Monday, August 27, 2012

That is some cutting edge humor right there, I tell ya

When I first found out that the Republicans might have to postpone the start of their convention because of the approach of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac, I knew it would only be a matter of time before some moron on the Left made a joke about God doing this to the Republicans as some sort of sign.

I was not disappointed.

We have two takers so far:  Muppet-voiced former MSNBC flunkie David Shuster, and former governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, who hosts her own show on Al Gore's flagship station CurrentTV.

I have to ask, do either of these leftist cult members even believe in God in the first place?  Yet there they are using God as some sort of bludgeon to insult their political rivals.  If the roles were reversed, I could easily see those on the left having a hissy fit and deriding the offending commentators as religious wackos.  But do I really need to go into that ol' double standard?

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be."  -Thomas Jefferson

RIP Neil Armstrong, RIP America

The passing of Neil Armstrong represents much more than the death of one man who accomplished something extraordinary.  He was a link to the "old" America; the United States at the height of its power, influence, creativity, potential.

Actually, by 1969 - the year the moon landing took place - the United States had already begun its long downhill economic and cultural slide on which it is currently still traveling, but but just like Rome wasn't built in a day, it didn't collapse in a day either.

Does anyone not find it odd that the men who planted their feet on the surface of the moon are beginning to die of old age, and yet we have not put anyone back up there since?  I just turned 40 years old this summer, and yet, the last time an American walked on the moon, I was a mere six months old.

Today, not only has the moon program been long abandoned, the space shuttle program has been scrapped as well.  If I recall correctly, even the days of the International Space Station are numbered.  The one bright light is that private enterprise has picked up the proverbial football and is running it into space, but when you look at their accomplishments and their progress, you get the feeling that private space entrepreneurs have been forced to somewhat reinvent the wheel.

The United States is still living off the residual glory created by the human capital of earlier generations.  Neil Armstrong was a member of those earlier generations.  But as people like Neil Armstrong continue to pass into history, who will replace him?  I know it is easy to look around at our society today with its smart phones and other advanced technologies, but am I the only one to think that it all feels like we are on borrowed time?

Neil Armstrong made one small step for A man that represented one giant leap for mankind.  But so far, that one giant leap seems to have landed in quicksand.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be."  -Thomas Jefferson  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Logical consequences to life's choices, and the media's unwillingness to mention it

In today's Sunday edition of the Sacramento Bee, the front page story was an extended piece detailing the saga of a street called Loucreta Drive, which is located in the heart of deeply dysfunctional south Sacramento.

This summer has seen two murders committed on Loucreta within two weeks of each other, and in the last five years, there have been 45 murders committed within a two-mile radius of that street.

When I read an article like this in the newspaper - just about any newspaper - I am always struck by the reporter's seemingly clueless, passive description of the lives of the people profiled in the article.  The people's travails are written in a way that makes it seem like bad things - such as murders, arrests, poverty, home foreclosures - just randomly happen to them for no apparent reason.

Scattered throughout the article were statements and descriptions that, seemingly unintended by the reporter, tell us everything we need to know about why people's lives are so screwed up on places like Loucreta Drive, and most other places in south Sac (and all over the nation).  Here are some of those random quotes (in bold) from the article, with each followed by my own take on things (in italics):

"In the darkness of a July morning in the bedroom of her south Sacramento apartment, Beverly Gibson woke to an explosion of gunfire...It was just after 3 a.m. on July 18, and sheriff's squad cars and ambulances once again were screaming toward Loucreta Drive in the heart of Sacramento County's Florin neighborhood."

I just looked it up: July 18, 2012 was a Wednesday.  What are people doing out at 3am on a workday?

"'But the neighborhood has gone way down," Bisher said. "It's sad. It's a scary place now.' Many of the street's current residents agree. But poverty, bad credit and poor choices in their past give them few other options for housing, they said."

Hmm.  What kind of "poor choices"?  At least the reporter gives at least some hint of these people being responsible for their own mess.

 A search of voter registration and court records shows that at least 28 people who have lived on Loucreta in recent years have been arrested in connection with felony crimes, mostly drug offenses.
All of those things, plus a high unemployment rate and cuts in police and social services, have made life on Loucreta dangerously unpredictable.

Well, committing a felony tends to put a crimp on your employment opportunities.  And notice the dig on local government:  They just can't live without those social services!

"'Most of the people out here don't work, so it's their job to hang out,' said [Sheriff's Deputy] Johnson, who has patrolled the area for more than a decade. 'Bad things can happen when you have so many people just hanging out on the street with nothing to do.'"

Now we are getting to the meat of it.  I wonder, how is it that people are able to not work and "hang out" all day and not starve to death?  Whatever happened to the Apostle Paul's admonition that those who do not work do not eat?  There must be some way these people are receiving money to survive?

