Tuesday, October 30, 2007
So I don't have a lot to write about today, mainly my wrist is hurting a lot because I am an idiot and played Guitar Hero for about 8 hours on Sunday... not exactly the smartest idea when you are 2 days removed from having your hand imobilized for 90+ days.
Guitar Hero is a ton of fun, I highly recommend it for any Wii owner as it fits right into the whole Wii sales model "make video games accessible to non-video game players."
It's a logical extension of the Wiimote that has been used as a bowling ball, a tennis racket, a racing wheel and now with Guitar Hero it helps power the guitar... if anything it gets me more and more excited for Star Wars: Force unleashed when my wiimote will turn into a light saber.
Also, Shalisa did a major overhaul on MaddieSmith.com and has added a whole new theme to the site, added a bunch of new pictures and even uploaded a video (the first one she has done in the new iMovie, her review of the new iMovie: it sucks) of Beth's Bridal Shower. Head on over and check it all out!
Will have more tomorrow, when I can actually type halfway comfortably. TTFN.
Posted by Ryan at 1:21 PM
Friday, October 26, 2007
93 days of oppression is over, I can finally see my left hand. It hurts to do just about anything, there are muscles that haven't moved in a LOOONG time, but the cast is off, so the road to recovery just took a giant leap forward. I thought about taking a picture of my wrist and posting it online for everyone to see, but it was all hairy, covered in dead skin, and atrophied... so I went with Mel Gibson instead.
Posted by Ryan at 7:40 PM
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
.justin often posts video's from the Common Craft guys with helpful tips on topics like MyGADs and RSS and other tech items. These video's are great as they are very accessible by "normal" people.
Well they have come out with one of their first "non-techy" help video's that I think everyone can benefit from, even those who aren't technology inclined:
Posted by Ryan at 8:25 AM
Monday, October 22, 2007
So lately I have noticed that a lot of my peers/friends/etc are almost completely clueless when it comes to knowing what is going on outside their own little bubble world. This isn't a condemnation on them so much as it is on my entire generation I believe. It used to be your parents would wake up in the morning, read the paper to find out what was going on in the world, go to work and listen to the news on the radio, maybe discuss some of it at work, come home and watch the nightly news at 5 or 11 on TV... and while they may not have known everything that was going on in the world, they were pretty clued in.
Nowadays the idea of reading a "paper" is a complete nonsense! I mean thats made of paper and I can't read it on my crackberry! And listening to the radio?!? I have 7000 songs and 400 podcasts on my iPod to listen to, I don't need no stinkin radio. And the topics at work are usually dominated with the likes of "Can you believe Brittany lost her kids again?" and "Did you know Albus Dumbledore was gay?" Then when we come home we have our DVR's and our Netflix and our 100 channels of HD TV and our 400 channels of cable TV... watching the news, please I have no time for that!
I guess what I am getting at is that in our "information" age that we currently live in, I think people have LESS information (at least of what I think are of the important variety) than they did 20 years ago when you had 4 channels to watch and they all ran the news from 5-6:30 every night and that was your ONLY option.
Maybe I am wrong, maybe the people of my generation spend more time reading cnn.com and their local tv/radio website than I give them credit for... but sometimes I wonder. So as a little "experiment" I have 5 news articles I am going to link to. I want to know BEFORE you click on the links how many you were aware of. I am going to post a poll over on the right hand side, it's completely anonymous so no one will know how you voted, but lets find out from my readership how many of you honestly (and thats the key word here, be honest) know whats going on in the world.
1. Hurricane winds are propelling deadly wild fires burning homes and communities in southern California.
2. Georgia declares state of emergency because of record setting drought. Atlanta has less than 60 days of water left.
3. Snoqualmie Valley School District had to cancel school because all of their school buses were vandalized.
4. US Forces kill 19 "militants" in Sadr City... including 2 toddlers.
5. US Dollar reaches an all time new low due to global concerns over the US economy.
Posted by Ryan at 9:50 AM
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Oh yes I did. In honor of Saturday's festivities I present to you:
Q: How many U of W freshman does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, it's a sophomore course.
Q: What does the average Husky player get on his SAT?
A little girl went before the judge & was asked, "where do you want to live, with your mother?" "No, my mom beats me.", she replied. "Would you like to live with your father ?" the judge questioned. "No, he beats me too !!" she exclaimed. The judge looked at her with pity and said, "well, little girl, who do you want to live with?" "University of Washington", she gleamed, "They can't beat anybody".
What are the best four years of a Huskies life? Third grade.
Posted by Ryan at 8:53 AM
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
First of all, a word of warning, this post contains language... of the English, Greek, and explicit variety so proceed under advisement.
