Saturday, September 6, 2008

The conventions are over, so now what?

I just can't seem to lay off the upcoming presidential election no matter how hard I try.

Such is the case, I suppose, when you happen to hold a bachelor's in political science. Yes, politics fascinate me and I haven't been this excited about an election since Ronald Reagan was running and I was too young to vote.

One thing I've read about quite a bit recently is how both Barack Obama and John McCain were well received at their respective conventions. Of course they were. Conventions are for the true believers.

Yes, John McCain could have stood in front of a swastika and advocated a kinder, gentler fascism and the Republicans attending the convention would have gone nuts. Similarly, Obama could have advocated a full-on embrace of Marxism and the Democrats at his convention would have gotten so excited they would have wet their pants.

In other words, excited convention attendees isn't news. I've learned at least one things about conventions of any kind over the years -- they are held for the benefit of the converted. So, saying Republicans or Democrats were enthusiastic at their respective conventions doesn't matter one whit when it comes to how the rest of us will actually vote.

Of course, we happy Americans tuned in to the Democrat and Republican conventions and the impressions we were left with are what really count. After all of the analysis and the this that and the others, I do believe this election comes down to one man -- George W. Bush.

Most of us hate Bush and both McCain and Obama are doing their best to show voters that they are the ones to deliver us from the Bush years. In spite of all the grand speeches and hubbub, that really is what this particular election is all about.

So, let's take a look at some of the messages and challenges faced by the candidates, huh?

Barack Obama

He's railed against Bush and those mean ol' Republicans since day one. His entire campaign has been built around the idea that Bush has flushed the country down the toilet and we need to change a lot of things to restore America to greatness.

That message has been well received, of course, and Obama has managed to attract a sizable following. It's easy to see why -- Obama is charismatic and persuasive and he does manage to say what people want to hear. He's a decent fellow, too, as evidenced by his declaration that people ought not smear Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter.

Furthermore, this is a year in which political insiders are absolutely mistrusted. Bush's approval rating stinks and Congress' is actually worse -- people blame Washington for everything from gas prices to a rotting housing market and they're ready for something new. Obama, to many, represents a slew of new ideas and people gravitate to his message.

He's not without his flaws, however. One of the flaws that people have harped on -- his inexperience -- is actually a strength. People love to talk about Obama's lack of experience in Washington, but people either see that as an asset or they just don't give a damn.

Want proof? Hillary Clinton spent a lot of time in the Democratic primary talking about Obama's lack of experience and how that would be harmful in today's world where someone with sophisticated, public policy experience is necessary.

What did that get Hillary? She's back in New York looking at the fall pants suit line and dreaming of a run in 2012 while Obama's got a legitimate shot at winning the presidency this year. By the way, thank God for that -- Hillary sucks.

So, some people view a lack of experience as an asset while other folks just don't give a damn. This is the year of the outsider and Obama has positioned himself well in that regard.

Ah, but there are a couple of serious problems Obama faces. First of all, is opinions seem to change weekly or according to which group he's addressing at the time. There are a lot of questions about this guy -- what the hell will he actually do when in office? Some supporters have argued that Obama is very flexible and will change his views from time to time -- a direct contrast to Bush who makes up his mind and refuses to budge in spite of mountains of evidence.

Regardless, Obama comes across to many as indecisive at best and untrustworthy at worst. He was a screaming liberal when running in the primaries against Hillary and has now positioned himself as a moderate. However, one can't help but think that he's truly a screaming liberal and that's not a good thing to be at a time when people just don't trust the government. Some people are nervous that Obama will simply work to expand the government, thus pounding us with more taxes and increasing the size of a government that a lot of us are mad at.

And comments such as the one about us rural folk "clinging to our guns and religion" have done nothing but add to the claims that Obama is an elitest. That's a problem for him. Obama needs to carry a Southern state or two to win the presidency and he tends to shoot himself in the foot when addressing people from this part of the country.

