Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Great Race-2008: The Land of Candy and Sunshine by John P. Stevenson

The Great Race—2008

The Spectacle of the Modern American Election Campaign
The Land of Candy & Sunshine


As you no doubt have been hearing from the unceasing stream of Barack Obama’s campaign commercials played in a continual rotation on TV screens nationwide, all of our worries will soon be over. Yes, Barry’s preparing for his official anointing as the Chosen One, when the clouds of despair will lift, birds will sing, the lion will lay down with the lamb, the rivers will flow root beer, and all will be right with the world.

It seems that Obama has an answer for everything, and those answers all sound amazingly similar: Let the Government take care of it. Can’t afford Health Insurance? No problem… Let Uncle Sugar pick up that bill. Your antiquated, out-moded, over-priced Union job disappearing? Don’t worry, we’ll make those evil Auto corporations keep operating in the 1950’s, paying twenty-five bucks an hour for an unskilled laborer to screw Widget A to Framazam B. Are you stressed about what the rest of the world thinks about us? They’ll soon love us, when our shipment of French-made Surrender flags arrives in late January. (Soon to be appearing on a battlefield near you. What’s that you say, there are no battlefields near you? Just wait…) Oh yes, all will be sweetness and light under an Obama administration—does anyone know the lyrics to Tommy James and the Shondells’ Crystal Blue Persuasion?? Perhaps we should have a new National Anthem.

Contrary to what so many now believe, Government is not meant to be the solution to all life’s problems. In fact, there are very few problems Government can, or should, solve. The founders envisioned government (note the small ‘g’…) as a necessary evil; something that had to be, but also something to be feared, and kept under a tight leash. They had just fought a long, costly war to rid themselves of a tyrannical monarchy, which regarded the people as mere subjects of the Crown; the last thing they wished for was a government that had the power to intrude into every facet of American life. They saw government as having a sharply defined, and greatly limited, scope of influence… The conduct of Foreign Policy and keeping us safe from our enemies being chief among them. Things that modern Americans take for granted… smoking bans in public places, regulating trans-fats, income tax, abortion on demand… would have provoked open warfare in the early days of our independence.

The strongest party for the first decade of American politics, the Federalist Party, was a strong advocate of bigger, more powerful, more centralized National Government… not unlike today’s Democratic Party. And the first true test of the Federalist’s policies came in the early 1790’s when, at the urging of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, Congress levied a tax on each gallon of whiskey produced. Since many western farmers depended upon distillation to refine their excess grain into this more easily transported, and therefore more profitable, form, this directly penalized those small farmers.

In 2008, there would be protests, of course. Letters would be written to Congressmen and Senators, even the President. There would be pundits on every news net arguing both for and against the tax, and the blogosphere would be up in arms. Figuratively speaking, of course.
That was not the case in 1794, however. Oh, letters were written and protests were raised, to be sure. But the farmers who felt themselves threatened by what they perceived as an abusive over-reaching of power on the part of Congress and President Washington did what they had done nearly twenty years before—picked up musket, ball, and powder and said “NO!”
In response, President Washington called out the militias of Pennsylvania and Virginia to put down the insurrection. Assembling an army of nearly 13,000 men, roughly equal to the entire Continental Army of the late war, Washington marched them into the Monongahela Valley of Western Pennsylvania, one of only two times that an American army took to the field with a sitting President at it’s head.

The Whiskey Rebellion, as it came to be known, accomplished very little, ending with a mewling whimper rather than a bang. Twenty rebels were rounded up; only two actually were jailed. Two were sentenced to death, but were pardoned by Washington. Most were simply fined and released. Within a decade, the tax was repealed, ending the first effort by the US Government to increase the powers allotted it by the Constitution. It was, of course, not to be the last.
Perhaps the most important consequence of the short-lived rebellion was that it led to the demise of the Federalist Party, and the rise of the Democratic-Republican Party, which, like the Anti-Federalists ten years before, argued for smaller, less powerful government.

But that was 214 years ago. Now, politicians routinely buy our votes with our own money, promising they’ll deliver this program or that entitlement to cure whatever ails us… all of course bought with our own tax dollars. Yet there are millions who, like the children of Hamlen town, line up obediently behind the pied piper, eager to dance to his tune no matter where it may lead. To many, there is no problem that can’t be solved by growing Government just a little larger. Can’t handle your unruly child? Just let the Government step in and take over for you. Can’t make your business succeed? Why bother… the Government’ll bail you out. Just can’t deal with life in general? Ok, just trust Uncle… he’s got it all planned out for you. Obama’s got it all worked out.

