Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nanny State

I always expected the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse to usher in the age of darkness with a thunderous whinny, not a nasally whine. Alas, my erroneous predispositions not withstanding, it appears as though such an apocalyptic age is nigh. Grab your children and head for the proverbial hills. America's most obnoxious sitcom nanny has asked to be considered for a vacant senate seat. That's right, Fran Drescher is headed for Washington.

Yes, that Fran Drescher. You know the big haired Jewish girl from queens who made a living by sounding like a strangled cat with a cold. The same woman whose autobiographical novels include Enter Whining and Cancer Schmancer. Apparently Gilbert Gottfried had already laid claim to the titles Enter Annoying and Prostate Shmostate.

Lets not forget she also starred with Timothy Dalton in one of the silver screens most horrible creations, The Beautician and the Beast. It is the story of an obnoxious, loud talking Jersey girl who wins the affections of an attractive but brutish foreign monarch. For being as staunchly pro-choice as Fran is, there is simply no excuse for her not aborting this cinematic abomination upon conception. As a side note, has there ever been a greater fall from grace in cinematic history than that of Timothy Dalton? In less than ten years, this guy went from starring with Bond girls to bail-bond girls.

Recently on Larry King Live, Franny the Nasal-Nanny announced her intentions to be considered for Hillary Clintons vacant senate seat. Among her many qualifications, she lists being "a product of the New York public school system", having a father "worked two jobs" and being a survivor of cancer. Her most compelling argument: "I was on the panel and cancer, you know, hearings." Apparently she never heard of the sentence and complete, you know, grammar. About the only thing she is qualified to do is host a panel discussion on hairspray, pink lipstick and the Jersey turnpike.

Nevertheless, for the first time in my life, Fran, I can say you have inspired me. Not through your Cancer Schmancer foundation, or your stand against "violence against women and children and animals," but for your stand for the political entitlement of cheap 90's sitcom stars. I think we can all agree the way to fix Washington is spelled TGIF. Just imagine.

Steve Urkel, National Director of Intelligence.

He's smart; He's no good with the ladies and he is a complete Nerd. Perfect for the CIA. Now the next time we are sold a war with faulty intelligence, he can just look into the camera and exclaim "Did I do that?"

Balky Bartokomous, Secretary of State.

He has great foreign experience and a knack for getting along with perfect strangers. He is like a female version of Madeleine Albright. "Russia wants to put nuclear missiles in Venezuela? Get out of the city!"

Kimmy Gibler, Speaker of the House

She is brain dead San Francisco native who you just can't seem to get rid of no matter how hard you try. Put simply, she is basically Nancy Pelosi on Botox.

Mona Robinson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Who's the Boss's resident septuagenarian cougar would never get tired of the double entendre offered by that title. Veterans Affairs? Get it? Get it? If this blog had a studio audience, they would be rolling over in their seats. Where is a laugh track when you need it.

By throwing her leopard-print hat into the ring, Fran Drescher shows us that we have entered into the "I could do that" stage of American politics. It is the stage where our government has become so inept that any person with a modicum of success looks at the TV every time Harry Reid speaks and says, "Well…I could do that." And frankly, who could argue? I have no doubt a monkey with a flashlight could offer better guidance than any of the current leaders on Capital Hill, Republican or Democrat.

Let me just say, you think Fran Drescher in the Senate is scary, consider what else she said on Larry King: "Well, you know, I'm a U.S. diplomat now. I was appointed by the State Department. Hillary Clinton is going to be my new boss. I just returned from a four country Eastern European tour of duty."

Now you tell me which is worse, the Nanny representing the people of New York in Washington DC or the Nanny representing the people of the United States all across the world. Suddenly Senator Fran Drescher doesn't sound so bad.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Putting the $$ back into Rece$$ion

When the CEO's of the big three automakers heard that Barack Obama was going to bring change to Washington, they must have understood he meant spare change. How else would you explain the metaphoric tin cup they have been holding out for the past month. They should just get some cheap cardboard signs that read "Will work for Bailout".

Unlike these same CEOS who would not recognize an innovative idea if it knocked on their door and claimed to be their long lost son, I have five fool-proof ideas to make money in tough economic times.


If the hit reality show Jon and Kate Plus 8 has taught us anything, America is still willing to buy tickets to a freak show. In fact, the entire TLC channel is being hijacked by reality shows about freakish families. They should just change the motto of the network to "And you thought your life sucked.." Which inspires my most fool proof money-making technique yet: creating my own reality TV show! It is a simple three step process:

Step One: Quit my job and begin pursuing my dream job of becoming a multi-platinum rapper named Sloppee Jo'

Step Two: Impregnate my wife with child number four. Considering my wife is as fertile as a Tennessee Valley, this is the easy part.

Step Three: Contact TLC and sell them the rights to the first of its kind reality show about a white wanna-be rapper, his wife and four children tastefully called Jo', Da' Ho, and Da' Fo' Mo'


Don't know anything about making movies? Don't know anything about science or empirical data? Don't worry. All it takes is one snazzy powerpoint and a bunch of chicken-little-worse-case-scenario-statistics and a snappy Melissa-Ethridge inspired soundtrack to earn yourself a hit movie, an Oscar nod and if you are lucky, the Nobel Peace Prize.

I think Al Gore must spend all day laughing and rolling around in the ill-gotten lucre filling his 10,000 square-foot mansion with a carbon footprint the size of Paul Bunyan's.

My movie is going to be about how Dentists have convinced the world that wisdom teeth are unnecessary just so they can make billions of dollars removing them from the mouths of their unsuspecting victims. I call it An Inconvenient Tooth


It seems the only thing people are doing more than file for unemployment benefits is run for President. When it comes to gaining full time employment, all these Presidential wannabees may be on to something. After all, the only place that is hiring these days appears to be the Office of the President, oh I'm sorry, Office of the President Elect.

And the surest way to procure gainful employment within the Whitehouse to-be is to be a former opponent of Barack Obama. Call him dangerously unqualified? You'll get the Vice Presidency. Worry about his ability to handle midnight telephone calls? Secretary of State is yours. If only Bill Richardson had withheld his endorsement of Obama, he might have been able to do better than Commerce Secretary.

Well Mr Obama, much like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Bill Richardson, I also opposed your presidency. I will gladly accept your nomination as Director of National Intelligence, or has that job already been offered to Dennis Kucinich?


I have already missed the boat on trade marking the word Change and Bailout which would have earned me no less than $1 billion this year so I am going to jump ahead of the pack and trademark the word gate. You know, as in Watergate, Troopergate, Katrinagate and Travelgate. Let's just say I have a hunch that over the next four to eight years, we are going to be using this word a lot.


We can all thank Plaxico Burress for pointing out that when it comes to gun violence in a New York night club, we have nothing to fear but fear ourselves. Which is why I am going to invent the first pair of pants with bullet proof pockets. Our motto: "When the safety just isn't enough."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Being Thank-filled

There are many things about Thanksgiving that fascinate me. First, that we as a nation set apart one day each year to dedicate ourselves solely to the three F's -Food, Family and Football. Secondly, I am fascinated by the intricately layered rainbow Jello that my wife manages to create each year. It is as much a work of art as it is delicious.

