Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sign Wars

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, really. I've taken to watching the 11:00 news the last few days, primarily to see what kinds of shenanigans they choose to report. With the rampant stealing of Yes on 8 signs around the area, there has not been one story in the past week about the issue. Instead, they chose to focus on one incident of someone spray-painting the "n" word on an Obama sign, as if this somehow indicated institutional racism among McCain supporters.

What did I expect? Local newsies are just as liberal as the national guys.

Still, the Sign Wars have been fascinating to watch. I've driven by more disappearing signs than I can count now. Despite what I thought was very reasonable counsel from Prop 8 leaders, signs keep appearing on public corners at night. Then, of course, they're gone by morning. But the most fascinating battles have been the sign-wavers that we plant on busy intersections every day.

"Battle" is probably not the correct word, I suppose. These really are "campaigns" designed to flood drivers' minds with Yes on 8 sentiment until the election is over. Our ward has turned out in droves to wave signs on those intersections every afternoon for about the past two weeks now. Our youth in particular are getting into the spirit of this campaign and are just as enthusiastic as their parents as they cheerfully wave their Yes on 8 signs at passing motorists. Bishop mentioned a couple of weeks ago that many people honk and wave, and several even indicate "Number One!" with their middle finger.


For all their Hollywood and CTA money, however, the No on 8 forces are nowhere near as organized as the Yes folks. For one thing, when they finally showed up at those same intersections it wasn't until the weekend. They were crowded around the Yes folks trying to out-muscle them with their own homemade signs. My first thought was that they must have had a blog-burst that called them to action. It would fit with their M.O. on other protests. But as I drove by, I couldn't help noticing a few things. Since an observer can't spend copious amounts of time gawping at them without tying up traffic, you only get impressions. But those impressions will stay with me right up to the ballot box next Tuesday.

First of all, the Yes on 8 folks tend to be respectful and polite. They hold their signs up with pleasant looks on their faces, wave them to attract attention, and wave cheerfully back even to the people who communicate with sign language ("Number One!"). They also tend, where possible, to work in family groups. It's quite a sight to see parents and youth working side-by-side on this issue. Younger moms wave their signs while their babies snuggle in their carriers.

The No on 8 folks tended to be college-aged kids. Most of them had multiple piercings and interesting hair. From their hand-painted signs to their grunge/punk clothes, their appearance was closer to that of 60's and 70's era war protestors, except not quite as stoned. Their activities spoke of quite a different attitude than the Yes supporters. They were far more aggressive, tending to shout and cat-call and all but jumping right out in front of motorists in order to attract their attention. The attitude was "in your face" rather than "here's what we believe."

Had I been a painter, I couldn't have come up with a sharper contrast.

As if to underscore the attitude of the No crowd, I happened to stop at a drug store in a shopping center at one of those intersections. As I stood in line to make my purchase, one of the No kids was just finishing his own purchase. Probably needed some caffeine to get him through those exhausting hours. He had the piercings, the hair, the grungy clothes with inappropriate slogans on his shirt. But it was his conversation with the clerk as he was leaving that caught my attention.

"Those Yes on 8 idiots have nothing, man! They wave their little signs and think they're winning, or something, y'know? But they have no idea what they're talking about, dude! They're just a bunch of ignorant losers, man! They're so pathetic!"

Ah, yes. Another informed opinion.

Interestingly, these dedicated opponents of Proposition 8 only showed up over the weekend. By Monday they were nowhere in evidence. No doubt gathering their collective strength for another loosely organized assault this weekend. I'd like to think they're at home, writing term papers on how voting for Sarah Palin will drive a stake through the heart of civilization as we know it, or whatever their liberal Poli-Sci instructors are assigning them these days.

This has been an interesting campaign, indeed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Redistributing Obama

Those who support Obama are having severe palpitations at the moment with regards to this YouTube video that's been making the rounds on the blogs:

A transcription of the meatier quotes is provided by Stop the ACLU:
If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.
[Emphasis by Stop the ACLU]

I provide the video for one primary reason. It's one thing to read the words, and another altogether to hear them. In the transcript we read statements that could easily be written off as "offhand" remarks or something that was "taken out of context." But listening to the inflections in a speaker's voice can communicate volumes about what that person is saying. Similar to the way body language is vital in communication, vocal inflection indicates the degree to which a person has studied or thought about the topic at hand.

