Thank you Reuters...
We get the subtle reference. Sort of blatant even from The King's perspective. I wouldn't want the media doing this to GOP candidates (although they take every advantage when the time arises) ....
In this case, the shoe does fit. We just didn't need a full blown picture to illustrate what we already know to be true. The Clinton campaign must be fuming this morning.
Well, the Clinton campaign made sure the picture of Barrack dressed in Islamic garb got circulated so maybe what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Early on during my high school experience, I took an interest in politics and public policy. I can't say that I was fully committed one way or another during those years, and despite his unpopularity with my teachers (most of whom were probably union Democrats) I favored President Ronald Reagan for his wisdom, words, and love of country. President Reagan was my introduction to conservatism, although at the time, I didn't understand what that really meant. It took me a decade later to understand just how great he truly was.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, I recall watching Magnum P.I. superstar Tom Selleck doing commercials for National Review. I can hear Selleck saying, "...and its a very funny magazine." If it was good enough for Tom Selleck, I'm sure it was good enough for all of us. This may have led to us watching Bill Buckley's show Firing Line on PBS (this was back when we used television antennas so the options were pretty limited back then... hehehe). Of course, WFB wasn't easy to understand from a adolescent's perspective, but it seemed somewhat interesting nonetheless.
When I got to college, I read authors on the right and on the left. During that time, I remember reading Up From Liberalism by William F. Buckley, Jr. In fact, there were a lot of books that William F. Buckley wrote which shaped my understanding of the American political system and process. And I still own so many of them. William F. Buckley indeed helped to open my mind to conservatism by forcing me to look at complex problems in public policy from an issue-based perspective.
I frequently remember watching Mr. Buckley debate worthy opponents on his show, and watching his opponents try to reach back two or three questions later to respond because it took them that long to catch up with Mr. Buckley's brilliant mind to finally realize he had whipped them on the particular question asked five or six minutes prior. In fact, we all noticed it. And we all enjoyed it. Every minute of it.
I also remember reading his many columns courtesy of the Conservative Chronicle newspaper. Each piece was a work of art. A well constructed argument, well-organized, and perfectly written. You knew you were reading greatness. While Rush Limbaugh talked on aimlessly for three hours, five times a week, WFB wrote a mini-500-word thesis that appeared only once a week - but was worth it's weight in gold. Each sentence was billiant, each essay flowed to a logical conclusion. And if you didn't catch yourself, you'd find yourself grinning Buckley-style by the end.
Ronald Reagan taught us about leadership, patience, and what it meant to be an American. William F. Buckley taught us to take the high road by winning debates on issues and substance while at the same time interjecting laughter at both our opponents ideas, - and our opponents. With Mr. Buckley, it was never personal, no, it just was.
Thank you Mr. Buckley. Rest in Peace. And may God bless and console your family.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
At the peak of it's day, the idea of running an blog dedicated to English Soccer in all its forms - Premier League, National Team, Champions League, Carling Cup, on and on and on was a novel idea. But in all honestly, my meager attempt has lead to miserable failure. Oh well. No one died.
But on the other hand, I guess I have to accept that the project was doomed from the start. Not only are there hundreds upon hundreds of sites dedicated to English Football, all reporting timely news and appropriate commentary, but my opinion on the topics were not outside of mainstream thinking or reporting by the average fan. At least not original or timely enough to warrant a 24/7 blog that I could hardly maintain. (And at times, this one is hard to maintain consistently).
I first started that blog so as not to clutter this one with English soccer stories, and it seemed every other day, I had a number of stories that centered around Premier League activity; this became confusing to my readership which found two sides which decried that my blog was either too sporty, or too political.
Whatever it was it was at least more active with new posts and stories.
Now, I guess I just don't really care.
This blogs main purpose is to make me happy. So if I write about how great Manchester United is or how crummy Hillary Clinton is, I guess I shouldn't really care about what the readership thinks. At least not entirely. A few of you that I know, I do care about what you think.... its the drive by types that "think they know me" but don't have a clue. I think I might even have relatives like that.
