Thursday, April 15, 2010

Should the South Rise Again

Two articles got to me today, and they're loosely related. On my 45 minute drive home from work, I contemplated these seemingly unrelated articles and realized they both hit at the same sore issue for me. Let's dig into these articles, and you can see if you relate.

The first article is here:

This article is one of many that explores Robert McDonnell's declaration of April as Confederate History Month. McDonnell failed to include the topic of slavery in his declaration, and many groups were offended. They claim such an important piece of confederate history should be included.

In a way, I can't blame them. When the topic of Confederate history or the Civil War comes up in schools or in intelligent discussion, the topic of slavery cannot be a mere footnote. As a child of the South, it pains me to recognize the devastating effects of slavery on this country. It is a huge dark mark on the country.

Schools should be able to show both sides of an issue. I appreciate a classroom that can teach evolution and creationism, liberal and conservative ideas, and other such dualities and let parents teach their kids what is right and wrong. (This comes with the obvious condition of "within reason" and some indoctrination has slipped through the cracks.) Yes, parents are often absent, but I'm not one to believe in fixing a symptom of the problem instead of the problem.

Is Confederate History Month a time to point out all sides of the story, though? Must we detail every gory bit of Southern history so as to show all sides? There is a lack of knowledge about what led to the Civil War, southern culture, and integration in the South.

The concept of the "dumb hick" or "redneck" is what jumps into most folks' minds when they think of someone from Alabama or Mississippi. Many believe Southerners are automatically racist, intolerant idiots who want to rape, murder, and maim. Just driving home from work, I heard 3 commercials mocking southern-folk.

So maybe the lack of knowledge is not reason enough to justify a month of positive-only thoughts. If that is true, why is Black History Month not approached with a similar thorough research. Why not explore inner city violence and drop out rates? Why not point out the high incidence of black-on-black crimes or the many unborn African-American children who are aborted?

Black History Month serves a purpose, and exploring the negative effects of a race of people would counter that purpose. Besides, why paint a whole subset of the country with such a wide brush? Yes, racism exists among African Americans. Yes, the inner city communities made up of a majority of African Americans have high drop-out, violence, and abortion rates. Not all African-Americans partake in such damaging actions, and to look at those during a month celebrating African Americans is certainly not necessary.

Southerners are a similar subset of American culture, and yet media are allowed to use their wide brush when depicting them. Not all Southerners are racist or intolerant or stupid or slow. To allow such blatant and incorrect labels is the very definition of racist, knowing that those labels are only applied to Whites.

I was preturbed all morning after reading that article at home before work. To be fair, the gentleman who wrote that article is a completely biased idiot. Other accounts have been much more civil, reasonable, and, frankly, historically accurate. Mister Eustache might be wise to check out the facts about the events he explored.

After work got my mind off the hypocrisy and stupidity of the Confederate History Article, I stumbled on more hatred over my lunch break. Self-hatred. Here is article number 2.;_ylt=AjvqiAIVugI7iXEI7mBHd00RvLYF?slug=jp-jackie041410

In this article, Jeff Passan discusses the plight of the African American baseball player. The number of black Major Leaguers is very low. The reasons are well documented; lack of space in inner cities makes baseball harder than football or basketball, for one. Though Major League Baseball has a huge number of minorities, mostly Hispanic but also including Asian players, the lack of one race has become reason for concern.

Nobody's decrying the lack of Middle-Eastern players because, hey, they don't play baseball. If African-American children choose to pursue other choices, it must be institutional bigotry, right?

In this article, Passan defeats the arguments that racism exists in baseball. He points out the numbers of African Americans returning to the game, as well as the reasons they left. He shows young players coming up and established black veterans. He even links to a study that statistically shows a lack of bias.

At the same time, Passan points out obvious issues in the thoughts of those ballplayers who see racism. He shows where they get the seed from: the stories passed down to them. He points out white players with no jobs. My personal favorite: He inadvertently points out baseball's institutional racism that says "we'll pay more to get the inner city black kids playing baseball so you'll get off our tail."

Then, in the end, he makes it clear these players have genuine concerns because there may be racism in "small doses." If by "small doses" you mean Jermaine Dye is dumb, you are correct.

For those of you non-baseball folks, let me clarify. Jermaine Dye is an unemployed baseball player, and there are those who believe he is unemployed because he is black. Jermain Dye doesn't play good defense. He doesn't hit particularly well anymore and he doesn't run the bases well. He doesn't have a reputation as a particularly outstanding teammate, though he's not a particularly bad one either. He is a standard old-guy player, which is well and good until you consider he's asking for millions of dollars. The man has turned down multiple contract offers looking for more money.

Is it racism that is keeping Jermain Dye unemployed? Nope. It's his own greed.

But, we can't point that out. Instead, let's have Yahoo! (who is surprisingly biased if you observe the poop they put in their stories) declare MLB a racist institution of racist teams with racist owners. Ignore that these are not cases of racism. The biggest case of racism in the story is a black player calling dark-skinned hispanics "imposters," but that's excused because only the powerful white guy can be bad.

