Thursday, November 30, 2006

Seven Principles

I have often written in commentary or in posts on this blog that I believe myself to be a true Conservative, one who believes in the core principles of Conservatism. When George W. Bush campaigned for the presidency in 2000, he and other Republicans began using the phrase "Compassionate Conservative." This seemed like idiocy to me and, very likely, to others who believe in the bedrock principles expressed by Barry Goldwater in the 1960s (presented very nicely by the Heritage Foundation in this essay). True Conservatism is extremely empowering; why water it down?

Since that unfortunate turn of events, the Conservatism practiced today has lost its way -- further empowering the federal government while eroding the personal empowerment inherent in the original principles. The label of "Conservative" is confusing now, even to me. And so, I find myself searching for a better way to express my political ideology and the empowerment inherent in it.

"The Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy for Kentucky" is one of the most down-to-earth and concise descriptions of Conservative principles that I have ever read. These principles are simple truths. Read the article in full to truly understand each one. I've quoted these principles (below) directly from the article with my comments in brackets:

PRINCIPLE No.1: Free people are not equal, and equal people are not free.
[This is called "individualism" and is more representative of "diversity" than what is preached on the Left.]

PRINCIPLE #2: What belongs to you, you tend to take care of; what belongs to no one or everyone tends to fall into disrepair.
[Ask any parent who loans a teenager his/her car for any length of time!]

PRINCIPLE #3: Sound policy requires that we consider long-run effects and all people, not simply short-run effects and a few people.
[Some people live their lives never planning for the long-run for themselves so this is a tough concept for many folks.]

PRINCIPLE #4: If you encourage something, you get more of it; if you discourage something, you get less of it.
[This is just good common sense often employed in the business world.]

PRINCIPLE #5: Nobody spends somebody else's money as carefully as he spends his own.
[Ask anyone who has ever had a company expense account.]

PRINCIPLE #6: Government has nothing to give anybody except what it first takes from somebody, and a government that's big enough to give you everything
you want is big enough to take away everything you've got.
[This one speaks for itself; if it doesn't, you're not paying attention to your dependencies.]

PRINCIPLE #7: Liberty makes all the difference in the world.
[It has made this country great and we're letting it slip away by not paying attention.]

The beauty of this article is that each of these principles are not just solid guidelines for sound public policy in Kentucky; they are the principles that should guide sound public policy for the entire nation. These are simple yet elegant truths that guide my political thinking.

Goldwater Conservatism is a curious mix of political philosophies (traditional conservatism, liberalism, and libertarianism) -- these are the ideas that I consider the bedrock of Conservatism. To fully understand it, the Heritage Foundation's essay "The Conscience of a Conservative" is a must-read. You may find yourself quite surprised at the ideas and principles of Barry Goldwater; they are an interesting and effective mix.

Here's just a wee snippet of the essay to whet your appetite:

... "While not 'fully ascendant' in the GOP, suggested Will, Goldwaterism made a comeback at the 2004 convention, as evidenced in the 'rapturous reception' of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, known for their unyielding opposition to terrorism and their tolerant views regarding abortion and gay rights. The reemergence of conservatism with a socially libertarian (but economically conservative) cast, Will wrote, could make the Grand Old Party more appealing to the many young suburban voters among whom the Democrats have made substantial gains." ...
And so, I end this evening feeling much better about my choice to call myself a Conservative. No matter how much it evolves into something else, I can always touch home base with these great articles. Remembering our roots is sometimes the best therapy for disheartened Conservatives who need a boost.

(My thanks to the Bluegrass Institute and The Heritage Foundation for providing a badly needed political morale boost this evening.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"What will we do there?"

When my boyfriend, Mark, suggested a small vacation trip to Washington D.C. after Thanksgiving, my first thought was, "Congress isn't in session... what will we do there?" (I hope you chuckled at the foolishness of that thought too.)

The first time I was in D.C., I was there on business but make a side trip to tour Congress and meet some of the hard-working people in Congresswoman Northup's office on the Hill. I was able to sit in the gallery for a bit and watch our representatives debate a national forest bill. It was quite educational and interesting. I left D.C. the first time pleased and proud of the way we run our Republic.

This time, it was all about sight-seeing. I guess I've had to work a bit of sight-seeing into business trips for so long that it felt a bit odd to be free to be wherever I wanted to be the whole time. There is so much to see in our nation's capitol that it would overwhelm any mere mortal who might wish to try to take it all in on one short trip. Fortunately, we mortals knew our limitations and focused mostly on the National Mall memorials and two museums.

The National Mall is a living tribute to the history of this nation and its conflicts. The moments in which our nation was tried and found worthy are remembered in amazings works of bronze, marble, stone, and water. The stylings of each monument and memorial make it very clear where this nation has triumphed and where we have stumbled in our efforts. The World War II Memorial is relatively new (built in 2001 or after, I believe) and is absolutely breathtaking. People stroll in and around this huge circular tribute reading engraved quotes, admiring the beautiful fountain in the middle, and finding their state's wreath on the tall columns that surround it all.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, by contrast, is very subdued and simple. People quietly shuffle along the wall looking at the tributes that have been left for someone named on a panel. Some walk by very quickly, never pausing, never reflecting. Those who knew one or more of the men behind the names on the wall stop and stand quietly for a while with their fingers on the name. Some simply don't make it to the wall at all. We watched from a distance as one man paged through the directory of names while wiping tears from his eyes. He paged through that directory for quite some time. I never saw him walk down to the wall while we were there. I wonder if he was finally able to touch the names of his fallen comrades with those tear-stained fingers...

All this made me wonder how we will honor those men and women who have fallen in combat during our current war against Islamofascists. Will we remember them in a grand fashion with lots of marble, engravings, and large fountains or will we simply resign their names quietly to a wall? It is my dearest hope that, regardless of politics, they will find their efforts honored in a grand fashion as befits anyone who sacrifices all for this great nation.

We toured the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the International Spy Museum. So much of the Museum of Natural History has appeared in novels, magazines, movies, and photographs that it all seems familiar even if you've never set foot inside. Impressive and highly educational, it's a must-see for anyone with any curiosity about the natural world around us.

The International Spy Museum is relatively new and it's a whole lot of fun! We had a blast there thanks to the number of artifacts, hands-on exhibits, and extenstive use of multimedia presentations that tie it all together from beginning to end. There are no current tools of the trade on display. The most current items on exhibit are from 1990. So, don't worry... there are no classified tools on display for the New York Times to give away.

As we toured Arlington National Cemetary we were surrounded by many foreign tourists, all of whom treated the history and the grounds with the respect and dignity we feel as Americans toward these hallowed grounds. It was gratifying to see the large numbers of foreign visitors. If, as some assert, the United States is not respected by other countries, our history and our sacrifices are clearly respected by some of the citizens of other countries. They snapped picture after picture and read each plaque. There must be at least 100 pictures taken a day by foreign tourists at the gravesites of the Kennedys alone.

At the Tomb of the Unknowns, you could hear a pin drop as visitors sat quietly on the marble steps watching the soldier standing guard at the tomb. We all stood in silence and watched the changing of the guard at noon. There were a good number of children present and it was impressive to see the proper respect being paid by these youngsters who don't even yet fully understand the concepts of sacrifice and honor. They were certainly a credit to their parents and hold great promise for the dignity of this nation.

I know I should have come away from this sight-seeing trip with an awe and wonder at the grand history of this great nation. To some degree, that's true. I'm proud that we honor our ancestors and our patriots in such a grand and dignified manner. They deserve to be remembered in these ways. It does make me proud to be an American. I was very surprised to find, however, that I came away from this trip with the sense that our federal government has absolutely grown too darned big.

I was absolutely amazed at the number of city blocks -- and, it must be noted that in DC those city blocks are at least twice the size of a regular downtown city block -- by huge federal buildings like the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Transportation. These are not sprawling single-level buildings either, folks; these are sprawling behemoths of architecture that comprise many stories. How many people can it possibly take at the federal level to run "oversight" on these areas of our nation? How much real estate must we maintain with our federal tax dollars to provide them all with cubicle space? It boggles the mind!

The federal budget could probably be trimmed quite quickly and nicely with a simple review of which government organizations are integral to the operation of our federal government and which are no longer necessary or could be modernized and downsized. With modern technology trimming the time it takes to gather information and produce analysis and to correspond with people at the state and local levels of government, I found myself a tad befuddled that so much manpower and real estate is necessary. I'm sure I'm simplifying this a bit but it needs to be said: our nation's capitol seems consumed by large spaces for governmental organizations that produce something, I suppose, while most taxpayers couldn't even tell you what it is we pay them to do and what its value is to this country.

