Second Watchmen Trailer!!

Posted on November 18, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Geek Gasm!

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My Thoughts on Obama Being Elected President

Posted on November 4, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Right now, I’m watching John McCain’s concession speech.  While I didn’t vote for McCain I always thought he was a classy guy, even if that meant that he wouldn’t take the shots at Obama that he “should” have. 

Anyone can put on a good face for a concession speech while still remaining bitter about their loss.  But I witnessed something from McCain that makes me admire him as a person.  As he began his speech and mentioned the name Obama, people in the crowd began to boo.  McCain didn’t skip a beat but put his hands up to quiet them and simply said, “Please.” 

As he continued, McCain made mention of Obama’s name again and a second wave of boos issued from the crowd.  This time, you could see an actual flash of anger cross the Senator’s face.  He was making it clear that he would not tolerate any negative reaction from the crowd towards his opponent.  As the loser in this election, he could very well have let the crowd vent its frustrations and boo for an extended period of time.  He could have allowed it to perk up his ego as people showed disgust for a candidate who ran a better campaign.  But he’s a guy with class and he wouldn’t let that happen.

I like the fact that Senator McCain brought up the fact that all Americans should be proud of the fact that after 390 years of being “second class citizens”, a black man has finally taken the presidency.

Now, I didn’t for Obama either.  This was the first election that I had a great distaste for both candidates.  But now, for the first time in America’s history, black people can believe it when they are told that, in America, you can be anything you want to be with hard work and determination.  It’s pretty hard to swallow that line when you see 43 white faces staring back at you when you look at the former leaders of this country.  Now, it’s a truth realized.

Whatever our feelings about this election, whether it’s anger and frustration or elation and relief, the people have spoken and shown that in this great country of ours all men ARE created equal. 

But Obama is also part of the changing face of this nation.   Even though he is the country’s first “black” president, he is also the country’s first bi-racial president.  Sixty years ago you’d be hard put to find many bi-racial children in this country.  Now, it’s commonplace.  Even though I didn’t support him, I must admit, upon his winning this election, it goes to show how much we’ve changed as a people. 

Just as with any presidential election I have some trepidation and anxiety about what the next four years have in store for us.  But I also have hope that the next four years will be better than the last.  I don’t necessarily think that this will become the United Socialist States of America but I do have some misgivings about what we can expect to see.  I’m glad that we do not have a filibuster-proof Congress; I would have had a lot more anxiety if that were to happen. 

It is too bad that Obama’s grandmother was not alive to see this day.  How hard it must have been for Barack to have lost one of the most influential people in his life one day before he won the election. 

My prayer for the next four years is for peace and unity.  We live in troubled times and we can’t let our dissatisfactions color the fact that we still live under the same banner.  I do pray for his safety and I hope that we are all the better for having Barack Obama as our new president.

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A Letter to the Undecided Voter

Posted on October 31, 2008. Filed under: Politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Here is a letter from Libertarian Neal Boortz.  In this campaign he is supporting McCain, which I am not, and is not supporting Obama, whom I’m also not voting for.  I agree with Boortz about 60% of the time, so I am not what you’d call a follower of his but I did think that this was important enough to print again, with his permission.

BTW, I know that it’s 6,000 or so words but it’s still worth reading, please be patient and give it a whirl.

By Neal Boortz

© 2008 Neal Boortz

This is long; very long. Hey, I’m a pretty entertaining writer … so give it a go. If you’re an undecided voter in this presidential election the least you owe your country is to try to base your final choice on some substantive facts. No, I don’t have all the facts here … but I have enough of them to perhaps convince you that voting one particular way on November 4th might not be the most brilliant move you’ve ever made.

This election is my 10th. My 10th presidential election since I became a radio talk show host. My 10th election since I began spending more time than the average American thinking about, researching, reading about and talking about the choices voters face. Look; I mean no arrogance here. It’s just that the average American doesn’t spend from 15 (then) to 22.5 (now) hours a week over the period of a presidential race talking about the candidates, the issues, the non-issues and the consequences of voter choice.

Never in those ten elections can I remember choices so stark and possible outcomes so perilous. For the record, over those 10 elections I voted for the Republican candidate six times and the Libertarian four. Never have I voted for a Democrat for president. I see no need to vote for a Democrat since I have no plans or desires to become a ward of the government. Somehow I don’t think 2008 is going to be the first time.

I’ve noted that some other “pundits” out there are starting to post, in columns and in their blogs, the reasons they are going to vote the way they are going to vote. I’ll make no attempt to refute their (oh-so refutable) arguments here. Instead, I’m just going to put my thoughts and reasoning in writing just to cleanse my mind. If you can make some use of them; whether it is for laughter, talking points or intellectual consideration, have at it. Me? I’m just pulling the handle.

The Race Factor

Are many black voters going to vote for Barack Obama primarily because of race? Of course, many will. Surveys and polling have shown that the figure may reach 20%. I think it’s well more than that. Is race a sound reason to cast a vote? Probably not. Is it understandable? Absolutely. I cannot fault a black American for voting for Obama. It may turn out to be a negative vote insofar as their dreams and goals are concerned. It may not work out all that well for their children, especially if they’re ambitions and talented. But I don’t think many of us can absolutely say that we wouldn’t be casting the same vote were we in their shoes.

If you are a white American there is no way in the world you can look at this election through the same eyes as a third or fourth generation black American citizen. Several months ago a caller to my show suggested that Barack Obama’s ascendency in the presidential sweepstakes was Black America’s biggest accomplishment. I disagreed. Though I can’t remember the exact words, I said that, in a general sense, the shining moment for Black America may have been the show of patience and restraint shown by black men when they returned from putting their lives on the line in World War II and in Korea to a country with segregated schools, colored waiting rooms, whites only water fountains, beatings, lynchings, water hoses, police dogs and systematic discrimination pretty much every where they looked. The restraint showed by black Americans during the civil rights struggles of the 50’s and 60’s, though not universal, was something to behold.

Now .. try, though you won’t succeed, to put yourself into the mind of a black American. How can you experience or understand the legacy of segregation, violence and second-class citizenry your ancestors went through and not take pride in a black American on the verge of winning the presidency? How many black American voters do you think are uttering to themselves: “If my grandfather had only lived to see this.” It takes a great deal of maturity and a clear understanding of the possible future consequences for someone to put their racial pride aside and swim against the tide on this one. So, there will be no name-calling, at least not here, for people who cast their vote on the basis of race in this election. As I said, It’s understandable.

And Then There’s the Race Card

This really isn’t really a reason to vote for or against Barack Obama, but you do need to know what the next four years are going to be like with an Obama presidency.

During the campaign there have been some rather amazing charges of racism. Let’s see if we can remember a few:

  • Using the word “skinny” to refer to Obama is racist.
  • “Community organizer” is a racist term.
  • Any reference to a connection between Obama and Franklin Raines, the former head of Fannie Mae is racist … that would be because Raines is black.
  • All references to Jeremiah Wright are racist; that being due to Wright being black.
  • Referring to Obama as “eloquent” is racist because it infers that other blacks are not eloquent.
  • For goodness’ sake, don’t say that Obama is “clean.”
  • This just in from The Kansas City Star: Calling Obama a “socialist” is also racist because “socialist” is just another code word for black.

And so it goes. We’ve also had several pundits, columnists and opinion-makers flat-out state that if you are white and you don’t vote for Barack Obama it can only be because he’s black. There is simply no other legitimate reason to deny this wonderful man your vote. Vote for McCain, you’re a racist. Simple as that.

Now let’s consider the next four years under President Obama. He is certainly going to introduce ideas and pursue policies that are pure poison to many Americans; especially achievement-oriented self-sufficient citizens. Whenever anyone dares to utter a word in opposition to any Obama position or initiative you can be sure that there is going to be someone waiting close by to start screaming “racist!” By the end of Obama’s first year in the White House virtually every white American will have been called a racist for one reason or another. So, what else is new?