What fascinates me most about Thanksgiving, however, is the fact that it was first instituted and made a national holiday during perhaps the most trying time in American history. You would think Thanksgiving would be a product of the 50's what with its preponderance of Dads sleeping on the couch all afternoon while mom is in the kitchen doing the dishes. But no, Thanksgiving is not a product of the 50's. You might think Thanksgiving would be a product of those first pilgrims and their Native American buddies, but alas, they only serve as a nice back story.

In reality, Thanksgiving was first instituted in the midst of the American Civil War. Think about that. Thousands of men had died and millions more would endure the scars of battle that last a lifetime. Brothers were literally being pitted against brothers. All of the nation's best resources were being dedicated towards a war amongst with ourselves and our President decided to set aside a day to give thanks. What??

Despite the fear and uncertainty of the time, Abraham Lincoln had the vision and foresight to see the many ways in which our nation was being blessed. He managed to see through the blood and fog of war and witness a benevolent hand blessing a nation and its people.

In a time of war at home, he was thankful for the relative peace abroad. In a time when the fields of battle yielded so many victims, he was thankful for the fields at home which yielded so much fruit. And of these many blessings he stated:

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

While the only brothers being pitted against brothers this Thanksgiving will be on the flag football field, there is no doubt that America is still going through a bit of a rough spot. How much more than should we be thankful for the things that we do have. Consider the many things I am thankful for this year:

I am thankful to live in a country where a man by the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected president. This gives hope to all the unfortunately named Richard Heads and Fred Frank Funks that exist out there.

I am thankful to have a daughter who is not old enough to like Hanna Montana. Egads that music is horrible.

I am thankful to have a family who, despite all my glaring faults, still likes having me around sometimes.

I am thankful live in a country with such an abundance of food that we make reality TV shows dedicated to watching fat people weigh themselves.

I am thankful to live in a country where 6% unemployment sets off pandemonium. In France they have a saying about an unemployment rate so relatively low "C'est Imposible!"

I am thankful for a DVR. I am now so used to fast forwarding through commercials that whenever I am watching live TV, I still instinctively grab the remote any time a commercial comes on. It is a serious condition I call "DVRthritis."

I am thankful to live in a country that was able to look passed the color of a man's skin when selecting a president. Now if only we hadn't looked passed his inexperience and blatant political pandering.

I am thankful for a car that runs. If you knew my history with cars, you would know how much this means to me.

I am thankful for a home that is actually increasing in value. The French have a term for that as well, it is called "Texas."

I…am…thankful…for…my…job. There I said, are you happy!

Last but not least, I am thankful to be a citizen of a country where I can write what I like, think what I want, and believe whatever the heck it is us crazy Mormons believe in. In short, I am thankful to be an American.

Now it is your turn, what are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

When the Gay Come Marching In

The ignorant, hate-filled anti-Mormon protests ranging from coast to coast deserve a serious, thoughtful analysis; an objective discussion of the feelings and emotions causing such animosity against the religion. Which is why I highly encourage you to go some where else and read it.

Here, I treat these protests with the same seriousness with which I treat our sacred political process (i.e. none). Below are some of the photos from these protests that gave me a hearty, old-timey chortle. Really, I would like to thank all those bigots who felt the need to disrupt our religious services because we had the audacity to disagree with you in a democratic election; I haven't laughed this hard in years. But remember: I am not laughing at you, nor am I laughing with you. I am laughing because of you.

The original drafts of this poster said go back to New York, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. Then they realized that Mormons had already been driven by angry mobs out of those states. I guess now we can add California to the list.

I think we can all agree that the word "Hater"= stupid=dumb. Thank you Jerry Springer for foisting that term on society.

With that type of Christ-like compassion, I guess this protester will be burning along side us.

I think the founding fathers would agree: Gay marriage is a far more protected institution then something as small and unimportant as religion.

They are right about this one. The Main entrance is actually around the back.

While being tolerated may suck, I think we can all agree it sure beats being persecuted by an angry mob.

We keep trying to separate the church from hate. Why do you think we build fences around our temples? Also, if you look closely you will see a German Iron cross. This of course has nothing to do with the church but appears to be the new logo for the Gay Rights community.

Now if this sign had said "Virile Mormons", I think we could all agree it is true.

Well, at least one of these hate filled bigots has a sense of humor.

Poster board and Markers: $5
Two Jackets: $50
Taking your kids out on a cool autumn night to advocate violence and untrue stereotypes: Priceless.

As this bishops house in Southern California teaches us, you just can't spray paint bigot on someone's door without indicting yourself. It is like a member of the KKK spray painting "Racist" on a black mans door.

Okay, I actually kind of like this sign.

Protesting LDS churches in California is one thing, but protesting 7 year old girls in Seattle, where they did not even vote on the measure? Way to keep it classy.

Oh, I'm sorry, how did this picture get in here. Same bigoted movement, different century.

And I'd hate to be part of a group that pushes ignorant, untrue stereo types.

When democracy doesn't get you what you want, I think we can all agree the next best option is petty vandalism.

If you look really closely, this reads "I Heart Religious Persecution"

Finally, Mike Huckabee and the Gay Community have something they can all agree on.

With this I conclude my opus on gay-marriage and anti-Mormonism (for now). While my respect for the gay rights community as a whole has diminished somewhat, my love and respect for the individual members that I know within that movement has not. If anything, this discussion has only solidified the high esteem in which I hold you in. I would conclude with one of my favorite quotes by Joseph Smith where he said "Come on, dear brother, since the war is past,
For friends at first, are friends again at last" but I am afraid the mere mention of something Mormon-esque might make some in the gay rights movement all angry-smashy-torchy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So Long Mr. Nice Gay

Despite all their attempts to redefine marriage, it seems the only word the gay rights movement has managed to redefine is, well, gay.

Over the past two weeks, the word gay –which used to mean happy before it meant a same sex attraction-- continued its transition and it now means "blind, ignorant rage". How else can you possibly explain headlines like "Gay Activists Protest Mormon Temples." If gay means people with a same sex attraction, then a gay protest at a Mormon temple makes as much sense as a PETA protest outside HomeDepot. There simply is no reason for a quarrel between the two. Use the new definition and you get blind, ignorant activists protesting a Mormon temple and that at least makes sense.

Frankly, I think the homosexual community will be excited about the new meaning of gay. Now the only people who have to be worried about being outed are rednecks and skin heads. Just imagine:

"Son, is this your copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf?"

"Where did you find that? Have you been looking under my mattress?"

"Son, be honest with me, are you filled with ignorant rage? Are you… gay?"

"Yes Dad, alright. I'm Gay. I can't help it. Whenever I see a black man or a Jew, it makes me feel so angry!"

"I don't understand. Where did you learn to be gay?"

"I learned it from watching you, Dad. I learned it from WATCHING YOU!"

Call me crazy, but this has afterschool special written all over it.

