Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why Nobody is Dropping Out of the Republican Primary

Here's a thought that I haven't heard expressed anywhere else.

Do you suppose the reason that Newt refuses to drop out of the race is because he knows that whoever wins the Republican primary has in reality won the general election?

Think about it. Obama's numbers are tanking, and there's no miracle on the horizon to lift them. There's a very good chance that whoever wins the Republican nomination will go on to win the election, which means the primary battles we're seeing right now are the real general election.

And given that it could come down to a delegate fight and a brokered convention, candidates with little or no money may have an excellent shot in August at winning the nomination they couldn't afford to win on the road.

And since I'm playing out on a contrarian limb here, let's move a little further out.

If Republicans don't select a candidate until August, doesn't that go a long way to negating Obama's huge cash advantage? There are only so many hours in a broadcast day. If the election doesn't start until August, he won't be able to bring his huge money advantage into play.

Just a couple of thoughts...

Posted by Rich
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Monday, March 12, 2012

Light Blogging for the Next Two Weeks

This week I'm still at work, and also trying to finish building the kitchen cabinets before starting the demo.

On Friday.

So yeah, no sleepy, no bloggy.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

I Got a Bike

Not a motorcycle, a bicycle.

My last bike was a WalMart special, and special doesn't begin to describe it.

Short, heavy, slow, and a tremendous pain in the ass.

I can achieve that on my own; I don't need a bicycle.

So, I went online to see if they make bicycles sized for actual adults and it turns out that they do. I selected a moderately priced hybrid on Amazon, one with good reviews for quality and a reasonable price tag. It arrived last week, and I took it for a spin right after I put it together, and wow! What a difference! My knees no longer ram into my chin as a pedal, and my leg straightens almost completely on the down stroke. Even better, the bike is about 50% lighter than my old one.

Which by the way, is now available for the low low price of "Come and get it!"

While I'm very happy with my purchase, and I'm already starting to build up my endurance, I am in a quandary.

You see, I blew my whole budget on the bike, and I don't have enough money for a helmet.

And that's a bad thing, because I will be riding my bike a lot on the roads, and without a helmet, well, even a small spill could have drastic consequences. I could be laid up in the hospital for months with a severe head injury.

I tell you, I'm really worried about what might happen if I crash. Not worried enough to quit riding until I can afford a helmet; that's just crazy talk. I bike is meant to be ridden, and ride it I shall. After all, it's Spring, and that's the best time for riding. But I am worried, and that worry is beginning to affect my work. I know I've got a good job, but after paying for my expenses, cable, internet, cell phone, NetFlix, etc, there just aren't enough dollars left over at the end of the month to pay for a helmet.

And that's just not fair!

I mean, I have a bike, but I can't ride it safely because I can't afford a helmet, even though I'm working hard and doing my best to get ahead. And when you think about it, I'm not the only one facing the risk. If I get hurt, my medical bills will be covered by insurance, but that will make premiums go up for me, and for everybody else. And that's just not fair to me; I'm already having to stretch my budget.

I have a bike, and By Golly, I have a right to ride it safely, without having to risk my health, or my future, or to place an undue burden on the health care system if I get injured. I DEMAND that my benefits package at work covers free bicycle helmets.

And a water bottle so I don't get dehydrated.

And little flashy lights so I don't get hit by a car when I'm riding at night wearing my nifty black riding outfit.

Which I also demand.

After all, it will save money in the long run, and make me a safer more productive citizen. Not to mention healthier.

So come on America! Pay up! I have a right to ride my bike in safety, and you have a responsibility to make it happen. if you don't act now to support me and keep me safe, then you are a mean, nasty, hateful, boogerhead.

(Oh, and I want a bell too! Rinnnng riinngg!)

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I Voted

I didn't pick the guy I thought most likely to win. I didn't pick the guy with the most money, or the best hair, or the coolest website. I didn't try to pick strategically, waffling over which candidate would have the best shot at beating the other guy in November. I simply selected the man I believe is most capable of filling the job of President of the United States given our current economic and geopolitical situation. I'm not going to tell you who I voted for, except that it was not Obama, just in case there were any doubts.

Posted by Rich
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It’s Time for the KNS to Put Up or Shut Up

But they probably won't do either.

The Knoxville News Sentinel editorial board published yet another editorial calling for the results of all TBI investigations to be made part of the public record once the investigation is closed. This is a completely asinine (No Mr Campfield, I'm not calling them asses) idea, and I'll explain why.

Using small words, in deference to the KNS.

Imagine for a moment that you are the target of an investigation. You've done nothing wrong, nothing illegal at least, but circumstance places you squarely in the sights of the TBI, and they run a full investigation into every facet of your life. They look into everything, your finances, your associations, your movements, your habits, hobbies and internet usage, and in general, everything about you. In the end, they find no proof of wrong doing and close the investigation. You are off the hook.

Yet the documents created by that investigation still exist, and if the KNS gets their way, will be public record, available for everyone to see.

Is your life a completely open book? Would you be comfortable with the general public knowing everything about you, your habits, your activities, your finances, your social activities, etc? What about that episode a few years back, you know the one. It would be pretty embarrassing if that became common knowledge. And that place you went that time? What if there were cameras following you? It wasn't illegal, what you did, but it sure could be embarrassing. Don't forget that fight between you and the missus that night. That was ugly! And let's not forget those teenage years!

Heck, how many of you would be comfortable with the list of every website you visited over the last 6 months becoming public record?

Let's get even more basic; how many of you would like it to be public knowledge that you were even investigated in the first place?