I exaggerate the point to make the point. (Damn you, Lafontaine!) Passan doesn't go that far, but he proves why I'm so freakin' frustrated. Why does Passan work so hard not to offend someone. He writes an article full of reasons to call Jermaine Dye and Orlando Hudson the racists they are and then let's them have the benefit of the doubt in the end.

This is like catching the kid with his hand in the cookie jar, with crumbs on his face and a distended stomach full of cookies and saying "the Cookie Jar might have fallen on you, so I'll let you have a cookie instead of slapping your hand." Is there any logic here?

No, there's not. As a society, we go out of our way to be politically correct, but only when certain minorities are the target. If we're talking about the majority, all is fair game. Let's just keep on cementing the suppressed majority. As a WASP, I should shut up and feel guilty.

Screw you. I'm proud of my heritage. I'm pumped about the soul food from my home state, and I can get into country music and line dancing. If you're too blind to accept that these aren't racist, don't enjoy them. Go listen to your music or eat your food.

But don't come back at me and expect me to grovel repeatedly at your feet or anyone else's. I'm not proud of certain aspects of my people's past. I'm not pleased caucasians enslaved folks, nor do I like that German Nazis killed Jewish people. I have never enslaved or killed anyone, nor have I had the urge. I don't judge people by their skin color, and I am more than just a descendant of those who did.

So get rid of the ridiculous double standard. It's April, and it's Confederate History Month. Take some time this month to drink a Dr. Pepper or eat some barbecue. Watch a John Wayne movie. Maybe even recognize that Hell does not begin at the Mason Dixon line. I'll be enjoying it while I wait for the next group to get their moment in the spotlight and a different party for all of us.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Current Events

Another round of news:

The Good

Obama makes his picks. (Though not for Geithner's top help.)

I'll say it again. Barack Obama knows how to say and do the right superficial things. I refuse to let any biases I have allow me to fault him for "being cool," though. I'm a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due.

Publicly displaying your March Madness selections as President is downright ballsy. I'm incredibly impressed. I'll enjoy beating Obama in the challenge, but I give him credit for being there to beat.

Take a look at his picks, though. His Elite Eight includes all four 1 seeds, three 2 seeds, and one 3 seed. That is not gutsy at all. Take a risk, Mr. President.

Some people may deride the Commander-in-Chief for sticking his nose in the BCS stuff and taking time for March Madness. I like it, though.

As a side note, I have 3 teams from the middle coast in my final four. You can't call me biased, either. All 3 teams are rivals of my favorite 3 teams. (Texas, Wisconsin, and Marquette.) I won't tell you who they are, though. Michigan State or Purdue? Lousiville or Syracuse? Oklahoma or Missouri?

The Better

Monetary policy in action!

Good to see some moves that actually make sense. This is a key concept a lot of people should work to understand. Monetary policy is a whole lot more effective than fiscal policy. Here's a quick macroeconomics lesson indirectly courtesy of Ken Dobbs, MSOE Professor. If I'm correct, he'll be pleased. If not, they can't take my degree back.

Monetary policy is the set of tools that lawmakers use to govern the supply of money. Fiscal policy is government spending. While both have substantial effects on the economy, there are two main differences between them.

First and foremost, fiscal policy is political. At the core, conservatives tend to shy away from spending money while liberals want to spend it. We're conservative, and I think it makes sense. Whether you're making a lot of money or a little money, spending less money means good things. The point remains; changing the economy through government spending is a heated proposition. What programs do you spend on or cut? Who gets the final say? Fiscal policy is what sold newspapers before they got all biased.

Monetary policy is not political. Most people don't care. Those is charge of our federal reserve system can focus on results instead of feelings. There's little political bias tied up in what the reserve ratio should be. Put it this way; the fact that you're bored reading this shows how little anyone cares.

So the economy can be molded, shaped, and winnowed with little fear of making the electorate angry. (Unless the media has decided you're George W. Lucifer.) That's a good thing, too. I'm going to step away from textbook reading and add my own view here. (There goes ethos.)
Monetary policy is more effective than fiscal policy. Let's say the government spends 10% of the nation's GDP. One out of every ten dollars comes from the government. That one dollar can then be spent on more things. Next, let's say 25% of that money is invested further. After two "rounds," that one dollar turns into $1.37. This is inexact, but go with me.

Monetary policy effects the whole money supply. Every dollar saved can turn into more money. Every loan made goes further. Credit is easier to get. Rather than affecting 13.7% of the money supply, monetary policy effects the majority of it! And everyone can gain access to that money. It's not limited to those with government contracts. (A sketchy group in Madison, WI.)

So, to wrap up a long explanation succinctly, it's nice to see the right things being done in one sector.

The Best

AIG Execs prove they're not all murderous.

I'm not even gonna comment a lot, except to say two things. One, which liberal wackos are going to admit that not all AIG execs are Lucifer's minions? (or Bush's, if you're in the media) Two, proof that the government does not have to be the ethical jury of the business community. This isn't all played out, yet, but I imagine the government's self-righteous stance will look pretty done in a few weeks or months.

