Saturday, March 31, 2012

Urban Resources: Community Watch

Against the backdrop of the shooting involving a neighborhood-watch volunteer last month in Sanford, Florida, this subject seems timely.

First, a little background: my wife and I are active in our local crime watch. It's a private effort, separate and distinct from the official community-watch program managed by our county sheriff's department.

Applicants for the sheriff's volunteer program are trained in basic protocol and procedures. If accepted, they're issued identifying clothing (cap, polo shirt and jacket) and patrol in radio-equipped marked cars.

Our group, by contrast, holds regular information-sharing meetings and leaves the rest to residents' interest and discretion. Mrs. KintlaLake and I often cruise the streets near our house and monitor nearby city parks, and we keep tabs on our neighbors.

We're crystal-clear about what we're legally empowered to do: observe and report. We don't pursue and we don't engage.

We have no authority to enforce the law -- we're not cops, nor do we aspire to be. We're simply citizens of this community, taking responsibility for a measure of its security.

Long-time KintlaLake Blog readers will recall that both my wife and I hold CCW permits, and yes, we carry when we're moving through our community to take note of goings-on. Then again, we always exercise our concealed-carry privileges, whenever and wherever possible.

(The sheriff's community-watch volunteers aren't permitted to carry firearms while on-duty, by the way.)

Getting involved in a crime-watch group (or forming one) is a good idea, in my opinion. A few suggestions:
  • Know the law -- local, state & federal.
  • Don't fly solo -- maintain your independence, but enlist the participation of other members of the community.
  • Involve law-enforcement authorities -- communicate, collaborate & cooperate.
  • Watch out for eager-beavers, cop-wannabes & vigilantes -- a crime-watch group isn't a posse.
  • I repeat: observe and report -- don't pursue & don't engage.
  • Avoid divulging too much information about your own family's safety, security & preparedness plans to other members of your group.
Now more than ever, we need to take care of our communities. As long as we're smart about it, we needn't be intimidated by the shit-storm in Sanford.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meet NYC's 'Word Police'

I'll get right to the point -- the New York City Department of Education has published a list of more than 50 words and topics to be avoided on standardized tests. Why?

Because they "could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students."

(Oh, c'mon now -- seriously?)

"The intent," say school officials, "is to avoid giving offense or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge."

(Whatever the hell that means. I guess even the Word Police can't explain the inexplicable in plain English.)

"We're not an outlier in being politically correct. This is just making sure that test makers are sensitive in the development of their tests."

(Sure it is -- hey, aren't you the same city that just banned donated food from homeless shelters? Thought so.)

You can't make this shit up. Here's the list, compiled from the New York Post and CBS New York. Read it and weep -- for our children.
  • Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
  • Alcohol (beer & liquor), tobacco, or drugs
  • Birthday celebrations (& birthdays)
  • Bodily functions
  • Cancer (& other diseases)
  • Catastrophes & disasters (tsunamis & hurricanes)
  • Celebrities
  • Children dealing with serious issues
  • Cigarettes (& other smoking paraphernalia)
  • Computers in the home (ok if in a school or library setting)
  • Crime
  • Dancing
  • Death & disease
  • Dinosaurs
  • Divorce
  • Evolution
  • Expensive gifts, vacations, & prizes
  • Gambling involving money
  • Halloween
  • Homelessness
  • Homes with swimming pools
  • Hunting
  • Junk food
  • In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
  • Loss of employment
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
  • Parapsychology
  • Politics
  • Pornography
  • Poverty
  • Rap music
  • Religion
  • Religious holidays & festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, & Ramadan)
  • Rock-&-roll music
  • Running away
  • Sex
  • Slavery
  • Terrorism
  • Television & video games (excessive use)
  • Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
  • Vermin (rats & roaches)
  • Violence
  • War & bloodshed
  • Wealth
  • Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
  • Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.
(Quick question -- does a kid who fails one of New York City Schools' sanitized, word-policed tests get a participant ribbon anyway?)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Using an Etch A Sketch as a national-security tool

An open mic caught Pres. Barack Obama and current Russian Pres. Dmitri Medvedev wrapping up their discussion today about Russia's demand that the U.S. abandon its plans for a missile-defense shield.