So lately I have been thinking about how exactly I feel concerning "cuss words" (I will use cuss words as my connotation, not "swear words" since they are actually different and the Bible speaks to each differently), specifically the use of and listening to them with respects to how it all fits in with the teaching contained in scripture.
First we look at Colossians 3:8 "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." So now let us ask ourselves, what exactly is "filthy language?" (For reference the KJV translates it as “filthy communication” and the ASV says “shameful speaking.”
When looking at the Greek (and forgive me, I am just now beginning to learn how to use my Strong's numbers and am HORRIBLE at learning languages, the fact that I am trying to self teach myself Greek, all is to say I will lean heavily on others interpretations and readings of Greek words, yay Google and Wikipedia!) the 2 words that make up "filthy language" are aischros and logia. The first aischros, seems to be translated very correctly, it is dishonorable, filthy, etc. It is the 2nd word, logia, that is the actual subject (aischros is the descriptor) of the passage. I will quote the first sentence in Wikipedia as to what logia is: "Logia is a term applied to collections of sayings credited to Jesus and used as source materials by the Gospel writers in the writing of the familiar canonic narrative gospels." To me, this passage in Colossians isn't saying don't use "cuss words", it is instead speaking out against false prophecy and the twisting of Jesus's message or "dishonorable/filthy message of Jesus". In my research I ran across an article that best summed up how I view this passage: "Thus, rather than reprobates like George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, and Buddy Hackett, the condemnation pertaining to the aischrologia rather applies to the practices of such men as Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Robert Tilton, Kenneth Hagin, and Kenneth Copeland."
Next in my reading I was pointed to the passage Philippians 3:8 "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." The phrase I am looking at here is "I consider them rubbish," the KJV translates it as "dung." The Greek word in question is skubalon "This word is used primarily for excrement, especially human excrement; secondarily for rubbish, dirt, leavings, etc." It seems to me that Paul was trying to be quite emotive in this passage, that he was not only showing how worthless his previous Judiastic Religion was, but also complete revulsion (hence the primary translation of human excrement, and the secondary translation of "rubbish", human fecal matter isn't just worthless, it's to most people quite repulsive as well).
To quote the word study I linked above (which maybe 2 of you actually followed up on):
That skuvbalon took on the nuance of a vulgar expression with emotive connotations (thus, roughly equivalent to the English “crap, s**t”) is probable in light of the following considerations: (1) its paucity of usage in Greek literature (“Only with hesitation does literature seem to have adopted it from popular speech”) (2) it is used frequently in emotionally charged contexts (as are its verbal cognates) in which the author wishes to invoke revulsion in his audience; (3) there is evidence that there were other, more common and more acceptable terms referring to the same thing (in particular, the agricultural term koprov" and the medical term perivsswma) (4) diachronically, the shock value of the term seems to have worn off through the centuries; and (5) a natural transfer of the literal to a metaphorical usage, in which disgust, revulsion, or worthlessness are still in view, argues for this meaning as well.
I think that to capture the true emotion and expression Paul was displaying here we would translate it as: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them crap(or if you wanted to go with the adult version, even the word shit wouldn't be inappropriate in expressing Paul's emotive stance here), that I may gain Christ."
Whats my point here? Glad you asked! My point is that whenever we interpret scripture that calls for refraining from unclean speech we need to do it in light of Paul using very emotive and "crass" (dare I say... "cuss") terminology of his day when speaking with the people of Philippi. We must conclude that the use of a cuss word in and of itself is neutral (Rom 14:14), that there is nothing inherently sinful about any particular word. Rather, its filthiness or appropriateness is derived from its referent and significance. Paul demonstrates this in his use of “crap, shit” in Philippians 3:8, where the word skubalon, has a metaphorical referent of his former religious practices, with the significance that these practices are worthless.
I am not saying that we should all wander around professing to be Christians and then dropping F-bombs and sounding like sailors recently in to port (that hardly sounds like a group of individuals who have been "set apart.") What I am saying is we need to stop judging individuals who speak differently than we do and instead focus on a message of love. Lately in my circle of friends quite a number of individuals have lately spoken out against swear words. When some friends of both Shalisa and I were over a while ago (of whom I have the utmost respect for their walk with Christ) the two adult males in the room (myself and the unnamed other individual) both used some "cuss words" in the heat of competition (we were playing some games). Later my wife was aghast that I would say something so terrible (well, she wasn't THAT surprised, but she did chastise me) but I believe that the words I used properly expressed my emotive feelings at the time. It's the difference between saying "My dice rolls suck" and "You suck", the reference to what I am talking about is what makes all the difference. If you refrain from using the "big 7" but call someone an idiot or stupid or dumb in my mind that is much worse than saying "my electric bill is too damn expensive!" Again, it all comes down to WHAT (as in context) you are saying not HOW (as in emotive) you are saying it.
