Thursday, January 31, 2008

Is Ron Paul crazy . . . or brilliant?

If you watched the Republican "debate" last night, or you listen to the media, Ron Paul "doesn't have a chance." But he seems to think he does. . . .


Take a look!

Interesting perspective!

From: On Behalf Of Ron Paul 2008
Sent: Monday, January 28, 2008 4:23 PM
To: Ron Paul Supporters
Subject: Message from Ron

January 28, 2008

When I started this campaign more than a year ago, I was a somewhat reluctant candidate. I knew our message of freedom, peace, and prosperity was the right one for our country, but frankly, I didn't know how many people today would have ears to hear it.

Well, did I learn a lesson! Millions of Americans understand what ails our country, and what is needed to fix it. So, with you at my side, I am in this effort to win. Not only by building the ideas of liberty, but by getting the nomination. Our opponents would call that nuts -- you know, the advocates of more inflation, more spending, more taxes, more war. But let me explain why they are, as usual, all wet.

For one thing, for the first time since 1952, we are headed towards a brokered convention. Instead of a coronation of one of the establishment candidates, the delegates, influenced by the people, will decide. And I am afraid that this will take place in a time of heightened economic crisis. That means even more Americans will be ready to hear our message. But it also means I am really going to need your help.

One would never know this from the mainstream media, but we've only had a few primaries and caucuses, and even after the extremely important date of February 5th, we will still have more than half to go. And the Republican nominee will not be decided by the popular vote among the "leading candidates" in a few states also handpicked by the media. The nominee will be decided by the delegates. So let me tell you a little about our "under-the-radar" strategy to get those delegates.

On "Super Tuesday," February 5th, there will be 22 primaries and caucuses. I have a hunch that we're going to do very well. But, of course, the media and the rest of the establishment refuse to recognize that. It's the attitude of the small child who covers his eyes to make something scary go away. But we are not going away.

While the media focus on the couple of states they claim are important, we're competing everywhere. And the reason that we're able to do that is because of your grassroots support. You all are an asset that no other campaign has: donors, and activists who want no special deals from the government, just the Constitution.

We're competing very strongly in all the caucus states, and in all other states where delegates are up for grabs. And we're going to keep picking up delegates. Our strategy's already working.

And we're committed to winning states. I have little doubt that if we can double our efforts in this coming week, we're going to grab many delegates from other candidates. Then we'll start getting ready for the biggest moment of all - the convention in September.

The path to the convention is twisty, however. When we were in Iowa, we got 10% of the vote. But no delegates were awarded that night. That's because voters didn't directly choose national convention delegates; they selected the county and state delegates who will make that decision. And if another candidate like Mike Huckabee is no longer in the race at the time of the state convention in June, his delegates are free to support whomever they want. If we work extra hard, we can convert them into delegates for our campaign!

A similar thing happened in Nevada. We won 14% of the straw poll vote that the media reported on, but what they didn't tell you was that we may have gotten up to a third of Nevada's delegates to their county conventions! I always laughed when I heard some people say Nevada didn't matter. Nevada chooses more delegates to the national convention than South Carolina.

So, while the media will focus on the results from Florida, and probably take down the campaign of my friend Rudy in the process, those results are less important to you and me. Let them fight in Florida while we bring our message to Americans in other areas, like the economically hard-hit state of Maine.

We want to win as many delegates to the Republican National Convention as possible, even if other campaigns don't see some areas of the country as "important. But in this work, I need your help. Help me get many, many delegates to this historic convention, by these three methods.

1. Donate. Your generous contributions are essential if we're going to keep going until September. We need, frankly $5 million by February 5 to run more TV and radio ads in the Super Tuesday states. Your help means everything:

2. Canvass. You can help us identify those who support our message in your precinct. You can help us to convert others, too. After all, your neighbors pay attention to you. I am going to visit as much of the country as I can, but I need you as my partner in your area:

3. ASK others to sign-up on our website. I meet so many people on the campaign trail who don't even receive my letters! I've told my campaign to make communication with you, the engine of all this, much better. But if people don't sign up for my e-mails, that won't happen. If you could just get one extra person to sign-up, that would be great. More would be tremendous.

Help me by forwarding this e-mail to every other Ron Paul supporter you know, and urging them to join our efforts!

We've come so far, but now the fun is really starting! I have a feeling the mainstream media will move from ignoring us to attacking us. But that will be a sign of our success. Join me as we continue this great movement into year two, and to a hot convention in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. We can do it!



Saturday, January 26, 2008

How bad are things, anyway? Pessimism, Optimism, and The Economist

I've had a pile of old clippings on my desk. I'm finally trying to deal with them.

The December 22, 2007-January 4, 2008 issue of The Economist included what I thought was a witty--actually, very encouraging--commentary on Americans' collective consciousness. Sometimes it takes an outsider to help you see yourself accurately.

The author, known as "Lexington" to his readers, describes a certain scene in Jim Carrey's "Dumb and Dumber":
Lloyd Christmas [Carrey's character] . . . falls in love with a classy beauty, Mary Swanson. In one scene he asks her the chances of “a guy like you and a girl like me” ending up together. The answer is “Not good”. “Not good like one out of a hundred?” asks Lloyd. “More like one out of a million,” Mary replies. Lloyd pauses for a moment, then shoots back, “So you're telling me there's a chance?”
"That," says the author, "is the American spirit" and why "Americans have traditionally been much more optimistic than Europeans, and happier too. They believe that people determine their own destinies rather than being the mere playthings of fate. They also believe that their children will have a better life than they do."

