Friday, August 21, 2009

Animals have taken over...

This is one of the reasons I didn't want to get a dog.

Here's Molly the Dachsund, or Lunchsund (Lunch Hound in the German derivation) making herself comfortable around my neck on the couch. Maybe the dog just likes me right? WRONG. It's far more sinister a plot to steal Pringles from the hand that feeds her. Watch...

Reaches in and steals the chip...

Cleans the evidence from the front of my shirt while I munch on air.

What gall.

Then we have Fiona who, just about everyday this week, refuses to leave the kid alone to do her homework.

I can't believe I feed these two varmints.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No, I'm the dummy, No you're the dummy, No, I'm the dummy...

The problems we are experiencing with the political discourse in this country all lead back to fringe elements in both parties. They get the most press because they are the most vocal. “Fringies” are the most vocal because they see problems great and small as major disasters and catastrophes and nothing short of radical solutions are demanded. Neither party’s rank and file do a good job of criticizing their own fringe elements. The media however, does an excellent job of using the polarization factor to drum up what? You in the back… That’s right, RATINGS. Afterall, what’s more news worthy than citizens screaming at each other, politicians, police, etc… What’s the effect of this? You, next to the girl in the purple sweater… Right again, it promulgates a false assimilation of party centrists to their associated fringe elements. That is, if say you're for Obama’s healthcare bill you have tea and cookies with Ward Churchill regularly, if you oppose it you take your Earl Grey with Eric Rudolph. Lets looks at the last 24 hour news cycle…

The President was out in Arizona looking to drum up support for his healthcare plan. What did he say? Were there any questions put to him that he answered effectively/ineffectively? We don’t know, why? Because some nutjob carried an assault rifle to the rally outside in order to “make a point”. Barney Frank held a town hall meeting last night and so far from what I’ve read and seen in the MSM this morning is that some moronic questioner pulled the tried and true Hitler card.

I have no problem stating that I am not in favor of the President’s plan to overhaul healthcare by creating government supplied insurance available to all for a couple of reasons: first and foremost, as a nation we simply cannot afford to add another $trillion to our national debt at this time. It is far too much in an extremely weak economy that is trying hard to recover. We must get unemployment back down to 5% before tabling anything such as this monster. Second, I honestly cannot see adding yet another huge social program to the menu the Fed currently offers without overhauling and returning these existing programs to solvency FIRST. Now, many of you can offer me good reasons for the President and the Democratic majority to push forward despite these reservations of mine, but the ones I’ve heard so far simply don’t trump my two major concerns IMHO. I don't hate Obama, I'm not screaming at anybody, it's just my opinion based on facts known to me. I also can’t figure out how these two posits of mine could be considered ‘Hardline’ by anybody. The strange thing is that there are MANY folks that, based on my above stated position, will instantly and assuredly assume no difference between me and the guy who brought an assault rifle to the Obama town hall meeting. This is what has to end my friends, because it’s going to get ugly if it doesn’t. The result will be a further erosion of rationality.

There are countless examples of this false assimilation that a perpetuated every day and it sickens me. I was raised a Catholic. I don’t practice any particular brand of faith at the moment, but It would be revsionist to deny that the Catholic moral compass taught to me by my parents is what gives me my center today. I can say with honesty that, despite my youthful transgressions, it has served me well. Do I have issues with the Catholic Catechism? Yes, you bet, too much to address here, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to bite my tongue when someone makes a statement like, “All Catholics are gay hating assholes lead by pedophilic priests…”. I have friends and family who are of various devotion to the Catholic Church and I can tell you that a statement like that is the furthest thing from the truth. Are there rabid anti-homosexual elements in the church? Yes, some. Pedophile priests still? Probably a few. But by actually thinking the whole is the sum of the fringe element's thinking is simply wrong.

Abortion is another one that seems to bring out the worst in people. I support a women’s right to choose. Circumstance depending, I don’t think that an abortion should be a procedure that is as easy as it is now to procure, specifically underage women. I think it is a serious decision to make and worthy of considerable weight by parents of pregnent kids and the kids themselves. Even with these caveats, I cannot tell you how many times after making my pro-choice stance known has the dagger of fringe element assimilation been tossed at me. All of a sudden I’m a godless hippie without a grasp of consequence or personal liability. Ditto for Marijuana legalization.

What is worse is that there is more being lost by our inability to criticize our fringe elements and making these “know one, know them all” assumptions. What we are missing are the good ideas that go unconsidered, ignored, and at worse, shat on simply on account of their origin. Yesterday, I somehow found myself reading an op/ed piece in the New York Times written by the CEO of Whole Foods (I’d never heard of the guy prior). He was offering what I thought were sound alternatives to the Obama healthcare plan. I don’t know whether any or all are actually practical or not, but they seemed worthy of consideration at least. When I clicked over to one of the many liberal blogs I read daily, the author of the first post that came up was calling for a boycott of Whole Foods by what he referred to as, mostly liberal customer base, and demanded the removal of the guy from the board of directors. A good friend on Facebook reiterated the same sentiment when I mentioned the article. I was relieved to see a few other liberal friends defend the guy’s right not only to voice his non-insulting, non-threatening opinion in a national newspaper, but said they would continue to shop at his stores despite disagreeing with it.

