Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A New Job!

For those of you who don't know yet, I recently accepted a new position at DST, and will be starting on October 16th.  It's a client-facing job working with a specific client on a specific product that is essentially a liaison between that client and the developers to communicate requirements, enhancements, bugs, and anything else that needs to go back and forth.

Or, basically, this:

***Editor's Note: due to the results of an informal push-poll, roughly 50% of this blog's audience thinks that posting the Office Space video clip is a career limiting move.  While the editors feel it was clearly offered in good fun, it is also perfectly reasonable to assume that all potential future employers will not, in fact, have any kind of a sense of humor.  Thus, it has been removed.***

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's A Beautiful, Beautiful Day

I know it doesn't really count since I didn't make it public, but I did mention to my wife yesterday morning that I had a good feeling about K-State's chances against Oklahoma last night.  Turns out that feeling was dead on.  Here's the recap, and a great article at ESPN by Gene Wojciechowski.  Enjoy, savor, etc...

Bill Snyder was so excited about Kansas State's history-making 24-19 win at Oklahoma on Saturday evening that his heart rate almost reached single digit. You didn't know whether to congratulate him or check to see if he had dozed off.
This is the Snyder way. Almost nothing flusters him. The 72-year-old coach stood in the middle of a cramped cinderblock hallway, a Styrofoam cup of freshly poured coffee in his hand, and talked in a near monotone about one of the great K-State victories of his long career.
"All wins are important," said Snyder. "Every coach will tell you and every player will probably tell you the same thing."
But this wasn't just any win. This was 15th-ranked K-State ending a 15-year OU chokehold on this series in Norman. This was K-State ending OU coach Bob Stoops' 14-0 home record against ranked teams. This was K-State avenging last season's 41-point loss to the sixth-ranked Sooners.
[+] EnlargeCollin Klein
Brett Deering/Getty ImagesKansas State QB Collin Klein isn't flashy by any means, but he's getting the job done this season.
Didn't matter. Snyder had his postgame face on. Even when a cricket jumped from a TV reporter's forearm to Snyder's left cheek, the Wildcats coach simply flicked the bug away with a bored nonchalance.
But there was one thing that got a small rise out of Snyder. And it had to do with his senior quarterbackCollin Klein.
It was an innocent enough question: What's the difference between the 2012 and 2011 versions of Klein?
For a moment -- just a moment -- Snyder's voice rose.
"I don't really recollect that he was a bad passer a year ago," said Snyder. "I mean, people keep saying this to me. Everybody gets a little bit better when they invest themselves in getting better."
And then Snyder recited all of Klein's time investments as a game manager, as a runner, as a passer, as coverage reader.
"Truly, it's meaningful to him to become better in everything he does, whether it's football or something else," said Snyder.
Klein was better than Sooners quarterback Landry Jones, whose Heisman Trophy chances are deader than the crushed crickets dotting the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium concourses. Actually, Klein was better than anybody on the field Saturday night.
"It's a big step," Klein said. "It's a good win. Like I said, credit a lot of players across the board in every facet of the game."
And that's the Klein way, which is basically the Snyder way. Deflect attention. Downplay everything. Practice humility.
The 4-0 Wildcats have moved to the edges of the national championship conversation because of this upset against OU. Klein has a lot to do with that.
His numbers against the Sooners weren't jaw-dropping. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 149 yards and no touchdowns. He rushed for 79 yards and one score.
But Klein didn't throw an interception, as Jones did. He didn't miss a wide-open receiver in the end zone, as Jones did. He didn't take a crucial sack and fumble away the ball, as Jones did.
"Landry's awesome," said Klein. "He's a great quarterback. Made a lot of great throws. It's just sometimes they're gonna get you. And we were able to be on the right end of that."
Thing is, Jones wasn't awesome Saturday. He hasn't been truly awesome for a while.
As scouts from the Green Bay Packers, the New York Giants, the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Buffalo Bills and the St. Louis Rams watched from their seats in the second row of press box, Jones played inconsistently and, at times, skittishly.
"Not very well overall," said Stoops. "But again, I don't think it's fair to say, 'Landry Jones.' I think it's fair to say the guys around him also were inconsistent."
It's also fair to say Klein is a new and improved version from a year ago. His throwing motion reminds you a tiny bit of a right-handed version of Tim Tebow, but my gosh does the guy compete. The next play he takes off will be his first.
[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireOklahoma QB Landry Jones threw for 298 yards but also turned the ball over twice.
"People need to quit being surprised by Collin," said K-State wide receiver Chris Harper. "Collin is Collin. He's got these nicknames and they're all true: 'Honey Badger ... Optimus Klein,' whatever you want to call him, it's all true because he's all of that. He can do whatever he wants to do. If he wants to play for K-State basketball and go out there and start, he could do that.
"People who doubt him, just accept what he is, and that's a great athlete."
Klein walked into postgame media room wearing a white shirt with a purple tie. He had scrape marks on his neck and hands. In his shirt pocket were two small notepads filled with Bible scripture.
At every opportunity, he thanked someone else for what happened against Oklahoma. To hear Klein tell it, he was only mildly more important than the trainer who taped his ankles.
He has been at K-State through thin and thin. So you'll pardon him if he does a Snyder and downplays the victory against OU. He's already moved on to the Oct. 6 game against Kansas.
"I think we have a lot of guys, myself included, who have been here long enough when things weren't this way," said Klein. "We know what it feels like -- and we don't want to go back."
No, K-State is all about moving forward. KU in early October. Then at Iowa State. Then at West Virginia on Oct. 20.
Suddenly, anything is possible for Klein and the Wildcats. It's possible because of what happened here Saturday night.
Just don't mention those possibilities to Snyder and Snyder Jr. -- Klein. They're not listening.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Final DNC Wrap-Up

