Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mass Media and Israel

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, it is well known now that Israel has been pushing into Lebanon to get rid of Hezbollah. To date, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have pressed into the southern regions of the country and have been able to successfully bomb many Hezbollah locations. Throughout this all though, we have heard of unfortunate tragedies in the conflict. While the Israelis themselves say they did not mean to kill a number of citizens, some of which were children, in Qana. According to Israeli intelligence, the location that was bombed was often used by Hezbollah.

However, what is most interesting in looking at the information coming out of Israel is the way in which it is being reported. If you watch CNN or read their website, Israel comes off as an evil force. Listening and reading the words coming out of this news source indicates that CNN wishes to report a rather negative stance on this conflict.

FOX News, often called the bastion of Republican press, reports Israel will press on in their campaign against Hezbollah, but does acknowledge the protests that have come out against the Israelis and the international community due to the accident in Qana.

But these are American news sources. The Jerusalem Post reports that the Prime Minister in Israel is saying it will take another 10 to 14 days for the campaign to dislodge Hezbollah from Lebanon to be complete. In a VERY interesting story that is only being told from the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, said that Hezbollah has often targeted Israeli citizens for their attacks, but used their own citizens as human shields. As such, Hezbollah wants to cause civilian casualties while Israel tries to avoid it.

Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter on this situation is that Israel is fighting for its own survival. Since the origins of the nation, Israel has fought to just have its own borders. Now the nation finds itself in a position where they need to protect themselves and their honor. What I have found rather interesting is how a number of people have said they were against our own War on Terror, but they were pro Israel. Why is it they are in favor of one nation fighting terrorism and not the other?

The answer some would give is that we “fought for oil,” but Israel is fighting for kidnapped soldiers to be released. What we need to do is face facts: terrorism is the new face of evil. Muslim groups have already said they want to free the lands that were once Arab, basically recreating the old Ottoman Empire. This a world that still believes in 15th century ideas, but has 21st century technology.

It has already been seen that some people will go to extremes in order to protect their own interests. Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic both used human shields to protect factories. What will stop terrorists from doing the same thing, but under the guise of something else?
No matter what the conflict may be, there will be tragic situations that occur where innocent people are killed. Terrorists want large amounts of destruction with the highest degree of casualty rates. Think of 9-11. Are we beginning to forget the tragedy of that day already? If I were to guess, Hezbollah has probably tried to set things up so that Israel would look like a monster when IDF pushes their own attacks. You can claim this is a conspiracy theory and such, but the fact still remains that groups like Hezbollah and dictators will always use innocent people in order to protect their ultimate desires.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Future of Professional Wrestling

For those that know me well, I have long been a fan of professional wrestling. Now, as the comments of it is fake, etc, etc, run around, this is still a business that develops stars who have a lot of appeal. For instance, in the 80s, Hulk Hogan was a household name who everyone knew. Since Hulkamania first started, there has been a search for the next big thing. In 1997, D-Generation X was formed and got some appeal, but the real superstar to get some momentum going again was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The beer drinking, boss hating, SOB from Victoria, Texas, gave the world a new look at what a wrestler was. While he wore generic gear and had a somewhat plain look, Austin took his personality to the next level by being his true self with the volume turned to full blast. Now, there is a bit of a void. Who will be the next big star? Below are a few individuals who I think are capable of doing a lot.

1. Samoa Joe: For over a year, he has been unstoppable in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. With an impressive undefeated streak, Joe has proven to be an unbelievable star in his own right. Do not let his size fool you. He is actually a very agile man and can do things that men only half his size can do. In addition to this, Joe does have a fan base that is unequaled. “Joe’s gonna kill you.” That is what you hear when you are in the ring with this man. In a description of one of his matches, this is how it went: Bentley came out. Joe came out. Joe choked him out.

2. AJ Styles: He is simply referred to as “Phenomenal.” AJ Styles has held all the belts in Total Nonstop Action three times. He is considered the corner stone of the X Division. With two finishers, the Styles Clash and Spiral Tap, Styles has shown a lot for a man only 5’10”. If you get a chance to watch one of his matches, try to see if it is against “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels. The matches these two men put on together are just amazing.

3. Carlito Colon: He entered as Carlito Caribbean Cool. Now he is referred to as Carlito. This second generation wrestler has a great deal of untapped potential. If given the proper push, he has the chance to make a lot of money for the wrestling industry.

4. Shelton Benjamin: A NCAA wrestling champion, Benjamin has a lot of talent in the ring. With tag titles and three reigns as Intercontinental Champion, Benjamin has the look and charisma to be a champion. With a little work on the microphone, he could be almost as good as the Rock.

5. Bobby Lashley: This is a man who has muscles where muscles shouldn’t exist. Once part of the armed forces, Lashley has a stellar record in the amateur ranks as a wrestler. Now he brings his power and size into the ring and can deliver some pretty good matches. It will take a few years for him to get everything down, but he can do a lot.

6. Bobby Roode: Formerly known as the “Canadian Enforcer,” this man has the ability to become a solid champion for the NWA. If I had to guess, I would say he could be a lot like Arn Anderson, but maybe a little more successful.