Not many of us. We all have things we want to keep quiet; things we don't want to see made public. I have an extensive public life based on this blog; I talk about a lot of things in my life. I have an active Facebook page; I share lots of personal information there. But there are things I don't share; things that don't belong to the public. They are private, and I want to keep them that way.

There's a reason these investigations are not part of the public record. Unless criminal activity is found and prosecuted, the information contained in them is nobody else's business. There is no compelling public interest that overrides our basic right to privacy. Why should your dirty laundry be aired for everybody to see if you've done nothing wrong? Why should our lives be used to satisfy the voyeuristic tendencies of a bunch of self appointed 'guardians of the public trust' or whatever blather journalists use to help themselves sleep at night?

The short answer is that it shouldn't. Records are sealed by default for this very reason, and that's why opening them requires evidence of wrongdoing. It's basic protection of privacy.

Now, if the folks at the KNS have any integrity at all, this should be fairly simple to demonstrate.

I challenge the editorial board of the KNS to put their money where their mouth is.

Pay for and publish, both in print and online, a full background investigation for each member of the editorial board. Include all the typical information pulled in a TBI investigation. Credit history, associations, movements, criminal background, educational records, tax filings, etc. All of it. Addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, charge slips, surveillance reports and so on. Show us you aren't hypocrites; put the information about yourselves into the public record that you are demanding the TBI place into the record about the rest of us.

Put up, or shut up.

Given that the editorial itself was unsigned, I doubt they will have the courage to take up the challenge.

But I can hope.

Posted by Rich
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Creation Mythology

Every culture comes up with a myth about how the world was created. The Mayans have one. American Indians have several. Greeks, Persians, Hindu, Chinese, Japanese, all of them have a rich tradition of creation myths. Each age does its level best to observe the world around it and to devise a story that makes sense of it.

Of course, Christians have their own stories about creation, but I don't want to talk about that right now because I want to spend time with one of the more peculiar myths out there. It stands apart from all the others, both in content and context. You see, it doesn't really explain anything.

It just is.

In the beginning was nothing. And then, for no reason and without cause, there was everything.

Kinda dry, huh?

Let's dress it up a bit.

In the beginning, there was nothing.

No light and no dark.
No hot or cold.
No materials to use for creation; no energy to drive it.
No space and no void, because a void is empty, and with no space, there is nothing to be empty.

No time.
Time is space; space is time.
No space, no time, and no way to change.
Because change occurs over time.
No was. No is.
And certainly no will be.

No here because there was no there.

And then, change.
Occurring where change was impossible.
Nothing became something in a fraction of a fraction of a blink of an eye,
In a segment of time so small as to be unfathomable,
Particularly since there was no time at all.
The endless now became before and after.

No reason. No cause.
Cause and effect cannot exist without time passing.
And there was no time.

But in that one miniscule moment
The moment that did not, could not exist
(Except it must exist)
Nothing became void and void became chaos.
Everything that ever would be came to be,
Including 'ever would be.'

And from the chaos sprang order
Because everything includes order as well as chaos.
Because if you have everything,
You have to have a place to put it.
And time to put it there.

Can any of you guess which culture came up with this creation myth?

"I'll take modern physics for $1000, Alex."

Posted by Rich
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Monday, March 05, 2012

Meanwhile, Back in the Real World

While everybody in the United States is obsessing over the sex lives of law students, the US is cutting defense spending significantly, reducing our capabilities to protect our interests around the world. As we all know, power vacuums are always filled quickly, and the best candidate to take over the role as the world's dominant military power is the Chinese, who are increasing defense spending by 12% or so in order to more readily expand their interests in the world.

But that's okay, because the Chinese commitment to personal liberty and freedom is legendary.

Like unicorns.

But by all means, let's have a national discussion over whether it is appropriate to demand that a church buy rubbers for its employees.

Posted by Rich
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I’m Pro Choice

Yep. You read that right.

I'm pro choice.

In fact, I'm all about choice. I think everybody ought to have the freedom to choose for themselves what they do and how they do it, as long as those choices do not negatively impact those around them.

And I think most women would agree with me.

They get to choose whether to have sex or not. They get to choose who to have sex with. They get to choose which acts they will perform. They get to choose when they will have sex.

And I'm all for it. Sex is a choice.

That being the case, then why in the wide wide world of sports should I have to pay for them to have sex?

Women are so strongly against men paying for sex, but they want us to pay for them to have sex?

I don't get it.

Look, I get that you want free contraception. You want to have sex without strings, without guilt, and without consequences. I get it; I really do. That's been the male fantasy for centuries.

But here's the deal. If you want it, great; go out and get it. But don't expect me to pony up for the rubbers/pills/IUDs/Norplants etc.

Unless it is my penis entering your vagina, I'm not responsible for any potential outcomes.

Your choice means your responsibility. If you choose to have sex with a guy who refuses to use a condom, then it is your responsibility to protect yourself. It is not my responsibility to run you down to the drugstore and pay for your birth control.

This is not a war on women; I happen to like women. A lot. My wife is a woman. I know that seems old fashioned in this day of gay marriage, open marriage, and gender transference procedures, but hey, I'm a sucker for traditionalism.

And my wife is not the only woman in my life. My mother is a woman, as is my sister, and my daughters, and I love them all very much.

I'm not at war with them, nor do I want to oppress them.

I just don't think it is my responsibility to fork over $20 so Sheila down the street can hang with the frat boys on the Strip without worrying about potential consequences.

If she chooses to have sex, then it is her responsibility to choose responsibly, and that means choosing a partner who will wear a condom.

After all, the pill doesn't protect against STD's.

If she can't make a responsible choice, then maybe, just maybe, she shouldn't be choosing to have sex.

Ya think?

Posted by Rich
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