Friday, October 31, 2008

I've had this strange feeling in the pit of my stomach . . .

Now I hear the evidence to suggest my "strange feeling" may have legitimate roots.

Check out this video of school children singing in praise of Obama:

And then read the comments of a woman named Lori Kalner after she saw the movie:
In Germany, when Hitler came to power, it was a time of terrible financial depression. Money was worth nothing. In Germany people lost homes and jobs, just like in the American Depression in the 1930s, which we have read about in [Bodie and Brock] Thoene’s Shiloh books.

In those days, in my homeland, Adolph Hitler was elected to power by promising “Change.”

He blamed the “Zionists” around the world for all our problems. He told everyone it was greedy Zionist Bankers who had caused every problem we had. He promised when he was leader, the greedy Zionist bankers would be punished. The Zionists, he promised, would be wiped off the face of the earth.

So Hitler was elected. . . .

Yes. Change came to my homeland as the new leader promised it would.

The teachers in German schools began to teach the children to sing songs in praise of Hitler. This was the beginning of the Hitler Youth movement. It began with praise of the Fuhrer’s programs on the lips of innocent children. Hymns in praise of Hitler and his programs were being sung in the schoolrooms and in the playyard. Little girls and boys joined hands and sang these songs as they walked home from school. . . .
Read more here.

Personally, I find the entire interaction quite sobering.

But others do not.

On the Sonlighters Club forums, where I first saw this, I've seen comments along these lines:
  • Needless fear-mongering! . . . If you (general, non-specific you) really are experiencing abject terror about an Obama presidency I would seriously recommend speaking to your doctor. In all honesty, its probably something that could be treated pharmacologically.

    Its one thing to disagree with someone's politics. Its another thing to be so completely terrified by people who think differently that you see the rise of Nazi extremists behind the election of a democratic candidate.

    That is wacko. If it were about John McCain and Sarah Palin it would STILL be wacko.

    It is ridiculous to compare the possible election of Barack Obama to the rise of Hitler, Castro or others.

    This country has survived 8 years with Bush at its helm. And still I wouldnt sink to comparing Bush with Hitler.

    This is a disgusting propaganda maneuver. I suggest you read up on propaganda and fear mongering.
  • This is a disgusting variation on Godwin's Law. It denigrates the horror and memory of what happened, bit by bit, in the 10 years following the Beer Hall Putsch, to the Jews, gypsies and others. It also uses make a clumsy attempt to hijack that fear and that horror for its own petty political purposes.

    This is the musings of self-serving paranoia and while anyone can say and suggest anything in a free society (a good thing!), this is the very lowest kind of political speech, the most destructive and base kinds of rhetoric there is.

    This email is much more a threat to the virtues and ideals of America as a free, healthy, productive and civil society than any kids song for Obama is. Goodness, think of what is being presented here: a salutatory song to Obama AS PRECURSOR TO A HOLOCAUST.

    It's also a variation of Poe's Law.

    Seriously, you CANNOT parody this kind of stuff, as it's so ridiculous any possible attempts at parody would be indistinguishable from the real thing. Reading this the first time, I wondered what the wry punchline was at the bottom, only to find it was serious. Ayiyi....

    There's never any shortage of fools and opportunists who will happily trade on the living memory of REAL horrors and REAL atrocities as fodder for fear-mongering and demonization, and this is what we have here, in spades. Disgraceful, it is. A shameful thing to pass on. . . .

    It's *because* of these stories of the people who lived it, of the accounts of what really happened and why that this kind of cheap stuff is so obnoxious.

    Do you suppose I don't know the story, what happened? I've been to Birkenau, and I've been to Auschwitz. I spent a day at Dachau just this May. If there's any single genre of books that have dominated my reading in the last thirty years, it's been WWII, and the European Theater. . . .

    I'm more happy at a party when I find a Vet who fought in WWII finding a corner and making him tell me stories of back in the day than anything else that might happen at that party.

    But if [you're] going to tell me [you see] a HOLOCAUST coming because of a bunch of KIDS singing in a video praises to Obama, I will start to wonder. . . . Because when you read, listen, talk and immerse yourself in that story, this kind of flip connection just trivializes the atrocities of that time.

    If you're gonna raise the spectre of the Holocaust -- the ultimate emotional appeal -- you better make sure you've got a good case, and a strong argument. Because if you don't, it's easily exposed for what it is, the cynical theft and misuse of the comapssion for the victims and the horror of those times for petty purposes -- cheap political advantage.

    I don't mind people bringing it up, but bringing it up in such a flimsy, transparent way, that's demeaning to the memories of those who lived through that storm, and who died in it.
And then the responses to these replies:
  • It's not Obama that bothers me, but the reaction to him. I can't understand why a school teacher would have such a concert. Why would you want to indoctrinate kids like that? It also seems that people credit him with a power I don't think he has, that of "change." I wanted to yell at that parents, for pete's sake, he can't walk on water!

    I believe the real danger is a country with citizens who are struggling, or perhaps depressed, and will latch onto anyone with charisma. That's a vulnerable situation.

    I haven't seen anything in Obama that suggests he would be the sort of person that takes advantage of this. It's just that kind of hero worship bothers me, no matter who it is directed to.
  • Everything about Hitler's rise to power was wacko. BUT it still happened! He was a slick talker for sure....He talked people into hating an entire race of people.

    It really troubles me when I hear someone as "educated" (intellectual may be better there....hence the " " marks....unsure of the right word slam meant) as _______ [one of the people who objected to Kalner's correlation] talk [in other threads] about liking Obama because HE TALKS BETTER! Sure, [Obama] may be against XYZ that [______, the Obama supporter] believes in, but, darn it, he sure can talk with the best of them.

    This woman is right to fear this happening again. It may not be Obama....but! What if it is?

    Only those who know the "warning signs" can shout out the alarm. If no one chooses to listen...well...who knows what can happen?
  • You know, I kept hearing about how charismatic Clinton was... and about how much everyone liked him so much even if he was against everything they believed in. I've had some personal experience with such people and I see the same thing in Obama. I can't TELL you how incredibly leery I am of such people, based on personal experience, and I just don't trust him.
  • From what I've been reading in the news, the Democrats expect to increase their majorities in the US Senate and House of Representatives dramatically, which means carte blanche for a liberal president to roll his policies and his judicial appointments through without dissent.

    Those policies and appointments take us in a direction that may be hard to turn back from.

    So it's not that conservatives are quaking in our boots over what damage one man, Barack Obama, can do, even though he is one of the most extreme liberals in Washington. It's what damage the entire federal government can do in the hands of a filibuster-proof liberal majority just because the voters decide they want "Change" for change's sake.
  • Why is it that every time that someone examines an issue and comes to an opposite conclusion than the liberal one, that person is "wacko" or "needs help" or, more commonly, is "terrified".

    This elderly woman who wrote this isn't "terrified". She is simply in a position to draw conclusions from historical parallels and you aren't. You may be in a similar position someday, but right now, she is qualified to speak to such a comparison and is entitled to do so.

    Whether she is correct in her conclusions or not is entirely another issue, and certainly remains to be seen. But to dismiss anyone in her unique position as "terrified" or "in need of pharmacological help" is immensely disrespectful as well as shortsighted.
  • My grandparents came from Germany before the war, although most of their family didn't and there are great-aunts and uncles who died in the camps.