While these men have the chance to be great in the ring, a lot of it comes down to the pushes they get and how they are used in the companies that they work for. If it is done right, then all should go well. If not, then there could be problems in their career.
NWA-TNA - Finisher Petey Williams Canadian Destroyer

Now that's gonna hurt.

Virginia Progressive Begins Censorship, (Excuse Me) Moderation, Of Comments

In what has been a non scandal in relating to Tom Davis, I have noted a new form of corruption in the blogging world. James Martin of Virginia Progressive has now begun to censor comments for his own site. Instead of allowing people’s opinions be heard, he will remove them or keep it quiet until called on it. Once that happens, he will allow the post to be placed back onto his site.

In an email sent to me by James, he explained that his was not censorship, but rather "moderating" on his webite. There is a filter working in the site that apparently pulls comments out from the posts. I first noticed this the other day when Mason Conservative's comment was "moderated" for a brief period of time, but not put up in the comments until after I brought it to light. Not Gretchen Bulova as also expressed concerns about her comments being "moderated" from the site.

Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter on this that James claimed to have learned tolerance while in high school. As Mason Conservative points out on more than one occasion to me, he is still young and has much to learn. Not Gretchen Bulova also points out how James wishes to press his morals onto the internet world. As for me, I do question how "progressive" his site is if he needs "moderating" for the comments.

Indeed, all views should be heard. There have been comments with foul language on his site before. Yet those aren't moderated. We know liberal s now being called progressive. Does this mean censorship is now being called "moderated."

At this site, all are welcomed to say what they wish. I do say that it is better to use vocabulary and not foul language in your comments. But I can assure all there is no "moderating" on my part.


James has assured me that his site deals with a great deal of spam. However, considering my original post was on his site for about an hour before it disappearred, as I told him, it does make one wonder. Now this has got him puzzled. Whether or not there are errors on his site is something to be investigated.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Special Editirioal By Miss Amy

Sports Players and Salaries.

I find it disgraceful that sports stars are paid millions of dollars for their talent. I am fully aware that their lives are in the public view, there is very little privacy, they become "heroes" and "role models" for children and adults. I realize that and it cannot be easy having all of your privacy stripped away. I just do not think that all of this is worth the 20+ million dollar contracts that so many young players sign on for right out of high school and/or college. They go to training camp, they have practices, games and A season each year. They spend time traveling, away from home, friends and family. Some even work on the holidays: Thanksgiving for some football players, Father's Day for baseball players.

On the opposite side of this are the hard working citizens. I know many people from this area (Fredericksburg) who are up and driving to work by 4:30 AM, the dead of night and off to work.
When do they come home?


Most anywhere from 6:30 pm to 8 pm and they are not making the millions of dollars. I have had many tell me that they make enough to be comfortable and to get bills paid. They are losing sleep, energy, time with their families and this is not all by choice. These people tend to only have a few sick days and some vacation time. They are essentially working longer and harder and for more days than any sports star.

Yes, they have the luxury of coming home and not being bombarded by paparazzi or can walk down through DC without people stopping for their autographs, but the lack of money is not worth it. They are doing so much more than just these "sports stars". I know, I was one of those people. I HAD to work to pay my bills and help fund my college education. It was worth it to me.
The military is being criticized in many forums, for many things. These humans said I want to serve my country, defend my country and its citizens so that they can say whatever they want about my job, my family and my country. The military workers are not asked if they want to be home for Thanksgiving or if they would like to shoot a commercial to make an extra $10 million. They are sent away from their families, many have to pack up every 2-4 years, move and make new friends, and don't always know what will be expected of them.

Also working on holidays, are doctors, nurses, firefighters, paramedics, pilots, flight attendants, gas station workers and none of them are paid millions of dollars to be away from their families or for ultimately giving up their holiday, a day off, a day to relax and enjoy your friends and family. No one asks them what do they want?

“What are your demands, Major?”

“Hey, Mister Firefighter, thank you for being a hero, thank you for saving my dog when the house caught fire.”

Are these words we hear? Actions we see?

To make it worse, in a sense, a lot of these "sports star role models" turn to drugs or live a very high class, flashy lifestyle and the next home boy says I am going to be just like so and so. Home boy turns to the drugs, sells the drugs, drops out of school, says he doesn't need to work, his skills will land him a job in the sports league of his choosing, after all he is Mister Hot Shot and just like Mister Super Sports Star who is out there sleeping around and using illegal substances, thinks its awesome to drink before the legal age.

Is this all the sports stars? No. Is this everyone or anyone who will or does play in a sports league? No. Do some of these stars deserve their money? YES. Am I bashing all sports players? No, just those who choose unwise moves as viewed by me, for being a super star. This is what we are paying money for, to have these people influence our children, while the rest of the hard working world, trying to keep it safe and to help others goes on, unnoticed, un-thanked and working their butts off for a weeks vacation.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006


With an opening theme song that captures the attention, plot lines which can still keep your attention, and a cast of great actors, Dallas has proven it can stand the test of time when it comes to television history. On August 1, the fifth season of the show will come out on DVD. As a kid, I watched the later seasons of the show, but with very little memory of it. As an adult, I can now appreciate the characters and realize just how much adult stuff was put on the show. In preparation for the release of the next season, I have been watching the previous for seasons.