I realize this is a bit delayed, but other events have taken precedence over recent days.  Still, the conventions are useful for each party to define itself, so I wanted to follow up the previous post with some final things along those lines.

The Democratic platform is one of increased spending, thinking that food stamps makes America exceptional, celebrating and honoring illegal immigration, failing to address fundamental budgetary problems, extending the reach of government ever further, and totally un-racial things like this:

And yet, despite all this, Barack Obama is begging for more time to achieve a 'recovery' (didn't they already claim that's happened??) by using the same policies that have failed for the past four years.  Also, they tend to parody themselves without trying:

It's your Democrat Party, 2012 edition.

More Violence Against The US

We now know the attack in Libya was a coordinated attack by hundreds of Muslims using the cover of the movie protests as a distraction, and was designed to do exactly what it did - kill the US Ambassador.  As we learn more about the movie itself, it sounds like the filmmaker did some dubbing of audio over the original scripted words, making it much more inflammatory after the fact; he was also using a false identity and is now nowhere to be found.

Nevertheless, as predicted, the utter lack of a strong response is leading to more violence against the US.  A sample of the headlines at this time shows the following:

Egypt intelligence warns of attacks on Israel, US embassies
Mob Gathers Outside U.S. Embassy in London
Protesters smash windows, set fires in U.S. embassy in Tunis
Protestors breach U.S. embassy compound in Sudan
Protesters arrested at U.S. Consulate in Chennai, India

The embassy in Libya was warned several days ahead of time, but nothing was done to prevent the attacks.

But it's not just overseas:
Threat made to Valparaiso University campus
UT bomb threat deadline passed, evac continues
Universities in Fargo and Texas evacuated after bomb threats

It is unclear whether these are all related to terrorism, but the person who called in the bomb threat at UT claimed to be a member of Al Qaeda, so it's not an unreasonable suggestion.

All this comes as a shock to liberals because they genuinely believe that being nice to radical Islamists will make them friendly.  Obama directed his foreign policy from day one to be Muslim-friendly.  He warped NASA's mission to focus on Muslim relations instead of space, he supported the Arab Spring that saw those in power in Libya and Egypt topple last year, and he has made it a habit of supporting and endorsing Muslim holidays and events over his time in office.  He shuns Israel while meeting with Muslim leaders.  In one of his few official statements about the current debacle he said that Egypt wasn't an ally...and was promptly countered by the State Department who said that they were (which they are, or at least have been until the Arab Spring tossed out the US-friendly guy last year).  To top it all off, Michelle Obama is out there saying that the biggest national security risk is actually -- wait for it... -- obesity.

The bottom line is that things are spiraling out of control due to an utter lack of competence and seriousness on the part of the Obama administration.  

Who, by the way, is currently campaigning in Las Vegas.  He hasn't bothered to attend most of his security briefings -- and not a single one for the week prior to the Libya attack -- because he's too smart for them, according to the mainstream media Obama propaganda team.  Clearly.  In fact, Romney's the only one who's taking questions and looking Presidential right now.

