January 30, 2006

PLAP 314 Report #1: Media Conglamerates

This is the first in a series concerning the Mass Media and American Politics (PLAP 314) course at the University of Virginia. This course will look at the effects the mainstream media and newer forms of media, such as blogging, on society's view of DC and other politics.

Mass media implies a large number, but the MSM is anything but "mass" concerning the number of sources.
"In 1983, Ben Bagdikian published The Media Monopoly, which chronicled how some fifty media conglomerates dominated the entirety of U.S. mass media. By today's standard, that era was downright competitive."
- Oligopoly, Robert W. McChesney
Indeed, today, much of the media is dominated by what could be called super-conglomerates which own control of multiple levels of media, not just print, television, or internet. For example, ABC and ESPN are both owned by Disney, and Gannett owns multiple newspapers, such as USA Today, and television affiliates, such as W*USA-9 in DC and K*USA-9 in Denver. Think these are big organizations? Rupert Murdoch has a much larger spread even.
Murdoch's News Corp. owns the Fox network and fifteen TV stations. It produces cable programming (Fox News, Fox Sports, [the currently defunct] Fox Family Channel). Its studios are 20th Century Fox, Fox Animation, and Searchlight. It owns the New York Post, along with hundreds of newspapers worldwide. It also owns the conservative Weekly Standard and the book company Harper-Collins. Its sports teams are the Los Angeles Dodgers and the National Rugby League in Australia.
- Oligopoly, Robert W. McChesney
Wow. News Corp. is not just the news, but can even make the news. And recently, the WB and UPN joined together to form the CW network, presumably as these other large conglomerates cut into the abilities of these two stations. What does all this mean?

Well, these media giants do look for corporate sponsors to make their earnings. These sponsors may be more willing to spend more towards each company. However, any stories that can compromise the standing of the sponsor, the media conglomerate, or perhaps even political interests held by the conglomerate. Sound like a conspiracy theory?
As more and more media outlets come under the control of fewer and fewer corporate owners, the potential for conflicts of interest increases. News organizations owned by large conglomerates with far-flung investmentsare more likely to find that the public issues they report on carry implications for the corporate parent's financial health.
- Corporate Ownership and News Bias: Newspaper Coverage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Martin Gilens and Craig Hertzman
So what can be done then?

McChesney suggests, among other things, more regulations. Personally, I do not think such a move is necessary (in fact, I think it would only do more harm then good, similar to the McCain-Feingold Act that so greatly affected the 2004 presidential election). One solution sits right in front of you: the internet. Professor Freedman said it best, noting that the internet is affordable to the masses the way the printing press was available to political interests in the past and large companies in recent years. Blogs, this one included, are examples, as are podcasts and message boards. Think that the massive and funded conglomerates cannot be beaten? I am skeptical, as Hollywood has been hit hard in the pocketbook this past year, and blogs quickly ousted "Rathergate" as a farce. And the large conglomerates are not impervious; CBS and Viacom recently split.

This is not to say that the MSM is without its purpose; on the contrary, even bloggers rely heavily on their reports. But that is not to say that they do not leave much to be desired. Even as blogs may require more trust on my part than what is reported by the MSM, I have found them to be a very reliable source in response to other media outlets.

Large media corporations hold a lot of power and a lot of money, but we cannot expect that they will last forever. Eventually, they will fall naturally to competition, which may include non-biased or openly-biased media sources. Mass media appears to relate more to the size of each company rather than the amount of competition, and still, the old saying holds; "the bigger they are, the harder they fall."

New link and (perhaps?) a late thanks

I do not know how I miss these sometimes. A new link has been added to the side-bar under Allies, that of No Oil for Pacifists. This looks like a really good blog, with recent coverage including that of the cloture for the filibuster of the Alito nomination (which appears to have passed 72-25), a comparison of Vietnam and Iraq, and Judeo-Christian values and their effect in our world. Looks like a good addition to the RSS feed.

And it also appears that long-time Allies, the UIS College Republicans, presented me with Weblog of the Week honors (scroll down about one-third of the way). I am very honored by this, but I am unsure of what week it was that this was presented. I would like to thank the UIS CRs for this recognition, and apologize if my thanks are rather belated. I am unaware of whether any UIS CRs read this blog, but if I am getting some, please relay my thanks to the editor of UIS CR blog and your leadership. I will continue to do my best to deserve such recognition.