All big policy issues are complicated, can’t we all admit this fact? I just cannot understand how nobody nowadays seems to be able to admit that they have reservations about policy being created in their own camps, or god forbid, change their mind about anything. Whatever my guy proposes is bulletproof, whatever the other guy proposes as shite. I recently visited my brother and his wife who live on a rural road quiet a distance from any neighbors in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As we sat outside in the quite of the night together, it occurred to me that, despite being a staunch proponent of gun control, if I were living way out here with my family amongst the trees and wildlife I would more than likely own a firearm for protection against wild vermin and the criminal element (especially after hearing my sister-in-law’s tale of killing a copperhead snake that week and seeing a big black bear not far from their place). I would certainly learn how to use it and hope to never have to, but I’m pretty sure I’d have one if I lived out there. Own a gun where I live now? Not a chance.

I thoroughly condemn the fringe elements amongst conservative minded people and ridicule them often. The clinic protesters, creationist morons, and homophobes. People who take assault rifles to a public meeting with the President in attendance are assholes not worthy of attention beyond ensuring they don’t do something stupid and hurt someone else. People who refer to this US President or any other, including the last one, as “Hitler” or make comparisons to “Nazi” policy can join them too whether they’re an ignoramus citizen at a public meeting, or the speaker of the house. Enough with the Hitler/Nazi bullshit. In turn, I condemn the fringe element amongst liberals who have no concept of accountability or consequence. Who get violent and destroy property during G8 summits and cry “Give Peace a Chance” at the same time. Who dismiss and demonize ALL those who work hard, earn a good living, and are financially successful as if they’re all crooks like Bernie Madolf, and those who chase military recruiters off of public campuses.

Why don't we start taking MSM outlets for what they really are: pot stirring ratings whores who never fail to add their little “sky is falling” nuance that does nothing but queue the Pavlovian response from the fringe element and the ignorant. It’s time we shake our heads of the dizzying effects of the 24 hour new cycle and start listening and worry less about whether our thinking is in line with the mob.


Boy, it didn't take long to for a shining example of MSM's BS tactics. Take a look at the following MSM peice...

The video that accompanies the dialog is the same that I've seen on many other stations. During the discussions, Contessa tees up the race card just like she's been taught to do in her freshman TV journalism classes, and fellow African-American MSNBC corospondant smacks his drive striaght down the fairway. "Whites are angry about a black president", "We'll see an attack on the president...", and the best of them all, "This is definately part of that". Here's the punchline... What these two ding-a-lings don't know because MSM has carefully editted all video shot at the Arizona town hall meeting of the gun toter is that the guy carrying the assualt rife is an African-American himself. See for yourself here...

When will it end.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Well, it’s that time of year again where we lay down our pitchforks and torches and all together in unison sing “I’d Like to Teach the World” in preparation for the 2009-10 college and NFL football seasons. Then we shall pick up our torches and pitchforks and begin flailing away at each other with renewed vigor. Of course, I’m as giddy as ever since it seems so long ago since we last got the family up at the crack of dawn, loaded the family truckster up with enough gear to head into the mountains of Afghanistan and fight the Taliban for a month, and pretend we’re fifteen years younger than we actually are (my favorite part!). Much has happened in the off season that has created more uncertainty than predictability on most of my favorite teams’ fronts. So, for the two who will actually read this, here’s what I have in store for me this season…

Army – You will all probably not recall the venom that I spewed on this very blog at the onset of last season all aimed at Stan Brock (here and here), then coach of the Army football team. While not as damaging as Todd Berry/Rich Greenspan were to the program as a whole, Brock simply continued to attempt to pound a round peg into a square hole by NOT following through with his promise to install an option style offense at West Point. After losing the first two games to cupcakes (badly) by attempting to throw the ball down the field, he lost Army’s top recruit, the number 1 QB in the state of Indiana, and option wiz to resignation. Who could blame the kid? Military commitment and NOT run an option offense for four years while sitting on the sidelines as the Black Knights posted 3-8 seasons?

So in the off season following yet another trouncing by Navy, the Supe mercifully ditched Brock and hired Rich Ellerson an option offense disciple from Cal Poly, a Div 1AA school where he pretty much tore it up. From his press, he seems like a guy who knows what this job entails. He’s spent some time with Paul Johnson, another former Div 1AA option guru who turned around another storied military academy’s football program whose name I cannot mention and turned it into a real contender. Most fans and alum like the pick. Most of us will not be looking for .500 season out of the Cadets, but rather like the economy, just ANY sign that the tide is turning in the right direction. Army has three opponents on the schedule that in any other year could be categorized as “could wins” (Duke, Ball St., and Vandy), but after the seasons these teams had last year, all three will beat the crap out of Army simply because they can. I’ll be extremely satisfied if we can win three games and beat either Air Force or Navy.

