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Bad Gay Fiction & the Absence of Introspection

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:23 pm - November 30, 2008.
Filed under: Family,Gay Politics,Literature & Ideas

I’m blogging from Cincinnati where I have spent the holiday among members of the PatriotFamilyWest, the youngest of whom decided to remain in San Francisco with his mother.

Since my Dad and his wife are planning to move from their house where the contents of my childhood room (in a different home) have sat (mostly) undisturbed in boxes for as long as he’s lived there, he’s asked me to go through those boxes. As I was doing just that, I discovered some boxes from my apartment in Arlington, Virginia that I had left in Cincinnati when I moved to the West Coast.

In one of those, I found the better part of my collection of gay fiction, books that I had not already given (or thrown) away.  As I paged through each book before setting it in the give- (or throw-)away pile, I recalled how I had to force myself to finish many of them, with commentary in the margins on the poor quality of prose, repeated use of cliché or absence of development of the characters.

Why did so many of those books lack introspection, I wondered, with so few of the characters ever acknowledging his errors even as a majority of them were cheating on their partners, boyfriends or potential boyfriends?

Indeed, save for the works of Jim Grimsley (which I discuss briefly here), I don’t recall finding the characters of many gay novels going on any kind of interior journey (unless you count the journey from sexual desire to fulfillment as an interior one).

So, after paging through these books, taking the boxes upstairs either to the garbage or to be set aside for a thrift store (depending on their condition), I wondered if absence of introspection were a characteristic of gay men in general of just our literary “representatives.”  And the heads of our political organizations.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:
IRAQ WAR IS WON

By any and all accounts of measuring success (including the American liberals’ ever changing goals), we can finally mark the day that America can finally declare “Victory In Iraq.”   A number of bloggers were declaring 11/22/2008 (last Saturday) as “V.I. Day” — and that date is as good as any.

But it was this week that, militarily and politically, the Armed Forces of the United States of America Officially Won The War In Iraq. 

BAGHDAD — The long, costly story of American military involvement in Iraq moved closer to an end Thursday when Iraq’s parliament approved a pact that requires all troops to be out in three years, marking the first clear timetable for a U.S. exit since the 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

The vote followed months of talks between U.S. and Iraqi negotiators that at times seemed on the point of collapse, and then days of dealmaking between ethnic and sectarian groups whose centuries-old rifts had hardened during the first four years of the war.

Three United States heroes are primarily responsible for Victory In Iraq:  General David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and the Commander In Chief, President George W. Bush. 

However… the ultimate credit and praise goes to the nameless and faceless:   The many, many American heroes in uniform (some still fighting; some never coming home), the American civil servants in the Green Zone, the countless Americans volunteering in Iraq out of compassion, and millions of ordinary Iraqis stepping up out of the dust clouds and raising their voices for freedom.

The War Against Islamic Fundamentalism is far from over.  But the forces of evil suffered a known defeat in the sands of Iraq at the hands of Western liberal democracies.  It wasn’t pretty — but war is hell.

AMERICA SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF THE VICTORY IN IRAQ.   Yes, it came at a terrible cost, as all marches toward freedom do.  But history shall be the ultimate judge of how the Post-9/11 world is safer because Saddam Hussein was not a part of it.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Did Rosie Kill TV Variety Shows Forever?

Sure seems so.  I was actually going to give the angry lesbian a chance and watch her new show “Rosie Live.”  As I woke up this morning, it seems I missed my chance.   PatriotPartner and I just conferred:  we don’t think it was even aired on our local NBC affiliate station, despite the promo ads.

Seems like it was just as well.  It appears to be one of those hours of life that would have been lost forever.

Nup_133193_0455 Rosie O’Donnell gave NBC a real turkey.

The network’s attempt to revive the primetime variety show failed to draw an audience Wednesday night, tying for the evening’s lowest-rated program.

“There’s a notion that the climate is right for the genre to make a comeback,” emailed one executive at a rival network. “I guess we now know what not to do, thanks to Rosie.”

Critics were not kind. The NY Times described it as “hokey comedy with an enemies list.” TV Guide called it a “ghastly ego trip.” And the LA Times asked, “Rosie, what on earth were you thinking?”

