"I wish they would only take me as I am" - Vincent Van Gogh               "How Can I believe in God when just last week I got my tounge caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?" - Woody Allen              "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake" - Henry David Thoreau              "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia" - Woody Allen            "When promulgating esoteric cogitations, eschew platitudinous ponderosities" - Mark Rowan, my father            "Up, sluggard, and waste not life, for in the grave there will be sleep enough" - Benjamin Franklin             "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." - Albert Einstein            "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence" - Ronald Reagan            "It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don't quite fully share the hell of someone close to you." - Lady Bird Johnson              "I still want to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup truck" - Howard Dean

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What's so great about "Brokeback"?

I'm sorry, but I fail to see what is so great about "Brokeback Mountain". It is the story of two men who hide a gay love affair from their wives and society. End of story. So, why is it up for eight oscars? The direction by Ang Lee was nothing special. It required, as far as I can tell, no advancement of the art, nothing unique, and nothing special. It was run-of-the-mill, at best. A film student could have done it. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal do both have good performances, and I will say that they have a legitimate claim to Best actor and Best Supporting Actor (Although I would choose Paul Giamatti in "Cinderella Man" for best supporting).

If it sweeps these, I will be pissed to all hell. When a movie like"Crash" is out there, with spectacular direction, and great performances by a myriad of actors (Don Cheadle, Jennifer Esposito, Sandra Bullock, Ryan Phillipe and even Ludacris, among many others), plus a much more interesting story, much more realistic and interesting characters, and dialogue that will melt your brain, there is no reason why "Brokeback" should win.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

My President

I was asked today whether or not I thought President Bush is smart. The truest answer I can give is "I don't know." However, the question prompted me to think about the posts I have made here and the opinions on my website. I realize that I think I have given President Bush the benefit of the doubt. I'm not sure that I have said one negative thing about him, which is not an accurate representation of my feelings. So, here is a summary of my opinion of our President, on the eve of the eve of his State of the Union address.

I do support the war. Although I recognize that the insurgency has placed a strain on our soldiers, and that there have been many mistakes in the course of the war, I believe that ridding the world of Saddam Hussein and developing a democracy in the heart of the middle east is a very noble cause, no matter how it may turn out.

Though President Bush won his second term partly because of John Kerry's idiocy, but also because he is resolute in fighting terror. Although I support his efforts to fight terror abroad, I think that President Bush is horrible when it comes to immigration. His guest worker program is a slap in the face to those of us who are concerned about the multitude of problems associated with illegal immigration.

President Bush took a lot of flack for the "slow" response to Katrina. I recognize that he is merely a scapegoat for unjust blame (see why), and I will defend him adamantly. However, his spending in the aftermath of Katrina was obscene. In general, under Bush spending has been astronomical. I recognize that much of this is due to the War in Iraq, but his spending is out of control.

I have been very pleased with the judges that President Bush has nominated to federal benches, particularly to the Supreme court. Although Harriet Myers was a bit of a flop, but Samuel Alito and John Roberts are impeccable. Furthermore, I'm proud that his first nominee, Roberts, to replace O'Connor was not a woman. Many people wanted him to choose a woman to replace a woman, but President Bush chose the most qualified, not bending to some sort of reverse discrimination.

I was really enthralled with President Bush' attempt to privatize social security. Social security has long been an important issue for me. As a believer in personal accountability, I feel that is my own responsibility to prepare for my own retirement. Government involvement is the surest way to mess something up, and the future social security fiasco is testament to that. Taking on such a dangerous issue really shows President Bush' opinion of doing what is right as opposed to doing what is popular.

Out of the frying pan...

I thought I already had it bad. Being a resident of California, my two representatives in the Senate are the uber-liberals Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. As Diane Feinstein's term comes to an end, and she seeks reelection, there is little doubt that she has the number of votes to stay in office. After all, this is a blue state.

I dislike Sen. Feinstein, passionately. Just seeing her makes me want to vomit. So, what on earth could make me actually hope for reelection? Cindy Sheehan announcing she may run against Sen. Feinstein. Out of the frying pan, into the fire. Away from a pro-abortion, opportunistic, shrill wrtech of a senator, towards a disgusting extremist who abondoned her family for a spot on Michael Moore's payroll. I didn't think it could get worse.

But, perhaps there is hope. Perhaps this could be a blessing in disguise. Could it be that the presence of two super-liberals in the same race could split the democrat vote enough to allow a republican, even just a moderate, to slip in and win (i.e. Ralph Nader in 2000)? It's an interesting scenario, and one that would make me very happy. Now, if only Ann Coulter could get California residency before November....

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Confirm Alito

I watched the Senate Judiciary committee's hearings on Judge Samuel Alito. He was cool, composed, and spoke very intelligently. He obviously understood the legal process, and very clearly seemed to have a great knowledge of the constitution. As several of the left-wing senators on the committee continued to hurl rancid accusations at him, Alito did not waver, and addressed the questions calmly (even as Chucky Schumer fumed and frothed at the mouth while delivering his "question," framed so eloquently as the rant of an extremist). Yet, just a short time after the hearings, Senate democrats are coming out in stark opposition to the well qualified nominee.

Although an opposition vote is certainly their prerogative, I have not heard a single, justifiable reason for these votes. There are several democratic talking points that have been given: 'Alito will yield excessive power to the President', 'He will overturn Roe v. Wade', 'He will take America backwards', and 'he will weaken civil rights'. Yet, despite the hype, no Senator, anti-confirmation advertisement, or left-wing pundit has provided evidence of any of these concerns.

Arguably the most heated of these issues is the 'sanctity' of abortion, something Sen. Feinstein says "women have come to rely on" (certainly a noble right). It is no doubt that Judge Alito has a personal opposition to abortion, but that is meaningless. Nominees are entitled to whatever personal beliefs they wish, as long as they are capable of separating these views from their decisions on the court. Certainly, in 1993 Judge Ginsburg had strong personal opinions about abortion rights, yet she was confirmed 98-0.

The various other talking points, as far as I am concerned, were only adopted by Liberals to dilute their argument, to spread the focus from their failed argument over Alito's views on abortion. As senator after senator accused Alito of being a racist and/or a sexist, there came virtually no evidence in support of these accusations. Even after the hypocritical Sen. Ted Kennedy, who has been a donating member of a racist Harvard alumni organization (The Owl Club) for twenty years, threw a tantrum to get a subpoena for records of CAP, nothing even remotely linking Alito could be found. Furthermore, various cases were brought up by the liberal senators in which Alito was the only dissenter. This was supposed to be presented as if his position were one of racism, sexism, or one against other civil liberties. Yet, time and again Alito referred them to those who concurred with his opinion, including the Supreme court, and often citing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as presenting a similar opinion.

It is difficult to claim that a nominee with the unanimous support of the American Bar Association, as well as the overwhelming bipartisan support from his colleagues and past clerks, the decision to vote against Alito is ridiculous, and clearly motivated by politics.

Welcome

Welcome the The Gentle Cricket, my web-log. I have been wanting to add a blog to my own site (ww.thegentlecricket.com), but never got around to it. Finally, I figured that this will be a much simpler way, and a much better way to get my random thoughts and opinions out there, and to keep them organized and up-to-date. Hope you enjoy, and if you do, please visit my homepage