Saturday, August 30, 2008

Our Childish Little Pastime

The following is a rather extended comment I made on a post at Blog Critics Magazine regarding McCain's VP pick yesterday. It probably qualifies as a rant, but what the hell. The only difference is, I cleaned up some of the language and syntax that I had messed up but didn't catch in editing over there.

You know? When it comes down to it everyone commenting here (at Blog Critics,) myself included, is full of shit.

There's not a damn one of us who knows diddly squat about any of this. All of our charges, all of our predictions amount to meaningless crap.

Writers here at BC repeatedly lambast the MSM and the various pundits who blather on about this and that, yet, that is exactly what we do here. Most of those who appear on the various television networks, radio broadcasts, and most of those who write for the major news magazines and newspapers are people who have spent most of the their adult lives involved either actively in politics, and/or reporting on and/or analyzing it. Many of them know the pols personally. Some have held public office at some level or other. Yet, for the most part, their various analyses and prognostications wind up going wide of the mark, much the same as economists who make their supposed educated guesses about the direction the economy is likely to take. Weather forecasters have a far better track record than most political pundits. Generally, for the few who do get it right, it's just the luck of the draw. Someone's going to win; someone will lose.

Pretty much all of us here (at BC) are hacks at best. We all have our opinions, and we are certainly free to share them. What I find so disturbing and maddening is how often most of us, again, myself included, are either totally uninformed, or it's discovered that many of our so called "facts" are gleaned from other WEB sites and publications having a heavy bias, and therefore, no better than questionable credibility. Yet we brazenly come here and repeat the drivel that these places publish as truth. Who knows the truth? What the hell IS the truth?

Everybody here claims to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Obama, or McCain, or the Clintons, or Bush, or Cheney are lying, cheating, stupid, ass kissing, overbearing, groveling, elitist bastards. But, not one of us knows any such thing.

I have often stated how I despise George Bush, but when it comes down to it, I really don't know anything substantive about the man. I think his performance in office has been abysmal, but as a man, he may be, hell, I don't know, charming, funny, a pleasure to be around. The same may be true of McCain or Rumsfeld.

I have often been told that Bill Clinton, in a one on one situation, is absolutely captivating. Apparently, he is able to charm the pants off of some people. My brother in-law talked with a couple who had Obama come to their home here in central Indiana to discuss their lives, and their economic situation. (The guy, Mark Fisher, even spoke at the Dem Convention last Monday night.) They told him that Obama was very friendly and seemed honestly sincere. During that visit, my brother in-law's wife met and spoke with Michelle Obama. She was also said to be funny, very personable and unassuming.

There are people here on all wave lengths of the political spectrum who spout their hatred - real hatred - for any or all of the candidates, their wives, probably their kids, and many other politicians as well. Many claim to have personal or "inside" information about this or that person, but again, most of that so called "real poop" is no more credible than 95% of all the crap that gets bandied about here at BC.

Many such people either are, or are verging on being, nutball conspiracy theorists, who imagine that the candidates and politicians they have chosen to oppose, and, therefore, hate, are the embodiment of evil in league with equally evil forces that supposedly run the political machine. Fortunately, I have so far avoided that trap.

I have spent most of the previous hour just reading a few articles and several of the comments here (in the 'Politics' section of Blog Critics,) including my own. Upon some reflection, for the most part, it's all childish, inane bullshit, having generally less, and certainly no more, veracity than the same kind of bantering we see and hear ad nauseam on the boob tube.

We need to grow up, and perhaps get ourselves a life.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillary Hits a Homerun Just Where She Aimed It.

Well, I watched Hillary's speech, as I'm sure many folks did as well, and it was a damn good one! She touched all the bases, even stomped on a few of them. It was the best speech she has ever given. No doubt the McCain people and conservative pundits will go to great lengths to find cracks in it, but they will be hard pressed to do so.