Whatever you may think about the church or whatever your feelings are towards gay-marriage and Proposition 8, outside of blind, ignorant rage, there is no justification for protesting LDS temples and meeting houses. Now before you pull out the pitchfork and torch and start protesting my house, let me explain why.

While the recent anti-Mormon protests have shown us how homosexuals feel about the LDS church, it has not changed how the LDS church feels about them. The late President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley stated:

"People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church…We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties."

Simply put, you can hate the Church all you want, but the Church does not hate you.

Turning the LDS church into the Prop 8 boogey man is ignorant and unfair. Proposition 8 did not pass because of the Mormon Church, it passed because 52% of Californians voted for it. Even if every Mormon had voted against it, the proposition still would have passed. If you really want to blame someone, blame Obama. It was the unprecedented African American turnout in support of Barack Obama who voted 70-30 in favor of the proposition and pushed it over the top.

The idea that the LDS church bought the election is an intellectually dishonest argument. First of all, the LDS church did not spend a dime on the election. Yes, it encouraged its members to contribute financially to support Proposition 8, but the Church itself spent nothing.

Secondly, the Yes-on-8 campaign was vastly outspent by the gay-rights movement. According to Time magazine, the No-on-8-side spent $43.6 million to defeat the proposition, the other side spent only $29.8 million. You simply cannot claim the election was bought when the losers spent more than the winners.

Proposition 8 passed because its proponents won the war of ideas. Admittedly, the LDS church was a major force in organizing and communicating in favor of the proposition. So if the gay-rights movement hates the church because we were better at persuading people, well, then compliment accepted. Bare in mind, however, that this was the LDS Church's first foray into political activism. The fact that it was so successful in persuading so many people has far more to do with the gay-rights movements inabilities than with the Mormon church's abilities. For the Gay-rights community, this was defeat snatched right out of the jaws of victory and you have no one to blame but yourselves.

It was the belligerent actions of people like Gavin Newsome and the other members of the GayKK who tried to earn public support for gay rights by cramming it down our throats.

Breaking the law and handing out marriage licenses to gay couples does not encourage acceptance of gay marriage anymore than graffiti encourages acceptance of the arts.

Saying gay marriage is going to happen whether we "like it or not" makes you sound more tyrant than tolerant.

You don't ease the fears of the pro-traditional marriage supporters who worry about homosexuality being taught in schools when you drag a group of first graders to a gay wedding.

Finally, you can't expect to earn public sympathy when you ignorantly and belligerently attack a minority religion for having the audacity to disagree with you in a civil, democratic election.

Despite these obvious facts, the blatantly anti-Mormon protests continue. Just this week two envelopes containing an unknown white powder were mailed to LDS temples in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Apparently someone in the gay rights movement knows of a right to terrorize small churches clause in the constitution that I have never heard of. (Don't worry, if it isn't in there, I am sure the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will write it in for you.)

Why is the LDS church being so unfairly targeted? Because it is easy. The LDS church is the only group not protected by the umbrella of political correctness that falls over the other groups involved in the debate. Pick on African Americans and you're a racist. Pick on Jews and you are anti-Semitic. But pick on Mormons and you are just another part of Mike Huckabee's America.

For a group of people who fought so long against unfair stereotypes and hatemongering, the gay rights movement wasted not time pulling out hateful terms and untrue stereotypes of Mormons. It seems the most popular poster at the anti-Mormon love fests is the "If you can have 5 wives, why can't I have just one." Great poster except for the fact that it is NOT TRUE. The LDS church has not allowed polygamous marriage in over a hundred years and anyone who even whispers support for the practice is excommunicated faster than you can say "Warren Jeffs." But hay, who needs facts when your persecutin' Mormons. The people of Missouri sure didn't.

My particular favorite are the "No on H8" signs right next to the "Mormon Scum" or "Vile Mormons" or "Go to Hell Mormon" posters. I have no doubt these protesters have very acute "gaydars" but their irony detectors must have been left at home.

One look at these anti-Mormon protests and you can see that ignorant rage is the new gay, intolerance is the new tolerance and Rainbow flags are the new burning crosses.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It’s All about the Benjamins, Until They Try to Marry Each Other

When I set out to voice my support for Proposition 8, I never expected to spend so much time on it. Every time I try to write about something else, Proposition 8 lures me back in with it seductive controversy and come-hither intrigue. I am like the Michael Jordan of Proposition 8. Rest assured, this will be my last treatise on this topic after which I will move on to more important things like politics, the economy and my fascination with the mythical Strawberry-Banana. Seriously Science, quit trying to cure cancer and start genetically manufacturing my dream fruit immediately! But as for now, Proposition 8, I can't quit you!

In looking over the many words I have written on the issue, I realize I have yet to boil my arguments down to their most cogent and salient issue.

The most important issue is not about how much Gay couples want to get married, despite the fact that it is about the only argument they seem to offer. After watching Keith Olbermann's diatribe on the issue, it seems you could boil his whole argument down to "Homosexuals really, really love each other and they, like, totally want to get married, so we should like let them since they have asked so nicely and all."

The most important issue is not love. They are plenty of non-traditional relationships built on a foundation of love that even Homosexuals don't support. I personally get tremendously tickled watching the gay rights movements explain why two men should be allowed to marry but one man and two women shouldn't.

The most important issue is not what good people homosexuals are. I have never met a gay man or lesbian woman I did not immediately take a liking to. However, just because you are a good person does not mean you should be able to marry who ever you want. Mother Theresa could marry Mary Magdalene and I would still oppose it (although it would make a terrific Dan Brown novel).

The most important issue is not rights. If marriage were a right, then you would not need a certificate from the government in the first place. Do I need a certificate to practice free speech? Do I need a permit to go to church? Those are rights. Marriage is no more a right than getting a drivers license. It is a privilege.

Similarly, the most important issue is not fairness. As a society, every law we have carries with it some measure of unfairness; of inclusion and exclusion. Why can't people under 35 years of age be President? Why do only men have to submit for the draft? Why are minority candidates given preferential treatment when applying to state colleges? Why do I have to drive on the right a side of the road if I am left handed? As a society, we pass such laws because the individual sacrifices they require provide greater value to society as a whole.

And in a word, that is what the issue is really about: Value, not love, not rights, not desire. Value. If we are to provide Gay Marriage with equal status then it must prove that it holds equal value.

Unfortunately for the No-On-8ers, they have yet to prove in the slightest that homosexual marriages hold the same value to society that heterosexual marriages hold. I have asked this question before and I have yet to see a valid response: "What value does gay marriage provide society that just being roommates doesn't?"

Don't tell me it is love. Love does not pay for public services or help put my kids through school. You can't buy love and love and can't buy you anything in return. While love may benefit you personally, how does it help society?

There are measuring sticks that can be used to measure the value of traditional marriage versus gay marriage. Religion, philosophy, morality to name just a few. However, few of those perspectives provide us with the common ground we need to make a collective decision. I may have my own personal religious views on the matter but in an incredibly diverse country such as ours, religion can no more help us decide on gay marriage than it can help us decide what to eat.