For those that don't know anything about Dallas (shame on you), this is the story of the Ewing family, who made their money in oil from Texas. If you have already started to make a comment about the Bush family, then you need to get a girl or guy because your life is too dull to enjoy a television show.

The patriarch of the family is John Ross "Jock" Ewing, a grizzled Texan who found the oil the hard way, wild catting through Texas. The matriarch is "Miss" Ellie Southworth Ewing, daughter of a cattle rancher. The eledest son is John Ross "JR" Ewing, current head of Ewing Oil. JR's wife is Sue Ellen Shepherd Ewing, a former Miss Texas who enjoys drinking too much. The second son is Gary Ewing. Gary is also an alcoholic, but is not really seen on the show very much. He will become a central character on Knots Landing. To take Gary's place though is Lucy Ewing, Gary's daughter. The youngest boy is Robert "Bobby" Ewing, former face man of the company and now butts heads with JR as to how Ewing Oil should be run.

To add a little more spice to all of this is Pamela Barnes Ewing. Pam is the sister of Clifford Barnes, archnemesis to JR. Both Pam and Cliff are children of Willard "Digger" Barnes, former partner of Jock and long time enemy since the Depression. While Pam wants to have a happy life with her husband Bobby, Cliff looks to destroy the Ewings any way he can.

As a final little twist in the whole scheme, there is Ray Krebbes. Ray is the ranch foreman of Southfork, home to the Ewings and birth home of Miss Ellie. Ray used to have a love affair with Lucy, but that whole affair is dropped when it is announced that Ray was Jock's son from an affair Jock had back during World War II.

A lot of drama there, right? Well, the series provided tons of it: from JR scheming politics, funding a revolution, and of course being shot; to learning more and more about the family's background and how much their power could be lost in the state of Texas.

As for me, I go to admit I like JR. I know alot of people are saying to themselves that isn't much of a surprise, but he is a man that knows how to walk through a field of manure and still come out smelling like a rose. Besides, wouldn't you trust a man with a grin like that? I know I would.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


If you have read the entertainment headlines, it is interesting to note how Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest has made over 320 million in the box office after three weeks. I have seen the film and I for one enjoyed it all the way through. However, one of the things I have discussed with some folks is that there is a bit of a brain drain in Hollywood. Television shows are seemingly being crushed left and right because they are not instantly getting the rating everyone expects them to. Remember the show Girl’s Club? I just remember three hot chicks on the screen, nothing else.

So I did a little checking. In looking at the top grossing films, 1997 saw the rise of one big film which got a lot of people into the movie theater. The film: Titanic, the undisputed champion. It is going to take a BIG movie to unseat this film from the number one slot. I took it upon myself to look at all the films that were in the original top ten before 1997 and the new big budget films which have since taken over much of the top grossing films. So here is the list before Titanic led the charge.

1. Star Wars: $460,998,007
2. E.T.: $435,110,554
3. Jurassic Park: $357,067,947
4. Forrest Gump: $329,694,499
5. The Lion King: $328,541,776
6. Return of the Jedi: $309,306,177
7. Independence Day: $306,169,268
8. Empire Strikes Back: $290,475,067
9. Home Alone: $285,761,243
10. Jaws: $260,000,000

Certainly, these are some very impressive numbers to consider and shows how good the films were when they were originally released. For me, I think films have lost a certain edge to them. Since there seems to be only a few good movies out there, I really think a good filmmaker could do a lot with certain types of films. Take these for example:

Cortez’s conquest of Mexico
Sir Francis Drake
Henry Morgan’s plundering of Panama
A mini series on the life of Washington, adapted from the book Citizen Washington

Granted, these are just a couple of ideas. Interestingly enough, if you go into history, it is worth exploring how so many events could easily be made into films. If you just keep the facts and try not to add subtle little things dealing with current politics, you can get some great films. In addition to this, I think it would be great if maybe some theaters re-release some older films for people to see in the theater. I know that DVD and such makes that idea not too feasible in terms of cost, but as it is often pointed out to me, there is nothing like the movie theater experience. Imagine Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, or any other films brought back into the theater.

Also, check out TCM and AMC. There are some older films that are really good to watch,. If you want quality acting and some good scenery shots, check out the film Day of Wrath. Filmed in 1943 during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, this film looks at a minister’s wife who is accused of being a witch. Another film worth checking out if you can find it is Hitler’s Children. Also filmed in 1943, this film looks at an American school in Nazi Germany and the struggles of a professor trying to save two of his star pupils from the Nazis.