Hillary graciously thanked her supporters and reflected on how great it was to have met people on the campaign trail who were ardently behind her. But then she hauled them up and stated flatly that they must get behind both the Democratic Party and its candidate, Barack Obama. There was no equivocation. No half-hearted or left-handed compliments. If her words were not genuinely felt, she hid it very well.

I, along with many others have felt that, since the end of the primary season, both she and hubby Bill have been less than enthusiastic in their support of Obama . Although, in recent weeks Hillary has been out stumping for Obama, and according to some, has done so with apparent energy and sincerity. It will be incumbent, first upon Bill to deliver the goods Wednesday evening, and then on both of them to follow up in the coming days and weeks all the way through to November, maintaining highly visible and sincere efforts on behalf of the Democratic ticket. Anything less will tarnish both of them for years to come.

To me, it was understandable that the Clintons did not immediately jump on the Obama bandwagon, given the circumstances. Most of us will never know what went on behind the scenes during their protracted primary campaign against each other, or how intense the rancor must have become. I doubt that the Obamas and the Clintons will ever be bosom buddies, hanging out together at the mall, but the Clintons did definitely drag their feet far too long, to the detriment of Obama and the Democratic Party. Nevertheless, Hillary's performance Tuesday night went a long way toward mending many of the broken fences within the Party.

Hillary had some good lines bashing McCain - some that may be taken on as campaign mantras like "No way, no how, no McCain." Now, both Bill and Joe Biden must take the campaign against McCain to a much higher level on Wednesday evening.

The Republicans will spend virtually every waking hour of their convention bashing Obama and Biden. If Obama is to prevail, all thoughts of avoiding negative campaigning must be tossed out the door, just as the McCain campaign has done since June. They must hit McCain hard, and hit him often. Should Romney be McCain's choice as running mate, then every charge, every slight Romney made against McCain during their less than amicable primary battle must be brought out and brandished for all to see. McCain should be brought to task for playing his POW card every time he can't think of anything else to say. The Democrats must remind voters of McCain's determination to install conservative justices on the Supreme Court, in order to reverse Rowe v Wade.

Anytime McCain's people, or McCain himself, make any reference to Obama being an elitist the Democrats must show just who the elitists really are. Say, let's compare the McCain/Romney net worth against Obama/Biden's. Let's count houses. Let's remind people that McCain has never lived as most blue collar or middle class people must live - paycheck to paycheck. McCain's POW experience was a singular event shared by a select few. It was, no doubt, a horrific experience. But it does not lend itself to McCain's having any real understanding or empathy for what it is to live as most working and middle class Americans, let alone the poor, must live. Let's remind people that McCain, in his patented condescending and dismissive fashion, stated that anyone earning less that five million dollars a year should be considered "middle class," and that a viable solution to problems in the middle east is to "bomb Iran, bomb, bomb Iran."

It should be pointed out that McCain comes from a long line of career military men, and that he actually was very reluctant to join the military. He wanted to study literature. It should be pointed out that other than his POW experience, McCain did not distinguish himself greatly through his command experience. McCain has only briefly held any real jobs in the private sector. Except for his military experience, most of his adult life has been spent in the political arena.

McCain is mean spirited, short tempered and has been seen to be personally cruel and disrespectful publicly to his wife and on some occasions to members of his staff, as well as to members of the press.
The Democrats must NOT allow McCain to take a pass on all this. He is not a delicate flower who must be handled with kid gloves. He is a grizzled political veteran who must be dealt with accordingly. The gloves must come off.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

When Your Kid Does Good, Ya Gotta Give It Up For Em!

