Monday, December 18, 2006

Weekly Podium: "Feelings, Reactions, Opinions...oh my!"

Why is there so much crying, blubbering, and useless information being passed as "news" these days? Did the "Democratic De-evolution" have to spark such a regression of what is considered to be "important" and "notable" news stories.

A good example of this is a very recent story on CNN about the Olympic Bomber, Eric Rudolph. It seems that The Gazette of Colorado Springs has been running a series of "letters to the editor" from Mr. Rudolph, who provides an excellent depiction of life in Supermax, which is one of the toughest maximum-security prisons in America. However, in a land populated by leftist-hippies(Colorado Springs, Colorado), Rudolph is given a forum to talk about how his life sentence in Supermax is driving him insane, and how he spends 23 hours a day in his 7 x 12 cell. He also thinks that Supermax is designed to cause "mental illness and chronic physical conditions", and that solitary confinement is used to "inflict as much misery and pain as constitutionally permissible."

This is a man who pled guilty to the Olympic Park bombing in 1996 and three other bombings, one of which was a Birmingham, Alabama women's clinic.

All that said...what's the problem?

We put the most dangerous people to society in places like Supermax. The idea is to break them down, make them pay for the crimes they have committed. Now, this guy wants sympathy?

His letters and statements will be used by bleeding-heart liberals as a reason why we need to stop the prisons, and attempt to "rehabilitate" these "poor individuals". The fact that the man can be classified as a terrorist is not something that can be "rehabilitated". The fact that this "individual" killed and injured people is not to be ignored. He is doing what all that commit such crimes should be doing...rotting away in a concete and steel hell. Suffice it to say, I believe he is reaping what he had sown.

A question for you people to ponder...why is it that the plight of the raped, tortured, and murdered citizens of Darfur is of utmost concern to liberals...but for over a decade, the plight of the raped, tortured, and murdered Kurds in northern Iraq was of zero concern to these same liberals? It must have something to do with the Hollywood trend of adopting(or, in Madonna's case, stealing) little children from Africa.

Kofi Annan spent most of his "farewell" (I call it a "good riddance") speech challenging the United States to, paraphrasingly, do what he and most of Europe think is "right". Annan did a lot of quoting of Harry Truman in his goodbye speech. Where does Annan and his spineless legacy get off quoting Harry Truman? Honestly, how can Kofi "let's fight terror economically" Annan quote "Give 'em hell, Harry" Truman with a straight face? Annan also mentioned that the U.N. must take the steps necessary to end the violence in Darfur. Nice turnaround in your last speech, Kofi. Just last month, Annan said that the U.N. did not have the force nor the will to go into Sudan and take care of this situation.

So which is it, Mr. Annan? Do you think that the U.N. should or should not intervene in Darfur? I would ask you to make a stand in your final speech, but taking a hard stance on anything except anti-American sentiments is something you have failed to do during your lackluster tenure.

I find it amazing that a supposed "leader" like Annan can only appear brave and emboldened in his denouncing of Bush's administration when he had the quasi-socialist French and other members of the European Union(of Soviet Socialist Republics) standing behind him.

If you don't believe me, I urge you to read or listen to Annan's "goodbye" speech, and count how many times he says the words "you Americans" to preface a very long statement about how America needs the U.N. and needs a global economy.

Dennis Kucinich is once again attempting to gain the Democratic Party's nomination for President again, and he believes that he can do it.........*yawn*. Moving on...

Leonardo DiCaprio (an environmental "expert", naturally, because he is an award-winning actor) wants answers from America on the topic of Global Warming. His question is this: "What are some simple steps or creative ideas that people can take at home and work to combat global warming?"

My answer is even simpler than that...I say, "well, Leo, you can stop using your private jet, as it puts as much pollution in the air during a one-way flight from Los Angeles to Chicago as my ULEV-rated car would in 30,000 miles of continuous use."

If you don't believe me, you can look it up, as that is a fact. This fact also applies to such "conscious" celebrities as George Clooney, Cameron Diaz, and Julia Roberts. So much for the new trend of celebs using enviro-friendly cars and speaking out about global warming...they're a bigger contributor to the greenhouse effect in a few hours than most Americans are in a year!

