Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Open Education (one of our favorite educational resources) has the low down on the charter school concept (which is firmly rooted in free market competition, by the way). It's worth your time. The headings in the article are as follows:
  • Creating a Charter School
  • Competition is Created
  • Possible School Options
Click here to read the article.


Here is a fun site where you can input your annual income, along with a bit of other info, and then it will calculate your tax cuts under Obama and McCain.

(UPDATE: I've added a widget in the sidebar where you can quickly calculate your tax cuts. Just try it and see if you save more with Obama or McCain. Under McCain we would get a $344 tax cut. Under Obama we would save approximately $1,000. How much would you save?)


We were eating out last night at one of our favorite local restaurants – Coyote's Adobe Cafe – when we overheard the folks behind us talking about Obama. One guy told his group that Obama was coming to Springfield again on Saturday.

Sure enough we read the same at Chatter this morning. We were very excited when he came the first time, but we didn't get in line soon eough. It was a no-go for us. Our 8-year-old daughter cried. This is her first memorable presidential election and she is getting excited. She and her friends at school do political chants during recess. I find that adorable.

Our plan is to have her cover the event, and giver her perspective on the entire affair. That is, if we can get tickets. I think it will be interesting to see what an 8-year-old thinks of it all.

(6:23 a.m. UPDATE: KY3 just reported that he will be at MSU at 9 o'clock. They didn't say if that was a.m. or p.m.)

(UPDATE 7:51 Friday: Obama will be at Parkview football field @ 9 p.m. tomorrow.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Wonder Woman and Hawk Girl costumes

The Today Show ran a story this morning about the provocative Halloween costumes of little girls. One mother interviewed felt strongly that her child’s Wonder Woman costume required a turtle neck beneath it in order to be G-rated. They also showed Hawk Girl as one of the offenders, as was the French maid, the midriff-showing cheerleader, and a witch in high heels.

Just for a little bit of perspective, I offer these pictures of this little Brittany “see my cooter” Spears-esque darling from the 1930’s. If I can see Shirley Temple’s underpants, then the hooker must have bad parents? Perhaps, we are over-demonizing just a bit. Not that I want my child to dress like a Bratz doll or a French maid, but have these people been to White Water lately?

The truth is, appropriate dress is more about context than absolute rules. What we wear to White Water or the Table Rock Lake is not what we should wear to school. What we wear on Halloween is not appropriate for a wedding. It’s all about context. Halloween is about costumes, about being someone else, about fun and acting and playing dress up.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


We spent half of Friday and all of the weekend in Branson at my late grandmother’s home. Saturday was the auction and most of the family was in town for the sale. It was difficult to see people walk away with her things: her porcelain strawberry, her easy chair, her cookie jar. These people just cart it off like it’s a thing, some object, as if it had no significance. It is just a thing, isn’t it. It’s all just stuff, but it’s hard when it’s your granny’s things and you attach memories to those things. My goodness we moved things: boxes and boxes and those things.

Luckily, those of us left were able to take a few items to appease our need for sentimentality. I have her secretary, a very beautiful piece of furniture that we have already placed and filled with stuff. We put our Japanese tea set in the glass hutch and filled the drawers with school and art supplies. Grandma would have liked that fact that we are using the secretary.

I also have her oattie bowl. It’s a small bowl with a handle, a truly unique piece, that she used to serve me oatmeal in. Now I serve oatmeal in it to my daughter. And life moves on. The world moves on. And I think the sale helped all of us to do that too.


I cannot help but be enthused by the fact that the polls are showing a lead for Obama/Biden, but it means very little in the long run. There ain't no predicting what will come next week. To assume would only make an ... well you know how that goes. This election is not over and is not won. The wife and I talked this morning and we both have a bit of electoral fatigue. Most people do. We are ready to have it done with.


The ugliness of the human condition is out and about these days what with the thwarted effort of skinheads to kill massive amounts of Blacks, ending with the hopeful execution of Barack Obama. Don’t’ forget the swastika-loving crew that came to see Sarah Palin when she was in Springfield. Then there is the Abu Garib-like mannequin of Palin with a noose around her neck.

How about this video of a McCain rally where someone apparently yells “kill him” in reference to Obama. I say apparently, because it is hard to tell conclusively if that is what the voice actually screamed. But it sure sounded like it. More telling and more importantly is the wince that McCain gave as he choked down his integrity and said nothing. It’s 13 seconds in, if you want to take a look. Regardless – and the word is regardless not “irregardless” – McCain certainly thought the person said “kill him” too. It’s as clear as the nose on his face. It should be noted that this story reports that the Secret Service did not hear the cry in the original “kill him” story. Not that it didn’t happen, just that they didn’t hear it. One wonders if they investigated this one cited above? We don’t know.

