Sunday, March 27, 2011

On Smart cars, prostitution and sports babes

General observations on current events.

Are Smart car drivers really so smart? The Smart car itself is constructed from aluminum foil and rolls on wheels the size of Krispy Kreme donuts. I recently witnessed one of these roller skates racing down the Interstate, darting in and out of traffic and between 40-ton tractor-trailers as if its operator was driving a Sherman tank. And still the owner displayed a vanity license plate that read “BRAINY.” He should hold that thought; it will sound great during his eulogy.

Every time Obama tries to appear fiscally responsible he reveals his poor poker skills. When the budget chips are down he talks as if he’s holding four Reagans. But when his cards are on the table we find he holds nothing but a pair or Carters.

John Lennon’s toilet fetched $14,740 at auction. Now, what does the winning bidder do with such a prize? Is it an investment, a status symbol, or a tourist attraction? I would guess the latter. You’ve heard of innkeepers claiming “George Washington slept here.” Well, John Lennon had to go somewhere, didn’t he?

If you think a person’s looks are inconsequential consider tennis player Anna Kournikova and race car driver Danica Patrick. Kournikova never won a major singles title and Patrick has but one career victory. Tennis and racing have far more accomplished stars. Still, Anna and Danica are readily recognizable because they are physically attractive.

The United States is experiencing high unemployment, a stagnant job market, rising fuel prices, raging debt, and the onset of inflation. What, then, does it say about other countries when their citizens are sneaking into this country in search of better opportunities?

Believe it or not, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton can serve as excellent examples for children. They are proof positive that wealth and fame do not equal wisdom and respectability. Anyone watching their antics must conclude that playing the fool isn’t cool.

Leftists think it sensible to restrict people under age 21 from buying a handgun or a glass of beer. They also support distributing condoms in schools, teaching teenagers sexual activity is expected, and protecting a youth’s “right” to an abortion without their parent’s knowledge. Where do they get off calling conservatives ignorant?

If we truly desire appropriate election reform there is one change we should implement for the coming election cycle. Beginning with 2013 each new administration and congress should be seated on April 1st. What day could be more suitable?

Many people scoffed when the EPA declared carbon dioxide a greenhouse pollutant. But it’s no laughing matter; the EPA ruling opens the door for more federal regulation. What is funny--with funny meaning odd--is how often scientific consensus and climate research supports government growth. If I didn’t know better I would think Big Science and Big Government are in cahoots.

Heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships are, in definition and action, opposites. So, if heterosexuals are described as “straights” does it not make sense to describe homosexuals as “crookeds?”

Someone who uses Twitter excessively is called a “tweeter.” Wouldn’t it be more descriptive to call that person a “twitterer,” or simply a “twit?”

I’m no more interested in opening a debate over legalizing prostitution than I am over legalizing drugs. However, there are inconsistencies in policing prostitution that confuse me. When an undercover vice officer accepts money from a john in exchange for services that aren’t rendered, haven’t those officers obtained property by false pretences, or at least engaged in false advertising?

It is time marketing geniuses retired the redundancy “free gift.” When an item is free, the fact that it’s a gift is understood. Conversely, when you pay for an item it is neither free nor a gift. Still, this cheap gimmick creates business, which says more about the consumer’s lack of intelligence than the marketer’s lack of integrity.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gingrich took one for the team

Among the first lessons a young baseball player learns is the importance of getting on base. As his skills improve he learns the various methods for accomplishing that task. One of those ways is to get hit by a pitch. It’s an effective, albeit painful way to reach base. That’s why a hit-by-pitch is called “taking one for the team.”

Newt Gingrich must’ve played a little ball in his day, mastering the art of getting on base and carrying that proficiency into adulthood. During his political career Newt has done everything necessary to put America first, and he's definitely reached base.

Gingrich’s adventures in Adulteryland are fairly well
chronicled. He cheated on two sick wives, divorcing them both before marrying the mistresses. But how can we blame him for his Clinton-like escapades when he did it all for us? During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network the probable 2012 presidential candidate blamed his indiscretions on his passion for America. He was stressed; the affairs helped him perform at his best.