Speaking of global warming, would someone tell Erik Curren that his post-apocolyptic dystopia has been put on hold indefinitely?

According to a few sources, a soon-to-be released United Nations report will downgrade human influence on global warming, stating that livestock are only responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gasses (not the much larger figures Curren threw out 2 weeks ago), and that American cars are only responsible for 6 percent.

Also, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Control (IPCC) is lowering their predictions for future sea level raises. They lowered the high-end estimate for sea level increases from 34 inches to 17 inches by 2100. So at-worst, we'll see a 17-inch increase in average sea levels in 94 years.

Curren's "worst-case scenario" in his previous article predicted over 40 feet of water-level increases in 50 years.

So let's compare these worst-case scenarios. The liberal-loved U.N. says that, at worst, we'll see sea levels raise less than 1 1/2 feet in 94 years. Erik Curren says over 40 feet in 50 years.

I recently read another report that states three scientifically-backed facts. One of those facts was that the hole in the ozone over Antarctica is closing. The second fact was that the regression of the arctic ice-cap seems to be stabilizing. The third fact was that the Antarctic ice cap was beginning to increase in size again.

Pro-environmental liberals (such as Mr. Curren) across the world will start crying now, as "the day after tomorrow" will be pretty much the same as the day before yesterday. Their beloved United Nations has told them that global warming is not the impending doom they once thought it was. Now is 17 inches going to be a problem? Well, I'm sure there will be some ramifications (beach erosion, etc...), but it is certainly not the end of western civilization as we know it, and is a gradual enough increase that humans can adjust easily to this. Plus, as I said before, the 17 inches is the high-end estimate.

Next thing you know, environmentalists like Curren will tell you that the unusually large solar flare that caused the I.S.S. and Space Shuttle astronauts to take cover from radiation exposure was really a massive simultaneous fart from cows near Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

All jokes aside, there needs to be a separation of reality and far-fetched, unproven theory. While it is true that "worst-case scenarios" tend to grab your attention more than the "most-likely scenario". However, "worst-case scenarios" that are presented as "this is what's most likely going to happen" make my stomach turn in that way that makes you want to scream "LIARS!!!"

I am going to close this week's column with a rebuttal to Stephen Winslow's statements in last week's article on payday lending. Mr. Winslow, I can understand your hesitancy to do your job as you were told to do. It's not easy to follow procedures when it involves taking people's money, whether they like it or not. However, Mr. Winslow, you're not stealing money from people by following the procedures of your company, you are simply protecting your company's assets.

Guess what, those lobbyists happen to be right. They are providing a service, they are providing tax revenues, they are providing jobs, it is a free market, it is capitalism, and I have yet to have someone twist my arm to use payday lending. Like the majority of those who use payday lending, I have only used it in emergency cases in which the immediate need for money was only a short-term problem.

Allow me to add, before we go further, that I am not so well-paid that I don't have periods of time in which I am living paycheck-to-paycheck. My wife and I each earn enough to allow us to put food on our table, a roof over our family's head, and clothes on our family's well as pay my monthly bills. Most of the time, after it's all said and done, there isn't much left for a lot of fun and frivolity other than the occasional night out for dinner or some other unnecessary, but entertaining, expense.

However, those desperate times call for tighter measures of control over your finances, not "desperate measures". The reason why many people can't get out of the cycle is because they don't control their finances. That, my friend, is the fault of the customer. It is not the fault of the lender that the customer does not make the appropriate lifestyle and financial changes necessary to adapt to the repayment of the payday loan. Most payday lenders will only allow you to borrow up to a certain percentage of your average paycheck, as to allow you to have the funds necessary for fee repayment and to also have some funds available for you to live on.

While I agree that these interest rates are high, to say that a lender is predatory because there are a minority-percentage of customers who come in more than once-a-month to borrow money is harsh, and deflecting appropriate responsiblity from the individual and placing it upon the "big, bad, predatory lender".

It's time people stopped buying into the sales pitch alone, and started seeing the whole picture for what it really is.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Weekly Podium: "The Hype Machine Keeps On Grinding"

After reading Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “Letter to Noble Americans”, I’m amused by the fact that Ahmadinejad thinks that most Americans would agree with his point of view. His previous and current anti-Semitic rhetoric gets minor notice in the media, and I’ve noticed that the media is downplaying Ahmadinejad’s letter.