The problem is, says the author, right now Americans are believing too much pessimistic talk from the media:
The likes of Bill O'Reilly and Lou Dobbs have transformed themselves into cable stars by ranting about cultural decay and “broken borders”. Patrick Buchanan's latest book is called “Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology and Greed are Tearing America Apart”. “We are on a path to national suicide,” he says. America is not just “coming apart”, but also “decomposing”.

There is certainly no shortage of bad news. But coming apart? Decomposing? The current issue of Commentary—a magazine hardly noted for its sunny disposition—contains an excellent article, “Crime, Drugs, Welfare and Other Good News” by Peter Wehner (a former senior White House aide) and Yuval Levin, which shows why Mr Buchanan is talking through his hat.

Both violent crime and property crime have declined dramatically since 1973. New York City will probably notch up less than 500 murders this year, the lowest since the early 1960s (the figure for 1990 was 2,262). Teenagers are cleaning up their act. Teenage drug use has fallen by 23% overall since the 1990s, and by 50% for LSD and ecstasy. Teens are drinking less, smoking less, having sex less and dropping out of school less. The birth rate for 15-19-year-olds has fallen by 35% since 1991. At 10%, the high-school drop-out rate is at a 30-year low.

Welfare reform is working. The welfare caseload has dropped by 60% since 1994. A series of social evils—overall poverty, child poverty, child hunger—have all decreased. Employment figures for single mothers have surged. The number of abortions fell from over 1.6m in 1990 to fewer than 1.3m this year. The divorce rate is at its lowest level since 1970. Education scores are up.

And so it goes.

Oh, yes, there is plenty of bad news, too. But--the kicker for me--let's look at America's history.
Americans have always had a vigorous tradition of pessimism, in counterpoint to the optimistic one. In 1819 John Adams worried about the duration of “our vast American Empire”. In 1948 Richard Hofstadter complained that “competition and opportunity” had gone into decline and that Americans were looking “wistfully back toward a golden age”. Much of today's pessimism may prove as unfounded.
And so, concludes our author: "Americans should rediscover the spirit of Lloyd Christmas, idiot though he was."

Ah! The Economist! I love how they report the news!

Jane Austen and the way we communicate

A few weeks ago, Sarita and I had the opportunity to watch Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as interpreted by Jon Jory and presented onstage by the Denver Center Theatre Company.

In the program notes, I read a brief piece about “the fashions of the day” as interpreted by Austen in private letters to her sister. I was astonished by what I read.

“Next week [I] shall begin my operations on my hat, on which You know my principal hopes of happiness depend,” Austen wrote in October 1798.

I thought: “You've got to be kidding! Her happiness depends on a hat? How shallow!”

A couple of months later, having changed the look of her hat, she writes with satisfaction concerning the effect: “I think it makes me look more like Lady Conyngham now than it did before, which is all that one lives for now.”


Besides her apparent shallowness, I was struck by Austen’s rapier and naughty wit . . . and I wondered what it is about phrases such as the following that makes them humorous? Why do we groan with bemused shock?

I don't think I've come up with an answer. Perhaps you can help?

I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow me.

I do not want People to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.

Mrs. Blount . . . appeared exactly as she did in September, with the same broad face, diamond bandeau, white shoes, pink husband, and fat neck.

Even the concert will have more than its usual charm with me, as the gardens are large enough for me to get pretty well beyond the reach of its sound.

Mrs. Hall of Sherbourn was brought to bed yesterday of a dead child, some weeks before she expected, owing to a fright. –I suppose she happened unawares to look at her husband.

[We] met a Gentleman in a Buggy, who on a minute examination turned out to be Dr. Hall--& Dr. Hall in such very deep mourning that either his Mother, his Wife, or himself must be dead.

We plan having a steady cook, and a young giddy housemaid, with a sedate, middle-aged man, who is to undertake the double office of husband to the former and sweetheart to the latter. No children of course to be allowed on either side.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I watched a video series a couple of months ago called Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution. Truly astonishing examples of creatures which defy evolutionary explanation . . . either on their own--in the manner their bodies are constructed (the woodpecker whose tongue goes over its skull before re-entering the mouth), or in combination with symbiotic companions (the mussel that requires a certain species of fish to incubate its eggs).

Well, I just bumped into a recent story about another symbiotic relationship that "just" doesn't seem to speak well for evolution as the source of all varieties of life on earth. Check out Ants and Trees Rub Each Others' Backs by Randolph E. Schmid.

Friday, January 18, 2008

No Excuses!

This past week I bumped into two videos that seemed, in my mind, to "preach" the same message: no matter what your condition, what your limitations, what your "handicap": don't use it as an excuse. Move beyond it. I think, sometimes, we as parents need these kinds of reminders not only for ourselves, but for our kids, too.

So, if I may urge you: check out No Excuses, just 61 seconds long, and She without arm, he without leg: Hand in Hand, a five-minute ballet performance. Stunning!

I pray one or both of them will encourage you and, perhaps, your kids or your spouse: you can do great things . . . if you will persevere.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ready to fly to work?

Check out the flying motorcycle!