So Newt took one (maybe more?) for the team. But you won’t find stitch marks on his forearms or the name “Rawlings” imprinted on his back. Indulging one’s carnal pleasures isn’t exactly taking an Aroldis Chapman
fastball between the numbers.

In the same interview Gingrich sought God’s
forgiveness, and presumably the public’s, too. Strange as it sounds, he’s right. God will forgive the repentant: you, me, and Newt Gingrich. However, a vital element in absolution is realizing that forgiveness grants no right to continue wallowing in failure or to avoid the consequences of one’s actions.

Conservatives weren’t eager to hear Bill Clinton’s lame explanations for his bimbo eruptions, especially the Lewinsky episode, nor were his shameless lies dismissed with impunity. Sure, Clinton remained president. But he paid a price in public ridicule and confirmed his reputation as a manipulative womanizer. John Edwards also earned mockery for his affair with Rielle Hunter.

Democrats can’t make an issue of Gingrich’s trysts; they set the bar low when they excused Clinton’s philandering. But are Republicans themselves ready to overlook Newt Gingrich’s affairs when they so readily condemned Clinton and Edwards? Or should the GOP choose a candidate who strikes a positive image, one that commands respect and breeds trust?

There’s no question that Newt Gingrich espouses solid
positions on a host of issues. He is experienced, savvy, and an expert communicator. However, this matter goes beyond personal failures, which everyone experiences. It’s about respect for the voter’s intelligence. Gingrich will be hard pressed to sell conservatives the insulting notion that his adulteries resulted from patriotism. To resurrect a favored conservative phrase from the Clinton years, “we should expect more from a president.”

Personally, I hope Newt has made peace with God. Gingrich would make a fine cabinet member in a future GOP administration. But blaming his failures on a passion for America sounds childish if not a little loopy. Maybe during his playing days (baseball that is) he took one for the team while he wasn’t wearing a batting helmet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Truth is the first casualty in Steve Israel’s politics

An old proverb regards truth as the first casualty of war. Logically, for truth to become war’s casualty it must be present to begin with. War is then a level above politics, at least in the way Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) practices the craft.

It’s no surprise to find Democrats spinning the standoff between Wisconsin’s Senate Republicans and public employee unionists. But Rep. Israel’s spin is so unbelievable that he has abused even the politician’s privilege of dancing around the truth. He sounds like a cheating child who’s tossing a tantrum because his playmates won’t play fair.

Rep. Israel’s rearrangement of reality was unveiled in a fundraising email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Israel blasted Wisconsin Republicans’ “blatant assault on worker’s rights,” especially since the reorganization of public employee collective bargaining rules passed without Democrat participation. He called the GOP’s tactics “outrageous” and “unconscionable.”

But what right have employees lost, save the “right” to pay tribute to labor unions in order to earn a living? As for the Democrats’ absence, no one overthrew their caucus and exiled them to Illinois. Democrats ran for the tall grass of their own accord. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of unconscionable, it was Rep. Israel’s congressional colleagues who employed bribery, clandestine Christmas Eve votes, and threats to bypass the voting process altogether in order to enact ObamaCare.

Outrageous and unconscionable? Look in the mirror Steve.

Was anyone inspired at the site of marching Wisconsin teachers? Steve Israel was and thinks you should’ve been, too. But why? These teachers walked out on their pupils, proving their allegiance to unions exceeded their concern for students. These teachers called in sick when they were perfectly fit and trashed the capitol grounds in Madison. Inspirational? Please!

Rep. Israel hailed the “Wisconsin 14” as a reminder to everyone of what it means to be a Democrat. Democrats abdicated their duty to Wisconsin’s taxpayers when they went into hiding. They ran away rather than deal with the consequences of their lost majority. This is what it means to be a Democrat. And Israel calls the “Fleeing 14” heroes? Cowards I say, the whole lot of them. And remember, it was one of their own, Steve Israel, who said Wisconsin Democrats exemplified the party’s highest standards.

The “Fleeing 14” weren’t concerned with public employees. They were concerned with securing continued support from unions in the form of campaign donations. The real issue in Wisconsin wasn’t “worker’s rights.” It was union monopolies. Wisconsin can now become a
right to work state where employees can’t be forced to pay tribute to labor unions in order to attain jobs.