January 28, 2006

Twenty Years

January 27, 2006

Around the Horn

For anyone new to this blog, "Around the Horn" is named as such based on the sports opinion show on ESPN. As a lot may be going on at a given time, or I may find myself away from posting, I will forego the individual post and post a short set of comments for a number of topics. Much like "Around the Horn", many topics will be covered, and this one is no exception. Today's may be larger than others, but it will follow the same structure.

- Virginia Centrist responds to calls that he is an extreme liberal. While I do not like the use of the terms "centrist" and "moderate", I can see how "conservative", "liberal", and even "libertarian" would not fit VC's political belieff system (as for each particular belief, that is a whole different story).

- Chad will no longer be alone at CC. Will Vehrs will be joining him full-time, leaving Bacon's Rebellion. While I prefer Chad's style and posts, Will will add a new dynamic to a great blog and should make it far more enjoyable.

- I am far from a fan on polls, but it sure does not look like Hillary stands a good chance in '08.

- I am also far from a fan of Lowell, but he has surprised me. Some very rabid liberals are against war in all cases, and Lowell understands this is not a good idea, particularly where Iran is concerned. And with the recent frustrations seen in Europe over Iran, it could be interesting to see how this all plays out and how the War in Iraq will be viewed.

- Speaking of Iraq, a former Iraqi general is claiming that WMDs and materials to make such weapons may indeed have been shipped to Syria before the onset of the war. With an extended period of time in the discussions in Congress and the UN, then the centrifuge by Saddam concerning the possibility of such weapons, these claims merit attention, but will take some time to confirm.

- Also, it appears that the people in Iraq and Afghanistan disagree with the people here in the United States about how things are going in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we all know that Michael Moore is the real expert, right?

- Alito got by 10-8 on a party-line vote, but calls for a filibuster appear to be failing. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Supreme Court Justice Alito.

- For anyone fearing a conservative Supreme Court, you might want to put those fears aside for now. Wondering whether the death penalty may break the Constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment, a stay has been ordered on an execution. Why is this even being questioned? By now, there should be little doubt whether lethal injection is painful (beyond the needle piercing the skin).

- Hamas is in power, how will Israel react and how should they?

- Tim Kaine wasted no time breaking his promise, raising taxes to pay for transportation (which technically is paid for, even if the money has been diverted). Not only that, it is not only Republicans who are mad at this decision.

- Senator George Allen continues to make good moves towards 2008, with strong approval ratings and criticism of the liberals in Senate.

- Brokeback Mountain, the not-so-blockbuster.

- And finally, a look around the ACC. Ron Mexico is defending his brother, rather than offering him constructive criticism. And Marcus Vick is not the only Hokie to "accidentally" step on an opponent, though admittedly, Deron Washington handled the situation far more maturely than Vick. Meanwhile, UVa is 4-2 in the conference, surpassing expectations and exciting some of the locals. The Hoos face 6-0 Duke tomorrow in a game that could greatly define the direction for the rest of the season.

January 23, 2006

Marking 33 years of a mistake

On this day 33 years ago, the decision for Roe v. Wade was read, and groups both in support and opposition have come out in rallies and protests over a decision that still brings millions of people to arms. What gets ignored most by those in favor of abortion? Virginia Centrist summed it up best (this remains a favorite quote of mine two and a half weeks after the fact):
If abortion is wrong, then it is wrong on a cataclysmic scale.
Forget the Nazi concentration camps. Ignore the genocides that ocurred in the "Killing Fields" in Cambodia. Do not pay any attention to the dead soldiers from World War II. If life begins at conception, abortion has killed far more than all these examples combined. Even if life begins after the end of the first trimester, abortion would be a massive killer.

I proposed a Constitutional amendment a few months ago that would be best in overturning Roe v. Wade (should the SCOTUS not do so), and I believe it is still a good one (this is in reference to the suggestion of the creation of an amendment banning abortion).
By making abortion unconstitutional except in the case of putting the mother's life at risk, more questions may arise. In what situations are the mother's life at risk? This is very rare. An amendment to the Constitution, and goes against a smaller government model. What needs to happen is that abortion is described as it really is: murder. It can be tried the exact same way. In most cases, it is a clear-cut murder case. In others, it can be like death due to self-defense; if the mother's life is truly at risk, proving it should not be too hard.
In the end, the choice of the mother entirely disregards the rights of the unborn child. This needs to change.

