Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Book Review: Kingom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn by Ridley Pearson

Ridley Pearson has long been considered one of the best thriller writers working today. But a few years ago after his successful venture in writing young adult fiction with his good friend Dave Barry (Peter and the Starcatchers) he wrote a novel about five kids who had to work together to save Walt Disney World from being overrun by villianous forces. The result was the wildly successful Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark. Naturally, there were questions from fans whether there would be another book. The result is Kingom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn which in some ways is even better than the first installment in the series.

As with the first novel, Kingom Keepers II revolves around five teenagers who have been selected to be Disney Host Interactives or DHIs for short which are holographic images that act as tour guides throughout the park. At the end of the first novel, the DHI system had to be taken down because of flaws that were exploited by the evil group referred to as the Overtakers who are plotting to take over the park. As this book opens, the DHI system is back on line and a huge celebration is being held in the park that includes the DHIs human models. But things go terribly wrong and the race is on again to find out what the Overtakers are up to and to stop it before it's too late.

The kids are also assisted by Wayne, an older Cast Member (the title used for all Disney employees) who guides them and provides valuable assistance along the way. Ironically, the character is based on an actual cast member that Mr. Pearson met during an early research trip to the Magic Kingdom.

Like the first book, Mr. Pearson takes us behind the scenes of the Disney magic. In the first book, he went behind the scenes of the Magic Kingdom while this time the story takes place principally inside the Animal Kingdom. Mr. Pearson has again paid great attention to detail and as you read his descriptions of the various scenes you can easily visualize yourself inside the parks.

Mr. Pearson should also be credited for being able to take the skills that he has honed as a writer of adult thrillers and easily make the transition to writing young adult novels. Dave Barry has joked that in their partnership on the Starcatchers novels that Mr. Pearson is the "plot guy" and it definitely shows. In fact, it wasn't until I was about 10 pages from the end of the book that I realized that he intended for the story to continue into another book.

It's also clear that he never forgets who his audience is throughout the book. Several times in the book, one of the teenagers, Maybeck, had a habit of using profanity whenever he would become frustrated or angry. Rather than taking the easy way out by allowing that to be part of the dialogue, Mr. Pearson decided to handle those situations with deft humor. By doing so, he reminds the reader that while his novel is targeted towards young adults, he recognizes that this is ultimately a book series that the entire family can enjoy together. I applaud Mr. Pearson for respecting his audience enough to make such choices. In fact, our family chose to read the book aloud (as we have done with many other books). It's refreshing to have a fun, exciting novel that we can read together without having to worry about whether there will be any inappropriate content included that could spoil our enjoyment of the story.

To Disney's credit, they granted Mr. Pearson unprecedented access to the backstage areas of the parks. Mr. Pearson said in a recent e-mail interview that this was part of his agreement in writing this series and they have cooperated fully with his request. That is to the company's credit as that access allowed Mr. Pearson to create a more believable setting for what would otherwise be considered standard science-fiction fare.

Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn is a terrific follow-up to the first installment to the series. Mr. Pearson, through meticulous research of the Disney parks, has created a wonderful world full of exciting and intriguing characters. These novels are a unique blend of science-fiction and fantasy that few other authors could achieve. When we reached the conclusion of this book, we were sorry to reach the end but glad that there would be another volume coming. If you haven't yet immersed yourself in the world of the Kingdom Keepers you really should. You will be glad that you did.

This article originally appeared at Blogcritics.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Dynamics of Virginia

During this election cycle, much has been made of the possibility that Virginia could turn blue in November. But Senator Obama's success in the state will likely depend on how well he can do in Southwest Virginia. A fascinating piece in The New Yorker examines the challenges he'll face in this part of the state.

Although the New Yorker piece suggests Obama might have a pretty solid chance at winning here Jim Geraghty's analysis seems to be far more realistic. Senator Obama is farther to the left philisophically than Mark Warner or Jim Webb and is going to have a harder time making significant inroads here.