The Republicans

One thing for sure … the Republicans deserve exactly what is happening to them in this election. It’s just too bad the rest of the country has to suffer the lion’s share of the punishment the Republicans so richly deserve. In 1994 the voters were fed up with Clinton and the Republicans swept to control of both houses of congress, largely on the strength of Newt’s Contract with America. Do you remember some of the promises? One that sticks in my mind is their promise to dismantle the Department of Education. Republicans – in 1994 – recognized that the quality of American education had been going steadily downhill since this government behemoth was formed. Well, that was then … this is now. The size of the Education Department, as well as the cost, has doubled. Republicans did this, not Democrats.

As a matter of fact, it’s not just the Department of Education; it’s our entire federal government. Spending has doubled. Size has doubled. All under the Republican watch inside the beltway. Pork barrel spending is completely out of control, and Republicans are behind the wheel. Education and pork spending aside, we have the Medicare prescription benefit, McCain-Feingold, Sarbanes-Oxley, a tepid response to Kelo vs. New London … all elements of a well-deserved Republican drubbing. The problem here is that the cure, that being Barack Obama, might well be much worse of than the disease.

The Republicans don’t deserve power in Washington just as you don’t deserve a boil in the center of your forehead. There are worse things, however. Complete Democrat control or, in the case of your forehead, a nice big melanoma. Pretty much the same things, actually.

It’s not that the Republicans did everything wrong. They got the tax cut thing right, and they responded correctly, for the most part, to the radical Islamic attack on our country. They just did so much wrong at the same time. They got drunk with power, and the hangover affects all of us.

Obama’s Friends

By “Obama’s Friends” we mean the likes of Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, Tony Rezko and other assorted miscreants. I could spend a lot of time here detailing the crimes of Obama’s friends — and make no mistake, they were his friends. At this point I don’t think that any votes are going to be changed one way or another by detailing the corruption of Rezko, the America-hating of Wright or the unrepentant terrorism of Ayers. Suffice it to say that Obama was close to all of these people … and these were associations born of mutual interests and philosophies. If you think that it is fair to judge the character of a person by observing the people they surround themselves with, then the judgment of Barack Obama would be a harsh one.

Obama’s varied storylines regarding his relationship with Ayers have, to say the least, been interesting. The list is incomplete, but thus far we have:

  • He was just a guy who lived in my neighborhood.
  • I was only eight years old when he was throwing bombs.
  • I didn’t know about his history when we started working together
  • I thought he had been rehabilitated.

Yeah … I guess it’s OK if you form a close relationship with a bomb-throwing terrorist, as long as he threw the bombs when you were a kid. Works for me. Work for you? In a similar vein, It must be OK if your pastor rails against America, as long as you aren’t in church on those particular days. Or maybe we should say as long as nobody remembers actually seeing you in church on those days.

One interesting point: If Barack Obama was applying for a security clearance as a government employee, these associations would disqualify him. We are, my friends, about to have a president who doesn’t qualify for a security clearance. Pretty pathetic. If Barack Obama becomes president, he would not even qualify to be his own bodyguard.

Obama’s Tax Policies

You may consider this to be horribly old fashioned, but I operate on the principle that governments have the power to tax so that governments can collect the money needed to pursue and pay for the legitimate functions of that government. By “legitimate functions” I’m referring to law enforcement, national defense, a system of courts to adjudicate interstate disputes, national infrastructure and the costs associated with running the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government.

Now we can get into quite an argument over what constitutes a “legitimate” function of government, but let’s save it for later. Suffice it to say that Barack Obama has a much different picture of our government’s taxing authority than many of us do.

Before we go on, let me remind you of a point that I first heard made by former Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne. Government has one unique power that you don’t have, and neither do I. This is a power that is denied all private businesses and individuals in this country. That power .. the power unique to government .. is the power to use deadly force to accomplish its goals. If you have a business; a restaurant, for instance; you have to convince people to come to your establishment for a meal. You can advertise for customers, but they make the decision whether or not to give your restaurant a try. When the customers do come in it is up to you to deliver to them a superior product with exemplary service. This is how you get them to come back. Not through force, but through value and service.

Not so the government. You have no choice as to whether or not you are going to be a customer of government. Your patronage is compelled and your payments are extracted at the point of a gun. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall said that “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” The power to tax in the wrong hands can certainly bring destruction to our economy and even to our country. I submit to you that the power to tax in the hands of Barack Obama is dangerous: Dangerous to you personally, and dangerous to the very fabric of our Republic.

Just take a look at some of the rhetoric Barack Obama uses when he talks of his plans to increase taxes on the evil, hated rich. In a television interview with (I think) Charles Gibson, Obama was asked if he understood that tax increases have often resulted in decreases in government revenue. Obama responded that he was aware of this fact. He was then asked why, then, would he be so eager to raise taxes? Obama responded that, to him, tax increases were simply a matter of “fairness.” In other words, Obama didn’t wish to use the police power of the state to collect taxes necessary for the legitimate functions of government; he wanted to use his taxing power to promote some vaporous “fairness” in our economy. After all, as Obama put it, the people he wants to tax have more money than they actually need and he wants to give that money to people who really do need it.

Now I ask you, does any of that sound vaguely familiar? Hmmmmm, let’s see. I know I’ve heard something like that somewhere before. Wait! I think I have it. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Some character named Marx made slogan quite popular around 1875 in a writing called “Critique of the Gotha Program.” This phrase is one of the most well-known principals of communism. You can yell, scream, spin around on your eyebrows and spit wooden nickels all you want, but what Barack Obama is pushing here, at least insofar as his tax policies are concerned, is communism. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Obama’s self-professed affinity for communist student groups and communist professors during his undergraduate years. Oh, you didn’t read that? Maybe that’s because you read his second book, not the first one. But what the heck. He’s eloquent, isn’t he? And he has a good narrative.

As I’ve indicated, I’ve been doing talk radio for 39 years now. I was on the air when we were fighting communism in Southeast Asia. I was flapping my jaws when Soviet leaders seriously entertained dreams of world communism. Throughout all of those years I was never one to scream “communism” every time someone came up with an oddball idea on governance, and I never once found a communist under my bed. But now, at least when you consider tax policy, we have a candidate for president who seems very comfortable with some basic communist principals. Too comfortable. But none of this should really bother you … right? A little communism or socialism never really hurt anyone that you can remember. Besides, Europe is telling us that they’ll like us again if we vote for Obama. That pretty much overrules everything, doesn’t it?

Does this reflect your philosophy?

Come on! Put the celebrity worship aside for a moment. Put skin color aside. Just think about Obama and his “spread the wealth around” tax policy.

Let’s talk heartbeats. Sounds weird, but I’m going somewhere here. A bit of Internet research led me to the fact that the average number of heartbeats in a life time for a human being is about one billion. To make this more understandable, the average human heart beats around 70 times a minute. In one eight-hour work day your heart beats around 33,600 times. This is your heart beating .. every beat subtracted from the one billion .. every beat a part of your life gone, never to be recovered. If you are a moderately successful human being Barack Obama is going to take about 13,000 (39%) of those heartbeats away from you every working day. Put your finger on your wrist and feel your pulse. Feel every heartbeat. Just count up to 100. How much of your life went by as you counted? You can’t get those beats back. They’re gone, for good. Remember, you only have a finite number of those beats of your heart left … and Obama wants 13,000 of them every working day of your life. Those heartbeats – your life – being expended creating wealth. Your heartbeats, your wealth. Obama wants them. You don’t need them. Someone else does. The police power of the state.

Taxes are a nasty little reality of life. Nobody wants anarchy. Government is a necessity. Government, though, is not supposed to create winners and losers. Government is not, as Obama intends, to be used as an instrument of plunder. Almost all Americans are perfectly willing to surrender an appropriate percentage of their earned wealth to fund the legitimate functions of government. I, for one, don’t want to see my wealth confiscated because some bureaucrat has determined I don’t “need” it, and then have to watch as that wealth is used to buy votes from someone who is simply too lazy to generate the income they need by themselves … or, as Obama puts it, “spread around.”