The point, of course, is that we are in the midst of political road rage, anger fueling hatred and thoughts of death. I cannot think of a president that I detest more than George W. Bush. But I don’t wish the man ill, for crying out loud. I wish him out and I wish his policies to be put behind us. But death? Tragedy? Sorry kids, but I draw the line in the proverbial sand on that one. Left or right, death threats and hatred are wrong. I use my blog to say so.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Just a big of ... of ... whatever this is to lighten the mood. I cannot image his mother being happy about this. She sure is proud of her new boobs, isn't she?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I missed the first couple of episodes, but finally found the show a few weeks ago. You know, it’s bikers so I had a reason to check it out. Wikipedia has the down and dirty, but I’ll just tell you that it is about a biker club – like the Hell’s Angels. They deal mostly in illegal arms, and fight to keep others from selling dope in their town.

The episode that did it – the one that sucked me in – was about a former member who was given permission to come back to town to see his kid play music. Turns out, he didn’t have he Sons of Anarchy back tattoo inked out or taken off. That is a requirement of members when they are banned. The Sons found out and they were none too happy. Not good, my friends. You can’t wear a club’s signs once you are kicked out. So they gave him the option: knife or fire. He chose to have his tat removed – quite forcibly I might add – by blowtorch in the Sons’ garage. At least they gave him liquor first. It was a bloody mess to say the lest.

They don’t mess around, those Sons of Anarchy. It’s a powerful show with lots of drama and turmoil. And it has bikes. This show makes me wish I had TiVo. So goes the life of a poor graduate student.

Sons of Anarchy
Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

Second showing at 10 p.m.


The official website
Wikipedia entry

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


DC Comics teamed up with Midway, the gang who makes the Mortal Kombat video game. Now your favorite DC characters can fight the Mortal Kombat crew. Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe hits stores November 16. Dang and dang, the game is for XBox 360 and Playstation only; it is not available for the Wii. That's probably good, as there is blood-a-plenty in this game. My daughter doesn't need to see that.

Mortal Kombat Combatants
  • Sub-Zero
  • Scorpion
  • Shang Tsung
  • Sonya
  • Kitana
  • Jax
  • Liu Kang
  • Raiden
  • Kang
  • Baraka

DC Universe Line-up
  • Batman
  • Superman
  • Wonder Woman
  • The Flash
  • Catwoman
  • Shazam!
  • Green Lantern
  • The Joker
  • Deathstroke
  • Lex Luthor


Two days ago our Obama sign disappeared from the yard. All that was left was the wire frame. What's one to do? I should have had enough sense to move my signs closer to the porch once this became such a problem. Oh well.

Interestingly enough, a Jay Nixon sign miraculously appeared in my yard yesterday. I didn't do it; the wife didn't do it. I naturally thought it a sign of God's anointing of Nixon as governor. I didn't really mind, I guess, since I thought Nixon was a good attorney general.

Then again, Bush was touted as an aisle crosser while he was governor. That didn't work out too well for us, did it? I learned a lesson – a hard lesson – that you cannot always predict how well a politician will govern based entirely on their previous job.

We will find out soon enough, as Nixon is running unopposed in this election.


I don't quite understand it all. The conservative side of the blogosphere is nearly quite about the racism, sexism and hate spewing from the Republican party these days.

People are clamoring for the death of Obama, for him to be beheaded, killed, shot dead, taken out. They call him an Arab and a terrorist at the Palin-McCain rallies. Palin says nothing and McCain only corrects it once.

And all that said and done is a slight shoulder shrug and a passive mention that both sides are getting nasty. Nasty? Presidential politics is always nasty, but racism, sexism and the cawing for death is no way to run a campaign. And where are the supporters of the other side? Where are they condemning the racism, sexism and hate?

The newest line from the conservative side is that Gen. Colin Powell is nothing more than a skin-color voter, a un-American who cares more about blacks than America. Forget the fact that he outlined his policy differences with McCain. It must be a black thing.

I know that many, many conservatives and Republicans do not jive with racism or sexism or death threats. But they say little or nothing about it occurring in their party. Going along passively, dismissing it all as just dirty politics. Racism is not dirty politics. It is hate mongering. Death threats are not a part of the normal political mud-slinging. Driving a wedge in Virginia and stating that your opponents are not part of the real America is sickening.

Where is the outcry by the Republicans who oppose racism? Where is the anger at their own party for calling for Obama's head on a stick?

Perhaps I'm just being partisan? That comment is all the rage these days, slammed against anyone who disagrees. I may be partisan for Obama. I'm okay with that. He is my candidate and I defend him. That's no different than those who love their football team or cry when their team enters the playoffs. It's no different than those who wear their team's jersy or paint their chests. I don't condone racism, sexism and I sure as shooting don't condone death threats against any political candidate. If my candidate did that, you can bet the bank (which isn't worth much these days) that I would blog about it.