This is just another illustration that Obama and his policies are dangerous and disastrous for America in many ways, not just economic but also from a security perspective.

What Apple Fanboys? These Apple Fanboys...

Here's how to deal with them:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Brief International Tensions Update

Not much time to delve into all the details, but this is really, really important stuff.

Everyone knows Iran has continued its nuclear program over the past few years despite international pressure to cease and desist.  They have recently begun ramping up the die-Israel rhetoric again, and Israel is naturally becoming increasingly agitated.  The Obama administration has a history of antagonism toward Israel and many of its personnel are virulently anti-Israeli, so it is only grudgingly that they have continued to officially support our long-time ally.  As the tensions increase and Iran grows closer to a functional nuclear weapon, matters only worsen.  Of course, the recent snub of pro-Israeli language at the DNC convention didn't help relations any, nor did Obama's refusal to meet with Israeli PM Netanyahu while in New York for a UN event this week (he's got time for an appearance on Letterman, though...priorities, you know??).  It's not like anyone actually thinks Obama's silence to our ally is a tacit approval to attack Iran.  That would be reasonable for someone with a history of supporting Israel, but Obama has no such history.  If anything, it's a tacit approval for Iran to move forward, and that's a disturbing thought.  At the very least, it's a tacit approval simply because of the lack of a forceful suggestion to the contrary.

And that makes a whole lot of people uneasy when we see things like Muslims in Egypt attacking the US Embassy over a film, and getting essentially no response from the Obama administration.  It shouldn't be any surprise, then, that shortly thereafter Muslims in Libya attacked the US Embassy and killed the ambassador and several staff members.  To be fair, this did draw a furious -- or at least pretty gosh-darned determined -- finger-shaking from the President, but one wonders if that will be quite enough to quell the escalation.  (Hint: no)

Whether Obama simply has a fundamental misunderstanding of the threat to us and our allies from radical Islamic extremists or actually has some level of sympathy with them is almost irrelevant.  The bottom line is that he is clearly doing little to protect American interests from them, and that is exceedingly unlikely to change.  Without a legitimate response to events like this, the violence will continue to escalate until we have a mushroom cloud to deal with.

Yet another reason to usher him into retirement as quickly as possible.

Thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed, and with others trying to get to safety...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Will Never Forget

Remembrance, resolve, action:

