Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Greatest Podcast in the World

The Dave and Steve Show is like your garden variety morning radio show without unenlightening traffic reports, annoying commercials and the business stock report that no one understands.

I draw your attention to it because sometimes Steve's busy schedule takes him to other places and I have been invited on the show as an emergency spare.  Similar to the little donut spare you have in the trunk of your's not something you'd want to rely on for very long but it will nervously get you by until you can get a real tire back on. 

Grump and I have talked at length about doing a show based on travel but we have yet to settle on a format.  It could be coming soon and you'd be in for a treat since Grump actually had a successful radio program at one time (he even had me as a guest) and well...I've owned a radio for years.

So go to The Dave and Steve Show and you can hear a great show and hear my dumb voice at the same time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Larry Norman - In Another Land

I learned today that Larry Norman died.  It's okay that you haven't heard of him.  I hadn't for a long time either.  Back in the 80's someone loaned me a vinyl album of Something New Under the Son and I was afraid I would wear it out.  This was a fantastic electric blues album.  I was irritated that I couldn't find my own copy for another seven years. 

Larry has often been given the distinction as the father of the Jesus Movement but Larry was far more complex than that.  Personally I might give that distinction to groups like Love Song.  Again, I'm not pretending like you know what I'm talking about.  I'm just talking out loud for your benefit.

Larry sang anti-establishment songs, anti-war songs, songs about love, life, death, Jesus.  George Martin (Beatles director) helped direct the masterful album Only Visiting this Planet that is a 70's rock album that everyone should own.

I won't recount much of his life but I will say that if and when a biography comes'll be unbelievable.

Larry had a bad heart.  His heart trouble started from a blood clot that caused him to have the first of several heart attacks.  He should've been dead years ago really.  Many fans including myself helped with medical bills.

When he moved to Salem, Oregon he occasionally did concerts.  I was in attendance for the one that was billed as his last (I went to another one a year later that included a reunion of his original 60's band People!) Larry was good enough for me to visit Oregon, something I wouldn't do for just anyone.

I spent a moment with Larry and I could tell he was tired.  His health problems were diminishing his vision and his hands were wounded from medical procedures enough that simply shaking hands was too painful. 

From his deathbed he dictated a letter that I've reread a few times and I'll include below:

I feel like a prize in a box of cracker jacks with God's hand reaching down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home.

My brother Charles is right, I won't be here much longer. I can't do anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to everyone. In the past you have generously supported me with prayer and finances and we will probably still need financial help.

My plan is to be buried in a simple pine box with some flowers inside. But still it will be costly because of funeral arrangement, transportation to the gravesite, entombment, coordination, legal papers etc. However money is not really what I need, I want to say I love you.

I'd like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort. There will be a funeral posted here on the website, in case some of you want to attend. We are not sure of the date when I will die. Goodbye, farewell, we will meet again.

Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.


Thanks for everything Larry. 

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Correcting a 20 Year Wrong

1988 was my first chance to vote in a presidential election.  That November I cast a vote for George Herbert Walker Bush.  To add to that I was a delegate to the state GOP convention on behalf of Bush.  Also, I should note that since 1988 I've regretted that vote.

I later learned of Ron Paul and discovered that he ran for president in 1988 and I was eligible to cast a vote for him.  If I hadn't had my head so far up GOP establishment I would've been more aware of my choices.  I do remember seeing Ron Paul on the Morton Downey Jr. show and he was being criticized for his opposition to the war on drugs.  I knew his position made him out of the mainstream and I continued to believe that a vote cast for Bush would serve to keep our country from stepping in Dukakis.

In 1996 I discovered Harry Browne and he was the first man I was truly proud to cast a vote for.  Ron Paul had just come back to congress and during the eight years that I had last seen him on TV my own political views had gravitated toward his.  Since 1992 I had not cast my vote for any Republican until this year.

Three years ago when I ran into Ron Paul in the foyer of the Canon House office building I told him if he ran again, I would vote for him.  I never thought he would but the offer was an attempt to correct my ill-conceived vote from 1988. 

This month though afforded me the opportunity for full redemption.  Above is the photo of me casting my primary vote for Ron Paul.  And though I still regard Harry Browne as the man I was most proud to cast a vote for, my vote for Ron Paul is still a very special one...and one 20 years overdue.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Study in Non-Intervention

This week Kosovo declared their independence from Bosnia.  The United States among a few other nations recognized the new nation and promised diplomatic support and beyond that the promise of force of arms if their newfound independence is challenged.