Yikers.

I guess I will just have to look forward to something else on my boob tube besides an angry boob who hates squirrels.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Happy Belated Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

To everyone out there that reads GayPatriot and your families, I hope you had a very blessed Thanksgiving.  I’ve been on vacation from work (and life) this week so I apologize for not posting this yesterday.

We, as Americans, have a lot to be thankful for.  Even though lately our society seems to want to stress and magnify our differences for the shock-value or newsworthiness of conflict — we in the USA are a different breed of nation and always will be.

As we enter the Christmas season, I give thanks for a wonderful family around me.  Close friends I can count on in times of need.  Co-workers who are sometimes my closests brothers and sisters.  And a blogosphere full of friends I’ve never met — but have known for years.

Finally, I’d like to thank President Bush for keeping me and my family safe.  I am a “9/11-refugee” of sorts — having left the DC area after the attacks as a result of them.   Despite my own soaring frustration with the President’s leadership and tactics — I am grateful that he kept his focus on the one part of his job that is most important.  Despite all his faults, President Bush has, to the best of his abilities, preserved, protected and defended the Constitution of the United States during a very trying time in our nation.

We have been free from al-Qaeda attack for seven years.   Thank you, Mr. President.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Okay, Who Else Forgot the Cranberry Sauce In the Fridge?

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 9:49 am - November 28, 2008.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Another Argument for Making the Case for Gay Marriage

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 9:00 am - November 27, 2008.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage

In his excellent piece opposing a California Supreme Court decision overruling Proposition 8, William McGurn echoes some of the arguments I’ve been making electronically (i.e., on this blog) for as long as I’ve been blogging and verbally for as long as I’ve been talking about gay marriage.  He holds that judicial resolution of the issue would only serve to prolong a bitter debate, whereas a democratic solution might more readily yield a social consensus:

How much healthier our politics would be if those so convinced of the rightness of their views would have equal faith in the decency of their fellow Americans — and their openness to being persuaded by clear, fair and honest argument.

I remain puzzled why so many supposed advocates of gay marriage remain so unwilling to actually advocate the cause they champion. They demand state recognition of gay marriage, insisting it’s a right yet all too few ever defend the institution itself on its merits.

I believe the state Supreme Court should let Proposition 8 stand even as I believe the language my fellow Californians voted to include in our state constitution does not belong there because, as I put it in a recent post, “I prefer democracy to oligarchy.” McGurn fleshes out that argument:

The great achievement of our system was to create a political order where these great moral disputes, as a matter of policy, are left to the people — with allowance for differences according to region and locale. Moral agents have a role to play, generally by shaping the larger culture in which these decisions are framed and debated. But the outcome is left to the people acting through their elected representatives, a process that inevitably involves compromise, trade-offs and messy accommodations.

When “the courts short-circuit this process, they do three things corrosive to our politics,” including cheating “the American people of an honest political contest, where candidates need to persuade the people of their views to put them into effect.” Not just that, he believes (as do I) “when courts usurp the role of the people, they inject cynicism and bitterness into America’s body politic.”

Let us avoid such cynicism and bitterness. The demographic trends favor state recognition of same-sex marriage, at least in the Golden State. If state recognition of gay marriage is what we want, we should have the resolve, the determination, to make our case to those who, in a free society, should ultimately decide such things: the people.

Just read the whole thing!

Steps Necessary for GOP Rebuilding

Glenn Reynolds is right.  There is lots of interesting stuff today at the Next Right.  A lot of it goes into great detail about a post I had planned for today.

I had intended to list the points I think the next chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) needs address and offer some thoughts on that race.  The bloggers there go into much great detail, so in my list of where, I believe, the GOP needs works, I’ll, as appropriate, link their posts.  Patrick Ruffini thinks we need do three things:  Rebuild our infrastructure, Find our message, Find new leaders.  I think it involves a little more than that.