    But from what I hear of people who lived there, life was great. Jews held all sorts of positions of prominence. Many were war heroes from WWI. Germany was full of education and progressive thinking. None of them ever imagined that something like the holocaust could happen there, of all places.

    I don't have it in me to jump and say that something similar will happen in the U.S. I pray not. But it is a very real possibility and one that we all need to be cautious of.

    [To this last comment, about being cautious, an Obama supporter asked, "It's a real possibility when? Just if Obama is elected? Or always?"

    And the original poster replied, "At any time. Hopefully never."]
And your thoughts?

D*mn it feels good to be a banksta!


A banksta rap song. (Warning: crude lyrics . . . apparently in the style of what I understand is called gangsta rap. --Sorry about my cultural illiteracy. I have never really listened to that kind of music . . . except, perhaps, in cringing disgust as some guy drives up in an over-amped, super-bassed car. . . .)

The song, I think, is an appropriate put down of the money-bags on Wall Street and in Washington who have shaken down the American public for hundreds of billions of dollars.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Insane SEC policy that, perhaps more than anything else, led to the banking crisis . . .

An "unbelievable" SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] policy agreed to in 2004 led to massive over-leveraging of the United States' largest brokerage and investment banking houses.

I don't understand why I never heard of this before. But it is certainly upsetting . . . and, in my opinion, worthy of criminal censure of the primary participants--both those who profited directly from it as well as those who obviously abdicated their oversight responsibilities.
“We have a good deal of comfort about the capital cushions at these firms at the moment,” [said] Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, [on] March 11, 2008.

As rumors swirled that Bear Stearns faced imminent collapse in early March, Christopher Cox was told by his staff that Bear Stearns had $17 billion in cash and other assets — more than enough to weather the storm.

[But then, d]rained of most of its cash three days later, Bear Stearns was forced into a hastily arranged marriage with JPMorgan Chase — backed by a $29 billion taxpayer dowry.

Within six months, other lions of Wall Street would also either disappear or transform themselves to survive the financial maelstrom — Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection, and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley converted to commercial banks.

How could Mr. Cox have been so wrong?
Read the story of an April 28, 2004, meeting of the five-member Securities & Exchange Commission at which the biggest brokerage and banking houses asked for an exemption for their brokerage units from an old regulation that limited the amount of debt they could take on.
One commissioner, Harvey J. Goldschmid, questioned the staff about the consequences of the proposed exemption. It would only be available for the largest firms, he was reassuringly told — those with assets greater than $5 billion.

“We’ve said these are the big guys,” Mr. Goldschmid said, provoking nervous laughter, “but that means if anything goes wrong, it’s going to be an awfully big mess.” . . .

After 55 minutes of discussion, which can now be heard on the Web sites of the agency and The Times, the chairman, William H. Donaldson, a veteran Wall Street executive, called for a vote. It was unanimous. The decision, changing what was known as the net capital rule, was completed and published in The Federal Register a few months later.

With that, the five big independent investment firms were unleashed.

In loosening the capital rules, which are supposed to provide a buffer in turbulent times, the agency also decided to rely on the firms’ own computer models for determining the riskiness of investments, essentially outsourcing the job of monitoring risk to the banks themselves.

Over the following months and years, each of the firms would take advantage of the looser rules. At Bear Stearns, the leverage ratio — a measurement of how much the firm was borrowing compared to its total assets — rose sharply, to 33 to 1. In other words, for every dollar in equity, it had $33 of debt.
In other words, if the market declined by only 3%, Bear Stearns would become completely devoid of all assets.

Other firms didn't quite leverage to the same degree, but they went far beyond what they had been permitted to do prior to the decision. . . .

You can read the entire stinking story at the New York Times.

Fighting with the classroom school system? Not enjoying your homeschool experience? Ken Robinson offers some words of hope and inspiration

"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you will not come up with anything original," says Sir Ken Robinson in this inspiring video about education.

"We educate people out of their creative capacities by stigmatizing mistakes," he says.

Inspiring, witty, and, I expect, well worth the 16 minutes it will take you to watch:

By the way: I have pre-ordered a copy of his soon-to-be-released book, mentioned in the video, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fun signs . . .

The Telegraph of London has featured a photo series for the last five months: "Sign language." See what you think. . . .

Deep thinkers ahead
Superficial drivers should proceed with caution.
Location: Opiki, New Zealand

The end is near
The lower death access is just no good. Stick to the upper death. Go past the moral high road and the road less travelled and you can't miss it.
Location: Box Death Hollow Wilderness Area, Utah

Breaking news
You're not going to believe this, but see that big hill in front of you? Well, it's blocking the view of what's on the other side. Here's the good news: when you get to the top, you'll be able to see the view.
Location: Richfield, Wisconsin

No signs . . . except this one
. . . Proving that there is an exception to every rule.
Location: Honolulu, Oahu

Midwestern multitasking
Here’s an interesting business model: Lure them in with stuffed animals, then sell them cheese. Presumably, the cheese looks incredibly lifelike.
Location: Hudson, Wisconsin

Please don't!
The zoo keepers made good use of their English thesaurus.
Location: Pune Zoo, India

Insane lane
Hope you know what time it is . . . and which way you're going!
Location: Washington, DC

Stop Light from H*ll
At least this sign lets you know where you stand . . . or sit. Idling. In neutral. Forever.
Location: Fort Walton Beach, FL

Drive-by surgery
The streets in Wausau are kept so clean you could perform surgery on them.
Location: Wausau, Wisconsin

Heavy Traffic
Perhaps the hikers and bikers are overweight. Or perhaps there is some major deer migration in the area.
Location: Colorado

Food may eventually arrive
Come for the food, stay for the waiting.
Location: Guangzhou, China

Please remove feet and drag yourself in
Drastic entry requirement for a Buddhist temple.
Location: Yangon, Myanmar

Fancy a nibble on the way out?
Just don't do it like a vegetarian.
Location: Shanghai, China

Doob as I say, not as I doob
Seems the Pakistan Narcotics Investigating Unit might be able to get more publicity if they could just trim down that patch of marijuana so people could see their sign.
Location: Mingora, Pakistan

Should I stay or should I go?
Which do you prefer? Welcome to a world of indecision.
Location: Kemmerer, WY

. . . And, of course, there are plenty more where these came from!

Poor bankers are having to fly Economy class . . . and the airlines are hurting more than ever

Merrill Lynch & Co., UBS AG and JPMorgan & Chase Co. are telling senior bankers in Asia to fly coach on short-haul flights and reduce non-essential travel as they step up cost cuts, officials at the firms said.

UBS advised bankers this month to travel economy class for flights of up to five hours, two officials at the biggest Swiss bank said, asking not to be identified because it's an internal policy. Merrill employees have been told to travel economy for flights of as much as three hours since mid-September, two executives at the firm said. . . .

JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, has requested senior bankers fly economy on flights of less than three hours since late August, said an official who declined to be identified. . . .

Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, which ceded majority control to the U.K. government this month, in an Oct. 16 memo asked workers worldwide to fly economy on regional routes and to cut back on travel, said an RBS banker who's seen the document. RBS spokeswoman Hui Yukmin declined to comment.

HSBC Holdings Plc's Asia unit asked its Hong Kong department heads and branch managers to cut travel expenses by 15 percent to 20 percent next year, two officials at the bank said, citing a Sept. 23 memo sent by Chief Operating Officer Jon Addis. . . .
And so it goes.