As for me, the oldest film I have ever seen is 1902’s Voyage to the Moon. Adapted from Jules Verne’s story of the same title, this film was only 14 minutes long and very interesting. Another old film to look at is the original Ben Hur. With only two scenes shot in color, the feeling was people would not like colorized films because they would give people headaches. Funny how that didn’t work out.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The No Win Scenario

In looking at some the blogs and comments that have been floating around the internet, I find it rather interesting the ways in which some people are willing to take a stand on things namely because it will not affect them at all. For instance, it is easy to take a stand on something like researching embryonic stem cells by saying you are in favor of it because you will not be involved with the decision to destroy the embryos for research. It is also for outsiders to say that a person who is living on machines in a hospital should die by having the machines turned off. You are not confronted with the decision head on. Instead, from the comfort of your own computer screen and whatever lifestyle you live, the decision not does come right up to your face.

The same thing can be said about many of the other issues that face us all in day to day lives. Affirmative Action, crime prevention, discipline and youths, and Herndon with its day center for illegal immigrants, all of these issues are interestingly enough taken up by people who will most likely never have to deal with these problems. Its easy for liberals, or progressives as they like to be called now, to say they are in favor of some of these things. How often do they have to deal with it? The answer is probably next to never.

Every so often though, we all must make a decision that will greatly affect our lives. So what is the right answer. Truth be told, there is no such thing as a right or wrong answer/decision. If a person says there is, then there are only two reasons for it:

1. It is a fact based question, like what year did Columbus discover the New World?
2. The person asking the questions WANTS to hear the answer that pleases them.

The only reason why we believe there are right and wrong decisions is because we use hindsight. The repercussions of each decision can only be seen after time itself has elapsed. As such, we always say that we will wait and see what happens.

The Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter is that when it comes to making a tough decision, we can all say we will do things one way while finding ourselves challenged by our own beliefs when confronted with the tough decision. I will give everyone a moment to think about it. Ok, now that that is done, it seems that perhaps there is one way to see if a person can actually make a decision that will be rather tough.

In thinking about tough decisions and stuff, I felt that one thing that seems to come up is the No Win Scenario, a situation where no matter what you do, your choice is wrong. The original concept that made my think of this came from Star Trek and the Kobayashi Maru scenario. This particular scenario was designed to be a test to see what kind of decision you are willing to make, despite the fact that not everyone in your crew could make it out alive. Another concept is the way in which you are forced to go ahead and order a person to do something which will ultimately end in their own death. It is a tough thing to do, knowing that you are going to order someone to die.

The Test

So here is the scenario. There are four people involved. V1 and V2 stand three feet apart from each other while at the same time standing equidistantly 6 feet away from you. Standing behind you is a person dressed completely in black. Next to you is a tray with two identical pistols on it. Both are loaded, but only one has a bullet in it while there other doesn’t. Which do you choose?
Now that you have chosen the pistol, the person in black takes the other and steps back into the shadows so that you cannot see them and know exactly where they stand anymore. You have been told that “for the betterment of humanity” you must shoot either V1 or V2. So now you are confronted with the decision of a life time. Someone must die. Now there are a few questions you need to think about:

1. Is the pistol in my hand the one with the bullet or the blank?
2. Either way, do I shoot the person on the left or the right?
3. What if I attempt to turn around and shoot the person behind me?
4. What if I decide to shoot myself?
5. What if I only have the blank and the person behind my decides to shoot me, V1, or V2?
6. What if I decide to do nothing?
7. What if I was lied to and both pistols are loaded and have a bullet in it?
8. What if both are blanks?

Each of these possible scenarios can play out differently. In looking at this, this scenario could end with 3 people living, or only 1. Keep in mind, the person dressed in black will not be affected. The reason for this is because this person is playing the role of the unknown, something none of us can control. From my calculations, there are 42 possible ways this could turn out.

Now I realize some of you may think I am one sick individual and how in the world could I have come up with this? The reason you are thinking it is because you are not willing to confront this kind of scenario. You are afraid, plain and simple. What I find rather unique is that the folks who talk a tough game are not willing to go through it when confronted. So I CHALLENGE anyone to step up to the plate and go through the scenario. Any takers?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Measure of a Man

On Spike TV, older episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation is shown. One episode was entitled “The Measure of a Man.” In the episode, Lieutenant Commander Data is ordered to be part of an experiment conducted by Commander Maddox. The point of the experiment was to disassemble Data in order to study how he was built and try to duplicate his construction. For Captain Picard, there is too much at risk for Data and is unwilling to go ahead and allow Data to be part of the experiment. Maddox forces a transfer order so that he can have full access to Data, but discovers Data wants to resign from Starfleet in order to be independent and free to allude Commander Maddox. The end result is a court hearing, which has Captain Picard and Commander Riker battling each other over the fate of Lieutenant Commander Data.

The key element to the hearing is whether or not Data is a sentient being. Maddox contends there are three criteria in order to be declared sentient: intelligence, self awareness, and consciousness. So let us examine the three elements of sentient beings.

Intelligence-the ability to learn, cope, and deal with new situations.
Self awareness-conscious of your existence and actions, aware of one’s self and ego
Consciousness-as Webster’s Dictionary defines it as the state of being aware especially of
something within oneself.

