AJ Ericksen's Blog World

Saturday, October 30

Reelect Bush, Faults And All

So reads the title of George Will's Endorsement of incumbent George W. Bush. It is a fine discussion of Kerry's weaknesses.

As an entirely unrelated matter, check out Tard-Blog.

Wednesday, October 27

Art Report

Bush Campaign Paints Kerry As Pre-Raphaelite Contessa:

[Source:The Onion]

Monday, October 25

Bush Endorsement

Many in Austin were upset, some even staged a demonstration, over the Austin American-Statesman's Endorsement of President George W. Bush. However, I doubt they read and understood the paper's reasoning, which is very persuasive:
Endorsement: Despite flaws, Bush better leader for perilous times
Saturday, October 23, 2004

A country so deeply divided over such an array of issues should pause a moment and take a serious, sober look around.

Americans should ask themselves whether they really believe that European nations critical of the war effort will intervene in Iraq if Sen. John F. Kerry is elected president. They won't.

Further, we should ask whether they really believe that anything less than a fundamental change in the way Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs are funded is adequate to meet future demands.

The war on terrorism

Redirecting the focus to the world as it is, Libya has given up its nuclear program and Afghanistan held its first free presidential election ever, and the process — the first in which women took part — went rather peacefully. A changed Libya and a changed Afghanistan were the direct result of President George W. Bush taking action.

We generally have supported the war on terror as well as the decision to go to war in Iraq, but we have never been shy about criticizing the prosecution of them either. The judgment of the president and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, as well as Rumsfeld's deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, has been clouded at times, and if Bush wins a second term, changes are certainly in order.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz need to go. Changes at the top of the Defense Department hierarchy would signal not weakness but a commitment to break from the mistakes of the past three years. The young people bearing the brunt of the burden and their families who share that burden deserve no less.

But there is no guarantee that a change in administrations would bring either stability or security to the Middle East in the foreseeable future. In fact, changing administrations now might embolden enemies who believe that Americans don't have the stomach or the patience for the kind of protracted, unconventional warfare in which we are engaged.

Three years after terrorists struck at targets in New York and Washington, we live in a world that looks familiar but is vastly different from the one we knew before Sept. 11, 2001.

President Bush got some things wrong, but there is much he got right. We are faced with an unrelenting foe who strikes from the shadows and won't be deterred by diplomacy or international resolutions. Bush's resolve and commitment to stay the course are clear. As Winston Churchill once said, "When you're going through hell, keep going."

Though Kerry is an honorable man who knows firsthand the horrors of war, he is deluding himself if he thinks a different administration will change the outlook of a foe that doesn't make war on an individual administration, but on the West in general and the United States in particular.

Dubious also is any notion that the United Nations will suddenly start enforcing its own sanctions and resolutions if there is a different occupant in the White House in January.

That said, this is no blanket endorsement for the way the Bush administration has run the Iraq war. From its reliance on flawed intelligence to its inability to admit lapses in judgment, the White House has been its own worst enemy in making a cogent case for its war-related actions and conduct.

Domestic policy

Bush defies the conventional "do not touch" school of thought on Social Security and government-subsidized health care. He challenges us to confront realities that most in public life would rather not.

These programs must undergo radical changes as baby boomers, who are now keeping Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs afloat with their tax contributions, begin to retire and become consumers rather than providers. That day is almost upon us. We've been in denial long enough.

Though there is plenty to be wary of in Bush's plan to privatize portions of the Social Security program, no one can argue that fewer workers will be around to support more retirees than ever before in the history of the Depression-era program. Something must change before the system collapses.

Which brings us to Bush's spending policies. Lyndon B. Johnson tried to have it both ways and found out that it's either guns or butter.

The president has not asked for sacrifice, despite the huge financial costs of the war. He and other politicians ought to be more responsible and quit accumulating so much debt.

Bush's tax cuts might have provided needed economic stimulus, but it's time to tap the brake on them.

If he does not, we will leave our children a legacy of spiraling debt and a lower quality of life.

Civil liberties, appointments

An erosion of civil liberties under the Bush administration also troubles us. A time of war requires the nation to address security issues, but we see in Attorney General John Ashcroft's policies a frightening capacity to abridge constitutional rights. Ashcroft also needs to go.

We urge Bush to approach appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court with the same eye for balance that he did in selecting appointees for the Texas courts when he was governor. Those of us who admired the way he was able to forge bipartisan alliances with Democrats in the state Legislature yearn to see the Texas Bush inform the Washington Bush on effective, inclusive governance.

This president is not a conservative in either foreign or fiscal policy. In some ways, he is radically changing the course of government — and that might be just what we need to face foreign threats and a rapidly changing global economy. We certainly hope so.

