'Cause I Said So…

Introduce “Graduates for Truth” Super PAC

We’ve been waiting for more than four years for the then Senator Obama to release his high school, college and law school transcripts and papers. I cannot think of any politician seeking high office who has simply ignored this legitimate request. He has been able to do this while we’ve had to hear about how ‘wonderfully intelligent” he is. No one in the “MSM” asks him why he refuses this standard request.

This situation reminded me of Senator John Kerry’s claim of “war hero” status from his short period Vietnam-era service. He, too, wouldn’t release his service record. The only people who could legitimately question his service were other Vietnam War veterans. So, the “Swift-Boat Veterans for Truth” were the perfect organization to question Kerry’s claims of heroics. Well, in a word, “mission accomplished”…

Well, what’s to stop a group of President Obama’s contemporaries to begin calling for the release of his school records? We know how the Democrat-Media Complex operates. So, the group must be large enough and leaderless to avoid “gotcha” media tricks. The group must be made up of people who will readily present their undergraduate and graduate/ professional school records. Finally, the group must be “diverse” in all the approved ways, to avoid claims of bigotry.

This “Graduates for Truth” organization will have a single, easy to understand message: “Show us your records President Obama! What are you hiding?” The group can send out speakers to events to create “earned” media. As well, it can purchase billboards and low-cost media ads to help spread the message.

I know the GOP Establishment wants us to concentrate all of our attention and focus on President Obama’s dismal economic record. However, there is no reason the right-of-center coalition can’t do more than one thing at a time. Let the Romney Campaign push a positive message. Let other Super PACs slam Obama on his record in office. I think we need at least one group to push Obama to release this information, or at least remind the voters that he won’t.

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Old News Is Still News

Just a thought for the Mensa members out there who think they can counter every argument against their candidate by saying it has been covered in the past. That only works for the national media’s favored Democrat candidates. If it pertains to a Democrat, reporters will yawn when shown something which has previously been covered. “That’s old news.”

Unfortunately, the same standards do not apply for Republicans. For Republicans, there is no “old” news. When did they bring up G.W. Bush’s arrest for DWI? The weekend before the election. When did they bring up the fake AWOL papers? During the convention. Nothing ever goes away for Republicans, and when it is brought back up, reporters treat the story as if it has never been seen before.

So, the primary season  is our only opportunity to completely vet our candidates. We need to go over every questionable action as if it happened today. For every one of those actions we need to demand satisfactory answers, and not settle for excuses. If we know about it, then so does the Democrat opposition, and their friends in the national media.

So, if not now, we know when. When it will do the most damage.

The Education of Matt Damon

Posted in Cinema, Education, Entertainment, Films, Media, Movies, Politics, Popular Culture by kevinsoberg on August 5, 2011

Since his breakout hit movie, Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon has been in the public eye. He has used his celebrity to advance a Left-leaning political agenda. Much of his advocacy, especially of public education, is premised on how he is seen by the public as “intelligent”. This aura of intelligence is simply a shadow cast by his portrayal of the (self-styled) character, Will Hunting, from his Oscar-winning screenplay.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, here’s a brief description of the character. Will Hunting is a young man, probably early- to mid- twenties. He has been born and reared in a lower-income area. He has anger-control and abandonment issues, probably stemming from childhood abuse. He has been in and out of state correctional and social systems since early youth. He has adopted a group of friends as his “family”, and is very protective of them. He works menial jobs. He lives alone. He is a genius, but his brilliance is a self-kept secret. So, he lacks a formal education.

During the course of the movie, the following happen: Will solves a mathematical puzzle. He meets a girl. His genius is discovered. He is re-arrested. He is rescued and mentored by an acclaimed professor. He enters court-ordered therapy. He begins a relationship.

As you watch the film, you notice certain attitudes, which appear counter-intuitive to what one would expect. As a curious, self-educated man, you wouldn’t expect Will to mimic the academy’s line about class and economics. Having been passed as a child through an impersonal system, you would expect Will to have a general disdain of government’s ability to “aid” the individual.

