Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Movies

This morning a friend of mine posted a question on Facebook. "What is the first movie you can ever remember wanting to go see?"

This question struck me because the first movie I remember loving to have seen in the theater was Land Before Time. I distinctly remember excitedly telling my babysitter all about it and telling her that she should see it too.

Then I looked at my dad and earnestly asked him if it was too late. He told me "no," it was still in theaters.

But that was not the first movie remember I wanting to go see. As a child going to see movies with my family was always my parents idea. The first one I wanted to go see was the 13th Warrior. I remember being at church with a group of my peers and they were all talking about the Viking movie excitedly. They all had seen it, and it sounded like my kind of movie.

Now I'll ask you, what is the first movie you can ever remember wanting to go see?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Debate Wrap Up

I agree with Steven Ertelt that Cain won the debate, but Pawlenty rose to the first tier of candidates.

Cain was, as always, a great communicator and he did what he needed to do to transcend the Tea Party speech he is excellent at and give a presidential performance.

Pawlenty hit all the right notes and showed himself clear and solid on the issues.

Santorum did well when he was on the attack (esp against Obama), but whenever his record came up he came across as shrill and defensive.

Paul has lost his edge. He is still the same on issues, but his ability to communicate them has taken a hit.

Johnson ended up being almost completely irrelevant. The only thing people will remember of him is his comment on Palin crawling around on her “hands and knees.” He is not a serious candidate.

This is my live blogging from last night’s Republican primary debate. I pulled it off of my twitter so all times are only approximate.

  • 8:50 RT @MattMackowiak Worth noting: Every Republican nominee since 1980 has won the South Carolina primary.
  • 9:05 great opening @timpawlenty first answer in the debate takes on the UN. #tcot #GOP #gop12
  • 9:11 RT @MattMackowiak Very strong T-Paw answer on "waterboarding" and EITs -- has clearly been working on his public speaking. #SCdebate
  • 9:13 RT @ianessling Pawlenty HAMMERS Obama decision to block Boeing into SC, says it's "preposterous" decision and "outrageous" line that admin has crossed.
  • 9:14 Rick Santorum is sounding a little desperate. Calm down and smile a little. #scdebate #tcot #gop12 #GOP
  • 9:15 Another attack on the U.N. from @timpawlenty - Never bow to the U.N. American's leaders should be making American policy.#scdebate
  • 9:16 RT @benpolitico Nobody ever lost a Republican primary by being too mean to the UN. Pawlenty calls it a "pathetic organization."
  • 9:17 Don't make laugh like that. RT “@jpodhoretz: Ron Paul is a doctor. Can you imagine his bedside manner?”
  • 9:18 Here are the social issues. #scdebate
  • 9:19 Johnson is the first one booed, and it is for his pro-abortion views.#scdebate
  • 9:19 T-paw has a great (almost @FRCdc) answer on Stem Cell research. #SCDebate
  • 9:20 Wrong party. RT @MattMackowiak Gary Johnson supports legalization of marijuana and right to choose. Obama primary?#SCdebate #GOP #tcot
  • 9:24 Santorum has a great challenge against Daniels' truce: ignoring what is important. #SCDebate #Tcot
  • 9:25 Cain is thoughtful and clear. Just needs a little more experience “@mattklewis: Solid DOMA answer by Herman Cain.” #scdebate
  • 9:30 RT @StevenErtelt Santorum: "Anybody that would suggest we call a truce on moral issues doesn't understand what America is all about."
  • 9:44 RT @mattklewis Observation: T-Paw & Romney both have "clunkers" in their background. T-Paw apologized for his problem. Romney won't.
  • 9:45 RT @DavidLimbaugh Oh yes, good for Pawlenty -- great answer -- I can't believe his performance so far.
  • 9:50 Santorum had a great answer on women in his book. That will play well in SC and he deflected what could have been a hard attack.#SCDebate
  • 9:55 RT MattMackowiak Gary Johnson must have smoked marijuana when deciding to run for President. #SCdebate
  • 10:20 Out of the ball park RT @mattklewis Herman Cain nails the experience question: "How's that workin' out for you?" (Even Chris Wallace laughs.)
  • 10:19 RT @MattMackowiak Rating the performances: 1) Santorum 2) Pawlenty 3) Cain 4) Paul 5) Johnson #SCdebate
  • 10:23 RT @MattMackowiak Pawlenty was strong. No mistakes. Knowledgeable. Delivery better than it has been. Cements tier 1 status. #SCdebate
  • 10:24 RT “@MattMackowiak: Checkmate RT @LDoren: Racist Teapartiers unanimously supporting Herman Cain on Fox News right now.”
  • 10:25 Pawlenty good comebacks-strong candidate. Cain great speaker. Santorum fighter. Ron Paul trouble maker. Johnson not serious.
  • 10:30 RT @StevenErtelt People tweeting me saying Cain won the debate, but Pawlenty won a trip to the first tier of candidates...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Debate