In this audio, which contains far fewer of Obama's omnipresent "ums," we hear a man who has studied, accepted, and now evangelizes the basis for socialist policy in a democratic society. One analysis of this event that I read tried to make the case that Obama actually was channeling more of Martin Luther King's thoughts than anything else, and was in fact supporting the conservative cause rather than the liberal. This is hogwash. "Redistribution of wealth" is one of the basic tenets of socialism, and was defined by Karl Marx himself as one of the steps towards his ultimate "classless society" of communism.

Joe Biden was well and truly embarrassed to find himself facing questions related to Obama's latent Marxism in a recent interview. For all his hemming and hawing, he never adequately answered the question of Obama's statement of "spreading the wealth around." Obama himself has not been able to quell the accusations of socialism that we on the right find his comments to represent. Nuggets like this 2001 interview audio only serve to solidify Obama's credentials as a nearly card-carrying socialist.

(I did read the link from Drudge where Obama was quoted as saying he was "bored" by the suburbs. Big hairy deal. This came on the heels of his selection as President of the Harvard Law Review and only showed his disdain for all things middle-America. Like this is news.)

Still, two key statements from this audio which should give any American pause for thought:

1. The idea that the Constitution is a flawed document. He uses the concept of "negative liberties," meaning that it places limitations on the powers of both the federal government and the states. It doesn't, he says, tell them what they must do (my emphasis) to help those in this country who may have become "dispossessed." Well, Mr. Former President of the Harvard Law Review, you may have missed those classes that discussed the idea that these "negative liberties" were not only deliberate, but necessary. These are part of the checks and balances that continue to give people like Barack Obama a voice in how this country is run. We may frequently disagree with those who hold the power at any given time, but there is no better model for government anywhere on the planet today. As broken as we feel things may be, there's always someplace far worse off than we are. Canada would be Exhibit A.

2. The idea that the Supreme Court (under Warren) did not go far enough in the redistribution of wealth. Hey, if Obama wants to redistribute his own wealth, that's his business. It may surprise Obama to know that many conservatives, myself included, frequently redistribute our wealth in numerous ways. What we don't want, and will not accept, is having the federal government dictate to us just how that wealth is to be redistributed. I already give far more money to the government than they either need or deserve. That they have never figured out how to spend it intelligently is a direct reflection of the greed, prejudices, and woodshed politicking of our Congress and President. (I leave the Supreme Court out of this indictment because, except when they're legislating from the bench, their primary budget outlays deal with keeping a sufficient supply of black robes on hand. Thank goodness they don't use white powdered wigs.)

I have my reasons for voting for John McCain in this election. Many of them are in this post.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Real Magic of 'Joe the Plumber'

Joe Wurzelbacher kinda wishes the media would go away. Or, at least, those members of the media who keep trying to trip him up as the purported savior of the McCain campaign. When asked on Huckabee's Fox News show about all the attention he's gotten, he said:
"It actually upsets me[...] I am a plumber, and just a plumber, and here Barack Obama or John McCain, I mean these guys are going to deal with some serious issues coming up shortly. The media's worried about whether I paid my taxes, they're worried about any number of silly things that have nothing to do with America. They really don't. I asked a question. When you can't ask a question to your leaders anymore, that gets scary. That bothers me."
There it is, in a nutshell. "Joe the Plumber" becomes an overnight sensation — a man whose name is had for good and evil across the nation — simply because he asked a question.

He has more guts than I've ever had. But then, he was literally in the right place at the right time. I am not a small business owner myself, but I've often thought about becoming one. Every time I do, though, I end up in the same place. The government would likely tax and regulate the heart and soul out of whatever enterprise I'd like to try, so why bother?

Joe, as a plumber, has harbored dreams of starting his own business, having a few guys work for him, and trying to eke a better living for his family. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Has he made a few errors in his life? Certainly. Has a few tax liens to deal with. I've had one or two in my life, too. Wreak havoc with one's credit, they do. But that never meant that I couldn't take care of those liens, keep my nose clean for a few years, and ultimately have good if not admirable credit once again. No reason that I can think of why Joe shouldn't have that same opportunity.