What is Obama going to do? How does he determine “need?” What data does he use to determine “fairness?” Maybe he’ll set up some bureaucracy staffed with like-minded leftists who will use data collected in the last census and from those pesky American Community Surveys to establish a basic “need” level for people living in different areas. Once it is determined how much of a person’s wealth they really don’t “need,” it will be a simple matter of confiscation and redistribution to those who do need it. After all, that would be “fair,” wouldn’t it? Come on, it’s not exactly like you worked for that money.

Listen to the rhetoric of the left. Those who are in need are called “the less fortunate.” This means that their status as needy was due to nothing but bad luck. It stands to reason, then, that those with more than they need were just lucky. The fortunate and the less fortunate. The lucky and the not so lucky. And here comes Barack Obama riding over the rainbow on his Unicorn to set everything right and make it all fair. Isn’t that the world you want to live in?

There’s a quote that’s been floating around since I began my talk radio career. This quote is most often attributed to someone named Alexander Tyler writing in 1787 about the fall of the Athenian Republic. Others have said the guy’s name was Tytler. Let’s not argue spelling right now … let’s just get to the quote, because the quote goes to the heart of this presidential election:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

Think about this, my friends. Isn’t this exactly what we’re seeing right now? In fact, hasn’t this pretty much been the theme of Democrat Party election politics for nearly as long as you can remember? Here we have Barack Obama promising that he’s only going to raise taxes on the evil rich who make over $250,000 a year while 95% of Americans will get tax cuts. Think of this in terms of votes; higher taxes for 5% of the voters, lower taxes for the other 95%. It really doesn’t take all that much brainpower to figure out how this is going to work at in an election does it? You take money away from the people whose votes you don’t need, and give it to the people whose votes you do need. So very simple. The result is that people have, in fact, discovered that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. Who is promising those wonderful goodies? That would be Barack Obama. Just what percentage of voters out there do you think are going to vote for Obama simply because he is promising them someone else’s money? My guess is that the number would be high enough to constitute the margin of victory for The Great Redistributionist.

Somehow I had this idea when I was growing up that if you wanted something bad enough, you would work hard until you got it. That was then. This is now. Now you vote for it. That’s change you can believe in.

Those Amazing Vanishing Jobs

Barack Obama repeatedly tells the American people that he is going to cut taxes for 95% of them. Now that’s a pretty nifty trick when more than 40% of Americans don’t pay income taxes in the first place. Tell me please … just how do you cut taxes for someone who doesn’t pay taxes?

Here’s the fancy narrative (Obama supporters just love that word) that the Obama campaign has come up with. Even if you don’t pay income taxes, you still pay payroll taxes. So Obama is going to give these people who only pay Social Security and Medicare taxes an offsetting tax credit. At this point Obama’s plan becomes almost impossible to explain. It’s convoluted, to say the least, but that’s out of necessity. When people started reminding him that about one-half of the people he’s going to cut taxes for don’t pay taxes he had to come up with something. The bottom line is this. Obama says that he is not going to take the cost of his tax credits from the Social Security Trust Fund. That’s nice, considering the fact that this so-called Trust Fund exists only on paper anyway. But if that money isn’t subtracted from the Trust Fund … where does it come from? Obama’s people explain that at first the deficit will just have to increase while these checks are written. Later they’ll just go out there and get the money from those “rich people.”

OK … so there we are. It’s tax the rancid rich time so that money can be transferred to the poor. But just who are these evil rich people destined to be beaten down by Obama’s taxes? At first Barack Obama defined them as “people making over $250,000 a year.” That definition had to change when it became known that the $250,000 a year figure was only for a married couple filing a joint tax return. In a heartbeat Obama changed his rhetoric to note that the tax increase would nail “families,” not “people” earning over 250 grand. If you’re single, the figure will be somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000, depending on who you’re talking to. We’ll try to let you know when Obama settles on a hard figure.

There’s your first lie.

So, what does all of this have to do with jobs? Well the very people that Barack Obama wants to nail with these tax increases are the people who create most of the jobs in our economy; America’s small business owners.

The Democrats spend no small amount of time excoriating corporations. To listen to a Democrat candidate corporations and lobbyists are the sole sources of evil in our society. Oh … and right wing talk show hosts. Well, you can forget these evil, nasty corporations for now. Fact is 70% of all jobs in our economy come from America’s small business owners. The Small Business Administration recently reported that 80% of all new jobs are being created by these small business owners. These are people who report all of their business income on their personal income tax returns. As such, they are squarely in the crosshairs for The Chosen One’s tax increases.

If you are an American concerned about your job with a small business … and if you vote for Obama … then you very well could be cutting your own economic throat. Think about it. If the small business owner(s) who employs you has his taxes increased by Barack Obama he is going to look for a way to replace that money. So where does he go to replace his income lost to Barack’s tax increases? The best way would be to cut expenses. Well guess what? You’re an expense! Will it be your job that is cut to compensate for the increased taxes? Maybe you’ll be lucky and just have to forego your next raise. Maybe there would just be a cut in your pay or a reduction in benefits. Cast your vote and take your chances!

In recent days the McCain campaign has finally started to warn people about the possible consequences of Obama’s tax increases on America’s small businesses. This has forced the Obama campaign to come up with a response. Initially Barack Obama started saying that he was going to give a break on capital gains taxes to small businesses. This worked for a while until people started figuring out that small businesses don’t pay capital gains taxes. Back to the drawing board, and this time they came up with a beauty. It’s a con, but it works. Barack Obama is now telling the media and anyone else who will listen that 95% of America’s small businesses don’t make $250,000 a year, and thus won’t be affected by Obama’s tax increases.

That’s the second lie. A lie of omission.

Obama’s statistics may be accurate .. or nearly so. But the statement leaves one very important statistic out. Initially when you hear that “95% of all small businesses” line you probably think that this 95% employ about 95% of all of the people working for small businesses. You could think that, but you would be wrong.

The trick here is that the vast majority of America’s small businesses are just that … small. I owned a title abstract business in the 80’s that had one employee. My wife owned a travel agency that had two employees. Neither of these small businesses came anywhere near the $250,000 line.

When you think about it you will understand that the important statistic here is the percentage of small business employees who will be affected, not the percentage of small businesses.

The October 21st edition of The Wall Street Journal addressed this issue in an article entitled “Socking It to Small Businesses.” The WSJ reports that Obama is right “that most of the 35 million small businesses in America have a net income of less than $250,000, hire only a few workers, and stay in business for less than four years.” There’s more to the story though: “.. the point is that it is the most successful small and medium-sized businesses that create most of the new jobs.. And they are precisely the businesses that will be slammed by Mr. Obama’s tax increase.” The Senate Finance Committee reports that of those who file income taxes in the highest two tax brackets; three out of four are the small business owners Obama wants to tax.

The WSJ reports that the National Federation of Independent Business says that only 10% of small businesses with one to nine employees will be hit by Obama’s tax increase. However, almost 20% of the small businesses that employ from 10 to 19 people will get nailed, and 50% of small businesses with over 20 employees get punished.

Again … it is not the percentage of businesses that will have to pay the increased taxes; it’s the percentage of the total of small business employees who work for those businesses. The Obama campaign is counting on you not making that distinction; and they know the media won’t make it for you; so Obama’s “95% of all small businesses don’t make $250,000” line will probably rule the day.

Come on folks. These are your jobs we’re talking about here. It’s time to take your blinders off and see through some of this Obama rhetoric. The Obama campaign has some wonderful people working for them to tell them just how to parse words to hide intent and meaning. Just because they’re trying to fool you doesn’t mean that you have to be so easily suckered. When Obama talks about change .. he may well mean that you are going to have to change jobs. Now that’s change you can believe in, right?

Pandering to the Unions .. at Your Expense.

