Monday, August 30, 2004

527 continued

Ok, my long-promised opus on 527 groups, which were recently maligned by President Bush himself. Maybe I need to learn more about exactly what it means to form a 527, but my impressions is that it's a group of private citizens banding together to get out a message. Isn't that exactly what this country is founded on? Wouldn't the authors of the Federalist Papers essentially have been a 527? I don't understand how we would want to LIMIT the ability of private citizens to participate in the political process! No, we should be doing everything in our power to ENCOURAGE private citizens to participate. I will do more research into 527s and report back on my findings, but as of now I am extremely disappointed with President Bush and the Republican party coming out against free political speech. Especially b/c if we get rid of these groups, that will essentially leave only the media to comment on elections. Given that 90% of the media are registered Democrats, does that really make sense? We need to be repealing the ridiculous infringement on free speech that the current campaign finance laws are, not adding more restrictions to them!

Alice Cooper gets it

What's the world coming to when Alice Cooper is the voice of reason on celebrities in politics?

"To me, that's treason. I call it treason against rock-and-roll, because rock is the antithesis of politics. Rock should never be in bed with politics...If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal ... Besides, when I read the list of people who are supporting Kerry, if I wasn't already a Bush supporter, I would have immediately switched. Linda Ronstadt? Don Henley? Geez, that's a good reason right there to vote for Bush."

Friday, August 27, 2004

527s

Oh, I remembered what I originally meant to post about: 527s. I will have to get into that more tomorrow when I have more time. For now, sleep.

Blood Pressure

Well, I can't remember what I originally came on here to write about, because I employed the "Next Blog" button (which can be a huge timewaster - I'm always fascinated by the things other people write about) and saw some posts extolling Michael Moore. ANGER, ANGER, ANGER!!!!! My blood pressure got really high earlier this year when I got married and bought a house at the same time. I still remember going to the doctor for something routine, the nurse taking my BP, and then just looking at me worriedly. I said "I'M UNDER A LOT OF STRESS!", which seemed to satisfy her. Anyway, since then I've tried to avoid certain things that I know stress me out. #1 on that list has to be Michael Moore. There are principled reasons you could have for opposing the Iraq war. I don't think any of those have ever crossed paths with Mr. Moore, which of course did not stop him from making a movie baselessly attacking the president. There are probably a million sites detailing Moore's lies, so I'd just better stop now before I get any angrier. And it doesn't just start with Fahrenheit 9/11 either, it goes all the way back. Moore wouldn't know the truth if it bit him in his ... ok I said I was going to stop and I will. No wait, I can't help myself. How is this guy the big hero of the Democratic party? And you know the sad thing - I would vote for him before John Kerry. At least I know where Moore stands. Speaking of angry, you know who else enrages me? TED RALL!!! You could really pick any of his columns. The fact that Ted and I come from the same hometown (Dayton, OH) is inexplicable to me. How did he go so wrong???

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Good news and bad news for California

Bad news: Sec of State allegations investigated

Good news: Bond rating upgraded. Does Arnie have things turned around? I think he's done a pretty good job myself. He's come in and applied himself to fixing our fiscal woes, and has steered clear of getting involved in disputes over social issues, where he could anger his conservative voters. I'm not thrilled with just putting off budgetary discipline with more bonds, but if that gives time to get things done right, then I say he's doing good work. Time will tell.

Another item of note on Arnie: Too much influence? Apparently Doolittle thinks so. I guess I don't agree. I agree with the sentiment that you don't want all of your convention speakers to be people who don't hold to some of the main tenets of the Republican party, but I don't see how having one guy who is moderate and the governor of the nation's largest state and who agrees on a LOT of issues is wrong.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Soccer success

Our indoor team was once again dominant last night. The team is really starting to gel - I think everyone is playing better except me. I've managed to get worse; I think it's because I'm not working out enough and staying in shape. The cool thing is one girl on our team is coaching at a local college, so her team comes and roots for us at our games now - we have our own cheering section.