I seriously doubt whether we'd even be having this conversation had he asked this question of McCain rather than Obama. For one thing, McCain's tax proposals would likely be more friendly to Joe's American Dream than would Obama's. Also, McCain would never have responded as Obama did:
"It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success, too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Which is precisely why the political left is so hacked off right now. Obama fell into a trap of his own making. He took a question from Mr. Average American, gave his gut-level response to that question, and immediately showed his socialist stripes. That has to be embarrassing to Democrats who wish to paint the party as being only slightly left of center. Spreading the wealth around is about as far left as you can go without actually being branded a communist (small or capital 'C').

Make no mistake: Obama's response, NOT Joe Wurzelbacher's question, was a game-changer. The left can excoriate 'Joe the Plumber' all they want. They can dig as deep as they like and get as nasty as they ever have about Joe's personal life and his alleged "connections" with McCain or his campaign. At the end of the day, however, they still have Obama's stated desire to "spread the wealth around" hanging over The Anointed One's head. It just doesn't sound or look good. And all the nastiness they dish out on Wurzelbacher will only come back to them, returned with interest.

If Obama loses in November, it will not be 'Joe the Plumber' that we hoist onto a pedestal and lavish with praise. It will be Obama's "spread the wealth around" petard that gets that singular honor. If he wins, it will be because Americans were too blind to see that petard for what it was: the acceptance of socialism as an American political standard.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Intolerance Boiling Over

In an incident that won't garner much attention outside a local TV station, a Prop 8 supporter was attacked while passing out lawn signs in front of a church in Modesto. More detail about the attack (alleged or otherwise) is found in a Christian Newswire release picked up by the folks at
The assailant grabbed about 75 signs and yelled at [Jose] Nunez accusingly, "What do you have against gays!" Although Nunez replied that he had nothing against gays, he was attacked anyway. The assailant punched Nunez in the left eye and ran off with the signs.

Nunez, his eye dripping with blood, walked into a building on church grounds where a fellow parishioner called 911. Police and paramedics responded to the scene.
The attack is a chilling reminder of the "tolerance" levels of the extreme left on certain issues. Emotions are running high, and along with the severe fire weather out here, it isn't surprising that some people just can't seem to find any better way to express their frustrations.

As if to underscore how widely this issue cuts across social strata in this state:
Ironically, Nunez, a native of Mexico, became an American citizen two months ago and plans to vote for the first time in November. Nunez, who is recovering and in good spirits, said the attack only strengthens his resolve to help ensure that Prop. 8 passes.

"The other side wants to intimidate us, but we can't stop standing up for traditional marriage. I may be bloody and bruised, but I'm not giving up. Protecting traditional marriage is just too important for our kids," said Nunez, the father of three children, ages 9, 5, and 3. "I don't want my kids taught in public school that same sex-marriage is the same as traditional marriage," Nunez added.
So we have a member of a minority who willfully established himself as a full citizen of this "land of the free" a mere two months ago, already having to fight for his freedoms against a special interest group who clearly has no tolerance for the beliefs of others.

The "No on Prop 8" campaign has rightly condemned any violence and I'm willing to bet that the clown who did this was not serving in any official capacity with the campaign. But it is, I think, a reminder to those of us who may feel complacent that we are up against explosive sentiments on the other side of the argument.

We need to be careful out there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

An Open Letter - UPDATED

Scroll down for updates

Dear Sign-Stealer,

You know who you are. You're against something that numerous other people support. This galls you. I understand that. It's the nature of politics that people will frequently support something with which we disagree, and there is no federal, state, or local statute that demands that we like it. Can't ever legislate how we feel about things, no matter how loudly Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton may argue otherwise.

But I gotta tell you, Sign-Stealer: this business of yanking down and removing political signs that bother you is not helping your cause. If I were to catch one of my young daughters doing this with her sister, I would accuse her of throwing a temper tantrum and give her a time-out until she calms down and apologizes. Such things carry consequences, you know, and ought not to be tolerated.

I'm talking specifically about those signs in support of Proposition 8, but that really doesn't matter. You and people like you have done this with numerous other campaigns. You have done everything from spray-painting obscenities on signs or campaign headquarter windows, to keying cars that dare to sport bumper stickers that do not have your explicit approval. Expensive cars, I might add. Cars that will require new paint jobs (or worse, in some cases), and very likely cause the insurance rates of the victims to go up. Not to mention the cost of new tires to replace the ones you slashed.