So moving forward, expect to see a few more comments on the world of sport here. For those who don't like sports, I guess your a click away from the next blog.
As for English Soccer, I get plenty of it these days. Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN have been doing their duty to keep me well entertained over the past several weeks and months. I still wish I could get Setanta, but that would require a dish, and you never get something without giving up something. And the whole dish thing seems pretty complicated to me. Not to mention that my wife doesn't want a thing that looks like a radar tracking station on the roof of our nice house.
I look forward to the day that the cable industry no longer finds it profitable to divide channels and line ups into rigid territories, and we can move to where all channels are a la carte - if you so choose. You pick what you want, and pay for what you REALLY want to watch.
The only negative to this suggestion is that channel surfers would lose the ability to watch shows they don't normally watch ... you know.... five minutes of mongooses in the wild, or the building of a Sherman Tank, or a biography of some drunken Hollywood boob. You know, stuff that entertains you for for less than five minutes until you feel obliged to move on.
Americans are big on options. We just aren't big on paying $120 a month when 95% of what's broadcasted is unwatchable garbage.
If I had a line up, it would probably look like this (not in order of priority or anything):
1. CBS Local Affiliate
2. ABC Local Affiliate
3. NBC Local Affiliate
6. ESPN 2
7 ESPN Classic
8. SCI FI Channel
9. Fox News
10. Fox Local Affiliate
11. Fox Soccer Channel
13. Gol TV
15. Discovery Channel
16. History Channel
17. Travel Channel
18. History International
22-30: My wive's choice; she may throw in a few channels that she watches, but I'm not sure.
That would probably do it. The rest is crap.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
They say if you have nothing nice to say about someone you shouldn't say anything at all. At least that's what our parents and grandparents used to say.
Just imagine what that would do to Presidential campaigning in this country.... particularly on television.
60 second spots of dead air.
Think of the public service in all of it. Quiet, silent, speechless candidates. How wonderful. Of course, that's a mild starter to what I really wanted to post about today....
It's two factors that seem to undermine the very fabric of a process meant to be - one person, one vote, and allow individuals with like-minded ideas to debate issues and choose their best candidate to run for President on behalf of that consititency or group.
Yeah right. What crap. Here's my huge beef with all of this. I was watching C-SPAN this morning, and a caller was talking about theories of people crossing over to vote in the Democratic caucus to help either Hillary or Obama out do each other to rig the election. Meaning Republicans going out to cast a vote for Obama or Hillary (depending on your point of view of conspiracy) to tilt the nomination one way or another.
I guess I have a HUGE problem with states that allow this kind of behavior. And for once, I have to give Connecticut a pat on the back here. In crazy Connecticut, if you are a registered Republican you can ONLY vote in the Republican Primary, and if you are a registered Democrat, you can ONLY vote in the Democratic primary.
It's not like I can just wander into the Elks Lodge without being a member and vote for their new Grand Bazzola or whatever. It's not my business to involve myself in their business because I'm NOT a member.
This seems to make sense.
Why should anyone be allowed to participate in a political party primary who isn't affiliated with the party conducting it?
Seems to me that it only makes sense that those deciding who is nominated from a particular party should be card-holding members of that party. Why should anyone else get to muck around in someone else's business? Seems F'd up to me that some states allow people to cross over and impact other people's business.
These are the kinds of things that make me think that we are REALLY screwed up.
Now there are talks about Superdelegates. The role and use of Superdelegates seems to be a very underhanded tactic to me. The whole things smells of Democratic treachery and deceitfulness; its a great way to throw the race and play games by bypassing the will of the voters. Superdelegates are open to bribery and pretending to be someone their not.
Yeah, sure. They willl play the game of trying to appear to be "more thoughtful", meanwhile the fix is in. In the 11th hour, after the wheeling and dealing has been done, here comes superdelegate to save Hillary from her deserved defeat. Super-delegates can screw over their state and decide to vote as they wish. Or perhaps how they've been paid off to vote.