Don't call me un-American; don't say I am not a real American. I am a real, patriotic, American-loving citizen. I vote. I care. I love my country. I'm voting for a candidate because of his political ideology and his policies, not because of his skin.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It's no surprise that Tim Trower's accusations against Circuit Clerk candidate and blogger, Jim Lee, was dismissed. The documentation was pretty conclusive from the beginning. It does not bode well for Lee's opponent. Unfortunately, the damage was done and it is quite likely that it may cause Lee some problems, especially during a presidential election when local politics takes a back seat.

You never know. Dirty politics may not play well with voters and they may abandon Steve Helms because of it. One can only hope, as Lee is the better choice. Who really wants a guy who runs his own insurance business while he works full time as the Circuit Clerk? No wonder the office is in shambles. It doesn't take two years to hammer out a new computer program unless you are overly occupied with other things besides your job.

Monday, October 20, 2008


bvHow about a live blogging event for the upcoming election? It's only the most historic and significant election in most of our lifetimes. It only makes sense that the local blogger's will be at The Patton Alley – our hangout since I don't know when – to record this most interesting and exciting presidential election. Here's the scoop, the dirt, the jist, the poop:

Patton Alley Pub
7 p.m.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thanks to my friend who made the suggestion. He knows who he is.

Of course it is open to all local bloggers, however you define "local".

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Did you know that the toy company, Fisher-Price, is in league with Islamic extremists, to secretely indoctrinate our babies with pro-Muslim ideology? The proof is in the pudding, or the latex in this case. Thank the Lord Jesus on High that a Christian from Nixa stood up for the rights of all us Christians in our fight against the plague against God and all that is holy and good and righteous.

Leila Clawson has single-handedly exposed the insideous attempts of the terrorists to systematically subjugate us all by brainwashing our Christian children into siding with Mohammad.

If you are a Christian, a lover of the Messiah, then you must stand against this shadowy evil, which is undoubtedly funded by the queers, the pro-abortionists, and the Godless liberals.

If you doubt it works, if you question the validity of the marketing ploys of subliminal messaging, then heed this warning. When I was a teenage, I was lost to the Lord, choosing instead to lust after the girating bosom of the female during middle school dances. I listened to Queen and not long afterward, I did indeed, smoke marijuana. Oh, the humanity!

Then I discovered the evil plot by The Eagles to get me to join the Church of Satan and of Queen's desire for me to smoke ganga. I left the clutches of Satan and found salvation in more holy music of Carmen.

And now, my friends, evil is at our door again. This time the innocense of our babies is at risk. First it was Tinky Winky and the gay agenda, from which we were saved thanks to the Mouth of Jehovah, Jerry Falwell. While he is now gone, we at least have one local advocate who has the gumption to stand up against the Christian haters who design such dolls as this one.

We must all stand up for Christ and boycott this evil company. We must insist that this Islamic toy be taken off the market and that Fisher-Price pay a heavy price for their evil-doing. Let's face it folks. Islam is the bain of society. It is the single most destructive force on the face of the planet and while the liberals crow and wish us to coddle the Muslims, good Christians know better.

Can I get an Amen?

(hat tip)


There has been quite a wonderful exchange over on this blog post of mine. Plenty of opposing views. Amazingly, no one is getting their feelings hurt over disagreements and discussions. It's not politics. Think education and a tad of religion thrown in. Click here to see what it's all about.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The Joplin School Board will take up the issue of tattoos and teachers at its next board meeting. Back in the day, ear rings on men were considered taboo. Not so much anymore. The bigger issue are body piercings and tattoos.

I have seen many of my younger peers in the education department with ink, piercings, or both. Tats on the forearms and ankles as well as lip, nose, eyebrown and tongue piercings are also popular in mainstream youth culture.

Students, of course, don't mind. It's the parents, older teachers and some administrators who are concerned. You remember the schools that banned students becuase of pink or green hair, don't you?

Is it really a big deal to have a tat on the forearm? Well I suppose that depends. Is it a problem for me to wear a shirt? No. But the school might object if I wear a shirt with a pot leaf or beer can on it. They should. I would expect a principal to object if a teacher had a nude pin-up tattoo visible to students. But a dragon or a butterfly? Who really cares?

What does the tattoo have to do with the education of the students? In the not so distant past, male teachers could not wear ear rings to school. Nowadays, that is rarely a problem. The world will eventually move on and forget the distractions.

