Sociable

Thursday, October 21, 2010

JUAN WILLIAMS fired from NPR

October 21, 2010

Juan Williams fired by NPR

Wow! It’s now official that National Public Radio is enslaved to left-wing, liberal special interest groups. Last night on The O’Reilly Factor commentator Juan Williams quite candidly mentioned he gets nervous if he is on an airplane with individuals in Muslim garb. He then explained that it wasn’t right to ‘profile’ or judge, but that it was his honest reaction when on a plane with Muslims.

CAIR – a Muslim activist group - called for “action” in retaliation to the supposedly bigoted speech… and NPR fired Juan Williams.

Other blogs undoubtedly will dissect if the comment was appropriate, accurate, bigoted or whatever. We may even get Obama to state that NPR acted ‘stupidly’… but that’s not where I’m going.

During the campaign and just after the election, Mr. Williams was a definite cheerleader for Obama and the progressive tract of the administration. This lasted a few months. But then I was shocked to see him drift moderate – even conservative. He agreed that the Health Care Bill went against the will of the people, was far too complex and convoluted. He recognized the abomination of 2000-page bills that were being passed unread. I was thrilled – Juan Williams was coming to see the light.

Then someone got to Juan Williams. I don’t know if someone told him he needed to ‘get back into his place’ or what. But the result was as obvious as a cockroach on a white carpet… the old Juan Williams was back… with more Kool Aid than ever! Since the Summer of ’09 he’s even more of an apologist for the Obama/Pelosi/Progressive agenda than ever.

Then this happens and NPR fires him. NPR. Not exactly the most ideological “level playing field”. A left-wing news outlet gets rid of a moderate. He’s carried so much water for the liberal left and they just cut him loose for speaking his mind. The supposed champions of free speech – the left – show themselves for what they are. They are hypocrites who only support the free expression of their speech. This is why it is only conservative speakers like Ann Coulter that are assaulted at college appearances. It is why Tess and I witnessed hecklers here in Denver shouting down Newt Gingrich during his presentation at the CELL function. It is why liberal operatives like Mara Liason, Bob Beckel, Susan Estrich will consistently turn a dialogue into a cacophonic shouting match – trying to prevent the other side from speaking their mind.
=== ADHD moment --- why won't Susan Estrich just ONCE sing Hello Dolly?!?!? I would buy Pay-Per-View for THAT one ---

Conservatives (like me) agree strongly with Thomas Jefferson’s opinion that the cure to ‘bad’, ‘unpopular’, or even ‘hate’ speech is not censorship… but more speech. Obviously the liberal fascists don’t agree… to them any speech that conflicts with their own progressive agenda must be silenced. When do the book burnings begin?

And the vital part of this argument, that I doubt many others will address – one I alluded to before – No matter how much Juan Williams did to promote the liberal agenda, the moment he (forgive me) ‘went off the reservation’, he was cut loose. TOTALLY cut loose from the liberal left and disowned.

Now, granted the GOP cut their members loose as well, but (here’s the key) only in cases of unethical behavior or even accused unethical behavior. The Progressives on the other hand throw their comrades under the bus when they don’t tow the liberal line. Time to look up Saul Alinsky. Rev. Wright, Van Jones… and now Juan Williams. It’s getting awful crowded under that bus!



AND RANDOM THOUGHTS
October 20, 2010

The Pretender

Lately, I’ve been borrowing the TV show The Pretender from the library, catching up on episodes I missed. I love The Pretender like no other series I’ve ever watched. Why?

I truly empathize with Jarod in so many episodes!

Of course I recognize the differences - I’m not a genius as Jarod is. Of course, no one is… at least I hope not. Not because I’d be worried or afraid of someone with that much knowledge, but because I realize that a ‘Jarod’ couldn’t exist without all the pain becoming ‘Jarod’ would require. (Pain that is accurately shown in the flashbacks of the series). Look at Bobby Fischer, or better yet Michael Jackson… here was truly a musical genius (a phrase far too overused, but appropriate with MJ)… and that genius was the result of a childhood few of us would envy. And so it is with many prodigies. Often they excel in their ‘youth’ because they are escaping something. They throw themselves into their learning as a type of self-medication or as an escape. This gives them a different perspective and ‘starting point’ when compared to the rest of us, and it forever shapes their lives. Genius like that doesn’t come without a price.