"This is my last election," Pres. Obama said. "After my election I have more flexibility."

"I understand," Pres Medvedev said. "I will transmit this information to Vladimir" (referring to incoming Russian Pres. Putin).

It's a window into classic lame-duck politics, what virtually every elected official does without the burden of another campaign.

But here, on this subject and with these stakes, it's scary as hell.

Watch the video of today's unguarded moment (below) and ask yourself: How many times has this president has offered similar assurances, abroad and at home, and to whom?

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Rallying points for the rest of us

Y'know, it'd be just fine with me if this image went viral:

Feel free to grab it and pass it along -- Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, whatever. If you want, hell, turn it into a bumper sticker.

And now, with apologies (or not) to songwriters Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, these lyrics seem appropriate:

Well, I won't back down
No, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

Gonna stand my ground
Won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground
And I won't back down

Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey, I will stand my ground
And I won't back down

Well, I know what's right
I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I'll stand my ground
And I won't back down
I won't minimize the tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death, nor should you infer that I'm leaping to defend shooter George Zimmerman. But facing elected officials' cowardice and largely one-sided coverage of Sanford, it's time for those of us who responsibly exercise our right to self-defense to make our voices heard.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's good to be 'in the red'

With another threat to our Second Amendment rights now radiating from Florida, it's worth mentioning that the Brady Campaign to Disarm Law-Abiding Citizens (a.k.a. the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) came out with its latest state scorecards last month.

Brady uses a laughably arbitrary scoring scheme and a 100-point scale to rank states based on firearms-related laws, awarding zero to four stars. The not-so-surprising result?
"California continues to blaze legislative trails in saving lives, rising to a high of 81 points on the 2011 Brady State Scorecard rankings of state gun laws. California's universal background check system, retention of purchase records, limiting handgun purchases to one a month, and an assault clip ban are just some of the laws that provide a road map to preventing gun violence."
The Golden State's relentless assault on the U.S. Constitution earned it four stars and a bright-green designation on Brady's map (above). Most of the three-star states are clustered in the Northeast -- New Jersey (72 points), Massachusetts (65), New York (62) and Connecticut (58) -- and get a light-green stain.

Florida (3), by the way, is among 31 states honored in red on Brady's map for scoring fewer than ten points and earning zero stars. And three states have my personal admiration for scoring zero points: Alaska, Arizona and Utah. Well done, People.

I'm pleased to say that The Great State of Ohio has made progress, by Brady's measure, since the last time the subject came up on KintlaLake Blog. With a score of seven points (down from 11), we're now a zero-star state.

No, we're not perfect yet, but it's good to be in the red.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My take on Sanford

On February 26th in Sanford, Florida, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood-watch volunteer George Zimmerman. The admitted shooter hasn't been charged, ostensibly because officials haven't determined if his actions fall under Florida's "stand-your-ground" law.

I have access only to news reports and not evidence, so judging guilt or innocence wouldn't be fair. That said, I'm going to be unfair.

Based on what I've read and heard, it looks to me like Zimmerman exercised criminally bad judgment and acted out of simmering hatred -- in short, he finally caught up with a black kid in a hoodie and sentenced him to death, presuming that he could avoid being charged by arguing self-defense.

Believing that and proving it are two different things, of course. At this point there's no reason to cast aspersions on rightly deliberate investigators for not yet arresting Zimmerman.

Despite that, we've seen angry protests in Sanford and beyond. Much of the news media has whipped the story into a sensational froth.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a special prosecutor to look into the case. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has sent federal investigators to Sanford to "help" state and local officials. And, ominously, Gov. Scott has formed a task force to review the state's stand-your-ground law.

Pres. Barack Obama, responding to a reporter yesterday, said,
"I think all of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident."
Let's be clear here: Zimmerman pursued Martin and, apparently, either confronted the unarmed teenager or provoked a confrontation, so the stand-your-ground law doesn't come into play. Still, one senseless death resulting from one stupid, irresponsible act will be exploited by those who seek to prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves and their families.