Gotta do a little hootin' for my kid. Give this a view:

The video is a short snippet likely taken with someone's cell phone or digital camera of a staged production of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" performed in Hengelo, Holland on Friday, August 22. It was an elaborate, fairly high tech, multi-media production using a mix of live shots of the performers and drawings being done by an artist projected on various screens around the stage. It featured a rock band, a small orchestra and a children's choir. My son was 'Pink." There are two other Youtube videos of the actual performance. They are interesting, but show even smaller bits of my son's performance. There are a couple of "rehearsal" videos and other miscellaneous videos of the band setting up, etc. These can be found by typing in something like Pink Floyd's The Wall Hengelo and the like. I know hundreds, nay, thousands of my loyal readers will trip all over themselves just for the opportunity to watch all that.

They had an audience of around 7000. They were expecting something around 10000, but it rained pretty much the entire evening which likely discouraged lots of people from attending. Apparently my son had taken a fall just prior to the clip when he hit a wet spot on the stage.

My son, the rock star!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Clusters Victory!!!!

As they say "perseverence will out." I refused to give up. I stayed the course. I found Honey Nut Clusters!
I had made further contact with General Mills. (See July 31st post below.) They sent me a fairly comprehensive list of several stores in the Indy area which had ordered Clusters over the last ninety days. The list included some heavy hitters: Marsh, Meijer, K-Mart, and yes, Wal-Mart! Of the twelve stores on the list, I actually went to seven of them only to discover no Clusters. None. I called a couple of others, but couldn't get definitive answers from them. I have to admit, I was down, dejected. What was I to do? My very will to live was waining.
I was out and about yesterday afternoon up on the tony north side of town, the Meridian-Kessler area, when I drove by a Safeway store. Safeway is not a major player here in Indy. They have but seven relatively small locations scattered about the city. No Safeway stores were on the GM list. But, I had a few minutes. I thought, what the hell, right? So I pulled into their small lot and angled into the space closest to the door. Good omen, I thought.
I walked into the store and had to wait while my eyes adjusted to the relative darkness. I then scoped out the cereal aisle. Only a few steps in and I spotted them. In almost every instance that I can recall Clusters have always been situated on the top shelf. But Safeway had placed them about midway down. Nevertheless, there they were! I spotted them immediately! Perhaps a dozen or more boxes of Honey Nut Clusters silently waiting for me to grab as many of the beautiful gold and blue boxes as I could carry. Personally, I think they all wanted to go with me. But I restrained myself. I latched onto only three boxes. I didn't want to deprive others of the wonderfully more or less tasteless brown flakes and globs of generic, sugar infused nut pieces. And I didn't want to seem like a complete idiot at the check out. I once bought four boxes and got looks that have since haunted me. Three boxes seem to be the limit. With three, I get smiles. With four or more I get "looks."
I had a bowl of Honey Nut Clutsters this morning. Life for me has returned to some semblance of normalcy. I can go into the morning knowing I have started my day just as I should. Life is good.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Where Do They Get These Clowns Who Run For President?

I can't recall a presidential campaign in which all of the candidates were not considered by the majority of citizens to be no better than dolts, with voters lamenting the necessity of either casting their ballots for whom they consider to be the lesser of two evils, or not voting at all. Some have gathered around a "third party" candidate, largely to no avail.

If this is true, if all the candidates have been less than stellar, whose fault is it? Shouldn't we look to ourselves as the ultimate culprit? It is all of us collectively through our involvement, or actually in most instances our lack of involvement, that produces the party nominees. If we are unhappy about the results, isn't it then owing to our own failure?

We can complain that candidates are produced by party power brokers. If so, then perhaps complainers should endeavor to become power brokers themselves; to gain access through whatever means to those centers of power.

Some say, well, most of the power within the respective parties is held by the rich. But don't we hold the rich in awe? Aren't they the embodiment of what our economic system is all about? Aren't they the winners of the game? If that is true, then isn't it also proper that these "winners" should be awarded the privilege of wielding political power as well? Shouldn't their apparent business acumen allow them access to the centers of political power, and major influence over who is to run for what office?

Continuing; if these rich power brokers are, by default, the best equipped to carry out the task of selecting and promoting our political candidates, then how is it that they appear to do such an unerringly bad job of it?

