Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Election Thoughts By Dr. David Jeremiah

It's hard to find a more Biblically-based discussion of what this upcoming election means:

Think hard about this one.  I believe we are at a crossroads, and a critical moment in American history...and maybe even world history.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Devices Update!

In case you missed it, Apple just released their new Mini iPad, a competitor for the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7.  How is it?  Well, according to geeks who specialize in such things, it's overpriced and lackluster.  It's basically a shrunk-down iPad 2, but with a terrible screen.  But don't tell the hordes of Apple fanboys that.  And by "Apple fanboys" I mean the people who think this overpriced, underperforming device is actually really darned cheap.  You know, people like we see here...

Spectacular!  I mean, it's not just any product that actually provides near-record setting days for its competitors, you know?

Also, yes, there is an iPad 4.  And no, you shouldn't waste your money on it.

But because I'm an equal opportunity fun-poker, here's a pretty clever response to the "S*** Apple Fanatics Say" videos I posted recently.  Standard language warning applies:

Outside of the silly blulululuuluh noise, it's actually pretty solid.  And yes, I have said many of those things myself.

Because they're accurate...


At Some Point The "ar" Fits

Sorry for the lack of posts lately - between finals, papers, and the new job, it was a week devoid of free time.  Anyway, here's something worth posting this afternoon.  Perhaps ironically, I can't find anything untrue in here:

Calling someone a liar is a serious accusation. This is why, aside from the unwritten contract allowing for mutual prevarication, politicians are so reluctant to do it. And not just anyone is a liar. Legend has it that our first president said, "I cannot tell a lie," but, being only human, G.W. no doubt could and certainly did, at some point. A liar, however, is someone who lives and breathes the lie; someone who specializes in the art of artifice; someone to whom lying is his first recourse, not his last. Such a man is Barack Obama.

In four years, Obama has gone from "change you can believe in" to a man you simply cannot believe. And it's not just Benghazi-gate, although that's a good place to start. With the recently revealed emails showing that the White House was told a mere two hours after the attack that it was a terrorist act, no reasonable person can still conclude that the Obama administration was honest in its aftermath. And the claim that the violence was sparked by some anti-Islamic film wasn't just a lie - it was a liar's lie.

It was dumb.

It was obvious that it would eventually blow up in the administration's face and make Benghazi into the scandal it has now become. But such things are only obvious to the intellect; at issue here are instincts.

Of course, since the Obama administration had failed to provide requested security for our Libyan diplomats despite previous attacks on their consulate and the approach of 9/11's anniversary, the president had a vested political interest in suppressing the truth. This made the Benghazi-gate lie one of callousness and convenience, not malice. But then there is the matter of Hampton University in Virginia.

The speech Obama gave there on June 5, 2007 received a bit of attention recently before being dismissed as "old news." But perhaps nothing reveals the president's character better.

Appearing before a mostly black audience and speaking Ebonics-style (despite never having lived in a black community), Obama accused the federal government of showing cruel indifference to the primarily black victims of Hurricane Katrina. The evidence, he claimed, involved something called the Stafford Act, which requires a locality receiving federal disaster relief to provide 10 percent as much money as Washington does. And as Obama worked the crowd, he said:

When 9/11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act. ...And that was the right thing to do. When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said, 'Look at this devastation; we don't expect you to come up with your own money. Here, here's the money to rebuild...because you're part of the American family.' What's happening down in New Orleans?! Where's your dollar?! Where's your Stafford Act money?! Makes no sense. ...Tells me that somehow the [black] people down in New Orleans they don't care about as much. 

This is Racial Grievance 101, the main course offering of a community organizer (agitator?). And it's no small matter, as stoking the fires of racial and ethnic hatred has cost scores of millions of lives throughout history. Yet, isn't there something to be said about raising awareness of injustice? Well, now for the rest of the story.