In the Pretender, the bad guys always get what’s coming to them. Not only will they be found out, found guilty, and punished… but there is the added bonus that they will be made to feel as their victim felt. Along with Quantum Leap, there are very few TV shows that I can think of that have a core of beliefs truly dear to my heart –


  • One person can make a difference

  • Our minds are limitless, we can be anything we want to be

  • Nothing is as important as helping others, and nothing is more fulfilling

  • Seeking justice is right, but one must always be vigilant not to cross the line to vengeance, for that makes you no different than the perpetrator.

  • None deserve love and assistance like the innocent and the young

  • Sometimes people get the ‘short end of the stick’ through no fault of their own… sometimes through the malevolent, evil, or greedy design of others. It is our responsibility as decent human beings to correct those wrongs!

  • Everyone has the opportunity for redemption, with the condition that one admits their own mistakes and make amends first

  • We change the world with one person, one simple action at a time

  • There is no weapon like knowledge

  • There is nothing so precious as fairness, and nothing so worth fighting for

  • Doing the right thing is honestly its own reward – kindness with attention is not pure and therefore not kindness, only grandstanding.

  • ALL THE ABOVE IS MEANINGLESS WITHOUT LOVE

I guess most of the old shows, from “Adam 12”, “Cheers”, “M*A*S*H” and even “All in the Family” have some essential lessons and many of them are common from one show to the next. But when you look at a “6 Million Dollar Man” or a “McGuyver”… yes, they have the moral lessons, but overall they are action/survival shows. The Pretender could be safe, rich, and successful… actually incredibly wealthy if you think about it, if he just kept his head low and didn’t try to help others. But he wouldn’t be happy if he were only selfish and concerned about self-preservation. His happiness is in using his abilities to help others.

I’m amazed how, after all you’ve been through, you still have the compassion to help others.” – Jarod’s Dad in the episode “Donnoterase”

Another thing I love about the series is its fidelity to roles Jarod takes on. He doesn’t just mumble some great sounding mumbo-jumbo to sound impressive… the medicines he describes as a doctor, he describes accurately, the SEAR techniques he refers to as an Army Survival trainer are actual Army techniques and practices. They must have had a BOATLOAD of technical advisors on staff!

Dialogue, Episode “ Risqué Business”

• Jarod (As a sex therapist) – “I have a case that’s starting to trouble me.”

• Dr. Arnett (Another sex therapist) – “Maybe I can help you with it.”

• Jarod: “Maybe you can. Being that you have such insight into the mind of sexual predators. You see, I’m having trouble understanding his motivation.”

• Dr. Arnett: “You know, Jarod, it’s control. Sex maybe the avenue they choose, but underlying motivation? It’s always control. To get it, to put the victim down, debase his very humanity… it’s the only way the predator can convince himself he’s worthy.”

Jarod: “And if he refuses to seek treatment?”

Dr. Arnett: “Without admission of responsibility… very little hope of improvement.”

Jarod: “Then guess I better figure out a more radical form of therapy.”

Few people outside the counseling/social services fields know this very simple fact, have considered it, or even heard of it. It’s this kind of fidelity to plot that permeates every episode, and makes every episode so enjoyable. It is also for this reason that episodes aren’t just empty costume parades… an endless fashion show of personas and abilities (this week he scuba dives, next week flies, wait for him to take off in a shuttle!) He’s a cop, or a fireman, an NTSB investigator… he’s not a Congressman or President… the plausibility is never beyond the acceptable. I’m halfway through Season 4… can’t wait to see the rest!!

As soon as I can, I’m buying the whole freaking series on DVD! If you get the chance, rent it and watch it. Or do what I do, get it from the library! It’s well worth your time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where Housing Went Wrong

There’s a warning of an oncoming ‘tsunami’ of housing foreclosures. Banks are currently holding on to enormous numbers of ‘bad assets’ – namely foreclosed properties they confiscated when families couldn’t pay their mortgages. If and when the housing market turns the corner, and sales start to improve, the banks are expected to flood the market with hundreds of thousands of properties – glutting the market and sending housing prices spiraling downwards.