Don't get me wrong. Washington D.C. is quite awe-inspiring and should be toured by every American. The architecture is gorgeous, the huge buildings are grand, and our history on display in words, monuments, and artifacts is impressive. We have built ourselves quite a beautiful captiol steeped in history remembered in brass and marble and surrounded by fringes of natural beauty.

"What will we do there?" was a question easily answered: We'll simply behold, be awed, and be made to think about our future.

The FairTax: Democrat Vehicle for Reform?

While I remain doubtful that a Democrat majority in Congress will lead to any beneficial and meaningful reforms, it's actually quite nice to know that others who favor the FairTax are finding reasons for optimism. I sure hope he's right! Thanks for the boost in morale, Jonathan!

by Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous

Now that the aftermath of the elections have subsided, I want to follow-up on what TD [Terry Dillard] said in the FTBB [FairTax Blogburst] a couple of weeks ago about grassroots campaigning. As we have mentioned on countless occasions, whether you are a Republican or Democrat or Libertarian, the FairTax is for you.

I, myself did not heed my own advice for I grew disconcerted immediately after the election for the FairTax's prospects. Me, being an individual that leans right of center in virtually every facet of my life thought the Democrat Party would not be the party to implement the FairTax.

But, the more I have come to think of it the more I grow somewhat optimistic. Why? Well, the Democrat Party has promised to reform government in many ways, and one in particular is ethics reform and reducing/eliminating earmarks. This is where our grassroots campaign must be decisive. We must remain vigilant to stay one step ahead of societal evolution in bringing the nation our message. The FairTax fits this agenda. It will and is designed to work to disrupt and eliminate the albatross that is our current system.

People around this country can and are already beginning to realize this phenomenon. Take Mr. Stephen Sanders of Fayetteville, NC:

Congressional scandals were a part of the changes in the last election. Many citizens cast their votes out of disgust at the influence-peddling of some congressional representatives and their highly paid lobbyist friends.

Quite often, this influence-peddling involves special tax considerations for those who hire the lobbyists. The lobbyists make large salaries by persuading members of Congress to tweak the tax code in favor of the lobbyists' clients. This is where loopholes, tax incentives, tax exemptions and tax exclusions come from. It is a large part of why the U.S. tax code is so complex and convoluted. It is also why we desperately need the Fair Tax.

The Fair Tax is very aptly named because it is, unlike the current income tax, fair. The Fair Tax replaces the income tax with a national retail sales tax. Under the Fair Tax, there are no exemptions, no loopholes and no special consideration for the privileged few. There is no convoluted tax code that even Internal Revenue Service experts cannot figure out. And because the Fair Tax treats everyone the same without exceptions, exemptions, and loopholes, there is less influence-peddling.

The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry . You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Fearless Leader is Baaaack!

The man who brought Conservatism to life in a big way and architected the sweep of Congress in 1994 by Conservatives is back! Yes, he's been with us for years now writing and speaking and making appearances but now it appears he's ready to lead Conservatives back to their roots with the American people.

He may or may not run for President in '08 but he's putting together a plan reminiscent of "Contract with America" that may very well make the difference between a dwindling minority status in Congress or winning back a few seats in the House and Senate. The political ideology of Conservatism (as originally conceived) is a winning ideology when put into practice. With the current mealy-mouthed, wishy-washy, new Conservatism as practiced by Republicans on the Hill these past six years, it's time we return to the bedrock of true Conservatism if we are to make up any ground in '08.

Our man Newt is back! ...and just in time!

By the way, I'm headed to DC this afternoon for a long weekend. I will try to write a bit while on vacation but adventure awaits and I can make no guarantees. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Which wolf are YOU feeding?

This story seems so appropriate for Thanksgiving:
One evening an old Cherokee Chief told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.

One is Evil: It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good: It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed"

(A big thanks to Mark and Rebecca for sharing this story with me!)

Giving Thanks

Every year on Thanksgiving, it's important to me to spend some time in reflection on the blessings in my life, to give thanks for those things that I might otherwise take for granted. Can there be any better holiday than one in which you can take this sort of time to reflect?

Call me an optimist but I truly believe that each of us -- from the homeless to the wealthy -- can find a blessing somewhere in our life no matter how tough life has been each year. From the shelter with a free Thanksgiving meal for the homeless to the large bounty of food shared with loved ones, everyone can find one bit of light even in the darkest of times for which to give thanks. Every year there are more and with each new blessing, a new challenge. Isn't that what keeps us all going?

I like to share my own personal list of things for which I am thankful each year because, quite often, I am giving thanks for some of the same things as others today. I'll bet this year is no exception! I'm giving thanks this year for:
  • My Mom's ability to remain positive and determined while she undergoes chemotherapy to become cancer-free again -- she finishes this ravaging, yet life saving course of treatment at the end of next month.
  • My Dad's ability to remain positive and loving as he helps my Mom through a very rough time -- he keeps his sense of humor and fun so that we are all more at ease. He's amazing.
  • The supportiveness and love that I receive from both of my parents -- no matter how old I get, they always seem to be standing by to catch me if I fall. I can't imagine where I'd be without them.
  • My brother, my sister-in-law, my nieces, the yet unborn twins, and the close-knit family that surrounds us all -- I'm very blessed with a loving and smart brother of whom I am very proud. He has blessed our family with a wonderful woman and beautiful children of his own.
  • The man in my life who complements and enhances every moment with his own brand of love, wonderment, and thoughtfulness. He has given reality to the sort of relationship I thought was only possible in fairy tales. I am no longer an agnostic in the realm of love.
  • My friends who make life more fanciful, delightful, amusing, and worthwhile -- they are pirates, monsters, ruthless traders, good liars (at dice), fun dinner companions, supportive souls, adventurous drinkers and dancers, joke-tellers, and wonderful blessings indeed.
  • My fuzzy partner in crime, Iris, who sits quietly purring next to me while I spend hours on this computer -- she's my quiet companion, the soother of all things sad, the giver of all things warm, and a true joy.
  • The brave men and women who serve as police officers, firefighters, soldiers, marines, sailors, and airforce and their families who give of themselves every minute of every day to ensure the safety, security, and freedom that bless the American way of life -- God bless them all.
  • The charitable and kind people who give us all a place to donate our time, our treasures, and our talent to help our fellows in time of need -- through their actions and determination, they provide untold blessings even to those of us who are not in need but wish to give to others.
  • The people who touch a part of my life, unknowingly and at random -- each of them gives just a bit of his/herself that neither of us understands or fully appreciates immediately.
  • The interconnectedness that draws me to others -- we all feel it at moments in time, then pick it apart a thread at a time, only to find ourselves reconnected in thought or deed again. It is an unbreakable connection that blesses us all.
  • The irony of life that makes me wonder how events and people comes together in such humorous and unexpected ways.
  • The loving spirit of the Great Creator who touches me at moments when I need it most -- those moments serve to remind me that, no matter what has happened, it all makes sense in ways I may come to know later.
  • My continuing good health even when, at times I know I've done nothing to deserve it with the way I eat and indulge bad habits -- Maybe next year I can give thanks for my own good sense to take better care of myself.
  • My career and the people who make it a joy with their humor, their professionalism, and their intellect -- they make the most mundane and seemingly thankless jobs worthwhile.
  • The roof over my head that I often complain about because it's too small or the neighbors are too noisy -- I am fortunate to be able to provide for myself with the gifts I was given.
  • The food in my belly that I often don't even need -- by simply providing for myself, I will remain able to provide for others.
  • The technology at my fingertips -- these advancements allow me to create tools that make a difference in the world of commerce and provide the means to express myself freely in the world of ideas.
  • The sun that rises every day to warm and sustain this Earth -- yes, it's pretty dependable but the fact that it continues to be dependable is worthy of thanks.
  • The moon that lights my way at night and the stars that shine -- they serve to remind me that I am but a small speck in a very large and wonderous universe; humility is a blessing.
  • The smile that lights a face to relieve the pressure in times of stress -- I've often received or given that gift; a smile is truly a blessing.
  • The laughter that often erupts in times of confusion to clear the air -- what a relief it is to hear a laugh (tiny and nervous or large and loud) when uncertainty needs some release.
  • The warm handshake and/or hug of a new found friend -- the touch of another human being is a blessing that reminds us we are not alone with our passions, our fears, our joys, or our tears.
  • People who search for meaning in their world -- they share their thoughts with me to broaden my perspective and remind me that we are never far apart as human beings.
  • The changes in my world (personally, professionally, and politically) that keep me on my toes by forcing me to think, to care, and to share.
  • The ability to find this many things to be thankful for -- it means I have not lost the gift of optimism, humility, and gratitude.