Barely two weeks before Obama gave the Hampton U. speech, the US Senate had in fact waived the Stafford Act for New Orleans. Moreover, that city ended up receiving more aid than Florida and NYC combined. But that's not all. As Thomas Sowell wrote:

Unlike Jeremiah Wright's church, the U.S. Senate keeps a record of who was there on a given day. The Congressional Record for May 24, 2007 shows Senator Barack Obama present that day and voting on the bill that waived the Stafford Act requirement. Moreover, he was one of just 14 Senators who voted against - repeat, AGAINST - the legislation which included the waiver.

Absolutely mind boggling. Obama votes against the bill that includes the waiver designed to help people about whom he purports to care. Yet the bill passes despite his resistance. Obama nonetheless appears before a black audience not two weeks later and claims that the waiver for aid was never granted. Even more damnably, he clearly implies that this is due to white "racism."

Then there is the most ironic chapter in the Obama Annals of Artifice. It's common to dismiss those who question the president's origins as cranks and con men, but, as American Thinker pointed out, Obama was "the original birther."

This refers to the revelation in May of this year that Obama's former literary agency, Acton & Dystel, printed a promotional booklet in 1991 that touted Obama as having been "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii." Note that this was a polished volume created at great expense by a professional outfit, and there is only one source from which its agents could have gotten the notion that Obama was born in Kenya: Obama himself.

Thus, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the president has lied about his birthplace - either when claiming more recently that he was born in Hawaii or, far more likely, when claiming in 1991 that he wasn't. And it's easy to understand why he would've claimed the latter. By the '90s, having exotic origins could truly enhance your cachet and hence your marketability. And this little twist on truth was small potatoes for a guy willing to disgorge lies designed to foment racial unrest.  

This brings us to the presidential debates. It's fine to fact-check, to reveal that Obama really did lie about the decline in oil production on federal lands, tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas, middle-class tax cuts, Egyptians' newfound love for America, and a Status of Forces agreement. But at some point it's a bit like trying to itemize the libations of a guy who has crashed both your cars, squanders the family funds on booze, staggers home in the wee hours, and is a continual embarrassment around the neighbors. You no longer need to prove that certain individual drinks were imbibed; it's painfully clear that the individual is a drinker.

While hard-core partisans will remain in denial on our drunk-on-power president, good people, who generally have a desire to be polite, should realize that politeness becomes vice when it obscures truth. And if we don't wish to descend into dishonesty ourselves - the intellectual variety - we need to acknowledge that the truth about Barack Obama is that he simply cannot tell it.

I think Selwyn Duke really pins the tail on the donkey with this piece - it's not that Obama just tells lies.  It's that lying is his default setting.  Vote the Liar-In-Chief into retirement on November 6th to save the nation.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Initial VP Debate Thoughts

I know, I know.  It's been a week since my last post...ugh for finals and papers!  Anyway, at this point I'm so far behind on Libya, Medicare/Obamacare, and the first presidential debate that I'm not sure when I'll get to it.  I'll try soon.  For now, here are my initial off-the-cuff (without having looked at the real professionals) thoughts after watching the VP debate.

I'll admit, this was one of the first things I thought about after hearing the Ryan pick for VP.  I have a very high opinion of Paul Ryan.  I think he's genuinely one of the smartest economics guys in Washington, and he has a knack for explaining complex topics in simple ways.  Combined with Biden's demonstrable buffoonery, I expected this to be a slam dunk for him.

Unfortunately (for me), I don't think it was.  If I had to put a feel to it, I would say it was a roughly 50-50 debate.  I thought they both won some points, and they both had weak moments.