The issues may be national or local. The candidates may be Democrat or Republican (or worse). It matters not. Dirty tricks like this are inexcusable and unacceptable.

Of course you don't care about such things. It's a "free country," right? You have a perfect right to express your political opinion in any way that gets the job done. Hey, all you did was steal a few signs. They annoyed you and they had to come down. And even if it wasn't you, personally, who did those things, you sure appreciate what they did. I mean, that stuff takes courage, you know?

Unfortunately, for all your careful thought and planning, the message folks are getting probably isn't quite the message you intended. This is what most of us think about what you're doing:
Hi. I'm a sign-stealer. Here's why I took them:

1. I'm right and you're wrong. I don't care how many of you support Prop 8. You're all just a bunch of lemmings following each other off of a cliff. I'm saving you from yourselves.

2. I'm also ignorant. All I know is that Prop 8 is bad, but please don't ask me to tell you why. You wouldn't listen. Anyway, it's too complicated to talk about, so I'll just steal the signs. That will tell you all you need to know.

3. I have no respect for property. Stealing signs isn't my day-job, after all. While I'm flipping burgers at McBurger Jr., I'm probably wolfing down fries without telling anyone. Hey, we give free refills to people who pay, so why shouldn't I have a drink now and then? Doesn't hurt anyone else, right?

4. I have the emotional maturity of a four-year old. A really disturbed four-year old. I'm the kid who always took the ball and bat and went home if I wasn't winning, even if it wasn't exactly my ball and bat.

5. I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I'm an anarchist. I have Che posters on my wall in the apartment I rent downtown with 27 other stoners. I see no reason why I should have to work for a living, but The Man wants money if I want a place to live. It bites, though, because I'd rather be out there impressing chicks with my skateboard tricks. Life is so unfair.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I think it captures the essence of how we perceive people like you.

Of course, all this may be a tad harsh of me; I don't really know you, after all. In fact, for all I know you may even be a college student. You may actually believe that this is what counts as "political discourse" in this nation. You may somehow have convinced yourself that by stealing these signs (or defacing property, or showing us your command of sign language by using your middle finger) you will have altered the campaign in your favor.

If so, that makes you a bigger fool than the one I described above.

UPDATE: Mrs. Woody related this story to me this morning. Our Woodyettes take piano lessons from a very sweet young mom in our ward. She has younger kids, and one of them goes to pre-school every day. She generally gets back from dropping this child off just a few moments before Mrs. Woody arrives for the lesson. While chatting with her, she related to Mrs. Woody that she had just had a nasty experience with a lady who stopped to yell at her for putting a Prop 8 sign up on one of those corners that already has approximately 32 signs per square foot. Our piano teacher's habit lately has been to put the Prop 8 signs up early in the morning, then take them down at night, for obvious reasons. Anyway, while stopping to put up the sign this morning some lady pulled over for the express purpose of swearing at her with regards to Prop 8.

Mrs. Woody, who had just come that way, assured her that when she drove by there was no Prop 8 sign in evidence. Obvious (unsubstantiated yet inescapable) conclusion: the yeller had waited until our piano teacher friend had left, then returned and yanked the sign.

The tolerance is mounting.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Proposition 8 - Protection of Marriage - UPDATED

The reactions to Proposition 8 from the opposition are, sadly, predictable. Samples of love and tolerance:
• Sign stealers in Orange County (scroll for updates)
• Attack on a Prop 8 supporter in Modesto

These are difficult times for our nation. Those who consider themselves to be minorities have long worked to be granted equal treatment under our laws. Those who don't get their way frequently turn to the courts where they stand an even chance of being heard and redressed. If not, they sometimes turn to violence, reckoning that at least their voices will be heard and the issue may once again be discussed.

It is difficult in today's political climate to voice an opposing opinion. There are so many "hot button" issues in the United States (and, indeed, throughout the world) today. It is nearly impossible to present a point of view — any point of view — and expect it to be heard or read without any negative feedback. Even this insignificant blog of mine is a good case in point. No matter what opinion I voice, there are always those who are eager to thow the arguments back in my face. No matter what the issue, the process is always the same: attack, denigrate, be as sarcastic as possible, but for heaven's sake don't bother to offer thought-provoking discourse because the simpleton that wrote the article obviously is unwilling (or unable) to listen. It probably doesn't help that my own sense of humor frequently provokes such responses.

