Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dispelling The Obama Donor Record Myth

One of the underreported stories of the campaign season revolves around the acceptance of small donations by the Obama campaign. The campaign says that releasing the records would be just too cumbersome. But the folks at Slate say otherwise:

Barack Obama refuses to release the names of the 2 million-plus people who have given his campaign less than $200. According to campaign officials, it would be too difficult and time-consuming to extract this information from its database.

So how come we were able to do it in a couple hours? Not literally—we don't have access to the campaign's list of donors—but we created a database of similar size and format in a Web-ready file and posted it online. (You can view a sample text version of it here. The full version is 824 MB.)

Senator Obama would be wise to release the names to show that his record-shattering fund raising wasn't built on fraudulent donations as some have suspected. This wouldn't be too much to expect from the candidate who promises to be a new kind of politician, would it?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Barack Obama Test

While surfing around on a few sites tonight I ran across an ad for the Barack Obama Test. The premise of this test is to help you determine how your views match up on key issues with Senator Obama.

It didn't surprise me all that much that I disagreed with Senator Obama on every single issue. I'm a conservative and the Senator is extremely liberal.

But what surprised me more was what else I learned from the results. After you answer all 48 questions you not only get to see how your answers match up with Senator Obama but you also get to see how other Americans responded to the same questions. The poll questions were pulled together from several issues-oriented opinion polls that have been conducted throughout the campaign. On every single question, more respondents took a contrary view on the issue to Senator Obama's.

I've long thought that this election was more about personality than about issues. Voters seem to like Senator Obama more even though ideologically they don't line up with him.

Take the test for yourself and see. Just click the button below.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Media Bandwagon

One of the ongoing story lines in this election season is the preponderance of positive media stories for Senator Barack Obama. The latest example was Time's Joe Klein gleefully speculating what an Obama presidency might look like. (Hat tip: Newsbusters)

Articles such as these should be seen by readers as what they really are: propaganda for Obama. To be more precise, the media are engaging in a technique known as the bandwagon:

Bandwagon is one of the most common techniques in both wartime and peacetime and plays an important part in modern advertising. Bandwagon is also one of the seven main propaganda techniques identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in 1938. Bandwagon is an appeal to the subject to follow the crowd, to join in because others are doing so as well. Bandwagon propaganda is, essentially, trying to convince the subject that one side is the winning side, because more people have joined it. The subject is meant to believe that since so many people have joined, that victory is inevitable and defeat impossible. Since the average person always wants to be on the winning side, he or she is compelled to join in. However, in modern propaganda, bandwagon has taken a new twist. The subject is to be convinced by the propaganda that since everyone else is doing it, they will be left out if they do not. This is, effectively, the opposite of the other type of bandwagon, but usually provokes the same results. Subjects of bandwagon are compelled to join in because everyone else is doing so as well. When confronted with bandwagon propaganda, we should weigh the pros and cons of joining in independently from the amount of people who have already joined, and, as with most types of propaganda, we should seek more information.

(Emphasis mine)

Various media outlets will point to that unshakeable gospel of public opinion, the polls, as proof that their candidate, Senator Obama, has an insurmountable lead and Senator McCain should just go ahead and save everybody time and effort and concede the race now even though the voting doesn't take place until November 4. Even Senator Obama can't help himself from thinking ahead until after the election. (Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt) Perhaps that's why he is charging admission to the media for his big victory party on Election night.

The fatal flaw in this logic is that polls are far from perfect. In fact, there is growing evidence that they are totally unreliable. Even though some media outlets will use an average of polls as a truer barometer of public opinion if each one of the polls that is figured into that average is, in and of itself, imperfect then the average of those polls is also imperfect. You can at least be certain of this much: journalists probably aren't asking any questions to determine the validity of the poll results.

At least signs point to voters realizing by an overwhelming margin that journalists want Senator Obama to win. (Hat tip: Newsbusters) Maybe voters are a whole lot smarter than the media thinks.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sarah Palin's Wardrobe

We have serious issues to deal with in this campaign, yet the media seems it's more important to do front page stories on Sarah Palin's wardrobe. Ed Morrissey asks whether the media has been sexist in focusing so much on the $150,000 the RNC spent on her clothes. Here's my response to that question, with help from Ace. Take a look at the picture below and you decide:

Instead of addressing serious issues, the media treats us to borderline pornographic photographs of Sarah Palin's shoes. Pretty much answers Ed's question, doesn't it?

The Content Of Their Character

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have A Dream"

Dr. King was absolutely right to suggest that the content of a person's character is much more important that the color of their skin. With that thought in mind, go read this essay on presidential character and then decide which candidate has the qualities necessary to make a good President of the United States.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Senator Barack Obama was meeting in Richmond, Virginia today with his national security advisors. In the press conference following the Senator's meeting, he was asked about his running mate's comments over the weekend about challenges Obama would face if elected President. Senator Obama's response was “You know I think that Joe sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes.”
Now, I don't have any idea what Senator Obama meant by "rhetorical flourishes" but this much is clear: his running mate has a propensity to put his foot in his mouth. The campaign seems to finally realize this is the case and that's why he hasn't spoken to the press in about six weeks.
Senator Biden should remember the old wartime adage that "loose lips sink ships." In fact, he should review the guidelines given to soldiers about writing home. Notice rule #6 which says "Don't mention plans and forecasts or orders for future operations, whether known or just your guess. "
The senator, in speaking the truth about the actions our enemies are likely to take if Senator Obama is elected may have sunk their chances of winning on November 4.
UPDATE: My lovely bride reminded me that Senator Biden has been receiving intelligence briefings (he would have received some given his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee). This makes the Senator's gaffe even more colossal as he was probably thinking about specific intelligence he has received on possible terrorist threats when he made his remarks. We can't afford to elect a Vice President who doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut.

Grandiose Joe Gives A History Lesson

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden caused quite a stir last weekend when he had this to say about the challenges his running mate will face early on in his administration if elected:

"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

For those who are not familiar with their history, Senator Biden was referring to how Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev treated President John F. Kennedy during the initial months of Kennedy's administration. Two major crises: the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missle Crisis arose following a disasterous (for Kennedy) summit meeting in June 1961 in Vienna. As this article published in the New York Times in May of this year pointed out, Kruschev correctly perceived Kennedy as weak and used that to his advantage:

Kennedy’s aides convinced the press at the time that behind closed doors the president was performing well, but American diplomats in attendance, including the ambassador to the Soviet Union, later said they were shocked that Kennedy had taken so much abuse. Paul Nitze, the assistant secretary of defense, said the meeting was “just a disaster.” Khrushchev’s aide, after the first day, said the American president seemed “very inexperienced, even immature.” Khrushchev agreed, noting that the youthful Kennedy was “too intelligent and too weak.” The Soviet leader left Vienna elated — and with a very low opinion of the leader of the free world.

Kennedy’s assessment of his own performance was no less severe. Only a few minutes after parting with Khrushchev, Kennedy, a World War II veteran, told
James Reston of The New York Times that the summit meeting had been the roughest thing in my life.” Kennedy went on: “He just beat the hell out of me. I’ve got a terrible problem if he thinks I’m inexperienced and have no guts. Until we remove those ideas we won’t get anywhere with him.”

A little more than two months later, Khrushchev gave the go-ahead to begin erecting what would become the Berlin Wall. Kennedy had resigned himself to it, telling his aides in private that “a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.” The following spring, Khrushchev made plans to “throw a hedgehog at Uncle Sam’s pants”: nuclear missiles in Cuba. And while there were many factors that led to the missile crisis, it is no exaggeration to say that the impression Khrushchev formed at Vienna — of Kennedy as ineffective — was among them.

The article also goes on to note that Kennedy went forward with the Vienna summit without first setting out preconditions for negotiations over the objections of his aides and his own Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

Senator Biden, who has boasted that he has "forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know" has made a revealing admission by making the comparison to Kennedy: Barack Obama is not equipped to be President of the United States.

I'd be willing to wager that if Putin, Ahmadinejad, Chavez, or Castro were to sit down at a summit across the table from a President Obama they are likely to come away with the same impression that Kruschev had of Kennedy: too intelligent and too weak.

We live in dangerous times and we face numerous threats as a nation. The Democratic presidential ticket has told us that if we elect them we are inviting more attacks from those who are bent on destroying us. That is a risk that America can't afford to take.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Taking the Media (and Democrats) to Task

Orson Scott Card, who is a best-selling author and a newspaper columnist (and, incidentally, a Democrat) takes the media to task in his latest column for their collective failure to fully investigate the housing crisis (hat tip: Hot Air):

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

This is the kind of story that should have received extensive coverage in newspapers all across the country. He goes on to reveal the crux of the story:

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Any guesses who tried to fix the problem and who stopped those who wanted to fix it? Don't take my word for it. Mr. Card nails it:

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even
further in promoting sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they

And then Mr. Card turns his attention to the media:

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means . That's how trust is earned.

Take the time to read the entire thing. There's a reason that people don't trust the media anymore. A very good reason.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Papers, Please

Byron York has a fascinating account of a weekend rally for Senator John McCain and the outrage that has been directed at the media thanks to their sliming of Joe the Plumber. But the most striking moment was an encounter with one of those working-class Americans and what it says about the future of our country:

In the audience Saturday, there were plenty of people who were mad about it. There was real anger at this rally, but it wasn’t, as some erroneous press reports from other McCain rallies have suggested, aimed at Obama. It was aimed at the press. And that’s where Tito Munoz came in.

After McCain left, as the crowd filed out, Munoz made his way to an area near some loudspeakers. He attracted a few reporters when he started talking loudly, in heavily-accented English, about media mistreatment of Wurzelbacher. (It was clear that Spanish was Munoz’s native language, and he later told me he was born in Colombia.) When I first made my way over to him, Munoz thought I was there to give him the third degree.

“Are you going to check my license, too?” he asked me. “Are you going to check my immigration status? I’m ready, I have everything here. Whatever you want, I have it. I have my green card, I have my passport — “

I was a little surprised. Did Munoz really bring his papers with him to a McCain rally? I asked.

“Yeah, I have my papers right here,” he said. “I’m an American citizen. Right here, right here.” With that, he produced a U.S. passport, turned it to the page with his picture on it, and thrust it about an inch from my nose. “Right here,” he said. “In your face.”

This is what it has come to in this country. The fact that Mr. Munoz found it necessary to bring along his papers to prove his citizenship shows there are real reasons to worry about what an Obama administration will look like. Will the change it promises to bring be positive or more like other countries that hungered for the type of "change" that is big on promises but lacks specifics?

Americans have every right to be afraid of what will happen to their rights to free speech should Senator Obama win the election. If the Obama administration doesn't use their power to suppress dissenting speech then they will just sic their media lapdogs on citizens to destroy them. Just ask Joe Wurzelbacher.

Baseball Quote of the Week

This ain't football. We do this every day.

- Earl Weaver

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quick Takes - Weekend Edition

Been on the road all week and back home for a brief breather before hitting the road again on Sunday. It's been a little bit of a crazy month so far but still managed to round up a few links for weekend reading enjoyment:

Change the world? He's not referring to the Eric Clapton song. Every time I see a story like this I see shades of Nicolae Carpathia...and I'm not alone!

Has Joe the Plumber become Obama's macaca moment? Sure seems that way given how the press has gone after the guy. Senator McCain, however, shows a little class. And another Joe the Plumber weighs in.

Good move: Glenn Beck joins Fox News.

Doing the math on the Obama tax cut plan. It just doesn't add up.

From the "Stating the Obvious" Department: Evangelicals not represented in newsrooms.

What we can believe is that the change that could be coming is not what we want to see.

More evidence of elitism.

Pausing for a few laughs. Be sure to watch the video.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why Isn't Obama Winning Big?

The storyline throughout this election has been that this is a big year for Democrats and that they would win big in the Presidential as well as Congressional elections. That may still come to pass, but judging by the polls one has to wonder whether we're going to have a different outcome (similar to 1948 when Harry Truman upset the heavily favored Thomas Dewey).

Examining the state of the election with less than a month to go, Senator Barack Obama should be leading by a double-digit margin. Yet, the Real Clear Politics poll average hovers around 6 points (5.6 to be precise as of this writing).

Some pundits suggest that the Bradley effect is coming into play and that Senator Obama's support in the polls is overstated. I don't necessarily subscribe to that theory. Polls are not an accurate barometer of public opinion due to their wide variances in poll methodology. In fact, at the state level, they can be wildly inaccurate.

But assuming for a moment that these polls are somewhere close to a realistic snapshot of the race, why isn't Senator Obama leading by a wider margin? We've been told that voters are ready for a change after eight years of President George W. Bush in the White House. The economy, we are told, is melting down and voters favor Democrats on economic issues. Senator Obama, as the first African-American Presidential nominee has a chance to make history if he is elected. Voters are theoretically flocking to Obama as a result. So why isn't he farther ahead?

If I had to venture a guess it would be this: voters who haven't already decided who they are going to support are conflicted on whether to vote at all. Neither candidate has been able to solidfy significant support outside of their own party's base and so the support for each candidate is relatively soft.

Perhaps there is more to this decision dynamic. Perhaps voters see on one hand a candidate in Senator Obama who they believe embodies the change that they desire to see and yet lacks the experience and the judgement to deal with a crisis. Senator Obama said it himself during the last debate: "But, look, the nature of the challenges that we're going to face are immense and one of the things that we know about the presidency is that it's never the challenges that you expect. It's the challenges that you don't that end up consuming most of your time." Voters look to someone who can handle that type of crisis. Perhaps that is what they see as lacking in Senator Obama and why he can't seem to pull away from Senator McCain in the polls.

On the other hand, voters look at Senator McCain and see someone who fits the mold of a steady hand in the midst of a crisis. But they aren't sure that he has the answers to their problems especially when it comes to the current economic crisis. If we were facing a major foreign policy challenge (and we are facing many of them even though the news seems to be myopically focused on the economy), Senator McCain would be the man I think voters would be more comfortable with. But because he can't adequately address the voters' appetite for change especially with the current disgust with Congress over the recent financial bailouts he continues to trail in the polls.

There are other factors at work, too, that have a direct bearing on the outcome of the election. Democrats squandered part of the advantage they had going into November when they recessed earlier this summer without dealing with the energy crisis and in effect handed a key issue over the Republicans. They didn't help themselves when they couldn't get a financial bailout passed without loading it up with pork to help fence-sitters vote in support of it. In fact, during the entire negotiation process they acted more as the minority party than the majority party in large part because Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid couldn't get their respective caucuses to fall in line on the bailout. It's no wonder given the Democrats' legislative ineptitude that a recent opinion poll showed 59% of voters would vote to replace the entire Congress. Again, it's an opinion poll so we do have to take it with a grain of salt. But there is certainly a mood that suggests voters are ready to "throw the bums out". Given that the system overwhelmingly favors incumbents it's not likely to happen unless there is an all out voter revolt.

The bottom line is that this is likely to be the most unpredictable election in recent memory. With a little less than four weeks to go I am willing to venture this much of a guess: November 4 may be a very long night for political geeks like me. We may not know until early the next morning if not several days or weeks later who has ultimately won. Anyone who says they know for certain what's going to happen don't really know anything. This election is far from over and it's still an eternity until Election Day.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Keen Insight Into the Campaigns

Senator Barack Obama has often said that running his campaign has given him executive experience to be President. However, this account from inside both campaigns gives reason to pause and consider what his management style is really like:

Obama's campaign schedule is fuller, more hectic and seemingly improvisational. The Obama aides who deal with the national reporters on the campaign plane are often overwhelmed, overworked and un-informed about where, when, why or how the candidate is moving about. Baggage calls are preposterously early with the explanation that it's all for security reasons.

If so, I would love to have someone from Obama's campaign explain why the entire press corps, the Secret Service, and the local police idled for two hours in a Miami hotel parking lot recently because there was nothing to do and nowhere to go. It was not an isolated case.

The national headquarters in Chicago airily dismisses complaints from journalists wondering why a schedule cannot be printed up or at least e-mailed in time to make coverage plans. Nor is there much sympathy for those of us who report for a newscast that airs in the early evening hours. Our shows place a premium on live reporting from the scene of campaign events. But this campaign can often be found in the air and flying around at the time the "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" is broadcast. I suspect there is a feeling within the Obama campaign that the broadcast networks are less influential in the age of the internet and thus needn't be accomodated as in the days of yore. Even if it's true, they are only hurting themselves by dissing audiences that run in the tens of millions every night.

Keep in mind this is from a mainstream media reporter and they are, by all accounts, in the tank for the Democratic senator. But check out what he has to say next about Senator McCain's campaign:

The McCain folks are more helpful and generally friendly. The schedules are printed on actual books you can hold in your hand, read, and then plan accordingly. The press aides are more knowledgeable and useful to us in the news media. The events are designed with a better eye, and for the simple needs of the press corps. When he is available, John McCain is friendly and loquacious. Obama holds news conferences, but seldom banters with the reporters who've been following him for thousands of miles around the country. Go figure.

The McCain campaign plane is better than Obama's, which is cramped, uncomfortable and smells terrible most of the time. Somehow the McCain folks
manage to keep their charter clean, even where the press is seated.

The other day in Albuquerque, N.M., the reporters were given almost no time to file their reports after McCain spoke. It was an important, aggressive speech, lambasting Obama's past associations. When we asked for more time to write up his remarks and prepare our reports, the campaign readily agreed to it. They understood.

Senator McCain has plenty of reason to not be very friendly towards reports given the reprehensible treatment he and his running mate have received from some media outlets. Yet his staff is far more courteous and attentive to reporters' needs.

Little details like this can make a huge impression. Successful organizations understand the importance of making sure everything works well. How these two men choose to treat the press speaks volumes about what kind of executives each of these men will be.

As the Bible says, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (Luke 16:10)

Book Review: Forsaken

Denouce Christ or your daughter dies. That is the choice faced by televangelist Simon Mason in the brand new thriller Forsaken by James David Jordan. When terrorists kidnap his daughter, Mason turns to Taylor Pasbury, a beautiful ex-Secret Service agent for help. But Taylor is a troubled young woman and her relationship with Simon becomes a "quirky love story wrapped in an action thriller" according to the author.

"I wanted to write books that were great stories first and had a spiritual message second because I wanted to try to reach people who ordinarily wouldn't pick up that kind of novel," said Mr. Jordan in a recent interview.

It's safe to say that Mr. Jordan accomplished his mission with Forsaken. I started the book and could not put it down. And I'm not prone to read much Christian fiction.

My problem with most Christian novels is the temptation to make the characters too perfect which is an issue Mr. Jordan has as well.

"I am totally opposed to writing Christian fiction that revolves around religious superheroes.," said Mr. Jordan. "They (Simon and Taylor) make mistakes just like the rest of us."

The fact that the two main characters are flawed is precisely what makes the book so compelling. Simon has made his share of mistakes and some of those, if they became known, would destroy his life and ministry.

Taylor, on the other hand, is a woman of nominal faith and has been wounded by a mother who abandoned her and a father who was brutally murdered. She also has a lousy track record when it comes to relationships. She hides behind her tough veneer but deep down is someone who cares deeply for others. It's clear as her relationship develops with Simon she finds something attractive about him. But she is also intrigued by his faith and the struggles he works through as he wrestles with his decision whether to renounce his faith or save his daughter. It's a struggle grounded in Matthew 10:37-38 and a question that any Christian would find difficult to answer.

Forsaken strikes the balance between a compelling plot and a fascinating character in Taylor Pasbury. Mr. Jordan already has a second novel completed that will be published next year and will pick up on the loose ends left at the end of this book including details of her backstory.

Hats off to Mr. Jordan for constructing a terrific story that is also rich with Christian themes that will cause the reader to think about the practical workings of faith in real-life situations. Having met Taylor Pasbury through Forsaken, I can't wait to read the next chapter in her story. She's a character I could get used to reading about for a long time. I suspect Mr. Jordan wouldn't mind writing about her for years to come. If you haven't read a good thriller in a while, go pick up Forsaken. You'll be glad you did.

Click here to listen to the interview with James David Jordan.

Hate Speech From Democrats

The video below contains audio of Democratic Senate candidate (and former Virginia governor) Mark Warner. If you are a Christian, a homeschooler, a Republican, or a gun owner, you've every right to be offended:

It's simply outrageous. If a Republican made statements like this there would be outrage everywhere. But because Mr. Warner is a Democrat, he'll get a pass. Pass this on to everyone you know. This is what is at stake in this election.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

One Brave Guy

Via Gateway Pundit (and a tip of the hat to Paula), Retired Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, Republican candidate for Congress in Florida's 22nd congressional district, came to the defense of Governor Sarah Palin over allegations she's racist:

Lt. Col. Allen West Stands With Gov. Palin: Sen. Obama Is "Not One of Us"
Oct 8th, 2008
(Boca Raton, FL.) In response to the inflammatory racial statements made by Congressmen Meeks D-NY, Towns D-NY, and Jackson D-Ill. in the Jason Horowitz New York Observer article, "Black Congressmen Declare Racism in Palin's Rhetoric," (Ret.) Lt. Col. Allen West, congressional candidate for Florida's district 22, wrote the following:

"I have just finished reading an article written by Jason Horowitz in the New York Observer, "Black Congressmen Declare Racism in Palin's Rhetoric," and I am absolutely appalled. I refute the inflammatory comments of Rep. Meeks, Towns, and Jackson and I challenge them to debate me on the issue of race. Yes, I am a black conservative congressional candidate from district 22 in South Florida. This is a congressional district that is approximately 92% white. The tremendous support I've received in district 22, and throughout the country, doesn't jibe with Rep. Towns' claim that, “racism is alive and well in this country."

With that said, I reiterate the comment made by Governor Palin: Senator Obama is "not one of us". We are freedom loving Americans that believe in the Constitution, and shun marxist/socialist dogma. Sen. Obama's political and social allegiance with William Ayers proves he is, "not one of us." Let me bring to mind a simple maxim that my mom and dad taught me growing up in Georgia, "folks will know you by the company you keep." And as a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel I shall share a simple point: because of Senator Obama's associations, he would not be able to pass a background investigation in order to receive a security clearance. Yet, he seeks to be the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces?

It has become apparent that any person taking a stand against Sen. Obama's campaign will face the "Brown Shirt" intimidation tactics of individuals seeking to stoke racial fires.

I am sick and tired of the 21st century version of plantation overseers that pass themselves off as black leaders but only keep the black community hostage. When I win this congressional race it will be interesting to see if the Congressional Black Caucus will open their doors to me. I suggest that the door be opened, but then again, would they be racist for not allowing me membership?"

Best Regards,
Lieutenant Colonel
Allen B West (US Army, Retired) Candidate, Florida's US Congressional District

What a brave guy. I'd vote for him in a heartbeat if I lived in his district.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why We Love Sarah

Last night in Boca Raton, Florida, Sarah Palin held a fundraiser that included a very special guest:

A last minute guest at the fundraiser was 11-year-old Rachel Petersen of Deerfield Beach, who was allowed to stay up past her bedtime last month to watch the Republican National Convention. She said she wrote Palin that she was happy
she was running and sorry she couldn't vote for a few more years.

On Monday afternoon, Rachel's dad, Don, was shopping when his cell phone
rang. It was Palin, he said, and she wanted to thank Rachel personally for the
letter. When Don explained how close they live to Boca Raton, she invited them to the fundraiser.

Rachel showed up in a pretty dress with a big smile. She was nervous to meet Palin and said she shook her hand and said, "I want to say good luck."

Another great example of why voters like Sarah Palin so much: because she is so down-to-earth. It's refreshing to see this quality in someone immersed in politics.

Monday, October 06, 2008

THe Obama-Ayers Connection

Turns out that Barack Obama's connection to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers is deeper than everyone originally thought:

By 1995, Barack Obama had known Bill Ayers at least eight years since their shared involvement in the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, if not longer. Bernardine Dohrn, once labeled “the most dangerous woman in America” by none other than J. Edgar Hoover, was also well known as the inspiration for the 1988 movie Running on Empty. Subtle terrorists they were not.

As noted in the New York Times, Obama has tried to minimize his relationship with Ayers, dismissing him as “a guy who lives in my neighborhood” and “somebody who worked on education issues in Chicago that I know.”

Axelrod also tried to excuse the extent of Obama’s involvement with Ayers, stating,
“Bill Ayers lives in his neighborhood. Their kids attend the same school. … They’re certainly friendly, they know each other, as anyone whose kids go to school together.”

It’s an obvious fiction pitched by Axelrod, since the Obama children are presently in elementary school, while Ayers’ children are all grown adults, but the Ayers-Obama family connection doesn’t stop at the imaginary connections between the children.

Bernardine Dohrn, Ayers’ wife, has largely escaped recent scrutiny, but that lack of attention doesn’t reduce her role as either a leader — and some may argue, the leader — of the Weathermen. Nor can it mask her ties to both Barack and Michelle Obama. It’s now a family affair.

The whole piece is worth reading as it goes into extensive detail about the Obama-Ayers alliance that has not been previously reported. Media apologists for Senator Obama have tried to downplay the connection but the fact remains that such friendships cast serious doubts on the Senator's judgement. And Senator Obama is going to have a hard time convincing the public that he didn't know Bill Ayers wasn't a terrorist when Ayers has never hidden his past.

Book Review: Beanball by Gene Fehler

Luke Wallace is a special kid. As a star football, basketball, and baseball player he has a bright future ahead of him. Everyone knows he will go on to be a superstar. The only question is which sport will be lucky enough to have him. Baseball is his sport, the one he loves more than any other.

But things change dramatically in a split second. During a pivotal late-season matchup with their archrival Compton, the Oak Grove High School centerfielder's life is turned upside down.
It's every batter's worst nightmare. A fastball to the head that comes in so quickly Luke doesn't have time to react. At first no one is sure whether he's even alive. Ultimately, he will live but his life is changed is forever. So are the lives of many other folks especially those who saw the gruesome event. This one moment has a lasting impact on an entire community.

Poet Gene Fehler's first young adult novel Beanball tells the story of Luke Wallace and the lasting impact that this beaning will have on his promising athletic career. Through use of verse he tells the story from the standpoint of 28 different characters. What we discover is that this event has a far bigger impact than just what happens to Luke but many others including some who weren't even there are dramatically impacted by what happens.

While it may seem gimmicky to use poetry to tell a story such as this, Mr. Fehler manages to make it work. The story is in itself compelling. He does a tremendous job of putting us right in the ballpark as Luke Wallace comes to bat. We can almost hear the sickening sound of the baseball hitting his head. We can see him in our mind's eye crumpling to the ground. We can also relate to the emotional turmoil that Luke's friends go through as they watch him struggle through his recovery.

There are two minor flaws, however, that do detract from the story. First, the sheer number of characters is a little confusing to the reader. A few of them only make cameo appearances in the narrative while a number of them are far more important to the overall story. Trying to juggle all of the characters combined with adjusting to Mr. Fehler's writing style can be a little overwhelming.

Second, younger readers may be put off by the use of profanity by the Compton coach. While it may have been consistent with his character it seemed unnecessary and off-putting. Mr. Fehler might have been better served to remember who his target audience is with this book and adjust the dialogue accordingly.

In spite of these minor flaws, I still found it to be an entertaining book. I thought Mr. Fehler did an especially good job of capturing the thoughts and emotions of the characters and particularly of Luke Wallace. It was easy to see how Luke could have said and thought some of the things he did based on what he had experienced.

Borrowing a little baseball parlance, I would say Beanball is a solid double and possibly a triple but not quite good enough to be a home run. Still, it's a solid effort and an engaging read.

This article originally appeared at Blogcritics.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Baseball Quote of the Week

This is a game to be savored, not gulped. There's time to discuss everything between pitches or between innings.

~ Bill Veeck

Friday, October 03, 2008

What Sarah Should Do Next

Governor Sarah Palin hit a monumental home run with her debate performance tonight and put to rest all those pesky doubts about her abilities to serve as Vice-President. Of course, her supporters already knew she was up to the job. It was the media naysayers and Beltway pundits that had to be reminded of the innate talents this women possesses that haven't been seen in another politician since Ronald Reagan.

Senator Joe Biden turned in a fair performance himself. No major gaffes but lots of false statements.

Still, this debate was all about Governor Palin. It served as a reminder as why voters like her so much. It also reminded us of when she is really at her best: when she can speak directly to the American people without any assistance (or is that interference?) from the media.

So, here is my advice to the McCain campaign: put Governor Palin on every talk radio show both national and local that you can get her on over the next four weeks and let her use her immense communication skills in speaking directly to voters. Have her sit down with the high traffic bloggers and let them record podcasts or video interviews that are completely unedited and, more importantly, unfiltered.

Don't bother granting any more interviews to Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, or any of the other MSM dinosaurs. They don't deserve the privilege of talking to her.

Governor Palin is at her best when she can speak from the heart directly to the people without having to worry about "gotcha" questions from a hostile media that is totally in the tank for Senator Barack Obama. Bypass all the traditional media outlets and take your message directly to the voters. It will have a far greater impact than you can possibly imagine.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wanted: Real Men

Where have all the real men gone? Where are the men who will take a stand for something? Or will be responsible for their own actions? Protect their family? Be the hero?

If you're like me, you know that such men are hard to find. That's in large part because most men today are a shadow of the men that God designed them to be. Men have been emasculated for years by radical feminism. Our country is paying the price for real men not being around to step up and lead. Families are suffering because real men aren't there to lead them. Churches are becoming weaker because real men haven't stepped up to take charge.

Thankfully, there is hope for men. Author and talk show host Kevin McCullough not only has identified the problem but provides practical solutions in his new book The Kind of Man Every Man Should Be: Taking a Stand for True Masculinity.

The rise of what we now commonly think of as feminism in the 1960s was actually a drastic departure from the classic definition of feminism as it had been commonly understood. As Mr. McCullough argues, the goal of classic feminism was equality between sexes. The goal of radical feminism is sameness.

Taken to its logical conclusion, radical feminism has caused a blurring of the gender roles between men and women. As a result, men are left unsure of who they should be and what their proper role in society actually is. The radical feminists have stripped away men's identity in their effort to achieve sameness between the sexes.

But God did not design men and women to be the same. He did design them to be equal in worth in His kingdom. At the same time, he provided distinctive roles for each sex. Our culture has worked hard to try to remove those distinctions. The result is mass confusion especially among men.

Mr. McCullough, however, doesn't simply make cultural observations in laying out the problems that men face. To his credit, he shares openly how he has been directly affected by his own struggle to understand what it means to be a man of God. His honesty about his own failings is both startling and refreshingly honest. By being willing to open up and offer a glimpse into his own past he brings a sense of authenticity to the problem.

Having thoroughly documented the problem, he then progresses to offering practical solutions. He very neatly encapsulates each idea in a simple slogan that is easy to remember (e.g. "Believe With Certainty", "Act With Clarity", "Fight With Tenacity", to name a few). These action steps help the reader understand how they can practically apply the principles outlined in the book. As with the first half of the book, he again relies in large part on personal experiences to illustrate his points.

When I first received this book, I was anxious to dive right in. I found myself wanting to immediately apply everything I was learning from the book. Little did I know it at the time but the opportunity would arise to put things I was learning into practice immediately. In that respect, this was a timely book for me as I didn't realize until I was done how much I needed to read it.

While this book is primarily written for men, it's also a great book for women. By reading this book, women can get a better idea of what God desires for men to be. It allows women to encourage the men that are in their lives. For a single woman, it gives a great portrait of what they should be looking for in a man.

I highly recommend this book especially to men everywhere. If you are a father and you're raising a son, this is a book you will want to read with him. It's the kind of book that you will want to read with a highlighter in hand ready to mark up the pages. It's also the kind of book that can be read over and over again and still having something fresh for you to learn.

The Kind of Man Every Man Should Be: Taking a Stand For True Masculinity is one of the most important books I've read in a long time. Mr. McCullough should be congratulated for having the courage to write this book. It's a message that men (and women) everywhere need to hear. I'm thankful for this book and can't wait to dive into it again. It has changed my life and I'm sure it could change yours, too.

Click here to listen to my interview with Kevin McCullough.

Media Alert

I'm scheduled to appear on World, Have Your Say on the BBC World Service between 1pm and 2pm ET today. We'll be discussing tonight's vice-presidential debate and the influence of the media on the election. You can hear the program online at the BBC World Service homepage or on Sirius and XM Radio.

UPDATE: My co-blogger at Stones Cry Out managed to snag the audio from today's program. The whole thing was a complete surprise to me and I'm flattered that the folks at the BBC thought what I wrote about the debate was noteworthy. Thanks to them for the opportunity to participate in the program.

The Veep Debate

For ninety minutes tonight, Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden will square off in the one and only vice-presidential debate of this campaign season. While there's been lots of hangwringing over how Governor Palin will do in the debate, I think the worry is unnecessary. In fact, the debate may actually work in Governor Palin's (and ultimately Senator John McCain's) favor.

Here's how I got there: the debate will allow the voters to see both candidates completely unfiltered. There's no spin, no helpful media covering up one candidate's gaffes, no exploitative media blowing the other candidate's gaffes way out of proportion. People will get to see them both as they really are and be able to make up their minds about which one they like better.

In the end, I don't think that who wins the debate will matter all that much. As Rich Galen points out, Dan Quayle had a horrible debate in 1988 and it didn't stop George H. W. Bush from being elected.

Just as an aside, I think his over-under of three and a half is on the low side.

Back to my original point: voters will get to see the candidates as they really are without the influence of any media spin (positive or negative). That's the real value in having a debate.

Governor Palin, when she is relaxed, comes across as very real. For many voters that's incredibly appealing.

Senator Biden, while being very intelligent and experienced, has one major flaw: he talks too much.

Governor Palin has to have the same kind of performance she did during her acceptance speech at the Republican convention.

Senator Biden has to tread carefully so that he doesn't (a) say something really stupid and ultimately damaging to the campaign and (b) doesn't come across as condescending towards Governor Palin.

On balance, I think Senator Biden is the one who is under more pressure going into this debate.

There's also the issue of moderator Gwen Ifill. I don't watch PBS as a rule so I can't speak with any confidence as to how well she's going to do. The consensus of opinion I have heard is that she will do a fine job.

But I don't think she should have ever accepted the job in the first place. Her book deal has what lawyers like to refer to as the "appearance of impropriety". It's not that you can say with certainty that it's wrong for her to moderate the debate but it certainly looks bad. Her credibility will no doubt be damaged. However, this little controversy is likely to drive up ratings for the debate even further as viewers will be curious to see how she handles the questioning of the two candidates.

Regardless of the actual outcome of the debate, the media will declare Joe Biden the winner as they are making no secret of the fact they are in the tank for Senator Barack Obama. They did their best to declare Senator Obama the winner of the first debate even though it was clear to just about anyone who watched the entire thing that Senator McCain had the better night.

While I don't expect the debate tonight to make that much of a difference in the outcome of the election the two candidates' performance will say something about the men who selected them as their running mates. As it should.