May the coming year provide even more blessings for us all as we struggle to find meaning, to do good, and to understand each other in the interwoven threads of our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Is conscription the prescription?

US Representative, Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is at it again. Rangel's prescription for fixing the ills we're feeling in Iraq is a draft. I have very mixed feelings about this. Conscription is conscription no matter what you choose to label it. Is that appropriate in a free country?

On the flip side of this coin, I've often thought that compulsory national service would be a great idea for American kids right out of high school. It might have been a better start for me than learning to down beer at a Liberal Arts university! Two years in the service might give kids time to think about their future, learn higher levels of responsibility, and begin to take life more seriously.

There are many countries who require some level of mandatory military service: Belarus, Chile, China, Croatia, Serbia, Russia, Iran, Lebanon, our neighbor Mexico, and our old buddy Germany, to name a few. Gee, now that I look at that partial list... aren't many of those countries Socialist or at battle with religious fanatics within their own borders? Makes you wonder doesn't it?

My father, who served 22 years (willingly) in the Army, is in favor of the draft. He said it fills out the ranks with kids outside of the poor neighborhoods, shares the burden among all levels of society. He served in Vietnam with draftees and volunteers so I suppose he knows what he's talking about; however, I worry that draftees would not take the work as seriously as those who serve out of patriotism. Look, I think it's this simple: How would you like to rely on a "conscripted" doctor for your next surgery? Not me, thanks.

Are we really at a point in American history where we must revisit the draft? Or is Charlie Rangel simply stirring up a hornet's nest to support the immediate withdrawl of troops from Iraq? I have read that he believes President Bush would never have taken the battle to Iraq if the draft had been in place. That's pretty hard for me to believe. If the President of the United States had a conscripted armed forces -- he would not have to worry about satisfying the needs of a conscripted army so they would re-enlist, he knows they're obligated no matter what -- how in the world does Rangel think THAT would make the President work any harder to avoid opening a new front in this war?! In my opinion, there is simply no logic to that argument!

Maybe there are logical reasons to consider conscription. Given the nature of the enemy we face globally at this point in history and the long, hard battles ahead we may need fewer truck assembly line workers, fewer cruise directors, and fewer humanities professors in the colleges and more "boots on the ground" instead. Does it make sense to conscript our armed forces to ensure that we always have the numbers we need to take care of business at home and abroad? We may readily increase the number of servicemembers but at what cost?

Society needs its poets as much as it needs its warriors. Since when is it okay in a free country for the government to start deciding your career (or the delay thereof)?? I think Charlie Rangel's lost his marbles. Maybe he needs a prescription for an anti-psychotic...

Check out ScrappleFace for a humorous take on what might actually be behind Rangel's call for the draft. Satire and sense all in one article? Nice job, Scott, as usual!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Rethinking the Results of 2006 Mid-term Elections

It's not often I have the privilege of posting original articles by fair-minded, analytical authors. I'm very happy to be able to do so today with a hearty "thank you" to Bradford Cummings for sending it my way.

Feel free to email your comments directly to him by clicking the link on his name. And, as always, the Comments section of this blog belongs to you so feel free to post there as well.

One Dog, Two Dog, Red Dog, Blue Dog
by Bradford Cummings
With the contentious 2006 elections having passed us by, pundits fueled by partisan desires have blindly asserted their opinions as to how our country has arrived at this conclusion. Mandates will be claimed, political graveyards will be filled by John Kerry bobble head dolls and a whole score of candidates will begin focusing their sights on the promising vistas of 2007 and 2008.

I begin by congratulating my Democratic opponents and friends. You have finally overcome that hurdle which at one time seemed unreachable. Your vim and vigor have paid off and you now have majorities in both the House and Senate. This has been a truly positive outcome for a party that has recently evolved into the political equivalent of UK football.

Yet against my better judgment, I feel it necessary to lay before you the reality of this political "touchdown." Your win is akin to kidnapping University of Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm and convincing him that Cardinal red is actually Wildcat blue. In other words, you took the day by utilizing candidates that appeared at least as conservative as the Republicans they faced. Save exceptions like Congressman Yarmuth, these Blue Dog Democrats ran as tax cutting, Jesus loving, gun toting politicians that have become pawns in a classic game of bait and switch.

Don't believe me? A simple online check will prove that a vast majority of the Democratic victories were scored by social and fiscal conservatives.

Heath Shuler of North Carolina describes himself as an anti-amnesty, pro-life, tax cut Democrat. CNN describes Indiana's newest "blue" Congressman Brad Ellsworth as pro-life, pro-marriage and anti-gun control.

Even Joe Lieberman, ostracized by his own party for not playing party-line politics, soundly defeated Ned Lamont by 10 percentage points.

If that is not enough, consider that seven out of eight ballot measures went pro-marriage, every eminent domain initiative was nixed and in Michigan of all places affirmative action was restricted. MICHIGAN! These are not exactly indications of a national liberal uprising.

This is not to say there were no positive developments for the left minded to feast upon. Bernie Sanders of Vermont became our very first Socialist Senator, who among his many "inspiring" views includes government control of the media. But let's be honest with ourselves here, we are talking about Vermont, the same state that let Judge Edward Cashman hand down a sixty day judgment to a convicted child rapist without batting an eye. To put it bluntly, The Green Mountain State is officially on my shortlist of US territories I would not mind seeing secede.

And of course, there were several ballot measures that at first glance could indicate a desire to follow in the footsteps of Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi. Gay marriage did not pass in Arizona, South Dakotans seemingly took a pro-choice stance, Missouri welcomed stem cell research and a whole slew of states increased their local minimum wage.

But before you start a rousing chorus of Les Miserables’ “Do You Hear the People Sing?” consider that there may be more here than meets the eye. While most conservatives believe in the sanctity of marriage, there exists a relatively even split as to the value of civil unions, a restriction in the Arizona amendment.

Again, the same dichotomy subsists among the rightwing when the issue of abortion rears its ugly head. However, since the South Dakotan measure allowed no exception for rape or incest, another traditional value was covertly defeated.

The Missouri initiative was originally a twenty point landslide that closed to two points by Election Day, largely due to the heightened awareness caused by national figures like Rush Limbaugh. This issue does not even appear on the GOP talking points, a strong indication that a consensus has yet to be formed.

And while minimum wage increases scream of a swing towards more government control and a repressed economy, most people do not understand the intricacies of this issue. We are sold the single mother trying to raise her kids on $5.15 an hour, a scenario even the most heartless cannot resist. But the reality posed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that only 2.5% of the nation's workforce earns that salary becomes a messy fact that Democrats aggressively sweep under the rug.

Make no mistake; these recent events do give some brief power to the leftist side of the Democratic Party. But reading into this win as anything more than an uprising against corrupt politicians and the abandonment of conservative principles by Republicans could be costly. Unless the Democratic Party governs from the moderate right, eventually Brohm will find his way home and the championship mirage will disappear.

ConservaChick here again... I feel compelled to note the following: I take issue with one assertion in this article. The idea that "pro-marriage" legislation -- basically, support for the Republican plank that marriage is between one man and one woman -- is not truly Conservative; it is solely Republican in nature. To a Goldwater Conservative like myself, it is simply more government interference in the personal lives of Americans. However, having said that, I truly enjoyed this article and I hope you did as well.

NYT Article Highlights Our Very Own Bluegrass Institute!

Yes, even the Liberal New York Times is curious about Conservatives. Imagine that!

They gained points with this Conservative yesterday by publishing a great article, "Preaching the Gospel of Small Government." In the article, The Bluegrass Institute's Chris Derry is profiled along with Lawrence Reed of the Mackinac Center. Both men have been propelled into careers that subjugate their true earning power to their enthusiasm for a noble cause. Odd for free-market Conservatives, I must admit. They are to be admired however for taking an active role in ideas about which they feel so strongly.

While the article is a great read and does a nice job of profiling this movement and its proponents, the NYT earned a bit of my disdain by trying to discredit the very topic they wrote about by including the phrase "Preaching the Gospel" in the headline. How ridiculous! The article is about free-market Conservatism and those who are doing all in their power to help others understand it, not about Evangelical Republicans. *sigh* No matter how much "progress" I think Liberals are making toward becoming more fair-minded, they constantly provide a dose of disappointment along the way.

For those of you who see the free-market Conservative ideology as Republican partisanship, you'd do well to do your homework before coming to that conclusion. The Bluegrass Institute has taken some hard lines against actions they see as counterproductive to the goals of smaller government, free-market economics, and lower taxation. They have certainly been no sycophants for our Republican governor. Even if you disagree with free-market economics, it's likely that you care about education. Education is a big point of focus for Bluegrass Institute right now; it is certainly a cause around which to rally regardless of your political party affiliation.

