Sunday, August 31, 2008

GOP Convention Day 1

Well, I'm down here at Republican convention in St. Paul, residing at a hotel in Bloomington. I figured I'd give you all some first-person perspective about what's going on. I volunteered to work down here, and my job isn't actually at the Excel Energy Center...I'm working at one of the delegate hotels...telling buses when to leave and greeting delegates. The delegations at the hotel I'm working at are the Tennessee and Alaska delegations...not normally that exciting, but with the recent pick by John McCain of Sarah Palin (Governor of Alaska) as his vice presidential running mate, suddenly my job may become much more exciting! Most likely she won't be there, but who knows?

Some exciting events for me today. I started out the day traveling to the Minneapolis Convention Center. I was invited through a contact of mine to go to the World Premier of the movie American Carol, a political parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol that makes fun of filmmaker (or should I say documentarian?) Michael Moore, as well as about every other group of people.
Check out the trailer for the movie here:

Right after checking in to the premier, patriotic singer Lee Greenwood kicked off a pre-show concert, where I was able to enjoy awesome America music, accompanied by free food (and beverages).

As I sat down for the movie, I chatted with the guy next to me. Turns out he is the Minnesota chairman of Young Republicans, and he is also the second cousin of the former superintendent of the high school I graduated from in North Dakota. Small world, huh?

Tomorrow (Monday) they canceled all of the extra fun stuff at the convention so everyone can focus on hurricain Gustav. Political party parties obviously go to the back burner when national emergencies take place, and kudos to everyone in charge who were able to evacuate 2 million people, which is a record evacuation. Proceedings will still take place at the GOP convention on Monday (with the rest TBA as the hurricain developes) as the Republicans have some mandatory things they have to take care of to legally exist as a party. President Bush and VP Cheney are skipping the convention to oversee things down at the Gulf.

I'm working on scoring some guest passes, so I can get an inside scoop from the convention. More to come!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What Happened to Optimism?

I just realized that my last post was the 50th post on my blog, and I forgot to throw a party. Instead, I'm going to share an email that was sent to me from the North Dakota College Republican Chairman, Shawn Affolter that reiterates conservative thinking. Many of you turn on the news and feel our country is broken, fundamentally flawed, and that society is going down the toilet. Any story fit to print must have a death, a rape, or a car crash or it's passed over. Just pay attention to the top news issues, and how the negative spin can be looked at in a much more positive light. Obesity? We're fortunate enough that we have to think about eating TOO MUCH! Unemployment. We get edgy when 6% unemployment happens? That means 94% of the country has jobs! Let me take you away from the negative, pessimistic sphere of the dominant liberal media and give you a healthy dose of conservative optimism:

Reflection Day
These two truths should be self-evident.

By Victor Davis Hanson
July 4, 2008

On this Fourth of July of our discontent — with spiraling fuel prices, a sluggish economy, a weak dollar, mounting foreign and domestic debt, continuing costs in Iraq, a falling stock market, and a mortgage crisis — we should remember two truths about America. First, the United States remains the most free and affluent country in the history of civilization. Second, almost all our problems are lapses of complacency, remain relatively easily correctable, and pale in comparison to past crises.

By almost any barometer, the United States remains the most fortunate country in the world. We continue to be the primary destination of immigrants, who risk their lives to have a chance at what we take for granted. Few in contrast are flocking to China, Russia, or India. The catalyst for immigration is primarily a phenomenon of word of mouth, of comparative talking among friends and families about the reality of modern-day living, not of scholarly perusal of social or economic statistics.

When one compares any yardstick of material wealth — the number of cars, the square footage of living space, the number of consumer appurtenances — Americans are the wealthiest people in the history of civilization. Why so? Others have more iron ore, as much farmland, greater populations, and far more oil reserves. But uniquely in America there remains a system of merit, under which we prosper or fail to a greater extent on the basis of talent, not tribal affiliations, petty bribes, or institutionalized insider help. More importantly still, we are impressed by those who advance rather than envious of their success. The lobster-barrel mentality is a human trait, but in the United States uniquely there is a culture of emulation rather than of resentment, which explains why neither Marxism nor aristocratic pretension ever became fully entrenched in America.