One of the first responses was a protest in Bosnia that resulted in a mob breaking into the US Embassy and setting a wing on fire.  You may be wondering why they attacked the US Embassy if they're angry about Kosovo...if you're a Republican you're probably thinking to yourself, "Well, they're crazy Muslims and you can't reason with them." and like so many other times when a Republican attempts to think you'd be wrong...since Bosnians are typically Orthodox Christian.

So why are these Orthodox Bosnians angry at the USA for the independence of Kosovo?

It likely has to do with the endless bombing of Bosnia and their major city of Belgrade (under Wesley Clark) during the Clinton administration.  The reason for this was to stop a genocide that was occurring where Muslims were the victims.

Let's keep score:

After Military Intervention here is what we have accomplished.

  1. We helped Muslims who were victimized by a ruthless leader and consequently radical Muslims still hate us.
  2. We bombed Bosnia even on their holiest day of Orthodox Easter and consequently these Orthodox Christians hate us.
  3. A new nation was born out of our intervention and we promise more intervention to defend their that more people will hate us.

But remember what we've been told by both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush:  Our intervention in the world is both moral and necessary to keep us safe.  I say the score says otherwise.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot

I just spent the better half of a day looking at Barack Obama's issues platform and I'm really lost on where exactly the "change" is.  There must be a code in it that I don't understand but on the surface it just looks like the New Deal Part 2.  Not exactly progressive.  He talks about fiscal responsibility but the other portion of the plank uses the word "investment" too much. 

Let me explain something about investment:  Anyone who owns something or produces something can invest.  They can take the profit from their risk and invest it to provide more wealth, security, or insurance against a rainy day.  That is what investment is. 

Government cannot invest.  Government does not own anything.  Government does not produce anything.  To "invest" it must first take by force the property of productive people and then spend it by giving it to someone else.  You may call it an investment but it's really just tax and spend.  Not all tax and spend is wrong but when they couch it in terms of investment I begin to find myself trying to control a gag reflex.  As the old saying goes...don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining.

So on the subject of Mr. Obama...I'm not exactly sure what the love affair with him is but if you all want him as president...I suppose we can give it a shot.  He likely won't earn my vote.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Stimulus Package

The best description I've read regarding Bush's stimulus package comes from Bob Higgs at the Mises Circle in Houston:

Bush's stimulus is akin to filling up buckets of water from the deep end of the pool, then spilling them into the shallow end, and expecting the water level to rise.

Credit Max Raskin at the LRC blog at Lew Rockwell's site.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

My Precinct Winner: Ron Paul

I just got back from my caucus.  It didn't surprise me that Ron Paul won our precinct because the Paul campaign here is well organized.

We had less than 15 people at our caucus which seems like a small amount but it isn't really since the precinct is really just our neighborhood.  Factor in that Republicans have been single-handedly flushing their platform and the US Constitution down the toilet over several decades and it shouldn't alarm anyone to learn that this number is small.

There were several Romney supporters there but once I counted votes (acting as Caucus Whip) I switched from uncommitted to a Paul supporter.  We not only won the presidential preference poll (Beauty contest that Miss Washington wouldn't have a chance in) but we also aced them out of delegates.  Here was the breakdown:

Precinct Committee Officer to convention - Ron Paul supporter

Two delegates to the convention - Both Ron Paul supporters

Two alternate delegates - Both Ron Paul supporters

Everyone else - Well let's just say they got a similar amount of time that Dr. Paul got in all the debates.  There's your lesson in blowback jerks.

Oh yeah, we also had crackers and cheese.  Yum.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Government is force - part 2

Hillary disclosed recently that she is prepared to garnish the wages (take money that doesn't belong to her) of citizens who do not buy healthcare to ensure universal care for all.  This is a brand new take on her overall idea of the role government:  Force = Compassion.  Like the old saying goes:  Those who rob Peter to pay Paul rarely hear a complaint from Paul.  Our country should be very wary of electing anyone who think socialism is still a great idea but just hasn't been tried by the right people yet.

Police brutality videos are all over the Internet and growing daily.  People being tazed, beaten and strip searched for doing terrible things against society like:

  • Not signing a traffic ticket
  • Refusing to be searched without cause
  • Not calming down when a cop is shouting CALM DOWN into your face while pointing a weapon at you.

The Rodney King video went a long way toward making the routine traffic stop anything but routine.  Resentment was born from the frustration in minority neighborhoods where the police have been out of control for a long time.  Now the setting for these videos is largely white suburbia

This isn't a good trend and it's not a good time to be a police officer.  If this continues, law enforcement is going to see a backlash.  And if they lose middle-America as an ally people will start coming to the aid of victims of police brutality and abusive force.