During college I had mandatory chapel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and often we either had a guest speaker or professor come and speak to us. One of the guest speakers was a missionary in Africa. He got up in front of everyone and started off his speech by stating that "seven fucking thousand kids are dying every day from hunger in Africa alone, and more of you are upset about the fact that I just used the f word in church than the fact that a child is dying every 3 seconds across the globe." Needless to say, he never spoke at my school again which I think is a tragedy because he illustrated a very important point. We as Christians get so hung up on judging what is and isn't right that we forget our true calling to love the world and spread the gospel of Jesus. The fact that a child is dying every 3 seconds in 3rd world countries across the globe SHOULD evoke VERY STRONG emotions in us, that should make us upset to our very core, and in our in our language today the evoking/expression of that emotion happens to be done with words that we consider sinful. The sin in our lives is failing to be motivated to love our fellow man and bring them Jesus, not by using some words... I am pretty sure Paul would have dropped an F-bomb as well if he thought it would motivate people to live for Jesus.
Posted by Ryan at 10:01 AM
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
This is a question I have been asking myself over and over and over. When speaking with James on Sunday one thing we discussed concerning which candidate we backed was their "electability" and viability as a real candidate. While I don't know if Ron Paul really has a legitimate chance, I have decided that at least until the January primaries (and depending on how those go, even up through Super Tuesday in February) I will back Ron Paul as the official candidate of the Smith Home. I reserve the right to change my support if someone like Huckabee comes out as the Republican candidate (and even possibly Thompson)... but while I understand that choosing Guiliani over Hilrod is choosing between the lesser of two evils, I refuse to accept that argument anymore.
This year, if there isn't a candidate I like in the big 2, I will still vote, but I will cast my vote for a third party candidate that I support. As long as everyone buys into this monopolistic thinking that it has to be a democrat or a republican, regardless if you like either of them, then it will be so. I know me stating and voting for a candidate I truly LIKE, not just the lesser of 2 evils will ultimately be fruitless, but until everyone starts voting for "good" candidates nothing will change. And quite simply, I can't ask other people to vote for good candidates if I don't walk the walk myself.
Finally, yet another video. Some interesting things to take out of it: 1) Ron Paul raised as much money in the third quarter as John McCain, just think about that. McCain was considered the front running candidate back in May, Ron Paul raised as much money as him. This not only speaks to how far McCain has fallen, but the fact that Ron Paul really does have some viable support for him. 2) Ron Paul practices what he preaches. He wouldn't allow his children to accept federal student loans, believing that the federal government shouldn't be in the education business (that it should be left up to state and local government, small fact for you, since the inception of the Department of Education children test scores have dropped every year). He also is a practicing doctor but would not accept medicare or medicaid. He practices what he preaches.
Posted by Ryan at 4:26 PM
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I know this will look like a political post (and maybe subconsciously I want it to be) but in reality, I just want to talk about this logo. I think it is extremely well done, has a great message, and I think it's something that someone like .justin should steal/use for some YOUth ministry event.
I just think that is really clever AND has a great message (especially for Christianity). We are supposed to be revolutionary in our culture, but our revolution is based on love.
Posted by Ryan at 8:11 AM
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
So I am shamelessly stealing from Bill Simmons his "running diary" style of writing to cover an event. Basically I am going to watch the GOP debate and jot down notes as it moves along. They may be insightful, they may be humorous, they may be a complete waste of time... nobody knows! Also, at the end of this ginormous post is my short first impressions report card for the debate.
0:00 We are here in Michigan, chatting economics... I will make two predictions up front, before this is over every candidate will have promised me lower taxes, and will somehow make a reference to cars/auto-industry/etc.
0:01 Fred Thompson makes his first debate appearance! And he references the auto industry "here in michigan"... one down, 9 to go. So far he doesn't look horrible, but hardly "Presidential."
0:03 Mitt Romney makes his auto-industry reference... these guys are just knocking my prediction out of the park, so far 2 for 2 on their FIRST chance to talk throw it out there. Oh, and he offered me lower taxes as well (shocking). Mitt definitely speaks with more command and passion than Thompson, you would think he was an actor not Fred Thompson.
0:05 Guiliani is up... and the first thing he does is reference Hilary, not sure if that is a great tactical move of a guy trying to appear "more conservative." He offers me lower taxes as well (but so far no reference to the auto industry, instead he throws out a Yankee losing reference). "Joe Torre is the best manager in the history of the Yankees in the modern era"... glad that got said during a debate on economics.