Although his letter’s intent is to get the American public to force the U.S. into leaving the Middle East altogether, and put up a false screen of “past friendliness” between America and Iran (a friendliness that died with the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini), what Ahmadinejad didn’t realize is that our mostly Islamic-apologist media would not report this story beyond a mere mention of it below other headlines.

The reason behind the burying of Ahmadinejad’s letter is simple. His notion that he can will American people into doing what he wants would cause a harmful backlash to his position, and the general liberal position of “abandon ship” in the Middle East. To incite the anger of Americans by reporting that a leader of another country is attempting to directly influence our thinking would kill the anti-Bush and anti-Republican movement that the media and the Democrats have so carefully put in motion.

There you have it, the liberal “Hype Machine” keeps grinding. Spitting out what it wants you to hear, and quietly squashing what it doesn’t want you to hear.

A battle between religiously-based sects within the country of Iraq is now being called a “civil war”. Not “insurgency” or “anti-Government acts of terrorism”. No, now it’s called “civil war”. Let’s call this whole debacle in Iraq what it really is…

“A war that was not allowed to be fought correctly because the Democrats and the liberal media made sure we walked in with one hand behind our back…just like in Vietnam.”

Revisionist history tells us that somehow, Nixon was to blame for Vietnam…yet it was the oh-so-legendary purveyor of the not-so-Great Society, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who created the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution AND escalated the Vietnam War to its highest peak…and its worst defeats. The truth is, Nixon began a gradual withdrawal from Vietnam AND allowed the military to run more successful bombing campaigns. We lost Vietnam because LBJ and the media made the war so unpopular that there was no way to justify further escalation without widespread civil disorder and disobedience.

Just like LBJ in the 1968 Democratic primaries, the Democrats believe that the U.S. should just simply give up in Iraq. The Democrats and the media, once again, made sure that the War in Iraq became so unpopular amongst U.S. citizens that there is no way to convince the general populous that we must finish this war.

The anti-war liberals and their media pundits are right when they say “Iraq is turning into another Vietnam.” The part they don’t tell you is that it is their fault…again. Once again, the liberal “Hype Machine” is rewriting history and using it to spew forth current propaganda.

On a regional note, the Virginia House Commerce and Labor Committee will vote on House Bill 619. If a passing vote is cast, the bill will be sent to the House floor when the next session begins in 2007. HB 619 would repeal the Payday Loan Act of 2002. The act, in short, allowed providers of payday loans to place an APR up to 780% on all payday loans. Even though it is rare to see APR’s this high on such loans, 300% APR is not uncommon. This usually leads to a charge of about $15.00 per $100 borrowed once repayment is due.

Being a previous user of payday loans (i.e.: Check-Into-Cash, Cash Advance, etc…), the convenience it provides for a working-class individual like myself is immeasurable. It allows those with lower incomes and little or bad credit ratings the opportunity to gain short-term advances on their paychecks, and cover unforeseen emergencies.

While these APR’s are certainly outrageous figures, as a $500 loan will cost you $575.00 on your next payday, I do not agree with the pro-HB 619 rhetoric of calling these lenders “predatory”. First of all, the fees due and APR’s are stated very clearly and are posted in large writing on the walls of these various businesses. The pro-HB 619 propaganda is very inflammatory towards these businesses, and seems to have the intent of driving these companies out of Virginia by labeling them as “predatory lenders” and thereby demonizing these companies in the eyes of some of their customers and potential customers.

That being said, I do agree that the APR figures are outrageously high, and with Congress having passed a 36% cap on interest rates charged to active-duty military personnel and their families, I feel that that a limit on these interest rates will come to pass. Being that it will save plenty of people some money, I guess it isn’t too bad of a deal. However, the scare-tactic rhetoric and the imposition of law to keep a company from profiting too much in a legal manner is what’s keeping me from supporting HB 619.

Finally, I would like to address a response to my prior statements about Steny Hoyer, and how when I repeat his words, I’m casting the wrong light upon him. From a former Marylander to a current one, I know your area very well. I’m very aware of Mr. Hoyer and what he stands for and represents. The fact that he will soon be the House Majority Leader does not make him a good man; it just means his party preferred him over John Murtha (kudos to the Dems for choosing the lesser of two evils, there).

