Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wouldn't It Be Funny If....

Newt: A GOP Dark Horse?

"Who...could conservatives end up backing? Well, who recently has come out with a new book? Who's doing all the shows talking about his new book? Who is advocating common-sense solutions to the most pressing problems America faces?

"Newt Gingrich, that's who."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

First Newt, Now Fred

Breaking news is that Fred Thompson has quit the race.

My endorsement is apparently the kiss of death.

Tommy Lee Jones

A recent article in the UK Guardian analyzes the film career of Tommy Lee Jones, making the point that in recent years he has hit his stride as an actor and in the roles he has played on film (as well as a few that he directed.)

The profile also makes sure that the reader understands that Jones is a mean SOB. If you've ever read interviews with him, or seen him make one of his surly, taciturn personal appearances on television, you'd probably already figured it out.

One phrase in the article -- author unknown, but sounds more like an American wrote it rather than a Brit -- was this: "You know what they say about west Texans past 50 -- How they don't change but just start to smell higher."

First, I'm not sure about exactly what that means, but I don't think it's a compliment. Second, have you ever heard that saying before?
Other than that weird statement, the profile is really good. It even mentions a western that not many people saw, a film directed by Jones: "The Good Old Boys."

In addition to that film, Jones starred in two more of my all-time favorite westerns: "The Missing" and of course, "Lonesome Dove."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

State Representative Elections - District 83

Delwin Jones is the State Representative for District 83 in the Texas House of Representatives. He won his 2006 election as a Republican with over 73% of the vote. He's been in office for 28 years. As you can tell from the map above, Jones represents Lubbock county and several surrounding counties. The city of Lubbock itself is District 84, represented by Carl Isett.

The Capitol Inside's Conservative Voting Index determined that Delwin Jones was the fourth least Conservative Republican in the Texas House. This score is "based on an average of scores assessed by the Texas Eagle Forum, the Young Conservatives of Texas and Heritage Alliance, which used to be known as FreePac. Scores assessed by the Texas Association of Business were also factored into the final equation this year."

The Texas Eagle Forum takes pro-family Conservative positions on legislation, and grades each Texas Representative on their stances. Delwin Jones opposed the TEF on House Bills involving a marriage fee increase and required pre-marital counseling; expansion of the CHIPs program; a tax increase due to an across-the-board pay increase of $6000 for teachers, librarians and counselors (worth noting is that Jones is endorsed by the Texas State Teachers Association, Texas Federation of Teachers and Texas Classroom Teachers;) a voter ID bill (Jones voted against requiring voters to provide proof of identity;) requiring voters to prove U.S. citizenship. Jones also voted against restricting the power of eminent domain -- remember the Supreme Court's decision to allow municipalities to take property from one private owner and give it to another private owner?

The Young Conservatives of Texas ranked Delwin Jones and State Senator Robert Duncan among the least Conservative Republicans in the most recent legislative session.

The Heritage Alliance likewise compares legislators' votes with the Conservative position the organization takes. Delwin Jones scored 55%, lower than the 58% scored by Democrat Joe Heflin from District 85.

So it's been established by various Conservative organizations that Delwin Jones is not a staunch Conservative, contrary to the quote by Senator Robert Duncan.

Jones is opposed in the Republican primary by Lubbock physician Joe Hnatek. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal ran a hit piece on Hnatek, who appears to be a weak contender anyway. The A-J article mentions Jones's opposition to school vouchers (or the right of parents to choose a school for their children -- remember the teachers unions' support for Jones) and how a wealthy pro-voucher donor could provide life to Hnatek's campaign.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The King is Dead

Bobby Fischer has died in an Icelandic hospital. He was 64.
I mourn for what could, and should, have been.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


It strikes me that many so-called Republican "conservative" politicians are simply taking stances less Liberal than the Democrats, and describing that position as "Conservative."

"The Democrats want to spend $200 billion on government welfare? I propose only spending $180 billion.

"See? I'm a Conservative."

One of the principles America was founded on was the concept of self-sufficiency and standing on your own two feet.

" . . . the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything that ever before existed in the world. . . . Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary* power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood. . . . "

[Edit: I forgot to cite this quote. It's from "Democracy in America" by Alexis de Tocqueville.]

*tutelary - "having the position of guardian or protector of a person, place, or thing"

A Quick Thought on "Change"

Barack Obama is promising "change." Hillary Clinton talked about her 35 years of "change." Mike Huckabee has talked about "change."

Janet LaRue made a pithy comment in her most recent column:

"Most of us won’t allow a hairstylist to “change” our do without an in-depth explanation. But a lot of us are buying into undefined promises of “change” from presidential contenders."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Answer to Life's Biggest Question

You have trouble with your debit or credit card at the store. It won't register properly when you swipe it through the machine. The cashier takes your card, wraps a plastic shopping bag tightly around it, and it works.


The Mental Floss website gives us the answer:

"There are tiny particles embedded in that magnetic strip on the back of your card. When the card is “swiped” through the reader, those particles are translated into binary code and transmits your card number (and other pertinent information) to the computer at the bank or wherever the merchant transmits the data for verification.
"As a card gets older and more worn, slight surface defects might occur in the magnetic strip that could corrupt the data stream. (The machine might read a zero where there isn’t one, and kick back your card as being invalid.)

"Increasing the distance of the card surface from the reader even a few thousandths of an inch often improves the signal-to-noise ratio, causing the electric eye to skip over the “ticks” in the magnetic strip. "

Now I can go back to sleep.

Friday, January 11, 2008

My Presidential Pick

Over the last year I put forth several times my reason to select Newt Gingrich as my choice for President. Because it would have been illegal under current campaign laws for him to remain the head of American Solutions and run for President, Newt withdrew his name from consideration.

I had to find another candidate to support.

Human Events recently
endorsed Fred Thompson as their choice for President, based on his Conservative record. In the endorsement statement they quoted Ronald Reagan: “A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply to swell its numbers."

Several weeks ago I decided that Thompson best fit my concept of what conservatism is, based in part on his interview with Charlie Rose:

Thompson states that his stance on particular issues derive from guiding principles, embodied in the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Beginning in late spring of last year, I read, studied and considered The Conservative Mind, by Russell Kirk. It's an immense, dense work, and it took me a long time to read it. A basic definition Kirk uses of conservatism is the same concept as Thompson uses -- that our institutions (such as the church) are based on hundreds years of established practices and beliefs, and that they should not be discarded based on a popular idea or the latest fad.

None of the other candidates have struck me as having the same principled basis; instead they seem to have arrived at particular positions based on political expediency. They claim the "Conservative" label, but not with the same credibility that Thompson possesses.

Fred Thompson for President in '08.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Global Warming Irony

Recently, Jeff Jacoby wrote a column entitled "Brrr - Where Did Global Warming Go?" He cited recent cold weather phenonema: record snowfall in New Hampshire, snow for the first time in 89 years in Buenos Aires, Australia had its coldest ever June -- as evidence that the global warming alarminsts (featuring Al Gore) are wrong.

Jacoby quotes scientists who repeat the notion that solar activity is the key element in global warming, and that the earth's recent warming trend may have peaked.

"Given the number of worldwide cold events, it is no surprise that 2007 didn't turn out to be the warmest ever. In fact, 2007's global temperature was essentially the same as that in 2006 - and 2005, and 2004, and every year back to 2001. The record set in 1998 has not been surpassed. For nearly a decade now, there has been no global warming. Even though atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to accumulate - it's up about 4 percent since 1998 - the global mean temperature has remained flat. That raises some obvious questions about the theory that CO2 is the cause of climate change."