Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why I'm voting "no" on gambling


  The Arkansas Times blog has a good post by Max Brantley which offers plenty of info that should give those of any political view reason enough to oppose Nancy Todd's proposed gambling amendment.

  Of course religious conservatives would oppose it on moral grounds and would prefer to keep the "sin" of gambling at bay places like Mississippi (where guys are always selling their souls to Satan at the crossroads to play better blues music), our state's own den of iniquity known as Hot Springs, and Southland in West Memphis (which I don't even consider part of Arkansas, and grew up viewing mainly as a signpost on the way to the Beale Street Music Festival). Bleeding heart "libruls" will oppose it because of the way gambling draws in the poor and unfortunate among us, who don't have the sense to spend their money properly.

  My own reasons for opposing it fall into these two categories:

1.Free market lovers should oppose it because it would give Nancy Todd's Poker Palace a monopoly on gambling in the state which would be put into law.

2.I also think most people with any sort of pragmatism would realize that the restrictions in the law on the state to regulate gambling in any way at all would pose a problem.

Friday, May 11, 2012

North Carolina goes all Gandalf on gays

    Quick thoughts on North Carolina's new amendment. Let's be clear, we're not discussing a law to legalize gay marriage that was defeated, this was a constitutional amendment (!) against gay marriage in a state that already had anti-gay marriage laws on the books. This was a turf battle in which a metaphorical flag was planted in the ground and it said "hey homosexuals, you shall not pass!" My question, and the question that every person who is a Christian must come to terms with: In a political system in which the will of the people is determined through vote, should Christians use the law of the land to enforce God's will, or what they believe is God's will, on those who don't share their beliefs? If you say yes then I'd like an explanation as to what you think this accomplishes.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Daily Caller and Iran's rattling sabers

  A recent article in the Daily Caller once again sounds the drumbeat for war with Iran. The headline of the article is "Iran rattles sabers: '11,000 missiles ready to launch' at Israel, US targets". Wow, pretty scary crap eh?

  But read the article (it can be found here), and you'll find that this is only a threat by Iran in response to any US/Israeli attack on its soil.

  From the article:
The Kayhan report emphasized that the leaders of the Islamic regime have successfully thwarted American and Israeli threats over its illicit nuclear program. But given Iran’s missile capabilities, it said, any aggression on its soil will be met with the launch of 11,000 missiles against Israel and U.S. interests in the region.

  So a country saying it will counterattack if it is attacked is saber rattling? I'll admit, that's a crap load of missiles to launch in response to what would most likely be a US or Israeli attack on a few nuclear sites. I'll also admit that I'm not so naive as to think that Iran isn't at all threat to Israel and many of its neighbors. But of all the stories I've read about Iran's threatening posturing, this one doesn't scream saber rattling to me. It does scream big bloody deterrent. And our country wouldn't launch missiles if another government decided to bomb a few of our nuclear facilities? Please.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Big Hollywood's pathetic response to HBO's "Game Change"


    Sorry, I haven't posted in a while (not that many people are going to notice). I had to post something regarding Big Government's alleged exposing of the "lies" in HBO's film Game Change. You can read it here. I'll be watching the film when it airs tonight, but even without having seen it I can recognize the weakness of the arguments provided by author Stacy Drake.

   I won't go over all 10 of their points because I have a life (or a little bit of one that I try to preserve), but by covering a few of them it becomes pretty clear that their definition of a lie sucks. There are a few valid points in the article that I won't cover here but I would attribute most of those to artistic license and the need to make a 2 hour movie. And those points don't obscure how thoroughly weak this takedown is.

Here we go:

Alleged lie #10: HBO says their film is a balanced portrayal of the McCain/Palin campaign
Response: Beyond the grotesque character assassination, there is a heavy partisan imbalance at work. "Game Change" portrays most Republicans in a bad light -- everyone minus Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson), Nicolle Wallace (Sarah Paulson), Mark Wallace (Ron Livingston) and Chris Edwards (Larry Sullivan). One character refers to former Vice President Dick Cheney as "Darth Vader," while the McCain/Palin rallies depict inhinged men yelling "terrorist" and "he's a Muslim" at the mention of Obama's name. Then, there was the the quote they placed toward the end of the movie which had Sen. John McCain (Ed Harris) warning Palin not to get "co-opted by Limbaugh and the other extremists." None of these instances were balanced and were clearly told from a left-wing point of view.

I'll acknowledge that the film probably isn't balanced, it is HBO afterall, but these arguments are weak. Major character Steve Schmidt has said in real life that the film is accurate, why should we take this author's opinion over his? Also, anyone who remembers the woman McCain shut down during the '08 campaign after her accusations of Obama being a Muslim could definitely believe the idea of people at rallies yelling "he's a Muslim". Only the most naive would think there weren't some people like this attending those events.'

