This Blog's Presidential Address: This One's For the Children

I was originally planning to post about how we seem to want to fight over everything in this country.  The President* wants to make a speech to schoolchildren and 2 weeks before anyone knows what He is going to say, there is national uproar. Well, I've seen the speech now.  Here's what it says, "Work hard, life is not fair and can be hard, don't drop out."  That's pretty controversial stuff, and how dare our president (a known politician) try to indoctrinate our children in such a way.

In light of this stupid controversy, here is my very tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to President Obama's speech:

Kids, school is boring.  You should never be expected to do anything you don't want to do.  How dare your teachers expect you do do things like reports, math, grammar and spelling.  And your parents, they are just trying to keep you from having fun.

U no, u can rlly just talk how you want to.

Chances are, you won't have to pay any bills when you grow up.  And if you do, you probably won't need math.  Checkbooks practically balance themselves these days.  And learning whether to use their, there, or they're only matters in writing.  Nobody can tell you are illiterate in a text message or on the phone.

One day you'll finish school, or just quit if you want to.  Then you'll probably get married and have children.  You still shouldn't have to do anything you don't want to do.  I mean your kids will probably want to eat, but your parents took care of you, they can take care of your kids too.

And your boss, all he will want is to keep you from having fun.  If your job involves doing stuff you don't want to do, just quit.  There's more jobs.

The important thing to understand is that life is totally fair.  When things seem unfair, you should complain.  Quit whenever things get difficult.  There will always be somebody to take care of you.  (Unless that seems unfair to them :-)

In all seriousness, I would be happy for my hypothetical children to hear this speech.  Will it make any difference to a kid about to drop out of school?  Probably not, but it definitely cannot hurt.

*See the political disclaimer -->

My Thoughts on the Healthcare Debate

I promised to post about my thoughts on universal healthcare. My first thought is that there is absolutely nothing specific out there.  If someone can point me to an outline of the proposed Obama* plan I would appreciate it.  The best I can find is this and it is a list of principles with nothing specific suggesting how it might work.

My second thought is that I’m not sure that it is the government’s duty to provide healthcare for its citizens.  I understand that the U.S. will benefit from having a healthy citizenry.  This country already takes great pains to have healthy people.  That is why we have the USDA, the FDA, and the CDC.  I'm not trying to be insensitive here, there are members of my family who are among the millions of uninsured.

My third thought is that I believe the government will do a terrible job of providing medicine for everyone.  I know what you are thinking; healthcare is already in terrible condition, so what is the difference?  The difference is who is paying for it.

There are 2 great problems with the medical establishment today – greed and bureaucracy.  Greed means that doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and insurance companies need to make as much money as possible.  This causes prices to rise and the bill to be a concern for any sick person.  Bureaucracy makes companies impersonal.  By establishing standards of treatment and rules for procedures, companies can deny your grandma the treatment that she needs because of a policy.

What are the two biggest problems with the U.S. government? Greed and bureaucracy. Politicians are motivated by the same things as CEOs.  However, they are also less directly responsible to those who got them their job.

The irony is that bureaucracy and greed are also what make healthcare work.  How does greed help?  Drug companies do R&D not for altruism but because they know that discovering a pill to stop the growth of cancer will be worth billions to them, and if they accidentally discover Viagra in the process, that is pure bonus money.  Hospitals buy new equipment and pioneer new techniques because they know these things will bring them more patients and more income.  Bureaucracy makes companies more efficient, which keeps costs down and speeds their functioning.

This does not translate when we transfer this concept to the private sector.  I have a fear that a single-payer system, or overly harsh regulation will kill ambition.  Causing the money that healthcare organizations spend improving to be added to the bottom line because the rewards for R&D are so limited.

Fourth, who is going to pay for it?  I am yet to even hear the beginning of an answer to this question.

My final thought is one of ethics.  I will never support my tax dollars paying for abortions or embryonic stem-cell research.  So far the administration has been very cagey about whether these things would be covered, but based on track record it seems extremely unlikely that this administration would accept a health care proposal missing these things.

Those are my thoughts, my mind is not made up on this issue, but it will take a lot of convincing to think we need a complete overhaul.  As always, feel free to try and change my mind in the comments

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* Although I am a staff member of LaGrange Park Baptist Church, the views and opinions expressed in this blog are my own and not that of the church.  They may not be construed as an endorsement or attack on any candidate or party on behalf of the church.  They are my views as an individual.