"'I don't have a dollar,' [Toeneshya] Crump answered. 'I'm broke.'
It is a common theme on Loucreta Drive during the final days of each month, when government checks are stretched past their limit.
Almost 25 percent of residents in the census tract that includes Loucreta Drive live in poverty, about double the countywide average, census figures show. Many of the families have been poor for generations, with offspring who grow up without much aspiration for school or a work life."

Ahh!  Now it starts to come into focus.  Perhaps these generations of poor have their aspirations for school and work strangled by those government checks that are stretched past their limit.  But they must buy only the bare essentials with those government checks, right?

Read more here:

 "Sometimes, one youngster said, families will sell TVs or PlayStations to pay for groceries... 'I had very high goals at one time,' said [Danisha] Gardner, her silver hoop earrings dangling as she sat next to her mother in the shade of Beverly Gibson's open garage door. But after she got pregnant at 17, she said, everything fell apart... Scrolling through her email messages, Gardner suddenly halted her diatribe."

Looks like those government checks are getting spent on silver hoop earrings, TVs, PlayStations, email (on a cell or smart phone, I presume), and diapers and food for babies birthed by 17 year-old single mothers.  It's all about choices folks.

There are many more quotes from this article I could paste, but I am assuming you are getting the picture.  This is all such simple economics.  These people are dysfunctional and are making all kinds of horrible life choices because they can afford it.  Courtesy of us, Joe and Jane Taxpayer, these people are able to live their horrific lifestyle because, through the government confiscating money from the productive and functional people of society, we make it possible for these people to continue living that way.  As long as those government checks keep coming, what is going to convince them to change their ways?  Cut that off, and perhaps the prospect of starvation will properly focus the mind and make so much of that laziness and "hanging out" melt away as they get their able-bodied butts to work like the rest of us! 

As I read the article, I always got the feeling that the author was trying to paint a picture of hopeless despair that was supposed to make me feel sorry for these poor, put-upon people.  Instead, it made me that much more angry, knowing that they are living these dysfunctional lives at my (and my family's) expense.

I don't see this changing for the better anytime soon.  Too many politicians make their living and secure their employment by making as many people dependent on the government as possible.  They also realize that once Pandora's Box is opened, you can't close it again:  Now that these people are hooked on what FDR called the "narcotic" of welfare (yes, FDR), if Uncle Sugar ever cut off those government checks, you will see places like south Sacramento burning in an orgy of violence and plunder, that would undoubtedly spread to the places where productive people live.  No politician wants that to happen on his watch, and in a state like California, the majority of state legislooters will continue to be of the statist tax-and-spend variety who will enthusiastically keep people like the residents of Loucreta Drive on the taxpayer-funded dole.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be."  -Thomas Jefferson

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Please keep Biden. Please.

The meme is starting to be floated out there that the old crazy uncle in the Democrat attic, Vice Prez Joe Biden, might be replaced on Obama's 2012 ticket.  Maybe he will, maybe he won't.

I for one am hoping and praying that he stays on board the Obama Crazy Train for two simple reasons:

1.) Where else would we find someone else who is more gaffetastic than he?

2.) Don't you want to see him attempt to debate Paul Ryan when they lock horns at their Vice Presidential debate on October 11 of this year?  It will be like watching William F. Buckley taking on Larry from the Three Stooges.

The Republicans have put together a short add that asks Obama to keep Biden on board by showcasing Biden's many verbal missteps in a most humorous fashion:

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Olympic Thoughts

Some people I know don't like the Olympics, and seem very proud of announcing that they refuse to watch them.  As for me, I cannot help getting caught up in them, and I end up watching hours of coverage every night they are on; especially in the age of DVR, when I can fast forward through the coverage of equestrian, synchronized swimming, and rhythmic gymnastics, and focus on the important stuff like Swimming in the first half of the Games, and then especially Track and Field in the second half.

Now that the 2012 London Games have wrapped up, I just have a few random thoughts to share.

1. The Opening Ceremonies were Gawd Awful!  Danny Boyle really laid an egg with his vision of an opening ceremonies.  While there were some bright spots with the James Bond/Queen antics and Mr. Bean flummoxing his way through the Chariots of Fire theme, the ceremonies totally lost me with the ode to Britain's National Health Service.  How tacky and shamelessly political was that.  Then the ceremonies ended with that live sitcom/musical/modern love story between those two teenagers.  I wish I hadn't sat there so long hoping the opening ceremonies would get better.

2. The Closing Ceremonies on the other hand, I rather enjoyed.  I loved the retrospective of British musical acts that appeared, such as the Pet Shop Boys, Spice Girls, Fatboy Slim, Wish You Were Here with some of the older British Rockers channeling that Pink Floyd classic, and Annie Lennox, just to name a few.  The only band missing that would have made things better was Def Leppard.  I LOVE those guys!  I even liked the song sung by that otherwise moronic Russell Brand.