Soccer standings. They aren't up to date yet, but I think we should be in either second or first when this week's scores get on there. My team is the Lucky 37's.


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Somebody else thinks Kerry's not a leader

Ed Koch supports Bush

Weekend in Tahoe

My apologies to my legion of fans (aka, the both of you), there was no blogging this weekend as I was up in Tahoe for a church retreat. The retreat was really good - some powerful and challenging illustrations. Also, you can't beat the price just to stay right on the lake at the retreat center. You could look out over Tahoe from our room, which was hotel-like this year, and not shared-cabin style. Very nice! I will shamelessly plug the place as soon as I can find a link. Ah, here it is, although some parts (of the website and of the conference center) are still under construction: Zephyr Point. The pictures don't even really do justice to how nice the place is.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

USA! USA!

I've been way too busy recently - no time for blogging. But at least when I haven't been working, I have been able to veg out a little in front of the TV watching the Olympics. Last night I caught the women's shotput on MSNBC. I enjoyed even that. Even though I don't think I would ever normally get too excited about the shotput, for some reason during the Olympics I like even that stuff. Plus, last night I was thinking maybe that's the sport I was built for. I look similarly built to most of those guys (and most of the women too!). Wish I had tried that in high school.

Anyway, what's infuriating me about this Olympics is the US basketball team. How do they suck so badly? I only got to watch their loss to Puerto Rico, but that was physically painful.
1) Why is Allen Iverson a captain? It's disrespectful to Tim Duncan to make them co-captains.
2) Would someone tell AI to stop bricking up long shots?
3) You know, the Chicago Bulls never had the five best players in the NBA, yet they were dominant for years with a few great players and some good role players. Why can't we do the same thing with our Olympic team? Why couldn't we have asked that McNamara kid from Syracuse who can shoot the lights out to be on the team. Obviously all the people on the team could beat him one-on-one. So what? Get some shooters out there! How about Bruce Bowen? He's a defensive specialist and a great 3 point shooter. And he would already have chemistry with Duncan. We have to have shooters to break open the zone! I hope there are some changes for the next Olympics.


More on Kerry's flip flopping

Further proving the point of my first post: Flip Flop Olympics

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sensitive War

From Yahoo News

"America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive," Cheney said.
He accused the Massachusetts senator of having a "fundamental misunderstanding" of the world.
"Those that threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively, they need to be destroyed," he said.
He accented some form of the word "sensitive" a half-dozen times in his speech and drew laughter from the partisan crowd.
Kerry had told a meeting of minority journalists last week that he could do a better job than Bush of cultivating allies in the war on terrorism. "I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
No kidding! A fundamental misunderstanding....yep.

My thoughts on the war/campaign finance reform. It seems a little strange to me that liberals are all up in arms about companies giving money to politicians/conflicts of interests, etc, but don't seem to care at all about how France and Germany were in bed with Saddam and making money off of him. Do they not see any conflict of interest there?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

competition

Proof California doesn't have a monopoly on crazy ideas:

Oregon tax on miles driven

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

movies

Saw Bourne Supremacy last night. Quite good. A little exhausting from the jerky camera work during the car chase and fighting scenes, but a good story.

Saw Hidalgo on DVD the other night. Excessively average (the clerk at the video store said "good choice" when I switched out Timeline for Hidalgo, so that movie must be plain awful). Glad I didn't see that in the theater. Speaking of theaters, how much will it have to cost before people will stop going? It's $9.25 now!!! Ridiculous. If I go with my wife, we could actually just buy the DVD for less, as long as we're willing to wait.

And Century here in Roseville doesn't take credit cards. Annoying. Let's say I buy tickets for myself and 6 friends - that's $64.75!! And they don't take credit?? Irritating. I wish people would stop going there so Century would be forced to be reasonable, but given that the 2 theaters in Roseville are always totally packed, even on a Monday night, they have no financial incentive to give good customer service. Needless to say for those who know me, I have written them a letter about it.