Poor guys. No more free alcoholic beverages, oversized seats, or extra legroom on short-haul flights!

So sad.

. . . But it really does put the pinch on the airlines, since First and Business Class travel normally provides such a large proportion of their income (and, therefore, profits).

More at

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kolbe Presidential Survey

Fascinating "take" on the two major party presidential candidates. And here I've had the invitation letter sitting in my in-box, unopened, for a week and a half.

We all bring our instinctive, conative talents to our jobs. John McCain and Barack Obama are no exception, but do we know who they are?

Kolbe Corp's new website,, is a fun way for you to say how you think the candidates solve problems, and to see what others are saying.

Although we're sprinkling some science into our approach, we aren't claiming the results are scientific – just compelling. You can see how other people voted based on age, gender, race and who they plan to vote for in the election. Since the results are continuously updated, you'll be able to see any potential shifts in the electorate as we get closer to Election Day.

We aren't endorsing or supporting either candidate. We're just curious to see how you and others view them. You can decide whether you agree or disagree with the results, and whether it will affect your vote on November 4th. We hope that by focusing on instinctive talents, people who visit the survey can find something positive about both candidates.

Maybe Senators Obama and McCain will take us up on our offer to get their Kolbe results for free so each can better understand this part of what will drive his success should he have the honor of being our next President.

I encourage you to take a moment to cast your ballot at It will change the way you look at selecting people for a job, including the upcoming opening in the Oval Office.


David Kolbe
CEO, Kolbe Corp
Check it out!

Our firm uses the Kolbe A test to evaluate new managers. It really is revealing. And as I "took the test" for Obama and McCain, I was shocked at my responses . . . but/and I think the answers helped me to understand a bit better why I feel as I do about the two candidates.

Sorry. You've only got a few hours before the "test" will be completed.

I think I'm "fallling in love" all over again . . .

. . . with the study of cultural anthropology.

It's been years. Over 30 years, actually.

I never took a regular course in college in the subject.

I was introduced to anthropology through my involvement with the Summer Institute of International Studies (SIIS) held at Wheaton College in the summer of '76. SIIS was the (far more academically rigorous--worth 10 college credits!) precursor to what is known today as the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course.

Back when I took the course, there was a bunch of cultural anthropology in it. We read books like Marv Mayers' Christianity Confronts Culture and Eugene Nida's Customs and Cultures.

I was absolutely fascinated by the astonishingly diverse ways people from different cultural backgrounds will interpret the exact same phenomenon.

And so, last night, at dinner, while Sarita is off visiting her mother, I read a portion of Paul Hiebert's Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change.

The old joy welled up within me as I read Hiebert's analysis of different types of symbols--arbitrary, iconic, and performative. (If Hiebert's language seems too difficult, skip to the next example; it is more accessible. For me, despite the difficult language, I enjoy being challenged to think about things in ways I have never thought about them before. The surprising insights are worth the slight mental pain.)
The relationships between external realities and internal images [what we think of in our minds] mediated by signs [symbols: words or images] vary greatly.

In some, the link [between reality, symbol and mental image] is arbitrary. . . . Most words used in everyday discursive speech are essentially arbitrary. In English we look at a tree and say "tree." We could have said "chettu" or "preta." There is no essential ideographic link between the word "tree" and the objects we call trees. Once we have agreed in our community to call this object a tree, however, the link becomes one of social and historical, not private, definition. It is passed down from generation to generation and is no longer arbitrary. I may try to change it, but my efforts are meaningless if I cannot get the community to accept the changes.

Discursive language is the basis of most verbal communication. We use it to talk about the ordinary things of life--things we can see and experience directly. We change it easily as new words are coined to represent new realities we observe or create and concepts we need to express.

In some signs, the link between the external and the internal world is not arbitrary. For example, iconic symbols link the two by means of visual and aural similarities. On a computer, the images of printers, arrows, files, and magnifying glasses let the user know what function each button has. Similarly, many street signs and lane lines communicate without words. In many ways icons are easier to use in multilingual settings because they communicate by images, not by letters and words.

There are a few signs in which the sign and the reality are one. For example, when a minister or justice of the peace says, "I now pronounce you husband and wife," he is not just communicating information. His words are performative. They change the legal status of the bride and groom. A moment earlier, either can call the marriage off with no legal consequences. After the pronouncements, the couple has to go through a legal divorce to undo the marriage.

Understanding these three types of signs is particularly important in dealing with religious matters, such as prayers and rituals. Protestants tend to see the Lord's Supper as helping believers to remember and reflect on the death of Christ. Some Orthodox churches see it as more iconic in nature. The bread and wine do not literally become the body and blood of Christ, but they are much more than arbitrary symbols. Other churches regard the Eucharist as transformative. The bread and wine become, in fact, the literal body and blood of Christ.

At the worldview level, it is important to remember that different cultures use different types of signs in different ways, and often our misunderstanding of their practices, such as magic and witchcraft, has as much to do with their and our understanding of the nature of the signs involved as with the beliefs behind them.

--pp. 38-39

I can imagine that what I have just quoted will fail to rock your world. But the following might do a better job. I could hardly contain myself as I read Hiebert's description of "relational" or "concrete functional" logic--a kind of logic we in the West, I'm afraid, can barely imagine:
In much of the world, people define reality at the deepest level in relational terms. This man is the husband of Lois, father of Mary and John, and grandfather of Susan and Mark. As the oldest male, he is head of his clan and an elder in the village council. Relational categories lead to concrete, functional logic. . . .

A. R. Luriia illustrates this in his study of the Kirghiz of Central Asia (1976).

He showed people a picture of three adults and one child [imagine that in your mind, or draw stick figures on a piece of paper: three adults (two men, one woman) and one child; two adults on one side of the child, one on the other--JAH] and asked them which of these does not belong to the others.

Most [Western] people say the "child," because the child is not an "adult." The Kirghiz said that the first person is the father, the second is the mother, and they need children, so the child is part of the family. The third adults must be an uncle, and he can be eliminated from the set.

When shown a picture of a hatchet, a log, a hammer, and a saw [again, please place that image in your mind: a hatchet, a log, a hammer, a saw--JAH], [Western] people eliminate the log because it is not a "tool." The Kirghiz, however, argued that with the log they could make a fire if they had a hatchet or a saw. One young man said, "The saw will saw the log and the hatchet will chop it into small pieces. If one of these things has to go, I'd throw out the saw. It doesn't do as good a job as a hatchet."

When Luriia suggested that the hammer, saw, and hatchet were tools and so belonged together, another Kirghiz said, "Yes, but even if we have tools, we still need wood--otherwise we can't build anything." Moreover, the hammer is useless because there are no nails.

I saw these gorgeous photos and thought I'd pass them along . . .

Something to lift the spirits as the seasons change. . . .

OktoberImage by Buridans Esel via Flickr

Caminos de nieblaImage by Jon Ander Rabadan via Flickr

Balberger Wald # 2Image by H. Kosin via Flickr

Monday, October 27, 2008


I don't watch much TV, so I wasn't familiar with the original Bud "Whazzup?" commercial apparently from 2000:

If you're not, it might help to watch it. It provides some good context.

But whether you watch it or not, I think the following ad speaks to our country's current emotional state in a hilariously sad way . . .


