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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oh, Obama!

Oh, Obama!

Oh, Obama! You looked so good when you first came on the scene. Almost every American wished you well. Just like a beautiful girl that we met one summer, you’ve broken our heart. She looked so nice and talked so proper, and was so much fun we were enchanted. How disappointed we were when we found out that she wasn’t what we thought she was. She kept the wrong company, and she had a reputation that turned out to be true.

Oh, Obama, what a disappointment. The other fellow is nothing to rave about and in any other election year he would have never made it past the first primary, but you make him look good. 

Obama, you had so much potential. You could truly have been a unifier, but instead you turned out to be a left-wing cad with one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate. You could have wowed them in Peoria, but instead your friends are so angry, and even anti-American. A man is indeed known by the company he keeps, and yours does not speak well of you. Even your wife is scary.

85 to 90 percent of all Americans would love to have an African-American elected President of the United States as a gesture of good will, but of course, character, principle and values must come first. You could have won overwhelmingly, but now you’re only still in the race because your opponent is so weak.

You’re smart, well-educated, and yet so shallow. You call yourself a man of the center, a man of compromise, but sadly your voting record puts you closer to the far left than it does to any middle ground. You wobble back and forth on the issues and seem more at home as a Chicago machine politician than your do in the role of a statesman.

You might still pull it off, but what could have been a triumph for Black Americans, may well turn into a debacle, even if you are elected. 

Your policies might best be described as those of Jimmy Carter—on steroids. America will survive if you should be elected, but it will almost certainly be a disaster for America and for your own Democratic Party.

What dismal choices we have been presented with in this election year. Can anyone truthfully say that either you or the other fellow is the best choice to serve as President of our nation?

Clearly the nomination process is broken. Ronald Reagan would never have been nominated under the rules for nomination we follow today. John F. Kennedy wouldn’t have made it either. We need to get back to conventions, where informed delegates, rather than voters driven solely by emotion, vote in primaries It’s the only way we will ever choose candidates who have the character, ability, experience, and philosophy necessary to govern our nation in these dangerous times.

My Personal Hero

                My Personal Hero
My personal hero is not a hero at all. She’s a heroine. In fact, yesterday, August 25, 2008, marked 35 years that I’ve been married to this beautiful lady. Kathi is beautiful in many ways. She turned my head when I first saw her at church more than three decades ago and she is still a beauty. 

But much more than outward looks, Kathi has a beauty of character which begins with kindness toward others. She is sensitive, smart, and a wiz at financial numbers. She’s been a great wife, a wonderful mother, and a great friend. Kathi is also a person of deep faith.

All of these characteristics do not, however, explain why she is my hero. I’ll try to explain it, though I doubt my words will be sufficient to describe why she is my hero.

About ten years ago Kathi was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis—MS as it is known. It was a shock, needless to say. She woke up on the day before Christmas and felt numbness in her legs. It took a while for the diagnosis, but the doctors concluded that she had MS, or more precisely, relapsing-remitting MS. It’s a disease that strikes young women the most, but it can be devastating to anyone who has it. Nearly 50% of all of those diagnosed with MS proceed into secondary-progressive MS, which can cripple both mentally and physically, and even lead to death.

Although MS is considered an "Orphan" disease, the numbers of those struck by it is growing rapidly. Thankfully, drug companies (with the incentive of longer patent rights) have come up with a number of drugs. While these drugs do not cure MS, they do delay, ameliorate, and otherwise impede the progression of it. They are indeed a blessing.

But I am getting off my topic. What do you do when you have MS fatigue? What do you do when you have balance problems? What do you do when you have double vision? Or what do you do when you have other problems such as optic neuritis?

And what kind of an attitude do you then take toward multiple weekly injections that are not only very painful, but also cause site reactions and become more difficult with each passing year? It would be easy to have a very bad attitude.
You could hide out at home. Be mad at the world. Give up on life. Or you could take out your unhappiness on others. I suppose some people might do that.

But not Kathi. She does not choose to let MS run her life. She, instead, chooses to live her life to the fullest. Those of you who know her well know that she’s not a complainer. She’s energetic when she doesn’t feel like being energetic. She’s hard working when she may not feel like getting out of bed in the morning. She’s more concerned about the health of others than most and rarely talks about her own challenges.