One other thing to note here: although polls show Obama ahead here (Rassmussen has him up by 3 points today), the state is politically diverse and support for each of the candidates runs stronger in different parts of the state. Most internals to polls will talk about party affiiliation, gender, race, and other demographic factors. But to really determine whether a poll here is accurate you need to know where the respondents live.

When election day rolls around, don't be surprised if Virginia becomes the state that ultimately determines the outcome of the election. It may go either way but it's not as much of a lock for Democrats as they would like to make it out to be.

Baseball Quote of the Week

Basketball, hockey and track meets are action heaped upon action, climax upon climax, until the onlooker's responses become deadened. Baseball is for the leisurely afternoons of summer and for the unchanging dreams.

~ Roger Kahn

Friday, September 26, 2008

The First Debate

Now that the first presidential debate is over, the question that everyone is asking is who won?
Each side will, of course, claim victory. But pundits (and probably voters, too) go into these things looking for a clear victor.

One of the cardinal rules of debates is to not say anything that will come back as a sound bite that can be used against you later. While there weren't any major verbal gaffes, the McCain campaign didn't waste any time making an ad from one of Senator Obama's minor gaffes. The speed with which that ad appeared is just further testimony of how media saavy McCain's campaign really is.

My impression is that Senator Obama started strong when the questions were more focused on the economy and gradually got weaker as the shift moved to foreign affairs. Senaor McCain, on the other hand, started out weaker and got better as the night wore on.

Although the pre-debate coverage indicated that Senator Obama would try to get under Senator McCain's skin it seemed to me (especially when they went to split screen - I was watching it on Fox News) that Obama seemed more irritated, interrupted Senator McCain frequently, and would often try to get the last word in. These are all minor issues overall but seemed to make Senator Obama seem smaller and consequently less presidential.

There's no question these two candidates are extremely intelligent and both performed well under pressure. No major mistakes were made. But at the end of the day I think Senator McCain still has an edge in terms of having the character and experience necessary to be President. It remains to be seen whether voters will draw the same conclusion.

Interview: Kevin McCullough, Author of The Kind of Man Every Man Should Be

920407: The Kind of Man Every Man Should Be: Taking a Stand for True MasculinityThe Kind of Man Every Man Should Be: Taking a Stand for True Masculinity

By Kevin McCullough / Harvest House Publishers

* From radio commentator, syndicated columnist, and MuscleHead Revolution author comes a bold message for 21st-century men! McCullough probes the undermining of manhood over recent decades and speculates why both sexes are reluctant to address the problem. Citing God's blueprint in Scripture, he challenges Christian men to behave with dignity, act with clarity, and lead with conviction! 224 pages, softcover from Harvest.

This morning I had the opportunity to chat with Kevin McCullough. His book is a wake up call to men (and women) everywhere that it's time for men to start living the way that God has designed them. It's both a very personal and immensely practical book and one that I heartily recommend to everyone. I'll have a more complete review here soon.

Click this link to hear the interview.

The Problem and The Solution

The looming financial crisis has been all over the headlines this week and presidential politics has inevitably been tied to it. But much of the coverage is confusing and the myriad of problems that have led to the current crisis can be confusing. Mark Alexander's essay today on the crisis is a good primer on how we got to where we are and what some of the options that are available.

Equally worth consideration is this column from Daniel Henniger in the Wall Street Journal. He argues that what we need is a return to old-time values.

Yes, the need is great. But the worst thing that government could do is rush to fix the problem. I'd rather see lawmakers take their time and get the solution right. Otherwise it could turn out to be like many government "solutions" which become bigger problems that the original problems they are designed to fix.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Baseball Quote of the Week

Baseball is a game where a curve is an optical illusion, a screwball can be a pitch or a person, stealing is legal and you can spit anywhere you like except in the umpire's eye or on the ball.

