Friday, September 28, 2007

To Boldy Groan...

In a much-anticipated, oft-promised move, the gang over at NRO's The Corner have been nerding it up big time today with many Star Trek-themed posts today (if your today, as you read this, is not the 28th of September in the Year of Our Lord 2007, you'll have to dig through their archives). The capstone to this whole exercise takes the form of an editorial, beamed directly from the 23rd Century by the "Elder of the Holo-NRO", expositing the need for an aggressive foreign policy toward the Romulan Empire. Given the elapsed time and inevitable positional shifts among political groups, does that make them neo-neo-neo-...-neocons?

Anywho, do your inner geek a favor and follow those links.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

General Betray Whom?

Much has been written in the last couple of weeks about the ad placed in the New York Times on the day of General Petraeus' testimony before Congress regarding the progress of the surge in Iraq, with the puerile, sophomoric headline "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?". From the stupidity of the ad itself, to questions about bias in breaks given to MoveOn by the NYT, a lot of ground has been covered. I'm lazy, so I'm not going to link to ANYTHING. Google it yourself. But I do want to focus on the title itself, in particular the last two words: "Betray Us."

First, "Betray." To betray someone, in whatever context, one must first have that individual or group's confidence. I.e., betrayal cannot occur unless the belief of the betrayed entity is that betrayal is unexpected. If betrayal is expected, it's not betrayal, it's simply outright hostility. To say that, its members, its sympathizers, and its "fellow travelers" EVER felt that Gen. Petraeus was "on their side" would be a ridiculous statement of mammoth proportions. Far from it, the effort to assassinate the character of Gen. Petraeus was (and still is) an ongoing effort by virtually all the anti-war Left (and pseudo-libertarian Paulnut Troofers, at that). If that's not the action toward a perceived enemy, I don't know what is. Thus, no betrayal could have occurred, regardless of what the General actually said that day.

Second, "Us". Who exactly is this? "Us" surely cannot be a reference solely to "the members, sympathizers, and 'fellow travelers' of", as witnessed in the above paragraph: to restate for clarity, General Petraeus was never associated with such people, and therefore could not betray them. Ok, let's set our sights wide: maybe "Us" is "The American People." Given the tendency toward populist rhetoric of leftist peaceniks, that seems reasonable. But how can an extreme fringe, albeit well-funded, group like claim, in any way, to speak for the American people? While now less popular, a majority of Americans voted for their bête noire, George W. Bush, and the support for the war, while having waned considerably, is somewhat on the upswing now that the surge has been shown to work against the insurgency. Once again, the vocal minority seems to confuse (or conflate) itself with the (relatively) quiet majority.

So there you have it. The crowd's "Betray Us" ad: not just stupid and wrong, but completely meaningless to boot. I suppose they've spent too much time thinking about postmodernism and deconstruction to actually say anything meaningful.

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Artistic Justice

Mark Ecko,fashion designer and... er... "artiste", was apparently the winning bidder for Barry Bonds' record-breaking 756th home run ball. After winning the bid, he apparently decided to leave the ball's fate up to a vote, and the winning choice has been to brand the ball with an asterisk and give it to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

My general impression of Ecko, based mostly on cultural snippets from various news outlets, is largely negative, owing to his being a) a fashion designer, and b) artsy. But after this, he can't be all bad.


Moron -- Er, More On Ron Paul

Several months ago, I commented to a co-worker (we'll just call him CB) that, all things being equal, I would indeed vote for Ron Paul in the general election if and only if he somehow attained the Republican nomination for President (a statement I'll obviously never have to back up with action). After all, he passes my litmus test on abortion, at least in principle, as opposed to any potential Democrat, and I must confess I have a bit of a soft spot for his views on states' rights. His views on foreign policy would be disastrous for this country, and quite frankly I believe Hillary Clinton would indeed do a much better job prosecuting the war and maintaining a strong overseas presence, but on principle I will never vote for a pro-abortion candidate for higher office (sorry, Rudy). But I digress...