For all of the nasty and cut throat approaches within GOP primary circles, I have to at least give Republicans one bit of credit - they kick each other in ass in broad daylight. They cut and slash on televison or triple team candidates with the cameras rolling.
Not Democrats. Oh no. For people who are supposed to be "working on behalf of ordinary people" - they seem to be working with the special, elite people, and leaving the voice of their own every day people in the toliet. Superdelegates..... more like Supermalarky.
If Hillary wins by Superdelegate defections, count the fix as in. And if I were Barrack Obama, and I lost because of this electioneering.... I'd go on TV the next day, and endorse John McCain.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Great article here by Christopher Hitchens.
Must read. Just how irrelevant is the Archbishop becoming these days. Doesn't he have enough of a problem trying to make sense out of upcoming schism.
Was his plate not full enough that he had to get embroiled in a world-wide debate on the merits of introducing Muslim Sharia law into a secular society? Is he mad? Or is he just seeking a pink slip to get out of the whole mess?
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Television is a great evil, and probably a great time waster. One of my favorite bumper stickers reads - "Kill your Television". I guess I've never calculated all of the hours that I spend per week watching (or listening whilst doing other things) and just through writing this blog entry, I find reason to do a little arithmatic on this very subject.
I define active viewing as paying attention to at least 50% of the content shown or heard. Anyone with children understands that rarely can you focus 75% on any one activity with young ones about. My active television habits are as follows:
Weekday daily morning news and weather over coffee (15-25 mins) - usually WFSB Channel 3; If something interesting is going on nationally, I might tune to Fox and Friends, or if I need a mental boost. During baseball season, 30 minute NESN Sportsdesk trumps all. This is mandatory viewing for Sox fans. If the Sox win, I watch almost all of it, if they lose I may only watch the recap and then switch channels.
Weekday evening news (30 mins nightly) - again usually WFSB, if beyond 6:30 pm, I usually switch it to NBC or other just because I find Katie Couric and CBS sort of stale
Weeknight viewing (varies, but no less than 4 hours per week total, and no more than 10 hours per week max - and I tend not to watch repeats, so if the new season hasn't begun, I'm not watching unless the show was particularly good. And I think that most of what's on television is crap. Pure, unadulterated crap.
The network/cable shows I watch religiously are: Most Haunted, Hell's Kitchen, Jericho, House, Fox Soccer Phone In (note the new network season hasn't kicked in so I'm not watching most of these except Most Haunted, and Fox Soccer Phone In). So to fill the gaps, I may watch bits and pieces through channel surfing; this doesn't really change my viewing total: usually on Fox News Channel, History Channel, Biography Channel, Travel Channel, and Fox Soccer Channel.
On weeknights, we also watch Fox News at 10 - but usually about half of it (15 minutes). The news crew on there can put anyone to sleep.
Sports is a different animal and it depends on the season. During baseball season, Red Sox baseball usually stays on from pre-game to however long I can stay awake (thus the need to watch NESN sports desk in the am). Now realize that I may actively watch 35 mins of this, while listening to most of it as I do other things. But the Sox play on weeknights, on average of 3-4 nights. I may be around for only half of that.
Weekends: If the Sox aren't on, my focus is turned to the English Premier League. Since Saturday and Sunday are "chore days" and "family days" which include going to the store, mowing the lawn, laundry, etc., its very hard for me to watch a 90-minute game, plus stoppage time and the break. If I miss a lot of the games, I'll watch the Sunday show "Premier League Review Show" which shows highlights from the 10 weekend games (there are 20 EPL teams in the EPL).
Of course, then there are the other sports - UConn Huskies Basketball (Men's games), and NCAA special weeks as we grow closer to the tournament. And during the NCAA tournament - these games trump all sports just because of the excitement of the games.