The Moral of the School Story

After a day to stew on it, for the two of you who read it, it's time for the "moral of the story" regarding the educational blurb I posted yesterday. Here's what we can take:

Lesson 1: Jurisdiction

Who's responsibility is it to punish an irresponsible student? In some ways, it is the school's responsibility. In others, the parents must step up. The school cannot, however, replace the parents. In no way should the school have authority to take Billy's allowance. Let the parents rule their side.

Lesson 2: Proper Punishment

The school has an avenue to pursue in the matter; they can take away free lunches. Instead, the school decides to take his allowance. I don't think anyone would dispute the absurdity of such an action, even in a made-up story.

Lesson 3: Foresight and Rapid Reaction

You don't know from my story, but isn't there a chance the school could have found out about the Johnsons' financial prowess before being suckered? What if I told you the school offered the free lunches within minutes of hearing about Mr. Johnson's job situation? Sure, it's possible the school could have done the proper research and thought things through and still have been burned, but it's much less likely.

Now, apply these lessons to the AIG Bonus stories that are floating around.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Startling Education Story

The Johnsons are a hard-working family. Unfortunately, Mr. Johnson lost his job in the recent economic downturn. They lost a valuable source of income.
To help the Johnsons, their son, Billy Johnson, got help from his school. The school decided to help the Johnsons pay for Billy's school hot lunch. He got lunches at a very reduced rate.
One week, Billy was not a good student, though. He was disruptive and needed harsh discipline. His grades suffered and he made life miserable for his teachers and fellow students. The school did not doubt their decision to help Billy with his lunches even though he was taking their help for granted.
Then the school changed their mind. They found out the Johnsons were giving Billy $30 each week in allowance money. Frustrated both that Billy did not deserve the allowance and that the allowance could have easily paid for lunches, the school took Billie's allowance from him.


What is the theme of this story? How does it apply to today's political landscape?
I'll explain later.
President Obama is feeling some pressure from both sides of the aisle today. Conservatives are pressuring him for his socialist tendencies in the new budget. Democrats have their own gripes, most notably disappointment in environmental issues and the outrageous cap on charity spending tax deductions. Obama has managed to disappoint both sides of the aisle.

I'm ok with that. I lauded President Bush for sticking to his guns no matter who agreed with him. My only disappointment with Bush was that he bended to Obama's desires in order to create a smooth transition and only managed to give Obama more leeway to blame inherited circumstances for the terrible condition of our economy. The point is, there is some validity to standing up for beliefs.

In fact, causing concern on both sides of the aisle can mean a 50% chance of doing something great; rising above party lines often offends both sides. In this case, though, I think the action falls in the other 50%. Obama has created a bill so bad, it helps noone.

In response to criticism, Obama released a statement. Let's go through what he said paragraph-by-paragraph and see what it entails:


Good morning. With the budget committees hard at work this week, I wanted to meet with Chairman Conrad and Chairman Spratt to talk about the progress they're making on this budget resolution.

(I don't mind delegation. Some have murdered Obama for this, and he may go too far, but I'll grant him an ok for including experts.)

Because these are no ordinary times, I don't just view this budget document as numbers on a page or a laundry list of programs. I see it as a economic blueprint for our future -- a foundation on which to build a recovery that lasts.

(OK. Semantics, but I'll go there.)

Now, this budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every issue. Because of the massive deficit we inherited and the enormous costs of this financial crisis, we have made some tough choices that will cut our deficit in half by the end of my first term and reduce it by $2 trillion over the next decade. That will bring discretionary spending for domestic programs as a share of the economy to its lowest level in nearly half a century.

(Two problems here: First, can he deflect anymore? Yeah, there's a crisis. Stop blaming other people and fix it. You ran for change. Let's see some change.

Second, how do you cut a deficit by spending trillions of unecessary dollars and creating socialism? You don't. His models are wrong. Ironically, those models also showed the Republican stimulus solution still worked better than Obama's.)

What we will not cut back, however, are those investments that are directly linked to our long-term prosperity. As I said last week, we can't go back to a bubble economy -- an economy based on reckless speculation and spending beyond our means; on bad credit and inflated home prices; and some of the shenanigans that have been taking place on Wall Street. Such activity does not lead to the creation of lasting wealth. It leads to the illusion of prosperity and, as we're finding out, it hurts us all in the end.

(I actually like what he says here. Semantically, he tends to be logical. Then his actions go against his words. He is a true politician.)

And that's why this budget makes the investments that will lead to real growth and real prosperity -- investments that will make a difference in the lives of this generation and future generations because it makes us more productive.

Because so many Americans are just one illness or medical emergency away from bankruptcy, we have made a historic commitment to health care reform in this budget -- reform that will finally lower costs for families, businesses, and state governments; reform that's not a luxury, but a necessity if we hope to bring down the cost of Medicare and Medicaid so that we can reduce our deficit in the long run. And this is a fight that Kent Conrad and John Spratt have been fighting for a long time. The two gentlemen standing with me today, they've been leaders in efforts to get these entitlement programs under control, and they understand that if we don't solve the problem of health care costs now, we are not going to be able to get a handle on entitlements down the road.

(Don't skewer me, but I am applauding these statements. Ending entitlements is utterly necessary for our economy to ever recover. We spend massive amounts of money on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Welfare. Those are mostly dollars that do not come back to the economy. This path is the right path.

