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Stupid or Evil?

Posted by HeroOfCanton, Sep 14 2008, 03:33 PM

I've said before that it seems as though liberals think conservatives must either be stupid or evil. George W. Bush is stupid, Dick Cheney is evil. At the moment, it looks as though the McCain-Palin ticket is being painted in the same terms. The Democrats have tried both labels for both candidates on the Republican side, but currently I see it settling in as McCain stupid, Palin evil. Early on the Democrats attempted to portray McCain as an insane warmonger who would lead us into some kind of nuclear holocaust, but accusing a war hero of evil was doomed to never really connect with the average voter. When Palin was first announced as McCain's running mate, the attack focused on how inexperienced she is, and therefore, she must be stupid.

However, in recent days, there seems to have been a shift, but I don't know how well that will work, either. McCain is so stupid he can't send email, we were told. Well, it appears that the Democrats making this attack are too stupid to use Google, because it's pretty easy to discover that due to his war wounds, McCain can't type. Classy. Likewise, Obama was never going to be able to sustain the idea that Palin is inexperienced without reminding everyone that serious questions have been raised about his experience. So the focus changed to the fact that Sarah Palin is evil. For instance, she's so evil that she wanted to ban books from the Wasilla library that hadn't even been published yet. I'm sure the stupid/evil dichotomy will continue to evolve and it should be amusing to watch.

It's the economy, stupid.

I think the economy is a good example to use to explain that Republicans really aren't stupid or evil. Economics is unquestionably a complex and difficult subject on which reasonable people can disagree. As an example, John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman could not have developed more divergent theories of economics; however, I don't think anyone could call either of these men stupid. I suppose people could call Friedman evil, but I think that misses the point. Whether or not one agrees with Friedman, his economic theories were designed to make everyone more prosperous, which is hardly evil. At the end of the day everyone, Left and Right, wants people to be better off economically, and that's neither stupid nor evil even if people have different ideas of how to get there. Why some have trouble believing that smart, well-informed people can come to different conclusions on the best way to solve problems continues to elude me, and something tells me this election season will do nothing to help me understand.

Election Basics--A Cheat Sheet

Posted by HeroOfCanton, Sep 10 2008, 01:00 PM

~ All politicians have speech writers, not just the women.

~ If you or any member of your family ever caused someone to stub a toe 20 years ago, the media will find out and the other side will yell "Scandal!"

~ All politicians exaggerate.

~ Not all conservative commentators believe exactly the same thing.

~ The person running for Vice President is supposed to be the attack dog.

~ You can't win an election if you alienante your base.

~ Presidents and Vice Presidents have almost always had families.

A little funny

Posted by HeroOfCanton, Sep 9 2008, 06:16 PM

I hope to have something more substantial in the next day or so, but in the meantime, this cracked me up.

National Review

This "Pilate was the Governor, Jesus was a community organizer" meme is monumentally stupid on so many levels, not the least of which is that it demonstrates a total lack of Biblical literacy. Pilate merely voted "present."

NOW Is the Winter of Our Discontent

Posted by HeroOfCanton, Sep 5 2008, 03:41 PM

"Since its founding in 1966, NOW's goal has been to take action to bring about equality for all women."

If this is NOW's mission statement, then why am I hearing so much hate from feminists about Sarah Palin? NOW's agenda is as much about leftist policies as it is about equality for women, if not more so. Still, I find it disconcerting that so many women who claim to fight for women can't even find it in their hearts to say, "We disagree with her policies, but good for Sarah Palin getting a chance to play with the big boys."

In the past, I've twice tried to write blogs about feminism, but I always get bogged down. However, I don't want this topic as it relates to Sarah Palin to go completely without mention. So, here are some other people saying interesting things on the topic. Enjoy!

NOW's statement on Palin's nomination:

Gov. Palin may be the second woman vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, but she is not the right woman. Sadly, she is a woman who opposes women's rights, just like John McCain.

David Limbaugh:

But even more pointed was their condescendingly phony concern that Palin, despite her speech home run, wouldn't be able to survive the coming week of press scrutiny without a teleprompter. This was most noticeable from the pundits on MSNBC, which I watched to protect myself from overdosing on post-speech euphoria. Andrea Mitchell was practically badgering interviewees to confess their fear of Palin's inevitable implosion.