January 22, 2006

Is that a really small violin?

Apparently, Michael Moore is not too happy about the changes that may be coming to Canada.

Welcome Back!

SacramentoVoice is back in the States after serving in Iraq. His service has been greatly appreciated and this return home is greatly deserved. I look forward to reading more of his thoughts as he readjusts to American life. Welcome back SacramentoVoice!

Morality and Marriage

Homosexuality is becoming more accepted within socially liberal circles. But could it lead to an even more fundamental change to relationships and marriage that greatly betrays what they are all about? Jerry Fuhrman sure thinks so.
Same-sex marriage is all the rage in liberal circles. Exponents argue that sex behind closed doors between two consenting adults is a matter for those two consenting adults and that Christians should keep their morality to themselves.
Sex is acceptable between TWO people if they are CONSENTING and those people are of a certain age to be considered ADULTS.

If you truly believe that morality shouldn't be factored into the equation, then it stands to reason that you would have to allow for sex with children. Beastiality. Polygamy.
This is some scary stuff, but just a scare tactic, right?

Man, I wish that were true.
Last year, however, as Canada legalized same-sex "marriage," Prime Minister Paul Martin commissioned a $150,000 study to debunk the polygamy argument. Big mistake: The study confirmed the scare tactic by recommending Canada repeal its anti-polygamy law.
While she seems to see same-sex unions in a different way from Jerry and I, the author, Debra Saunders, recognizes some fundamental problems that would arise from polygamy.
[T]he practice is poison for cultures at large. Rich men marry many wives. Poor men do not. Women have few opportunities and limited rights. It can't be good for the kids. Consider polygamy's most famous son: Osama bin Laden, whose father sired 54 children with 22 wives.
This brings about her best point.
Extending protections to unequal unions protects inequality

January 21, 2006

Should we be intrigued or scared?

This appears to have been passed by by many news sources, but it appears that Jacques Chirac is threatening a hard-line against states endorsing terrorism. I have a few questions though; why did he not feel this way about Iraq a few years ago, a country that is known to have had terrorist training camps? (Reading the article, I guess one might presume that he would state that 9/11 was not against France, but it was against a country that is technically an ally to France). Also, what kind of retaliation may come from a nuclear attack, and who would be targeted?

January 20, 2006

A Whole Generation

That is the amount of time that has passed since the inauguration of Ronald Wilson Reagan for his first term in the White House. Twenty-five years ago today, and it is obvious that some things have not changed.

- Iran is still hostile to the United States, and like that day 25 years ago, many in Iran are sweating (then, the hostages were released when they realized Reagan was not Carter, and now, they insist that the pursuit of nuclear capabilities is solely to power Iran).
- A Republican is in the White House, one who does not take crap from other foreign powers. Terrorism has brought about a new cold war, although even the most ardent Bush-supporters realize that this struggle will not be over before President Bush leaves office.
- Democrats hate the Commander-in-Chief with a passion, yet they fail to realize why these leaders were popular enough to earn a second term in office.
- History sees Ronald Reagan in a kind light, and I suspect the same will be true of George W. Bush (though Reagan will easily be the more popular of the two).

Some people seem to think that there is a lot of change that occurs over time. If anything, I believe this anniversary shows that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

January 18, 2006

Mass Media and American Politics

These are topics that have greatly influenced the posts on this blog, but it is also a course I will be taking this semester. Paul Freedman is the professor of this course, one which has received favorable reviews from friends that have taken this course. He has suggested that some of us use the course to influence posting on our blogs, and even asked those of us who have them to send them to him (at this time, I do not plan on doing so). Still, I will post my thoughts on the course (as others no doubt will, and the potential for links to my blog may still bring new readers here), and we'll see if the course changes or bolsters some of my thoughts concerning the media's effect on politics.

An Interesting Idea

Originially Posted 1/16 3:40 PM:
Enviromentalists have a fierce method in pushing their agenda. Without considering the ramifications of their demands, they push ideas that are impossible without sending the entire planet back to the Iron Age. However, if this idea can get wide acceptance, a lot of this pressure may be alleviated.