Our system of government remains the most stable and free. Consider the constitutional crises in Europe where national plebiscites continue to reject the European constitution that grows increasingly anti-democratic in order to force its vision of heaven-on-earth on its citizenry. There is no need to mention the politics of China, India, and Russia whose increasing affluence ensures a rendezvous with unionism, class concerns, suburban blues, minority rights, environmentalism — all long known and dealt with by the United States. Elsewhere the remedy for tribal and sectarian chaos in Africa or the Middle East is usually authoritarianism.

The current challenge of America is not starvation or loss of political rights — we have been far poorer and more unfree in our past, but the complacence that comes with continued success, to such a degree that we think of our bounty as a birthright rather than a rare gift that must be hourly maintained through commitment to the values that made us initially successful: high productivity, risk-taking, transparency, small government, personal freedom, concern for the public welfare, and a certain tragic rather than therapeutic view of the human experience.

In that regard, most of our present pathologies are self-created. In fits of utopianism we felt we could be perfect environmentalists, no longer develop our ample oil, coal, and nuclear resources, maintain our envied lifestyle, mouth platitudes about “alternative energies,” and yet be immune from classical laws of supply and demand. In truth, with a little national will, within a decade we could both be using new sources of energy and producing our entire (and decreasing) appetite for oil without importation at all of foreign supplies. When our petroleum runs out, we will find other sources of energy; when a Saudi Arabia’s or Venezuela’s fail, so goes their entire national wealth as well.

Our budgetary laxity is a bipartisan stand-off in which free-spending pork-barrel Republicans mouth platitudes about reductions in spending while Democrats continue to vote for increased government programs, assured that either military cuts or tax increases will pay the tab. We still await some gifted statesman who will convince us that we can increase revenues and cut spending without loss of essential governmental services or oppressive taxes.

Iraq is expensive, but draws on a fraction of a $12 trillion economy; for all the acrimony over the war, Iraq is stabilizing, al-Qaeda has been discredited, and the notion of constitutional government in the heart of the ancient caliphate is not longer caricatured as a neocon pipedream — an accomplishment beyond the military of any other country.

Slumping house prices are a concern, but we forget that nearly 95 percent of homeowners meet their monthly mortgage payments, that housing prices are merely returning to their 2002 levels — to the relief of first-time potential buyers — that many of the problems were caused by housing speculators who wished to flip properties for instant profits, by overzealous lenders who warped the rules, and by misplaced liberalism that sought to put everyone in his own home, despite the historical fact that between 30 percent and 40 percent of the population either should not, or does not wish to, own their homes.

Given the strength of our system and culture and our inherited values and wealth, as long as we don’t tamper with our Constitution, a uniquely American entrepreneurial culture, and the melting-pot notion of shared values rather than balkanized tribes, races, and religions, we can easily rectify our present mistakes without much reduction in our soaring standard of living. In America alone — for all our periodic hysterical self-recrimination — there is still comparatively little danger of coups, nationalization of foreign assets, crippling national strikes, sectarian violence, terrorism, suppression of free speech, or rampant government and judicial corruption that elsewhere lead to endemic violence and economic stagnation.

On this troubled Fourth we still should remember this is not 1776 when New York was in British hands and Americans in retreat across the state. It is not 1814 when the British burned Washington and the entire system of national credit collapsed — or July 4, 1864 when Americans awoke to news that 8,000 Americans had just been killed at Gettysburg.

We are not in 1932 when unemployment was still over 20 percent of the work force, and industrial production was less than half of what it had been just three years earlier, or July, 1942, when tens of thousands of American were dying in convoys and B-17s, and on islands of the Pacific in an existential war against Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Thank God it is not mid-summer 1950, when Seoul was overrun and arriving American troops were overwhelmed by Communist forces as they rushed in to save a crumbling South Korea. We are not in 1968 when the country was torn apart by the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago. And we are not even in the waning days of 1979, a year in which the American embassy was seized in Tehran and hostages taken, the Soviets were invading Afghanistan, thousands were still being murdered in Cambodia, Communism was on the march in Central America, and our president was blaming our near 6-percent unemployment, 8-percent inflation, 15-percent interest rates, and weakening international profile on our own collective “malaise.”