Now, when universal health care comes up, I will lose the happy demeanor. I'm crossing my fingers that this means universal health care is out; how do you decrease entitlements by increasing enrollment? I'm not holding my breath, though.)

Because we know that the countries who out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow, this budget also invests in a complete and competitive education for every American -- in early childhood education programs that work; in high standards and accountability for our schools; in rewards for teachers who succeed; and an affordable college education for anyone who wants to go. That's the reason the three of us are standing here today. None of us were born with a silver spoon in our mouths -- but we got a great education. And if we combine additional resources with a commitment to reform, then I think we can deliver that for every American child.

(Two great ideas in a row! I'm so happy to see two things in this paragraph. Our teachers need to be held accountable and our good teachers deserve rewards. The teachers' unions have held us captive far too long. This is an enormous leap in the right direction.

Obama is right on about needing to educate to compete, too. It looks like he's not going to make the huge liberal mistake and just throw more money there. Yes, money will be thrown, but the hypocrisy of the teaching monopoly may finally die! I'm willing to overlook the humorous silver spoon statement and ignore the idea of college for idiots. Let's take what we can get (just for now). )

Because we know that the new jobs and new industries of tomorrow will involve harnessing renewable resources -- renewable sources of energy, this budget will finally spark the transformation we need to create those jobs and those businesses right here in America. It makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy, and it invests in technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

(Two logical fallacies rear their ugly heads in this section. First, the only reason industries of tomorrow will surely involve renewable energy is because the government has decided that's the case. The government decided to reward renewable energy because it's definitely the cornerstone of energy in the future. That, my friends, is circular logic at its finest.

More importantly, it's ridiculous to state that clean energy is or will be the profitable kind of energy. Clean energy has proven to be massively unprofitable thus far. What Obama means to say is clean energy will be the less financially damning form of energy when they're done destroying oil companies and ruining the power system we have in place. You can't simply raise taxes to the point of insolvency and call another industry profitable.)

And because millions of Americans are already struggling under the weight of their monthly bills and mortgage payments, this budget does not raise the taxes of any family making less than $250,000 a year by a single dime. In fact, 95 percent of all working families will receive a tax cut as a result of our recovery plan.

(Nope. Liar. Unfortunately, this is one of those lies that won't be exposed until we already have to pay massive taxes again.)

Now, there are those who say the plans in this budget are too ambitious to enact; to say that -- they say that in the face of challenges that we face, we should be trying to do less, than more. What I say is that the challenges we face are too large to ignore. The cost of our health care is too high to ignore. The dependence on oil is too dangerous to ignore. Our education deficit is growing too wide to ignore. To kick these problems down the road for another four years or another eight years would be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point. That's not why I ran for this office. I didn't come here to pass on our problems to the next President or the next generation -- I came here to solve them.

(So, we should take big problems, and they are big problems, and respond with big, irrational actions? No way. Let's not throw good money after bad money. The only reason Obama wants big action is so he can push through his agenda. The worst thing to do here is make the wrong decisive action. Obama is right that action is necessary, but the wrong action would be terrible.

And eight years of inaction? Please. If Bush did nothing, the enormous bias wouldn't exist against him. He'd be milktoast in the eyes of his detractors. He's hated because of his action. Also, funny how Obama enjoys implying Bush was wrong when, in fact, Democratic leadership blocked things like, say, regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.)

I know that there are some on Wall Street and in Washington who've said that we should only focus on the banking crisis and one problem at a time. Well, we're spending a lot of time focusing on this banking crisis, and we will continue to do so because until we get liquidity flowing again, we will not fully recover. But the American people don't have the luxury of just focusing on Wall Street. They don't have the luxury of choosing to pay either their mortgage or their medical bills. They don't get to pick between paying for their kids' college tuition and saving enough money for retirement. They have to do all these things. They have to confront all these problems. And as a consequence, so do we.

(I'll give him this one. I agree.)

Now, there's been a lot of discussion about this budget already, and I hope we engage in a healthy debate going forward. The challenges we face are not partisan. We're going to get some numbers with respect to the budget that may make this even tougher in the coming couple of weeks. The answers don't have to be partisan, and I welcome and encourage proposals and improvements from both Democrats and Republicans in the coming days.

(Nothing much here. Funny, though, how suddenly it's "answers don't have to be partisan" instead of "answers cannot be, in any way, partisan or the earth will explode.")

But the one thing I will say is this: With the magnitude of the challenges we face right now, what we need in Washington are not more political tactics -- we need more good ideas. We don't need more point-scoring -- we need more problem-solving. So if there are members of Congress who object to specific policies and proposals in this budget, then I ask them to be ready and willing to propose constructive, alternative solutions. If certain aspects of this budget people don't think work, provide us some ideas in terms of what you do. "Just say no" is the right advice to give your teenagers about drugs. It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policy is proposed by the other party.

(OK. Once again, good semantics, and I hope Obama's actions support these words. I will say, though, he has ignored the many alternative solutions Republicans come up with. Two way street, Mister Messiah.)