Nice job, Bluegrass Institute! Please keep up the good work on behalf of true Conservatives statewide!

Michael and Us

Oh Lord help us all! Michael Moore has condescended to quell the fears of Conservatives (and Republicans, as he so aptly noted) with an amusing pledge. As a Conservative, my fears were definitely quelled by his "pledge;" I now know with utter certainty that the Dems will do their best to remind Americans why we booted them out in 1994... sophomoric snideness among them.

Thank God for Professor Kurgman! He has "translated" Michael's pledge for those of us who may not understand the subtle messages being delivered in this pledge.

For the record, Mr. Moore, some of your snideness is inappropriately pointed at true Conservatives. Republicans might truly need reassurances that you will leave their personal lives alone while funding your personal prerogatives; however, Conservatives appreciate the difference between personal liberty when it is paired with keeping governmental paws off our pocketbooks. As a self-loathing Capitalist, it might be good therapy for you to become acquainted with proud Capitalists who represent a good majority of this "big tent" Conservative ideology. Just a thought. ...Please don't prosecute me!

(Giant hat tip to The People's Cube yet again. Don't know how I would find things laughable without them!)

The Painting Journalist

While at the Louisville chapter of the SPJ program on Thursday night, I was pleased to make the acquaintance of a fellow blogger named Ashley Cecil. She produces an amazing blog by combining her love for painting with journalistic endeavors.

While describing what she does, she uses the term "social justice" to describe what she hopes to highlight on her blog. I cringe at that phrase because, truth be told, social justice is most often harshly metered by Darwinistic human apathy. I would simply call what she does an artistic approach to invoking human kindness. No political party on this planet has the market cornered on encouraging human kindness; therefore, I see her efforts as outside of typical political partisanship.

You absolutely MUST visit her blog, "The Painting Journalist." The tagline is "describing the world with a paintbrush;" however, she is describing the world firsthand with a flair for words as well as for the paintbrush. I do believe she is unaware of her way with words. Her stories and her art are more magazine quality than blog quality. Her paintings are for sale and she donates some of that money to charitable organizations.

What an amazing and noteworthy blog she has created! As she succeeds in writing and painting her world, she brings us all forward as kinder human beings. I wish Ashley all the best in making her blog a rewarding fulltime endeavor.

Thoughts on the SPJ Panel Discussion

As many of you are aware, I participated in a panel discussion at the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists on Thursday, November 16th. It was truly a joy to share thoughts and opinions with others (both panelists and members of the SPJ) on blogging during this meeting of the SPJ.

Ed Staats was a wonderful host. He certainly made Mark (my boyfriend) and I feel right at home from the moment we arrived and guided us easily into and out of the program. Milton Metz is not only very entertaining as a dinner companion but he's also quite a gentleman. Both are simply lovely people and their wives complement that loveliness very well. They must make this organization quite proud.

It was a true pleasure meeting Nabil Echchaibi, Mark Hebert, and Mark Nickolas. They are all passionate about what they do and have some very interesting thoughts on the process and the people around them. Quite frankly, I was surprised to find myself in agreement with just about every point made by each panelist during the discussion. I expected to differ on a few things with each of them; however, since the focus of the discussion was on blogging, it became apparent that each of us (regardless of our slant) understands what this medium is about and what it means in a larger context.

Nabil Echchaibi brought up a very interesting point of "relevance versus accuracy" during the discussion. It leads very naturally to the fact that mainstream news outlets try to be accurate and relevant; bloggers shoot more for relevance and then accuracy. Newspapers, in particular, must decide before going to print what is relevant and newsworthy while trying to ensure their information is accurate; after all, they must try to please a very broad audience, one that expects accuracy. Bloggers write about what they think is relevant to their world (and a more narrowly-defined audience) but accuracy is often determined well after the piece is posted or in a series of continuing posts on the subject. We have much more leeway in our medium than do the traditional media outlets. Frankly, I like it that way. It allows us to be free-thinking while, at times, providing a sort of watch-dog service on the mainstream media.

The 24x7 news outlets (like cable news networks in particular) are shooting primarily for relevance and simply do not take the time necessary to verify and re-verify their accuracy before they air a news item. They jump immediately into analysis of the topic without having many verified facts with which to weigh the analysis. Most of the mainstream media have fallen into that trap as well. While savvy consumers understand that the information they are getting is "in the moment" and not necessarily aired with all the information fully vetted, it is often resented because it cannot be taken as fact. Bloggers serve a purpose within the realm of the mainstream media by doing their own investigations, often utilizing expertise in their blog audience. This is what led famously to the unmasking of the phony memo used by Dan Rather in his report on President Bush's service. In this respect, blogs are becoming what the media used to tout as their venue: we guard, to some degree, against the proliferation of propaganda and/or disinformation.

I don't envy Mark Hebert. He is blogging about his area of expertise at the suggestion of his employer. That's a tough line to walk -- write fair-minded pieces on politics for your employer as a reporter and then blog about your opinions on the very subject you are paid to investigate daily as a person with extensive knowledge at the personal level! That's a tough predicament in which to find oneself. If your employer doesn't like your opinion or feels it taints your "objectivism" as a reporter your blog may be very short-lived, indeed! And for some in my experience, it has cost them their jobs. Not that this would happen to Mark Hebert but it is certainly risky at best.

Speaking of Mark Hebert, he is a genuinely nice guy with a terrific sense of humor. We talked quite a lot during dinner. He took at look at this blog and said he enjoyed the writing. When I mentioned how offensive the "Autorantic Virtual Moonbat" might be to people on the Left, he chuckled. When I equated the AVM to my experiences on the street with the old hippies of the Louisville Peace Action Committee (LPAC), he laughed heartily. I think we've had similar experiences with those folks!

We also found that we had the same professor at WKU, Professor Wicklander, for Mass Communications. In that class we were taught that people process information from all sources based on their own personal "filters" (their experiences in life, what they learned from their parents growing up, and what they know from their studies, etc.). During the panel discussion, an opportunity arose for me to make the distinction of "transparency" versus the appearance of "objectivity." In that moment, I was able to relay a bit of that lesson on "filters." I was extremely proud to have Mark Hebert echo my feeling that there is "no such thing as objectivity." Imagine!

I think we find ourselves in agreement that there is such a thing as "striving for objectivity" and being fair-minded but objectivity cannot exist in a world where human beings each interpret facts based on their own personal filters. Folks, it's my hope that as blogging evolves and the mainstream media begin to understand integrity as transparency, we may very well find ourselves with news outlets that either (a) position the facts against a transparent opinion; or (b) report the facts without allowing their opinions to color the language in which those facts are presented.

Toward the end of the evening, Mark Nickolas and I actually found that we had some things in common. Imagine that! He is originally from Oakland, California which is a large part of the San Francisco Bay Area. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 17 years. As you can imagine, my political ideology not practiced much in that part of the nation. As a Conservative, you'd have to travel East to find similar viewpoints. It was quite a challenge living there. As a matter of fact, I found myself reading more Liberal magazines and joining PETA at one point! Geography and groupthink can affect even the most staunchly Conservative young minds. Believe me.

Mark even admitted, oddly enough, that he voted for Reagan in 1984. I hope I haven't outed him to his target audience! If so, then they now have a point of reference that should be educational. It pleased me immensely to find that, even though I strongly disagree with this man's political ideology, we are both fair-minded enough to do what we think is good for this country when the opportunity presents itself. I applaud him for that honest disclosure. It's enlightening and, yes, it's more common ground!

Mark Nickolas surprised me in a few ways but was predictable in others. As expected, and commented on here at ConservaChick, he did liken himself to Thomas Paine and the early pamphleteers. However, he did not make the distinction that Thomas Paine wrote about ideals and values that he thought were good for this country and not hit pieces on party leaders. Paine revolutionized the way people think about their government. Literate members of society (of which there were fewer in his time) were able to consider alternative ways of thinking. Since literacy in this country has far surpassed that of Paine's time, many more people can be affected by what they read and not all of them will bother to think any further about it. That is the true shame of blogging. Many readers will read opinions and take them on as their own without further thought.

Mark sees his blog, Bluegrass Reports, as a way to lead revolutionary changes. I think that's a noble idea; however, I don't see how it's practiced when most of its readership are like-minded people. How will their thoughts be changed by simply reading an echo of them? The same is true for many blogs and their audiences. The published opinions of a blogger often draw only readers in agreement. Even though we don't care to think about this, it is yet another form of political polarization. The only way, in my opinion, to change that polarization would be to provide a blog site where both camps voice their opinions on a regular basis. Posts with a transparent Conservative leaning juxtaposed with posts with a transparent Liberal leaning might spark more revolutionary thought than the current echo chambers.