- Jim Murray, American Sportswriter and Pulitzer Prize winner

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Audacity of Barack Obama

When Senator Barack Obama was on his European tour earlier this summer it appeared that in his meetings with various foreign leaders he was behaving as if he had already been elected President. If a report that appeared in today's New York Post is accurate, he was acting as if he was already President:

While campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion."
Granted, this is an opinion piece and there is debate over whether the allegations made by the column's author, Amir Taheri, is true. The McCain campaign argues, correctly, that if the allegations are true, Senator Obama's conduct is inexcusable. The Obama campaign reflexively characterizes the column as the equivalent of another smear before denying the allegations made in the column.

From a strict legal perspective, if Senator Obama conducted himself as Mr. Taheri reports, has broken the law. The Logan Act prohibits citizens from negotiating with foreign governments without the specific authority of the United States Government:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.
Practically speaking, there are very few instances where an individual has been prosecuted for violating this Act. In today's highly politicized culture it would be extremely difficult to pursue such a case. Frankly, while Senator Obama's actions, if true, are appalling, I don't think they would warrant prosecution.

But this incident, if true, is another in a long list of instances of Senator Obama's incredibly poor judgement. The question that voters face is given the Senator's track record, can we trust him to exercise proper judgement once in the White House?

I don't think so.

Now, That's What I Call A Comeback

After spending 11 days resting a rumored injured arm, Chicago Cubs ace pitcher came back and threw a no-hitter against the Astros last night. Zambrano reportedly said after the game "I guess I'm back".

I guess so. Just in time, too.

UPDATE: Well, not to be outdone, fellow Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly took his own no-hit bid into the 7th inning today against the Astros.

Looks like that unexpected layoff due to Hurricane Ike has helped the Cubs.

By the way, the last time there were back-to-back no-hitters was in 1968. Gaylord Perry of the San Francisco Giants no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals on September 17, 1968. Ray Washburn of the Cardinals returned the favor the next day by no-hitting the Giants.

The last time teammates accomplished the consecutive no-hitter feat? You have to go all the way back to 1917 When Ernie Koob and Bob Groom hurled consecutive no-hitters for the St. Louis Browns against the Chicago White Sox on May 5 and May 6, 1917 respectively.

Here's a complete list of no-hitters in Major League Baseball history.

Baseball Quote of the Week

I was such a dangerous hitter I even got intentional walks in batting practice.

~ Casey Stengel

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quick Takes - 9-12-08

Some random thoughts for the weekend. Sorry to make it mostly political but that's the kind of week it has been.

It's not secret that MSNBC is basically the cable news home of the Angry Left. But apparently the management is beginning to get the clue as they remove their leading shouters, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann as anchors from their election coverage. Instead, they'll be analysts which I guess is where they should have been all along. Then again, it appears the network is doubling down on being the official news network of the Left by adding Air America talker Rachel Maddow to the lineup. Maybe the network couldn't find any conservative voices to join the sinking ship.

Sometimes the foreign press has keen insights into American politics. Case in point.

More great analysis from across the pond: Underestimate Governor Sarah Palin at your own peril.

Still more: Governor Palin is not so small town after all.

Somehow I don't think it would be wise for Senator Obama to bring up earmarks.

Comparing Senator Obama to former Enron CEO Ken Lay. An very interesting comparison.

Then again, maybe Senator Obama's biggest problem is his pride. (Via Hot Air)

I have one question for Joe Biden: What were you thinking?

Congress is back in session but apparently in no hurry to deal with our pressing energy issues or anything else important. Just a side note, that post's author, Mrs. Michelle Bachman, is a mother of five who also happens to be a Representative from Minnesota.

Something lighter: dressing domestic rodents in Bavarian attire. Oh the scandal!

This gets me thinking about the congressional races and what the effects will be downstream if Senator McCain and Governor Palin manage to pull out a big win. Could it be possible that the Democrats will actually lose seats instead of making the big gains that were originally predicted?

Why I am not surprised? The man who developed Astroturfing is Senator Obama's campaign manager. Anyone starting to see a pattern?

