off our monitors. But the truly disturbing question is, why are they here in the first place?

The last time I checked, we are (or were, anyway... it has been awhile since I checked) a sovereign nation. Our Constitution is second to none in the world as an instrument of democracy. It delineates the rights that we as citizens enjoy. We have checks and balances in place to ensure that those who would abuse these rights are given every opportunity to witness justice first-hand. With that in mind, why on earth would we allow a third party to monitor one of our most basic processes? Are we in essence making a confession that we, as a nation, aren't mature enough to police ourselves? Or is it just a question of making sure we don't elect a dimpled chad to high office?

Thomas Jefferson made a wonderful declaration in his 1801 inaugural speech: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations -- entangling alliances with none." Setting aside, for a moment, the fact that we're already deep in the hole on this issue, I ask the question:

Does anyone else see this as just another example of abdicating our sovereignty?

Maybe at this point it would be easier to just join the EU and abdicate our responsibilities as well.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

How Low will We Go?

As low as it takes, if Kerry's campaign is to be believed.

Yep, looks suspiciously like Republican dirty campaigning to me.

It always amazes me how, in an election year, politicians seem to forget that when they run for President, their lives are placed under a microscope. They forget that however carefully polished your image might appear, there will always be those who will do their level best to cast aspersions at it. If you want to run for President, folks, be prepared to have every single utterance -- whether by you or someone who represents you -- dissected, deconstructed, and decomposed by your political enemies. Remember them? Their name is Legion.

Key quote:
The Kerry campaign responded it has been 35 years since the medals were awarded and no one raised the issue before Kerry got involved in the race for the White House.
Really? 35 years? Amazing. So, just because no one has complained before now, isn't this a little like admitting you inhaled 35 years ago and never got caught?

Career politicians (and freshman politicians who hire career political consultants) apparently find safe ground in the popular whine "I question the timing of this revelation." This charge has been fired back and forth throughout the entire campaign, although it admittedly has seemed terribly one-sided since the DemCon. I'm certain the whining will commence on the GOP side once RepCon finishes.

In this case, I can understanding the whining. It does look suspicious that in the run-up to the Convention, a book is announced tearing deep into the fabric of Mr. Kerry's alleged heroism in Viet Nam; a conflict steeped in controversy and, itself, a political hot-button in times past. Suspicious indeed. But the whining doesn't justify questioning the motives of the vets who decided to tell all.
"This is pay for play, and the dirtiest of all dirty tricks ever played on a candidate for the presidency. How low can they go?"
How low, indeed? Instead of crying foul, why not ask instead, "What was their motivation?" Was it really pay for play? Or perhaps, just perhaps, could it have been a sincere desire of these veterans to keep a man out of office who would act like this?

I guess what the Dems want is a statement from the RNC that reads something like this:

"Ahem. We freely and fully admit to having paid these veterans to write a book about Kerry's alleged heroism in Viet Nam. There. Feel better now?"

Like that's ever gonna happen...

Turning the Corn Belt on its Collective Ear

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for this one. This picture is already worn with virtual use. Michelle complains that Bush looks no better.

I dunno, Michelle.

At least Bush looks like he knows what to do with it.

Mark My Words...

This will be the Administration's fault, somehow.