Current Event Ramblings, October 30

The weather here in Korea has turned downright cold this week with temperatures dropping below freezing (global warming is the cause, I'm sure).  It's warming up a bit now, and there's been no precipitation at all, so that's helped.  I ended up with a pretty scratchy throat yesterday and OD'd on some medication last night, so I'm pretty groggy this morning.  I'll go eat my fill of kimchi at lunch and try to sleep it off.

North Korean and South Korean troops took potshots at each other yesterday across the DMZ.  Apparently the Yankees are upset that the G20 economic summit is going to be held in Seoul in a few weeks, and the Confederates won't do military talks at the moment.  I'm sure you've heard that North Korea has a new leader, or will once the current one, Kim Jong-il, dies.  This new leader is Kim's youngest son, Kim Jong Un.  Elected freely, of course, by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Speaking of elections, what I'm reading is that the Republicans will pick up 8 seats in the Senate.  That would still leave them as the minority party in that chamber.  There is great fear in the liberal press, however, that the GOP might win the House. is reporting that a lot of Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, will retire if the Democrats lose the House.  I'll believe that when I see it.  Another poll now indicates that George W. Bush is considered a better President than Barack Obama.  More and more people are waking up to just how radical, unqualified, and incompetent Obama is.  Too bad they let the media pull the wool over their eyes in 2008.

And speaking of losers, the Texas Rangers have lost the first two games of the World Series.  That makes Texas teams 0-6 in the World Series.  Well, it's not over yet.  The Series goes to Texas now, so hopefully the Rangers can do better there.

More Predictions

Since I'm so good at prognosticating--witness my recent predictions regarding who would be in this year's World Series--I'm going to make three more prognostications:

--The Republicans will not with a majority of seats in the House of Representatives next week;
--Nor will they win a majority in the Senate;
--Barack Obama will be re-elected President in 2012.

Let's hope I'm as accurate with those predictions as I was about the World Series.

The Rangers Are Going to the World Series

What did you say?  The RANGERS are going to the World Series???  More remarkable things than that have happened in human history, but off the top of my head, I can't think of one.  Well, maybe the Astros having been in the World Series in 2005....

My first thought is, "Yeah, they beat the Yankees."  Any time a team from the Confederacy--especially one from Texas--beats a team from the North--especially one named "Yankees"--I am more than pleased.  If only it had happened 150 years ago, too.

My second thought is Nolan Ryan.  He's nothing but a class act, and if anybody deserves this, he does.  Here's a quick question and a quick answer:  Has Ryan ever been on or associated with a team that went to the World Series?......................The answer is "yes," he was on the 1969 "Miracle" Mets who beat the Orioles.  But, to the best of my recollection, that's the only time.  Even Yankee fans have to be happy for him.

Can the Rangers win the Series?  Well, yes, of course they can, they have a 50-50 chance, since there will only be two teams playing and they are one of them.  But I do remember 2005, the first (and only) time the Astros were in the World Series.  They were actually favored to win by many pundits, but they choked big time and got swept by the White Sox.  This is the Rangers' first World Series, too, and the first for nearly all of their top players.  It will be stressful to say the least, especially if they play the Phillies, who've been to the Series the past two years.  Thus, it might be better if the Giants were the opponent since most of their "stars" haven't been in the World Series, either.

Regardless of whom they play, they've got a chance to bring the first World Series trophy to Texas.  I hope they do.  They aren't supposed to be there.  They were underdogs to Tampa Bay in the Divisional Series and they were huge underdogs to the Yankees in the LCS.  They play the game on the field, and that's where it will be decided.

Get 'em, Rangers.  Make people forget the Cowboys for awhile, who are having a totally forgettable season so far this year anyway.

Current Event Ramblings, October 21

There hasn't been just a whole lot going on recently that I've wanted to comment on, so I've been a little shy on this particular blog.  I do want to get back to the "Wisdom From the Founders" series soon with an examination of the first few sentences of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.  Actually, I've been trying to finish up Cowboy Story 5 (River Bend) and do some Bible blogging, so that's taking up most of my writing time.  But I'll do what I can when I can get around to it.

I do want to comment on baseball for a moment, though.  My prediction was the Yankees and Phillies in the World Series, and at the moment, they are both trailing in their League Championship Series.  The Giants are ahead of the Phillies, 2 games to 1, and the Yankees trail the Rangers by the same amount, but as I write this, the Rangers lead game 4, 7-3, in the 8th inning.  I would be very satisfied to be in error regarding my prediction about the Yankees in the World Series.  I like the Rangers anyway because they are from Texas, but my favorite team is whoever is playing the Yankees on any given day.  Unless it's the Red Sox, and then I hope they both lose.  The Rangers aren't in the World Series yet, but they are putting themselves in a good position...AND they have been playing very good baseball lately.  They've easily outplayed the Yankees in this series, and should have won game 1.  The Rangers' bullpen scares me, though, so it's not over yet.  I'll keep readers informed.