Now since we’re talking about jobs here, you need to be up to speed on The Messiah’s “Employee Free Choice Act.” Let me step out on a limb here and say that applying the words “free choice” to Obama’s plan to eliminate secret ballots in union elections is like applying the words “fun sex” to an act of rape. Freedom has nothing to do with Obama’s plan, and fun has nothing to do with rape.

Going in you need to recognize that union membership has been falling for decades. You only see growth in union membership in government employee unions. This, of course, is troubling to union leaders. It is also troubling to Democrats. Unions, you see, almost exclusively support Democrat candidates, both with money and time. Big money and lots of time … and it’s all behind Obama’s candidacy.

To know what Obama is up to here, you need to know how union organizing works under the current law. Union organizers circulate a petition among employees. Employees are asked to sign a card saying that they would like to be represented by a union in their workplace. If a majority of the workers sign the cards the employer has the option of immediately recognizing the union and allowing them to organize the workplace. More often the employer will call for an election – an election using secret ballots. Every employee will be given the opportunity to express their desire to join or not to join a union in secret. Their co-workers will not know how they voted. They can prance around the workplace touting their support of unionization all they want in order to impress or appease their fellow workers, especially those who are trying to organize the union, but then vote “no” on the secret ballot if that’s how they truly feel.

How, you might ask, do Democrats feel about the secret ballot in union elections? For a clue let’s go to a letter from 16 House Democrats dated August 29, 2001. The letter was written on the letterhead of California Congressman George Miller, a Democrat representing the 7th District of California. That letter reads:


[Letterhead of George Miller, Congress of the United States]


Junta Local de Conciliacion y Arbitraje del Estado de Puebla
Lic. Armando Poxqui Quintero
7 Norte Numero 1006 Altos
Colonia Centro
Puebla, Mexico C.P. 7200


Dear members of the Junta Local de Conciliacion y Arbitraje of the state of Puebla.


As members of Congress of the United States who are deeply concerned with international labor standards and the role of labor rights in international trade agreements, we are writing to encourage you to use the secret ballot in all union recognition elections.


We understand that the secret ballot is allowed for, but not required, by Mexican labor law. However, we feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise chose.


We respect Mexico as an important neighbor and trading partner, and we feel that the increased use of the secret ballow in union recognition elections will help bring real democracy to the Mexican workplace.




George Miller

Bernard Sanders

Lane Evans

Marcy Kaptur

William J. Coyne

Bob Filner

Martin Olav Sabo

Joe Baca

Dennis J. Kucinich

Fortney Pete Stark

James P. McGovern

Barney Frank

Zoe Lofgren

Calvin M. Dooley

Barbara Lee

Lloyd Doggett

So there you go. These 16 Democrats are on the record as being solidly in favor of using secret ballots in union recognition elections. So far, so good … because that, as they point out in their letter, is clearly the right stance.

That brings us to piece of legislation – a piece of Obama sponsored legislation –designated as H.R. 800, the Employee Free Choice Act. Would you care to guess just what H.R. 800 does? Well, that’s simple. It will eliminate the secret ballot in union recognition elections. You got it! Obama has decided to really do something nice for the union bosses that are supporting him in this election, and he is determined to do away with secret ballots in union elections. When H.R. 800 gets passed … and trust me, with Barack Obama in the White House, this thing will become law … the union organizers will visit all of the workers, perhaps even visiting some of them in their homes, and “urge” them to sign the card calling for a union. I can hear it now: “Mrs. Johnson, wouldn’t you and your children want your husband to be represented by our union at his job?” Now put yourself in the worker’s place! Are you going to say no? This organizer is sitting in your living room looking at you and your wife and saying “You do want to be represented by our union in your workplace, don’t you?” And you’re going to tell him no?

Are you getting the big picture here? This is nothing less than Barack Obama and his Democrat pals legitimizing union intimidation in the workplace. If you don’t see that, then there is virtually no hope for you when it comes to understanding basic politics. It’s payback the unions time .. pay them back for all of that financial support and all of those volunteer hours. Besides … the more union members there are the more union dues the union bosses have to spread to Democrats as campaign contributions.

But – we’re saved, right? After all, we have those 16 Democrats who signed that letter to Mexico. What was it they said? Oh yeah: ” … we feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise chose.” So these 16 Democrats will certainly put up a spirited defense of secret ballots in union organizing elections, right?

Well … um … maybe not. You see, four of these congressmen (Dooley, Sabo, Evans and Coyne) are no longer in the Congress. One of the signers, Bernie Sanders, is now a Senator. That leaves 11 of the 16 signees still in the house to defend the principal of the secret ballot.

I’m afraid we have a small problem though. It seems that every one of the 11 remaining signees is now a sponsor of H.R. 800. In fact, the so-called Employee Free Choice Act was actually introduced by none other than George Miller – the very California Democrat on whose letterhead that letter to Mexico was written. Bernie Sanders is a sponsor of the same legislation in the Senate along with Barack Obama. No surprise .

On the one hand we have these Democrats writing a letter extolling the virtues of a secret ballot in union organizing elections, and then they sponsor a bill eliminating those very secret ballots! And here’s Barack Obama pledging to sign the bill as soon as it comes to his desk! So what changed between 2001 and 2007? What happened that made these 12 Democrats go from believing that a secret ballot in a union election was “absolutely necessary,” to introducing a bill eliminating those “absolutely necessary” secret ballots? Control of congress; that’s what changed. In 2001 the Republicans ran the show. In 2007 it was the Democrats … and it was time to return some favors to union bosses. Do you know what you’re seeing here? You’re seeing just how much power unions have over Barack Obama and the Democrat party. It doesn’t matter what kind of letter you wrote, or what stance you took in the past — when we say “frog” you had better jump.

Let me tell you what is going to happen as soon as Barack Obama is elected. Employers are going to look at the so-called Employee Free Choice Act and they’re going to be very afraid. They know what a union can do to their business and their profitability. Just look at our auto industry. So employers are going to immediately start working to minimize the damage. How do you do that? Well, automation is one way. Go ahead and buy that machinery you need to automate much of your workplace. That will allow you to get rid of these employees before they can unionize. You might also want to consider the possibility of moving some of those jobs overseas where union intimidation might not be such a negative factor in your business operations.

When Obama gets his unionization by intimidation thing in place – and he most certainly will – jobs are going to be lost and businesses will fail. This is the price Obama is willing to pay to pay back the unions who have supported him.

Just another reason to vote for The Chosen One, right?

The Supreme Court

This is getting to be a bit long. We’re over 6,200 words here. So let’s end this message to the undecided voter with a few words about the Supreme Court.

It is quite possible that Barack Obama will get to make one, maybe two Supreme Court appointments before he’s through in Washington. It is also possible that he will have a filibuster-proof Senate to help him ram those choices through.

I’m a lawyer, and I’ve always had this strange idea that the U.S. Supreme Court should base its decisions on the supreme law of our land, our Constitution. Many people think differently these days. A recent and rather shocking survey showed that around 80% of people who support Barack Obama believe that the Supreme Court should base its decisions not on the Constitution, but on what’s “fair.” Egad! On the other hand, the strong majority of McCain voters believe that the Supremes should look to our Constitution as the final authority.

Let’s just make this short and sweet, because I know you want to get out of here. If Barack Obama gets those two nominations, and if the Democrat Senate rubber-stamps them, then we are going to have a Supreme Court making decisions based on their liberal definition of “fairness” with some consideration to foreign court decisions tossed in. This is perhaps Obama’s greatest opportunity to do permanent damage to our Republic; permanent and irreparable damage. It’s one thing when Barack Obama talks about wealth seizure and redistribution in terms of “fairness.” It’s quite another when that talk is legitimized by a Supreme Court decision.

So, dear undecided voters … as Og Mandino (a great American) once said: “Use wisely your power of choice.” There’s a lot hanging in the balance.

There. I’m done.