And for us proud descendents of the Anti-Federalists, the ones who prefer to parent our own children, thank you, or take the credit for our success or the responsibility for our failure, or deal with life according to our own plans, not Obama’s?

Who do you think gets to pay for the candy and sunshine?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

That Time of Year Again...


This is normally a giddy time of year for me. I should be deep in the throngs of my fall and Halloween decorating. This year, it seems that The Ghost of Christmas Past is still haunting me, and I cannot get "through" things quickly enough. Perhaps part of it is that I am just burnt out of decorating for now. Perhaps it is that menopausal "THING" rearing its ugly head. Perhaps the "non-accidental" destruction of more than just the decorations in our home last December, has scarred me more deeply than I care to admit. Whatever the case, I need to.....and MUST get over this FUNK. So, I am determined to do that. Somehow. I don't know HOW....but somehow.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama

This says it better than I could...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Why We Fight by John P. Stevenson

Why We Fight by John P. Stevenson
Why We Fight…

The Reasons and Motivations of the War for Civilization


A Choice between Here and There


You hear it everywhere… “What are we doing in Iraq?” “Why are we fighting?” “When will the War end?” These are valid questions, questions that deserve straight, honest answers. And it’s not factual to say that the Bush administration hasn’t provided those answers; they have. It’s just that some people haven’t liked the answers they got.

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If you find yourself wondering why we’re engaged in conflict, think back to a bright Tuesday in September nearly seven years ago. Do you remember where you were? What you were doing? Do you remember what went through your mind when the second plane hit the second tower, live on nationwide TV, and the realization dawned that what had been a horrible accident had become an act of war?

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I do. Vividly. I can recall the shock as I watched the flashing silver shape cut across the screen from left to right, banking sharply just before impact, flames and glass and debris blowing out the other side of the building as though it were blood and tissue from an exit wound. The shock lasted perhaps ten seconds, then I turned to a friend standing next to me and said, “Someone just declared war on us.” In my mind, the transition from peace to war took just that long, just that 10-second gap between seeing, and knowing. For some, especially the heroes who would be the first to fall in this war, it would be much quicker; for many, that transition has never been made.

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Our President, the man charged with the responsibility of keeping us safe from foreign aggression, the man who is the ultimate commander of the armed might of the United States, resolved that this would not happen again on his watch. He vowed, before Congress, before the Nation, before the World, and before God that we would go anywhere, pay any price, endure any hardship, to bring justice to those who brought terror to us. He made it clear that there would be nowhere to hide, no sanctuary from our wrath. The doctrine was simple and direct… there were only two sides in this War: Stand with us, on the side of civilization, or cast your lot with those who sought the end of civilization. He stated plainly that this would not be a war like any other. Many things would be done in the darkness, concealed from all save those who would feel the effects of our anger. Many things would be done for the world to see, and to learn from. And it would not be a war that would end with the liberation of one country, the death of one man, or the capture of an enemy capital. It would be a generational conflict, and we who began the struggle would not likely live to see its end.

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And thus far, he has been a man of his word. We followed Al-Qaeda to Afghanistan, where they were sheltered and supported by the brutal theocracy of the Taliban. Warlords who came to power following the collapse of the government, they returned the country to medieval times, banning all modern conveniences, forbidding the education of females, and instituting the death penalty for even the most minor infractions of shari’a law, the same laws that saw Saudi police force dozens of young girls back into their burning schoolhouse because, in their haste to escape the flames, they had not properly covered themselves. Carried out in front of large crowds at outdoor stadiums, even children could find themselves convicted of some offense and facing public execution.

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Into this maelstrom of hate, the President sent our combat forces, into a land that had not been conquered since the time of Alexander the Great. The British found defeat there in the 1880’s, as did the Soviets one hundred years later. Analysts boldly predicted massive casualties for the Americans, and Russian experts, wounds still raw and exposed from the Soviet Union’s disastrous Afghan war, proclaimed certain defeat for US forces.