Trophy kids

Good luck working with Millennials, writes the author of The 'Trophy Kids' Go to Work, an article in last Tuesday's edition of The Wall Street Journal.
"The millennials [young Americans, 18 to 28 years old] were raised with so much affirmation and positive reinforcement that they come into the workplace needy for more," says Subha Barry, managing director and head of global diversity and inclusion at Merrill Lynch & Co.

But managers must tread lightly when making a critique. This generation was treated so delicately that many schoolteachers stopped grading papers and tests in harsh-looking red ink. Some managers have seen millennials break down in tears after a negative performance review and even quit their jobs. "They like the constant positive reinforcement, but don't always take suggestions for improvement well," says Steve Canale, recruiting manager at General Electric Co. In performance evaluations, "it's still important to give the good, the bad and the ugly, but with a more positive emphasis." . . .

It seems that one young man missed an important deadline, and when his manager asked him to explain, he said, "Oh, you forgot to remind me."

I'm afraid I've seen some of these kinds of attitudes myself, but I had interpreted them as having to do with the individuals involved. But when I read the article, I suddenly came to the conclusion that I had best brace myself for some deeper disappointments . . . and, perhaps, some lessons in how, on the one hand, to speak critically in a positive manner.

I'm not sure I'm up to that task!

Oh. PS. That title--about "trophy kids"? That came from the following:
The millennials were lavishly praised and often received trophies when they excelled, and sometimes when they didn't, to avoid damaging their self-esteem. They and their parents have placed a high premium on success, filling résumés with not only academic accolades but also sports and other extracurricular activities.

Now what happens when these trophy kids arrive in the workplace with greater expectations than any generation before them? "Their attitude is always 'What are you going to give me,' " says Natalie Griffith, manager of human-resource programs at Eaton Corp. "It's not necessarily arrogance; it's simply their mindset."

Millennials want loads of attention and guidance from employers. An annual or even semiannual evaluation isn't enough. They want to know how they're doing weekly, even daily.
Good luck!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Interesting perspective on a possible Obama victory from Peggy Noonan . . .

I thought this opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal had a number of good insights. But I particularly liked one of Noonan's broad observations, and two of her broad conclusions.

The observation:
People wonder if [Obama] is decisive.

It is clear he is decisive in terms of his own career: He decides to go for president of the law review, to move to Chicago, to roll the dice for a U.S. Senate seat, to hire David Axelrod, to take on Hillary, to campaign with discipline and even elegance. When it comes to his career, his decisions are thought through and his judgments sound.

But when it comes to decisions that have to do with larger issues, with great questions and not with him, things get murkier. There is the long trail of the missed and "present" votes, the hesitance on big questions. One wonders if in the presidency he'll be like the dog that chased the car and caught it: What's he supposed to do now?
And the two conclusions.

If Mr. Obama wins, and governs as a moderate liberal, not veering left, not seeming to be the cap that pops off a kettle that's been boiling for eight years, but governs to a degree, at least in general approach, as Bill Clinton did--as a moderate Democrat well aware of the terrain—he may know some success. And he may be able to tamp down the insistence of the long-simmering left by the force of his own popularity, which will grow once he is president among grateful Democrats, and others.

But if he goes left--if it comes to seem as if the attractive, dark-haired man has torn open his shirt to reveal a huge S, not for Superman but for Socialist, if he jumps toward reforms such as a speech-limiting new Fairness Doctrine, that won't yield success. It will yield trouble, and unneeded domestic arguments. We have enough needed ones.
And second:
In a way, Mr. Obama can more easily go left in foreign relations for the precise reason no one knows what going left is, because no one knows what going right in foreign relations is, at least if "right" means "conservative."

Mr. Obama has a great chance, in this area, to confuse the world. And a confused world is not all a bad thing. His persona, name, color, youth and approach will, at least initially, jumble up long-settled categories. Radicals enjoy hating America, but a particular picture of America. He is not that picture. He will give calculating Western European leaders an opening to be friendly to America again; they will feel that Mr. Obama's victory constitutes the rebuke of the Bushism they desire. They will befriend the rebuker.
And now I wonder what I'm doing . . . and what Noonan and other conservative and/or Republican commentators are doing as we write things like this in which we imagine a potentially decent--rather than disastrous--outcome from an Obama presidency. Are we attempting to come to terms with--settle ourselves about--what appears to be a likely Obama victory?

Americans' political philosophy to be affected by the obesity epidemic?

Olivia Judson, an evolutionary biologist, has written an intriguing article that connects several dots, creates what she thinks may be a pattern, and asks whether hormonal changes brought about by the fat in an ever-increasing proportion of the population might create a political change in America sometime in about 20 years or so.

The dots? First,
according to a report published last month in the journal Science, strong political views are correlated with distinct physiological responses to startling noises and threatening images. Specifically, the study found that people who support warrantless searches, wiretapping, military spending and so on were also likely to startle at sudden noises and threatening images. Those who support foreign aid, immigration, gun control and the like tended to have much milder responses to the stimuli. (The study only included people who described themselves as having strong political opinions; the physiology of apathy has not been looked at.)
Second, in non-human animals, "the way an individual responds to threat is part of its personality."

Third, "if response to threat is a part of personality, what determines personality?"
Genes play a role. But they are not the whole story. In many animals, personality is also strongly influenced by the early environment. For example, . . . [i]n rats, mice, gerbils and ferrets — all of which have several offspring in each litter — a pup’s position in the uterus will have a lasting effect on its personality. A female mouse who was between two females will be more docile than a female who was between two males. She will also be more attractive to males. Similarly, a male mouse who finds himself between two females will have a higher sex drive than a male who was between two other males. He will also be less likely to help look after the pups, and he’ll have a stronger preference for sweet food. Here again, the reason is hormones. Developing fetuses give them off, so the neighborhood an embryo finds itself in affects which hormones it gets exposed to while it is growing.
Fourth, "Other fetuses aren’t the only source of hormones. The mother is, too."

Fifth, "Human fetuses are also affected by hormones. Indeed, evidence is mounting that humans are affected in much the same way that other animals are. Exposure to estrogen and testosterone affects behavior in adults. And children whose mothers were stressed during pregnancy often have learning problems, and may be more prone to anxiety."

Sixth, "Obese women have different hormonal profiles from women of normal weight. This is, in part, because fat cells themselves release hormones. Some of these affect appetite control and metabolism; others affect blood pressure. Fat cells also release estradiol, a form of estrogen. So when an obese woman becomes pregnant, her fetus is exposed to various 'fat' hormones."

And, then, finally, the conclusion:
In the United States, the obesity epidemic began about 30 years ago. We are now at a point where one third of all pregnant women are obese. Their children will be voting in about 20 years’ time. If an 'obese' environment in the womb has an impact on aspects of personality that affect political views, we may soon be seeing a big shift in the body politic.
Additional references to various scientific papers and studies may be found on the New York Times page on which Judson's paper is featured.

Despite the scientific aura that surrounds Judson's opinion piece, let me encourage you (as always) to read the comments that follow.

I particularly like Elizabeth's counterpoint:
This is the most irresponsible use of biological reductionism I’ve ever seen. It’s just a way of linking two of the author’s prejudices together in a way that penalizes fat people yet again.

Forget the ridiculous idea that fat people make Republicans. It’s far more likely that Republicans make fat people. With their constant stream of subsidies to large scale industrial agriculture, and their refusal to subsidize the production of fruits and vegetables instead of grains, corn, and high-fat meats like beef, the Republicans have created an economic system that makes people obese.