Don't think the South is important? When's the last time a Democrat got in office without carrying a good number of states in the South. Go and look it up if you want, but you know the answer to that, right?

And I'm not sure that choosing Joe Biden for a running mate helped Obama much. Yes, he was chosen because he has the "experience" that Obama lacks. I'm not sure that was a great move because it seems that people are willing to overlook a lack of experience and they absolutely hate Washington insiders. Biden has been in the Senate since 1973 and, as such, is clearly an insider.

He's a hothead, too, and apparently clings to the unfortunate notion that people will believe something is true if he yells it at them at the top of his lungs over and over again. I don't know about you, but the idea of getting yelled at by Biden for four years bothers me.

Obama would have been better off picking someone who was both likeable and an outsider. But, hey, Democrats are good at minimizing their chances at getting in office -- that's why they keep nominating people like Dukakis, Mondale, Gore and Kerry to run for the presidency. It makes sense, then, that they'd take a popular candidate like Obama and chain him to an albatross like Biden.

John McCain

Here's a main with the unenviable job of convincing people that it would be a fine idea to put a Republican in the White House after Bush has made a mess of things. To his credit, McCain has managed to put some distance between himself and Bush by touting his "maverick" credentials and taking some swipes at his own party during the Republican Convention.

McCain, too, has successfully highlighted his ability to work with Democrats to get things done and that's a message that people want to hear at a time when folks are sick of divisive politics. He's also managed to tout his "war hero" status and voters actually do respond well to that.

Oddly, what might actually give McCain the best shot at the presidency has little to do with him. He picked a running mate that, at this point, is actually more popular than either McCain or Obama in some polls. You'd better believe that she'll net a few votes for Johnny. How's that for irony? How many Republicans could care less about McCain but love the idea of setting Palin up for a shot at the White House?

And she's not popular just because she's a woman. Yes, some of the more cynical Democrats would like to claim that choosing Sarah Palin was a ploy to get those disaffected Hillary voters to take a second look at McCain. There may be some truth to that, but the biggest asset she brings to the ticket is that she's as populist as can be.

Remember all those rural voters that Obama has slighted from time to time? They love Palin. She's a middle-class mom with who's done well for herself and people respect that. Hell, they have a romantic, rose-colored view of all that. It's all Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with Palin -- she's a good ol' girl who connects to a lot of people. It's no wonder the Democrats hate her so much -- she's a legitimate threat to Obama's campaign.

Yes, people have taken shots at her lack of experience and there's been a lot of noise about that public safety commissioner she fired. But guess what? No one gives a damn. It's hard to gripe about a lack of experience when Obama has the same problem and people are more than eager to overlook the firing of a commissioner that served at the governor's convenience.

The Democrats run the risk of alienating a lot of voters by engaging in nit picky attacks against the woman. They'll do it anyway, of course, and the voters will respond accordingly.

Well, back to McCain. He's got at least four major problems from what I can tell. First of all, he's a Republican. Raise your hand if you think the Republicans have done a stellar job with the White House over the past eight years. I'm a Republican and even I'm keeping my hand down -- Bush sucks and his father wasn't worth a damn either. McCain has to distance himself from Bush while still keeping in the good graces of the Republican party -- he's got to pull off a tightrope act and one can only guess if he'll manage to pull it off and wind up in office. We'll just have to see.

Second, he's got a credibility problem, too. He's portrayed himself as a maverick, but just a few months ago he was sounding an awful lot like Bush. After the primary, he pulled an Obama by shifting to the center. As with Obama, one must wonder which McCain we'll get if he shows up in office.

Third, he's an insider in a year when people hate insiders and want something different (that's why, really, Obama secured his party's nomination). People like McCain and Biden are regarded in some circles as part of the problem. In short, why on earth would you put McCain in office when he's part of the system that is increasingly unpopular with the American people?

Fourth, there's that war in Iraq. To say that war is unpopular is an understatement and McCain has earned the reputation of being one of the biggest hawks around when it comes to that thing. He'll lose some votes over his stance that the war was a fine idea and is worth fighting.