However, there is one way to measure value that we can all agree on: money. That's right. Greenbacks. Dinero. Scrilla. What ever you want to call it, we all know what it is and we all know how much it is worth (Answer: a lot less than it used to).

Using plain old dollars and cents we can compare the value of one relationship to another. We are a society fueled by money. The very basic services we need to survive and thrive (infrastructure, education, public safety) all require money.

The average amount of money my wife and I will earn over a lifetime will probably not be that much different than a gay- couple. In that sense, our relationships are equally valuable to society. However, there is one difference, with my wife and I, we are able to have children and those children in turn can become a tremendous benefit to society.

For example, If you figure each of my children earns $50,000 a year over 40 years of work, that is $6.0 million dollars my little family pumps back into society that a gay couple will never be able to replicate. If each of my children has three children in turn, than my wife and I can count on an additional $18 million added back to society.

While it may seem to dehumanize the issue by boiling it down to pure earning potential, at the end of the day, without it, nothing else will matter. With the incredibly top heavy social support network our society has established, if there are not sufficient workers earning enough money, than the whole system collapses. Why do you think western Europe and Japan are starting to freak out (freaking out being the technical term) about their incredibly low birth rates? Why do you think Australia will literally pay you cash for each child that you have? Why do you think Russia had a national Conception Day? ( No Seriously. It must be the first case in modern history where an entire country was given the day off and encouraged to have un-protected sex). Why have they all gone to such drastic measures? Because, as a society, they have written checks that they can't cash if there is nobody there to pay for the future benefits they have been promising. Say what you want about traditional families, but it is my kids that are going to pay for your social security not the other way around.

This also raises another salient point as to why we need to support and protect traditional marriage; because it provides these children with the best opportunity to maximize their potential. Children not raised by a Mother and Father are far less likely to be successful productive citizens. These kids are more likely go from being a boon to society to becoming incredible burden. My kids already have to pay for your Medicare and Social Security, let's not add additional prisons and food stamps to their already overflowing cup.

This concept of value is also why I can frown upon the draconian laws that prevented interracial couples from marrying while still supporting Proposition 8. Because interracial couples hold the same value as any other. They have the same ability to have and raise honest, good children and for that they are equally deserving of marital recognition.

To society as a whole, there is just no more beneficial institution than traditional marriage. It has no rival. It has no equal. Because of its tremendous, inherent value, it deserves the highest pedestal we can put it on. With this special recognition comes the societal pressures and rewards offered only to marriage that help it to succeed and, more importantly, help it to raise another generation of Americans who give more than they take.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Commentary Commentary

The following post is in response to a comment posted by Boymystere on my West Coast GayKK blog posted earlier this week. His comment was so respectful and well-thought out, I felt it deserved an equally respectful and well thought out response. But since this is me we are talking about here, you are pretty much stuck with whatever comes out.

Boymystere- First, thank you for your open and honest response. This is the type of dialogue that is so greatly needed to maintain the free market of ideas our democracy is based on. Dissenting opinions are always welcome and I appreciate you taking the time. I hope you will indulge a response on my part.

Allow me to offer you a metaphor that I think will help explain why I support Proposition 8. I consider myself a well educated man. I have a Master's Degree from one of the nation's best schools. However, there are a large number of people who are not able to get a Master's Degree; some because they don't want it, others because they simply lack the ability. Sadly enough, there are far more people who want a Master's Degree than can actually get one.

Now, imagine if my school, in order to correct this perceived inequality, started handing out Master's Degrees to anyone who wanted one. A Master's Degree, at the end of the day, is only a slip of paper. Its value comes from what it represents: education, intelligence and hard work. When it no longer takes education, intelligence and hard work to obtain a Master's Degree, than its value becomes less then the piece of paper it is printed on. Handing out degrees based on desire, not achievement, does nothing to help those who want one and everything to hurt those who earned one. When everyone can have a Master's Degree, no one can. (Side note: This reminds me of Hank's response to a Christian Rock Band on King of the Hill: "They are not making Christianity better; they are just making rock and roll worse".)

Gay Marriage will never disrupt the relationship I have with my wife and the loving home we have tried to create for our children just like handing out Master's Degrees like party favors will never rob me of the education I achieved in earning one. What it will do is rob from my marriage the meaning that makes it so valuable. Marriage is the institution created by society to give children the best possible chance at success. When marriage loses meaning, it will be abandoned all together. When this happens, we rob from our children the commitment between a Mother and Father they need to have the best chance at success.

You may call this paranoia on my part, but sadly I have seen the consequences of the devaluation of marriage with my own eyes. I lived for an extended period of time in a country where marriage was virtually non-existent. This was due to the draconian laws of that country which made marriage virtually impossible. The result of this marriage-less society was family after family of fatherless children. With no social pressure or reward for fathers to stick around, very few of them did. Now, a whole generation of fatherless children is almost ensured a lifetime of poverty, crime and ignorance. Don't believe me? In this country I once met a single mom who became a grandmother at the ripe old age of 28. That is three generations right there suffering from a marriage deficient society. Even in our own country, we see that demographic groups which do not value marriage suffer from the same or similar problems I saw across the pond. No government, religious or academic program has ever been able to duplicate even a portion of the success that we see when Mom and Dad are married.

Even if California law were changed and homosexuals were allowed to marry, they would never have a marriage in the true sense of the word. When two men are allowed to obtain a marriage certificate, in that moment, all they and anyone else will really be getting is a piece of paper.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

West Coast GayKK

There are certain people in this world that we can all agree are infallible. Mother Teresa. Martin Luther King. Mahatma Ghandi. Now imagine making a film which depicts these people as bullies and burglars. You could no easier kick a puppy or strangle sunshine. Yet, for the California Courage Campaign, stooping so low is all in a days work. In a brazen attempt to smear the LDS church for its support of Proposition 8 in California, the Kalifornia Kourage Kampaign has begun airing an ad which depicts LDS missionaries invading and burglarizing the home of a lesbian couple to "take away their rights". It shows them barging in, rummaging through their home (including the underwear drawer) and tearing up the couples marriage license. No seriously. See the ad for yourself here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q28UwAyzUkE.

Apparently, after making this movie, the Kalifornia Kourage Kampaign hopes to branch out with ads depicting Nuns lynching homosexuals and Jewish Rabbis bombing a gay pride parade.

While you may not agree with LDS beliefs or even their methods, it is difficult to find fault with Mormon Missionaries. These are young men and women who put their entire lives on hold and leave behind their families for two years just so they can help others. Yet because they happen to represent a contrarian viewpoint, the West Coast KKK has no problem blatantly misrepresenting them. Hitler's propaganda master Leni Riefenstahl may be dead but his spirit lives on.

Regardless of how you vote on Proposition 8, we can all agree that the lies and outright misrepresentation of the LDS church depicted in this ad cross the line. Could you image John McCain producing an anti-Obama ad that showed two black men barging into the home of a white couple and stealing their rights? No one, on either side of the political spectrum could defend such an ad. Not only does this blatantly anti-Mormon ad propagate lies and encourage hate, but it does nothing to advance the public dialogue on the issue at hand. Even if you do not support Proposition 8, tell me, what good can possibly come of this ad? How can a group that pretends to support equality and tolerance create something so inherently unfair and intolerant?