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Glory, Word and Unity by Bishop N. T. Wright

Posted on October 30, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Glory, Word and Unity

Isaiah 55; John 17.20–end

a sermon at the Ecumenical Vespers, Caravita Church, Rome

22 October 2008, 7 p.m.

by Bishop N. T. Wright

Some people today say that the ecumenical movement has run out of steam. Others say that it is only just beginning. I prefer to take the second, more hopeful route, and I see this evening’s service, and your generous invitation to me to come and preach, as a sign of that hope. We have come a long way in the nearly 100 years since the generally acknowledged start of the modern ecumenical movement at the Edinburgh Conference of 1910. Indeed, a great deal that we today take for granted in ecumenical circles would have been unthinkable, or at best a wild fantasy, a century ago. My distinguished predecessor Hensley Henson, when he was a parish priest in the 1890s, used to accept invitations to preach at Dissenting Chapels and then, when his Bishop wrote angrily to remonstrate, used to frame the letters and put them on his mantelpiece as trophies of a battle then just beginning. We have learnt a huge amount since then; and we have, perhaps without always realising it, created platforms on which we can build fresh structures; or, perhaps better, created new seed-beds in which we can plant fresh hopes and pray for the watering of the Spirit.

That image, indeed, points directly to this evening’s Old Testament text, which in turn sets the creative and dynamic context for our New Testament reading, one of the most famous so-called ‘ecumenical’ passages in the whole Bible, the prayer of Jesus himself that all his followers might be one. I hope that by setting that prayer in its larger biblical context, of which Isaiah forms a crucial part, we may gain fresh vision of, and energy for, the task that lies before us. The Synod of Bishops, the last three weeks, has been considering the Word of God in the life and mission of the church. I want this evening to invite you briefly to consider the Word of God in the renewal of creation and, within that, the church’s vocation to unity.

‘As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,’ declares the Lord by Isaiah (55.10f.), ‘and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out of my mouth: it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.’ And that sense of the powerful Word by which the living God accomplishes nothing short of new creation (as the next verses indicate when they speak of thorns and thistles being replaced with flowering shrubs) links back to the start of the long section, in Isaiah 40, where God promises that he will flatten the hills and smooth out the valleys so that his glory may at long last return to Zion: ‘the glory of YHWH shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together’. This promise, of YHWH’s long-awaited return to Jerusalem after the exile, is repeated in chapter 52, right before what we call the fourth Servant Song. The pagan idols will be overthrown, the Servant will complete his strange work of dying and rising, thereby renewing the covenant between YHWH and his people (Isaiah 54) and so renewing the whole creation (chapter 55), inviting all people everywhere to come to the waters and drink. And all this will happen because of YHWH’s powerful Word, the word of creative command by which all things were made: ‘all flesh is grass, and its glory as the flower of grass; the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand for ever’ (40.8). As you know, Isaiah chapters 40—55 form a single great poem at the heart of the larger book, a poem about the triumphant return of YHWH to renew both covenant and creation and to do so, strangely but it seems gloriously, through the work of the Servant.

But, as so often in prophecy, traditional expectations are radically adjusted in the light of the new vision. The glory of YHWH is coming back; that was a given of post-exilic theology, not least through Ezekiel, and repeated for instance in Zechariah and Malachi. YHWH’s glory, the tabernacling presence that had dwelt in the tent in the wilderness and had then flooded the Temple in Solomon’s day and in Isaiah’s opening vision, had left the Temple because of idolatry, left it to its fate at the hands of the Babylonians. But part of the whole promise of return from exile was that YHWH himself would return, would come once more and dwell in the midst of his people – to fill not only the Temple but actually the whole world, the whole earth, the whole creation with that same glory. As Isaiah and Habakkuk saw, there is coming a time when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the glory of YHWH, as the waters cover the sea. The Temple, it seems, was to be an advance foretaste of the creator God’s intention to flood the whole of his creation with his glorious presence – so that, as I have written elsewhere, the beauty of the world as we know it is explained not least because we glimpse it as a vessel ready and waiting to be filled with that glory.

But what we are never told directly, merely left to infer, is the answer to the question: what will it look like when the glory of YHWH returns? What will people actually see? We might suppose it will be like the pillar of cloud and fire in the desert; or perhaps like the whirling wheels of the throne-chariot which Ezekiel witnessed. But what Isaiah tells us is that if we want to see the returning glory we must look at the Servant. And that, of course, is where St John picks up the story.

‘In the beginning was the Word’. Why not ‘in the beginning was the Glory’? or perhaps ‘In the beginning was the Love’? Both of those, after all, are central for John; indeed, after the Prologue is finished, Jesus is never again called logos in the whole book (and the term is only used in two verses of the Prologue itself). I think part of the point at least – leaving aside a possible dialogue with the philosophers! – is that for John what we have in Jesus is above all else the word which accomplishes new creation, as in Isaiah 55 or Psalm 33.6, 9; 147.15–19; 148.5 and so on, all looking back of course to Genesis 1. Jesus is the powerful Word who goes out from the Father to accomplish his purpose, and who will not return to him empty but will complete his task. And when the Word became flesh, declares John, we beheld his glory: the glory that Israel had expected to fill the Temple and then, perhaps, the whole earth. This glory, instead, dwelt bodily within Jesus. It was glimpsed through the ‘signs’ which upstaged the institutions of Judaism, not least the Temple itself, signs which reached their peak in the greatest Sign of all when Jesus, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy of the Servant (which John quotes and applies in 12.37–41), is lifted up on the cross to draw all people to him (12.32), thus glorifying the name of the Father (12.28). Jesus himself is the new Temple. The glory of the living God has come to dwell in him.

And this glory is revealed supremely on the cross. Because, as John makes clear throughout (but especially in chapters 13 and 17), it is on the cross that Jesus, ‘having loved his own who were in the world, loved them to the uttermost’. He did for them everything that love could do, the love which lays down its life for its friends (13.1; 15.13). This is the glory, this is the love, that the world cannot glimpse, and indeed which overcomes the world, as God’s glory in Isaiah overthrew the pagan idols (cf. 14.17; 14.27–31; 15.18–25; 16.33; etc.). That is what we see in the extraordinary dialogue between Jesus and Pilate in chapters 18 and 19. It is what Jesus promises his followers in the ‘farewell discourses’ of chapters 13—16. And it is only with all this in mind that we can hope even to begin to understand the great prayer, the so-called ‘high priestly’ prayer, of chapter 17, the prayer whose climax is that all Jesus’ followers should be one. I hope you see how we have been tiptoeing towards this central Holy of Holies, making sure we understand its outer resonances before approaching its inner secrets.

The point is that, with the promise of the Spirit, the Spirit who is to be given when Jesus has been glorified on the cross (7.39; 20.22), the place where the returning glory of YHWH has come to dwell is not just Jesus. It is those who follow Jesus and believe in him. It is those who, having responded to his love, discover the same love not only for him but for one another. It is those who, like Moses, recognise his glory and come to know his name (17.6). It is those who are then sent into the world so that they may be, throughout that world, the Temple in which the glory of the creator is revealed so that all flesh can see it. Indeed, they are the advance sign of what the creator intends to do in and for the whole world: in overthrowing its idolatry and power structures, he comes to fill the whole of creation, to renew it as in Isaiah’s vision, so that when we find Jesus raised from the dead in a garden, full of signs of new creation, we should think once again not only of Genesis but also of Isaiah 55. The Word has come down like rain and snow and has accomplished the creator’s whole purpose, and now the thorns and thistles are replaced by flowering and fruitful plants.