We do not make this endorsement lightly or without reservation, and we ask that the president return our faith by acknowledging his failures and acting to correct them.

"Herd of Independent Minds"

OpinionJournal carries a nice piece by a Harvard professor condemning the "liberal-left hegemony" that seeks every opportunity to silence and belittle conservative voices in the academy.

Saturday, October 23

Music: Team America Gets Lyrical

Although I don't recommend Team America:World Police, a bit too crude and really a one-time only viewing, the music is awesome. Check out these Lyrics, from the song "Pearl Harbor":
I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark when he made Pearl Harbor.

I miss you more than that movie missed the point and that's a lot girl.
And now, now you've gone away and all I'm trying to say is
Pearl Harbor sucked and I miss you.

I need you like Ben Affleck needs acting school.
He was terrible in that film.
I need you more than Cuba Gooding needed a bigger part.
He's way better than Ben Affleck and now,all I'm trying to say is
Pearl Harbor sucked and I miss you.

Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies.
I guess Pearl Harbor sucked just a little bit more than I miss you.

Election Fraud

George Will's latest column, Election Integrity At Stake, should make your stomach turn. It should also make you angry when Democrats and minority groups get up in arms about Republican attempts to purge voter rolls to reflect only those eligible to vote.

Kids For Kerry - Part 2

A Kerry Supporter posted an apology to my site for comments made in an angry moment. I have since deleted the postings and wish this youngster well.

What is Victoria's Secret?

I have long wondered, and today Catherine shared with me The Answer. Thanks.

That little revelation seques nicely into a little story about my experience at a high school football game and cheerleaders. Well, not really. Incidentally, my second ever Post to this blog was about a high school football game. But enough reminiscing.

Tonight was the homecoming game for the high school where my good friend Virginia is a teacher and the cheerleading sponsor. At her invitation, I went. Naturally, one the first things I did was to cast my gaze over her squad and pick my favorite. "The one with the sandy blonde hair, third from left on the back row," I told her.

This girl was really cute. She reminded me of the former Noxema girl who was on 90210 near that show's end -- except she had straight hair and looked much prettier.

Apparently, my supposed friend wasn't content to have bested me at bowling yesterday (although, in my defense, I was distracted by the Astros-Cardinals game). She had to humiliate me yet again.

During halftime, the Noxema girl's mother came by to say hello to Virginia. As is customary, she introduced me and another friend of ours who had come to the game. Then she introduced the mother to us. The exchange went as follows:
V: AJ, this is ---, ---'s mom.

Me (coyly): Oh, which one is your daughter?

V (interrupting): Her daughter is the real pretty blonde one.

Me (feigning ignorance to be polite): Which pretty blonde one?

V (meddling, again): The one you told me was really cute.
I was left looking like a creepy old guy, and feeling like an asshole.

Friday, October 22

Manly Anger

Read this funny Column about why terrorists really hate America - the country that made them rich by buying their oil. They hate us because we support Israel.

Then read a more serious discussion of the dangers a Kerry presidency, with its longing to pass a "global test," presents for Israel, according to Charles Krauthammer.

Tuesday, October 19

What Would Jenna Do?

Who cares? Let's focus on Barbara (sigh), pictured at right:

Vote for our dad!
[Source: washingtonpost.com]

Sunday, October 17

An Edwards Outrage

It's been a while since I posted a Charles Krauthammer Op-Ed Column, but this is a particularly good piece using John Edwards' promise that a Kerry Administration would cure paralysis to demonstrate that Kerry/Edwards are willing to say anything to get elected.

Follow Up: The Onion reports Kerry: Stem-Cell Research May Hold Cure to Ailing Campaign:
"For too long, President Bush has curtailed science on ideological grounds, for his own political purposes," Kerry said. "I pledge to support science on rational grounds, for my own political purposes. Stem-cell research could improve the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans, and the issue could dramatically increase my popularity. We must push the boundaries of scientific exploration now, before Nov. 2."

"My opponent has put the interests of a vocal minority over the needs of me, my campaign staff, and John Edwards," Kerry added. "That is just wrong."

Thursday, October 14

Iraq

Saddam Hussein was apparently as harmless as, I don't know, Stalin. Read about the Mass Graves, recently unearthed where hundreds of women and children were slaughtered and bulldozed into trenches.

What were we thinking overthrowing the peaceful government of Saddam that pricks like Michael Moore would tell you existed pre-Bush?

Tuesday, October 12

All Things Considered - American Religion and Immigration

NPR reports on the importance of faith, particularly organized religion, for assimilating into American society. It is interesting to listen to how people outside the US view the centrality of religion to American life. Click Here to listen.