At 8:46am this morning, ten years ago, murderous jihadists crashedAmerican Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. 
At 9:03am this morning, ten years ago, murderous jihadists crashedUnited Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. 
At 9:37am this morning, ten years ago, murderous jihadists crashedAmerican Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon. 
At 10:15am this morning, ten years ago, the official notification of thedowning of United Airlines Flight 93 into a field at Shanksville, Pa. by murderous jihadists was received by the feds. 
This is a day to honor the 2,977 innocent men, women, and childrenslaughtered by evil Islamic jihadists — and to vow that “Never again” remains America’s operational stance, not an empty slogan. 
Remembrance is worthless without resolve. Resolve is useless without action.
nosurrender.jpgLan astaslem: Arabic for “I will not submit/surrender” 
I wrote the following column nine years ago, on the 2nd anniversary of the 9/11 jihadi attacks. Too much of it remains true today. 
Spitting on their gravesby Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate9/10/03 
Across the nation, public officials will strike somber poses and shed television-friendly tears and bow their blow-dried heads in memory of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
They’ll hold hands, light candles, and pass around a plateful of platitudes: “Never forget,” they’ll intone. “Let’s roll,” they’ll thunder. “God bless America,” they’ll warble in perfect harmony.
They’ll assure us that they are committed to fighting terror and securing our borders and doing whatever it takes to protect the homeland from another horrific mass murder at the hands of freedom-hating fanatics. And then? 
And then, from Washington state to Washington, D.C., they’ll go back to work, roll up their sleeves, and spit on the graves of the 9/11 dead. 
Your pious city councilwoman will return to the office to draft a resolution condemning the common-sense detention and deportation of Middle Eastern illegal aliens suspected of terrorism. 
Your politically correct police chief will refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in criminal investigations of illegal visa overstayers and border-crossers and ship-jumpers. 
Your pandering mayor will stealthily renew his policy of preventing city employees from reporting illegal aliens. 
Your indignant local librarian will promote fear-mongering and misinformation about the Patriot Act. 
Your regional Chamber of Commerce president will join forces with Canadian and Mexican government representatives to put business interests ahead of border enforcement. 
Your tuition-thirsty university president will lobby behind closed doors against federal efforts to track foreign students and ensure that they go home when required. Your vote-hungry governor will encourage document fraud through his support of insecure foreign-issued identification cards and driver’s licenses for “undocumented workers.” 
Your race card-fearing congressman will court Arab and Muslim special interest groups and donors who have coddled Islamists on college campuses, in prisons, and in the U.S. military in the name of “diversity.” 
Your grandstanding senator will block funding for long-delayed homeland defense measures — such as a national entry-exit system to monitor temporary foreign visitors — even as he whines about the need for more money to ensure our safety. 
Your incompetent Transportation Security Administration will stonewall pilots who want training to be armed, squander tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on lucrative contracts for weapons-detection equipment that doesn’t work or get used, and continue to ban racial profiling. 
Your indifferent Interior Department will look the other way as underequipped and understaffed park rangers along the southwestern border remain vulnerable to drug smugglers and terrorists.
Your bloated Homeland Security Department will keep Clinton-era holdovers in pivotal positions, reduce routine inspections at seaports in the name of efficiency, and continue to shortchange interior enforcement against deportation fugitives and asylum con artists in favor of duct tape tipsheets and cosmetic color-coded alerts. 
Your corrupted State Department will appease Saudi terror-backers, reward butt-covering managers, assuage European travel industry tycoons, and continue to defend lax visa screening policies. 
Your Democratic presidential candidates will unanimously endorse the very kind of amnesty policies that allowed several al Qaeda operatives to infiltrate this country and hatch terrorist plots. 
And your Republican Party elites will continue to spurn immigration enforcement reformers within their own ranks for fear of alienating ethnic constituencies that will never vote for them anyway. 
To those who lost their lives on Sept. 11 because their government failed to enforce its borders, laws, and sovereignty, the politicians and bureaucrats and civic leaders will ostentatiously offer one measly day a year of dedication in rhetoric — and 364 days of desecration in deed.