Janet Daley:

It would seem that it is only sexist to trash a woman candidate if she is a Woman Candidate, which is to say a liberal.

Victor Davis Hanson:

In short, Sarah Palin is the emblem of what feminism was supposed to be all about: an unafraid, independent, audacious woman, who soared on her own merits without the aid of a patriarchal jumpstart, high-brow matrimonial tutelage and capital, and old-boy liaisons and networking.

It's Getting Harder and Harder to Breathe

Posted by HeroOfCanton, Sep 5 2008, 12:44 AM

Maybe it's because we're so unassuming and people don't typically pay a lot of attention to us, but boy, do librarians ever love to hyperventilate. (This, at least, seems to be how it librarians think of themselves. They are quite sure that no one loves them now that Google exists.) When the Patriot Act came out and said the Feds can access library records with a warrant, you would have thought the sky was falling in the library world. Too bad librarians didn't bother to look at existing library policies, which generally said the same thing already. And every year we throw a big, week-long bash to celebrate intellectual freedom and "banned" books. (Later this month, I'll explain just how idiotic this is.) Librarians somehow have this notion that America will become Nazi Germany if not for this holy week, and if turning into Hitler isn't something worth hyperventilating about, I don't know what is. The point is, as a profession, we seem to always be looking for an uproar, even if we have to invent it. The latest invention--Sarah Palin, Book Banner.

That's right, librarians all over the country who already weren't going to vote for John McCain are really not going to vote for him now, because he put a book banner on his ticket. So, what exactly has Sarah Palin done? Harry Potter midnight bonfires? Huck Finn removed from classrooms? The Joy of Sex confiscated for her own personal use? Not so much. When she became mayor of Wasilla, she asked the librarian in town how she could ban a book. Palin says that this question was rhetorical, but politicians will say anything to get elected, right? Maybe what we need to do is see what she actually did as mayor to find out if the question is rhetorical or the first step towards global domination. Well, freedom lovers, here's the truth--in all her time as mayor, Palin never banned a book or even tried to ban a book. Full stop. End of discussion, or at least it should be. But not in the library world where bespeckled, cardigan wearers are not happy except when pitching a fit. So don't worry, the brave librarians of America will do all that they can to save you from Sarah Palin, Book Banner.

Palin and Pregnancy

Posted by HeroOfCanton, Sep 2 2008, 01:43 PM

I may have something of my own to write on this issue at some point, but for now, I like what Byron York had to say at National Review Online.

Here's the money quote:

I asked Popma what she thought the larger reaction among evangelicals will be. “Their reaction is going to be exactly as mine,” she told me. “There hasn’t been one evangelical family that hasn’t gone through some sort of situation. Many of us are in this movement because of something that has happened in our lives.”

Cross-Over Appeal

Posted by HeroOfCanton, Aug 31 2008, 03:01 PM

Cross-Over Appeal: Does it matter, and does the McCain-Palin ticket have it?

It seems that everyone wants to talk about which candidate reaches out to Independents and who can lure voters away from the other party. Karl Rove won—yes, Bush won—two Presidential campaigns by firing up the base, but will that still work? I'm not enough of an election wonk to know the answer, but let's assume pulling away people who might vote for your opponent is a good strategy. Can McCain-Palin do that?

Once upon a time, John McCain was the Republican viewed as the best equipped to do just this. He wasn't as big a tax cutter as most Republicans and he's taken a stance on immigration that sends most Republicans into fits. And then there are the words "McCain-Feingold," which still sends shivers down the spines of conservatives. McCain used to be associated with leaving the reservation, which back before the "Bush's third term" nonsense, made him appealing to voters outside of the Republican faithful.