  • MESSAGE:  GOP needs one main “message man” with a team of effective (and telegenic) spokespeople to communicate a clear Republican message.  And we need develop a message which resonates with voters.  (Somewhat related:  GOP Needs an Ideas Czar, Which Comes First – Ideas or the Message?)
  • FUND-RAISING:  The party needs to build upon Mike Duncan’s fundraising apparatus, especially for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC))–check names.  Needs to develop means to raise more money via the Internet.
  • GRASSROOTS/PARTY INFRASTRUCTURE:  Need to rebuild state and local parties, update databases of Republican-leaning voters, register new voters.  Need to have a better Get Out the Vote (GOTV) effort for 2010.
  • CANDIDATE RECRUITMENT:  Should strive for serious candidates in all Senate races, even those (e.g., California, Hawai’i, New York and Vermont) where victory now seems impossible.   Also need to run candidates in all House races which have the potential of becoming competitive.
  • NEW MEDIA:  Need to better utilize the web and new media.  Development of Rightroots.
  • HISPANIC OUTREACH:  Need to figure out why McCain did so poorly among Hispanic voters and develop Hispanic outreach with goal of exceeding Bush’s 2004 share of Hispanic vote.
  • YOUTH OUTREACH:  Need to reach out to young voters.  While nearly 70% voted for Barack Obama in the election recently concluded, most had little idea what their man stood for (beyond the amorphous concept of change).  Some surveys (and abundant anecdotal evidence) showed that many of these voters have libertarian inclinations.  GOP needs to tap into that (Somewhat related:  Diversify Your Freedom Portfolio (Part One) (Part Two).

Now, the question is which of the candidates for RNC chair is capable of doing all these things.  James Richardson offers a rundown of the leading candidates.  (Chris Cilizza offers his take here and Matt Lewis here.)

While I think Michael Steele is the ideal man to deliver the GOP message, I (as do others blogging about the race) have doubts about his organizational ability.  John “Chip” Saltsman, the former chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, appears to possess those managerial skills.  If he hadn’t managed Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign, I might be more favorably inclined to his candidacy.  Still, that campaign was sucsessful in getting its voters to the polls in the caucuses.  And our party didn’t do a good job this all of getting our voters to the polls.

Jim Geraghty offers a more favorable take of Saltsman here.

They Call their Man, “Barack”

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:28 pm - November 26, 2008.
Filed under: Friendship,Obama Watch,Random Thoughts

In a post earlier today, Jennifer Rubin held that “it seems disrespectful at this point to refer to the President-elect as ‘Barack.’“  I agreed that this does seem disrespectful.  Yet, her comment make me wonder if there is some sort of cultural phenomenon in this apparent familiarity with the president-elect.

Shortly after the election, at a gathering of fellow Williams alumni, with everyone who offered an opinion on the recently-concluded presidential election (save yours truly) having supported the victor of that election, a handful of his backers continually referred to their man not as “the president-elect” or “Senator Obama,” but instead as just plain “Barack” as if they actually knew the guy.

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard Obama’s supporters so address their man.  I don’t recall Bush supporters referring to the Republican as “George” or Clinton supporters calling their man, “Bill.”  (Well, there were “Friends of Bill” . . . . )

I don’t really know what to make of this.  Maybe the president-elect radiates a certain fraternal aura that makes people feel we know him, kind of like that of such movie stars as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.  (For me, it’s Laura Linney.  When I see her on screen, I feel certain I know her.)

Indeed, after watching both presidential candidates in the Saddleback Forum in August, Rich Lowry found that Obama seemed “more like a potential friend.

Maybe it is just the aura he radiates.  Food for thought.

More on Absence of Introspection of “No on 8″ Leaders

In a post today, left-of-center blogger and activist Michael Petrelis alerts his readers to an editorial in the Bay Area Reporter raising the same sorts of questions he, I and other bloggers of various political stripes have been asking about the failure of the leaders of the “No on 8″ campaign to engage in any instrospection since the proposition passed:

The Yes on 8 campaign, in many ways, out-maneuvered No on 8, period. What we need is an examination as to why that happened and move forward, preferably with a consensus not to make the same mistakes again. . .  . If the No on 8 leadership isn’t willing to open up about what went wrong, the community can’t be expected to buy in to another costly ballot fight.

It’s that simple.

