A Sign of the Times

We passed through the electronics section of WalMart this evening. The generic, no-frills DVD player is $10 cheaper than the generic, no-frills VHS player. Wow.

Negiotiating with Iran

Condi Rice announced yesterday that we're going to participate in the Mr. Sadr's Neighborhood talks coming up that will include representatives from Iran and Syria. Some people hail this as a sign of progress--that we're finally going to start negiotiating with our enemies. I don't think progress is the right word.

When you're "negiotiating" with someone who is poking you in the eye with a sharp stick, there is not much bargaining room. Stop or else is the only position that has any meaning or value. Unless of course you like getting poked in the eye with a sharp stick. You can't reason with these people. They only understand one kind of negiotiation. I'll repeat my earlier contention that our situation in Iraq would be dramatically improved if there were a few industrial "accidents" and "heart attacks" in both Syria and Iran.

That's what I'd take to the "negiotiations." Anything else is a sign of weakness that will certainly be received with the contempt it deserves.


The First Church of Gaia

Environmentalism has become a religion. (With apologies to any offended Muslims) "There is no god but Gaia, and Al Gore is her prophet."

Environmentalism has all of the hallmarks of a major faith movement. They demand strict compliance to a code of behavior--but sell indulgences, known as carbon offsets, to keep from actually being personally inconvenienced by them. (Inconvenience is for the little people, not the priesthood) They banish and attempt to destroy anyone who asks annoying questions rather than simply accepting the doctrines handed down from on high. This choler is particularly strong toward defectors from within their own ranks. They fly around the world in private jets to decry excessive energy use (clutching those precious indulgences as a shield against their obvious hypocrisy).

This would all be very amusing if it were not so dangerous. The lives of millions of people in poor countries have already been lost due to malaria because of the hysterical overreaction to junk science regarding DDT decades ago. It is literally a matter of life and death. Worship of the environment and the war on progress being waged by its devotees will end up killing more people than all the other religious wars in human history...if it hasn't already.


Now THAT Is An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore won an Oscar last night (no electoral votes there) for his scare-mongering screed on global warming. Sanctimoniously he took the stage to declare that we need "the will" to save the planet. If only he would take his own advice. (from Drudge)

Mon Feb 26 2007 17:16:14 ET

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization committed to achieving a freer, more prosperous Tennessee through free market policy solutions, issued a press release late Monday:

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy. Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006. Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

For Further Information, Contact: Nicole Williams, (615) 383-6431 editor@tennesseepolicy.org


Happy 18th Birthday Bud

Well, last week my (youngest) turned 18! OUCH.

So, while I'm somewhat put out with him for reaching such an advanced age, I wanted to say a word or two about Bryant Earl Byers.

Over the past 18 years, I've watched him grow into a tall, strong, and gifted young man. It was hard to see him go off to college last fall, but I know it's part of the process. The ability to stand on his own two feet--the willingness to take a stand when he needs to, is something I've really come to appreciate about my son. I'm impressed that he wants to do what is right. When he's faced difficulty, he doesn't back down. He just dusts himself off and gets back on the horse. I think that trait is going to stand him in good stead for years to come.

He loves God, loves his mom, and loves his country. He even (usually) tolerates his big sister. It's hard to complain about that!

Bud, I'm proud of you.

More of the Clinton Legacy

With Hillary running for President, it's worth taking a look back and remembering exactly what things were like when she and Bill were running the country. In his words, we got "two for the price of one." (And boy what a price!)

When the Chinese successfully tested an anti-satellitle missile last month, destroying an aging weather satellite some 500 miles up, it didn't get as much attention as it deserved. Both our military and our economy have become increasingly satellite dependent. An enemy with the ability to knock out our satellites has incredible leverage...without ever actually firing a shot at us.