If Steny Hoyer is the good and 100% racism-free man that you say he is, don’t you think he would have chosen his words with a little more care and precision? It doesn’t matter, because if you’re a liberal, you can get away with murder (Ted Kennedy) and perjury (Bill Clinton). Why should we hold a liberal Democrat accountable for making was can easily be construed as a racist remark, right?

Tell me, why is it that it is OK to label Allen’s “macaca” remark as being racist because of 3rd party hearsay and "prior incidents" that lead you to believe he is racist, but we can’t question Steny Hoyer’s “slavishly” remark because, in your own personal opinion, he’s a “good man” and "does not have a racist bone in his body".

On another note, how dare you criticize Allen for creating “Southern Heritage Week”? One thing I’ve learned since I moved to Virginia 9 years ago is that people in Virginia are proud to be from the South. They take pride in who they are and where they live, and the majority of them also acknowledge the sins of their ancestors. They also take pride in being independent spirits and hard-working individuals, and for you to criticize George Allen for allowing the state to embrace that kind of pride…what kind of citizen does that make you? Your prejudice towards Southerners shines through with great luminescence.

Why are Allen’s questionable remarks relevant to what Steny Hoyer said, anyway? They have no relevance, other than the fact that it is a typical Donkey Party tactic to deflect the harsh spotlight of doubt, and flash it upon your enemies, instead of facing the question at hand.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Weekly Podium: "How Dare You!?"

Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable, kids, it's story time.

This story begins not too long ago (1971), and not so far away ( Newark , New Jersey ...the “armpit of the nation”). It is here where the seeds of my existence were borne. No, not my conception, but the arrival of my mother into this country. She was a 16-year-old born and raised in a small farming town outside of Vitoria , Brazil.

Along with her parents, my grandparents, they moved to this country with all of the hopes and dreams of millions of immigrants before them. They were looking to improve their lives in a land of opportunity.

My mother was not without responsibility. She went to high school during the day, and worked 12 hours a night as an in-house nurse for sick and elderly patients who needed 24/7 care. My grandmother worked the day shift, and would be relieved by my mother in the evenings. One would think that my mother made pretty decent wages for a high school student, considering all of the work that she was doing during this time. However, she did not see a cent of her money, as it was all sent back to Brazil for her 2 brothers and 1 sister to attend colleges there (a common trait among immigrants).

Did I mention that when she moved to this country, she did not speak a word of English? This was before the days of "ESL"(English as a Second Language) classes. In fact, during her first day of school, her English teacher said to her, "you will only speak English in my class". So did my mother go and protest this to the Principal? Did she claim racial inequality and cry out that the school was not catering to her needs as an individual by making her learn English?
No, she taught herself how to speak English. Her reasoning was simple, English was the language spoken in the United States , so she should learn how to speak the language.

Novel concept, eh?

Nonetheless, through dedication and hard work, my mother not only learned the language, but earned her High School diploma. By the late 1970's/early 1980's, she dated and married my father, and was studying to become a nurse. Unfortunately for my mother career-wise, she had a child (whose article you are reading now), and decided to be a stay-at-home mother during my formative years. After a few years, my mother decided to begin a business baking wedding cakes, so she contracted with Hotels and local catering businesses, and ran a fairly successful business in-and-around the Washington , D.C. metropolitan area.

After moving to Pennsylvania in the early 90’s, she sold all of her equipment, and went back to school. After obtaining a Bachelor's in Fine Arts/Photography from Shepherd College (she graduated Magna Cum Laude) in 1997, my mother decided she needed a better degree to obtain a more stable career. She enrolled at James Madison University , obtaining a second Bachelor's in Education (graduating Summa Cum Laude). She has completed a Masters degree in Curriculum Development and is soon to finish her Master’s in Counseling.

You may be thinking, "that's a nice story, but is there a point to this?" To answer your thoughts, there is.

Many liberals, and a few moderate conservatives, want to grant immediate legal status to illegal immigrants. Their reasons are varied. Some believe it would stop the endless cycle of deporting illegal immigrants, just to have them come across the border again, get deported again, re-immigrate, and repeat this cycle over and over.