That’s the real criticism that should be made, and it doesn’t take any illogical pseudo-science to arrive at it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Berg's case dismissed on technicality. Now what?

As America's Right reports:
Philip Berg's lawsuit challenging Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility to serve as president of the United States [due to questions about his citizenship] ha[s] been dismissed by the Hon. R. Barclay Surrick on grounds that the Philadelphia attorney and former Deputy Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania lacked standing. . . .

[A] plaintiff wishing to have standing to sue must show (1) a particularized injury-in-fact, (2) evidence showing that that the party being sued actually caused the plaintiff’s particularized injury-in-fact, and (3) that adjudication of the matter would actually provide redress. . . .

[M]uch of Berg’s basis for injury-in-fact could be considered threatened injury–he felt that the country was at risk for “voter disenfranchisement” and that America was certainly headed for a “constitutional crisis”--and, while threatened injury can certainly be injury enough to satisfy the injury-in-fact element, such satisfaction depends upon the threat being perceived by the judge as being not too creative, speculative or remote. . . .

The harm cited by Berg, Surrick wrote, “is too vague and its effects too attenuated to confer standing on any and all voters.”

So, who does have standing? According to the Hon. R. Barclay Surrick, that's completely up to Congress to decide.
If, through the political process, Congress determines that citizens, voters, or party members should police the Constitution’s eligibility requirements for the Presidency, then it is free to pass laws conferring standing on individuals like Plaintiff. Until that time, voters do not have standing to bring the sort of challenge that Plaintiff attempts to bring in the Amended Complaint.
Berg replied: "While the procedural evasions may be proper, it only makes me believe more that we were correct in the first place, that Obama does not have the documentation we've requested."
[Berg] says that he is learning more about [Obama] with each passing day. For example, regardless of whether it could be attached to the proceeding as it goes through the appellate process, Berg said, he is in possession of a native-language audiotape of Sarah Obama, Barack Obama's paternal grandmother, stating on the day of the last presidential debate that her famous grandson was indeed born in Kenya, and that she was present in the hospital for his birth.

"The tape is in the native language there," Berg said. "I will release it as soon as translation is confirmed by affidavit, and we are waiting on affidavits from contacts over here and in Kenya."
As for the case itself, Berg has issued a statement:
I am totally disappointed by Judge Surrick's decision and, for all citizens of the United States, I am immediately appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is a question of who has standing to uphold our Constitution. If I don't have standing, if you don't have standing, if your neighbor doesn't have standing to question the eligibility of an individual to be President of the United States - the Commander-in-Chief, the most powerful person in the world - then who does?

So, anyone can just claim to be eligible for congress or the presidency without having their legal status, age or citizenship questioned.

According to Judge Surrick, we the people have no right to police the eligibility requirements under the U.S. Constitution.

What happened to ‘...Government of the people, by the people, for the people,...’ Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address 1863.

We must legally prevent Obama, the unqualified candidate, from taking the Office of the Presidency of the United States.

I am most fascinated by the commentary that comes after the America's Right article, comments like these:

iatsair1 wrote,
[O]n the issue of standing, as a Hillary Clinton supporter, Berg has likely contributed both time and treasure to her campaign. Both his time and treasure are now forfeit, due to the fraudulent actions of both Barack Obama and the DNC. You now have: (From the FEC motion)
(1) an injury-in-fact, (2) a causal connection between the injury and the challenged conduct of the defendant (traceability), and (3) a likelihood that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision of the court ...

Doesn't this give any Hillary contributor, including Berg, standing?
And Phil wrote,
I can see why the judge would determine Berg’s lack of standing, per this take-away paragraph:
If, through the political process, Congress determines that citizens, voters, or party members should police the Constitution’s eligibility requirements for the Presidency, then it is free to pass laws conferring standing on individuals like Plaintiff. Until that time, voters do not have standing to bring the sort of challenge that Plaintiff attempts to bring in the Amended Complaint.
In other words, what the judge is saying is that there is no mechanism [yet] by which a citizen, voter or anyone else can directly challenge a presidential candidate’s eligibility; this is a responsibility that is currently left up to the Legislative branch, i.e.: Congress.

I actually agree with this, and believe that for the judge to have ruled otherwise would constitute “legislating from the bench,” regardless of how beneficial such “legislation” would be.

Previously, back in the 1800’s, my understanding is that Martin van Buren was challenged on his eligibility for POTUS [President of the US] because he was apparently born in a US territory. Obviously, he prevailed.

Berg is planning on appealing to the . . . SCOTUS [Supreme Court of the US]. While Berg has every right to pursue this course of action, I think he would be better served — and may be doing this anyway — helping other citizens across the several States in bringing up suits against respective SOSs [Secretaries of State] to determine eligibility.

How would this be better? A few reasons:

* Each State’s Secretary of State’s role is to specifically confirm the eligibility of all candidates for all offices

* Since the US doesn’t have federal elections in the truest sense of the word (the US has a “national” election in which all States happen to vote on the same date), one could theoretically push this concept forward with less encumbrances at the State level

* Each State has its own laws in how the SOS is to be held accountable, so, in theory, it may be better defined exactly how to challenge a respective SOS

Lawsuits in the several States would probably do well to only go after the SOS and not Obama/DNC directly, as the real issue is eligibility and not one of political expediency

Nevertheless, the election isn’t over yet. I really don’t think that this issue is going to be resolved (as much as it’s a fascinating issue to observe) by November 4, 2008.
And now, having given you this much commentary, I should note I just discovered a thoughtful, well-researched, dispassionate website dedicated to hunting down the truth concerning Berg's allegations against Obama.

Check out What's Your Evidence?. Even without the technical finding about "no standing," I have to agree with the blogger who is doing the yeoman's work of analyzing the data: in all but the most minute and irrelevant details, Berg's suit lacks merit: he produces little if any evidence for his allegations, and when we can find evidence, it is either weak, at best, or detrimental to his case.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cool resource for those who are trying to put together their own websites

I bumped into The Link List last Saturday: "A great ongoing resource for designing, programming, inspiration and articles for the web hungry." "This list will be continually growing and getting better as time goes on," promises the site developer.

Among its resources, multiple articles or resources under almost every one of the following divisions:
  • Programming
    • CSS
    • Development & Tools
    • Ajax
    • jQuery
    • Cheat Sheets
    • SEO
  • Design
    • Resource
    • Headers
    • Websites Designs
    • Advanced Website Development
    • Tutorials
    • PhotoShop
    • Fonts
  • Wordpress
    • Themes
    • Plugins
    • Development
  • Visual Media
    • Videos
    • Wallpapers
    • Inspiration
    • CSS Galleries (Best of the best)
    • Photo Posts
  • Making Money Online
  • Productivity & Freelance
  • Popular Articles
Considering some of the stuff the author is doing, I'm looking forward to examining the tools he's collected!

The latest on "mild-mannered" Bill Ayers . . .

. . . the guy who--together with his wife--has repeatedly said he wishes they had done more bombing and done more damage. . . .

Get a load of Bill ("Billy") Ayers' and Bernardine Dohrn (Ayers') view of the world from their political manifesto Prairie Fire reprinted with commentary at ZombieTimes.