Quotable Moments from Class

"Lifetime appointment of judges is like monogamy. It works best when you die at 40."
- Lino Graglia

Monday, October 11

Raison d'etre

For grins, watch the trailer for the upcoming film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Kerry: False Friend of the Middle Class

In today's Wall Street Journal, you can read about how Kerry and his wife pay a significantly lower effective tax rate than most middle class families and much less than George W. Bush. Here is a sample from this Article:
Under the current tax system the middle class pays far more than the Kerry tax rate. In fact, the average federal tax rate -- combined payroll and income tax -- for a middle-class family is closer to 20% or more. George W. and Laura Bush, who had an income one-tenth of the Kerrys', paid a tax rate of 30%.

Of course, there is delicious irony in the Kerry family tax-return data. Here is the man who finds clever ways to reduce his own tax liability while voting for higher taxes on the middle class dozens of times in his Senate career. He even voted against the Bush tax cut that saves each middle-class family about $1,000.

The Kerrys have unwittingly made the case for what George W. Bush says he wants to do: radically simplify and flatten out the tax code. Dick Armey and Steve Forbes have persuasively argued over the years that America should have a flat tax with a rate of 17% to 19%. John Kerry has consistently opposed a flat tax, because he says it would be a tax break for the rich. But the truth is with a 19% flat tax, some rich people with lavish tax shelters, like John Kerry, would pay more taxes. I calculate that the Kerrys would pay another $500,000 of taxes if we had a flat tax.

Wednesday, October 6

Photoshop

The candidates' Notes from the debates.

Tuesday, October 5

Kinky on Kerry

In the most recent issue of Texas Monthly, Texas Jewboy Kinky Friedman writes what I assume is only a mock Interview of John Kerry. Here is an excerpt:
"I'll get to the point," Kerry said. "I know you're pals with George W. ---- "

"I'm also pals with Bill Clinton," I said. "In fact, I'm proud to say I'm the only man who's slept with two presidents."

"That is something to be proud of. But I don't understand how you can support Bush's policies. I'm told you grew up a Democrat. What happened?"

What did happen, I wondered, to the little boy who cried when Adlai Stevenson lost? What happened to the young man whose heroes were Abraham, Martin, and John? Time changes the river, I suppose, and it changes all of us as well. I was tired of Sudan being on the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations. I was tired of dictators with Swiss bank accounts, like Castro and Arafat and Mugabe, masquerading as men of the people. I was tired of Europeans picking on cowboys, everybody picking on the Jews, and the whole supposedly civilized world of gutless wonders, including the dinosaur graveyard called Berkeley, picking on America and Israel. As I write this, 1.2 million black Christian and Muslim Sudanese are starving to death thanks to the Arab government in Khartoum and the worldwide mafia of France, Germany, China, Russia, and practically every Islamic country on the face of the earth. What happened to the little boy who cried when Adlai Stevenson lost? He died in Darfur.

Technological Ineptitude

Are you constantly annoyed that people you know are to dumb to use Google to answer their own questions? Read Sean Keane's "Scenes From a Blockbuster Action Movie Featuring a Technology Expert With Approximately My Own Real-Life Skill Level" from today's McSweeney's.

Monday, October 4

Kerry Haters for Kerry

This Op-Ed Piece from today's Wall Street Journal is fantastic. Although written by a self-proclaimed neo-liberal, the piece makes some great points that appeal to conservatives, too. Read the whole article. Here are a few highlights:
[Kerry] craves the approval of Europeans, as if he were some American arriviste right out of a Henry James novel.

The U.N.'s very struture makes it hostage to the five permanent members of the Security Council and to their particular, often pecuniary, interests. (France holds one of these post-World War II "big power" seats only because de Gaulle persuaded Churchill and FDR to pretend that the French actually fought the Nazis. ...)

Multilateralism is not a panacea in and of itself. [Author discusses how bad it would be to have brutal Russian or weak French forces in Iraq.] The fact is that there are only a few countries equipped to wage precise modern warfare, and that's another reason why some countries refuse to go to televised wars: They don't want to be exposed as being militarily obselete.

Sunday, October 3

Baseball Betting

Torry said that Braves fans* everywhere would rejoice at the Astros winning the NL Wild Card. Well, I think the Braves really have to take the 'Stros seriously this year.

Why? The Astros are the hottest team in baseball heading into October. Since August 14th, Houston is 36-10 and has won its last 7 in a row and 18 straight at home. Just look at the Record.

Anyway, the question is whether T is ready for mouth and money to meet. I think something around $20 for the series would be appropriate. Game?

*Note: Being a Braves fan is second only to being a Yankees fan in its lack of imagination.