"Once abolish God and the government becomes the God." -G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Let Them Eat Hope n Change

As promised, the president is focused on jobs like a laser. His job, that is, and the jobs of his wife's travel staff. Which is why he and the First Lady will be holding seven fundraisers next week, including five in one day.

(White House Dossier)— First Lady Michelle Obama will appear at three fundraisers next Thursday, June 30, bringing to seven the number of fundraisers she has held this month.
The heavy schedule of money raising this far out from Election Day suggests that the Obama reelection campaign is going to make frequent use of the first lady, both to raise money and campaign. By comparison, former First Lady Laura Bush held 13 fundraisers in all of 2003, the year before George W. Bush’s reelection.

All of this travel takes place on the taxpayer dime, nothing new for presidential elections, but the number of $38,000 per plate fundraisers sandwiching official state business is growing out of proportion and looks especially thoughtless given the train wreck of an economy facing everyday Americans who only wish they had jobs.

Of course, one must wonder how the First Lady will hold up after completing her own personal Amazing Race, freshly back from an African holiday just two months removed from a family getaway to Brazil, three months after a jaunt to Vail, and five months after an extended sabbatical to Hawaii. These are on top of her transatlantic trips to London and Spain last year, where entire hotels and beaches were reserved and boulevards closed off so Michelle could hit the resort avenue shops. Let's Move, indeed.

Forget Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? The question du jour is Where in the World is Caravan Obama? Can we afford to pay for four more years of these extravagant excursions? Michelle Obama is intent on seeing the world while most families are lucky enough to afford Sea World. It's hardly partisan to ask for some restraint during these tough times, for our leaders to not take advantage of some of the privileges we allow them as public servants.

But not to worry, because we have it from the president's mouth that the economy is the first thing he thinks about from the time he gets up in the morning to the minute he puts on his golf spikes for that 75th round of golf. Has it really been two years since his administration passed a budget? Well, what's the big rush. When you're this far in the red you can pretty much guesstimate. After all, a decline is a decline.

I'm sure the Obamas have some wonderful souvenirs to show for their time in office, but what America has to show for it is worth less than a lousy t-shirt - three years of 1.5 trillion dollar deficits, creeping inflation, sinking GDP, high unemployment, and the longest length of unemployment since the Great Depression, not to mention a 35% increase in the national debt since 2008, but at least we have a president who looks fabulous in $10,000 suits and a First Lady who spends as much per hour jet-setting around the world.

If the POTUS finds any time for the inconvenient business of governing between the hard work of running a billion dollar campaign, we should be so lucky. If he calls for more than a symbolic budget meeting with Republicans, we should be even luckier. If the president listens to some of the nine month old recommendations of his now defunct Debt Commission, we might even have a chance to save this great nation for future generations.

Or we can just live vicariously through our nation's first family of grifters.

Hat Tip: Bluegrass Pundit

UPDATE: White House Dossier is now reporting the First Lady's African vacation cost taxpayers at least half a million dollars.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What Do Tiger Woods and God Have in Common? Both Missing from NBC's Coverage of U.S. Open

NBC wants to end the Pledge of Allegiance as we know it. At least that's what their manipulative editing of children reciting the pledge during Sunday's broadcast of the U.S. Open suggested, casually eliminating the phrase "one nation under God." As you may recall, the POTUS himself is a big proponent of omitting "endowed by our Creator" when reciting the Declaration of Independence. Men intoxicated by their own self-worth often have trouble recognizing the truths others hold as self-evident.

To their credit, NBC has apologized to those who were offended by the omission, but hasn't apologized for the decision per se. Keep in mind this happened during the broadcast of a golf tournament, arguably a more conservative venue than your neighborhood Methodist church, where commentators whisper between shots and often explain in meticulous detail arcane rules and traditions. And yet we are supposed to believe that editing God out of the pledge was a whoops-wasn't-paying-attention momentary lapse of oversight.

In other news, NBC also left out Tiger Woods, but to be fair he voluntarily withdrew from the contest before the cameras began rolling. God, to my knowledge, had every intention of being part of the event assuming he was invited. And therein lies the problem. We live in a nation that is increasingly ashamed to invite God into their lives, both publicly and privately.

Walk through the urban centers of America's biggest cities and you will hear talk of horoscopes, yoga, feng shui, and all sorts of new age recipes for healthier minds and bodies, nearly every one a belief anchored in superstition, but the absence of talk about God is deafening. How did this come to pass in a nation where every state constitution makes mention of the Almighty? Is our Pledge of Allegiance still meaningful without including this phrase? What does it mean to be "one nation removed from God"?