Please notice what they say:
Revolutionary war will be complicated and protracted. It includes mass struggle and clandestine struggle, peaceful and violent, political and economic, cultural and military, where all forms are developed in harmony with the armed struggle.

Without mass struggle there can be no revolution.

Without armed struggle there can be no victory.
My sense: as far as they are concerned, we are "merely" involved in the "clandestine struggle, peaceful, . . . political and economic, [and] cultural."

And lest you think Ayers and his wife have given up on any of their beliefs, listen to the interviews. Here's just one . . .

"We were young, we were foolish, we made mistakes . . . and we would do it again."

But perhaps you would like to see some more:

Bill Ayers speaking at the MSU SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) meeting in 2007:

Bernardine speaking at the same meeting:

("Doing everything possible to overthrow capitalism . . .")

I filled in my ballot last night . . .

Sarita and I got absentee ballots, so "it was time."

I literally held my nose, held my breath and tightened my diaphragm to raise my blood pressure several levels, . . . and then I made lots of gagging/vomiting sounds while I "did the deed" and filled in the presidential ticket, but I did what I felt I needed to.

The d*mning evidence that keeps piling up, first, about Obama's radicalism--his not merely "pro-choice" but truly anti-life perspectives; his predilection for having "the government" serve as the "solution" to virtually all problems everywhere; his obvious commitment to agitating and supporting agitation for increases in government hand-outs-- . . . and the slow multiplication of relationships he maintains with people whose own commitments are, more and more, demonstrably at least as radical and probably more so than his own; and the fact that it is becoming more and more obvious that his relationships with these people are far deeper and more serious than he seems, ever, to let on: despite all his fine rhetoric and personal poise, I realize I "just" do not trust him . . . at a deep and visceral level.

The comments of several ladies on the Sonlighters Club forums helped seal my decision.
  • "Our system, as imperfect as it is, has placed McCain and Obama at the top and has made them the only two real choices, and I sure know who is NOT my choice. I will vote for McCain/Palin. I will accept that I will have part of the pie and not all in order to avoid having none."
  • "The word that comes to mind for me is "mandate." I do not for a minute think this election is over, but regardless of the outcome, the greater the difference of popular or electoral votes, the more the winner feels he has a mandate to institute his policies. A closer vote indicates less people who are supportive, and lets the winner know that he has to represent more people who disagree with him. It also sends a message to the other lawmakers who will need to vote for those proposals."
And, finally, in response to the immediately preceding comment,
  • "In light of the potential of a filibuster-proof super-majority in the senate, I couldn't agree more!"

It's nice to have that over with!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sarita gets on the radio!

Sarah Harnisch, a Sonlight mom--and a participant, with her kids, in the Sonlight Curriculum Rice Bag Project--is a newscaster with Family Life Network. She was doing a story on what is happening in Orissa State. In the middle of an interview with Dave Stravers, President of Mission India. . . .

Well, let me quote what Dave wrote to Sarita and me early last Thursday morning:
I was doing a radio interview a few minutes ago with the Family Life Network in New York and surrounding states -- about 60 radio stations. In the middle of the interview, the interviewer, Sarah, suddenly exclaimed: "Oh my, are you the people my children are doing the rice bags with our home school curriculum?" She was so excited.

[I knew immediately who she was talking about: "So you're a Sonlighter!"]

She went on and on about how great the rice bag project was, how much she had been blessed, how excited her children were to receive the packets that we sent to them, how they cried when they watched the video, etc....

I don't recall how we decided to follow through. But somehow we heard that Sarah would like to do an interview with someone from Sonlight about how our company got involved in the Rice Bag Project.

So Sarita called early on Monday morning . . . and the interviews here are the result.

Cool stuff!

(Sarita's portion of the program begins at 0:43 into Part II.)

Improving your health

Here's another great TED video--a simple, quick summary of much of what my Vitality and Longevity doctor has been telling me over the last couple of months: Cardiovascular disease kills more people than everything else combined -- and it’s completely preventable in almost all cases. Indeed, it's reversible with correct diet.

Dr. Dean Ornish, clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco, summarizes the benefits of a healthy diet . . . and explains what's involved. Recorded in 2004, but just uploaded to the web this month.

I love the last line: a student asked his teacher, "Teacher, what is the difference between illness and wellness?"

The teacher wrote the two words on the board and circled the first letter of illness and the first two letters of wellness.

The one references I, by myself. The other references we, together. I, by myself, am very much more likely to be ill. We, together, can be whole and well. . . .

Good stuff.


Don't have time to watch a 16-minute video?

Try this 3-minute brief summary of the overall idea:

And one more: "Your genes are not your fate."

So Obama and the DNC admit Obama is not a legitimate candidate?

Philip J. Berg, Esquire, the Attorney who filed suit against Barack H. Obama challenging Senator Obama’s lack of “qualifications” to serve as President of the United States, announced [on Monday] that Obama and the DNC “ADMITTED”, by way of failure to timely respond to Requests for Admissions, all of the numerous specific requests in the Federal lawsuit. Obama is “NOT QUALIFIED” to be President and therefore Obama must immediately withdraw his candidacy for President and the DNC shall substitute a qualified candidate. The case is Berg v. Obama, No. 08-cv-04083.
So what happens if the party is scheduled and no one comes?

Check out the complete story at

The Clever Hans effect and opinion-poll stuffing . . .

Fascinating analysis of a major Obama campaign strategy . . . from ZombieTime. I find it hard to imagine the author's fore-stated conclusion is correct, but the psychological tactics he describes are certainly worth considering. Check out The Left's Big Blunder: The disastrously counter-productive strategy of Obama's supporters.

-- With thanks to my brother for the link!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vote third party? A wasted vote?

Interesting perspective on what it means to "waste" your vote for a third party candidate. By Chuck Baldwin, Constitution Party candidate for President of the United States:
When asked why they will not vote for a third party candidate, many people will respond by saying something like, "He cannot win." Or, "I don't want to waste my vote." It is true: America has not elected a third party candidate since 1860. Does that automatically mean, however, that every vote cast for one of the two major party candidates is not a wasted vote? I don't think so.

In the first place, a wasted vote is a vote for someone you know does not represent your own beliefs and principles. A wasted vote is a vote for someone you know will not lead the country in the way it should go. A wasted vote is a vote for the "lesser of two evils." Or, in the case of John McCain and Barack Obama, what we have is a choice between the "evil of two lessers."

Albert Einstein is credited with saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. For years now, Republicans and Democrats have been leading the country in the same basic direction: toward bigger and bigger government; more and more socialism, globalism, corporatism, and foreign interventionism; and the dismantling of constitutional liberties. Yet, voters continue to think that they are voting for "change" when they vote for a Republican or Democrat. This is truly insane!
Read more at A Wasted Vote.

So how would I have answered Couric's questions about abortion?

I said yesterday I thought Palin's answers to Couric's questions about abortion came up short. So what do I think she should have said?

Someone wrote to suggest I am looking too much for a "perfect" or "ideal" presidential candidate and ought not to be so hard on Palin. "I have this [issue of abortion and 'morning-after' pills] in my face every day and don't have a policy ironed out on laws for an ideal world."

My reply:
I would "merely" want to point out that,
  • As far as I know, you're not a professional politician, nor have you ever pretended to be one.
  • Palin is running for VP of the United States on a declared/avowed "pro-life" platform.
  • I am not seeking to critique anyone else's position at this time. I am only seeking to note that Palin walked into an interview declaring her "principles" and then demonstrated that, from a political/legal perspective, her "principles" are vacuous; she had obviously never really thought through how to respond to legitimate political/legal/policy questions on the subject.