Yes, this was a quick review of just a few issues involved in both campaigns. I know I've left out a lot of issues ranging from the economy to everything else, but I did that for a reason -- I'm trying to pick up on the issues that I believe a lot of Americans are actually thinking about right now. I could be wrong, of course.

What I learned from my hunter education class

I've never been a hunter, but I am an Arkansan. That means one of these days the urge to pick up a gun and shoot at something might strike.

About 10 years ago, I took my hunter education class as I thought it might be fun to buy a 20-gauge shotgun and take up dove and quail hunting. Of course, the hunter education class is mandatory for getting a hunting license in this state.

In a nutshell, here's what I learned -- shooting a human being while you're hunting is bad. I spent a week hearing that message, time and time again. You would be amazed how many variations on that theme there are and how many different scenarios were presented to drive home the point that killing or maiming someone in a hunting accident is a bad idea.

The instructor also spent that week preaching against the evils of deer stands. Yes, he thought they should be banned and anyone that used one is asking for trouble. Why? It turns out his brother climbed up in a tree stand, got stinking drunk, fell out of the tree stand, broke his neck and died.

I can spot a number of irresponsible actions there and I can't see how the tree stand was at fault. It occurs to me, too, that drinking heavily while carrying a rifle should be discouraged.

We also learned that a lot of people get shot while hunting because some folks are idiots when it comes to guns. For example, wearing white while going deer hunting is a terrible idea because there are some fools who don't bother to identify what they're shooting at before they pull the trigger. When one of those idiots (who may be full of beer, to boot) sees a splash of white, he figures "white tail!" and starts firing at what he thinks is a deer.

That's one of the reasons I like the black powder guys so well -- if you've only got one shot, you're going to identify exactly what you're aiming at before you pull that trigger. That makes a lot more sense than just blazing away when you think you maybe sort of spotted a deer. My grandfather taught me that you don't shoot at anything until you're damned sure you know what it is, but apparently there are a lot of people in this state who didn't have a similar influence.

I suspect a lot of people are like a friend of mine in law school. He is a great guy, but one thing he once told me struck me as odd. Now, a lot of people get shot during turkey season and we were watching some news segment the day before that season opened.

"Man, I don't know about that turkey hunting thing," I said. "It looks like a lot of people hide in bushes, make racket with turkey calls and shoot at things that are moving in bushes and sounding like turkeys."

"I used to go turkey hunting," my friend said.

"Really? Weren't you worried about getting shot?"

"No. Not the way we did it," he said. "We'd load up my Mercedes with a couple of cases of beer and drive around on the dirt roads in the woods. If one of us spotted a turkey, we'd lean out the windows and shoot at it."

Sounds dangerous to me. That, by the way, is a typically Arkansas story. That fellow's father was stinking rich but he was an Arkie all the way and so was his kid. So, leaning out of a Mercedes-Benz 300D with a shotgun and blasting away at a turkey seems almost normal in this state.

At any rate, when test time came I got a 100 percent and got a orange camo, Mountain Man Pawn Shop baseball cap as a reward (Mountain Man is a great pawn shop/gun store in Fayetteville, Ark., by the way). The test was all multiple choice and all the questions had to do with the proper ways to not shoot someone or avoid getting shot.

The scary part of that test was that people who couldn't read were given the option of having the questions read to them. Man, if you're an adult who can't read, you need to be sitting in a literacy class instead of a hunter education class. Good grief.

I never went hunting, primarily because I've got a Kroger down the road and I'm too lazy to train bird dogs and slog around in a field shooting at things. I'm glad I've learned the ins and outs of not shooting anyone by mistake, however.

Meanwhile, The Hawg is having trouble with Entrecard!