Despite Ryan's overwhelming negativity, today I will present my third and final (at least for a while) post about Twitter.  Oddly enough I have seen a half a dozen posts about it in the last week.  I think this phenomenon is because actual celebrities are now beginning to use it. Today's post is about some of the many websites that use the Twitter apps for a multitude of purposes.

I'll start with Twitterholic which shows you the top twitterers of all.  Even though President Obama hasn't twittered since the election he is #1.  largely because his campaign promised to announce his running mate by twitter first, he has a 60% lead over #2 Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg.com.

According to twitterholic I am the third most popular twitterer in Fayetteville NC. Behind this guy and this lady.

Next up is twitter grader.  It ranks twitterers using some fancy secret formula in order to judge your influence and power among the community.  It is no surprise that the twitter elite turns out to be a bunch of tech bloggers, because currently twitter is mostly used by techies.

According to twitter grader, I have a grade of 83* and am #2 on the elite list for Fayetteville NC.  Again I am behind this lady.

Then there is twittemperature.  This one is supposed to judge the relevancy of what you twitter.

I have no idea how this one works because I have gone from smoking hot to freezing cold in just a couple of weeks.  Currently I'm 13° F whatever that means

Then there is tweetscan.  It allows you to type in a word and see all recent tweets containing that word.  Give it a try, it's pretty neat. Type in Brian Regan, or Obama, or Macaroni, or explosion.

Here's a list of real and fake celebrities on twitter

Try out some of these tools and tell me your scores and ranks.

*Obviously that's 83 girth units

Best Web Junk (November 28)

Dave Barry's annual gift guide is awesome as always - This year it includes a back razor I said I would support future president Obama at least as long as we could agree on the issue.  Well here is the first issue where he gets my support.

It's posible that I have used this link before, but these are very entertaining and there a LOT of them

This is fake (just marketing) but very neat


If that is not satisfactory, enjoy the video I saw everywhere last week.  Cat on a Roomba


Five Things We Can Learn From the Election

One of the odd things about having a blog is that, merely by its existence, it implies that people care about what I think. This blog does very poorly when I try to be interactive, so today it’s just commentary.*

I voted for John McCain, not because I am a huge fan of McCain, but because I find so many of the policies of Obama incompatible with a Christian worldview and my view of how America should be. Having said that;

I will be praying for the presidency of Barack Obama.

Here are my thoughts as a Christian about the election and what we know.

1. Ultimately hope is not found in politics – I wrote an entire post about this once, but I’ll reiterate my position. Our hope in not found in government or laws, even if it is a political slogan. Hope is only found in Christ. (Cue Steven Curtis Chapman Heaven in the Real World)

2a. Better laws don’t make better people – I am certain without a doubt that the basic problem with the world is sin. If every law on the books was perfect, we would still live in a badly broken world and still have all the problems we have today.

2b. Worse laws don’t make worse people – See above. The problems that exist in our nation, from crime to a failing economy, are not law problems, but heart problems.

3. God is in control – “He removes kings and sets up kings” Dan 2:21

4. We get what we deserve – To some degree. The simple fact is, we all vote our values. If we value our 401(k), or prosperity more than morals, we vote against incumbents when the economy is down. Fortunately, we don’t get exactly what we deserve, otherwise we would truly be hopeless.

5. We better get to work evangelizing our cities - I think that one speaks for itself.

Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments.

* Although I am a staff member of LaGrange Park Baptist Church, the views and opinions expressed in this blog are my own and not that of the church. They may not be construed as an endorsement or attack on any candidate or party on behalf of the church. They are my views as an individual.

This clip is worth your time

Maybe this explains why I didn't watch the third debate - I had heard it all before. Seriously, whoever put this together demonstrates the ridiculousness of our political system in America, in the course of 3 minutes.  Does anybody think you couldn't do this with any 3 debates of any 2 candidates since the advent of CNN?

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Update - I can't get the controls to work with this, so I had to click on it to watch it on the original site.

The Political State of Affairs

This post on politics will probably not be what you expect.  That post is coming either tomorrow or Thursday.  But since this is my first ever post about politics, please go to the * and read my disclaimer. This is an election year.  For me it's a year to vote for governor and US Senator as well as another office you may have heard of, President of the United States.  One of the interesting phenomenons that is a part of the election process is the coverage in the media. 

