Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A passing..."hello".

The dearth of postings here is something that is, at once, regrettable and unavoidable. Yet, here are a few thoughts for interested parties:

1. I began my new job yesterday...with the obligatory HR led...and mind-numbingly bad "this is us" presentation that every Fortune 500 puts new hires through. Today, though, went very well, and I am extremely excited about the opportunity that is before me. But you know what they say..." mo money, mo problems"....

2. After having been away for so long, it really is nice and re-filling to the spirit to be around family. And, when they are not crying and whining, children really do light up a room with joy and smiles.

3. I've gone back and read Eyck's biography of Bismarck....very much worth a look. Also, I'm enjoying Purcell's choruses these days.

4. This Saturday I should have some 'down' time, and hope to post at length. Topics might include....immigration and socialism, Fred Thompson, the Champion's League debacle, cyber-war in Estonia, consanguinity in Germany, Chavez and social-fascism, the meaning of friendship, the 'Fort Dix Six', the Beatles and the Beach Boys, Romanian constitutional intrigue, the sad figure of Rosie O'Donnell, Reductive philosophy vs. Deconstruction, and why I think John Edwards is an they have all been in my thoughts of late....and in the famous words of John McLaughlin...."bye, bye".

Sunday, May 13, 2007

State of my union.

So, I've been absent lately...maybe even neglectful...but with good reason. In all aspects of my life is about to change. The following thoughts are thoughts that give a brief explanation of this point:

1. O.k. I've been offered a position with a large financial institution...though, we are still in contractual negotiations. This said, I'll be moving home sooner than later...and I'm excited. For those who don't know, I've not lived 'at home' for close to 15 years...and it is time. I don't think I'll settle there, but I do believe that it is time to go home for a close to close to those who matter most. I've spent the better part of my life exploring...and now it seems that it is time to go back.

2. I can't get enough of the current Tracy Lawrence song. It is a country those opposed are warned. If I had the talent to write a song...any song...I would write a song about my friends and family...and it would be similar...though, it probably would have a bit more horn...a bit more crooning...and a little less...well, you get the idea. Anyway, it gives a good sentiment. Also, one of my brothers just completed an album...and it's really good. Talent...when not very impressive. Congrats...Spanky.

3. I can't think of anything better than how I spent my Sunday. Well...maybe. But today was incredible. Nascar....a Braves game on t.v....and the last round of the TPC. Granted, 2 of the 3 didn't go 'my way'...but all were entertaining...and deserved attention. Phat Phil won...and makes this U.S Open even more interesting.

4. I went with some friends this past Friday and saw a band called Carbon Leaf. They are truly a good band..and I suggest checking them out. Which leads me to...

5. Can I just say that I truly love women. Now...they are maddening, infuriating, confusing, and discombobulating...but they are also...caring, nurturing, emotive, and quite frankly....aesthetically... absolutely beautiful. They look good...smell good...and well, again...anyway, women are a true blessing....a complicated blessing...but, a blessing nonetheless.

6. Sports. The Braves are doing well. Lefty is poised to make a run at Tiger. The college football blogs are heating up. Here are a couple of related thoughts:

I. The Braves. I truly believe that this could be a special team. One that does something really impressive...they just seem to have that intangible 'will to win' thing going on...well, not yesterday...but in general.

II. Golf. What is there to say...but that it is one of the greatest things on earth. Playing it, watching it, living it...the whole thing...On tour, Mickelson left some shots out on the course, but won the TPC yesterday...stoking the flames of desire for a hot and relevant rivalry with Tiger.

III. Nascar. Gordon won him his third win this year...and moving him closer to an 8th championship....let me say that 8th season championship. I really don't like him as a driver...but you have to hat-tip greatness. Even the turtle has to acknowledge that Favre is a 'great one', I acquiesce and say congrats rainbow warrior....hope you have fun celebrating at the Blue deserve it.

IV. Basketball. I've just now started paying attention...and am I the only one who thinks that the Spurs-Suns match-up is the only interesting thing there?

V. Hockey....who cares? I don't.....

7. Shamrock, Spydrz, Jmblya, and I are all heading to Atlantic City for a Tony Bennett concert. Get your tux ready's time for a Rat Pack Resurrection......

8. Music....there is an entire post here...but for now, I'll just say I'm listening to a lot of Country...and a lot of Bossa Nova. Good summer stuff. Also, I've learned some new Cure doesn't entirely suck....I heard Pictures of You for the first time the other day and really dig it....also, I discovered Rocco Deluca and The is a video for their song Colorful....enjoy....

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Just a few thoughts...