I think the natural evolution of the mainstream media and blogging will just such a website. I will applaud loudly and long the first such site that appears on the internet. It will revolutionize our political world like no other. If I were able to blog fulltime, that would be my first order of business. It would provide transparency and relevance in a way that allows people to be fair-minded in their view of this nation and our future. Readers might be prompted to start investigating the thoughts they read and providing an even great scope of accuracy. What a concept, eh?

When asked if blogs are a fad and what type of blogs may survive, panelists were varied in responses. Those panelists who are making a living at what they do were sure that blogs will never disappear as a marketplace of ideas. I'm not so sure. The line between organizations and their websites (for-profit and non-profit) and that of bloggers who are often hobbyists rather than businesspeople, is blurry at best. Blogs can now incorporate advertising, the means to donate money, and sponsors on their sites. As Nabil noted, a popular blogger in France was accused of becoming a Capitalist when he incorporated these things on his blog. I felt it necessary to remind Nabil aloud that "Capitalist" isn't a dirty word. He reminded me that it certainly is to the French. Priceless exchange!

Mark Nickolas is of the opinion that the "marketplace will weed itself out." That is probably true. Which means that those of us who blog as a hobby, as concerned citizens, may be left behind as this happens. While it's important to make money at an endeavor so one can pay the bills, it's also important to note that once money starts flowing, the process, the goals, the intent can become tainted. I think the purest form of blogging is done by people like me, people who do it because they love the topics they write about. It's a Catch-22 for us though; we cannot invest as much time and energy in what we enjoy because we're busy paying the bills with other endeavors. If we could earn a fulltime living at what we do, we might become just like that which we often disdain. An interesting quandary that may work itself out in the evolution of blogging.

I'd like to thank all of you who bothered to read this long-winded post in full. The panel discussion sparked far too many thoughts to allow for a shorter post. My thanks especially to Ed Staats for seeing fit to include this blogger in the program on Thursday night. It was a sincere pleasure!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Finding Common Ground

If I didn't learn a little something new every day, it would hardly be worth leaving a warm bed each morning. So I view challenges as opportunities in that regard. I have learned a few valuable things over the past few days -- many of which you may all ready know yourselves but these were "aha!" moments for me so I thought I'd share:

(1) I am more capable of knee-jerk reactions based on a phrase or the implication of a viewpoint that I feel is trite and tiresome than I thought. I did it in the comments section of my very own blog. The insight came into this came because Una took me to task on it. Her comment turned my snide dismissal into an opportunity to find common ground with the person who was subject to the knee-jerk reaction. I like that about the people who visit this blog -- not afraid to call it like they see it. And, more importantly, not afraid to admit to a mistaken first impression.

The beauty of this is that both the anonymous commenter and I were able to see past our initial reactions to each other to the fact that we share common ground. I have more to learn about many things but one thing I know for sure is that each time you find a single point in common with someone you find more and more common ground. I have gained more knowledge and insight this way than through any number of books. Thank you to both the commenter and Una who made me rethink my knee-jerk reaction.

(2) I must stop assuming that all Democrats are pacifists. I'm afraid I spent a little too much time in 2004 and 2005 counter-protesting some VERY Liberal folks -- meaning "people stuck in the Vietnam era groupthink rut" -- here in Louisville who could only recite talking points and trite slogans. Their chants are the same; their signs are the same; and their limited mindset is the same as it was in the 1960s and '70s. Vietnam may very well have been a war worth questioning (as has been thoroughly documented); however this conflict is different. Times have changed and some people continue to color it with the same broad brush they used in a different time.

Thanks to Brad who asked for an explanation of my intent behind a recent post, I found myself in a civil discourse on the current conflict in Iraq. Let me tell you, it's been my experience that civil discourse about the war with a Democrat has been hard to find. Many of those I've met simply start with the Bush-bashing and resort to the groupthink of the 60s. In the end, they never really make a civil and/or logical point that prompts some more thought on my part. This time was different.

Brad is a Democrat I found some common ground with on the issue and who feels strongly about our national security and national defense. My impression is that he is no pacifist; he's a patriot. He's an intellect that must be heard regardless of party affiliation -- I hope other Conservatives have met their own Brads. We all need to see each other as Americans again. The insight I gained through the respectful exchange of ideas and opinions with him is invaluable.

(3) There are Democrats who find tax evasion shameful even when it's found in their own party. Let's face it, no one likes taxes but Democrats are insistent that they are the key to funding the needs of our society. So when they do NOT jump to the defense of a possible tax evader, they are showing the integrity that ought to be present in person regardless of party affiliation. Just as Conservatives value responsible capitalism, we ought to condemn the failures of our fellows when they claim Conservative values but do not follow them.

It seems to me that integrity is a common value among Americans. If there's one thing we expect of our fellow citizens, it's integrity. When we don't get that from prominent members of our community it is our responsibility to condemn them. This, again, is common ground that was found in yet another area of comments on this blog lately.

If you stuck with me this far into the post, you might be wondering why. I have a feeling it's because you, like I, value those moments when you find common ground in places you didn't expect to find it. You probably wish, now more than ever, that more people in the realm of political ideas would exercise more civility toward each other so that we could actually achieve something together. It feels good. It feels like the right thing to do, doesn't it?

So, with all this in mind today, I created a group on Google called "Finding Common Ground." Based on the discussions that blossomed on this blog this week, it seemed that a better forum was needed for those of us who enjoy the civil and thoughtful exchange of ideas. One that provided more real estate for composing and reading.

Imagine how much we might learn from each other. Imagine the spark we might ignite in others to stop clinging so mightily to a party affiliation long enough to find that simply as Americans we have enough common ground to see problems and solutions that work from many angles.

If you've never used a group before, it's relatively simple to figure out. I've started a few topics that I think are good ones for finding out what we have in common and insights that we might share to help each of us understand the perspective of the other. If you're interested, I hope you'll stop in and post when the mood hits you. Add your own topic, if you like. Whatever topic you're interested in finding common ground with others on.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained so if this little experiment fails, no harm done, right? If it sparks some interesting and thoughtful discussion and we find common ground with each other, it could just start a whole new way of thinking about this country's problems and ways to solve them.

Google Groups
ConservaChick: Finding Common Ground
Browse Archives at

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Evidently, it's Tax Night on ConservaChick!

As my earlier post alluded to the heated comment thread on Mr. Nickolas and his alleged tax issue, I find it amusing that this next post will be tax-related. Isn't the universe wonderfully full of humor?

by Terry Dillard of The Right Track

Well, the elections are over and I've heard everything from "It's a sure thing" to "No way it'll even make it out of committee now" regarding the FairTax.

One thing I do know -- never underestimate the power of a grassroots movement. Democrats were shown in 1994 not to take their power for granted, and Republicans had that same lesson hammered home to them a week ago. The American people have no hesitation whatsoever about "flushing the toilet" as I prefer to call it.

Whatever your political orientation, it's been amply proven by now that lower taxes produce a stronger economy -- if we can keep spending in check. Giving Americans the ability to choose exactly how much they pay in taxes via the FairTax is a win-win situation for individuals and our government.

I found an interesting blog article that managed to work the FairTax into a post on national security. From "Freedom Is Always the Right Answer", the post is titled "Defeating China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran in the Cold War of Terror." The post begins:

China and Russia are allied and using all the tools at their disposal, including supporting North Korea and Iran, and to a lessor extent Venezuela, to defeat us in a new Cold War of Terror. China and Russia have supplied weapons, diplomatic cover, and economic support to these rogue states to drain American resources, our respect in the international community, and generally create chaos. China is stealing our technological secrets through a coordinated program of traditional intelligence and computer infiltration. China and Russia are threatening our satellites. China constantly threatens our ally, Taiwan. We can use the lessons from the first Cold War to figure out how to win this new one.

The author postulates that winning the war against terror and those who sponsor it -- directly or indirectly, it would seem -- will require the same tactics used by JFK to get the missiles out of Cuba, and by Reagan to defeat the Soviet Union. Part of this, of course, is economic in nature. According to the author's theory:

Once we put China in this position, it won't allow North Korea to be the tail that wags the dog. China will be upset with the U.S., as will the rest of the world who will call us dangerous cowboys, like they did Reagan, but China's only good option would be to work for a nuclear free Korean peninsula. China would suffer the economic pain (no more Kentucky Fried Chicken) of losing the world's greatest consumer as a costumer, plus it would be in the untenable position of being at the mercy of the madman in North Korea. America could get China's support for regime change or some other policy to remove the nukes in North Korea.