Ryan looked sharp, was very well-spoken, and spoke clearly.  He appeared to be well-prepared and had his talking points in order.  He was great on the economics and Medicare/Obamacare questions in the first half, but I thought he was weaker on some of the national security stuff toward the end.  I suppose that's to be expected, given his focus during his time in Congress, but he knew it was coming and I thought he should have been better able to handle it.  I wasn't sure it was wise to so clearly agree with the Obama positions on so many foreign policy items, though I can see where the political calculus might have made it a net benefit to undecided or independent voters (i.e. conservatives are already on his side, so maybe he was playing for non-conservatives).  However, the one glaring weakness I thought Ryan had -- and this came up on one point of agreement -- was on the question about what a Romney-Ryan administration would do differently on the question of Syria.  Ryan did a great job of showing what Obama had done poorly...but he almost completely failed to show what Romney would do differently.  It's okay to agree with the policy of the current administration to a point, but then you have to clearly enunciate where your policy diverges from theirs, and I don't think he did that at all on that particular question.  It made him look weak, and I'm certain the media will pounce on that a la Palin-style.  The comment about the 47% was begging to be slain, but he didn't do it.  The abortion question implied that he favored states' rights, but I think his answer would have been much stronger if he had explicitly explained that's how the Founders designed our system of government - to have the states decide these things rather than the federal government (this also would have countered Biden's off-hand accusation of "outlawing" abortion).  I think he did a fairly good job of separating the Afghanistan draw-down conditions, and really well on tackling the tax issues and Medicare/Obamacare questions.  Overall, I thought he scored some good points, but I feel like he left some great potential zingers on the table.  I don't know if nerves got to him or what, but I think this is far less than the kind of debate he is capable of.

Biden, like Obama before him, appeared smug and condescending.  He was clearly better prepared for this debate than Obama was for his, or at least has a lot more experience to draw on that makes him look prepared.  He was visibly flustered for much of the talk about taxation and economics, and his cheeser grin was obviously covering discomfort at being nailed to the wall time after time.  He really had no defense against Ryan's assertions that an awful record results in scare tactics against the other guy.  As the questions ranged into foreign policy, Biden started to hit his stride and answer more forcefully.  I think he was enabled by Ryan agreeing with him on several key points, but he nevertheless seemed to really pick up steam and close pretty strongly.  In another similarity to Obama, he had no problem lying through his teeth about any number of things, including the $716 billion Obamacare/Medicare double-counting, the tax cuts on the rich thing, about supporting (or opposing) various big-spending votes while in the Senate, and so on.  The thing about Biden was that he spoke with such force and bluster that he actually managed to sound authoritative, even when he was magically pulling things out of thin air.  To a non-junkie, I think that probably translated into coming off a lot more "correct" or knowledgeable than he actually was, and I think he appeared to do better than he actually did.  I think his arrogance and condescension will probably generate some heat (it was really obnoxious), but I would still be surprised if the media didn't call it a win for him.

Bottom line: I don't think this will affect most people's opinions.  I think the net result of this debate will be most people hearing what they wanted to hear, and it being a net wash.

I thought the moderator did a very good job of asking pointed questions and trying to get specific answers, but didn't let either of the candidates control it too much.  Kudos to her.

I'll try to post some follow-up thoughts from the real professionals in the next couple days.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Stalling Bedtime

Jon Acuff writes a blog called "Stuff Christians Like", and it's worth a daily look.  He has a unique way of illustrating real people and real life in a way that's simultaneously convicting, comforting, and humorous.  Today's post is one that certainly applies to our house, and I'm guessing yours, too:

My kids are like your kids, they don't like to go to bed.

They like to run as hard as they can, deny they are tired, and then collapse in a heap.

I thought I had all their bedtime stall tactics figured out. One more glass of water, one more story, one more imaginary bug that must be cleared from the room, less winged insect panic ensue, etc.

But then they launched a new offensive.

Right before I head back downstairs and shut the door, they've started to say, "Could I have one more hug please, Daddy?"


What am I some sort of no-hug-giving monster? Who can withstand that? What happens in that moment is you teeter at the door, knowing they're gaming you, but then you start to think about that song "Cat's in the Cradle" and think to yourself, "I bet they won't want hugs when they're teenagers. What if I die in my sleep and this is the last hug I get to give them? I better hug them while I can! Dust in the wind!"

So then you hug them one more time.

I thought that was it, I thought that was the peak of their game, but I was wrong. You know what an even better move is, especially on a Christian parent? When your kids say, "Could we pray one more time please?"

Now they're not stalling, they're soul searching. They're trying to be in the bed, but not of the bed.

Well played, children. Well played, indeed.

