Day by Day

Monday, June 14, 2010

Plants Are Green

One of the ripples from the South Carolina Democratic Primary for US Senate is the new idea that the winning candidate might be a "Republican plant."

This is laughable, at whichever level you wish to examine it. The seat in question is currently held by Senator Jim DeMint (Full disclosure - I'm a BIG fan.) He's a Republican, and he is widely considered to be one of the safest incumbents up for reelection this year.

A Tea Party darling, he is unlikely to face any voter-rebellion this cycle. Suffice it to say, the Democrats weren't going to expend a large amount of effort running against him when resources would be better spent, say..., keeping Senator Reid in office.

Thus, it was a throwaway race. There were two candidates, longtime politician and former Charleston jurist, Vic Rawl, and complete unknown Mr. Greene.

Greene won. By 60%. Without campaigning. He seems to have printed a grand total of ONE campaign flyer.

The Dems are now crying foul after awaking and discovering whom their candidate is. While all too happy to accept his filing fee (does it really matter who paid it?), they weren't too bothered to find out anything about him. They're now shocked to discover he's facing felony obscenity charges (which perversely may actually enhance his qualifications for Congress.)

Aren't they the least ashamed to crow loudly, "We didn't know anything about him"? What does this say for their governing abilities if they don't know whom their candidates are?

And, to add insult, they're saying their voters were duped. That's right, Democrat voters... You're too dumb to know whom you voted for.

Perhaps the truth is this simple: in a primary which had as its main focus the race for Governor, the voters simply chose the first name on the ballot for the throwaway race further down the ballot? Nah, it's much more likely that the Republicans would go through a lot of effort to plant a false candidate in a scheme to ensure their candidate's shaky election chances. Yup, that's it.

Attention, Dems: Better to be thought a fool, than to speak aloud and remove all doubt. Or, as the Republicans are likely thinking, THANK YOU for taking the whole Republican Gubernatorial primary circus off the front page. Whew!

Lastly, in other news, it's rumored that the English football (soccer) team, unhappy with their goalie's performance in the World Cup, are now thinking he might have been a USA plant. Aftert all, his name is Green, too.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Flag as a Barometer

We all know that we’re living in a time of change.  Or, so we hope.  (Get it? Hope & Change?)


Yeah, I know.


Anyway, I’ve noticed a few things around the neighborhood lately.  Being a military neighborhood, in a military town, near a military base, it’s easy to expect to see the American flag flying darn near everywhere.  It’s on my house and my car, for instance.  And down the street.  And around the corner…


But lately, I’ve noticed the beginnings of change.  I’ve seen the flags change.  In some cases, more US Flags go up.  But, more importantly… I’ve seen some American flags come DOWN.  Replaced with the Gadsden flag in most cases.  And lately, not entirely surprisingly as we approach the sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, the Confederate Battle Flag has reemerged.


What does this mean?  Does it mean anything?


I believe it might be one of the indicators, a barometer perhaps, of the changing mood of the country.  People have often stated their views or allegiances with the flags they fly.  For the US flag to come down and another flag to rise in its place, in this area… very telling.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Voting 'Present' on Afghanistan

President Obama’s speech Tuesday night has been widely dismissed and panned in a rare display of bipartisanship.  Democrats (or Liberals, if you prefer) are not happy because he promised to send more troops and deepen the war effort.  Republicans (or as they’re sometimes known, Conservatives) are not happy because he didn’t send enough troops, set a deadline for withdrawal, and didn’t seem truly committed to The Cause.


Our President, who we remember from a year ago being swept into office amidst universal acclimation, love, hope, and nearly God-like adoration, managed to tick off just about everyone in the country in one speech.  Truth be told, by initial reports, a lot of folks around the world may not be too pleased either.


So, how did Mr. Obama, after nearly three full months of careful, ponderous debate… considering every possible option… have managed to blow it?   What’s particularly surprising is that he did it in a way that should have surprised… no one.  Mr. Obama has previously shown a predilection for avoiding conflict, decisiveness, and wading bravely in front of a movement.  As much as the previous White House occupant was mocked for his self-declaration, there was truly little doubt that he was a ‘decider’.  Mr. Obama, on the other hand, in his Illinois legislature days showed a favored choice of not voting more liberal or conservative, but just… Present.  The Safe alternative.


I have little doubt that the previous three months consisted of the President desperately wishing for this particular choice to pass him by.  He’d have given Michele’s right arm if he thought it might have helped matters.  Anything but make THIS decision.  Essentially, it came down to:  Should he aggressively advance the war, giving General McChrystal everything he asked for and needed to win, OR should he follow what he’d suggested for Iraq and begin the return home of our troops?


It was a decision fraught with consequences.  With his popularity, and political cache declining, his marketability and power in Washington is steeply dissipating.  This is currently evidenced by a Health Care bill which, once promised to be done by August, may be lucky to be completed before Christmas, and even then, it won’t be pretty.  He would risk annoying a major constituency in some way no matter what he chose.  Here he was, the most powerful man in America, able to fire CEOs, win Nobel Peace Prizes based on 12 days of work experience, and he’d been reduced to damned-if-he-did-and-damned-if-he-didn’t.


It’s ironical isn’t it that the President, who as a candidate had mocked his opponent as not being ready for the crisis 3 am phone call, was now wilting in the face of just such a decision?  Even more so when that former opponent, now his Secretary of State, was speaking far more decisively and clearly about the decision ahead.


So, what did Mr. Obama do (besides hope for a sudden change in the situation)?  He did what he often does, try to please everyone.  He didn’t vote Yay for war or Nay – bring them home.  He voted Present.  Do both, yet neither.