Rudy Giuliani – O.k., so Rudy’s laid out what is going to be his answer to the abortion question very clearly. When asked, he says something to the affect of “Personally, I hate abortion, but believe in a woman’s right to choose” and finishes by recalling New York’s adoption growth statistics from his tenure as mayor. It has now come out that, at least during the 90’s, Rudy was a regular contributor to Planned Parenthood and spoke at various abortion activist gatherings hosted by organization like NARAL Pro Choice America…I have a problem with this. Not with Rudy’s stance, but that, at least for me, the entirety of his appeal is that he seems to be the most sincere GOP candidate, certainly more than Mitt, who we’ll get to later, and McCain, who I dislike more every time I hear him speak. I can understand the “I believe in choice, but don’t worry because my judicial philosophy will lead to the type of appointments that conservatives want” argument, but that’s not enough. What he needs to sell would-be, truly conservative voters is the “Personally, I hate abortion” argument which falls apart in light of this. A philosophy of choice is one thing, but I just don’t see how someone who really “gets” the abortion issue could donate to and/or be associated with these types of organizations. He just seems insincere now, which leads me to…

Mitt Romney– I missed the debate last week and asked my brother for his take on it to which he replied about Romney, “He looks like a b-actor playing a presidential candidate”. I have since watched the debate and caught him on H&C last night, and I would have to say that I half agree. I would say he looks like an actor playing a presidential aspirant, but I would say he’s doing better than a b-caliber job at it….My point is that while he does give me that “too polished” vibe, and I most likely would not vote for him in a primary, I would not be devastated if this guy wound up with the nomination and, frankly, would be kind of excited just to see how his campaign would unfold.

Roger Clemens – I love baseball more than most people I know, and I especially love to watch good pitching. I love baseball, love good pitching, and am 26 years old which means that at some point, I developed an immense respect and appreciation for Roger Clemens’ ability on the mound. I’ve also always kind of loved his demeanor on the mound. There’s an old school sensibility to how he approaches his job. That gritty, hardball-esque, throw inside, back you off the plate, “I’ll hit you if I have to just to make a point, but either way, I will own this plate tonight” kind of prowess just strikes all my baseball chords. However, one thing that is always quick to induce apoplexy in me regardless of the person or sport is an athlete that deals with his team and/or teammates as if he is bigger than the game itself, and Clemens has displayed this type of mentality repeatedly over the last few years. It all started with his “retirement” from the Yankees. Now I hate the Yankees so I was admittedly a little happy to see them get the shaft, but I still thought his actions were shady. Then the whole “I won’t fly with the team, and I’m flying home after my spot in the rotation” thing really pissed me off. Finally, the whole “ I’m going to wait and see if Houston’s winning to see if I pitch this year” thing just depleted whatever respect I had for this guy. If anything, that is saying I’m bigger than the game, the teams, the traditions, and especially the other current players, and I just can’t stomach that. So now, he has again whored out his talents at the expense of a team waiting on him to decide what he’ll do, the Astros. So, I find myself at a place I never thought, as a baseball fan and lover of pitching, I would be…I’m going to have to root against Roger Clemens, a circumstance only exacerbated by the fact that he staked the ‘Stros to rejoin the Yanks...This truly is a sad day.


Friday, May 4, 2007

Thoughts on the price of war.

There is a story on the news sites today about a 17 year old, female Iraqi Kurd that has been publicly stoned to death for loving a Sunni boy. The reasons cited are more religious than ethnic as the two obviously fall under differing sects of Islam. I think it is worth noting that the group of men responsible was comprised mostly of members of her family.

Now, we all know that this type of thing is not new to Islamic society and have, most likely, all previously read or heard of acts just as appalling, if not more so, than this particular incident, but as I read the article on this, my mind rewound a couple of days to President Bush’s “veto” speech.

I watched his address with my roommate who is a reporter for our local newspaper and a conservative, though he may fall into the category of those who are conservative and don’t really know why. Listening to Bush, he mentioned a conversation he recently had with his many liberal coworkers. The conversation essentially started with the war and ended with their regurgitating the usual complaints about the “dishonesty” in the reasons initially given for our going in (i.e. the lack of WMD’s) and my roommate’s inability to address them (for an admitted lack of knowledge).