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But we were not defeated, and though brave men and women died, our casualties were comparatively light. By the first spring after the towers fell, Afghanistan was secured, the Taliban had been routed from power, thousands of terrorists were dead or captured, and Al-Qaeda had lost it’s most important sanctuary.

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Though the fighting in Afghanistan would, and does, continue, soon a new threat would emerge; or rather, an old one would reemerge. Saddam Hussein, a despot so barbaric that he had used chemical weapons on his own people, once again moved to the forefront of international threats. After repeated attempts to use the UN to cajole him into compliance with the terms of the 1991 cease-fire, the decision was made. Given the new calculus that governed in the wake of 9-11, no longer could we be content to merely watch and wait for the inevitable. We had to act pre-emptively, alone if necessary, before madmen with weapons far more dangerous than machine guns and high explosives could once more strike our homeland. Saddam fit every definition of evil, and his hatred of the west in general, and the US in particular, meant that his time had come.

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On the evening of March 19th, 2003, our President announced the beginning of the end for Saddam’s regime. As our troops began the campaign to liberate Iraq, he said these words in an address to the nation:

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“Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.

“Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory.”

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Though his words were clear and measured, still there were those who failed to grasp their true import. Among these were the liberals who denounced the war at every turn, eager to pounce on each death, setback, and error as though war could be a perfected endeavor, and anything less would be justification for opposing it. Some of the loudest of these critics were the very ones who voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq to begin with, the 100 or so Democrats in Congress who voted “Yes” on the resolution. Some familiar names top that list, notables of the Democratic party such as Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and John Kerry.

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So now the war is in, not it’s fifth year since the invasion of Iraq, nor even it’s soon-to-be seventh since that bright September morning etched in our memories. This war didn’t begin when the twin towers fell, or when Flight 93 plunged into a meadow in Pennsylvania. It had been a long-running conflict when a small boat exploded against the hull of the USS Cole, and when terrorists brought down two American embassies in Africa. It was an old struggle when Iranian militants took 52 Americans hostage in our embassy, and when savages shattered the peace of an Olympic village in Munich.

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In truth, this conflict has always been with us, for it is the fundamental struggle between civilization and barbarism. Since ancient man took the first tentative steps to reach out and peacefully coexist with his neighbor, thereby improving their common lot, there have been those who seek to tear apart the fragile bonds of civilization. And make no mistake… they will succeed if given the chance. As a quote often attributed to the Irish philosopher Edmund Burke reads, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” That’s as true now as it was in Burke’s day, and we have all too many otherwise good people advocating the doing of nothing.

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We currently have two men vieing for the job of Commander-in-Chief of this nation at war. Though I have doubt and misgivings about John McCain’s political stances, I have no doubt that he will do something when it comes to this war in which we find ourselves called for service. He’s a man who’s experienced the triumph of evil precisely because people did nothing to oppose it. Some even campaigned actively for it’s success. The likliehood that he would sit still, waiting for terror to once more visit our shores, is virtually nil. Despite Barack Obama’s high-sounding calls for inspiring hope and change, neither is the responsibility of the President. Keeping us safe is.

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Whether or not liberals wish to admit it, we are in the midst of a World War. How can a man who can’t even rule out sitting down with our enemies be expected to lead us in that conflict? How can a man who will hold a campaign rally in a foreign capital, yet refuse to visit a nearby hospital full of our wounded soldiers because it would be “inappropriate,” seriously consider himself ready to be Commander-in-Chief of those soldiers?

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And, more importantly, how can we consider possibly casting a vote for such a man?

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John "The Unimonster" Stevenson is a friend of mine who is sans full computer access at this time. Until he can post regularly on his own blogs (links will be posted later), I will give him full access to mine. If anyone knows someone who could use a good writer for a paper, magazine, ezine (that PAYS), I can put you in touch with John.

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He deserves a shot.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Indescribable, by Chris Tomlin

I heard this song on Sunday and CANNOT get it out of my head.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fugitive Alien Medley

Since I haven't posted anything in awhile, I thought I would send up this little gem from my little puppet show from cowtown. Sandy Frank movies provided MUCH of the early cheese for Mystery Science Theater, yet somehow Mr. Frank was not amused and will not release these movies for consumption by fans....Since then, ALL MSTies have been telling Sandy Frank..."if you don't like it, then come kill us with a forklift!"