0:08 Ron Paul make his first sighting. And he starts off talking about his "hidden tax" which is inflation and the deficit spending. He also throws out a foreign policy reference (his strong suit, we will see how he holds up on this economic debate). He gets some scattered applause, he is passionate.
0:09 McCain's first appearance. He throws out a reference to Michigan (Ron Paul and Guiliani so far are the only ones to miss this one). McCain appeals to fixing medicare and medicaid. Listen McCain, your 80 years old, you don't need to court the old vote... McCain's answer to the question "is the tax code fair" is "Yes it's fair, and we need to reform it tomorrow"... Wait??? That, uhm... wow. I think he is suffering from alzheimers.
0:11 Huckabee speaks. He wants to get rid of the IRS and go to a sales tax. I actually support this, drug dealers, pimps, and every other criminal doesn't pay income taxes, but you and I do. Go to a sales tax and wham, everyone pays taxes now.
0:16 Request for no applause... Thats gonna last maybe 10 minutes?
0:17 Senator Brownback, another guy wasting space on the stage. But in a shocking move, the first thing he says is "No new taxes." Shocking. And instead of aboloshing the IRS, he wants to add in an "optional flat tax." So basically the tax code is so messed up, lets keep that but then add in an optional flat tax, so those people that have more money to know how to manipulate the tax code can use that, but the poor suffer under a "simplified" tax code that they can't manipulate. Seriously, worst answer yet.
0:20 Every time Guiliani speaks I think of Doby the house Elf. Romney says "lets not just say we are going to cut taxes, lets cut spending" and absolute destroys Guiliani. Rudy is trying to paint himself as a hard line conservative, to his credit economics will help him there more than any social issues. Romney and Guiliani are now bantering back and forth about line item veto's, ultimately does anyone in America really care about this? I think the bigger picture here is Romney is challenging Rudy trying to turn this into a 2 horse race and just ignore Paul, McCain and Thompson and paint it as him vs Guiliani. Not a bad political move.
0:23 Applause (a reference to "beating a Clinton")... wow we lasted a whole 7 minutes. Why do they even bother asking, it never works.
0:25 Fred Thompson wants to give tax breaks to corporations... so wait we want to hand out MORE Corporate Welfare. Not sure thats a popular stance to take.
0:29 Mitt Romney is painting himself as a "regular" guy by stating everyone who is on stage is a politician except himself, he is a businessman. Granted he is a rich privledged boy, but in the first 30 minutes so far, he has come across as the most presidential and really has done the best so far.
0:31 Doby the house elf is continuing to rail on the "democrats" with just random nonsense about how evil the "democrats" are. I think he is just trying to convince everyone he is really a hard line conservative. I know thats his biggest issue but so far he is just sounding "angry" not "conservatice."
0:35 Question: Should a Dubai company be able to own 20% of Nasdaq?
Paul: If there is no conflict with national security, yes.
Huckabee: It's a free trade issue, we need to have more regulation on trade! (He doesn't really answer the question, just rails against China some more, that seems to be his move tonight, just attack Chinese free trade deals and monetary manipulation).
McCain: Yes of course, pass required security checks of course but yes. Then goes on to say that seperatist/isolationist attitude towards free trade is dangerous. But he doesn't do a very good job of explaining his point.
Romney: Of course we allow them. But he wants more regulation on free trade as well, he only makes free trade deals that are profitable for America.
Thompson: Yes, the answer is yes. It all depends on national security issues.
Hunter: No, because I don't trust em. (He is trying to position himself as strong on national security).
Brownback: Yes, of the people on the stage I am the only one that has worked in the trade business.
Tancredo: No, if they wanted to buy Wal*Mart I might think about it, but not NASDAQ. (Personal comment here, but that just shows the disconnect between politician and every man, they want to protect the corporate structure of NASDAQ, or "big money" but could care less about what a foreign interest controlling the largest retail chain in the US might mean, TERRIBLE ANSWER by Tancredo in my opinion).
0:40 Thompson has a strong answer on not confusing the wealth of government with the wealth of nations. The only problem I have is he likes to talk with his hands. He looks like he is trying to direct a plane landing or something with the amount of waving going on.
0:42 Thompson supports the war in Iraq, and wants to stay in and stabilize the place. Yeek, more nation building rah rah stuff. I was just starting to like Thompson's answer, and now he wants to continue foreign nation building. Boo-hiss.
0:44 McCain claims 4 years ago he was against this failed foreign policy and was criticized by his party. Then he goes off to speak about how he thinks Iran is positioning itself to fill a vacuum of terror left by Iraq. So wait you were against the war on Iraq, but are for a pre-emptive strike on Iran? Seriously, McCain has lost his marbles.