The heads of gay organizations seem more interested in protecting their hides and sinecures than in actually taking any responsibility for the ballot measure.

Who will hold them to account?

How do you know when you’re linked on a left-wing blog?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:30 pm - November 26, 2008.
Filed under: Blogging,Mean-spirited leftists

You discover an increased number of hate comments in your spam queue.

Sometimes some voices on the left make it so easy to confirm my theories about their mean-spiritedness, narrow-mindedness, misunderstanding of conservatism and even of the words, “rights” and “freedom.”

Thanks, guys.  :-)

Oh, and one last point, anyone who would use a doctored photo and put it forward as authentic is obviously someone who is easily duped.

Why is it that some of them can only make their points by insulting those they seek to criticize?  Is it their own inability to engage those with whom they disagree, their own failure to understand arguments which differ from their own? Or is it something deeper?  Some inner unhappiness?  Unmet psychological need?

I fear for the future if these are the type of the people the president-elect taps for his Administration.  But, so far at least, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  We must be thankful for small favors.

SOMEWHAT RELATED:  A video retrospective on the left-wing anger in Campaign ’08.

On Joining Forces with Social Conservatives
When Necessary to Preserve Our Liberty

A reader e-mailed me a link a post which quoted a comment from another blog which really got at why I, as a gay man, can feel comfortable in a political coalition with social conservatives who would rather I (and those like me) not act on my natural inclination for intimacy and romantic affection with another man.

Repeating commentshe made on another site about moderates attempting to dismiss religious conservatives within the Republican Party, Bill_Dalasio offers:

my main concern in politics is maintaining my freedom. And, in practical, definable terms, the daily threats to my liberty are not being pushed by religious conservatives. It wasn’t religious conservatives who’ve told me I’m breaking the law if I light up in a bar. It wasn’t religious conservatives who’ve forbidden me from buying food made with trans fats. It wasn’t religious conservatives who pushed speech codes on our college campuses and dictate hate crimes laws. It wasn’t religious conservatives who’ve made it a bureaucratic journey to buy a gun to protect my home and family. It isn’t religious conservatives I see trying to revive the fairness doctrine to specifically silence their political opposition. It wasn’t religious conservatives to gave us “campaign finance reform”. It isn’t the religious conservatives who have told me that I have to separate my trash, even to the point of removing individual trashcans in my office building.

Put bluntly, I can’t help but feel I’m being sold a bill of goods here. Progressives, with the full consent of moderates,…chip away consistently and unabashedly at my freedom. All the while, telling me how scared I should be of the religious conservative bogeyman hiding under the bed. Do I think there’s some religious conservatives who go over the top? Sure. But, marginalizing the religious conservatives en masse is a surefire way to empower just those religious conservatives who do go over the top. Moreover, I’m getting a little more than tired of being told to be scared about the threat to my liberty posed by my allies by people whose own behavior tells me they want nothing more than to restrict my freedom.

Emphasis added.

The issue, my friends, is freedom. This guy gets it.

Let me repeat, I, as a gay man, have no problem working in a political coalition with social conservatives so long as they don’t force me to promote legislation restricting freedom nor demand I enter some kind of ministry to “cure” me of my longings for affection with my own gender. Leave these people alone to practice their faith as they believe Scripture dictates. And leave me alone to interpret the same Scripture (or at least the first two-thirds thereof) in my own way.

And leave those who don’t hold to that Scripture free as well to live their lives as they see fit.

The issue is freedom. And in this age of increasing government control, we need focus on defending it.

The Real Agenda of the Leaders of “No on 8″

You’ll have to forgive me for not participating in the LA Gay Center’s Virtual Townhall meeting, underway as I write and edit this. All questions have to pass through a moderator. And I wonder if this moderator will let through tough questions which might force the leaders of the “No on 8″ campaign to consider their own responsibility for the failed campaign.  To wonder why they have failed to engage in any introspection since the ballot measure passed.

I doubt these left-of-center individuals even consider my question:

With a leadership which well represents its left-wing donor base, how do gay groups reach out to social moderates and conservatives whom we most need to move on the question of gay marriage?