I am not writing this post to simply complain about the coverage, although I am not happy. I already know the situation. In college I was a political science major. Part of studying poly sci in this age (even though I was in college last century) is studying politics in the mass media. Although there is a new form of mass media since I was in college, these lessons are still useful.

The first lesson about politics in mass media is about the practice of negative campaigning. (The Willie Horton ad is the most famous attack ad of all time.)  The short summary of negative campaigning is this – it works – very well. And refuting the messages in attack ads does not work – at all. So how do you combat negative ads?  With negative ads, of course. People all say that they hate them, but they work, so they are not going anywhere.  Get used to them.  BTW, now you can recognize an attack ad before it begins because the "I'm ___ ____, and I approved this message" is at the beginning rather than at the end as a way of separating the candidate's name from the negative ad.

Song Chart Memes

Here’s the second thing to learn about politics in mass media, the news only covers the election as a horse race. For example, if one candidate comes out with a huge policy statement, lets say he is rolling out his policy on terrorism. Here’s is the coverage you will get on the news on every level. A brief summary of the plan, nothing that would ever take longer than 15 seconds, maybe some bullet points, and quite a lot of discussion of how the plan will affect the candidates standings in the polls. The closer the election gets, the less talk of anything substantive. The coverage becomes only stories of new polls and how a particular candidates latest move will affect their standings.  After a debate, the number 1 question will always be; "who won?" Nobody covers what they actually said, unless it was incredibly stupid. Watch and see as we get closer to November.

The world we now live in is slightly different than when I was in college. Now we have the internet. (We had the internet when I was in college, but it was video free and blog free.  It was a very different web.)  A quick perusal of digg on any day, (Go there now, I’d bet there are at least 3 of the top 10 stories on politics (and probably negative about McCain/Palin)) or the top technorati tags or wordpress tags will show you what is popular. And politics is very popular. The problem with the internet is that so much of what we see and is popular is what is called an echo chamber. It’s people blogging about something somebody else already blogged. Then, rumors and half-truths become so popular that nobody can tell them from the truth. I still know people who believe the Obama is a Muslim who refuses to say the pledge of allegiance, and Palin’s youngest child is actually her grandchild. Nobody believes it because of any proof or reason, but because they heard it so often. That is the major problem with the internet as a news source, so much of it is just a giant echo chamber. Over half my posts are just linking to videos or other stuff. And my blog is an actual blog with original content a couple of times a week. Of the thousands & thousands of typepad, wordpress and blogger blogs, I would love to see what percentage contain original content as opposed to reposts of links of stuff from around the web. (BTW – That is why there will always be a need for professional journalists, Their form may just change from newspapers to the web.)

Finally I believe there is a greater influence of celebrity now than there has been in the past. Celebrities have always been involved with politics, but it seems like now there is either much more news about them, or somehow they get much more attention. In just the last week, Matt Damon, Pamela Anderson, and Lindsay Lohan have all publicly bashed Sarah Palin. Every time it makes headlines, and people seem to care.

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* Although I am a staff member of LaGrange Park Baptist Church, the views and opinions expressed in this blog are my own and not that of the church.  They may not be construed as an endorsement or attack on any candidate or party on behalf of the church.  They are my views as an individual.

Best Web Junk (August 29)

Everybody I know has sent me a link to this story this week.  So I need to share it with you This link is here to keep [regular commenter] Caroline out of jail.

Looks like the flood is coming, what do we save.  You gotta have priorities - via digg

totally amazing - I can't remember where I saw these

This is horrible news for me, since I'm an SEC fan living in NC, The Raycom games are all available streaming on yahoo.com, now that ESPN has bought all those games the regional ones will be unavailable to me, meaning that I will miss about 6 UK basketball games a year

This video is both good and impressive.  It appears that they just did this on the spur of the moment.  it's really good.  I heard it on the Delta Park Project.


This paragraph is from Dave Barry's article today and is pretty much the best summation I have heard of the DNC anywhere:

That message, in a nutshell, is that Barack Obama represents hope and change and an attractive but nonthreatening wife and experience in the form of Joe Biden; whereas John McCain -- although he is a great patriot for whom the Democrats have the deepest personal respect -- is the warmongering environment-wrecking house-forgetting evil demon spawn of Satan.

This, from The Onion, is really hilarious, but if you visit the site, the headline is dirty