0:45 Ron Paul is about to speak, I think this should get interesting because apparently McCain's alzheimers is kicking in again, did he completely miss the last debate where Ron Paul spoke out against Iraq for the entire debate and was voted the front runner for it. Fun times ahead!
0:46 Senator Brownback continues to spout his belief this was a war on terror, not a war for oil. "We haven't found the weapons of mass destruction, but that doesn't mean we leave!" He then talks more about more nation building and splitting Iraq up into 3 states.
0:48 Hahahaha, Thompson being grilled on his statements about WMD's. He is backtracking and saying he was just stating what was obvious that Saddam had had WMD's in the past. SPIN ALERT. Thompson realized he stuck his foot in his mouth a few days ago and is now trying to spin it, instead of saying "I misspoke." Have you ever noticed politicians never make a mistake?
0:51 GREAT QUESTION being asked here for each candidate to answer. "Do you believe the President needs congressional approval for a strategic attack?"
Hunter: It depends. If the target is fleeing no, so if you have a narrow window of attack then he doesn't (yeah, that won't be abused hugely). He also thinks our attack in Iraq was a "strategic strike"... good thing we haven't been there for 4 years and it isn't a war... oh wait.
Paul: Absolutely. (simple and straight, and blows up Hunter's answer as "war propaganda" - calls it a road to disaster - HUGE applause).
Huckabee: a president has to do whatever a president has to do to protect the American people. Pressed on if he would do it without going to congress "if the situation needed it"... Yeeks bad answer from a candidate I like. Wow, his answer even gets worse, when asked "What if congress says no" he says "you do whatever is best for the American people and suffer the consequences." Just a HORRIBLE answer for someone like me who is a constitutionalist. I really liked Mike Huckabee but that was possibly the worst answer he could have given with respects to my political views.
McCain: if it requires immediate action then yes. If it is a long serious of buildups you go to congress. He says it depends on the scenario, but he says at minimum he would consult with congress. Not great answer, but not horrible.
Thompson: He agrees in step with McCain. Discusses the "war powers act" and the conflict between the president and congress, but says you should err on the side of caution and go to congress. Strong answer by Thompson, he gives the right answer (go to congress) but for the wrong reason, not because the constitution says we should but because you need the people's support for a conflict which congress will help you with (which I do agree with).
Guiliani: It depends on the circumstance. He starts attacking Ron Paul, and surprise surprise, continues to say 9/11 and September 11th over and over and over again. Then starts bashing on Hilary some more. Guiliani seems all defense and no offense, just reacting to his criticisms. Ron Paul looks pissed. Now he wants to go attack Iran before they become nuclear.
0:57 Now Rudy is double speaking, saying the war was really over oil and that the war with Iraq MIGHT not have happened if we weren't so dependent on foreign oil. Oh, and he mentioned that putting a man on the moon was an issue of national security??? He doesn't want to draw the line anywhere on Nuclear Plants or Oil drilling, but he doesn't want to harm the environment.
0:59 Brownback supports the raping and pillaging of oil anywhere and everywhere we can get it (summary of what he said). But he doesn't understand the difference between a hybrid and flex fuel car, calls the flex fuel Chevy Malibu an electric car... ???
1:01 Tancredo supports drilling anywhere and everywhere as well to get off the dependence of foreign fuels. I actually don't totally disagree with this stance but they don't really speak eloquently with respects to the position.
1:06 Huckabee and Thompson both support government funding for alternative fuels, not letting the free market decide but propping it up with subsides. Romney throws his hat in with them as well.
1:10 Ron Paul speaks against the subsides. His big problem is he is coming off as "angry and loud" while Huckabee, Romney and Thompson are sounding more "Presidential" with their tone and presentation. Candidates shouldn't underestimate the impact of their tone and presentation not just the words coming out of their mouth, you can speak the truth but if you don't sound good doing it the message is lost.
1:13 Guiliani continues to not answer actually any questions, just attacks Hilrod some more. Hey Rudy, win your party vote before trying to win the presidential vote.
1:18 Tancredo seems to be a one trick pony. All he does is talk about immigration. Trade, oil, social security, literally every issue he has turned around to talk about immigration. (Turning social security around to talk about immigration was impressive, sad, but impressive).
1:21 Paul supports unions (but obviously no legislation giving them special benefits), Huckabee supports unions, McCain and Romney are both middle ground. Thompson points out he is in a union (SAG) so of course he supports them. Rudy's grandmother apparently was in a union, and starts talking about the UAW (in Michigan, shocking). Brownback follows Rudy's lead and starts talking about his mother who was in a union. Tancredo starts bashing unions (and Sen Brownback's mother) and in a SHOCKING move, he brings up illegal immigrants. Seriously, wow.
