Friday, May 30, 2008

It Ain't About How Hard You Hit

I'm researching a lot of motivational material lately. Maybe because of nostalgia, one of my favorite movie characters of all time is Rocky Balboa.

In the movie of the same name, there's a brief motivational speech by Rocky to his son. It could have come straight out of Toastmasters. Would this guy have won the international speech contest?

Maybe not, but it sure moves me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ira Glass on Storytelling

I found these videos mentioned on mental_floss. They made such a strong impression on me that I wanted to include them here.

There are four videos -- #3 is my favorite. Glass makes a great point about our abilities not keeping up with our tastes.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Slippery Green Slope

The government's prosecutorial powers are vast and, more importantly, flexible. Many crimes or regulatory violations can be prosecuted because they involve "interstate commerce" in some way.

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the US Constitution gives Congress the exclusive authority to manage commerce between the states, with foreign nations, and Indian tribes. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has upheld decisions based on this clause for violations that otherwise had no bearing on "interstate commerce." Note: Some of the decisions were the right thing to do, but not based on an expansive definition of "commerce."

One landmark case involved an Atlanta hotel that refused to rent rooms to blacks. The court ruled that this practice interfered with interstate commerce and that the owners could be prosecuted under federal law. Another decision involved a California law that prosecuted anyone who brought an out-of-state "indigent" into the state. The state law was overturned by the SCOTUS because it affected "interstate commerce."

Although the SCOTUS in recent years has shown a tendency to interpret the law so as to actually involve commerce that is interstate, the precedent has already been set. An expansive interpretation of a law or regulation is the prerogative of the government.

Recently there has been a flood of legislation introduced to fight "global warming." (Read 80% of my previous posts if you want to know my opinion on global warming.) Polar bears have been put on the "threatened species" list, not because there's a shortage of polar bears, but because of the threat that global warming supposedly poses to their habitat.

Now there's a story headlined "Obesity Contributes to Global Warming." Given the broad and spreading interpretation of laws shown previously by the courts, it's not unreasonable to anticipate future prosecution of criminal charges against people the government deems overweight, because of their violation of "global warming" laws.

As with the "interstate commerce" clause, global warming laws can be expanded to prosecute any type of offense, based on what someone, somewhere says contributes to global warming. Politicians (including judges) pander to public opinion constantly, and lack the moral courage to resist the latest political fad whether it makes sense or not.

The global warming theorists have inserted themselves like ticks under the skin of politicians. The regulation of exhaust emissions by automobiles is the least of our worries these days. Soon, Americans will have every aspect of their lives controlled because of craven politicians and global warming profiteers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Obama's Trump Card

The Washington Post recently ran a story about the racism that Obama volunteers are running into while campaigning for the candidate. According to the story, "field workers, phone-bank volunteers and campaign surrogates are encountering a raw racism and hostility that have gone largely unnoticed -- and unreported -- this election season." They've been called "racially derogatory names" and endured "malicious rants and ugly stereotyping."

There are numerous anecdotes of what you'd expect, including one person telling a campaign worker to "hang that darky from a tree." (Note: I have known a lot of bigots in my time, and I can't think of one who would use such a phrase. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but it sounds like something from a poorly-written old movie.)

Then, an incident of racism occurred when a campaign office was vandalized, and comments like "Hamas Votes BHO" and "We don't cling to guns and religion" were spraypainted on the walls.


As stupid as vandalism is, and as much as the criminals should be punished, could those phrases really be classified as "racist?" I don't believe they are -- but the Washington Post used them as an example of the racist tendencies of many white Americans.

Think about that for a second. A major newspaper has classified spraypainted phrases against the black candidate as racist, even though there was no mention of race in either remark.

Do we see a template of how the campaign for the general election will be covered in the media? Any negative statement against Obama will immediately be designated as "racist," and the content of the point can be discounted without being answered.

The Post story goes on to say that Obama "has struggled to attract white voters who didn't attend college and earn less than $50,000 a year." Read that as "ignorant, poor white people." You know, the only group that is racist (merely by virtue of being poor, non-college-educated, and white.) The clear implication is that these people are not voting for Obama because he's black.

Meanwhile, Obama's support among black voters is a given. Political pundits blithely predicted Obama's victories in states such as South Carolina, Louisiana and North Carolina because of the large number of black voters in those states. (Obama received 78% of the black vote in SC, 90% in LA, and 91% in NC.)

Yet although much has been made about the blatant racism Obama faces among white voters, there is absolutely no outrage over the racism shown by 1) The huge percentage of black voters who support Obama, presumably because of his race, and 2) The "given" nature of that fact by political pundits, as though it were normal and expected, and 3) The lack of any sort of comment on the hypocrisy shown by all involved.

Apparently racism in favor of Obama is acceptable and the norm, while racism against Obama is to be abhorred and condemned in the strongest possible language.

A person with any sense doesn't use race as a factor in making decisions such as electing a candidate. That includes those who vote for a candidate based on his race. The problem is that not only is there a double standard regarding racism when it comes to Obama, but the definition of racism has been broadened to include almost any remark a person can make about him -- unless it's a glowing endorsement.

To avoid being labeled a racist myself, here are some of the reasons I am against Barack Obama:

  • He's a Democrat.
  • He's a Liberal.
  • He has no clue about the war on terror.
  • He wants Americans to pay a tax to the United Nations.
  • He is pro-abortion.
  • He wants to take away the Bush tax cuts.
  • He voted "no" (twice) to reduce the federal deficit.
  • He believes global warming is caused by humans.
  • He believes government has the right to ban handguns.
  • He's a Liberal Democrat.

Okay, you get the idea. Go to to see more of Obama's positions and votes.

My thought is this: there are so many other reasons to vote against Barack Obama that his race isn't even an issue.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008