And even the small attention their missile test did receive did not usually include notice of the role Bill Clinton played in helping dramatically advance Chinese military techonology. By approving Loral's sale of guidance technology to the Communist government, Bill Clinton reaped huge donations to his Presidential Library...and put our nation at risk. You can find more information about this despicable behavior in the well-known "right wing" publication called the New York Times from back in 1998.

Those who view Hillary as a viable candidate need to think about how she is going to respond when this kind of stuff comes up--not in the general election but in the primary. "I'm not some Tammy Wynette" may have defused the now-admitted allegations of Gennifer Flowers once, but it's not going to cover the multitude of transgressions she's going to have to answer for. She cannot reap the benefits of being Bill's wife and gain credit for his successes without also taking responsibility for the multitude of failures and indiscretions of his administration...and beyond. I expect at least one of her opponents to start raising the question of the Clintons' fundraising connections, picking up on the "Lincoln Bedroom" line from this past week. It's a short step from there to the Buddhist monks (remember "no controlling legal authority" Al Gore?), Johnny Chung, and Loral. And frankly, it's a series of questions she should have to answer. If we had an unbiased press, they would do the job, but that isn't happening. So if her opponents don't ask the question, someone must.

It is quite possible that Hillary will prove to be a hemophiliac candidate--once she gets cut, her campaign may quickly bleed to death. The knives are already starting to come out. Obama and Edwards are not going to passively allow her to determine and dominate the "acceptable" topics of conversation. And it's pretty hard to dismiss them as part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.


Duncan Hunter is THE Best Pro-Life Candidate

One of the reasons I like Duncan Hunter for President is that he is unapologetic about his stance on the issue of abortion. Unlike the "big three" front-runners, there is no question about his position. He doesn't change it to suit his audience, nor does he back down from stating it. In fact, on his campaign website, when you click on "Where I Stand" the very first issue he addresses is abortion.

It made the news this week in the New York Times that conservative religious leaders aren't satisfied with the candidate choices. I'd urge them--and you--to take a good hard look at Hunter. No, he doesn't have the name recognition or the funding of the better-known guys, but he's right on all the major issues--something you can't get with ANY of the other Republicans in the field.


You Don't Have To Be Crazy

Maybe you've seen the "motivational" office poster that says You Don't Have To Be Crazy To Work Here, But It Helps! Somehow that came to mind when I saw this picture. I don't know who's crazier--the people who dreamed this up, or the people who are already planning their first walk.

As for me, I think I'll just stick to looking over the edge.


Duncan Hunter for President

Well, since the election campaign is starting whether I like it or not, I'm going to go ahead and share my choice. I've made no secret of the fact that I'm not exactly blown away by the field. But there is one candidate, long shot though he is, that is more than acceptable to a conservative. That candidate is Congressman Duncan Hunter from California.

Now the first thing that needs to be said is that the last President elected to office directly from the House of Representatives was James Garfield...which was a long time ago. I do not think that his chances of winning are high. But he is worthy of a look--especially for those of us who find the "big three" completely lacking.

Hunter is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and has been a consistent and faithful conservative in Congress (unless say McCain). He's pro-life, pro-gun, and not pro-tax. He's serious about the most important issue, the war on terror. In passing, I want to lay to rest the idea some people, especially Christian bloggers, are promoting that Mike Huckabee is an acceptable alternative. Folks, if you like the spending habits and social compromises of the Bush Administration (I don't!) you're going to love Huckabee. He is NOT a conservative in the Reagan tradition. If you want another Bush term, vote for Jeb instead and get the real thing instead of an imitation.

So for whatever my two cents are worth, Hunter is my guy. You can check out his official campaign website here.


Borderline Treason

From the Victory Caucus comes this gem (that has since been scrubbed from the website of the liberal bunch that sent it out but not before it was seen and saved) sent out by a liberal organization that tells way more about the mindset of the Democratic Party than they probably intended:

Coming Tomorrow!!


Join Us!