1:27 McCain is asked a question and just stares blankly for 10 seconds before realizing they are talking to him. I think his hearing aid battery just failed (or he forgot where he was).
1:30 Guiliani is against taxing the internet, but wants to "police the internet." Wants to establish a task force to deal with it (yeah, those work... SO WELL). Wants to establish an FCC style agency to govern the internet. I can literally here hundreds of thousands of internet users jumping off his bandwagon. Doby the house elf is a moron.
1:35 LIGHTENING ROUND!
Huckabee: ignores his question, rambles on for over 2 minutes (he is given 30 seconds)... blah blah blah but says nothing.
Romney: stays within his time limit and looks more presidential.
Thompson: is asked about the dollar and I think he wishes he only had 5 seconds as he isn't sure how to answer. Ends up ending with 10 seconds left.
Guiliani: starts attacking the democrats and how pessimistic they are.
Brownback: Uhm, Uhm, yeah, Uhm... ANSWER THE QUESTION!
McCain: He can't hear AGAIN! Get a new miracle ear Mr McCain.
Paul: Repeats his "End the War!" chant. He won't support the Republican candidate unless that candidate changes his views.
Tancredo: He won't support the candidate either.
Brownback: He will support whoever.
Hunter: He will support whoever as well.
Guiliani: Calls the United States the "last best hope for humanity"... hrm perhaps he isn't Doby the House-Elf, perhaps he is an alien from Babylon 5.
1:40 Romney: will support the nominee (and then hints that it will be himself) And then makes the best joke of the year: "The Republican debate is a lot like Law and Order, it has a huge cast, it goes on and on forever, and Fred Thompson shows up at the end" - Even Thompson has a good chuckle at that one and Romney continues to do well.
1:47 Debates over, Thompson says the debate was boring without him.
So my scorecard for the event:
I think Mitt Romney probably came off looking and sounding the best, this was definitely his strongest showing yet.
Next was probably Fred Thompson. He looked shaky at times and you could tell he is still learning this game, but for a first time showing he spoke well, didn't stumble on much, and didn't make any huge mistakes.
Guiliani probably came off next strongest. His repeated attacks against Hilrod and the Dem's are laying the groundwork for him to be more "conservative" viewed. If he can stick to economics he will do fine in the GOP, it's the moral issues that get him into trouble.
Huckabee despite the issue that I STRONGLY disagree with, had a lot of face time, kept his name in the mix, and sounded presidential. After the top 3 main candidates he probably faired the best of the next tier of candidates.
Ron Paul didn't come off great, he has a lot of good economic ideas, unfortunately unlike other candidates when reduced to 30 second sound bites they come off sounding horrible. As long as he keeps harping on the war he will stay in it, as it is obvious the American people are opposed to the war, but like Guiliani when he strays into moral issues he starts to fall out of step with the GOP.
McCain just came off as old and forgetful. His biggest issue is people view him as too old to run and part of the established party that got us into this mess, instead of changing his image he just reinforced it. Not a good debate for him.
Sam Brownback did okay, he is still young and this may just be foundation building for a future run at an office. He knows he isn't a serious contender but none of his economic stances were out of step with the party, so he could make a run in the future.
Tom Tancredo was just... annoying. All he wanted to do was harp on immigration, and unlike the Iraq war, no one cares "passionately" about that issue. Sure we care about immigration, but we care a whole heck of a lot more about troops dying over seas. Tancredo is just flushing money down the toilet by staying in this race.
Duncan Hunter was even worse than Tancredo. At least I knew Tancredo was at the debate, Hunter did nothing to establish or distinguish himself... Even though Tancredo was annoying, at least you knew he was there, Hunter was just vanilla bland. Not what you want when you are on the bottom of the pile.
Posted by Ryan at 8:28 AM
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
As many of you know (and some of you may not know) I am a HUGE math buff. I offer to do math homework for my coworkers when they have assignments from school because it's "fun" for me. One of my great dreams was coming up with some unifying theory, pi integer placement prediction, or some other great math solution... unfortunately my limited intellect (as smart as I may want to think I am I have nothing on those true math geniuses) has yet to come up with anything...
So in that light, I present to you a new theory:
Bah, I am getting more and more frustrated. Here are some facts for you:
- Blackwater charges the government $1,222 per day per guard, "equivalent to $445,000 per year, or six times more than the cost of an equivalent U.S. soldier,"
- At least 90% of its revenue comes from government contracts, two-thirds of which are no-bid contracts.
- Blackwater had a "visible, and financially lucrative, presence in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as the use of the company contractors cost U.S. taxpayers $240,000 a day."