The American people sent us here to get things done. And in this moment of enormous challenge, they are watching and waiting for us to lead. Let's show them that we're equal to this task before us. Let's pass a budget that puts this nation on the road to lasting prosperity. I know Kent Conrad is committed to doing that; John Spratt is committed to doing that; I'm committed to doing that. We're going to need everybody working together to get this thing done.
All right? Thank you, everybody.


All-in-all, I'm actually pretty ok with what Obama said. I think his actions won't mirror his words, but he's convinced me to give him the rope to hang himself.

There are some major problems with what Obama is attempting, to be sure. He's looking to make a splash when he should focus solely on the problem at hand. You make a name as President through the honest action you take and not by playing a game. Obama is also doing a lot of deflecting. Both constitute the political tactics he specifically derided.

I'm more impressed by some positives I did not expect, though. I sincerely hope we will see things like education reform and reduced entitlements. Until Obama's words here become lies, I'm willing to hold out hope for his change.

Monday, March 16, 2009

We're back!

Hello folks,
Horns and Heifers is back. It turns out finishing college and working nearly full-time don't allow much time for blog writing. I have graduated, though, so let's get the ball rolling.

Susie and I will have a nice post for you later this week. The topic is government intervention in private business.

For now, let's check out some links with a new format...

The Good:

Obama and Courts Disagree

The New York Times, doing what comes naturally to non-journalists, gave this article the headline "U.S. Won’t Label Terror Suspects as ‘Combatants’," ignoring the meaty portion of the article. Before we get to the good, I should point out that Obama's stance is both worthless and superficial. It will become worse than worthless if/when Guantanamo detainees are moved to US Soil. Until that day, store these jerks where you'd like and call them what you want; I just want them locked up.

The good is the court ruling. First, it's nice to see the courts get it right. The Guantanamo detainees were fighters. We wouldn't give individual trials to Nazi soldiers, Japanese Kamikazes (if alive), or British troops in the Revolution. Why allow terrorists to roam free?

The popular answer has been "because it wasn't a war." In other words, because these fighters did not fight under a country's flag, they should get a pass. By that logic, we couldn't detain Jewish fighters or Gypsy terrorists. After all, diaspora lack their own land. Woe to the Jewish fighter who takes up Israel's flag, though; you become a soldier instantly. (Not to mention you associate yourself with Israel. For shame...)

The good goes beyond the court getting the ruling right, though. It also shows a sliver of light. Maybe our judicial system won't bow and bend to accomodate Obama. Maybe legislating from the bench is out and the courts will do their jobs. This is one battle won, and it shows we may be able to win the war.

Plus, this show's true idiocy. I'll take a president who mispronounces "nuclear" and tries to walk through a fake door over one who doesn't understand the law and tries to get into the Oval Office via a window. At least a fake door looks like a door.

The Bad:

Obama Camp Tactics

Another Times article. This article shows the wonderfully tactful methods White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is using. Here's the gist:

- Dick Cheney criticizes Obama plan to shut down Gitmo
- Gibbs gets angry
- Likens Cheney to Limbaugh, though he means it as an insult
- Uses sarcastic tone and caustic intention
- When confronted, Gibbs claims to sometimes "ask forgiveness rather than permission."

What doesn't happen:
- Personal attack by Cheney
- Logical argument or forethought by Gibbs
- Actual apologies or request for forgiveness by Gibbs

The whole event is a microcosm of the liberal portion of America. Rather than respond to legitimate criticisms, Gibbs simply reverted to name calling. How effective would it have been for Gibbs to simply say "here's why Cheney is off-base..?"

Answer. Still not overly effective. At least he wouldn't have been rude and disrespectful, though. This is the type of response I would expect from a small child.

The Ugly:

Obama Finds Respectable Forum

Obama's schedule for further serious discussion includes an education summitt led by Big Bird at Sesam Street, an automobile industry conference at Funland Go-Karts, and a seminar on censorship as part of this week's episode of Saturday Night Live.

Speak for yourself. Don't use a fake, humorous forum to demean others.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Clarification on the Yellow Tie

If you had looked closely, Ash, the tie was not yellow, it was gold.  Instead of thinking of it as a yellow-bellied yellow tie, maybe we can look at it as "Power Gold" tie.  It did complement his hair nicely!!

( the way, I know how much the yellow tie bothers you, so you know I couldn't pass this one up)

Also, we should probably give credit where credit is due.  The yellow tie rant actually came from a very near and dear (and sometimes over-zealous) friend.  When I talked to Ashley about it to get his take, I expected him to tell me my dear friend was a bit off the deep end for being so offended; but, of course, he agreed fully, and was even angrier than she.  

RNC Thoughts

A few thoughts about the festivities last night...

Cindy McCain-
I was very unimpressed by Cindy McCain's delivery. She was very robotic and clearly had no place on the stage. It also seemed like she made one of two mistakes. She either practiced too much, leading to a planned feel, or practiced too little and over-compensated. In either case, she had no extemporaneous, conversational feel. A speaker can survive, and even thrive without that feel; Obama is a great orator who always sounds like he's talking at you and not to you. Mrs. McCain needed that feel, though.
I don't think it was a mistake for the RNC to have her speak, however. I did not realize how amazing her story is. Strangely, she has a good portion of the qualifications Barack Obama does. They both have the same community organization experience. The content of her speech was worth the poor delivery of somebody not used to such a pressure-packed environment. Sure, liberal blogo-wackos and the erroneous Main Stream Media will pcik her apart. The independent voters saw her for her content, and they probably wouldn't appreciate another woman being ripped apart.