I think it is time we unleashed the fury of all the Average Joel readers (both of them) and email Rick Jacobs, (rjacobs@couragecampaign.org) founder of the Kalifornia Kourage Kampaign to let him know how we feel. The First Amendment gives them the right to say what ever they want. It also gives us the right to respond.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Gr8 Divide

Here in Texas, we have never met a dead horse we did not want to beat. Why do you think we invented the Piñata? That being said, please indulge me with another stand on my Prop 8 soap box.

For those of you who are too short on memory or too long on laziness to look it up, Proposition 8 is the California ballot initiative that would write into the constitution that marriage is between "a man and a woman". Despite the fact that everyone is either a man or a woman (except for perhaps Janet Reno) this simple statement is still considered discriminatory by Proposition 8 opponents. Having beaten the discrimination horse already (although I am still keeping my eye on it) I would like to move on to another reason I support Proposition 8 and traditional marriage: impending constitutional apocalypse.

The great thing about our constitution is that it acts like a legal trump card. You can pass all the crazy, cock-a-mamy laws you want, but the constitution always wins. It is like a Rosie O'Donnell in a room full of Twinkies. Those little cream filled cakes don't stand a chance. However, with the subsequent support for homosexual marriage and, more specifically, homosexual rights, a constitutional clash is beginning to unfold. Watch out Rosie O'Donell, here comes Roseanne Barr.

Choosing a favorite constitutional amendment is no easier than choosing between my new born children. However, if I had to choose, it would be Samantha, uhh, I mean, the 1st Amendment. Why the first Amendment, you ask? Well, because it provides these great little things called freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The very same first amendment that lets you speak truth to power lets me make fun of mullets (Motto: Manhattan up the front, Nashville down the back).

However, there is this other great amendment called the 14th amendment which provides equal protection of the laws. This means laws could not be applied discriminately; regardless of race, religion, sex or vegetable preference. Heaven knows we would take down you cauliflower lovers if we could!

All of us accept the 14th amendment as valid (or at least we have since the government forced it down Alabama's throat in the 60's) and who could really find fault with it? Being of a minority religion myself, I am glad that I can where my "Joseph Smith is My Homeboy" shirt without fear of retribution. However, the gay rights movement is now pitting the 1st Amendment against the 14th. Freedom of Speech and, more specifically, freedom of Religion are now battling it out in a cage match to the death. After all, if a religion refuses to allow gay marriage among its parishioners, who wins? The right to worship how you please or the right to not be discriminated against? If legal precedent around the country is any indication, the 14th Amendment now has the 1st Amendment in a choke hold, and the gay rights movement is starting to hit it with a chair.

Don't believe me? Consider the following:

"In New York City, Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a school under Orthodox Jewish auspices, banned same-sex couples from its married dormitory. New York does not recognize same-sex marriage, but in 2001, the state's highest court ruled Yeshiva violated New York City's ban on sexual orientation discrimination. Yeshiva now allows all couples in the dorm."

"A Christian gynecologist at North Coast Women's Care Medical Group in Vista, Calif., refused to give his patient in vitro fertilization treatment because she is in a lesbian relationship, and he claimed that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. (The doctor referred the patient to his partner, who agreed to do the treatment.) The woman sued under the state's civil rights act. The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in May 2008, and legal experts believe that the woman's right to medical treatment will trump the doctor's religious beliefs. One justice suggested that the doctors take up a different line of business."

"A same-sex couple in California applied to Adoption Profiles, an Internet service in Arizona that matches adoptive parents with newborns. The couple's application was denied based on the religious beliefs of the company's owners. The couple sued in federal district court in San Francisco. The two sides settled after the adoption company said it will no longer do business in California."

"A same sex couple in Albuquerque asked a photographer, Elaine Huguenin, to shoot their commitment ceremony. The photographer declined, saying her Christian beliefs prevented her from sanctioning same-sex unions. The couple sued, and the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found the photographer guilty of discrimination. It ordered her to pay the lesbian couple's legal fees ($6,600)."

"Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of New Jersey, a Methodist organization, refused to rent its boardwalk pavilion to a lesbian couple for their civil union ceremony. The couple filed a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. The division ruled that the boardwalk property was open for public use, therefore the Methodist group could not discriminate against gay couples using it. In the interim, the state's Department of Environmental Protection revoked a portion of the association's tax benefits. The case is ongoing. "

Now, in case you are wondering what propaganda machine of the Far Right I pulled these examples from, you will be happy to know it is from a little place called National Public Radio (When Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash by Barbara Bradley Hagerty, NPR.org, June 13, 2008)

In my religion, the sanctity of traditional marriage is not just some fringe doctrine. It is an integral part of the very purpose of our existence. The LDS church could no sooner perform a gay marriage than it could open up a virgin-sacrificing coffee shop (Motto: Come for the Latte, stay for the pagan sacrifice.)

I do not expect to see gay couples knocking on the temple door the day after Prop 8 is defeated. However, the slippery slope acceptance of gay marriage puts us on is very slippery and very slopey. How long before LDS marriages are challenged in court? If a photographer can be sued for not taking pictures of a gay wedding, how can a pastor not be sued for refusing to conduct one? If the state sees gay marriage as equally valid and worthy under the law than how can a church refuse to officiate one without violating the 14th Amendment?

The challenge against the church this will cause will not occur over night, but slowly. First, people will go after the church's 501c3 status (Accountant speak for Non-Profit) and thus remove many of the tax protections afforded the church. You will start to see law suits filed to prevent LDS youth groups and congregations from using public lands (you know, kind of like what is happening to the Boy Scouts.)

How long before speaking out against homosexuality is considered a hate crime? Will we be arrested for preaching and believing our own religion? In June 2004, a Swedish pastor was arrested and sentenced to 30 days in jail for giving a sermon that said, among other things: "All homosexuals are not pedophiles or perverts. They nevertheless open the door to forbidden areas and allow sin to take hold of the life of the mind." I think we can all agree, that is one hate filled jerk.

Now before you go too far, let me say that even I agree there is a tinge of tin-foil hat delusion to my ranting . But then again, isn't there always?

Nevertheless, it is difficult for me to see how the failure of Proposition 8 does anything to support the free exercise of religion in the state of California or any where else in this country. When Mormon Bishops start getting hauled off to jail, don't say I didn't tell you so! After all, by then that might be considered hate speech.

Now I will get off my soap box. The air up there makes me woozy. Next time, I am bringing a Sherpa.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It’s ON Like DiscriminatiON!

Many years ago, a wise man once said that "a good catchword can obscure analysis for fifty years." Of course, due to inflation, a good catch word can now obscure analysis for 100 years. There is perhaps no greater drain on the public dialogue than the unanimous acceptance of a good buzz word and all its implications. Words like diversity, living wage and empowerment are universally accepted as The Good and never challenged in the public sphere, despite their many obvious shortcomings.