To paraphrase the first Republican president, the world will little note nor long remember what the Democrats said at Charlotte last week.  Yet on the eleventh anniversary of the most egregious attack against these United States, we should note and remember the words of vice president Joe Biden.
During his speech before the delegates to the Democratic National Convention, Biden said the following in reference to the operation to kill al-Qaeda fugitive Osama bin Laden: 
In 2008, Barack Obama made a promise to the American people. He said 'If we have Osama bin Laden in our sights, we will take him out. That has to be our biggest national security priority.' Barack understood that the search for bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield. It was about righting an unspeakable wrong, healing a nearly unbearable wound in America's heart. He also knew the message we had to send to terrorists around the world -- if you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the ends of the earth.
There is much to unpack in such an insulting group of phrases.  Had not bin Laden been "off the battlefield" for almost a decade?  Do "the ends of the earth" exclude Iraq?  Is the implication that the previous administration -- or any administration -- would not have taken out bin Laden?  Why does Biden insist on the patronizing and paternalistic use of "Barack" instead of "President Obama" during his public appearances?  Each of these Bidenisms could fill a column of its own. 
Yet the most insulting idea within this passage is Biden's assertion that the implied masterful orchestration of the death of bin Laden by president Obama healed the wound of September 11, 2001.  That's it.  It's all better now.  The wound has been cleaned, closed, and healed.  Time to move "forward." 
No individual, nor the death of any individual -- even an individual as prominent as Osama bin Laden - can heal the wound of September 11, 2001.  The horror of that day, the slaughtering of over 3,000 innocents, can never be healed, even with the passage of time.  Families were ripped apart.  Children were orphaned and can never be made whole.  Friends of the pilots and crews of the airplanes that were hijacked grieve deeply.  Courageous patriots who volunteered to serve in the military gave their lives to hunt down the perpetrators of the outrage. 
The wound flares up when one sees a film made prior to 9/11 that shows the Trade Center towers amid the New York skyline.  The wound aches when flying into the city and looking down on lower Manhattan.  Do Barack Obama and Joe Biden really believe that the killing of one individual healed those wounds? 
Worse than Biden's myopic psychobabble and careless use of the English language is this administration's coddling and encouragement of the very forces that would jump at the chance to replicate September 11, 2001 by an order of magnitude.  Despite its self-depiction as brave jihad-destroyers, the Obama administration's version of "Forward" is jihad outreach and permitting the enemy into our gates with an engraved invitation. 
As Andrew C. McCarthy points out in the September 10, 2012 issue of National Review, president Obama was among the first world leaders to send congratulations to Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood on his election to the presidency of Egypt, despite the U.S. Department of Justice proving in 2008 that the Muslim Brotherhood is committed to "eliminating and destroying Western civilization."  The Muslim Brotherhood's chief jurist, Yusuf Qaradawi, has stated that Islam will "conquer America" and issued a fatwa that endorsed jihad against U.S. military personnel.  For his part, Morsi has called for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the mastermind of the first attack against the World Trade Center in 1993, and the man bin Laden credited with issuing the fatwa for 9/11. 
McCarthy also states that the Obama administration welcomed Hani Nour Eldin, a member of the Gama'at-Islamia (the Islamic Group) jihadist group to Washington, D.C., along with Muslim Brotherhood members and fellow Egyptian Islamists.  Rahman is emir of the Islamic Group.  This cabal was afforded audiences with the Obama's highest-ranking national security advisers.  As McCarthy argues, "[t]hrough the alchemy of 'democratic' elections, they're somehow not Islamic supremacists anymore. The Obama administration would have us see them as 'parliamentarians.'" 
Indeed, McCarthy notes that when the Muslim Brotherhood began winning elections in Egypt, the administration's national intelligence director, James Clapper, testified to Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood is "largely secular."  Pay no attention to the Brotherhood's motto, which reads in part, "Allah is our objective ... the Koran is our law, jihad is our way."  McCarthy asserts that the Obama administration consults with the Muslim Brotherhood's U.S. affiliates on counterterrorism policy, and that the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Homeland Security Department have removed references to Islam from training manuals. 
This is of a piece with the administration's reaction, or non-reaction, to the mass murder perpetrated by U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan at Ft. Hood in 2009.  Hasan, who had the abbreviation SoA (Soldier of Allah) on his business card, was afforded the benefit of the doubt, the incident classified as an unfortunate incident of workplace violence.  Obama's Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano fretted about "anti-Muslim backlash" rather than call the incident what it was: a clear-cut act of Islamic terrorism. 
All of that is to say nothing of the administration's weakness concerning Iran's nuclear development, our dithering in Afghanistan as our "friends" continue to murder U.S. military personnel, and the appalling, politically motivated leaks of details concerning the mission that felled bin Laden. 
As this presidential campaign continues, it is well to keep Biden's words at the DNC and the contradictory actions of the Obama administration in mind.  They want us to believe that Obama made everything all better -- that his bravery alone in the elimination of one man healed the wound of September 11, 2001, and that everything is okay.  Given the actions of the Obama administration before and after this amazing feat of mass closure, it is well to ask eleven years on: who will heal this administration's deliberate wounds to the security and honor of our country?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Super-Genius President Can't Operate A Device Meant For Toddlers

Sometimes the day just gives you a gift of amusement so rich that it shouldn't be denied.   We all know that Barack Obama is the smartest president ever elected in this history of the universe, but...

On the campaign trail, President Obama is constantly talking about the importance of technology, but he met his match in an iPhone Sunday.

The president had stopped at a campaign office in Port St. Lucie, Fla., to thank volunteers. Then, for the cameras, Mr. Obama was supposed to call two campaign workers who were out working on his behalf.

But when White House trip director Marvin Nicholson handed the president his personal iPhone, Mr. Obama couldn't get it to work. A reporter who witnessed the scene said the president looked "befuddled."

"It's not clear he knows how to dial on an iPhone," the reporter wrote in a pool report.

Finally, Mr. Obama said, "Oh, I got to dial it in. Hold on, hold on. I can do this. See, I still have a BlackBerry."

The president then "had a little more trouble dialing," the pool report said.

This is the same device that my 3-year old can operate with amazing effectiveness.  Maybe she should give the President some economic advice, too.

PS - In a completely un-astounding display of media favoritism, the only 'news' organization to report this little incident was the Washington Times, a conservative publication.