The protestors at the convention were both disrespectful and unintelligent. Did they really think they would make a valid point? Would an independent voter see that and suddenly understand? My guess is that a handful might, but most would be turned off to it. I would love to hear from some independent voters to hear what effect the protestors had. My gut says these protestors hurt their cause.
More importantly, it was disrespectful. There is a place for protestors. Protest peacefully outside the arena. That means no bags of urine, no pulling dumpsters into the street, no attacking buses of delegates or (worst)cub scouts preparing to show the colors, and no going inside. Funny how all these things reared their heads at the RNC, but none showed up at the DNC. Some may say the libs have more to protest, and that may be so in their minds. Nonetheless, most conservatives are too respectful to partake in such de-evolution. (Whip it!)

John McCain-
I was impressed by his speech, but one ironic thing got to me. A conversation Susie and I had about candidates for office gave us the idea to start this blog. That conversation? A candidate who wore a yellow tie to an appearance was wrong. I showed my clear frustration that anyone would avoid a red, white, or blue tie. Show some respect to your country.
I almost laughed when I saw McCain in a yellow tie. Come on! You fought for your country, and that's great. It's changed my mind to vote for you. You should not, however, let some stylist pick a yellow-bellied yellow tie for you.

Then again, McCain wears a flag pin and stands for the pledge of allegiance.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Are Family Failings Fair Game?

Hello all readers who've decided to jump on our bandwagon while its still stopped. When we get moving, jumping on will be a whole lot more difficult. Don't worry...Susie's already on so we don't have to worry about the smallest York getting hurt.

We're excited to share our opinions with you and, in turn, hear what you have to say. We'll be discussing a lot of topics. One day, we'll even take our Aggies/Longhorns debate public, even if it means you see how divided our family is. We're gonna save that for a downtime, though. For now, we have an exciting presidential race to cover.

As I watch Rudy Guliani speak at the Republican National Convention, there is an elephant in the room. Rudy is doing a great job shining light on John McCain's patriotism, a patriotism he proved enduring torture overseas during war. He's shining light on Barack Obama's lackluster political background. Guliani's shining a whole lot of light, but the darkness of biased left-wing cynicism is pretty overwhelming.

That darkness has created a gorilla sitting in the corner; Sarah Palin's family history is casting a shadow. The question of what effect her husband's DUI, her daughter's unwed pregnancy, or her children's needs should have on her standing is interesting. I think we need to answer a more basic question, though. Should her family history, or any candidate's, be put under the microscope in the first place?

Obama has answered no. I don't trust his answer, though. He's got plenty to hide for himself. My answer is yes, and that goes beyond partisan leaning. A candidate's family history is incredibly telling. Family tells of a person's ethics; ethics created by, most assuredly, family. It also shows how a candidate deals with crisis, and it forces candidates to put their money where their mouth is. Family history is an important part of a candidate's qualifications, but it should be used like any powerful weapon; with responsibility. Family history must come with no assumptions, focused solely on the candidate, and in equal portions.

Family history shows a persons ethical composition. Ask any psychologist where a person's values come from. They will tell you that values are created through careful (or sometimes uncareful in the case of our inner cities) nurturing by a child's guardians. A person's elder relatives do the majority of work in creating a person's values. Furthermore, those values, after being slightly modified and enhanced, get passed on. Looking to a candidates children shows which values they have passed on. Perhaps a candidate disagrees with their parents; it shows in how they raise their child.

Values as an argument, though, may seem weak. This justification for looking into family life is both obvious and abstract; we have no dna evidence to look at that lays out a person's values. There are other worthy arguments, though.

One subject that keeps coming up is the infamous "3 am call." Which candidate do you want fielding a call at three in the morning about a terrorist attack or other crisis? The answer probably lies in which candidate has already dealt with disaster. There is no more depressing a disaster than one that involves family. Be it a stroke, a car accident, or a daughter stealing a chair from a high school basketball game (ask about that story and I'll tell you in the comments), a person's ability to deal with crisis is most challenged during family turmoil.

And we can read a candidate's honesty best through family, as well. Sarah Palin is a great example. She was beligerently pro-life for years before being pregnant with her last child. When she found out the child would have Down Syndrome, she was forced to evaluate her beliefs. By not wavering, she showed both what she believes and how firmy she holds to that belief. When dealing with family, no person, including candidates for public office, can give lip-service to an ideal without such superficiality damaging the child. A candidate's family calls their bluff on certain important positions and values. Someone who claims to be tough on crime cannot be lenient with their children.

It is a gray issue, but these arguments are among others that make me believe a person's family history is a valid and powerful tool. I make this argument with some preconditions (Don't tell Barack). Family history is important, powerful, necessary...and dangerous.