Post-Debate Thoughts

Due to a random error in Time Warner Cable's software, DVR boxes across the city are simply 'forgetting' to record shows that have been set to record.  Nice.  After a month of abysmal service and 'signal' problems with TWC, we've had enough.  The U-Verse people are coming for an install next week.

Unfortunately, that means I wasn't able to watch the debate as I had planned.  I did catch about the last half of it on a C-Span online re-broadcast, but I confess to feeling pretty ripped off about the whole thing.  I'll offer up a few of my own thoughts, and probably post some more commentary from the professionals over the next few days.

I've never been a big fan of Mitt Romney.  I thought that Romneycare was a HUGE stumbling block to his campaign, given the persistent urgency of the American people to repeal Obamacare (which was clearly modeled on Romneycare).  There's no doubting Romney's business acumen and credentials, but you'll never convince me he's a genuine conservative.  I'm still skeptical that he'll actually do what he's been promising if elected (though I'd love to be proven wrong on that).  Full disclosure: for me, this entire election boils down to turning out Barack Obama and as many Democrats as possible (for reasons I'll get into in depth before the election but not right now), and I'd vote for a tree stump if that was my only option.  Whoever the Republican nominee was* had my vote no matter what, but I'd rather vote for someone because I actually believe in him than simply against someone because I don't.

The part of the debate that I saw tonight made me think -- for the first time EVER -- that Mitt Romney just might be someone I can vote for.  I think he was on top of his game.  He spoke with clarity, with confidence, and poise.  He seemed genuine, and he seemed enthusiastic, especially about America and the American people.  He didn't strike me at all as a disconnected rich white guy, but rather someone who knew who he was, knew what needed to be done, and had a plan to get it done.  He held his head high while Obama spoke, and he refrained from head-shaking or displays of displeasure.  Most importantly, he said what I wanted him to say on most issues.  It infuriates me when Republicans choose the cowardly route and refuse to call a spade a spade, and there has been far too much of that especially in the past few years.  I don't think Romney did that (much) tonight.  He tied the current difficulties to the current President as a result of current policies, he pointed out the true statistics that normal people (not political junkies like myself) probably haven't heard before, and he made sense.  He respectfully made it clear that the root problem was standing on the stage opposite him, and that things needed to change.

Barack Obama did none of these things.  When he wasn't speaking, his head was down all the time.  He spoke with assertiveness but no confidence, as if by repeating the same lines his government and campaign have relied upon thus far just one more time, they might actually come true.  The few times he praised the private sector or the positive tendencies of the American people, it seemed forced rather than genuine.  He tried several interjections or quips that -- without exception -- fell flat.  He looked lost without his Teleprompter.  He was clearly on the defensive, and he seemed utterly unprepared.

The only legitimate points I thought Obama scored were in regard to the lack of details in some of Romney's proposals.  I've heard that from other places, and I think it's a fair criticism.  The devil is, as they say, in the details.  Obamacare is proof positive of that.  However, on balance, the portion of the debate that I saw was clearly controlled by Romney, who repeatedly landed graceful but forceful verbal body blows.  I'm sure that liberal pundits will still call this one for Obama, or maybe offer a grudging 'draw' verdict, but I think that this was a fantastic first debate for Romney.  Let's hope he can not only build some momentum on this performance, but repeat it two more times.

PS - I cannot express how much I'm looking forward to the debate between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden.  That will absolutely be pop-the-popcorn must-see viewing.

* Except for Ron Paul. If he had been the nominee, I think I would have simply given up on politics altogether, as well as any hope for the future of America.  I might be booking tickets for Australia by now...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Unseen Footage Shows Obama's Racial And Class Warfare Tendencies

Sorry, it appears that Fox modified the link to the video I actually posted this morning.  Video is now restored...

New footage has just been revealed from a 2007 speech of Barack Obama to an African-American audience.  Oh, it was reported before...but only certain portions of it.  Now we finally get the whole thing, which has some bombshells that many Americans might (I would say should) find disturbing.

Just watch the whole thing.  Seriously.

Good preparation for the first presidential debate, which is tonight.  I'll have comments on the debate in the next few days.