I thought about this conversation as I read this article and couldn’t help but wonder why the cost of this war in terms of lives, money, and diplomatic leverage is so easily considered unjustifiable to so many. I’m not a big fan of “nation-building”. I’ve never really cared for the interventionist bend of our foreign policy. I’ve never held a strong hope that our attempt at establishing a lasting, relevant democracy in Iraq would be successful. The conflux of my understanding of Islamic culture and beliefs about the future of this world, especially regarding the Middle East, has kept me from ever truly buying into the viability of what we have been told is our goal there. I don’t believe Bush and Co. are lying. I just think their a little more optimistic about the future of the region than I am. With all this said, I read about this girl who was stoned or another girl in Kuwait whose father cut her throat because it was merely believed that she had been violated, not consentingly “deflowered”, raped, and I am left with the sole reality that we have been blessed with enormous prosperity and power and are presently the only country on earth that can effect a change almost wherever and whenever it feels compelled to take the necessary steps to do so. I think of these things, and, for me, it comes down to the question of is it worth paying an American life in order to wield that power for the betterment of the world entirely? I can’t say that I know the answer…In a general sense I would reject this notion, but in breaking principle down into applicable scenario, I am left with another thought.

I recently watched “Saving Private Ryan” for upwards of the 500th time. As I’m sure everyone knows, immediately after D-day, Hanks and Co. are sent out to retrieve a private (Ryan) so that he can be sent home. The reason is that Ryan’s three older brothers have died in taking the beach, and the government determines that three losses is plenty for one family. I thought about this scenario as I am also the youngest of four sons. I tried my best to insert myself into Ryan’s place and weighed a loss of that magnitude against the benefit of freeing people like this girl who was stoned to death, and honestly, if my three brothers went of their own volition and died for the cause of freeing someone like this girl, I could begrudge neither my country for having sent them nor my God for having allowed it. Why?...Because, in my eyes, if sacrifice, the laying aside of oneself for another, is not the ultimate mark of greatness, whether in a person or a society, what is?


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Mourino Truly a Pentioneer!

"We were the best team today, even against a team only playing for the Champions League. In extra-time we were the only team who tried to win..."

After Liverpool's glorious victory over Chelsea to earn a trip Athens for the Champions League Final Monday, the true Chelsea Pentioneer spirit came out in their manager, Jose Mourino. Mourino had some interesting comments for the press after his team's defeat. While, from pictures, I always understood Mourino to be a man in his fourties, he has proven to be something of a schoolyard brat.

However, should we expect any less from a Pentioneer? It appears not.


Topics in the news...and on my mind.