Thanks to Skinny Kitty who pointed me to this KSPR 33 article.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Who wants to do homework when they can blog? Why not answer my own questions? I headed to the big tube in the sky for the answers to my ballot measure question and I found more on the ballot than I realized. I didn’t know it before, but there is a Ballotpedia, a wiki for electoral information. How cool is that? All this information is from that site and is therefore up for challenge and debate as it is a wiki and user-controlled. It should serve as a jumping on place for any discussion and links to other sites and media coverage.

Constitutional Amendment 1
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to add a statement that English shall be the language of all governmental meetings at which any public business is discussed, decided, or public policy is formulated whether conducted in person or by communication equipment including conference calls, video conferences, or Internet chat or message board?"

Constitutional Amendment 4
This affects the financing of stormwater control projects by limiting funding to public water and sewer districts only. (Exact ballot language unavailable at time of publication.)
Related story on KSPR 33

Proposition A
This proposition increases taxes casinos pay from 20% to 21%. It also eliminates the individual maximum loss limit. Creates monies to schools from gambling tax proceeds. Furthermore, it limits the number of casinos in Missouri to those currently erected and those already under construction. (Exact ballot language unavailable at time of publication.)

Proposition B
Ensures home care services to senior citizens and persons with disabilities, under Medicaid, by enacting the Quality Homecare Council. The estimated costs is $510K annually. (Exact ballot language unavailable at time of publication.)

Proposition C

Requires utilities to increase renewable energies until 15% of the state’s usage is renewable. Estimated cost is $395K. (Exact ballot language unavailable at time of publication.)


There are two initiatives on the upcoming ballot that I know nothing about. All I have seen are commercials supporting both propositions.

One is about more casino money going to schools. The other is about money for senior citizens and persons with disabilities to stay in their homes. I support money for schools and for persons to stay in their own homes. But that is not enough information to make an informed decision about either proposition.

Any articles about these in the local media? I've not seen any. Perhaps I missed them. I would appreciate any information or knowledge that my readers might have. Post links in the comment section, if you don't mind.


The bi-partisan but flawed law, Every Child Left Behind, is a miserable waste of educational resources. For once, the intent of a law was quite good, but the implementation failed on all fronts. One's first clue was that Every Child Left Behind required all children to reach proficiency. All of them. No matter what. By 2014 all children will have to reach proficiency in reading and math. Forget the fact that all kids learn at the same pace.

I suppose the people who wrote this never took a psychology class.

The New York Times has an article on how good school are failing under ECLB. One of the points is that Congress failed to revamp the act this year. That includes both Obama and McCain, by the way.

The Turner Report initially blogged about this story.


One of the prominent religious leaders for the television Christian is Pat Robertson, the one who has called for the deaths of American judges and world leaders. Let’s just say that he and I disagree on so many things. Let’s leave it at that.

The blogedian, Jason Rohrblogger, has posted a funny and disturbing list of the Top 10 Pat Robertson Quotes. Here are two that send tingles up my spine:

"Lord, give us righteous judges who will not try to legislate and dominate this society. Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court."

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

Really? He prays that God will kill some judges and open up positions on the Supreme Court? Are we allowed to pray for the death of those we disagree with? Do women who want equal rights really kill their children, become lesbians and get into the voodoo?

Amazingly, Christians from all over consider this guy a preeminent authority on Christianity. That’s right. People really believe this stuff. I’m always leery of the person who thinks they know the mind and will of God.

Am I the only Christian out there that thinks this guy is a detriment to our faith? He makes us look like a bunch of kooks. Why don't more Christians denounce this guy? Why do so many follow him? How can they possibly read The Bible and agree with the guy?

Monday, October 13, 2008


Hell almighty! Christianity has run amok and we followers have lost our collective minds.

Pastor Arnold Coonrod delivered the following prayer at a Palin/McCain rally. This is a snippet thanks to the Drudge Report:

"There are millions of people around this world praying to their god -- whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah -- that his [McCain's] opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation because they're going to think that their god is bigger than you if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name in all that happens between now and Election Day."

There is so much wrong with this, I hardly know where to start. I think the most outrageous part is this pastor’s insinuation that McCain’s opponent is not a Christian. Sen. Obama is a Christian, has been a Christian for many years and this pastor knows it. For a Christian to challenge another Christian’s pledge to Jesus is … disgusting. 

What makes him think that the world is against Christianity? This election is not about Christianity over Islam. It’s about Obama/Biden versus Palin/McCain, Democrat versus Republican. What does God have to do with it?

I find it amazingly pompous and conceited for one to be assured that he knows the will of God, and can say with certainty how his God would vote in an election. I tend to think of God as nonpartisan, but that is just me. 