3. David Rudisha in the 800m.  My main race and first love when I ran Track in high school and college was the 800m.  I ran in the high 1:50s, so I always enjoyed watching my betters running in the 1:40s.  For years, the world record  was 1:41.73, set in 1981 by none other than the head of the London Olympic Committee, Sebastian Coe.  An African-turned-Dane named Wilson Kipketer dropped the record to 1:41.11 in the late-1990s, but that is as far as he got.  It took a Kenyan named David Rudisha to finally break that elusive 1:41 barrier, running 1:40.91 on his way to a gold medal.  What did the silver medalist run?  He ran 1:41.73.  In fact, this was the fastest 800m race in history.  Aside from the winner setting a world record, the first five finishers ran under 1:43, and the last place finisher ran 1:43.77.  That time would have won most of the previous Olympic 800m finals. Here is a unique view of Rudisha's record-breaking run from a fan in the stands:

4. Missy Franklin in swimming.  Whichever guy out there eventually snags Missy as his wife will be one lucky dude.  What a vibrant, enthusiastic, appreciative, and gracious young lady she is.  Even though she dominated most of her races, young Missy always acted like she was lucky to be there.

5. McKayla Maroney's vault in the gymnastics team competition.  Sorry Mary Lou, but Maroney's flight was simply the most perfect vault I have ever seen.  Too bad McKayla couldn't quite recreate the magic in the Vault finals later on in the Games.

6. The Great BMX Pile-up of 2012.  Do I think BMX racing should be an Olympic sport?  Not necessarily.  Do I think this crash was one of the unsung highlights of the Games?  Definitely!  The lone rider who avoided this mangle must have been guffawing all the way to the finish line:

7. Leo Manzano's split loyalties. Hey Leo, I am so proud of you for passing several runners in the final 100m of the Men's 1500m final and snagging the silver medal - the first medal of any color for an American male in this event since 1968. Unfortunately Leo, you ruined the moment by wearing your USA singlet but carrying a Mexican flag with you during your victory lap. Shame on you. Of course Leo was a little bit freaky to begin with. The first time I saw him was in a qualifying heat earlier in the Games. While he stood back of the starting line waiting for his race, while giving off several nerdy squints, he proceeded to repeatedly lick his fingertips, and then rub those fingertips on various locations on his torso and legs. I am not kidding!


8. Serena Williams gettin' her ghetto on. A little victory dance after winning the gold medal on the Wimbledon court is fine, Serena. But when your dance is the Crip Walk, which was popularized by cold-blooded gang-banging killers in South Central Los Angeles, you end up looking as trashy and offensive as they are.  Way to be an "Ugly American" on the world stage. 

9. The Jamaican victory in the Men's 4x100m Relay. What was there not to like in this final? You had the two fastest men in the world on the Jamaican team. You had a former 100m Olympic Champion (Justin Gatlin) on the American team.  We all knew it was going to be a race for the ages, but my goodness what a spectacle!  The Jamaican and American teams were essentially even all the way around the track up to the point when their anchor legs took the batons.  Then Usain Bolt began his run into history, leaving American Ryan Bailey in the dust, and anchoring the first relay team to ever break 37 seconds (36.85).  The Americans equaled the old world record (37.04) that the Jamaicans had just broken!  The best part is that for the first time that I have ever seen, Usain Bolt didn't act like a jackass as he approached the finish line and ran all the way through the tape.  Makes one wonder if that 36.85 will ever be broken?

10. The American victory in the Women's 4x100m Relay.  The old world record of 41.37 had stood since 1985.  It was set by four East German women who we suspected at the time, and now know, were hopped up on a state-sponsored regimen of steroids, human growth hormone, testosterone, and Lord knows what else.  That record is now history, as our team ran 40.82.  Now if only we could expunge from the record books such other performances from the former Eastern Bloc countries, including the men's hammer and discus, and the women's 400m, 800m, 4x400m Relay, Discus, Shot Put, and Javelin.  Just as an example, check out the current world record holder (1:53.28) in the Women's 800m.  Jarmila Kratochvilova of Czechoslovakia set that record in 1983, and it is still standing.  Of course when that record was set by a "woman" that looked like this... wonder if it will ever be broken by today's actual female runners.

  • Oscar Pistorius's magic legs.  I am still unsure whether or not I agree with the decision to allow the South African 400m runner to compete with carbon fiber prostheses attached to his amputated legs, but I must admit that it was quite inspiring to watch him run down that track!  
  • The female Chinese swimmer who swam the last 100m freestyle leg in her Medley race just as fast as Ryan Lochte did when he won the men's race in that same event.  I have more to say on the Chinese and their freakish athletic performances in another post.  The Eastern Bloc countries may be no more, but now we have China to pick up the mantle of improved athletic performance through state-sponsored chemistry.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be."  -Thomas Jefferson