Zimmerman didn't do us any favors, certainly, and now Liberty-loving Americans must prepare for a fresh assault on our constitutional and human rights. Castle Doctrine in particular will come under siege nationwide -- we can count on that.

About Castle Doctrine
Preparing to employ armed defense to protect oneself and one's family is a personal choice and, thanks to our elected officials, not at all a simple one.

The crux here is called Castle Doctrine, and whether or not it applies varies from state to state. It designates a person's place of residence (and in some states a person's vehicle or workplace) as a "castle" in which that person may expect to enjoy protection from illegal trespassing and violent attack. It gives a person the legal right to use deadly force to defend that "castle," and other innocent persons legally within, from violent attack or intrusion which threatens violent attack.

Fundamentally, Castle Doctrine enables a person's right to self-defense, trumping the "duty to retreat" principle and the mandate that a person use only proportionate force against an attacker. And legally speaking, it permits the criminal defense of "justifiable homicide" when the use of deadly force actually causes death.

Castle Doctrine is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, and again, it's not universal. It's also important to note that the law almost never permits armed defense of property -- only life. Each of us is obliged to know our state and local laws and make our own choices. And if we choose to make armed defense part of protecting self and family, professional training is a must.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meet the majority

Earlier today I asserted that those of us who treasure our Liberty are "in the minority." Now permit me, please, to introduce a proud representative of the majority.

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held an event yesterday at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, a young woman (reportedly a Bradley student) took the microphone:
"So you're all for like, yay, freedom, and all this stuff. And yay, like pursuit of happiness. You know what would make me happy? Free birth control."
Fresh from Occupy, here we have a card-carrying member of the entitled masses, a citizen exercising her First Amendment rights by deriding the Declaration of Independence. Nice.

How did Romney respond?
"Let me tell you something -- if you're looking for free stuff you don't have to pay for? Vote for the other guy, that's what he's all about, okay? That's not what I'm about."
In principle it's a fine comeback, all things considered. It may well go a long way toward helping Romney win primary voters.

I predict, however, that neither this nor any other GOP candidate will have the stones to strike such a libertarian pose should he land his party's nomination. See, we're getting the campaign we deserve, too.

It's about Liberty

Here's a news flash: opposing the president's re-election won't save our nation. Considering the current crop of GOP hopefuls, hell, replacing Pres. Obama won't even move us in the right direction.

Campaign season litters the landscape with canards. Candidates exhort us to reclaim "family values," restore capitalism or fight for religious freedom. Most of that rhetoric is nothing but pandering; all of it distracts us from what threatens the future of our country.

What we're losing, fundamentally and insidiously, is individual Liberty. A handful of examples:

Obama's Executive Order Authorizes Peacetime Martial Law
(The New American)

Holder 1995: We Must 'Brainwash' People on Guns

No Kugel for you!
(The New York Post)

New laws: No caffeine in beer, shark fins in soup
(The Washington Times)

Obama's Most Fateful Decision
(The Huffington Post)

Throw a Football or Frisbee on an L.A. Beach, Pay a Thousand-Dollar Fine

The Nanny State Owns Your Kids: 'Educators,' Not Parents, 'Know Best,' Insists Michigan Bureaucrat
(Republic Magazine)
This is the government we deserve. As citizens we've abdicated our duty to preserve, protect and defend the freedoms we crow about only on national holidays.

Nothing personal -- I mean, if you're reading this there's a good chance that you're not part of the problem. You love this country. You chart your own course, independent of prevailing winds, and you earn your keep. You cherish Liberty -- every moment, above all.

And you join me in the minority.

In this moment of frustration I'm recalling an old Remington ad I posted here last year:

"No poison-pollen of Old World imperialism gone to seed can contaminate -- nor any attempt of crowd-sickened collectivism undermine -- the priceless individualism of the American who truly keeps his feet on the earth."
The antitheses -- "crowd-sickened collectivism" versus "priceless individualism" -- stand out, don't they?

This stark contrast captures our challenge. It reminds us what's at stake: Liberty.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

T&A in government comics, revisited

Incomparable illustrator Will Eisner created the character of "Connie Rodd" for the U.S. Army's P*S Magazine. A blonde bombshell, oozing sexuality and delivering double entendres at every opportunity, she drew young GIs into the dry subject of preventive maintenance.