We live in the most prosperous and most free years of a wonderful republic, and can easily rectify our present crises that are largely of our own making and a result of the stupefying effects of our unprecedented wealth and leisure. Instead of endless recriminations and self-pity — of anger that our past was merely good rather than perfect as we now demand — we need to give thanks this Fourth of July to our ancestors who created our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and suffered miseries beyond our comprehension as they bequeathed to us most of the present wealth, leisure, and freedom we take for granted.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Little Known Truth About Phelps

My hat goes off to Michael Phelps. Shattering world records left and right, he crawled his way into Olympic history in an incredible way. Not only as an individual, but as a team as well...winning more gold medals in one Olympic games and more than anyone else has...ever.

Now with such a feat on the records, you know people will come out saying (as they already are), that such a machine is surely under the influence of performance-enhancing drugs. No, I'm not talking about Viagra, (which would most likely slow you down in the water, but I digress). I mean steroids and whatnot. Let me just throw a little wrench in the thought that Phelps is artificially great because of some drugs he's on.

Phelps VOLUNTEERED for extra rounds of drug testing (story here), including new and experimental tests for different drugs that were previously undetectable. Phelps signed up for a program that requires you to pee naked in front of officials to be sure there are no faked results. This was all part of a program called Project Believe, (click here for details) which tries to bring back trust by proving athletes are "clean" rather than that they are "dirty" via volunteer testing and above-and-beyond methods of testing.

Now I ask you: if Phelps were doping, why would he sign up for extra tests and increase his chances of being caught? Only someone with nothing to hide would subject himself to extra scrutiny voluntarily. Michael Phelps is a true champion, and one that other athletes should look to as an example. Bravo good sir, hope you don't hurt your neck with all those medals around it, the London games are only four years away!

Friday, August 15, 2008

O'reilly: Pinheads and Patriots 8/6

The pinhead segment just really goes to show an ugly trend in our country that comes with liberal thinking: that nothing is our fault and somebody else has to fix it. I really wish they would have played the dispatcher's response!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Homeless Hassled?

As you may have heard, at the Democratic convention they will be moving the homeless in an effort to make Denver look better during the convention later in August. I personally find this atrocious...the homeless will be put in shelters and given huge plasma TVs in order to watch the convention and I guess the intention is to get their votes by showing them who it was that gave them use of a ginormous TV for a couple of days. I'm not a fan of treating the homeless like dogs and rounding them up (see Germany, 1939) and giving them the proverbial gourmet dinner of Kibbles 'N' Bits to hush up the issue of homelessness in downtown Denver and other liberal parts of the country. I've noticed a pattern in all the places I've been in the country...the more liberal the city, the more homeless I see on the streets. Coincidence? Maybe. On a side note, I was in St. Paul over the weekend training as a volunteer for the Republican National Convention and was talking to some of the locals. One guy let me know that directly across from the Excel Energy Center is a large homeless shelter, and that the RNC has noted that none of Minneapolis' homeless will be relocated for their convention.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Obama's Slide

I'm going to predict this right now: Obama's popularity will continue to slip. This "freshie" of a senator is someone that people know absolutely nothing about. People desperate for a change latch on to anybody, and this is the guy they got. Now, people are actually starting to get to know him, and he's slipping in the polls (he's at a statistical tie with John McCain), and the more people know, the more they will realize how radical some of his ideas are and reject him. I was very amused at his solution to gas prices: inflate your tires and get tune ups! According to him, if everybody did this, we'd save just as much energy as if we drilled. OK, so why not do BOTH? Think how low prices would be. His next solution? Tax oil companies' profits and give everyone 1000 bucks. So investors (me) can't reinvest as much of those profits, so oil companies don't expand as much and gas prices double next year. So how much is he going to give us next year? $2000? It would be a perpetuating cycle of "taxing oil more, giving more to you, and gas prices increasing. So in other words an Energy Social Security, which is funded by taxing oil companies that Obama/Democrats are trying to drive into the ground anyway. Oil companies are our best hope for exploring alternative energies once oil runs out. Because once Exxon/Mobile runs out of oil to sell, are they just going to sit back and die? NO! They'll be the ones to fund research and development of new energy so they can keep making money, and Obama wants to tax the bejezzus out of them and give us money for oil that will just shoot up in price as the taxes put on the companies are reflected in the price at the pump? No thanks.
74% of Americans support offshore drilling and 56% support ANWR drilling; Obama's tire pressure solution will not make more people vote for him. Enjoy your ride on the slide down, Senator.