She babysits. She dances. She goes boating. She attends baseball games. She travels. She volunteers. She handles our finances. She is the "general contractor" for all our home remodeling and repairs. She’s my wife and I love her dearly.
Happy 35th Anniversary, Kathi.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Content of Our Character

The Content of Our Character

The Content of Our Character is the title of a book written by Shelby Steele, the noted author and Hoover Institute Fellow. It was first published in hardback by St. Martin’s Press in 1990 and is available today in paperback thanks to Harper Perennial. 

Although this book is clearly written primarily for African Americans as a part of an ongoing debate within that community, it offers great insight into the timely issue of friction between the black and white races in America. As with all of Mr. Steele’s books, it is a thoughtful and intellectually provoking book. It will help white Americans better understand the journey being made by black Americans from their treatment as second class citizens, to full-fledged participants in the rough and tumble landscape of a free, democratic society.

It gave me a greater understanding of the insecurity both races have with a fully integrated, fair, and yet competitive society. White guilt, the title of another Steele book, along with the fear of individual failure can lead to new anxieties and frictions.

The great debate now going on in the African American community, i.e. Jesse Jackson vs. Bill Cosby, has to do with leadership. Should the leadership of the black community lead by blaming white Americans for all the ills of their race, or should the primary responsibility for success be focused on the individual? Can any group really get ahead when they envision themselves as victims, even if they are a victim? That’s the real question posed by Shelby Steele in this book.

It’s the collective vs. the individual. To be authentically black, according to Steele, you must identify with the publicly identified position of the black community as victims of white oppression, past, present, and future. But, to succeed you must put aside the idea that you are a victim and take full personal responsibility for your success or failure. You must be willing to compete in all areas of our society.

As Steele pointed out in White Guilt, young black men expect to excel in basketball. They would never tolerate a player in a pick-up game that can’t dribble, fake, pass, and shoot at a high level. In fact, African Americans have re-defined the great game of basketball through intense competition and hard work. Yet these same young men, according to Steele, will avoid doing well in school for fear that they will be labeled as "acting white."
This book is worth reading. It deals with an issue that must be solved in the 21st Century if America is to advance and prosper.

Friday, August 8, 2008

An Opportunity Missed

An Opportunity Missed 

The Republicans have a wonderful opportunity this election year. Roughly 70% of the American people support drilling for oil offshore, in ANWR, and extracting oil from our vast oil shale reserves. Nearly 1.4 million Americans have signed the Newt Gingrich "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" petition at (If you haven’t signed Newt’s petition yet, please do so now.)

The Democrats aren’t interested in finding more oil. No, that’s not right. They are opposed to drilling for oil, extracting oil from oil shale reserves anytime, anywhere. They blame the oil companies. They say finding more oil won’t lower the price of gas at the pump. They blame speculators. This is all demagoguery.

The real reason they oppose drilling for oil is that they don’t care about gas prices. Obama says the problem was the steep rise in gas prices. They want you to abandon your car, move into an anthill in some big city, make do with less, and do whatever they want you to do. After all, liberals are smarter than you and I are. They know what’s best for you.
Previously, these same folks have suggested doubling and tripling the tax on gas to get Americans out of their cars. They take a low view of the average American and couldn’t care less about individual freedom.

Forrest Gump quoted his mother as saying, "Stupid is as stupid does." She must have had the Democrats in mind. But then again, why isn’t the presumed GOP Presidential nominee pounding the Dems on this issue which breaks so heavily on the side of common sense?

Instead he’s jetting off to meet with the Dali Lama in Vail, Colorado. Then he’s off to San Francisco where he praised Nancy Pelosi as "one of the great American success stories." In the same interview he heaped accolades on Al Gore for his leadership on "Global Warming." And let’s not forget the disastrous interview with the New York Times where our dinosaur candidate admitted that he couldn’t send out e-mails or get on the World Wide Web without help from his staff or his wife.

Some Republican members of Congress understand the power of the oil drilling issue, but it’s hard to gain traction when your presidential candidate enjoys being a "maverick" more than being right on the issues.

The polling numbers on Democratic leadership of Congress have never been lower (they’re even lower than President Bush). Republicans have an opportunity for a historic landslide if they push conservative issues like drilling for oil now.

Will the GOP once again prove itself to be the Stupid Party or will John McCain wake up from his nap and start leading the Party to a dramatic victory in November? Only time will tell.