I also find it interesting, that this pastor seems to challenge God. That if he really is the one true God, then he will ensure John McCain’s election. I don't know about you, but I don't make a habit out of tempting God and challenging him. I feel pretty confident that when push comes to shove, God can beat me in an arm wrestling match any day of the week.

Why does Palin/McCain keep picking people like this to represent them at rallies? 


Many on the right are trying so hard to convince someone, anyone, that there is no racism in the campaign this season, just an innocuous pointing out of facts. But time after time, Gov. Palin has worked up the crowd with terrorist rhetoric and the people have responded strongly calling for Obama’s death, his beheading, calling him an Arab, and linking him to Osama Bin Laden. 

It’s become a videotaped nightmare for the maverick and his sidekick. To the point that he is now having to backtrack some of this as it keeps ending up on the news. To his credit, he told that lady that Barack Obama was a good and decent man. I praise him for it. It wasn’t easy. The crowd responded with groans and boos. His attempt might have worked had he done it from the beginning, but he let it go until his backers were lathered up in a black sweat of racial hate mongering. It was out of control before he knew it and now it’s a done deal.

This YouTube video shows Palin/McCain supporters standing outside a rally. One man, who is getting his 15 minutes of infamy, carries a monkey with an Obama sticker on it. Some of the quotes from the Palin/McCain crowd are as follows:

  • The only difference between Obama and Osama is the BS
  • Obama bin Laden
  • We need a Muslim President

Have these people no shame? Do they hate blacks and muslims so much that they will openly spew hatred? The argument that Palin/McCain were only pointing out Obama’s connections is essentially shot all to hell, like McCain’s plane over Hanoi. The mavericks took it all too far and the usually underground racism that sticks to our American ribs is oozing out all over in a bloody mess. Some folks just don’t like those uppity n-folk. Plain and simple. We Democrats have our own southern progressives who live in the dark ages, but they have enough sense to keep their mouths shut and they sure as shootin’ don’t bring monkey babies to a Democratic rally. I suspect they would be ostracized and run off the place. 

Truth is, I don’t think Palin/McCain anticipated that much hatred. I really don’t. I think they just wanted to touch people’s fear and cause them to quietly vote terrorism in the ballot box. Let’s face it. Politics is a war these days, no matter what people say or want. It is win at all costs for all campaigns. The Palin/McCain plan went awry when the crowds finally felt homey enough, comfortable enough, to let their racism pour forth. Now the petcock broke and try as they might, the Palin/McCain camp can’t do a dang thing about it. The Kentucky mash has fermented and the people want their hooch. 

I wonder how many of these folks, these black-hating Joe six packs, claim Christianity as their faith? I wonder if they have given any thought to how God would view their beliefs? I wonder how Palin/McCain jive their religion with their racially-tinted, out-of-hand talks? 

It’s an ugly world out there, people. Lots of hatred and anger, resentment and mistrust. A presidential candidate has opened the proverbial can of worms and then wiggly and squiggly have gotten away. It’s really a shame. I betcha if McCain had it to do over again things would be very different. Now it is all a big monkey on their presidential backs.


That's what one Missouri school district is considering. The superintendent of Holcomb School District popped the idea to the school board during its regular board meeting. The policy is supposed to protect teachers against false accusations of anything but a professional relationship.

  1. Would the measure end or seriously impede inappropriate teacher-student relationships?
  2. Would it make the teachers more safe?
  3. Would it make the students more safe?
  4. What is the impact on education?
  5. What happens to students (and parents) who need help at home?
  6. Does the ban include the phone call or email at home about homework?
Thanks to KSPR 33 for posting the story.


Jackie has an interesting piece on Christianity, taxes and government. Back in the days of Andrew Carnegie, there were a lot of well-to-doers who were trying to solve the poverty problems. One of the many movements included people giving their money to churches and groups to fix these issues, rather than the government. Jackie hits on this and it's a worthy read. She frames her post from a Christian point of view, but it is also applicable to those of other faiths and no faith.

What do we believe and why do we believe it?

Friday, October 10, 2008


The presidential comics from IDW Publishers finally came in this week. Perhaps you've seen them on the news already. They are top priority for me right now. I am curious how well the creators put them together. Barack Obama and John McCain each have their own comic. A quick flip-through showed that the comics follow the lives of both, highlighting some of the more pertinent moments.

I heard on the news last night if these comics are successful enough, IDW will updat them to include the current election goings-on. What an interesting piece of historical literature to own and use in a classroom.

The comics come in two formats.

Each presidential contender has his own 28-page, full color comic costing $3.99 each.

This includes both candidates' comics in a single publication. It is a flip-book style, so each politician gets a front cover. It sells for $7.99

A good opportunity for a teacher to teach children (especially fourth grade students, since that's the grade they learn all that stuff in Missouri) about the electoral process and the current election.


