Friday, February 25, 2005


President George W. Bush has extolled the virtues of democracy time and time again. Yet, it is not enough that a country adopt democracy. They must now adopt a specific form of democracy, as dictated, by us.

In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bush said that Washington--read: the neo-cons--"had concerns about Russia's commitment in fulfilling" the "universal principles" of democracy.

He went on: "Yet democracies have certain things in common; they have a rule of law, and protection of minorities, a free press, and a viable political opposition."

Putin was visibly--and understandably--irritated. According to the article, "in Russian official circles, the meeting is likely to be seen as a humiliation". Putin's job is tough enough without our "help". Undermining him will hurt his chances of ruling Russia effectively.

After all, why is it any of our business what kind of government--let alone democracy--Russia has? Roosevelt allies with Stalin just over fifty years ago because it helped us win World War II. Yet today, when an American-Russian alliance is just as important, Bush is needlessly alienating Putin.

What good does it do to anger Russia? The cold war is long over and with it our animosity should fade. Pushing Russia away only allows her to grow closer to the Muslim world. Bush knows this. His ultimatum has been set: either you are with us or you are against us. Does he want Russia to be against us?

It is high time we allow Russia to determine her own fate. Arrogance on our part will only worsen our chances at winning this "war on terror". We are not at war with Russia, and our policy should reflect this.

As Jefferson penned so long ago, let us hold Russia "as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace, friends".

Thursday, February 24, 2005


A thirteen year-old Florida boy recently recieved a ten day suspension for "the use of any object or instrument used to make a threat or inflict harm".

The article of contention? A rubber-band.

For the record, I am against rubber-band assault. I do wonder though, as to the merits of imposing a ten day suspension. According to the article, the ten day suspension is for Level 4 offenses. Other Level 4 offenses include: "arson, assault and battery, bomb threats and explosives".

I'm all for discipline. If a kid is being belligerent, by all means, punish him. Still, I can't shake this feeling that the threat of rubber band assault is being overstated by just a bit.

Maybe it's just a sign of the times. Are we so afraid that a rubber band in the hands of an adolecent boy is really threatening?

I'd hate to see what would happen if a real threat ever emerged.

Oh wait...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Lies and Change

The presedential election of 2004 was the most important of our lifetime.

And Barry Bonds never did steroids.

Needless to say, I was quite disappointed that the majority of voting Americans bought into this lie. Americans turned out to vote for one of the major party candidates. The logic went, well, at least he's not the other guy.

Perhaps it's because I'm young and idealistic, but I thought I was supposed to vote for the candidate who best reflected my views.

There seems to be a growing number of people who are displeased with the way things are being run. The government is no longer "by the people, of the people, and for the people". Yet a plurality of Americans turn around and vote for the Republicans or the Democrats, as if they hadn't any choice.

That's a funny way to bring about change, to do the same thing and expect different results. That is the definition of insanity.

It's too early to talk about this, but it must be said all the same. When the election of 2008 draws near, we will again hear the parisan hacks telling us how this is the most important election of out lifetimes. Don't believe the lie. The only way we will ever bring out change is if we start to stand up against mediocrity...

one vote at a time.

Misplaced Priorities

Bush and company are bringing the war to the terrorists in Iraq. The benefits of such a move are slim, and approaching none, because Bush is ignoring a greater threat. Iran, Syria, and North Korea are all "threats", but there is a bigger problem, one that hits much closer to home.

Our borders are porous. It makes absolutely no sense to go after the terrorists in the Middle East if we're allowing them to waltz right into the United States.

According to Yahoo news, (
20050223/ts_usatoday/despitenewtechnologyborderpatroloverwhelmed) of the three million illegals who attempt to cross the US-Mexican border, we detain about one third.

That average may get one into the Hall of Fame, but this isn't baseball. This is national defense and the stakes are just a tad bit higher.

While the majority of the two million or so illegals are Mexican workers looking for a place to work, it is naive to think that all of the aliens are harmless. It would defy the laws of probability to assume that there aren't any terrorists among us thanks to inept border policy.

All the airport security in the world doesn't help if the terrorists don't take a plane.

If Bush is serious about terrorism, he'll secure the borders. His complacency tells me that he is more concerned with spreading democracy than keeping his fellow Americans safe.

As we live in a free society, we will never be completely safe. We will be attacked again. I am not asking Bush to do the impossible. I am asking him to hold up his Constitutional duty to "provide for the common defense".