I believe she ought to have responded in a substantive manner to the issues Katie Couric raised. She should have "stood up" for her avowed principles.

Among the points I would have wanted her to make:
  • Extreme cases make for bad laws. (Or: You don't want to make laws based on extreme cases.)
  • My concern [speaking for Palin, here!] is to stand up for the rights of the unborn baby.
  • It is--absolutely--required for us to consider the rights of the 15-year-old girl.
  • What I [again, speaking for Palin, here!] am concerned to change is the idea or principle that, because of difficult circumstances, "of course" we abandon the baby in behalf of the baby's mother.

    Our culture, at this point, seems to assume that the baby means nothing, is nothing, has no rights, ought not to have rights; the mother should have absolute, life-and-death power over her baby, with no input or encouragement or pressure from society at large (or the government).
  • If, in these rare, extreme circumstances such as the one you mentioned, Katie: if in such a case we were to establish a policy that the government might reimburse the victim for her pain and suffering (unless and until the perpetrator of the crime can be brought to justice and will be required, himself, to make restitution) . . . --What is the problem with that?
Now, if I wanted to press the case further than required, I might continue something along these lines:
  • What I don't understand, Katie [and, again, I'm attempting to speak for Palin, here!], is why we as a society seem to believe that the innocent baby should die, but the monstrously wicked perpetrator of the rape himself ought to be permitted to live? . . .

    Obviously, in our society today, we seem to think it is legitimate to condemn the innocent baby to death. . . .

    [And now, if I really wanted to push things, I might even note that I take my general worldview from the Bible. So . . . ] As I'm sure you're aware, I seek to follow Jesus. My spiritual roots are in Him.

    According to the Bible, if a witness in a court of law is found to have spoken falsely against an accused, then the false witness him- or herself, should suffer whatever punishment his false testimony would have brought upon the one against whom he testified.

    Here, apparently, in the case of a rapist, the biological father of the baby intends for the baby to die.

    My opinion--and I don't expect to be pushing for such a law in the near future; we have many far higher priorities to attend to!--but I believe it would be appropriate to put the rapist to death even while we do everything we can to save the life of the baby.

    It is time our culture stopped looking out for the so-called "rights" of the perpetrators of irresponsible and and evil acts and began to provide protection for the innocent: in this case, the mother and the baby. . . .
. . . I would say something like this.

But please know: this is not my area, either. I am not like you, confronted by this issue on a daily basis. I'm not confronted by it even on a semi-annual basis.

But I expect, if I were in Sarah Palin's shoes, and I were a legitimate candidate for VP, I would consult with "the best" counselors there are on this planet about issues like this that I know are going to be hot-buttons.

I would contact Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics, Inc. and/or others of his caliber. These people have done amazing work at putting together powerful similes, metaphors and other communicative tools from the pro-life side.

But, no. Palin, a supposedly experienced politician who claims to be ready for the vice presidency, just went out "n*ked," without appropriate preparation. And she got slaughtered.

I sure hope Powell has Obama pegged accurately . . .

A powerful video in favor of Barack Obama.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama, the good-looking Trojan horse?


So, here I've been posting about how I can hardly see a large enough difference between the two major-party candidates to decide to vote Republican rather than Democrat; "I'll vote third-party."

And then my brother sends me links to articles that blow the lid off of Obama's pretense of neutrality.

We've seen indications, before, that his relationship with ACORN is nowhere near as inconsequential as he would like us all to believe.

But now the evidence that he is lying, too, about his relationship to Bill Ayers and other radical leftists. (No. Let us speak forthrightly. He has been carefully hiding evidence about his relationship with Communists . . . y'know, the people whose governments seem, regularly, to cause the deaths of millions of people even as they have also lowered the standard of living for almost everyone except the Party apparatchiks?)

Check out the results of research by VerumSerum's friends, advanced a bit more by Gateway Pundit. Also, the research done by see-dubya and Conservative Politics Today.

These all reaffirm and strengthen what I quoted concerning a chart from an article in the American Thinker of September 28th:
puts Barack Obama at the epicenter of an incestuous stew of American radical leftism. . . . Taken together, they constitute a who's who of the American radical left, and guiding all is the Cloward-Piven strategy.

Conspicuous in their absence are any connections at all with any other group, moderate, or even mildly leftist. They are all radicals, firmly bedded in the anti-American, communist, socialist, radical leftist mesh.

So what can we expect under an Obama presidency . . . a person who has had no background checks concerning his potential security risks?

While we're on the subject of Palin . . .

I had intended to include the video above in my last "Fair is fair" post, but it didn't flow with the rest of the content.

So I decided to make this a separate post.

Palin has stated, clearly, that she is "pro-life." But what, exactly does that mean, from a policy perspective? Isn't that the question we need to be asking and need to hear her talk about?

We see how she has lived out her convictions as a private person. I am very happy to see her commitment to uphold the life of her son and grandchild.

But we're not considering whether to ask her to be our nation's wife. We are considering whether to ask her to be our nation's assistant chief executive, someone who will help push for the passage of laws and someone who will establish legal policies.

So how does she reply to Couric's questions concerning legal issues related to life?

Couric asks, "If a 15-year-old is raped by her father, you believe it should be illegal for her to get an abortion. Why?"

And, following up: "Ideally, you think it should be illegal for a girl who was raped or a victim of incest to get an abortion?"

Pay attention to her answers! They are no different, as far as I can see, from the most merciful "pro-choice"/"pro-abortion" politicians' answers! If you can discern a difference, I would appreciate hearing your analysis.

. . . But then, after handling Couric's questions, on their face, as well as she can, Palin takes the offensive and frames her own question: "If you're asking . . . kind of foundationally, here, Should anybody end up in jail for having had an abortion?" Please pay attention to her answer to that question, as well!

It sounds to me as if she has no legal or policy plans in mind that are any different from what the law of the land proclaims right now.

Oh, but Couric couldn't leave well enough alone. Following up, she asks: ". . . How do you feel about the 'morning-after' pill?"

Palin: "Well, I'm all for contraception and I'm all for any preventative measures that are legal and safe and should be taken, but, Katie, I am one to believe that life starts at the moment of conception and . . . "

Couric jumps in, "Ergo, you don't believe in the 'morning-after' pill?"

Palin: ". . . I would like to see fewer and fewer abortions in this world and, again, I haven't spoken with anyone who disagrees with my position on that."

Couric: "I'm sorry. I just want to ask you again, 'Do you condone or condemn the "morning-after" pill?'"

And Palin's reply (again, perfectly in line with every so-called "pro-choice"/"pro-abortion" politician I've ever heard): "Personally--and this isn't a McCain-Palin policy . . . personally, I would not choose to participate in that kind of contraception."

So, first, notice, she has no policy or legal answers. And, second, she provides no more reassurance about what her policy stands might be than what all the "pro-choice"/"pro-abortion" crowd can offer.

The differences we might expect to see under Palin as chief or assistant chief executive are, at best, differences, merely, of semantics and emphasis, aren't they?

ETA: Check out So how would I have responded to Couric's questions?

Semi just-for-fun

Palin for President!

Click anywhere on the picture to discover amazing/fun things. Kind of a video discovery game with lots of references related to things Sarah Palin has said.