I am going to ask a question that may, on the surface, seem political in nature. It's not intended to be. I am attempting to flush out deeper meaning behind what we do, what we see, and how we interpret the world. I am setting this post up, not as a debate, but as a place where one can simply answer the questions, from his or her perspective, and then let it be.

Got it? No partisan comments on this one, kiddos, and no arguing or debating. Since I have addressed this issue in one way (although it was political) I am refraining from giving my own perspective this go around. If you want to know what I think, then you can email me personally, and I will respond.

Okay. Here we go.

I was reading a blog this morning. The person used Obama's middle name. It got me to thinking. Why is that person using his middle name? What is the intention of this author in using his middle name when the author did not use the middle name of anyone else mentioned in the story? (I'm not linking that blog becuase it is incidental to this discussion.)

That line of thought moved to the sign that Larry originally posted about, and the one that KSPR 33 picked up. The following questions (as opposed to the questions in the previous paragraph) are what I am really interested in.

What is wrong with this billboard? It's been touted as racist and divisive and hateful, at least by some. My question is this: How exactly does this billboard promote racism, hate or divisiveness?

The words describe at least one person's belief of what will happen if the subject of the billboard is elected. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the assertions are true. Let's not parse them to be true, mostly true, half true, partly true or not true. Because perspective could influence the argument. Let's just say that the statements are mostly true – true enough to be said and get the point across.

The man's name is Barack Hussein Obama. So is using his full name, which is factual, somehow racist? Does the argument change if the author of the billboard (or blog or media outlet) uses the middle names of all the candidates? Why, exactly, would we use anyone's middle name in a political debate where the person does not promote their middle name? Does it depend on the middle name and how it is used? Can intention and motivation change the answer?

I have plenty of comics in my house that use illustrations similar to this one. We see them everyday in editorial cartoons.

Is that what has elicted the outrage from some people? Does the turban have certain connotations? If so, are those connotations positive or negative? Does that answer change depending on perspective or affiliation?

Rhetorically speaking, what is occuring in this billboard? What is being said? From a marketing and advertising point of view, what is the superficial and deeper meanings of this billboard? What, if anything, makes the billboard racist or intolerant? I think the answers to these fundamental questions should serve as the foundation for other discussions. Perhaps, we will learn a lot about ourselves and our beliefs?

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Not only is the Palin/McCain campaign slinging terrorist mud all over Barack Obama, garnering shouts of “terrorist” and “kill him” from the crowds, but the local Republican party has jumped into the fray, slinging what appears to be false ethical allegations in the circuit clerk position.

As if there is anything partisan about that position. I recently interviewed one candidate for the job, Jim Lee. I gave him an opportunity to talk nasty about his opponent’s attempt to get votes by posting the Decalogue in his office.

Lee would have none of it. He kept focused on the job at hand and the problems in the office. We are not seeing that same kindness from the other side. You can read all about it on this blogger’s site, complete with documents.

The allegation: Lee failed to file the proper paperwork with the State Ethics Commission.

Life of Jason published a letter from the State Ethics Commission stating: “Your committee is not required to file with our office and all future filings should be sent to the Greene County Clerk’s Office.”

Enough said about that.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


This blogger brought to my attention that I have focused exclusively on the two party system and have given no play to third party candidates. In the past, I have voted for third party candidates when I had no one that represented my views in the big two. So it makes me mad that I made this slip-up.

It's a shame when we ignore other candidates. It is something I do not agree with, although you could not tell it by my coverage this year. Rather than just flap my jaws and tell that blogger he was right, I present to you links to other candidates. Perhaps one of them will better represent your views. For all of you who are disgruntled with Obama and McCain, you might check these folks out. I present to you, in no particular order, the other presidential tickets:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


If you follow my blog, then you know that I have a political mantra by which I live: There is no such thing as a Christian politician. I’ve stated it many times and I think it is a good reminder for those who vote for politicians based only on their religion. There is no way to uphold the goodness, honesty and honorable qualities of a Christian (or most other faiths for that matter) and be a politician.

Not that politicians are bad people, necessarily; but the soul-selling that must go on in order for someone to attain such heights precludes one from being deeply Christians beyond the superficial showing up for church or attending press-covered prayer meetings. Singing about eagles and saying you are devout does little to cleanse one’s soul, but it does play well in the press.

I do think my political barometer does have a scale. That is to say, I don’t think it is black and white, but rather a spectrum. I think on a local level, it can be easier to balance corruption and religion. As one attains more notoriety and power – especially power – the further down the scale the Christian falls.

New blogger, Ryan, has already taken issue with my statement. He makes the point: “These things (Christianity and politics) are not mutually exclusive. What is true is that a politician has an almost impossible task of living a life that exemplifies that faith.”