It's really not too much to ask.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The End of the West

The epic film Ben Hur is known for its raw portrayal of human emotion. It is a tale of vengeance and forgiveness, love and seething hate. Millions have watched this movie for these themes which have resonated throughout human history. Today, there is another, more important, lesson we can learn from Ben Hur.

The Roman tribunal Messala is infatuated with Rome. He tells Judah Ben Hur that Rome is the future.

Turns out he was wrong.

At it's height, the Roman Empire was untouchable. Messala forgot that the only constant in this world is change. For Rome and for the Western world, this too shall pass.

I'm not playing the doomer here. The end of the world is not at hand. We are, however, in a transitional period in history. All signs point to a dying and declining West and a future that is anything but set in stone.

There are many reasons why the end is near for the West. First and foremost, she is not reproducing. Fears of over-population, coupled with a cultural acceptance of birth control have led to birth rates that do not even reach replacement level. In Europe, only Albanians reproduce at a rate to maintain current population. In America, without immigration, the national population would decline year after year.

These are not signs of a vibrant people. It gets worse. Cradle-to-the-grave governmental service in European countries will lead to bankruptcy. In Germany, unemployment rates are at their highest levels since World War II. The situation will only be exacerbated as tax rates must sky-rocket to provide for social programs.

Like Rome, we have forgotten how we became great. Only through hard work and sacrifice does one accomplish anything. Today we possess an entitlement mentality: "I want what I want. I want it right now and I deserve it regardless of what I do". This attitude is beyond self-destructive.

I could go on, but my point is not to damn the West. If she wishes to avoid the fate of Messala's Rome, there are things to be done.

The current trend on birth rates must be reversed. Easier said than done, but a necessity nonetheless. Never has a country weened itself into domination. An old population recycled old ideas and does not change the world. The future of a country lies in its youth, and if it has no youth, well, you do the math.

Social spending must be curbed. If democracies continue to hand out money to anyone and everyone who needs it, what reason should the rest of society work for it? Add this to an aging and retiring population and the strain on tomorrow's worker will be too much to take. Current economic policy will only lead to devastation.

Lastly, we need to re-focus culturally. Today's Westerners practice an "if it feels good, do it" mentality. Ignoring the morality angle, this is extremely dangerous. A responsible citizen practices restraint. Science has given us sex without consequences, but marriages still fall apart at a staggering rate. This is detrimental to our children's welfare--the few that we have--and is the start of a vicious cycle. It's time to reverse that cycle.

If this advice is not heeded, the West--as we know it--will cease to be. This doesn't mean the end of the world. The destruction of the Roman Empire empire led to the Renaissance. A bright new future may await us, but it may also hold wars and famine. It is difficult to see.

If we wish to fiddle while Rome burns, we will be forced to deal with whatever hand the future deals us. The other option is to--armed with history--hang on to what we have been given.

The choice is yours.

Dear Wastes-Of-My-Time,

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is sick of so-called bloggers wasting webspace. Here's a fictional blog I can use to illustrate my point.

Today I went to work. I am really sick of . I've been so busy doing . I'm just so stressed. I feel... blah blah blah, blah blah blah.

Listen. No one cares. If you want to tell a close friend about your day, that's fine. Another alternative is to keep a little journal. Instead, you have to post this rubbish all over the internet where we all have to put up with the details of your benign life.

Furthermore, if you are so stressed and busy, here's a thought: don't waste time and the little brainpower you have posting. That's the equivalent of pouring water down the drain and complaining about how thirsty you are.

We all have cares/fears/worries. You are not a unique or special snowflake. You are just as boring and uninteresting as everyone else. Yes, that means me. I'm not anyone special, but the difference is, I realize it.

So what makes my use of webspace any more important than yours?

Certainly it's subjective, but here's my argument. I am trying to contribute to a forum on ideas. I am in the practice of changing minds, encouraging my fellow man to think for herself. Critical thinking is a dying practice and I am attempting to turn the tides of apathy.

I'm not trying to censor you here. If you want to continue wasting space, by all means do. That's the beauty of the internet. Everyone has a voice.

If you could try to make your posts approach poignancy I would greatly appreciate it. Of course, you could continue to drown in futility. It's your life, not mine.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Poor Democrats

The junior Senator from Massachusetts is at is again. Joining ranks with fellow Democrats Hillary Clinton (New York) and Barbara Boxer (California), Kerry is pushing for legislation to allow ex-cons to vote.