Does it make sense? Of course not! Neither does Mr. Frank's actions and neither does this silly medley!! :-D

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Let the Worshppers Arise!



Father I see that you are drawing a line in the sand
And I want to be standing on your side, holding your hand
So let your kingdom come, let it live in me
This is my prayer, this is my plea

Father I see that you are drawing a line in the sand
And I want to be standing on your side, holding your hand
So let your kingdom come, let it live in me
This is my prayer, this is my plea

[Chorus:]
Let the worshippers arise
Let the sons and the daughters sing
I surrender in my all
I surrender to the King

Let the worshippers arise
Let the sons and the daughters sing
I surrender in my all
I surrender to the King

Father I hear it growing louder
The song of your redeemed
As the saints of every nation
Are awakening to sing
From our hearts there comes an anthem
Oh, hear the heavens ring
This is our song, a song to our King!

[Chorus:] [3x]
Let the worshippers arise
Let the sons and the daughters sing
I surrender in my all
I surrender to the King

Thursday, April 3, 2008

1974 Xenia Tornado Reprise Radio Bulletins

This is a very WELL done video of the tornado that hit Xenia, OH on April 3, 1974. The Superoutbreak of April 3-4, 1974 is considered by many to be the most infamous weather event in U.S. history. Just listening to the AM radio broadcast sent shivers up my spine.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Saying So Long To The Man-Fish...Good-Bye Ben Chapman


Lucas: There are many strange legends in the Amazon. Even I, Lucas, have heard the legend of a man-fish.
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I make no secret of the fact that my favorite movies coming out of Hollyweird are those primarily made BEFORE 1960. SURE, there have been many, many great blockbusters and fine movie franchises since then, but for me, I am happiest watching a set of WELL-WORN Bette Davis dramas from ANY studio she chose to be associated with than ANY of today's perceived "drama queens". No one holds a candle to the soap, the style, the substance....or THE STORY. By contrast, as much as I love watching Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, Joan Crawford, and many others from Hollywood's Golden Era, I AM EQUALLY at home with the pickings of familiar faces from my horror movie stable. I love mystery, horror, and suspense....and for me, the A and B-Movie of this genre and it's brother, The Sci-Fi Category, has kept me enthralled for decades.
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With the advent of the internet, this love of monster movies has also made me some very dear friends as well. We gather together in our groups from one coast of this country to the other and points beyond, encompassing nations around the world, and we all have a common interest: We LOVE THESE MOVIES.....These characters....These stories have touched us. Within these characters, we see a little bit of ourselves. We've been that misunderstood monster at one point (OR MORE) in our lives. We feel compassion for the monster and identify with him as much as our own reflection in the mirror.
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As such, these characters (and the actors who play them) become "ONE OF US" (to steal a line from the movie, Freaks) and when one passes on, we are sad. Today is one such day.
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Ben Chapman who played the land Creature in The Creature From The Black Lagoon passed away today. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr Chapman, but from what I have heard from the people who did and the people who knew him well, this was a man who enjoyed his iconic place in Monsterdom and had an appreciation for his fans. Up until very recently, he was still active in Fan Shows. He attended them, signed autographs and talked to those who still appreciated the "Creature" he helped bring to life over 50 years before.
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I can tell you I saw this movie, for the first time, OVER 35 years ago. I thought The Creature From The Black Lagoon was one of the most frightening movies I had ever seen (heck, I was barely 12 years old)...And the image of The Creature swimming after Julie Adams, or lumbering and gasping for breath (which had to be played by two different people)...well, those are memories that stay with you for a lifetime.
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Fast forwarding to the present, TCFTBL seems tame....In fact, there is a remake in the offing that is suppose to come out this year. I'm sure it will be chock full of CGI EFX...and sadly, a lame story line.
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But I'll be waiting for a dedication. I'll be waiting to see "Dedicated to the Memory of Ben Chapman, The Land Gill-Man".
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Rest in Peace, Ben Chapman. Aloha......

Friday, February 15, 2008

So it's been awhile...




Always lots going on...so I haven't had time to keep the dust off here. In fact, it's starting to look like my house.,...hmmmmmm.




I hope to get better focused. I'm having a hard time doing that just now. I think it is because I tend to take on HUGE projects and when I get interrupted, I get off track.




Such is the life of a genius.




*insert laugh track here*




ahem...yep....




Be back soon....I hope.