- On September 22, 2007, U.S. federal prosecutors announced an investigation into allegations of Blackwater employees who may have smuggled weapons into Iraq, and that these weapons may have been later transferred to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish nationalist group designated a terrorist organization by the US, NATO and the EU.
- A Committee on Oversight and Government Reform staff report, based largely on internal Blackwater e-mail messages and State Department documents, describes Blackwater as "being staffed with reckless, shoot-first guards who were not always sober and did not always stop to see who or what was hit by their bullets."
Your government tax dollars hard at work... the more I read the more convinced I am that the last 8 years our government has been headed by an inept individual (GW Bush) who was compromised to do the bidding of one of the most corrupt men in US political history (Dick Cheney).
And the GOP wonders why people are considering Hilrod and Obama as serious contenders for the next presidential race. Unless the GOP gets their head out of their butts (read: nix Guiliani, Thompson, and Romney) we are going to have a Dem in the white house and a Dem controlled house and senate... and I have a hard time believing they will do any WORSE of a job than the GOP has done...
Posted by Ryan at 11:27 AM
Friday, October 05, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
So in talking with .justin he saw that I have started thinking about classifying myself as a libertarian instead of a Republican and he wanted to know more about what a libertarian is.
First of all, a bit of history. Way back when during the conception of our country most of our founding fathers were considered "liberals" in that they stressed the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitations of government, free markets, and individual freedom from restraint. Thomas Jefferson called these our "inalienable rights." This viewpoint is often referred to as "classical liberalism" which holds that rights exist independently of government.
Starting in the late 1800's and finalized during the 1920's and 1930's a movement begin within American politics (culminated by one Franklin D Roosevelt, perhaps you have heard of him?) that changed the definition of "liberalism." In the United states socialists did not want to be called socialists (it brought connotations of communism and marxism [and some would argue rightly so]) so through time the socialist party corrupted and co-opted the name liberalists. This is why a "liberal" in Europe is often actually what we in the United States would call a "conservative" while what we call a "liberal" in the States is referred to as a "socialist" in Europe.
So a libertarian is one who holds to the beliefs of "classical liberalism" which should not be confused with modern liberals.
So now we know the history of what a libertarian is, what exactly does a libertarian believe? Here are some quotes that describe libertarianism:
The basic premise of libertarianism is that each individual should be free to do as he or she pleases so long as he or she does not harm others. In the libertarian view, societies and governments infringe on individual liberties whenever they tax wealth, create penalties for victimless crimes, or otherwise attempt to control or regulate individual conduct which harms or benefits no one except the individual who engages in it."
-- definition written by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service
"Libertarianism is what you probably already believe… Libertarian values are American values. Libertarianism is America's heritage of liberty, patriotism and honest work to build a future for your family. It's the idea that being free and independent is a great way to live. That each of us is a unique individual, with great potential. That you own yourself, and that you have the right to decide what's best for you. Americans of all races and creeds built a great and prosperous country with these libertarian ideals. Let's use them to build America's future."Or my favorite of them all:
-- David Bergland
"Libertarianism is what your mom taught you: behave yourself and don't hit your sister."
-- Dr. Kenneth Bisson
1. Each individual has the right to his or her own life, and this right is the source of all other rights.I am still not positive I am ready to make the full jump to the Libertarian party, I really need to figure out exactly where I lie politically, but for now I am definitely Libertarian leaning.
2. Property rights are essential to the maintenance of those rights.
3. In order that these rights be respected, it is essential that no individual or group initiate the use of force or fraud against any other.
4. In order to bar the use of force or fraud from social relationships and to place the use of retaliatory force under objective control, human society requires an institution charged with the task of protecting individual rights under an objective code of rules. This is the basic task, and the only moral justification for, government.
5. The only proper functions of government, whose powers must be constitutionally limited are:* settling, according to objective laws, disputes among individuals, where private, voluntary arbitration has failed6. As a consequence of all the above, every individual -- as long as he or she respects the rights of others -- has the right to live as he or she alone sees fit, as a free trader on a free market.
* providing protection from criminals
* providing protection from foreign invaders
Posted by Ryan at 2:43 PM
So like I said yesterday, on Sunday night we had a nice long discussion about politics. One of the things we discussed at length was the current presidential candidates. One of my big issues is that I like ZERO of the current front runners in EITHER party. For the Democrats: Hilrod - kill me now, Obama - ick, Edwards - highly doubt it but the lesser of those 3 evils, then for the Republican party: Guilliani - kill me again, Thompson - a homeless mans Ronald Regan, Mitt Romney - democrat in red clothing, and McCain - possible but boy is he old.