Well, I'm not really having trouble, but I am wrestling with a nice problem to have. Specifically, I'm getting over 300 hits a day from Entrecard right now and that means my old practice of "reciprocal dropping" is impossible to keep up with these days (you Entrecard users know what I mean). I honestly never thought I'd have this problem, so you Entrecard folks don't get your feelings hurt if you drop a card on my blog and I don't return the favor. I'm still trying to reciprocate the best I can, but it's become impossible to keep up with everyone and I apologize for that.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Colonel The Hawg?

My little brother has had a dream for a long time -- to be a Kentucky Colonel.

My brother, persuasive soul that he is, has convinced me to share his dream. Yes, if I'm successful I'll be known as Colonel The Hawg.

And I'll do all those Kentucky Colonel things. I'll wear white suits, carry a cane, insist on being referred to as "The Colonel," drink mint juleps, go to the Kentucky Derby and say things like "This, sir, must be settled ... on the field of honor!"

I, The Hawg, would join the ranks of those truly outstanding Kentucky Colonels such as Colonel Tom Parker (Elvis' manager), Colonel Sanders, Muhammed Ali, Fred Astaire, Pope John Paul II (I understand he made Catholics everywhere call him "The Colonel" for a week after he was honored), John Glenn, Omar Bradley (the World War II general who you just know was honored to be called "The Colonel"), Bob Hope and even the great Bing Crosby. Yes, I'd throw all of my Colonel-free business cards out and have a new batch printed that identified my new found glory. It would be great and wonderful, indeed.

Why would it be so wonderful? Because being called "The Colonel" is cool, that's why. Out of all the nicknames a person could have, that has to be in the top 10. Hell, probably the top 5. Sure, the Kentucky Colonels may not carry the military authority they once did, but that's still one of those titles that trumps everything from CEO to CFO to BSD.

"Yeah, that guy over there is the CEO of Blah, Blah, Blah Inc. Big deal. See that cat there? He's a colonel, man!"

There's only one problem with my dream of going from just plain old The Hawg to the much cooler Colonel The Hawg. In order to join the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, you must have done something to enrich the lives of Kentuckians and the world. You also must be nominated by a Kentucky Colonel for the honor.

That's a problem, really, as I've never actually been to Kentucky. My grandfather used to sing me to sleep with Old Kentucky Home and I've watched the Kentucky Derby a few times, but I don't think any of that counts. To make matters worse, I've actively cussed the Kentucky Wildcats when they've played basketball against my beloved Razorbacks and I prefer Popeye's to Kentucky Fried Chicken any day of the week.

I've not done just a whole lot to enrich the lives of people around the world, either, but what did Colonel Parker really do but sponge off of Elvis?

So, I remain hopeful.

The backup plan would be to become a Nebraska Admiral. That would be a start, at least.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hurricanes are inconvenient

Hurricanes may well be the biggest pains in the ass of all those acts of God.

If a hurricane was a party guest, it would be the guy who shows up uninvited, gropes the host's girlfriend, drinks all the beer and throws up in the fish tank.

Those hurricanes things are pests and darned dangerous ones, at that. The world is mostly water, but far too many hurricanes aren't content to wander around the ocean and not hurt anything. No, some of them turn Nazi Germany and break out of their territory, tearing the hell out of anything that gets in the way.

Why am I so particularly down on those things right now? They've worn out their welcome.

Over the past few days, we've had a flood of Louisiana residents head to Arkansas to escape that obnoxious Gustav hurricane. Ah, but Gustav is a spiteful one and the pesky thing has followed them here.

Central Arkansas is a mess right now, and I hear tell that the southern half of the state is almost flooded. Here in God's country (the Benton area), we've got the Saline River rising out of its banks and trees down all over town.

Two of those trees fell on my parents' house and put a hole in the roof. My neighbor's tree is now resting comfortably on my privacy fence. I didn't think that was such a big deal until my dogs figured out the fence had a couple of holes in it -- they escaped and went terrorizing the neighborhood.

Yeah. That's right. You suck, Gustav.

The folks I feel truly terribly for are the evacuees. I feel particularly sorry for a couple that fled the hurricane to Pine Bluff. According to a report I heard on the radio today, that particular couple got a hotel room, checked in, went to bed and some sneaky character broke into their car.