Unreal. Absolutely unreal.

News in one of the oldest espionage cases in American history. And an interesting take from Glenn Reynolds.

One of the reasons we homeschool our kids is so that we don't have to deal with garbage like this.
Oops. The headline on the original post makes it even funnier.

There's a reason that actors should stick to acting.

Abortion and Down Syndrome. An interesting observation on eugenics.

The end of the Associated Press? Could be.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 - A Personal Reflection

Author's note: I originally wrote this post on the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It's still worth recounting the story today.

I will never forget 9/11. No matter how hard I try, I can't block out the memories of that day. They will be forever burned in my memory.I was supposed to be attending a meeting in Bala Cynwyd (just outside of Philadelphia) on 9/11. My wife and two daughters (ages 4 and 5) went up a few days early to explore the Amish country as well as downtown Philadelphia. We had had a great time visiting an area that we had never visited before. But that Tuesday morning everything would change - in ways far greater than we could have ever imagined.

The day started normally enough. My meeting was supposed to start at 9:00 so I headed downstairs to the hotel restaurant early to eat breakfast. My wife and daughters were a little later getting ready. Our meeting started on time and was underway for about an hour before taking our first break of the morning. Many of the folks in this meeting were from New York. While we were on the break, several guys tried to call the office but couldn't get through. One of them finally decided to call the operator and see what was wrong with the telephone lines. He would be the first one to share the news with us: the World Trade Center had been hit. Another person came in and said it was the Pentagon. It would be a few minutes before we realized that it was both.By the time we managed to get a TV brought into the conference room we were able to see the replay of the South tower being hit. Moments later it collapsed. It took all of us only a split second to decide we needed to go home. The fourth airliner, United flight 93, would crash in Western Pennsylvania within the next few minutes.

My wife had taken the kids next door to Denny's to eat breakfast. A waitress told her that the Pentagon had been hit. Her sister's husband often worked at the Pentagon. Was he there? Frantically, she was calling her unable to get through. It would be much, much later before we found out he wasn't there and was completely safe. My wife came back to the hotel not knowing how to find me. At the time, I didn't carry a cellphone (I have ever since). She was in the lobby trying to call her sister when I finally came upstairs. I looked at her and said "We're going home". At the time we lived in Richmond, VA, almost directly due south along Interstate 95 from Philadelphia. Under normal circumstances, it would have taken about five hours to drive home. But Washington, DC is directly on Interstate 95. Due to the attack at the Pentagon, Washington was completely locked down. Our only choice was to head west and then south in a long circle along interstates through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virgina. It was a long drive home.

As we were leaving the hotel we turned on the local news on our radio. The mayor of Philadelphia was holding a press conference announcing the evacuation of the city. Everyone was being ordered home since at that time we didn't know where the hijackers intended to fly United 93. It was reasonable to assume that Philadelphia was a target. One thing was clear: we were at war. We weren't sure yet who was responsible but we knew we had been attacked. The peaceful setting of Lancaster County was strangely appealing. Surely whoever this was wouldn't attack the Amish. We would be safe there, wouldn't we? As we drove on there was this eerie feeling of not knowing what to expect next. Would there be further attacks? Who was responsible? Why had they attacked us? Our daughters tahnkfully were oblivious to what was happening. At least until the announcement was made that Walt Disney World had closed (we had made our first visit as a family the previous year). Then it registered with them that something was wrong.

Everywhere we stopped along the way home people seemed to be trying to carry on with life as normal even though they all knew that life would never be normal again. Everything had changed. By late afternoon we had made it to Harrisonburg, VA (about 3 1/2 hours from home). At first we thought we would just find a hotel room and spend the night but there were none to be found. Greyhound had ordered all their buses to stop wherever they were and as a result people had to find hotel rooms. Everything was closing down: restaurants, stores, shopping malls were all closed. We managed to find a gas station that was still open. When I went in to pay there was the extra edition of the local paper with the photo of the burning towers above the fold. This was not just a bad dream. This was real.