Mac-head Fanboyism

I have no idea who this guy is, but he brilliantly captures the essence of a died-in-the-wool Mac-head fanboy.  I've heard many of these exact things spoken in real life, and, to be honest, this sort of oblivious/arrogant attitude is precisely why most Android geeks look upon Apple gear, Apple fanboys, and Apple itself with a pretty fair amount of disdain.  Minor language warning, but so so so funny.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Perfect Preview Of Obamacare

Remember how we've often discussed how invasive Obamacare will ultimately become?  The basic idea is that if the government provides health care for everyone (i.e. dictates what treatments and procedures are allowed), and if everyone pays into the system with taxpayer dollars, then the government can effectively regulate (translation: control) anything and everything by linking it to health issues.  In case you were skeptical that such a thing would ever happen, I give you the perfect preview of Obamacare:

Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and other diet groups say they are supporting New York City's proposed crackdown on super-sized, sugary drinks.

The anti-obesity measure calls for restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas, food carts and delis to stop selling sodas and other sugary drinks in servings larger than 16 ounces.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the measure helps fight obesity in a city that spends billions of dollars a year on weight-related health problems.

So, because the city of New York 'spends billions' of taxpayer dollars each year on health problems, and because sugary drinks are contributing to health problems in the city, the city is declaring its own authorization to directly infringe on the freedom of businesses and individuals with limitations on how big of a soda they can sell or buy.

Remember, everything can be related back to someone's health somehow.  The air you breathe, the car you drive, the water you drink, the food you consume, the materials you use in your house, where you live and/or work...the list is essentially endless.  And it will all become fair game under Obamacare; if not today, then tomorrow.  Ask tanning salons how Obamacare's working out for them already (the new Obamacare tax on tanning has already been implemented).

Thus, once again I ask you: you may not care about soda, and maybe you don't ever do artificial tanning...but what happens when the government directly infringes on something you do care about?  The fiscal bomb that will go off when Obamacare is fully implemented is disastrous enough, but the breadth and depth of the attack on individual liberty that is Obamacare is the no-brainer deal-closer, and proof that it must be repealed before its destruction becomes irreversible.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

DNC Details

On the grand scale, these conventions don't really matter much.  The TV ratings aren't that high, there is usually little or no 'bounce' in polls based on them, and few minds are changed by what the speakers say.  However, I think it is interesting to watch them because they really display the kind of character and persona that each party claims for itself.  Thus, it is very informative to watch the DNC unfold.  In particular, I'd be curious to see the reaction from a normal every day Democrat at seeing what his or her party leaders say the party stands for.

Here is the opening salvo of collectivist propaganda from your Democrat party:

Government is 'the only thing we all belong to?'  Hm.  Yeah, I can't imagine why people think Barack Obama is a socialist, can you?

And this notion of being owned by the government, apparently, is just hunky-dory with the Dems at the convention:

Mitt Romney's response is as powerful as it is succinct (and accurate, at least according to the Founders):
"We don't belong to government, the government belongs to us."
Which philosophy would you rather live under?  Think carefully, as this is the fundamental choice Americans have in November.

On the first couple of nights, the non-primetime speakers overloaded the convention hall with speech after speech about abortion, choice, and unions.  It was so pervasive that even the liberal punditry (yes, David Brooks is a liberal) felt it was a mistake, or at least a misplaced priority:

In fact, it was only during the single hour of primetime coverage at the end that they suddenly appeared to care about being even remotely 'centrist'.  It really should be no surprise, then, to see lots of people running around with beliefs like this:

After all, if you submit yourself to being the property of the government, you really should have no problem being told what to do.  Oh, and there were more accusations of Republicans being Nazis.  Naturally.

It's amusing that the previously planned grand presentation of Barack Obama at the 74,000-seat stadium has now officially been moved indoors to a 20,000-seat venue...because of weather.  After all, there's a 20% chance of rain for that evening.  Like most evenings this time of year in Charlotte.  Some forecasts predict as high as 40%, but it seems much more likely that weather is more of an excuse than the real reason:

Footage of rows of empty seats at the stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, as Obama spoke on Thursday night would have been be politically disastrous – an enduring image of the contrast between his campaign of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ in 2008 and his dour, negative struggle for re-election in 2012. 

And this is despite busing in thousands of people from cities up to a couple hundred miles away, too.

