Thursday, December 27, 2007

Americans "Get" It

After my little hiatus visiting my hometown this past Christmas, I was wondering what I'd be writing about when I first returned. A number of things crossed my mind today, current events topping the list. But I'm not going to let go of Christmas just yet.

I took my nasty habit of smoking cigarettes outdoors, as I always do, while I was staying in the house in which I was raised. I could see the tree limbs that were no longer there because I'd sawed them off this summer. I could see the sidewalk I'd shoveled that hasn't been there in about 2 decades. I could see my friends playing in these snowy streets -- instead of being at home with their families as they actually were. When I go home, I go back in time. And then I snuff my smoke and return to the present, where my own family is presenting me with the latest buzz of who's calling and where we are off to next.

I truly enjoy these returns to my roots, even though I cannot tolerate any form of travel. But along the way I notice the people along the way. And when I was "home", it wasn't only in my head that my world returned to the normal I grew up with, it was still in the people all around me.

Yes, everyone was busy with holiday shopping; of course I hated being in traffic or at a mall. But I found myself in a land where it was still "Christmas". Not "Happy Holidays" and all that, but the real deal -- a land where "Happy Holidays" is spoken, but "Merry Christmas" is heard.

Since I've been back 'home', there have been many of the usual readjustment headaches, but I most notice the contrast. I've returned to the land of "Happy Holidays"; and I've been struggling to get back into my shell. I've still got a smile on my face for knowing better, though.

I worked behind the scenes with the usual upkeep of this not-yet-born site, and I'd had a number of topics run through my head. But the theme I took away from the past week is that Americans "get" it. I've seen it in everything around me this past week. I saw it in the newspapers, I hear it on the radio. My (natural-born) pessimism which was forefront months ago has been lifted.

Americans "get" Hillary. Americans "get" Guliani. Americans "get" Romney. Americans "get" Ron Paul. Americans, no matter where they are from or are now, "get" it. I once again feel the pride and joy I felt when my oldest nephew joined the proud ranks of American soldiers and volunteered for a tour in Iraq -- and returned safely.

But reading a story on Michael Yon's website probably most affected me today, even in light of other passing events -- that of a soldier thanking Americans for his sacrifices and service. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus; and I would do so well as to measure up to him.

And for the moment I can relax, smile, and believe that Americans will elect our new president in just under a year -- a president who will be a reflection of the real America, no matter the outcome.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hiding in Plain Sight

I came across this article and didn't quite know what to make of it. After seeing the check marks under gun control, I figured a check mark was a negative. While chatting with a friend online the following ensued.

me: I think Fred's low-profile is a plus.
me: I think his candidacy from the beginning must've been pointedly stealthy.
me: Look at the first announced: Guiliani, Romney.
buddy: yeah
me: Early vetting ruined their conservative bona fides.
buddy: but you cant be too low-key in a presidential election
me: So he's pickin' it up relatively unscathed just prior to the primaries.
me: The early start is starting to eat away even at Hillary.
me: Look how Huck went from no-pub to oh-my-not-that-much-pub too quickly.
There are many twists and turns in presidential elections. Recall how Howard Dean went from frontrunner to nutcase in short order.

And later...
me: I know who your horses are; who do you think can win?
me: Especially GOP?
buddy: I like to watch how the caucuses turn out
buddy: this first one is very important
buddy: after it, we should see a few candidates emerge as the top
me: My GOP will-lose pile: Guiliani, Romney, Huckabee.
buddy: will-lose?
buddy: aren't they the top picks?
buddy: lol
me: Cannot win the presidency.
buddy: the presidency or the primary
buddy: I doubt any republican will be able to win the actual presidential election
me: Conservatives aren't going to hold their noses and vote for the 'annointed one' this time.
me: It's gotta be a conservative.
buddy: well, that wont help if there is a split
me: I'd say if you have a hypothetical Romney GOP candidate, 10 million would vote non-GOP in some way.
me: Suddenly, you don't need 51% of the vote; even Hillary can manage that.

Great Moments in Public Education

My jaw dropped several times reading the article Abstinence isn't the problem.

Last year, a school-sponsored speaker at Boulder High School in Colorado promptly put an end to that myth. During a panel discussion on teen sexuality, the speaker explained to the students—some as young as 14—that he was “different” from their other teachers because “I am going to encourage you to have sex and encourage you to use drugs appropriately.”
I couldn't believe it could get worse.
Landophi invited students to demonstrate their “orgasm faces” for a camera and to lick condoms with her onstage. When discussing anal sex, she remarked that one would be “in deep sh-t.” Her program included asking a female student to blow up a condom and place it on a male student’s head. According to a lawsuit against the school district, Landophi made “eighteen references to orgasms, six references to male genitals, and eight references to female genitals,” and “used profane, lewd, and lascivious language to describe body parts and excretory functions.”
Then anther article comes along to really drive home my bewilderment: Sex Education Lesson: Beat Up the Virgins.
First “con” is that abstinence is “really bo-ring!” “Like all the cool kids are having sex and they’re gonna’ laugh at you if you’re not.”
If this is how bad they can be on this topic, the plummeting math and reading scores are certainly less surprising.