The whole array of the argument is something which is very unique. Can a machine be sentient? The argument Captain Picard used when dealing with the idea of a race of Data’s was that these androids would become a race and possibly achieve sentient status. If that were to happen, then these new people would be effectively slaves, all in the name of the betterment of humanity. In the end, the judge in the hearing rules that Data has the right to choose and is, in effect, sentient.

Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter is that when we look at many things in life, what defines a sentient being is something that always comes up for us. Think about all of the issues which seems to come up in the news. There is the issue of abortion and there is the issue of stem cell research. I chose these two particular issues because they both come with very unique situations.

When it comes to abortion, the law protects the unborn children during the second and third trimesters. However, the first trimester is still open for an abortion to occur. This issue, like stem cell, does beg the question as to when life begins for a human being. For those who are in favor of abortion, they seem to forget that there is a human life at stake here. If the woman is
pregnant, she has a responsibility towards that life.

As we all know, stem cell research is something that has hit the news. If you have read my last post on this issue, you can see where my issue with this topic lies. Interestingly enough though, there has been some interesting comments from the left on this that I feel I need to address. Craig Vitter wrote in a post how, whatever your stand on when life begins, using an embryo for the good of mankind is better than destroying it. He also talks about how the use of these embryos would be a sacrifice not made in vain.

The problem with that statement is that the good of humanity is often a term used in science, but can have disastrous effects. For instance, humanity has certainly had a number of benefits regarding aeodynamics and the amount of pressure humans can tolerate when flying thanks to the Nazis and their experimentation on Jews in the concentration camps.

Eugenics programs throughout the world have had people experimented on who might otherwise not be missed or considered worthwhile. So what does this say about embryos? Does this mean we are creating in labs, effectively, human guinea pigs “bred” specifically to be experimented on? We need to kill one life in order to benefit another? What does this say about us as a society if we need to do that?

Now, scientists that I have heard speak on this issue say there have been zero signs of evidence to say any results of stem cells to help cure diseases exist. Instead, other sources of stem cells have shown to produce real results. As such, it makes a difference.

I guess the question in the end is whether or not a person wants to confront the question of when does life begin and what is life itself. While I will not judge a person for the final decision they make, I cannot help but wonder sometimes if the logic of “this is a sacrifice that was not made in vain” and “it will be for the betterment of mankind” was the same things that were said by those who did experiments on people in past.

Stem Cells

It seems that one of the biggest stories floating around in the news at the moment is President Bush and the issue of Embryonic Stem Cell research. Even more interesting are the different positions taken by the internet world. It seems the lead writer over at Virginia Progressive is in favor of stem cell research, while the entire Red State site is against the research. This issue does raise a number of moral and ethical questions. First and foremost is the issue of when does human life begin.

Catholics believe that life begins at the moment of conception, while there are others who feel life does not begin until further down the line in the pregnancy. As a result, some people can compare this issue with that of abortion.

Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter on this situation is that this is a really tricky situation. As for me, there are other questions which come to mind when I think about stem cell research. VA Progressive has a quote from Jim Webb where he talks about needing “responsible research” when it comes to stem cell research. There, in effect, is where the dilemma lies. Define responsible.

It can begin with the whole principle of looking for cures for diseases, which is honorable. But then comes a new issue: what happens when the doctors want to rewrite the stem cells an create it as a way to create a new type of person? Their logic would be along the lines of eliminating disease and trying to help create a disease free world. Problem with that is we begin to genetically create a new breed of human.

Now I know this sounds very science fiction like, but lets be fair about this. How many things in the world today would be considered science fiction forty or fifty years ago? As your brain begins to wrap itself around that question and answer it, lets get back to the stem cells and a new breed of humans. I can’t help but feel that “responsible research” could be the foundations to a VERY dangerous path.

Think about it, eliminating diseases leads to ways in which parents can genetically create the type of child they want. Sounds a little bit like Gattaca. Lets go a little further and admit that this could lead to something very similar to Hitler’s dogma on creating a master race.
And again, I go back to the “responsible research” idea. It can be as honorable as it gets, but the problem is that in end, we are still walking down a dangerous path. So what if I am taking this too far and assuming too much? I wonder if that was the same question someone asked another person like myself in 1938 when Hitler was making territorial demands.

So let’s not condemn the President for vetoing this bill. Let’s not condemn those who voted against it. This all comes down to basic personal beliefs. It is our own way of making decisions which makes us unique.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Kiss is Still A Kiss

Note to self: Don't do this.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Distasteful State Of Our Nation's Capital

Thus far there have been 15 deaths in 15 days in DC. As a result, I cannot help but wonder how far this kind of violence will escalate. It is interesting to note that NONE of the other bloggers that I have checked out have made light of this. The reasons why I think this is important are as follows:

1. The citizens of DC have no fear of the police of the repercussions of their crime.
2. The fact that it has gone on for two weeks indicates each additional crime might get bolder as each passing day goes by.
3. How long will it be before these crimes find their way across the river into Virginia, in which case the Democratic strongholds of Reston and Alexandria will be struck first.