It’s not just gay conservatives who are critical of the “No on 8″ campaign for failing to reach out to political conservatives, gays are on the left are also incensed. At his blog, gay left-winger (I say that as a description not an insult) Michael Petrelis has been taking on the complacency of what he calls Gay Inc. He faults gay leaders supposedly dedicated to defeating 8 for their paltry contributions to the cause.

Noting how former HRC chief Elizabeth Birch gave nearly fourteen times as much to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as she did to the “No on 8″ campaign, Petrelis believes this “reveals how Birch, like HRC, is definitely more interested in putting money into electing Democrats than advancing gay equality.

Michael, we’ve been saying that for years.

Petrelis isn’t the only one who thinks gay leaders are dodging accountability for Prop 8′s passage.  In the LA Weekly, Patrick Range McDonald notes that on the November 13 Williams Institute “panel of experts to discuss the Proposition 8 loss:”

rather than finding an independent moderator, [Executive Director Brad] Sears turned over those duties to “No on 8″ campaign director Patrick Guerriero, who certainly had an interest in damage control. Sears’ decision was the first sign that “No on 8″ leaders were going to take full control of the evening.

As McDonald notes, all questions to that panel passed through that moderator. Read the whole thing!

To borrow a phrase from the Gipper, those panelists (and those in tonight’s virtual town hall) have “made a career of heading organizations.” They are less interested in solving problems than they are in maintaining their own prominence. And helping elect Democrats

Obama to betray “lefties” as W betrayed “righties”?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:48 pm - November 25, 2008.
Filed under: Economy,National Politics,Where W went wrong

Sort of reiterating a point I made two-and-one-half years ago, Glenn Reynolds observed yesterday that as lefties are now worried about the coming Obama betrayal, “righties have been blaming Bush that way for years, so I guess it’s only fair that it’s someone else’s turn now . . . .

Just another reminder that while so many in the media blame the current economic mess on conservative policies, the outgoing incumbent president failed to implement many conservative reforms.  Yeah, he passed tax cuts and those seem to have helped us get out of the recessions left by his predecessor and magnified by 9/11, but he didn’t offer corresponding cuts in federal spending or effect any serious deregulation of the economy.

Since there was no conservative reform of the financial markets these past eight years, conservative policies cannot be responsible for their failure.

His successes see to lie in the areas where he was most conservative:  standing up to threats abroad and protecting us at home.

The word games of Prop 8 opponents

Just by readig statements from the national gay organizations and their allies, you’d think that it was opponents of gay marriage who seek to change society by taking away a “right” long since recognized by American governments.  They act as if marriage has always been defined as a union between two loving individuals, rather than one between individuals of different genders.

Until they understand that they are the ones pushing for change and can make a compelling case for that change, they won’t be able to convince wary citizens who define marriage by that gender difference of the need to expand the definition of the institution to include same-sex couples.

Now, via an e-mail from a national gay organization, I witness yet again the advocates of gay marriage twist reality to advance their cause.  Last week, in a release announcing that the California Supreme Court would hear challenges to Proposition 8, an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) release reported:

The lawsuits allege that, on its face, Proposition 8 is an improper revision rather than an amendment of the California Constitution because, in its very title, which was “Eliminates the right to marry for same-sex couples,” the initiative eliminated an existing right only for a targeted minority. If permitted to stand, Proposition 8 would be the first time an initiative has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take away an existing right only for a particular group.

Gosh, it seems their understanding of history goes back to sometime this summer.  The proponents of the ultimately successful ballot initiative did not author the ballot language.  The Democratic Attorney General (and initiative opponent) Jerry Brown did.  Amazing that the opponents of Prop 8 would rely a tactic by an initiative opponent, opposed by the authors of the initiative, to overturn it.  What a cheap rhetorical (and perhaps also judicial, depending on the language of their brief) stunt.

That “right” only existed because the state Supreme Court said in May that it did.  It was not part of the original meaning of the constitution nor could it have even been inferred given that, until about fifteen years ago (or so) no one ever thought of marriage as anything but a union between a man and a woman.

The initiative is not changing the constitution to take away a right that was there.  It is changing the state Constitution to prevent courts from finding things there that its framers never intended.

