Monday, September 17, 2007

Random thoughts and percolated conclusions. . .

. . . from last Saturday’s events and Sunday’s posts:

- Will someone please get Mitch a watch that runs on Central time?

- When approached by someone from the ‘other side’ who says “Can I ask you a question,” the proper response is “No, but we can have a dialogue.” Those on the Left actually dislike dialogue, thus the request to ask you a question. If you simply agree, you’ve set yourself up for a straw man question/inquisition that can’t directly be answered in an honest fashion, like “Have you stopped beating your wife?” or “When will the war end?” You’re not allowed to challenge the question, thus, you are accused of “not answering the question.”

- It’s been said that our little counter-protest was a “huge success.” Really? By what measure? I don’t ask this flippantly but I’m not sure what that standard would be. We may have successfully shown that there is an opposing point of view out there, but it would be an error, I think, to describe a 1:50 counter-ratio as “huge.” On the other hand, given that more ‘cut-and-run’ marches aren’t ‘countered,’ just the existence of this one may be success enough. Yes, those of us on the ‘right’ (for lack of a better term at the moment) generally have more demands on their ‘real life’ plate than those on the left which means the population pool from which we draw may be much smaller (I don’t know how many of the marchers spent all week working on the road through Friday, only to return to week-long travel duties on the following Monday). And organized protest isn’t usually in the conservative ‘quiver of arrows’ when it comes to airing our grievances. But it may be true, as one fellow blogger put it, that "we doth (not) protest too much."

Give the left its due, they know how these things are done and we don’t. Rather than judge last Saturday as a “huge success” the local ‘Defeat Jihad’ movement should treat it as a learning experience. A greater presence during the 2008 GOP convention would indeed be a worthy goal.

- A personal answer to the previous point: one of my stated reasons for being there (as proven by my supporting performance on a U-Tube flick) is to show the troops that there are indeed Americans who believe in their mission as they do, and support them in the true context of the word. This was affirmed by a soldier who had served in Iraq that came up to our group and expressed how uplifted he and his fellow soldiers in Iraq were to see such support.

Success indeed.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Day at the Marches

I’ve never been the demonstrative type, particularly when it comes to openly public displays like protest marches. I find megaphones quite irritating and obnoxious, for example, but that’s the point, I suppose.

But anyway, there I was in St. Paul as part of a small group of counter-protesters to a much larger anti-war/anti-Bush/anti-Republican demonstration. It was kinda fun; I found myself on a couple U-Tube videos and actually met someone who admitted to (once in a while) reading this blog!

On the whole the Strib article covered it fairly well. The demonstrators were mostly well-behaved, although it might be mostly due to the fact that there were lots of old people on the crowd. There were also a number of younger types (read ‘high school’) who seemed puzzled at any concept that didn’t mesh with the spoon-fed bumper-sticker slogans of the march organizers. Any takers at how much of ‘both sides’ they’re getting at school?

They passed by us very closely, so there was opportunity to ‘reach out’ and shake a few hands, and a few responded positively. More scowled (so few smiles), and others got verbally vicious, which prompted some march managers to step on the curb and try to keep the marchers moving rather than ‘engaging’ us. Some kind folks still stopped and chatted, though. These were mostly the previously mentioned elderly who would make great neighbors and grow wonderful gardens.

Speaking of slogans, they were mostly retreads going back to Vietnam days, as well as the modern nonsensical/non sequitur stuff like “No blood for oil” and “Support bridges not war.” But what happens if the marchers get their wish and pull out of Iraq tomorrow? No clue. How/where better to fight Al Qaeda? No response. SHOULD we fight Jihad? Can’t say. Who are the REAL terrorists? Ah! That one leads us to…

Bush Derangement Syndrome…which was also on display. He’s a “fascist,” of course, and worthy of more vilification than suicide bombers, Osama Bin Laden, or Saddam himself. I myself was tossed multiple times from the ranks of humanity (“You’re not a human being!”). Four letter words were present, but tended to be focused among a few, like this dude who later gave me two F---s and three Sh—s in just one sentence.

Just to have some fun, I tried to engage the arriving protesters in some friendly exchange, just smiling and waving across the street, and I noticed a pattern…the longer the hair, the less likely I was to get a positive response. Most, though, seemed to have no idea with what do to with an ideological opponent that they couldn’t peg as viciously deranged. Minnesota nice’ took a backseat to ‘Minnesota confused.’ I also offered some water to the marchers toward the end of their festivities. Most politely declined, a couple with ‘thank yous’ as well as ‘I’m not taking water from the likes of you’ responses.

At the end of it all we were packing up and I continued my attempts to elicit some sort of friendly response by waiving and saying ‘hi’ to the oil-hating protesters as they made their way back to their multiple vehicles. This time it got me a response of "Hope you enjoy your money!”

Huh?!? What money, we asked?

“The money the Republicans paid you to be here!”

Much laughter. “Sorry, but our grant from George Soros didn’t come through like it did for you guys!”