At this point, the agnostic, master-cleansing Leftist (though probably not an atheist) would bring up the fact that "one nation under God" wasn't added to the pledge until 1954 as a response to the red scare prompted by the dangerous "us vs. them" mentality of McCarthyism. This statement is only partially true, underselling the threat of Communism and the strong impression made by Soviet-produced propaganda of the era.

Communism was by its own design completely devoid of the idea of a higher power. It was sold as an ideology that rejected God, placing all its faith in man's ability to remake a utopia here on earth. As a result, Communism had to kill God and replace Him with government. Otherwise, people might get the idea that God blessed them with personal wealth and property that they were free to do with as they chose, to share with their poverty-stricken neighbors and hoard from the government thieves. Worshiping the state became the Soviet Union's New Religion - a way of preventing individual altruism. Either the Motherland provided you with every one of your needs or no one could. And the latter wasn't an option, because it would prove Communism failed to live up to its utopian promise

Meanwhile, Americans had spent the previous decade disposing of a German nation that practically worshipped the Nazi flag and a national socialism that sold the idea of state-controlled destiny, ignoring the law of God and destroying millions of innocent lives without remorse. The Soviet Union under Stalin sold a similar dangerous ideology, although under the guise of Communism. Combined, both nations were responsible for the genocide of over 50 million people.

You can imagine hearing the Pledge of Allegiance in the United Stated during this era, itself only 60 years old and the brainchild of American socialist Francis Bellamy (who did not write, as rumored, the hit song "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Banner, Would You Hold it Against Me?"). It didn't help that Mr. Bellamy also invented the Bellamy Salute, in which American children recited the pledge while saluting the flag with their arm extended in a gesture eerily similar to "Sieg Heil" (see photo above).

Thus, in an effort to stand out from the murderous and godless Soviets and Nazis, our Judeo-Christian roots became crucial to our national identity. Since God was not a controversial figure in America at the time, credited by George Washington, John Adams, Ben Franklin, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln as being the guiding Light that brought Liberty to our shores and freed men from tyranny, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill to add the language "one nation under God" to our pledge. The rest is history, although not exactly well-known history.

It seems strange to me to think many Americans would prefer to ignore this part of our heritage, even though it is Christianity more than any other factor that led slavery to be abolished and later reignited Martin Luther King's civil rights movement. In fact, a pledge that fails to reflect our community of founding values and instead focuses on our common statehood seems alien to me, crossing the line into what some might describe as idolatry. In fact, this case has been made by many Jehovah's Witnesses, with or without the God language included, and the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance has been challenged (unsuccessfully) all the way to the Supreme Court both before AND after "under God" was added.

Unfortunately, the only thing being challenged on Sunday was the decision-making skills of NBC producers. I, for one, would like to see them attempt the same thing at the next NASCAR event.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Lost Art of Creating Joyous Art

There is both good news and bad news in the easy accessibility computers and the internet provide for aspiring artists today. The good news is almost anyone with a vision and the right software can turn their home into a recording or TV studio. The bad news is there are now hundreds of thousands of bad, poorly produced songs and videos to sort through. This makes finding the rare piece of undiscovered art all the more worth sharing.

Conservative commentator and author Dennis Prager has lamented the lack of art celebrating the simple joys of life. I couldn't agree more. We seem to have too much serious art, often political art, more likely than not Leftist in nature, that casts beauty and grace aside for shock value; to provoke, mock, and offend our everyday sensibilities. I wouldn't argue there isn't a place for such expression, just that it is most effective when it's rare. Unfortunately, today we are inundated by it.

On the bright side, I did find this home-created fan video to the song "Swing Tree" by Discovery that incorporates use of dance footage from the 1942 film "Ship Ahoy." It is everything I want 21st century art to be: whimsical, fun, and pushing our expectations by juxtaposing the old and the new. The old-fashioned dance choreography itself is very unique and graceful, a celebration of human movement from a simpler era. Setting it to a computer-generated, digital sound only makes it that much more appealing, tickling the ears and bringing a smile to my face every time I watch it.

The dancer is Eleanor Powell, and I am disappointed to say I hadn't heard of her until discovering her talents in this number. I would like to thank Dolezal06 on youtube, whoever you are, for creating this slice of joy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Palin's Unfit to Lead (and Other False Assumptions)

Sometimes even reporters stumble upon the truth.