In short, Wisconsinites may soon be liberated, free to make their own decisions regarding employment and unionization. Wisconsin’s Republicans upheld the concept of individual liberty and free association, which Democrats routinely oppose. And Steve Israel proved that truth was never part of the Democrat's rhetorical war.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Seeking humor in assassination

Blaming journalists for biased reporting isn’t unique. Adherents to all political ideologies accuse the media of aligning with their opponents. However, Washington Post syndicated columnist Esther Cepeda gives conservatives a leg-up in proving leftist favoritism in the "mainstream" media. Either that or she’s a total dunce.

Ms. Cepeda has
issues with the audience at Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) town hall meeting. Apparently, the audience laughed when one constituent asked, "Who’s going to shoot Obama?" In perfect media fashion Ms. Cepeda parlayed the incident, which the Secret Service investigated and deemed a poor joke, into a blanket hatred for Obama based on his race and a "perceived socialist slant to government" since he took office. What happened, she lamented, to the outrage against such incendiary language after Gabrielle Giffords was shot?

Esther Cepeda finds no humor in jokes about assassinating President Obama. I’ll second that motion. But where was she when jovial leftwing pranksters had George W. Bush all but in the grave? It would be naïve to think she suffers from poor memory. More likely she has selective memory, or she’s a prejudiced media stooge.

First, no one has forgotten about Rep. Giffords or her battle to recover from the Tucson shooting. It’s just that rational observers quickly realized that blaming the representative’s injuries on conservative speech was a media generated myth. Second, Ms. Cepeda should know that crude comments about presidential assassinations didn’t originate with Obama’s inauguration.

The left’s outrage over tasteless references to presidential assassination depends not on some newly discovered high moral plane but on who’s in the crosshairs. Remember how President Bush’s opponents treated him? He was labeled an international criminal and accused of single-handedly initiating a war Congress had
authorized him to wage at his discretion. Yet Bush was an evil tyrant, a blood-thirsty liar and a despicable fraud. He was Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Kahn and Attila the Hun all rolled into one genocidal package. The left did more than joke about Bush’s death; they fantasized about it.

Review a photo gallery from an Iraq War
protest march and you’ll find plenty of knee-slapping calls to punch Bush’s ticket to the Great Beyond. His opponents had no qualms with a movie depicting his death from a sniper’s bullet. In fact, Peter Dale broadcast such a film (Death of a President) on British television. Dale found the film "serious" and "thought-provoking," even defending the use of Bush’s likeness rather than a fictional president because "it’s absolutely legitimate to deal with contemporary named figures."

Ha! I get it! Quite the card that Peter Dale.

Amazingly, Dale’s attitude is tame compared to British columnist Rod Liddle. Liddle said the movie depicting Bush’s death would strike a popular chord in Britain and predicted the actor who played the assassin would drink free in any British pub. The movie’s theme, according to Liddle, was entirely reasonable.

What a jester! And the jocularity surrounding Bush’s demise wasn’t confined to crackpots at anti-war rallies and movie sets. It was available in printed form, too.

novel titled Checkpoint also hinged on threatening Bush’s life. The main character, named Jay, pulled no punches with his hatred for George W. Bush or his desire to kill the president in a variety of torturous ways. "I’m going to kill the bastard," Jay railed at one point while promising Bush would be "one dead armadillo" at another.

How’s that for civility, Ms. Cepeda? Where was your outrage when Bush was the bull’s eye of death by a thousand jokes? Did you not care, or were you simply ignorant of this leftwing merriment? The latter is difficult to swallow.

I doubt Ms. Cepeda is a fan of the conservative media. Therefore it’s equally doubtful she would review such outlets to discover the left’s witty jabs at Bush. But she needn’t have soiled her hands with World Net Daily, Town Hall, or Newsmax to uncover the premise behind Death of a President and Checkpoint. She didn’t need to scour the archives at the Weekly Standard, National Review, the Limbaugh Letter, or (God forbid) Fox News.

The reactions to the previously mentioned movie and book appeared in the Washington Post, with nary a sign of condemnation from the writers, I might add. Yes, Ms. Cepeda, the same Washington Post that employs the cesspool of columnists in which you swim. Feeling slimy, Ms. Cepeda? Perhaps a bit foolish? You should! But I’ll bet the farm you don’t.