On a philosophical level, I suppose it depends on how you define Christian. If you define Christianity in it’s simplest terms of only believing in Christ as the Son of God, then he’s probably right. One can hold that belief, live the corrupt life, and still label themselves Christians.

I intend the quote to be deeper. I resolve the issue, if only inside my own head, by understanding that being a Christian means more than just saying it’s so.


There is a difference between facts and implications, but it can be hard to discern when emotions are near the zenith. Fear is the hot emotion of the day. Amazingly, several bloggers have defended the Palin/McCain attacks of late.

It is perfectly acceptable to bring up Obama’s association with Ayers who is a former terrorist. Keep in mind the man is not a domestic terrorist now. He is not on the run. He is not evading the FBI. He is not being raped in a jail cell in Cuba for his crimes. He is a free man, a professor at a university. Obviously, he is no longer a threat to the American public or he would be held indefinitely.

The problem is when the Palin/McCain campaign make implications that Obama is a towel-headed, America-hating, grenade-toting Muslim terrorist. They continue to brand him as “different” which is their way of covertly spreading the seeds of racism and hatred. Palin/McCain are intentionally feeding and perpetuating hatred. It is all in the name of elections.

McCain himself, said years ago that anyone who went negative simply had nothing to say and no vision of the future. The video has been on the news. I have to agree, but now that we are all certain that the fundamentals of the economy are not strong, and the Palin/McCain numbers are dropping, they are switching to the non-message of sick em.

On the news last night, my wife watched as Palin worked the crowed into lather, trying to erroneously make Obama out to be a terrorist. The crowd shouted “terrorist” and one person even shouted, “Kill him!” It doesn't get any more negative than that.

Just because Palin is connected to a pastor who declared a woman a witch and had her run out of town, does not mean that Palin agrees with him. She is connected to him, and that is factual, but it would be wrong to try to spin her as a witch hunter who supports the Salem Witch Trials. She is also connected to some book banning issues, but there is no real evidence to suggest she actually supported banning any books. The connection is factual, but any spin to say she wants to ban books is not supported. It would be wrong to start attacking and labeling her as a book banner on the campaign trail. Just because Obama knows the man does not mean he agrees with him. In fact he has been on the record as denouncing Ayers some time ago.

Here is a more elementary picture for those of you who defend the attacks:

Kids can play a friendly game of freeze tag. They can have teams and play against one another, each team working together to defeat the other. In the end, they can go back to class and be friends. No harm and no foul.

Or, they can play Smear the Queer. Do you remember that game? When one person has the ball and the others spend time tackling and smearing the person into the ground. Not so much a friendly game and many times it ends up with injuries and hurt feelings. It’s not designed to be nice.

So it is with the Palin/McCain “terrorist” attacks of Obama. It’s not a debate on the issues. It cannot be a debate on the issues because Palin/McCain are losing that battle. It is a version of Smear the Queer, a hateful attack meant to do damage and ruin a person.

What they are doing is a … smear campaign … in the true sense of the word.

I have heard some claim that to have their beliefs challenged and questioned is to mount a smear campaign against them. This has come up more than once lately. Questioning and challenging and debating are nothing of the kind. Presenting facts is not either.

The hateful and racist attacks of Palin/McCain are real smear campaigns based on half-truths and innuendo in order to spark racism and religious fear in the ignorant lambie-pies who already lean in such directions.

It used to be Country First and no negative campaigning. Those days are clearly gone and in place we have a win-at-all costs campaign. If those attending the Palin/McCain rallies are labeling Obama a terrorist and calling for his death, then something is amiss. There's nothing presidential or honorable or Christian about that.


A late comer into my life, Ryan Rost is a good buddy. He's a conservative (as if we need more of them in the Ozarks) but don't hold that against him. He's great and we get along wonderfully despite the fact that the majority of our conversations are political.

Anyway, Ryan just started a blog, COGENT DIGRESSIONS OF RYAN ROST ON LIFE AND FAITH. He gives us credit for pushing him in that direction. We doubt, however, that influence will get him to trade sides. Welcome him (and then encourage him to attend the next blogger's meeting.)

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Nothing like an unpatriotic lie from a vice presidential candidate to bring Fat Jack out of a national political hiatus.

From USA Today.

Today in Colorado Sarah Palin accused Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists who would target their own country". At one time McCain claimed these kinds of swift-boat lies were abhorrent and that he was better than that. Now, it seems he feels it is appropriate.

Next, we will start seeing those stupid and erroneous emails about Obama being a foreign-born Muslim. It all reminds me of this post and this post one of which is about a guy who thinks that just because he dated an African American once, that he gets a free pass to spew hateful racism.