On occasion, however, an issue becomes so important that being silent is unacceptable. An opinion must be voiced. Efforts must be made to persuade. A majority will speak this November, and the rest of us will have to live with the consequences of any resulting decision.

The issues surrounding Proposition 8 are relatively simple when taken at face value. Those of us who support this proposition do so from the perspective of wishing ardently to protect and preserve the definition of a "traditional marriage" as being between a man and a woman. Those who oppose this amendment to our state constitution see only the idea that marriage is being denied to one class of citizen in this state. It is a battle of wills, enjoined by people who would otherwise get along just fine if left to their own devices.

I do not deny that life is not always easy for homosexual people. There are those who are violently opposed to their lifestyle and will inflict that violence on otherwise innocent victims. There can be no quarter expected or granted to those who willingly hurt or destroy the lives or property of others. Everything else about this issue, then, comes down to how one believes.

It is no secret (except, perhaps, to my detractors) that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is also no secret that the Church has made statements to its membership regarding Proposition 8 and why, precisely, we need to support it. This is not a question of political "neutrality" for the Church. This is a social issue that has wide-reaching ramifications if the current status quo remains unchanged.

Those of us who have been watching such things carefully have noted a disturbing trend. Along with being LDS we are also a homeschooling family. This was a decision that Mrs. Woody and I made many years ago, even before our daughters were born. We knew we wanted to homeschool because it was becoming increasingly clear that public education was forcing (and I do not use the word lightly) an agenda on our children with which we strongly disagree. Much of this agenda has its roots in the word "diversity" and all its connotations, both the good and the not so good.

Across the nation we have read countless stories and news articles relating to this agenda. It consists primarily of something called "inclusion," and demands tolerance of all sorts of social behaviors that stand in stark opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a significant difference between public education and the Church in how the issue of homosexuality is perceived and handled.

The Church understands that same sex attraction is real. However, the gospel makes it clear that the gift of procreation is sacred, and should only be enacted within the confines of a legal marriage between a man and a woman. Together this couple have the power to bring children into the world to be raised and nurtured with love and protection. Indeed, the realization of the fullest blessings of eternity, including life with our loving Heavenly Father, depends on our obedience to this principle of marriage, sealed for eternity by those who hold the proper authority.

Other religions hold similar views and have traditionally discouraged any union other than the one described above. The only difference might be in the method or authority used to create such a union, but the basic principle has remain unchanged for centuries: marriage between man and woman. No other marriage is honored or allowed in the heavens.

Lately some religions have been experiencing tremendous upheaval by entertaining even the idea that changes to this long-standing commandment of the Lord might be somehow acceptable to Him. We have watched with no small concern the turmoil in the Episcopal church in the United States. A sharp division has risen throughout its congregations regarding the practices of same-sex marriage. Congregations are threatening to secede from the body of the church if they insist on formally adopting such practices.

Elsewhere, entire churches have already given themselves over to the inclusion of same-sex practices. Large portions of scripture are re-written (or "translated" to justify the practice) to eliminate the conflict between revealed word and desired results.

Such things are perfectly acceptable in this nation. The guarantees of being allowed to worship as we choose are still one of the keystones of this republic. Those who would create a church that allows same-sex marriage are allowed to do so. We who feel differently certainly do not have to acknowledge their claims to authority or doctrinal correctness. We are not required to attend their services. We are free, in other words, to believe differently from them.

Which is what makes the recent decision of the California Supreme Court so critically dangerous. By using a simple majority of the court to override the language of Proposition 22, which was passed in 2000 by 61% of California voters, they have changed the rules of engagement. It is now possible for fringe groups to launch legal challenges against those who do not believe as they do. They have already made changes to the state education code that allows such things to be taught to our children in school at very tender ages. That they now feel empowered to legally challenge churches to require that they allow same-sex marriages will set up a colossal struggle between church and state.

The tone of this challenge has already been established by San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom. Gay marriage is coming, he says, "whether you like it or not." Yes, a distinct challenge. And we must be equal to it.

The only way to deal with this challenge is to find the one way that the California Supreme Court cannot overturn it; by making it an amendment to the California state constitution. Proposition 8 takes the same language that was approved eight years ago in Proposition 22, and makes it an amendment. That will make it "constitutional" and will eliminate the court's ability to override it on those grounds.