As we left Harrisonburg and headed towards home I can remember the eerie sight of a single jet plane crossing the sky. I knew it was a military plane since all civilian aircraft had been grounded much earlier in the day. This is what it felt like to be at war.

We eventually made it home safely that evening. But we knew that everything had changed. A couple days later we got another grim reminder of just how serious things were.

Where we lived, we never saw military traffic. But around 9:00 one evening just a few days after the attacks we were buzzed twice in the span of a couple of minutes by a pair of F-14 fighter jets. It was yet another reminder that we were truly at war. There would be other reminders, as well. I went to Las Vegas for a meeting a couple of months later (a meeting that was originally supposed to take place the week after 9/11). The sight of armed soldiers patrolling the airport was a clear sign that things had changed. While I was in Las Vegas I stayed at the New York, New York Hotel and Casino. As the name suggests, the hotel is supposed to remind one of the New York skyline. Even three months after 9/11, there was a memorial of flowers, posters, and messages of support for the police, firefighters, and people of New York City. I couldn't help but be struck by the sight.

Driving by the Pentagon several months after 9/11 and getting to see firsthand the devastation caused by the terrorists would be yet another grim reminder of the war we had been dragged into by our attackers. I can't forget no matter how hard I try. We should never forget for this is why we fight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Unforced Errors, Part 2

Yesterday, I went to great lengths to point out six major unforced errors that Barack Obama has made since June that could possibly cost him the election in November. Yesterday's "lipstick on a pig" comment probably won't turn out to be a major error but it is at least a gaffe worth further analysis. His response from this morning is here.

After watching the clip a few times, I have come to the conclusion that Senator Obama probably didn't intend for his comment to be an insult towards Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. However, it's clear that the crowd certainly took it that way. He would have been wise right then and there stop and say that he didn't intend to make the remark towards Mrs. Palin. That was his first missed opportunity.

The second missed opportunity was this morning after the story had been dominating the morning news shows to come out and apologize and clarify his remarks. Instead, he decided to turn around and attack Senator McCain. I still think he would have been better off to issue the apology then. By attacking McCain he ensured that the story would last for at least another day and keep himself off message.

By the way, Senator McCain would have been better off not playing the victim here. The statement was such an obvious gaffe that the blogs and talk shows would have given it such attention that the media couldn't help but cover it.

In the end, this gaffe will reinforce the opinion among Senator Obama's opponents who already think he's sexist. More women will continue to shift their support to Senator McCain.

At the end of the day the challenge for Senator Obama is still the same: get back on message and fast. The election is slipping away day by day.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Unforced Errors

If Barack Obama loses the election this November (and at this point it's impossible to say whether he will - it's too close to call) it will be because of a series of unforced errors. They are missteps in the campaign that when taken individually don't seem like a huge issue but when combined have the effect of totally derailing what would have otherwise been a hugely successful campaign.

1. The Berlin Speech

It's a speech notable not so much for what he said but where he gave it - surrounded by 200,000 or more European fans. It was Obama trying to act presidential. Some pundits compared it to John F. Kennedy's 1963 speech in Berlin. Obama was already the presumptive Democratic nominee but seemed to be acting like the presumptive president. The most memorable thing about the speech is it was fodder for one of the most effective commercials created by Senator John McCain's campaign.

2. Russia Invades Georgia, Obama Goes on Vacation

As the Beijing Olympics get started, Russia invades neighboring Georgia in a move that brings to mind the early days of the Cold War. Coincidentally, the invasion occurs on the same day that Barack Obama heads to Hawaii for a week long vacation. John McCain stays on the campaign trail and immediately comes out on the side of the Georgians. Obama is left to issue statements for the week that first offer a very confusing response to the crisis. He eventually gets around to blaming Russia but then naively suggests the UN Security Council should take action. Apparently the Senator was not aware of Russia's veto power in the Security Council. By the end of the week Obama has completely changed his position. His response appears weak in a time of crisis and he's rightly criticized for staying on vacation while Eastern Europe is in turmoil.

3. Says answer on abortion is "above his pay grade".

On August 16, Barack Obama and John McCain appear at the Saddleback Leadership and Compassion Forum hosted by the church's pastor Rick Warren. Each candidate is asked separately the same questions but the results couldn't have been more strikingly different. Senator McCain's answers were direct and concise while Senator Obama's answers tended to be more rambling. But the most telling moment of the entire debate was when Pastor Warren asked Senator Obama at what point a baby gets human rights. The Senator's response was, in part, "Well, I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade." As soon as he said that, it was clear that would be the kind of verbal gaffe that would dog him for the remainder of the campaign because it showed a complete unwilingness to take a firm position on a very divisive issue.

4. Joe Biden nominated for Vice President

In order to negate criticism that he is weak on foreign affairs (see item #2 above), Obama selects Joe Biden, the six-term Senator from Delaware as his running mate. The selection is not a huge surprise as he was considered on the short list for some time. However, the rollout of the nomination was a fiasco. He had promised to announce it first to supporters via text message. The media got wind of the pick before the announcement and the official word didn't come from the campaign until 3 A.M. Eastern time. At least cell phone companies benefitted. The other consequence is he forfeits his greatest campaign advantage: the idea that he is a relative outsider ready to change Washington by selecting a running mate who has been part of the establishment almost as long as he's been alive.

5. Hillary Clinton Not Picked for VP and Not Even Considered

Just prior to the opening of the Democratic National Convention in Denver came word that Hillary Clinton, who garnered the support of some 18 million primary voters, had not even been vetted for VP. Obama's failure to nominate Hillary as VP caused great anger throughout Democratic circles giving rise to various protest groups that got a lot of coverage both before and during the convention. As a result, the public gestures of unity seemed awkward and forced.

6. Obama Accepts Nomination At Invesco, or Berlin Part Deux

Obama moves the final night of the Democratic Convention to Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos, to accept his nomination in front of over 80,000 cheering fans. Though the campaign tries to downplay the speech, it reminds some of the Berlin Speech. Some Democrats privately worry that the speech may be over the top. At least he solidifies support in that all-imporant constiuency: the media.

If Obama loses, the media will likely focus mostly on item #5. That, to me, is the biggest mistake he made throughout the whole campaign. But it's the combination of all these factors that will ultimately sink his candidacy.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Feminists and McCain

One of the big questions in this election is what was going to be the combined effect of Senator Barack Obama's snub of Hillary Clinton (18 million plus votes, remember?) and Senator John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would be on female voters who, incidentally, make up a majority of registered voters. Based on this article by Tammy Bruce, it appears that there may be a huge swing of voters that previously would have voted for the Democratic ticket to the Republican ticket:

In the shadow of the blatant and truly stunning sexism launched against the Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign, and as a pro-choice feminist, I wasn't the only one thrilled to hear Republican John McCain announce Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. For the GOP, she bridges for conservatives and independents what I term "the enthusiasm gap" for the ticket. For Democrats, she offers something even more compelling - a chance to vote for a someone who is her own woman, and who represents a party that, while we don't agree on all the issues, at least respects women enough to take them seriously.

Whether we have a D, R or an "i for independent" after our names, women share a different life experience from men, and we bring that difference to the choices we make and the decisions we come to. Having a woman in the White House, and not as The Spouse, is a change whose time has come, despite the fact that some Democratic Party leaders have decided otherwise. But with the Palin nomination, maybe they'll realize it's not up to them any longer.

So, in other words, gender matters more than party among female voters. By rejecting Hillary Clinton, Democrats were not just rejecting her and her candidacy but women in general.

Ms. Bruce has some more harsh words for Democrats:

Clinton voters, in particular, have received a political wake-up call they never expected. Having watched their candidate and their principles betrayed by the very people who are supposed to be the flame-holders for equal rights and fairness, they now look across the aisle and see a woman who represents everything the feminist movement claimed it stood for. Women can have a family and a career. We can be whatever we choose, on our own terms. For some, that might mean shooting a moose. For others, perhaps it's about shooting a movie or shooting for a career as a teacher. However diverse our passions, we will vote for a system that allows us to make the choices that best suit us. It's that simple.

The rank bullying of the Clinton candidacy during the primary season has the distinction of simply being the first revelation of how misogynistic the party has become. The media led the assault, then the Obama campaign continued it. Trailblazer Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first Democratic vice presidential candidate, was so taken aback by the attacks that she publicly decried nominee Barack Obama as "terribly sexist" and openly criticized party chairman Howard Dean for his remarkable silence on the obvious sexism.

And for all the "appearances" of unity at the Democratic National Convention, Ms. Bruce was not fooled.

The campaign's chauvinistic attitude was reflected in the even more condescending Democratic National Convention. There, the Obama camp made it clear it thought a Super Special Women's Night would be enough to quell the fervent support of the woman who had virtually tied him with votes and was on his heels with pledged delegates.

There was a lot of pandering and lip service to women's rights, and evenings filled with anecdotes of how so many have been kept from achieving their dreams, or failed to be promoted, simply because they were women. Clinton's "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling" were mentioned a heck of a lot. More people began to wonder, though, how many cracks does it take to break the thing?

Ironically, all this at an event that was negotiated and twisted at every turn in an astounding effort not to promote a woman. (Emphasis original)

Democrats were saying at the end of their convention how unified they were. Senator Hillary Clinton's voters were going to fall in line and vote for Senator Obama. If Ms. Bruce's article is any indication, Senator Obama has his work cut out for him trying to heal the wounds he has inflicted upon the women of his party.

As William Congreve famously wrote in his play The Mourning Bride, "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."

Baseball Quote of the Week

I have discovered in twenty years of moving around a ball park, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats.

~ Bill Veeck

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Media Attacks Palin's Church For Following Scripture

Just when you think that the mainstream media can't sink any lower comes this breathless dispatch from the Associated Press: Palin Church Promotes Converting Gays.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Gov. Sarah Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.

"You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality," according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed since she was a child.

Palin's conservative Christian views have energized that part of the GOP electorate, which was lukewarm to John McCain's candidacy before he named her as his vice presidential choice. She is staunchly anti-abortion, opposing exceptions for rape and incest, and opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples.

Focus on the Family, a national Christian fundamentalist organization, has scheduled the "Love Won Out" Conference for Sept. 13 in Anchorage, about 30 miles from Wasilla.

Palin, campaigning with McCain in the Midwest on Friday, has not publicly expressed a view on the so-called "pray away the gay" movement. Larry Kroon, senior pastor at Palin's church, was not available to discuss the matter Friday, said a church worker who declined to give her name.

As usual, facts don't seem to matter to the media. For one thing, Governor Palin and her family have only been part of the church since 2002.

For another, the AP seems shocked, shocked that Governor Palin's church would actually be teaching what the Bible says.

Also, they totally mischaracterize the nature of the conference. According to the questions page on the conference website they don't "cure" gays.

Are you here to "cure" gays?
Absolutely not. The only time you’ll ever hear the word “cure” used in relation to our event is by those who oppose Love Won Out. They also like to claim we want to “fix” or “convert” gays and lesbians and that we believe people can “pray away the gay.” Such glib characterizations ignore the complex series of factors that can lead to same-sex attractions; they also mischaracterize our mission. We exist to help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome. It is not easy, but it is possible, as evidenced by the thousands of men and women who have walked this difficult road successfully.

In typical fashion, the AP distorts not only the role of the church in promoting the conference but also the nature of the conference itself. It also describes Focus on the Family as a "fundamentalist" organization. And it's kind of ironic that the "pray away the gay" talking point cited on the website ended up in the text of the AP story.

But the bigger question is why this is even a story? How is it that Governor Palin's church gets raked over the coals for including a promotional insert in a church bulletin while, say, Senator Obama's church escapes any real scrunity when his pastor of twenty years has been caught on video preaching hate from the pulpit? If candidates' churches are now fair game to media scrutiny then why not subject each candidate's church to the same level of scrutiny?

I'm not holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

When Will Sarah Palin Do "Meet the Press"?

Now that the presidential campaign is in full swing, the big question in media circles is when Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin will be available to them to answer their questions. This is to be expected since they spent the last week since McCain's announcement acting like a petulant child because McCain dared to nominate someone they hadn't vetted.

The main problem the media faces is that they are no longer the gatekeepers of information. Ever since the collapse of the monopoly controlled by CBS, NBC, and ABC they've struggled to keep themselves relevant. And while they do serve a purpose, it is not as great as it used to be.

My guess is that Governor Palin will make media appearances in the coming weeks but will be careful to select outlets that are willing to treat her with the respect that she deserves rather than trying to assault her with smears and "gotcha" questions. She doesn't need to bother sitting down with media outlets that have shown themselves to be hypocrites. They don't deserve the privilege of being able to ask her any questions.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Setting the Record Straight

This afternoon I was listening to the Laura Ingraham show when she had Howard Gutman from the Obama campaign on to discuss the selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential nominee. Gutman was promoting the "shouldn't she be home taking care of her kids" line that seems to be one of the current Democratic talking points. That was infuriating enough but then he proceeded to say that he admired former Virginia Governor Mark Warner's decision to not run for President this year on the basis that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Memo to Mr. Gutman: Mr. Warner is running for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring John Warner.

It's true, he did site the family reason in announcing his decision not to seek the presidency. But at the time that he made the announcement Hillary Clinton was the presumptive nominee. Since he was a relative unknown on the national scene it made more sense to run for Senate especially since he is still relatively popular here in Virginia. Plus, landing a plum speaking spot at the 2008 Democratic National Convention wouldn't hurt either.

Next time, maybe it would help if Mr. Gutman had a few facts on his side. Then again, when have facts mattered?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin Biography Video

Tonight, this video about vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin will be featured during the Republican National Convention.

It's too bad they didn't have this to play last night prior to her speech. Still, it's an excellent video. I imagine it will be one of the highlights of the evening.

Hat tip: Powerline

The Appeal of Sarah Palin

As I was watching Alaska Governor Sarah Palin accept the Republican vice-presidential nomination last night, I kept asking myself what it is about her that makes her so appealing? Yes, she's attractive. But there is more to it than that.

She's authentic.

She tells you exactly what she thinks and you don't have to guess.

You don't have to read and re-read her speeches to try to figure out the meaning of her words.

Even if you disagree with her politically, you can't help but like her. I mean, really like her.

She's the kind of person that many people will be able to identify with. Her family has many of the same ups and downs that the average family experiences.

The Left, with an assist from their enablers in the mainstream media have done everything they can in the days leading up to this speech to try to demonize her.

Sarah Palin showed last night why those attacks won't work on her.

Democrats are afraid this morning. They should be.

John McCain took a huge risk in selecting Sarah Palin. Last night, Sarah Palin showed America exactly why she was selected and demonstrated he made the right choice.

If the Republicans go on to win the election this November, it will be because it was won last night with Governor Palin's speech.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Heading Back To School

This was the first day of school for many kids and in our household we started off another great year of homeschooling. Many who choose this option for educating their children at home have different reasons for doing so. But here's one argument I heartily agree with: (hat tip: Instapundit)

The reason we’ve broken with tradition, or perhaps reverted to a deeper tradition, is not because we oppose sex education, or because we think their egos are too tender for public schools. It’s because we can do a superior job of educating our children. We want to cultivate in them an intellectual breadth and curiosity that public schools no longer offer.

I couldn't agree more.

Monday, September 01, 2008