Up next: The Butterfly Effect

Monday, August 09, 2004

Crazy Idea of the Day

I recognize this is not really feasible, but hey, I said it was a crazy idea in the title.

Given that California is staunchly Democratic and likely to remain so, would it make sense that conservatives in California should move out of it and relocate to more closely divided "swing states"? This would have two advantages - 1) reduce the electoral votes California commands, so that the unheard conservatives aren't contributing to the monolithic value in the electoral college, and 2) Possibly help win the fairly well-populated swing states (e.g. Michigan, Ohio) and get credit for the libs there in the electoral college. It's a simple idea, but I feel like that was a bad explanation of it.

Now, I know of course this won't work as people aren't likely to just uproot for this cause. Plus, California is a pretty nice place to live. And long term, who knows? Maybe Arnold can make it so businesses won't actually faint at the idea of working in such a socialistic state.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Political compass

Check out where you fall on the political scale: http://www.politicalcompass.org/

I like the setup they have for categorizing belief systems, adding an element to the traditional left-right line. However, I think they fail to fully separate on the Libertarian/Authoritarian scale between what you believe and what you believe the government should enforce.

Here's how I scored:
Economic Left/Right: 6.12
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.41

I normally think of myself as a little more libertarian than this would show. This causes me to wonder how my responses to statements like "I believe sex outside of marriage is almost always immoral" were actually tabulated. As a Christian, I strongly agreed with that statement. However, I in no way think that my belief that said behavior is wrong should be enforced on others via the government. But, why else would they ask the question in the test other than as a determiner of where you are on the libertarian/authoritarian line? I guess no test is perfect.


Latest books

I finished Eats, Shoots and Leaves just a few days ago. I loved it, but it's making me paranoid that I'm using bad punctuation. A few misplaced commas and the like I can easily forgive (apparently there are a lot of flexible rules there anyway), but when people confuse you're/your, they're/their, and it's/its, it drives me insane. It's so easy to tell the difference!!!! Now watch, I'll probably make a mistake with one of those combos in my next post.

I also just read Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World. I know everyone else read it in high school, but I didn't. So sue me. Anyway, I loved it! I actually just sat down and read it straight from start to finish Sunday night, getting done at 2 AM. Although I'm still kind of working out my feelings about the ending, in general I was very much enthralled with his view of the future written in the 1930's. I went on Amazon to rate it and check out the reviews, and to my surprise some reviewers saw it as a liberal warning against corporations run amok. Check it out: A Brave New World. Did they read the same book? Actually, now that I'm on the topic of Amazon reviewers, am I the only person that thinks most of these people don't even read the books they review? Check out this sentence from one review of BNW: "Instead of pleasure outlawed, sex in general is outlawed." Ummm....no, in the book they were encouraged, if not required, to have sex with multiple people at every available opportunity.
Anyway, I certainly did not see this as coming from a liberal perspective, but rather as a definite argument against government control. On a deeper level, it really spoke to the fact that no one should be guaranteed happiness. That can only come through drugs, ignoring/altering reality, etc., as in the book. Instead, our founding fathers once again had it right, we should be guaranteed the right to the PURSUIT of happiness. I see this as a dividing line amongst liberals and conservatives today. Liberals prefer guaranteed outcomes; conservatives seek level playing fields.

Does a President have to be a leader?

From dictionary.com:

lead:
To show the way to by going in advance.
To guide or direct in a course: lead a horse by the halter. See Synonyms at guide.
To guide the behavior or opinion of; induce: led us to believe otherwise.
To inspire the conduct of: led the nation in its crisis.

It seems that only one of the two presidential contenders actually meets this definition. Agree or disagree with him, George Bush sets a course and stays with it. John Kerry sets a course for the lastest opionion poll and stays with that until the next poll is taken. I'm struggling to understand why anyone would desire such a trait in their "leader".