It is important to understand that, whatever you may feel or believe about this issue, many of us who support Proposition 8 are not doing so to discriminate against homosexuals. We are not supporting it to violate anyone's civil rights. We are not trying to deny same-sex couples the same rights and privileges afforded to married couples. We are, instead, fighting to protect our own civil rights; the ability to continue to believe and worship as we have been instructed. It is important enough to us that we will continue this fight, if needed, even if Proposition 8 is somehow defeated.

We can only pray that it will pass this November.

UPDATE: Connecticut's Supreme Court has now overturned their state's ban on gay marriage. The challenges will continue to mount. This fight is far from over.

Interestingly, the article implies that California's ballot initiative is the "first time" this issue has come before voters. Breitbart is incorrect: Proposition 22 in 2000 placed that language in our state code, which is what the Supreme Court cancelled with their decision.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Smear, Schmear

It's not a smear if it's true.

This is where politicians' pasts catch up with them and make life hot and sweaty for the remainder of the campaign. Folks are bored, apparently, with "issues" already and so we move into the character assassination phase of the election cycle. McCain will be taking hits both for his involvement with the "Keating Five," as well as his relatively advanced age. Obama, for his part, will more or less deflect direct shots on his involvement with some still-toxic radicals throughout his adult life.

I say "deflect" because even Tom Brokaw is carrying water for the Golden Boy. He has downgraded Bill Ayers from full-fledged radical terrrorist to a mere "school reformer."

Hey, it's not like Ayers has gone out of his way to disabuse us of the notion that he hates the United States of America. Except, you know, for those who tend to accept his radical "communism with a small 'c'" brand of "community organization." This man is repentant in the same way Hussein was repentant when he was led to the gallows.

Obama, of course, claims that the "smears" are McCain's attempt to deflect attention away from the economy, which is admittedly not his strong suit. Doug Ross (via American Digest) points out that McCain, at least, has a ready-made solution to his economic shortcomings: simply announce his intention to name Mitt Romney as Secretary of the Treasury. This would tend to take most of the teeth out of Obama's argument that McCain doesn't have the economic savvy to run the country. So long as he was willing to listen to Romney's advice on the most critical matters we face, such a selection would go a long way toward pacifying those of us on the right who believe McCain is currently taking the coward's way out of the immediate crisis.

I also find charges that McCain has an "erratic" nature, largely due to his advanced age, as being somewhat trite. The man is 72. My Dad was 72 when he passed away, and he was a much bigger curmudgeon than McCain can ever lay claim to being. Old guys tend to think of crotchetiness as something of a badge of honor. The man still has young adults at home. He's gonna be crotchety on occasion.

As I've said before, this is all pretty much business as usual in every election to which I've paid attention. Candidates don't like each other. They also have to persuade large sectors of population that the other guy is completely untrustworthy, and they will look for any charge, no matter how flimsy, to sell it. I only expect to see more of this over the next four weeks.

Boy, will it be a relief to get this over with.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Not Good

It passed.

The cowards in Congress, rather than punishing banks for predatory lending practices, and rather than encouraging Americans to take personal responsibility for irresponsible borrowing, have instead indicated that personal and corporate responsibility are no longer morally required in the United States of America.

Entitlement apologists are, I am certain, rejoicing with the passage of this damaging bailout. CEO's of irresponsible lenders around the nation are breathing easier tonight thanks to loopholes large enough to drive freight trains through.

Led by psychopathic Representatives Pelosi and Maxine Waters, the Congress crows about a bipartisan "solution" which amounts to nothing more than a toxic barrel of earmarks and free money that will be forceably removed from honest taxpayers' wallets.

Barack Obama no longer has to wait to take office to see socialism triumph in America. This bill just assured it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

When Veeps Debate

Just hopping around different blogs and news orgs to see initial responses to tonight's debate. I think my own perceptions are confirmed: Palin delivered.

To his credit, Biden made no major gaffes tonight. Did he misstate facts? He did. But at least he didn't resort to any of his "Hillary would have been a better choice" thrillers. Big relief for Obama, I'm thinking. I sometimes wonder if Obama doesn't have those moments like Dan Akroyd in "My Fellow Americans." Oh, Lord. Please don't let him start quoting lyrics.