Much has been made and said (here as elsewhere) regarding the Community Investment Act. This boneheaded move by President Carter, advanced by Clinton, and spearheaded by Barney Frank placed the government in a fascist position of forcing banks to loan to unqualified buyers. The banks knew darn well the buyers couldn’t afford the houses they were buying, but were threatened with the wrath of the federal government if they (the banks) didn’t make the unsecured and unwise loans.

The argument then, and now, is that the Community Investment Act opened opportunities to lower income families and made the American Dream attainable to millions of Americans stuck in the dead-end of renting.

BUT there is a key aspect to this scenario that has been totally ignored. There WAS a program designed to do the very same thing… on that worked very well even BEFORE the Community Investment Act. HUD homes served the exact same purpose and worked very well. The way HUD homes used to work was this:

Let’s say someone bought a house for $200,000 but stopped making payments after $80,000. The bank foreclosed and turned the house over to HUD. HUD then put the house on the market for $120,000. The bank was happy; it made $80K. HUD was happy; it made $120K. The new buyer was happy; they got a $200K house for only $120K. A lower-income buyer was able to get a good house for an amount they could reasonably take on.

BUT THEN the government got greedy. (Aren't you shocked!!) They switched from trying to help citizens to trying to collect money. They decided, “Why make only $120K on a house worth $200K? Lets make as much money as we can!” So they switched from turning around houses and giving lower-income folks a chance at home ownership to soaking more cash from the citizens. They instituted a bidding format by which those wanting to buy HUD homes had to present sealed bids which would then be compared by a HUD board… the highest bid would win the house. WHEN THE GOVERNMENT ENDED THE OLD WAY OF GRANTING HUD HOMES, they created a “crises” - a ‘crisis’ they could then fly in and fix through more government intrusion by way of the Community Investment Act. There’s a part of me that thinks, “If they had just left things alone, then we wouldn’t have the problem in the first place.”

But then my Libertarian/Founding principles side kicks in and I ask, “Why does the government need to be involved in the first place?” Couldn’t banks just… on their own… decide to sell that house for the $120K that’s still owed? It would be like a transfer of a car when the owner just wants someone to assume the payments. The bank hasn’t lost any money, again someone has grasped the American Dream, and the bank isn’t holding a ‘bad asset.’ Best of all, the government doesn’t have its greedy paws on a private transaction.

It’s examples like this that show just how LITTLE we need the government, and furthermore how getting the fed involved will screw things up even worse than they were to begin with. When individuals (especially liberals and Progressives) say that Capitalism doesn’t work they don’t recognize that we haven’t had Capitalism in the United States since FDR and the New Deal! The fed has gotten its grubby paws on the free market and caused problems that weren’t there to begin with! The majority of banks and bankers in America are true Americans - like George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) in It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s the GOVERNMENT that has more in common with Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore)! Do I think we should go back to a Capitalist free-for-all with limited rules and regulations? ABSOLUTELY! Contingent upon a return of morals, ethics, faith, and standards! We must reinstitute the number one regulator of free markets – the golden rule; treating others as you would have them treat you. Respect, shame, self-restraint, and yes – Christian attitudes – are the only thing that will make it work!

But it CAN work! It HAS worked! Before the Progressive Era of the early 20th Century, these were the ideals considered ‘commonplace’ throughout the country. ‘Progress’, ‘Change’, and ‘moving forward’ ARE NOT always a good thing – if that change and forward progressiveness takes you in the wrong direction!

Friday, October 15, 2010

STOP SAYING OBAMA’S A MUSLIM!

October 13, 2010

Look, I’m as enthusiastic as anyone in pointing out that Obama is a self-serving Progressive with a self-loathing of this great country. He is a blame-America-first apologist in foreign affairs and a staunchly redistributive Socialist in domestic affairs.

As far as his place of birth, the evidence is extensive yet specious on BOTH sides, so I wouldn’t be surprised either way. When I see the emails like the ones referring to “Cattle Guards” I check sources and quickly dismiss the obviously bogus assertions. I don’t ‘bite’ for just anything that happens to be anti-Obama.

When this hullabaloo regarding his faith “30% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim” emerged, I took it with a grain of salt as well. My initial reaction was, “It doesn’t really matter what he says he is… what are his actions?” After all, isn’t it the bible that mentions we shall know what a tree is by its fruit? When I was growing up in Catholic schools we would sing the song “The shall know we are Christians by our love.” It was the prime example of ‘actions speak louder than words.’