The prayer that we might all be one, therefore, is not merely for the pragmatic sake of mission. We do not read ‘that the world may believe’ merely in the sense that ‘if we all sang from the same hymn-sheet the world might be less sceptical’, true though that undoubtedly is. The prayer that we might all be one is rooted in nothing less than the eschatological and trinitarian vision of the revelation of the glory of the returning God: ‘I have given them the glory which you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be completely one, so that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them just as you loved me’ (17.22f.). And it is aimed, not simply at our unity or indeed our mission in pragmatic terms, but rather at the eventual goal, which is the creator’s promised filling of all heaven and earth with that same glory and that same love. Here John’s gospel joins up with the letters to the Romans, the Colossians and the Ephesians, and indeed with the closing chapters of the Revelation of St John. God’s design is to rescue the whole creation from its slavery to corruption and decay, to defeat all the idols and false powers that have held creation, and ourselves too, in their grip, and to complete at last the long purpose of Genesis 1 and 2, that the creation, formed by the outpouring of God’s powerful love and creative word, should become the cosmic Temple filled with his glory, ruled over in wisdom and love by his redeemed people, themselves glorified.

The unity of the church is thus a sign, a foretaste and a means of the creator’s eventual plan. We have for too long seen the ecumenical task either within the framework of a merely pragmatic mission, or even within the framework of a dualistic rejection of the creation (let’s huddle together and let the world go its own way). Or, indeed, we have conceived of it on a lowest-common-denominator theological basis; let’s not emphasize our particular theologies too much and then we can all agree, can’t we! Instead, it is the highest theology we have – Trinity, Christology, Pneumatology, the victory of cross and resurrection, the remaking of creation, the coming together of heaven and earth, the eschatology of promised glory – that grounds the vision of unity. And this is why, of course, it matters that we work towards full sacramental unity. The sacraments are themselves precisely the sign of creation being taken up and transformed by the flood of God’s love and glory.

All of this may seem very theological and exegetical; though I don’t apologise for that. If you ask a biblical scholar to reflect on a theme, this is the sort of stuff you’re going to get! But let me close with three, I hope pertinent, more practical comments.

First, and most obviously, our thanks must go, under God, to all those who have worked so hard in recent years towards this unity. We know that we are engaged in a complex and important process, and that we shouldn’t expect trivial or cheap ‘solutions’. We give thanks for the work of Don Bolen, who has been a good friend to so many of us, and for whose future ministry we pray with gratitude. We thank God for Mark Langham coming to take his place. We give thanks for the whole Receptive Ecumenism project, not least for the energy and enthusiasm of Paul Murray, and indeed of the still very youthful Cardinal Kasper in this as in much besides; for the work in Durham of which the new book is one of many early fruits; for this church and its ministry of welcome; and so much more, with apologies for those people and projects not mentioned. All of these are street-signs on the way to that larger hope, both for the unity of Christ’s followers and the larger filling of the whole creation.

Second, however, as we face the future, our study of Isaiah and John leads us to suppose that the way to unity and cosmic renewal is costly, and will demand the dethroning of idols. It it simply going to be a matter of embracing all that we can embrace from one another in a spirit of hopeful receptivity, important though that is. The world, and the powers of the world, will be concerned to keep us apart; we must recognise those pressures for what they are and defeat them through the victory of Jesus’ cross and resurrection and the power of the Spirit. It isn’t simply a matter of better organisation, more conferences and deeper friendships, vital though these all are. It is hard enough to see idolatry in our friends, almost impossible to see it in ourselves, yet if we are to be true to the Word we must, in the days to come, make the effort.

But, third, therefore, we must stress that the ecumenical task is a project of prayer as well as action. You know and I know that the only truly worthwhile things done for the kingdom and glory of God are those things which are rooted in and soaked in prayer. Pray for the Word to do its healing and recreative work. Pray for God’s glory to be revealed afresh in our common life. Pray above all that the love with which the Father has loved the Son may be amongst us too. Join in prayer with Jesus himself, that the glory which was promised ages ago, the glory which filled the Temple and filled Jesus himself, may fill our common life, overcoming all the barriers which still separate us, and that in the dangerous and threatening world of tomorrow, with postmodernity, credit crunches, neo-nationalism and all kinds of other delights facing us, we may show the world by our unity that Jesus is Lord, that God raised him from the dead, and that the Word which was spoken in and through him will not return to God empty, but will fulfill all his purpose, until the earth itself shall be full of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

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A Question About Oil Companies and the Coming Energy Crunch: Do We Bail Out Big Oil?

Posted on October 29, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

A Question About Oil Companies and the Coming Energy Crunch

Although I have a little more than rudimentary knowledge of economics, I don’t claim to be an expert.  And, my understanding of the oil industry usually goes no further than finding a filling station with the cheapest gas.  But I do have a question that has been bouncing around in my wee little brain for the past couple of weeks now.

I thought of this question after watching multiple banks around the world tank all at once, causing all sorts of problems for corporations and governments alike.  I watched as these banks asked for help and were extended “rescue packages” to ease the world markets (although, at the writing of this blog, said banks have taken their money but are holding on to it, unwilling to extend credit, greedy s.o.b. s that they are.) 

Although banks being handed a bail out was the bigger news, few people heard about Detroit’s auto manufacturers asking Congress for a bailout of their own.  They want an additional $25 billion dollar “aid package” along with the $25 billion they received last year.  What would happen if an industry with multiple global-sized corporations were to suddenly hit the skids as well?  I’m talking about oil companies.

I’ve expressed to those that will listen, that I believe that the next financial crisis/bailout will be the energy sector.  As we slowly gain speed in draining our natural resources, those companies that are making their money doing such will eventually work their way to their own demise.  Once the oil and gas reserves are sucked dry, there’s no more.  

I do believe that companies as large as Amerada Hess or Chevron already have people working on ways to use renewable resources, but are they moving fast enough?  Now, think of just the petroleum companies who’re headquartered in the United States, none of which even make it into the top ten for oil reserves.  What happens when these companies tank?  What happens when their billions of dollars in assets are no longer good?

What happens when companies like ConocoPhillips, Sinclair Oil, ExxonMobil, and Kerr-McGee start to lose everything in a matter of months?  When the oil runs dry or when someone develops a newer more efficient and renewable energy resource that makes the demand for petroleum products drastically drop, what will these oil companies do?  Will they too ask for a government bailout? 

This isn’t just a financial problem for the United States.  Like I’d said earlier, none of the companies that are stationed here even crack the top ten largest oil reserves.  What happens when Petroleos de Venezuela (located out of, you guessed it, Venezuela) , Russia’s Gazprom or Saudi Aramco finally go under?  What will that do to the world economy?  You think we have problems now but banks have trillions of dollars worth of interest in these companies. 

My problem is that what we have done by providing bailouts to the banks may have set a precedent for large overburdened companies to follow when they fall on hard times.  Do we do the “right thing” and let these petroleum companies die the death that is required by the market?  After all, no one is shedding any tears over the collapse of Huntingburg Wagon Works, the former largest manufacturer of wagons in the United States.  Once the gasoline powered automobile entered the mix, the market decided to put down the old wagon makers for the simple fact that they were no longer viable.  Those companies that could not adapt went out of business and made room for those could. 

So again I ask, when the energy (or should I say, petroleum) crunch comes, do we extend the same courtesy to the oil companies that we did to the banks?  Should we keep around dinosaurs of the past simply because they’ve grown so big that we don’t know what we’d do without them?  Or, do we let the market sort it out and let the ones who could not change die off like the Dodo or the Irish Elk?  Do we collectively have the cojones to let big businesses fail anymore or do we coddle everyone? 

This is not an opinion piece but a genuine question, and I’d love your responses.  I want to know what we should do and what we are willing to do, because these days those are two completely different questions.


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Obama Indianapolis Rally 2008…As I Remember it.

Posted on October 16, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Little does anyone know but on the day that Barack Obama came to Indy to speak at the Fairgrounds, I was in attendance.  My good friend Maurice Broaddus and his brother, Anthony, also went.  Maurice wrote a blow-by-blow account of what he saw and the things that happened that day.  Well, I don’t know about Maurice but I saw things quite differently.  Let me tell you how it really went down.

8:20 a.m. I realize that it is an “Obama” rally and not an “Osama” rally and figured I’d still be a patriot if I went.