Recently, some vociferous RP supporters gave Rudy Giuliani a hard time while he was riding the ferry,
some of whom shouted taunts about 9/11, including: “9/11 was an inside job” and “Rudy, Rudy, what did you do with the gold?” — an apparent reference to rumors about $200 million in gold alleged to have disappeared in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
Therefore, I must amend my original statement: I would vote for Ron Paul for President if and only if a) he received the Republican nomination, AND b) he unequivocally rebukes and disassociates himself from the entire "Truther" movement. And I'm not talking a simple "You guys are wrong; could you please quiet down?" -- I mean "You guys are nuts. Stop using my name in any context, and please, for the love of all that is good and holy, don't vote for me, and after that, please die in a fire." And that's assuming Ron Paul doesn't curse like a sailor when he's angry.

Normally, a candidate shouldn't be held responsible for the views of his supporters that he doesn't openly share. This is a little different; it seems first of all that he disproportionately attracts these... Paulnuts. Second, particularly given the context of his little mini-rant right in the middle of his Huckslapping that, maybe, his beliefs are indeed not too far off from the Paulnut gallery.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This Makes Me Sad

Kevin Spacey, a fantastic actor very noteworthy for his laconic stance on the personal details of his life, visited the Worst Little Man in the Western Hemisphere. My high esteem for the man, precariously propped up by a lack of personal detail, is now completely and nigh-irrevocably* shattered.

*News of a valiant, even if thwarted, attempt on the dictator's life via a dinner knife or some other apparatus by Mr. Spacey would restore said esteem, however unlikely.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday Meditation

Blogging is light for now -- I'm out in scenic Western Washington right now, to test some stuff for work. I'm reading a series of long posts by one of my favorite "God-bloggers", Dr. Mark D. Roberts, an evangelical Presbyterian pastor in Irvine, CA. Anywho, I came across this gem of a passage that addresses something that I agree with strongly, even as I struggle with it in my own Christian walk (bold mine):
Notice that we live out the good news in concert with speaking about that good news. I have heard many Christians say something like this: “Oh, I’m not comfortable talking about my faith. I just try to live it out, so that people will see God in me.” These folk are absolutely right about the importance of living their faith. Jesus says we are the light of the world, people whose good deeds should shine out so others will praise God (Matt 5:14-16). But we are called to live our faith as a demonstration of our message, not as a replacement for delivering it. Enactment alone won’t communicate the good news of what God has done in Christ. If, for example, you are exceptionally kind at work, but never mention why, your colleagues will probably think you’re an exceptionally kind human being. Who gets the glory? You do, not God! Only by doing and telling will people be able to praise God for His work in you. It’s not enough simply to live with Christian values but never talk about the source of those values.

If you care at all about defending and living out your faith in Christ, you could do much worse than to spend a long time browsing his blog.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ron Paul Gets Huckslapped

I originally mentioned some time ago that Mike Huckabee, former Governor of the state I'll always call "home", "had my vote". Along, then, came Fred Thompson, and I admit I got swept up in the hype, sorta left my buddy Huck by the wayside, and spent a lot of my energy rooting for Fred. Now that my enthusiasm for Fred Thompson has... let's just say "mellowed", I find myself more and more attracted to Mike Huckabee. From straw polls (a surprise, strong second in Iowa!) to political magazines (on the cover of last week's National Review!) to debates (see above, and this post), Huckabee continues to make waves.

Now I know he's almost-but-not-quite the anti-Fred: he's somewhat of a big spender, and somewhat of a nanny-stater, and definitely not the hard-core states'-rights advocate like Fred. The "somewhats", there, are HUGE qualifiers -- name one democrat to whom he can hold a candle. And can any Republican actually be worse than Bush in that regard? He's strong on national defense (witness above), and among all the remaining, snowball's-chance-in-hell candidates (sorry, Brownback, Hunter, and Tancredo), he's the only true-blue, always-has-been social conservative.

Now watch the video above. The man is a remarkable speaker, with all the charm one could ask for. Having grown up around Baptist preachers (the pastor of the church of my youth, Dr. Rex Horne, is now the President of Huck's Alma Mater, Ouchita Baptist University, for example), let me tell you, this man has not lost an ounce of that in his political speaking. Heck, he almost made me want to vote for McCain before he made me want to vote for him! And them comes the coup-de-grace for poor Ron Paul -- or as I believe I have coined it, "The Huckslap".

So now, I have to confess, I am torn: big-government strong social conservative of impeccable moral fiber, or small-government, crypto-libertarian awesome-guy whose positions may have wavered and whose social life may be closer to Clinton's than my own. If Huckabee surges before the PA primary, he might just get my vote now.

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