And pleased no one.  Not one person.  There’s something to be said for being decisive, after all.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Historical Intersections

Today is a day for those with a sense of History. For one, it is Constitution Day. 222 years ago, the United States Constitution was created. It has served as a guide for not just our country, but has inspired other nations as well.

It has served over two centuries, delicately balancing power amongst three branches of government. It has shown that it can be amended (27 times), but not frivolously as hundreds of amendments tend to be proposed each session of Congress.

Our Constitution is notable in that it not only gives power to the national government, it also limits it.

It reserves powers and rights to the States and to the People (Tenth Amendment).

And often forgotten is that the Constitution is not the first form of government for the United States of America. Our nation had previously been guided by the Articles of Confederation. The failures and imperfections of the Articles helped guide the framers as they crafted the Constitution. The Constitution wasn't even the original plan as the framers had hoped to merely modify the Articles, but when they realized that more was needed, they set about redesigning the whole kit and kaboodle.

Our Constitution today seems to be a shadow of its former self, as our government has grown far beyond the enumerated boundaries our framers initially set. Has it grown such that it can never shrink back to the limits once set? Do our Citizens, on this "Citizenship & Constitution Day" know what is laid out in the Constitution?


Elsewhere in History, today marks the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union (Russia) invasion of Poland. Two weeks after Germany had swept into Poland, and as Poland was struggling to mount an effective defense, the Russians extinguished all hope when hundreds of thousands of their troops moved in. The result was a partitioning of Poland between the two, and Poland not being a truly independent nation again until over fifty years later.

The anniversary was marked notably by the US Government announcing that it was reneging on its defensive promises and canceling its intentions to place Ballistic Missile Interceptors in Poland. While it was announced that this is due to the lack of a perceived threat, it is much more reasonable to presume that it is an appeasement to Russian objections to the plan.

In contrast to a perceived lack of threat, the Associated Press is reporting that Iran has the ability to make a nuclear bomb and is working on a missile to deliver it. This is the same Iran that openly supports Hezbollah and whose weapons have been used against our troops in Iraq.

The Poles are used to being abandoned by the West. It is a shame that history is repeating itself.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Governor Sanford: 'But Everyone ELSE is Doing it!'

Governor Sanford is now complaining that his political enemies and the media are operating under "selective outrage". His issue is that while he may certainly have broken state law by travelling at higher than authorized levels of service or used public planes for private purposes, he shouldn't be expected to resign because other governors did it, too.

Sanford's petulant behavior should sound familiar to parents everywhere. "But, Mommmmm (or Dadddddddd - don't forget the appropriate level of whining), Susie gets to do ____________, why can't I?"

Ok, Governor Sanford, let's review. 1) You are supposed to set the example. 2) Since you campaigned on a higher level of ethics, then your example must be even further above reproach.

But, let's take this one step further. Governor, I'd like to illustrate to you the utter fragility of the position you've taken. Next conversation you have with Jenny, tell her that she's operating under 'selective outrage' and that multitudes of husbands throughout history have had affairs, and she shouldn't be so worked up. Let us know how that works out for you?

It is not what others have or have not done in the past. Any lawyer will tell you that a person is judged on their actions, and theirs alone. And your actions... well, Governor, it's long past time for you to go.

One last thought - those whose actions are above rapproach do not tend to complain about how they're being judged.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Peek Behind the Curtain

Congress continues its deliberations and maneuvers as the Democrats try to come up with one single Health Care Plan that will satisfy all the needs and requirements of Americans - not just their healthcare needs, but the political obstacles to passing it.

So, many Americans are curious about what the final version will look like. There are differing ideas in the several committees working on the bill and no one really knows whether to be for or against such a nebulous creation. (Well, the folks in the middle anyway - the Right is against the Democrat plan and the Left naturally supports the Democrat plan... those in the middle just aren't sure yet.)

So while they craft and scheme and study, where can we turn to see what may be in store for us in terms of government run health care? Does a prototype exist?

Yes. And arguably, it could be a great example. The military health care system. From the very top down, members of the Armed Forces are lauded as the best the country has to offer and deserving of all the support the country can lend. This certainly must be true for their health care, no?

Yet, in today's USA Today article, Gregg Zoroya declares "Routine GI Health Needs Not Met".

What's this?

The military has its own complete healthcare system. It's single-payer, universal, and government run... all the very best descriptors of what is trying to be brought to all Americans.

Before even reading the article, the chart next to it shows that for the last year, of the Army's 36 major hospitals, 26 don't meet standards for providing access to health care within seven days. That's 72%, or roughly a 1 in 4 chance of being seen in a timely manner. The best year shown, 2007, gives only a 45% chance of being seen in a timely manner.

This is the Army medical system taking care of its own - Army Soldiers and Army families. It should be safe to say that they're highly motivated to take care of them as quickly as possible.

This is government health care when they're taking care of the most important people in the system - Soldiers and their own families. I wonder what it'll be like when they're taking care of just regular Joes?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Misplaced Values

Tomorrow is the 40th anniverary of the first moon landing.

A search for "moonwalker" reveals Michael Jackson.

And perhaps the fact that a dance move that makes you look like you're walking forwards while in fact you're moving backwards is the best analogy for where we stand today.

We may feel we're moving forward, and a cursory glance may not prove otherwise, yet... are we?

There are currently only nine people, or roughly .00000001% of the world's population, alive who've walked on another world. Their average age is 77. How long before we start adding to their numbers instead of blithely letting their number dwindle?

Perhaps that's the saddest countdown of all right now, as it drops to zero? And then, when it does reach zero, we will have successfully restored our world to it's pre-1969 state - one, where no one knows what it's like to have walked on another world.

And that is not progress.