America would also suffer economic pain (T-Shirt prices would rise) from these trade restrictions, but domestic policy would limit that pain, and turn it into an advantage. By adopting the FairTax, America would begin to return as a manufacturing juggernaut. Reducing government interference in the free market would assist this process. American products, no longer burdened by the income tax, would compete with Chinese made products on the world market, further enriching America and hurting China/NK. This American growth in manufacturing would drive prices lower to compensate for the price increases from restricted trade with China/NK. This would put pressure on China to democratize. [TD - emphasis added]

But aside from National Security, the FairTax is just a good idea. The Kodiak Daily Mirror came out in favor of it because it is grassroots in nature. You know, "We the people" kind of thinking. In "New Tax Act Gives Power to the People", the Daily Mirror gives its reasons for supporting the FairTax:

A proposed bill, The Fair Tax Act, would change the way our government collects our tax money. It sounds the death toll for the Internal Revenue Service, paycheck withholdings and tax returns. As the replacement, a national sales tax, designed to fund our government at its current rate, would replace our old system. It relieves the burden of an overly complicated tax code as special interests lobby for loopholes.

The national sales tax will be collected on all new goods and services and takes the place of our income withholdings. The system is blind to income levels, yet ensures the basic necessities of life are not taxed through a tax pre-bate system. This prevents the government from dictating what the basic necessities are and affords us the ability to make our own decisions. [TD - emphasis added]

How cool is that? What a novel idea! Letting us make our own decisions! I like it! The Daily Mirror finishes the article by referring to no less a document than our own Declaration of Independence:

As stated so eloquently in our Declaration of Independence, we hold the power, not the government or our elected officials. It is time for a real change offered by the Fair Tax Act to encourage economical growth and investment. It is time to do away with the burdensome taxation system that we detest and political officials use to gain votes.

All I can add to that is a hearty "Amen"!

The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.

As the Blog Turns...

Gee. I have found myself fascinated by the soap opera unfolding in the comments section of this blog since last night. One little mention on a controversial Democrat's blog and it's High Noon on ConservaChick! (Yes, I'm laughing while I type this.)

For those of you who have no idea what's happening in the ever-expanding comments section, join the club! Here's what I know about Mark Nickolas from bits and pieces I've read on his blog, and from a local news report: Nickolas likes to sneer at Republicans and call them snide little nicknames as he provides his "Unfiltered and Candid Look at Politics, Politicians and the Media in Kentucky;" he raised a ruckus within the Democrat party here in Kentucky by filing a suit against the chairman of the party, Jerry Lundergan; and he will be appearing on the same panel with yours truly on Thursday night. That's about it. You now have the benefit of my not-so-extensive knowledge on this subject.

Nickolas posted the Louisville Courier-Journal's notice about the panel discussion on his blog. His readers dropped by for a visit to ConservaChick and all hell broke lose. Evidently, there's some trouble brewing in tax land...

Why do I not know more about Nickolas and his blog? Well, frankly, I don't like his style of writing. Very possibly he's an intensely clever and highly intelligent writer and human being. I don't know because the acidic tone with which he presents information grates on my nerves. That's fine. He serves his target audience well and that's all that should matter. I simply prefer to get my updates on the Democrats via their national websites like Progressive Policy Institute and others that leave the name-calling and vitriol to the local hometown boys.

My visit to the Louisville chapter of the SPJ meeting on Thursday is shaping up to be high drama at this point. Nickolas has become a controversial figure in the Kentucky blogosphere so, I suppose, his presence was bound to come with some drama attached. Call me an optimist but I hold out hope that there will actually be a stimulating discussion on blogging (the medium, the messages, the differences) at some point Thursday evening. Ah well. We'll see, I suppose.

Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Rumsfeld...'ve certainly earned it! I'm going to miss the loveable yet surly and sardonic Donald Rumsfeld! Say what you will about him but he was the best at no-nonsense conferences. Granted, he might have prosecuted our war against the Islamo-fascists a bit differently but some of our troops respected him:

"I am disappointed that Rumsfeld will go down in history as a villain," says Army Spc. Michael Sanchez, based in Ramadi, in restive western Iraq, in an e-mail. "Instead of offering honest discourse on his positions ... the media crucified him and manipulatively pointed to the broad and dark negativity of war as a sign of his allegedly poor leadership."
So, now that he's resigned, this was bound to happen... If you haven't seen this bit from the Craig Ferguson Show, get ready to laugh yourself silly. I think Craig Ferguson is going to miss Rummy; I'd be willing to bet that Donald Rumsfeld himself would find this hilarious!

Thanks for the heads up on the comedy, Mark! Made my night!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Immigration Reform and the Recent Elections

Regardless of what you may be reading both online and off about which issues cost the Republicans their majorities in Congress, one area where folks are getting it wrong is Immigration Reform.

Roy Beck at NumbersUSA has done some election analysis with regard to Immigration Reform; many of you may find it quite surprising! Here's a small sample of it:

Loss of Election by Republicans Based on Their
Immigration-Reduction Grade of This Congress

9.6% with an A grade lost
9.2% with a B grade lost
6.4% with a C grade lost
9.5% with a D grade lost
25.0% with an F grade lost

Voters supported many of the candidates and incumbents who have taken a tough stance on illegal immigration. The incumbents with a decent "report card" on reform fared much better with voters than those who did not. Voters certainly seemed intent on unseating incumbents with a horrible record on immigration reform legislation. This may have been a non-partisan issue.

The bad news is that with the new Democrat majority in Congress and a President intent on providing amnesty, those candidates will certainly be hard-pressed to make a big difference.

New Party Catch Phrase

Howard Dean has asked The People's Cube to help craft a new catch phrase for the party. You can help! And, with gems like these, you might want to act quickly before Dean picks one:

If it ain't easy, it ain't workin'!

Why is everyone else so stupid?

Islamists don't cause war, stupid, our military does!

While you're at The People's Cube, don't miss the new articles on meetings between the new Democrat leaders on the Hill and Al Qaeda. They are already hard at work solving the world's problems in a bipartisan way!

Kentucky Club for Growth

I joined the Club for Growth a few years ago because of their national, non-partisan, action-oriented focus on one of the most important issues to me -- free market economics.

I've always been a fan of Ayn Rand. Her book "Atlas Shrugged" made a huge amount of sense to me and is a weighty -- at over 1,000 pages, quite literally -- warning that the government cannot (or should not) control free enterprise unless they wish to penalize the providers in this country. Without them, we're all jobless and penniless.

Without the currency to do the things we dream, we can only dream. Economics and a healthy economy are crucial to this nation. Too many politicians are still under the impression that enterprises can be "commanded" to raise wages and hire people when it makes no business sense to do so. With the Dems being newly elected to the majority on Capitol Hill, the "nanny state" sense of entitlement will do nothing but blossom. I dread the economic effect this will have on our country if left unchecked.

Therefore, as you can well imagine, I was pleased to see this announcement in my e-mail today:

Kentucky Club for Growth Launches

Nov 13, 2006 - Many have said that "conservatives" were defeated on Tuesday. We say that is not true; it is the Republican Party that was defeated. Sadly, many members of the GOP have abandoned the principles that guided Ronald Reagan, culminating last week in major Republican losses in both the U.S. Congress, as well as the Kentucky General Assembly.

Fortunately, the national Club for Growth fared far better in elections, winning 7 of 8 races in which they endorsed a candidate in the primary and followed through the general. They did so by finding and supporting candidates who believe that big government is bad government. We couldn't agree more!

Who are we?
The Kentucky Club for Growth, a chapter of the national organization, is a group of citizens dedicated to expanding prosperity for working families through the Reagan doctrine of lower taxes, smaller government and strong free enterprise.

Why is the Kentucky Club for Growth needed?
The size and cost of government is going up, not down both nationally and here in the Commonwealth. It is time that conservatives gain control of government and demand fiscal discipline.

What will the Kentucky Club for Growth do?
The Kentucky Club for Growth will find, support and endorse candidates for elected office who are committed to free-market principles, lowering taxes, reducing spending and decreasing the size of government. Additionally, we will hold Frankfort accountable by monitoring legislation and providing scorecards to our members and the press after each legislative session.

Kentucky Club for Growth
Brian Richmond
Executive Director
phone: (859) 802-1736

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thank you, Veterans!

Today is a day to remember and thank all of our brave men and women who have served (or are still serving) this country in uniform. Please remember them in your thoughts, deeds, and words today.