P*S is still around, available online even to us civilian types. And Connie continues to grace its pages -- sort of.

Over the last few decades, political correctness has robbed the once-alluring character of her original appeal. Today's Connie Rodd (right) is patently asexual, shaped by hyper-sensitive ninnies from a tart into a token.

Once again, we've lost more than we've gained.

Today feels like a good day to annoy all those who prefer a less interesting world, a world stripped of humor, color and curves. To that end I'm pleased to offer a tribute (below) to the real Connie Rodd, in the form of P*S centerfolds from 1970 and 1972.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Winchester Junior Rifle Corps, revisited

A year ago, as part of a series of posts on "A Nation of Riflemen," I highlighted the Winchester Junior Rifle Corps. Here are two more vintage ads for the W.J.R.C. -- "How to draw a bead on a mark" from 1918 and "Tracing the flight of a bullet" from 1919, both published in Popular Science magazine.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Idiocy filled the air yesterday

"The Lord has blessed me and cursed me with an ability to see over the horizon." (Glenn Beck, declaring himself a prophet)

"The Democrat Party base, fringe Alinskyite, Marxist leftists that they are, are the number one impediment to progress in this country." (Rush Limbaugh, ringing bells for his mindless poodles)

"Climate change, global warming appears to be in full effect. ... It was announced today that the cherry blossom festival dates have been moved up in Washington, D.C. by a month because warm weather has caused them to blossom that much earlier." (CNN's Erin Burnett, confusing climate with weather)

"Lately, we’ve heard a lot of professional politicians talking down these new sources of energy. ... If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they probably would have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society." (Pres. Barack Obama, making the case for exacerbating our national economic crisis)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An unexpected gift

Mrs. KintlaLake and I were the first to arrive at our shop yesterday, as usual. When the first of our two co-workers strolled in a half-hour later I noticed that he was carrying some sort of flat parcel, wrapped in a white trash bag.

"I found this at my parents' place yesterday," he announced, pulling back the plastic. "I thought you should have it."

Without further fanfare, he presented me with his discovery: an original album cover from McGuffey Lane's self-titled 1980 recording, the band's first, complete with autographs.

According to my co-worker, the members of McGuffey Lane were regular visitors to his parents' house, since (the late) Bobby Gene McNelly's back yard bordered theirs. The guys signed this particular cover while hanging out in the basement one day shortly after the album's release.

This is a bona fide keeper, of course. Preserved in a proper frame, soon it'll adorn the wall of my office.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Yellowed pages IV

Here are two more vintage Marble's advertisements, both from 1922.

"For Campers" (right) comes from the pages of Outing magazine. It was aimed squarely at families and young couples caught up in the out-of-doors movement sweeping the U.S. during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The products featured in the ad are familiar: Marble's Safety Axe and Woodcraft fixed-blade knife; compass, match case and fishing rod. And the company's longtime tag-line, "For every hour in the open," shows up at the end of the piece.

The second ad (below) touts "Marble's Outing Equipment, Preferred by Outdoor Men." It's a more straightforward pitch, appearing in a more narrowly focused publication (Hunter-Trader-Trapper). Again we see the Woodcraft and the Safety Axe, joined by a mechanical gaff and a gun sight.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Yellowed pages III

Until this morning I hadn't browsed Google Books' collection of vintage out-of-doors magazines in quite some time, and it's been a couple of years since I last posted an old Marble's ad here on KintlaLake Blog.

Marble's Safety Axe Co. placed an ominous pitch (right) in a 1908 issue of Recreation. It tells of a misfortunate whose broken knife (not a Marble's, presumably) kept him from repelling an attacking bear.

Oh, if only he'd had a Marble's Safety Pocket Knife!

More believable, I think, and certainly more conventional for the time, is an ad (below) for Marble Arms & Mfg. Co., found in a 1918 issue of Hunter-Trader-Trapper. It features the classic Safety Axe, along with two of "Marble's Famous Hunting Knives" -- the Ideal and the Expert.
It's worth noting that in 1918 a Marble's Ideal cost between $2.25 (stacked-leather handle, five-inch blade) and $3.50 (stag handle, eight-inch blade). The cocobolo-handled Expert, offered only with a five-inch blade, was priced at $2.25.