But where Biden has had a couple of months now to campaign for his new boss (and, subsequently, spend time backtracking on all the nasty things he'd said about Obama during the primaries), Palin has only had a bit more than a month to prepare for this one opportunity to meet her opponent in open combat.

Palin's preparations have included two of the biggest travesties ever called "interviews" with major networks. What Palin said was fine. The way the networks framed the questions, then edited her responses was criminal. That neither interview succeeded in tanking McCain's standing in the polls is remarkable, and says perhaps more about Palin's value to this campaign than any of her stump speeches.

Palin's strengths are two-fold: she has a command of the facts that support her positions (and, by extension, her boss's), and she has an engaging personality that probably makes many liberal alarmists want to hurl. Irrespective of debate rules, Palin disarmed Biden before the debate even started with her "may I call you Joe?" greeting. However much a man of the people Biden may try to portray, Palin could have just come straight out of a Connecticut kitchen; in command and ready to roll up her sleeves and work.

I don't think Biden quite knew how to parse all of that. And Ifill hadn't even asked her first question yet.

Were there cringe moments for me? Absolutely. I remain unconvinced about the bailout bill, and hope it fails to scrape enough votes tomorrow. I agree that certain restrictions are required in the mortgage industry, and all predatory practices need to be outlawed. Ditto holding CEO's accountable for their intentional stupidity. What worries me is the "oversight" built into the bill. Government interference ALWAYS equals higher costs passed on to the taxpayers, and this will be no different. Palin is a little too eager to support this deadly "rescue plan."

[Quick sidebar: Did anyone else choke when Alan Mulally of Ford characterized the auto industry's $85 billion bailout as "just a loan?" No? Just me, then.]

There were also the obvious efforts of Gwen Ifill to bail Biden out of uncomfortable exchanges. She threw him quite a few more life preservers than she did for Palin. To Palin's credit, however, she needed far fewer of them. The only frustrating part was that she thus missed a few opportunities to really put Biden in his place. She was gracious about it all, though, which wins her points on style.

Taken altogether, a very good performance by Palin tonight. I would hope that it helps give McCain a bit of a bounce in the polls, but I'll settle for him keeping the spread to single digits at this point. He still has two more debates of his own to handle, and we're not out of the woods yet.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Trick Question

When is an issue not really an issue?

Folks over at Michelle Malkin's blog are up in arms over the appearance on DishNetwork of the "Obama" channel. It resides on channel 73, and apparently it shows up on everyone's service no matter where they reside or which package they have.

"Where's the McCain Channel?" they ask. Well, probably McCain didn't deign to waste his campaign funds in this manner would be my guess.

This is the proverbial "paid programming" that folks can buy. This the kind of programming that will make you richer than Midas if you'll send the suit in the video $299.99 (or three easy installments of only $150.00 per month) so you can have all his secrets.

Of course, this is Obama we're talking about. According to Ben Smith of Politico, the only thing showing so far is a two minute video outlining his economic plan on a continuous loop.

Well, Mrs. Woody and I subscribe to the smallest allowable package that Dish offers (we get it primarily to receive BYU-TV), and we have created a favorites list of the channels we watch the most. Channel 73 is NOT on our favorites list, and I would never have known the Obama Channel even existed if not for the rash of hives over at

Of course, now that I know about it, I may actually wind up watching some of it. If this is the collected wit and wisdom of Barack Obama, I can spare two minutes of my time.

I suspect Obama will just record X number of messages and have them played on that loop. So along with the usual "it's all Bush's fault" rhetoric, you also get some insight into what Obama expects us to swallow in order to vote for him. It would be a good research project for some hot young new-media type to get the gist of the Obama Channel messages, then track Obama's team to see whether they stay on message between now and November 4.

For really riveting TV, though, you still can't beat the Food Network. I don't see how Obama can possibly compete with "Throwdown," or "Good Eats." Also, anyone silly enough to gaze at O-TV all day long really deserves whomever they vote for.

The Obama Channel. Honestly.

CORRECTION: When I wrote this at 0-Dark Hundred this morning, I had tuned briefly to the channel to witness the end of his economic speech and the beginning of what I assumed to be a new one. Apparently I should have stuck it out to be certain. However, I can't imagine throwing all that money into creating this 24x7 loop without planning more content for it. Not even Obama is that financially retarded.