I post these reasons namely because they are very relevant. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out there is a problem. In fact, my own father has often commented that one of the driving influences on a person’s voting decision can be based off of your current lifestyle. For instance, a smart politician only needs to ask the electorate if they feel safe while there is a crime epidemic going on around them with the current political leader. It is a simple question that requires very little logic.

Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter on this is that it isn’t really a hard thing to figure out. A lot of the bloggers out there try to use an over compensated sense of logic (and you all know who you are) to look at something. With that logic comes a real problem of being able to look at the other person’s point of view and admit to the fact that they may have a point. (Again, you know who you are in that case)

As for DC, SOMETHING must be done. Today, a 26 year old woman stabs a man to death after having a fight. What is wrong with these people in DC? I’ll tell you what I think the problem is: they have no fear of the judicial system. Our system is bogged down by the bureaucracy of tedium that nothing ever seems to get done. A number of people will say that justice only serves the rich, but the fact still remains that the bureaucracy is still there.

In the old days, the trials were convened, the case made, the sentence was given, the punishment was dealt. It really isn’t all that hard. The problem we have now is that lawyers are just leaches on society. They look for new ways to get money. In addition to this, our own death penalty is really a joke. Only 1000 criminals executed in about 25 years?

Now, my ultra conservative beliefs say it should be more like 10,000 criminals dead this point. Is it cruel? Yes. I won’t deny it. But why is it people still commit these crime? They aren’t afraid. The statistics of murders in California compared to the number of those who were executed is shocking, if not downright insulting. Criminals know they get roughly 8000 to 1 shot of actually being convicted of murder and being sentenced to death.

But it is sooo expensive. You know how that can be taken care of? Go to Home Depot. Get some lumber, a saw, nails, and rope. If you build some good old fashioned gallows, all you really need to do is replace the wood when weather damage occurs. If you really want to save some money, put it indoors, in which case the rope and crossbeam is all you need to check and have replaced. Coffin costs? Criminals in prison need something to do. What kind of message is sent to them when they have to build their own coffins? Or the coffins of fellow inmates? It would send a very powerful message in my opinion.

What about burial? Put them around the prison. When you bring those punk kids in to get scared straight, have them see the cemetery and the coffins being made. If it were my kid being some punk wanting to be in a gang, I’m taking them to a funeral parlor, let the mortician tell them about the number of dead kids they get, put them in the coffin so they know what it feels like, and I shut the damn lid over their head. And when I open it up, I tell them that is their future with a gang. Tough love? Damn right. Effective? OH HELL YEAH!

Again, I digress. The situation in DC is out of control. If I were the mayor and this continues to occur, my first order of business is to FIRE Chief Ramsey. His inability to prevent this says something is wrong. I would immediately bring in an ass-kicker for a police chief and organize the entire city. I would go on television and make a plea to the city to take it back from the criminal element that exists in the city. Street by street, block by block, building by building, take out the criminals.

Show the resolve of good people who want to live in a good city. It isn’t that hard to understand. I remember the old stories of my parents who could go to bed at night, leave their doors unlocked, leave their cars unlocked, and know that no one would touch them. Why can’t we have those days again? It is because the criminals have no fear anymore.

DC is known for being a Democrat stronghold when it comes to voters. What will happen when you get one charismatic Republican, or a few of them, and they point out all these problems? Granted it is not like this will happen over night, but steps can be made.

Finally, I know there will be a few of you who might come out and say my arguments are flawed and that it is a crime that a teacher thinks like this and exposes the children of the area to this kind of thinking. Let me tell you all something: a lot of them think like this. They just don’t tell you. Second, I am entitled to my own opinion. Third, since you love freedom of speech so much, you get to hear it just like I get to hear you. Fourth, you wouldn’t be so riled up, if I wasn’t making a point that spoke to you and that point went completely contrary to all of the things you spout out of your mouth on a daily basis. So going back to a point I made earlier, step back from your over compensated logic and look at things on a much simpler base: Do I really want this in my life? What can I do to make sure it is gone? Who else will listen to this cause?

Its not that hard.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Strategy Game Review

While this post isn't exactly like most of the ones I do, I can't help but feel maybe a little bit of fun is needed in the summer. So as such, I got two computer games worth talking about.

As we all know, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest has jsut come out and a lot of people got the pirate craze. Well, one game worht playing if you want your pirate fix is Sid Meier's Pirates. A redo of the old pirates game from the 80's, this computer game has its fill of fun. You can choose one of four governments to become a privateer for and you sail the Caribbean, getting you fortune and building your fame. As for me, I am on my flagship Archangel. A large frigate with forty guns, this ship can certainly show a thing or two towards your enemies. If you want to make a fortune quickly in this game, my advice is to attack the Spanish. Vessels without escorts are good, but also remember to attack these ships as they head out of port, since they will be filled with lots of goods. Once you have a number of ships in your fleet, get to friendly ports to sell of the goods and your taken ships. It will rack up the gold plundered and when it is time to divide, both you and your men will get a good share. Also, be careful of their morale. If the men get mutinous, some may run away or steal a ship. If that happens, retake the ship that was stolen and sink it. One annoying event in the game is trying to have romances with governor's daughters. This is done through dances and it can really cramp a lot of what you want to do in the game. Avoid it as best you can. There is a forced retirement by the time you get to your fifties, but all good things must come to an end.