Instead, Will calls out a Harvard student for quoting economics theory as his own, belittling his plagiarism of thought. Will claims the student has wasted money on an education freely obtained with a library card. The student counters that he will have a Harvard degree and the financial rewards which follow. Will finishes with an argument in favor of “original thinking”.

During the initial meeting with his psychologist, Will belittles the man’s personal library. Will asks if the man had even bothered to read the books. Seeing a US History book, Will suggests the man read Howard Zinn’s History of the American People, telling him it will blow his mind.

When his mentor sets up interviews with perspective employers, Will doesn’t keep the appointments, sends a friend in his place or treats the interviewers with disrespect. During an interview with the NSA, Will goes on a rant about how corporate interests run American foreign policy to the detriment of the public. While talking to his closest friend, Will expresses his wish to stay in the neighborhood working menial jobs. Will goes on about the nobility of manual labor. Will’s attitude is negative toward leaving his friends, until his best friend becomes angry about Will’s waste of his gifts.

I thought Will was supposed to be a “genius”. Is it “original thinking” to be anti-American, anti-property, and anti-capitalist? That sounds more like the left-wing pabulum spread by the academy. Most people I know who’ve come from a low-income situation appreciate education, upward mobility, and property. They’ve had to work hard to achieve them. Most Leftist revolutionaries have been from the highly educated and middle class, as everything was given to them and they sought something “more”.

The true mark of genius is the ability to better understand how the world operates, and how to work with it. Einstein was a genius because he better explained how the world worked, not because he wanted to blindly change it. When he saw how Germany was headed, where did he go? He could have easily gone to the USSR, but he chose the US. Might he have seen in the USSR a shade of the Statist regime he was leaving? He didn’t eschew profit upon arrival, so he doesn’t seem have been anti-capitalist. What are the three things for which he I best known? His Theory of Relativity (e=mc2). His Definition of Insanity (doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results). His Understanding of God (God doesn’t play dice).

When examining Will’s attitudes, we really see those which can more correctly be attributed to Matt Damon. Damon was reared by a college professor, Early Childhood Education. Damon was raised middle class, in Cambridge. Damon was educated at Harvard. Damon gave the Leftist attitudes in which he was inundated to his creation, thinking they would make Will sound even more intelligent. Instead, it made Will sound indoctrinated because, Mr. Damon, you are no genius…

Scott Conant is a Pompous Ass

Posted in Food, Media by kevinsoberg on July 27, 2011

The other day, I was watching an episode of the Food Network show 24 Hour Restaurant Battle. The host is Scott Conant, a chef/restaurateur. Before he got this show, I was not a big fan of his. Conant had been appearing on the show Chopped as a judge. He may be a great chef and have a great restaurant, but he is a pompous ass. Whenever he was judging, I felt bad for the contestants, especially if they made the mistake of cooking any form of pasta.

Mr. Conant’s big thing is pasta. It seems he went to Italy to study pasta for a while, and he thinks he is the end-all-be-all of pasta. Well, good for him, but that’s no excuse for being an ass. Everybody didn’t go to Italy to study pasta. Everybody hasn’t dedicated themselves to “perfect” pasta. Actually, I know plenty of Italian grandmothers, and none of them is as “fussy” about pasta as this guy. It got so bad I began referring to him as the “Pasta Fascist”, and people knew about whom I was talking. That’s pretty bad.

Anyway, he began hosting this new series 24 Hour Restaurant Battle. Two teams compete to open a “restaurant”, from concept to menu to decorating to service within 24 hours, for a monetary reward. It was a fairly entertaining show. Conant didn’t go off on anybody about their pasta. I started to not dislike him after a while. Of course, he had to go and ruin it.