But what has Obama himself said about faith?

Here’s a quote from an article he wrote in Time Magazine in October of 2006:
“This isn’t to say [my mother] provided me with no religious instruction. In her mind, a working knowledge of the world’s great religions was a necessary part of any well-rounded education. In our household, the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad-Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek Norse and African mythology.”
It appears he views the Bible as little more than any other series of mythic beliefs. But he goes further…
“I was made to understand that such religious samplings required no sustained commitment on my part…”
Imagine a guy who sees relationships the same way… who sees sex as requiring ‘no sustained commitment.’ It would be the kind of guy who keeps books like the Kama Sutra on a shelf next to his Penthouse collection alongside Dr. Laura books on relationships… they are all just different views of relationships and sex; good resource material. But the need for commitment isn’t there… one doesn’t have to be invested in one book or another, because various views of sex and relationships are all equal.
Obama continues…
[such religious samplings required] no introspective exertion or self-flagellation. Religion was an expression of human culture, she would explain, not its wellspring, just one of the many ways – and not necessarily the best way – that man attempted to control the unknowable and understand the deeper truths about our lives.”

So religion is to Obama an ‘expression of human culture.’ Like art, or music, it is only a way to communicate beliefs. It certainly isn’t something ‘real’ or ‘concrete’ as George Washington, Ben Franklin, or Thomas Jefferson saw it. Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammad- they are little different than John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Bob Dillon, or Hercules or Isis. He’s not talking about the Creator of the Universe (as Jefferson phrased it in the Declaration of Independence) or the ‘Almighty God’ that Lincoln invoked in the Emancipation Proclamation when he requested His ‘gracious favor.’

This is a man who sees religion as a set of viewpoints, observations, and expressions but not really “real.” This explains his condescending and dismissive attitude when he spoke of Americans ‘clinging to their guns and religion.’ This is also why, for over 20 years, he associated with a church that was more interested in a political philosophy (Black Liberation Theology) than a purely gospel/epistle foundation. If you read through Jeremiah Wright’s sermons (not just the overplayed sound bites) he is far more a political speaker and activist than a biblical scholar. Which is exactly what drew the Harvard Law Student and Community Organizer Barry Obama. And let’s take this one step further. It explains the ‘objective’ and ‘detached’ position he takes regarding the Jews and Palestine – when one removes the religious significance of Jerusalem (those silly superstitious beliefs), one sees the Jews and Palestinians as quibbling over a few square miles of real estate and certainly not deserving of deference one way or the other.

Obama is a “post religious,” “post faith,” and “post God” president. He doesn’t need to follow the same myths and superstitions that the hoi polloi cling to. So from his vantage point, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jim Jones, or David Koresh are all the same. He doesn’t really care if he’s considered a Christian or Muslim any more than he cares whether he’s considered a Beatle’s fan or a Korn fan… they are all just expressions of belief anyways. As Obama wrote in the above mentioned article, “[religion is] a phenomenon to be treated with suitable respect, but with a suitable detachment as well.”

In the words of John Lennon, “Imagine no religion.”

Monday, October 04, 2010

A Non-Profit world

October 3, 2010
The Non-Profit world

I guess my first exposure to non-profit organizations was back in 1972 when Fr. Dennis Dwyer brought me on board for the Catholic Youth Services’ The Original Scene. With The Original Scene I performed in Heaven Help Us!, Oliver!, The Sound Of Music, The Music Man, George M! and a number of showcases called “Bits ‘o Broadway.” In all I was with The Original Scene from 1972 to 1981.

Since 2007, I’ve been involved with the Littleton Community Music Association. Consisting of a number of bands, including The Skylarks Octet, The Windjammers Jazz Orchestra, the Rootin’ Tootin’s Dixieland Band and most recently, Sock Hop! 50’s and 60’s band, it is dedicated to bringing musical opportunities to the citizens of Littleton and the surrounding areas. Alternating monthly, regular performances are scheduled at the Buck Recreation Center and Lone Tree Recreation Center. With LCMA, I have been a vocalist, roadie, office worker, marketing specialist, and general helper.