But something funny happened on the way to the White House, and McCain was suddenly being portrayed as a Bush crony. (Well, picking Sarah Palin is a Bush move—it shows real respect for a woman. Not that I'll-give-you-welfare-so-you-can-abort-your-baby-in-the-third-trimester respect, but Condi Rice, Karen Hughes, Elaine Chou, Margaret Spellings, etc. respect.) However, McCain may have shaken off that reputation by picking fellow maverick, Sarah Palin. Her career hasn't been long, but Palin has rooted out more corruption, even when it was in her own party, than most Democrats do in decades-long careers in Washington. That's supposed to be the sort of thing that appeals to Independents, if any one thing can be said to appeal to the vast differences among voters who fall under the umbrella "Independent."

But what about Democrats voting for McCain-Palin? Obviously, no one ever expected McCain to win the hardcore liberals who spout "Bush Lied, People Died" and think the UN is the greatest invention since Birkenstocks, but what about the Reagan Democrats? My experience has shown me that there are an awful lot of Democrats in the Rust Belt who only belong to the Democratic party primarily because of their union memberships. These people are frequently socially moderate to conservative, pro-gun, and pro-military. Can they be swayed by a smart woman who totes a gun, has belonged to a union, and is sending a son to Iraq? I think they just might, especially in states like Michigan and Minnesota where voters have become disenchanted with Democrats and Republicans have been making inroads. Whether or not it will help in a state like Ohio where the Republicans seems to be at their lowest point ever is another matter.

So I guess the answer to original question is maybe, maybe not. However, I can't believe that the addition of Palin won't help McCain with moderate Democrats and Independents. And if Karl Rove was right that motivating the base is most important, well, the base is definitely fired up, or as I heard one pundit put it, "The choice of Sarah Palin closes the enthusiasm gap between Obama and McCain."

Why I’m excited for the first time in over a year

Posted by HeroOfCanton, Aug 30 2008, 05:35 PM

Why I'm excited for the first time in over a year

I was never very excited about any of the Republicans running in the primary. Usually a party's strongest pick is a popular and talented governor, but in the Republican's case, that best describes a man named Bush, so that wasn't going to happen. I figured I'd vote for Giuliani, since I thought he would be good on national security, but by the time the primary rolled around to Ohio, I was left with McCain and Huckabee. Going with security as my most important issue, I unenthusiastically hit the swanky touch screen next to McCain's name.

This November, I will be doing the same, but this time with a smile on my face in hopes that McCain wins, rather than with a grimace praying Obama loses. Why? Sarah Palin.

Is she a perfect pick for McCain's Number 2? No, but McCain didn't have any perfect options. He could have gone with a deadly dull white man who has a good resume but produces the excitement of a ham sandwich without mayo. But let's be honest—could the oldest white man to ever run for President really do that against the first black Presidential nominee for a major party? So that left McCain to choose an exciting running mate with a thinner resume. Actually, the Republicans do have qualified women and minorities with experience, but they all have their own problems. For instance, Kay Bailey Hutchison is as boring as the old, white men; Christine Todd Whitman is further left than McCain who already has problems with his base; and J.C. Watts (*swoons*) doesn't seem interested in holding office again. Anyhow, that meant McCain had to pick from the list of exciting people with little experience. Frankly, I would have gone with Bobby Jindal, but McCain decided to go with Sarah Palin, and that's a darn good pick.

A Vice Presidential running mate is supposed to do a few things and Sarah Palin has already done some of these things and shows potential for doing the others.

1. Voters ought to believe the person is ready to be President should, God forbid, the worst happen. Admittedly, this is Palin's weakest spot, but is she really any less qualified than the person who will be President if the Democrats win?

2. A Vice Presidential choice has to do well in the debate. Now, I've never seen Palin debate, but I can say that if Joe Biden gets snarky and condescending with a mother of five, it's not going to play well. Also, people expect Biden to be a good debater, so anything less than stellar from him will likely be seen as a loss. Since almost no one has seen Palin, she would have to be terrible to not at least get the "exceeded expectations" prize.

3. The underside of a ticket needs to perform well on the stump. In her unveiling, she did great—she was straightforward, plainspoken, excited, and exciting.