I would rather the new amendment not be part of the state constitution, but regret that those who seek to remove it were not playing word games with California constitution.  And wish they could make a better case for the change they wish to effect.

Oh Happy Day, Oh Happy, Happy!

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:55 pm - November 25, 2008.
Filed under: Family

The younger PatriotSisterWest gave birth this morning to her first child, the now youngest PatriotNephewWest.  My financial health is further threatened.  I finally have a nibling in the Golden State.  More trips to San Francisco are planned.

Our Critics Silent about Democrats’ Proposed Profligacy

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:16 am - November 25, 2008.
Filed under: Liberals,Republican-hatred

Given how some of our critics responded to my post on how Democrats see government spending as the solution to every domestic problem, it appears their business in life is to attack Republicans.  If you didn’t follow current events, you might take their tone to mean their side had lost the most recent national elections.

In their zeal to criticize us and the GOP, they neglect to acknowledge how frequently we’ve criticized Bush and Republicans for their spendthrift ways, contending the GOP lost its congressional majorities in 2006 in large part because its leaders failed to contain spending and constrain the growth of the federal government.

And now with their proposed stimulus plan, Democrats seem bent on continuing the spending record of the current Democratic Congress and the most recent Republican ones, albeit with greater rates of increase.

Note how our critics don’t bother to challenge my premise (that the Democrats, like Carroll’s Queen, have one way of addressing all (domestic) difficulties–increase spending.  So, caught up in the past are they that they’d rather attack Republicans for their failures which, even this Republican blogger contends, cost them their majorities.

As they criticize Republican for their past spendthrift ways, these critics remain silent about their party’s proposed profligacy.

As I wrote the day after the election, I feel a strange sense of liberation now that a spendthrift Republican Administration is on its way out.  Yet, our critics seem unconcerned that the leadership of the party elected to replace it appears increasingly eager to outspend him.

Admiration & Mistrust for Barack Obama

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:00 pm - November 24, 2008.
Filed under: Liberal Hypocrisy,Obama Watch

As the president-elect begins to unveil his cabinet and staff appointments, I’m filled with admiration for the boldness of some of his choices, but a growing sense of mistrust at the apparent cynicism of some of the selections.  It seems that for the sake of political expediency, he is dispensing with some of the pledges he made as a candidate.

With James L. Jones as National Security Adviser, Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and with Robert Gates rumored to remain as Secretary of Defense, the new president will have a national security team, committed to securing the victory in Iraq, wary of an overhasty withdrawal and not blinded by ideology to the threats abroad.

But, recall how Obama made rapid withdrawal from Iraq his signature issue in the campaign’s early stages?  He used his longstanding opposition to the war to rally the party’s left-wing base and distinguish himself from Mrs. Clinton.

He has long since left that rhetoric behind. Instead of hope and change, Victor Davis Hanson sees the president-elect parceling out posts to:

Clintonite retreads, plenty of the old requisite Ivy-League law degrees, ample influence from establishment ex-lobbyists, de rigueur Sidwell Friends for the kids, and apparent sudden existential angst and uncertainty over FISA, getting out pronto from Iraq, closing down the Constitution-shredding Gitmo, and overturning the McCarthyite Patriot Act — and all to acclaim and relief from aristocratic Beltway pundits of both parties? So that was all the election was about? Just new faces on the same old, same old? And relief that Treasury, the National Security Advisorship, and Defense will be in the hands of well-known centrists? And at least on national and homeland security it is perhaps not the shadow of Bill Clinton, but of George W. Bush, that now begins to loom large?

Had Obama not campaigned as “new kind of politician,” I might trust him more. But, had he not so campaigned, he would not be where he is today.

To be sure, some of his appointments demonstrate his intelligence and political savvy. He knows the country is not where his primary campaign was. And he certainly recognizes that the fall campaign was decided not on foreign policy, but the economy. Indeed, in the first debate (ostensibly) dedicated to foreign policy, the Democrat reassured Americans by readily agreeing with his Republican rival on a number of national security issues.

His appointments do signal a shift away from his campaign rhetoric and toward the more sensible defense policies John McCain espoused. Jonah Goldberg thinks this shift suggests the president-elect might just be “just a cynical, conventional, politician who brilliantly played his supporters’ idealism against them to get power.