A person's family background must be examined without assumptions. It is an assumption that Sarah Palin must have no issue with pre-marital sex or unwed pregnancy because her daughter is partaking in both. How assinine is that assumption? Our older brother passed away from illegal drug overdose, so does that mean our firmly Christian parents snort lines each night before bed? I think not. Assumptions are dangerous and unintelligent.

A person's family background must be examined with focus. Barack Obama's family history cannot remain hidden and relatively unknown, but his relatives have not asked to be persecuted. A candidate's family must not be destroyed, nor should they be put on a pearly platform. When a candidate's family history is investigated, it is only fair that the investigation focus on how the candidate is involved.

Finally, family history is equally important to all candidates. It takes only kindergarten knowledge to understand that we need to share. No candidate should be skewered as Sarah Palin is right now with no focus on other candidates.

Unfortunately, we cannot trust our media to follow these simple rules. To a biased media, kindergarten concepts are too difficult. Fairness is unnecessary to CNN and MSNBC does not understand how dangerous assumptions are. Thus, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything. The biased media should maintain the safety of candidates' families by ignoring them.
The meaning of family history is another debate. We could go on and on about Barack Obama's broken family. We could point out how wrong the media is in regard to Sarah Palin's family. McCain and Biden could even yield ample subject matter. Maybe I'll touch on that in my response. For now, though, it is important to justify that those ramblings are valid.

As a side note: how did Trig Palin sleep through his mother's speech? Cute. Just cute.

Susie's Response:
Howdy all. I'll start by setting expectations. This smallest (yet oldest sibling) is not near as eloquent (wordy) or as detailed as my baby brother. Between juggling work and being a single mother of a teenager, I just don't have the time to devote to research that my nerdy brother has. What I do have to offer is the point of view of a woman who has spent 10+ years raising an incredible daughter and worrying about what our elected officials will do to improve (or not) the quality of life for my children and grandchildren.

As for the Aggie/Longhorn debate, I think my brother is just afraid to touch me on that one-he knows he has no chance. I think he is hiding behind the political race to cover his butt.
As will often happen, I agree with my brother that ALL candidates' families should be put under a microscope; BUT, it is not the mistakes the family makes that are important in deciding whether the candidate is qualified to lead our country (or be second in command). It is the response of the candidate to the problems that is important. As McCain put it in his speech introducing Palin, she is a woman who, "Stands up for what's right and doesn't let anyone tell her when to sit down." (NO ONE puts baby in a corner). It would be easy for Palin to speak out about any "embarrassment" or disappointment she might have in her daughter regarding a "teen pregnancy" (is 17 really a teen pregnancy?) in order to appease those criticizing her. Rather, she is facing it like a true woman, and supporting her daughter (and the father), and even bringing them to the forefront of the Republican Convention proceedings.

Not that Palin needs to be any stronger than what she is (she'll even blow the whistle on those in her own party when corruption abounds), but, as our family can attest to, family turmoil often (if handled properly) leads to a stronger family. I do believe my brother took our family as an example a bit too far in speaking of assumptions. Rather than saying that having a son who died of a drug overdose might imply to some that our firmly Christian parents snort lines before bed each night, he probably should have stated that it does not mean that our parents in any way encouraged or "looked the other way" on his drug use (or were poor parents because of it). Regardless, our family did handle the situation without feeling like we had to hide it from people, because we knew people were smart enough to realize that it was not a reflection on our parents' upbringing or beliefs.

As for Trig Palin sleeping...he's used to going everywhere with his mother, and I'm sure she gets crowds fired up quite often.

Ashley's Response:
Every now and then this little LED in my head goes off and a series of random quotes will pop into my head. I should give it a name like a "quote-flow" or "Roberto." You just set Roberto a-blinking, Suze.

I really like this concept that we can look to a family's trials and, more importantly, their response to get an idea of how qualified a candidate might be. To establish some frame of reference, a few of Roberto's quotes come to mind…

Nietschze- "What does not kill us only makes us stronger."
This is a mantra our family has taken to. A family that deals with trials correctly should come out of those trials stronger. A family, therefore, that emerges from trials weakened must not have handled trials correctly. Is that a black-mark on their gene pool? No. It simply means that either they may not be ready for a 9/11-type crisis or they had better have learned their lesson.
(BTW, my favorite shirt ever involved Neitschze. On the front it said "God is dead. -Neitschze" On the back, "Neitschze is dead. -God")

Einstein, Franklin, China, or anonymous- "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result."
So some hardships are acceptable. Too many, especially trails stemming from the same mistakes over and over again, may show an inability to learn from mistakes. Be you liberal (Iraq) or conservative (killing babies), you probably know the consequences of making the same "mistake" over and over again.

Welch- "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"
I do think it is important to judge a candidate's ability to know decency. For instance, "they cling to their guns and their religion" is to decency what of-age gymnasts are to China.

I could keep going, but I'll stop there so as to appease the almighty rule of 3. I do have some questions for you, Susie.

1) Is it possible to observe the mistakes of the family while preserving those members of the family who had no choice to enter the campaign?

2) Do we, as newly-anointed bloggers, have a responsibility to explore families in the fair way we have laid out, or should we refrain due to the Main Stream Media's inability to follow suit?