Alleged Lie #9: Palin is portrayed falsely
Response: Virtually every characteristic attributed to Palin in "Game Change" is false. They portray her as as egotistical, ungracious, demanding, stupid, forgetful and, cruelest of all, mentally unstable. They do show her as a loving mother, even though they have her going into "catatonic stupors" being separated from from her children. Even when they're trying to be nice they're mean. I don't know Palin personally, but I know people who do. I have never heard any stories that fit the descriptions listed above; in fact, I've heard just the opposite.
An egotistical person wouldn't put her state's well-being before her own political career. An ungracious person wouldn't spend her time calling in long messages to supporters, giving them shout-outs at rallies, or spending countless time shaking their hands on rope-lines. It also appears as though Alec Baldwin didn't get the lefty memo. In October of 2008, after meeting her on the set on SNL, Baldwin describes Palin as "polite" and "gracious." Oops!

This comes down to he said/she said. Some people have described her the way the author mentions and other people have described her as the way the film portrays her. Pick your narrative.
As far as calling in long messages to supporters and giving them "shout-outs" at rallies, those are the kind of things that are only done by um, every politician ever. Nothing terribly exceptional about that. And Alec Baldwin calling her "gracious" is proof of nothing either. Every person can appear gracious especially when meeting someone for the first time. That doesn't tell you their entire life's story or what they are like behind closed doors.

Alleged Lie #7: Palin wanted to flee Alaska
Response:  The movie suggests Palin wanted to flee Alaska. At the 89 minute mark, Palin whispers into Schmidt's ear:
I so don't want to go back to Alaska.
Never mind Moore's horrendous acting -the statement is ridiculous. If Palin "so" wanted to get out of Alaska, why does she still live there? And how exactly do you explain "Sarah Palin's Alaska?"

Well there are many ways to explain "Sarah Palin's Alaska". You could go with what the author probably wants us to say which is that Palin loves her home state and wants to support it, or you could say that she wanted to keep her name in the spotlight with a reality show (and make some money too, $1million an episode from what I've read). Once again, this depends on who you believe she really is. None of us on the outside can say for sure. Also the quote in the film is from a book about Palin titled "Sarah from Alaska". So we have he said/she said again.

Alleged Lie #4: The film says Palin opposes stem cell research
Response: At approximately the 16 minute mark in the film, while interviewing the faux-Palin, Schmidt says:
Senator McCain supports stem cell research, you do not.
While the movie is correct in pointing out that Palin differed with John McCain on the issue (McCain supported federal funding of embryonic stem cell research), they make no distinction between embryonic and adult stem cell research. There is a big difference, and Palin supports adult stem cell research, as she pointed out in her interview with Charlie Gibson:
We’re getting closer and closer to finding a tremendous amount of other options, like, as I mentioned, the adult stem cell research.

Anyone with any common sense knows that when stem cell research is mentioned in the context of political disagreement it is invariably embryonic stem cell research. You'd be hard pressed to find a politician who opposes adult stem cell research.

     Final thoughts: Most arguments regarding the "real" Sarah Palin are, as mentioned earlier, he said/she said arguments. For those of us without the inside scoop, or with only second hand stories, that isn't enough for us to accuse anyone of lying.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Times when I'm embarrassed for/by my state...

I have important family matters that take priority for me, but I just wanted to throw in my disgust about a story that will be getting more attention I'm sure. The Blue Arkansas blog had the first post I've seen on it, so check out their post which I'm linking to at the end. All I can say is I'm disgusted by knuckle draggers who do crap like this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gingrich is right, Mitt Romney really is full of baloney...

 ...but this is different baloney than Newt was talking about

Some choice moments from Romney's New Hampshire victory speech:

"Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. He believes America’s role as leader in the world is a thing of the past. I believe a strong America must – and will – lead the future."

“He doesn’t see the need for overwhelming American military superiority. I will insist on a military so powerful no one would think of challenging it."

“He apologizes for America; I will never apologize for the greatest nation in the history of the Earth."

Okay, Obama the appeaser and the apology maker, yet not one actual example of this tired garbage that the biggest wastes of space in the GOP primary continue to throw around.

Also, terrorists who don't fear death and fight with IED's and bombs strapped to their bodies don't care how powerful America's army is. I'm wiling to wager they will continue to challenge it even if Romney was somehow able to arm and militarize every U.S. citizen.

Cut the crap Mitt. Get some class. If you want to hammer Obama, talk about the economy. That's a place you're more at home. Leave the militaristic foreign policy mumbo jumbo to your neocon advisers who spew that for a living (or better yet, fire your neocon advisers...yeah..right.).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Huntsman's Obama Problem

  As I caught a bit of this morning's Meet the Press debate before heading to church this morning, I had observation about Huntsman. His service as ambassador to China has been a criticism in some Republican circles and was one on the debate stage last night. Huntsman tried to address it in this morning's debate the same way he always has, with a comment about serving his country first.

   That's a great reason and will resonate with a lot of New Hampshire independents, but Huntsman has missed using a great example to further support his argument. Robert Gates was Obama's Defense Secretary after he served as Dubya's. Both his and Huntsman's positions were and are important to U.S. foreign policy (although the Secretary postion far more powerful). Gates, a Republican, served with almost zero criticism from the GOP. How Huntsman hasn't thought to use this example is beyond me. I doubt it would have made a huge difference in NH, and we'll see how he does there very shortly, but it would have been a stellar comparison showing the non-partisan nature of some positions.