A cynical politician he may be, but he could end up being a successful president.  While there is increasing evidence of his cynicism, there are signs which suggest success. For that success or lack thereof, we’ll just have to wait and see.

UPDATE:  Via Glenn, Jules Crittenden weighs in:

As heartening as it may be to see evidence of common sense, the concern going forward is that Obama has shown himself to be lacking principles as well as a spine. Not good traits in a wartime president, particularly in times of economic turmoil.

Stranger in a Strange Parking Lot

Last night, on my way to see Quantum of Solace, the latest Bond flick, I had an experience of which science fiction novels must be made.

From the moment I pulled into the  parking lot at the Century City Mall (where the theater was located), I seemed to have entered a world drawn from a novel of post-apocalytic world.  I heard the mechanical voice from the machine dispensing my parking ticket, but heard no other voice nor saw another person until I emerged from the lot into the shopping plaza.

It was strange as if the humans had disappeared and only their technology remained. There were cars in the parking lot, discarded shopping bags, a stray suitcase in a pile of junk.  But, I saw no organic life.  Not even a stray cat.

Indeed, I hadn’t seen any human beings on the streets outside the mall entrance.  Interestingly, this very area had (shortly after construction had been completed) served as set for the totalitarian future metropolis in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

There’s something surreal about seeing only products created by man without any humans present.  To compound the effect, the first humans I saw were speaking a language I could not recognize.  I would not hear any English until I attempted to go into the bookstore and the staff informed me it was closed.

Then, as I waited for my date in the lobby of the movie theater, I saw a steady stream of people coming down the escalator from the upper tier of theaters, but no corresponding troop going up.

Had I a science fiction novel in my head instead of a fantasy epic, I might have found inspiration in the strange sequence of events last night.  Perhaps Pierre Boulie or Richard Matheson had had such an evening at a different time with different technologies.  And those experiences sparked their imaginations and so led to books which would inspire many movies.

On Buying My First Microwave

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:54 pm - November 24, 2008.
Filed under: Random Thoughts

I jut returned from Target where for the first time in my life, I bought a microwave oven.  It’s not that I’ve been without.  It’s just that for as long as I’ve been living on my own in the U.S., I’ve been using the vintage 1970s Amana Radarange my Dad gave me after he and his wife remodeled their kitchen.

I’d been reluctant to part with this appliance, one of the first microwaves mass-produced for household use.  But, when a friend warned me that old microwave ovens leak radiation, I’d been considering getting a new one for some time, only I didn’t know which one to get.

Finally, something dawned on me.  And it’s that something that spurred me to post on this.  Until my current microwave began to show signs of age–it was no longer effective at popping popcorn–I had been perfectly satisfied with it.  I never shopped for this thing.  Hadn’t tried to find the perfect model.  I just found it in my Dad’s storage room.

So, I realized that as long as I got a decent oven, it wouldn’t really matter which bells and whistles came with the new model, just so at least 1,100 watts of power.  (I had read on some package recently that I would need at least that wattage to completely heat up the product contained therein.)

The long and the short of this little discourse is this:  as long as the product worked, I’d get used to the new model. And I shouldn’t fret so much on getting the ideal oven. I just needed a good one.

So, I just hope this new one works. It certainly looks cool on my countertop.  And takes up less space.

Now, what to do with the old one?

Democrats in Spender-Land

While I’ve long been familiar, largely via Disney, but also through our popular culture, with Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I had never actually read the book.  Having purchased it five years ago, I started reading it this past weekend, on George Eliot’s birthday to be exact.

This morning, shortly after learning that President-elect Obama will be proposing a stimulus plan (i.e. a vast increase in government spending) to jump-start the economy, I read about how Carroll’s fantastic monarch faced problems:

The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. “Off with his head! she said without even looking around.

Seems the Democrats are just like this impetuous but ultimately ineffective potentate. For every domestic difficulty, great or small, they favor increased government spending or regulation.

And like that inconsiderate queen, they don’t look around either, don’t bother to consider whether past spending increases have actually fixed the problems they were intended to solve.