For my Dad who served 22 years in the Army and spent more than his share of time on foreign soil serving this country and protecting American freedom and ideals: Thanks, Pop! You did a job that most us cannot even begin to fathom, risked your own life many times to get supplies out to the field, delivered many soldiers home from the battlefront so they could return home to their last resting places, and saw many things that will stay with you forever. Many Americans did not understand your sacrifice during Vietnam and you were "rewarded" with their hate and discontent upon your return. You deserved so much better. If nothing else, know that your daughter understands and appreciates all you have done in the service of our great nation. I love you and appreciate you more than I'll ever be able to express in words.

For my Mom who also served 22 years in the Army as an Army wife and stalwart supporter of our family and our Dad: Thanks, Mom! You did a job that would overwhelm most women. There were many times that you had to be all things to all of your family while Dad was overseas. While watching over our family and quelling the fears of your children for their Dad's safety, you stood strongly by his side at all times. You did a job that you were often not thanked enough for and there are no words today that are adequate to thank you properly. I love you and appreciate you for everything you are to all of us every day.

Happy Veterans Day to all!

Al Qaeda Wins 2006 Elections. Film at 11 (on CNN, of course).

Since Pakistan handed over the "new" HQ for Al Qaeda (Warziristan) and Democrats won the majority of seats in the House and the Senate it would seem to me that Al Qaeda has won.

With the media war they began before we invaded Iraq and deposed Hussein, the stepped-up violence in Baghdad, and CNN proudly delivering their propaganda (the terrorist video) it wasn't a bad bet that they would win. Really. I wonder who put their money on Al Qaeda in the sports pools in Vegas...

You have to hand it to Al Qaeda and the Islamo-fascists. They have more patience and more media savvy than we Americans who understand what's at stake daily. Evidently, they know this country's short attention span all too well. From Saudi Cleric Nasser bin Suleiman Al-'Omar: ‘America is Now Disappearing From the Hearts Within America Itself..."
"Today, America is defeated. I have no doubt, not even for a minute, that
America is on its way to destruction. But as Ibn Khaldoun said, just as it takes
decades for nations to rise, it takes them decades to collapse. They don't
collapse overnight."

His remarks -- do read them in full, it's quite enlightening -- was broadcast exactly SIX MONTHS before our mid-term elections! Maybe Americans concerned about the future of this country would do better reading through the extensive research library at the Middle East Media Research Institute rather than getting their news from the MSM. Either that or we ought to start converting to Islam now before it's too late...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Reminder: Event next Thursday (11/16/06)

Just a quick reminder for anyone who may be interested:

Who? Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists & the public
What? Dinner meeting and program w/panel discussion "Just Who Are Those Bloggers, Anyway?"
Where? The Holiday Inn at 2nd and Broadway in downtown Louisville.
When? The meeting begins at 6:30pm; Dinner is at 7pm; Program to follow.
How Much? $25

The deadline for registration is Monday, November 13. You are invited to register by e-mail at

Coalition to Salute America's Heroes

This Veteran's Day, please take a moment to honor our past and present military service members, not only in word but in deed. If you cannot lend a hand or do something meaningful for our veterans tomorrow, you can certainly support an organization who does it on a daily basis.

Our veterans selflessly served and sacrificed for our country. It is now our turn to support and thank them for their service, especially those who were wounded in the line of duty.

The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes is a non-profit organization that provides support and hope for our seriously wounded veterans and active duty military members who have nowhere else to turn after they return from war.

One of their most critical programs is the Road to Recovery Conference. The annual Road to Recovery Conference provides an all-expense-paid educational and service event for wounded heroes and their families. Activities at the conference include seminars, career counseling, and evaluations, as well as day trips, concerts, and sporting events to enjoy with the family. Most importantly, this event provides a time for our wounded heroes to come together and support one another.

Please donate what you can. This organization is helping our veterans get back on their feet after giving so very much to our country. It's our turn to give.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mourning but with Optimism

Stunned. Last night, this morning... simply stunned. Nothing else describes it. Not so much stunned by the changing of the guard (it's inevitable) but by the realization that I was blinded by my own optimism and faith in American fortitude not to see it coming.

As I watched the election returns last night, I was flabbergasted. In my mind, this was a resounding defeat for the American ability to see a job through, to continue to strive for a victory worth winning. Just as the pundits have said, this was a referendum on the Republican-led efforts over the past six years. You'll get no excuses from me -- I supported the GOP in words and actions for the past 23 years because I believe Conservatism is the best ideology for America and Liberal Socialism is an experiment that has failed consistently throughout history.

So, where did it all go wrong?...

I know this won't be a popular opinion but it seems Republicans went wrong over the past six years in two respects: (1) they became too closely aligned with the Religous Right and tried too hard to push that agenda on citizens who still believe (and rightly so, in my opinion) that religion and family are private matters; and (2) they strayed too far for too long from true Conservative principles.

I intend no offense to my Christian Conservative friends. All of them have every desire and every right to want to effect change in our great nation toward what they see is the best course; however, I often disagree with any course that puts more power in the hands of our federal government unless it's for purposes of national defense/security.

While Libertarians today are just a tad too kooky to ever be taken seriously, there was a time and place in Republican history that we were more aligned with rational Libertarianism (thanks to Goldwater) than with the religious Moral Majority. I find myself constantly explaining to Liberals that not all Conservatives are members of the Moral Majority. It's become tedious and frustrating, actually. I've found over the past two years, much to my dismay, that Goldwater Conservatives are probably the minority in the GOP now. And, unfortunately, I think that was partially behind the loss of the Republican majority on the Hill last night. The American people want a government that interferes less with their lives. I'll second that; however, not at the risk of my freedom and security as an American.

I believe the election as a "referendum on the war" was less about a true desire of the American people to cut and run from Iraq than it was about their desire to understand the progress made and the patience required to finish the job. Republicans did not deliver that. With the exception of America's Majority and their ad campaigns, very little was done to help good Americans appreciate all that has been accomplished and why it was the right thing to do. Did Republicans give them all the reasons they needed to hang in there? Nope. There's a great story to tell and it was relegated to the blogs and the Conservative media only. The average American will not go in search of that information on his/her own; the 2006 campaigns were a great opportunity to push that information to the front.

Did we lay out all the accomplishments of the past six years for Americans with respect to our economy? Nope. Many Republicans (at least in this area) were more focused on distancing themselves from the President than they were on laying out for the American people all of the great things they've done to boost our economy. Those tax cuts? Most people don't understand how those tax cuts led to something as simple as our current 4.4% unemployment rate -- isn't that about the lowest in the free world right now?! No attempt was made to help folks understand that. It's not a hard story to tell.

While I mourn the loss of the Republican majority and some really, really good people (especially Representative Anne Northup) who lost their seats in the House and Senate last night, I still look forward with optimism. Why? Because failure this big is simply an opportunity to re-evaluate, improve, and overcome.

The Dems have now earned the right to fail spectacularly in the spotlight of the public eye. They have at least two years to remind Americans why they were booted out of the majority 12 years ago and to prove that Socialism (no matter what you choose to call it) has never worked and never will. Can they do that in two years? With Nancy "Skeletor" Pelosi leading the charge? Oh, you bet they can! Will they be able to re-evaluate, improve, and overcome when they do? Well, it took them 12 years to win the majority back so chances are that they would never manage that in two years time. Look, winning the majority on the failure of the current majority party to tout their accomplishments in a mid-term election is not a long-term winning strategy for anyone. I don't think the Democrats get that... well, not yet.

This could very well leave Republicans re-energized to make great gains in the 2008 elections. If the GOP gets back to its true Conservative roots quickly, by 2008 we will be poised to save Americans from the socialist disaster they opted for last night out of frustration with our lack of focus. Can we get back to those roots? I sure hope so... otherwise, we're in for a long, hard, row to hoe in many fields.

Having typed all this, I feel I must leave you one last thought before I retire for the night:

Newt Gingrich for President in '08!

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Fat Lady sings tomorrow!

Well, my friends, this is our last evening of automated campaign phone calls and campaign ads. It feels good to be at the brink of deciding this election and leaving the noise behind, doesn't it? Have no doubt that Yours Truly will be casting her ballot tomorrow with the knowledge that the rest of the country isn't as easily-led or as stupid as John Kerry and company seem to think we are.

I feel very comfortable that the GOP will maintain the majority in the Senate. I really don't see the smart people of this country handing over the reins to the Dems in either house of Congress but it's possible they make take a slim majority in the House of Representatives. Which, if you think about it, would be a damned shame because the House has been more steadily Conservative during President Bush's term in office than the Senate.

Ah well. We'll see what song the Fat Lady sings tomorrow night: "Song Sung Blue," or "Little Red Corvette." Cross your fingers and cast your ballots tomorrow -- see you at the concert!