The other, and most laughable one, espouses the mantra that we "were all immigrants once". Yes, but I'd venture to say that over 90% of legal residents of the United States have ancestors who legally immigrated into this country. Even during the colonial period, there was a process in which you had to go through in order to come to America , although sometimes it involved being a criminal or being sent to debtor's prison. Think about what you learned in History class about Ellis Island . That was the legal way of immigrating into America.

Needless to say, to legalize the illegal immigrants is tantamount to taking the proud heritage of millions of American families, including mine, and spitting on it. The fact that people took the harder road, waited their turn, and came to this country in a legal, lawful way becomes worthless.

In fact, since beating your wife with a stick thinner than your thumb was once legal, let's make it legal again! Does THAT statement put it all into perspective for you?

Getting back to my family, let me provide another great example of American immigration policies. My uncle Carlos, who is a practicing urologist in Brazil and owns several homes in the country, tried to come to the United States to visit his mother and father and was denied entry because “he was liable not to return home because his profession would allow him to be successful here and he might disappear into the country.”

So, using similar logic, we legalize those who simply jumped the border into the United States …yet, we prevent those who are successful from visiting relatives from setting foot on American soil. Makes absolutely perfect sense, doesn’t it? I mean, there can’t be any flaws within THAT line of thinking, is there?

Also, it is the liberal institution known as the American educational system that insists that we spend our hard-earned tax dollars to quietly imply that immigrants are stupid and worthless.
Example, why are many school systems in our country allowing high school students who barely speak English (but whose first language is Spanish) taking the same entry level Spanish classes as American students? First-year Spanish to a 16-year-old native speaker is like sending a 16-year-old American-born student to 3rd grade to study English.

So, in essence, the "educators" believe that 16-year-old Spanish-speaking immigrants have the intellectual capability of a 3rd grader. Plus, they're making it that much easier for the Spanish-speaking students to get a diploma, because they're making them learn the simple aspects of a language that they've already mastered! It's like saying "well, since you're not smart enough to get this diploma on your own, so we'll make it easier for you."

So now, the liberals not only believe that it's ok to spit upon the heritage of most American families, but that most immigrants and their children are less intellectually capable than American-born students.

I believe that changes do need to be made. The change that needs to be made is a reversion to enforcing our domestic policies no matter how other countries feel about them. Do not let Mexico or any other country make us feel we are hurting them with our policies. We already are giving them jobs their own economies can’t create. If they desire to work here then they must compete legally for entry, just like my ancestors did. Any change to that changes who and what we are.

So to those who think we should simply assign legal status who took the easy way in, I say, “How dare you spit upon my heritage? Shame on you for attempting to devalue my ancestry, my intelligence, and everything else that makes me what I am…a damn proud American.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Weekly Podium: "Same Song, Now They're Just the Majority"

I am assuming that W.R. Marshall's "Dull Ache" has received some Tylenol, courtesy of this year's election.

Now that the jubulation has died down amongst the Democrats, liberal media, and the numerous contributors to the Augusta Free Press whose political opinions only seem to pop up around election time(see you in two years, guys), it's time to take a look at some of the murmurs and quiet commotion that you're starting to hear in the background while the celebration of the "Death of the Evil GOP" enters it's twilight hours.

Let's start at the top of the Democratic food chain. It seemed so simple, the Dems would take the House and march in unison to the Capitol itself, carrying Nancy Pelosi on their shoulders as if she were Julius Caesar returning to Rome. Just as the Dems reached the steps of the Capitol, things ground to a halt as we've discovered some dissention in the ranks.

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is competing with John "Let's Pull Out The Troops Because Diplomacy Always Works With Terrorists" Murtha for the position of House Majority Leader. Soon-to-be-Speaker Pelosi has endorsed her close ally Murtha in an attempt to eliminate her old rival Hoyer from Party leadership. Personally, couldn't the Dems find someone a little more non-partisan? I mean, we all know that John Murtha is one of the most disliked politicians in the eyes of conservatives, so it is thought that Murtha will not win over Hoyer, who helped campaign for many of the victorious Dems in the recent election.