, I'm in hotlanta, and have been for a few days. I'm awaiting word from a prospective employer, and subsequently, have had time to pay attention to current global/local/political goings-on. Here are a few thoughts that have grabbed me, as it were, these last few days:
I. May 1st and Immigration Rallies. There are a couple of things to be said here:
A. May 1st is the global day for celebrating socialism...and it is no coincidence that the pro- immigration people chose this day for their they are predominately socialists. Most people don't realize this, and, I'm convinced, that if this were to become widely understood, the dynamic of the immigration conversation would have a new dimension. This conversation isn't just one about open borders and cheap is one of post-Americanism, trans-national socialism, and international economy reallocation. Remember, too, that when we speak of immigration 'problems', we are mainly speaking of a huge influx of Mexican peoples....and these people come from a very socialistic mind-set and government. If given amnesty and voting rights....this could have huge ramifications for the conservative movement.
B. I believe these types of protests are self-defeating. In that, it reminds Americans of two things....1) Just how many are here...and 2) Just how many are here and do not work. Meaning, not all of us can take the day off to go protest in the street.
II. Global Warming. Now, most know by now that I am not only skeptical of the science...but mostly skeptical of the usual suspects that are so adamantly touting this science....and wanting to control behaviour through it. So, here we learn that Mars is also experiencing a warming trend and that our planet has 'see-sawed' for the last 10,000 years, with regards to climate change. Again, I can anyone definitively say that any climate change is due to human behaviour primarily? Yet, we are told that, if one denies this idea of human fault, he/she is no better than a holocaust denier. I've gone from ambivalence to skepticism...and am moving to antagonistic in a hurry.
III. Family. This isn't really anything found in the news, but I wanted to say a short something about family. I've spent the better part of the last decade, or so, living away from my family, and for good, work, travel, etc. I'm now in a position where I might move closer to home and family, and it has caused me to become reflective and introspective. Understand, I'll put my family's craziness up against any one's...they can be absolutely infuriating and mind-numbingly provincial...but they are also devoted, loving, and mine. So, tell someone in your family that you love'em today...we won't always have the ones we love.
IV. Chavez and Nationalistic Communism. Apparently, Chavez has removed control of Venezuela's oil fields from all of the international companies operating there...and has removed Venezuela from the IMF and World Bank. I'm glad to see Venezuela free from debt to these entities, but my question what cost? Chavez is moving in a direction that is not just against American regional interests...which it is...but also dangerous for the country. In the short term, these types of nationalistic-socialist moves seem like they are working...but history shows the long term will provide a cataclysmic collapse....economically and structurally. Such a shame...
V. Turkey and Estonia. In both places there are interesting things going on...but the MSM just doesn't report it:
A. Turkey, as I've noted here before, is about to elect a new President...but there is a national 'conversation' as to what direction the country should go....Islamist or Secular. The situation is unique here, in that, the Parliament chooses the nominees. They've chosen a very conservative Muslim as the only candidate, and the secularists have been protesting in big numbers. Turkey is incredibly important historically...and maybe even more so now regionally. Pay attention to this.
B. There is a kerfuffle in Estonia over a Soviet era statue that is in the centre of Tallinn's town square. The Estonians, of course, want it torn down, but the Russian sympathisers are crying foul. The political and diplomatic back drop to this is the way that Russia has been treating it's former satellites. Interesting stuff.
VI. Litigious Magicians. It seems that magicians have sued because some of their 'tricks' and methods have been exposed to the public. First, doesn't this prove that they aren't, in fact, using magic....and therefore, not magicians? Second, the only thing worse than a person that does magic for a a person that does this and becomes legally disgruntled. Litigious are on notice!
VII. Newspaper Circulation. Readership and circulation of major newspapers have been in steady decline...causing much consternation in newsrooms and boardrooms across the nation. This, no doubt, is a natural response to the rise of Internet media. Still, why the steady decline? My thinking leads me to believe that, with the rise of alternative avenues of information...we also have been made aware of journalistic editorial disguised as reporting. Most don't read newspapers....actually, most don't read at all...but those who read the news regularly are fairly savvy...they can see through the veneer of loaded objectivism that is so infused in most journalistic reporting. If this decline causes the media to change...then great. But if it, instead, chooses to become more entrenched...then we all lose.
VIII. French Elections and American Elections. The French have a Presidential election coming up and it looks like the more conservative candidate...I say this because there is no truly conservative politician left in poised to win. So, the socialist candidate has now decided to call him 'crazy and maniacal' in an attempt to gain ground. Now, let's look at our Presidential election...Giuliani, the other day, said this...prompting the liberals to go apoplectic...and now, Giuliani is 'crazy'. Is there a pattern here? You bet. Liberals/Socialists can't win on issues and they throw invective and hyperbole out with the hope that something sticks in the public consciousness. I would describe that course of action...with the aim of gaining power...definitively maniacal.
IX. Torture and What Makes Us Different. With the Tenet book just out, there is a renewed debate about torture as a form of legitimate extraction of information from war-time belligerents. This is a conversation that must be had, and quite frankly, no one really has the right answer, in my opinion. But let me say this...there are those who would say that the very thing that makes America better, read:more humane, than our enemies, is our refusal to adapt to their tactics. I disagree. The thing that makes us different is that we have this conversation...that as a people, we are aware enough to know that the conversation is necessary and cathartic. Our enemies live and fight like it is 690 A.D....there is no debate for them. They teach in their homes, schools, and churches that it is their duty to eradicate the infidel. So, remember this...what makes us different is that we might have to torture someone to save innocent lives...but this doesn't make us the same as militant islamists...because we care about the consequences of the awful war-time decisions that must be made. For is a chosen lifestyle and mentality....for is an exception.
X. The D.C. Madam. Well, she's poised to name names...and D.C. is on tinterhooks. I have mixed feelings about it all. First, we've got more important things to deal with in Washington. Second, this just gives the MSM an excuse not to report on things that it should be reporting diligently. This said, I kind of like it when D.C. hypocrisy is exposed. For instance, this Tobias guy. What an idiot. He's the U.S. Under-Secretary of State...using an escort service solely for 'massages'. Now, he's also the former USAID director...causing him to take a definitive stance against prostitution. As if this isn't enough, when exposed as a 'john' for this escort service, he claimed that no sex had taken place....and get this...that he changed services to one that uses 'Central American girls.'......he actually said that in front of microphones as an explanation. Forget the hookers...this guy's a freakin' idiot...and that's why he should lose his job.
XI. Britain and Muslim Extremists. So, they've just sentenced five people to life for trying to blow up innocent people....and they've just arrested another group for wanting to do the same. How is it that Britain doesn't see the danger of multi-cultural capitulation to a people that has an avowed purpose for the West's destruction. It is the definition of obtuse( link).
XI. Fred Thompson. Finally, I'm going to leave you with a link to a short video of an interview Mr. Thompson did with Chris Wallace of Fox News. Naturally, I disagree with him on some small things...but, he says just about everything I would say... were I a candidate. Also linked is an article he wrote on federalism. Run... Fred... Run.