Ms. Cepeda’s outrage rings as hollow as Obama’s promise to wisely spend the public’s funds. Crass jokes about killing presidents aren’t new, they didn’t originate with Obama’s ascendancy, and they arise from all points of the political spectrum. Vitriol isn’t the "knuckle-dragging" conservative’s copyrighted material. Put aside your self-righteous indignation, Ms. Cepeda, and open your eyes to reality. The left is to spiteful venom what Fort Knox once was to gold bullion.

If Cepeda and her "progressive" media cohorts truly find no humor in joking about a president’s death the newspapers and airwaves should’ve been flush with condemnation when leftist cranks and nutcases openly advocated for Bush’s demise. Did it slip their minds? Or did they find more pressing matters to attend? Hardly! Most media outlets simply weren’t too concerned when Bush was the dead man walking. Maybe there is humor in assassination only when the president has an "R" beside his name.

This column first appeared at American Thinker.

WWRD: What would Reagan do?

I omitted posting this column, which originally appeared on American Thinker. Sorry for my oversight. AWH.

Event the casual observer will notice the regularity with which President Obama invokes the ghost of Ronald Reagan. When Obama speaks about American leadership he’ll call on Reagan. If he’s focusing on fiscal solvency he’ll call on Reagan. Both are ironic, since America has become tepid internationally and experienced exponential spending growth under Obama’s administration.

Obama cites Reagan rather easily for such a decidedly leftist president. You have to wonder how many people are falling for his bluff. Obama needs to alter his image if he desires to prove his affinity with Reagan. The union showdown in Wisconsin grants the President an opportunity to achieve that goal. Failing to follow a Reagan course will confirm Obama’s rhetoric as politically-driven hot air.

Thousands of Wisconsin’s public employees, most notably teachers, have walked off their jobs. Union bosses claim the employees are demonstrating for their collective bargaining rights. Actually, they’re staging a de facto wildcat strike. Employees have called in sick when they aren’t ill, and doctors are allegedly providing excuses so those employees can receive their sick pay. In short, the public employees and their sympathetic physicians are irresponsible, undependable
liars. The protesters are receiving paychecks from public funds under false pretenses, which make them cheats and thieves as well.

Many Christians wear “WWJD” bracelets. When they face a moment of truth they ask, “What would Jesus do?” Wisconsin is a moment of truth for Obama. A “WWRD” bracelet will remind him to ask, “What would Reagan do?”

He needn’t guess. History shows him exactly what President Reagan would do under similar circumstances. When air traffic controllers walked off their jobs in the summer of 1981 President Reagan told them not to let the door hit them on the way out. Controllers called Reagan’s hand and discovered that he wasn’t bluffing. If Obama truly desires credibility as our 40th President’s disciple--a President whose
popularity is waxing, by the way--he can build it in Wisconsin.

Obama, however, hasn’t embraced the
attitude toward Wisconsin’s public employee unionists that Reagan held toward air traffic controllers. Actually, he has taken a diametrically opposite position. Not only has he refused to denounce the protesters, he has embraced them. And for what cause other than the unionists’ demand that Wisconsin continue to fund their wants with money the state doesn’t have? That’s not Reagan-like, Mr. President.

To be fair, Obama can’t follow Reagan’s example in practicality. The Madison marchers are state employees whereas the air traffic controllers were federalized. But he can adopt Reagan’s attitude. Don’t bet the farm on that happening. Obama is light years from filling Reagan’s legacy in this area, or any other for that matter. Each reference he makes to Reagan is as much smoke and mirrors as his claim that healthcare reform reduces the deficit or the stimulus package created jobs.

If Obama possessed even the slightest interest in emulating Reagan he would support Governor Walker’s attempt to restore fiscal discipline to Wisconsin. The Governor’s plans aren’t unreasonable. In fact, they reflect nothing more than what millions of private sector employees deal with every day. Poor economic conditions affect private sector pay and benefits. Budget constraints should have a similar affect on the public sector. Carrying a union card and paying a monthly tribute shouldn’t shield public employees from fiscal reality.

What would Reagan do? He would support Gov. Walker’s attempt to address Wisconsin’s fiscal reality. He couldn’t deal with these strikers like he dealt with the air traffic controllers, considering they are state employees. But he wouldn’t hold them up as the supreme example of America’s work ethic either.

What will Obama do? He’ll cater to the unions who keep his campaign coffers flush with cash and he’ll bolt from any proposal that promises to slow government’s growth. Obama will prove that his budget hawk rhetoric is as empty as Nancy Pelosi’s head and that the only commonality he shares with Reagan is having parked his derrière in an Oval Office chair.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Government sharks feed on Big Tobacco

Sharks are among nature’s most amazing creatures. They are quick, graceful and superior hunters. But above those qualities they are relentless. The scent of blood can drive sharks into a feeding frenzy that continues until their hapless victim is totally consumed.

Come to think of it, government is similar to a shark. That’s not to say the two are twin brothers mind you. Government moves quickly only when jumping to conclusions and embodies the grace of a blind, three-legged hippopotamus wearing snowshoes. Brothers they aren’t, but cousins indeed. Government is a relentless and thorough predator. Like sharks, government utterly devours wounded prey.

Government’s shark-like demeanor has been illustrated by its voracious appetite for tobacco companies. First blood was drawn when government determined when and where tobacco could be used. But government wasn’t satisfied. Legislation then dictated how, when and where tobacco products could be marketed, restrictions that predictably increased with time. But government wasn’t satisfied.

Through lawsuits and coercive settlements government forced tobacco manufacturers to compensate customers for healthcare costs and damages even though smokers continued to use a product the health risks of which have been common knowledge for 50-plus years. But government wasn’t satisfied. Government then forced the cigarette makers to fund campaigns designed to prevent people from using their perfectly legal, albeit unhealthy, products. Still it wasn’t enough; government’s feeding frenzy continues.

As long as scraps remain on Big Tobacco’s carcass the government shark will not relent. It will consume every bite: meat, gristle, fat, bone and all. Tobacco companies will next fund advertisements in which they’re forced to
admit to committing fraud and mischaracterizing their products.

The Justice Department has devised a list of “corrective statements” that tobacco companies must publicly announce. In one statement the cigarette companies will disclose lying about light and low tar cigarettes in order to maintain their markets. Another government prepared statement compels the companies to acknowledge manipulation of nicotine levels so as to sustain addictions and create a perpetual customer base.

Each corrective statement- -in print or broadcast form- -will announce which tobacco manufacturer sponsored the ad and that it was released “under order of a federal district court.” A more fitting disclaimer would reveal that cigarette makers produced the ad under coercion, or direct threat, from a government more akin to the defunct Soviet Union than to the United States of America.

Tobacco companies are fighting the government’s dictates. But they have as much chance to avoid their fate as a wounded seal has to escape a Great White. Legal challenges are a dead end thanks to judicial activists such as District Court Judge
Gladys Kessler. Kessler has publicly declared her desire to force the industry to fund the government’s “corrective statements.” Big Tobacco has no reason to think that Judge Kessler, or any judge of like manner, will grant them a fair shake rather than ruling according to predisposed attitudes?

It’s not my desire to defend tobacco companies or the use of their products. Tobacco in any form is a good habit to avoid and the health risks are the worst kept secret of the last half century. However, tobacco isn’t an impossible habit to kick; millions of people have done so, including me. I forsook smokeless tobacco cold turkey after using it for fifteen years. For a smoker to think light cigarettes mitigate the ill health effects of tobacco indicates a foolish person, or someone intent on rationalizing their habit.

We have far more to fear from government intrusions than from tobacco peddlers. Big Tobacco never forced a single soul to smoke; it was a personal choice for which the smoker bears ultimate responsibility. Conversely, government can force our actions through fines, imprisonment, or even death. We should be wary of government’s willingness to publicly vilify any private company, even one as politically incorrect as tobacco, just as a swimmer should be wary of doing the breast stroke in shark-infested waters. Just as government has denigrated tobacco it can denigrate any company or industry it chooses for any reason it deems necessary.

Actually, governments are more dangerous than sharks. Stay out of the water and the shark risk is mitigated. Where can one go to avoid government’s feeding frenzy?

George Washington said, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent, it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Sharks or fire, the victim is consumed just the same.