Since we moved out of taxville, I decided that it was high time to get ourselves a DVR box so I could have even more flexibility with my television viewing. For the longest time, I thought having a DVR would be a waste of money (cable prices are already outrageous) since it was hardly a necessity, and that it would promote more timewasting (after all if you missed your show, you probably were doing something more important than sitting in front of the tv anyway). But I was also aggravated by the fact that if you missed something you really wanted to watch, it wouldn't be repeated for a long time to come, or perhaps never repeated. And if it was a series, missing an episode of a show is a bummer. My biggest beef with networks is that they don't replay shows late at night on the same night. I think this is a classic mistake.
But instead of being a waste of time, I've found it's added some value to my quality of life. Of course, you have to program it, but I've taken to setting it up to record shows I may or may not be around for, just in case plans change. It's not like I really altered my schedule to be home to watch certain programming, but now I just don't even give it any thought at all.
So to start with - the biggest source of aggravation for me was missing a majority of English Premier League games over the weekend, or the occassional game played during the week - which may be live but would also be played based on British schedules (Greenwich Mean Time), and now I could care less - I just queue up the DVR and go about my business. And it someone is faking injury on the pitch, or the game is lagging, I can easily fast forward through the baloney.
And since I'm usually exhausted by 10 pm on a Friday night, I now record Most Haunted so I can crash early after a long week. Then there is all the other programming that I might take interest in that might be worth viewing in my spare time - shows on travel, history or the occassional movie.
As for the price, I would agree that the cable company tends to have us by the balls since the cost is outrageous, and there are few other options around. It's not a monopoly, but with so few choices, it might as well be. The pluses and minuses of each, and the relative cost by comparison put all the options at about or nearly the same - after all the sign up freebies are over. And I think that the cable company would really have to do something ominously hateful for my wife to allow us to put a huge DEATH STAR looking radar dish on the side of our house.
So now life is good. I'm typing, drinking coffee, and watching yesterday's Derby v Tottenham game while everyone else is sleeping in. Ha!
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Yes, its true. In a speech to C-PAC, Mitt Romney formally withdrew from the GOP Presidential race.
I thought the speech summed it up nicely. He fought the good fight, and presented great ideas. But his campaign couldn't withstand the two on one attacks forged by McCain and Huckabee. And bottom line is that after a very slow start, and making a few poor decisions - like taking the high road against the initial volleys by McCain, Huckabee, and cast, there wasn't much that he could do to mount a comeback.
The suspension of his campaign is a matter of simple mathematics, probablilities, and forecasts. To have continued would have been futile and the end game probably would be the same. John McCain is going to be our nominee. The sooner we realize this, and halt the infighting - the better our positioning will be to begin our national campaign as a solidified party.
Now a lot can be said about all of this. I know my conservative allies are less than thrilled about a John McCain presidency. And they have good reason. But weighed against the notion of an Obama or more likely - a Hillary Clinton as President, the sense of urgency to work for and elect John McCain never became so damn important.
Ok, Huck. Now its your turn. Mitt upstaged you - that much is true. Now Huck, do you have the class to follow Mitt's lead and step down? Or are you in it for yourself? Your secret partnership with McCain proved vital to his getting the nomination... "mission accomplished."
I guess we'll find out soon enough about what you are really made of.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
A number of my libertarian friends are hell-bent on supporting Ron Paul to the end. It's an obsession with them; much like the last Al-Queda member hunkering down in a cave, ready to fire the last shot of his rifle to defeat Democracy.
I can understand this act of political defiance. I can understand their anger with a weak Republican field, and their feeling of being disenfranchized; although I find their claims of a media blackout to be ludicrious considering the amount to attention and airtime that I've personally seen given to Dr. Paul. (in fact, every candidate's supporter say the same thing - particularly when they are losing. It's a way of giving your candidate a bye on his or her own accountability).