Join us tomorrow at 11:00 AM EST when Congressman Jack Murtha will outline new details of a strategy to use his Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense to oppose the Bush war in Iraq. Congressman Jim Moran, another Committee member, predicts the Committee action will be the “bite” that follows this week’s Congressional “bark” – the three-day debate on a non-binding Congressional resolution.

The Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense has begun consideration of the president’s $93 billion supplemental appropriations request for Iraq. Action on the request will be the first opportunity for the new Congress to exercise its “power-of-the-purse” over the Iraq war.

Chairman Murtha will describe his strategy for not only limiting the deployment of troops to Iraq but undermining other aspects of the president’s foreign and national security policy. Chairman Murtha discusses these steps in a videotaped conversation with former Congressman Tom Andrews (D-ME), the National Director of the Win Without War coalition, sponsor of MoveCongress.org. Join us here tomorrow for this exclusive interview. (emphasis added)

The difference between "undermining...the president's foreign and national security policy" during a time of war and outright treason is so small that I can't quite figure out a way to measure it. I do not believe that President Bush has done everything right...in fact there are any number of things I wish he would change. But arguing the details of policy, personnel and procedure is not the same thing as intentionally setting out to make us lose a war. Disgusting.


My Inheritance Jackpot

Proverbs 19:14 says, "House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD." This means that, just as you might inherit a house or money from your parents (thankfully mine are still alive), a man inherits a great wife directly from God.

21 years ago on Valentine's Day, I hit the inheritance jackpot. Brenda is the best friend I have, my biggest fan, and the one who shares my dreams. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, she believes in me. And I am very grateful both to God and to you Babe for all that you do! Thank you, and Happy Anniversary.


In Which I Contemplate Why Something That Should Excite Me Depresses Me Instead

336 days. That's how long we have to wait until the Iowa caucuses meet to cast the first meaningful votes in the 2008 Presidential primaries.

The early start to the political season should be invigorating for me. I've been a confirmed political junkie since my mother explained the difference between electoral and popular votes to me in 1968 as we listened to the results of the Nixon-Humphrey-Wallace election on the radio. Of course in those days, they didn't tell you who won before the vote happened, so you had to actually wait for the numbers. I noticed she was only writing down certain parts of the reported numbers, asked her why, and that's how I learned the difference. I was six years old.

But frankly, the upcoming political campaigns do not fill me with the accustomed zeal for battle, appreciation of clever tactics and ads, or desire to get involved. I am utterly unimpressed with the leading candidates for both parties. If my primary election choice comes down to voting for a man who believes Jesus and the Devil are brothers or a man who is pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, and pro-gun control, how do I vote? If my general election vote is between a shrewish power-hungry Senator who would bring the most corrupt President in history back to the White House with her and a somewhat deranged war hero who trashes the Constitution in the name of reform and routinely sells out his political party to grab a few favorable headlines, what am I to do?

I am not given to protest votes for meaningless third party candidates. My operating philosphy is always to vote for the smaller bug (the lesser of two weevils, you see) even if he (or she) doesn't really line up with my view perfectly. And I guess if push comes to shove, I can find something better about the opponent compared to a candidate of color--that color being the completely green, inexperienced, untested and unready Senator from Illinois--to vote for.

But I have no enthusiasm for the prospect. Somebody wake me up when it's over.


Praise the Dutch Oven

This morning on the news, I received word that a tremendous social injustice has been righted, a long-ignored problem corrected, a blight on our society finally addressed. Yes, the State of Oklahoma now has proposed to recognize the official State Cooking Utensil--the Dutch Oven! How relieved I am to know that we no longer are ignoring this critical aspect of our social compact. How blessed am I to live in such an enlighted state.

I made the mistake of mentioning this to my wife...

who promptly informed me that if I ever again wish to taste her delectable, melt in your mouth, make you think you've died and gone to Heaven, ultimately tender and delicious pot roast, I should not mock the Dutch Oven.