That's just great, isn't it? You're already worried about your home being destroyed by a hurricane and someone comes along and makes things worse by breaking into your car.

Of course, we always welcome people fleeing hurricanes to scenic Arkansas, but I've got a word of advice for everyone who comes here -- avoid Pine Bluff. There's a reason that town is consistently ranked one of the worst places to live in the country. When someone comes to visit Arkansas, we often hope they'll like it enough to want to come back. If a stay in Pine Bluff serves as someone's introduction to Arkansas, that just plays hell with tourism.

Yes, we've all seen photos of people robbing and looting in areas that have been hit by hurricanes. They don't need such excuses to engage in such indiscriminate thuggery in Pine Bluff. Keep that in mind.

The rotten weather that that nasty Gustav spawned should, fortunately, be out of my beloved Arkansas by tomorrow. Hopefully, the next hurricane won't be such an insufferable bastard.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Get some of that old time radio

When I was but a little The Hawg, my dad and I listened to reruns of an old time radio show called Lum and Abner.

I'm going to wander a bit, but please be patient as there is a point to all of this.

For those not familiar with Lum and Abner it was the creation of two Arkansas boys -- Norris Goff (who played Abner Peabody) and Chester Lauck (who played Lum Edwards). The show took place in the amazingly rural setting of Pine Ridge, Ark. (a town that was completely fictional at the time) where Lum and Abner ran the Jot 'em Down Store.

Dad and I used to pick up reruns of the show at 4 p.m. every weekday from a radio station in Hot Springs. It only makes sense the show was broadcast from Hot Springs through the 1980s as that's the city where Lum and Abner first hit the airwaves before being picked up nationally in the 1930s.

At any rate, my dad's an absolute nut about old time radio, partially because he grew up listening to the stuff. He inflicted old radio shows on me so I wound up liking it, too. Those shows took dad back to his youth and I liked spending time with my father. So I hope he looks back on those times fondly -- I sure do.

Now that Internet thing is a wonderful invention, indeed, and I think it's ironic as hell that I can use it to download fuzzy, distorted copies of Lum and Abner and all those other shows that reigned supreme before the advent of television. Those old shows have largely entered the public domain and are available for download through the Internet Archive's Old Time Radio section.

Yes, grabbing those MP3s is perfectly legal and absolutely free. The selection is impressive and you've got everything in there from old Gunsmoke episodes (thank God for radio -- can you imagine William Conrad sitting on a poor horse and crushing it?) to Lum and Abner (of course!) to the great Burns and Allen shows.

If you're a fan of anything from the days when radio was king, the chances are good you'll be able to download it from the Internet Archive. That site if organized fairly well and the search feature is great (I only mention that because I've found a lot of sites that have great stuff that's almost impossible to search). For whatever reason, the Christmas shows are particularly enjoyable.

The fidelity is rarely great as we're talking about stuff that was recorded over 50 years ago and recording techniques were decidedly primitive back then. Still, it's great fun and forces the listener to pay attention to what's going on during the shows. Besides, it was only a matter of time until those old tapes, wax discs and whatever else was used to record old time radio shows were destroyed over time. A good number of those programs have been lost through the years, too. Thank goodness those recordings are being converted to MP3s so they can be permanently stored (more or less, at least).

Yes, those old shows are still as entertaining as they ever were and, in a number of ways, reflect American society as it was during the Great Depression, during World War II and into the early 1950s. They provide a great window into an America that most of us are far too young to even remember (I was born about the time the Beatles were breaking up, by the way, so the world depicted in those shows is often foreign to me).

Besides, you can annoy the hell out of people with old time radio references if you've listened to as many hours of that stuff as I have. For example:

* Man, it's a bigger mess in here than McGee's closet!
* I'm stunned they're still married. They fight like the Bickersons!
* That's worse than the time Jack Benny lost Ronald Colman's Oscar!
* Remember -- LSMFT (short for Lucky Strikes means fine tobacco --
how's that for ancient?)
* My kid's teacher is a bigger smart ass than that woman from Our Miss Brooks.