Back in the early 90s, I was far more activist than I am now. I was a proud supporter of Patrick J. Buchanan. I thought Pat was right for his time, and looking back, many of his predictions are coming true - certainly with regard to the deterioration of moral and cultural values, and the negative impacts of uncontrolled borders. And even his points on Free Trade seems to be shaping up to be correct. Since that time, we've faced a brutal attack by Arab Nations, hell-bent on our destruction. Pat didn't want an entanglement, but in the age of nuclear weapons and the fact that the people building them are a fanatical bunch, I've become far more "hawkish" on these points, and would rather take the war to them before its too late. Today, Pat and I probably part ways on a number of points including this one.
The reason I'm bringing Patrick Buchanan into this essay is to let the Ron Paul supporters understand that while some of Mr. Paul's postions have merit, its the total package including points on National Security that in of biggest concern. Isolationist positions in this day and age are impractical considering the ramifications of retreat, or worse - turning a blind eye. And I have to admit, the primary battle did help weaken George H. W. Bush, although most of the damage he did was self-inflicted - he raised taxes and was a terrible candidate, unable to connect with the average voter, or articulate simple, clear cut policy positions that made sense.
Ron Paul could be 80% of everything we ever wanted in a President, policy-wise. But he was doomed from the start by taking isolationist, impractical postions, and wanting to withdraw from Iraq and Afganistan, and anywhere else terrorist pose a threat. Even Democrats recognize that our long term strategy includes remaining knee deep in the Middle East. It's the duty of "our time" not self-imposed, but necessary given the level of threat. And quoting costs of our military operations (as Paul often does) doesn't matter a hill of beans, when the price to be paid for doing little or nothing is so costly. Do we care how much it cost to keep ourselves and our families safe? Hello?
It's hard to pick on Ron Paul for being old when John McCain is pretty darn old. Personally, I'm disappointed that the GOP cannot come up with a younger set of candidates to run for office who fall in line with conservative principles. (I also think this fascination with Obama is a lot about youth). But Ron Paul doesn't come across as electable - he is seen as frail and aged. He also comes across disorientated and confused. His appearance during the Fox debate was very unfortunate. At times, he didn't seem to really answer the questions and went off on a tangent.
The fact is, the way the primary system is devised, it takes months of preparation, and the buy-in of key contributers, coordinators, and endorsements, long before you run. People like Hillary Clinton and John McCain have been planning (if not scheming for years and years). Moreover, when you are an upstart candidate, hell-bent on upseting the apple cart of establishment candidates, you need to strike early. Ron Paul never made the case that he was a contender against the main stream.
Ron Paul supporters unfortunately can't seem to handle this fact. And that's really sad, if not immature. Instead they band together and express displeasure with the media, and anyone else they can find to blame. They claim media blackouts, voter fraud, bad weather, and anything they can think of. Well, the fact is that there has been plenty of Ron Paul, particularly in states that have already had primaries. At some point, you have to be realistic and recognize that for whatever reason, your candidate and your candidates message isn't resonating.
Ron Paul has long reached this point. He's done. His single digit results show that he's no longer a serious contender.
So now what? Instead of bowing out gracefully he's going to spend the rest of the primary period, siphoning off votes from double digit contenders to prove what? That he's "got a message for Washington?" If he wants to save his reputation and maintain any sense of self-respect, he aught to step down. The continuation of his campaign is in bad taste. And his campaign benefits moderate Republicans like John McCain.
Before South Carolina's primary, I told Ron Paul supporters that their votes for Ron Paul were indeed a vote for Ron Paul. With Super Tuesday only hours away, its fair to tell Ron Paul supporters that their votes on Tuesday are no longer votes for a feasible, or electable candidate. On Super Tuesday, any vote for Ron Paul is a vote for John McCain.
So go ahead, Ron Paul supporters. Get yourselves in a frenzy. Go ahead, and THINK you are making a difference, or sending a protest vote, or REALLY edging Ron Paul ahead to victory.
Then remember, John McCain thanks you for your vote.