For no other word is this more painstakingly true than discrimination. This one word carries with it so much burden and onus that we each flee from its accusatory finger like Britney Spears from an over-eager Social Worker. Governments, institutions and corporations go to tiring lengths to prove that they are untainted by the discrimination boogey man.

Yet, what does discrimination even mean? Legally, it is supposed to mean an unfair application of the law, but as it is used now, discrimination basically means "an idea I disagree with." Not getting enough money from work? That's discrimination. Can't afford a house in the neighborhood of your choice? That's discrimination. School officials admitting unqualified minority candidates over more qualified white ones? Well, apparently that is not discrimination.

Now, in the name of a word which has no meaning, we mean to obliterate a word that does. Unlike "discrimination" this word has had meaning through every age and every society of mankind. It has had meaning in every nation and every culture. This word, put simply, is marriage.

For the past decade, across this country, gay-rights organization have sought to use the power of the courts to obliterate the meaning of marriage in favor of an overly broad definition of discrimination. There is only one problem: marriage, as defined between a man and a woman, is not discriminatory. It is a law and a definition that applies equally to all persons. I am no more able to marry a gay man than a gay man is. Equally so, a gay man has just as much right to marry a woman as I do (and did). Traditional marriage between a man and a woman is no more discriminatory than handing out free donuts, even if what you really wanted was a pretzel. It is what it is, take it or leave it.

If we are to hold gay marriage up on the same pedestal as traditional marriage, than gay marriage must prove that it holds equal value. Alas, this is where the gay-rights movements has perpetually come up wanting. In working so hard to show there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, they have yet to show that there is anything right with it. Traditional marriage has been and will always be the building block of society and the facts bear this out clearly. Individuals who are married live longer, have more money, are less likely to commit crime and are more likely to live fulfilling lives. Similarly, the greatest indicator in the success of a child is whether or not his parents are married. No government program, no school, no religion can have as a great an impact on a child and, in turn, society as a mother and father.

Adulterous relationships certainly exist, yet as a society, we do not endorse them. Why? Because of the harm and damage that the relationships inflict on a family, specifically children. While gay marriages certainly do not harm children, conversely, they cannot show how they benefit them. For this reason they are no more deserving of state recognition than that of a man and his mistress. Still don't believe me? Answer this question: what value does gay marriage add to society that just being room-mates doesn't? Why, then, should they be given the same recognition and privilege reserved for the single most successful social program in history: traditional marriage?

This political season, most of us will not be able to participate in the most important election of this new millennia. Not because of some imaginary republican voter-suppression machine, but because most of us do not live in California. (What, I can't vote just because I don't live in California? That's discrimination.) On this November's ballot, California voters will be asked to support Proposition 8 which writes into the constitution that which we have always known: marriage is between a man and a woman. This simple proposition would overturn the California Supreme Court decision which trumped the will of the people and provided equal recognition to an unequal union.

Having been raised in the Bay Area, I have always said that California would be the greatest place to live on earth if it weren't for all the Californians. Now is your chance, California, to prove me wrong. Now is your chance to redeem yourself for all the past ills you have foisted upon the rest of the world, namely, Police Academy 1 through 8. On the other hand, Catwoman we will always hold against you.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thats Debatable: My Thoughts on the Debate

Is offering universal health care, lower taxes on 95% of Americans, increases in early childhood education, more affordable college tuition and $500 checks from oil companies the "call to service" and "sacrifice" Senator Obama is asking for from the American people? At least after 9-11, President Bush asked us to spend our own money. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can get from your country.

Everybody said the town hall format of the debate was supposed to help McCain, but I don't see how. Watching him wander around while Senator Obama was speaking reminded me of a patient in an Alzheimer's ward. At any moment I expected him to look up at the camera and ask how he got there.

To quote McCain "We've got to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don't … like us very much." He is right, that money is much better spent bailing out failed banks here at home. Banks who wouldn't recognize a risky loan if it woke up next to them in bed and demanded a snuggle. Sorry Dubai, we have got our own greedy crooks to pay off!

Every time Senator Obama said "deregulate" only one thought went through my mind: Deregulators…Mount Up!

This will go down in history as the debate with the most utterances of the word "fannie" in history. I counted seven, which is six more than any other debate. In fact, the word fannie has not been said in a presidential debate since 1908 when William Taft famously called William J Bryan "a fannie-white lilly boy."

Obama never ceases to amaze. "When George Bush came into office, our debt -- national debt was around $5 trillion. It's now over $10 trillion. We've almost doubled it." He did all that math, ladies and gentlemen, without a calculator. Who is this man from Nazareth?

John McCain said "my friends" 22 times during the debate. Sorry, John, no matter how many times you say it, it does not make it true.

During the debate, both candidates received questions from people by the names of Oliver, Fiorra and Ingrid. Immediately after the debate, these people stepped out of the auditorium and into the Charles Dickens novel where they belong.

The same man, Senator Obama, who wants to provide universal everything and more government issued checks to the people also wants to "take on entitlements". It looks to me that the only things we won't be entitled to under an Obama administration are monkey butlers and a government-provided nightly turndown service.

When asked about how to fix Medicare, McCain stated: "My friends, what we have to do with Medicare is have a commission, have the smartest people in America come together, come up with recommendations." So McCain's solution is to have other people come up with solutions? He is not even President yet and he is already passing the buck.

Concerning energy, Obama stated "And that's why we've got to make some investments and I've called for investments in solar, wind, geothermal." Yes, if there is anything we need, it is more Earth, Wind and Fire.

Quoth Senator Obama concerning the war in Iraq "It's also put an enormous strain on our budget. We've spent, so far, close to $700 billion and if we continue on the path that we're on, as Sen. McCain is suggesting, it's going to go well over $1 trillion." So, let me get this straight. Spending $700 billion to liberate Iraqi women and children is too much. But spending $700 billion to bail out Wall Street fat cats is money well spent?

Much like his counterpart Senator Biden, Obama's policy for intervening in another country bears little difference to that of George Bush. "So when genocide is happening, when ethnic cleansing is happening somewhere around the world and we stand idly by, that diminishes us. And so I do believe that we have to consider it as part of our interests, our national interests, in intervening where possible." So tell me, Monsieur Obama, how does that not apply to Iraq? Do you think Saddam Hussein's ethnic cleansing of the Kurds involved a shower and a bar of soap?

Concerning Pakistan, McCain stated that he was not going to "telegraph" his punches. Silly old McCain. These days we don't telegraph punches. We text them.

Obama states very clearly that we are going to "have to put some additional troops in Afghanistan." Wait a minute. I thought troop surges don't work?

I think we can all agree with Senator Obama, that what Iran needs is a stern talking to. "I believe that we should have direct talks -- not just with our friends, but also with our enemies -- to deliver a tough, direct message to Iran that, if you don't change your behavior, then there will be dire consequences." If Iran still does not co-operate, may I suggest putting them in time out?

My final thought: America, at 300 million strong, is without question the greatest nation on earth. So how in the world did we get stuck with these two?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Saying it Ain't So Joe!

“Can I call you Joe?” With those five words, the debate was already won. Sara Palin’s greeting to Joe Biden, caught on camera, instantly set the tone for how the debate would unfold. She would dictate, Biden would respond. It is a shame all of his responses were not as straight forward and honest as his response to that first brilliant question. Unfortunately for next 90 minutes, America was treated to a veritable buffet of Washington double speak from a man who has had thirty years of practice. Sometimes, it almost seemed like Joe Biden was debating Joe Biden.

Constitutionally the Same. Civilly Different. In Biden’s own words, he stated that “in an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple,” but than went on to say “Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage.” So, from a constitutional stand point, he sees no difference between same sex couples and heterosexual couples, but from a civil side, he does not want to redefine marriage. Explain to me the difference between civil and constitutional? In relation to redefining marriage, I can see little difference. How can you state that constitutionally same sex couples are deserving of every right as heterosexual couples but on a civil level say that they are not deserving of the same rights? Doesn’t the constitutional side drive the civil side? Isn’t that the whole point of the constitution?

No How, Just When. When both parties were asked about their administrations exit plan from Iraq, Biden was quick to pounce on Governor Palin for offering no plan, and he than proceeded to offer no plan himself. He said “With all due respect, I didn't hear a plan. Barack Obama offered a clear plan. Shift responsibility to Iraqis over the next 16 months. Draw down our combat troops.” With all due respect, that is not a plan; that is an arbitrary timeline. Shifting responsibility to the Iraqis is something that is already happening and has been happening since the day we set foot on the sands of Iraq. In fact it was the whole point of the invasion. That is like saying your strategy to win the game is to score more touchdowns. Well duh. But how are you going to do it?

Concerning the timeline, the question I would like to ask is simple: why 16 months? Why not 15? Why not 18? It is a number plucked from a hat because it sounds good. It provides no measurable goals or objectives, but it does tell Al Queda and the other insurgents exactly how long they need to keep fighting before we will quit. If bringing our troops home is so important to Senator Biden, I am curious to know, what is his exit plan for Korea? For Germany? How about Japan? When will those troops come home? The fact that no such plan is talked about, let alone considered, is all the proof you need that, for Joe Biden, bringing the troops home from Iraq is more about winning in politics, than winning in war.

Tea Time with Tyrants. Governor Palin pointed out that Barack Obama’s decision to sit down, without preconditions, with tyrants such as Iran’s Ahmadinejad was “beyond bad judgment.” Biden replied with this whopper “This is simply not true about Barack Obama. He did not say sit down with Ahmadinejad.” Joe Biden must have forgotten about this little thing his pal Al Gore invented called “The Internet”. It doesn’t take more than 30 seconds to you-tube the moment in the primary debates where, on July 23, Barack Obama said clearly and unequivocally that he would sit down with tyrants without preconditions. And Joe Biden should know, he was there. I will save you the thirty seconds it takes to find it, just go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1dSPrb5w_k

He than went on to talk about the five secretaries of state and various world allies who are encouraging us to “Sit down. Talk. Talk. Talk.” He even blasted John McCain for having an administration that would be, in his own words, unwilling to “sit down and talk with the adversary.” So, according to Joe Biden, Barack Obama will not sit down with Ahmadinejad, but maybe he should? Is anybody else confused? If a “tea-time with tyrants” style of foreign policy is wrong, why did he spend the next few minutes advocating for it?

This reminds me of the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry and George are perceived to be a gay couple. They kept insisting they were not gay, but each time they did so they had to make the caveat “but not that there is anything wrong with that”. Well according to Joe Biden, Barack Obama would never sit with tyrants, but not that there is anything wrong with that.

Resoluteless Resolution Like most every other Democratic Senator, Joe Biden has spent the last five years trying to talk his way out of his vote to go to war in Iraq. With five years practice, you would think he would be better at it. During the debate he said, “I gave the president the power. I voted for the power because he said he needed it not to go to war but to keep the United States, the UN in line, to keep sanctions on Iraq and not let them be lifted.” Since when is voting for a resolution to go to war, not a resolution to go to war?

Hay Biden! Bush Called. He Wants his Doctrine Back. When asked about when the United States is justified to “go in” (i.e. invade) another country, Joe Biden said “when a country engages in genocide, when a country is engaging in harboring terrorists and will do nothing about it, at that point that country in my view and Barack's view forfeits their right to say you have no right to intervene at all.” Explain to me how that does not apply to Iraq?

How many times do you have to drop mustard gas on your own people before it counts as genocide? How many thousands of children have to die of starvation before it counts as genocide? How many rape rooms and torture chambers have to be built before it counts as genocide? How many families of suicide bombers have to be paid off before you can be considered supporting terrorists? By Senator Biden’s own definition, we were more than justified to go into Iraq. Senator Biden’s current opposition to the war in Iraq tips his hand about how he really feels about intervention. “Say NO to war, unless a Democrat is President.”

Based on an evening filled with double speak and contradiction, don’t be surprised if the next time he is asked what name he can be called, he responds “you can call me anything you like ,as long as it is Senator Biden.”

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's a Blunder-filled Life!

Great Zuzu’s Petals! What a week on Wall Street! These past seven days have had more epic collapses and stunning rebounds than Tom Cruise’s career. And much like Tom Cruise, Wall Street will continue to freak us out, take our money and prove that we, somehow, can’t live without them. Wall Street, I can’t quit you!

This week brought with it the warm fuzzy feeling we get when a nation comes together to bail out a bank who otherwise would have collapsed under the weight of its own ineptitude. Why just replace the name Fannie May, Freddie Mac and AIG with George Bailey, and we all just took part in a multi-billion dollar re-enactment of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life”.

There really are a lot of parallels between the goings on in Wall Street and the goings on in the fictional Bedford Falls of Frank Capra’s classic film. As we all know, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is the manager of a bank who provided the much needed capital for his little community to grow and prosper. Until one day, George Bailey made the sub-prime decision of putting all of his money in the hands of Uncle Billy. Anybody who knows anything about Hollywood knows that Uncle Billy was going to lose the money, after all, the man has a pet bird. If Hollywood has taught us anything it is this: people with pet birds cannot be trusted. I am talking to you Jafar!

Well, needless to say Uncle Billy lost the money which would have caused the bank to close and sent George bailey to jail. Than, amazingly, the town got together, pooled its money and saved the bank. Community bail-outs, a true Christmas miracle!

The current crisis on Wall Street was every bit as foreseeable as Uncle Billy’s slippery fingers. Four years ago, I was driving down the street near Sacramento California when I saw a sign advertising starter homes in the $400,000’s! That is in dollars, people, not pesos.

Who would honestly pay $400,000 for a home the size of a lunchbox? Upon seeing this sign I turned to my wife and said “where are the people who work at Wal-mart living?” And that is the question Wall Street never asked. Anybody with two eyes and enough grey matter to fill a cereal bowl could tell that prices this high were more symptomatic of a bubble rather than true market value. If your median wage earners cannot afford your median value home, you are out of balance.

Far from failing to foresee the problem, the Banks were complicit in creating it. Making credit so cheap and so readily available allowed prices to sky-rocket further beyond what the market supported. Imagine if the banks had required income verification and a 20% down payment. This bubble would have never happened. Home prices would have reflected actual earnings and people would have been force to live with in their means. Instead, the banks offered adjustable rate mortgages with no income verification, allowing McDonald’s employees to buy McMansions of their own.

Despite the Bailey-esque blunder of making mortgages easier to get than shoe rentals from a bowling alley, the government, sigh, did the right thing and stepped in to bail these companies out.

In a perfect world, I would rather chant “burn baby burn” and watch these inept corporations suffer the natural consequences of their own foolish hubris. But much like “It’s a Wonderful Life”, sometimes the only thing standing between an appealing Bedford Falls and an appalling Pottersville, is a solid banking and financial system. While there are some banks we can afford to do without (like the Lehman Brother’s Bank) there are other institutions that are too integral to the financial system as a whole to see go under. The people of Bedford Falls may have paid to save George Bailey’s Bank but as the alternate universe shown to us by the angel proves, they would have paid far more without it.

Now each time a bell on Wall Street rings, rest assured, another hedge-fund manager got his blings.

Your Candidate/My Candidate

Eric Snider is a fellow BYU alum (Motto: We have reunions every week. Its called church) and he is also the funniest writer on the internets. This past week he wrote a column called "Your Candidate/My Candidate" that I felt needed to be shared. In addition to a weekly humor column, Eric also does terrific movie reviews and manages to post at least one funny aside every day. I cannot encourage you enough to check out www.ericdsnider.com. Without further ado:


Your candidate lacks experience.
My candidate is refreshingly free from the stain of politics.

Your candidate has been part of the Washington system for too long.
My candidate is blessed by years of political know-how.

Your candidate is a reckless loose cannon.
My candidate is a maverick.

Your candidate is exotic and strange.
My candidate represents America's melting pot.

Your candidate is a flip-flopper.
My candidate adjusts his views as new facts come to light.

Your candidate is cranky and stubborn.
My candidate is tenacious.

Your candidate makes brash, controversial remarks.
My candidate speaks his mind, no matter what.

Your candidate has a checkered past.
My candidate has a colorful past.

Your candidate has served time in prison.
My candidate has an intricate knowledge of our country's legal system.

Your candidate sold government secrets to Russian spies.
My candidate is a savvy capitalist with international business experience.

Your candidate once killed a Mexican day-laborer and dumped his body in a river.
My candidate takes a tough stance on immigration.

Your candidate is addicted to painkillers.
My candidate takes a pro-active approach when dealing with difficult situations.

Your candidate is a promiscuous bisexual.
My candidate supports gender equality.

Your candidate was seen drinking the blood of a freshly slain goat in unholy tribute to the dark lord Beelzebub at a gathering of Satanists.
My candidate is an active participant in his religious congregation.

Your candidate released a sex tape on the Internet.
My candidate has nothing to hide from the American people.

Your candidate commandeered a Civil War reenactment and fired a cannon into a crowd of people, killing three.
My candidate vigorously defends his right to bear arms.

Your candidate is a pedophile.
My candidate loves children.

Your candidate burglarized a nursing home.
My candidate treasures the things that our senior citizens have to offer.

Your candidate recruited teenagers to work in his meth lab.
My candidate believes in teaching science to young people.

Your candidate visits prostitutes.
My candidate supports small-business owners.

Your candidate is a wealthy elitist who doesn't trust common Americans to make good decisions.
My candidate shares the views of the Founding Fathers.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Doctrine Doctorin’

The Bush Doctrine is a phrase that has been bandied about so much that it has lost all meaning, like “pro-active”, “synergy” and “mandatory evacuation”. It should come as no surprise that when asked about her opinions on the Bush Doctrine by ABC’s Charles Gibson , Sara Palin’s responded with: “In what respect?”

Rather than clarify his question, Charles Gibson turned his serious interview into an offensive game show by looking down his nose and saying “well, what do you interpret it to be?” I’ll take “Broad, Over-used Political Clichés for 200 please.”

The minute Sara Palin was picked to be on the ticket, I began wondering how long it would take for the media to forgo questioning her positions and begin questioning her intelligence. It is only a matter of time before she gets the “Name the Capital of Tajikistan” pop-quiz posed to her by news reporters who only know the answers themselves because they are holding the cheat sheet passed to them by their staffers. Apparently, Alex Trebec has already been signed up to moderate the Vice-Presidential Debate.

After allowing her a chance to flounder on the question, Charles Gibson than did what he should have done in the first place: clarify. He stated : “The Bush Doctrine is we have the right to self-defense, pre-emptive strike against any country we think is going to attack us.”

That sounds nice, except there is one problem: that is not the Bush Doctrine. The Bush Doctrine was determined almost immediately after September 11th when George W. Bush stated “we will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”

This simple ideal of doing whatever it takes to root out terrorists across the world and making no distinction between them and the nations who support them has defined every foreign policy decision of this administration. It is the reason we went into Afghanistan and it is the reason we went into Iraq.

In September 2001, this very idea was echoed by none other than Charles Gibson. He stated “The president in his speech last night… issued a series of demands to the Taliban, already rejected. We'll get to that in a moment. He also outlined what is being called the Bush Doctrine, a promise that all terrorists organizations with global reach will be found, stopped and defeated.”

So Charlie, what exactly is the Bush Doctrine? Is it a “pre-emptive strike against any country we think is going to attack us” or is it “a promise that all terrorist organizations with global reach will be found, stopped and defeated?” Can Charlie Gibson answer Charlie Gibson’s own question?

Sadly enough, Charlie’s contemporary slant on the Bush Doctrine seems to be echoed by other members of the media establishment. Shortly after the interview, Anderson Cooper of CNN and his panel of Washington Literati tsked-tsked Sara Palin for not knowing the Bush Doctrine, while also making it very clear that they did not know what it was themselves. It was like watching four mechanics try to treat meningitis.

The real question is this: why has the definition of the Bush Doctrine changed among the media establishment from one of rooting out terrorists and terrorist sympathizers to one of preemptive war?
The reason is simple, mainstream America has a different name for the idea that there is no difference between terrorists and the nations that harbor them, it is called “common sense.”

In a post-9/11 world, taking on terrorists and terrorist sympathizers is is not an ideal, it is a mandate. However, a preemptive strike against a country who poses a potential threat is a policy not so easily swallowed. This is why the invasion in Afghanistan went off with little to no opposition, while invading Iraq was protested from the beginning.

Through an Orwellian shift in the meaning of the Bush Doctrine from one that everyone agrees on (terrorist sympathizers=terrorists) to one that most people oppose (shoot first, ask questions later), those who oppose the current administration can use this very term as a bludgeon against Republicans. It would be like asking Sara Palin what she thought of Karl Rove. No answer she could have given would have satisfied them based on their predisposed dislike for the man. Likewise, no answer she could have given would have satisfied the media elite based on their erroneous definition of the Bush Doctrine.

Speaking of words that have lost all meaning, can anyone tell me what “Journalistic Integrity” means anymore?