You will want to click just about any- and everywhere on the picture, sometimes multiple times. (Responses change.)

Even if you are a Palin fan, you should find much of the content rather clever and/or humorous. . . .

Fair is fair from the other side . . .

Yeah. It's too easy to forget how all the conservative, "religious right" leaders, just a few months ago, wanted nothing to do with McCain.

It was a few years ago, actually, that McCain first crossed my radar. Remember the McCain-Feingold bill? But that was merely the most obvious aspect of McCain's unsuitability.

James Dobson of Focus on the Family said, in a January 2007 interview, he "couldn't support [McCain] 'under any circumstances'" . . . not only because of McCain-Feingold, but because of McCain's lack of support for male-female marriage, and because of his support for legislation that would create "obstacles for ministries such as Focus to reach constituents with action messages about pending legislation."

And then, as Warren Mass and William F. Jasper note in a recent article,
Right up to the Republican convention in St. Paul in September, some of the most visible and vocal conservative leaders were still tepid at best toward McCain, or were still vowing to sit out the election in protest. McCain's long record of crossing the aisle to cosponsor big-government, liberal-left legislation with Democrats like Teddy Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, and Russ Feingold had understandably alienated him from most of the party faithful. His antagonism toward the religious right had not helped either. His reference during his 2000 presidential run to the Rev. Jerry Falwell and other social conservatives as "agents of intolerance" played well with the liberal media, RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), and the homosexual set at the Log Cabin Club, but cost him dearly among mainstream voters, as he later admitted.

Conservative pundits and commentators kept the airwaves and the blogosphere roiling with anti-McCain invective. "McCain will kill conservatism as a dominant force in the Republican Party," Rush Limbaugh declared on his radio show on January 11 of this year, during one of his many rants against the Arizona senator.

"If he's our candidate, then Hillary is going to be our girl, because she's more conservative than he is," threatened Ann Coulter on Fox's Hannity and Colmes. "I think she would be stronger on the war on terrorism," Coulter opined. "John McCain is not only bad for Republicanism, which he definitely is — he is bad for the country," she said.

Sean Hannity, an early booster of Rudi Giuliani, repeatedly blistered McCain on his radio and TV programs as beyond the pale. "There is clearly an effort [by the media] underway, I think, to convince us, the voters, to go for either, say John McCain or Mike Huckabee," Hannity declared in January. "If you ask me who are the two more liberal candidates in the Republican primary, I would say, it's John McCain and Mike Huckabee."

"McCain is not only not conservative enough; he also has built a reputation as a maverick by stabbing his party in the back — not in furtherance of conservative principles but by betraying them," wrote David Limbaugh, Rush's younger brother and a columnist for and "McCain delights in sticking it to his colleagues while winning accolades from the mainstream liberal media," said David Limbaugh.
But, as Mass and Jasper note, "What a difference a few weeks can make! In the blink of an eye, politically speaking, Sen. John McCain has gone from pariah to darling among much of the indispensable conservative base of the Republican Party."

Now, after having wavered for the last week or so as a result of Mike Rosen's column, I think I've decided I'm not going to "buy" McCain's--or the Republican Party's--supposed "conversion" to conservatism. I'm going to vote for a third party candidate who better expresses my interests and concerns.

Yes, despite the pro-life issue that clearly differentiates the two major-party candidates, and the issue that has gotten me to "buy" the "promise" of the Republican Party for too many years in the past.

Clearly, these guys (and gals) are no friends of integrity. Not "even" Palin. . . . Or, perhaps I should say, most especially not Palin.

Since, as I am waking up to realize, my vote won't change much of anything whether a Republican or a Democrat is in office, or whether the Republicans or the Democrats dominate Congress, I would like to "vote my conscience" in hopes that, over time, more people will become fed up with the "unlimited government" Republicrats who completely dominate national politics . . . and maybe a third party really will become viable as a force on the national stage.

So let me analyze Palin and McCain from the "other" side. . . .

No. I will let "the other side" do it for themselves.

I'm afraid WWSPD--What Would Sarah Palin Do? cuts a bit too close for my comfort due to the fact that I, myself, have communicated about the questions concerning Obama's legitimacy as a presidential candidate. And so those questions are turned, a bit, on their head: "Jesus 'Hussein' Christ? Without an original birth certificate, we'll never know!"

The author of the article writes:
I’ve reluctantly come around to the view of Sarah Palin, John McCain, and other luminaries that we must judge our fellow citizens by their associations - and we must assume that you at least partially endorse the views of anyone you pal around with. Hence - Barack Obama pals around with a terrorist - by which I mean he served on the board of a charitable foundation with this guy, along with a bunch of conservative Republicans. Therefore, Barack Obama does not see America as you see America and as I see America.

Clear. Logical.

So, I decided to see who else I could disregard because of their poor judgment and unsavory associations. Now - I first thought about Sarah Palin herself, whose husband is a member of a political party whose founder recently declared: “The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government” among other nice tidbits; worse, Palin herself has spoken at this party’s convention and was at one point thought to be a member by their spokesperson - before the McCain campaign corrected her. I mean, in this case, Palin isn’t just palling around with this group - she’s associating herself with their politics by speaking at their convention - and her husband believed in the party enough to join! But then I realized that I know Sarah Palin - and Sarah Palin wouldn’t endorse those views. Obama on the other hand. . . .

And then of course, I started thinking about John McCain and the mafia connections behind his wife’s vast fortune and his requests that leniency be given to terrorists who killed many Americans and attacked Madison Square Garden, JFK Airport, and Lincoln Center among other targets. But I know John McCain - and I know he loves America - so I put these unsavory associations out of my mind.

Then of course, I came across this other guy - a peacenik, with long hippie-like hair, preaching namby-pamby, weak-kneed, anti-American values like forgiving enemies and avoiding violence and caring for the poor and telling people they should pay their taxes - basically a filthy liberal. He seems to have influenced a lot of people - so I wanted to point out that not only was this guy born in what was called in his day, “Palestine” - making him likely an Arab.

This guy apparently was well known for palling around with tax collectors, prostitutes, adulterers, and political radicals [Zealots advocated the overthrow of the Roman government]. He even attacked the religious authorities saying that the tax collectors and prostitutes were better than them. The guy also seethes with class resentment and seems to be trying to wage class warfare.

Clearly, the guy is a dangerous liberal with worrying bloodlines who’s going to wage class war on the rich. That’s not what this Christian nation needs. Enough of this WWJD. It’s time for WWSPD!
Except . . . I don't know! What would Sarah Palin do if she became president . . . or, even, vice president?

I don't think I have any idea! Do you?

Y'know something? In the end, I don't think she really has any idea, either! She has no well-thought-out political philosophy . . . any more than do just about any of the other major party candidates for public office. With just a few exceptions. Ron Paul comes to mind. . . .

I mean, what do you get from Palin's answers to these direct and, one would hope, relatively simple questions?


Or, even, Couric's question about how she helped to develop her worldview: "In terms of establishing your worldview . . . what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for [the vice presidential nomination] to stay informed and understand the world?"

I have to confess, these interviews, for me, make the following ad rather pointed. (Now that you've watched Cafferty's clip and commentary, you can skip the central portion of the ad and merely watch and listen to the beginning and the end):

And the entire fiasco makes the mocking videos like the following one rather sadly humorous as well: