27 September 2012

Vile Viral Video Urges Electing Obama Again

[L] Samuel L. Jackson, actor and Obama activist

Samuel L. Jackson, the narrator for the video version of the ironic bed time book “Go the F–k to Sleep” is the star of a new internet spot on the election. The Jewish Council for Research and Education, a pro-Obama liberal Super PAC run by George Soros’ 25-year old scion Alexander, engaged the 63-year old actor to reprise his role as a angry man reading a Dr. Seuss like story "Wake the F--k Up".

 A sample of the "high" art contained in this YouTube gem includes:

             Sorry my friend, but there’s no time to snore,
            the out-of-touch millionaires just declared war;
             on schools, the environment, unions, fair pay...
            We’re all on our own if Romney has his way.
            He’s against safety nets.
            If you fall, tough luck.
            So I strongly suggest you
            WAKE THE F--K UP!

 Getting Samuel L. Jackson to do a follow up to “Go the F–k To Sleep” was a coup which drew attention to this puerile political stunt. But to what end? This may get many shares among collegians, but will it drive unmotivated youths to go to the polls? Obama will win the demographic niche of those in college but they probably will not come out in droves as they did in the 2008 cycle. But to borrow an image from GOP V.P. nominee Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI 1st) acceptance speech, will this hip, hyped hoopla get an unemployed college graduate staring at posters in his boyhood bedroom to “Wake the F–k Up” and affirmative vote for four more years of this is dubious.

This campaign is trying to leverage the power of social media to acquire what is known in political circles as earned media. But this viral video may backfire The “Wake the F–K Up” campaign is too clever by half. It’s profanity laced political message can not be widely circulated through the media except via censored snippets that highlight the vehicle more than the message. The vile viral video will offend seniors are motivated to exercise their franchise and represent their political interests rather than youthful civic slackers who need to be reminded to “Wake the F–K Up” to vote. This in your face rhetoric might sell on the coasts, which are already solidly blue, but the tone might not be as readily accepted in purple much less red states. 

Thinking back to the last Presidential election, Obama Girl was able to generate outside energy for her man (at the time) for "I've Got a Crush on Obama" as well as conveying a hip image. The material alluded to risque themes but never succumbed to the temptation.

Viral campaigns need to be catchy, quickly communicate its message and reflect an unspoken impression in the electorate. This was one of the reasons that Clint Eastwood’s empty chair dialogue went viral so quickly after the Republican National Convention. People understood the empty chair dialogue as being a metaphor for an empty suit leader who continues for vote “Present” or lead from behind even as President. One of the more popular images took the iconic red/blue Hope and Change poster motif and depicted an empty chair. That empty chair meme dominated to political conversation for four days. In fact, it lead to a "happening" on Labor Day where people across the country put out empty chairs on their front yards.  And it did not require any Soros Super PAC money.  My visceral instinct is that "Wake the F--k Up"  campaign  will circulate in emails among the college crowd with an "LOL" and end there.

Mik Moore speaking for the JCRE promises more satirical stuff as the election approaches, including print ads in swing states and social media mini-memes. Supposedly, the JCRE will vaunt Obama’s record on Israel. Based on the content of “Wake the F–K Up”, that will be an interesting use of “independent” political resources. Maybe next time, the JCRE can spice things up and obtain some "Snakes on the Plane" for animus and inspiration.

25 September 2012

Obama’s UN Unorthodox Equivocation on Intolerance

During President Barack Obama’s annual speech before the United Nations General Assembly gave a perplexing perspective on religious liberty.

Mr. Obama famously noted that “The future does not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam”.  Clearly, that line is in response to the violent demonstrations at American embassies on 9/11/12 which killed Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American diplomats.  President Obama has persiverated on blaming this violence from the Arab Street stemmed from the existence of a snippet of an internet video “The Innocence of Muslims”, despite clear evidence that the attack was pre-planned (rarely do spontaneous rioters carry rocket propelled grenades) as well as acknowledgment by the Libyan government.

The second curiosity is that President Obama could not bring himself to say “Muhammad”.  Sunni Muslims prohibit any depictions of the prophet Mumhammad, but judging from his particular phrasing, the P.C. police may prohibit even uttering his name.  This does not jibe with Western sensibilities, as was parodied by Monty Python in the Life of Brian (1979).

Although President Obama went on to equivocate tolerance to include condemning Holocaust deniers or those who torch churches.  This even-handedness is admirable in the abstract but is mind numbingly naive in the real world.  It is unlikely that the Arab Street will hear any more of Obama’s oration other than the first clause about not slandering the prophet of Islam.  It is worth noting that slander under Shariah does not just mean saying derogatory things, but can mean any opposing, including proselyting or doing Christian missionary work.

The Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is angling to rally its 57 nation state members to speak forcefully with one voice to shepherd international regulations “against attacks on what people deem sacred.”  This would account for Mr. Obama’s equivocation in citing anti-islamic, anti-semitic and Christophobic behavior while tacitly supporting the IOC inspired UN resolution 1618.

While the President later acknowledged that the American Constitution allows for freedom of speech, this God-Given First Amendment right was not honored in the instance of “The Innocence of Muslims” video.  After the violence erupted in the Middle East and the Maghreb, this film-maker was taken into questioning by the Los Angeles police, supposedly for coincidental  parole violations. How constitutionally convenient! Moreover, General Martin Dempsey  contacted video promoter Pastor Terry Jones to voice his concerns about the film.  So much for respecting the First Amendment on either free speech or the free exercise of religion.

There are concerns in conservative circles about the Obama Administration’s support for United Nations Resolution 1618 as it is seen as an international blasphemy code which would trump American constitutional free speech rights.

Most people think that the Presidential Election this cycle is a referendum on President Obama’s performance on the economy.  But thoughtful voters should look forward and appreciate the consequences of four more years of Obama’s influence in world affairs.

24 September 2012

State Department Surliness Over Bungled Benghazi Blame

[L] P.R. spokesman Philippe Reines and [R] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Buzzfeed correspondent Michael Hastings contacted Philippe Reines to follow up on the over-the-top attack on that he made at CNN regarding the release of details of assassinated U.S. Ambassador Libya Chris Stevens. Reines, the Press Secretary (and long time personal aide) to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, repeated his outrage against CNN's reportage, claiming that they have responsibilities to act as human beings and respect the grieving Ambassador's family.

 Hastings had the temerity in e-mail exchanges to challenge the Foggy Bottom filibuster about good journalistic practices and chided the State Department and the Obama Administration for being complicit in misinfomation about the bungled Benghazi mission, namely steadfastly claiming that the incident was spontaneously sparked by Islamists offended by an internet movie about the prophet Muhammad.

 State Department employee Reines deflected critical questions by declaring that reporter Hastings had already made up his mind. Hastings protested that Reines was just giving "B.S." answers. The tone of civility declined from there. Philippe Reines then declared:

I now understand why the official investigation by the Department of the Defense as reported by The Army Times The Washington Post concluded beyond a doubt that you're an unmitigated asshole. 

 Reines, the ever officious civil servant closed with "And by good day, I mean Fuck Off." Reines could not handle being challenged or responding in kind, so further inquiries from reporter Hastings were tagged for junk mail.

While it is kind of fun to read a real time pissing match between government officials and the fourth estate (which you can read in it's entirety here), this contentious exchange highlights a few key facts.

 Firstly, Philippe Reines has been called Hillary Clinton's "Michael Clayton-esque image man and fixer" by Vogue Magazine. Really, is this the way to conduct yourself and represent your boss, the State Department and the American people?

 Secondly, it shows the vacuity in most the elite liberal national media (a.k.a. the Lamestream Media) in doing what used to be considering their jobs in journalism. The Lamestream Media mostly has minimized the Benghazi Blunder on 9/11/2012. But when CNN dared to expose the Libya lies and Foggy Bottom trashes the reporting for stepping out of line.

 A new media reporter had the audacity to hope that this transparent Obama Administration might answer some uncomfortable questions. When the B.S. isn't bought, the civil servant becomes uncivil and shuts the journalist out. And Buzzfeed should not be dismissed as right wing noise, as it was co-founded by Jonah Peretti (who also co-founded the Huffington Post) and is edited by former Politico editor Ben Smith.

Thirdly, there is the question about transparency in governance.  Obama Administration won an award for transparency award from the Open Government Community, but it chose to accept the award behind closed doors. Does this auger well for the future in a prospective second Obama Administration? The Obama Administration will trash dissenting Lamestream Media, dismisses citizen journalist while deflecting hard questions from Univision.

Lastly, it brings to the forefront a question which will be decided at the ballot box--does the American people want a Commander-in-Chief who can deal with crisis or a Celebrity-in-Chief who will sit down with "The View", and the Pimp with a Limp but feigns to know nothing when he chats with David Letterman.

Students of history should remember that the forty years ago Watergate scandal may have been precipitated by an ill-conceived opposition research campaign stunt and a botched burglary. But the situation was exacerbated by surliness to the press and stonewalling by the Nixon Administration officials to cover up for their chief. It is the cover-up that can be worse than the crime.

21 September 2012

Frank Zappa on Beer

Frank Zappa Beer Country

20 September 2012

Obama's New Political Plank

September 19th was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a fanciful faux holiday where people are encouraged to blurt out buccaneer phrases in casual conversation.  To wit, President Barack Obama tweeted this picture.

While it is kind of cute for Mr. Obama to participate in this visual joke.  But it took time and planning for the Celebrity in Chief to set up for this Pirate picture.  This same week, President Obama made time to appear on Late Night with David Letterman to face tough questions from the host such as "Have you seen me naked?"

Later, Obama went to a fund-raiser with Beyonce and Jay-Z which included a $280,000 tower of champagne.

 At the same time, the world is on fire.  American embassies are being attacked throughout the world, four American diplomats were brutally murdered in Benghazi, Libya in an Al Qaeda organized attack by an ex-Gitmo detainee on the anniversary of September 11th.   Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a loyal American ally, can not get a face-to-face meeting with the supposed leader of the free world when they are both in New York. 

In case any of the pirate argot stuck with POTUS, let me put this in pirate speak  "Shiver me timbers,  belay flying the Jolly Rogers and batten down the hatches lest ye scuttle the ship of state.  Savvy?"

Post Scriptus- It seems that the Pirate Photo was stock from 2009 and not this week.  However, that does not change the rest of President Obama's star studded schedule nor does it indicate that the Commander in Chief is not acting more like the Celebrity in Chief.

19 September 2012

Recognizing Heroic Virtue at the Value Voters Summit

Leo Johnson [C] is lionized for his heroism at the FRC terror attack by FRC President Tony Perkins  [photo: BD Matt]
While there were many poignant presentations made at the 2012 Value Voters Summit, the rest paled in comparison to when Leo Johnson took the stage on the first night of the Summit.   Only a month before, Johnson thwarted a mass casualty terror attack on the Family Research Council. On August 15th, 2012 a  28 year old man disgruntled at  traditional marriage advocacy tried to enter  the FRC headquarters.  The visitor had a backpack with 15 day old Chick-fil-A sandwiches and he pulled out a gun.  Building Operations Manager Johnson ducked as a bullet flew above his head.  A second shot struck Johnson in the arm.  The third shot missed and hit a wall.  Even in his injured state, Johnson was able to wrestle the gun away from the assailant. As FRC President Tony Perkins awarded Leo Johnson the organizations highest award for his heroics, there was a long, loud, sustained and sincere applause from the assembled Value Voters Summit audience


 Other speakers, such as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA), Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and former Republican Presidential candidate Senator Rick Santorum gave more substantive speeches.  But the rawness of the incident, the real peril posed by this domestic terrorist and the stakes which this incident put on Value Voters exercising their free speech supporting their faith made Leo Johnson's rightful lionization most memorable. SEE MORE from the Value Voters Summit at DCBarroco.com

Views from the Value Voters Summit 2012, Volume 2

Leo Johnson [C] is lionized for his heroism at the FRC terror attack by FRC President Tony Perkins  [photo: BD Matt]

Oliver North lauds the leadership of American Warriors at the Value Voters Summit  [photo: BD Matt]

Radio Personality Dennis Prager opines about American Exceptionalism  [photo: BD Matt]

Radiance Foundation's Ryan Bomberger explains his "So Get Out" activism  [photo: BD Matt]

Star Parker
Star Parker, founder of Center for Urban Renewal at the Value Voters Summit  [photo: BD Matt]

Jan Brewer
Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) reads the riot act to the Obama Administration  [photo: BD Matt]

Bob Cuccinelli
VA Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA) "lays down the law" at the Value Voters Summit  [photo: BD Matt]

Rick Santorum
Ex-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) urges Value Voters Summit attendees to engage in politics  [photo: BD Matt]

Rick Santorum
Ex-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) to raise their Patriot Voices at the Value Voters Summit  [photo: BD Matt]

Lila Rose
Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, lends her voice to the pre-born at the Value Voters Summit  [photo: BD Matt]
Frank Gaffney
Frank Gaffney, of the Center for Security Policy, reveals the Muslim Brother influence in the US  [photo: BD Matt]
Gen. Jerry Boyken
Retired Gen. Jerry Boyken opines about the Iranian threat at the Value Voters Summit  [photo: BD Matt]

17 September 2012

So Get Out-How One Individual Can Influence Elections

There has been considerable weeping  and gnashing of teeth in progressive circles at the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United case which overturned the limitations on the First Amendment during election season by the McCain-Feingold Law.  In fact, the Democratic National Committee’s platform in Charlotte included a platform plank supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizen’s United decision.  But God (sic), who pays attention to party platform planks?

Such a constitutional amendment would be poised as a check against corporate power on federal elections.  But the limits on “in-kind” donations would certainly be a cudgel against free speech, particularly causes and caucuses which oppose the powers that be.  In McCain-Feingold, this was applied by prohibiting political issue ads  by interest groups thirty days before the primary and sixty days before the general election.

This impetus to regulate “electronic electioneering” might have been intended to stop flooding the television airwaves during election season, especially from supposed evil corporate sources.  But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  McCain-Feingold could have trumped First Amendment rights.  David Bossie and Citizen’s United produced the political documentary Hillary:the Movie (2008) to be shown on cable video on demand in January, 2008 but the federal government blocked it.  During the Supreme Court arguments on Citizens United v. FEC (2010), a justice asked if books could be blocked by the McCain-Feingold law and the government’s position was yes they could.  The nation’s high court decided 5-4 to overturn the law.

There have been cries from the left about the invasive corporate influence.  But what the Citizen’s United decision accomplished was ending a monopoly of the elite Lamestream Media shaping public perceptions, as it was not covered by the “electronic electioneering” prohibitions.  The Supreme Court decision also erased the advantage to unions whose electioneering efforts (overwhelmingly favoring their Democrat political flacks) were also not covered by McCain-Feingold.

Ryan Bomberger at Value Voters Summit 2012
What puts to a lie the claim that individual citizens are drown out by all of the corporate spending in elections is the example of Ryan Bomberger.  Bomberger is passionate pro-lifer, as his biological mother was raped yet she gave birth to him and then allowed him to be adopted by a Christian couple who raised thirteen kids in total. Bomberger expresses his profound gratitude for life by founding the Radiance Foundation, a life affirming non-profit organizaton which seeks to illuminate, educate and motivate people to have hope about tough topics like race, diversity, adoption and fatherlessness.

As a bi-racial American coming from a traditional Christian world-view, Bomberger grew indignant at the way the Obama Administration conducted itself  on hot button issues.  So Bomberger formed a 501(c)(4) group “SoOutLoud” to share his perspective.

The message uses a catchy jingle to skewer the candidate of “Hope and Change” and “Yes We Can” on trying to redefine marriage, his Administration’s disregard for religious liberty, wreckless stimulus spending without achieving any significant decreases in unemployment and the atrocity of Obamacare.   What is remarkable is how personally referential in tone is the viral video.  It shows how freedom of speech, the disaggregation of information influencers and how consumer grade technology can allow a two person operation shape the political landscape on a dime.

This is not the only example which Bomberger has been able to draw attention to his issues.  The Radiance Foundation’s Pro-Life outdoor advertising campaign in major cities across America to save black pre-born babies.

This billboard campaign around the San Francisco Bay area managed to deeply offend Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA 9th) of Oakland, California.  Congresswoman Lee declared:

I have and will continue to believe that women have the fundamental rights to make decisions regarding their reproductive lives, and no woman's choice should be subjected to scrutiny based on her ethnic background.

At the Value Votes Summit, Bomberger  related with pride that Planned Parenthood had to convene two national conferences to deal with the "Too Many Aborted.com" campaign.  As Bomberger put it: "A billion dollar giant felt threatened by two people with laptop computers and a little bit of moxie."

Despite the unbridibled Liberal Fascist intention to regulate everything because they know better than the little guy, Bombeger's issue advocacy shows that David can still beat Goliath without mutilating the Constitution to abrogate and "improve" political freedoms.

16 September 2012

Views from the Value Voters Summit 2012, Vol. 1

The Values Voter Summit was gaveled open by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

FRC President Tony Perkins at the Value Voters Summit 2012 [Photo: BD Matt]
Former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron testified on his road from atheism to his fervent Christian faith. Cameron earnestly explained the symbolism of the subject matter in the Monumental film which he recently produced and directed.

Kirk Cameron at Value Voters Summit 2012  [Photo: BD Matt]
First term Senator Dr. Rand Paul (R-KY) was the first elected official to address the Value Voters Summit. Sen. Paul's gentle remarks were striking for the understanding that his brand of Libertarianism was imbued with morality, particularly concerning pro-life issues.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)  at Value Voters Summit 2012  [Photo: BD Matt]
  House Intelligence Committee Member and former Republican Presidential Candidate Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN 6th) fires up the crowd with a rousing speech over the danger of creeping shariah and into American government.

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN 6th) at the Value Voters Summit 2012   [Photo: BD Matt]
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) suggests that Tea Party friendly politicians can change the status quo in Washington.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) at the Value Voters Summit 2012  [Photo: BD Matt]

House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA 7th) proclaims that this is an election that is more than just about the economy but about preserving the moral fabric which allows Liberty and Freedom.

House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA 7th) [Photo: BD Matt]

Dr. Bill Bennett, host of "Morning in America" radio show introduces his former intern from Empower America, Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st).

House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA 7th) [Photo: BD Matt]

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st) gave a hard hitting speech tailored to appeal to the Value Voters Summit which scrutinized how President Obama's record in office does not comport with the mores and priorities of the audience.

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st)  [Photo: BD Matt]
Republican VP nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st) at the Value Voters Summit 2012  [Photo: BD Matt]

Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) gave a joyful, free wheeling speech which touted the virtues of the Commonwealth of Virginia which noting how prudent conservative governors had turned around many "Red" states.

Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) at the Value Voters Summit 2012  [Photo: BD Matt]
]Ted Cruz, the Republican candidate for the Texas Senate race highlighted how the Democrats now have problems with recognizing God in their platform or traditional morality in their governance.

Ted Cruz at the Value Voters Summit 2012   [Photo: BD Matt]

Gary Bauer, the one time Republican Presidential candidate and former head of the Family Research Council, gave a fire and brimstone speech condemning how the Obama Administration slights Americans' Religious Liberty.

Gary Bauer at the Value Voters Summit 2012  [Photo: BD Matt]

Representative Steve King (R-IA 5th) recounted how President Obama has ignored establish law, especially when it pertains to upholding traditional morality.

Rep. Steve King  (R-IA 5th) at the Value Voters Summit 2012

The afternoon session on the first day of the Values Voters Summit was closed by the dynamic testimony of Kamal Saleem, a former Muslim terrorist who came to know the unconditional love of God and convert to Christianity by y the kindness and example of Good Samaritan Christians who helped him recover from a serious accident as well as experiencing the Voice of the God. It was remarkable that in a gathering with so many faith filled speakers and attendees that Christian convert Saleem was the one to quote the most scripture.

Kamal Saleem at the Value Voters Summit 2012 [Photo: BD Matt]

13 September 2012

Big Gulp--Nanny Bloomberg Succeeds in His "Modest Proposal" on Super Sized Sugary Sodas

Today the New York City Board of Health approved  Mayor Michael Bloomberg's (D-R-I-NYC) Large Soda Ban by a nine to nothing vote (with one abstention).  The Health Board claims that they received 32,000 comments and only 6,000 people objected. Yet this rousing ratification of the Nanny State comes despite  public polling that 60% of New Yorkers opposed this ban on sugary sodas larger than a pint. Granted, we have seen how Democrats can treat the popular vote when there is a desired decision in mind.  So what does the vox populi matter when your progressive political betters know what is best for you?

New York City under Nanny Bloomberg's tutelage has been in the vanguard of forcing public health down the public throats.  New York City banned smoking in bars in 2003 and later extended this prohibition on smoking to public parks in 2011.  In 2006, New York City led the way by banning trans-fat from the Big Apple's 24,000 eating establishments.  In 2008, New York City regulations forced  restaurants to display the calorie count next to price.  About the only place where Bloomberg lagged behind was banning toys in Happy Meals as was done in San Francisco. The "success" of these dietary diktats issued by Bloomberg's bureaucrats gives them the hubris to think that the hubbub which the large drink ban has brewed will eventually fall flat and be accepted by the public.

But the Big Sugar Soda Ban seems as complex as implementing Obamacare. The Nanny State Big Soda ban applies to city restaurants, movie houses, Broadway theaters, street vendors and stadiums, but diet sodas can still be sold at affected establishments.  The ban does not extend to convenience stores like 7-11 so one can still legally lip on a Big Gulp in the Big Apple. Nor does the ban apply to vending machines.  The limits are inapplicable for grocery store sales. This regulation does not cover beverages that are 70% juice, dairy drinks that are more than 50% milk or alcoholic beverages. And city officials are quick to point out that there is nothing stopping consumers from getting refills or ordering two drinks (yet), aside from the additional cost and hassle.

From a public health perspective, this Sugary Soda regulation is half-hazard.  Granted that the NYC Health Board may not have jurisdiction over ever establishment, but its application seemed unevenly applied, allowing big drinks in grocery stores and convenience stores.  If large drinks are really a health concern, then the substance should be banned not limited.  Secondly, the loopholes for some dairy and juice drinks is spurious.  If the problem is calories, then large servings of those drinks should be equally problematic.  While diet drinks may not contain the calories, there are a bevy of health surveys which call into question the salubriousness of such sodas.

From a liberty perspective, it is outrageous that a Nanny State should dictate what are "reasonable" sized portions.  Until the soda police are tasked to intercede against consumers buying more than their reasonable portion of beverages, the thirsty can buy multiple drinks.  But I don't think that NYC restaurants will give the same volume discount as when you Super-Size.  And for that matter, what business is it of the government to tell its citizens how to live.  Oh, yeah there's Obamacare.  And the meme at the Democrat National Convention in Charlotte, we were told that we belong to the government.

 New York establishments have nine months to comply before facing a $200 fine.  But this vote may not be the end of the subject.  New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, a soda industry inspired coalition, have gathered 250,000 signatures protesting the super sized sugary soda ban.  And lawsuits are pending.

Alas, Nanny Bloomberg's crusade against super sized sugary sodas is not the only prominent instance of progressive food fascism.  This year, First Lady Michelle Obama greeted students around the country with the White House message for the new school year.

Much of the kick-off message was to sell the New School Lunch Requirements, a policy passion of FLOTUS.  The new nutritional requirements, enforced by the USDA,  include more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat free and low fat milk, and a reduction in the sodium content.  Parents note that in lower elementary school, serving are limited to 650 calories, which is enough for some kids but seems like a snack to a growing child. There is pressure for cafeterias to have "Meatless Mondays".  And these nutritional aspirations only work if children eat what is dished out in Lunch Lady Land.  Replacing hot dogs with "whole wheat pasta" is a dicey proposition with finicky kids palates.  The food nannies think that greasy hamburgers can be substituted with black bean burgers.

 Los Angeles Schools had a healthy school lunch program which was a model for the new national rules, but students report that they eat more junk food than before healthy meals with smuggled food.  There were reports that much of the healthy food went untouched into the trash.  Time will tell if the New School Lunch Requirements nationally will satisfy students or if it will better feed the trash.

Food Fascism in the schools is not just a well intentioned imposition of unpalatable options on kids. Last year, some Chicago Public Schools banned students from brown bagging lunches.  This move was couched in public health justifications but it conveniently enriched Chartwell-Thomas, the designated CPS cafeteria vendor.  And of course it kept the SEIU cafeteria employees busy.  Then there was the officious school lunch inspector in South Carolina which prevented a preschooler from eating her prepacked lunch because of nutrition requirements (got to meet the national standard) and had her eat three chicken nuggets (a healthy choice--not!) and billed her parents a couple of dollars for their "mistake".  Let us not forget the Portland Oregon school principal who in a courageous conversation posited that eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be linked to "white privilege".

Isn't progressive food fascism a super sized serving of fun?  If it a danger then use the legislative (not regulatory) process and ban it with public consent.  If there are health concerns educate and control your own government establishments.  Otherwise, leave private enterprises alone and let educated consumers decide for themselves.

07 September 2012

Wooing Independent Voters

As the 2012 Democrat National Convention concluded in Charlotte, one is left with the impression that the event was intended to rally their base with class envy, the war on women, protecting union jobs (especially in the auto industry) and supporting government “investments” (spending).  This was red meat for the delegates in the hall supporting Democrat nominee President Barack Obama (D-IL), but it is dubious as to whether it wooed the unconvicted and independent voters.

The 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa did not seem to serve up as many partisan pitches.  In fact, much of the base grumbled that Governor Chris Christie (D-NJ) giving the Keynote Address was muzzled as an attack dog for Republican nominee Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA).  But this omission of political red meat may have been intentional.

When an incumbent is up for a re-election, it is usually a referendum on the term.  The economic numbers certainly have not improved during this period, and candidate Obama does not seem to have a real plan to rectify it other than with rhetoric and “hanging in there”.  But Mr. Obama’s 2008 election drew in many independent voters who were sold on the hopey changey thing. Moreover, as Barack Obama was America’s first elected black President, there may be a reluctance to abandon supporting him lest they be charged with racism.   So pointed political pitches might not appeal to reluctantly reticent independents who voted for Mr. Obama.

So the first RNC ad after both convention builds upon the Republican pitch to give permission for Independents to change their minds through a spot entitled: “The Break Up”:

In two months, it will become evident whether this is a matter of stoking the base as Democrats think or appealing to independents

h/t: Steve Breen

06 September 2012

Those Hoppy with Obama in Charlotte

At the Democrat National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, there was a lot of pandering to identity groups.  One of the more interesting special interest groups which received attention were craft brewers.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO), was one of the founders of Wynkoop Brewing in Denver. During Hickenlooper's  time as the Mayor of Denver, the microbrewing wave continued to thrive in the Mile High city. But also on the DNC dais was Bill Butcher, the founder of Port City Brewing in Alexandria, Virginia.  Butcher was there to tout the Obama Administration's record helping small business start ups.

Mother Earth Brewing, a craft brewery from Kinston, North Carolina, prepared Endless River for the DNC Convention.  It helps that Mother Earth Brewing prides itself on being environmentally conscious,  using solar power, blue jean insulation, and soy spray based ceiling insulation.

Some beer enthusiasts have suggested that since there has been home brewing at the White House since Obama has been President that bottles be released for charitable auction.  But considering the recent Freedom of Information Act revelation  of the White House Brew recipes as being extracts as opposed to all grain, this could be novel but disappointing.  Besides it would be acting stupidly (and against Federal law) to release beer for sale (even if for a charitable auction) without jumping through the appropriate regulator hurdles. So don't expect to see Ground Force One swigged among the hoi polloi.  Thus  we may just have to settle for more beer summits in a prospective Obama second term.

White House Beer Summit 2009
Why are so many craft brew aficionados hoppy with President Obama?  It may be coincidental, but hops are a close cousin to cannabis sativa. And Democrats were stoked to win stoner support in 2012.

05 September 2012

Fun With Political Platforms

When primary voters elect delegates to a party convention, their major work is to approve a party platform and affirm the candidate with the most votes as the nominee.  But there has not been much of a floor fight since the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City or an open convention since the 1952 Democrat National Convention in Chicago.  So political conventions tend to be big parties for partisans, while a few wonks work in back rooms to develop a party platform to which  no-one pays attention.  So much so, some modern pundits have speculated that 2012 may be the last time there are the grand scale political conventions as they exist today.

But platforms have caused some trouble both for Republicans and Democrats this year.  In Tampa, there were some hard feelings by base Repubicans and some Paulistinians who chaffed at a inside-baseball platform item which allowed the Republican National Party to pick their delegates for primary winners.  This represented a shift away from state parties to the RNC.  Activists fear that elites might choose moderate RNC party favorites rather than conservative Tea Party types if that is what voters elected.  Morton Blackwell, a stalwart of the conservative wing of the Republican Party was incensed by the move.  Paulistians have been looking for their leader, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX 14th), to bolt from the GOP and launch a quixotic last minute Libertarian run, but he has demurred.

On the Democrat side, there was considerable consternation coming from the Republican opposition that the DNC rules committee had dropped any mention of God in the 2012 Democrat Party Platform.  Moreover, the DNC conscientiously dropped the plank  affirming Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel, which was in the 2008 DNC party platform.  This move highlighted President Obama’s wafffling over  what was  the capital of the state of Israel, despite clear Congressionally passed legislation on the question.

To stifle the mounting criticism over the issues, party officials quickly drafted a substitute plank which affirmed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and also inserted God back into the platform.  This was done over an emergency 15 minute meeting on Wednesday afternoon.  DNC Convention Chair L.A. Mayor Antonio Virraigosa (D-LA) offered the measure expecting an easy voice vote approval from the delegates.

Well, not so much.  Maybe the third time was the charm or more likely the sound meter did not matter for a CYA measure from the Democrat intelligentsia.

 But the loud sustained boos from the delegates, particularly the Arab-American coalitions (and presumably the aggressive atheists) will not endear the DNC to these constituencies in the general election campaign.

Usually, party platforms collect dust.  Sometimes the arcane rules changes matter only to party activists, like the National Republicans choosing delegates. The minutia over mentioning God or designating foreign capitals should not have mattered, except in their absence.  So correcting the omissions only drew more attention to the changes.  Moreover, the phony vote on the platform change and ignoring the will of the delegates show how Democrats govern, even in their own house.

So contrary to popular perceptions, platforms do matter.

01 September 2012

Sharing Spirituality at the Shore Through Sand Sculptures

Salvific History sand sculpture by Randy Hofman, Ocean City, MD 2009   [photo: BD Matt]

Randy Hofman, a 61 year old Ocean Pines, MD, has been making biblical sand sculptures to vacationers on the Delmarva shore since 1974 and Hofman has been doing it singularly since 1981. From the beginning of April to the end of October, it is Hofman's mission to bring the Christian message to the Ocean City boardwalk.  During the winter, Hofman concentrates on his paintings, but also does wood carvings and prints.

Randy Hofman works on a Sand Sculpture

Hofman estimates that it can take up to 15 hours to construct his elaborate biblical sand sculptures as he only uses a square shovel and a crab picking knife. This is remarkable for a sand canvas that can be 10 feet tall and 40 feet long. Over the years, Hofman has done well over a thousand spiritual sand sculptures.

 Hofman never abandons a project and can sometimes work until dawn to complete the work.   While he does put a coating of Elmer's glue to give the sand sculpture some longevity, it is still prone to the elements and can be marred by a heavy rain or a crass carousing delinquent.

Hofman made Christian themed sand sculpting into a full time ministry in 1981. He also became an ordained minister in 1985.  He will occasionally evangelize as he works with the shifting grains of sand and will also engage with inquisitive passers-by.

 Hofman seems to revel that his handiwork prompts kids to ask their parents what it is all about.  The artist opined: ""I want it to click so that even someone who is spiritually ignorant can understand."
Divine Forgiveness by Randy Hofman (2009)   [photo: BD Matt]
Gratitude for Sacrifice on the Cross by Randy Hofman (2009)   [photo: BD Matt]

Glorified Resurrected Jesus  by Randy Hofman  (2009)   [photo: BD Matt]

See more faithful sand sculptures at CalamityDC's Pinterest site
h/t: Randy Hofman