I ought to buy my dad an MP3 player and load it up with gigs of those old shows. He'd either love it or hate it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

An award can make a rotten day OK

Today was a terrible one.

First of all, I had to work on the ironically-named Labor Day. I was reminded of how bad that was when I was driving to work and my usual 30-minute commute took less than 20 minutes. I could have weaved all over the three-lanes on the interstate and driven about 100 miles-an-hour and would have gotten away with it.

Few people were heading to work today, see? Ah, but there I was. Heading to the office on a holiday. Yuck.

Second, I'm sick as a dog and have been for over a month now (things will improve when I take a vacation in a couple of weeks). That's never any fun -- particularly when you've got a project that absolutely must be finished and there's no choice but to head to the office.

So I got to the office and found that the wonderful Kathy at Brazoscowgirl had sent me the Great Buddy Award. That cheered me up quite a bit. Yes, my wife and kids got to enjoy a day off, but at least I got an award. So there!

So, thanks you, Kathy! I do appreciate it and I'm honored to be called "a buddy" by a blogger that I respect and admire. Her blog, in Arkansas parlance, is a good 'un and is well worth putting on your list of regular stops.

There are rules to these awards, of course, and here are the ones connected to this one:

* Save the image above to be forwarded;
* Choose several people who are buddies;
* Give the reason why you chose those persons.

Now, I've been handing out a lot of awards lately and I try not to be a "serial award granter." Still, there are two ladies out there who have just been plain helpful to me in my short time in the blogosphere (around 1.5 months), so I'll send an award their way in spite of repetition.

It's always hard to pick who to give these awards to, of course, as I know I'll always leave out someone. Regardless, here goes:

1. Theresa at A Bumpy Path and Eyebald. She has always been encouraging and not shy about sharing a tip or two. She is, honestly, one of the more straightforward and friendly people you'll meet.

2. Lala at Coastal Commentaries. She might get irate because I sent her an award just the other day. I can't help myself in this case, however. She's another one that's helped and encouraged me quite a bit and I do mean this particular award as a compliment. Hopefully, she'll take it in the spirit it was given and not think, "God, I just got one of these things from you, The Hawg! What are you doing?"

So, thanks again, Kathy! You'd better believe this one will be put displayed proudly and with great vanity on my sidebar.

All the hysteria over Sarah Palin is an absolute hoot

This will be my last political post for awhile.

Yes, I'll soon be writing about why I still love my Atari and engaging in the typical nonsense that people expect from me. Besides, people take politics too seriously. I've got a degree in political science and, as such, realize that opposing views are essential to a functioning democracy. To that end, taking politics personally ranges from idiotic to downright insane. Got a view that's different from mine? A good exchange of ideas could help get us closer to the truth, right?

So I'll steer clear of politics soon. People tend to get too hot and bothered over them and that's no fun.

For now, however, I just can't help talking about that Sarah Palin some more. Why? Because watching the Democrats go absolutely crazy over the past few days has been a lot of fun.

I do believe they view Palin as a threat for at least one monumentally important reason -- the Republican base is excited again. Believe it or not, a lot of us Republicans simply detest his father. He's been an embarrassment for the past eight years and has essentially destroyed Ronald Reagan's legacy. We Republicans have been able to sit back for years and say, "Oh, yeah? Look at what a disaster Carter was. At least we didn't inflict a Jimmy Carter on the nation!"

Well, we can't claim that anymore. Bush sucks as bad as Carter did and, in some ways, might actually be worse.

Bush's father wasn't worth a damn, either. The fact that we've only had Bush's in the White House since Reagan left is enough to make anyone start thinking that a third party is a great idea.

At any rate -- Reagan. Remember him? He's the one that took the South from the Democrats and had the philosophy that government was the problem -- not the solution -- to problems. Yes, getting the government out of the way and letting individuals excel was key to Reagan's philosophy and voters responded in kind.