Georgia Tech – Just got word that Jaybo Shaw, the Yellow Jackets back up QB is out for 8 weeks, a possible medical redshirt for this season. That’s too bad for the capable sophomore, but 2nd year Coach Paul Johnson has plenty of depth in that position. Of all the teams I follow and hold near and dear (like, hate, indifferent), Tech is the team that has the greatest potential to make some moves and some serious noise for that matter. Paul Johnson, who I predicted would be a HUGE success at GT, no longer has the “prove it” chain hanging around his neck with regard to running the triple option offense at a big time ACC school. Georgia Tech and its fans now BELIEVE. Although the shellacking they received at the hands of LSU during last years Chick-Fil-A Bowl was a big let down after a STUNNING victory over hated UGA (IN ATHENS I might remind you), last season was a enormous success by all measures (remember the win over FSU? I don’t, but there are pictures and video of me on the field jumping into a pile of GT players at the 50 yard line minutes after the game). A well balanced schedule and decent home stands could make the Jackets a shoe in for the ACC Championship and beyond. It’s going to be a great season to watch with UGA coming to Atlanta this time around.

University of Maryland Terps – Much mystery surrounds Ralph Friedgen’s Terps this year. Gone is super receiving stud Darius Heyward-Bey to the Oakland Raiders, but Chris Turner returns for his Sr. Year with a couple of solid Juniors to throw to, assuming he’s the Fridge’s pick to start (all indications are that it’s his job to lose). I trolled the net for anything interesting regarding the Terps and found little other than Sr. nose tackle Armstrong’s dysfunctional departure. I’d say Ralph is looking at a Chan Gaily season this year. Meaning the university, while glad to brag about W/L records and four bowl games (albeit non-New Year’s eve/day games), they know that the program is capable of more. And it is. The Fridge has shed 100+ pounds from his belly and wants to stay for a few more years until he retires. Winning some big games this season like FSU and Cal, AND winning the ones their supposed to (UVA and Wake) should keep the rotund coach there until he’s ready to leave on his own.

Penn State – The Ninny Lions are preseason ranked respectful of their success and stature in the previous two seasons. The only question that stands out in my mind is again a weakness in schedule. I think it hurt them last year during bowl selection and might again this year (not that the Rose Bowl is a slouch game by any means). Not much you can do about weakness in your own conference, but as good as they are, replacing a game with the Zips or Temple with a solid non-conference opponent would go a long way when the BCS oceans start to churn in late November. PSU will be huge again this year.

Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan. That’s almost enough to say on the topic of this years Falcons season, but there is much more to the Falcons than our starting super star QB. For one, our coach Mike Smith also in his second year. I think that players MUST believe in their coach in order for a team to excel into the playoffs. You can get there without this faith amongst the ranks, but to compete for a real shot at the big game, you’ve got to get there with the head coach at the tip of the spear and Mike Smith is that kind of guy. In one year he has turned a rag tag bunch of misfits into a formidable power of belief with fans and players alike. Some solid additions to the roaster via draft and trades keeps the Birds overall team development moving forward. Easy contender for the division.

New York Jets – Well, I can’t really say I know a lot about what the Jets are doing to better themselves this season after folding pretty badly in the latter half of last season. I’ll have to rely on my main man Jackson to fill me in and get me excited about their chances this year. Obviously the QB slot is what I worry the most about, and the loss of Coles of course. If I were the Jets, I’d be looking at DJ Shockley who I believe is the most capable, yet underrated up and coming QB in the league and he’s just struggling to get a third string slot here in Atlanta right now. A total waste. Will someone PLEASE give this guy a shot!

Oakland Raiders – Boy, it was nice to see the Raiders beat NFL Axis of Evil member the always hated Dallas Cowboys last week even if it was just pre-season. Oakland actually looked like a team who wanted to play with, vs against each other. Of course, what the final roster will look like in three weeks is anybody’s guess and the organization could all fall right back into the circus that is Raider football in a Bay Area minute, but maybe there are signs of life for us who have worn the Raider paper bag on our heads for the last five years. The pick up of my man Darius Hayward-Bey from Maryland may have been controversial, but will prove to be a good decision as was the acquisition of Jeff Garcia for any other reason than to get Russell off his over paid ass. If they beat my brother’s crappy Cardinals in Oakland I’ll be happy enough with their progress.

Teams I hate, but am forced to follow:

Arizona Cardinals – Now that the underdog thing is over with I can stop feeling sorry for my brother and willfully root against them again. Prediction: They will go back to sucking.

New England Patriots – Will suck worse than last year, Tom Brady will get kicked in the junk opening day and call signals in a higher register for the rest of the season bringing laughter and ridicule from opposing defenses.

Washington Redskins – Suck.

Dallas Cowboys – Fail and suck are too good of words for this NFL team. May everything go wrong with every aspect of this organization. May all the toilets in their new stadium overflow.

That’s about it folks. It’s hard to argue with any of my assessments here, but by all means try if you may. That’s what the internet is for after all. Other things to look forward to this season: A trip the Raleigh NC to see a Wolf Pack game with my Uncle, and a trip to West Point for the Vandy game. Can’t wait. See you all there!