4. And that leads to the last thing a good running mate ought to do—fire up the base. McCain's biggest problem before this decision was an apathetic base, which might not even vote for him. With Sarah Palin, now people want to give him money if the feedback at Nation Review Online is anything to go by. Palin is Pro-Life not just in theory but in practice. Even as a Pro-Choicer, I have to admire a woman who says, "I'm over 40, with four kids, and now I'm pregnant with a Downs Syndrome baby, but I'd never think about not having it." You might disagree with her "talk," but having a politician who walks the walk is a refreshing change. Also appealing to the right is her lifetime membership in the NRA, which is again about how she lives her life and not political expediency. She's pro-tax cuts and drilling in ANWR, while being anti-pork. (You know who killed The Bridge to Nowhere? Palin.) And that "culture of corruption" Democrats love talking about is going to lose its sting against a woman famous for fighting corruption in her own party.

So, is Sarah Palin a perfect pick? No. But for the first time I'm actually asking myself if I can squeeze in some time to volunteer for the campaign or maybe write a check. I guess that means Palin is a pretty good choice.

Terrorism Defined

Posted by HeroOfCanton, Jun 8 2007, 05:56 PM

While Orwell is still fresh in my mind, I think I will attack an overused and meaningless phrase which offends me as much as any cliche can: One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Besides its triteness, what I dislike about this phrase is that it assumes the term "terrorist" is subjective instead of being a specific word that describes people who do specific actions. In his book Fighting Terrorism, Benjamin Netanyahu defines terrorism this way: "Terrorism is the deliberate and systematic assault on civilians to inspire fear for political ends" (p. eight). The difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter then is intent and victim. The only possible similarity is the end goal. Many wars of independence have included both freedom fighters and terrorists (the Free French during WWII, Israel, Ireland just to name a few), and lumping the two groups together does a great disservice to legitimate revolutionaries.

The intended goal of terrorists is fear. Because they do not believe they can achieve their desired outcome, whatever it may be, through conventional means of either war or law, they hope to scare people into giving them what they want. For example, Timothy McVeigh did not think he could change the American government through conventional war or legislation, so he frightened all of the country by killing innocent people in a federal building. On the Israel/Gaza border today rockets fall on Jewish communities with regularity, not so much in the hopes of killing people, as in the hopes of inducing fear. The same desire to frighten can be seen in southern Thailand where Muslims have killed a few hundred Buddhists, mostly farmers, but driven away thousands more from their homes.

While losing these lives is tragic, why does it cause so much fear? The number of victims in Oklahoma City, the Israel/Gaza border, and Thailand do not reach a level to cause a government to surrender. What is so scary is who the victims are: civil servants and their children in a daycare center, average people sleeping in their beds, and simple farmers trying to feed their families. None of these people signed up to fight a war. None of these innocent people wore a uniform. None of these civilians expected to die violent deaths by simply going about their day. It is this targeting of people unassociated with the terrorists' grievances, real or imagined, that terrorizes people. As Bernard Lewis puts it in The Crisis of Islam "the slaughter of innocent and uninvolved civilians is not 'collateral damage.' It is the prime objective" (147).

In his address to Congress shortly after the attacks of 9/11, Netanyahu explained that "Terrorism is defined neither by the identity of its perpetrators nor by the cause they espouse. Rather it is defined by the nature of the act" (Terrorism xxi). This seems to be the point on which many people confuse freedom fighters and terrorists. The cause should be separated from the act. The American government is seriously flawed, but a fertilizer bomb that kills 168 innocent people is reprehensible. Many people legitimately sympathize with Palestinians living in stateless limbo; however, this should not lead to sympathy with suicide bombers blowing up Jewish school buses. Perhaps Muslims in southern Thailand have been persecuted, but that does not justify beheading Buddhist farmers. To quote Netanyahu one last time: "some acts are evil in and of themselves, and do not deserve any consideration or 'understanding'" (Terrorism xxi).

Lewis, Bernard. The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror. New York, Modern, 2003.

Netanyahu, Benjamin. Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terror Network. New York: Farrar, 2001.

Anti Orwell

Posted by HeroOfCanton, Jun 6 2007, 09:37 PM

I hope to have a real blog entry by Friday (I was on vacation last week), but in the meantime, check out the title of this book:

Perfect phrases for business letters : hundreds of ready-to-use phrases for writing effective business letters, memos, e-mail, and more

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