The other day, I watched an episode from June. I had DVR’d it, and I could find nothing else to watch. The episode had two teams doing Texas-themed concepts, “grilling” versus “smoking”. The smoking team gave them a “traditional, Texas, relish tray” along with their appetizers at the beginning of their service. The relish tray had sweet and dill pickles, raw onion slices, and smoked sausage. Well, Conant and this other jerk, who co-founded Outback Steak House, were two of the judges. They went on about how they hated raw onion, and how it should never be served to a table. Then, when the team came out to get feedback from the judges, this impolite, rude pair ridiculed the team for having been served raw onion.

So, in addition to being rude and impolite, these two showed themselves to be ignorant as well. The team’s theme was “traditional, Texas barbecue”, and that is exactly what they produced. You cannot go to a local barbecue joint in Texas without being given dill pickles and raw onion. They had best consider themselves lucky they weren’t served a half loaf of white bread along with the “relish tray”. (Eh Gads!) The most celebrated barbecue places in Texas have you stand in line (no waiters) for custom cuts of meat served on butcher paper with the usual condiments at a separate station for you to take as you want.

Recently, I had my wife’s family reunion catered by my favorite local barbecue place. Guess what. That’s right. A big jar of dill pickle slices, two plates of white onions cut into rings, two squeeze bottles of yellow mustard and four loaves of white bread were sitting at the end of the service line of smoked beef brisket, chopped barbecue beef, pulled pork, smoked quartered chickens, and smoked sausage. (I don’t know about you, but that’s good eatin’.)

What most upset me was the way the judges so readily dismissed the traditional accoutrements of Texas barbecue as beneath them. Oh, really? I bet you a MILLION DOLLARS that if you were to take either of these jerks to some obscure, foreign, ethnic restaurant which served gelatinous lamb ovaries as a condiment they would go on and on about how “authentic” and “rustic” the meal was (however much they may or may not enjoy it). Guess what? I’m not saying they shouldn’t. My point is that they should show the same respect to the regional cuisines of their own country.

You don’t have to like it, but be respectful. When they tell you it is “traditional”, don’t be so quick to mock them. Just because you don’t know about it (and they are rednecks) doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Get over yourself and your cultural superiority.

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An Assignment for the Willing

Posted in Cinema, Ethics, Films, Health Care, Media, Medicine, Morality, Movies, Popular Culture by kevinsoberg on March 19, 2011

Last weekend, I watched the movie Never Let Me Go (2010), starring Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley. I had an immediate reaction to it and have been thinking about it ever since. The more I consider the theme and plot of this film, the more it affects me and the more I have to say.

What my reactions were and what my thoughts have been are for another posting. I have much to say about it, but not in this post. I don’t want my thoughts on it to bias or direct your reactions. This post is for one purpose: I want you to watch the movie.

I want you to watch Never Let Me Go and think. I want you to think about what you are watching and think about how it makes you feel. Then, when the movie is over, I want you to think about it some more.

I don’t work for the production company. I don’t work for the distributor. I have no financial interest in it in any way. Hell, I don’t even review movies.

Why am I asking you to do this? Because I believe your reactions and thoughts about this movie tells me, and can tell you, a lot about your thoughts on any number of subjects. Call it a Rorschach test, if you will.

Do I think the writer, the producers, the director, or any of the actors had my reactions in mind when creating this work? No, nor do I care. I have no way of knowing their intentions, not without possibly reading a lot of interviews. Even then, their intentions would be beside the point. My visceral and intellectual reactions to this film are mine.

If I were to watch a documentary on the Soviet Union, my reactions would be the same regardless of the perspective of the documentarian, pro or con. My reactions to viewing totalitarian socialism would be based solely on my personal philosophies. Even if dressed up and prettily painted, I would react negatively to totalitarianism given my libertarian beliefs.

Now, go watch the film, if you are willing. I know it’s available on Time/Warner Cable systems’ OnDemand. I don’t know about the other cable systems or the satellite providers, or what video rental places have it. I’m kind of doing this on the fly.

I have a lot of work to do, myself. I now have to put all these thoughts down into something which will be, hopefully, cohesive and understandable. Please, give me some time, as I am ponderously slow.