My Highlights: Plundering 50,000 plus pieces of gold. Taking Havana. Eliminating every major Spanish port on the Spanish Main. Taking a Ship of the Line.

The next game is Medieval: Total War and its expansion set Viking Invasion. In this game, you get the opportunity to play as one of many different types of groupsthat were around at the time of the Middle Ages and attempt to conquer all of Europe. Depending on who you play as, victory can be very hard to achieve. Infact, I have recently started to keep records of my different campaigns in order to see where the glory days of my empire were and when things got bad.

Example: English Empire. The glory days of the empire occur between the years of 1130 and 1242. During this time, four kings ruled the empire: Stephen I (1130-1152), Richard I (1152-1184), Stephen II (1184-1209), and Richard II (1209-1242). During these reigns, the empire will go from 13 provinces to 45 provinces. The decline of the empire will be seen land wise with Edmund III (1242-1277) as the empire is virtually cut in half from a war with Spain and Egypt, followed economically by the reign of Stephen III (1277-1313), who, despite making some land gains, more than bankrupts the empire. Sadly, as the English empire begins to reign supreme again, the English king was captured and killed.

But how can you win in this game? Well, with Viking Invasion, you get to play with conquering all of Britain. In this case, the story goes as follows. In the span of less than 200 years, the Saxons take the whole of Britain and Ireland and increase the treasury seven times. How do you do this? First, attack rebel provinces around you. Then go after Wales. Once this is done, go after the Irish. Build your fleet and make it very large. Try to get a chain of ships up to the north and attack rebel provinces there. It will give you a foot hold in the north and then allow you to start marching armies south and trap your enemies in the middle. Watch the other provinces carefully and choose your enemies wisely. If you aren't careful, you might find yourself facing an army larger than your own. Generals paly an important role by this point. Once you crush your enemies, you are cheered as a hero.

But what of the whole of Europe? In this case, choosing your empire is also important. We see what has happened with an English Empire. As the Holy Roman Empire, which despite not being Holy or Roman did become an empire under my leadership, was able to take the whole of Europe in 130 years. How do you do it? First, attack rebel provinces to the east, while making alliances in the west. By doing this, you extend your empire and see where your soon to be enemies are. Pay attention to when the pope calls for a crusade on another European power. You can make a quick war and gain provinces that way. Throughout all of this, be sure to keep building up more troops and have armies that can quickly reach different parts of the empire. Poland and Hungary can be taken trying to surround them through your conquered rebel provinces and then flooding over their borders. Novgorod is small and with a large army can be taken. Prepare a massive invasion force and flood through the Black Sea over the Byzantine Empire. Theny ou face off against three Islamic nations. Go slowly with them and they will be worn out. Take out the islands in the Mediterreanian Sea and be ready to wipe out the Papacy. They will be small, and a strong army can do the job. With me, I was left with the Spanish, French and English. Pour over the French border with a massive army, while nipping at the Spanish rear. Soon your armies will crush the French and immediately start invading England. Remember to keep your troop numbers us. Revolts will occur at all times. Move your armies in France southward and you can crush the Spanish. An important thing to remember though is this: BEWARE 1230! That is the year the Mongols will arrive. If you can't defeat Europe by that point, you got a new problem on your hands. If you come close to confronting them, have large armies in place near or at the western provinces of Georgia and Khazar. Attack as best you can and rush reinforcements to those provinces. You must do all you can to make sure they don't push into your empire, or you will find more revolts occuring and defeated groups returning, carving chunks of your empire out from under you.

Now that you know what to do, I think all might have fun with these games. Lots of hours to kill and it does make you think about how to administer a nation. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Just awesome.

There is something about homework

In a recent article on, there was an issue pertaining to something many people know and remember with some fondness, but more likely disdain: homework. As a teacher, I assign homework to my students differently. For instance, when it comes to my Juniors, I will assign a section or two of their book to read and answer some questions relevant to what is being taught or with what I might not have been able to cover in lectures. The idea of course behind this is that it will reinforce what they know, but also provide another view point on what was just discussed. Even now, I am thinking of new things for the kids to do as homework assignments, kind of like mini projects that will, in my opinion, be fun to do in addition to their regular assignments.

One assignment I am working on is to have the class broken down into groups and for two weeks, work on strategies for the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. They will be given with the pertinent information that they need to know and then let them strategize. It challenges their ability to look at worst case scenarios and also come up with new ideas.
When it comes to my Seniors, their homework is done a little differently. They are assigned the chapter to read, and I trust them to read it. When the tests roll around, if they don’t know it, then they are in trouble. As for homework, they are given a weekly reflection paper assignment. These assignments look at current events and also things that were discussed in class. The idea behind all of this is that it makes the students think critically and also work on their writing abilities.