I leave you with the last word. Cherish it; this blog may be the only place you get it from me. (You know I jest.)

Susie's Response:
Nice choice on the quotes, Lil' Brother. And to answer your questions:

1) I believe we are, in fact, by what we are doing ourselves, testing this question. We have brought members of our family into this, our first blog, in a very personal way-and we didn't give them a choice. We may get an answer to this one very soon-as soon as Mom reads this. Her response can give us some insight into this issue, and I'm not certain we want to hear the answer (or yelling, if it comes to it).

2) As newly (and self) anointed bloggers, I believe it is up to us to define how we handle things. But, you can be sure, as the people we are and the people we were brought up to be, the decision will not be made due to Main Stream Media. The decision will be made by looking to God and our own sense of what is right and what is wrong. As far as Obama goes, I don't think we even need to delve into his family-he gives enough ammunition on his own.

Jest all you want, but you know when I want the last word, IT IS MINE!!!

Community Organizing: It's legit, yo!

A lot was made last night of Barack Obama's extensive experience as a community organizer. Some of the best jabs from Sarah Palin, Rudy Guliani, and the cast ripped into this experience, which he uses as a backbone to his candidacy.

We should be fair to Obama, though, and take a look into what he's doing. After all, two wrongs don't make a right, so let's take the high road. Here are some links to help you understand what exactly the job entailed.

Here is the wikipedia definition of "Community Organizer." Kids, don't use wikipedia as a source on your next report. It can be valuable to give a little background information, though.

From what I read, a couple things pop out to me:
1) The people organized have self-interest. Not much in the way of opposition if you're organizing people with self-interest.
2) It's helping people...with an agenda. I only wish this blog was established so I could read a statement from Obama saying such implications prove Wikipedia is biased.

Salary Data-
I figured I'd check and see if "Community Organizer" was a valid job description. Also, numbers never hurt.

Two job titles come close to Community Organizer. One is 11-9151, Social and Community Service Managers. The other is 21-1099, Community and Social Service Specialists, All Others.

Option 1 can't be it, as a Social and Community Service Manager implies no agenda. Thus, Barack Obama's official position was other. Not totally substantive, but interesting nonetheless.

I compare it to the garbage man who calls himself a sanitation engineer.

Specific Information-
Let's check in with a liberal source for a clearer definition of what he did.

I'm not sure whether Landauer thinks he's making some valid points, but it doesn't matter. The details are what is important. More to come after the last link.

Huffington Nonsense-
Because lunacy can be fun to read:

In the usual liberal style, we see the effects of the logical fallacy. Extra points to the reader who identifies which fallacy it is. How ridiculous to assume that discounting community organizing's credibility in a presidential election is eliminating all of it's worth to society.

Herein lies the crux of the matter; Obama's experience as a Community Organizer is great. he did a wonderful job. Three things are in question, though. Let's go through the questions.

1) Is it applicable?
Obama could have had a wonderful few years as the best salesman down at the local ice cream shop. It's a valuable job, as we all need our delicious ice cream, but it's simply not relevant. The opposite would be some sort of actual executive experience, like being a governor. Community Organization lies somewhere between, despite Obama's campaign telling you otherwise.

2) Does it show ability?
To say no would be crude, overly biased, and wrong. He obviously had some talent, even that which compares to the talents needed for presidency. Again, though, don't let the Obama campaign fool you, though. It's not that tough. I served with a group of people who did similar things in a community service organization. At this point, none of us from that board are qualified to be president. Which brings us to question 3...

3) What else is there?
His organizing exploits would look a lot better if accompanied by actual experience. Come back in 10 or 20 years with some legislation written, some risks taken, and something to back up the organizing. For now, it's far too little.

I give Obama credit for finding a way to get paid doing what I volunteered to do. It does not qualify him for president. It makes him an active, beneficial member of society. That part is an example we can all follow.

Howdy, y'all!

And so it begins. This is the first ever post on Horns and Heifers. Before we get to the meat of the posts, I figured I'd introduce myself and the blog. It's a little thing called social penetration...

I am a writer from the greater Milwaukee Metropolitan area. My older sister, who will be making regular appearances, is a fine writer in her own right in Austin, Texas. Our goal is to bring you a side of the news that gets forgotten, that from the non-coastal areas.

I'll be representing the views of the Heifers, the fine 'sconsinites of the Dairy State. Susie will be covering the Horns, though she is an Aggie fan. And, just as our logo features the Burnt Orange Longhorn and Maroon Gig 'em thumb in harmony, we too will remain fair. We will include as many illogical views and liberal mistakes as we will USC, UGA, or Florida logos. Fair does not mean wrong.

Many of the posts you read here will be a pseudo-debate format. My sister and I will take turns starting a discussion. We'll go back and forth twice. Sometimes we will agree. Other times we will disagree. Either way, we will uncover the arguments so we can have furtive conversation among all of us.

You have a responsibility, too. Talk to us. Make lively conversation. Suggest topics. Susie and I are new to blogging, so we are far from the established institution. We are, to be frank, the right kind of change. After all, you don't want more of the same like the Huffington Post or Alan Colmes' ridiculous Liberaland. You want us...and we know it.