Fast forward a few years and you've got the current crop of Republicans who approach the use of power much in the same way that the Democrats do. They use it like a damned club, as something to be enlarged and strengthened so as to further a "correct" agenda. The current crop of Republicans differ from Democrats only in how they want to pound the hapless citizenry over the heads.

In other words, Republicans ought to be about shrinking government, limiting what power it has and giving states more authority. The Bushites have forgotten all about that ideal. Oh, they'll give us tax cuts (we Republicans love those), but the government keeps getting larger, more intrusive and more expensive (what good are tax cuts when you have no intention of shrinking the government?)

So, in comes Palin. She comes across as a Reaganite, a reformer and a straight-shooter. Furthermore, she's one of those middle class folks who made good -- a populist rather than one of the elitists that we're used to seeing run for office. Furthermore, she's an outsider in a year when people are suspicious of Washington insiders who are blamed for the messes we've got springing up all over the place.

In short, people like her. That's a problem for the Democrats.

What has been fun to watch over the weekend, however, is just how the Democrats have chosen to attack Palin. Yes, they're out to smear the girl and they're grasping at straws. Here are some of my favorite attacks:

1. She lacks experience and she's just a heartbeat away from the presidency. Amazingly, lacking experience is somehow less important if you're last name happens to be Obama. The Democrats have been arguing with a straight face that an inexperienced vice-president is somehow worse than an inexperienced president.

The insulting companion to that argument suggests that all Palin has done is become governor of a rural, hick state. Her small-town roots have been bashed and she's been portrayed as a backwoods hick.

That was dirty pool when the Republicans did it to Clinton and it's dirty pool now. Both the "she's not experienced" and the "she's a backwoods hick" arguments will come back to haunt the Democrats.

2. Troopergate. Outraged Democrats have suggested that Palin abused her power by dismissing a commissioner who wouldn't fire a state trooper. The state trooper was the ex-husband of Palin's sister, so there are charges of abuses of power all over the place.

There are two problems with that argument. First of all, the commissioner in question served completely at the governor's discretion. Palin could dismiss that public safety commissioner for pretty much any damned reason she wanted. Yes, she's being investigated and we'll see how it all turns out, of course, but how much do you want to bet there was no wrongdoing found on Palin's part?

Second, it smacks of hypocrisy to hear Democrats jump up and down about an alleged abuse of power. You want to see some abuse? Come on down here to Arkansas and study up on the gubernatorial career of Bill Clinton? Having troopers escorting tarts around and using the state government to crush enemies is what I'd define as an abuse of power.

But, hey, that's how politics goes, isn't it? "It's okay if we do it, you can't!"

3. Babygate. Here's where things get truly, truly strange. There's been a charge that Palin covered up her teenage daughter's pregnancy by claiming that she gave birth to a fifth child. That nasty little charge is being pursued with a zeal that makes those 9/11 conspiracists look sane. Strange.

4. She's anti-woman. Here's another odd one. Apparently, rising to power against a bunch of men in a state like Alaska isn't enough to advance the Great Cause. Unless a woman thinks and acts like a Democrat, she's somehow standing in the way of progress.

And she's a beauty queen, to boot. Uh oh!

I don't quite get that argument, honestly. I was raised by a very Republican woman who put herself through school and, eventually, wound up with a doctorate in psychology. She was viewed as an "uppity woman" in the 1970s in this hometown of mine because she had the gall to establish a career that didn't involve taking notes and answering phones for a professional man. She put up with all of that racket nonsense went on to be a tremendous success.

I suppose, then, she's not someone to look up to because she hasn't adopted the beliefs of the Democratic party. That's nonsense and such sloppy thinking ought not be tolerated. I admire the heck out of my Reaganite mother, and I admire Sarah Palin, too.