More blogs comment here, here, here, here and here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Not to be tolerated

I don’t like lying. From politicians, certainly, but least of all from my kids.

This week my son returned from school with the results of a math test. He gave the answer to one problem as 10. The teacher, on the other hand, placed the true answer in red, 15, beside the problem.

I don’t know why my son lied with his answer on this test. But that’s really not the point. I punished him for his outrageous conduct.

Since then I have learned that his classmates lied in their answer to the math problem as well. No matter. My son should have known better, and his punishment will not be altered.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

“You can trust us scientists…we’re government funded!!”

I have a healthy first skepticism of all things done in the name of ‘science’ when governments get involved; office-seeking politicians and bureaucrats spending other people’s money just don’t vet stuff as well or as objectively as those who are risking their own fortunes. A prime example popped up today:

A 20-year government effort to restore the population of an endangered native trout in Colorado has made little progress because biologists have been stocking some of the waterways with the wrong fish, a new study says.

This is laugh-out-loud funny. For two decades learned, lettered, peer-reviewed science experts have declared most of the fish in question to be of a genus that that they not. Interestingly, “The cost of the program was not available.”

We humans accomplish SO much when the plebians simply stand aside and the patricians run with their visions…

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

CGW-E takes another hit; Recent years not so hot after all.

No doubt you haven’t seen it in the media, but an error has been discovered in NASA’s temperature data calculation that marked 1998 as the hottest year of the previous century. You can read a more detailed account here, but the upshot is that 1998 has been relegated to second place, with 1934 now taking honors. 2006 dropped from second to fourth. The new ‘Top 10’ list is as follows (hottest first):

1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, 1939.

A quick count places four of these years in the 1930s, three in the 1990s, and one each in the ‘20s, ‘50s, and 2ks.

The Church of Global Warming – Evangelical (CGW-E) doesn’t like this kind of news, which is why, perhaps, they’re trying to paint skeptics like me as evil, traitorous, or anti-scientific deniers. But it’s the CGW-E that does its best to hide their data and methodology in order to avoid scrutiny (as you can read in the link above). Fortunately, we’re still in a two-way discussion on the issue despite the CGW-E’s best efforts to stifle meaningful debate. A good thing, as NASA continues to examine its numbers.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Man bites dog (...and journalist eats crow)

I love it when the media, as deeply steeped in Bush Derangement Syndrome as they are, wag their own dog. From Powerline today:

In 2003, President Bush rode on a Segway, and fell off. That caused British reporter Piers Morgan and his paper, the Daily Mail, to write, "You'd have to be an idiot to fall off, wouldn't you Mr President. If anyone can make a pig's ear of riding a sophisticated, self-balancing machine like this, Dubya can."

The wheels of justice grind slowly, it is said, but they grind exceedingly fine. Four years later, Morgan had his own first ride on a Segway...and fell off, cracking three ribs.


You access the video link here and the Daily mail story here.

Monday, September 03, 2007

“…with a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘G’ and that stands for ‘Gay!’”

Last week an Iowa county judge declared that state’s law defining ‘marriage’ as unconstitutional. The whole deal again illustrated the point that judges aren’t going to leave this to elected legislatures, but rather invent ways of adding power to the bench that wasn’t supposed to exist.

In the words of the True North blog

If there was to be an amendment on the ballot to approve gay marriages in Iowa, there wouldn't be a snowball's chance in hell of its passage; in fact, Iowans passed a law to preserve marriage as a legal and social contract between one man and one woman…

With one decision and a few strokes of a pen, an Iowa judge decided that he, himself knew what was best for Iowa, and struck down the voter-approved and instituted legislative ban on same-sex marriage; in effect, telling the vast majority of Iowans to take their sensibilities and "stick it where the sun don't shine."

Succinctly put.

Of course, this has implication for Minnesota as well. Sooner or later, our State court system will declare any definition of marriage as between one man and one woman as unconstitutional, displacing the rightful will of the people with their own self anointed vision. Yet attempts at constitutionally defined marriage have been stalled by the DFL at the legislative level. The arguments against constitutionally establishing such a definition does have substance (no minutia in the constitution), but that principle suffered when Minnesotans passed an amendment mandating that no less than 40% of all transportation tax dollars be spent on public transit. The DFL is oblivious to this disparity, but the DFL is rarely given to consistent reason, and will thus stall any marriage defining amendment, no matter how popular it is or how obviously needed. Meanwhile, Minnesota Republicans will have to face the reality that the state courts will someday overrule the electorate and mandate gay marriage.

There is a solution; a constitutional amendment that doesn’t define marriage, but takes it out of the hands of the courts. Basically something like ‘The definition of marriage shall be made by the citizens of Minnesota through their elected representatives. The state courts shall have no jurisdiction in this matter.’

This could be an electoral winner for the GOP. This proposed amendment doesn’t say what marriage should be, only that the people, not the courts, will decide. That’s a popular stance that properly frames the correct relationship between, and the limitations of, the branches of government on this issue. It’s a shame that something that should be so obvious would have to be spelled out so plainly. And I’d like to see the DFL oppose it.

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