Did you know Sarah Palin was a charismatic and competent governor who took on the political establishment in her home state of Alaska? Politico accidentally lets the secret out:

The emails from her governorship, released Friday, brought back the memory of a long-lost Palin: the popular, charismatic, competent woman of the people.
Wow. Imagine if someone in the mainstream media had described her as a popular, charismatic, competent woman of the people when she came on the scene three years ago. Imagine if instead of trying to play gotcha politics, responsible reporters had actually reported the facts about her record - a positive record in Alaska. But wait, the emails redeem her even further:
She was hands-on and averse to partisan politics. She championed openness in government and had normal relations with the media. She was a little starstruck by her interactions with national politicians but unafraid to do battle with the chief executives of the world’s largest oil companies.
Amazing what a little empirical evidence will do to set the record straight. Unfortunately, the feeling of generosity at Politico is short-lived. Getting back to their preferred portrayal of the governor, writer Molly Ball reminds us the kind of person Palin really is:
Together with the newly released, pro-Palin documentary “The Undefeated,” which focuses on her rise to the spotlight, the emails are reminders of a sympathetic figure who was not yet the brittle, divisive caricature Palin has become. [emphasis mine]
And how, one might ask, did Palin become a brittle and divisive caricature? Is it some piece of legislation she signed into law? Something unsavory about her personal life? Fat chance. It's because the minute she was tapped as a vice-presidential candidate, the Left along with Hollywood and the hoity-toity political class had a desire to paint her that way. A smear job was conducted in order to ensure victory for their anointed prince and scare self-made, pro-life women from voicing their conservative values. One could reasonably conclude that if Palin had never accepted the GOP veep nomination and remained in the remote political wilderness of Alaska fulfilling her duties as governor, all the praiseworthy descriptors would still apply.

As I wrote about previously, no political figure has been attacked more viciously in my lifetime than Sarah Palin. The objections to Palin's leadership have never been objections to policy or objections to her governing style in Alaska. She has flubbed no executive decision as governor or mayor. The objection to Sarah Palin is that she's Sarah Palin, that she hasn't gone to Harvard or Yale (she's working class all the way) and that she doesn't sound like Barack Obama when he's speaking from his teleprompter. For the record, neither does Barack Obama (see below):

We have been told repeatedly that political animals like Anthony Weiner, despite his flaws, are the smart type of Washington leaders we need more of and the Sarah Palins of the world are divisive simpletons unfit to lead our nation. When will we stop listening to such false kernels of conventional wisdom from the political class?

Palin's emails don't prove there is a long-lost Sarah Palin as Politico suggests. Just that a nation has lost its mind, and any ounce of journalistic integrity is now buried under 24,000 documents.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It Used to be Memorial Day

Memorial Day has come and passed and I couldn't help but offer a few observations. First and foremost, I was saddened by the fact that Austin schools, and I later heard some Houston and San Antonio schools as well, held classes. We have one day set aside on the entire calendar to honor our fallen heroes, those brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. There wouldn't be a United States of America without their service, without their courage under fire, and without their willingness to stare tyranny in the face with the fate of future generations at hand. We owe these patriots as much or more reflection as we give our forefathers on the Fourth of July. Memorial Day should be as sacred a holiday on the school calendar as Christmas, Thanksgiving or Good Friday. Shame on the administrators who treated it so callously.

Of course, it occurs to me that most kids probably just wanted the day off to go see the Hangover 2, and even President Obama felt it was an appropriate day to play his 70th round of golf. I'm actually surprised he didn't schedule a fundraiser. In fact, the media seems to treat the whole weekend as some leisurely holiday invented by Hollywood to sell more popcorn. Hence, we get 30 minute updates on box office receipts while stories of America's glory are all but ignored.

There is no greater day than Memorial Day to thank God for delivering us from slavery, for uniting us as one nation under God, for the right to worship freely, and for the fortitude to defend these principles at all costs. The words "land of the free and home of the brave" take on extra significance this day or at least they used to. There are so many American heroes to honor, and yet we spend our time idolizing superheroes at the multiplex. As I posted for my friends on facebook this weekend:

"Our forefathers sacrificed their lives to guarantee freedoms that would enrich future generations. Today, we sacrifice our freedoms to live cheaper, more convenient lives at the expense of future generations."

Such is the Age of Narcissism. It used to be Memorial Day. Now it's just a Memorial Daze.