Addendum to 10/16 Ramblings Post

The Rangers ended up blowing that 5-run lead and losing to the Yankees today.  I can't say I'm terribly surprised.  Texas ended up using 5 (or 6?) pitchers in the Yankees' 5-run 8th inning--and none of the pitchers used was their best reliever, Neftali Perez.  Ron Washington may be following Wade Philips out of Dallas soon if he pulls more boners like that one.

Current Event Ramblings, October 16

As I write this (Saturday morning, 11:00), the Texas Rangers are leading the New York Yankees, 5-0, in the fifth inning of the first game of the American League Championship Series.  I don't expect the Rangers to win that series, though I hope they do.  The Yankees aren't invincible, however, so maybe the Rangers can pull it off.  My prediction is still for the Phillies to win it all.

Speaking of sports, what's the matter with the Dallas Cowboys?  They are 1-3 at the moment.  They've got a better team than that, but they better start showing it or the season will be over for them very soon.  The rest of the division isn't going to sit around and wait for the Cowboys to start playing good football.

I read yesterday that a study was done (I forget by whom, but the source seemed pretty credible to me) that indicated that teenagers between the ages of 13-17 send or receive an average of 3,339 text messages PER MONTH.  If that statistic is true, it provides one of the reasons that our youth are getting dumber and dumber.

By all accounts, including liberal ones, Sharron Angle destroyed Harry Reid in their debate the other night.  I hope that translates in a win for Angle in the Nevada Senate race next month.  Harry Reid is a major reason why the United States is in the toilet right now; getting him out of the Senate won't cure all problems, of course, but it will certainly remove one hemorrhoid from the nation's backside.  Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank are two more, but they aren't going to lose.  Christine McDonnell, in the Delaware debate, apparently didn't fare so well.  Rush Limbaugh was doing damage control on his show about her after the debate so that tells me she's in trouble.  Delaware might be a little to far east and north to elect a strong conservative.

Well, it's almost time for lunch.  I'm beginning to get used to some of this Korean food; at least my taste buds are.  My guts are still rebelling.  But it's pretty healthy food, lots of greens and they cover them up in spices.  They tell me there are over 100 different ways to prepare kimchi, the staple of the Korean diet, and I think I finally found one that I like.  I've also found cherry Coke, Nestle's Crunch, and Famous Amos cookies so I'm not totally deprived.  The only Western chips I can find are Pringles and they aren't my favorite.  The Korean chips are horrible.  Well, can't have everything.  A big plate of Mexican food would be nice, and there are some Mexican food restaurants in Seoul.  But they had one in England, too, when I lived there many moons ago, and there was no resemblance to the Tex-Mex my palate approves of, so I imagine the Korean version isn't much better.  Especially when New Zealand teachers praise it.

Polls and Gridlock

The most recent Reuters poll, which ran in an article today, predicts that the Republicans will win the House of Representatives next month, but the Democrats will retain control of the Senate.  Obama's approval rating is at 43%, the worst of his presidency.

Poll numbers depend upon which poll you check, of course, and I'm not given to putting a lot of stock in them.  What I'd like to note in this blog is the following quote from the Reuters article:

"A split Congress could mean political gridlock in 2011 as the United States struggles to overcome high unemployment, the gaping budget deficit and a fierce debate over tax cuts. Much will depend on whether Obama and Republicans can work together."

The implication of that statement is that "gridlock" is a bad thing.  The liberal press (and Reuters fits that category) automatically assumes that it is the government's responsibility "to overcome high unemployment."  I will certainly grant than only the government can cut its own spending to reduce debt and lower taxes so that people can keep the money they've earned.    Those are matters, the main matters, almost the only matters that Congress should attend to next year.  Washington needs to get its own house in order before it starts telling Americans how to run theirs.

I do not accept the implication that "gridlock" is a bad thing, indeed, I would argue that about 99% of the time, "gridlock" is a good thing, for the less the federal government does, the more freedom Americans have to conduct their own affairs.  But that is the difference between the liberal and the conservative (or, in my case, libertarian) mind.  Dependence versus individual responsibility, government versus the people, power versus liberty.  It oughtn't be that way with government and the people it should serve, but it is, it always has been, and it always will be, history being our testimony to that fact.

Two Wolves--An Old Cherokee Tale

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.  One is Evil.  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.  The other is God.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Current Events Ramblings, 10/8

In case you missed it, the September unemployment rate jumped up to 10.1%.  Something maybe the major media...inadvertently...overlooked.  Uh huh.

Some conservative commentators are predicting that the Republicans will take over the House of Representative and the Senate in next month's elections.  Dick Morris is saying the GOP will pick up 100 seats in the House.  Since I'm not in America, it's hard for me to gague the mood of the country, except through what I read.  And it's hard to find unbiased reporting.  I read Rush and get the conservative slant, and then if I browse AP or MSNBC, I'll get the other side.  I don't spend a whole lot of time doing either, frankly, so I don't feel terribly qualified to make a prediction.  I think it's fairly obvious that the Republicans are going to pick up a lot of seats in both houses, but whether they can win either chamber...I don't know.  They've got a long way to go do that.  It will be interesting, that's for sure.