My favorite candidates are actually all underdogs right now, I like Mike Huckabee and could vote for him if he was on a ticket and my top candidate right now is Ron Paul. While discussing this everyone else was like "Ron Paul is crazy!" and honestly, I am not sure where that is coming from. He is VERY outspoken about certain things, but honestly he lines up on more issues with me than anyone else. He is the only republican who voted AGAINST the war, instead pointing out that we should figure out why these people hate us (treat the root cause approach to foreign policy, not reaction to the symptoms approach that everyone else has). He is VERY strong on fiscal responsibility not just on the top level of government (he wants to abolish the IRS, and then to "pay for it" he would reduce government spending back to only 2000 level spending levels, not exactly impossible) but he also is very high on state and local government fiscal responsibility. This means things like a voucher system for schools, abolish the war on drugs (since he argues [and I agree with] the government can't make you be a better person, and leave that job up to friends, family and churches to handle), and many other issues I line up with.
But the facts are, Ron Paul won't win the republican nomination, which is sad. He accomplished a pretty impressive feat the other day, when he raised 1.2 million dollars in 6 days from online donations from regular citizens. 1.2 million dollars sure is a nice amount of cash on hand to run a campaign... but then you read the fiscal reports for other candidates. Mitt Romney donated 9 million dollars to himself last quarter alone for his campaign... and that has only bought him 3rd place! Unless Ron Paul is really able to mobilize this large internet base he has cultivated (no other candidate in my mind has tapped into the internet culture more than Ron Paul) he doesn't stand a chance against the big boys who will buy 30-60 second commercial spots, hire hundreds of students to do direct dialing and bug people at home, and canvas areas with large rallies and door fliers and staked signs. All those things cost money, and sadly in the US today the candidates with the most money has a huge leg up on everyone.
So now that I have gone off on Ron Paul for long enough, back to my original reason for making this post, Fred Thompson.
On Sunday I was told that Fred Thompson was the only true "conservative" in the Republican party. First of all I think Mike Huckabee is every bit as "conservative" (I will give you that Guilliani and Romney are both quite left leaning) as Thompson, and honestly Ron Paul is so conservative I would say he is off scale right and slid over to "libertarian" (which is what I would classify myself).
But I am starting to wonder if "conservative" has taken on a new meaning. I used to classify myself as a conservative, but I think that the definition of that has changed. It used to be someone who was for strong traditional morals and fiscal responsibility.
Under the Bush administration I think they have twisted conservative to mean big government spending to private contractors who screw us over (Blackwater RE-SIGNED for $92 million in Iraq security!, Haliburton moving to UAE) and complete cluelessness about anything with a pulse knows about (examples too long to list).
It seems Fred Thompson has taken the 2nd part of that definition in that he can't remember Terri Schiavo(they did a whole Law and Order episode on it!) and now the big kicker today, Fred Thompson still thinks there were WMD's in Iraq! So we have established that much like Bush 2, Fred Thompson is completely clueless about current political issues. Throw on top of that that he supports same sex marriage and lobbied to ease federal abortion restrictions and we combine someone with the intelligence of GW with the moral compass of a left wing nutjob (no offense meant to left wing nutjobs). If this is the new definition of "conservative" you can consider me out.
This just further confirms that I am right to start contemplating viewing myself as a Libertarian, not a Republican. Now if we could only get a couple more hundred million people to join the Libertarian party and we might have something going!
Posted by Ryan at 9:30 AM
So this is by way of my wife, all credit has to go to her for tipping me off on this but I figured I would post here for all my Wii owning friends.
I don't know if everyone cashed in on the free wrist strap for their wiimotes offer about 6 months back when Nintendo sent them out, I know I got 3 free wrist straps for my wiimotes.
Well now Nintendo is offering an even BETTER free item. Free Wiimote jackets! All you need is your Wii serial number and then go to this page: Wiimote Free Jacket Request and you can get free jackets for your wiimotes.
Can't beat the price, and thanks honey for tipping me off to it!
Posted by Ryan at 8:15 AM
Monday, October 01, 2007
So on Sunday night I sat down with a group of other guys and we all chatted about the state of politics for a good solid 2 hours or more. It was quite fun, although some of us disagreed on who the best candidate or merits of another individual were, everyone was respectful and I think overall it was a productive conversation.
In the coming weeks I will be discussing politics (specifically the presidential primaries) a bit on my blog, as I have always been active in politics. I feel that if you don't vote you aren't actively involved in your government, and as such can't complain when things don't go the way you want them to.
But before I spend the next few weeks discussing politics off an on, I wanted to share with you a scary video that I just watched. Remember in 2004 the whole "One Person, One Vote" movement/scandal? Well in Texas apparently one person gets 2, 3, or even 4 votes if they are fast enough. This rocked my world and makes me wonder if this occurs in Washington States congress chambers.
Posted by Ryan at 1:16 PM