The elections are nearing and today the first debate of the 2012 cycle is taking place. It is hosted by the Republican Party of South Carolina and Fox News.

It is still early in the season and only a few of the candidates will be there. In fact, to participate in the debate you have to be official and have paid the $25,000 filing fee to be on the South Carolina ballot. Of the candidates who have official campaign structures only Romney and Roemer will not take part in the debate (I guess it is has something to do with the R last names).

Other candidates either do not have the campaign structure or have not decided to run.

Those, however, who are participating in the debate are:

Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico
Ron Paul, U.S. Representative from Texas
Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota
Rick Santorum, former Senator from Pennsylvania

Now here is my list of what to watch for, campaign analysis, and break down of what their key positions are.

Tim Pawlenty: He is first because he is my favorite. He also has the most to lose in this debate. He is the only candidate who is in the top tier. That means that he may end up as a target of the other candidates (it is a small chance because they will likely take most of their shots at Romney, Huckabee, and Trump). He is a conservative from a hard state, but his record is impressive to most Republicans. Any attacks on his record are likely to be that he is too green, but do voters care? I'm guessing that most of us like a healthy planet, and as long as he doesn't start sounding like Al Gore, he'll be fine. Expect him to work hard to appeal to the whole party with a strong statement on life, an appeal to the Tea Party, and something about dealing with entitlements. His executive experience as Governor is a huge plus, but being Minnesota Nice isn't likely to pay off in the deep South.

Rick Santorum: He has the most to gain. This is his chance to break from the third tier to the second. He will call on his record of strong social values in the senate and then talk about American Exceptionalism. This is likely to have a strong appeal in South Carolina, but if his lack of executive experience shows, then he will falter. He is the most likely to attack the top tier candidates. If he remembers that his advantage is foreign policy, he might be formidable in this debate. If he plays his cards right, he can drive away support from the two isolationists and show up Pawlenty and Cain.

Herman Cain: He is a communicator.He is likely to be the best speaker on stage. He has a talk radio background and he took on Pres Clinton in a public town hall in the 1990s. With no political experience, however, it is going to be hard for him to be taken seriously. In this debate he will choose to either hold on to the Tea Party and hope that he can leverage that out of the third tier or he will step out and show himself to be a team player and try to start building a broader appeal.

Now for the two candidates that I have not met.

Ron Paul: This Libertarian hero will likely be riding the high from ben Laden's death and start pushing his message of "Ok, now we are done. Pull out all the troops." One thing to watch for is his presentation. In 2008 he was on message and connected with like-minded voters with his complex, but focused message. We will see tonight, if he can keep that up. The last few speeches I've seen him give, have left me wondering if he is going to need to pass the mantel soon.

Gary Johnson: My least favorite of this crew. He is openly pro-choice, pro-drugs, and isolationist. These positions will not play well in South Carolina and he will have a hard time convincing the crowd coming from that angle. If he is smart what he will do is not bring up those issues, but rather focus on shrinking the size of government. If he brags about being on marijuana for 2 years, his goose is cooked. But I think he is in the race to spread his message anyway, so it will not surprise me if he does.