The End of an Iraqi Era

Justice has finally been served on a silver platter to Saddam Hussein by the people of Iraq. The Butcher of Baghdad is now nothing more than a cold slab of meat waiting in his cell to be hung out to cure. That era of tyranny is over now. I wish all free Iraqis well as they sort out the old and move forward with the new.

Mohammed blogged his first reaction to the news at Pajamas Media. (Mohammed and Omar are the voices behind Iraq the Model.) Here's a snippet:

"Right now volleys of bullets ring not far from where I sit, some are fired to express joy while others are fired in a desperate expression of denial but I have no doubt who is going to prevail. Although the road is long but we are walking forward and will not look back.

I salute the honorable special tribunal that challenged threats and risks and insisted on keeping up the work until the end, and today it brought back the pride of the land that wrote the world’s first laws. "

Congratulations, my friends! You have so much to look forward to now!

So, can *I* vote in Washington State too?...

Wow! With such stunning marketing manuevers like the one I posted just a moment ago and now this one, it's no wonder the MSM thinks the Dems are a shoo in for control of the House and the Senate this mid-term! Sheesh.

The League of Conservation Voters sent out mailers to folks in Billings, Montana (scroll to the last page) encouraging them to vote for Darcy Burner a Dem candidate for WASHINGTON STATE's 8th Congressional district! Oh my. All this laughing hurts!

D'oh! Nice move, Kellam!

This is absolutely HILARIOUS! Democrat candidate in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, Phil Kellam, sent out robo-calls today to his Democrat base and encouraged them to get out and vote today. Yep, TODAY! Hear it for yourself; it's priceless!

I sure hope they took his advice because the polls aren't even open yet -- they may be a little miffed and not even bother to get out tomorrow! D'oh!! I'll betcha the incumbent, Republican Congresswoman Thelma Drake, knows what day her voters ought to go to the polls! hehehe

(What's that old Dem motto?... Vote early; vote often?...)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Call for Discussion! Anyone?... Bueller?...

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'll be participating on a panel at the next meeting of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. This panel is supposed to be discussing the "medium rather than the message" and "blogging and especially how it connects with journalism as we used to know it."

Of course, I'm full of opinions on this. Would you expect any less of me? ;o) However, as preparation for the discussion, I'm really very curious what you all (fellow bloggers and blog readers) think about these questions.

So, can we open a small discussion just among friends? -- What do you think about blogs as a communication medium? How does blogging (or the reading of blogs) compare/contrast/connect to journalism as we used to know it?

UPDATE: Opportunity Knocks!

Oddly enough, a day after I wrote that Kerry ought to be called on to resign from Congress, I get an email from The Patriot Post with a link to a petition to have him investigated and removed from his position in the Senate!
"We, the People of these United States, rightfully petition our national government to prosecute John Kerry for 'giving aid and comfort to the enemy' and to disqualify him for national office...."
Read the full petition here. Sign it and rejoice that some great Americans have initiated an action that is long overdue by the rest of us! Time for this traitor to exit stage LEFT!

Friday, November 03, 2006

"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

I have heard the grumblings among Conservatives who are undecided whether they will even bother to vote this time around. They're upset that, even though the GOP has held the majority in both Houses and in the Executive branch, our leadership has gone Liberal on us -- the GOP has been spending like drunken sailors and is catering too much to the Left. I don't disagree with that; however, Election Day is not the day to voice discontent.

With mid-term elections right around the corner, I'm hearing a lot of nonsense out of normally right-thinking, smart people. Not vote? Stay home? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Look, if you are discontented with the way our Republican majority has been performing, you need to let them know DURING their terms, not on Election Day.

Our obligation as citizens is to be sure that our representatives in Congress get an occasional "report card" from us. The Kentucky delegation in Washington, DC have a number of "attaboy" and "what the heck were you thinking?!" messages from yours truly. Senators McConnell and Bunning and Representative Northup have all heard from me throughout their terms in office. When I'm feeling well-represented and when I'm feeling quite let down by their votes I let them know. How can they know how well they're representing their constituents if we don't tell them?
Remember the pictures that were all over our televisions during the first free Iraqi election in 50 years? Remember the reports -- even CNN couldn't cast a negative shadow on that! -- of how many Iraqis flooded the poling places in Iraq? They exceeded our average voter turnout in any given year! Those folks braved the threat of death and walked for miles to get to their polling places and exercise their newly-won vote!

At best, Americans appreciate their responsibilities and exercise them proudly; at worst, we are lazy when the going gets rough. Have we become so spoiled, so lazy that we cannot appreciate the hard-won privilege? Call me an optimist but I'd like to think that we are at our best this year with so much at stake. Not just for ourselves but for others who are oppressed by Islamofascist terrorists around the globe. A statement needs to be made this year more than ever.

A profound line from the lyrics of the song "Freewill" (hear a snippet) by the band Rush is pertinent to this year's elections: "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice." No truer words were ever sung. (Yeah, I know... a Canadian band? Well, at least they shut up and sing, eh?)

Make the right choice this year, Conservatives. Do not allow your choice to be made for you in your absense. Americans should be proud of what we've accomplished; have we lost our pride? Can we not be proud as the Iraqis were proud? Our country helped them win the privilege of voting and they rewarded us with their enthusiasm and courage. Can we not reward ourselves with enthusiasm that does not even require courage on our part?

Americans ought to be showing the world every election year just how sacred we hold this privilege. This year more than ever. Voting determines our future. The privilege to determine our own future as a country was hard won by the blood of many in our past. The blood of many patriots is being shed today to ensure our nation's security as we go to the polls on Election Day this year to exercise our patriot duty.

Do not choose not to decide because you will still have made a choice...

DNC Agenda for 2008

Agenda for DNC 2008 Democratic National Convention Agenda

7:00 P.M. Opening flag burning.

7:15 P.M. Pledge of allegiance to U.N.

7:30 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.

7:30 P.M. Non-religious prayer and worship (Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton).

8:00 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.

8:05 P.M. Ceremonial tree hugging.

8:15 P.M. Gay Wedding (Barney Frank, presiding).

8:30 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.

8:35 P.M. Free Saddam Rally (Cindy Sheehan & Susan Sarandon).

9:00 P.M. Keynote speech: "The proper etiquette for surrender" (French President Jacques Chirac)

9:15 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.

9:20 P.M. Collection to benefit the Osama Bin Laden Kidney Transplant Fund.

9:30 P.M. Unveiling of plan to free freedom fighters from Guantanamo Bay (Sean Penn).

9:40 P.M. "Why I hate the Military" (a short talk by William Jefferson Clinton).

9:45 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.

9:50 P.M. Dan Rather presented the Truth in Broadcasting Award by Michael Moore.

9:55 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.

10:00 P.M. "How George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld brought down the World Trade Center Towers" (Howard Dean).

10:30 P.M. Nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

11:00 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.

11:05 P.M. Al Gore re-invents the Internet.

11:15 P.M. "Our Troops are War Criminals" (John Kerry).

11:30 P.M. Coronation Of Mrs. Rodham Clinton.

12:05 A.M. Bill asks Ted to drive Hillary home...

** Big thanks to Barry Weinstein for sending this one my way tonight;
I laughed so hard, I think I pulled a muscle! **

Kerry Recruiting Poster

Gee, I wonder how the new poster will affect this quarter's recruitment numbers...

Thanks for the laugh, Master Chief! ...Keep 'em coming!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

POW Lawsuit against Kerry

Many have said that John Kerry's recent remarks at Pasadena City College were evidence that this man is still living in the 1960s Vietnam draft era. I think I know why...

Back in 2004 when Vietnam veterans brought Kerry's dubious war record and his anti-war activities to the forefront, Kerry did everything he could to avoid the issue and suppress the voices of those veterans he slandered time after time. Kerry is still living in that era because he's being forced to by Vietnam veterans who will not rest until the lies of this traitorous idiot are completely unmasked.

The Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation has filed a lawsuit that could force Kerry to come clean on his Vietnam "war crimes" charges:

"Thirty five years ago John Kerry slandered an entire generation of men who fought in Vietnam branding them as a "war criminals." Today, much of the same thing is being said about our young men and women in Iraq.

Now, a lawsuit filed in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas will test the very foundation of Kerry’s anti-war persona for the first time. It isn’t dubious medals or Kerry’s disputed service record in Vietnam that is being called into question. This time Kerry may finally be forced to answer for the events that launched his public career, one that made him an anti-war hero for many American liberals and a turncoat for millions of Vietnam veterans."

As we all well know, Teresa Heinz Kerry has deep pockets and will most certainly give John a bigger allowance to fight this. The VVLF needs your help funding this court battle.

Please donate whatever you can spare to help unmask this pompous, lying scumbag once and for all. Help clear the name of the honorable men and women who served in Vietnam.