The part of the article which gets under my skin is how there are those that think homework greatly affects kids and their development. They have too much work to do and are unable to enjoy being kids. In addition to this, we find ourselves know in a situation where it is THE PARENTS who are doing the work of the kids in order ot help alleviate their pressures.

Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter on this is there are people who are wanting to make lots of excuses for some very simple and common issues. For instance, a child’s primary responsibility while being in school is to be a student. It isn’t that hard of a concept to figure out. If the kid wants to go play a sport, that is fine. However, that sport should not interfere with their school work. If the students spends hours on end with the sport, and then has difficulties in their classes because they are up half the night doing school work, then something has to give.

When I was growing up, I came home and started my homework. I knew when I should finish, so I knew that I could not waste time. The article that I referenced to discusses how kids are given lots of homework as they get older and need parental help. A thought that comes to my mind is that as high school moves along and more homework is given, will the parent go to college and demand the professor not to give lots of work?

It is commonly stated that after your first day in class at college, you are already behind by a good three hundred pages. Part of homework is teaching kids responsibility. Another part of this is to teach them self reliance. If a student does not learn how to appropriately delegate time to different assignments will never get the right kind of training in being able to read a situation and figuring out how to handle it.
star wars cops

I knew it all along.
Darth Sidious Gets a Job

And after the second Death Star was destoryed, I think we know what happened to Palpatine.
Darth Vader

Every wonder what Emperor Palpatine might have done when he heard the Death Star was destroyed? I think we have an answer.

Monday, July 10, 2006

History Rocks, Every Other Profession Sucks

If ever you wondered why history rules all, I got a reason for you. I am watching the History Channel (often refered by myself as the Hitler Channel) and there is a show called "Rome: Engineering An Empire." One of the individuals who was interviewed for the show was Peter Weller. Now, in looking at him, I was trying to think where I had seen him before. Going over to trusty IMDB, I found out why he was so familiar. History has ROBOCOP! Peter Weller works over at Syracuse University. So if anyone wants to mess with history, we're going to send that guy to take care of some business.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July

Today is Independence Day. It is on this day we celebrate the obvious point of our nation becoming independent of Great Britain. Ironically enough, John Adams had written that July 2 should be our Independence Day as it was on that date the Declaration of Independence was first brought forth to the Continental Congress. The reason July 4 is remembered is because the rest of the Congress was able to sign it on that date. When the members signed it, they made sure their names were small so as to make sure that if the war was lost, their names might not be recognizable to those who were looking to execute traitors. In reading the document, there is one part in particular I like. It reads as follows,

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

What I enjoy so much about that particular paragraph is that it shows the conviction of the men who signed it. Dedicating their very lives and their most sacred honor to the cause is something we don’t see any more.

So how have I spent this day. Well, for those that check out the rest of the blogs, I was at the Fairfax City parade marching for Tom Davis. After that, I came how and started to watch The Patriot. As a historian, I am well aware of the fact that this film has MANY errors in it, but the reason I like this film is for something else. For me, I will always remember The Patriot as the first program I watched that was not news related after 9/11. The film was very meaningful for me because it filled me with national pride in seeing the strength of men who overcame insurmountable odds for their beliefs.

After this, I put on the 1984 miniseries George Washington. Starring Barry Bostwick as General Washington and Patty Duke as Martha Washington, this miniseries looked at the life of Washington from his early days through to the end of 1783. This film is one that I enjoy a lot namely because (1) it came from my childhood and (2) it gives the viewer a resounding sense of pride and patriotism in themselves.

In watching this film, one character in particular I like is Eban Krutch, played by Leo Burmester. There is a quote the man says which I think says it all when it comes to the dedication of soldiers fighting in the Revolution.

“What if everyone quits him? What if he quits us?”

This is rather profound I think. Here is a farmer who can quit at any time. However every time his enlistment ends, he reenlists and continues the fight. If any of you ever get a chance to watch this miniseries, I think you will find it very enjoyable.

Happy 4th of July everyone.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Wanted: A Hero...

Job Description: A person who must stand up for those who cannot speak. A person who defends those that need defending. A person who will fight against insurmountable odds in order to do the right thing.

Salary: The admiration of some and the scorn of many.

Job Location: United States

Nemesis: Anyone who will say you should not be a hero.

Start date: Immediately

Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter is that now, more than ever, we need heroes. Superman was once the man who said he would fight for truth, justice, and the American way. Now, the Man of Steel fights for truth, justice, and all that stuff. In the comic book world, super heroes must now out themselves since it seems all the good they do is now suspect to being evil. To add on to our woes, if you want to salute the flag or say the pledge, or at least honor the symbol of America, our flag, you got to make sure there isn’t a person with a match nearby.

What have we done to ourselves? Is there something wrong with having faith in your leaders? Is there something wrong with having good, moral, decent heroes? Must we have our icons be people who wear no clothes, talk about beating women, take drugs, kill in order to be cool?

It is times like these, especially on our day of Independence, when we need to remember our heroes of the past and have the heroes of the future step forward. If you CAN be a hero, then you MUST be a hero.