Would you support a green president? If you were Rick what other candidate would you attack? Have you heard of Cain? Is Ron Paul too old? And would you support a pro-abortion Republican?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where were you?

News consumption has come a long way in the past ten years, as dramatically indicated by the way people found out about the death of Osama bin Laden.

On 9/11, when people heard about the attack on the World Trade Center, they turned to the TV. Not so on 5/1. Rather, social media spread the news even before the news outlets or President Obama had the chance to formally make the announcement. Twitter, for example, had the “highest sustained rate of Tweets ever.”

Tweets per second.

My wife and I, who are usually fairly well connected, didn’t know that Osama bin Laden had been killed until the morning of May 2. Rather than being online, we spent Sunday evening watching TV.

HT: Michelle Malkin

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Great Panic

In FED We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great PanicOver my Christmas break I decided to do some research on our nation’s financial system and the mess we are in. Specifically, I wanted someone credible and politically unattached (so Ron Paul was out on both counts). Upon visiting my local library and examining their selection, I settled on In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic, by David Wessel, the editor of the Wall Street Journal.

It only took me four months to read the book (and no, it’s not that incredibly long, I just kept getting distracted). The book itself is well written and well researched, and gives some very helpful background history of the Fed allowing the reader to place certain actions in context. But while I had originally intended to do a deeper review, the billions and trillions got so jumbled up that I lost track sometimes of who was spending what. What I can write about, however, is the financial system in the broader scheme.

Reading Wessel the analogy of digging a hole came to mind. It has been said that, when you’re in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. This makes sense. However, if you’re in a leaking boat, you should not stop bailing water. Both the digging and the bailing involve the same motion, just with an opposite outcome. The problem with the financial panic is that it was sometimes hard to tell if we were in a boat or a hole. The inability to know that information led to a rather bumbling approach at times.

Fundamentally, though, Wessel—likely unintentionally—revealed a deeper truth: we have forgotten that the economy is made up of people. In A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market, Wilhelm Ropke wrote:
“[A] whole generation of economists was so exclusively brought up as to operate with economic aggregates that it forgot the things which until then were the real content of economic theory and which should never be forgotten: namely, that the economic order is a system of moving, and moved, separate prices, wages, interests, and other magnitudes. . . . In the past, to be a good economist meant being able to assess the relationship between currently operative forces, and sound judgment, experience, and common sense counted for more than formal skill in handling methods illegitimately transferred from the natural to the social sciences; but the limelight became increasingly to be occupied by a type of economist who knew how to express hypothetical statements about functional relationships in mathematical formulas or curves.” (p. 193)
In short, what was lost from the equation was people; individual people making individual decisions to spend, save, or invest, which in the aggregate kept the economy running. For that is what keeps our capital based (or debt based) economy alive. As long as the banks and financial institutions have the trust of the public, they could continue to bet on their liabilities. But when that trust was lost, we saw the national equivalent of a run on the bank. Suddenly lenders wanted their money back, and when debtor institutions could not immediately come up with the necessary capital, they verged on bankruptcy.

To prevent these bankruptcies, the Fed took a number of steps, now collectively called the “bailout.” And, according to Wessel, they did work in preventing a bigger crisis from occurring. But lost in the process was the trust of the public. For although it is economically justifiable with charts and graphs to argue that the financial institutions were too big to fail, it does strike against common sense, especially since those institution’s executives were getting millions in bonuses during the very same time period.

For people, unlike numbers or chemicals, don’t always react the same way to the same conditions. Rather, doing everything “right” by the theory may not lead to the projected outcome. And the economists directing our economy should keep that at the forefront.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Former President George W. Bush: "Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace
around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."

God balances out both justice and mercy. I am reading the Psalms and Proverbs and they are very bold is calling for God's wrath against the wicked.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...