A number of people who post and comment here at BC look upon our current crop of major party candidates as clowns or lightweights. Well, if that's the case, how in the hell did they get where they are? It didn't happen with a puff of smoke. They didn't suddenly appear on the horizon with us blinking in dismay. They were selected through our system functioning rather painstakingly over an extended period of time, just as it was designed to do. Those who are unhappy with the results can only look askance at each other and shake their heads at their own apparent failure

The photo above was the scene in Indianapolis just prior to Obama's appearance back in early June. Some 30000 people came to see and hear him. That number has of course been eclipsed a number of times since, but it did serve as a harbinger of his future campaign appearances and his speech in Berlin.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Left Wing Tax-and-Spenders & the Rose-Colored Dream of John McCain

I hear the old crap about liberals "loving" to tax and spend - as if that, in and of itself, is their goal, just for the hell of it. And now some say that Obama creams his Armani slacks just thinking about it. Boy, you righties sure have all us lefties figured out. We all fit snugly into a nice neat, if elite, little box. Given our rather incredible 2009 estimated budget deficit of around a half trillion dollars and our current national debt of over nine and half trillion dollars, I wonder just "who" are the real "spender offenders" in government?

Let's see.

The Dems tax and spend. The Reps just spend, and spend some more. "We don't need no stinkin taxes!" Hmmm. Which scenario is better? The Bushies, and now McCain, touting how wonderful all the tax cuts have been, and how they should be extended into infinity while the spending goes on willy nilly.

We've managed to spend nearly five and a half trillion dollars in Iraq alone. Now where could a major portion of that pesky national debt have come from? I know! I know! I know! I know! It's those damn welfare queens! We ought to pack up their freeloading asses and send them to Iraq, by god! That'd show em.

And now we're all supposed to believe - just take it on faith, I guess - that given another four to eight years, the Republicans can put all the pieces back together again. Humpty will be whole! We will march out of Iraq with a shining victory and a flourishing democracy firmly in place. The Taliban and Al Qaida will be history, given only to considering the Feng Shui of their respective caves or pits in hell.

We'll be veritably drowning in home grown crude, and gasoline will be like 38 cents a gallon. Alternative energy sources, though no longer a real concern, will nevertheless be fully developed, cheap and plentiful.

Government will be pared down to a bare minimum - most regulatory agencies and government oversight of the private sector will largely also be a thing of the past as business will responsibly regulate itself through the permutations and pressures of the market place. Unions will be unnecessary (and unwanted) as, again, owing to forces in the market, all workers will be working in totally safe environments for competitive wages with equally competitive benefits.

Social security and medicare/medicaid will either be history or well on their way out as most everyone will have and be managing their own retirement accounts. Health care will be totally privatized and ALL citizens will have full access as they will have more than adequate funds with which to pay even catastrophic medical expenses.

The only remaining government subsidies will, of course, be for the tobacco industry. You can't turn your back on such deserving folks, now can you?

Obviously, there's more - we will likely be cleaning up after four or five years of constant, intense bombing throughout Iran - but Halliburten will have all that well in hand.

Congress will pass a measure providing for a large bronze statue of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter (hopefully wearing a short lace teddy) and others depicting them playing "ring-around-the-liberal" to be erected on the Capitol steps. The "liberal" chosen will probably be Al Franken. Little Annie, bless her pea-pickin' heart, will be posed digging a spiked heel into Al's crotch.

The world will be good. The air crisp and free of liberal whining as all on the left will have either seen the light and wisely and properly shifted their allegiances to the right, or those few who remain obdurately "pinko" will have been "encouraged" to remove themselves, to China, North Korea or Russia - or whatever's left of them.

We will all be able to vacation in a "free" Cuba - Havana will be the new Aruba.


Oh, and just a note about the photo above. It is a not particularly interesting shot I took a few weeks ago in Gainesville, Florida. Enjoy!