9:00 a.m. I arrive at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds and don the “My Obama beat up your Jesus” t-shirt I’d had made for the occasion. 

9:10 a.m. I find the line.  I get my first comment on my t-shirt.  A man rather angrily asks me, “So does that mean you’re an atheist?”  I respond, “No sir, I believe in Obama!”  He seems pleased and leaves me alone.

9:20 a.m. I poll my first Obamite:


Me:  So why are you voting for Obama?

Obamite 1:  Because, you know, he’s for changing things.

Me:  Like what?

Obamite 1:  You know, those things…like the people in Washington and on Wall Street.

Me:  Excuse me.  Who?

Obamite 1:  Wait, I don’t think you’re a true believer!

Me:  Look!  It’s Evan Bayh!  (I run to the back of the line)

9:35 a.m. I’m registered to vote for the fourth time while I’ve been waiting.  When asked, the people holding the registration forms inform me not to worry, “It’s all good.”  I believe them.

10:15 a.m. After being frisked for McCain/Palin propaganda, a man is summarily beaten after being found with a “Ron Paul for President” button.  An apology was made soon after when everyone realizes that 15 minutes after the election is over, no one will know who Ron Paul is.

10:30 a.m. I’m taken to my seat and I interview my second Obamite:


Me:  So why are you voting for Obama?

Obamite 2:  Because his policies mesh so well with my ideology.

Me being sneaky:  You mean how he’s anti-abortion and for cutting capital gains taxes?

Obamite 2:  Yeah exactly, I mean that’s why he’s so outstanding!

Me:  Yeah, he’s all about small government!  And protecting our right to bear arms.

Obamite 2:  Exactly!  All of that. 

Me:  Huh.

10:45 a.m. I notice that people in wheelchairs and crutches are being brought to the stage.  Not exactly sure why. 

11:00 a.m. Everyone is pleased with the fact that the obligatory playing of “Celebration” was replaced by Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet”.  A surprising amount of white folks rap along with Chuck D…word-for-word.


11:10 a.m. Andre Carson makes an appearance.  The person next to me explains that this is Julia’s grandson or something like that.  Then she says, “He really ought to think about running for office!”  I refuse to respond as I’m afraid I’ll begin to bleed out of my ears.



11:30 a.m. I make the comment that I’m not so sure Biden was the best choice for a running mate.  I’m quickly accused of being a racist and hating white people.  I point out the fact that I too am white.  For the first time in my life, I’m called an “Uncle Chip”. 

11:45 a.m. Word spreads that Obama is in the area.  Women (and a few men) begin to openly weep.



11:47 a.m. Before we are led in the Pledge of Allegiance, an Obama spokesperson apologizes for the “accidental” playing of the Soviet national anthem while the flag was being presented.  The crowd quickly forgives the gaff. 

11:55 a.m. The Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, Jill Long Thompson, speaks. Nobody in the crowd knows who she is until someone says, “Look!  Even Becky Skillman is supporting Obama.”  The crowd murmurs in approval and begins to golf-clap.

12:00. p.m. Andre Carson promises that the Carson Empire is strong.  Makes strange references to Dark Lords of the Sith and promises that he already has an apprentice.  He assures us that the Galactic House of Representatives is in the palm of his hand and the rebuilding of something called the “Death Star” is proceeding on schedule.

12:30 p.m. Evan Bayh is greeted like a rock star as he power slides onto the stage and right into his seat.

12:45 p.m. A lone sunbeam breaks through the clouds and miraculously casts its brilliant rays of light directly onto the podium.

12:50:   ACORN representative is given a plaque thanking them for their passionate efforts in registering people to vote and beating all expectations.  They are congratulated for exceeding the approximately 600,000 eligible voters in Indianapolis by more than 150,000 registrations, for a total of 750,000 registrations filed!  Crowd goes wild.

1:00 p.m. The Indianapolis Children’s Choir begins to sing the Hallelujah chorus of Handel’s Messiah exchanging the words for “It’s Obama!  It’s Obama!”

1:02 p.m.  Joe “The Baptist” Biden makes straight the way for Obama.


1:03 p.m.  Obama is delivered from the clouds, being held by two angels, riding the sunbeam to alight upon the dais in front of the podium.

1:10 p.m. Obama commands the rain to be still.  It’s suddenly partly cloudy and 76 degrees.  A dove comes and lands on his shoulder.

1:13 p.m. The reason for the people with crutches and wheelchairs is made evident as Obama conducts a mass healing.


1:15 p.m.  Obama thanks ACORN for their support and their efforts in “Getting Out The Vote.”

1:16 p.m.  Obama denies any knowledge of ACORN and their activities.  Bill Ayers is welcomed on stage and is given a hug by Obama as he presents him to the crowd.  As Ayers is leaving the stage Obama denies ever having met him.

1:17 p.m. Obama surprises everyone by welcoming to the stage John McCain.  McCain tells everyone within earshot how good of a president Barack Obama will be.  McCain officially throws his support in for Obama.  WOW!  Didn’t see that one coming.


1:20 p.m. Obama climbs up onto a cross and forgives those who are not voting for him for being racists and clinging to their faith and guns.  He then promises that they too will be with him in Paradise after Election Day. 

1:21 p.m.  Obama ascends back into the clouds after he sprouts his own angel’s wings.

1:34 p.m. I finally make it to my car after climbing over the bodies of all the people who swooned at the appearance of the chosen one.

1:45 p.m.  I feel strangely purified as I drive home from the “Obama-rama”.

I don’t know about anyone else in attendance that day but that is surely how I witnessed the events of that day.  Can’t wait to see what happens when Sarah Palin comes to town on Friday!  Woohoo!

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Rock Me Sexy Jesus

Posted on July 23, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This was too cool not to post.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  I might even change my ringtone to this.


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Watchmen Trailer

Posted on July 18, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Check it out! If the movie is half as good as it looks in this trailer I may wet myself in the theater. Looking great so far and it’s still got another year to 9 months before it comes out! Check out the Watchmen Trailer:

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Our Newest Member of Our Family

Posted on July 8, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Most of you know that Marcia was a week overdue to have our baby. Little Guerin Aquinas Rolfingsmeyer (named after St. Theodore Guerin and St. Thomas Aquinas) was originally due on June 26th but he didn’t seem like he ever wanted to come. Poor Marcia was sooooo big that the nurses at the hospital asked as we walked in, “So you’re having twins, huh?” and we’d look at them and smile as we said no.

Finally at about 8:30 in the morning on July 3rd, Marcia woke me up gently and politely rubbing my leg. I would stir but I just couldn’t get up. Finally she said, “Hon’, my water just broke.” Boy, I shot up like a rocket. Since my wife was a high risk pregnancy we were supposed to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible. But as some of you may know, when a woman first goes in to labor, they don’t just double over in pain and immediately deliver a kid. They get giddy and kind of piddle around doing things and talking a lot, so we didnt even leave the house until just about 10:30….2 hours after her water broke.

We arrived at the hospital and we were introduced to one of the nicest nurses I’d ever met: Erin. She watched over us and actually came in every half hour to make sure we were okay.  Unfortunately around 5 o’clock Marcia’s contractions had not progressed and remained random and weak.  After talking it over with our doctor, we’d decided that a progressive dose of petocin was the way to go.  Poor Marcia was having major contractions that were increasing in intensity and thusly increased in pain.  Right about 8:30, Marcia was in tears and was begging for an epidural.  I asked that she be checked to see how dilated she was before we even were going to consider using pain meds.  This is something that Marcia wanted, not just me.  I’m not some sadistic male pig who thinks that women should have pain in labor because they were the ones who partook of the fruit in the Garden of Eden.  Using no meds was something that was very dear to Marcia.   