Ten years earlier, a budding bear-slayer would've spent $4.00 to land a Marble's Safety Pocket Knife.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pause for prophecy

"Our Government should be entirely and purely secular. The religious views of a candidate should be kept entirely out of sight. He should not be compelled to give his opinion as to the inspiration of the Bible, the propriety of infant baptism, or the immaculate conception. All these things are private and personal. He should be allowed to settle such things for himself and should he decide contrary to the law and will of God, let him settle the matter with God. The people ought to be wise enough to select as their officers men who know something of political affairs, who comprehend the present greatness, and clearly perceive the future grandeur of our country."

"Our Government has nothing to do with religion. It is neither Christian nor pagan; it is secular. But as long as the people persist in voting for or against men on account of their religious views, just so long will hypocrisy hold place and power. Just so long will the candidates crawl in the dust -- hide their opinions, flatter those with whom they differ, pretend to agree with those whom they despise; and just so long will honest men be trampled under foot.

"Churches are becoming political organizations."

"It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.

"All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the
auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the Inquisition. All laws defining and punishing blasphemy -- making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men.

"An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment."

(Robert Green Ingersoll, quoted from Section III of Some Mistakes of Moses, published in 1879)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let's review (an addendum)

First of all, the list of Rush Limbaugh's fleeing advertisers, mentioned in yesterday's post, has grown by three -- Bonobos, Sears and Allstate also have pulled their sponsorship.

Limbaugh does a masterful job of raising the issues we should be debating and then obfuscating the hell out of them. He subdues relevance with red-meat rhetoric and births new bogies daily, crushing information with innuendo and ignoring facts at every turn.

In the second paragraph of his non-apology apology, he actually came close to hitting the real target:
"I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone's bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level."
After issuing that statement, true to form, Limbaugh slipped back beneath the surface of intellectual honesty.

Sandra Fluke has been misrepresented by ideologues on both the left and the right. It's been widely reported that the 30-year-old Fluke researched Georgetown University's student-healthcare coverage before enrolling, making sure that the Jesuit institution didn't cover birth control -- a committed activist, she engineered her opportunity to protest the policy from within the student body.

She's also on-record advocating that any healthcare plan that doesn't cover the cost of gender-reassignment surgery -- that's the politically correct term for what most people call sex-change operations -- is discriminatory and should be sued.

No kidding.

On the one hand, Fluke is neither a "slut" nor a "prostitute," as Limbaugh characterized her; on the other, she's far from the sympathetic figure she's portrayed to be by Nancy Pelosi et al.

She's an opportunist with a cause -- and her cause is, without a doubt, expanding the entitlement culture that's poisoned our society and crippled our government.

That, in case you missed it, is the issue.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Let's review

"What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We're the pimps." (Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday, February 29th)

[After Limbaugh spent three days repeating and amplifying those sentiments, his radio show's sponsors began pulling their advertising. Six had fled by Saturday morning; the list now numbers nine: Tax Resolution Services, AOL, ProFlowers, Quicken Loans, Sleep Number beds, Sleep Train, Citrix, Carbonite and LegalZoom.]

"For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

"I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone's bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

"My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices."
Limbaugh on Saturday, March 3rd)

"Yes, I think he should have apologized. I had said he used very crude language. And I think he gets over the top at times. But it's in his best interest. That's why he did it. I don't think he's very apologetic. He's doing it because some people were taking their advertisements off his program. It was his bottom line that he was concerned about." (Ron Paul on Sunday, March 4th)

"Our numbers suggest that Rush Limbaugh has seen significant erosion in his popularity with Republican voters over the last week. The last time we polled on him nationally [in 2009] he was at 80/12 with GOPers. But now we find him below 50% in all three of these [Super Tuesday] states: he's at 45/28 in Ohio, 46/29 in Tennessee, and 44/30 in Georgia." (Public Policy Polling on Monday, March 5th)

"I want to explain why I apologized to Sandra Fluke in the statement that was released on Saturday. I've read all the theories from all sides, and, frankly, they are all wrong. I don't expect -- and I know you don't, either -- morality or intellectual honesty from the left. They've demonstrated over and over a willingness to say or do anything to advance their agenda. It's what they do. It's what we fight against here every day. But this is the mistake I made. In fighting them on this issue last week, I became like them.

Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong I descended to their level when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke. That was my error. I became like them, and I feel very badly about that. I've always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program. Nevertheless, those two words were inappropriate. They were uncalled for. They distracted from the point that I was actually trying to make, and I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her. I do not think she is either of those two words. I did not think last week that she is either of those two words."
Limbaugh on Monday, March 5th)

"The left, folks -- the media -- are giddy that some advertisers have said they're leaving the program. And I'm sorry to see 'em go. They have profited handsomely from you. These advertisers who have split the scene have done very well due to their access to you, my audience, from this program. To offer their products and services to you through this venue is the best opportunity that they have ever had to advertise their wares. Now they've chosen to deny themselves that access, and that's a business decision, and it's theirs alone to make.

"They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore. So be it."
Limbaugh on Monday, March 5th)

"Hey, Rush -- who's the 'slut' now?" (KintlaLake on Monday, March 5th)

[For a thoughtful, reasoned commentary on the Limbaugh dustup, I recommend "Are we being fair to Rush Limbaugh?" by David Frum]

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A 'Super' decision

So-called "Super Tuesday," including Ohio's primary, is less than 72 hours away. Since I won't be voting to give Pres. Barack Obama a second term -- not on Tuesday and not in November -- I've been paying close attention to what the Republican Party has to offer.

Not much, really.

But because I oppose Obama, I guess I'm supposed to choose among Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Such conventional wisdom presents me with (respectively) an unprincipled dolt with deep pockets, a nutty professor who rises in the polls only when he quarrels with those who buy their ink by the barrel, and a Benedictine acolyte who campaigns as if Jesus is the answer to our economic woes.
Did you ever have to make up your mind?
Pick up on one and leave the other behind
It's not often easy, and not often kind
Did you ever have to make up your mind?
At a time when government is both broken and broke, every one of those candidates would expand it. Gingrich's idea-a-minute approach to governing, for example, spends money faster than China could lend it to us. Romney doesn't seem to have an approach at all, so he'd choose "all of the above" to avoid offending anyone. And Santorum, the guy who's hailed by neo-cons as the only true conservative in the race, does talk about shrinking the scope of government -- that is, as long as it's allowed to invade our bedrooms.

No, thanks.

The biggest difference between the 2008 presidential campaign and this year's (so far) is that today we're hearing more about matters of constitutional principle. Things like individual liberties and personal responsibility, global interventionism and bureaucratic dinosaurs, states' rights and out-of-control entitlements -- these now are part of our national conversation.

There's a reason for that, and his name is Ron Paul.

No, he doesn't have a shot at winning the GOP nomination or even the Ohio primary, but that's not the point. Neither is unseating the incumbent -- it's absurd to believe that it's in the best interest of our country, short-term or long-term, to replace a bloated-government Democrat with a bloated-government Republican.
Did you ever have to finally decide?
Say yes to one and let the other one ride
There's so many changes, and tears you must hide
Did you ever have to finally decide?
The issues that matter to Paul are issues that matter to me. His principles are, by and large, my principles. For the sake of our nation, the debate he's helped to shape must continue. If that's to happen, independent citizens must raise principled voices at the polls.

On Tuesday, this citizen will raise his voice in support of Ron Paul.

*The Lovin' Spoonful, 1966

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In the midst of tragedy, scorn

"[The family of Jaylene Farrell, who died when a tornado struck Harrisburg, Illinois yesterday morning] want a song at her funeral that talks about praising God even through storms like this. And it just shows the incredible power of not general faith in something, but specific faith in Jesus Christ."

(Pastor Aaron Smith of the First Baptist Church of Harrisburg, speaking last night to CNN's
Erin Burnett. The arrogant cleric exploits disaster, death and grief to take a swipe at anyone and everyone who doesn't share his particular religious beliefs, reminding us that only Christians are capable of coping with tragedy.)