Therefore, I rise today ladies and gentlemen to lend my support to the measure recognizing the Dutch Oven as the official State Cooking Utensil of Oklahoma. Long may it boil.


John Kerry, This One's for You

From the Big Lizard: I wasn't even aware that Gen. David Petraeus has a PhD in International Relations from Princeton University. Were you? (If only he had studied harder, he might not be stuck in Iraq!)

Yep, that pretty much says it all. I was also very interested to read that one of Gen. Petraeus' top advisors is Col. Michael Meese, son of President Reagan's Attorney General.

Happy Birthday President Reagan

Today, Ronald Reagan would have been 96 years old. I wish we had him as President again. His vision, clarity of purpose, and optimism are sorely missed today.

I turned 18 too late to vote in the primary election in 1980, so the very first vote I ever cast was for Ronald Wilson Reagan to be President of the United States. He remains the great standard against which Presidents of my lifetime will be measured. In historical perspective, you can make an argument for George Washington, and perhaps Lincoln as having done more for the nation. I'd place him ahead of Lincoln, for although he did not face the crisis of a Civil War, he also worked to limit the scope and reach of government rather than to expand it.

During his tenure in office, he had many critics. (They never seemed to influence him in the slightest.) And even today, there are many who refuse to acknowledge his achievements. But he changed the world in a way few others in history have ever done. We are all, not just Americans, indebted to his work.

And for what it's worth, I voted for President Bush, but when I hear conservatives speak of him being like Reagan, I want to puke. No, he's not. And that's too bad.



They're having some sort of golf show in Tulsa this weekend. Saw an ad for it on the news tonight. One of the featured guests is a long driving champion whose nickname, I kid you not, is "The Beast." Now I'm a long way from being the world's best golfer. I haven't played in years. In fact one of the last times I played, the golf pro said, "I know what your problem is. You're standing too close to the ball after you hit it!"

But still, even though I'm not a golf fan, I cry foul at that nickname. Maybe for hockey or football or even pro wrestling (not really a sport, but still popular), but golf???? You've got to be kidding me.

A Triumph of Form over Function

The weather we've had three times this winter has placed the local school systems in a bind. They missed six days, and most of the school districts had either two or three allowed for the snow. So they're facing three or four makeup days. Several of the districts floated the idea of adding 30 minutes per day to cover the time without cutting into breaks or extending the school year. Today the Oklahoma Board of Education nixed that proposal. The law says 175 days in school, and that's what they're sticking to.

This misses the point, and it does so in a very instructive way. The focus is on, not just time in the classroom, but days in the classroom. There is no apparent or expressed concern with learning. They're so intent on enforcing the law as written that they're missing the purpose for the law. Teach the kids what they need to know. The rest is details. Bill Oncken once wrote, "Not only is there more than one way to skin a cat, but looking at a professionaly-skinned cat after the fact, you can't tell which method was used."

More attention to result over process would go a long way toward improving the educational output. It's easier to measure days in class than actual learning. It's also far less important.

Oh yeah, just one more reason we homeschooled our kids all the way through.

A Resolution the Senate Can Support

As the Senate ties itself in knots trying to pass some sort of resolution on Iraq, even if it doesn't mean anything, NRO's Jim Geraghty comes forward today with something that truly offers potential for unifying the members across the partisan divide:

Why don't they just introduce a resolution declaring, "We, the Senate, like all the good parts of the war and disapprove of all the bad parts. We demand all credit for anything that goes right, and reject any blame for anything that goes wrong"?


Down by Pennies, Up by Nickels and Dimes

The gas price went back up yesterday--14 cents! It's amazing to me that it goes down by one or two cents, but when it goes up, it's all at once. I do not begrudge Exxon-Mobile their record profits last year. The economic illiterates that report the news ignore their profit margin (barely 10%) because that's not nearly as good a story as "record profits" for oil company. But I do hate the way the gasoline prices are manipulated at the pump. If it can go up that fast, it could come down that way too!