I think the most astounding thing so far, though, is what happened with the platform modifications.  I posted earlier this week that the Democrat party's official platform had removed "God" and pro-Israel language.  After several Dems utterly failed to explain why these omissions were made, they tried to do damage control in full view of the convention and put those things back in.  It backfired:

Now, it is bad enough that the Democrat leadership would actually try to cut out God and pro-Israel language from the official party positions, but I think it really says something about the extreme lack of leadership in those same leaders that they would be so shallow as to try to slip them back in simply for appearances sake.  I also find it informative how Villaraigosa did whatever he wanted to do despite the clearly divided reaction in the crowd.  The will of the people be damned, they had a political objective to achieve!

However, the negative reaction from the crowd -- and remember, these are perhaps the most Democrat of all Democrats in the country -- is stunning.  Not once, not twice, but three times the Democrats in the audience shouted down the addition of God and Jerusalem into their party platform.  And then, when Villaraigosa proceeded to insert the new language over the crowd's obvious objection, they booed him.

Once again, I ask all you normal, every day Democrats: is this a party to which you want to belong??

Oh yes, conventions are very informative for showing the nation who these parties claim themselves to be.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Final RNC Post And DNC Predictions

I'll abbreviate what I was planning to say in terms of final thoughts on the GOP convention since the DNC began tonight.  Basically, I thought Romney did fine.  Not great, but good enough.  He clearly addressed the Democrat attack points of a 'war on women' and his approachability, and I thought he did a good job of it.  I thought he did a good job of painting a picture of America that was inspiring and forward-looking, with an overriding theme of needing to get back to what made America work.  He was a bit tamer than I would have liked, gently suggesting that although Obama tried hard was a really nice guy, he just hasn't gotten the job done.  I would have been considerably more between-the-eyes, but that's just me.  I still think Romney's message was on point, and will still carry a lot of weight with a lot of people.  My favorite clip -- and one that really underscores the reality of both campaigns -- is this, beginning at 1:00 in:

I think it will be very interesting to see how the Democrat convention goes.  I realize that as I type this, the first night has already wrapped up, but I haven't yet looked at any of the coverage so it's still a surprise to me.  From that perspective, here's what I am expecting.

I think that the idea of two competing visions for the future of America will remain on center stage.  Whereas the Romney vision is less government and more individual responsibility and freedom, I think the Obama vision will continue to be more government and less individuality, with deep-seated collectivism throughout the entire event.  The GOP speakers often spoke of personal victories over difficult circumstances and of making a better life in an America that rewards hard work and personal effort, I think we'll hear a lot of talk during the DNC about unfairness, fairness, and pointing blame onto someone else.  Whereas the GOP event was focused on taking America back in a different direction from where we're currently heading in order to give our children a brighter future, I think the Dem even will be focused on solidifying the gains the progressive agenda has made over the past four years.  More than anything else, I suspect we'll hear a lot of fear-mongering and hyperbolic vitriol directed at George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and at anyone who disagrees with any plank in the Democrat platform.  There will be precious little promotion of the successes of the past four years, and a whole lot of threats based on what the GOP will do to America if they win this November.

Two competing visions, indeed.

But that's basically all they've got at this point - every major policy 'victory' they've achieved was done so in opposition to large majorities of the nation, so to really pat themselves on the back for those accomplishments will only remind people of all the government overreaches that have taken place in recent years.  Rather than dredging up those 'successes' and promise more, they'll instead rely on making bogeymen out of Republicans in the hopes that they'll scare/intimidate enough voters (especially the ignorant moron vote) to stem what is likely to be significant losses at the polls.  They cannot promote their own record, which is either antagonistic to most Americans or an abject failure to anyone with a brain, so they must attack their opposition.  That's it, plain and simple.

Following up on my last post on the conventions, here are a few more reasons the Dems are in full-fledged dodge-and-panic mode due to their schizophrenic policy positions:
- they took millions of dollars from big corporations, but refuse to acknowledge the name of the facility they're using to bash big corporations
- multiple high profile Dems have likened Republicans to Nazis
- the long-term trends continue to show an increasing advantage for Romney
- as the DNC gets underway, the national debt goes over $16 trillion (a full $5 trillion of which has been added in just the past 4 years under Obama's watch)
- the Romney/Ryan campaign continues to hit the question of whether or not Americans think they're better off now than 4 years ago (and most say no), and the Dems have no answer for it
- food stamps continue to hit new record highs
- key economic statistics continue to slump
- they're moving Obama's big speech from a large outdoor stadium to an indoor venue 1/3 of the size...due to *ahem* weather considerations despite massive efforts at busing in supporters from surrounding states
- there has been an enormous shift from self-identifying as Democrats to self-identifying as Republicans in recent months (the biggest since the poll question has been asked)
- only 40% of Americans think Obama deserves to be re-elected (with 54% saying no)

The list goes on and on, but you get the point.  They're in trouble, and there's no ambiguity about it.