Before that, between 2000 and 2006, I was associated with Magic Moments of Colorado. In 2000, 2001, and 2002 I served as volunteer vocalist and then, in 2003 joined the board of directors – a position I held for two years.

And previously still, since 1990, I have performed for Angels Unaware, countless senior- and retirement-homes, charities, and given yearly shows for the North Metro Community Association.

Therefore (especially since 2000) I have had a great deal of experience with not-for-profits. I love them, I love working with them, and I love what they do! They are a wonderful, caring, selfless, and deeply devoted segment of our culture. Yet they hold a somewhat “otherworldly” and unrealistic view of the world… a slightly nieve and absolute view of the world totally disconnected from the ‘real’ world.

These are organizations that survive entirely on the generosity of others. Therefore they have an utterly skewed look at the world, the people outside their realm, and the concept of compensation in general. Since they don’t earn, but rather solicit, for their funds, they make no connection between quality of work and payment. They collect their donations either way, so there is no motive towards excellence or growth that a competitive environment would demand.

In a non-profit, there is no measurable import in anything, anything other than the organization’s goal. For this reason, little appreciation is placed in quality – what does it matter how good the product or the extent of effort as long as the true purpose (of collecting and distributing funds) is accomplished? Unprofessionalism, lack of talent, ability, or effort are discounted as long as the grants and donations keep coming in. Even less is expected as far as efficiency or accountability. And above all, compensation – bluntly, pay, income, cash is almost seen as dirty, nasty, and perverted. Non-profit workers are made to feel as if their talents, their sweat, and their hard work are to be given for free. How dare they expect to be compensated for what they have given! Again, the ends are of sole importance, not the workers or their industry.

The purpose of a non-profit is to be generous, specifically, to be generous with other peoples’ money. In this sense, non-profits are the quintessential liberal organ. The ends is all-important, the people are a tool for achieving those ends, and the volunteers should be satisfied – not with any compensation or appreciation – but with the fact that they are ‘being charitable.’ Often the volunteers willingly take on the hardships, the lack of appreciation and wear it as a badge of proud martyrdom.

But, the point is, that when funds are given out of generosity, rather than in exchange for services rendered, those services will forever be lacking. Those that work hard will be patted on the head, told, ‘your contributions are so appreciated’ and left to be satisfied only in their own sense of generosity and pride. Meanwhile, many others will expend the least possible effort, knowing their sub-standard performance will not be in any way penalized. After all, they are so kind for just showing up and helping the cause!

Unlike the real world, the non-profit realm is one void of consequence, unaware of the connection between hard work and increased rewards. It is one that expects everything – from the grants that are their lifeblood to the long hours of their volunteers. Entitlement and assumptions are at the very core of a non-profits’ very being.

Wow! As I’m reading over this, it sounds much more upset and passionate than I intended. I’m neither angry nor vengeful as I’m sitting here… these are just some absolute truths I have observed over the last five-to-ten years.

It’s not that non-profits or those that lead them don’t care about their volunteers; they are kind and friendly towards their subordinates overall… but in no case is an individual volunteer or worker anywhere near as important as the cause, and this is reflected in the priorities.

We now have a community organizer at the head of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. He rules along with a Congress that acts as though the United States Government is the only important charitable group out there. And the mindset of Washington is veering strikingly towards that I have witnessed in typical non-profits.

Both collect funds, and don’t earn them per se.
Both are ‘ends-focused’
Both feel competition and compensation are at best unfortunate necessities, and at worst evil.
Both give a sense of offense if results or returns on investment are demanded.
Both snub competition and competitive spirit (outside the upper tiers of organizers, you will never hear comparisons with other similar non-profits)
Both consider their base (volunteers / voters) as not too much more than the means to their ends.
Think of Air America… which was also run in the style and efficiency of a non-profit… had the same unrealistic expectations of free money (grants) and return on investment.

But perhaps this is just applicable to small and medium-tier non-profits. It would make sense that successful, large-scale non-profits (American Red Cross, Amnesty International, Greenpeace….) have adopted much more business-centered tactics and structures. Certainly, we’ve heard of the Non-Profit CEO’s with incomes in the millions of dollars as well as the ENRON-like financial scandals many of them have been involved with.

So, dang it! This went somewhere I didn’t expect it to go… The federal government isn’t being run like a non-profit… it’s being run like an amateur non-profit!