Of course, this is the same Steny Hoyer who endorsed Ben Cardin over Kwesi Mfume in the Maryland Senate Primary because he didn't believe the Dems could win with Mfume opposing another black candidate, Michael Steele. The same Steny Hoyer who stated that the African-American Steele "slavishly" supported the Republican party.

It's people like Hoyer that are members of a party that claims to be "looking out for all the minorities"(read: we make sure we get the Gay/Black/Jewish/Feminist vote by catering to their special interest groups, and painting the GOP as racist old white men). Yet, seem to play the race card either implicitly or explicitly as often as possible without any reprimand from the media. Need proof? Why is it that Hoyer's "slavish" remarks were quickly and quietly shelved while 3rd-person hearsay about George Allen's use of racial epithets were covered by the media with a fervor equal to the second coming of Jesus Christ himself?

Moving on...

I'm really sick. No, I haven't fallen victim from Mother Nature's violent mood swing from Indian Summer(or should I say "Native-American Summer" for the PC people in the crowd?) to bone-chilling precipitation. I've grown sick of the endless statements that read "Americans overwhelmingly voted for change" and "Virginia was decidedly in favor of ridding Bush's lackey George Allen" and other statements, would someone show me an "overwhelming" victory for the Dems in any other key race besides the Pennsylvania senate seat held by Rick Santorum? I guess winning with a margin of less than 0.4% of the vote is a landslide in Democrat terms, which mean's JFK's win over Nixon in 1960 must've been a blowout of epic proportions.

Anyway, I challenge these contributors to keep up this intense fervor in their writing. After reading Erik Curren's "The bad guys lost" article(AFP, 11/13/2006), he seems to be contemplating retirement...well, until the Republicans come back in office, because then he'll have something to complain about. So here's to you and your favorite party, Erik, may we endure at least 2 years of Democratic cries for higher taxes, an emboldened ACLU, and a spineless, UN-appeasing foreign policy. And in return...Toyota enjoys higher sales of the ugly-as-sin Prius sedan. Huzzah!

All this talk about the "joys of democracy" only comes about when the Democrats win...otherwise, it's "we need to change the Constitution".

Interesting statistic from CNN's exit polls on the Allen-Webb Senate race. I noticed that Webb pulled the majority in the vote with people with either incomes below $30,000, or above $100,000. So the middle class(between $30,000 and $100,000) decided Allen was a better candidate. Interesting, considering the fact that the Democrats label Republicans as crooked politicians who only cater to the rich. Yet, the rich(well, higher-income groups at least) voted Democratic. As for the less-fortunate? Well, considering the amount of rhetoric targeted at the lower-income class of citizens about how awful the Republicans are towards's no wonder they continually vote for the Democrats.

Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island had a 62% approval rating on Election Day, and still lost the election due to the (R) next to his name. How sad is the state of politics when people gave a man such great approval ratings, and still vote him out of office due to his party affiliation. Talk about hypocritical...but then again, Rhode Island is one of those lovely liberal states of New England, hypocrisy is a common practice among them.

Well, now that I've done some Donkey-bashing, let me do some Elephant-smacking also.

I will say this very loud and very clear so you people can hear me. George Allen dug his own grave. The man could've easily won this election. Jim Webb was running a mediocre-at-best campaign with little national funding, and the election was to be a chip-shot for Allen. However, his continual self-destruction during the campaign leads me to believe that maybe this was a good thing, as now the Republicans can have a candidate to challenge Jim Webb in 6 years that won't crack under pressure. To use an equation for sports fans out there, George Allen = Mike Vanderjagt.

George W. Bush is doing the right thing at this moment, he's open to new ideas for Iraq and is reaching out to the new Democratic leaders. However, I think we all know that firing Donald Rumsfeld was an act that should have taken place pre-election(and don't tell me Rumsfeld "resigned", we all know what that really means). Normally, I would agree that Bush had the right idea with promoting a sense of continuity and solidarity among his party...but Bush's low approval ratings are, to some degree, Rumsfeld's fault. He had the President's ear when it came to Iraq, and he made sure that his voice was heard above all. The man fell upon the GOP like a wet blanket, and his departure should make way for some progress.