I'm not sure what bothers me more. The fact that they would do it – because I know there is no such thing as a Christian politian – or the fact that McCain has already come out defending the attack.


Typical of stars, OJ Simpson thought he was invincible, untouchable, beyond the law. That is, until today when a jury convicted him of kidnapping, armed robbery and other various acts. Apparently he was surprised, still assuming I suppose that: They love me; they cannot convict me. You would have thought that he would have been in the slammer a decade ago when he hacked his honey and her friend to bits. Those darned leather gloves tend to shrink when soaked with blood.

OJ thinks he is so far above everyone else that he can kidnap someone and hold people at gun point and still get acquitted. Sure, it worked once, but this time he didn't kill the victims and it came back to haunt him. He found out that his star status only gets him so far.

With the host of people who testified against him this go around, it's really no wonder he got convicted. I'm sure his fictional, tell-all book about his wife's murder didn't help. Even the best oranges in the grove get squeezed.

Friends are calling it a "public lynching".

Because it's not fair to convict a man for busting into a room with big thugs, taking property, brandishing guns and keeping people from leaving. If my neighbor takes my rake, I still don't have the right to break into his house, hold him at gun point and retrieve the rake. Isn't that what the police and courts are for?

Are you ready for the juicy quote, about Simpsons retrieval of his memorabilia, made by his attorney during the closing statements?

"But being stupid, and being frustrated is not being a criminal," he said.

It is if you are so stupid that you commit a crime. That made me laugh. Just shows you how ludicrous a place attorney's will go to make a case.


I've been meaning to blog about the new commercials from the corn industry, which asserts that high fructose corn syrup is natural and good for you. The claim is that the stuff is the same as sugar and that it is not unhealthy at all, (stated as they whisper that it needs to be consumed in moderation.)

I found this dandy article from Time that puts facts and figures to the assertions. One thing that I found interesting was that the stuff is almost impossible to eat in moderation because it is in absolutely everything.

Because high-fructose corn syrup extends the shelf life of foods, and farm subsidies make it cheaper than sugar, it's added to a staggering range of items, including fruity yogurts, cereals, crackers, ketchup and bread — and in most foods marketed to children. So, unless you're making a concerted effort to avoid it, it's pretty difficult to consume high-fructose corn syrup in moderation.

I'm not one to preach about moderation in food. Seems I'm not too good at that. But it does seem that whole foods are probably much better for us than those made in a laboratory. I say that as I drink the diet version of that delicious green tea from Lipton. Diet usually means there is some kind of laboratory-created artificial sweetener. Still, I'm not buying into the "hey, it's really good for you" argument from the corn industry. Seems the corn growers have it pretty good what with all the ethanol subsidies and mandates now.

It does seem strange that as rates of childhood diabetes and obesity are raising at alarming rates, we have commercials promoting people eating more syrup.

Friday, October 03, 2008


It felt great to meet up with the bloggers again. Some new blogs and new bloggers showed up last night. If you haven’t had the chance check them out and link them in your side bar, then here you go.

Carbon Trace
The Albers Report
The Independent Titan

Last night was more about jawing and drinking (alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages) than anything else. A good time. In the end, everyone bugged out at 7:30 p.m. to watch the debate from their own comfy La-Z-Boy. My good friend and blogger, Larry @ Simple Thoughts, didn’t get off work in time to come to the meeting, so he came to the House of Jack to watch the debate. I think we agreed that Palin held her own quite well. She didn’t answer very many questions, choosing instead to repeat what she’s memorized, but she didn’t come off foolish as she has in the interviews. Of course, in the interviews, she can be pressed (and pressed again) on issues if she doesn’t answer them. None of us sitting in my living room thought that debate changed any minds, but you never know.

More. We need more of these blogger’s meet-ups and I agreed to play host. We are considering regularly scheduled monthly gatherings, but nothing was decided for sure. Patton Alley is a good place as they have a big room in back that was quiet enough for us and also a tad private. On the downside, they got rid of Dos Equis, which is upsetting, but I tried Modela Especial and it was pretty close. I ordered, and promptly chomped in two, a philly cheese. Yep.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


There will be less typing in the local blogosphere as the hip gather at the Patton Alley Pub for a blogger's meet up. Think of it as a bunch of teenagers hanging out, but with one difference ... actually I'm not sure there is any difference except we are in a bar. Otherwise, we are pretty juvenile.

It's all for fun, of course, and is open to all who wish to participate.

NOTE: We are going to stay late, pop open the laptops and watch the VP debate on the Internet. Thanks for Andy Cline @ Carbon Trace for locating sites offering the debate via the web. Rest assured there will be more discussed than silly old politics.