Has it really come to this? I know the Democrats have lost the last two elections--and worse, to an absolute imbecile--and have won just two presidential elections since 1980. I know they're not happy about being the minority party in both houses of Congress. It'd be great if they could have at least some power in the government. That I get. What I fail to understand is how a move to allow ex-cons to vote helps anybody.

Does the polling data suggest that the Democrats pull the much coveted felon vote? I guess it's a testament to how dreary things actually are when reaching out to the ex-convicts is even an option. Either that, or Washington's con-lobby is just much more powerful than I imagined.

Note to Democrats: if you're the favorite party amongst convicts, you might want to keep that one on the down low. Don't tell me that this is some noble-minded endeavor either. They want votes, plain and simple, and the party of Daly will, apparently, do anything to get them.

Here's some further advice. Relax, things will get better. I mean, just because you're wrong on every major economic issue doesn't mean that people won't vote for you. Sure, your party is so devoid of hope that all rests on young Barack Obama's shoulders, but don't think of that as a weakness.

Just tell Obama not to blow it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

FCC and Personal Responsibility

I'm not going to mention Janet Jackson. I promise.

Suffice it to say, there are no shortage of people seeking to save us from ourselves. The next great danger: cell phone smut.

I wish I was kidding. Apparently, parents are so teriffied that their children may access "adult content" that the FCC has stepped up to the plate.

That seems to be the trend. Too irresponsible to be a parent? Call Uncle Sam. He'll do the job. Here's a novel idea: if you don't want your kids to view "adult content" tell them so. If you can't trust your kids to stay away from cell phone smut, take away the phone. Yes, you're a parent, you can do that. It's called discipline, and you won't end up in a bad nursing home, probably.

Here's another question. Why do five year-olds need cell phones? That's right, five year-olds. According to the article, just over a third of five to nineteen year-olds own cell phones. Who could you possibly need to call at the ripe old age of five? A five year old's existence is pretty simple. You wake up, go to school, come home and play. Maybe you squeeze in baseball and soccer practice in there, but ultimately you have no responsibility. That's a good thing.

Five year olds don't need responsibility. They need to be left alone to live their lives before they find out Santa Claus isn't real and the world is no longer a wonderful place. How terribly ironic that while the FCC is busy protecting us from cell phone smut, the parents aren't protecting their children from the real danger: missing childhood.

Apparently, since we can no longer expect people to think for themselves, the government must do it for us.

Have we really fallen that far?


My good friend Jeff sent me this link:

Let me say, first, that I hope Bush is not so foolish as to rush into Iran. Things are going slightly better than previously in Iraq, and the election was a big step in the right direction. That being said, it is best that we clean up that mess before looking elsewhere. Bush knows--or should--that support for his foreign policy is by no means shared by all, or even a large majority of, his fellow Americans. Another war will risk alienating his base--which has been, thus far, extremely loyal--and further hurting his status with those who are against his foreign policy.

This is all well and good, but Bush is a man of principle, and he sticks to his guns fairly well. As noted time and time again in his State of the Union address, democracy is very important to the current American President. So, despite the fact that we need another war like a hole in the head, I would not be surprised if U.S. forces occupied Iran at the end of Bush's second term.

There is another reason we may become involved in Iran. Accroding to the above article, Bush has issued a series of executive orders that minimize, if not remove, Congressional oversight with regards to counter-terrorism measures. Essentially, there are members of our military that answer only to Rumsfeld. While some may argue that covert operations need to be stepped up to win the "war on terrorism" that is not the issue. The reason that isolating Rumsfeld and company from Congress is a problem is that destroys the seperation of powers so clearly laid out in the Constitution. To quote a maxim used all too frequently, "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". (Lord Acton)

Giving Rumsfeld, or anyone else for that matter, absolute power is a bad idea. Even if one agrees with the current Bush foreign policy, this should still be cause for alarm. It is especially disconcerting that there seems to be little alarm from the political right. Conservatives, as they once were, had little trust in government. This shouldn't change because Rumsfeld happens to wave the same flag.

When it comes down to it, no one wants a nuclear Iran. There comes a time though, when we simply have to be reasonable. It would be great if we could keep nuclear power regulated to the countries of people we like. Welcome to the real world. Kim Jung Il says he has weapons, and, at least according to Israel, Iran is six months away from being a nuclear power. Unless we wish to occupy--permanently--every single rogue nation in the world, we need to learn to live in a world that includes a nuclear Iran.

The E.U., led by France and Great Britain has been dealing diplomatically with Iran, which is a good start. This doesn't change the fact that Iran will go nuclear. The Iranians may not be brilliant, but they're smart enough to know that they will be less likely to be pushed around on the global playground if they join the nuclear club.

Having nukes doesn't mean nuclear war. The U.S. needs to come to terms with that. A nuclear Iran is not the end of the world. It is time to deal with Tehran diplomatically. Meanwhile, we should clean up Iraq and then return to a foreign policy that puts U.S. interests first and foremost.

I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Concerning Chris Rock

For those of you who do not know, I get most of my news from the Drudge Report. Last night on his radio show, Drudge was discussing the latest comments made by Chris Rock. To quote:

" I never watched the Oscars. Come on, it's a fashion show.
What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one!"

When asked what he would be wearing to the Oscars, Rock commented:

"Nothing against people who aren't straight, but what straight guy that you know cares? Who gives a f---?"

Rock's comments come from an interview with Entertainment Weekly, as he is hosting the Oscars. In today's politically correct climate, comments against gays are a faux pas of the worst sorts. Yet, as it stands now, there has been no major backlash from the Academy. Why?

I hate to play the race card, but it's an indivisible element of this strange case. Perhaps Rock's comments aren't offensive to everyone, but Hollywood doesn't seem to be the crowd that would tolerate gay-bashing. Would they have taken the same intolerance from a right-wing right comic. The answer, is doubtful.

Rock was brought in to bring in the younger demographic, but it is hard to see how his latest comments will bring in a larger audience.

Hollywood is desperately out of touch with mainstream America. The reason no one watches the Oscars is not because "no straight... man watches". Once Hollywood produces a good product, the customers will buy.

This is the year in which two of the biggest blockbusters were made outside of the normal Hollywood sphere of influence. I am talking of course, of Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11 and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

No one would bankroll Gibson, so he paid for the movie himself. The results were astounding. There are a number of people--call them the Religious Right, the Evangelics, etc.--who still cling to traditional values. Yes, the culture war has been won by the left, but as evidenced by the last two elections, the right constitutes a silent majority of sorts.

Once Hollywood returns to traditional values, they will have more success drawing a larger audience to their Oscars. Until then, it doesn't matter if it's Chris Rock or Chris Matthews, there will be no improvement in Hollywood's esteemed ratings.

Of course I could be wrong. Maybe the best way to bring in the Evangelicals is by gay-bashing. Still, it doesn't seem like a good precedant to set. Then again, what do I know, I cling to traditional values.

Sentimentality... from me?

We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers;
wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints;
we spend more, but have less;
we buy more, but enjoy it less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
we have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much,
spend too recklessly, laugh too little,
drive too fast, get too angry too quickly,
stay up too late, get up too tired,
read too seldom, watch TV too much,
and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom and lie too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.
We've added years to life, not life to years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble
crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We've conquered outer space, but not inner space.
We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We've split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less.
We plan more, but accomplish less.

We've learned to rush, but not to wait.
We have higher incomes; but lower morals.
We have more food but less appeasement.
We build more computers to hold more information,
to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.
We've become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion.
Tall men, and short character.
Steep profits, and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare.
More leisure and less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are days of two incomes, but more divorce.
Fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway
morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies,
and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It's a time when there is much in the show window, and nothing in the stockroom.
Indeed it is all true.


It's tough to comment on this one. It's pretty clear, and fairly succint. It's all well and good to sit here and point out problems in this world of ours. Anyone with eyes can do that. The challenge comes in taking this and fixing it. So, anyone up for a social revolution? Say, Saturday? Oh, you're busy, well, aren't we all.

As Mahatma Ghandi once said, "You must be the change you see in the world." Pretty solid advice I'd say. Most of us will admit that there is more to this life than things. If happiness isn't really based on how much stuff one has, why do we all keep buying stuff? Savings rates in this country are at an atrocious one percent. We are too busy trying to keep up the Joneses today to realize that tomorrow, it won't matter what kind of car you own or how big your house is.

The answer is not to throw away everything you own and start burning your money. We're only here for so long. It's stupid to be caught up in what we don't have. We will never have everything. Instead, just cherish all that you have. Ironic that this is Valentine's day, no?

Life is what you make of it. If you want to go around complaining about how pathetic this world can be, I'm not going to stop you. This world can be an embarrisingly miserable place sometimes. So do something about it.

To quote another great individual, from my good friend Smokey the Bear:

"Remember kids, only you can prevent forest fires."


I'm going to give this blog thing a try. I'll refrain from giving you senseless details about my life. Basically, this is my soapbox. I'll try to update frequently, but no promises.