All-in-all, what this election did is eliminate Republican dead weight(Mark DeWine, Bill Frist, Mark Foley, and others) and kick the party where it needs to be...just far enough right of the proverbial fence to give them an indentity, but much more moderate than they had been pointing in the past. The Democrats, despite all the mosaics they paint, are too far left to do this country any good in the long run. That will show over the next several years, as Republicans and moderate Democrats will become key players and elected officials over the next several years.

Finally, I hope that Jim Webb's supposedly "conservative Democrat" stance holds true, and he can become a voice of reason in a fairly unreasonable party. However, after watching him win an election due to an uninspiring campaign and a massive political meltdown by his opponent, I'm more inclined to believe that while Jim Webb might've been a solid military man for the Navy, he'll become a solid political robot for the Democrats.

As I close this tirade, many of you have come to a couple of conclusions. One may be that I'm a Republican(nay, I am a registered Independent, and I lean Libertarian), and the other may be that I am some sort of antagonist. Well, you are free to believe as you wish, but I will tell you that I am of the belief that in order to challenge a position, you have to challenge those who promote the position, as well. Hence why you'll hear me call out the names of columnists. Whether it be Erik Curren or W.R. Marshall at the Augusta Free Press, or the Paul Krugman's and Al Franken's of the world, I will challenge the thinking of these writers just as they challenge the thinking of those who oppose them, or the politicians they don't like.

I will not shy away from those who disagree with me, either. I'm free and open to debate with you, the reader, as well. Not only am I a contributor to the AFP, but I am also an avid reader. I know that I will receive positive and negative letters about my words. I'm not just expecting them, I'm encouraging them. My goal is not only to spew forth my opinion(whether you like it or not), but my goal is to provoke thought that counters much of the same-song drivel that you, the reader, may be taking in on a daily basis.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Weekly Podium: "Getting Beyond Rhetoric"

I hope the political pundits within the state of Virginia is happy. I hope the angry voters are happy. I hope the women of Virginia are happy.

They got what they supposedly wanted, someone other than George Allen. Someone other than a man who has done no harm to the state, and has represented Virginia well as a Senator. I know there are absentee ballots to be counted, but barring something short of an elephant-sized miracle, Jim Webb is our new junior Senator.

All "macaca" aside, there was nothing wrong with George Allen as far as whether or not he was a detriment to the state. He stood for lower taxes, smaller government, 2nd amendment rights, and other items. However, it was liberal rhetoric, skewed media, and the hoodwinking of voters that has led to this race being as close as it is.

The biggest piece of rhetoric was "George Allen marches in lock-step with George W. Bush!"

Now, as Jim Webb has not solidified himself on any particular stance, lets watch as our Senator-elect starts to march in lock-step with Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi(aka Hillary Clinton, Jr.), Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and become part of an immediate future filled with congressional gridlock and inaction...all of which will be blamed on the Republicans, as blame-shifting tends to be the liberal strategy as of late...well, I apologize for that. It has been their strategy for quite a while, now.

Speaking of the walking slab of New England concrete known as Senator Kerry, during his congratulation of Deval Patrick becoming Governor of Massachusetts, he spent over half of his speech talking about how great Ted Kennedy is, the other half talking about how "America spoke today", and only mentioned Patrick at the end...when he introduced him as the new Governor. Anyone else reading into Patrick's placement as more of a figurehead for supposed liberal "racial equality"? Obviously, John Kerry didn't think enough of his fellow party-mate to speak about his victory, other than announce him the winner.

Now, the liberals have the House and a strong minority in the Senate. Expect more Chicken Little-esque "the sky is falling" pro-environmental rants from the Left. By listening to these people, I've come to the conclusion that a few too many people took the unrealistic aspects of the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" a little too seriously. Erik Curren, I hope you reading this.

This may have been a good thing for the Republican cause, as several of the losers in their respective races are politicians who have bright futures ahead of them. Rick Santorum, Michael Steele, Bob Ehrlich, Jim Talent, and Mike McGavick all have time and potential on their side to pursue equal or higher offices in future years, and these are the gentlemen who will lead the Republican rebound from yesterday's loss. Most of those men would have won their targeted office, but just happened to get swept away in a tide of an admittedly well-crafted Democratic national campaign of rhetoric and slander, centered around turning the name "Bush" into a 4-letter word, and applying it to every conservative candidate out there.