Using a particular strain of algae, pollution and greenhouse gases can be reduced from smokestacks. While most processes to reduce emissions can be expensive and difficult to implement, this idea may be far cheaper (even considering the one-time cost of altering smokestacks), making it a feasible option for many companies and even opening up business for those who are quick enough to jump on this opportunity. With reductions that are greater than those required by Kyoto and keeping levels far below those regulated by the government, yet costing far less than the procedures currently being used, it is hard to imagine anyone complaining about this idea; if anything, many executives will likely embrace it. What more, the algae itself could be cultivated for fuel.

I must say that I am impressed. An environmentalist with an idea, rather than an attack. Hopefully, this is the kind of thing that will get Al Gore to shut up.

UPDATE 1/18 9:30 AM: Jerry Fuhrman has an excellent analysis of the true quagmire, the Kyoto Protocol. It becomes very obvious that business may succeed where government has grossly failed.

January 17, 2006

On anonymous and pseudonymous blogging and commenting

With the recent bill signed by President Bush concerning anonymous internet posts and the growing debate here in Virginia, including here and here.

There are some complaints about bloggers who use pseudonyms (obviously, this caught my attention). While a pseudonym provides a layer of protection towards the person posting (which is, in itself, not a bad thing), it may still allow for a set identity, just as a real name does. Under this pseudo, a blogger or commenter can establish a reputation and earn (or not, depending on the comments) respect. While most trolls and flamers in the blogosphere use pseudos, the converse is not necessarily true.

Meanwhile, some people post anonymously or cycling through pseudonyms, in an attempt to evade exclusion from commenting. Many seem to be unaware that the IP address stays the same, but these posters are not as common. They do not add anything to the conversation but only serve to irritate the blogger and/or the commenters. Integrity, as it is in most cases of honor, is not served, and nothing is acheived.

Chad Dotson, as John Behan, established himself under a fake name to be the most trusted conservative blogger in the Commonwealth and influencing many others to join, myself included. The Jaded JD generally is highly regarded by many Virginia bloggers (even though he has been on something of a sabbatical). And Sic Semper Tyrannis and Too Conservative both utilize the skills and abilities of multiple pseudonymous bloggers. Courage and integrity does not necessarily require a birth name, just consistency. I hope that we continue to add to the blogosphere in Virginia and can establish a community based on trust, not on deceit.

January 16, 2006

Small problem

Okay, it appears that I cannot access the commenting here, and I am unsure of how to fix it immediately. For the time being, hold off on any thoughts, and I will try to get the commenting back up and running later.


Imagine the response if a Republican said this.

UPDATE 7:38 PM: Okay, now Nagin seems to think he is Pat Robertson. Again, why is this being ignored by all but a few sources? My guess is that it is because a Republican was not the one making these statements.

January 14, 2006

A Great Run

Well, the Redskins season is over. After running the table at a 5-6 record, and taking down Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs, Seattle ended its postseason futility with a 20-10 win. I am disappointed, but far from heartbroken. The Redskins completely turned this season around, and were, essentially, in the playoffs for seven straight weeks, with a loss anywhere potentially knocking them out.

So what's left? Well, we can still enjoy seeing Seattle getting the snot kicked out of them either in the NFC Championsip Game or Super Bowl XL, and Washington will be big favorites going into next season. Here, I stated what Washington needed for 2006. From that list, Gregg Williams will remain with the Redskins, and there is no reason why the same will not be true for Gibbs, Portis, and Moss; however, it is painfully obvious after this playoff run that the Redskins need a new, young QB. Ramsey is not that QB, and Campbell may not be ready next season. But who might fit well?

1. Matt Schaub: I've mentioned him before, and I think he would compliment Moss and Cooley very well.
2. Tim Hasselbeck: Yep, the brother of the QB whom they lost to today. They let him go last season, but if there is any way they can get him back, I think he would be more than capable of leading this team.
3: Brett Favre: In order to get a new leader to replace the aging Mark Brunell...never mind.

But seriously, this is priority number one next season. After that, they should look for a new WR and for some help on the OL (Seattle put a lot of pressure on Brunell, who was slowed by his knee injury). Finding some good backups to add some depth will also go a long way to a team that seems to have problems with injuries.

This was a tough loss, but there is a lot of reason to be optimstic for next season. The Washington Redskins have a great shot at making Super Bowl XLI.

An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers

Recently, Jack Abramoff has been a commonly said name inside the beltway. The scandals, involving bribery on both sides of the aisle, have received a lot of attention. While Democrats are throwing stones in their own glass houses going after Republicans, this has shown a great divergence from the conservative values that we had hoped the Republican congressmen would uphold.

Via John at Brown Hound, it appears that right-of-"center" bloggers are making their voices heard. I am going to sign this petition, and I ask that my fellow ODBA members and other Virginia conservative bloggers do the same.

The text of the petition is as follows:
We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.

But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.

As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.

January 13, 2006

Intelligence or Ignorance?

Democrats would be well-advised to listen to Neil Cavuto. Outside of blue states, the Dick Durbins and John Murthas are ignored, while the Mark Warners and Tim Kaines get attention (and are taken seriously); Judge Alito's bid for the Supreme Court is a safe bet, and those challenging him appear to be nothing more than bullies and retreaters. Warner and Kaine have appeared to reach the common man, something that is essential in the red states, particularly when there is a (D) (even though one has to wonder what role former Governor Gilmore played in the last two state elections).

January 12, 2006

Changes coming?

Shaun Kenney's recent post concerning Generation X versus Generation Y has gotten me thinking. I am entering my final semester at the University of Virginia, and as one of the early members of Gen Y, I will be going out into the "real world" soon, starting on a job that may launch my career.

I will be honest, this is daunting. This is, at least in part, due to a bit of uncertainty. I have only recently been added to the Charlottesville Blogs Aggregator and the Old Dominion Blog Alliance, but withdrawl from one or both groups may be needed; I do not know what I will be doing after I graduate, and as such am unaware of where I will be living come June. Even still, I welcome the challenges that lie before me, and I am sure that, should the need arise, I can become familiar with a new group of bloggers in the locale.

That being said, I will continue here at least through graduation, and will likely maintain this URL even after such time.

As for the Gen X vs. Gen Y comparisons, all I can say is that us Gen Y'ers needs to step up to the plate and prove ourselves. Our time is now.

January 10, 2006

I do not like recalls...

but if there was ever a governor that deserved it, she's the one.


Apple's New Products

I can see Waldo drooling already (or is that Ross?.

Apple has released a slew of new products today. I'll give a quick run-through of each of them.

MacBook Pro - Basically the heir apparent to the PowerBook, this laptop gets big boosts everywhere (not least of which the pricetag). The lowend MacBook has an 80 GB harddrive, a 1.67 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 512 MB of RAM, and built-in wireless. Again, I emphasize, that is the lowend MacBook. Ross who? I'm drooling.

Intel iMac - Twice as fast as the old iMac, this new machine will have up to a 2.0 GHz dual processor and all the features of the prior iMac. Is it too late to trade in my iBook?

iWork '06 - A competitor for Microsoft Office, but this one will take a bit more work to win over even the most loyal Apple users. We still need to be able to communicate with PCs after all. Looks nice, but can it move in on an area that Microsoft has its true stronghold on?

iLife '06 - Some of the best software that Apple makes. Multimedia is easily edited and accessed. iPhoto gets most of my use, as does iTunes (and I must say, I do love my iPod video), but iMovie, iDVD, iWeb (okay, maybe Apple does overdo that i thing), and Garageband are all quality products that contribute to the ease of use of the Mac.

iPod FM Tuner Remote - Third-party companies have been doing these for a while, and now Apple joins in. Radio on the iPod (5G only) makes the little handheld a nearly all-in-one multimedia station. All it needs now is satellite TV and streaming movies and video-games. I think I'll hold off on this one though. I do not need radio that much, and plan to spend my money on an Apple remote anyway.

Wow, some great stuff there. Microsoft may not be sweating yet, but Apple is loking good right now.

January 09, 2006

Bigotry (bə-guh-tree): See irony

A recent post caught the interest of The Political Noise concerning social conservatism. His thoughts:
Why is social conservatism so important? To me it just seems like repression and bigotry.
I generally avoid strong sarcasm in my posts, but I do not restrict myself as much in commenting, and made no exception with my comment. My main point was questioning the use of the term bigot. He took offense to this, noting his use of the word "seems". Well, I am sure he must also know the meaning of "bigot", but apparently thought it did not carry the strength of the word "seems".

This is not uncommon either. I know someone who has posted to a message board, questioning "the gay cowboy movie" (yes, I know the title of it, that is not the point) because of its glorification of homosexual behavior and adultery (one of the cowboys is married with children in the film). This person was labeled as a bigot, and many said it was simply a movie telling a love story and a work of art (much as The Motorcycle Diaries was; does the label of art automatically make something undeserving of criticism?). But what does bigotry mean?

According to dictionary.com, the following definition is offered.
bigot, n : a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own
Well, I'll be. This does sound quite harsh. In fact, it sounds like it greatly defines those who are using the term. Hmm, interesting.

Calling someone a bigot is irony, hypocrisy, and even bigotry itself. Many liberals will imply that there is no right or wrong, but then state that conservatism is wrong. It does not say much about the person using the term, other than a hypocritical self-righteousness.

It also is very harsh, or in simpler terms, "dem's fightin' words". Why should anyone using the word "bigotry" towards another expect a nice response? Now, I could have been harsher, and in retrospect, I do think that I could have been a little more mannerly, but respect is a two-way street after all.

Of course, we could see how effective the use of the word "bigot" is; anyone here know someone who changed their social philosophy when he or she was implied to be a bigot?

January 07, 2006

New Link! New Link! New Link!

Can you tell I am excited?

The new addition is a good one, and it has been a long time coming. The University of Virginia College Republican blog has been established, at the URL http://uvacr.blogspot.com/ (perhaps I should consider changing my pseudo to avoid confusion with this new blog?). Brian Gunn, the CR Chairman, just informed me of this blog, having only started it today, but I must say that I am impressed with how good it looks so far (I think he'll need a little reassurance after spending so much time on the beautiful logo at the top ;) ). This blog will be a very useful tool for current members, as it will list upcoming events (such as the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC for short, which is always a good time, and which I will blog about as I attend it for the fourth time), information about special elections (and this election has produced a few recently), and contact info for the officers of the College Republicans at the University of Virginia.

I extend a welcome to them, and it is good to see some official representation for the organization here at UVa (I link myself to the organization, but do not and could not in good conscience claim to represent them). I know you guys will continue to make the members of the CRs proud.

Also, on a side-note, the sidebar has been cleaned a little. While I valued (and continue to value) the mutual links held with a number of other blogs, those that I share membership with in the ODBA do not need two links, so enjoy the (slightly) revised blogroll.

January 04, 2006

The Lack of Social Conservatives in the Virginia Blogosphere

Virginia Centrist speculates on the socially libertarian but politically conservative side of the blogosphere.
Why are Virginia's conservative bloggers more socially libertarian than the rest of the state? I'm not trying to claim that they support gay marriage or abortion rights. I'm just saying that for most VA Conservative bloggers, social issues are not at the forefront of their focus. They usually say "live and let die." Shaun Kenney, Jim Bacon, Will Vehrs, Chad Dotson, Norm Leahy, etc - their main focus is on issues of taxation and spending, not hot button social issues.

This of course differs from most of our Republican elected officials.
I chose to ignore the last sentence in his post.

Anyway, it is a rather interesting question, and I offered my thoughts.
I have found that socially conservative people generally vary widely in how they work. I am sure you are aware that I am a social conservative, as well as an economic conservative and a strong supporter of our military. A number of other social conservatives are as well, but many that I know can be a bit more liberal in their economic views, as well as more pacifistic and more concerned with the environment. Yet, many of those social conservatives stay out of politics, feeling either that it is too divisive or it does not include them (I have told them many times that I do not feel that a third party can be successful, at least not in this decade). For that matter, many of those social conservatives spend most of their time in the leadership of religious groups. This is just speculation, but perhaps this may be common among many other social conservatives.
In the end, I am still left wondering the same thing as VC.

And let me extend a suggestion to readers here who do not visit VC's blog; check it out. Though I still do not take "moderate" and "centrist" as an acceptable answer as one's political beliefs (in fact, I had aimed this post directly at VC a few months ago), VC has a well-thought out blog with some great posts. It has improved dramatically since the summer, and is among the blogs I read daily on my RSS feed (one that may be getting too big, with both Charlottesville blogs and the Old Dominion Blog Alliance making up the vast majority of the blogs included).

January 03, 2006

Pennsylvania's next governor?

It may be official. Though this has been predicted a few months ago, tomorrow may be the day that former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann announces his campaign to be governor of Pennsylvania. It may not be our commonwealth, but this is the next best thing.