I kicked everyone out of the delivery room and waited until the next contraction passed to look Marcia right in the eyes to say, “Are you sure this is what you want?  I just wanted to remind you that you wanted to do it with no meds for your sake and for the baby’s.” She began to cry and apologize to me telling me that the petocin was making it so bad that she couldn’t stand it.  I told her, “Don’t apologize to me, I have no idea what you are going through.  The only one who can gauge how bad it is is you.  This is all your decision and I will support you.”  I then had an idea that we would check how dilated she was before we made a final decision.

The nurses came back in and checked her; only 6cm. dilated!  So she made the call:  epidural.  I can’t blame her.  She didn’t have a clear end in sight and the contractions were killing her.  The contractions were one minute long and were coming every 2 minutes.  She was getting no rest in between them. 

Now, let me tell you, watching the epidural was like watching a train wreck or staring at a car accident.  No matter how creepy, no matter how disturbing it got, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.  I was even watching the anesthesiologist (sp?) in the reflection in the windows.  I felt myself starting to fade a little bit and the only reason I knew I was falling out was the sound of my shoes slowly creeking.  I caught myself, shook it off and concentrated on supporting my wife. 

After the whole epidural thing, I needed to get a breath of fresh air to clear my head and I figured it was a good time to also update people on the phone.  I called some close friends to let them know what was going on and then made my way back upstairs. 

As I stepped in the room, there was a buzz of activity.  Tara, our new nurse, and Marcia were really excited and chatty.  As Tara walked by me she said, “I’m going to find Dr. Pauloski.  She’s 9.5 cm. now!”  I was only gone for about 10 minutes.  The epidural had relaxed her to the point that everything was able to fall into place and get moving along at a quicker pace.  Literally the only thing we were waiting on was for the doctor to show up. 

What seemed like hours later, the doctor finally walked in the room.  He wheeled in his table as the nurse set up everything else.  By now, Marcia was so relaxed that she was chatty and laughing it up with everyone in the room.  And when I say everyone, I mean everyone.  My mom was there as well as my wife’s sister Amber, my mother-in-law Sue, my mom Louise and my 3 1/2 year old Titus. 

As Tara got on one side, I got on the other as the doctor prepared to deliver baby Guerin.  Titus got amazingly quiet and watched intently as this amazing thing.  He was full of questions as all of the comotion settled around his mom. 

The doctor gave us the okay to start pushing and Tara and I counted as Marcia bore down and started to heave.  We did the normal ten count allowing Marcia about a minute between contractions to catch her breath.  Finally the head started to show and the doctor did his best to kind of ease the big old melon of a head out.  The cord was wrapped around his neck so there was a tense couple of seconds as the doctor did his best to move it over his head.  Finally he was able to get it to budge and there was a collective sigh of relief.  As soon as Guerin’s head was out the rest of him just slid free. 

But there was a hush that fell over the room.  This baby was HUGE!  Even the doctor and nurse were kind of taken aback at what lay before them.  Doctor Pauloski finally broke the silence by saying, “You didn’t have a baby, you had a toddler!”  There was a little difficulty with Guerin’s breathing at first so he was moved over to the warming table where the nurse could stimulate him into crying.  He perked up rather quickly and he was weighed and measured.  Once again a hush passed over the room as the nurse called out, “23 1/2 inches, 11 pounds 8 ounces.”  She had to repeat it a couple of times before all the people in the room were convinced that the baby was as big as she was saying. 

About an hour later we were able to move upstairs to the room we would be staying in for the next 48 hours, kicked everyone out and ordered some food.  After we ate we decided to try our best to settle in and rest up.  It was now midnight and unfortunately I couldn’t sleep.  I roamed around outside, I played with the baby, I flipped through the channels and read through a book.  But no matter how exhausted I was, I couldn’t sleep. 

Finally around four in the morning, I pulled out the sleeper bed and tried to bed down for the night, which just happened to be the most uncomfortable sleep I’ve ever had.  I tossed and turned all night long and woke up so sore, you would have thought that I’d gone to the gym. 

Aside from all of the freaky things that happened, all the worries and concerns, everything turned out all right.  We’re at home now and we have an all new set of concerns (jaundice, possible infections, prepping the baby’s room, getting baby furniture to the house, etc.) but we’ll manage through them.  I’ll try to keep you posted on anything that happens but I’d like to thank everyone for their congratulations and visits.  We look forward to more visitors and (hint, hint) more meals to help us out, (thank you Ro, since Marcia was the meal planner at church for people who needed meals, no one is doing it for her, something we overlooked and hope somebody will pick up.)

Anyway peace to you all and thank you very much for everything.


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Our Family Vacation in Florida: pt. 4

Posted on April 1, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Well, today went really nicely.  It was actually planned out and surprisingly all of the things we’d put together were also pulled off.

Early in the day we ran out to Clearwater Beach, about an hour and a half away.  Along the way, we stopped at Costco and picked up a brand new camera to replace the one that met its unfortunate demise at Gatorland.  As Marcia pulled into the Costco parking lot, I saw the grand vision of a Fatburger!  I nearly passed out as memories from my earlier years in California came flooding back.  I probably would have peed a little had it been a Tommy Burger or an In ‘n’ Out but Fatburger would do just fine!  After eating my King Fatburger and buying a Manchester United baseball hat we were on our way to the beach.

Powdery white sands, crystal clear ocean waters, huge sand banks that stretched far out into the ocean, cool sea-born breezes.  This is what I had to put up with for hours.  Damn that ambrosial Nature!  Titus and Marcia ran out into the cool briny water as Sue searched the shallows for seashells.  Me?  I hijacked a rented beach tent from some people who had recently vacated it and cracked open a book.  Every once in a while I’d wade out about ten to twenty yards (the water still not coming any higher than my knees) and watched as Titus tried to build castles in the sand.  I also took some time to call up Mark Johnson in his cold, wet hell of an Iowa and leave a voicemail saying:  “Hey Mark, just calling to let you know I’ve got my feet buried in powdery white sand, it’s a nice warm day with a cooling breeze as I look out over the crystal blue ocean.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”  and hung up.  I’ll save Mark the breath and say it myself, I’m a bastard.

Titus more than loved the beach and I more than loved the fact that he spent a whole lot of time tuckering himself out by running and handing random people handfuls of sand.  He also dirtied himself up with a new game he invented.  You remember making snow angels as a kid?  Well, Titus decided to make himself some sand angels.  Probably the cutest thing he did the entire time we were there (other than get buffeted by the waves in his innertube and his Little Nemo life vest [fins and all]) was to pick up handfuls of that cool powdery goodness and run to toss it back into the ocean.  It reminded me of a story I once heard about a teacup and a child trying to empty the sea.

Anyway, even though I spent most of the time reading, I couldn’t help but ponder what it must have been like in the old days.  I’m talking about the days before there were even a Thirteen Colonies.  Now we collectively use the beach as a place of recreation and enjoyment, whereas in the times gone by, it was something used for transportation and sustenance.  It’s not like the indigenous peoples of America would pack up the entire village for the day and head out for a relaxing time in the surf.  Often times people would hunt for fish in the ocean or paddle their way to another location.  The beach was a place to be feared and respected as well as loved.  My how times have changed.

After the beach, we had to rush home to make it to the Pirate Adventure Dinner in Orlando.  We’d chosen to do this over Medieval Times simply because there is a MT nearer to us in Chicago.  Titus had a blast as he watched the pirates buckle their swashes and yo ho ho!  In the middle of dinner he started climbing over me and said, “I go talk to the pirates daddy, I be back.”  All night long he wanted to go visit the pirates and talk to them.  After the experience was over, Titus got to talk to our Red Pirate and got his picture taken with him.  He also got a picture with the princess and the Blue Pirate.  He could have cared less about the pirate, he wanted him some of that sweet princess action. 

Well I’m back here at the hotel and for tomorrow we’ve got planned a trip to the Kennedy Space Center and the worlds largest indoor play place at a McDonalds.  We were able to salvage some photos from the broken camera so I’ll post those as well.  If anyone knows how to send the pictures on your phone to your email, I’d greatly appreciate it.

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