With all of this rhetoric, no wonder there is a general malaise about the general public towards the government.

Oh, and could someone tell CNN that George Allen did not win the male vote in Virginia based on who his father was. Tell them it was because the majority of males in Virginia liked his policies over Webb's. Is it that hard to believe that Allen could be a better candidate than Webb? 49% of the population didn't think so...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Weekly Podium: "Smokers Having Their Rights Snuffed Out"

Since my last classes at Lord Fairfax Community College, I used to make the occasional visit to my former post-secondary institution of education. I had a few friends that were finishing up their degree programs, or simply taking a course or two for a certificate they were attempting to obtain.

Many of these former fellow students and friends of mine had long congregated in a sheltered area outside a set of double doors in an area dubbed "The Smoker's Pit". It was sheltered on 3 sides with a roof, and allowed for some reprieve from the usually miserable elements of mother nature that tend to plague the Northern Shenandoah Valley during the late fall and winter months. It also allowed for reprieve from the stress of exams, labs, and the other strains of college education by giving people a sheltered area in which to relax and have a cigarette or two between classes. Lots of political, social, and pop-culture related banter took place in "The Pit".

During my final year at LFCC, The Student Council not only allowed, but sponsored advertising for "National Smoke-Out Day", posting anti-smoking ads across the hallways of the college. Normally, I would have brushed this off as more liberal drivel and ignored it...except they faced one of these posters through the window towards those smoking in "The Pit". This was alright with the Student Union...but my marker-written replies on the back of the poster(facing inside the school) about Jim Fixx and other "pro-healthy living" people of the past and present(and their early demises) was considered "unacceptable" and "not promoting the health of LFCC students". I wasn't punished at all, but I was chastized for only

This anti-smoking campaign was created, of course, because 18-25 year olds in recent and present generations don't know that smoking can cause cancer and other diseases...that hasn't been drilled in our heads since the early 80's, right?

Upon my return visits to this institution, they have now forced all smokers to smoke in designated gazebos...with maximum exposure to the elements. Need a smoke when the wind chill is 5 degrees outside? Well, too don't even get a wall to protect you from the bitter cold wind.

Fast-forward to present day. Our esteemed Governor(and Mark Warner coat-tail rider)Tim Kaine has banned smoking in-and-around most government facilities, which is fine. However, now he's exploring the possibility of having smoking in restaurants/bars/etc...banned in the state of Virginia. What Mr Kaine does not realize is that tobacco usage is a staple of this state. To eliminate tobacco use would only drive out Richmond's stalwart corporations due to resentment towards Mr. Kaine's policies, but eliminate a right to smoke that liberals are attempting to eliminate throughout the country.

Smokers have long conceded various aspects of their rights to pacify the aggressive non-smoking advocates. Most restaurants have designated smoking areas to around the bar area, or reserved over two-thirds of dining area to non-smoking tables, forcing smokers at some restaurants to endure longer waits for tables on busier nights than non-smokers. Fast-food establishments, for the most part, banned smoking in their facilities long ago, although a few exceptions remain. Even my present employer forces employees not only to their cars...but have forced employees to drive off the property in order to smoke on their breaks.

Such is the price to burn one and relax for 10 minutes.

With all these concessions made, why the continued left-wing persecution of people for making a "lifestyle choice". If someone choses to be gay, be anti-American, or have a child out of wedlock, the liberals run to their defense as it is a "lifestyle choice". However, if someone wants to light up a cigarette because they enjoy it, down comes the proverbial hammer upon those who smoke because it's "unhealthy" and even "morally wrong", as smoking supports "those evil tobacco companies", as they are labeled by the anti-smoking advocates. Here's some breaking news to the liberal world, smokers know it is unhealthy, and to treat them as though they don't is condescending and demeaning.

I quit smoking for good several months ago as a personal choice, and as a favor to my wife(who requested I do so, as she was allergic to the smell of the smoke)...however, I refuse to quietly allow good people to have their rights denied because a handful of "activists" decided(as usual) to loudly voice their problems with smoking.

And even though I quit smoking, those commercials give me more of an itch to light up again than any Joe Camel ad ever did in my youth.