Prior to the evening event, here are a few things that have come out already:
- Obama gave himself an "incomplete" grade for his first four years, and the Dems think that's a pretty darned awesome accomplishment
- the Dems removed "God" from their party platform
pro-Israel language was removed from their party platform
- the Dems support taxpayer funded abortion in all cases

These are things we know will be present already.  We'll see just how strident the voices are in proclaiming these things, which the Dems clearly believe are reflective of the majority of Americans.  Another example is that the national percentage of people self-identifying as gay or lesbian is 1%, but the DNC will have roughly 9% gay/lesbian in attendance.  Given that gay/lesbian issues tend to be very politically contentious, is a representative sampling so vastly off-balanced from the nation as a whole actually representative?  They think so.  We'll also see just how closely matched those policy planks and representations are to the nation, though, won't we?

One final note on the "incomplete" grade.  It appears that's already become a bit of an oopsie, as it played right into the GOP position:

"The president is asking people just to be patient with him," Republican Party vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan said on CBS's "This Morning" today about Obama's grade for himself. "Look, Charlie, the kind of recession we have, we should be bouncing out of it creating jobs. We're not creating jobs near the pace [we] could." 
"That's why we're offering big solutions to the big problems we have today and I would just say, if you take a look at the president's policies he calls them 'investments.' It's borrowing money and spending money through Washington, picking winners and losers. Spending money on favorite, you know, people like Solyndra or Fisker. Picking winders and losers in the economy through spending, through tax breaks, through regulations does not work," Ryan observed. 
"If that kind of economics work, we would be entering a golden age along with Greece," Ryan said of Obama's spending policies. "So I think the 'incomplete' speaks for itself and that is why I think that we are going to win this and get this country back on the right track because we're offering bold solutions."


Even worse, it's also supported by effective video ads like this one from the RNC:

More updates on the DNC in the coming days...

PS - bonus irony alert: the Democrats are forcing people to show their ID not once, not twice, but three times in order to get into the facility.  Funny how showing ID is a serious infringement of an American's right to vote, but no big deal when it comes to getting into the DNC, don't you think?  Even more ironic is that the Barack Obama 'birther' mugs showing a copy of Obama's released birth certificate are formal campaign donations, so ID must also be shown before those can be purchased...just sayin'...

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's Football Season!!!

My favorite weather of the year is the fall.  New TV shows start in the fall.  Lots of holidays happen in the fall.  And so does football!

Following up to last year's incredible season, the KSU Wildcats started off poorly.  Very, very poorly.  It was a 9-9 game in the third quarter against a blah Missouri State team when the Cats finally woke up.  They went on a scoring binge, ringing up 42 unanswered points to finish the game at 51-9.  It was the score that most people thought it would be, but a very different way of getting there.  Concerned that we're starting off slowly?  Oh yes.  But, the bottom line is that they got there, and now hopefully they can take that momentum into a genuine measurement game against Miami, who isn't the juggernaut they've been in the past but are still a solid team against whom the Wildcats can take their own measure.

I've talked with several people in the off-season about expectations for the season.  Personally, I'm a bit of an optimist when it comes to Wildcat football, and I can admit it.  I think that OU is overrated, and I'm not convinced Texas will put it all together quite yet.  West Virginia looks to be a big, big threat, but I'm not sure that there is a dominant force in the Big 12 this year as there usually is.  It seems to me that there aren't any real obvious 'elite' teams, but there are a BUNCH of better-than-average teams, probably close to half the league.  I wouldn't be surprised if the winner of the Big 12 ended up with one or two losses within the league this year.  So, with Klein's improvement in passing and 17 starters returning, I'm expecting the Wildcats to win no less than 8-9 games, with a real chance at another 10-win season.  Dark horse for winning the league, though they'd have to get those few lucky breaks that come along every season to fall their way.  But don't count out Bill Snyder.

On a semi-related note, a new thing I found that I'm really excited about is Sports Illustrated's Underdogs series, where each week they have a video feature about an inspiring high school football story.  Week 2 was Joplin.  Awesome stuff, go check it out: