Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dispatches from the Heartland

Why is it that people are standing up against government policies? Why have the tea parties taken off in popularity? And why is it that both parties, Democrats and Republicans alike, appear to be disconnected from their constituents? Perhaps it's because politicians don't understand what's going on in Middle America, the heartland where values and principles seem to be far different from those of the urban centers of both coasts. Salena Zito takes a look at one such town and finds an America quite different from what Washington thinks it ought to be. And that's not a bad thing at all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving

As we gather this week with our families to celebrate Thanksgiving, it's helpful to remember why we celebrate. This essay traces the history of this holiday and would be worthwhile to share with your family tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Fun

Few commercials will make me stop whatever I am doing and pay attention. But invariably I will pay attention to ESPN's "This is Sportscenter" spots because they are usually very funny. Here's a compilation of the 25 best with video of each.

Hat tip: Mary Katherine Ham

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Goodbye, Freedom

If government healthcare reform passes, then we can kiss our freedoms goodbye according to Judge Andrew Napolitano:

Congress recognizes no limits on its power. It doesn't care about the Constitution, it doesn't care about your inalienable rights. If this health care bill becomes law, America, life as you have known it, freedom as you have exercised it, and privacy as you have enjoyed it will cease to be.

Last week the House of Representatives voted on a 2,000 page bill to give the federal government the power to micromanage the health care of every single American. The bill will raise your taxes, steal your freedom, invade your privacy, and ration your health care. Even the Republicans have introduced their version of Obamacare Lite. It, too, if passed, will compel employers to provide coverage, bribe the states to change their court rules, and tell insurance companies whom to insure.

We do not have two political parties in this country, America. We have one party; called the Big Government Party. The Republican wing likes deficits, war, and assaults on civil liberties. The Democratic wing likes wealth transfer, taxes, and assaults on commercial liberties. Both parties like power; and neither is interested in your freedoms.

Think about it. Government is the negation of freedom. Freedom is your power and ability to follow your own free will and your own conscience. The government wants you to follow the will of some faceless bureaucrat.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Sometimes technology can be unreliable.

Obama's Home Teleprompter Malfunctions During Family Dinner

Hat tip: Allahpundit

Wandering In The Desert

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I made our first visit ever to Scottsdale, Arizona. It's a little strange for us given that we live in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. A trip to the desert is a little startling at first. As we were landing in Phoenix, I couldn't help but be struck by the lack of green plants and grass. Instead, I saw a lot of dust and, of course, cacti.

While wandering around Scottsdale, though, I was struck by a couple of different sites. For one thing, there is actually something attractive about cacti. Here's one example that was outside our hotel:

There's also this:

But cacti were not the only plant life we saw. There were also some gorgeous flower arrangements such as this around town:

Just because we were in the desert doesn't mean that everything was flat. In fact, mountains sometimes we're popping up in the middle of town. Here was the view out our hotel room window:

That's Camelback Mountain in the background and it's one of the most famous mountains in Arizona.

Two different thoughts came to me while on this trip. First, the beauty of God's creation can be found anywhere even in the desert. Mountains such as Camelback pop up all over the place. And despite the lack of vegetation, the flowers there were quite beautiful.

The second thought struck me as we were driving back through the Shenandoah Valley when we returned to Virginia. I was awed by the mountain vista and the beauty it encompassed. I had driven that stretch of road more times that I could count. But this time, because I had been in the desert, I appreciated the view that much more. I think that's why God allows us to have times when we are in the desert and we feel distant from God. Once we return to the "mountaintop" we have a little more appreciation for the blessings He bestows upon us.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Taking A Bow

President Obama caused quite a ruckus over the weekend while in Japan. When he met Emperor Akihito he bowed which is a major faux paus. Americans do not bow to royalty and especially not Presidents. But as this video shows, the President not only bowed once but several times:

But as this video shows, other world leaders know not to bow to the Emperor (hat tip: Ed Morrissey):

At least one expert on Japan says the President's critics on both the right and left are all wrong about why it was wrong but makes the point that the bow was still offensive in the eyes of the Japanese.

Two thoughts come to mind. First, there is no question that the President is very intelligent, having been educated at Harvard and Columbia. Either he's not listening to his protocol advisers or the State Department has some housecleaning to do.

Second, this whole incident reminds me of this toy for some reason:

How To Bake Great Artisan Bread At Home

I love bread. My waistline will testify to this fact. When I travel, I usually eat at least one meal at either (a) a local bakery or (b) Panera Bread when I can't find a good local bakery. Little did I know that it's possible to make the same high quality artisan bread at home and the best part is that it's really, really easy.

Here's how you do it: first, go to a grocery store or warehouse club and buy a 5 quart tub of ice cream. Then eat the ice cream and save the container (this is what you will use to store your dough). Then go buy this book and follow the instructions:

It's that easy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Celebrating Joy Out of Sorrow

Mark Alexander has the heartwarming story in this week's essay at the Patriot Post. Be sure to read all the way to the end to discover how two patriots found joy in the midst of dealing with grief. It's a beautiful story and one well worth reading.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Two Different Views of Healthcare Reform

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insists that she is going to get a vote on healthcare reform over the weekend but one has to wonder what she thinks she is going to accomplish. According to the Wall Street Journal's John Fund, there are some Democrats who are questioning the wisdom in pushing ahead especially in light of Tuesday's election results:

It's one thing to be serene under fire, it's another to be delusional.

More than a few Democrats in Congress are perplexed and worried that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is insisting on ramming through a 1,900-page health care bill on Saturday, just days after her party took heavy losses in Tuesday's elections. "It reminds me of Major Nicholson, the obsessed British major in the film 'Bridge on the River Kwai,'" one Democrat told me. "She is fixated on finishing her health care bridge even as she's lost sight of where it's going and what damage it could cause to her own troops."

Indeed, the Speaker's take on Tuesday's off-year elections struck some of her own members as delusive "happy talk." "From our perspective, we won last night," a cheerful Ms. Pelosi told reporters, citing her party's pick-up of a single House seat in a New York special election and retention of another strongly Democratic seat in California.

That's not how many of her own troops see it. Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama told that members are "very, very sensitive" to the fact that the agenda being pushed by party leaders has "the potential to cost some of our front-line members their seats"

On health care, added New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell: "People who had weak knees before are going to have weaker knees now."

Meanwhile, Republicans have outlined their own common sense and no-cost reform proposals that actually reform the health insurance system rather than turning the whole thing into another gigantic government bureaucracy.

Speaker Pelosi might just get her wish and see her bill pass the House. Chances are that even if she succeeds to keep enough Democrats together to pass it the bill will undergo vast changes in the Senate. More importantly, passage of a massively complex healthcare bill may fufill Democrats' dreams of government healthcare but it will likely cause so many of their members to lose seats that they could be in the minority for many years to come. The key question will be how many Democrats are willing to risk political suicide for the sake of passing this bill. My guess is not many.

Flu Vaccine Shortages and Government Healthcare

A new ad will begin to run nationally today that makes the case that the government has no business getting any further into running healthcare given how they've handled the H1N1 flu vaccine shortage (as well as sending vaccine to Gitmo detainees before American citizens) (hat tip: Michael Goldfarb):

It's a great ad and makes a very salient point. For all the talk about how widespread the H1N1 pandemic was supposed to be, the government sure seems to have been caught woefully unprepared in developing sufficient supplies of the vaccine. The ad reinforces what we already know: everything government does is going to be far less efficient and far more costly than they say it will be.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

EP Debut: Wish That I Was by Annie Parsons

Wikipedia says that a songwriter is "someone who writes the lyrics, as well as the musical composition or melody to songs. But a true songwriter is not someone who not only can write a song but can communicate feelings and thoughts through the music and lyrics, someone who reveals either part of themselves or through their music share things that any listener can identify with, themes that resonate with us.

Annie Parsons (not related to me) is a true songwriter.

I met Annie earlier this year on a trip to Nashville. I got to know her through my own daughter Annie.

Annie moved to Nashville a couple of years ago to pursue songwriting. This past summer, she made her debut at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville which is a big deal.

Now, Annie has just released her first EP entitled Wish That I Was. For a limited time, she has it available for sale. And she makes a compelling case why you should go buy this EP.

Please go and support Annie by buying her EP. She is a terrific writer and a wonderful singer as well. You will certainly enjoy her music.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Becoming a Conservative

One of my favorite TV shows is Chuck which airs on NBC (currently on hiatus until after the Winter Olympics). One of its key characters is Reagan-loving NSA agent John Casey played wonderfully by Adam Baldwin. I've always been curious whether the actor shares some of the character's political views. Now I know that the answer is yes.

Hat tip: Mary Katherine Ham