Privacy should be protected except when it shouldn't

Charles Schumer believes the leak may be an attempt to blow the whistle on illegal activity. Funny, because I suspect he will be looking for a leaker who alleged his responsibility in the stolen credit report of Maryland GOP Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. So what seperates a "whistleblower" and a "leaker"?

The Left's disconnect with the Military

Victory! That is what many Democrats are claiming from a new poll that Michelle Malkin is looking into.
A new Military Times poll is being gleefully spun by the moonbats as proof that President Bush has lost the support of our troops.
Approval of the president's Iraq policy fell 9 percentage points from 2004, according to the survey. But despite the relentless anti-war drumbeat of the MSM and the Dems, our troops still support President Bush--and his handling of the war in Iraq--by large margins.
Support for President Bush is at 56% among those polled and 73% think that the U.S. is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to suceed in Iraq. These numbers must throw a wrench in the idea that the military is very stronly in support of the War in Iraq. Or are they?
Reader Tom B. writes: "Michelle - Don't know if you caught this: But the first question on the poll shows that the majority of respondants to the Military Times poll have not even deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan."
Wait, is Michelle trying to tell us that this poll was biased? It can't be! Members of the mainstream media would never use their influence to provide inaccurate information, would they?

Yet, many opposed to the war will still cite these numbers, believing that they will only help those in Iraq by keeping the soldiers out of harms way. Mrs Greyhawk believes otherwise, citing a poem written by Russ Vaughn of the 2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Osama and his minions know,
In combat they can't beat us;
So they hope and pray will come a day,
Our own media will defeat us.

Ignoring all the good we've done,
Liberals focus on the gore,
On losses mounting and body counting,
To prove we've lost this war.
The Internet’s exposed them,
As elitist media liars;
They stand unclothed and widely loathed,
Our foe's force multipliers.

Some day when all our troops return,
With Iraq on freedom's path,
The liberal elite who sought defeat,
May face some Righteous wrath.
The United States military takes a very real hit when they hear criticism from home, even when they see exactly what is unfolding before them.

And it is not just directed towards those in the military, but those who may be considering a future in the armed forces, and, ironically, by a United States Congressman.
"Would you join (the military) today?," he was asked in an interview taped on Friday.

"No," replied Murtha of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense spending and one of his party's leading spokesmen on military issues.
Yeah, that is a great attitude to convey to those who are willing to protect our country. McQ puts it best.
They've always stood up and done the dirty (and necessary) work of democracy. But the vast majority did what had to be done instead of whining like old women and warning others away from future service in the military.

Yet, even with these challenges, the military appears to have a lot of faith in our current Commander in Chief and even more that we will suceed in Iraq. The American people do not look at soldiers as heels deserving of being spat on, but as heroes worthy of grand returns and warm thanks. Personally, it scares me to think of our country having a minimalized military, and I know it is incredibly trying to spend one's life in the military; I suspect the same holds true for much of the United States, which overwhelmingly supports our men and women in uniform. For these reasons, defeatists are an irony unto themselves; they will not suceed in demoralizing our troops, our heroes.

January 01, 2006

They Control Their Destiny

Being a Redskins fan is rarely rewarded and almost never easy, but when the reward does come, it is that much sweeter. Tonight's game against Philadelphia certainly was not easy, but the outcome was the best in a Redskins game since 1999. And the first game in the playoffs may bring more sweetness, because they play none other than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Why is this so great of an opportunity? Six years ago, it was Tampa Bay that knocked out the Redskins from the playoffs when a field goal attempt by the Redskins was muffed, and earlier this season, Tampa Bay won the game on a two-point conversion that should have never happened, sending the Redskins in a downward spiral that very nearly knocked them out of contention.

The Redskins are a dangerous team right now, riding a 5-game winning streak, a 10-2 record against NFC teams (including wins against the Seahawks and Bears, both 10-1 in the conference entering week 17), and of course recognizing the opponent that they face as one that has given the Redskins some trouble in recent years. With Brunell receiving further rest to help his injury this week and Portis recovering from some of his bumps and bruises, not to mention having the devastating receiving abilities of Moss, Tampa Bay will have their hands full. Still, the Redskins will not be facing a weak team either, featuring an infamously good defense and a young, skilled running back in Cadillac Williams. While the AFC is considered the stronger conference, the NFC is extremely competitive and the Redskins will make a huge statement, even if they only win one game.