Yes, she's pro-life, but I'd be willing to wager that there are a lot of women out there who believe that a fetus is a person and, as such, ought to be protected. Holding that view, evidently, gets someone marked as being anti-woman these days regardless of sex.

5. She was just picked to woo some Hillary voters over to McCain. There may be some truth to that, but what of it? How much do you want to be that Biden was picked, in part, to win over some skittish whites who were uncertain about whether to vote for a black man? What's the difference between that and choosing a woman to run as vice president in hopes of convincing women that McCain is worth a second look?

On the whole, however, it's pretty clear that Biden was picked to balance out the ticket. He has the experience that Obama lacks and has been around for long enough to have a number of supporters. Palin was picked for the same reason -- she's got the youthful enthusiasm that McCain lacks, counters McCain's "insider" status and is being presented as the future of the Republican party. And, of course, she is a Reaganite and that appeals to those of us who are sick of Bush and his crap and have come to view McCain as just another Bush lackey.


I'm truly interested to see what will be used to attack Palin next. Will she get beaten with the same disguised chauvinism that was used to bash Hillary over the head? Possibly, and there's always the chance things will get worse as Palin isn't a Democrat. If history has shown us anything, it's that the Democrats tend to prefer minorities and women with contempt if they dare cling to a political philosophy that isn't in line with what the left is certain is the correct one.

So, good luck to Palin. I do believe McCain made a great choice for a running mate and we'll get to watch the Democrats stew in their own hypocrisy as they dig up whatever mud they can find to fling at her.

By the way...

Apparently, a hell of a lot of people are hopping on Google and searching for photos of Sarah Palin in the Miss Alaska swimsuit competition. Yes, it seems people just can't wait to get a photo of a potential vice president wearing a bikini.

That's funny on a number of levels...

I might not have a photo of Palin in a swimsuit, but I was able to find a very groovy one of a young Bill and Hillary Clinton and have included it here. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Business Opportunities Weblog is full of crap

Those rascals over at Business Opportunities Weblog ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Why? They've infested the Internet with that misleading little graphic that suggests your blog is worth more than it actually is. Yes, I've posted my "modified" version of that lie for all to see. $30 billion? Gaze at it in wonder!

I saw one of those graphics that someone who is afraid of telling such an obvious whopper posted, see, so I figured I'd head over to Business Opportunities Weblog and see how much my blog was worth. Go ahead and find the erroneous value of your own blog by clicking right here.

When I ran that little test, I found out my blog was worth $12,984.42. Want to buy my blog for $12,984.42? Hell, I'll take an even $12,000. Any offers? Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, that's what I thought.

I figured that claiming my blog is worth $12,984.42 is kind of a cheap lie. As long as we're operating in fantasy land, I figured why not say that it's worth $30 billion? Now, there's some lawyer-level lying. Hell, claiming my blog is worth around $13,000 is a mere fib compared to my new, improved elephant-sized lie.

So I modified the code from Business Opportunities LiarsLog to proudly display the new, bolder lie. I encourage you all to do the same. Go ahead and run that test. Modify that code. Make that blog worth trillions of dollars if you want. Pump up that value, kids. It's fun!

Why? Because I absolutely detest little gimmicks that are absolutely worthless, entirely misleading or both. Unfortunately, the Internet is full of those. We might as well have some fun with them, right?

Thanks! Top Entrecard droppers for August

I've only been around Entrecard for a little over a month and I've run across some great bloggers and have watched my traffic counts absolutely swell.

By the way, if you have a blog and want to attract some traffic, you'd better head over to Entrecard. Like, right now. It's a free service that actually delivers a ton of traffic to your site, provided you're willing to put in a little work.

Having said that, here are the top 10 Entrecard droppers for August. Check them out, yeah? I appreciate the visits, folks:

1. Is a Mans World

2. AdsenceAddict

3. Internet Payee

4. Search Engine Panel

5. Pinoy Gaming World

6. joanjoyce

7. Stud Kickass: The Web Comic

8. Pipe B Blog

9. Coastal Commentaries

10. News from NOLA