As I write this, the Texas Rangers now lead the Tampa Bays Rays 2-0 in their playoff series.  I suspect the Rangers will win that series simply because TB has not been playing well for the past two weeks.  But then the Rangers will run into the Yankees and that will probably spell doom.  The Yankees and the Phillies will be in the World Series, and it's a toss-up who will win that.  But my guess is the Phillies; they have better pitching and that usually tells the tale in a shorter series.  There is a major league baseball league here in Korea, too, but I can't tell you anything about it, not that you'd want to know anyway.

Current Event Ramblings, October 6

They were even talking about this one here in the village today.  Last week, a fire department in Tennessee let a man's house burn down because he hadn't paid the $75 fee he owed.  The man, Gene Cranick, lives in a rural area, close to the town of South Fulton.  The town offers fire coverage to rural residents, but only for a fee.  Cranick said he "forgot" to pay the fee, and he called 911 when his house caught on fire.  He volunteered to pay the fee, but that wasn't good enough.  Some fire department personnel actually came out to the site and sprayed water on a neighbor's property to keep it from catching on fire.  But they let the Cranick house burn down, all because he had forgotten to pay the rural $75 fee.

I guess Solomon was right:  "money answereth all things."

California finally got something right, but they had to undo an idiotic wrong for it to happen.  The state will no longer issue welfare debit cards at casinos around the country or on cruise ships.  Sorry, you welfare bums, you can no longer draw from the taxpayer's till to go to Vegas or cruising around the world.  What a crying shame.

Firefighters who won't put out a burning house?  Welfare debit cards for casinos and cruise ships?  I keep thinking I'm not going to be shocked or amazed any more by what I hear, but human beings continue to invent creative stupidity at a light-speed pace.  And I don't suppose it will ever cease.  Some of it is still mind-boggling, though.

Wisdom From America's Founders-IV

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch."--Benjamin Franklin

The curse of democracy is just this, that the wicked can outvote the righteous and implement what ever godless plan they can concoct.  Thomas Jefferson, the founder of the University of Virginia, was a great believer in education (which is why he founded the college).  He believed strongly that a self-governing, democratic society could only exist with an education populace.  It was a noble dream, but one that hasn't panned out as he wished.  If we accept democracy, and among three people, two decide to take the property of the one, there is no recourse for the one except war--which would be antithetical to democracy.  It is in the government's interest, of course, that the people remain ignorant of its true purposes, or better yet, convince the masses that they are "entitled" to the property of others.  And, democratically, if that happens, there is nothing the minority can do but yield up its wealth.  But to the Founders, this wasn't "democracy," it was the "tyranny of the majority."  And it certainly wasn't freedom, for if the majority forces me to give my money in support of causes I would not willingly support, that is not the definition of freedom.

This concern about the wiles of government is ages old.  Frederick Bastiat, the great French economist of the 19th century, wrote, "government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."  George Bernard Shaw noted that "a government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."  The French philosopher Voltaire commented that, "in general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other."  This is a perfect description, of course, of the current American government.  These men would argue that such is the result of democracy and that is why they opposed it.

Our Founders were equally skeptical of democracy as a form of government.  John Adams:  "Democracy, simply democracy, never had a patron among men of letter."  Adams again:  "We may appeal to every page of history...for proofs irrefragable [irrefutable] that the people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous, and cruel as any king or senate possessed by an uncontrollable power.  The majority has eternally and without any one exception usurped over the rights of the minority."  And our second President again:  "The proposition that the people are the best keepers of their own liberties is not true.  They are the worst conceivable, they are no keepers at all:  they can neither judge, act, think, or will, as a political body."  And then this absolutely brilliant observation:  "Individuals have conquered themselves; nations and large bodies, never."  And one last quote from Adams:  "Remember, democracy never lasts long.  It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.  There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
And how would democracy "commit suicide"?  Benjamin Franklin answers that question:  "When the people discover they can vote themselves money from the treasury [i.e., democracy], that will herald the doom of the Republic."  James Madison, the "Father" of our Constitution, said, "Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."  He concluded that laws must be "capable of protecting the rights of property against the spirit of democracy."  People will eventually get tired of being skinned for the sake of those who refuse to labor for themselves.  "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not," Jefferson said.  Such a system of government soon collapses over loose fiscal policy, for there is only so much wealth to be extracted from the owners of property, and too much of mankind is of a mind to fleece others if it means they can be lazy and not have to support themselves.  As that number grows, they (democratically) vote "for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury" (Alexander Tyler, historian, 200 years ago).  America has followed this path classically over the past 100 years.  And if the country continues on this course, the predictions of doom, made by every intelligent political theorist in history, are sure to come to pass.

So, if our Founders did not establish a democracy, what did they establish?  Well, they called it a "republic," but it's a little more complicated than that, and at some point in this series, when I feel up to it, I will explain the complications.